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How would you prep with an EV?


I was listening to the radio this morning and they were interviewing a Norwegian pop star about a campaign in the 1980’s to promote electric vehicles. 

During the piece they mentioned that the Norwegian government has plans to phase out sales of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2027 (just 4 years time). Many other nations in Europe have similar plans.

This got me thinking about how this would effect preparedness, especially as my own country is looking at rolling blackouts and I had just been researching what times and days I was likely to be without power.

If you have a diesel or petrol vehicle it’s possible to keep extra fuel for those ‘just in case’ scenarios BUT what would you do instead if you had an Electric vehicle?

I’m interested to hear what you do if you have an EV or would do! 

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FDA guidance on taking potassium iodide after a nuclear bomb goes off

Many people’s minds are on nuclear war, radiation, and how to survive such a catastrophic event. Wanting to filter out the fact from fiction and the fear mongering from the rational way to prepare, I looked for a reputable resource on what to do.

Click here to read the entire FAQ by the FDA about potassium iodide, but I will sum things up below.

What does potassium iodide (KI) do?
KI reduces the risk of thyroid cancer in people who inhale or ingest radioiodines by flooding the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine and prevents the thyroid from taking on the bad radioactive kind. The non-radioactive iodine then is excreted in the urine.
My opinion – This pill won’t stop radiation from getting into your body. And if you shelter in place, have good filtered air, and aren’t eating or drinking things that have been outside and exposed to the radiation, then there really isn’t any point to take KI.

Who really needs to take potassium iodide (KI) after a nuclear radiation release?
The FDA says that infants, children, and pregnant/nursing women are at the highest risk of developing radioiodine-induced thyroid cancer and should be given priority if a limited number of KI is available. And they should be properly dosed as explained later. Anyone over 40 should only be treated if they are expected to receive a very high dose of radiation that would destroy their thyroid and induce lifelong hypothyroidism (thyroid deficiency).

What potassium iodide (KI) products are currently available?
These are the only FDA approved KI products on the market

iOSAT tablets, 130mg, from Anbex, Inc. iOSAT tablets, 65mg, from Anbex, Inc. ThyroSafe tablets, 65mg, from BTG INTERNATIONAL, Inc. Potassium Iodide Oral Solution USP, 65mg/mL, from Mission Pharmacal Company

Below is a chart with dosing depending on which above product you have. This would be good to print and store with whatever KI product you have. See the full post in the link above for a better view of this chart.

When and for how long should I take potassium iodide (KI)? 
Don’t take KI as a preventative before radiation exposure. If there is a radiological event, officials will tell the public if there is a need to take KI. KI is best used within 3-4 hours of exposure, so you do have some time. Taking a higher dose of KI than is recommended in the chart above doesn’t give you more protection, your thyroid can only hold onto so much iodine and extra in your system will cause illness or death. KI protects for 24 hours, so take the above recommended dose daily until officials tell you the threat is over.

Should I buy potassium iodide (KI) to keep on hand
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends that those within 10-miles of a nuclear power plant have some KI on hand.
My opinion – If you live within 15 miles of a potential nuclear target, I would possibly consider it.

My summary – Sounds like only certain people are recommended to have KI and only if they use it properly and are exposed to certain amounts of radiation. It isn’t a magic pill that lets you then walk around in the nuclear wasteland and is more limited than many of us probably think it is. Still, preventing thyroid cancer is something to think about.

Read the entire FDA guide for more info, better details, and which people are not recommended to take KI.

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Ways of heating a MA apartment without electricity?

I am prepping for a winter power outage in Massachusetts. I live in an apartment with central heating that depends on electricity, so I need a way to keep warm when the power goes out. Looking at the article about emergency heating, it seems that a portable propane heater is recommended for indoor heating. However, I don’t know how to effectively prevent carbon monoxide buildup while using one indoors. Another concern is that I heard that it’s dangerous to store propane indoors, and I’m pretty sure someone will steal my propane if I leave it on the porch. So, I have a few questions about heating my apartment without electricity:

Would I realistically be able to use a portable heater in my apartment without dying from carbon monoxide? Would cracking open a window provide enough ventilation without the risk of carbon monoxide buildup, and how possible is this during a snowstorm? How would I store the propane? What’s the most cost-effective way of prepping for at least 2 weeks when using a propane heater? Assuming that a 1 lb propane canister lasts 6 hours, I would need a lot of canisters to heat my space for 2 weeks. Other than using a propane heater, what would be some other ways of keeping my space warm? Read More

Saw this great twitter thread about the “San Francisco Seawallpocalypse”

Hello all! This is my first post after lurking for a couple months. I just saw this great twitter thread about the seawall situation in SF and thought I would post it here. Really fascinating.

Earthquake today is a good reminder of the pending-urban-disaster-no-one-talks-about:

San Francisco Seawallpocalypse! 🌊💀🔥


— fry (@anniefryman) October 25, 2022

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Lessons from the Great Shakeout

The only accurately predicted earthquake occurred on Oct 20th at 10:20am.  And it happens every year.  It’s the Great Shakeout earthquake drill exercise.  My workplace participates and this year did the full “Drop, Cover, and Hold-On” through evacuation and assembly in a location away from buildings with personnel accounting.  We’ve participated this before, but this was the first since the pandemic and we have partial teleworking now.  Lessons I noted:

No clear leadership in emergency preparedness at my workplace.  I am a volunteer who helps with evacuation communication and personnel accounting for the floor of my office building.  As such, I get a bit more information on the planning for these events.  Months ago, I gently asked questions and made simple suggestions for clarification of assembly areas (many buildings were sent to a very large parking lot).  This was pushed off to individual buildings to address but eventually did get some help the week before the shakeout. Expectations and scenarios weren’t communicated.  The assembly area for my building is outside an entry gate, but the path that we were told to use was unintuitive and circuitous.  Not one that anyone would take on a normal day.  I had no idea that was the expected path.  It confused everyone.  And then, the plans for what happened after accounting completed were never mentioned in prep, or during execution.  So we know where to go, but then what?  I personally mentioned to my cohort that in the event of a real earthquake, we would be sent home from this assembly area without re-entering any buildings (which must be inspected for safety).  If you don’t have your car keys with you, you’re not driving home.  Overall, I received more questions than I could answer – like if the new parking garage would be inspected early so folks could get to their cars. The post pandemic teleworking reality has not been addressed.  The processes that are in place were developed when everyone was on-site.  Many people were working from home which creates a new challenge for how to determine if someone is still in a building needing help. Emergency preparedness is not well funded at my workplace.  It is a large campus-like facility with many buildings and its own security and fire department.  All other support is volunteer, including a Disaster and Rescue Team, Urban Search and Rescue team, and the building and floor accounting volunteers – called Fire Marshalls or Wardens. I didn’t test my personal earthquake plans like contacting my husband.  He also works where I do, and our assembly areas are not co-located.

Overall, I think this was more of a missed opportunity.  Yes we participated, and some folks will have learned lessons, but clear guidance, goals, and process are lacking and could have been started beforehand to practice.  I’ve not yet heard what outcome the institution reports from it.

Did anyone else participate who is willing to share their experience?

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Too cold, too hot – are you prepared

Many European countries are ordering government buildings and others to limit their air conditioning thermostat to 77F and heat to 66F. It’s not clear how they can enforce these limits aside from astronomical electricity prices.

But if electricity prices rose dramatically and you were forced to implement something like this what would be the impact to you? How would you prepare or react?

In my case, we keep the AC at 74F during the day and night. In the winter we set heat to 72F but turn it off around 9pm and back on at 4:30am. It is no lower than 50F at 4:30am and we believe we sleep much better in a cool room.

I work at home permanently now and my ‘office’ is next to the garage and on a concrete slab. The room is not very efficient and it’s near 80F in the summer so I use a fan. The drawbacks are I tend to get heat rash and I need a shower at the end of the day.

In the winter, the floor of this room is very cold and the room is usually in the low 60’s. I use a closed-cell foam pad to keep my feet warm, wear a vest and a hat.

My concerns for the coming winter have less to do with the recommended range of temperatures and more with the reliability of power.

How will you adjust? How will our European members adjust?

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Survival Drill – Escape from quarantine

You are working in a large drug manufacturing complex when a a virus escapes. The facility is quarantined. Can you find the anti-viral drug and escape before you are infected?

We’ll be playing this Endure-style game on Friday, Oct 14, at 8pm CST / 9pm EST. No experience needed – anyone can join. Come 15 minutes early if you need help getting setup, especially with Discord’s audio chat.

Try to arrive on time, but it’s still possible to join after the game has started. Players arriving late will start at a disadvantage and will have some inventory items chosen for them.

Endure is about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and surviving in a harsh situation. You are not a hero – just a regular person trying to deal with a bad situation. And you’ll be part of a team of TPers trying to get through it together.

Optional: Create a Character

Endure characters have a background (who are you), an asset (skill or knowledge), and a trouble (weakness, disability, or flaw). You can create a character based on yourself, create a fictional character, or accept a pre-made character when you arrive.

Join us on Discord, find more information in the “#prepper-chat-night > Game Night” thread, and let us know you’ll be joining.

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Case study: Long-term food storage without electricity

A fascinating case study in survival and preparedness.  What are your takeaways?

Climate Change Comes for the Freezers, a Key Tool for Alaska Natives

Threatened by stronger storms and a melting permafrost, Indigenous Alaskans are grappling with how to keep the power running to their freezers, which store their traditional subsistence foods.

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How to prepare for jury duty

I just went through the jury duty process and wanted to share my experience and the things I wish I had known before that would have made it a much smoother process. This is all based off of my experience for the court that I went to and things may be different for you in your area.

Getting your summons. When you get your jury duty summons in the mail, look at the date and make sure you are able to attend. If you have a trip to Europe booked or a surgery scheduled around that time you may want to request a postponement. In my state, you can submit a request to postpone jury duty for another time period within the next 6 months, but you do have to show up that day and can’t postpone again. After that, inform your employer of your scheduled jury duty date so they have proper coverage during that time.

The night before. In my area, you are supposed to call the courthouse the night before your scheduled appearance and an automated system will then inform you if you are to come in or not. One time I called in and it was canceled, so I didn’t have to go after all. Get to bed early and lay out your clothes, breakfast, and a lunch you can bring. In the picture up above, everyone is nicely dressed, but in the jury duty I went to people were in normal casual street clothes. My recommendation is to dress nice, but comfortably.

The day of jury duty. When you arrive you will show your jury duty summons (your ticket to get in), and go through metal detectors. Make sure you left your knives, pepper spray, guns, and whatever else at home. Bring a book to read. After I arrived they had us wait for about three hours before they got started. You could dabble on your phone, but in general they don’t like phones on in courts because they are distracting, you could be looking up information on the case, or you could be recording the proceedings. All of these could get you in trouble and the judge can give you a contempt of court charge or the entire case might go into mistrial. Turn your phone off and bring a book or newspaper to read. Also bring a jacket. Even though it was in the 90’s outside, they cranked up the air conditioning inside and everyone was freezing, including myself. In the courtroom I went to I was permitted a closed water bottle, but no food. So leave your food in your car and have that during the lunch break, and only sip on the water, because they do give you bathroom breaks, but if you really have to go, you don’t want to hold up the entire court if they are in the middle of something.

Jury selection. There were about 100 of us selected and eventually that gets whittled down to 12 jurors and 3 alternative backups. They will ask you a series of questions to see if you are going to be a good choice to be on the jury and will be fair and impartial. If the upcoming trial is only going to be a day or two, they probably won’t ask a lot of questions but the trial I was scheduled for was going to go on for three weeks because it was a pretty serious crime. So voice any issues you may have of sitting in on a jury during that time period. Things such as being a member of law enforcement, being a victim of a similar crime, or even being a single mother of five children with no options for child care could get you excused.

Pros and cons of serving on a jury. Most likely if you are reading this you are a citizen of the United States and are subject to receiving a jury summons. The Constitution gives us this great privilege to be judged by our peers and not just a judge. So being able to serve my community in this way was something I was looking forward to. There are some hardships that come with it however. In my state, your employer is supposed to pay you for the first three days of jury duty, but after that the court will give you $50 a day. If I had been selected for that three week trial then that would have put some serious hardship on my family if I only made $50 a day. Have some emergency savings that you can live off of if you have to go through a trial like this. If you are a business owner, set procedures in place to have various shifts covered if one of your employees has to go through this. One poor lady there had previously served on a federal jury for 18 months! I don’t know how if payment was different for her, but could you live on $50/day for 18 months? That’s when tapping into savings and food storage would be helpful.

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Brushfire information resources

A brushfire started very near my home this afternoon while I was at work. Luckily, a neighbor was home and alerted me.  I am fortunate enough to have the flexibility to return home, work from there and monitor the situation.  I have Fire Department alerts to email but don’t check my personal email often during the workday.  No other alert was raised as evacuations have not been declared yet. So I have some work to get better alerts. In a couple hours the fire went from 5 to 107 acres and had the wind stayed in its original direction, an evacuation would have been more likely for my neighborhood.  But luck was on our side today, and the wind changed to away from homes.  There are 4 helicopters and I don’t know how many firefighters. It’s looking like they’re succeeding in containment based on the reduction in smoke and frequency of helicopter flyovers.

These resources were quite helpful in assessing the fire as it had not yet made the news:

Local Fire Department alerts – once I heard, I could check my email and see a map pin that was near (but also from experience not ON) the fire location. Satellite map of potential fires – zoom to your location.  The squares grew over time. Live tracking of aircraft website. If you click on a helicopter it will show the recent flight path. That showed the water pickup to dump location loop. Quite helpful. Live tracking of wind direction website – indicates the direction the fire may move. MyRadar phone app.  @eric has shared this for fires.  For this event, it’s not showing this fire, or it’s in the wrong spot.

This appears to have been a near miss for me so far.  And an opportunity to learn how to be better prepared for next time.

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What to do about a personal data leak or breach – Before and After

This recent news roundup mentioned that the state of California has leaked and mishandled data on thousands of gun owners. This has come up before. Data leaks and breaches always seem frustrating and sad. While I would love to see strict penalties for poor security and mishandling that lead to data leaks and exposure, this also got me thinking – what _can_ we do to prepare for or prevent a personal data leak?

The Prepared site has excellent articles and forum posts on general digital security and preparedness. But what about data breaches specifically? Here are some intro steps from a bit of light research:

What to do before and after a data breach:


Use encrypted text messages. Install Signal – the most secure, open source, encrypted text messaging app. Keep your data private. You can use Signal for all texts on your phone – it will simply use encryption with anyone else who also has Signal, but still send regular text messages to those who do not. Then you can invite them to improve their texting too. Use a password manager. Don’t store your sensitive information inside emails etc. Don’t give out your Social Security Number (SSN). Or other very sensitive info. This may depend on geography. In North America there are usually only two places that need to know about your SSN: Your employer (so you can get paid), and your bank. That is it. Many other places try to ask and get this information. Tell them no. Often you may find them sheepishly admit the information was “optional”, and they will back down. Sign up your email address at . This is an interesting website that monitors data breaches and will email you if it finds that your email address has been included in a data leak. A good way to at least be aware that your information may have been exposed. Get a backup credit card and/or bank account. If you have the ability, having one main credit card but also a backup card can help to ensure you still have a way to operate or pay your bills if your main card is stolen or compromised. Likewise – opening two different bank accounts at different _types_ of institutions with different risk profiles – e.g. one large national bank and one local credit union. Storing some funds in each can help to make sure you still have access to some of your money. Keep some cash on hand. So you can keep operating even if everything goes down. Freeze and set a PIN on your credit file. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will let you set a PIN – like a password – that must be used to unfreeze your credit account. This should prevent or make it more difficult for anyone to take out a loan in your name or otherwise access your credit. If you want to take out a loan or apply for credit yourself, you can simply call them with the PIN to unfreeze, and then re-freeze your account. Get and read your own credit report every six months. This can be a painful process, but the three firms above should let you get a free copy of your own credit report. Emphasis on free: they are not allowed to charge for it. However, they often make this intentionally difficult and confusing by adding many “upgrade” tiers and options, and changing the name to things like “consumer disclosure report” instead. Checking your report e.g. every six months can help you to spot if anyone used or tried to use your credit account. Consider credit- or identity-protection. I am wary of these services and have never tried them. I am not sure how much they actually help in the event anything happens. Would love to hear from anyone who has had good or bad experiences with identity protection.


Call the company or organization and confirm whether your data was included in the breach or leak. Find out what type of data was affected. If your credit card info was leaked, you probably want to call your credit card company to cancel and replace the card. See if the company now offers help, or offers free identity protection after the fact. They may be able to help you get back to normal. Change the password on any accounts that were affected.

What other ideas or actions can you think of?


Forum post “Getting Weekly Credit Reports”. Thanks to community member Supersonic for posting.,news-18007.html Read More

If we prep skills, we should also prep to trade them

A post I saw elsewhere got me thinking about this. We talk a lot about acquiring useful skills for a crisis, but if we are really well prepared, we should also prepare to engage in the trade of services (and goods) in a sustained situation. I don’t just mean being available to help others, but actually planning to establish a tradeable service as part of your prep. 

People can’t stay isolated forever, and they will need help from others, not just stuff. Plus–as we know from basic economics–trade improves social relations and amplifies human capital in groups. Some examples that have occurred to me:

– Get the most extensive first aid skills you can, and plan to set up a small minor-injuries clinic; have tons of extra medical supplies and something you can set up into an exam table. 

– Set up a small daycare

– Offer to clean and break down game for others

– Security services

– Psychological support

– Equipment repair

You could trade these for cash, goods, or other services. I think this is important because you can’t possibly acquire every necessary skill. Since most of us are in cities or even rural areas that aren’t super isolated, should this be something we discuss more? When I started thinking about the services I could offer, I started feeling less worried about all the shortfalls in my current preparedness. I’m interested in your thoughts.

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Wake up call – Have cash on hand in case your bank card gets suspended

wake up call

Some friends visited us early this year and had just received news from their bank that their bank cards had just been suspended due some one else trying to use them but do not worry  they will receive new cards in a week, so here they are 100 k [65 miles] from home not enough fuel in their car and very little food in their house so I lent them enough cash to fill up with fuel and food and also showed them some of my preps. 2 months ago we visited them and what a difference he showed me the cupboards in their kitchen completely full same with the cupboards in the bathroom and laundry , in the garage was a new chest freezer completely full, in the garden was a new poly tunnel with raised beds to grow vegetables solar panels on roof and much more. They will not be caught out again lesson learnt .

I know during the pandemic cards where more preferred than cash but some people want to do away with cash altogether which to me the above is a good example why we should not .

I know some European countries it is almost impossible to use cash so people have to rely on the banks which to me is crazy who in there right mind would trust banks to do the right thing

keep on prepping


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Endure: A tabletop RPG for preppers

Heya everyone! I wanted to share something cool I found that we could use to test out or even just play around in hypothetical scenarios. It’s a rules-lite, pay-what-you-want Tabletop Roleplaying Game known as Endure. You can find it here!

The basic idea of it is that you are an average person caught in a Crisis Scenario. This isn’t The Division, where you’re essentially a super soldier putting the world together one city block at a time. No, I’d say it feels more like The Long Dark or The Last of Us. You can also set the game in whatever time period or setting you want, as long as you’re surviving a Crisis.

All you need to play this game is two six-sided dice. No complex character sheets, no battle maps, none of that. I like this because it leaves the game open for Players and GMs to tell the story they want to without being confined to a framework. The only thing I don’t like about it is that combat isn’t explained very well, as they just advise avoiding it if you can. While that makes sense, a little more on the subject would be nice.

Regardless, I hope y’all find this game interesting!

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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.

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See you later Alligator! – How to avoid and survive an attack

Cute little guy, but also slightly frightening…

I am hoping to visit Florida later this year but have been worried by seeing one too many news articles of people being attacked by alligators. After some research though (which I’m sharing below), I’ve come to the conclusion that attacks are rare and can be mostly avoided by taking a few steps. I’ve seen quite a few people on this forum from the southeast, so please share any additional experience you have.

Florida man killed in possible alligator attack while searching lake for Frisbees  –

Quick summary: Man was out late at night looking for frisbees along a lake and gets attacked by an alligator. Another person finds his body the next morning.

Lessons learned: Don’t walk around bodies of water at night when your visibility is limited and alligators are more active. If you NEED to go around water at night, wear a headlamp and look around for glowing eyes reflecting back at you.

This person also was known to frequent the park and disregard the posted “No Swimming” signs. So follow the rules.

An alligator killed a person near Myrtle Beach in South Carolina –

Quick summary: Not too many details here except that the person died near a retention pond.

Lessons learned: So even shallow and man made bodies of water can have alligators.

Woman killed by gator on Kiawah Island was ‘fascinated,’ took pictures before attack –

Quick summary: Lady sees a alligator in the pond of a friends house and goes out to take pictures of it. Her friend warns her that the alligator grabbed a deer from that spot the other day and the lady just ignores her and says “I don’t look like a deer.” The lady then goes in to touch the alligator and it grabs and pulls her into the water. The husband of the friend grabs a rope and throws it to her to try and pull her out but the alligator got her to waist deep water and rolled pulling her down and killing her.

Lessons learned: Pretty obvious here to most. Don’t get near alligators, don’t try and pet them. If you are trying to save someone who is being pulled in by one then do what these guys did and throw a rope and don’t go in yourself.

After SC’s 2nd fatal alligator attack in 2 years, incidents remain rare, authorities stress

Quick summary: Lady walks her dog near the water’s edge and the alligator lunges out to eat the dog but only grabs the leash. The lady is able to unhook the dog’s collar but the alligator then pulls her in.

Lessons learned: Again, stay away from the water’s edge in places where alligators might live.

Coroner ID’s mother, 2 young children killed after car hits alligator on I-95

Quick summary: Mother and two young children hit an alligator crossing the road and then crash their car and die.

Lessons learned: They can even get you on the highways. Drive slow, especially around blind corners and hills.

A Florida Girl Survived an Alligator’s Attack by Shoving Her Fingers Up Its Nostrils

Quick summary: Finally a good story. 10 year old girl sitting in some shallow water is bit by an alligator. She thumps it on the head and nothing happens. She then remembers a survival technique she learned when visiting Gatorland and stuck her fingers into it’s nostrils which caused the alligator to open it’s mouth.

Lessons learned: Pick a alligator’s nose if it bites you.

Here’s some comedic ways to deal with alligators/crocodiles. (not recommended):

Hit them over the head with a frying pan 

Get them into a trash can

How to avoid an attack:

These are the areas where the American alligator live

Above image source

From what I learned, there are some crocodiles in Florida, but they are rare and the main threat you are likely to encounter in the USA is the American Alligator. Still, tips on how to avoid them should be about the same.

From CNN article –

Spring to early summer is mating season and protective mothers watch over their eggs hatching in September and October. Winter is the safest season because it is cold and they aren’t doing a whole lot.

When temperatures start settling into the 80s (27 Celsius), gators become mostly nocturnal. So it’s best to avoid that refreshing night dip in unknown waters when it’s hot.

Don’t feed, bother, or provoke alligators. Feeding them is bad because it makes them associate humans with food.

Avoid heavy vegetation near the water’s edge where they might be nesting or waiting.

If you are attacked, try poking the eyes or sides of the mouth. If you are on land, avoid the myth of running in a zig-zag and just run in a straight line. If you are caught in the famous death roll, try and roll with it to reduce tearing of your limbs.

From –

Check for ripples in the water, look for backs, eyes, or snouts sticking above the surface. They are most likely to be near the shoreline, in shallow areas, and in weedy areas.

If you hear this sound near your area, avoid it.

Although, they most likely are going to be silent and stealthy when stalking their prey.

Fight back by punching, kicking, and poking it’s eyes. Try and stuff objects like a life jacket into it’s mouth and trigger its gag reflex.

If you are swimming in the water and see an alligator swimming by, remain calm and stay as still as possible to not draw attention to yourself.

The Legend himself

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Alligator smile

Drop, cover, and hold on? Maybe not— esp. if you’re in the PNW!

I almost never read an article about earthquakes and feel like I learned a substantial new thing that will change my approach to preparedness, but this one, sent to me by a geologist friend this afternoon, was an exception. Also cool because it vindicates the generally-useful-for-preppers idea of “situational awareness”. 

Citation: Goldfinger, G., 2022, Opinion: When the next Cascadia megaquake strikes, here’s what I’ll do, Temblor,

Chris Goldfinger is a professor at OSU and one of the leading authorities on the Cascadia Subduction Zone— he did some of the research that demonstrated that it has unleashed megaquakes in the past (and will do so in the future)— so I take his thoughts seriously!


The conventional wisdom on what to do when you feel ground shaking is “drop, cover, and hold on.” This makes sense in places that don’t have an earthquake early warning system, where earthquakes tend to be smaller (M5-7 instead of M8-9), and where most of the buildings are engineered to withstand that magnitude of quake. Given virtually no warning and low likelihood that the building you’re in will collapse, it’s smart to get under the nearest table, as fast as you can, and protect yourself from objects rocketing off walls and shelves. If you try to get outside, you’ll probably be thrown to the ground by the force of the quake or fall on the stairs, and if you do make it outside, then you’re exposed to falling bricks and signs, shattering glass, etc.

BUT in a big subduction zone earthquake, if you’re decently far away from the rupture (which you’ll likely be, because the rupture happens offshore), the faster but weaker P-waves will arrive significantly (i.e., maybe 45-60 seconds!) in advance of the stronger surface waves, which means you get a warning in the form of lighter shaking. Throw an early warning system (which the West Coast now has) on top of that and you might have 2-3 minutes of notice before the really violent shaking starts— enough to get out of the building you’re in, if you’re on one of the lower floors.

The article describes how, in some places— especially those with big earthquakes, buildings prone to collapse in them, and early warning systems, e.g., Mexico City— this understanding has been incorporated into earthquake preparedness for a long time, and in lieu of a simplistic “Drop cover and hold on” directive (which in the U.S. may be more of a cultural holdover from Cold War nuclear strike drills than anything else— to the extent that it’s efficacy in earthquakes is backed by data, they seem to be the wrong data!), preparedness advice is more contingent on the setting.

Goldfinger advocates a “situational awareness” approach, in which the messaging is more nuanced and reflective of the reality that the best thing to do depends on where you are. While this lacks the simplicity (and ease of recall) of DCHO, more and more entities, including the government of Israel and a school district in the Portland suburbs, seem to be moving away from one size fits all directives toward this model.

My thoughts:

“Situational awareness” seems like the best approach for organizations that are housed in one building: You still give your employees/attendees/students one directive, but it’s tailored to the structure. Downside is that saying, “In case of an earthquake, evacuate,” is essentially the same as saying, “This building is crap”— especially to a public that is used to hearing these differing directions and will increasingly understand why they differ. Without accompanying policy change (and it would have to be well-designed policy), we might see messaging that is more about preserving the users’ sense of safety in the building (and desire to return to it) than it is about informing people of hazards.

Situational awareness will also be much harder for individuals to implement than organizations. After all, we go in and out of buildings all the time without knowing their construction and retrofit history. Most people won’t pay attention or care, and those of us who do care will still be making educated guesses. That said, I’ve been making educated guesses about the seismic resilience of buildings for years— I just didn’t have anything to do with the information (unless you count being more or less nervous about going to this doctor’s appointment or that meeting as “doing something”). Now when I go into a building that I don’t like the look of, I can scan the exterior for fall hazards and pay attention to how long it takes me to get to where I’m going within the building from the entry, and have a sense of whether or not to run when the P-waves hit.

Hope others find it as interesting as I did!!

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The basic model my family uses for planning to Shelter in place vs Bug out

I’ve been a prepper for a long time and developed my plans before finding The Prepared. It feels good knowing that the plans we developed on our own mirror much of the officially recommended plans on this site. I’m thankful for this community and thought it might be helpful to share my personal version of our plans.

Lately I’ve been sleeping (somewhat) better, because I’m using the pandemic as a driver to review and update Go-Bags for the three adults living in our home. In addition to straight “physical survival” I’m giving a nod to Maslow and building in some “psychological comfort” as I work my way through this exercise. Staying grounded and sane can be critical during an emergency, and also go a long way toward helping you recover after one.

During an emergency our “Primary Plan” is to shelter-in-place in our home. We’re well equipped and prepared to stay in place for weeks. But we know we can’t count on that option, and we might have to leave in a hurry. So we have an “Alternate Plan” and that’s where the Go-Bags are essential. (We also have “Contingency” and “Survival” plans, but that discussion is for another time.)

Planning for an emergency is a vital step in stocking a Go-Bag that will fit your personal needs. I’ve found it’s a big plus to think about “what might happen? what am I preparing for?” When you’re planning, think of the ASSUMPTIONS you’re making (“I’ll be able to drive my car 30 miles to get out of the city and reach my brother’s home”) and CONTINGENCIES (“I might have to spend the next 12 hours in my car because the highway is blocked”).

To help you develop your personal plan (and your Go-Bags), I talk about my family and the scenarios that we’re working to prepare for, with a focus on the “Alternate Plan.” For the most part, I’m NOT going to tell you what to put in your bag; solid info on that subject is available on this site. 

My goal in being prepared is to help reduce the impact of an emergency on my family, friends, and neighbors. What kind of emergency? Well, that’s where my “scenarios” help me out, and that’s the focus of this post. 

Another thing to keep in mind is your location: mine is the Pacific Northwest. We’ve had a few earthquakes (and a volcano eruption) since I moved here so I know “seismic shift” is a risk for us; if you live in the Midwest you may focus your prepping on tornadoes; if you live near water you may need to prep for floods; and if you live in the SE USA naturally you’ll think about hurricanes.

Here are the possible situations that I think about when I’m prepping. They’re in descending order from “most likely and simplest to prepare for.” I live in a house that I own; in an apartment or a condo you may need different solutions.

Scenario #1: Shelter in place (“minor crisis”)

Our family typically experience one or more of these scenarios every year.

There are significant challenges in your region: a weather event or minor earthquake causes a power-outage or conditions that threaten the supply chain. After evaluating the situation, you conclude your best option is to stay home. You will need food, water, heat, meds, and a plan for self-defense. You may want to draw on your Go Bags to sustain you – or you may choose to keep them intact in case you need to GO.

A generator & fuel, a well-stocked pantry, cash in smaller denomination bills, a back-up source of heat in cooler months, and accessible tools will directly make a difference on your level of comfort and safety. Plan for at least two weeks. Try to keep a low profile while you shelter in place; anticipate that people who did NOT plan ahead will be in your neighborhood.

Scenario #2: Short time away from home with indoor shelter available (“significant crisis”)

We’ve only had a few of these scenarios in 40 years.

You need to leave your home because a minor earthquake makes it uninhabitable, or a local environmental issue pushes you out, or you need to go the ER and can’t be sure when you’ll return. You might shelter with a member of your family, or in a public shelter, or in a hospital.

This is a situation where you expect to travel in your own vehicle or walk a short distance to get a ride, spend most of your time INDOORS, be SECURE from harm, and have support from others including water, food, blankets, and a place to sleep. This is NOT about extended travel by foot or for outdoor-living survival situations. Wear comfortable clothing: scrub pants, long sleeve top, a zip-up fleece hoodie, and a baseball hat (to shield eyes).

Important: If communication channels are not working, leave a written message in a previously-agreed-to onsite secure location that will tell family/friends where you plan to go.

Keep in mind that when you are in public spaces, like a shelter, anything you have may become lost, contaminated, or taken from you. Firearms might not be allowed either.

For this scenario, I make sure that our go-bags have copies of all important documents; for all three of my family-members I carry scans on a thumb-drive AND hard-copy: medical info, family and friends contact info, driver’s license, passport, veteran’s ID and VA ID, Medicare card, a list of passwords, bank & insurance info – you take it from here.

We each also have earbuds (connect to phone for music), “quiet headphones” (earmuffs) to screen out noisy surroundings, and eyeshades (to screen out light – some places may have lights on both day and night, and basic PPE: nitrile gloves, N95 masks, and goggles.

Scenario #3: Extended time away from home (“recoverable emergency”)

Only once so far: a major wildfire complex came within miles of our family home, and we were put into a “mandatory evacuation” classification.

You need to leave your home and circumstances suggest that the infrastructure will NOT recover in a reasonable amount of time – say, two weeks. Think: pandemic, major earthquake or environmental disaster, and/or the prospect of civil disorder; the grid is down or at-risk. Assume you decide to go early in the cycle, the roads are drivable, and your destination is more distant. You do not know when you will return.

Scenario #4: You may never return home (“major disaster”)

In my opinion this is both the “least likely” scenario, and the most critical. The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic exposed us all to a hint of what might be on the horizon. If this hits, your family’s life may depend on how well you prepared.

This is worst-case: imagine news reports of major displacements like Chernobyl, or war-time chaos and refugees. Take everything you believe you need to survive: food, water, clothing, firearms, AND high-value items including all your cash. Take any/all Go Bags. Load up your vehicle but don’t overload it; secure your load and do your best to keep a low profile as you implement your plan. Use your situational awareness skills. Stay safe: use extra caution if entering your house/apartment after an earthquake or other natural disaster!

If you read this far – thank you! I hope you found something that will help you prepare for the adventures life brings your way. Stay Safe, Stay Sane.

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Controlling cooking food odors whether SIP or Bug Out conditions

Controlling food odors would be an important consideration for anyone living in the city close to others or even in a rural area if hungry people are searching for food. I’m not sure, but it seems possible that very hungry people would have a heightened sense of smell. 

I ran a test on how much and how far food odors wafted from my home some years ago as part of scenario prepping.

There was no exhaust fan used to blow the odor outside. The item I cooked on top of the stove was dried red kidney beans. There was nothing added to the beans and water. It was to cook them only before making chili later.

While the beans simmered, I took a walk outdoors and was shocked by the smell outside my house. I never thought that plain, unseasoned beans would give off that much smell. More shocking was how far the smell travelled on a day with low wind conditions.

I wondered what the result would have been had I used an exhaust fan and blew more of the smell outside.

This led me to think that smell has to be considered in prepping. I am still trying to figure out how to control odors while cooking. Food can be eaten cold out of the can, but in an emergency of long duration, it will be necessary to cook food. Even bugged out, food odors from an outdoor meal could be a problem.

One last part, I have also considered food odors on my hands from preparing food. In times of scarcity, looking well fed and smelling of garlic might tip off people that you have preps. Lemon juice can neutralize the garlic and baggy clothes can hide a lack of weight loss, but I am still trying to find a solution to reducing or eliminating food odors.

Has anyone considered this and if so, any thoughts on how to deal with this issue?

Thanks in advance

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Let’s make the ultimate emergency reference guide for a bug out bag

In a previous forum thread talking about light weight gear, I recommended that people ditch the heavy and bulky survival manual in their bug out bag, store most of that info in your noggin, and maybe have a laminated 1/2 sheet sized reference guide as a reminder or for those hard things to remember.

Another member asked if I or anyone else has a 1/2 sheet reference guide like this, and to be honest, I don’t. But let us change that and come together and come up with some things to add.

What do you all think of the following list? What do you like, dislike, or want to add? I’ll do all the work and compile it into a document, but I need ideas of important things you would find helpful on a 1/2 sheet size reference guide.

Here are some of my ideas:

Contact info for someone out of town, for your child’s school, spouse’s workplace, and other important numbers like doctor, insurance company, or utility company. Emergency meeting place location and instructions Diagrams of how to navigate using a wrist watch Diagram of how to set a snare Diagram of knots Escape routes Important radio frequencies Read More

What to do if your elevator gets stuck

You are running late for an important interview and rush into the elevator and push your desired floor button. While catching your breath and adjusting your shirt that just became untucked, you feel a lurch and a squeal. The elevator has stopped but the doors are not opening. GREAT! Just what you needed right!?

In New York City in 2015, 51 people were injured and 5 people died from elevator accidents.

Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this situation:

Push red emergency call button which is connected to a phone line and it should patch you through to an elevator maintenance representative. If this is not working, hopefully your cellphone has enough battery and service to call the building you are located in or the local fire department.

You don’t want to climb out of the top air vent of the elevator car because once you get up there, now what? You would be in serious danger if the car started to move, and you can’t climb up the elevator cables like in the movies because unlike what the movies show, these are coated with a thick layer of grease.

Don’t try and pry open the doors, they might suddenly close on your fingers and even if you were to open them and see that you were not against a solid wall and you were stuck between floors, it’s not smart to crawl out. If the elevator starts working suddenly you will be caught in between and get sliced in half.

There are many safety measures in place for modern elevators that you aren’t just going to fall randomly, you are safe if you just wait.

But… if you are stuck in there for a long time, you might have to establish a pee corner.

To avoid your chances of being stuck in an elevator, don’t enter overly crowded ones that might be reaching their weight limit. If you are already on one and a bunch of people come on, don’t be that guy that say “too full, take the next one”, just pretend that it is your floor and get off and wait till the next one.

If the elevator looks sketchy, overly old, or not maintained well, take the stairs. It’s healthier and safer anyways. If they building you work or live in has an elevator that seems to be out of order frequently or has issues, check with the building manager on when it was serviced last or check with the state and make sure it is kept up to code.

Have any of you ever been stuck on an elevator?

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When to offer aid to the unprepared

Not everyone has prepping as a hobby or a way of life. Not many have gone through a major disaster or trial in their lifetime that would encourage them to be prepared. But those disasters do happen, and if it does, what is your thought process behind offering aid, help, and assistance to others?

It will greatly depend on the situation, where your preps are at the time, and many other contributing factors, but lets have a discussion of some possible scenarios.

Here are some arguments for giving aid: I believe that most people would like to offer assistance to others and help when they can. This can help grow and strengthen your prepping community and many hands makes light work.

Here are some arguments against giving aid: Your house gets to be known as the new hand-out place. Once you give help to one person, they tell others and you have many people on your doorstep. You become a target because you have supplies and resources when others do not.

Another user on here, Matt Black, made a really great forum post about making Mercy Bags for the unprepared. I think this is a great idea and my family is going to make some to help out others.

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My main worries to end the week (Prices/CPI and other stuff)

My main worries to end the week are:

The economic models the Fed was using in December for predicting inflation don’t seem like they’re suited for the current economic situation. The Fed needs to seriously investigate why these models are wrong and make sure unwarranted assumptions are not sticking around or leading the Fed to be less aggressive than it has to be. We really don’t need the Fed to be too optimistic about inflation right now. Interest rates impact the price at which investors are willing to buy stocks (the other main consideration being company profitability or expected profitability), which is part of why raising interest rates slows the economy and inflation. If food and fuel costs/shortages get much more serious (or “go parabolic”), the Fed can’t do much about that but might feel pressured to raise rates more aggressively than it has to and cause a recession (or a worse recession) without a good reason. Interest rate hikes will not magically produce more fuel and food. There are counter-arguments to media reports like this (I hope those counter-arguments are wrong). If an income bracket literally can’t afford food or food is simply not available somewhere, niceties (and more) go out the window. Yes, we produce food domestically but fewer imported products = more people buy a lower supply of domestic products. (Mods: remove if this is too political, I’m trying to keep left vs. right ideology out of it and focus on the correlation between job approval ratings and crises). Biden’s job approval rating is historically low for a president, and lower approval ratings typically go along with recessions or crises like inflation in the 1970s or the 2008 Financial Crisis. Yes, Trump’s job approval rating was also pretty low throughout his presidency but (not to get too political or get into left vs. right) many people, right or wrong, found him offensive, thought he was too ignorant to do his job, thought he was an agent of a foreign power, or thought he did not respect the US Constitution or separation of powers. Therefore, it makes sense to assume that many people perceive current federal-level leadership as weak. Yes, you should be worried about what people are willing to vote for if they decide the government or economic/social/political system can’t fix their problems and those problems get too bad. Political extremists on the far left, far right, and elsewhere often spend their time sitting around and waiting for a crisis.

Suggested preps:

Food (at least 2 weeks, more if possible, like a few months or a year). Assume that food prices could double within the next year, though my baseline assumption is that we will face acute rather than chronic food shortages if there are availability issues. Get your finances in order (or try your best). Prepare for possible civil unrest. Humans adapted over hundreds of thousands of years to survive. Something in the news might shock you, but remember that you will not always feel the same way. The world could turn into a place that you don’t think is worth living in, but there’s a lot that has to happen before you know that for certain. Read More

How to survive an active shooter

A few months ago I shared what I learned about how to survive a nuclear attack after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I want to be prepared and know what to do when disaster strikes. The horrible Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting on 5/25/22 is the 30th K-12 school shooting just this year alone and many more shootings will probably occur. So to be prepared, I wanted to learn more about them and what I can do. This isn’t the ultimate guide, but just what I learned after a few hours of research. Please correct or add to what I have.

The motive of an active shooter is to kill and maim as many people as possible to draw attention to their cause. They often target theaters, shopping malls, supermarkets, and schools because they are considered soft targets, which means they have low security and can include mass casualties of unarmed citizens including women and children. When attending these locations, be on extra alert of any suspicious activity.

Shootings can just be a spur of the moment heated argument that is unplanned or can be a coordinated attack that has been months in the making. In a worst case scenario, multiple gunmen might chain off exits to trap their victims and increase the casualty count, may deploy explosive devices for more damage, smoke bombs to create confusion, wear body armor to increase the time they have to hurt others before they are stopped, and may use modified and automatic high power rifles and other weapons to cause as much death as quickly as possible.

As soon as you hear gunfire, get down low and seek cover. Hesitation will get you killed. The three natural responses to immense stress like this are fight, flight, or freeze. Freezing is the worst, fighting is the next best option if fleeing is not. To avoid the tendency to freeze, play out scenarios in your mind and what you may do if something were to happen, know what gun fire sounds like and maybe even go to a gun range and just listen to what a gun sounds like in person when you don’t have hearing protection on. If you see people freezing and you wish to be the hero, use basic commands, hand signals, commanding voice, or even physically grab and move them to snap them out of the mental roadblock they are stuck on. If they put up a fight or resist, move on and don’t risk your life.

This may sound a little silly, but playing shooter video games and paintball can be valuable learning experiences against an active shooter situation. In these games you will learn how to hide behind cover and move from location to location without getting shot. The times I have played paintball really did feel like a war zone where you don’t know where the bullets are flying from, you have to constantly be moving, and it even teaches you a little on how to fight back. The adrenaline and pain you will experience by getting hit by a paintball is not lethal but will be a strong reminder that you might have just lost your life if this was real.

Avoid piling up with multiple people (like is commonly taught in schools). This just creates an appealing and larger target for the gunman to fire into. A single bullet can also pierce through multiple bodies. Spread out and be a smaller and harder target. Do not “play dead”, there are so many bullets flying around that you can easily get hit. Get out of there as soon as possible.

When entering a building, familiarize yourself with the layout. Know where are the entrances, exits, and places of cover and concealment. Cover is something that can stop bullets like a brick wall or vehicle. Concealment still hides you from being visible but will not stop a bullet, like a curtain or bush. Move from cover to cover until you are able to exit the building. If you do have to move from one cover to another cover and will be exposed in the open for a while, wait until there is a lull in the firing while they are reloading. When traveling down a hallway or open area, stay at least a foot away from the walls. If there is any shooting in your general direction and the bullets graze off the walls, you won’t get clipped by a ricochet.

Don’t get caught out in the open or huddled down behind something. The shooters will take out as many people as possible within the first few seconds and then sweep the building looking for those who are hiding. You need to get out and away from the building.

If you are in a supermarket or shopping mall, you may want to avoid running out the way that you came in. The gunmen will know that is where everyone will be fleeing and that is everyone’s natural instinct because that is the only way they know. Every store is required by law to have a back door, even the small shops in the mall have a back door leading to a network of fire escape hallways. The gunmen might not know about these or may not be in those areas because they think that no one would go there.

Be aware of some of the warning signs of individuals who may have active shooter tendencies and report them immediately. Each person who has ever become a killer has family and friends who if they were aware and close to the person, might have been able to intervene and prevent the situation from happening. Be brave and report that classmate, co-worker, or even spouse if you feel they may be a danger to themselves or others.

If you are a parent, talk to your kid’s school board or even teacher and know what their policy is. Recommend items such as a door brace that can be quickly deployed and add additional resistance to people entering your child’s classroom. The Desperate Hour is a recent show I watched where a mom hears of an active shooter situation going on in her child’s school as does everything she can to save him. Not the best movie (filmed during covid and social distancing), but definitely makes you think about what you would do in her situation.

Carry a tourniquet, and IFAK. Have your workplace upgrade their $20 first aid kit to one that can handle an actual emergency.

If you carry a concealed weapon, do not go hunting after the gunman. Get out and use that weapon only if the bad guy is between you and the exit. Be ready to drop the gun instantly when you get out so the police don’t think you are the shooter.

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Outdoor target shooting can lead to wildfires

Target shooting outdoors can be a fun hobby, family activity, sport, and prep. It is important to get out and be comfortable with your weapons and test the reliability of your gear. But shooting a small piece of metal thousands of feet per second can not only be dangerous if it hits someone by accident (another forum post for another day), but can also cause a wildfire.

It may seem very unlikely, but it does happen and you don’t want to be shooting, cause a fire, not know how to handle it, and cause millions of dollars in damages and have people lose their homes because you were unprepared.

With the climate changing, wildfire numbers are increasing. 58,985 wildfires occurred in 2021, 90% were human-caused, burning 7.1 million acres. No bueno…

Here are some tips:

Avoid shooting when the fire danger risk is high. When traveling to the area, you may see charts on the side of the road informing people of the fire danger risk that day. If you see that there is a fire ban in place, the risk is high, it is a hot and windy day, or there hasn’t been rain in a while, go somewhere else. Bullet shards are hot and you can’t control where they land.

Don’t shoot into the weeds. Place targets on dirt or gravel and away from vegetation. Just like when you build a fire pit at the camp site and clear stuff around you, do the same for where the bullets will be going.

Shoot paper targets, steel targets or hitting rocks can throw sparks. Exploding or flammable targets are cool, or you may have an old printer you want to shoot, but these all can cause fires. 

Stick with lead core bullets, they are less likely to cause fires than steel core or solid copper ammo. Also avoid shooting tracer or incendiary rounds where they could ignite nearby brush.

Always bring a shovel and fire extinguisher with you to quickly put out any fire that may start. Without these tools, you will be just kicking dirt onto a growing fire and that won’t do much.

Call 911 immediately if a fire starts. Sure you will probably get in trouble, get a fine, and may have criminal charges put on you, but it’s a small price to pay to own up to your mistake and quickly get the help out to the scene as soon as possible to stop as much destruction as possible. Again, you will feel pretty bad about yourself if you see families displaced on the news because of your negligence. Many of the locations where you will be shooting will not have reception to call emergency services, so be aware on the way to the shooting range where you lose service and where you will need to drive back to to get it again. When calling 911, report where it started, what type of material is burning, how fast is it moving, how tall the flames are, and what is in the path of the fire.

Park your vehicle in a safe place. Hot exhausts systems parked over some dried material can ignite and start a fire before you even start shooting.

When cleaning up after a fun day of shooting (yes, you need to do this and don’t just leave all your junk out there because the 50 people before you did as well), look closely for any smoke, embers, or signs of fire. Do a final sweep of the location and leave it better than when you got there.

This topic just came to mind and I’ve been thinking about it for a while.  I have been guilty of violating many of the above rules in the past, but I want to move forward and improve myself and decrease my likelihood of causing a fire.

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