All posts tagged fire


DIY Fuel

By Chris Black – SurvivoPedia

Let me start today’s article with an axiom: despite the fact that DIY-ing briquettes is a hard and messy job, if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can make a reasonable income by selling (your extra) charcoal/wood briquettes.

The idea is that you can make DIY briquettes for your homestead provided you’re fine with “dirty jobs” whilst making an extra buck by selling some of them to your neighbors.

The demand for these babies is pretty high, so there’s definitely money to be made from briquettes.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes





Before going into the huge number of uses for mylar blankets lets look at their primary use.

Most people have a mylar blanket in their kit, the question is, do you know how to use it? That sounds like a stupid question, but bear with me.

Using a space blanket when you are really cold is not the best idea. It will take an age to warm you up and could even make you colder in certain circumstances.

The reason these blankets are shiny is to reflect heat, and if you are already very cold there is no heat to reflect and any ambient heat will be reflected away from you because of the shiny surface.

The optimum time to get out the mylar blanket and wrap yourself in it is  when you start to feel a little chilled but before you get truly cold. That way the body heat you have left will be trapped between you and the blanket and will prevent further cooling.

These emergency blankets are notoriously flimsy and will flap around in the slightest breeze. For optimum warming, take off your jacket, wrap the mylar poncho style around you, including over your head and then put on your jacket and hood or hat. If you get too hot, undo your jacket zip to let some of the heat out or uncover your head for a few minutes.

Remember the mylar does not possess breathability properties so beware of moisture building up from sweat. The optimum is to be warm and dry not warm and wet, or even damp.

Mylar is waterproof so if you have a jacket zip failure wrapping the blanket around you will keep the rain out, again if it’s at all windy put it under your jacket.

Okay, onto the other uses for a space blanket. The highly reflective properties of mylar, or polyethylene terephthalate to give it it’s real name, make it suitable for many things, and not just in emergency situations out of doors.

Carrying two or more of these lightweight, cheap blankets is always better than carrying one, and having a dozen of these cheap but amazingly adaptable items is better still, you’ll see why as we move down the list.

1. Position the blanket behind a campfire so that the heat is reflected back towards you rather than lost. Mylar melts at 254°C so there is no fire danger. If you have a second blanket, position it behind you. This will ‘bounce’ the heat around and will make that little area positively toasty compared to the area outside of the blankets.

2. Cut up the blanket to line boots and gloves. Fingers and toes are areas that are far more sensitive to both frost nip and frost bite.

3. Mylar is waterproof and using it on top of a groundsheet, or even as a groundsheet will prevent damp and also retain heat where you need it.

4. It’s reflective properties make it an excellent sunshade. It will be many degrees cooler underneath the shade than in full sun.

5. They are great for catching rain to give you a top up water supply. Either a natural depression in the ground or one you make yourself will suffice.

6. Building a soil or rock ‘casing’ and lining it with the blanket can make an okay solar oven. Position facing the noonday sun an cut the food into small pieces. Slivers of meat rather than chunks will cook more quickly and thoroughly.

7. It’s reflective properties make it an excellent signal that acts like a giant signal mirror. If you are moving on place soil or rocks on top leaving the shape of an arrow uncovered which points to your direction of travel.

8. Small strips of mylar make great fishing lures, fish are attracted to shiny surfaces.

9. These blankets are quite strong and can easily be fashioned into a sling in an emergency. Cut a wide strip place around the broken arm and tie at the back of the casualties neck.

10. A thin strip can be used as a makeshift tourniquet.

11. Put on the inside of blacked out windows will prevent heat loss through the glass.

12. Positioned behind a wood stove or similar will through out heat into the room rather than letting the wall behind it absorb the heat.

13. Positioned behind candles or lanterns the light will be reflected back into the room. You will be surprised how much extra light you get from this.

14. Birds hate mylar, the changing reflections and constant movement keeps them off the fruit bushes and away from the veggies.

15. Placed inside a duvet cover they will prevent heat loss during the coldest part of the night. The crinkling noise is a bit irritating, but it’s better than freezing if there is no heat source through the night.

16. Placing them over the windscreen of your car whilst the car is still warm from your trip prevents ice build up on the glass. Just trap the ends of the blanket in the doors.

17. As they are so light putting them over the veggie beds during the hottest parts of the day stops the plants shrivelling. It also cuts down on moisture loss due to evaporation.

18. Cut into strips and plaited they make extremely strong emergency cordage. I wouldn’t trust a mylar rope for rappelling etc as the texture of the fabric allows it to slip a little.

19. Left folded but out of its plastic wrapper it can be used as a reflective firestarter. I haven’t tried this one, but I am assured by a Boy Scout it works.

20. Thin card covered in  mylar on one side can be slipped behind a radiator substantially increasing the heat output into the room.

21. They are invaluable under picnic blankets to prevent damp coming through, and also good for turning kids into aliens and robots when they can’t get outside to play.

22. The Boy Scout tells me that once your laundry has stopped dripping, placing it on a mylar blanket in the sun dries it double quick.

22 ¹/₂ Many people use these blankets to build a simple shelter but I haven’t put it on the list for several reasons.

  • Even trying this on a still day, in the garden, with no stress or emergency, it proved to be quite difficult.
  • The size of the blankets makes them too small to be of great use as a shelter in my opinion.
  • They are so lightweight that  there’s a distinct chance they would blow away.

I think if one was used as an inner layer and debris etc was piled up on the outside of it the shelter would be far more viable but personally I think it would be impossible to get it tied to supports, and keep it on the ground if there was anything more than a slight breeze.

Well, I hope you found something useful enough to make a difference.

Take Care


This article first appeared at Underground Medic: 22½ Uses for Emergency Mylar Space Blankets


Article by Chris Ray and appeared originally on his site Prepared Christian

Fire safety is something I think everyone should be practicing now when times are normal and you’re not in a survival situation, so that you can prevent or minimize the danger of a fire. In a survival situation, the danger of a fire starting and the damage it can cause are magnified. The reason for this is that people who do not normally use candles, their fireplace or other alternate heat sources, use a skill set they have minimal experience with. Depending on the situation you may or may not have electricity and if you are connected to city sewer and water, there is a very good chance you will not have running water.

Here is some information to help you develop a fire safety plan now as well as some things to keep in mind should you find yourself in a survival situation.

Have a Plan

Ideally every room should have two exits, a door and at least one window. In multiple story homes have a plan to safely get to the ground. Make sure everyone knows to check the door for heat with the back of their hand and to not open it if it is hot.

School age children have to do fire drills often multiple times a year at school. Doing them in the home is a great idea as well. Explain the primary exit and the backup ones. Make sure they understand how to unlock the window and get it open as well as getting the screens out of the way.

Have a designated meeting place that is near the home; a neighbor, mailbox, anywhere that is a safe distance from the fire. Make sure everyone knows where it is.

Sound the Alarm

The code might be different where you live, but in Minnesota it is code to have a smoke detector in every bedroom. If this isn’t code where you live, it is a good idea.

Here is a report that says that ”Only 58% of kids even woke up to the sound of a fire alarm.“. There are fire alarms that record your voice. This is a great idea, as you can say the child’s name and remind them of what they are to do.

It is a good practice to test the alarms every month and to replace the batteries every six months. You can use the old batteries for other non-life saving things, like the remote. Daylight savings is a great time to replace the batteries. There are some smoke detectors that come with carbon monoxide detectors built in, you should have at least one of these in my opinion.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguisher : 101 is a site that explains all things fire extinguishers, including types of fire extinguishers, how to use them and care and maintenance of them. I personally have one in each bedroom, one in the kitchen and one in the basement near the furnace, washer and dryer and one in each car.

Fire extinguishers are not meant for fighting a fully engulfed fire. They are a great tool for fighting small fires, shortly after they have started.

Here is a video to give you some idea of how fast a fire can spread.

Here is a video that covers the important information about fire extinguishers.

Important Documents

Be they family photos, wills, insurance papers or anything else of importance, it is a very good idea to have these kept in a fire resistant, waterproof container. Another good idea is to have a record of all serial numbers, model numbers and other pertinent information. Here is a Serial Number Recording Form that I created in PDF format. You can write down the important information for your valuables. I also recommend taking pictures of your valuables. You can store them on a flash drive that you use solely for important information. It should be kept in the fire resistant waterproof container.

Post Smelly Fan Blades (aka. “after it hits the fan”)

In a survival situation, the danger of a non-controlled fire is much higher. The reason for this is that often the electricity will be out and there will be no heat or light. This means that people will use alternative heat and light sources that they might not use often, such as candles, outdoor fires etc. The other reason the danger is higher is that if there is no electricity, there is no water pressure to help fight the fire.

In a short term situation, just practicing extra vigilance should be all that is needed. Make sure that if there are candles going, they are being used in a room that you are in and are not left unattended.

For an outdoor fire, keep burning restrictions in mind; if it’s too dry and windy, it might be best not to burn. If there are no restrictions and the weather is permitting, having an extinguisher nearby is a good idea. If you have a well or the water is running, a close by hose might be a good idea as well. Remember, as Smokey the Bear says “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave”.

If the situation is long term and there is no power, prudence might dictate that the scope of the vigilance be increased. Work with your community to limit burning to a few community areas or have a fire watch posted that can alert the entire community if smoke is seen.

At the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, fire “destroyed six and severely damaged about 25 booths on the grounds” I bring this up because there are no fire hydrants on the festival grounds and if there is no electricity, this means the pumps are not pushing water to the fire hydrants nearby your home, so they are useless. In the article, it says that at one time there were twelve fire trucks being used to put the fire out. If it has hit the fan, the best your neighborhood might be able to do is get a bucket brigade going and that’s only helpful if you live near a body of water or have a large amount of water available such as a swimming pool or multiple rain barrels.

As in everything we prepare for, in a long term situation, it might be wise to do what you can to mitigate the danger beforehand. I read a fictional story once, the name of which escapes me. In the book, the characters knew they were at high risk for a fire. They took some pretty drastic measures to save their homes. They cut down any trees within 50 or so yards, dug up grass near the homes which left the earth exposed. I don’t think that I thought much about it at the time, but if there was imminent threat of a fire, who knows what might sound like a good idea. – The Prepper Journal

How to Start a Fire with a Fire Plough

By Guest Contributor

The sh*# has hit the fan and the power is out. Despite all warnings, you didn’t stock up on matches, lighters, or a flint. It’s getting cold outside, and you could really use a warm meal. What now? There are many ways to build a fire without matches or lighters, but in my opinion, the best way is to make a fire plough. While it does take some stamina, it is very effective.

One of my favorite survival movies is Cast Away in which Tom Hanks plays an everyday guy named Chuck Noland. In a very powerful scene, Chuck struggles for hours to make a fire using a bow drill. While that is a good way to build a fire, it is very difficult (as it is for Chuck in the movie). Finally he gives up on the drill and tries another method: the fire plough. Follow these instructions and you’ll be warm and eating a bowl of hot soup in no time.

    1. Prepare some kindling. There are many things you can use such as tree bark, dead plants or grass, wood shavings, or just some shredded paper. The drier the better.
    2. Find a piece of soft wood. You might get it off a piece of furniture or from an abandoned building. As long as you can make a mark on it with your fingernail, it is soft enough. Make sure it’s no more than two feet long, no more than six inches wide, and no more than an inch thick.
    3. Find a very hard stick, about a foot long and a half an inch thick. With this one you shouldn’t be able to leave a mark on it with your fingernail, otherwise it is too soft.
    4. Kneel down over the soft wood. Rest one end of the hard stick on your thigh and the other end on the wood. It should slant either right or left (depending on whether you are right or left-handed) at about a 45-degree angle.
    5. Get a good grip on the stick and start rubbing it up and down the soft wood, making sure the keep the path straight as it forms a groove. The “ploughing” should be hard and fast. This is where your stamina comes into play. Ignore your burning muscles and keep at it!
    6. Soon a pile of wood shavings will form at the end of the wood. Eventually the wood will be hot enough to ignite the wood shavings into embers.
    7. Immediately place your kindling on the embers and gently blow on it until the kindling ignites.
    8. Triumphantly shout, “Fire!”

The Prepper Journal

For a video of the same process you can view this below.

You can read the original article by Mathew on the Urban Survival Site

By Eric Leister

More than 100 wildfires developed last week across southeast Australia, and some are still burning out of control several days later.

In Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, at least 62 fires continue to burn. Concern is rising that two of the biggest fires could join into a large, out-of-control fire to the west of Sydney.

In total more than 115,000 hectares (287,000 acres) have burnt so far as more than 1,000 firefighters battle the blazes across New South Wales, according to CNN.

Smoke fills the sky near Sydney and turns it a shade or milky shade of orange. Image courtesy of Flickr user Maarten Danial.

Since July, Sydney, Australia, has only received 113 mm (4.44 inches) of rainfall, or about 36 percent of the normal rainfall.

The combination of the extremely dry weather, unseasonable warmth and rounds of gusty winds has produced the ideal conditions for wildfires to spread rapidly over southeast Australia.

Conditions are not expected to improve greatly over the next 30 days as Australia moves into spring. These conditions have prompted the government to declare a state of emergency, allowing firefighters to take whatever action is needed to save lives.

An image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) shows the smoke from multiple fires spreading across Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013.

Unfortunately, temperatures are expected to be nearly 20 degrees above normal on Tuesday and Wednesday. Combined with gusty winds of 50 kph (30 mph) at times, the wildfires will be primed to continue to scorch New South Wales.

A frontal boundary will move through the fire-ravaged area Wednesday; however, any rainfall is expected to be light and the winds caused by the frontal passage will likely cause more harm than the benefits of rainfall. – AccuWeather

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Will Yours Work?

By William Simpson

Over the past few years Disaster Preparedness (‘prepping’) has become a popular topic. A very large mix of people have begun preaching prepping, all having different motives for promoting their particular views on ‘how to prepare’, which makes it very difficult and confusing for people who are trying to figure-out what to do. Because of this, some people end up doing the wrong things for the right reasons; they simply want to protect their families and friends. And in other cases, as a result of a lack of continuity in advice, some people do nothing at all, which may be just as bad.

Another problem is there are too many people pushing disaster preparedness concepts that are based upon fringe disaster scenarios related to events that occur in geologic time-frames of every 500,000 years and the like. While some others fancy preps and plans of action which are based upon hypothetical events driven by various illogical conspiracy theories. Statistically speaking, all such events have virtually no chance of occurrence during our lifetimes or those of our children and grandchildren. And even though these views are held by a small minority of Preppers, the promotion of these concepts in Prepper media circles fuels false impressions by the general public that; Preppers in general have lost their sense of logic and common sense. Because of this, many people looking into the idea of prepping form the wrong opinion of all Preppers and the value of disaster preparedness.

My advice to anyone considering disaster preparedness is to do the math without the hype. Disaster preparedness is really about risk analysis; what good is a box of guns and ammo when you actually needed a boat during a flood, because you lived in a flood-prone area? Or what good is gallon jar of peanut butter when you bought only one slice of bread? Too many people today have just that problem; too much of the wrong thing and not enough to the right thing. Money is tight in today’s economy as it is, without making over-allocations for incorrect or low-utility preps. The financial allocation for any disaster preparedness asset must be in proportion to its statistical utility, where items having a high probability of usefulness are capitalized in that order. Trends and emotions driven by media headlines or movies have no part in this process.

New-comers looking for assistance and knowledge should choose to listen to credible people who are defined as such by their verifiable experience. In today’s world of Internet illusions, none of us has the time to sort through a hundred self-proclaimed experts, who want our trust and respect yet fail to provide their true identities and bona fide resumes. The best path to knowledge is to look to the experienced professionals for information, which will help assure you’re not wasting your time and money, and possibly risking your life in the process.

“Sourcing Information is like sourcing water; good water sustains life, bad water may kill you” — Capt. William Simpson – USMM

It’s hard enough to prepare for unexpected events that have a statistically relevant chance of occurring in our lifetimes, without worrying or trying to prepare for possibilities that are statistically speaking, ridiculously remote. Of course if you’re one of those people who because they purchased a lottery ticket today, believe they are going to win Powerball tomorrow; then good luck!

This article focuses on developing disaster survival strategies that are statistically relevant to average Americans, and range from the most common localized emergencies and disasters to the more complex less frequent yet credible large-scale disaster scenarios.

How-To Develop Your Own Suite Of Preparedness Strategies

By using logic and statistical analysis you can develop disaster preparedness strategies by taking all the hype and emotion out of the process and instead, use proven methodologies that are offered by genuine experts to prepare in a manner that is both measured and proportionate to the risk being addressed.

In survival circles discussing the very basics, you will hear about the ‘Rule of 3’: If a person is deprived of air for 3 minutes that person would likely die. If a person is deprived of water for 3 days, that person would likely expire. And if a person is deprived of food for 3 weeks that person would likely perish.

Of course the ‘Rule of 3’ fails to consider exposure to the elements of nature; we all need shelter to survive. These are the realities of basic survival and therefore we must be prepared to deal with these very simple basics as a minimum. Therefore, as an extension of that same logic; it makes sense to have a minimum stockpile of water, food, clothing and other various supplies and equipment that would keep you alive and as comfortable as possible during various emergency-disaster scenarios and possibly longer. For instance; it’s wise to keep some supplies in your car, such as; several days worth of water, food, warm blankets, flashlight & batteries, gloves, dust masks, small tool kit, poncho or simple rain gear, first aid kit, etc.

Let’s start by examining some of the most basic unexpected events (in no particular order) which history teaches happen frequently enough to absolutely justify some level of preparedness and a plan of action to stay alive:

1. Cardiovascular Disease, Infectious Disease, Parasites & Cancer:

Deaths by cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, parasites, cancer and stroke top most lists for the cause of death in most countries. The majority of these problems stem from food, not just how we eat, but what we eat. People who are really serious about surviving need to tend to their own health first and maintain a diet that will prevent these conditions. There are many guides to preventing disease and living longer through proper nutrition, here are a couple of examples:

2. Car Accidents:

Aside from death by disease, medical accidents and natural causes, car related deaths ranks among the top causes of death. This statistic warrants a plan action. You may be asking; ‘but what can I do about this’? Being independent, most Americans would rather drive themselves instead of using mass transit, which is safer. So with that said; you can take a defensive driving course, and I am not referring to the one you’d take to get a driver’s license. In these specialty courses you learn how to make high/low-speed maneuvers, J-turns, and how to prevent being caught in dangerous situations with your vehicle. Bodyguards, FBI and other government agents take this course and it is available to all citizens. There are dozens of training facilities all over the U.S. where this training is available; here is just one example:

3. Violent Crime:

We live in a world where there are enough people who care less about the rule of law to warrant proficiency in self-defense. The job of the police is not that of your personal body-guard or protective service. Therefore, basic martial arts training for defensive use is warranted (including physical fitness training). I also recommend that everyone of a proper age take a gun safety course that is administered by a certified trainer. If you elect to have a gun in your home, like most Americans, then there are additional safety precautions needed, which include the proper education of any children in the same home, as well as securing any weapons from unauthorized use. If you feel you need to carry a gun, then it would be prudent to take a concealed-carry training course, again, administered by certified trainers who can also guide you in the choice of a handgun for your individual needs as well as obtaining the licensing required to carry a concealed firearm. There are hundreds of training facilities across the U.S.; here is just one example:

4. Accidents – Injuries:

Accidental injuries, lacerations, broken bones, heart attack and stroke are a major cause of death and disability, and in many cases were preventable if a trained person had been on scene early enough. Everyone (including children 6-8 yrs.+) should be trained in both CPR and First Aid. This training will come in handy in many situations. Many organizations provide training for free, or for a small fee if you need to be certified. I have found that the certification courses are more detailed and develop greater proficiency in these skills. In most cases, there will be a training facility in your own neighborhood. Many fire departments will provide training courses as does the American Red Cross, which provides courses across the U.S.

5. Fire:

Fires cause a tremendous amount of property damage, injuries and loss of life and certainly represents a threat that everyone should be prepared to deal with. You can learn a lot about fire safety, firefighting and useful tactics during a fire by simply contacting your local fire department and attending some classes. I have found that almost universally, the dedicated people at your local fire station will be happy to help you develop your knowledge and skills in this area.

6. Flood:

Flooding poses a frequent risk to both property and life. Do you live in an area that is prone to flooding? Or within the 100 year flood-plain? Sometimes it’s not obvious and it pays to make some inquiries to your local county authorities. If you live in any area that is at risk to flooding, then you need to have a basic plan to deal with this risk. If you are unsure as to how to proceed, you can certainly contact your local emergency managers or fire department, who have experience in these matters. If you live near any body of water, it certainly makes sense that everyone in your family should be able to swim. And it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have a small portable boat for instance.

7. Earthquake:

Many areas of the United States are subject to the effects of earthquakes. Compared to other unexpected events, they occur with less frequency, but when they do occur, they do so without notice, and with sufficient force, they can inflict tremendous property damage and cause many injuries and deaths. Here again, your risk analysis will pay dividends in determining your strategy and its cost in time and assets (money).

Interestingly, structures that are built on solid rock are affected very little by even strong earthquakes. However, most structures are not situated on solid rock, and are greatly affected by earthquake. In fact, there are some areas of the United States that are subject to a phenomenon known as liquefaction; where whole buildings can sink into the ground during an earthquake. Here’s what that looks like:

If you have established that your home (or where you work) is in an area vulnerable to earthquake, then it makes sense to have a plan in place.

Secondary events as a result of an earthquake add to the complexities of such a disaster and include fire, falling debris (during and after), explosions from gas leaks and electrical hazards from exposed wiring and high voltage lines on the ground. Additionally there are environmental hazards from toxic smoke, dust and possibly chemicals in the air during and after the initial event. Clearly, this is a disaster scenario that requires many preps and training. Here is a starting point for your due diligence.

8. Severe Weather Events (Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Ice/Snow Storms ):

Every year the U.S. is stricken by severe weather events. Your preparedness in regard to such weather events should, as in all potential scenarios, be in proportion to the frequency and scale of such events. For instance, if your home is fifty miles inland and on high ground from where a hurricane might make its landfall, you will not have the same concerns that someone right on the coastline would have.

The upside to hurricanes is that they can be forecast with great accuracy and this provides a large window of time for advanced preparations. This fact should not be construed as ‘a window of time to get prepared’. If you live anywhere that can be affected by hurricanes, you should have all of your preps completed well before hurricane season starts. The same holds true if you live in an area subject to severe winter weather, where having an adequately sized generator and fuel supply will help when the power fails. This also applies to heating systems and fuel (wood, oil, gas); these systems must be ready to go before the seasonal adverse weather.

Tornadoes are more problematic than Hurricanes from the standpoint that they can strike with little or no warning in some cases. However, thanks to modern technology and things like Doppler Radar, conditions that promote funnel cloud formation and tornadoes can be forecast in advance. However, in order to take advantage of this technology, you must have the proper preps, which includes a radio receiver with a weather alert feature. Here is an example of that system in an actual tornado:

Given the incredible power and extremely high wind speeds associated with tornadoes, properly constructed underground shelters should be considered for use in tornado prone areas given the level of safety they can offer during such short-term events.

Less Frequent Potential Disaster Scenarios

In conducting risk analysis with regard to the less frequent man-caused and natural disasters, we must take into consideration the extreme severity of such disasters in regard to our measured and proportionate level of preparedness.

Severe Geomagnetic Storming

Geomagnetic storms originate from our own sun, and can occur at any time. Even though the most notable historic geomagnetic storm that hit our planet was in 1859 (known as the Carrington Event), the planet his since been affected numerous times by lesser storms in more recent history. In 1989 a powerful geomagnetic storm wreaked havoc in Quebec:

By comparison to the Carrington Storm, the Quebec storm was a baby. If we suffered a stronger storm, or one as strong as the Carrington solar storm today, it would quite likely be end of our modern technological world.

Basically, a severe geomagnetic storm will overload and damage the national electrical grid to such an extent that it will likely be irreversibly damaged. Additionally, most electrical devices that are attached to the grid in any way will also be damaged by very high voltage spikes. As a result, our modern society would be essentially thrust back into a pre-industrial revolution era status, and such a loss of technological infrastructure would create uncontrolled social chaos.

From a disaster preparedness perspective, this scenario is overwhelming, and as such, is not a topic that is very popular in emergency management circles, even though it must be addressed. Of course this is natural; people much prefer working on problems where there is a palatable solution. During a national grid-down disaster, the systems and infrastructure that can normally be utilized by emergency management personnel will no longer be available, not to mention that the civil unrest and lawlessness would severely hamper any efforts for immediate effective response. Since a geomagnetic storm has no direct effect on biologic organisms; the real hazard and threat from such an event stems from people who have made no provisions for any disaster scenario. In fact, once the infrastructure goes off-line post event, and the highly leveraged supply chains that supply fuel, food and other vital resources stops, these unprepared people will quickly exhaust the few resources in their homes. As a result of hunger, desperation and hopelessness, many millions of survivors will turn violent in their struggle for the dwindling remaining resources. Added to these issues; it is expected that disease will spread quickly as a result of the loss of critical sanitation infrastructure and the unavailability of medicines and medical care.

This is a scenario that requires special planning (strategy and supporting tactics) by people who truly intend to survive such an event.

For average Americans, there is really only one strategy to survive such massive unrest; remove yourself and your family to a location far from any civil unrest.

There is another man-caused event that essentially creates the same havoc and therefore requires the same strategy and tactics, which will be very briefly covered below.

High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (‘HEMP’) Attack

A HEMP attack on America would be devastating and is very difficult to defend against. Simply; using a low-tech missile (no high tech guidance needed), a nuclear weapon is delivered to upper atmosphere anywhere over the U.S. and detonated. This causes the release of gamma radiation into the ionosphere which initially stimulates the production of an extremely powerful energy pulse which within a few microseconds damages most unprotected electronic devices (anything not in a Faraday Cage). On top of that, within the same extremely brief time period (seconds) the earth’s magnetic field is temporarily disrupted by the nuclear event, which creates the same extreme voltage and power fluctuations in the national power grid as a severe geomagnetic storm, and thus creates the same devastation to the national energy grid and most everything that is connected to it. This video highlights the issues:

It is important to understand that a HEMP attack does not kill biologic organisms on the surface, nor does it destroy any buildings.

With regard to a HEMP attack, most credible experts on the phenomenon of a grid-down disaster are making similar projections as to the civil unrest, lawlessness and disease that will spread after such an event, regardless of how it was caused. The only real difference between HEMP and Geomagnetic Storm is that; in a post Geomagnetic Storm scenario, there will be some usable legacy electronics after the event, even if not protected by Faraday shielding. In the case of a HEMP attack, the only electronics that may be useful post-event, would be as a result of proper planning (Faraday protection) that was in place prior the HEMP event. Any availability of these high-utility electronic devices post event, such as some communications devices, will allow those who have survived the civil unrest, and who have prepared accordingly, to advance the use of certain tactics that will certainly enhance their ability to survive such an event, both short term and long term.

Occasionally when people start talking about the marauding lawless masses and about ’shooting-it-out’, I am forced to remind them that:

“Rule-1 in Survival; Don’t Get Dead” …. Seems too obvious right? Even so, some people continue to proffer survival strategies that encompass planned combat during competition for resources, which is an excellent way to sustain casualties and to ‘get dead’.

There is a quote by Bernard M. Baruch that applies here;

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

There are many former military operators who are providing information into the disaster preparedness and survival arenas these days. And of course their primary field of experience relates to combat… which is the last thing you need to be engaged in while trying to survive, especially when you are out-manned and out-gunned in a grid-down scenario.

I am constantly amazed by some people who think a lot of guns and ammo solves the problems related to survival during civil chaos. Any soldier who’s been on a battle field can tell you about all of weapons and ordnance lying around the corpses. As my father use to say; “it doesn’t matter how well you’re armed or how big your guns are; sooner or later someone comes along with more guys and bigger guns, and then you get dead“.

Each problem has a specific solution; and that tends to be the case here. If the grid goes down, you’ll have a tiny window of time (maybe 24-48 hrs.) to extract your family and relocate them away from the dangers related to the hoards of desperate grid-down survivors.

And the preparations to achieve that evolution must be made now or certainly at least well before any such event.

An example of the appropriate logic is this:

If you live under an active volcano and don’t want to die, then you move away, before it erupts… not while it’s erupting. The same correct strategy goes with surviving a grid-down situation and with grid-down preps.

Preppers need to decide a few things right off:

  1. Are the experts right? Do you believe their assessments of the risks posed by HEMP and Geomagnetic Storms? If you don’t, then good luck. And if you do, then;
  2. Do you really think you won’t be overcome, out-gunned and out-manned by the millions of people (also armed) who will sooner or later likely find your location? If you don‘t, then you may be watching too many Rambo movies.
  3. How serious are you about saving your family and yourself? Are you willing to do whatever it takes, including relocating now (Alaska/Canada/Equatorial Island)? Or having a special provision in place for emergency relocation? (sailboat or long-range airplane)

There are undoubtedly some readers thinking; ‘if we’re overrun, we’ll just bug-out to our secondary location’. That is much easier said than done! You could do that if you have a sailboat or a long-range aircraft ready-to-go and you left within 24-48 hours of the onset of a grid-down scenario. But if you are thinking in terms of walking or driving to another location after you’re discovered by the masses of survivors pouring out the cities, you better think again. Keeping in mind that there will be hundreds of thousands (millions in some cases) of armed desperate people in your area of operations, once you lose cover, you’ll be traveling over open ground and will become part of the ongoing shooting gallery. Sure, a few lucky ones might make it to their ‘secondary’ Alamo… only then to possibly be overcome there as well.

Sure, some people will get lucky and survive despite their mistakes. That’s not my survival model.

There’s nothing wrong with being lucky; I just don’t depend upon luck as my first line of preps for emergency management and survival. – The Prepper Journal

Cheers! Capt. Bill

Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

Capt. William E. Simpson – USMM