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Because prepping and community go hand in hand

Preprogramming ham radios with emergencies in mind

I have two HT radios — the sum total of my radio equipment. One of these is in my BOB and the other in my house, principally for in-home use. I would like to preprogram these radios as much as possible in advance, so that in case of emergency or evacuation I don’t have to fiddle with programming them manually — particularly if I’m out of the area and am not familiar with the local stations.

As a baby ham without many connections in the community, I don’t have default stations, repeaters or organizations that I would be a part of in an emergency. I have a very minimal connection to my local ARES group — I’ve participated in some of their weekly checkins and I know the closest accessible repeater in my area, run by the local ham radio club, of which I’m not a member. That’s about it.

I was thinking to lookup and program a bunch of repeaters in the surrounding larger area, maybe as far as an hour’s drive away, so that a repeater may be reachable even if I’m out of my immediate area. But I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort since I hear that many registered repeaters are inactive for all intents and purposes. Is there something better I can do?

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“Return to Normal” What are your signals/Indicators/metrics?

Similar to how often it is suggested you have a plan/criteria for when to bug out or bunker in… What are your plans and the signals/indicators you’re looking at for a “return to normal” from this past year?  

My own personal thoughts:  I’ve been vaccinated, but I’m also cautious but nature.  And a huge introvert… so not hurting to go out and party like its 2019, exactly.

I’m looking for sustained downward trends in both covid cases and deaths, and I’m looking at local/regional as well as state and national levels.  My region seems to be doing pretty well, seem to be declining to pre-first-wave numbers if the trend hold for a couple more days.  State and national numbers aren’t as great (seem to be at levels from last summer).  The majority of the news I read seems to indicate that the vaccines are fairly effective even with many/most of the variants, keeping my fingers crossed there but paying close attention.

That being said, my cautious nature and general civility towards the mask mandates of my local businesses keep me from acting like this is all over.  I’ve gone back to the gym, but with mask left on at all times and on off peak hours.  Haven’t eaten out yet, but when I do it will probably only be outside for a while.  But I might, and this sounds crazy, hang out unmasked with small groups of friends who have also been vaccinated and are at least moderately responsible.  Probably not at bars/clubs though, more likely outside or private residences.

So just curious, what are your metrics/methods?  Not proposing/wanting to presume anyone to be less safe than they are comfortable with, just curious what your risk threshold is these days.

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One of the best articles I have read about home schooling

Over the 40 odd years I’ve been into prepping/ off gridding/survivalism I have noticed a slow but steady increase in the number of people making great personal sacrifice to home school or local group home school their children.  And like the article below I remember it being mainly hippies and anti establishment types  doing it in the beginning. But that has changed both in the US and abroad. More and more enlightened and concerned parents are now withdrawing their kids from the highly politicised state education systems.

And by pure coincidence I found a home schooling group in a large new garden village only 3 miles from my place. This garden village is full of huge homes and many VERY successful professionals ( its even got its own golf course and spa) Yet these accountants, senior management, lawyers, MDs etc are openly hostile to both STATE and PRIVATE school offerings in this area. Hence multiple families now cooperate with home schooling, even hiring teachers when necessary to teach the kids subjects the parents dont have the skills to do.

Personally I believe through my own personal experiences that home school kids get a broader far reaching education and it creates more questioning minds than state offering do.

I also see the political indoctrination of our children by certain interested parties as a clear threat to our childrens developments.

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Food prep inventory tracking

This is similar to brekke’s question about spreadsheets or lists.  How do you all keep track of your food preps?  Any great system or set up to recommend?  I had a go at making a tracking system on google sheets but it seems unwieldy.  I’d like to make sure I have enough, of things we eat, and that I rotate them well (the cooking and menu planning is a real strong point for me–the technology aspect not so much).

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Back up power system/power station for a farm

Hola from The Republic of Panama!

Friends, I approach you with humility in my heart and openness in my mind: my family has a beautiful (IMHO) 20 acre farm in the mountains of Panama and while it does have the foundations of a self-sustaining property (plenty of grazing land, fruit trees, vegetable fields, multiple clean water wells, etc) I feel the one thing that constantly eludes us is an efficient power system that could help us keep the juice flowing during a lights out SHTF. Our KWh a month ranges from 180 to 196. We have about two acres free for use in such a project…but what CAN we do? We tried solar panels…it did not end well. Your thoughts?

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What is the best practice for starting a fire?

So, I have the fire starting gear that TP recommends — flint fire starter and some tinderquick. But I’ve never actually started a fire from scratch and kept it going. A friend is going to teach me in the fire pit in her back yard. Now I’m wondering what materials to use for the actual fire? What is a realistic scenario for emergency situations? Are we talking twigs? Logs? Something else?

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Celebrate National Preparedness Month (spread the word, give gifts)

A recent poster was inspired by National Preparedness Month to start a post collecting tips. I had one that I thought might work as its own topic – and that is to use National Preparedness Month as a way to spread the word! 

Many people struggle with how they can convince the people around them to become more prepared, or whether they even should try (OpSec!!!). ThePrepared has a great article on this. It’s important to spread the word because the more prepared the people around you are, the more prepared you are! National Preparedness Month is a terrific opportunity to encourage others to prep, and will give a huge boost to your efforts – because it’s not just coming from you, it’s a whole national program. You are just spreading the word. Plus it happens in a month where there are typically a lot of emergencies (wildfires, hurricanes) so preparedness is probably already in the back of their minds. A few tips on how you can use the occasion to get others to prepare:

1. Give gifts. OK, your family and close friends probably already know you are a wacky prepper. You’ve probably tried to convince them. So instead of another paranoid plea, make it an occasion and give a gift! 3 days worth of bottled water, or a couple of headlamps, would be affordable options. Plenty of more expensive ideas out there if you have the money! Water filters, NOAA emergency radio, a tub of emergency supplies, fire extinguisher, 3-day emergency food bucket – lots of options. Make it lighthearted and fun. 

2. Social Media. A quick post saying it is National Preparedness month, with a link, and giving 1-3 simple ideas for getting started. DON’T make it overwhelming with a giant list or scare stories! Huge lists are the quickest way to get people to tune out. You know all those ads that talk about “One weird trick” or “Do this ONE thing every day” – that’s because people want ONE simple thing to do! I suggest water on my Preparedness Month Facebook post because it’s so basic, important, easy and cheap and not a lot of people store it. If you are really into it, you can offer ONE simple tip per day on your social media for the whole month. Be bright and positive and don’t talk about doomsday scenarios or total collapse. Keep the focus on preparing for short term emergencies, because that’s achievable. Throw in a link to, especially this build-a-kit link:

3. Work, neighborhood groups, school and scouts. Any groups you are a part of may be interested in preparedness. Your work probably has an emergency plan – ask about it, maybe offer to help with it or just suggest an employee email updating everyone about emergency procedures. If you are a part of a neighborhood organization or Facebook group, that is a PERFECT way to share a link about National Preparedness Month and possibly some local resources. You could take it much further like developing a neighborhood emergency plan, but even just sharing on your neighborhood email list could make your neighborhood more secure and prepared. You can look into your school’s lesson plans, you can get scouts involved in projects. Use National Preparedness as a jumping off point so it’s not about you being a prepper – it’s about a national program that everyone can participate in.

I’m going to post the text of my recent facebook post below, feel free to adapt it. Happy Prepping!  


It’s National Preparedness Month! Here’s a reminder to get yourselves some basics if you don’t have them already. Already got supplies? It’s a good time to check your supplies and replace anything that’s expired-or set a new preparedness goal!
Here are a few absolute basics if you want to start out.
1. Water. Get 3 days worth of bottled water (1 gallon per person per day) to start with. More is better – aim for 1 week or 2 if you have the space. The crinkly, milk-jug type of plastic will eventually leak. I like the 3 liter Poland Springs bottles.
2. Food. Have some food on hand that can be prepared with minimal power or water, like canned soup, peanut butter, etc. You can keep this in a separate kit or just make a habit of having extra in your pantry. You can also buy one of those 3-day emergency food kits. Kinda pricey but they last a long time and are portable.
3. Emergency kit. You can start a kit with supplies often needed in an emergency- at minimum, batteries, flashlights/headlamps and a lighter/matches. If you’ve got nothing else just stop there so you don’t get overwhelmed! But if you have those things, you can add other supplies like emergency blankets, work gloves, gadgets like a solar panel charger and an emergency NOAA radio, a camp stove, matches and lighters, basic tools, a tarp, etc. you may have a lot of these things scattered around the house but it’s good to have a kit of dedicated supplies all in one place. There are tons of emergency kit lists online, but again, don’t get overwhelmed (those lists are long) – just get started!

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Looking for recommendations on metal detectors

I’m looking for recommendations on metal detectors.  One of my neighbors lost his keys in the snow and asked me if I had one.  It made me think that it might be handy to have one around for various uses.  Knowing nothing about them, I’m assuming there are a number of trade-offs depending on the purpose for its use.  Looking for something that is cost-effective for the more casual user.

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Scenario run-through – Hurricane Ida, let’s learn from each other

The Earth has been doing some out of character (but not unexpected by climatologists) behavior in the last few years and is likely to continue. I that vein, I think it is a good idea to “test run” our preps for scenarios both likely to hit us and unlikely to occur in our area. My suggestion is to use a real and developing storm to learn from each other, both from the members that will possibly be impacted by this storm, from others that have experienced previous storms, and those that want to test their preps against a storm of this magnitude hitting them.

For anyone that is actually threatened by this storm, I hope you will chime in if time allows. I truly would like to learn from this and I hope the storm does change course and lose intensity.

Hurricane Ida’s current forecast puts it hitting the Louisiana Gulf coast near New Orleans as a category 3 on Sunday. However, they are saying there’s still plenty of time for this forecast to change. 

Scenario: You and your family have all of your current preps in place, but this storm is predicted to hit you in approx. 48 hours. For the sake of the scenario, this storm will cause a surge of water (waves, flash flood, dam break or something along those lines) at your location and for 200 miles around. However, it’s still not a certainty at this point and it could brush to the left or right of your location, they just don’t know yet. What is your plan of action? Remember, you only have your current preps to draw from. Oh, and hotels are already filling up outside the 200 mile area. 

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Know the age, condition, and logistics of local utilities. Plan and prepare accordingly. They will not be as reliable as we hope.

Whilst we all know and accept the wisdom of keeping gravity water filters, portable or back up power systems, stored water / bore holes, self defence and your own medical supplies because its just common sense.  There is further wisdom in each of us individually investigating the AGE, Physical Condition and seeking out LOCAL information on the LOGISTICS side of your local UTILITIES.

IE How old is the power generation and distribution system in your district, Is your community one of those whose usage of power has risen to match the growing consumption of energy associated with the surge of AIRCON and the massive surge of DOMESTIC TECHNOLOGY??

And has the PHYSICAL power supplies distribution chain been upgraded to meet the new demand, especially in places like Silicon Valley and more importantly the surrounding communities where most people reside.

(Who has not seen the reports of utility companies turning off power supplies at times of peak demand in a vainglorious attempt to prevent utility created WILD FIREs.)

(Who is not aware of the 2 week long ice storm of 2010 that crippled much of the UK. Or the winter storms of 2020 that plunged huge areas of Texas into darkness ?)

Starting off at idiot level, how many power cuts does your district suffer in a normal year BEFORE extreme weather or climate change affects such incidents?

The more we look the more sense it makes to increase your levels of preparedness to mitigate against the INCREASING frequency of prolonged power outages ( at the worst possible time)

That was just discussing ELECTRICITY supplies.  Now consider your water supplies.

(Look at the growing water crisis in the US south west and the UK south east)

Yes folks we are now getting to the stage where you simply can no longer EXPECT the water to come out of the tap (UK) faucet(US) when you turn it on.

Preparing not only for our changing climate and increasing reliance on energy means that more than ever we must ALWAYS BE VIGILANT. The time for complacency has passed. Remember Prepping is about being ready BEFORE it hits the fans, being PROactive not REACTIVE.

One wayward ship getting stuck in the Suez canal and the simple shortage of workers (and shipping containers)  has seen billions of lost dollars in commerce and insane shortages of chips/ miroprocessors crippling many industries ( I truly despise the JUST IN TIME global logistics systems, its a disaster waiting to happen).

So if your utilities are aged and under resourced, and at risk from increasing demand or climate change then put down your Soy Lattes and Cappuccinos  and do something to make sure you are not the next name on a casualty list.

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california wild fire 2019

Testing expired hand sanitizer for effectiveness

Are there any ways to test hand sanitizer?  I have some that is beyond the ‘best by’ date and would prefer not to waste it if it is still viable.

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DIY post Armageddon long range radio project

So I’m technologically illiterate, but I’m told by a ham friend who makes his own stuff that this could be of use to you good folks over the pond.

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Protecting homes from water infiltration

Across the northeast, many thousands of basements and crawlspaces have taken on water. I’m sure this will cost tens or hundreds millions of dollars to fix. A sizable number of these instances could have been easily avoided. Here are some quick thoughts from someone who diagnoses and fixes buildings for a living. Comments here are limited to rural and suburban homes not located in a flood plain.

First an anecdote regarding one of the houses I was in last night. Late in the evening one of my neighbors knocked on my door to help another neighbor who she said had around 2″ of water in their basement. I grabbed boots and a headlamp and headed over. Once in the basement I found the owner and 2 other neighbors pushing water towards a sump pump in the rear corner. The water problem was so serious that they noted a nearby basement window well was full of water, which was running down the wall and back into the sump. 

<This might sound strange, but water infiltration is actually a window into the centuries old feud between religion and science, except that we currently live in something resembling the 1600s. Consequently, a great majority of people adhere to a religious perspective, which stipulates that the gods put water in basements, and there is nothing you can do to stop the basement water gods, aside from being a good person generally. Conversely, the profoundly unpopular scientific view stipulates that water in basements actually originates somewhere other than the basement, and remediation of water infiltration should see considerable effort devoted toward the prevention of water entry. Back to the story.>

Being an adherent to the scientific camp, I proceeded outside to investigate potential sources of water infiltration. Once there I discover that the sump outlet was directing most of its water into the window well. So three dudes pushing water into a sump that pushes water into a window well that leaks back into the house in an infinite loop, while Yakety Sax loudly plays in the background (maybe the music is just in my head). 

My purpose here isn’t to ridicule my neighbors. It’s simply a window into the shortcomings of the nearly universal approach to this problem. In my experience the great majority of basement water infiltration is due to very remedial problems compounded by homeowners’ and technicians’ lack of sophistication, buttressed by their deeply held conviction that they’re a lot smarter than they are.

For every 1.5″ of rainfall, each horizontal square foot of your home will manage roughly 1 gallon of water. The footprint of most single family homes is probably over 1500 sq ft (think overhang, garages, porches, etc), which means that a lot of houses last night saw 6000 gallons. In a heavy rain, a single downspout and the ground around it might see over 1000 gallons of water. So this system has to have high integrity. What are some common problem areas? 

The roof  deposits the water into a gutter via a flashing connection (drip edge) which directs water from the roof into the gutter. This drip edge has to be over the gutters. Gutters are often placed over the drip edge, which can direct water behind the gutter. The gutters must be sloped to downspouts (not aggressively 1/16″ per foot is fine) or they will overflow. The gutters must be free from debris or they will overflow. The gutter connection to the downspout must be robust, and the cutout from the gutter must be adequate (read that carefully – a large number of gutters simply have a hole to the downspout that’s too small).  The downspouts and sump outlets should deposit water at least 10′ from the foundation where the grade slopes away from the house. (A corollary to this that I may cover later is that we usually don’t go over 20′ and we avoid tying multiple downspouts/sumps together!) I prefer to use 4″ PVC sub-grade to daylight wherever I can. Horizontal downspout extensions get stepped on by people with lawnmowers. Corrugated pipe extensions get knocked loose.  Houses where the ground slopes toward the house may need to use grading and landscaping to direct water to the sides.  Downspouts are often located in intractably stupid places, i.e. where water simply can’t be managed from the ground. Look up! Can you eliminate that downspout and pitch the gutter towards a different downspout? Can you redirect a substantial amount of water from an upper roof to an alternate downspout? At least half the homes I see have a significant opportunity to redirect water before it hits the ground.

One of the most effective ways to evaluate your drainage system is to walk around your house during a torrential rain. Look at every part of the system from the roof-flashing-gutter-downspout-drainage system. Does water pond against the house? Can you redirect it? 

For advanced diagnosticians, here are some handy tips for interpreting symptoms and the nomenclature of homeowners or techs: 

Efflorescence is characterized by salt deposits on the inside of masonry walls. This will form in areas with longstanding moisture problems, meaning the foundation is staying wet for a very long time. Check for water sources on the outside. I play a fun guessing game from inside the basement called ‘where are your downspouts? Oh, there they are!’  “My house has high water table.” = Water is getting into my basement and I don’t know why. “This whole neighborhood has high water table.” = My neighbors are idiots too.  “The water is coming in through the floor.” = I don’t know where the water is entering and I’ve confused the low point in my basement slab with the point of entry.

Hope someone finds this helpful!

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Thoughts on Blue Can Emergency Drinking Water?

I was doing some research on how to safely store a supply of emergency water in my vehicle. I am moving to a more tropical climate to start graduate school and temperatures there can climb quite high for the majority of the year, and because it’s a hurricane/flood zone it’s important to have a supply of emergency water in the vehicle in case I need to evacuate.

I have read through the Best Emergency Water Storage Containers for Your Home article by The Prepared team and I think it’s very well researched, but I have concerns about using the home storage containers recommended  (which are plastic) for months at a time in the incredibly high temperatures found in a car in the tropics. Even though it may not be super dangerous to my health to be drinking water stored in plastic at high temperatures for a long period of time in an emergency scenario, I’d still like to avoid it, and I worry about the plastic warping in the heat and losing it’s integrity. I was also looking for a method of water storage that was easy to grab and drink while driving, no pouring out of a larger, potentially heavy and bulky container required. 

I found Blue Can Premium Emergency Drinking Water on Amazon. It basically looks like a pack of aluminum soda cans, except they are filled with water that the Blue Can company claims has a shelf life of 50 years. Reviews on Amazon are quite mixed. It’s about $2 a can after tax and shipping. Does anyone have any experiences (good or bad) with using Blue Can Emergency Drinking Water in their preps? 

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Anyone have any experience with heated clothing?

Hi TP friends,

After Oregon’s snow/ice storms and multi-day power this past winter, my partner and I realized we needed to get serious about the implications of living in an on-grid, all-electric house in the event of a prolonged power outage during cold weather. We’re not stoked on generators for several reasons (Most prominent: We don’t want to have to store all that fuel; we don’t want to spend a ton of money on something we will be far less likely to need when we inevitably move), and we’ve been thinking about heated clothing as an alternative. My two main questions are: (1) “What brands are good quality?” (i.e., function reliably; won’t set us on fire), and (2) the more fundamental, “Is this even a good idea?”

Before you take a stab at (2), some context:

We live in western Oregon. It doesn’t get that cold. When it does get seriously cold, it doesn’t stay that way for long. We’re avid outdoorspersons. We have multiple sleeping bags, multiple down comforters, multiple down jackets, two tents, and a LOT of fleece and wool blankets and clothing. We can always heat water on a camping stove in the backyard for tea and hot water bottles. We also have a husky mix, who doubles as an XL, living hot water bottle. For all these reasons, I am very confident in our ability to create a space in our home where we can sleep comfortably on a cold night without heat. While I am confident in our ability to create a warm bed/blanket fort for ourselves in our house in winter without heat, I do not want to actually LIVE in said bed/blanket fort for the duration of a power outage. That would suck. We have friends who lived in a shipping container for two western Oregon winters while they were building their house. One of them bought a heated jacket to get through it. That’s where we got this possibly stupid idea. Both friends are, however, very much alive as of this writing.

So… thoughts? Experiences? Alternatives? Brand reccos? 

Thanks in advance…

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Booster shot / jab for already vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna

Good evening,

This is first article I’ve run across telling that the booster is “free”.

It’s administered 8 months after second primary shot / jab. Some medical sites say it’s best after 9 (nine) months.  Definitely check with your health care providers re 8 or 9 months. 

For me, I avoid driving in adverse winter weather so will factor this into my plans.

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Preparedness podcasts?

Hi all,

I’m curious as to whether any of you have any preparedness podcasts that you enjoy, or even singular podcast episodes — perhaps interviews with preparedness experts talking about what they have and do and why, scientists who have expertise relevant to natural disasters and response thereto, first responders, structural and civil engineers, or people who work in government on disaster readiness and response.

I like that The Prepared doesn’t pick sides politically and is focused on providing high quality information, so anything that is similar to this site in those dimensions would be especially appreciated. The one thing I’ve found so far that I like is “Getting Through It” with Dr. Lucy Jones, which is really interesting, but it’s a lot more about the social and natural science of disasters than how we prepare for them.

Thanks for any ideas!

[Edited to add: I’m asking because I often stay up too late sewing or reading preparedness-related content on the internet. Listening to preparedness-related content while sewing seems like it would be an efficiency gain.] Read More

Tips on working with FEMA for an insurance claim after a disaster?

I’ve been seeing a lot of media around the fact that FEMA actually accepts very few claims, very few claims are approved, and some folks have difficulty producing documents or getting a reasonable claim on lost property.

I live in a wildfire prone state.  Up until a year ago I would have said I wasn’t in a wildfire prone neighborhood, but the east suburbs of Portland, OR ended up with a fire close enough and big enough to take out some property and caused a large evacuation area. I live in the west suburbs so this felt like a close call.

So it got me thinking about how I would rebuild after a fire.  I have homeowner’s insurance I am going to look closely at, but I’m not sure yet if it would pay out if I lost my house to a wildfire.

Does anyone have the inside scoop on FEMA, getting through the process, documents needed, common errors, what kind of reimbursement to expect, etc?

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How have y’all improved or worked on your preps during lockdown?


Kindly let me know How have y’all improved or worked on your preps during a lockdown?

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“Domestic Preparedness” website good to subscribe to

Good morning,

The website “Domestic Preparedness” is a decent site to get on their mailing list.

Believe:   They’re out of Severna Park, Maryland … metro D.C. (the Swamp).

This week’s issue had an article re security lessons from Boston Marathon, the expansion of CDC, and “First Aid for Severe Trauma” (FAST).

Again, worth checking out. It could be of value to one’s prepper education.

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A review of finger splints

Good morning,

The above linked article good for both review and intro to subject.

I never gamble.  Risks: yes – just no gambling. Had I been a gambler of any sort, my definition of “trigger finger” would have involved Hopalong Cassiday, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and SFO’s Kitty Marcus, wife of Wyatt Earp.

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When have you become the first responder?

Just joined the forum after seeing ya’ll on CNN last night. I have been looking for a website with good information about emergency preparedness and it seems to have found me!

I’d like to hop in and introduce myself as Molly and ask a question. When have you had the chance to be a first responder to someone or a situation? Have you came across a car accident or stopped a child from choking on something?

I’ve always been intrigued with being prepared and able to help out others and save the day. I once saved my niece from drowning at a family BBQ. She was a decent swimmer but for some reason must have tuckered out and just went under the water. I went down and pulled her out and she sputtered some water and was afraid of the pool for the rest of the day, but she made it.

Thank you to everyone who comments and replies. 

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Austere First Aid video course trailer + 50% off preorders are live

Excited to share that we’ve just released the trailer and preorders for the Austere First Aid online video course we’ve been working on the last few months!

Check it out and preorder for only $59. Similar in-person courses cost $300-500 and take 5-7 days. Includes 90+ lessons, 7+ hours of video, downloadable references, and lifetime access with free future versions.

It’s the only online course of its kind, and there just aren’t many classes anywhere that teach you how to handle medical emergencies when you can’t depend on professional help to save you. 

Is this something you’re interested in? 

Full course will launch later this summer.

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AFA trailer thumb

Homesteading – how much does it cost?

Homesteading and equivalent self-sufficient scenarios where you have a few acres, dedicated water source, and the intention of being able to produce at least some of your own food/fuel seems to be one of the gold standards for practical, attainable prepping.

But I’m curious what the extra/unexpected costs are – now I know its a bit gauche to talk about money in this society, and to be honest if you’re fortunate enough to have millions to invest, some advice on higher cost items may not be practical those who don’t have millions to spare – still interested in your perspective on things to look out for, just might not be able to use all your advice is all!

So what’s actually involved, cost wise, in setting up a viable homestead?  I know costs vary wildly based on location but are there any rules of thumb?  For example when buying a “normal” house I was told “aim for something 2-3 times as expensive as your combined household income” as a reasonable mortgage.  Sure, the bank was willing to approve me for a loan for much more, but I was not interested in living pay-check to pay-check in order to live in a larger house.  I assume this applies to homesteading too, no point in buying the perfect place if the bank takes it from you because you can’t afford it or you can’t afford to buy seed/fertilizer/tools to make it useful.

So with that as the set up I started looking at Redfin listings just to get a wild ball park of what 5-10 acres would actually cost.  I was surprised at what I found as a couple random examples:

A 10 acre river-front luxury-oriented plot for 13 million (hah, well, it helps to set the upper and lower limits for an estimate!) A 9 acre wooded lot for 300K thats still somewhat close to the city a 20 acre plot a few hours away for $80k fairly far away from anything I’m familiar with At what point does land become cheap because its functionally useless? 100 acres in the middle of a desert with no water rights is probably not as useful, even if you can easily afford it?

The knee jerk reaction would be “get the large cheap one” but what realistic factors are involved, even assuming the *only* different was location (don’t focus on these three specific plots, I just had no idea what the price range was for land and wanted to put boundary conditions on the problem).

So what are the major costs?  I can imagine at least the following:

Building an actual home, anything from a tiny home to a mansion so costs could vary wildly – is there a good target range estimate? what if there aren’t local builders near by? What does it cost to add things like septic/well water where utilities may not exist?  How does an electric hookup work if the nearest residential power line isn’t close to your building site? What does it cost to build a road when one doesn’t exist? how expensive are things like site surveying, permitting, soil testing, etc? Transportation: if you buy far away and you don’t already have an off road car, do you need to buy one for unimproved roads with no snow plow service? Land improvement what does it cost to clear an acre or 3 of trees and roots? What does it cost for grading if land needs to be leveled? Agricultural start up costs realizing you can try and start small, learn slowly, what is a realistic range of tools/costs for building a self sufficient mini farm? storage sheds minimum viable tool/equipment set estimates What are the time costs – if you’re working a full time job, lets assume you can do so remotely (and also get high speed internet…) – how much time does it take to homestead?  If you expect to still work full time for a pay check, how does that impact your infrastructure expenses (say a log splitter and chain saw because you can’t spend all day using an axe, even if its cheaper)

To sort of tie this all together, I bet if I had a casual 20 million to spare I could pull something together easily (hah!).  I bet if I had a million I could probably make something work (I don’t, though).  If I got a loan for half a million I probably have options, but perhaps only a smaller/more remote option to really make it work?  If I could only finance 200-300K, am I SOL or at risk of living pay check to pay check?

I can research these individually but it seems like there are a whole lot of variables to factor so curious what I’m missing and if there are any shortcuts?

I’m also really interested in all the extra costs you don’t think of, for instance, a rural trash service, or a PO Box, I’ve even heard of air-ambulance insurance if you need to be flown to a hospital in an emergency from your remote farm (is that just a rich people thing?).

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Bugging IN or OUT your response times matter

Bug In or out , your response times matter.

Think about it, we nearly all have well sorted INCH, BOB or GHBs and plans on what to do it the balloon goes up, but have you considered your RESPONSE times in relation to Getting Out Of Town / Getting home/ Evacuating in the context of what everyone else is doing at the same time.

Lets consider a few examples of thev worst kind first before looking at more likely issues.

1 Cascadia / San Andreas. If you live close to the coast you could have as little as five minutes to react to a tsunami hitting places like Coastal Oregon / Washington and an average of roughly 12 to 25 minutes in So Cal. But remember the footage from Anchorage in the 60s when the same fault let rip, the first thing that went out was the bridges and roads as huge landslides blocked roads, bridges collapsed and in places roads split and rose or fell by 30 meters so you need to explore all options including such things as heading to the upper floors of tower blocks and Multi story Car Parks insead of joining the masses running away from the sea.

2 Depending where you live if the Volcano on Gran Canaria erupted and that huge chunk of mountainside fell into the ocean you could have up to 3 hours to get out to safety in Northern Europe and FIVE hours on the East Coast of the US, but consider the blind panic as New York, Boston etc Galveston, New Orleans, Miami and the Keys etc all tried to get inland in five hours ?. 

During H Andrew when the target area had DAYS of warning many left it late to move to safer ground inland, Gridlock ensued and one well documented Prepper families efforts were for nothing. They left 12 hours before the storm was due to hit in a fully prepped BOV with full tanks and extra jerry cans, But because of the huge volume of traffic they found themselves crawling along at 5 MPH for 14 hours and ran out of fuel in the middle of nowheresville Georgia. Imagine all of the lowlanders of SE England trying to head west and north in a blind panic with the news that the tsunami is only 3 hours away.

3 Slipping down the scale of dramatic effect a bit if we had another perfect storm of the type that caused so much damage to the UK east coast in 1953 where nearly 3000 Brits and Dutch drowned often in their homes. Today sea levels are higher, population density is FAR higher today and only certain key coastal and riverine defences like the Thames barrier are fully maintained. Another storm like the 1953 storm if it broke through the defences could kill upwards of 50,000 people and deluge much of London and the area around the Thames estuary. Can you imagine 9.3 million Londoners trying to leave the area in a hurry and most would not try to get out until the barriers started to fail. Only ONE van leaking diesel in the Blackhall tunnel recently during rush hour caused traffic jams over 10 miles long and delays of up to 5 hours across a huge area, so a couple of minor crashes, people running out of fuel etc and hundreds of thousands will be stranded with no room for manoeuvre. Oh and in 1953 we still have a huge CIVIL DEFENCE program of equipment and staff to help rescue efforts ALL now long disbanded.

I wrote this BEFORE the Covid Outbreak of 2020.

4 So imagine a Spanish flu outbreal like the one in 1918 hitting London, crippling essential services or an EMP or Carrington event hitting the country and suddenly the power is gone, not only have your cities lost their electricity but their street lights, traffic lights, cell phones, land lines, refrigeration, tube trains, trams, water , gas and sewage supplies, check out tills and credit card readers, cash points, lifts, flood barriers power to houses and shops. Imagine the Carrington event happening in a bad winter?

5 The HUGE firestorms that raced across both California and Australia in the last few years, that in some cases the fires were reported to travel faster than a speeding vehicle..

6 Mass urban civil unrest and rioting looting and arson in the US in 2020, often the law enforcement agencies stood aside and did nothing. Think about people living OVER or NEXT to shops and businesses being looted. OR Imagine living along a route between shopping centres and business districts.

It could even be the arrival of MILLIONS of desperate migrants overwhelming the authorities and pouring into the country in huge numbers collapsing our entire social welfare infrastructure and looting, stealing and rioting. The EU has found itself totally unable to stop 2 million migrants from surging across Europe, And in the US Trumps wall looks likely to be abandoned because of a change in the administration. 

Imagine any given scenario where you need to get home QUICK or bug out QUICK I am sure most if not all of us have our plans in place regardless of how minor, melodramatic or massive they are, but have you considered all the potential obstacles in your way from blocked roads, refugees, road blocks, strikers, terrorist activity, riots by migrants creating no go areas, collapsed bridges, traffic jams, YOUR vehicle breaking down AND the realisation that your allotted times for getting out of town turn out to be far shorter than you planned for. Consider Alternative routes, Consider alternative responses, Consider the suitability of your current kit to deal with varying situations and far shorter reaction times. Consider ensuring you have TV and Radios with the ability to switch to breaking news broadcasts if something happens.

Oh and never forget its the preppers who are best informed who can react quickly to take advantage of the various APPS and Tickers you can get for your PCs and Cell phones that instantly send breaking news to you as it happens.

PreWARNED is as good as being prePARED.

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