National Geographic: Disaster ‘Prepping’ Was Once an American Pastime. Today, It’s Mainstream Again.

In the spring of 1941, guests of the Allerton House in New York City descended 45 feet below ground to check out the hotel’s newly completed air raid shelter. The shelter boasted an auxiliary lighting system in case the building lost electricity. Watching the German bombing campaign over London terrified Americans, and led the government to form civil defense preparations. Photograph via Bettmann/Getty

National Geographic talks about the past, present and possible future of American preparedness in Disaster ‘prepping’ was once an American pastime. Today, it’s mainstream again.

here’s a reason “preppers,” people who plan for the worst-case scenario, like to talk about the zombie apocalypse. The idea of an army of walking dead swarming the country pervades their thoughts because, says Roman Zrazhevskiy, “If you prepare as if a zombie apocalypse is going to happen, you have all the bases covered.” That means: an escape route, medical supplies, a few weeks’ worth of food.

Zrazhevskiy has been thinking about this for decades. He was born in Russia a few months after the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. At the dinner table, his family often talked about the disaster and what went wrong. Then, after they relocated to New York, Zrazhevskiy stood on the waterfront outside his Brooklyn high school on September 11, 2001, and watched the World Trade Center towers collapse. Even then, he had a small go-bag prepared with disaster supplies.

Now, he’s the guy who has a kit and a checklist for every occasion, including taking his toddler to the beach. Zrazhevskiy lives in Texas and runs survival outfitters Ready to Go Survival and Mira Safety. In 2019, with protests in Hong Kong, wildfires in Australia, and the threat of war with Iran, business boomed. But when the CDC announced the U.S.’s first confirmed coronavirus case last January, business reached “a whole new level,” says Zrazhevskiy. His companies spent the next couple of months scrambling to fill backorders. The flood of new customers had so many questions that he hired seven full-time staffers just to answer emails. “It’s kind of a customer service nightmare,” he says. “People are really flipping out.”

In a public imagination fueled by reality TV, preppers are lonely survivalists, members of fanatical religious groups, or even wealthy Silicon Valley moguls who buy luxury underground bunkers and keep a getaway helicopter fueled. But in reality preppers range from New Yorkers with extra boxes of canned goods squeezed in their studio apartments to wilderness experts with fully stocked bunkers.

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, something has shifted in our collective psyche as we remember empty aisles and medical supply shortages. Firearm sales are up, bread baking and canning are trendy, and toilet paper stockpiles are common. Are we all preppers now?

A forgotten American tradition

The coronavirus pandemic is the epitome of what preppers call a “s*** hits the fan” event. As the country braced for lockdowns and began seeing shortages of crucial supplies last March, people found themselves woefully unprepared. But there was a time in American history when many more civilians were ready for disaster.

In 1979, when Alex Bitterman was in second grade, Sister Mary Jane gathered her students in the gym of their Catholic school. In front of her sat a three-foot-tall gray barrel and she asked the students to guess what was inside. A clown, they thought. Or snakes? The nun opened it and pulled out a wool blanket, a plastic water container, and a large tin of saltines. These items would save them, she said, if the Soviet Union dropped a nuclear bomb on the town of Cheektowaga, New York.

For decades, a barrel like this was no surprise to American schoolchildren. A stockpile sat in the back of Bitterman’s school gym, and a yellow binder in the administration office held a set of hyper-local contingency plans for various disasters. So when COVID-19 reached the U.S., Bitterman, now an architecture professor at Alfred State College in upstate New York who studies how extreme events shape communities, remembered that barrel. Forty-one years later, he realized the country has lost its collective preparedness. “Why are we sitting in our houses waiting for someone to come save us?” he says. “No one’s coming.”

But there was a time when the nation felt that someone would come. The Great Depression birthed the New Deal, which gave Americans a safety net—Social Security, federal housing, and federal unemployment insurance—and instilled the belief that the government would step in when they needed a hand. Helping them prepare for a disaster or attack was part of the deal.

In 1941, after Americans watched British civilians take shelter in the London Tube during German bombardment in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt formed the Office of Civilian Defense with the aim of helping Americans prepare for a military attack on a local level. A variety of government-mandated civil defense agencies operated from World War II through the Cold War and provided communities with guidelines and resources to keep emergency response local.

This effort manifested in the barrel and binder Bitterman remembers from childhood, as well as things like a national emergency alert system. Starting in the 1950s, designated civil defense radio channels would broadcast information in case of a Soviet attack. For decades, every radio and TV station was required to test the system weekly. The civil defense bible—the 162-page, government-issued “Blue Book”—laid out strategy and instructions for an emergency that often kept the responsibility hyperlocal. A family unit, the authors stressed, was the “basis for organized self-protection.” Soon, the need to be prepared seeped into all aspects of life, from architecture (basement bomb shelters) to education (the infamous classroom “duck and cover” drills).

Two decades later, the Cuban Missile Crisis delivered another wake-up call. A nuclear arsenal aimed at the U.S. from 90 miles off the coast, Bitterman says, eroded the idea that the country was safe from outside threat. The agency’s name would change over the years, but civil defense adapted to the evolving threats of the 20th century. It was, says Bitterman, “the one time in our shared American history when we had a unified, coordinated effort to prepare for disasters of all different kinds.”

As the Cold War thawed, the threat of natural disasters took its place: hurricanes on the east coast, tornados in the Midwest, earthquakes in California. Such problems were too large for local communities to manage on their own. Massive environmental contamination required federal clean-up, and disasters like the 1979 Three Mile Island reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania spooked the public….(continues)

Brushbeater: Ontario Ranger Assault Knife – Best?

My Ontario RAK in a third-party kydex sheath

Here is NC Scout of Brushbeater talking about Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife: The Best Of All Worlds? Perhaps I’m a little biased because I have one of these knives and enjoy it myself. NC Scout mentions getting a better sheath, and I have a kydex sheath made by someone who doesn’t appear to be making them any more, but here’s a photo of the sheath. There are similar kydex sheaths sold by others available online.

What would be that ‘one knife’, that if the rest of the world went to hell, that you could strap on your side and do just about everything you’d need a fixed blade to do?

That’s a tough question and one I bet more than a few of you battle on a regular basis. I do, and I’ve carried knives I picked into hell with me, only to later find something that fit the bill just a bit better. It seems like with each wilderness trip, class, or hunt I end up with new wants in a blade. It hasn’t got any better since I got that first Air Force Survival Knife (aka the Jumpmaster knife) I borrowed from an AWOL kid’s kit so long ago. Doubt he missed it. That knife did everything I ever asked it to, is easy to sharpen, and doubles as a combat effective fighting knife. And for a long while it served me well, and still absolutely could had I not retired it when I returned from Afghanistan. But would it be my first choice today? Probably not; designs have evolved and I’ve got a number of knives that fit the general purpose bit a lot better, and one of them is Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife.

Combat knives are always a fun topic of discussion and one that’s often highly personal. That old USAF design was meant to be a jack of all trades and it excelled at a few. Like most of its contemporaries, it is a stick tang short Bowie-type with an integrated handguard to prevent the user’s hands from slipping up the blade during a stab but also to protect against glancing blows. Mine slayed MREs, 550 cord and tubular nylon just like everyone else’s- even skinned a goat we picked up from a local village in Afghanistan. Its also made notches, battoned wood, made fire and processed domestic game with the best of them.

I’ve always loved tactical knives and fighter-type blades. But the reality is that most often a tactical knife, with many serrations, odd grind angles and ultra-hard steel is more a hindrance than an enabler for most mundane survival tasks. What’s basic and simple, at least in my experience, has become the preferred blade to a lot of the more tactical-oriented types. It’s a view that’s neither good or bad, its just personal choice based on what we call on our tools to do. Some of these tasks include:

  • Skinning and processing game
  • Light Chopping
  • Making feather sticks and tinder bundles
  • Striking of Ferro Rods
  • Batoning through small limbs
  • Be easily re-honed in the field

Lets look at the list. Any knife can skin and process game- in fact I’ve skinned more animals with my decade-old Buck-Strider folder than any other knife I’ve owned. And likewise for feather stick making, any sharp knife with decent edge geometry can do that. But for the heavier duty tasks a good fixed blade is what’s needed. For battening through limbs, a full-tang knife is really the best option. I’ve done it with the old USAF knife, but a full tang construction is best. And when striking ferro rods, high carbon steel and a squared spine gets the job done without having to use the knife’s edge. Speaking of, the ability to bring back a good working edge in the field is paramount. S30V, 154CM and the like are excellent for edge retention, but what happens if your edge does take some damage during use? 1095 is easier to bring back even from severe damage while using a small field stone or diamond plate like we use in the First Line Course, along with a small piece of leather as a strop.

So that brings us to Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife (RAK). Justin Gingrich, founder of Ranger Knives and Green Beret, partnered with Ontario Knife Company several years back to mass produce his tactical and survival blade designs. I’ve used an RD-7 for a number of years now as a general purpose woods blade and its a highly functional design. His knives are a no-frills, hard use utilitarian types over the elegance of say, a Randall Made or Blackjack. These are not exactly lookers, but they will do everything asked of them and probably much more. The Ranger Assault Knife was something of a crossover design; combining the attributes of a functional fighting weapon and qualities you’d want in a simple survival knife.

Even batoning through this large knotty pine, which is generally a no-no, is no problem for the RAK.
The design sports a sabre grind that starts 2/3 of the way up the blade. Even after heavy use, including batoning, there’s no visible damage to the edge.

Looking over the design you’ll notice the spear point of the 6 inch blade. It’s as great for stabbing as it is choking up on the knife and making finer cuts with the tip. Being 3/16in thick and having the full width go to the tip, its very strong for any prying task you might be called on to do in the wild. Fortunately choking up on that blade is made easy by the very large (yuuuge!) choil. It allows you to control the blade for power cuts but also to accommodate the guard as part of the design. It’s one solid piece of 1095 steel, hardened to 53-55rc, which is hard enough to retain an edge a reasonable amount of time while still soft enough to flex when prying or batoning to prevent chipping. And the knife has no issues batoning- hard wood, soft wood, anything reasonable it breaks down pretty easily.

The blade itself sports a thick saber grind with a short, flat secondary bevel. I prefer a full flat grind for pretty much everything I do with a knife, but on this blade it works to the advantage of the design by maintaining the knife’s strength. Since the parameters of the intended use include aircrew survival, that strength is required when possibly cutting through aluminum airframes or punching out glass.  The pointed pommel serves as a glass breaker also, the same way the older RAT 5 and ESEE 5 knives do. And that leads me to my only real complain with it; that spike pommel is borderline obnoxious. Everything else about the knife is excellent, and since I don’t plan on needing to egress from an aircraft anytime soon, I’m thinking of grinding it down a bit. And the stock sheath is a flimsy nylon piece of junk. I threw it in the trash and had a kydex one made. But that’s it; the steel, the heat treat, the edge retention, and the flat out utility of this knife is excellent.

My Final Thoughts

The RAK pictured next to a RAT 5. Compare the glass breaker bevels on both.

For what this blade costs, around $65, it’s an excellent buy and well worth picking up a couple. You’ll need a better sheath but honestly I’m rarely happy with most stock sheaths. The design is definitely a jack of all trades and well thought out as a utility blade for those going into harm’s way. And as easily as it can be used in combat, it finds itself at home with a wide variety of survival tasks. Would it be that ‘one knife’ to use if the world went to hell? I think it could be. You could spend a heck of a lot more money and not come close to what you get out of this blade.

Of Two Minds: Surviving 2020 – Plans A, B, and C

Charles Smith at Of Two Minds has an article on Surviving 2020 – Plans A, B, and C

As the bogus prosperity economy built on exponential growth of debt implodes, we all seek ways to protect ourselves, our families and our worldly assets. There are any number of websites, subscription services and books which offer two basic “practical recommendations:”
1. Buy gold (and/or silver) and don’t worry about timing the market as everything else will become worthless.
2. Establish a heavily armed and well-supplied hideaway before everything implodes.
My problem with these suggestions is that they are predicated on a decisive “end of the world as we know it” collapse of civilization.
While I am alive to the possibility of this cataclysm, an analysis of the many feedback loops which will slow or counteract such a decisive collapse suggests other alternatives are even more likely: my term for the slow, uneven decline of the credit/speculative-bubble era is devolution.
I cover feedback loops, historical cycles and why a lengthy devolution is as least as likely a scenario as abrupt collapse in my book Survival+ (free downloadable version is linked below).
In other words, I do not see planning for eventualities as “either/or.” I look at it in terms of three levels:
Plan A: dealing with devolution: government services are cut back, prices for essentials rise over time, fulltime paid jobs become scarce, the State (all levels of government) becomes increasingly repressive as it pursues “theft by other means,” i.e. the stripmining of private assets to feed its own fiefdoms and Elites; most assets fall in purchasing power (value) as the system’s financial props erode.
Plan B: When things become rationed/unavailable, services become sporadic, pensions stop being paid in full, spontaneous homeless encampments arise in heretofore “nice” areas, cities go bankrupt, small businesses go underground to survive the ever-higher taxes being levied on the few remaining productive enterprises, etc.
Plan C: if things fall apart: either move to communities where you or your family have roots (tough luck for all the millions of rootless Americans shifted around by corporate “relocations” the past 50 years) or turn to your neighborhood, town, friends, family, church and other social networks for cooperative strength.
The problem with putting all your resources into a “bug-out” strategy (Plan C) is that it might not come to pass, in which case you’ve misallocated your assets.
This is why I focus Survival+ on structuring a prosperity which will work on all levels. This prosperity has five basic parts:
1. Prepare for hybrid work by developing multiple skillsets, interests and contacts and understand that being productive and reciprocal is more important than getting paid (as I put it: “to take care of Number One, first take care of numbers 2 through 9.”)
2. Develop sustainable, overlapping social networks (self-organizing networks) in which you have more than one place to interact with the same person, i.e. at church or in the neighborhood. I call these non-State, voluntary networks transparent non-privileged parallel structures because they are independent of the State and Monopoly/Predatory Capital Elites.
3. Cut expenses to the bone so you no longer need a large income to “survive.” Consider lowering your taxable income by working less so you’re no longer working so hard just to pay taxes generated by high incomes. (Thanks to correspondent Stephen A. for noting that barter that results in gains is generally taxable. As always, check with the I.R.S. or a licensed tax advisor to confirm what income is taxable/nontaxable.)
4. Reach a new understanding of “prosperity”: health and social wealth are the “treasures” which money cannot buy. Yes, we all need some money, and preserving/growing whatever capital you do have will be difficult and time-consuming. There is no easy “one size fits all” solution.
5. Understand the importance and strength in building and maintaining personal integrity, the one asset we each control in totality and that no one can take from us. All reciprocal networks (financial, political, religious or social) depend entirely on trust, and the bedrock of trust is complete personal integrity.
Much of the devolution we now face is a direct result of the degradation of integrity. This moral/ethical component of financial implosion is glossed over by the corporate media because the Power Elites have implicitly undermined integrity and morality as a means of soldifying their control of the media and of the national income.
Yes, I know this all sounds wonderful, but how do you do it in real life? Well, life is and always has been a do-it-yourself affair. With 200 million+ employable people in the nation, what advice or recommendations can I possibly give to any one individual, when only that person knows their own interests, strengths and potential customers, clients, allies, competitors and mentors?
Let’s start with one simple truth: nobody knows the future. Thus everything we discuss now is contingent on a number of unpredictable interactions. To base our planning on one scenario is to risk misallocating our scarce assets and resources…(continues)

John Mosby: Seeking Sustainability in Preparedness

John Mosby has a nice article up at Mountain Guerrilla about Seeking Sustainability in Preparedness, expounding upon the importance of not having just a store of stuff built up but being able to survive and thrive without such a stockpile on your own skills and sustainable living habits. Getting to a self-reliant, sustainable lifestyle is difficult and takes time and trial and error. Patrice Lewis will be talking about some of that in her two talks at this year’s NW Preparedness Expo. Mosby talks about it frequently on his blog. This article is not short, but, as usual with Mr. Mosby, it is well worth the read.

…One of the recurring themes in preparedness circles is the argument over the nature of any impending disaster. One of the original theories in preparedness of course, is the idea of what was once referred to as a multi-generational collapse. This is a collapse of such magnitude that it will take multiple generations to recover from, if in fact, recovery is even possible.

In recent years, of course, while people still talk about the “remote possibility” of this, it has become equally popular, in many circles, to dismiss the idea of a multigenerational collapse as unrealistic, and urge people to focus on more immediate, “realistic” disasters of short-duration, like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires.

Without arguing the fact that wildfire, tornado, or earthquake is a far more immediate, and pressing concern for most folks, I WOULD point out that these are pretty simple to mitigate, and there is a well-developed set of basic planning considerations for doing so in all of these, because people have dealt with them for the entire existence of humankind…

We need to develop mitigation plans that address the continuance of life, through the duration of the emergency, even if it stops being an emergency, and just becomes “life.” (Which, long time readers know is my view of where we are any-fucking-way.)

We need to be looking at food production. We need to be looking at producing light and heat. We need to be looking at long-term trauma and chronic illness medical care. We need to be looking at educating our children and grandchildren, so they don’t revert to full-scale savagery. We need to look at maintaining—or more accurately, recreating, culture.

We need to stop looking at “survival,” and start looking at “Sustainability.”…

Click here to read the entire article at Mountain Guerrilla.

Survival Rules from Venezuela

Prepper Website has a guest article up from a man who recently visited his brother in Venezuela – Survival Rules When Society Collapses. It’s worth a gander to find out what life is currently like there and could be like anywhere else that experiences a severe collapse — violence warning, though.

…The trash bags I brought were used to store clothes that you got from pretty much anywhere. You store them in the trash bags for months to allow time for the lice, crabs and the eggs to hatch and die. It’s a must. There were whole families I saw shaved from head to toe, and not because they are getting cancer treatment. It’s because it’s the only way to get rid of the lice and crabs.  Hygiene here means having no hair. The good news is that there are no fleas, which used to be the problem before the collapse. The reason is there are no dogs, cats, or small animals left. They’ve all been eaten.

…Realize That There Will Always Be Evil and People Willing to Hurt Others!

Two days before I left to come back to the states, some of the gang members on the corner in front of my brother’s house saw a cat in the window of a single elderly lady across the street. From my brother’s broken window, we could hear the gang members discussing how she must have food and lots of other valuable stuff. Later that evening, we heard them discuss how they were going to break into the lady’s house later that night.

At about midnight, my brother and his wife woke me up because there was a gang of about fifty people outside their house. As we lifted the shades to see outside in the dark, the moon was bright enough to watch those fifty or more people descend on the elderly woman’s house. In less than five minutes, every window had been broken, every door had been kicked in and the house entirely ransacked. We watched a person in front of the house cut the still living cat in half and share it with another hooded person who ran off with it…

Click here to read the entire article at Prepperwebsite.com.

American Partisan: Is Your Group Missing Esprit de Corps?

American Partisan has a brief but good article up, One Critical Thing Your Group May Be Missing. Esprit de corps can be viewed as a group’s commitment, loyalty and attachment to each other and to their organization’s mission. A group with high esprit de corps and high member morale inspires individual members to execute their duties and responsibilities beyond expectations, leading to success reaching and exceeding the group’s goals. Individuals with high morale give their best service to the group. Confidence in the group’s cause, organization, leadership, methods and direction all contribute to individual high morale and, thus, group esprit de corps.

[W]hether regular organized units, survival groups, or guerrilla partisans resisting “enemies foreign and domestic,” the morale of the unit is almost as important as the combined unit skill sets. A less skilled, equipped unit with a high standard of motivation and sense of purpose can achieve as much as a well equipped, well trained, low morale unit. Throughout history, smaller ill prepared forces with a collective motivating goal have successfully hindered overwhelmingly superior forces that had less than ideal morale.

According to Harvard sociologist Alexander H. Leighton, “Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.”

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Related:

American Partisan: Forming a Community Survival Group

American Partisan: So You Have a Group — Now What?

Kit Perez over at American Partisan has a useful article up about what your group should be doing, or not doing, if you have one. Here’s an excerpt from So You Have a Group — Now What?

Groups are all the rage. A lot of people like to identify with some kind of group. It can give them the feeling that they’re “doing something,” or even fill the validation need. That’s not a good or bad thing, it just is.

If you’ve already read about how to recruit, and who not to have, you might be wondering what’s next. You’ve whittled down your existing group to the people you need or created a new, small group of solid folks, and you’re looking for the next step. Well, here it is:

Your group needs a goal.

What do you want? What would you like to accomplish? Now is not the time for some grandiose “liberty” idea. Now is when you decide exactly what your particular group wants to see happen in your local area. Be realistic here; if you choose a goal that is more fantasy than reality you’ll not only fail to achieve it but you’ll get burned out in the process.

Once you have a goal, look at specific, actionable things you can do that will push you toward that goal.

The #1 Thing You Need

Keep in mind that regardless of what your goal or action plan ends up being, if the public will know about your group, then you need the public to support you. There is no shortcut, no way around this. If your group will have a public face, that face better be a positive one — and not just among your echo chamber of like-minded folks, either…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Related:

American Partisan: Forming a Community Survival Group

American Partisan: Ditch Medicine – Sterilization

Medical staff at American Partisan have an article up about the importance of and method to sterilize medical instruments in primitive settings, Ditch Medicine: Sterilization.

Sterilization is a term referring to any process that kills all forms of life on or in a material. Heat, chemicals, and irradiation are commonly used for sterilization. Any instruments to be sterilized will need to have surface debris removed to allow the sterilizing environment to reach the surface of the equipment. Expeditious sterilization or disinfection may be achieved in primitive settings using chlorine bleach, boiling water, pressurized steam, dry heat or open flame…

Sterilization may be one of the most critical parts of surviving some kind of disaster or other disruption event. It’s important to understand the methods available to you in a primitive situation, and prepare to have what you need on hand.

Doom and Bloom: How to Perform a Neuro Exam

Dr. Alton and Nurse Amy from Doom and Bloom have put out a video on how to conduct a neuro exam.

The medic for a survival group needs to be able to stop a wound from bleeding and splint an ankle sprain. For a long-term situation, however, a caregiver needs to know how to perform exams that would identify other medical issues. Here’s Joe Alton MD giving you a demonstration of a simple exam of the nervous system that would tip you off to a number of problems.

Nurse Amy acts as a volunteer for this video. While her exam is normal, future videos will discuss a number of neurological problems that the medic should be able to identify.

TACDA: Survival Landscaping

The American Civil Defense Association has an article up on Survival Landscaping — how to use permaculture to provide food in the event of a long term disaster.

…According to Marjory Wildcraft of www.thegrownetwork.com, it is just too land intensive to realistically support a family on the hunter-gatherer system. She states: “Let’s start first off with the almost magical dream of the pure hunter/gatherer. I often hear this one from those concerned about a collapse of civilization. Just how much land does it take to support you without destroying all the wildlife and plant populations? How much area do you need in order to live sustainably as a hunter/gatherer? Since there are so few actual hunter/gathers left alive on the planet, and the few places where they do still exist tend to be jungles which look nothing like anything in North America, we will turn to anthropological data. The quick and easy answer is that traditional peoples used on average, about 10 square miles per person. Ten square miles is 6,400 acres – that is for one person.”

So what’s the answer? It just might include creating your very own self-sustaining food supply. Call it survival landscaping, permaculture, sustainable agriculture or whatever you like. The goal is to work with nature to create a truly sustainable system. A garden paradise that requires little or no human intervention once established. Due to the “natural looking” nature of this type of landscape most individuals would never suspect the amount of life-saving food growing in the tangle. Thus protecting your food supplies in plain sight.

The objective is to create an environment which requires very little human intervention once it is established.

The ideal permaculture design produces food year after year without weeding, pruning, tilling, fertilizing or using pesticides and herbicides. The system is perfectly balanced for the local climate. It is possible to accomplish permaculture landscape on a half-acre city lot as well as in a more spacious country environment. Permaculture takes many years to establish and become resilient to changing conditions.

Selection of plants is critical to take best advantage of local climate conditions, ensure natural balance and to extend the harvest throughout the entire growing season. There are a growing number of great reference books to guide you through the process. Many of the authors recommend a more “natural or wild looking” landscape which is perfect for a remote bug out location, but may not be welcomed in a gated community…

Click here to read the entire article at TACDA.org.

Related Resources:

The Prepared Homestead – Provides permaculture training, assessment and design.

Strategic Landscape Design – Provides land planning and permaculture consulting.

Brushbeater: First Line Survival Kit

NC Scout at the Brushbeater blog has an article up about first line survival gear, i.e. the gear that you keep on your body to sustain you until you can be rescued or reach other gear or resupply.

Combat arms soldiers are taught the process of layering equipment- a first, second and third line– which support our mission both individually and as a team. The third line is our ruck sack with mission-specific equipment, the second, our fighting load. In dire straits these two are expendable. The first line gear is a set of items worn on the body always which keep us alive until we link up with friendly forces. It is a concept that serves anyone into wilderness and outdoors living quite well when the unexpected happens.

CSARIn training we first establish a baseline and then create standards to meet them. If it’s small unit tactics, that begins with individual skills including quiet movement, observation, land navigation and marksmanship graduating to team formations and battle drills. If it’s communications, we first create competent operating skills then move into basic radio theory. With survival, it’s focusing on individual sustainment skills to keep you alive and successfully rescued.  No matter what your fantasy is about ‘bugging out’ , the reality is you’re not going to last long in the wild without a prior skillset, a few basic items, and someone there to eventually recover you. If the world has become upside down and you find yourself in a real-deal survival situation, the first goal is rescue and everything you do between the time of the incident and getting rescued is geared towards keeping you alive.

Survival Rule of Threes

The general survival rule of thumb is the rule of threes:

  • 3 minutes without oxygen
  • 3 hours in a severe environment without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food.

While its physiologically correct, the rule leaves out the psychological factors which cause the bad decisions ending up in a tragic story…

Click here to read the entire article at Brushbeater.

Survival and Austere Medicine, 3rd Edition Link

In 2017, the Remote, Austere, Wilderness & Third World Medicine discussion board moderators released their third Edition of the Survival and Austere Medicine ebook. The third edition grew to over 600 pages compared to the second edition’s 200+pages.

While the original content of the FAQ and the subsequent edition remains valid, we thought it was time it underwent an update again. We hope you will find it useful. It is offered in good faith but the content should be validated and confirmed from other sources before being relied on even in an emergency. It is a tool to help you with medical care in an austere or ‘grid-down’ environment.
When the original FAQ and previous edition were written, there were very few books aimed at the “Practicing Medicine after the End of the World as We Know It” market – however over the last couple of years several books of varying quality have been published, offering information on this topic.
We like to think we are the original “Medicine at the End of the World” guide and our uniqueness in the current market place comes from our history and that it is the collaborative work of a group of experienced medically orientated preppers and survivalists. Between us, we have extensive experience in pre-hospital, austere, remote and third world medicine – both with the military and NGO’s. We do this stuff – we understand the limits of the environment and the issues of supply and improvisation. We have trained lay people to do complex medical procedures and provide health care in their remote communities. We have undertaken community medical needs assessments and the delivery of health care after natural disasters. We have given anaesthetics and done surgery in tents in the back of beyond. While the [stuff] hasn’t hit the fan in Western Countries yet, you don’t have to look far to find accurate analogies to likely Collapse Medicine and between us we have experience working in these locations and situations. This makes our book unique.
The other unique fact about this book is that it remains free! It’s a labour of love for us and we have enjoyed the comradery of putting it together. We are passionate about helping to improve the neglected ‘Band-Aid’ bit of the “Beans, Bullets and Band-Aid’s” mantra
common in prepper and survivalist circles. We have spent countless hours on this book project, not to make money, but to genuinely improve
people’s levels of medical preparedness.

 

Short Contents:

Medicine at the end of the world

The Context of Austere Medical Practice

What do I need to know?

Organizational Issues

Medical Kits

Clinical Assessment

Emergency Care in an Austere Environment

The Clinical FAQ’s

Infectious Disease and Antibiotics

Sedation and Anesthesia in an Austere Environment

Major Surgical Procedures

Wounds

Family planning, pregnancy, and childbirth

Considerations in Children

Austere Dental Care

The Basic Laboratory

Sterilization and Disinfection

Medical Aspects of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare

Medical Aspects of Shelter Living

Austere Mental Health Care

Nursing Care in an Austere Environment

Botanical and Herbal Medicine

Primitive Medicine

Survival Aspects of Veterinary Medicine

Austere Medicine Sound Bites and Lessons Learned

Survival Medicine fiction

Reference Books

PDF Link from the Austere Medicine site (22MB)

Local PDF Link if the above does not work (22MB)

Related:

DHS Austere Emergency Medical Support Field Guide (5MB)

The Ship’s Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea (3MB)

Ship Captain’s Medical Guide 22nd Ed. (3MB)

Ethicon Wound Closure Manual (3MB)

Emergency War Surgery 4th Ed. (7MB)

Fundamentals of Combat Casualty Care (7MB)

Communicable Diseases Following Natural Disasters (97KB)

Surgical Care at the District Hospital (7MB)

Primary Trauma Care Manual in District and Remote Locations (744KB)

Where There Is No Dentist (6MB)

Field Manual 4-25.11 First Aid (2MB)

Ditch Medicine: Advanced Field Procedures for Emergencies (9MB – scanned document)

Ranger Medic Handbook (4MB)

A Guide to Medicinal Plants (9MB)

Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care (8MB)

The Survival Nurse (20MB)