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The 7 Pillars of Urban Preparedness

The 7 Pillars of Urban Preparedness

The 7 Pillars of Urban Preparedness is an introductory course that Selco and I teach. This is a foundational module that we refer to often because so much is built from these seven pillars. Selco and I created this framework to hang things in a logical sequence.

When Selco and I first met we shared our teaching material. After sifting through it all we found we had a massive volume of material with very little structure. People were having to process the information and somehow compartmentalize it in their own minds. They could not keep up with what we were teaching in the moment because they were still trying to sort out the previous information. We realized we needed to build structures for people to hang information on.

The preppersphere desperately needs that structure. As the sphere expands, without these structures, the information becomes more and more fragmented and people do not quite know what to do with the information they are given. The 7 Pillars are strong foundational pillars designed to help them with that and to help build resilience.

Please remember this crucial piece of advice:

These pillars are meant to be built together, incrementally, and consistently so the main structure stays level. You don’t want to build one pillar to its highest possible height when you haven’t yet started on the other 6.

What are the 7 Pillars?

  • Pillar One: Water
  • Pillar Two: Shelter
  • Pillar Three: Fire
  • Pillar Four: Food
  • Pillar Five: Signaling | Communication
  • Pillar Six: Medical | Hygiene
  • Pillar Seven: Personal Safety

Pillar One: Water

Water is absolutely vital. Most of us probably already know that. However, what we see consistently is we struggle to contextualize the absence of something. Particularly water. Many people just can not fathom a world without freely available water. Even though academically we know it is possible there may be a time when we are without water, we viscerally don’t feel it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Preparedness Community’s Dangerous Failure of Imagination

The Preparedness Community’s Dangerous Failure of Imagination

In Northern regions of an unstable country, a battle broke out yesterday in the streets of a small city. Meanwhile, in the Southeastern corridor, protesters continue to clash over control of a monument, and in the North West, rebels have been battling local authorities for control of the Capitol for 80 days. One city in the central part of the nation has isolated itself by raising drawbridges in an effort to quell the violence and destruction of ongoing riots. After a massive crime spreehe largest city in the nation looks like the setting of a dystopian movie.

The formerly prosperous nation has been rocked by disease, authoritarian measures, police corruption, and economic catastrophe throughout the summer. A hotly contested presidential race is spurring further division, and the level of violence is expected to increase as election day approaches.

It sounds like coverage of some distant, war-torn country. I remember when I was in college hearing daily coverage of the situation in Sarajevo and it sounded so far away that at some point, I stopped paying attention.

But now the war-torn country is ours.

The report above is about events currently taking place in KalamazooStone MountainSeattleChicago, and New York City.

And still, I see people saying, “It can’t happen here.” They say, “Our area is different.”

Have you checked your normalcy bias lately?

One of the things that Selco writes about often is recognizing that a new set of rules is in place, and acting on that immediately. The earlier you can accept that the rules of the game have changed, the better off you’re going to be.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela Has Gone Cashless (And That’s Not All)

Venezuela Has Gone Cashless (And That’s Not All)

Writing about the current situation in my country is becoming increasingly difficult. Just checking my personal chats with all the information I receive is heartbreaking. People I have known my entire life are having a very hard time and are being harassed.

Collecting information from friends and acquaintances has been very hard for me. Writing about it all without feeling the effect has proven to be very challenging. Keeping the cold shadow over my heart at bay when I talk with people is the reason for the delay in my writing.

One of the biggest pieces of news recently is that Venezuela has gone almost completely cashless. But that’s not all.

What happened to the reported economic recovery?

Disinformation. That is what happened.

National cash is gone. Electronic is the only currency accepted. Some exceptions are made in border cities, like San Cristobal. USD or Colombian Pesos are accepted there.

Gini Coefficient is used to measure inequality. Ranging from (1) 0% to (1) 100%: a higher Gini coefficient means greater inequality. According to Gini, Venezuela is around 39. One of the lowest in the region, with a trend towards equity.

This is absolutely laughable.

Why? Two factors. The first one being the absence of reliable data on Venezuela. The World Bank estimates, due to lack of information, the economic chaos, and total absence of transparency, it is quite difficult to trace the data. Even if some data is found, it’s going to be very hard to verify it and can’t be trusted. The latest national survey on living conditions (Encovi) indicates this coefficient at 51, which would rank it as the most unequal in Latin America after Brazil.

What about the cost of essential items?

These are a few of the most recent food prices. Amidst crisis, chaos and a pandemic they have remained relatively the same.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Have a Garden When You “Can’t” Have a Garden

How to Have a Garden When You “Can’t” Have a Garden

Are you itching to grow something for the table in these times of bare shelves, but don’t have space? Well, you’re definitely not alone. Gardening is suddenly very popular, both for the calories and the many other benefits.

Are you renting and your landlord isn’t interested in plowing up the lawn? Or, maybe you’ve only got a small yard that has to double as pandemic playground for the kids. Perhaps the covenants in your neighborhood restrict the area you can put into beds. Or you’re limited to just a balcony. Whatever restrictions you’re dealing with, I assure you that something yummy can be grown!

Let me show you how. Or rather, let my mom show you.

My parents retired from the frigid North to the baking South only recently, and though they own their house, they are prudently moving quite cautiously in altering the outside space. My father Randy is still figuring out what their ultimate needs and abilities are going to be. It would be a real shame to go to the effort of putting in beds and improving soil, only to have to scrape it away because the best garden spot is also the only workable garage site.

But my mother Rose is indomitable. Salad must be eaten, and so it will be grown, whether or not there is a space in the ground for it this year.

First, she made full use of her existing ornamental beds around the east, south, and west of the house. There was crepe myrtle, iris, azalea, and daylily already in those beds. She filled in the gaps with high bush blueberry as well as tomatoes, beautiful red okra, herbs, lettuce, onions, peppers, and even a pumpkin.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There’s No Such Thing As “Without Rule of Law” – WROL vs. DROL

There’s No Such Thing As “Without Rule of Law” – WROL vs. DROL

I want to address one specific point. This is a very general application across the preppersphere. But it’s also become a little bit time-sensitive in certain countries just now, so it’s a lesson well worth visiting. And for those that have watched my videos or read the articles or seen me quoted previously, one of my kind of most quoted phrases is “Words have meaning and meaning is important.” And I stand by that.

Selco and I constantly, in lectures or courses, preface everything with definitions and meanings and understanding so everybody’s on the same page. What I want to do here is address one specific phrase and then tweak it. Within the prepper-sphere, and wider world, we have this concept of W R O L

  • ( WROL) Which stands for: Without Rule of Law. This has been written about extensively and the principle is: as normal societal function slows down, or stops, the law is no longer applied. It becomes a Wild West in the classic connotation of it.

In our philosophy, Selco and I believe that WROL categorically does not exist. However, what we do work with is D R O L (DROL) Doesn’t sound like much difference, but it’s critical because of a slight perception and shift change in mindsets.

  • DROL is Different Rule of Law. No matter what the catastrophe is or how bad it gets, there’s always going to be a “law” of some sort. In fact, we could actually stop at the word rule: without rule or different rules. There are always going to be rules.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Free Solution For Raised Bed Gardens

A Free Solution For Raised Bed Gardens

As concerns about interruptions in the supply chain due to the pandemic hit the news, Victory Gardens are once again becoming popular. This is great news!

Building a garden infrastructure can be expensive, especially for those in urban or suburban environments where open space is limited. If you start pricing boards for building raised beds, for example, you’re likely to come away shaking your head in disbelief.

Surely there is some inexpensive way to establish a viable garden?

There is. I’m here to tell you about an excellent free resource for raised bed gardening which nearly everyone ignores because of a powerful but incorrect urban myth about the dangers. I refer to gardening in tires. Yes, tires. Car tires, truck tires, tractor tires…you name it. And, these can be used tires!

Why Tires?

When we moved to our rural homestead seventeen years ago, we thought it would be a simple matter to establish a garden. After all, how hard could it be? Plow, plant, water, and voilà: Food security.

We were wrong. We hadn’t factored in the heavy clay soil, pests ranging from deer to voles, and especially the tough prairie grasses. Every year we found our vegetables overwhelmed with weeds and baked into hard clay. No one who hasn’t experienced prairie grasses has any idea how pervasive, stubborn, and overwhelming those grasses can be. Since we didn’t have a tractor, our attempt to keep a half-acre garden weed-free was impossible.

For nine years, we struggled to plant in the ground, and for nine years, we failed. We tilled in compost and mulched. We pulled weeds, and we pulled more weeds. When it looked like we might succeed with a modest patch of beans or peas, the deer would invade, or the voles would dig things up (or an early frost would hit), and that would be the end of that.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: Pay Attention Because Your “New Normal” Should Be Survival Mode

SELCO: Pay Attention Because Your “New Normal” Should Be Survival Mode

In one of the articles a few weeks ago I mentioned stuff about adapting, and I used “boiling the frog” story as an example of how situations that slowly deteriorate can make us lose our sharpness.

We get accustomed to situations, things, or actions, and we have a tendency to portray it over time as normal.

Here are a few more thoughts.

“Nah, it is OK”

In a country where the economic situation was horrible even before this whole coronavirus thing, you do not need some large event to push things in a bad direction, and COVID hit us pretty hard.

Medical staff members have worked in bad conditions from the start of this, in double shifts, without proper equipment, and with the perspective of even more salary cuts because of the worsening economic situation.

At the beginning of all this, if a medical worker got into contact with a positive patient without PPE, he or she would go into self-isolation at home and be tested. As the situation deteriorates more (more medical workers getting sick, fewer tests and equipment) it got to the point where the medical worker (if in contact, without PPE)) does not get tested and does not go into isolation until symptoms show up. So in reality, until getting symptoms he would freely spread the disease to coworkers, family, and patients until he was actually sick.

Now the situation looks like this: If a medical worker gets sick, tested positive, and only has mild symptoms-he should work normally, with a mask. If masks are available. Usually, they are not.

One more thing is that now medical officials are instructing workers, “Nah, it is nothing, you just continue to work.” In other words, you work or lose the job.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dehydrated Blueberry Muffin Syndrome: Survival Isn’t Always Comfortable

Dehydrated Blueberry Muffin Syndrome: Survival Isn’t Always Comfortable

One thing a lot of preppers overlook is the potential discomfort of a survival situation. They stock up and prepare as though everything will remain exactly as it is now, except they’ll have to rely on dehydrated food instead of fresh ingredients. In some scenarios, this is true – take, for example, the recent lockdown.

But in more extreme scenarios, your life will be anything but comfortable, and this is something Selco and I try to get across to people. Many preppers refuse to fathom a life in which they won’t have time or facilities to bake a batch of muffins. We call this Dehydrated Blueberry Muffin Syndrome.  Get more details in the video below. (Note: the video won’t appear if you have an ad blocker on.)

Survival may be gritty and difficult, as it was in Selco’s situation. It’s not just like life is now, but without electricity.

What are the 5 Rs?

Here’s an explanation of the Five Rs I mentioned in the video. They highlight the sequences you have to be prepared to deal with depending on INTENSITY and/or DURATION of a disastrous event:

  1. REDUCE the impact on your lifestyle or routine. Many events are over within 72 hrs. With adequate preparation, you should feel little to no interruption to your daily life.
  2. REPAIR. By understanding the nature of the threat. Your residence and life situation, you can anticipate by competence or cost things that may well need repairing in order to RETURN TO NORMAL.
  3. REBUILD. This can be both physically (Think a beyond repair storm-damaged house) or ‘structural’. A business that has suffered significant disruption or loss and cannot necessarily continue exactly as before…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Selco: “Here Are Some of the WORST Pieces of Prepping Advice I’ve Heard”

Selco: “Here Are Some of the WORST Pieces of Prepping Advice I’ve Heard”

The competition for the worst prepping advice out there is pretty sharp. It’s been going on for many years and has a tendency to get even more ridiculous as time goes on.

One reason is that a lot of the advice is pushing you in the direction of buying something, and when you need to buy something things can go weird and false.

Another reason is the fact that there are numerous “experts” out there, and it does not have to be about selling. Often it can be that people just want to be known as experts because they feel more important or whatever.

So, as I mentioned many times before there is a chain of people who share advice, and if you follow the trail where that advice is coming from you are usually gonna find a self-proclaimed “expert” at the end, or even worse some fictional character from movies or books.

So here are a few pieces of bad prepping advice I have seen.

“Handle everything with violence.”

Yes, I do agree, nothing can put things in the right perspective like a few shots from an assault rifle in the correct place and time. Brute force can very efficiently solve some situations.

But…

I see a lot of advice that goes only as far as being well-armed and having that “out of my cold dead hand” attitude.

Most of the time when the SHTF, it will be about other things, like hygiene, resources, interactions with people, managing people in groups, maintaining mental and physical health in hard circumstances, and many other things that have nothing to do with violence.

So, violence and being ready for violence are critical, yes, of course, but it is not only about that.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Building a Better Bug-Out Bag: You’re NOT Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

Building a Better Bug-Out Bag: You’re NOT Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

Based on the things I’ve learned from folks who have actually lived through survival situations and bugged out, I think that we need to revisit what bugging out really means and why you might use a bug out bag. If we understand the concept better, it’s easier to pack a bug out bag that will work for each of us personally.

3 kinds of bug-outs

There are at least three different kinds of bugging out:

  • You’re never coming home again: This bug-out means you’re leaving and you don’t expect to be returning. It could be due to a rapidly approaching natural disaster that is likely to demolish everything in its path, like a wildfire, or it could be due to terrorism or genocide. It could happen at the last moment or you might have time to pack – it really depends on the situation. If it’s a last-minute thing, you might only have the things you can grab in your bug out bag.  Sometimes you don’t even have time to grab that – it could be a situation in which a few seconds are the difference between life and death. When I visited a museum about the genocide in Bosnia, one woman told of leaving the house with her child wrapped in nothing but a hastily grabbed towel because the little girl had been in the bathtub when the family was hauled away.
  • Bug Out with Warning: This bug-out happens during natural disasters and often (but not always) you’ll have a few days of warning. Some examples might be a nearby wildfire or an approaching hurricane. You can load up your vehicle with sentimental items and bring more than you’d ordinarily bring. The focus for this type of bug-out is often on the things you can never replace.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: Adapt Early to the “New Rules” If You Want to Survive

SELCO: Adapt Early to the “New Rules” If You Want to Survive

Survival is constant learning, for me and for you, for everybody, no matter how “tough” you think you are, or resilient or smart. As soon as you start to think you are a master of survival or some kind of expert, you are doing something wrong in your philosophy.

The whole series of events that have been happening around us everywhere lately we can be used for learning and understanding. It can help us to be better prepared.

We are living with a new set of rules – and not the ones from the government. When everything changes, the rules of society change too. If you want to survive, you must adapt to them early.

“Boiling of the frog”

We all know the story about two frogs. It goes in a way that if a frog is thrown in boiling water it will jump immediately out because otherwise, it will end up dead. The other frog that is in a pot of cold water will sit calmly in it while water is slowly getting warmed to the point of boiling, and that frog will end up dead because the change from cold to boiled water happened gradually, and the frog did not recognize the danger.

We are mostly frogs sitting in warm water, not yet boiling but we might be close to that point.

Let’s recognize the danger.

Adaptation can be good or bad.

Humans have a magnificent ability of adapting to the circumstances and events around them. Well, most of us do.

My personal experiences there are very rich, and while it is something that goes very deep into human psychology I will mention the practical side of it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s What 75 Preppers Learned During the Lockdown

Here’s What 75 Preppers Learned During the Lockdown

The lockdown that recently took place due to the pandemic was like a practice run for a bigger SHTF event. Many of our prepper theories played out and were accurate, while others weren’t as realistic as we thought beforehand.

People who weren’t preppers already learned a lot about why they would want to be better prepared in the future, but they weren’t the only ones who learned lessons. These preppers took a moment to answer questions about the lessons they learned during the lockdown. (Here’s an article about the things I learned.)

What did you learn about preparedness during the lockdown?

Trisha…

I learned two main things. First, I was very surprised at how strongly the isolation hit me. I am a person who is “energized” by interacting with other people. I knew that already, but I was shocked at how MUCH it affected me. Second, I got a taste of normalcy bias. I kept trying to see ways in which our situation was still “Normal”. As a school teacher of little ones for thirty years, I was pretty much used to switching into action immediately to deal with a crisis and putting my feelings on the back burner. So, I was shocked that it took me a couple of months to “accept” the changes in our lives and start looking for creative ways to make life work and meet our needs.

Maria…

I learned it is so important to pay attention to what’s going on and stay ahead of the crowd. My husband and I were able to stock up two weeks before everyone else panicked. I also learned my plan of being stocked up and shopping only for replacements is a great system.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

9 Things to Buy Every Time You Go to the Store

9 Things to Buy Every Time You Go to the Store

Lots of folks have mentioned that their grocery stores never fully restocked after the rush on food and supplies back at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. And with the current news stories about spiking COVID numbers, it may not be long until we’re locked down again.

Work on what’s within your control

It’s important to note that even if you are unconcerned about the virus, there are a lot of things that could be out of your control in the event of another governmental series of actions:

  • Workplaces may close back down
  • Supply chains may be further damaged
  • The economy will take another hit
  • You may not be able to go where you want

Real, or not real; dangerous or not, the end result for us is the same.

It’s just like the debate over whether a terror attack in the news is a false flag or an actual terror attack. Every time I write about surviving one of these attacks, people flock to the comments to tell everyone that it was all crisis actors, the whole thing is a hoax, or our own government did it to take away our guns.

But we’re talking about survival. If you’re there when the bullets are flying or the bombs are going off or the planes are crashing, it doesn’t matter who’s behind it. Your only goal at that point is to survive it.

With COVID, does it even matter if the numbers are accurate or not? Because the government is using it as an excuse to exercise rigid control over all of us – telling us when we can go to work, when we can visit with loved ones, keeping us away from hospitals and leaving our ailing relatives to die alone, and enforcing laws about masks and appropriate distances.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Do You Prepare for a Revolution?

How Do You Prepare for a Revolution?

As all hell breaks loose across the United States of America (and we haven’t even gotten to the election yet), a resistance movement to the status quo seems to be increasingly violent, taking over a Minneapolis police precinct and an area in downtown Seattle. Protests continue to be peaceful in some areas but show little signs of letting up.

A lot of folks are pretty sure that a revolution is coming – and many people say it’s already here.

I got a great question in a group that I moderate: how do you prepare for a revolution?

As preppers, this is always our go-to response to trouble. We want to know what we can do, specifically, to meet the crisis head-on and keep our families safe.

How do you prepare for a revolution?

In this article, I want to speak specifically about the practical steps you need to take to be prepared for a revolution if things should come to that point across the country. This article is not about philosophy or right vs. wrong. It’s not about fighting for your “side” whatever side that might be. It’s about surviving. There are lots of links because I’m not reinventing the entire wheel here – that would be a book on its own. This is merely a guideline so you know where to focus your time, money, and attention.

I pondered the question for quite a while before answering because it isn’t really a situation I had given a lot of thought to before.

The answer is really not anything earth-shattering. In fact, many will probably find it underwhelming.

You prepare for a revolution by simply continuing to prep. Specifically, consider prepping for the following:

  • Supply chain disruption and shortages of food
  • Supply chain disruption and shortages of material goods
  • Civil unrest
  • Disruption of utilities
  • Disruption of services

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What I Learned During the COVID Crisis

What I Learned During the COVID Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has affected just about every family in the United States in some way or another. All of our situations are unique and everyone I’ve spoken to has learned some lessons about their levels of preparedness. Some of those lessons are unconventional but valuable nonetheless. There are a whole lot of things you can’t learn from a book or a blog.

Here are the things I’ve learned.

Trust your instincts.

I began writing about this virus back in January when it was announced that the entire city of Wuhan was being locked down and millions of people were under stay at home orders. With that many people under a mandatory lockdown, I was firmly convinced that this had potential global ramifications.

I had come back from Europe to attend a funeral in early January and was supposed to return on January 28th. After doing the research for the article mentioned above, I rescheduled my flight for March 28th and settled in with my youngest daughter at her apartment to help out with the bills. We immediately began stocking up.

A lot of folks at that time said I was crazy – a few here on my website but more so on other sites that republished my work. I’m no stranger to being called crazy – I’m in the preparedness industry and I like guns, so right there, the mainstream media sees me as a lunatic. It no longer bothers me and I was convinced that this was going to be a big deal.

Every day from January 23rd to the present, I’ve spent hours researching as this pandemic has unfolded. I sincerely wish that I had not been correct, but here we are, still in lockdown in many parts of the country.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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