Archive for the ‘Survival’ Category

We were watching TV and switching channels last night and a feature on ABC Nightline caught our eye. It had the words “Apocalypse Real Estate” The segment featured a couple of developers selling nuclear war bunkers/retreats out in the desert. I had read about the one in the California desert in a survival blog months ago and now it has hit the mainstream news. The other developer in Florida was selling underground condos deep under the earth, also in a desert I think it was the Mojave, priced at a minimum of $900,000. The interviewer actually brought up the question, “How do you get to the underground condo during a worse case scenario?,” but the answer was a little vague, mentioning it could be by flying, driving or walking.  The newscaster also interviewed a “regular guy” who has been acquiring supplies and has already bought into the California bunker project.

Now I don’t know about you but I don’t have $50,000 to invest in a bunker. Nothing was mentioned about the sustainability of the places, how much food/water stored etc., so I am not even sure I would want one if I had the cash. I think just plunking down some cash does not fully prepare anyone for a disaster, such as acquiring skills, having a survivor’s mindset etc. For example, how would someone who was completely unprepared get to the bunker to begin with? It would just give a false sense of security. Still, if someone could afford these places, and be self-reliant and knowledgeable with skills all at once, then more power to them.

The rest of us will continue doing what we can in our own circumstances to learn, prepare and survive.

Read Full Post »

I will be the first to admit that I am easily lost.   This is an unfortunate fact, so I have to make doubly sure of directions to where I am going.  My husband helps a lot with this, but I cannot always rely on him.  My car does have a GPS, but believe it or not, I can still get lost with it.  Mostly because the car is a few years old, and the GPS software that came with it does not automatically update.  You have to buy a new disk (not cheap) to keep up with all the new streets and new construction in the city.  When going to a new destination, I usually check Google Maps or Mapquest just to make sure I have a backup.  I also keep my cell phone with me at all times, which also has a map feature.  I have gotten lost enough times in the past, that I don’t mind a lot of redundancy in this issue.

What does this have to do with prepping?   Emergencies don’t happen only during convenient times.  What if something happens and we are at work or school?  Our family now has discussions about what we would do if an event were to happen and we are nowhere near each other.  We have to make sure we know how to get back together no matter where we are.  If I get lost, it will waste precious time in getting to safety.

I read a good article on http://survivalcommonsense.com called “Three Maps You Should Carry in Your Bug Out Bag,” which also included a link to http://survivalcache.com “3 Maps that Should be in Your Survival Gear” that gives additional details about the maps.  Those maps include:  local area map, topographical map and extended area map.   Happily, I just found out I can get local area maps and state maps for free from the roadside travel service that came with our auto insurance, so I requested some.  Check with your auto insurance company if they have these maps may be available for free.  I will need to shop for the topographical maps.  Since we are still working on the bug out bags, we will keep the maps in the car’s glove compartment.

Read Full Post »

The other day the management company left a flyer on our door about a “Resident Meeting” regarding apartment safety.  I was concerned enough that I attended the evening meeting after work.  A couple of policemen and the building management were in attendance.  The reason for the meeting was to discuss recent criminal activity in the area, and to warn residents about personal safety.

My neighborhood is in the middle of the city of Houston.  If you are unfamiliar with the city and come to visit, you will notice very quickly that the city does not have strict zoning laws.  As a result, the city itself is a mix of residential, commercial and industrial.  One block could be a nice residential area, and across the street would be high rises or industrial parks, unless you live in a planned community in the suburbs.   So you can live in a block with nice residences, but go two blocks and you can quickly find yourself in an unsavory looking area.  Being careful and aware of your surroundings is very important.  Not being critical or negative, that is just the way it is.  While we carefully picked the apartment we live in, checked crime statistics and all that, crime in any area is inevitable.

Back to the meeting.  Apparently, the management company decided to have a meeting due to a recent shooting that occurred in the complex.  They wanted to reassure the residents that it was not a random event but a shooting between acquaintances, a “drug deal gone bad.”  There were no fatalities, the shooter was arrested and the victim was shot in the leg.  Not very reassuring to hear that a resident was doing a drug deal.   The resident has since been evicted, at least he is not around anymore.  The cops also informed us there have been car break-ins and some theft.

Some thoughts and ideas on being safe:

–This meeting has just reinforced my feeling that there is no such thing as a “safe area.”  We need to be on guard at all times, and always aware of our surroundings.  Always find out about what’s going on around you.  Surprisingly, for a complex this large, not a lot of tenants attended the meeting, considering it was about something important.

–If you start to have a bad feeling about your surroundings, stop and pay attention to these feelings, it is your intuition telling you not to proceed.

–As the economy gets worse, crime keeps spreading.  People are more desperate these days, and thieves try to target people that they perceive as more vulnerable:  the elderly, women alone or women and children.

–To avoid being targeted by thieves, think about what attracts these criminals:  flashy jewelry, a large purse that looks stuffed with cash or credit cards even if it isn’t.  I am guilty of this myself, my purse was filled with junk that I felt I needed to carry around-wallet, makeup, coupons, notes to myself etc.  It does not matter if you really have lots of cash; you may just have  coupons in there, but if the thief PERCEIVES that you have goodies, then that is enough to get their attention.  When examining each item such as checkbooks, notes, etc. ask yourself, “Why am I carrying this around, can I leave it behind?”   I have since cleaned out my purse to the minimum items needed.

–When shopping, always lock your vehicle and do not leave your items in the car, lock them up in the trunk.  The cop revealed that they patrol certain malls because thieves are known to “harvest” items that people leave in the cars while shopping.

–Consider a protection device such as mace, pepper spray or a concealed gun if you know how to use them.

–When walking to your car,  have your keys ready in your hand, no fishing around the parking lot for missing keys.  Brief inattention to your surroundings can cost you your life.  If leaving at night, try to walk with someone or have security escort you.

–Train the kids to only open the door to family or friends who know the “password” and never open the door to strangers.

–Keep your curtains or blinds closed.  The more passersby see your appliances and items, the more likely a thief will get interested in you.

–Consider an alarm system or a dog if your building allows it.

–Make sure you always lock your doors and windows.

–Look around the area before you open your door or garage,  as thieves have been know to follow people in as they get home.

–Be careful about announcing your activities and plans on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, this will give potential thieves a “heads up” that your house is available.

Sorry if this article sounds a bit paranoid, but these are the times we live in.  A big part of survival mentality or preparedness is paying attention to your own personal and family security.

Read Full Post »

Thanks to the Survival Podcast,  I was very surprised to find out that there was another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, back in 1979.   It was in much shallower water, and closer to South Padre Islands in Texas, but it was considered the worst oil spill in US history at the time.  The owner of the rig tried much the same tactics as BP has tried, but the spill did not get resolved until the relief well was drilled 10 months later.  On the positive side, the Gulf did recover.  Unfortunately, while the technology to drill in deeper and deeper waters escalated, the technology to clean up oil spills has not progressed that much.   Check out http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/04/bp-could-learn-lessons-fr_n_600492.html for additional details on the previous spill.

It is sad to know that history has repeated itself, as lessons were not learned,  30 years later.  Amidst these depressing thoughts, I was encouraged when I read The SurvivalMom’s post found in


regarding lessons WE can learn for this disaster so we can protect ourselves and our families.  There is not a lot we can do about what companies and government do, but we can apply these lessons to something we can control, in our own life.

On a personal note, I am doing the following as a result:

-I believe seafood prices will be rising soon, so I am stocking up on seafood such as fish and shrimp.  I will just keep the stores in the freezer. Not having a large freezer,  I am extra careful about repackaging the stores carefully to eliminate air so the seafood will stay fresh longer.   I also date the packages so I use them within a reasonable time.

-Gas prices are low right now, but prices may increase, I am saving the amount left over the in gas budget to offset any price increases later.

-Continuing to gather items for the bug out bags-God forbid we have a worse case scenario:  if there is a hurricane that pushes the spill toward our area, would not want to experience an “oil-ricane” with oil and toxic dispersants raining over us.

Read Full Post »

Following a suggestion on survivalblog.com, I checked out the TV show “Out of the Wild:  The Alaska Experiment” on the Discovery Channel.   We got all the episodes off Netflix and watched a couple of shows per day.   The program shows how 9 “regular” people cope with survival in Alaska.   The group had some survival training prior to the show, and are given some basic survival tools (tarp, first aid kit, camp ax, etc)  but have to hunt, fish or gather food to survive.  For each leg of the journey, they had a map to guide them to their next destination.    It was near winter when the shows started, and the weather was one of the obstacles encountered.   The adventurers had to through rough terrain and fast moving rivers to make it to their destinations, and set up shelter.  Each person had the option to drop out and have the helicopter pick him or her out and return to civilization.  Out of the nine, only four actually made it to the end of the show.  I won’t reveal too much in case folks want to check it out.

I personally have had some limited camping experience, mostly in camp grounds in tents with plenty of packed food and water.  I have not had to hunt for food, or skin or gut an animal.  I have watched my Dad do it, so I know the basic steps and what to avoid.   So I was fascinated watching their reactions and in thinking what would I do if I were in their shoes.  The show does present some realistic situations when they try to hunt or fish but find nothing.  Other times they were successful and they did show how much work goes into preparing the animal for cooking.

Some of the survival lessons I picked up from watching the show:

1.  When food is scarce, you are just grateful for any food that comes along.  The characters were so happy when they were able to hunt small squirrels, birds, fish even porcupine.  They even ate a  mouse when they were desperate for food.

2.  Be selective of things that you will need to carry.  Early in the show, when the participants were inexperienced, they packed way too much and later regretted the burden of carrying a lot of stuff.  Each time they camped, they downsized their packs by being more careful on choosing items that they actually use.

3.  Being is shape is very important in a survival situation.  One of the participants had to drop out early in the show, due to physical exertion.  The same character was slowing the group down and there was some resentment around it.

4.  Expectations shape your experiences.  I noticed that the participants who had high expectations on how things should or shouldn’t be were sorely disappointed and ended up leaving.

5.  Mental attitude is most important in succeeding in a survival situation.  The characters who did not allow themselves to consider failure even in spite of some physical problems were the ones who made it to the finish line.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts