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The complexities and risk built into the Modern World have increased its fragility and the likelihood of an unpredictable extreme event, or Black Swan. In his masterful book of the same title, Nassim Taleb labels this age as one of “Extremistan” where severe, wild outcomes are the norm. These events can be political, economic, or militaristic and like ripples on a pond, they spread across the globe with effects that can last for years. The collapse of the hedge fund management firm Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) in 1998 due to the Russian Bond Crises and the attacks of 9-11 are two such events. Both were largely beyond the imaginations (let alone predictably) of those who cared and the result of poor risk assessment. The nature of this new reality means that predicting status quo over a reasonable time is less likely than the occurrence of an extreme event due to fragility built into the System. In other words, one would perform better by making multiple calculated “extreme” predictions than forecasting “business as usual.” While, the strong majority of these outliers will not fruition, a twenty to thirty percent rate would be a success.
With so many bad things going on in the world and some very serious concerns that the worst may be yet to come, many of us are of a mind to prepare, or harden, our homes and properties to help us fend off undesirables. But how far can we go legally and / or without upsetting the “balance of the neighborhood” to achieve that goal? Let’s look at what works, what doesn’t work, and what could land us in a whole world of hurt if we cross the line when creating perimeter defenses.
The Emergency Lighting System (ELS) was designed to provide a valued Prepper Link member with a lighting system that can be remotely activated, that utilizes energy efficient lights, and provides a “base” solar power system. Additionally, the system was designed so the user can add more components over time. When we designed the ELS, we took the concepts and lessons learned from the $150 Solar Kit, put the components and wiring methods into a different enclosure, and added additional capability. The result is a modular emergency lighting system, which is turned on/off by a keyless entry remote type switch, is charged by the sun, and can be easy expanded.
Download the Handout: Emergency Lighting System (PL 05-002-13)
Our next project will focus on making power efficient LED lights, and we will do this on a budget of $15 per light. Our LED lights can be powered by a small 12 volt battery or incorporated into your large alternative energy battery bank. By following our guide, you can make 12 volt LED puck lights, pendants, or modify an existing lamp base for around $3 - $8, or you can build a complete light for $15.
Download the handout: LED Lighting Project
What could be so difficult about finding and buying the ideal handgun for self defense? If you are a first time buyer, it can certainly be a daunting task. There are dozens of manufacturers and each offering dozens of models; little ones, big ones, long barrels and short. Plastic frames, carbon fiber frames, aluminum frames or steel frames. Blued steel, sprayed on coatings, stainless steel, nickel plated, and even pink coatings for the fashion conscience. Should you buy a revolver or a semi auto pistol? Is a .38 special a better choice over a .45 ACP or a 9 millimeter over a 357 magnum? It can get all so confusing!!! Relax and take my hand. Let me walk you down the path to handgun purchasing bliss.
If you were to conduct a poll for the top 10 food staples people store, you will get varying answers. Why? There are many different ways that we can purchase, grow, and package our foods; dehydrated vs. freeze dried, purchased canned foods vs. home canned foods, packaged #10 cans vs. feed store purchased grains, and the list could continue. Additional considerations include the ability for someone to grow their own food, budget, the period of time and the type of event an individual is preparing, and an individual’s normal diet. Food storage is drastically different for someone that only stores food for a short-term emergency and the prepper that is preparing for the apocalypse. Regardless of which types of food products you decide to store, the key is to ensure to account for the calories and nutrients required for healthy survival.
Real life situation firearms training is far more complex than standing at a static distance from a bullseye target and striving to turn the “X” ring into a dime sized hole in the paper, with a boxful of ammo. It is a series of exercises designed to train both brain and muscle memories to act and react faster in real life shooting situations. The “range” shooting situations, where you are standing still and upright (Weaver or isosceles stances) and concentrating on the bullseye; could get you killed in a real life situation. So, what can you do to help prepare for real life shooting situations and have a better chance of winning?
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of storm preparedness and safety, which further translates to survival. Let’s look at a realistic scenario. A thunderstorm has crippled your neighborhood’s power supply. Your multi-level home is dark, and you are sure a branch has crashed through your main-level windows. You need to walk downstairs and figure out how to stop the rainwater from ruining your expensive furniture. You remember that your two flashlights are in the drawer next to your refrigerator, and your oil lamps are proudly displayed on your fireplace mantel. Now you have to walk down the stairs without any light.
Right, so you have been designated the "Medical Officer/Doc/Medic" for your group’s retreat/BOL and you need to set up a "clinic area" to deal with any, but hopefully not too many, patients. If you are new to this task, it can be overwhelming. The following article leverages my experiences dealing with outdoor concerts and multi-day events, to come up with a basic list of things to make your clinic function efficiently.
Download the Handout: The Medical Clinic
The medical history and screening form allows you to keep track of the medical history for your family and group's personnel. By understanding medical issues, and risks, you can ensure that you have the appropriate medical supplies and medications stored prior to an event, or collapse situation. Additionally, by understanding these issues, you can take the appropriate training steps now, to make sure you can medically assist any individuals that you are responsible for.
Download our handout: Medical History and Screening Form
Hopefully, you and your family will remain safe during a family outing or a grid-down situation. However, if injuries are sustained, you will need to closely monitor the injury and the patient's vitals. Here is our take on a first aid evaluation form (a modified version of the Wilderness First Aid .pdf). This two page handout has fields which can be filled out following a trauma event or even a common illness. Think of it as the same form used in your doctor's office, but has been modified for the layman.
Download - First Aid Evaluation Patient Chart
Explanations for the results of the recent U.S. Presidential Elections abound: improper messaging on the part of the Romney ticket, a lack of inclusiveness on the part of the Republican Party, simple tribalism as a result of changing demographics, a belief in Santa Claus, or a combination thereof. A French philosopher once observed that “Nations get the Governments they deserve” and the history of the Western World since the end of the Second World War has been for Nations to elect Governments that allow people to enjoy lifestyles they are unwilling to fully work for. There have been, of course, exceptions, particularly in the U.S. which might have slowed the trends, but broadly speaking, these are mere bumps on the road which neither changed nor altered the greater trends towards increasing the size of the welfare state, and by extension, their corresponding Governments. The recent election represents the popular approval of the growth of entitlements, or as some have more colorfully labeled it: “Santa Claus”.