Bugging out is (mostly) bullshit

Bugging-Out (prepping): Grabbing a specially packed bug-out bag and quickly leaving a disaster zone.

I am not willing to take an absolute stance on anything, however I think that in 99% of situations bugging-out is your absolute worst choice.  Much of the prepping community agrees with me on this, but I still see constant chatter about the perfect bug-out-bag and plan.  It is yet another case where people skip the basics and go straight to the solution for 1% of emergencies, leaving the other 99% ignored.

In this post I am going to walk you through why I think bugging out is bullshit, why it remains so popular, and when are the very few exceptions where it might be useful.

Why is it bullshit

At a basic level when you bug-out you are walking away from resources.  For me this is the largest argument against bugging-out.  You simply cannot take everything with you.  If you have been storing up food and water or have a good set of tools you won’t be able to bring it all.  With less tools and resources you make yourself less capable of handling a range of situations.

Wilderness bugout plans are laughable. Nature WILL kill you. Click To Tweet

Wilderness bugout plans in particular are extremely questionable.  People die due to exposure on a regular basis, and what you can carry is likely not going to prepare you for all situations.  This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of experience being outdoors or in the wilderness.  If your “wilderness experience” is going camping once or twice a year, to places with bathrooms, and running water, you will quickly find out to your detriment how different real wilderness living can be.  In Canada at least part of this danger is the seasons.  I don’t want to be outside for 10 minutes at -25C, never mind trying to survive there.  I also don’t want to be outside at all when mosquitoes and black-flies are thriving.  Simply said nature does not care if you survive.

Many people even think that they can bug-out without a destination, living the simple romantic life of a vagabond on the road.  Let’s do a little reality check here.  Every time you go somewhere new, you are exposing yourself to new opportunities for dangerous situations.  For example there are very few places these days that do not have some resident population.   Are you certain they will welcome you?  If resources are scarce and they think you will tax them further, do you think they will simply open their doors to you?  If things have gone really bad, will you know about the chemical plant down the road or the nuclear reactor just over the hill?  Exposing yourself to unknown dangers is not what you want to be doing in an emergency!

Why is it popular

So we all know bugging out is dangerous in many different ways but why is it so popular?  I think there are three reasons.  The first is that the idea of bugging out and leaving it all behind is a romantic one.  People don’t understand the real struggles with living on the road, or in the wilderness.  They underestimate the tolls that this will take on them.  The second is that preparing a bug-out bag is a “shortcut” to being prepared.  It isn’t.  You need to put in real hard work and effort to make yourself prepared,  it’s not as easy as buying a few camping gadgets.  Which brings us to the third point.  Bug-out toys and gadgets are an industry.  Not everyone has your best interest at heart, and some people simply want to get at your money.  There is an entire industry around providing bug-out gear, and it’s too their benefit to make you think that bugging-out will save your life when in reality it’s only likely to endanger it more.

Exceptions
Bugging out is only appropriate if it will move you away from an immediate danger to somewhere safer. Click To Tweet

All that being said as I stated at the top of the post there are no absolutes in life.  There are a few situations where bugging-out is appropriate and I do want to call those out.  To me it all boils down to a regional disaster that can be avoided with distance.  An example of this would be a rampant forest fire, or nearby chemical spill, that are endangering your home.  If you can get away from them to make yourself safer, then you should do so.  However having a bag full of wilderness gear probably isn’t the right thing to help you survive those situations.  Any situation that does not specifically force you out of your home, is totally inappropriate for bugging out.  Do not leave until all your resources are expended.

 

So that’s my take on bugging out.  For the most part I think it’s a shortcut people take to make themselves feel better when they haven’t done the real work necessary to get prepared.  It’s far more dangerous than most people acknowledge and puts you at an immediate disadvantage.  In the near future I will write a post about bugging-out’s older smarter, more practical brother, bugging-in.

Stay Safe

 

Prepper Montreal

The basics of crowd safety

With the celebrations for Montreal’s 375th birthday underway there are large numbers of cool free events on offer.  It’s also the start of the festival season!  With this in mind my thoughts have turned to crowd safety or how to stay safe in a crowd.  Fortunately there are tips and tricks you can use to try and ensure your own safety, and that of those you love when in a crowd.

Some advanced preparation can keep you safer around big crowds. Click To Tweet
Advanced preparation

As with all things some advanced preparation is necessary.  If you are going somewhere you know will be crowded, there are some things you can do to put luck on your side:

  1.  Having the right shoes is one of the most important items.  I’ve covered this before in Your style choices will kill you.  Being able to walk (or run) away can be an easy and fast way to reduce your danger.
  2. Consider avoiding loose or baggy clothing that could catch on things.
  3. If you are going to be outside make sure you factor in the elements.  Bring water and a hat if you will be in the sun, or a wind/rainproof jacket otherwise.  As always layering is key to regulating body temperature.
  4. Always bring some cash and carry it in two places.  Consider pickpockets and keep your precious goods where they are least accessible.
  5. Keep everything else you’re bringing to a minimum.
  6. If you’re going with kids, take a picture of them ahead of time and make sure they have your cellphone number in their pocket.
Going somewhere crowded? Look for exits and choke-points and keep an eye on the mood of the event. Click To Tweet
Onsite

The first thing to do is determine where your meetup spot will be if you get separated.  Make sure everyone understands this and can recognize it easily.

Next you want to check exits.  It’s important not only to know where the closest exit is but also where other exits might be in case that one is unavailable.  It’s also worth thinking about where there are potential choke-points, which have the potential to be dangerous. There are likely measures in place to deal with various  emergencies.  Keep your ears open for any warnings or instructions that might be broadcast.

Keep an eye on the mood of the event.  This is part of Situation Awareness that we have discussed previously.  As soon as people are starting to seem angry or pushy, then it’s time to leave.  But do so calmly, do not run as that can make you a target.

Dealing with Crowd Crush and Stampedes

Crowds themselves can be very dangerous, when panic or herd mentality kick in people are no longer thinking straight.  It’s important to try and stay calm and deal with the situation at hand.  According to Paul Wertheimer a leading expert on crowd safety “crowd crush” and not stampede kills the most people.  Crowd crush happens when people surge together usually to get something “important” like a deal or the attention of a celebrity.  The best way to deal with it is remove yourself from danger before it’s an issue.

If it’s already too late to get away, then crowds in either situation can be treated like a riptide.  Instead of trying to work against the crowd try and follow the flow.  Look for openings and when you see them move diagonally through the crowd.  If you are in a group then link arms, if you have kids pick them up.  If possible keep your arms at chest height, because you don’t want them to get pinned.  Make sure you stay standing and if anyone around you falls help them up immediately.  You could save their life and it will be safer for you if they aren’t there to trip over.

 

There will unfortunately always be some added danger to going anywhere with crowds.  People are unpredictable and crowds can be targets for those with malicious intent.  However for me being a Prepper means being as safe as possible and not simply avoiding everything that life has to offer.  Hopefully with the tips I’ve given above you can keep yourself and your family safer in a crowd.

If you’re interested in learning more about crowd safety I would suggest these two links.  The first talks about a stampede at the Hajj in 2015.  The second is an audio interview with Paul Wertheimer an expert in crowd safety.

Stay Safe

 

Prepper Montreal

What can refugees teach us about bugging-out.

Bugging-Out (prepping): Grabbing a specially packed bug-out bag and quickly leaving a disaster zone.

Most of us will never have been forced to abandon our homes in a hurry.  Thankfully many will never have lived through a situation where we need to make a life and death decision between staying where we were or bugging-out.  We are in fact very lucky that this subject remains entirely academic.

Sadly this is not the case for everyone and there continue to be people who are forced to make these decisions daily.  My goal is to examine some of the things that they do and integrate their real experience into our own plans.

Making the decision to Bug-Out

No one should consider bugging-out unless they are forced into it by circumstance.  In the prepping community there tends to be an emphasis on bugging out as a solution to all potential problems.  Unfortunately there are very few discussions around the very real dangers that come along with trying to change locations in a disaster scenario.

To me this highlights the first lesson that we can learn from refugees; bugging out should always be a last resort.  It should only be attempted if and when all other alternatives are exhausted and there is too much danger in staying put.  If we were to look at the The Prepper Pyramid only Catastrophic or worse emergencies are really appropriate to this type of decision.  Simply said it’s an act of desperation.

The second thing we can learn is that bugging out requires a destination that will provide a significantly better situation.  It is vital that you are bugging-out to somewhere and not simply “going on the road”.  This will also provide you both a goal and hope.

Bugging-out is a desperate last resort and should not be done without careful thought. Click To Tweet
How to Bug-Out

Having read a lot of articles about what refugees have carried with them I’ve consolidated my notes it into a few insights that can be used to shape what you bring when you bug-out.

Travel Light and Blend in

Many refugees leave with almost nothing, sometimes due to circumstance and sometimes on purpose.   This is yet another affirmation on the importance of skills over stuff.  Stuff can also easy be lost either through accident or because you have made yourself a target.  Inline with this many also brought items which they knew would help them “not look like a refugee” in their new surroundings.

Keep ID and Keep in touch

Almost all will have ID and keep a cellphone with a backup battery or charger.  Being able to prove who you are is important especially when you have virtually nothing else with you.  It can make all the difference in terms of the potential support you receive.  I talk more about the importance of a passport in my last blog Preparing for a National Emergency.  Ensuring that you have a way to communicate is equally import.  You need a way to contact the people that you trust who can potentially support you either just as a sounding board or in more tangible ways.

Mementos are important

Almost all will carry a memento of good times.  The mental side of prepping is as important as the physical side and with bugging-out even more so.  Many “professional” survivalists say that the most important thing is keeping your mental game strong and not giving up.  Having an object that reminds you of those you love or those that are important to you is a significant part of this.  This is very infrequently spoken about in the prepping community but is a vital part of staying alive.  If you don’t believe me read this speech given by a holocaust survivor [Start at the bottom of the first page].

Mementos play a vital role in bugging-out. What are you carrying to give yourself hope? Click To Tweet

 

As you can see there is a lot that we can learn from refugees about this subject.  As a follow up I recommend these two articles on what refugees carry.  They provide a sad but real reminder of what could happen to anyone.  Passport, lifejacket, lemons: What Syrian refugees pack for the crossing to Europe and What’s in my bag – What refugees bring when they run for their lives.   I will also be posting more on the subject of bugging-out and it’s smarter cousin bugging-in in the future.

Stay Safe

 

Prepper Montreal

Preparing for a National Emergency.

The problem with trying to tell the future is that there is no way to know if you will be right or wrong.  This is part of why it’s important to prepare for as many types of emergencies as possible.  I stress focusing the majority of your energy on those things at the bottom of the prepper pyramid, however bigger national emergencies can still occur.

What to do in a catastrophic emergency

I defined a catastrophic emergency in my blog post The Prepper Pyramid as “affecting countries or continents”.  Today I want to talk about a key part of prepping for catastrophic emergencies that seems to go mostly ignored.  Simply said it’s the ability of any prepper to leave their current country or continent in an emergency.

My country is super stable, why would I need that? There is always the potential for a massive catastrophe that could make any country unlivable.  If this happens what are your options?  When your country goes through economic collapse, or war what will you do?  A volcano erupts how will you escape if you need to?

There will definitely be some who will discard this advice in a patriotic fit.  “My country will always be safe.” or “I’ll take my chances  in the wild.”  I wish you luck.  However I will not let nationalism cloud my judgement and eliminate some of my paths out of harm’s way.  Given a choice between eating grubs out in the bush or re-establishing myself in some new country with next to nothing I can tell you very easily which one I’m going to take.

The one document you need
A passport is a key prepping tool that can be used to get you out of harms way. Click To Tweet

So what document is going to allow you to deal with these types of situations?  A passport.  Leaving any country without a passport will be very difficult and having a passport simply opens up possibilities.  It allows you to access land borders without having to risk your life sneaking across.  It allows you to book flights or ships if any are available.  Lastly it will also let you get back into your country without issues if you are forced to flee.

I’m not going to walk you through the process of getting yourself a passport because it will vary from country to country.  Most of the time it’s going to cost you some money and it’s going to take at least a month or two to get setup.  This is part of the reason that you should be getting it done now.

For an added bonus go Dual.
Being a dual citizen opens up possibilities when needing to flee across borders. Click To Tweet

If you already have a passport great! If it’s possible then get two.  Dual citizenship confers even more benefit and gives you a backup.  If the country you are from is suddenly persona non-grata on the world stage you have an out.  If you’re from country X and everyone is dealing with an influx from there then it’s great to have the option to be from country Y.  This may not be an option for everyone but if it is, do it!

As a side note some of you may consider leaving your country a very scary thing.  Having had the opportunity to travel extensively I can tell you there is no better thing in life.  Even as a prepper I have learned so much about life and survival by being able to go to places where people live very differently.  Take the opportunity to travel if you can, I doubt you will regret it.  I’m also certain it will help you in your prepping journey.

 

Stay Safe!

Prepper Montreal

Don’t just trash it. Repair it or Re-use it.

Simply said we live in a disposable society.  Consumerism and planned obsolescence have trained us to use things only until they are old or break and then throw them away.  It wasn’t always like this.  Our grandparents or great grandparents lived and died by what they were able to repair.  They wouldn’t have dreamed of throwing out many of the things that we now consider disposable.  They repaired or re-used everything they could and developed useful skills doing so.

As preppers it’s important that we push back against these societal trends.  We know that you may not always be able to simply go down to the store and replace whatever is broken.   We need to cultivate the skills of repair and reuse for our own long term benefit.

Being able to repair things is a key prepping skill. Click To Tweet
Why should we repair it?

Much of the technology we work with on a daily basis may as well be magic for all the understanding most people have of it.  It’s becoming a mystery how exactly things work.  If you didn’t have the internet would you be able to troubleshoot or repair anything?  Cultivate the skill now in good times while you have the resources.

Let me give you a simplistic example.  The other day I broke the handle on a hatchet.  Given how difficult it was for me to find a replacement I can only assume that most people would have simply thrown it out and bought a new one.  Instead of doing this I replaced it.  I gained a better understanding of how it was put together.  If I had no other options I could replace it using only a knife, branch and some pieces of metal.  I increased my own self sufficiency and saved some money doing it.

Let me be clear, it won’t always be that easy, and you won’t always be successful. There is one power tool that I have replaced multiple parts on and it still doesn’t work!  But in the process I have learned much more about how that tool works and by association how many other tools work.  I value the opportunity that trying to repair it has provided me to expand my knowledge.

I will sometimes use a specialist.  For instance I use a cobbler to repair my shoes.  But I try and learn from what they do so that if I’m in a tight spot I have an idea on how to approach it.  That said as preppers there are specific things that we should always be trying to repair ourselves.  Outdoor or camping equipment, tools and even clothes are at the top of the list.

As a prepper you should always be trying to repair outdoor or camping equipment. Click To Tweet
If it doesn’t need repair can you reuse it?

Finding new and different ways to use the things that you might be throwing out is another way to cultivate these important skills.  It provides you an opportunity for lateral thinking.  How can you use something in a different way to accomplish a specific task?

It may be because of the industry I am in but I see people constantly replacing their smartphones.  Where many simply see an outdated piece of technology I see many possibilities.  There are all sorts of things you can do with an old smartphone to give it a second life.  The first would be loading it full of useful apps and leaving it as a backup in your car, your bugout location, or even a Faraday cage.  If you’ve already done that they why not re purpose it and build a trail cam, home security system, baby monitor, e-reader, digital frame, or remote?  There are tons of possibilities.

Turning trash into tools is an invaluable skill for a prepper to learn. Click To Tweet

Another example is reusing the tin cans you are recycling or throwing away.  Have some large cans?  Build a rocket stove or container garden.  Have some small cans? Build a solar hot water heater or make some fishing hooks.  Play with them and see what you can come up with!  Being able to make your own tools will mean you are infinitely more prepared.

Cultivating the concepts of repair and re-use because they will make you a better prepper.

Stay Safe

 

Prepper Montreal

 

Situational Awareness is a key prepping skill.

Most preppers understand that skills are more important that stuff.  But which skills are the important ones?  Situational Awareness specifically is one of the key skills that you can develop as a prepper that could potentially save your life.

What is situational Awareness?

For the purposes of prepping and disaster readiness you can define situational awareness as understanding of your current situation and predicting how it may change.  In scientific circles it is broken down into 3 progressing levels: Perception, Comprehension and Projection. Perception is simply being aware of your environment. Comprehension is understanding your environment and what is shaping it.  Projection is determining what happens next.  We should all aim for the highest level of situational awareness in disaster situations.

The highest level of situational awareness is predicting what will happen next. Click To Tweet

Although you’ve probably never put a name to it you are likely already using situational awareness regularly.  A good example is if you have ever been driving along and just knew another driver was going to cut you off before it happened.  This is an example of Projection and the more experience you have with driving and the more you pay attention when you drive the more likely this is to happen.

How is situational awareness useful?

The advantage of situational awareness at the highest level is that it could give you a head start on any situation.  It allows you to start reacting before a specific situation starts to play out and this can make all the difference.  Lacking situational awareness on the other hand is a primary factor in accidents attributed to human error.  Simply said people that are not paying attention or not understanding what they see are more prone to screwing things up.

This skill is not limited to observing people either.  If for example you are cutting down a tree with a chainsaw have you taken a moment to look around and be aware of your surroundings?  Are you on level ground? Is there wind and if yes in what direction? Are there other people around?  Is the tree dead or diseased?  Where will the tree fall if cut a specific way?  Taking the time to notice and understand these things can make a big difference to your safety and to the safety of people around you.

How do you improve situational awareness?
The first step to improving situational awareness is looking up from your phone. Click To Tweet

The first and most important things is to take the time to observe your environment regularly.  Become more aware of your surroundings.  If you would normally be staring at your phone take a break to look around, become aware of what is occurring around you and try and figure out what will happen next.

Always be on the lookout for things that aren’t normal or seem wrong.  Is someone’s behavior off somehow or are they acting inappropriately to the place or situation they are in?  Are they somehow uncomfortable?  Ask yourself why.

Get comfortable with your tools and how to use them.  The more comfortable you are with them the more awareness you can maintain of your surroundings while using them.  Don’t get too focused.

Understand your current head space and how it’s effecting your perception and judgement.  Are you hungry or tired?  Could this be reducing your awareness or pushing you towards incorrect assumptions?

 

Interested in learning more about situational awareness and how to improve check the links below:

Do you know of other good blogs or articles about situational awareness?  Let me know!

 

Stay Safe

Prepper Montreal

My knife (or flashlight) is better than yours

If you have spent any time in the prepper community or browsing prepper groups online it will not be long before people are asking for advice on knives.  The same applies to flashlights.  These two tools more than any other prepper items seem to be the focus of many discussion threads and in person chats.

The $200+ knife

If you look up recommendations you will quickly find that many (maybe even most) will fall north of $200+ and sometimes much much more.  There will be endless back and forth on the benefits of this type vs. that type of steel and for having or not having a specific feature.  For flashlights the discussion will hinge around batteries and the output in lumens.

My knife is better than yours and other #prepper nonsense. Click To Tweet

So is a having a knife or flashlight this expensive really that important to survival?  Of course not!  Knives (and flashlights to a more limited degree) are status symbols.  They are the item that every prepper will have and can be compared and contrasted add nauseum without any consensus.  To my mind the primary purpose for having a knife or flashlight this expensive is to provoke envy in others.

Unfortunately there is an entire industry out there eager to join and capitalize on these discussions.  It’s important to remember that preppers are big business and getting them to buy something really expensive can make a huge difference to their bottom line.

How to combat this

I won’t lie to you, I struggle with this sometimes and regularly have knife and flashlight envy, you can see below I lost once as well.  But how do I combat this now?  I keep in mind that these are simply tools and that they do very specific jobs.  Knives cut and flashlights illuminate.  That’s all!

One of my favorite mental games is to swap out the knife or flashlight with a screwdriver.  That helps bring into focus just how ridiculous these discussions can be.  Would you pay $200 for a screwdriver? I certainly hope not!

Knives and flashlights are just tools. Smart #preppers don't buy the most expensive versions. Click To Tweet
Where is the danger

The problem is that for %99.99 of us resources are limited.  This means if you are buying a $200+ knife you are not spending $200+ on other things that could save your life like food stores, water filters and training.  Simply said you’re exchanging a luxury good for something that can keep you alive.

With flashlights it can be even more dangerous as many recommendations will require special batteries that will not be readily available should things start to go wrong.

My recommendations

I want to be clear.  I don’t recommend you buy crap.  What I am saying is that you need to do your research and when it comes to buying you might want to avoid your first choice because it’s pretty and go for something more affordable and practical.

Because it’s bound to come up here is what I own:

I will put up a post in the not too distant future to explain why I’ve made some of the choices above.

Stay Safe!

PrepperMTL

Where to start with #Prepping

You’ve decided that it’s time to start prepping.  No matter how you came to this decision you require a path forward.  In this post I will outline reliable and practical starting points in your prepping journey and discuss some potential pitfalls for new preppers.

Gathering Information

There are a lot of unreliable sources of information out there when it comes to prepping.  Many have a vested interest in convincing you of something (often in order to sell you a solution).  See my thoughts on this in Avoid 2 out of 3 types of Preppers.

Given reliable source of information are hard to find where do you start?  With your government.  Why?!  Because it’s in their interest for you to be prepared in emergencies.  The more prepared you are the less strain you will be on their infrastructure when things go wrong.

The best source of information for a starting #prepper is frequently a government website. Click To Tweet

Listed below are all the government run prepping sites I’ve found for the most populous English speaking Countries.

  • Canada: https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/
  • US: https://www.ready.gov/ and https://www.fema.gov/
  • New Zealand: http://www.getthru.govt.nz/
  • India: http://www.ndma.gov.in/en/
  • Pakistan: http://www.ndma.gov.pk/
  • Ireland: https://www.emergencyplanning.ie/

The following countries unfortunately seem to have little emphasis on public education for disaster preparation and their sites are a little lackluster.

  • UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-emergencies/preparing-for-emergencies
  • Australia: https://emknowledge.org.au/
  • South Africa: http://www.ndmc.gov.za/
  • Philippines: http://www.gov.ph/aquino-administration/disaster-preparedness/

[Side note: If you have better sites or sites for other countries you think should be listed please let me know!]

Taking your next step

The sites above should provide you a general outline of what you can do to prepare for an emergency.  Follow their suggestions and begin to get yourself setup.  You will generally see an emphasis on creating a plan, storing food and water for 3 days, and ensuring you having flashlights and radios for use in a power outage.   These are all great suggestions and a good starting point.

The next step will be to think about which specific emergencies are most likely to occur in your situation.  Do you live in tornado alley?  Are you in a flood plain?  Does the power cut out all the time?  Many of the sites above have documents for dealing with more specific situations like these.  Use those documents to add to your supplies and your plan.

Time to buy a …

By this point you are probably chomping at the bit to go out and buy some cool knife, some gadget or kit that you have read will save you in every situation.  Don’t believe the hype!  They are rarely as useful as they make themselves out to be and if you don’t know what you’re doing in the first place they are unlikely to be all that useful.

“But I have all this money and it’s burning a hole in my pocket!!” That’s fantastic, time to get you some training.  The best thing you can do as a new prepper is to go out and learn some skills.

When #prepping remember skills are more important that stuff. Click To Tweet

Start with First Aid Training.  Now!  This is by far one of the most important things you can do as a prepper and as a person.  First aid training simply said is one of the most likely ways you will save someone’s life.

There are plenty of other subjects you can also get trained on: Gardening, Hunting, Trapping, Fishing, Foraging, Camping, Self Defense, Home Security, Defensive Driving, Portable Fire Extinguisher use and many others.  You may even be able to find good sources for this information out there on the internet.  Just be careful about what sources you are using, prepping has become big business and there are lots of people who want a piece of your money.

Time to buy a …?

Eventually, slowly, you can start to buy yourself gadgets.  But remember that the most important thing about having prepping stuff is knowing how to use it safely and effectively.  Don’t buy things and just stash them away.  Buy them and take the time to use them and get used to them.

If you don't know how to use your #prepping gadget it might as well be a rock. Click To Tweet

 

If you follow the simple path I have laid out above then you should already be well on your way to becoming an effective prepper.  Remember this is all about building yourself a strong base and ensuring that you can handle the emergencies that you are most likely to experience as outlined in The Prepper Pyramid.

Stay Safe!

PrepperMTL

What’s your #prepping communications plan?

Communication is a hugely important and often overlooked part of prepping.  Even for “Minor” emergencies an effective communications plan can be the difference between chaos and order or even life and death.  This post will therefore provide a framework for creating effective communication plans.

I deal with this subject in three different sections.  How to prepare before the emergency, how to find out about the emergency and how to communicate during an emergency.

Communications Preparation
A key part of communications #Prepping is actually having a plan Click To Tweet

This may seem silly but this is something you should think out and prepare ahead.  It will mean that when things go bad you know exactly what to do.  You may even want to have a list of steps that you can simply follow.  That way you don’t need to think about it or can hand this off as a task to someone else.  A few things to consider if you are starting to put together a plan:

  • Who do you contact?
  • Are you giving a heads up or expecting action?
  • What will you expect from them?
  • Do they understand your expectations?
  • How will you contact them?
    Consider text message as your go-to.  It uses less bandwidth and is more likely to get through when the cell system is likely to be strained.  Creating a text group ahead of time is a good idea.  Something online like WhatsApp might also be a good option.

In addition to having a plan there are a few others things you should do:

  • Ensure you have ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts on your phone and that they are accessible without unlocking your phone.
  • Keep your phone charged and keep a spare battery charged.
  • If you will be travelling ensure that you know what the local emergency numbers are (911 in North America, 999 in the UK, 112 in the EU, etc.)
Emergency Awareness
Ensuring you are aware of emergencies as they occur is key in #prepping Click To Tweet

Frequently overlooked this section is vitally important to ensure yourself the best possible head start should things start going wrong.  If everyone else around you knows things have suddenly gone bad and you don’t this is a huge disadvantage.

As a Canadian I cannot overemphasize the importance of installing the Weather Network App.  The reason is that this is the only app that officially supports the Alert Ready network and is the only way for you to be alerted on your smartphone.

This however should not be your only option.  You should also consider having a radio setup to broadcast any alerts as soon as they arrive.  This can either be through a dedicated alert channel or by tuning that radio into one of the official NPAS stations. In addition to those measures I also follow several local emergency twitter accounts (in a list) to ensure that I can immediately get more details as soon as I find out something is wrong.

Communication during an Emergency
Situational awareness and inter group communication are key during emergencies. Click To Tweet

Things have definitely gone wrong now.  You have sent out your first round of communication as detailed above and need to establish a more sustainable infrastructure for communications.

Keeping awareness is important.  You will need to have some form of radio which can be charged easily.  Crank and solar options are quite plentiful.  This will be a key way to keep yourself informed as things continue to evolve.

Inter group communication is also important.  Having some method of communicating with the rest of your group or team when you might be separated will be important to ensuring your mutual safety.  A portable hand-held radio can be a great option for this.  There are options out there like Firechat which will allow you to communicate without a grid in place however they are currently quite limited due to lack of adoption and technological limitations.

For longer term and great distance communication it may be a good idea to get familiar with CB Communication.  There are many resources out there who are better prepared to get you up to speed on this.

The Catastrophic or End of World level of preparation for all of this is to keep your technology stored in a Faraday cage.  It is very unlikely this will be needed but if you are storing them out of the way already then it probably won’t take much time or effort.

That’s all I have for now.  Can you see anything I’ve missed?  If so give me a shout out in the comments below!

Stay Safe!

PrepperMTL

#Prepping for the status quo

Building out from my blog post “The The Prepper PyramidPrepper Pyramid” it’s important to establish a solid foundation as you start prepping.  This post therefore concentrates on preparing yourself for the most likely scenario which is the Status Quo.

If you can't thrive now how can you thrive when things go bad? #PrepperTalk Click To Tweet

Although Prepping provides many of us an escape from the mundanity of our lives the likelihood of a SHTF (Shit Hit The Fan) event occurring  remains relatively remote from day to day.  It’s therefore important to have a plan for things remaining the same.  This means putting your life in order so that even if society does not collapse you will thrive.  Not only will this improve your life but it will also create a strong foundation for when things go wrong.

For the sake of simplicity we will divide this into three categories: Health, Wealth and Happiness.  There are parts of each that I am working on and struggling with, however that work has solidified my own foundation and set me up for success irrespective of what happens.

Health Wealth and Happiness are the foundations of good #Prepping. Click To Tweet
Health

Health is important in several ways.  Being in good physical shape is important and will help ensure you will be better able to cope. In an age where many (including myself) are white collar workers life will be infinitely more physically demanding if society collapses.  Taking care of Health also means taking care of problems as they arise and should include having regular check-ins with your Dr and Dentist.  In particular make sure your teeth in good shape. The last thing you want to be doing when things go bad is searching for a pair of pliers in order to do your own dental work.

Wealth

Wealth is equally important.  Avoid starting to buy all sorts of needless prepping gadgets with money you can’t afford to spend. A single idea has helped me “Live below your means.”. It simply means that you should never spend anywhere near what you make.  I am not financial advisor but this has served me well and allowed me to build up a good nest egg that I can rely on in an emergency.  How you implement this is different for everyone, it could mean not having a second (or even a first) car, not owning a smartphone, not going out on a Friday night or even living in a smaller space than you can afford.  It may not mean you need to deprive yourself only that you should maintain a lifestyle that you can easily afford.

Happiness

The final pillar is Happiness.  For the macho community that is prepping this seems to be under valued but it plays a key role in survival.  If you watch any survival shows (I’m a big fan of the genre) you will know that the psychological game is incredibly important.  As soon as people give up they lose.  In a real world situation this could mean death. I am fortunate in being a relatively happy person (although I sometimes struggle in winter).  Simply said you need to be self aware enough to know how you are doing and improve it if necessary.

With #prepping build a strong foundation now so you have a good start when #SHTF Click To Tweet

Keep those three areas under control and you will not only thrive in life but have a strong foundation for the future.  The more robust your life is in the status quo the better start you will have for when things go wrong.

Stay safe!

PrepperMTL