The Importance of Body Armor for Survival

For the past decade, body armor has increasingly found its way into the standard gear of journalists, law enforcement and security agents, fire fighters, rescuers, preppers and civilians alike. With the number of violent incidents on a global scale rapidly increasing – wearing body armor is becoming a necessity. Anyone looking to be prepared in the event of civil unrest, natural disaster, terrorist attacks or any other unforeseen event understands the need for adequate protective equipment.

Image of Multiple Covert Body Armor Vests

Up until a few years ago it was unusual for civilians to buy body armor. This is rapidly changing. The rise in random attacks, violent riots and protests, terrorist attacks and general volatility of the political and economic global situation has prompted a lot of survivalists to prepare themselves for the worst. Body armor is becoming the norm on the street.

Why would you need body armor?

Everyone should invest in some kind of body armor for protection. In the event civil unrest, a terrorist attack or random shooting, a regular person has to be able to take care of their personal protection. This is one area where body armor comes into play.

Safeguard Armor Commander - (This a tactical overt vest with hard armor which can offer ballistic plates for ballistic protection available at NIJ. Level IIa-IV, and Stab and Spike Level 1 and 2)

Most people live and behave like they have all the time in the world. They rarely worry about wars, shootings or other potentially deadly scenarios. This is kind of ironic, considering how many times a week we hear the words ‘violence’ and ‘terrorism’ on TV. Now is the time to start planning and preparing, more than ever. And body armor is necessary wherever there is the threat of attack. Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘bulletproof’ vest, but wearing ballistic resistant carriers significantly improves survival chances in the event of an outbreak of violence. In any doomsday scenarios preparation will dramatically improve your chances of survival, but it may also make you a target. Body armor covers a wide range of products, including helmets and shields, but the most important equipment is the carrier.

What can body armor do for you?

Body armor comes in many shapes and types, but you should have a good understanding of what it can and cannot do for. Essentially, no body armor is 100% bulletproof and different levels are only suited against the type of weapons they are tested against. This means that a bullet resistant vest won’t be effective against knives, needles or other sharp-edged weapons. Conversely, there is a difference in how stab and slash resistant body armor works as well. Combined systems are available, but they are more expensive and cumbersome, so you have to carefully consider if they’re the right choice for you.

Safeguard Armor Ghost - (This a covert lightweight vest which offer Stab and Spike Level 1 and 2, and can offer ballistic protection available at NIJ Level II-IIIa)

Body armor is an integral part of everyone’s protection equipment. It comes in a variety of styles and combinations for discreet and lightweight protection that can be worn anywhere and everywhere. This is useful for everybody, especially in a deadly situation that can occur at any time to maximize your chances for survival.

How to Teach Your Kids to be Prepared… For Anything! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Family survival planning is a very engaging and beneficial undertaking. Not only is it important that everyone is on the same page, should disaster strike, it can be a great bonding experience to bring you all closer. In the long run, this gives you the necessary tools to become a cohesive unit of togetherness that can combat any situation, should the worst happen.

There’s such a wealth of activities you can engage in that your kids will love as well, so it doesn’t have to be a monotonous task, but rather real life lessons exploring the outdoors for example.  If you have young children, then you can start these valuable lessons from as early as five years old to really bed in some of the key lessons that can then be expanded upon, right up to their teenage years. Broadly speaking, there are a few main considerations to address as a starting point.

Shelter, food and spotting early warning signs are great kick off points for any discussion or activity and can be a recurring theme throughout your lessons. After that point, your judgment and intimate knowledge of your kids will dictate how you move forward.

With that in mind, check out the below infographic provided by MIkesGearReviews to get a better understanding and ideas of how to prepare your kids for anything life throws their way.

Teach kids to survive

Source: https://www.mikesgearreviews.com/teaching-kids-survival-preparedness/

How to Live Off the Grid: a Guide to Freedom

We live such hectic lives, filled with absolute non-sense that we forget what it is we’re actually living for. Most of us have 60 hours’ work weeks so we can pay rent, taxes and buy food. We don’t even have time for our loved ones, and we seem too busy or too tired even when we take a day off. That’s when leaving it all behind and starting a new life in the middle of nowhere starts to sound like an awesome idea.

Give it all up

The first thing is renouncing your old life and habits. That sounds pretty terrifying, but it’s liberating at the same time. Ask yourself this: if a tornado were to take you to Oz, what would you miss the most about your life now?

Giving up your life starts by prioritizing the essential things and relationships. After that, you’ll find there are plenty of things you would gladly let go of, if, in exchange, you could have peace, tranquility, and love.

Find a place

Cabin-in-the-woods

After deciding you really need to take off, you can’t simply do it without a plan. That’s why you should find somewhere to stay first. Maybe you have a cabin in the woods or a property in an isolated territory, and that could be your starting point.

But if you have to find your own place, things can get complicated. For instance, you can either buy or rent a piece of land. You should make sure the place is isolated enough so you won’t have any nosy Nellies around, but still, have some neighbors at convenient distances. You should also check that a nearby town doesn’t have future plans to extend closer to your property if you want to live a more solitary life.

After that, you can set up a camp, maybe even move in your trailer and start building your own home. If you have some money saved, you can commission the work to a professional, but you also have the option of turning this into your first DIY project.

Learn survival skills

You can’t move off in the wilderness without learning some survival skills first. The first one would be how to find water if there are limited water sources near your property. If you have very hot summer days when springs peter out, you might need to use other techniques like placing plastic bags on tree branches or digging for water.

making-fire

You should also learn how to build a fire, but that’s the easy part. After all, you can leave home equipped with 20 pounds of waterproof matches. The hardest part is to learn which trees you can cut down, how to chop them and how to store the wood properly. If you cut green trees and the wood gets too wet, you’ll have fewer chances of building a lasting fire.

Grow your own food

This can mean different things depending on where your property is. If you’ve moved off to a deep, damp forest in the mountains, your only options might be hunting, fishing and eating wild fruits. Of course, learning some hunting and fishing skills, along with buying proper equipment is useful no matter where you might end up. And you need to recognize which plants are edible, and which aren’t.

If you’re moving to a friendlier environment, you can always build a greenhouse with basic equipment. So you might need nothing more than some sturdy cellophane and a few pallets, along with plenty of water and the right seeds.

Apart from that, you can farm certain animals, depending on how large your property is. Chicken is the easiest when you take into account all the logistics, like space and food, plus they give you nutritious meat and eggs. Otherwise, you can consider raising cows for their milk, maybe buy a couple of horses if you own a bigger farmstead.

Arrange your amenities

You also need some degree of comfort, especially for keeping a clean environment. So you’ll want a toilet and some sort of washing facilities, and you have plenty of options here too. The easiest would be to buy a camp toilet and a camp shower, which can easily be transported and used no matter where you are.

Or, you can build your own bath, and improvise if you don’t have any running water. For instance, your toilet can be an outhouse, but you have to place it at some distance from your house and greenhouse.

Your shower can be a barrel of warm water with a valve attached to it and a hose with a showerhead for the warmer summer days. Or you can get a bathtub for indoor use, and that would help you relax after a long day’s work.

Earn the money you need

You might still need some money even if you’re living in a remote location for paying the rent or for buying the things you can’t produce on your own, but that doesn’t mean you should get a day job in the city.

One idea is to sell or trade the things you produce in surplus. So if you have lots of eggs or meat, you can sell that to your neighbors, or trade with them for clothes or different tools.

Another idea is to focus on a skill you already have, and sell the results of your work on the Internet. For instance, you might be into crafting and learn how to make interesting sculptures. Or decorate axes. Or make origami. The world is your oyster.

Learn to enjoy solitude

prepare-to-be-alone

This might prove to be difficult enough, especially if you’re all alone. We’re so accustomed to noise (even white noise) that eating a meal by ourselves without constantly checking our social media accounts seems impossible. But if you’ve chosen to live off the grid, you can find pleasure in loneliness.

So after all that, what seems like the most difficult to do? What plan do you have? Tell us all about that in the comments.

 

About the author: Mike is a passionate hunter and his favorite grounds are Alaska and British Columbia. He’s also an expert in hunting gear and he is one of the most reliable resources when it comes to choosing the right tools for the job. He also writes for OpitcGearLab.com

Sticky Stuff: 15 Ways Duct Tape Can Save The Day

Original Article by PartSelect Blog

Written by Alison Hudson

No matter what the seasons is, a trip in the backcountry requires a few essential items: food, shelter, and duct tape. For some people, the list could be whittled down to simply duct tape. Its adhesive capabilities and waterproof exterior make it one of the most dextrous tools you can carry; in a pinch, it can be used to build a shelter and create snares to catch food. Try turning a freeze-dried meal into a tent or vice versa! If you aren’t sold on the wonders of duct tape, here are fifteen reasons to bring a roll on your next wilderness expedition (and a few tips for how to keep your stash of tape organized and safe from the elements).

 

How to Pack It

On a backcountry trip, you won’t be happy carting around an entire roll of duct tape, replete with the inner cardboard roll: it’s heavy, it’s bulky, the cardboard will disintegrate when it gets wet, and the roll takes up an inordinate amount of space. Here are a few techniques for efficiently packing duct tape to bring on your next trip.

 

Flat Wrap

A little time consuming, but with a nice, compact final product. Simply start unrolling a little of the tape. When you have about 4 inches unspooled, fold the tape back on itself so you have two sides that are not sticky. Keep folding the tape on top of itself until you have the amount you need for your trip. Pack the duct tape in a ziplock bag to keep it from sticking to other things in your pack.

 

Spool

This is a common trick used by people who hike with trekking poles. Start by holding the trekking pole sideways so that it’s easier to work with the tape. Then wrap the duct tape around the trekking pole until you have the desired amount. If you don’t like a thick roll of tape, consider wrapping half on one pole and half on the other.

 

Half Spool

For little fixes, it’s nice to have a thin strip of duct tape, rather than the bulky width of the tape on the roll. To create a half spool, find something round, like a tent pole splint or a pencil. Using a sharp blade, slice the duct tape on the roll so that you have either two or three equal widths of tape; if you score all the way around the roll, it’s a lot easier to pull off. Start rolling one strip around the pencil until you have enough.

 

Mix it Up

Duct tape now comes in a variety of colors and patterns, all of which have the same strength and stickiness of the original silver tape. If you’re hunting, pick up some camo-colored tape (or hunter orange for making yourself visible). If you’re wrapping tape around trekking poles, having two different colors of tape can help differentiate the two poles. If you anticipate using the tape to mend clothing, tents, or other wearable items, black, blue, or dark green make more discreet patches than the bright silver. Neon shades work especially well for marking trails because they show up so much better than silver or dark colors.

Fix Things

The original purpose of duct tape was to make repairs. This is one of its best applications in the wilderness, where supplies are limited and multi-purpose items are priceless.

 

Fix Your Gear

Broken Ski

A broken ski can be a huge hindrance, especially if you’re far from your car. Duct tape can be used for an easy fix, whether it’s a nordic or downhill set up. Using a thin tree branch as a splint, tightly wrap duct tape around the stick and both pieces of broken ski.

 

Repair a Tent (pole)

A broken tent pole can be detrimental to an extended camping trip. Even if your tent came with a splint for a broken pole, duct tape is a lot easier to use. Place the broken ends side by side, so they overlap, and wrap them tightly with tape.

 

Inflatable Mattress

Nothing is quite as pernicious as a leaky inflatable mattress. In a pinch, a circular duct tape patch will keep the air from escaping while you sleep through the night. Be sure to clean the area around the patch before placing the tape to make a better seal.

 

Repair Clothes

Rips, tears, shredded cuffs, all of these can easily be fixed with some masterfully placed duct tape. For rips, use a round piece of tape because the lack of corners makes it more likely to stay in place. For cuffs, fold a piece over the edge and press it smooth.

 

Repair Sunglasses

Broken ear piece, loose lenses, snapped nose bridge: these are just some of the ways in which sunglasses can break at the more inopportune time. Duct tape can be used to fix all of these problems, whether it means wrapping the nose bridge in a thin strip, wrapping the ear piece with a wide piece, or carefully outlining the lens with tape to keep it from falling out.

Fix Yourself

Band Aid

It may not have the same padding, but duct tape will keep a wound dry while keeping dirt and other detritus from causing an infection.

 

Ankle Wrap

Though not as flexible as athletic tape, duct tape will make a useable ankle wrap in a pinch. Wrap the tape with the sticky side out to prevent tearing skin away when the wrap is removed.

 

Prevent Snow Blindness

Forgot your glacier glasses in Base Camp? Duct tape can be used to make improvised sunglasses that will help prevent snow blindness and other eye injuries from bright sun on snow or water. Simply cut a width of duct tape (or two) that will extend across your face and make two very narrow slits where your eyes line up with the tape.

 

Tick-proof

In deep weeds or grasses where ticks are prevalent, it’s vital to seal all entrances to bare skin. Wrap duct tape around the bottom of your pants and tops of your socks to keep ticks from slipping through while you walk.

 

Cover Bug Bites

Some bug bites react well to being covered with tape, especially chigger bites. If you’re getting plagued by bug bites, use duct tape to cover the itchy bites and prevent worse damage.

Prevent Things from Breaking

Duct tape is perfect for preemptive use on gear that could get damaged.

 

Pants Cuff Care

How many pairs of hiking pants or rain pants have you seen with blown out cuffs? It’s easy to ruin a pair of expensive pants by walking on the cuff. To prevent fraying, use a piece of duct tape to reinforce the hem. This is especially useful for rain pants, which are expensive to replace.

 

Waterproof Map Case

Duct tape is an inexpensive way to waterproof papers and other items that need to be protected from the rain. To make a map case, start by cutting two pieces of cardboard to match the size of your map or other papers. Once you’re created the template, cover the cardboard with stripe of duct tape. Be sure to overlap the edges of each piece to make it extra waterproof.

 

Dry Bag For Electronics

Using the same process described above, you can easily create a waterproof case for your electronics (everything from a smart phone to a satellite phone).

 

Hide-a-Key

It’s the last day of your wilderness trip and you’re back at the trail head exploding your back in search of the car key. Next time, use a piece of duct tape to secure your key under the car. That way you don’t have to worry about losing it in the woods or a lake.

 

Mark a Trail

Bright strips of duct tape can be used to flag a trail through the woods so that you or others can follow the path without getting lost.

 

A roll of duct tape and some creativity will go a long way toward relieving a stressful situation in the wilderness. Always pack more tape than you think you’ll need and don’t be afraid to experiment with bold ideas; when duct tape first came out on the market it was used on weapons, military vehicles, and boots. There is no situation too sticky for some duct tape.

 

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How to Survive Your First Night in the Forest

Surviving in the wilderness on your own doesn’t resemble much TV shows you’ve watched, though there are some tips from them that you can use. Everything looks easy and achievable from the comfort of your home, but when you find yourself in a sticky situation, your perspective changes dramatically. To keep yourself alive and well if you get lost somewhere in the woods, mountains or any other type of wilderness, you need to be as calm as possible at all times, and this will be one of the biggest challenges you will face.

All is good and grand when we’re watching some pore sap fight his way through rough terrain and we can root for him from our comfy chairs, but how well would we cope with difficult survival circumstances? Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to make sure you get through your first night in the forest unscathed.

 

Have Some Basic Tools with You at All Times

Maybe you’re not much of a camper, but you still love to be in nature from time to time, which is great. What’s not great however is your lack of survival skills that can be a significant problem if you wander off while no one’s looking. You’re probably thinking that you aren’t that thick and you know how to find your way around, but you would be surprised at how little is needed to get lost in the woods. This is why it’s always a good idea to carry some tools with you at all times while you’re in the wild. You can find an easy-to-use fire-starter in the form of a key chain, which won’t take any room in your backpack and it fits in your pocket, so there’s no reason not to take it everywhere you go. Also, taking a multipurpose knife with you is a good idea, seeing that you never know what you will need on the go, and it’s even more so when you’re left to your own devices. There are knives that come with a built-in compass in the handle, and though a high-quality knife might be an investment, it’s well worth buying it. Get a small flashlight that can be a lifesaver in the complete darkness of the forest, it will make you feel safer. Water canteen is another great idea, particularly if you can find those made of stainless steel that can also be used for water purifying.

Think Carefully About Your Next Step

When you realize you’ve wandered off much further than you realized and now you have no choice but to spend a night in the forest, stop for a minute and think carefully. What should your course of action be? Do you feel well? What time of the day is it? How well do you know the terrain? What kind of wildlife can you expect? Do you know of any body of water nearby or a place that you can use as a shelter for the night? These are all valid questions that need to be answered quickly and without panic, so that you can continue to your next step.

Shelter, Water, Food

It’s paramount to secure your basic needs in this order – shelter, water, food. I know that food is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about how you’ll survive in nature, but water and shelter are far more important. Finding a cave or a hidden place where you can spend the night more or less safely is vital, as you really don’t want to scramble through the forest in the middle of the night, even with your flashlight on. Building an impromptu shelter is also a good idea, supposing that you know how, you can do it while there’s still daylight, and there are many different types of shelter you can make. If at all possible, find shelter near a river, stream or a lake, so that your water needs are taken care of because you can survive without food for a lot longer than without water. Finally, when it comes to food, you should do your best to at least have some energy bars with you or any other kind of non-perishable food and if push comes to a shove, look for berries and plants that you recognize and you know are good to eat. Don’t experiment with plants, as being lost in the woods is the worst possible time to have a food poisoning.

Light a Fire and Don’t Panic

When you’ve managed to find your shelter, get a fire going, it’s essential to keep you warm throughout the night, which can be very cold in the woods. Lighting a fire will make you feel much better and calmer about the situation you’re in and it will give you time to gather your bearings about what you should do next. There’s never place for panic when you’re in survival mode, so think as clearly as possible what you can do to be found and how you can find a way out yourself. Do your best to leave marks and signs where you’ve been and when a new day comes, climb a tree to get a general sense of where you’re at and if there’s a smoke from a fire anywhere near you. Your brain will be in overdrive constantly, but once you decide that you’re not going to panic, ideas will surface and then you can use them to get back to civilization. – Howard Scalia

 

Howard Scalia is 37-year-old former scout leader from Austin, Texas, and one of the best and most trusted blog writers at www.prosurvivalist.com. When he’s not working on some new interesting article, he enjoys taking long walks in the woods with his dogs.

 

How To Set Up Your Campsite

Camping with the family is supposed to be relaxing, but it can feel stressful if you don’t know how to pack, set up, and organize your campsite efficiently. After all, no one wants to spend all their time unpacking camping gear, looking for things, and hauling stuff around their campsite! Read on to learn how to efficiently pack and set up all your gear!

How to Pack Your Camping Gear for Easy Set Up at the Campground

Start your packing process with stackable rubber storage totes. You’ll need at least three (one for each camping “section” of your campsite, including the kitchen, sleeping, and living areas). Larger families or those with extensive gear will probably need more than one tote for each section. Once you arrive at your campsite, simply set each tote in the designated area you’ll need it in, such as the area around your picnic table for the kitchen tote, your tent area for your sleeping tote, and near your campfire pit for your living area tote. Color code your totes to remember where each one belongs.

Try this kitchen packing hack: Store your kitchen tools and utensils in a toiletry bag or other small bag to keep them organized and clean between uses at a dusty campground. You can hang them from a tree branch for easy access when you’re at your site.

In addition to your three “main section” totes, assign a smaller tote to each family member. This tote will hold that person’s clothing and personal items. Using totes for this purpose, instead of duffel bags or suitcases, saves space in your car or trailer since you can stack them.

Place items you’ll need at the ready in a mesh laundry sack (which can be re-purposed later for dirty clothes). These items may include swimsuits and towels you’ll want as soon as you arrive at the campground or jackets and boots if you’re camping in damp areas or in the off-season.

How to Find a Good Campsite and Set Up Efficiently

If you can reserve your campsite ahead of time, do so online as early as possible. Look at the campground map and note campsites that back up to the wilderness instead of other sites. In addition, look at the bathroom and shower locations (you may want to be close to one or you may want to be farther away from foot traffic). If you are camping at a campground that does not take reservations, arrive at the campground as early in the day as possible. When you arrive, look for a campsite that backs up to the forest or scenery to minimize noise from any neighbors.

Find a campsite with equal parts shade and sun to maximize your exposure and enjoy warmth in the mornings and cooler temperatures in the afternoon. Once you’ve selected a site, set up your sleeping area in the shade (so your tents don’t heat up during the day) on flat ground away from the fire ring and kitchen area.

Set up your kitchen adjacent to the fire ring and picnic table. You may want to consider setting up a screen dome or shade shelter over the table to reduce unwanted quality time with insects and mosquitos. Make sure you place your cooler in the shade.

How to Have a Safe Campfire

First, always make sure the campground permits campfires. Campfire policies can change seasonally, and they may be prohibited during peak forest fire danger periods. If campfires are permitted, make sure to gather sticks and wood from the ground around your site, taking care not to break branches off living trees. Dead wood is drier and better for burning.

If you need to buy firewood, buy it at your campground or at a local store. This practice saves space in your vehicle for your other gear, and it is far better for the environment. When you bring wood from home, you can unknowingly bring unwanted, non-native insects or parasites along with it.

Start your campfire with kindling or small sticks from around the campsite, combined with some newspaper or store-bought fire starter.

Always let your campfire start to die out one hour before bedtime. This is a great time to light a camping lantern and play a few rounds of cards or a board game. Of course, you should always put your fire completely out before leaving your campsite (for the day or at the end of the trip). To extinguish your fire quickly, separate the burned coals with a stick. Once they’re not touching, they will become cool to the touch within 15-20 minutes on average. After spreading the coals, ensure that the fire is fully out by throwing buckets of water or sand or them.

 


Source: eReplacementParts.com


Essential Items for Your Black-Out Kit

One of the scenarios most likely to occur that has nothing to do with extreme, Doomsday scenarios is the black out. Power outages are on the rise (source) due to aging infrastructure as well as the rising demand from consumers. As we’re using more and more devices to make our lives easier, we’re pushing it thin. Besides this, there are a number of external risk factors, such as EMP attacks (natural or man-made) and hacker attacks.

Blackouts, EMPs, Brownouts, No Power, Off The Grid

What to do to prepare for Blackouts.

Prepping for a lights out situation isn’t just for preppers, it’s for anyone worried about small-scale emergencies. The idea is to have a box or a pouch where you keep a few inexpensive yet critical items to assist you in power outages. Some preppers use plastic boxes to keep them items but you can also have a pouch that you can take with you in case you have to bug out.

Flashlights

You can never have enough flashlights! Small or big, battery-powered or hand-crank, you should have at least a few of them inside your lights out kit. Surefire, Ultrafire and Maglite are all good brands that you can find on Amazon with a quick search. To make sure you pick something of quality, all you have to do is read the star reviews.

There’s also the debate between LED and incandescent light bulbs on flashlights. LEDs take less battery but incandescent shine brighter, very useful if you’re dealing with fog. But for bug in situations such as this one, that’s not important. Just keep in mind that LEDs are costlier to replace.

A Small AM/FM Emergency Radio

With the power gone, knowing what’s happening is going to be critical. What if things go from bad to worse and you need to bug out? A company named iRonsnow is selling such a radio for $20 on Amazon that’s hand-crank, has solar panels on it, has a built-in flashlight and even a cell-phone charger; it’s probably the best seller in the category.

A Lantern. Or Two

Lanterns are great because they light up the whole space around them, useful if you want to read a good book until the storm passes or play board games with your family.

You can find battery-powered lanterns online and some of them even have solar panels at the top, so you can recharge them during the day (if the power outage lasts for days or if you’re hiking or if you take them with you hiking or camping).

Candles…

…and a lighter or matches to light them. The only problem are, they’re a fire hazard. You’re not going to believe this but between 2009 and 2013, an average of 9,300 house fires per year were caused by candles. 86 people died and over 800 were injured (source). If you have small children or pets that live inside your home, you may want to keep the above statistics in mind.

Chemlights

They are brighter than you’d think, they don’t need a lighter or matches to be lit and, best of all, the fire hazard is zero. Chemlights glow through a process called chemiluminescence, which is, in essence, a chemical reaction. They’re a safe alternative to candles and the best part is, they work under windy as well as wet conditions.

A Battery Charger

No that you’ll be able to use it when your town or city descends into darkness but at least you’ll know where to find it when you need it.

Spare Batteries

The more flashlight you have, the more batteries you’ll need. Even if you don’t, you’ll still use them to power your emergency radio or your other electronic devices.

Anything Else?

You can add as much gear as you’d like but keep in mind the volume and the weight. Think about the scenarios you’re preparing for. You should stockpile things that will make your life easier during a power outage that won’t go directly into the kit. Things like:

  • a first aid kit
  • a water bladder (fill it with water from your sink before that runs out as well)
  • a whistle (since phone lines may be dead)
  • board games and a deck of cards
  • food and water
  • a Kindle
  • an MP3 player
  • a propane stove and a canister of fuel (for cooking purposes)
  • maybe even a DVD player
  • a first aid booklet
  • blankets to keep yourself warm

Final Word

Blackout kits are one way of preparing yourself and your family for this common small-scale disaster, which is why it’s easier to convince them to do it (if they’re not into prepping). Keep in mind that the supplies you’ll get won’t just be helpful during blackouts. They can assist you in any kind of disaster situation. Your money will be well spent.

However, if you want to do something today that won’t cost you anything, how about you do a little planning for these power outages? You can start with a list of items you will need for your kit or you can look for a convenient place to keep the box. You may even start reading on topics such as first aid, cooking on a propane stove or taking care of hygiene with minimal water.

Good luck!

Dan Sullivan


Wilderness First Aid

Be Prepared Before Venturing to the Backcountry

One of the scariest things that can happen when you’re in the backcountry is an injury. Even a small blister can upend a backpacking trip, but imagine facing something more serious, like a broken leg, an allergic reaction, or a burn from the campfire, and not knowing where to start. Suddenly it’s abundantly obvious that getting to a hospital isn’t as simple as calling 911, and you wonder where you packed the first-aid kit – you did pack a first-aid kit, right? Having a first-aid kit and knowing how to use it are important parts of making any trip to the backcountry. Here are some tips to get you started.

Take a Course

If you plan on spending time in the backcountry, it’s important to take a course in wilderness medicine. You have three options when choosing a course.

Wilderness First Aid (2–3 days)

This course provides an overview of wilderness medicine, and it is designed for people who plan on taking mostly weekend trips. You’ll learn how to check for threats to life, how to care for wounds and fractures, and how to deal with an emergency in a deliberate way.

Wilderness First Responder (~10 days)

This course is usually required for people who want to work in the outdoors. The material is presented more thoroughly than the material in the short course, and the course covers a wider range of common wilderness injuries.

Wilderness EMT (one month)

If you want to be a ski instructor or expect to bounce between EMT work and time in the backcountry, this is a great option. In addition to the national EMT curriculum, the Wilderness EMT includes a component designed for providing remote care.

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that these are all classes; most wilderness medicine courses involve a lot of hands-on learning and scenarios, which provide plenty of chances to practice your skills. Be sure to take a class from a reputable program and keep your certification up to date. Most certifications have to be renewed every two to three years, and most of them include a CPR component. Renewing your certification may seem like a hassle, but it’s a great way to brush up on rusty skills and learn changes to the curriculum or protocols.

First-aid Kit

  • Gloves (2–3 pairs Latex or nitrile gloves are essential for anyone treating a patient; pack a few pairs so you won’t run out.
  • Band-Aids (10–20): These are great for small cuts and scrapes.
  • Ibuprofen and acetaminophen: Sometimes referred to as “Vitamin I,” ibuprofen is great for treating everything from headaches to aching feet.
  • Antihistamine and an EpiPen: Allergic reactions happen fast, so make sure you know where the EpiPen and Benadryl are located so you can retrieve them quickly.
  • Tweezers: Tweezers are great for removing splinters and ticks.
  • Moleskin (2 sheets): These are great for preventing and treating blisters.
  • Molefoam (1 sheet): Molefoam provides a fast way to pad a blister.
  • Athletic tape (1 roll): Athletic tape can be used for a number of injuries, including twisted ankles and blisters, and it can be used to tape gauze over larger wounds.
  • Duct tape: Instead of packing a roll, unwind some tape and wrap it around itself so you can remove pieces.
  • Gauze pads (2–3): These are perfect for burns and big cuts.
  • Gauze roll: Having two types of gauze may seem redundant, but the roll can be handy for wrapping any number of injuries.
  • Antibiotic ointment (3–5 packets): These come in small packets, which are a nice, lightweight option.
  • Ace bandage: These are bulky, but they are great for wrapping around splints if you’re dealing with a fracture or simply supporting a rolled ankle.
  • Trauma shears or a pocket knife: Scissors aren’t lightweight, but they are indispensible if you need to cut molefoam or remove clothing around an injury. If you opt to leave them behind, be sure to carry a pocket knife.
  • CPR face shield: This is a lightweight version of a CPR mask.
  • Paper and pencil: These are vital for recording information and taking notes on your patient.
  • Plastic bag: These are always useful, but if you’re disposing of biohazardous material, it’s especially important to have one in your kit.

One of the first things you learn in first-aid training is how to assess a situation to ensure your own safety and that of potential victims. When someone gets injured, your instinct will be to rush to help, but it’s important to take a minute to size up the situation first. These five steps will help you quickly gather important information about the situation before you approach the injured party.

1. Make sure the area around the patient is safe for you, the rescuer. This may be a quick decision if the patient simply fell, but consider the scene after an avalanche, a lightning strike, or a bear attack. If the thing that caused the injury is still a danger to others, keep yourself safe by waiting to approach the patient. There’s no sense in creating more patients.

2. Make a quick determination about what happened to the patient. This isn’t a diagnosis but an observation based on what the scene looks like.

3. Put on gloves! It’s crucial to ensure that none of the patient’s fluids (like blood) get on your skin. Gloves are the easiest solution for protecting your hands, and you should wear them at all times while treating a patient.

4. Make a quick scan of the area to count how many patients you’ll be treating. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon a boating accident with a raft full of people, or maybe you’re hiking with a friend who stumbled and fell to the ground.

5. Is the person alive or dead? This may seem basic, but it will give you a lot of information about what your next steps will be and how fast to make them. Sometimes you have to get closer to the patient to see if they are alive, which is why this step is last.

First-aid 101: Blister Prevention

Blisters are a much more likely to occur on a hiking or camping trip than are some of the other incidental injuries a person may incur. Learning how to treat them is a valuable skill that will pay off in dividends. Blisters are essentially burns caused by friction, and they are incredibly common on backpacking trips, especially if you’re wearing brand-new boots. The pre-cursor to a blister is known as a “hot spot.” It’s best to catch blisters at this stage, when they’re easily treated.

If you or your hiking partner discovers a hot spot, stop and take a look at the foot. Hot spots are usually red, and they will be slightly painful to the touch. They’re caused by the foot rubbing against either the boot or the sock, so to treat them, you need to relieve the friction. This is easy to do with moleskin. Simply cut out a circular piece about the size of the hot spot and tape it in place (athletic tape works well for this).

Have the person remove their boot and sock. Take out a square of Molefoam and cut a circle that covers the entire blister, plus a little extra. Round pieces are best because they don’t have any corners, which will peel.

Once you have a circular piece cut, fold the piece in half and cut out the middle, creating a foam donut. The inside hole should be large enough that it covers the entire blister.

Place the foam donut over the blister. If the extends out further than the foam, make a second donut and place it on top of the first. The goal is to create a ring around the blister that will protect it from rubbing against the boot.

If the blister has popped, apply some antibiotic cream inside the donut. If it hasn’t popped, leave it intact. A popped blister is no longer protected by the cushion of the fluid, and it’s an easy access point for infection-causing bacteria. Once the blister is surrounded by the donut of foam, wrap the area with athletic tape to keep the bandage in place.

Now that you know some of the basics, sign up for a wilderness medicine class in your area. Start by checking these three schools that offer nationally recognized certifications: SOLO, WMA, and NOLS WMI.
Source: Fix.com Blog


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