Homeland Security Today: Community Preparedness Starts with Your Family

Don’t forget that it is still National Preparedness Month. From Homeland Security Today, Community Preparedness Starts with Your Family.

Disaster preparedness can be the difference between life and death. Running a Facebook Community group for anyone who knows what disaster preparedness means can be the key to keeping your community informed – and alive – when a disaster strikes.

The first thing I tell my community is regardless what disaster strikes, have a plan and make sure your entire family knows that plan. Within that plan, everyone should know where to meet, and have an out-of-state contact so when someone is missing everyone knows to call that contact to check in.

Try out some disaster drills. Take the family on a picnic and go down some roads that could be possible evacuation routes. Some roads have gates and you want to know before disaster strikes which roads may be blocked off, and this is a good time to get the kids involved. Make this trip a picnic at a spot the entire family can enjoy while at the same time learning where to go at a higher elevation should the need arise.

In my community there are five dams, so finding that safe evacuation route is important. We also have two volcanoes, landslide threats, flooding, and potential for an intense seismic event with the Cascadia Subduction Zone here in the Pacific Northwest – so again, to me, having that plan is important.

What I also encourage is having that briefcase ready to grab that has all the important documents. Many people don’t remember the insurance paperwork, titles to vehicles, VA paperwork if you are a veteran or Social Security documentation if you are in SSI or SSD. I have a briefcase with all this information I can just grab and go. I also encourage taking pictures of high-value items on a memory card you can access in any computer for when claims need to be filed, or in the event if a theft.

Finally, that go-bag: Do you stay in the house or do you head for the hills? We have power outages here in my community during winter storms that can last up to a week or longer and if the Army taught me one thing it is always to have a Plan A, B, C, and D and if those plans don’t work, you have backups for backups. When storms hit, we settle in. Power goes out, we had for a trailer that still has heat. We have a barbecue grill we can cook on, water stored in containers for drinking and cooking, and we make it a fun event. Many folks forget that on a well there is no power to the pump, so you will be out of water and this hinders your sanitation as well.

When it comes to the evacuation, we make it a point of always maintaining at a minimum a half a tank of gas in the vehicle as you never know when you may have to go farther to get to your destination when an event happens. I also suggest maintaining at least a week’s supply of food and water for your family as most disasters will take longer than three days for rescue to get to your community. I have a 72-hour pack I take with me everywhere, reminiscent of both my Army and my search-and-rescue days, and it carries enough for myself and one other for up to three days but longer if necessary.

First aid is another area many forget, but as a former combat medic my kit is above and beyond and stays in my truck. I do not carry more than what my civilian skill legally will allow. In the Army I stuck IVs, chest tubes, and whatever else needed to be done to keep a soldier alive, things I cannot do now without getting in legal trouble, so I do not carry those supplies. I do encourage anyone to at least learn basic first aid and CPR and learn how to take basic vital signs. You can pick up a basic blood pressure cuff and stethoscope in many medical supply stores and learn how to use them. Breathing, blood loss, and shock are the three main killers but knowing CPR, how to stop bleeding, and shock signs and symptoms and treatment are fundamental to learn and will benefit your family and community.

Lastly, Washington state has a program called Map Your Neighborhood. It is a great program for any community and helps in meeting your neighbors, knowing their skills, and identifying the elderly and disabled as the first ones you need to check on. You can find more information on this program on the internet and see about applying this to your community.

In the end, it is your family and your community who will be there to help you through a crisis event, and knowing what the threats are in your state and community will help you in staying prepared and knowing how to respond, which is a mitigation to the threat. Stay safe out there and keep your communities safe.

Forward Observer: Mao on American Patriots

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer has a couple of Out Front podcast episodes on Mao and what conservatives can learn from him. There is good information about subversion of conservative institutions, hard and soft power, community organizing and outreach, and the need to think of creating large groups rather than small groups. Below are the two podcasts on Youtube.

Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed. – Mao

John Mosby on Building a Preparedness Group/Resilient Community

In this older post from John Mosby at Mountain Guerrilla, he gives his opinion on how to start a preparedness group or how to build a community for mutual assistance, or whatever you want to call your group. People always ask us about how to go about starting a preparedness group at the preparedness expo and elsewhere. We’ve posted several other articles previously on the topic, but as usual John has his own opinion.

We spend a lot of time on this blog, discussing the importance of building what John Robb terms a “resilient community,” while I turn back to the more traditional “tribe.” One of the recurring themes that arises in the commentary to these articles is the inability of people to find and befriend “like-minded people” to band together with for protection and security.

If this is your problem, rest assured, Aristotle thinks you’re an asshole. In his Nichomean Ethics, after pointing out that friendships are essential to the human experience (another example of classical antiquity being smarter than the ‘retreat survivalist.’), Aristotle went on to describe friendships as having three fundamental bases.

The first type of friendship that Aristotle described is the friendship wherein we like someone because they’re simply enjoyable to be around. This is the college buddy that you still hang around with because he’s good for laughs, or because he throws great parties. Aristotle explained that this was among the lowest forms of friendship, and they seldom last any great length of time. They’re not what most mature people would describe as “real” friendships.

This friendship—whether you are the guy who enjoys hanging out with someone, or you’re the guy who people enjoy hanging out with—stops, the minute shit gets tough. It’s entertaining to point out that “laughter is the best medicine,” and we need court jesters, especially in times of stress, but if that’s the only value someone is bringing to a relationship? Meh.

The second type of friendship that Aristotle mentioned, was also a “lower” form of friendship. Today, most of us generally view this type of relationship as only being valued by people who are inherently pieces-of-shit. These are the relationships where one party (or both), find utility in the friendship.

Aristotle wrote, “Those who pursue utility….sometimes….do not even find each other pleasant; there they do not need such companionship unless they are useful to each other; for they are pleasant to each other only in so far as they rouse in each other hopes of something good to come.” It’s not necessary that either party to the friendship is being mercenary per se. It’s simply a matter that the motivation for being friends is “what’s in it for me.”

This is ultimately the issue for most survivalists and preppers trying to build tribe among other preppers. We look for “well, what kind of preps does this person have? Do they share the same political values as me? Will they help me fight the good fight, politically?” Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this; it’s a reason for developing a friendship, it’s just not the highest form of friendship, and when we’re building a tribe—from scratch, mind you—we need the highest levels of friendship, trust, and frith.

I repeatedly suggest a thorough, annual reading of Dale Carnegies’ “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and I stand by that. It’s important for people to recognize however, that Carnegie was writing for the businessman who needed to develop rapid, ultimately relatively shallow, business friendships of a utilitarian nature. You need to use those tactics, when meeting people, but you also need to go far, far past that step.

Aristotle also described the highest form of friendship. Considering that much of what we understand as modern, liberal (in the Classical sense, not the contemporary political sense) Western values are largely derived from Aristotle’s writing, it should be no real surprise that most people’s concept of what “real” friendship, at the highest level is, coincides pretty closely with Aristotle’s definition.

“Perfect friendship is of those who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish each other well alike to each other…” Different from pleasure- or utility-based friendships, true friendships…the type of friendships that tribes must be based on (after all, remember, we’re talking about building a group of people that meets the definition of “kith and kin”) involve genuine care for the well-being of the other person/people, not mere ego issues.

This is not—as many anarchists would like to believe—a matter of radical self-sacrifice. It’s simply a matter of genuine concern for the well-being of the other party, regardless of the benefits to the self. This is the guy who stands up and teaches classes to his local survival group, not for his ego, but because he genuinely wants to pass on good information for the well-being of his friends, not because he’s getting paid, or because he needs to stroke his ego. This is the guy who shows up at 0600, on his day off, to help a neighbor get his crop in, and doesn’t ask anything in return, because he knows he doesn’t need to ask: the neighbor will be there next weekend, when HE needs a hand moving some furniture.

The problem that I see too often in the preparedness community is the “John, how do I find like-minded people to build tribe with?” questions we constantly get.

You don’t “find” like-minded people to become your friends. If that happens, it just happens, because you happen to meet like-minded people that you express a genuine interest in. The most important lesson of Aristotle’s discussion of friends is, looking in on-line communities for “prepper groups” to join is, how are you going to have a legitimate interest in the well-being of someone you don’t know?

You don’t know if those people in that group share your values. You don’t know if they share your work ethic. You don’t know anything about them…

Build your tribe by strengthening the friendships and relationships you have.

Click here to read the entire article at Mountain Guerrilla.

Alt-Market: I Started A Local Gun And Preparedness Club…

Brandon Smith at Alt-Market talks about his efforts to start a local gun and preparedness club in his small town, as well as some interference he received in his efforts. He’s correct when he says that you need a group or community to survive widespread calamity. Here he talks about holding a community meeting in a local park. When the LVA made its first efforts for community involvement and was getting itself off the ground, it ambitiously held a preparedness expo, but on a smaller scale, it also held a public meeting at a local community center with a table-top disaster scenario, shockingly enough, about a pandemic.

I live in the mountains outside a small town in rural Montana, a place you might assume is conservative through and through, and it is, for the most part. However, one rule I have found to be universal no matter where in the US I live or visit is that regardless of how conservative the population of a place is, leftists are almost ALWAYS entrenched into city politics and they almost always run the local newspapers.

In the past I found this to be a strange thing; why are the viewpoints and ideals of most of the city government and the local journalists the complete opposite of the majority of the citizenry in conservative communities?

I did not understand until later that this is a product of misaligned priorities. Leftists (specifically extreme leftists) seems to gravitate to positions of influence, even those we might consider small and inconsequential, because they see these positions as an opportunity to exert power over others. Conservatives tend to not care as much about having power over others unless they are a direct threat, and so we don’t have any interest in wasting our precious free time climbing our way through a faceless bureaucracy.

I actually prefer that mindset. I like the fact that conservatives aren’t always scrambling for position or power. That said, it might behoove us to pay better attention to who is in control of our local governments, because it may cause serious problems for us down the road.

For many years now I have been working with a group of people who have been preparing for the events that are happening today, including economic crisis, supply chain disruptions, civil unrest and government overreach. While many of these groups seek to remain private, I feel it is time for bigger discussions with the wider community on what people plan to do if the dangerous situation does not improve. In other words, are they going to work together? Or, are they going to remain isolated from each other?

This is a vital question, because it is becoming increasingly possible that a full spectrum collapse will strike the US in the near term. It is time for preppers and liberty minded people to start gauging the sentiment of the community around them and seeking out like-minded individuals. The more active the community is in its own survival, the less likely they will be to conform to draconian rules or fear.

Private groups should remain private, and so should the extent of your preps. But, it is foolish to think that you are going to survive a collapse on your own without working with others in the community. Think of it this way, if your circle of security is only the size of your property, when trouble arrives it will already be on your doorstep (in other words, you are dead if the attackers are organized and prepared). If your circle of security is your entire town or county, then when trouble arrives you might actually have time to respond.

Going “gray man” is an extremely short term solution. Eventually, you will be caught alone and unaware and then all the energy and time and money you put into your preps will have been wasted and someone else will be enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Another problem I see is that conservatives are far less adept at organization than the political left; we tend to be more spontaneous when we group together for a cause. I’m not saying we need our own Antifa or BLM, but we do need to put more effort into working together locally and minimizing our exposure to threats. Conservatives and liberty activists often feel alone, even though there are millions of us out there, and it’s because we refuse to organize in any practical way for fear of ending up on a “list”.

It’s the threat of being on “the list” that controls conservatives. The list doesn’t even need to exist in real life and we are still dominated by it. I hear it all the time, the “nail that sticks up will get hammered down”. I say, the nail that keeps its head down is more easily stepped on.

These are some of the reasons I decided to engage with the larger community by starting a local club that discusses firearms, preparedness and current events. I put the word out in as many places as I could, including tacking up fliers around town. These days, it’s hard for anyone to argue that prepping is a “silly idea” for “kooky conspiracy theorists”. We have been proven right, everyone else has been proven wrong, but that doesn’t mean our work ends here; we have to continue to educate as many people as possible on how it’s done while there’s still time. The more we do this, the safer everyone is.

The initial response was overwhelmingly positive. A lot of people are ready for this kind of information, and setting up the discussions in a more public forum gives people a greater sense of involvement and shows them they are not alone in their concerns. To that end I decided to hold the discussion at a local public park.

Then, I started getting emails and friends of mine started getting angry Facebook responses when discussing the club…

Officials from the city council using the primary city government email were not happy, though they did not identify themselves by name. They claimed the club could not hold an “event” in the park unless we got permission and permits from the city council, along with insurance. If we did not, then police would be sent to kick us out of the park.

I thought this was rather bizarre; I didn’t expect hundreds of people to show up to the club meeting, maybe a couple dozen at most. The requirements these people from the city council demanded were traditionally for large events with hundreds or thousands of people. Getting permission would have taken weeks, and the emails suggested that permission was not guaranteed by stating “IF we approve”.

I could have held a meeting on private property, but using the city park was symbolic of open community engagement; the people of the area were supposed to feel welcome to participate and maybe this is what annoyed the lefties the most.  They feel like they own that wheelhouse.  Frankly, parks are public property paid for with public dollars and the community has every right to use them for free assembly. But if you think this is common knowledge think again; some politicians and officials think otherwise.

I responded as I usually do to these kinds of things, by digging my heels in. I thoroughly researched the use and legality of public parks for free assembly and found that as long as your group is not blocking access to the park for other people, blocking roads or engaged in criminal activity then the demands for permits do not usually hold up in court and removal by police is not justified. Constitutionally, you are protected.

I emailed the official or officials back and reminded them that they risk a civil court issue by trying to stop people’s free speech on public property, and warned them that the city would be subject to bad press as well. I was perfectly ready to refuse removal and to be arrested if it came to that.

Another interesting discovery: The park in question was host to a bunch of BLM protesters only two weeks earlier. Did they have to get permits and insurance to hold their “event” in the park?

I decided to reach out to the only conservative member of the city council that I knew of and talk with him. He confirmed my suspicions. There were multiple hard leftists in the city government, but no one had actually brought up the issue of my club and the use of the park to rest of the council before sending me the threatening emails.

So, it was probably only a couple of weasels trying to make it look like they represented the entire city council’s position. He also confirmed that the BLM protesters had no permits or insurance, and that certain council members KNEW ahead of time that their protest was going to happen. In other words, the lefty council members were acting unilaterally to give BLM open access to the park, and then tried to interfere with my gun and preparedness club.

This was clear political bias applied to the usage of public property.

I have learned from past experience that these types of people do not like a stand-up fight; so they prefer to try to frighten you away from doing a thing through intimidation instead. They try to get you to give up voluntarily by painting a host of consequences in your mind. You start to worry about all the things that MIGHT happen; no one wants to have confrontations with cops these days, you don’t have to be insane like BLM to have concerns.

Luckily, my brain doesn’t really think in terms of risk over reward. I only really think about what is necessary. I held the club meeting in the park anyway and I made sure that whoever it was in the city council that was trying to interfere knew I was going to do it.

Long story short, the meeting was a success. I met a lot of locals that I had not talked with before that had the same concerns I did, and we discussed primarily the issue of community security if the system completely breaks down. The meetings will continue, perhaps even in the same park for a while just to make a point. The police never showed up, so the people making threats either didn’t want to risk a lawsuit and confrontation, they realized they didn’t have as much power as they thought they did, or the cops refused to bother with something that was clearly legal and constitutional.

The only confrontation happened a hundred yards away. A man looking for the meeting approached a group across the street that was organizing a separate community event. He told me that when he asked them if they were part of the gun club, a woman yelled at him “No, those people are across the street at that ILLEGAL MEETING!”

And there you have it. I highly recommend you hold an “illegal meeting” of your own for your community. These discussions need to start now, and people need to know that they are not alone during this crisis. It is time for conservatives to start banding together and planning ahead.

Related:

Survival Sullivan: Setting up a mutual assistance group

Mason Dixon Tactical: The Neighborhood Protection Teams And Ignorant, Defeatist “Know It Alls”

City Prepping: How to Build MAG (Mutual Assistance Group)

Yakima Herald: Yakima Has Highest Rate of Covid-19 in WA

From the Yakima Herald, Yakima County has highest rate of COVID-19 cases in Washington, double the state rate:

Yakima County has the highest rate of COVID-19 infections in the state by a significant amount, and is double the state average, according to state Department of Health data.

The county had a rate of 337 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest state data, accounting for the 840 Yakima County cases recorded by the state as of midnight on Monday.

That’s significantly higher than the next highest county rate in the state, Snohomish County, which has 274 cases per 100,000 people. It’s double the state rate of 168 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

Yakima County also has the second-highest rate of testing for COVID-19 in the state after Snohomish County, according to Yakima Health District spokeswoman Lilian Bravo.

As of Tuesday evening, Yakima County had 886 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 38 deaths, according to the Yakima Health District. Twenty-five people were hospitalized with the respiratory virus. The health district did not provide updated numbers Wednesday due to technical difficulties.

Map released

On Tuesday, the health district released a map showing the breakdown of confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents in each city and town in Yakima County.

The health district map shows where community members infected with the virus live, not where they contracted the virus, said Bravo. Community members can contract the virus from anywhere in the community, she said — not just areas with higher rates of residents with confirmed cases.

The health district mapping is based on COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, not actual case numbers in each town or city. Cases in long-term care facilities, which account for about a third of cases in the county, were not included in the map to prevent the data from being skewed. P.O. Box addresses were also excluded.

High densities of cases can be seen in parts of Yakima, Sunnyside, Toppenish, Wapato and Tieton, among others.

The high case rate in the county compared to elsewhere in the state can be attributed to outbreaks in long-term care facilities, as well as the high proportion of essential workers in Yakima County, Bravo said.

Cases at seven Yakima County long-term care facilities make up 25% of the county’s total cases.

Essential workers

About 72,700 of 115,000 Yakima County jobs, or 63%, are in essential industries like agriculture, health care and wholesale trade, according to job figures from the first quarter of 2018 provided by the Yakima County Development Association.

This compares to 54% statewide.

“Context is that over 60% of jobs are still considered essential in Yakima, so we’re not as shut down as some areas in the state,” Bravo said. “Having more individuals still working, not necessarily always being able to work from home, having to show up to work — that’s going to put them at a higher risk of infection.”

Yakima Health District map of infection rates

Backdoor Survival: What Can Prepper Groups Do To Support Each Other During Quarantine

This article comes from Samantha Biggers at Backdoor Survival – What Can Prepper Groups Do To Support Each Other During Quarantine. You may not be able to have physical meetups, but what can you do?

A lot of people have been members of preparedness groups for quite some time. While some groups may have been just casual meetups once in a while, others were seriously training and getting together on a regular basis.

pandemic is not necessarily the event that most groups considered likely. This is not an event where people can all feel good about gathering together to ride this thing out.

But that doesn’t mean that prepper groups cannot offer a ton of support and help to one another. This article is going to talk about what prepper groups can do to support one another during this time of social distancing.

Learn skills via video

Prepper groups often have people with a huge variety of skills and knowledge. If each person takes a turn offering an online webinar, then everyone can use this time to learn and come through this even more prepared than ever. Some of these classes could even be added to your homeschool curriculum where appropriate.

Have some classes that are designed to help entertain and offer constructive activities for the teens and kids of those in the group.

While kids are going to have some homework to do, I know from my own homeschool experience that doesn’t take up anywhere near the entire day. Kids are going to need things to do and if you don’t want them to spend all that time watching television or playing video games, then you are going to need to give them some other constructive options.

Check-in on each other. Sometimes it is nice to just know that others are thinking about you.

The pandemic is making it so that people are suffering from extreme stress and anxiety. For many, there is a lot of uncertainty. Regardless of where you get your news, there has been an overwhelming amount of information and some of that info changes faster than you can keep up. There has also been planting of conflicting information.

When people don’t know what is true and a lot of promises are being made that it is impossible for any human being or government to be able to guarantee them, it can feel scary and lead to extreme stress. Poor mental health can affect your body and immunity.

Talking to others through this hard time, especially friends can help. Isolation can be very hard on some people that are older or those that live alone. I would not be doing so well with isolation if I did not have my husband right here with me and my father very nearby.

Share recipes

For many people, this is the first time they have had to cook with at least some basic foods or be responsible for all the meals consumed. If you get takeout or deli food 5-7 times a week, it is a big change to suddenly have to take care of that yourself and plan your day so that you have time for it.

Getting creative with all those prepper foods you have stashed back can make eating a more enjoyable experience. Variety helps more than you might realize. There are ways to make comfort foods from very basic things with just a few skills and some knowledge.

Practice Communications

Some prepping groups have communications procedures and codes in place. Now is a good time to practice those skills. Some people are getting more into shortwave radios and learning how to operate a HAM radio…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Backdoor Survival.

Organic Prepper: How to Help Your Community Be Better Prepared

Kara Stiff at The Organic Prepper has written How to Help Your Community Be Better Prepared for Covid-19 (and Future Emergencies). It’s worth your time to read.

…Some people can’t get their doctors to prescribe a reasonable stockpile of essential medications, or they need regular access to a hospital for dialysis or some other life-saving service. Some don’t have an extra dollar to spend on food for later because they can’t cover food for today. Others can’t stay home even when they’re contagious because they’ll lose their job. And some are suffering from depression or other mental states that make it literally impossible to think about the future, much less plan for it.

Some of these have been issues for me in the past, and I’m just lucky those periods of my life were short. There are millions of people who live there permanently.

Systemic and personal barriers to other people’s preparedness affect me personally, even though my family is in pretty good shape. We live out in the country but we’re still surrounded by neighbors, and our fortunes will rise and fall with theirs. My family can only be as prepared as our neighborhood, our county, our state. Which is to say, not very prepared at all.

How I’m working on community preparedness

So instead of further addressing our personal preparedness with diminishing returns, I’m working on community preparedness. I’m not an elected official or a leader, just a private citizen, so the things I’m doing are friendly and neighborly things.

Before we got our little cold I did my friend’s monthly livestock feed run for her, saving her a day in the car so she can rest up and take care of things at home. Then, I took my elderly neighbors some extra eggs. I haven’t seen them in a while, and it’s to both of our advantages if they remember who I am. I reintroduced myself to my neighbor who just moved in, so he remembers who I am, too.

Of course, it’s safest to live in a tight network of preparedness-minded people with diverse and complementary skills who unconditionally support each other. But how many of us are actually achieving that right now?

It’s difficult to build and maintain that sort of situation in a nation where most people aren’t interested, and people are always moving. Some of my neighbors form a pretty good support group, but I also have neighbors I’m not close with. Knowing their names and faces is far better than not knowing.

Another thing I’m doing is giving extra money to my local food bank. In these times when all the headlines scream that unemployment is low and the economy is hearty, about 15% of my county is already leaning on the food bank, including lots of elderly people and families with small children. These are the people who can least afford a health problem or a wider financial disruption, and it’s ultimately better for me if they have access to the resources to stock up.

The greater the proportion of the population who can meet some of their needs in any emergency, be it a virus, a weather event or just a personal job loss, the more likely it is that any forthcoming disaster assistance can cover the remaining needs. More needs met equals less unrest (certainly not none, but less) and less unrest equals my family being safer (certainly not safe, but safer).

It’s easy to feel that because I’m all set, all those grasshoppers who won’t see to their own needs can suffer and it doesn’t affect me. But it isn’t true. I am safest when everyone is safest.

This week I’m reaching out gently to friends and family, especially those who are vulnerable because of asthma, pregnancy, age or other preexisting conditions. Because my anxiety about my own family is relatively low, I can speak to them in encouraging, soothing, practical ways, sharing information and urging them to get some extra food so they have the option to stay home, hopefully without stressing them out too much. A few people actually contacted me, and I was able to better answer their questions and listen to their feelings because I’m not panicking myself. They weren’t interested last week when I mentioned the virus offhandedly, but this week, they are.

People become receptive to preparedness on their own timelines.

You might have found in your personal conversations that people are uninterested or even scornful about your preparedness ideas. I’ve certainly found that. My dad was polite but not too excited about my thoughts during last winter’s ice storm. Now he’s been following the Covid-19 news, and all of a sudden he wants to talk more in-depth about water catchment, food storage, and communication if the cell service is ever disrupted.

His change of mind just goes to show that people have to become receptive all on their own. In my experience, all we ordinary private citizens can do is try to gently plant a seed of interest in preparedness topics, and then be there to water it when the circumstances are right. For a lot of previously uninterested people, those circumstances are right now, and they might be looking around for somebody to learn from. Groups you’re already a part of (such as clubs or churches) may also be more receptive now that they used to be.

I’m not suggesting giving them a guided tour of your storage, or anything else that compromises your own security, but something as simple as speaking quietly to group leaders, assisting them to support others…

Click here to continue reading at The Organic Prepper.

Reminder to Check on Vulnerable Neighbors

There have been some stories shared on social media of people being carefully approached by strangers who are in the high-risk categories for COVID-19 (older adults and people with heart disease, diabetes or lung disease) and asked for help with shopping or other resources, because the strangers are afraid to expose themselves by going into crowded stores themselves. Sometimes they are being given cash and a shopping list, which exposes these high-risk people to both theft and then not having supplies. If you have neighbors whom you know are in a high risk group, it is a good idea to contact them (ideally via a remote method that doesn’t expose them to anything you may be carrying) and ask if you can assist them with any preparations. You could also print them an OK/HELP sign so that they can notify neighbors if they need assistance, and the people for whom they have phone numbers aren’t able to respond to help.

Be mindful that you still need to practice good hygiene to prevent infection in either direction when passing off goods or payment.

AmPart: Community Cooking – More Practical Approach to Prepping

NC Scout at American Partisan has an article up about the southern tradition of Community Cooking, how it aids a community, and how communal cooking may help in a disaster.

So we’re finding ourselves in a rush once more. The reality of a pandemic is setting in and people are buying up as much freeze-dried supplies as they can get their hands on. But while I don’t think the physical consequences for an overwhelmingly large percentage of healthy persons will be severe, I do think that the economic disruptions, and the trickle down interruptions in our food supplies, have the potential to be far-reaching. Then again its one of the very real reasons that a good number of people I’m friends and neighbors with have taken every opportunity to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Its not just about having solar power or ‘living off the grid’ for my own sake, but a creation of better resiliency against these sort of inevitable disasters. So you’ve got all those beans and rice put back, but how are you gonna cook them? And are you cooking off-grid? I draw on lessons I learned from my childhood growing up in the rural south and as an adult living in the third world, among Iraqis and Afghans, where a supply chain wasn’t taken for granted. Top among those lessons was the value of cooking for a whole community.

<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-9661″ class=”wp-image-9661 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C682&ssl=1 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=1080%2C720&ssl=1 1080w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?resize=1320%2C880&ssl=1 1320w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1245-scaled.jpg?w=2160&ssl=1 2160w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Discada- a giant steel disk that people have been effectively cooking on for over a millennia.

In America we’re culturally predisposed to thinking individually, permeating all the way down to our eating habits. This has led to incredible amounts of wasteful practices, but its also led to us isolating ourselves to a large degree. In many respects this filters down to our own preparedness practices; the things we buy, the things we buy in bulk, and the justifications behind them. It is an attitude of “I GOT MINE!” negating the reality that hungry masses are motivated masses- and they’ll simply take what you have when they get desperate enough.

On the other hand, a community protects what a community values.

<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-9610″ class=”wp-image-9610 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C682&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=1080%2C720&ssl=1 1080w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?resize=1320%2C880&ssl=1 1320w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1165-scaled.jpg?w=2160&ssl=1 2160w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

The annual stew.

Every fall in the rural southeast communities have a stew. Every church, every volunteer fire department, and many civic clubs. Its a good fundraiser but its a hell of a lot more than that. Its a tradition and a symbol of our cultural connection with the land. Back in the less-modern era people ate a diet based on what they had at the time. Vegetables followed the harvest seasons, meats followed the livestock slaughter schedule, and at the end of the year and through the winter, stews were made from whatever was left over to prevent spoilage. Crops and livestock were hard earned like everything else. Waste not, want not.

<img class=”size-medium wp-image-9608 alignleft” src=”https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C682&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=1080%2C720&ssl=1 1080w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?resize=1320%2C880&ssl=1 1320w, https://i0.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/100_1163-scaled.jpg?w=2160&ssl=1 2160w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Its a tradition that my own family and friends still follow today, and one that I always look forward to. The Fall is my favorite time of the year for a lot of reasons, and making a hearty stew, chili, and chicken mull is a big part of that. But that annual stew wouldn’t be possible without a few critical tools. I have a large cast iron stew pot, its iron stand, a large steel disk wok, a large dutch oven and a medium dutch oven, all cured with lard and easy to cook on off-grid. With these tools I can make nearly any meal and feed large groups of people in the process.

<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-9660″ class=”wp-image-9660 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C682&ssl=1 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=1080%2C720&ssl=1 1080w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?resize=1320%2C880&ssl=1 1320w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1255-scaled.jpg?w=2160&ssl=1 2160w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Corn tortillas and four cups of boiled white rice. Dirt cheap meal that can feed a lot of people.

There’s a strong parallel to this and those cultures overseas, especially in Afghanistan. In most rural cultures around the world you’ll find a community kitchen in the small villages or groups of mud huts. In the center you’ll typically find a firepit, a few pots, usually a pressure cooker, and in some places a large metal disk much like the discada that I use. Its cooking gear that they’ve been using for generations, much like we did not that long ago.

The community kitchen, so to speak, is built to feed everyone- not just individually. A group learns to live off what they have, source their food from their environment, and know what goes a long way to sustaining the most, quickly and efficiently. Rice and beans are a staple food in most parts of the world. Cooking them is fairly straightforward and its a cheap food to stock up on. You can pick up a 20lb of rice and another 4lb of red beans for just over $30 total- and that will feed a small group of people for a good while. All you need is clean water and wood for the fire, and you’re good to go. Add in some bullion cubes for flavor and have some canned meat for long term storage and you’ll be the rock star of your group when people get burned out

<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-9657″ class=”wp-image-9657 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C682&ssl=1 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=1080%2C720&ssl=1 1080w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?resize=1320%2C880&ssl=1 1320w, https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/100_1252-scaled.jpg?w=2160&ssl=1 2160w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Marinaded chicken, bell, poblano and serrano peppers and mushrooms. All locally sourced, cooked off grid, prepared for eight adults.

on freeze dried food or MREs.

Maybe its the attitude I hold towards greater sustainability, maybe its my ongoing love of re-wilding, or maybe its partly trying to squeeze everything I can out of my hard earned money, but my approach to prepping and survivalism is to know how to provide and prepare that next meal for my family- not just tomorrow, but forever. There’s a learning curve to it, but for me at least its worth it on many levels to have and practice the skills to survive rather than simply bank on prepared foods alone to carry us through. I have those too, but they’ll be the last in the rotation after I’ve exhausted every other option. No matter what the crisis, I’ve got the tools and skills to use it. And you should too.

Don’t panic. Just prepare.

 

Prosser Community Chili Cook Off, Feb. 15, 2020

The First Annual Community Chili Cook Off is being held on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at the Prosser Community Center, 1215 Dudley Ave., Prosser, WA at 12:00 pm.

You are invited to bring your best chili to the Prosser Community Center. There will both a prize for best judged entry (1st, 2nd, and 3rd places) and one for the people’s choice. To register your chili, it must be at the community center for judges no later than 11:20 am. Judging begins at 11:30. They recommend the use of crock pots to keep your chili warm.

This event is hosted by the Prosser Senior Citizen’s Club, who will also be selling bowls of chili for $5, served with corn bread. Drinks available for $1.

For more information, contact Prosser Community Center at 786-2915.

King 5: Community Brings Supplies to Residents Stranded Along Hwy 2

In another example of the importance of being prepared and the importance of community, some residents who live along US Highway 2 have been stranded in their homes and without electricity since last Friday as over three feet of snow fell in the area. Miles of the highway are still closed, but WSDOT was able to open a portion of the road and community volunteers have been bringing supplies to some.

Patience is wearing thin for residents impacted by the closure of US Highway 2 near Skykomish. Most living in the area have been without electricity since 2 p.m. Friday.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) opened a portion of US 2 on Wednesday at 2 p.m. for local access to Skykomish for people living between Money Creek tunnel and Skykomish. US 2 remains closed between Skykomish and the Stevens Pass summit.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10,” said Baring resident Charlie Preston. “It’s hell.”

But help arrived Wednesday when WSDOT escorted a group of volunteers across US 2 with supplies donated by community members for residents stranded by the closure.

“We’ve got like four trucks packed full right now with more coming. Everything from pellets for pellet stoves, gas for generators, diesel, the normal amenities that everybody needs,” volunteer Dave Mergenthaler said. “Food, bread, milk, tons of water, anything and everything we could gather between last night and this morning is going up.”

“This is the type of help that just warms you when nothing else does,” said one resident when the help arrived.

Some residents have posted videos showing at least three feet of snow on the ground. Mergenthaler said some people have been trapped in their homes for days.

“We don’t have news, we don’t have phones, we don’t have internet. We’re totally isolated,” said Preston. “I don’t know if the governor has called this an emergency. If he hasn’t, he needs to. We need all the help we can get.”

 

Citylab: How Portland’s Earthquake Preppers Are Planning for the Worst

While the decision to survive is a personal one, your ability to survive is exponentially enhanced by having a community which has decided to survive. In this article from Citylab, one neighborhood in Portland discusses how and why they formed and what they are doing to be prepared. Have you met your neighbors and mapped your neighborhood? Meet people, build trust, and grow community. It will help you survive – not just in disasters.

…“One of the main elements of disaster preparedness is knowing your neighbors,” Michael Hall says as the meeting begins. He’s the bell-ringer and leader of Alameda’s self-titled “Council of Blockheads,” which represents a two-block, 25-household area. For the last four years, the residents of this leafy neighborhood have convened twice annually over a lofty goal: ensuring the survival of everyone on the block in case of a disaster.

For the next 30 minutes, the group talks about whether to order more stackable emergency water containers and how much extra food to stock up on (the new advice: enough for two weeks). They listen to earthquake survival tips from a guest speaker, Marilyn Bishop, who sells pre-made emergency prep kits full of freeze-dried rations. Four years ago, these neighbors hardly knew each other. But after seven meetings and counting, they now see each other as their lifelines.
Hall is one of the many residents of the Pacific Northwest reckoning with the terrifying potential of the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that many experts believe will strike in the next 50 years. The overdue super-quake could trigger devastating coastal tsunamis—waves up to 85 feet high—and deliver potentially massive damage to homes, highways, and water and power infrastructure. Galvanized by Kathryn Schulz’s 2015 New Yorker story “The Really Big One,” Hall was eager to do something. So he gathered a few neighbors at his house over beers to brainstorm. The result was their first disaster-awareness block party, where nearly every household had a representative. The block parties became the way to make catastrophe preparation less overwhelming.

They started holding twice-yearly informational meetups with guest speakers and workshops that covered how to create a family emergency plan, human waste storage systems, and water and food storage. They made a bulk order of water bricks. And they created and continue to update a comprehensive inventory of neighborhood contact information, emergency supplies (such as generators, tools, and camping equipment), and skills (e.g., first-aid, carpentry, childcare). Some neighbors even gained additional training as Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) volunteers—city-trained residents who deploy in a large-scale emergency…

Click here to read the entire article at Citylab.

Happy Thanksgiving

O My God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou has given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing sense to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.
I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

-From The Valley of Vision