Share your knowledge & learn from experts

Because prepping and community go hand in hand

Home Invasion – Preparation that could have prevented or changed the outcome

Re first post: https://theprepared.com/forum/thread/home-invasion

Let’s look now at what could have been done to prevent or change the outcome of this scene.

The home did not have a security system to alert that four men had approached the property and split into two groups, each heading for an exterior door.

Security cameras wrapped around the house, set with perimeter alarms, infrared and enabled with facial recognition would have alerted the wife who was in the kitchen and possibly the sleeping husband.

She then could have pressed a 911 panic button while simultaneously alerting her husband. He would have been on his feet with a side arm drawn. His wife would have her side arm drawn and ready to defend instead of leaving it upstairs in her purse.

The husband would not have weak core muscles. The family would be healthy, fit and ready to defend with good cardiovascular conditioning.

The front and back doors and their respective door jambs were easily breached. It isn’t difficult to use a pry bar on a wooden door jamb, bypass poor door locks and make entrance through a wood door. Window inserts and sidelight panels that are installed into doors make it that much easier.

Steel door jambs bolted properly into the house with solid steel doors secured by properly fitted and installed dead bolt locks would have been a major deterrent.

Four unmasked men entering your home when it is obvious that the inhabitants of the home are present is a huge red flag that you have now entered a life and death experience.

Thieves usually go out of their way to avoid the inhabitants of a place that they rob. A home invasion may have robbery as part of the motive, but it also implies violence.

The German Shepherd is a protective breed, however, no dog is ever immune to harm. A dog can be a wonderful companion animal or early warning alarm. Any breed can try to defend their human pack, but they are too easily killed. Don’t rely on it as a source of protection.

The husband can hear commotion in the kitchen while he is being overcome. He should know by now that there have been multiple breaches and his wife is also in trouble.

He also knows that there are no guns used to control him, only a knife, gag and zip ties.

As his wife is dragged past him, he notes that she is injured, but lucid and restrained in the same way.

There is only one man watching the two of them. Immediately, he and his wife enact their prepared home invasion response.

She distracts the male guarding them with a fit of coughing while he removes a bobby pin from the waistband of his pants. He removes the coated tip from the bobby pin and wedges it between the interlocking teeth and ratchet of the zip tie.

He learned this technique and others by reading Clint Emerson’s books “100 Deadly Skills” and “100 Deadly Skills The Survival Edition.”

Because they have prepared, his wife can reasonably anticipate what her husband will do and jumps up to further distract the man who is watching them. This allows her husband time to respond and disable the intruder from behind and neutralize him. 

There are three men upstairs who are able to attack the unsuspecting children because both children used noise cancelling headphones. Anything that disables part of your senses creates an opportunity for an intruder or assailant to attack you. If worn, headphones need to allow for hearing.

In a prepared family, the children would not be wearing headphones, they would have both heard their mother yelling “Dave,” their family code word for intruder in the house, get out now, no questions asked, leave your BOB, get to the neighbors and call for help. They would have had a chance to open their bedroom windows selected for a rapid open and egress design and exit the upstairs via their individual fire escape ladders. 

The children would have known to escape at the first sound of trouble even without the family code word for an intruder because they were prepared.

The wallet and purse were easy to find and should have been put away out of sight. It could have bought them more time to react.

In the scenario, the unprepared husband and wife know their children have been harmed because of the commotion upstairs. The children are not with the three men who come downstairs.

The husband was given a pen to write down his info. His hands were zip tied in front of him. He could have used a ploy of saying something in a very low tone to encourage the man closest to him to bend lower. They were gagged so it would involve removing the gag to understand him.

Once the man was positioned, the husband had the option of stabbing him in the throat at the soft part above the v notch that marks the windpipe or in the eye with the pen. A swift upper cut to the jaw with his elbow or double palm strike upwards below the nose would neutralize that one long enough to go for the next man.

Zip tied arms in front of him could become a weapon simply by capturing the next man over the head from behind. A choke would take too long, but rapidly sawing back and forth, with a focus on the carotid artery would ensure a five minute departure for the second man as he bled out.

Once his wife saw him attacking the second man and using him as a barrier against the third man, she could go after the fourth man.

When he moved to restrain her, she jumped on his feet and threw her body weight against him, knocking him on the ground. Once down, she reverted to a feral response and used her teeth as a weapon and tore into the soft tissue of his carotid artery in order to stop him. The fourth man must now keep pressure on his artery or he dies faster.

She runs to the fireplace and rubs the zip tie back and forth across the sharp stone in order to free her hands. Then she grabs a heavy dining room chair and bashes it over the head of the third man who is fighting with her husband. Together they overpower him and run out of the house to find their children at the pre-arranged safe houses with their neighbors.

In the distance, the sound of sirens draw closer.

A prepared family avoids trouble through good interior and exterior security enhancements. They have a code word and plan for trouble in the home. The know how to overcome restraints. They have weapons throughout the house that can be deployed if they are caught unawares. Their preparedness allows them to always work as a team. The children know what to do and do it according to the plan. They know that in a matter of life or death, feral action is warranted.

They knew to recognize the severity of unmasked intruders who entered their home while they were at home. The unmasked aren’t trying to hide their identity, which means they intend to kill you.

Read More
5
16 Featured

Time to break out the prepping crystal ball. What’s next?

I know it’s impossible to know the next disaster to come but I think we as preppers keep a look out for the signs and can make good guesses of what might come. 

What do you think the next disaster or situation will be that we need to prepare for?

Gas prices are rising, is that just because Covid is diminishing and people are driving more?

Do you think we will enter WW3 from the tension going on with the Ukraine and Russia?

Will there be a third spike in Covid, or are we on the downhill journey with that?

Will food prices going up lead to other issues?

What issues did Covid bring that we have yet to see the impact of?

Will the huge financial toll of Covid and government bailouts impact the economy and lead to a recession or depression?

What else should we be looking out for and prepping for over the next few weeks to months? No wrong answers here, just guesses and predictions.

Read More
11
17 Featured

Why personal locator beacon not listed in an EDC prep on this site?

hi! do y’all know why a personal locator beacon (like this one) isn’t listed on some “EDC prep” on this site?

I recognize that at $300 this is cost prohibitive, but it seems crucial for any situation where I’d need medics but don’t have cell service.

The most “common” example I can think of is that I get into a car accident and need a medic but have no cell service because I’m on some swath of highway without it.

Read More
6
14 Featured

Has anyone grown their own luffa?

OK.  I guess I’m an idiot.  All these years on this planet and until yesterday, I though luffas were sponges from the ocean.  I read an article in the current Mother Earth News, and find the danged things are a plant, related to a cucumber.  Like cucumber, it grows on a long vine and when young, can be eaten.  Once mature, you dry them & peel the skin off, harvest a bunch of seed & now you have your own luffas.

So I ordered me some seed & I’m gonna grow my own luffas.  Just curious if anyone has any experience with them.  Online, I see where folks say they are incredibly easy to grow & don’t have the disease/pest issues of cucumbers or squash.  I’m sure I’ll eat some too.

Read More
10
28 Featured
luffa trellis

Antibiotic resistance: Prepping for a world without effective antibiotics

My Background: I have an undergraduate degree in Biology and Society with a concentration in Infectious Disease Biology and I worked as a researcher in a microbiology lab focusing on Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. I’m a fellow of the Cornell Institute for Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease. I am currently a COVID-19 contact tracer and part of the COVID-19 vaccine effort in my hometown. I will be beginning my PhD in the emerging infectious disease field in August.

 

This thread arose as a continuation of a post I made in the ‘How to prep for new and emerging diseases’ thread. Here is an excerpt from my original post about why antibiotic resistance is something we should be concerned about: “We must focus on what we can truly prepare for. A concern I have that should be on preppers radars is how  bacteria pick up new genetic material (here’s a link explaining the process) which can confer antibiotic resistance to bacterial species. An estimated two million people are infected with antibiotic resistant infections annually in the United States alone. The World Health Organization has expressed concerns that the world is running out of effective antibiotics and this could present serious challenges to the standards of health we currently have in many countries. I stumbled upon an edition of The Economist’s July 2019 “The World If” series. Basically, it’s a fictional take on what happens if [insert event here]. This one focused on what would happen if we no longer had effective antibiotics. I stress that this is a link to FICTION (and everything else I’ve linked is to non-fiction), but it is chilling to read the authors take on what the world may look like with no access or severely reduced access to effective antibiotics. It definitely got me thinking about how and why to prep for a future without antibiotics.”

 

Legitimacy/Transparency: Most links are peer-reviewed publications from journals, universities, or from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the United Nations. Feel free to not take my word for it and read the linked publications!

 

Reasons a Future Without Effective Antibiotics Is a Possibility: The problem is not so much a lack of supply of currently approved antibiotics, but the fact that current antibiotics are becoming obsolete due to overuse and we currently have a lack of incentives for companies to do research that brings new antimicrobials to market. Furthermore, the cost of bringing new antibiotics to market is a barrier and the profitability of antibiotics is lower than other drugs. Cancer drugs took precedence over bringing antibiotics to market, and this will likely come back to bite us: the United Nations antimicrobial resistance group estimates that 10 million drug-resistant related disease deaths will occur annually by 2050 if no action is taken to shift our current trajectory, which is “more than the number of people who currently die of cancer worldwide every year”. We have also stagnated on introducing new antibiotics to the market, as “the last entirely original class of antibiotic was discovered in the late 1980’s.” If this doesn’t shift soon it is not far-fetched to say we may end up in a world in the not-to -distant future with no access to effective antibiotics (potentially returning us to the ‘Pre-Antibiotic Age’). Medical care before antibiotics were first discovered and used, looked like lots of now-preventable deaths from infection, see this article from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly for more information.

 

What Antibiotic Resistance Is: Antibiotic resistance naturally develops after use of an antibiotic  treatment in a population over time (and this is why there are so many types of antibiotics with different targets that exist in the first place) however we have accelerated the rate of resistance development to the antibiotics we have due to overuse. Many anti-microbial compounds were  isolated from bacterial species in our soil which live in close contact with each other, thus necessitating the development of something deadly with which to kill off their competition: antibiotics. The caveat being the antibiotic is only effective if it didn’t also kill off the bacterial species producing it. It makes sense then that “antibiotic resistance genes in soil are tightly linked to specific bacteria, suggesting little sharing between species, in infectious bacteria though, more frequent sharing of genes creates antibiotic-resistance portfolios that differ greatly among related bacteria.”

 

Current Prepping (Gathering Information, Pushing for Changes): Preparing now could look like questioning the trend of over-prescribing of antibiotics, encouraging better infection control practices in hospitals and in agriculture so antibiotic use could be avoided and encouraging lab testing that confirms an illness is treatable with antibiotics (if it’s not bacterial in nature, it should not be treated with antibiotics and even then different antibiotics are used for different infections). Talking about it and bringing awareness is also important, which is what I’m trying to do with this thread-put lots of information in the same place where it’s easily accessed. The Prepared had an article about the WHO’s 2019 Antibiotic Awareness Week with suggestions for reducing risk of infection so you don’t need antibiotics in the first place which is worth checking out. This article suggests how government entities could set us up for success in bringing new antibiotics to market. The authors wisely point out that: “Even a limited return to the pre-antibiotic age is a fate best avoided. It need not happen.” As with most emerging infectious disease issues, avoiding continuing on our current trajectory requires changes to our behavior and that of our communities, a difficult undertaking. A return to a pre-antibiotic age certainly need not happen, but it might anyway.

 

Five Major Sources of Bacterial Pathogens:

1.     Water

2.     Food

3.     Arthropods (like ticks)

4.     Wounds (bites, wounds contaminated with debris, surgeries that introduce foreign bodies etc.)

5.     Other Humans (respiratory/sexually-transmitted/enteric/etc.)

 

Potential Non-Antibiotic ‘Solutions’ (none of which are perfect):

1.     Vaccines: Often toxoid vaccines are used to prevent bacterial disease, the DTaP or diptheria & tetanus vaccine is a toxoid vaccine, it also contains subunits of pertussis. We can’t vaccinate for everything however. Vaccines are also not a magic-bullet. You can still get infected after being vaccinated, usually vaccines just lessen the severity and duration of the potential infection.

2.     Bacteriophage Cocktail Therapies: Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacterial species. A bacteriophage cocktail is a clinical treatment that can theoretically be tailored to the exact infection (just takes money, lots of research and time, which can be in short supply…always) and thus far in the US this therapy has only been used in compassionate use cases as it is experimental. Phage therapy is fascinating but we still have a long way to go before it’s mainstream and effective. Bacteriophages have been described as bacteria’s natural predator, however interestingly enough, in some cases bacterial species can pick up antibiotic resistance genes from phages. 

 

How Life Could Change in a World With No Effective Antibiotics:

1.     Would we wear masks to protect ourselves from bacterial respiratory infections due to the health stakes of getting such an illness without access to effective antibiotics? Without antibiotics (and even now, with antibiotics, in the case of multi-drug or total-drug resistant tuberculosis) these infections could cause high mortality rates. The CDC estimated in 2018 that about 23% of the global population was infected with tuberculosis.

 

2.     Without effective antibiotics I doubt elective surgeries like knee and hip replacements (which we often use prophylactic antibiotics for), or even Cesarean sections would be common (or advisable) because of the potential for introducing infection that couldn’t be treated. This could impact quality of life for many people. Would we still remove our ‘wisdom’ teeth?

 

3.     Cleaning wounds regardless of severity, and caring for them in a way that minimizes infection risk would likely be more of a major concern than it already is if we didn’t have effective antibiotics available.

 

4.     There would likely be deep concerns about food safety and inspection processes and cooking to safe temperatures. I could see stricter requirements being enforced by food safety and inspection entities in order to quell fear about concerns over food being contaminated through irrigated water, poor packaging or unclean processing equipment. This publication on the Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illness suggests that annually, one in six Americans will experience a food borne illness. Not all food borne illnesses are deadly or require treatment with antibiotics. Not all food borne illnesses are bacterial in nature either, but some of note are including: Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Listeria.

 

5.     Tick checks, proper clothing and anti-tick products could be vital depending on where you live and what bacterial pathogens are endemic in the tick populations near you. Here is a list of tick-borne disease from the CDC. Again, not all diseases carried by ticks are bacterial in nature, but enough are to cause concern such as: the causative agents of Lyme disease, multiple spotted fevers and tularemia .

 

6.     Those without access to clean drinking water could suffer even more without access to effective antibiotics. Antibiotics are not considered a life-saving treatment for diseases like cholera, but antimicrobial resistance has developing in this water-borne pathogen which is concerning because without antibiotic treatment the “illness will persist for about twice as long, lengthening the hospital stay and increasing the resources used”. No effective antibiotics could be deadly in a real-world cholera epidemic scenario as  even “antibiotic resistance means higher costs, a greater need for supplies and more deaths.” For some reason the document these two quotes are from won’t link-if you want to look it up I found this information in a WHO publication titled  “Antimicrobial resistance in shigellosis, cholera and campylobacteriosis” by Sack, Lyke, McLaughlin and Suwanvanichchkij. 

 

7.     Any bacterial disease impacting humans, be it: Lyme, syphilis, cholera, E. coli, MRSA, diptheria, tuberculosis, Y. pestis (plague) or listeria would carry far higher risks of mortality and disability without effective antibiotics.

 How would consider prepping for a world in which there are no effective antibiotics?

Read More
16
31 Featured

How to escape 2nd floor bedroom in case of fire

Do y’all have an recommendations for gear or protocol for escaping a second story bedroom in case of a fire between the bedroom and the stairwell that leaves the house?

I searched the forums and didn’t find anything.

I’m thinking a window breaker and some sort of collapsible ladder. 

Read More

Preppers and climate change

I want to raise a question about what a prepping mindset means for prevention, especially in the area of climate change, which is driving so many emergencies and disasters. I realize we have diverse folks here and I really don’t want to start a political fight. To me climate change is an issue that should actually unite all of us, but I realize that some people feel otherwise. If you’re reading this and you don’t believe in climate change or don’t believe that it’s caused by human factors, I would like to respectfully ask you to please just skip this thread.

I’m in California and my prepping has been very heavily driven by the radical increase of catastrophic wildfires in the last few years. It’s no secret that climate change is a major cause of these. In general I’ve been feeling a great deal of urgency about arresting climate change along with all the related issues like large scale species extinction. It seems like the stakes couldn’t be higher and time is very short. I don’t see that our government is moving nearly fast enough to deal with this crisis.

Lately, tired of feeling helpless and anxious, I’ve started wondering what the average citizen can do to help reverse this problem. Of course we can recycle and all that, but truly these individual actions make a very limited impact on climate change. Individuals aren’t the main drivers of the changing climate.  In addition to not knowing what I can do to make a greater impact, I, personally, am not much of a conventional activist —  meaning I personally get de-energized and turned off by marches, slogans, petitions and all that. (I’m not saying these aren’t necessary, it just doesn’t match my temperment.) So, I’m looking for other ways to get involved.

It suddenly occurred to me that here we have a community of folks who are more aware than the average person of the dangers we are facing and I thought I would ask if any of you are also thinking about how to arrest and reverse the problems we are facing, rather than just prepare to deal with them when they come down the pike. It all seems to be part of one holistic outlook to me. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Read More
15
40

How many of you are disinfecting packages?

I’m curious if people who were disinfecting packages are still doing this.  I’m also interested if you are using other methods, like quaratining, and whether it extends to other items like groceries.  At the beginning of COVID-19, I was using the guidelines provided by the article How to disinfect packages from COVID-19.

Read More
11
23

What is your favorite thing about being prepared?

Why do you prep?

What do you get out of being prepared?

Why should others be prepared?

I love the feeling of having stored up food and water so that I could bunker down for a week or two and be fine if needed. It is so comforting. 

While this isn’t my picture, I have it saved on my computer as a goal of what I want to accomplish someday. I’m slowly growing my food storage, and hope to make some awesome shelves like this in the future.

Then just as a reminder:

Read More
7
12
food-storage-long-term

What do you prep that you don’t see on BOB lists?

For me it is definitely a hairbrush and a solid conditioner.  Granted in a long term situation the conditioner is quickly consumed but I have very long hair and keep a folding brush and a comb in my kit.  The comb weighs almost nothing.  

Read More
6
3

Where do precious metals fit in with your preps?

I’ve been considering buying some gold or silver to protect myself a little against the collapse of the dollar and other economical downturns.

Do any of you have physical gold or silver as part of your preps? How much and in what sizes do you recommend? When and how do you think gold and silver will be used as a type of currency?

Read More
6
5
gold and silver

Home invasion

*Warning – the following scenario deals with scenes of extreme violence. If you are sensitive to such scenes, please do not read further. Thank you.*

Come with me for a moment. There. Stand right there. Now look and observe the scene in front of you:

It’s 4:00 p.m. on a quiet Sunday afternoon and you are lounging in your favorite chair, feet up, and softly snoring.

Both children are in their rooms upstairs. The oldest, your fourteen year old daughter, is listening to music on her headphones and sketching. Your ten year old son is immersed in his gaming world.

The smell and sounds of this evening’s dinner preparation mingle with the late afternoon rays of sunlight streaming in through the kitchen window.

The family German Shepherd is stretched out on his side in the kitchen, his space at this evening’s dinner table reserved. His soft snoring blends with yours in a counter point rhythm.

It is a typical lazy Sunday afternoon at home in a quiet family-oriented neighborhood.

Suddenly, the front door jamb and door are breached, while the back door is opened at the same time and in the same way.

Two men enter through each door. You now have four unmasked men in your home. They have not concealed their identity and they have just invaded your home with the full knowledge that you and your family were at home.

Your dog jumps to his feet and runs toward the two men in the kitchen. One of the men grabs your dog by his front legs and splits his chest cavity as he lunges to attack him. He falls dead.

In the living room, you awaken to the sound of the breached front door.

Your drowsiness and weak core muscles prevent you from rapidly rising to deal with the intruders. It happens so fast that you can’t react quick enough to draw your side arm. You are further subdued with a knife to your throat while your hands are zip tied with both hands in front of your body. You are gagged and thrown onto the sofa.

Your wife is dragged from the kitchen into the living room and thrown onto a chair behind you. As she passes by, you can see that she is also zip tied, gagged and her head is bleeding. You are unable to communicate with her non-verbally, nor her with you, because you are no longer able to see each other.

Three of the men go upstairs to your children’s rooms while one remains behind to watch you and your wife. 

The children have not reacted because they were both on noise cancelling headphones at the time of the invasion. They never heard or saw the three men coming until they were each attacked.

You ten year old son dies first, zip tied, gagged and his jugular vein cut.

Your fourteen year old daughter doesn’t die immediately. She is gagged and gang raped by the three men. Her face is almost unrecognizable from the beating they have inflicted upon her. After they decide that they have had enough, she dies the same way as her brother did, zip tied, gagged and jugular vein slashed.

Then the three men come downstairs and join the fourth man who is watching you and your wife. You don’t see your children with them.

They have your wallet and your wife’s purse, both of which were taken from your bedroom upstairs. Your hands were deliberately zip tied in front of your body so that you could write down your passwords for them. Within minutes they have emptied your bank accounts and all your available credit.

Your wife is then dragged upstairs where she meets the same fate as your daughter did. As she is moved to the master bedroom, your wife desperately looks toward your children’s rooms, only to see glimpses of their bloodied bodies as she is dragged past each room.

When they have finished beating and raping your wife, and ensured that your wife and two children are dead, the three men descend the stairs to kill you.

As you bleed out, you think, “they never said one word, never fired a shot.”

You realize that no one saw anything because of the privacy hedges around your home. You think of your wife and children.

You think “I should have”…then you lose consciousness and die.

Now, let’s rewind the scene and take a step back.

What could have been done to prevent or change the outcome of this scene?

Were there things that the family could have done once the invasion began?

 

   

Read More

What are useful civilian and semi-military organizations for prepper?

Having recently gotten my ham radio license, mostly for prepping purposes, and not being that keen on joining my local ham radio club, I’ve been thinking about what other organizations I might plug into to be more prepared for emergencies. There are of course volunteer emergency response groups on the city level.  Around here that’s called CORE and they’re trained by the fire department. I personally have stayed away from them because it seems like a large time commitment and (the real reason) because I suffer from serious blood-and-guts squeamishness and don’t want to hear about emergency surgery preformed with a knife and an empty potato chip bag.

But I was also wondering about the lesser known organizations. I admit to having an unfulfilled dream of joining a military reserve and also of becoming a sailor, so I know a little about the semi-military organizations that are out there but not very visible. I’m not talking about guys in camo running around the woods with rifles, preparing for a race war. I’m talking about government-sponsored organizations. There is the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is a volunteer, civilian arm of the Coast Guard. They have their own missions of boating safety but also can substantially support the Coast Guard in their missions and have access to a lot of Coast Guard training.

The Air Force has a somewhat similar (but differently organized) service called the Air Civil Patrol. Some states have a military reserve, which is a state-only military force that steps in to supplement the National Guard or, potentially, to replace the National Guard if the NG is federalized and sent overseas. The state military reserve can’t be called up to serve out of state. They serve mostly as volunteers though they can be called up to active duty and get paid as soldiers do for a limited amount of time. None of these services carry weapons (although I’m not 100% sure about the state military reserve).

All these services seem like they have access to a lot of training and can be part of emergency response networks. I’m intrigued by the idea of getting involved in one of them if there is actually a practical prepping benefit to them and if I wouldn’t just be playing soldier/sailor, and also if it doesn’t involve being exposed to a lot of right-wing hate speech. Also though, I’m interested in learning about other organizations that exist largely under the radar but would be useful for preppers. The caveat is that I’m a pretty busy person already, so am not looking for another hobby or group that would be a giant time commitment. What has your experience been?

Read More
7
7

How to negotiate credit after you have prepared for it.

I believe that preppers usually understand the burden of debt in an uncertain world.

It is like having a chain around your neck and being restrained by it. I like to be free.

Negotiate credit only if it is truly warranted and after you have prepared to become responsible for credit.

That is what the 6-month test loan payment is really about. You have allowed yourself the time to determine if what you want to buy is really all that urgent. Is it? You have just waited six months for it. So we can rule out urgency.

You also now know what it is like to live without access to that money in your budget. 

If you missed or were late “paying” the test loan payment into the savings account or dipped into those savings for any reason, you need to stop and take a long, hard look at what happened. Be absolutely honest with yourself.

The principle behind having a driver or hunting license is no different from the one that applies to credit. These credentials come with responsibility and they are a privilege to have and not a right to have. Someone is trusting you to repay what you have borrowed.

Lenders are all smiles when you sign on the dotted line. Watch those smiles evaporate if you break the terms of the loan contract. Once you actually borrow money, there are consequences for late or missed payments. If you default, the stakes get higher and I will discuss that in a future thread.

You are also six months longer on your job and living at your residence which goes toward stability that is considered by the lender and as part of your credit bureau. Always consider job stability before applying for credit.

If in a relationship, make sure you can handle it alone.

You should have a least one performance review under your belt before applying for any kind of credit. You need to know if you are making the grade with the employer. If the job market is poor, wait. You need to be able to get another job quickly if you lose the current one.

Now, let’s look at what to do if you decide to borrow money.

First, do your research. Get a copy of your credit bureau and look at your credit score and credit rating. 

I will address credit bureaus in the next thread as there are a lot of moving parts to finance issues and I want to address them in an organized way to keep everything clear.

Examine your credit bureau carefully for any errors. This is important. If you see anything wrong, get it corrected before you apply for credit.

I can’t stress this enough: Do not ever go to high interest lenders or payday loan companies. Their interest rates are like a bad current that will drag you under and drown you so fast you won’t know what hit you.

Whatever it is that you want to buy, it is never worth making a bad financial decision or deal.

Once you have verified your credit bureau information, now you can begin to research loan rates.

If you are an established customer in good standing with a bank, start there if you are satisfied with your business relationship with them.

Most of the main banks keep similar rates, but it is still worthwhile to check across the board and know what range of interest rates you can expect to be offered. 

Include the terms, or length of time given to repay the loan in your interest research. How will that effect your interest rate?

Once you have finished that, then and only then make an appointment with a lender.

Before you walk into that appointment, ensure you have had a good night’s sleep the night before and a good breakfast.

Never walk into a bank reeking of any intoxicant. The stale odor of it wafting out of your pores or off of your clothing from the night isn’t appropriate for a business meeting. Also, many people find the smell of cigarette smoke or strong perfumes or aftershaves an irritant. You would be surprised at how many people forget that one.

Be clean and well groomed and dress for business.

Remember this: you are attending a business meeting not a job interview.

You have prepared. You know the deal you want and you know your worth. If you are offered an interest rate or terms that are not part of your sensible financial plan, then tell the lender “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me. This is what will work for me and my financial goals. How can we get there?” Negotiate.

Find out if there are penalties if you wish to make additional payments or pay the balance in full sooner than the end of term.

Never guarantee a loan by over pledging chattel or security. If you have stability, six months of payments in savings, and a good credit bureau, you shouldn’t have to pledge everything you own to get a loan.

If you are uncertain about their offer and wish to seek independent advice, then tell the lender that you want to think it over and make another appointment for a later date. 

Loans officers are used to people entering their office, hat in hand, as if they are applying for a job and willing to take or sign anything.

Getting a loan is not about winning a prize. It is a business deal.

Once you have made an agreement, then read and understand every single line of that loan document before you sign it.

Never sign your name or agree to anything that you have not read and fully understood including online. Usually, a legal document will state in the wording that your signature is affixed because “I __________ have fully read and understood….” 

If someone tries to rush you, politely indicate that this is business and you are ensuring everything is accurate and to your satisfaction. You don’t need to apologize for being sensible.

I have caught errors in estate and mortgage documents made by a lawyer and banker respectively. They are human and capable of errors in person or online.

Make sure you fully understand and confirm the date of the first payment, the amount and how the payments are taken from your account should the payment date fall upon a weekend or holiday.

Edited to add: Remember when you apply for credit it is also a sales situation. The lender will try to sell you more products or services. It is how they get promoted. They have quotas to meet just like a bank account manager, teller or customer service rep.

For example, you want a mortgage and walk out with a line of credit and a credit card. Or, you want x amount of money for a loan and walk out with more money than you asked for because “you qualified for it.” Do not fall for that. It’s not a popularity contest or an award. They are trying to sell you something – more debt.

Stick to your preparations and plan.

That’s all I can think of for now. Next, credit bureaus.

 

Read More
5
4

How to prep for new and emerging diseases

I just read a Canadian article in today’s news that got me thinking about new and emerging diseases and what we will need to learn or have in our preps in order to prepare for them.

Here’s the article I read today. It appears to be a new disease, so far more than 40 cases have been reported in the province of New Brunswick, which is situated on the Atlantic coast.

Quote from linked article begins: In an internal memo obtained by Radio-Canada, sent on March 5 by the office of the chief medical officer of health to the New Brunswick Medical Society and to associations of doctors and nurses, the department notes the existence of a cluster of 42 cases of a progressive neurological syndrome of unknown origin. End Quote

This internal memo was dated March 5, 2021. When were they planning on telling the public?

Read the article carefully. It is “not genetic and could be contracted from food, water or air.” There is concern that this could be a new disease.

New Brunswick monitoring 40+ cases of unknown neurological disease

This news reminded me of a January 2021 article which was part of a BBC News series called “Stopping the Next One” which refers to emerging infectious disease.

This link is to the BBC article from the series BBC Nipah Virus

New and emergent diseases are going to impact how we prep.

These infectious diseases will also impact travel and the work place as Covid-19 did. They could also impact what we eat, where we live, how we live and on a much larger scale our economies and the global economy.

Is it travel, climate or both causing these diseases to emerge?

How do we prep for this kind of scenario?

This is a level of prepping that will require an understanding and respect for how infectious disease spreads.

The stakes are very high considering the death rate for Nipah Virus, or the long term effects of the neurological disease described in the New Brunswick article.

I have seen too many people disregard health protocols during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

This is nothing new so it shouldn’t surprise any of us. Think back to the HIV/Aids epidemic. How many people played Russian roulette with their own life or someone else’s life instead of doing what they were told to prevent the spread of a virus that was killing people?

If we experience more of these kinds of events, then the message that these are deadly, infectious diseases needs to get hammered home. If people in remote villages in Africa can be taught the protocols for Ebola, what on Earth is wrong with us? How can we set ourselves up to die from stupidity?

Does prepping now include evasive techniques for protection against people who are not taking precautions to spread disease? 

The New Brunswick article stated the neurological disease could be contracted from food, water or air. How do we prep for that? Is livestock going to become a distant memory in the face of more diseases originating from this source?

Bats may be the transmitters in the case of Nipah and other viruses, but they are also an important part of how insect populations are controlled, including insects that spread disease.

How do we get ahead of the curve on this scenario?

Read More

First Aid for the Squeamish?

I posted about this very same subject before, but a couple of years ago and in a rather obscure comment on this site, so I thought I’d start a thread in the forum for more visibility. One big gap in my prepping, something I struggle with, is preparing for first aid. I’m pretty squeamish around injuries, blood and guts, burns, pain, descriptions or images of any of the above, etc. I do okay in everyday life with minor cuts or trips to the dentist. I’m okay with most shots. But start describing burns to me, or show me a picture of a wound and I start feeling really weak and nauseated.

For this reason it’s been really hard to think in any kind of systematic way about assembling a first aid kit, let alone learning how to use it for administering major aid to someone.

Just to give one example, a few years ago I ran into someone who was involved with her neighborhood first responder training for disasters. She talked to me about some of the first aid skills she was acquiring. For example, she said, in an emergency, if you have to operate on someone with no special tools, you can use an empty bag from fast food snacks — like chips — to create a makeshift barrier between you and the person being operated on. Let me just tell you that that was more than enough for me to start imagining how my neighbor might be operating on me without anesthetic using potato chip bag and a knife and I felt like I was gonna pass out.

I’m not sure how to get past this limitation of mine or how to work with it and prepare anyway. A couple of years ago when I posted about this someone suggested that I do a desensitization process where I start out practicing on things that absolutely do not look like injured people and then gradually increase the likeness to something that does. Admittedly, I have not done this, because the whole thing is hard to think about and because I can’t approach it enough to even be able to figure out what I should be practicing.

I’m thinking that I’m probably not the only person who has this issue. Wondering if anyone has any thoughts about it here

Read More
18
13

How to be prepared if you decide to apply for credit

In the mid 1990’s I wrote a manual as a technical communication course project based upon my experience as an Account Manager for a major Canadian bank.

The information does not in any way divulge or betray confidentiality with my former clients. I cannot share their stories, but I can share the lessons.

The Canadian and American banking systems are different. However, there is information about credit management that may help you to be better prepared in this area.

This thread is about applying for credit and how to do it sensibly.

We need to begin before you make an appointment to obtain a loan.

Why do you want the loan? 

Do you have your eye on a shiny new __________(fill in the blank)? 

Are you getting married and have decided to start off your married life indebted? Do you want a little extra for a nice honeymoon?

Or is it for the worst reason of all, do you want a loan to pay off a pile of other debt?

The reason behind why you want the loan may be the reason why obtaining a loan is a bad decision.

Traditionally, people took on debt to buy a home through a mortgage. Later, car loans became an accepted reason for debt. Now, people take loans for everything.

A home is generally considered an appreciable asset meaning an asset who value will increase over time. A vehicle is a depreciable asset meaning it will lose “book” value every year. There are exceptions for both examples but they are not applicable in this thread.

Both the home and the vehicle become the chattel or security for the mortgage or loan. If you default, you lose the home or the vehicle.

There are loans which do not build assets. These are “band-aid” loans that cover one of two consumer problems: no savings or overspending.

People who take these kind of loans will either pledge their existing assets to get the loan. In their desperation to make the deal, they will pledge assets which are far more than the value of the loan. Now they are in a situation where if they default, they lose assets.

The question is why were they so desperate for a loan in the first place? If preparation prevents panic, then could we not also consider that savings prevent making bad financial deals?

We can take that a step further and consider that sensible spending would also help prevent making unwise financial deals.

Unsecured credit, such as credit card debt usually involves spending and having nothing to show for it. There are exceptions where people use their credit card to buy an item with asset value, but they are not the rule.

Credit cards can be considered an extension of income by some consumers and that is a very dangerous way to think of credit. Credit is never an extension of your income. You shouldn’t need a credit card to make monthly expenses. 

A credit card balance should be paid in full per the terms of the contract each and every month. If you do that, you build a good credit bureau rating which will make a difference when you do buy a house. People with good credit bureaus get better deals because they are considered a good credit risk.

If you are taking a consolidation loan to pay off other debt, understand that this type of loan is both a green and red light to a bank. On the “go” side, they will give you that type of loan because they can charge more interest and get you to pledge assets right down to your household items.

On the “stop’ side, they will drop you like a hot rock if you walk in and try once too often to get another consolidation loan. On your credit bureau, these types of loans are considered a “whoops” the first time. You may drop points the first time. If you repeatedly need consolidations loans to cover overspending, then your credit bureau is adversely affected.

A consolidation loan is a rescue loan. Think of it as a non-swimmer who repeatedly goes into water over their head. The first time they need to be rescued, it’s forgiven. Imagine what lenders think the second, third, or fourth time. It can also be a red flag that someone has an addiction problem such as gambling.

There is a sensible way to prepare for credit. 

First make sure why you want the loan is for a good reason and not the result of an impulse decision to buy something. 

Next, if your reason is sound, then determine what you can afford for a payment each month. That’s right. I did say it: you determine what you can afford each month and how long you want to be indebted or the term of the loan.

The banks generally use a debt service ratio which means they say you can afford x% of your income each month for a mortgage or other debt.

They take a basic personal financial statement. What do you earn? They list and total your basic expenses: rent/mortgage, utilities, debt, insurance, etc.

The difference between the two is what they consider to be your disposable income.

The bank doesn’t live with you. They are using a formula approach which isn’t real life.

You need to determine what you can consistently and comfortably live with each month. In order to do that you need to track every cent of your disposable income that you spend each month. There are two steps to take to do this each done at the same time.

Take the amount that you currently think you can afford to repay a loan and set it aside in a separate savings account. Do this every month for 6 months minimum. Treat is as if it were a loan payment. Make notes of any times or months when it was hard to do. This is a test of what you can really live with each month.

At the end of that 6 month minimum, you should have a very good idea of whether x amount of money will be comfortable for you to repay before you commit to the actual loan.

The bonus is that you also have self-insured a minimum of 6 months of loan payments in case of crisis or income interruption.

You also have given yourself time to think and consider the expenditure and maybe even shop around for a better deal.

At the same time, set up a simple tracking method for how you spend your income.

Start with fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc. and set them up on a budget sheet. Include savings set aside each month over and above the amount in the test loan amount. Be certain of your expenses and verify them if necessary.

On another sheet write down your disposable income expenses.

Write down the date, amount, what was purchased and how you paid for the item. For example:

If you use multiple accounts or credit card, list them on separate pages.

Jan 1  $126.40  Joe’s Hardware  Garden supplies  

You can also use the information to track a return, credit memo or R&M (repairs and maintenance) for vehicle and home expenses.

The amount saved for the “test” loan is also good for your credit bureau.

If there is interest, let me know and I will gladly go through some of the other areas in a future thread(s).

Read More
4
7

Neighbor wants us to cut down our privacy trees so they can install solar – what would you do?

Hi! I’ve been following these forums for a while & recently have been in a situation with a neighbor that’s well…a little annoying. We have a small homestead at the end of street, the people who lived here before us kept all the trees, grew live privacy fences etc, you get the idea. Most often people don’t know our house and by design our neighbor’s houses exist because they’re covered by nature basically. It’s great because it allows us privacy both livestock and garden wise and it’s quiet. 

I got a text recently where she asked if we would consider cutting down our trees that line in between our properties. They are on our property. The reason? She wants solar and was told that she couldn’t have it unless all the trees were gone. The side and back of her lot too is heavily forested as is ours and we were told by the solar company years ago that we would’ve had to do the same thing so we just have small portable solar panels to run the barns. My husband said no, as did I because one of the very reasons we bought the property was for the privacy it provided us with. What would you do in this situation and would you prefer privacy/hidden areas or solar? 

Thanks in advance! 

Read More
10
29

Good first-aid kits make good neighbors

The other day I had an experience that made me feel great about building an Individual First-Aid Kit last year. That morning, my 76-year-old neighbor pulled up and told me he wanted help removing an old bathtub. I said sure and didn’t think much more about it.

That afternoon, my wife runs into my office and tells me his wife called, he had hurt himself and needed help. I grabbed my IFAK on my bug out bag and ran next door.

He had fallen into the old cast-iron tub and his forearm was bleeding profusely (he takes blood thinners). He had cut off a big section of the tub, so a slab of iron was in the floor between me and him in this tiny bathroom.

It took me a minute to think about how to go about this. I grabbed some gauze from the IFAK, wrapped his arm, moved the iron out of the way, and his wife and I pulled him out of the tub. He was still bleeding through the gauze a bit so I put an Israeli bandage over it and told his wife to remove it every so often and check on it.

Anyway, despite not really having a clue about what I was doing (medic training is near the top of the list when the pandemic is over) and my IFAK being an overstuffed mess (also on the to-do list), I was able to help my neighbor out. We often like to say that skills matter more than tools, but sometimes just having the tools makes the difference.

Read More
10
6

When the best laid planters go wrong – a lesson in prepping and patience.

I am not an artist. I draw stick people. 

That lack of artistic skill doesn’t stop me from sketching my ideas or vision of the finished project.

I have sketches of interior projects and exterior plans. It is uncanny how they have come to fruition. Some of these plans were of long term visions of how I wanted my home and yard to look one day. 

Like everyone else, I work with a budget. It has come to represent both the blessing and the curse of limitations raining down on my creative parade.

It is a curse because it delays the joy of seeing the project finished. It is also a blessing for the same reason. There is also joy in the slow unfolding of a vision brought to reality.

And reality is what I bumped into in the last few days with an exterior project that began last year.

Last year the white vinyl raised bed planters I had ordered were delayed. It was understandable given the situation with Covid-19. 

Back then, you couldn’t find a bag of flour, yeast, cleaners or toilet paper. For people who hadn’t prepared, it was like striking gold if they were in the right store at the right time and found any of those items. Limit 2.

The planter situation required a rapid adjustment. Enter my husband. He means well, but when he gets involved everything becomes complicated. He didn’t have a project at the time, and was bored, so he decided to help me. 

I like to work independently. This is the point where he and I become two children squabbling over the tools. To keep the peace, he got to build the interim wood planters and enclosure to the raised beds while I laid baseboards and did sheet rock in the house.

The finished garden area was okay, but not what I wanted or even close to the sketch I had made. Like the original planters on order that didn’t arrive in time, you can’t always get what you want.

The square foot gardening technique I tried was not something I would do again. I found it too crowded even though I sowed the seed exactly as specified. The enclosure around the perimeter of the raised bed he built was a source of frustration and pain. The panels attached to the raised beds became hair-triggered doors that swung back on their zip tied hinges with just enough velocity to be a nuisance. 

The frame that they were attached to was just low enough to smack my head into when I worked in the garden. Every. Single. Time. The wire I wanted for those panels was nowhere to be found, so I settled for chicken wire. When those door panels smacked me, I had to watch that I wasn’t also attached to a stray end of chicken wire. Luckily, my tetanus shot is up to date.

Even my vegetables weren’t what I expected. There was a late cold snap, so I re-seeded and hoped for the best.

The Swiss chard, kale, peas and tomatoes turned out well. But the radishes and beets were a disappointment. They were “all hat, and no horse,” with stunted root development and massive greens on top. The Vidalia onions that I was looking forward to were sad little globes not much larger than what I planted at harvest. From what I could troubleshoot, I had too much nitrogen in the planting mix I made, but I am still not certain.

That was last year. This year I was prepared. Or so I thought.

Over the winter, I bought my husband a router and other tools to keep him busy on his projects and out of mine when Spring arrived.

I drafted new sketches of the planters that I wanted to position at various points around the perimeter of my property for privacy, security and extra food production.

Originally, I wanted white vinyl planters and trellis for appearance and ease of maintenance. The cost to do everything was prohibitive if I wanted to get all of it done this year. So I decided to use lumber and build them.

Everything was organized. Then I called for lumber prices and it all went off the rails. Maintenance free cedar was out of the question, coming in at more than $100.00 CAD for just one of the boards I needed, which left the option of treated wood and painting it white with food safe paint.

I checked into our treated lumber and it is not considered safe for vegetable production. The food safe paint reviews were depressing. I am not repainting every year. My design philosophy for everything in and around the home is to build in long term durability and ease of maintenance plus value added.

So, I approached the problem the same way I do other issues in prepping. I figure out what is most important or necessary to acquire first. Then cost is examined and how to slot the item(s) into my budget is determined. If I want the item faster, then the cost of that item must be reduced or triage of other items changed.

That was when I realized this experience was a good example of how you can’t always get what you want all at once. It takes time to prepare. It takes time to create something worthwhile. Sometimes, a compromise must be made in order to get what you want and how and when you acquire it.

The white vinyl raised beds delivered late last year that became a fixture in my den are as of yesterday arranged in two neat 4’x16′ rows.

I tore the chicken wire enclosure off the other two wood raised beds from last year and have positioned them behind the white vinyl planters. These four planters will become my main vegetable area.

At the very back will be my assortment of beneficial flowers and wildflowers, sown without the limitation of a planter bed. 

I ordered 7 white vinyl planters 15″ deep x 3′ wide x 4′ high (with trellis) for the one side of my front yard. They will provide the barrier and privacy I need to establish and come summer filled with flowers and edibles that don’t look like vegetables as part of another prepping experiment.

It only covers the one side, but in time the rest of it will come together, this year or the next. 

Preparation prevents panic. I had to remember that motto when my best laid plans went wrong. I don’t prepare and panic. I prepare to avoid panic. 

When something goes wrong with our best laid plans (or planters), that’s the time to stop and find another way to achieve our prepping goals. 

In this forum, I have read some excellent examples of how people began to prep using items on hand and then, as they were able to, began to change out those items for other items.

There are other people here who also experiment and use prepping as a type of ongoing classroom. I really enjoy the learning aspect of prepping.

Other people have bartered for what they wanted to get.

We all research, plan and prepare according to our best laid plans. Our plans may not come to fruition the way we expected. There may be problems along the way, but those experiences help us to learn how to adjust our plans and find another way. In doing that, it is possible to end up with a much better result and a level of preparedness that we hadn’t expected.       

Read More
4
8

10-80-10 survival principle

Hey everyone!!

I recently learned from a church lesson about some people going through an earthquake and the speaker talked about the 10-80-10 principle. I had never heard of it and wanted to share it with you all and see what your thoughts were. 

In a disaster there will be three groups of people:

–10% of people will be just fine, be able to pull themselves together relatively quickly and take charge of the situation.

–80% of people will not know what to do, be in shock, and will wait for others to give them instructions.

–10% of people will go nuts, panic, and put themselves or others into greater danger. 

I’m sure this principle will apply to other areas as well, maybe like with a work assignment or something. Maybe there is a correlation between the old fight-flight-or freeze?

What are your thoughts on this? What group do you think you would be in? Are there friends or family members that you can place in each category? What can we do to put ourselves into that 10% that can handle a disaster well?

Mental and emotional prepping is at times even more important than having a first aid kit or solar panel. Even if you have all the preps in the world, if you aren’t able to cope with things you won’t survive.

Read More
10
12

Liberator Rocket heaters for your home

Does anyone have/know about rocket heaters for your home?  Liberator is the only one l’ve found any info on that is certified.  Does anyone have one?  Know if they really work?  Any info?  Thanks.  Have a totally electric house and hoping to find an alternative heat source.  

Read More
8
2

Prepping around the world – How other cultures use their natural resources

I like learning about people. I am especially fascinated by how they utilize their natural resources, sometimes in the harshest of environments, in order to survive.

Have you ever wondered how other cultures around the world practice their version of preparedness?

I ask it because, really, that is what is at the very heart of preparedness: our survival wherever we find ourselves.

I’m inviting anyone who wants to join in, to pick a place on the Earth and do a search for how the people who live there use their natural resources to feed, clothe, shelter or defend themselves. How do they survive? 

A couple of links and a bit of info about the survival item and resources that are used by the people you researched. It doesn’t have to be a thesis, just quick and fun exploration.

I’m kicking this off with the Eskimo (referred to as Inuit in Canada) folks.

How about the waterproof gut parka made of seal intestines and sewn with dried grass that becomes a waterproof thread. That same grass is used to make socks! How cool is that?

In their culture, wastefulness is considered being disrespectful and their elders use every scrap of their wildlife harvest.

This was something my family also practised for the same reason, so I paused to consider how a culture so far away could be so similar to mine. It would be very easy to hunt or fish with them.

I love how they use their natural resources and I will be considering how I can adapt that thinking to my own environment.

Here are the links, and I really hope you join in. This prepper project could be a lot of fun.

Waterproof Gut Parka with Photos

Clothing made from their natural resources

Okay, who is next?

Read More
11
50

“It can’t happen to me” – A tale of two FEMA studies, statistics and Normalcy Bias

My notes from the early hours this morning:

2012 FEMA study – Almost 1/2 of all Americans don’t believe that a disaster will hurt their community.

2015 FEMA study – Less than 1/2 of American households had an Emergency Preparedness plan or discussed one with their family.

I remember thinking “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, honey.”

But denial is also not normalcy bias. Normalcy bias aka Ostrich Effect is a cognitive bias that occurs when people facing imminent disaster are warned and either disbelieve the warning or minimize the threat.

We need to know about and factor in denial and normalcy bias into our preparedness, for ourselves and family members.

The time it takes to process denial and normalcy bias can put people in grave danger. I believe part of the solution is to be aware of the potential for a problem and formulate how you will deal with it before it happens.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias#:~:text=Normalcy%20bias%2C%20or%20normality%20bias,and%20its%20potential%20adverse%20effects.

Begin Quote

The normalcy bias may be caused in part by the way the brain processes new data. Research suggests that even when the brain is calm, it takes 8–10 seconds to process new information. Stress slows the process, and when the brain cannot find an acceptable response to a situation, it fixates on a single and sometimes default solution that may or may not be correct. An evolutionary reason for this response could be that paralysis gives an animal a better chance of surviving an attack and predators are less likely to see prey that is not moving.”[10]

Effects

About 70% of people reportedly display normalcy bias in disasters.[3] Normalcy bias has been described as “one of the most dangerous biases we have”. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes.[17][better source needed]”

Normalcy bias can cause people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, people think that they will be safe even though information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reasons to believe there is a risk. The normalcy bias creates a cognitive dissonance that people then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the danger. The possibility that some people may refuse to evacuate causes significant problems in disaster planning.[18]

End Quote

https://community.fema.gov/story/2020-NHS-Data-Digest-Summary-Results What the data indicates:

Begin quote:

The percentage of the adult population that have no intent to prepare (stage 1) has decreased substantially since 2013 (21% in 2013 to 9% in 2020).The percentage of the adult population that is not prepared but understands the importance of preparing and intends to do so within the next year (stages 2 and 3) has increased by 12 percentage points since 2013 (28% in 2013 to 40% in 2020) supporting the notion that there is an increased social awareness of the importance of preparing.”

“The percentage of the population that perceives themselves as prepared (stages 4 and 5) increased only slightly from 2013 (49% in 2013 to 51% in 2020), implying that the rate at which the adult population becomes prepared or maintains preparedness has stalled over the years, despite any year to year (e.g., 2020 versus 2019) fluctuations. This suggests a critical need to encourage, guide, and assist individuals and communities progress from intent-to-prepare to engagement in preparedness action and activities.”

And from same data:

“Overall, the estimated number of preparedness actions taken has increased from 2019.

68% of NHS respondents have taken 3 or more of the 6 basic preparedness actions; an increase of 6% from 2019.

For the second year in a row, the percentage of people reporting four of the six basic actions increased.

The number of people who indicated that they talked to others about getting prepared increased from 45% to 48%.

The number of people who indicated they participated in an emergency drill increased from 49% to 56%.”

NHS data shows that, when individuals indicate that they’ve taken one preparedness action, we can expect that they will take additional preparedness actions.

NHS data shows that preparedness actions can vary by stage of preparedness, hazard areas, and even demographics. As such, customizing preparedness messaging based on these factors will likely result in more effective messaging.

End Quote    https://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2020/few-americans-are-prepared-for-natural-disaster.html#:~:text=The%20good%20news%20is%20nearly,in%20a%20safe%20place%20(31

Begin Quote

The good news is nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) have taken at least one step to prepare for a natural disaster, most commonly assembling a disaster supplies kit (34 percent), creating an evacuation plan (32 percent), or backing up and storing personal medical and financial records in a safe place (31 percent). The bad news is only 15 percent have created a disaster plan to protect their finances. And concerningly, a little more than a quarter of Americans (27 percent) have not taken any steps at all to prepare for a natural disaster.

Steps Americans Have Taken to Prepare for Natural Disaster

34% Assembled a disaster supplies kit (first-aid kit, food, water, tools, etc.)

32% Created an evacuation plan

31% Backed up & stored personal, medical & financial records in a safe,          accessible place

27% Evaluated insurance needs to assure adequate coverage

26% Taken an inventory of assets & possessions for insurance purposes

24% Contributed to an emergency saving account

19% Created or updated an estate plan and/or will

19% Purchased additional insurance (e.g., flood insurance, hurricane          insurance, etc.)

15% Created a disaster plan to protect finances

2%  Other

27% I have not taken any steps to prepare for a natural disaster

End Quote

After I finished wading through the articles, I wondered how can we help others understand the need for emergency preparedness without jeopardizing our own preparedness? Is there a way to do improve these numbers?

Read More

Does your prepping include a worst case scenario and if so, how?

This isn’t about worst case scenario bias in which people overreact to small deviations from normalcy and treat those incidents as signs of impending catastrophe.

This is about worst case scenario. No bias. It is about how our concept of worst case scenario can change because of life events and life cycles.

Yesterday, while working on the “Prepping around the world – how other cultures use their natural resources” thread, I realized the Dutch are doing everything possible to stay ahead of their worst case scenario which is being overtaken by rising sea levels.

One definition of scenario is a suggested sequence or development of events. Add “worst case” and the phrase means the worst possible sequence or development of events.

My preparedness is spread over the usual areas of disaster, but the idea of worst case scenario is one I hadn’t considered before.

I wondered, “Am I preparing for my worst case scenario and if so, what is it? What would be the worst case scenario for me?”

After sleeping on it, I still feel like I have never considered that issue, not consciously at least. My worst case scenario. What does that mean to me?

We lost our family farm to a fire. At the time I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen. Then that concept shifted when other crises happened as my life unfolded.

My current geographic area could experience flash flooding, fires, power outages, blizzards, killing cold or any number of natural or man-made disasters. Yet none of them, including the pandemic happening now doesn’t feel like my worst case scenario. A problem, yes. My worst case, no.

Is it because I have prepared well, or is it because I have already been to the brink of my worst case scenario and the pandemic isn’t it for me? Or, could it be a bit of both?
 
Some people prepare to avoid discomfort or starvation. The aspects of preparedness that are foremost and sharpest in my mind are protecting myself against violence and crime.

It is borne of my history and experience. When your life hangs in the balance between the hope of rescue and another day of torture, between escaping while drugged and injured or dying where you were left, to be finished off later, or between the choice of submission to a blade over death, you choose survival every time if you want to live. 

At a baseline level, my focus is always on avoiding two-legged danger and staying alive. It is impossible to ignore and governs every aspect of how I live and prepare.

When I planned the changes to my garden, I factored site lines for the security cameras and construction methods to ensure that no one can hide behind the planters. I have ensured that the design is free of any elements or objects that could be used against me or employed as a tool to break in to my home.

When I bring in prep items, I have a transfer method that keeps them private from any prying eyes. Labels are removed from any shipments and shredded. There is nothing that would distinguish me as a prepper either in my garbage or recycling. 

Inside my home, anything that can be used to restrain or injure me is hidden away out of sight and easy access. You won’t find a knife block in my home. My knives are convenient for me to access, but out of sight. There are items throughout my home that can be deployed as improvised weapons if needed.

Every time I am in a vehicle my doors are locked. I scan each time I enter and exit my vehicle. I scan parking lots and vehicles around me. No one exits my vehicle in a parking lot until I give the go ahead to leave the vehicle.

The list goes on. I live and prep with every instinct and scrap of experience I have garnered. 

I don’t like the consequences of being vulnerable so there is no off switch for me. I wasn’t born to prep. I was made to prep.
 
The safety and security aspect of preparedness is where I become like the Dutch mentioned above.

I am doing everything possible to stay ahead of time, the enemy that steals physical strength, and chance, the variable that can trigger a dangerous event.

Time and chance happen to us all. I know my strength now, in this moment, and I can’t picture a future self where I am decrepit and vulnerable. Now my preparedness factors ageing and it’s associated imagined issues, as much as I loathe doing it. 

There are degrees of extremity within a particular worst case scenario and I have already experienced a broad range of severity that is possible for mine. 

I have not however, experienced the worst case scenario, which for me is, not to survive because I didn’t crawl until I could get up, didn’t keep going until I found a way out. The worst case scenario for me, regardless of the disaster, is to just give up and not survive.

The idea of the worst case scenario is different for each of us. Have you ever considered what your worst case scenario is? If so, how has it affected the way you prep? 

Has your worst case scenario changed as your life has unfolded? If so, has it also changed the way you prep?

Read More