New to Prepping?
I see the question all the time, “I’m new to prepping and am looking for tips on getting started.” Enviably, that is answered by others with tips on creating bug out bags, storing food and water, purchasing firearms, etc. And while those are certainly very important, many times I see simple, everyday tasks that get overlooked.
And these tasks are not hard. They are easy. Easy enough that everyone should do them. These tips will help you not just in a disaster setting, but also in everyday life.
Always keep your phone charged.
In my 8 Lessons Learned from Disaster article, I mentioned an officer whose battery died while working in Moore, Oklahoma after a tornado, and was unable to communicate with anyone.
Imagine if you are caught in a quickly developing emergency, and your primary source of up to the minute information is dying because your battery is not charged. Not smart!
Having knowledge about what is going on around you is vital to your ability to survive a disaster. Being able to communicate is equally important. With today’s technology, a smart phone allows you to do both.
When a tornado recently hit my area, I used my cell phone to live stream the weather, and to text my family to keep them apprised of the situation. During that storm, my phone battery had plenty of life in it should I have had to make a speedy exit. I stayed up to the minute with news and information during the entire storm.
If you are like me, you probably have a pet. For me, my pet is a part of my family and has been included into my preparation plans. I would NEVER think of leaving him behind in a disaster. (He was also my partner for years, and at times risked his life for mine.)
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that there are 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Over 1/3 of all US households have a pet.
So if you are one of those people who have a pet, have YOU stopped to think about what you would do with them/for them should a disaster or emergency strike?
Any type of emergency or disaster preparedness starts with a plan, and the same is true for your furry or feathered friends. Formulating a plan now will save you time, energy, and potential heartache for you and your pet if the unforeseen happens.
I want to give you some tips and insights on how to come up with an emergency plan for your favorite animal companion. These include some overall general tips, some tips for bugging in with your pet, and some tips for bugging out with them.
Flooding is the #1 most common type of natural disaster worldwide, accounting for almost 40% of natural disasters. In terms of fatalities, it is the leading cause of natural disaster deaths. 44% of all people killed worldwide due to natural disasters/weather are killed due to flooding. In 1931 alone, over 3.7 MILLION Chinese died in a series of flooding incidents.
It is the most costly natural disaster in terms of damage. In 1993, flooding caused an average of $2.4 billion dollars damage a year in the US. Between 2003 and 2013, insurance estimates on damage from flooding rose above $4 billion per year. Today those numbers are even higher!
There are three different types of flooding:
- Coastal Flood – typically occurs near oceans, is caused by storm surges and/or tidal waves. Waves can reach as high as 25 feet due to the strength of the storm
- River/bank Flood – occurs when rain or snowfall cause a river to swell past its banks and move inland. In flatter areas, the water could last for days. In mountainous areas, the water is faster but dissipates more quickly. This can also happen when the ground is over saturated and can no longer dissipate it quickly enough
- Flash Flood – a sudden excess of water, generally fast moving. This could be from a huge amount of rain upstream, a sudden release of water from an ice jam, or damage to a dam or levee.
As the popularity of the AR platform increases, so have the number of manufacturers. For those who are new to prepping or firearms, trying to find a decent quality AR on a budget can be tricky. And to those people, Smith and Wesson introduced the M&P 15 Sport model rifle.
The first things to note on this rifle is that it lacks a dust cover or a forward assist. (The dust cover is the metal plate covering your rifle’s ejection port when the rifle is not in use. See the picture below.) Smith and Wesson, in an effort to make the rifle more affordable, left these items off of the Sport model.
For the AR enthusiast, this might immediately turn them off from this gun. But realistically, unless you plan on crawling around on your belly, the dust cover really isn’t essential. As long as you store your rifle in a cool, dry place and keep it clean, you should be fine without one.
As for the forward assist, I put anywhere from 700-900 rounds through this rifle without a single hiccup. Never once did I have a “failure to feed” or a “failure to extract” problem with the Sport model.
There are mixed emotions about the need of the forward assist. Personally, I like having one, but to be honest I have never used it. Considering that I owned the Sport model and put well over 700 rounds through it without a problem, I’d say not having a forward assist was a “non-issue.”
In these uncertain times, when our fundamental gun rights are under attack, the availability of ammunition seemingly fluctuates daily. If you are like me, you tend to buy extra when the availability is normal and prices are reasonable.
Then, when some event happens that kicks off another gun scare; where ammo prices sky rocket while availability plummets, you are not one of the “panicked herd” that rushes into to scope up the last few boxes of overpriced .22 or 9mm.
By buying a box here, a “brick” there, over time, your ammo supply will grow. Then you won’t have that fear when the panic hits and ammo is hard to find.
However, growing your ammo supply might lead to other issues in the future, namely, how to properly care for and store it. An ammo stockpile represents a sizeable investment, and you want to make sure it is not damaged or destroyed.
There are a few issues that you need to prevent to ensure your ammo remains functional and reliable. Failure to do so could lead to your ammo not being:
- As accurate,
- Damage or destroy your firearm. This leads to the possibility of potential injury to the shooter.
Mistreatment of your ammo can, over time, cause issues to the powder within the cartridge. Ammo and powder manufactures make the powder cartridges with very tight tolerances. This is because the shape of those cartridges is a factor in how the powder burns. This means the burn rate of the powder can be adversely affected if the cartridge has been degraded.
Summer is just around the corner. So for millions of Americans that means the beginning of “Beach” season. Whether they are headed to a lake, the ocean, or even a river, people love the water. It is a great vacation destination.
Though you might be on vacation, your preparedness should not be. The CDC reports over 3400 people a year drown in the US. Nine out of ten of those victims drown in inland waters, and had access to a flotation device but did not wear it. Why? A lack or preparedness and a lack of the use of safety equipment…..ie a life jacket.
Water Safety Equipment
There are 5 different types of flotation devices, with Type III life jacket being the most commonly worn. For simple outings on the water, where it is calm, these jackets do the trick. One thing to keep in mind is that they lack the ability to turn an unconscious person face up.
For longer outings in deeper waters, a Type I jacket is what I recommend. It can maintain buoyancy for much longer periods of time, and it will keep an unconscious person face up, preventing them from drowning.
Another device I would recommend for those on large bodies of water, (like an ocean), for long periods of time is an Aqualink Firefly. A waterproof strobe light that could help rescuers find you, especially at night. They also make one that sends out a radio distress beacon that can help rescuers pinpoint your location within a couple hundred meters.
Water Safety Skills and Knowledge
Your ability as a swimmer is one skill that many people either never consider, or vastly overestimate. Swimming in your backyard pool is not the same as emergency swimming at a lake or in the ocean. Your body will tire and fatigue much sooner than you think. So developing your swimming skill can be vitally important.