Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 5 Stages of Preparedness Part 2: Short Term

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Hopefully, some of you already read Part 1. Kinda tough to make it through to Part 2 if you don't make it past Part 1. Here are our steps:

Immediate- What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 24 hours.
Short Term-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 72 hours.
Intermediate-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for up to 1 year.
Long Term-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 1 year to 20 years.
End Game-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 20+years.

Ok ok. So, if you are lazy, you can find Part 1 here:

So, you made it through the first 24 hours. Now you have to get through the next 48 hours, making it 72 hours since you bugged out, hit the trail, dodged the big one...yadda yadda.

Like I stated in the first post, we have to keep this very generic, since every situation is going to be different. Either from the event in question, to where you live, to where you are going.

What did we face in the first 24 hours? How is it any different than the next 48? Why must you act differently. Well, simple enough, really. We have identified in my last couple of posts (specifically, in the new post regarding the 24hr bug out bag vs the Big Bad Bug Out Bag) that needs and goals are different between the two. In that first 24 hours, we are in pure fight and flight. Evade and escape, stealth and survival. You have 1 need in that first 24 hours, and that is to survive the current situation and get to a better one. That could be surviving the bare elements or external threats. Now, that better position doesn't have to be the end all be all. It doesn't have to be your Alamo. But it better be more tenable than what you are running from. And you can't be slowed down or dissuaded by any means, whether that is being stuck in traffic, being held up at gunpoint for your ride, or slowed down by a big heavy pack that is supposed to ensure your survival for the next 72 hours.

In that first 24 hours, you are only concerned with getting to this safer place and doing so before everyone else tries to do the same thing or you are caught up in whatever you are trying to leave . Lets consider a few broad situations. Now, if you live in Wyoming, for example, this won't really apply to you. If you have a fully stocked fall out shelter, this also won't apply to you. We will pick you guys back up on the 4th stage of preparedness. Let's make the assumption that you are like 80% of the people in the USA, and you are in or near a big city. You want to get out of there. Period. Again, this may not be so for EVERYONE.

1) Best Case Scenario- Let's say that you were wise, and you HAD that plan and you HAD your stuff ready to go, and you got out of Dodge, great.  What now? In almost ALL cases, I'd guess 90% of the time, your plan should be to avoid people at all costs. I can't really think of ANY scenario where you would be running towards other people. Let's consider a few.

  • Consider an invasion (since Red Dawn is a big hit). Now, most people are thinking that they would want to be protected by their military. Not me. Count me out. After all, the war (at least for the duration) will be between the two militarise. And, usually the military is going to be stationed somewhere they want to protect, which means there is something valuable worth protecting, which means it is a target. Yeah. No thanks. I don't know about you, but I would rather not be in the middle of a concentrated amount of military. Getting fragged by a bomb meant for other people isn't my way of going out. Even worse, I'd rather not become a prisoner if they win.
  • Consider a biological weapon. Same thing applies. The more people around, the greater the chance of someone bringing it in to a refugee camp and spreading...whatever it is.
  • Consider general mayhem brought on by an economic collapse. Face it, most people in this country can barely order a Big Mac at McDonalds, much less provide for themselves. People flock to where food is either dispensed by the government OR to areas where scavenging in plentiful. In a big group of people, the supplies will run out. Last thing I want is to either A) starve because there is no food B)Be half starved when I try and escape C)Have my own supplies and be worried about being trampled in a riot D)Become a meal. Face it. It has happened through out time. It would happen again.No, once again, I'd rather take my own chances.
  • Consider a nuclear attack. Easy. Big cities make big targets. When the big cities are gone, little cities become targets too. Also, fallout and trade winds must be considered.
  • Consider an EMP. Most people won't know why or how. In fact, they might just sit around waiting for the lights to come back on. When they don't, it will be just like the first 2 bullets listed above.
So, it's fairly obvious. Now, I only considered food, but people will be willing to take anything you got. In the latter case, if you were smart and had transportation that didn't have an electronic ignition....they might decide they want your only way out. But then again, if you got out early, you have nothing to worry about.

Ok. So you got out. What now? I guess that depends on your goals, skills, and plan. And, let's not forget, we are considering ONLY how to survive the next 72 hours. The next 48 hours is different from the first 24. How? Well, because you have some basic needs that are coming into play. You will need water. You will need food. You will need sleep. I am going to make the assumption that you have thought of all these, like I have, and your bag is equipped to accomplish each of these. So, that means finding a good area to lay low. It's that simple. It can be in the middle of the woods, an old factory, anything. As long as it's off the beaten path. Well off the path, if you can muster it.

Regardless what causes the "mega cull" as James Axler likes to call it (google it), the first 72 hours should be the worst part. That's when all the crazy stuff is likely to happen. So, stay away from people, banks, Wal-Marts, and big cities, and let the problems sort themselves out. After  that 72 hours, all the looting, rioting, what have you, will be done.

What do you do during your time of waiting?
  • For starters, keep a watchful eye for people. I know this sounds harsh, but you must treat any wayfaring soul as an enemy. People will get desperate to survive at all cost, namely by taking your stuff. People will revert to savages and see the lack of government as an opportunity to exercise their demons by killing, maiming or worse. There will surely be people out there that just want help, but you have to do for you and yours. Taking on a charity case is never in your best interests. Ever. Even if they have useful skills that you can use later, now it is not the time. In summation, be at a defensive alert at all times. If you have multiple people in your party, take shifts.
  • Try and establish a good routine, even if it's only for this short 48 hours. In the military, they preach routines, even with small things such as shaving. It keeps morale up. Eat your meals at regular times. Give yourself things to look forward to, even if it's telling ghost stories each night over your small fire. If you have multiple people in your group, give them jobs
  • Limit your movement. It's much easier to spot other people if you are still and stationary. Anyone that has hunted understands this. While I advocate walking a perimeter, keep it small. You want to also limit your exposure. Don't want some fool spotting you because you were out having a walk about and slipping up on you at night.
  • Keep your energy high through eating regular meals and getting good sleep. Again, this goes back to your preparedness. We have assumed that you have items to accomplish this. So use them!
  • Go over your goals and plans for the future. If you have people with you, talk about it. Find those holes in the logic. Modify it to be a better plan. Make sure everyone understands it.
2)Not so best case scenario-You have your things relatively in order, but you didn't get out early. Now you have to fight riots, looting, fear and panic. In this case, we have a couple of different scenarios. One being that your vehicle runs. The other is that an EMP has disabled.

Let's start with having a running vehicle. The number 1 thing that I wish to convey to you is: don't think so linear. That sounds ambiguous, and indeed it is because I mean many different things.
  • You have been ingrained and indoctrinated with traffic laws. You don't have to obey them in this situation. You don't even have to drive on the road.
  • Know where you are going and get there, by any means necessary. Even your family sedan can navigate on the shoulder, if it has to. Keep in mind that the last thing you want to do is get stuck in traffic where there are guard rails keeping you from getting off the road.
  • Avoid going in a direction with large bridges over water, especially interstates (we have one in Alabama going over the Tennessee River). They will become clogged easily and will be among the first targets in a military action.
  • Don't let anyone approach your vehicle. If you can, don't even slow down. If you need to pull over, for whatever reason, take the extra few seconds or minutes to find an isolated place.
  • Know what parts of your vehicle to protect. For example, protect the front of you car, especially the radiator. A car can take an extreme amount of damage in most locations. That's one area that can't. And probably the biggest: Know how to change a tire.
  • Speaking of, know how to make band aid solutions to car problems. Know how to make your pants belt act as an alternator belt. Know how to add water to your radiator. Understand that a vehicle can still operate with flat tires, and know the speed that you can still operate it.
  • I will just say this: If you loose your vehicle, be prepared to get another one. After all, whatever your running from is surely worse than dealing with some poor soul who is also running from it. That may sound harsh, so if you can't accept that...learn how to hotwire a car. That sounds simple, I know. But cars aren't really that complex. It still takes just one wire to turn a starter, after all. Understand how steering wheel lock mechanisms work and how to defeat them. A BFH does wonders. You may not even have to do that. Don't assume that the keys aren't in every car you see. You might be surprised. It's amazing what 30 seconds of looking around may turn up.
  • Going back to not thinking linearly, don't take the most direct route. Dont' even take the 2nd or 3rd. You may have to give up some precious minutes or hours vs a direct route, but if it keeps you from avoiding traffic, it will be worth it. Even if there is some traffic, back roads are easier to navigate around. You will have yards to drive through vs deep shoulders like you might find on an interstate.
What about the EMP scenario? While vehicles made pre-80 are getting very rare, understand which of them might still operate because they don't have electronic ignitions. Don't forget about other means over transportation, either, such as tractors, 4 wheelers, etc.

Now, if you do manage to procure said vehicle, understand that the reaction of others to you will be 10 fold as bad as we have so far expected. Don't be surprised with all-out assaults on you. So, keep one eye on the road ahead, and one eye looking for ways to avoid roadblocks at all times. Keep everyone low in the vehicle. Proceed with the plan you have put into motion. If you stop for rest, see #1 above.

What if you can't find a vehicle? You are treading on dangerous grounds. The best I can tell you is, enact your plan as best you can. Head the direction you need to go, keep an eye out for transportation. Stay off roads. Even staying 10 yards in the woods is adequate cover. The biggest problem you will face is that you probably won't be able to handle your big bug out bag. You will be back to just your 24 hour bag. So, scavenge and supplement as you go. Get on the steps from #1 above, but keep haste, as you have a long way to go on foot.

3)Worst case scenario-You don't have transportation. You don't have your gear together (or you were away from you home). Man. This is a tough one. There isn't much I can tell you other than to do as our favorite hero, Josey Wales, would say. Get plum mad dog mean.
  • Locate protection. Start small and don't over think it. Right now, wherever you are...look around you. I am doing it right now. First thing I see is a 12'' piece of aluminum bar stock. That's a start. Upgrade as you go. Maybe you walk outside and find a piece of conduit that's a little better.
  • Move at night, stay real secluded during the day in a very defensible location
  •  Never pass up an opportunity to eat. Eat on the run. After all, you can go a long time without eating, but your brain stops working so good.
  • Stop frequently, sit and listen.
Again, broad strokes here. I haven't covered anything. I have barely scratched the surface. But what I hope to convey to you may just be a bit of knowledge you didn't already have. That's one of the main reasons I write and read. Every once in awhile, I learn a little bit.

What are the difference between the first 24 hours and the next 48 hours? How about the first 72 hours vs the Intermediate?

In the first 24 hours, you don't need food or water or sleep. You need protection and tools. In the next 48 hours, you need the protection and tools PLUS the water, food and sleep. This is about 50 pounds difference in necessities which must be taken into consideration. That first 24 hours is all about survival against elements at all cost. The next 48 hours are all about putting that plan into motion that will get you to your end game.

Specifically, what do I think you need for  that first 72 hours? Well, for starters, go check out my bug out bag:

Essentially, I believe you need:
  • basic first aid care+surgeon tools/staplegun/sutcher
  • A 72 hour MRE kit
  • 1 gallon of water
  • personal protection
  • tent/bedding
  • your personal selection of tools (to include knifes/hatchets/etc)
  • Method of starting a fire
  • Dry, sealed clothing and PPE

The intermediate is different still, as we are either dealing with an incredible amount of foodstuffs that you either stored somewhere and are trying to get to (or stay with) or you must procure. Not necessarily a permanent food source such as farming quite yet. Up to a year, you can still scavenge fairly easily. Protection becomes a very real concern. We were talking about either using your portable shelter in the first 72 hours. That shelter won't hold up for a year. Nor will it offer you proper protection against the elements, in the long term. Squatting is a feasible solution, but every day you stay somewhere you weren't meant to be is one day someone else might decide to squat there too. You have to be moving on to a place to make your own. Intermediate stage may open up up to long term health concerns. A cold won't hinder you in 72 hours. Over a year, it can kill you. Same can me said for things we all take for granted: the flu, tetanus, snake bites.

In the intermediate stage, we begin thinking about more than tomorrow. But that's for another time.

The main things I want you take away from this are:
  • Enact your plan as early as possible
  • Stay away from others at all cost
  • If you do have to deal with others, always assume they are hostile
  • Open your mind and don't think so linearly
  • Stay well fed. Thought processes go out the window real quick
  • Remember that the first 72 hours is all about getting away from the threat, laying low, and staying physically and mentally sharp
Maybe a last thought. Never underestimate what you can and cannot do. Even the most complex things can be traced down to their simplest components, which can easily be conquered one at a  time.

Save the Date: SNUFISH March 16th at Guntersville

Hey folks!
The Sigma Nu fraternity from UAHuntsville will be holding a benefit tournament on March 16th at Guntersville out of State Park.

This will benefit the American Heart Society, which is a great cause!

The price is $50 a boat. This will be a unique tournament because you have the option to add a 3rd member for an additional $25.

Info can be found here:



Monday, November 26, 2012

The 24 Hour Bug-Out-Bag Part 1

Some of you (I hope) have read the first installment of the 5 Stages of Preparedness. Alas, it took me so long to write the first stage that I haven't been able to write any more.....yet.

However, if you read part 1, the Immediate Stage,  found here:


You might recall that I eluded to a very small problem that was spawned by a very big bag. Yeah, so, what had happened was....I was making this bug out bag, and I wanted all these little gadgets that would help me survive. And the weight went up and up and up. In an effort to alleviate this, I split my ammo and sidearms into a tactical vest. But, the weight was still hovering around 85 pounds for the bag alone. Sure, that doesn't seem like much. Until you have that, and your 25 pounds vest, and an 11 pound gun, and an infant, and what have you.

Fact is, I have come to the conclusion (as you will read) that there is a very real and very functional difference between the Immediate and the Short Term. That is, the first 24 hours and the first 72 hours to a week. When you get past that first 24 hours, you have to consider things like sleep, nutrition, etc.

My bug out bag initially has everything you need to survive that first 72 hours. I mean everything. From a tent, to 72 hours of MREs, to a full field surgeons kit. But you don't need 72 hours of food to survive that first 24 hours. And if you don't need food, you don't need a full mess kit and utensils. You don't need a tent to sleep in. You don't need a lot of these items. Less is more, as the saying goes.

In fact, you need very little. And, as I pointed out in Part 1, that first 24 hours is the most important. Survive that, and life gets a little easier. You need stealth and speed. Period. If the ish hits the fan and you have to run....and I mean run...you can't run with 150 pounds of stuff.

Yet, there is even more to it. My wife recently asked my why I was shouldering all the weight of surviving. Did I not expect her to survive? Did I not expect her to help? Then I got to thinking...you know, she is right. She could carry a little weight and responsibility. So, in the event that we do have the ability, she can carry the light 24 hour pack and I can carry the heavy one. If things are real bad, we will take the 1 bag.

So, I'm beating around the bush, getting all philosophical on you, I know. I have decided to now have 2 Bug out bags. That way I will have a choice and I don't have to spend the time kicking out all the unneeded items. So let's get to it.

Well, that's saying a lot for a post about what I am going to do. Yeah, that's right. I havent' done it. Why? Well, for several reasons. Until this weekend, I didn't have a second bag. And I certainly couldn't afford another $250 bag like my other one. But sometimes things can fall right out the sky. My dad called me the other day and asked me if I needed a hunting pack. It was random. I asked why. Well, his had busted and he was going to buy another one. He wanted to know if I wanted one while he was out. Sure, I said.

But then I asked about the busted one. A strap had come apart on him. So, I asked if he would keep it and let me have it instead of throwing it away. See...I was already thinking about what to do with it.

So, he gave it to me. Sure enough, the strap that holds one of the buckles had busted at at the threads. Now, I am no seamstress, but I am handy enough. Being a pack rat like my grandfather, I had a few feet of spare 65 pounds test braided fishing line. I had a sewing kit. So, I fixed her up. Not too pretty, but it's stronger than it was.

So, now what? Well, that's where I need some help. What all do you need JUST for that first 24 hours? You don't need a lot of food, like my bug out bag has. You don't really need a lot of water, as in my Camelbak. My ammo and weapons are on my tactical vest.

You DO need a way to start a fire. You DO need a good wool blanket. You DO need a VERY select group of tools, even if that tool is just a BFH. You DO need a flashlight. Obviously we have a list coming together here. Again, the focus is....if JUST 24 hours is your concern, what is the bare minimum to survive the harshest night in Alabama?

What else? Well, I could use some help. It's a small bag so it won't take much.

Here is what I am thinking about:
  • Basic MRE meal kit (with disposable utensils)
  • Quick Tender
  • Waterproof matches
  • Compact flashlight
  • Flares
  • Wool Blanket
  • Poncho
  • Change of Clothes in waterproof packaging
What else? Come on! Chime in!

Product Review: UAG Tactical Vest

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Initially, my bug out bag also held all of my spare weapons and ammunition. Already being 85 pounds, you can image what an additional 6 30 round magazines of .223, 6 magazines of 1911 .45 ACP, and associated other bits shot the weight through the roof. Not only was the weight untenable, but the access to these items was also precarious. I don't want to have to go digging into my bag for an extra magazine.

So, I was in the market for a tactical vest. Not having much experience, I used product reviews on Amazon to gauge what I really needed. There are several companies out there to cater to my needs. Those being budget minded, but also having a healthy respect for functionality and dependability.

Like everything in life, you can spend as much as you want on tactical vests. But my list of requirements were fairly loose. All I really needed was a plethora of magazine pockets, good straps, and quality workmanship having used UAG before, I knew they were OK. I knew I might have to make some modifications, namely for my height and stature. I have extremely broad shoulders despite being a very short man. You can imagine what it's like to wear large or extra large t-shirts.

So, after shopping, it looked like I was  going to spend between $40-80 and could have my choice of colors and patterns.

I selected the digital camo print in this vest:


Here is the product description:
Official Ultimate Arms Gear New Generation Lightweight Edition Tactical ACU Army Digital Tactical Assault Vest (Right Handed). A true tactial vest made with high grade sturdy and weatherproof nylon loaded with features designed for military/law enforcement purposes, and can also be used for airsoft or paintball. Completely breathable mesh ventilation system for enhanced comfort and heat release. Features a behind the neck rescue pull handle for extraction of a wounded team member, a reinforced and texturized shooter/sniper non-slip shoulder pad, The back of the vest features sturdy nylon horizontal webbing loops to hold swords, shovels, or other gear as well as a large secure webbing pocket for hydration systems/bladders or a ballistic shield . The front of the vest features: 3 Rifle Mag Pouches for All Size Magazines, 3 (Upper Left) Universal Pistol Mag or Flashlight/Grenade Pouch, 1 Radio/Cell Phone/Light Pouch, and Also features 2 (1-right 1-Left on inside of the vest) large internal zippered secure pockets for maps or documents, and a Universal Pistol holster w/ additional mag pouch. The holster can be easily removed or adjusted to a customized position. One size fits most, fully adjustable in height and girth to fit from a small to X-Large adult. Great for hunters, military, and law enforcement.

So, yall are here to read about my thoughts:
  •  Well, it's a $40 tactical vest. The small mag packets on the left chest are perfect for your 1911 and also for a compact flashlight. The large pockets on the lower right are ok for 30 round magazines, but they really excel for coupled magazines. I feel like the single mags can fall out.

  • I dislike the sidearm holster. It is removable, velcroed and strapped in. Yet, the straps do not remain tight. That goes for all the straps, actually, even the ones that hold the sidearm in the holster. I would much prefer this to be integrated or not there at all. I had to modify the straps by wrapping them in electrical tape at the length I wanted.

  • The integrated belt is nice. It keeps the whole vest from swinging wildly in a run. I removed mine, but more on that later.

  • The whole vest is very versatile in size. However, that comes at the expense of having a LOT of loose straps floating in the breeze. Those of you preparing for the zombie Apocalypse should read about my modifications later.

  • The vest is very well ventilated and light. A definite plus.
So, of course I made some modifications. Wouldn't be fun, otherwise. Here is what I did:
  • I integrated my digital camo Camelbak into the back of the vest. Essentially, I stripped all the straps off the Camelbak and threaded in the adjustable back straps from the vest. Boom. Integrated hydration.
  • I adjusted the sidearm straps to the right lengths, then tightly wrapped them in electrical tape. This was done not only to the straps that hold it in the holster, but the straps the hold the holster to the vet.
  • I shortened and taped up all loose ends of the adjustable straps. You don't want to give anyone the ability to grab you. Especially by those straps. They won't break.
  • I swapped the factory belt for a UTG shotgun bandoleer belt. Now even my shotgun ammo is housed on my vest
  • I added a UTG drop leg holster to this belt. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001BR1LGI/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i05
So, as far as armament, the vest holds:

  • QTY (4) 30 round magazines accounting for 120 rounds of .223/5.56mm
  • QTY (5) 1911 .45 ACP magazines accounting for 40 rounds of .25. There are 3 in the chest pockets, plus 2 in the sidearm holster
  • QTY (25) rounds of 3" 12 gauge buckshot on the belt bandoleer
  • QTY (1) magazine of .45 ACP magazine and backup pistol in the drop leg holster
  • QTY (1) compact flashlight
  • QTY (1) Camelbak hydration system

Friday, November 16, 2012

The 5 Stages of Preparedness Part 1: The Immediate Stage

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So, as many of you know, the new season of Doomsday Preppers started this week. I admit that I lost interest last year pretty quick. Mostly because the people either had too much money and no common sense....or the skills to enact their plans. You know, making elaborate plans and constructing incredible shelters to the tune of 10s of thousands of dollars, then going on TV and telling the world. Or, having a great plan to live off the land when you haven't grown so much as a daffodil.  Now, I admit that it gave me some great ideas. But, most of the eye-opening things are at the end of each section, where the "professionals" grade the people.  If you don't know their rating systems, go watch episodes. In fact, you can watch the last episode for free on NatGeo.

On the grading system, they break down the prepper's survivability based on 5 categories like security, for example. Being a competitive soul, I compared myself to these people.

Yet, there was something that was missing. In grading their overall performance, I realized that it was much deeper than that. Some of these people focused on their bug-out-plan, but had no long term goals. Some people had great mid-term plans...such as 3 months of water and food. Some of them had long term plans to survive, but no means to survive near term threats.

So, I started thinking about it and came up with 5 different stages of preparedness. Click on each one to read about my thoughts.

Short Term
Long Term
End Game


I realize that these are fairly generic and if you were to list stages of anything, it would probably include some of these. It's common sense. But, I find that many of the preppers have a handle on 1 or 2, but absolutely NOTHING for the other 3. In many cases, people may have thought about it, maybe prepared a little, but don't have a firm grasp on the whole picture. I am as guilty as anyone. A few of these, many people don't really want to think about, such as End Game. Some people may have a skewed understanding of others, such as the immediate. Perhaps, people may be like I have been and let several of these distinctly different stages run together, such as long term vs end game. Each of these deserves it's own post, so we will start with the immediate.

So, let's dive right in by first defining these time periods.

Immediate- What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 24 hours.
Short Term-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 72 hours.
Intermediate-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for up to 1 year.
Long Term-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 1 year to 20 years.
End Game-What you will have prepared and planned to survive for 20+years.

I am not going to go to heavily in depth to each of these stages, as they are heavily dependant on the situation you may be forced into, whether that may be biological, nuclear, or a stock market collapse. I will however, go into some of my thinking and logic on each step, as well as what I have done, have not done, and plan to do. Each of these will get it's own post anyway, and I promise it will be long winded enough, despite keeping it fairly generic.

Immediate- For whatever reason, you are forced into a life and death situation. You must either take flight or hunker down. Regardless, you can't pack. You can't run to the store. You are forced to deal with what you have on-hand. You have just minutes to make this decision. What is your plan and what do you have to enact this plan?

Again, I admit that the different EOTWAWKI scenarios will greatly affect what you do. For example, if you are in a big city and a nuclear attack is imminent....you gotta run. If it's a biological attack, like a plague, you may be best served to hunker down. However, I admit that there may be some events that might make you question the immediate fight-or-flight decision of the immediate stage when you could calmly step into the short term or maybe even the intermediate stage. for example, what about a slow death of the economy? That's kind of a grey area, isn't it? Why would you need to make immediate plans for a fairly long and drawn out event. Well, anyone with a basic understanding of interest can give you a good reason. My grandad did a good job teaching me that the sooner the money is in the account, the more it grows exponentially over time. It may be only a penny now, but it turns into dollars over time and to wait is just costing you money. In this situation, we are dealing with many variables, but the most important is time. the seconds you save now become days, weeks, even years. I know it may sound funny, but let's just make an example.We all know "the early bird gets the worm", right? In this case, the sooner you enact your plan, the better chance you get out unscathed....bypassing the endless traffic jams, the riots, and possible death, dismemberment and other things we would like to avoid. Having the important bits at your disposal that we will talk about, gas, guns, and other immediate needs before hand will help you avoid an inflated economy where you may not be able to use your worthless money (in the case of the economic meltdown) to buy these...as well as leading right back to the other things we talked about...riots, traffic jams, etc that will take place at your local sporting goods store and gas stations. More importantly, it gives you the ability to obtain the choicest of survival habitats, to defend it, and to prepare for the longer term...all of which you should have thought about already.

Ok, that's a lot of talk just to justify why you should be ready for the immediate in all cases.

So, what are we talking about? While you should have a plan for all these stages, you have to survive the immediate threat. That means have a 24 hour plan. Once you get through that first 24 hours, then you go enact the rest. So, first 24 hours. Assume the worst. You have 10 minutes to get out of your current location and get going, then you have to survive along the way to get to your safe place. Now, before you wave your hand and say "I got this" consider that your Best case scenario means your are already at home with your family, grab your bug out bag, hop in your vehicle and go to that safe place (though your house may be your safe place). But, the best case scenario doesn't always happen, does it? This is a tough thing to deal with...because as much as we all would like to think so, we won't be home with our bug-out-bag handy. There are several situations, so lets think about 4: Long distance return, short distance return,  adapt, and best case.

Long Distance: So, just to start off...we must have some hard talk before we get into the meat and potatoes. Like we said, you may not be at your house watching CNN when it, whatever it is, happens. You could be on vacation or business, hundreds or thousands of miles from your family. The point is, you could be as far from your base of operations, as far removed from your plan, as could be humanly possible. At this point, you must make some hard choices. First and foremost, you decide if you will fight the odds and try and make it or lay down and accept defeat. Since I'm not this way, and neither are you, this is a bogus choice. So, on to the next choice. Are you are going back for your family or not. Then, you decide if you are going to do it right now or at a safe leisure. Next choice is how you will go about accumulating the things you need to get back. You can either try to join the stream of everyone else trying to survive and be cordial and hope for the best, or get what Josey Wales called "plum mad dog mean" and do what needs to be done. I won't go into what that may be for you...but I know what it means to me. It means to get back to my family and get on with the other 4 stages By. Any. Means. Necessary. Right. Now. Now, the other option that we just talked about, a safe leisurely return, is by far the superior approach. You wait the crazeys out. Get to a very secluded place, get in the shadows. Lock the doors. Wait it out. You get there when you get there with a lot less stress and danger. That requires your family to be fairly self sustaining. In this case, there is really only one question:
  1. Does your family know what to do without you for the long term?
And that's a tough question to answer. Of course, the plan it always to get back with them, so the next sections should pose questions to you that will ensure you are reunited.

If this is the case, you being a long distance from your support structure, then you have to do what you have to do. Me, personally, every time I fly out on business, I do think about these things. Now, I don't write a game plan or anything, but I do consider where the nearest sporting goods shop is. I do consider how I would get back to where I need to go. I do watch the news. But that's about as in-depth as it gets. Why? Because I still have to get through that first 24 hours, and those few quick decisions are all I need to be worried about initially. Now what? You collect the pieces to your puzzle. Obvious amount these pieces are transportation and protection. This should be done ASAP as everyone else will be trying to do the same. You can't be nice about getting it. And once you do, you better be mad dog mean about keeping it. Luckily, most people in this country are fairly passive and a solid "NO!" will usually suffice. But if they give you a sideways look....know what to do.

Short Distance: Let's consider a slightly less extreme case. You are at work when it happens. Work is between 15 and 30 miles from home. Here are the over arching questions, but not just limited to these:
  1. Does your family know when to squat and when to bug out?
  2. Do you and your family have a rendezvous point? Have you thought about WHY this is your rendezvous point? Have you considered the issues associated with getting there? You don't want to be going through downtown to do it.
  3. What about getting the kids?
  4. Do the kids, if they are old enough, have an idea of what they should do if something should happen to both of you?
  5. You may be able to protect yourself and your family. But, if you are at work when it happens, can your significant other (assuming a woman)? Does she have a firearm on her? Can she use it? Will she? It does no good to have it and not know when and how to use it.
  6. Do you have time limits for the rendezvous point before moving on? Do you have a good idea of where they will be for any length of time?
  7. Do you and your family know what items to grab if they have a few minutes? Sure, the BOB is great. What about other items worth of carrying? What items simply can't be left?
Adapt: Many of you don't have families to worry about or you have made up your mind that you won't try and return to them. If that's the case, your road to survival may not include crossing God's Green Earth. Your road to salvation is seemingly a lot easier, in so much as it has infinite possibilities. Due to that, I won't spend much time on it. But, it's all about that first 24 hours. It goes back to what I had talked about earlier. Can you survive the first 24 hours and buy yourself a chance to adapt and overcome? Do you know what you would need to survive in this area? Can you get the physical items you need? Do you have the skill set? For example, if you have lived in the South East your entire life and have never lit a fire for warmth, can you survive in Alaska for 24 hours? That's a simple example of what I am talking about. It's a very basic need you would have and a skill you must possess to endure. But do you have it? If not, venturing further into a list of needed skills for the future should expose some glaring problems and clearly tell you that you should not be seeking to adapt and should use your 24 hours more wisely. Regardless, you will need to Find transportation whether it's a cab, truck, or snowmobile. You will need the basic necessities to survive where you are, whether that's protection and/or clothing. Get to a warmer client.

Best Case: So far I have been conveying that your survival doesn't start with walking out the front door with your supplies. It may be a long tumultuous journey. It may require you to do things that you may not want to do. But you can't hesitate. The decision much be made already. And that's why having a plan in place is more important than the items. Ok. Pep talk over. What if you ARE sitting in your recliner at your own home, watchingng CNN when it happens? First decision is squat or run. Do you get in the basement or do you hop in the car?  For me and my family, almost every scenario is the same. We have lots of family land spread across north Alabama and central Tennessee (though, the truest survivalist in me points out that your land would do just fine, if need be), so I wouldn't even hesitate. It's grab the bag and run. It simply isn't worth leaving to chance, though I admit that getting on the road opens up a lot of chance. But it's chances I am willing to take because the ball is in my court and there are far more pros than cons to sticking around the old 'hood. In my opinion seclusion is the best medicine. People in dire situations aren't to be trusted. So, I grab my bag and my wife and  kids and I hop in the car. What do I take, if I had, so 90 seconds?

The good news is, I am poor and don't have anything to pack big or bulky...say...like the contents of my pantry. Here is what I would get:
  1. Tactical vest. It's already preloaded with AR-15 and pistol mags, Camelbak, flashlight, compact .45 pistol, bandoleer of shotgun shells, etc.
  2. My AR15 and tactical shotgun
  3. Our file folder with all of our important documents
  4. Bug-Out-Bag

However, one of the things I have struggled with lately is my bug out bag. It's heavy. Really heavy. To the point that I wouldn't be able to make a  run for it if I had to. Even though I just said we would be in the car, you have to realize that you may have to ditch it, for a multitude of reasons. Out of gas. Traffic. Maybe it was hit with an EMP and disabled from the get go. What if you have to carry a child? So, there would be no point in having all the stuff anyway.  In fact, I am quite positive that I would be cashed within 15 minutes or less of trying to get out of Dodge. That's not even considering my tactical vest with it's ammo or my weapons. For all of it's weight, most of it is in items that I wouldn't need for that first 24 hours. Maybe not even the first 72 hours. Which led me to think that perhaps I should be dividing it into different bags. I sat down and thought about what I would need for that first 24 hours. The list was surprisingly short.
  1. Camelbak of water
  2. Ability to start a fire
  3. Personal protection
  4. First aid/surgeons kit
  5. Appropriate clothing
And that was it. The rest of the contents, which you can read about in another post, are in that bag. This is simply the stripper model of the BOB. I can hump a great distance with it, even with the tactical vest, weapons, and hauling a kid. After all, after the 24 hours, I could/should be able to find the rest of what we need or get to a place where I already have the items I need.

One item that I need, and that every prepper should have, is all terrain transportation. Ideally, a 4x4 truck with off roading capability and a dirt bike/4 wheeler in the back. Think about the ability it gives you. Roads clogged? Kick it into 4 wheel. 4 Wheel Truck stuck? Load up on the 4 wheeler. There really is nowhere you can't go with this type of transportation. Also, the truck greatly enhances your ability to carry things. I regret ever selling my Z71. I sold it because I never used it. Now I would love to have it back. Keep it fueled. Keep the battery charged. Heck, keep your stuff in the truck! Makes it a lot easier to get going!

What's my plan? Again, that really depends. Different threats mean different things. I will say, as I said earlier, than 90% of the time, I am headed North. Again, the important thing is to make a decisive and education choice before hand and go with it at the earliest sign of trouble. It's a simple plan. Maybe over simplistic. But, I am very fortunate. I live in a very temperate climate. I live in a very rural area. Transportation isn't really an issue. The masses aren't an issue. I have no qualms about doing whatever I need to do. Grab family. Grab bag and files. Go north and don't let anything stop me for any reason. Last thing I want is to be trapped with the mass of humanity. Get to our safe place. There I can worry about the short term.

I am sure many of you are wanting more substance to each of these cases. What about this? What about that? Fact is, I could ramble on for days and days on each of these. The pros and cons would cover a very large chalkboard. What should you take from this?

  1. Have a plan for each scenario
  2. Know what very basic things you need and have them ready
  3. Avoid people at all costs
  4. Enact this plan at the earliest moment
This isn't the end-all be-all document on the immediate stage. I could tell you about a list of skills that would be great for the immediate stage, such as hotwiring cars. I could talk about situational awareness. the point is, there are some very basic ideas and questions you have to be able to answer before moving on. This is just a taste of those. Anyway! Let's get on it!