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Coastal Survival

If you live near the coast, you’re in a unique position allowing you to utilize resources from both land and sea. Since there have been and will be many land survival articles, I will focus on the sea aspect in this one.

We’ll start with water. Of course you can’t drink seawater,dis_process until you take the salt out. So how do you take the salt out? There are 3 principle types of desalinization, electrical, thermal, and pressure. Electrical desalinization is a process utilizing an electrical field to remove the salt. It’s technical and papers have been written by universities about it. Due to its complexity it’s really not a helpful process for the average person. Pressure desalinization is the act of using centrifugal force to pull the salt out of the water. Thermal desalinization is the oldest and most natural form of removing salt from seawater.desalinazation So natural, that it occurs by the sun everyday around the world. The water vapor forms clouds and then is released back to earth as rain. We can simply replicate this process a couple different ways. Either using a heat source and distilling the water, or utilizing the suns radiation in a solar still to evaporate the water.

Shelter on the ocean is a serious problem. If you’re in the ocean, you have two serious concerns hypothermia and shark attack. Hypothermia is when the bodies core temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. hypothermiaDue to water being an excellent conductor of heat, it can pull the heat out of a body, and since we lose like 80% of our body heat through our head and neck, keep them out of the water. Also don’t shed clothes, they will act as a barrier and your body will heat the water between your skin and your clothes acting as an insulation layer between you and the outside water. On a long enough timeline everyone’s survival rate drops to zero. If the water temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit the danger for shark attack is elevated. The lower the water temperature, the greater the risk of hypothermia due to prolonged exposure, when exposed to cold water the Coast Guard’s 1-10-1 rule applies. The first stage in cold water exposure is Cold Water Shock, you have one minute to control your panic. Studies show that 20 percent of people exposed to cold water die in the first minute; they panic when they are first immersed, breathe in cold water and drowned. The next phase is Cold Water Incapacitation, over approximately 10 minutes you will lose effective control of your body, fingers, hands, legs and arms. You need to deal with self rescue during this brief phase because your ability to swim will become greatly reduced as time passes, if you aren’t  wearing a life jacket at this point and are unable to get out of the water, the odds are pretty good you’re going to drown. The last phase is Hypothermia, you have approximately 1 hour, depending on water temperature, and physical condition until your body shuts down, you lose consciousness and die.fishTrap

Another thing the ocean has in abundance is food; in the form of fish, shellfish and water fowl. Since this isn’t a hunting or fishing article, I won’t get in depth into gathering food but will touch on a few gathering techniques. You can of course always fish with a hook, line and pole. But there are several ways to harvest fish without a line and hook. There are several different types of commercial fish trap available for purchase, but you can also make one from sticks and twine, or using sticks in the sand you can make a tidal fish trap.fishspear16 Making a fishing spear is also an option, it’s a little more complicated than just sharpening a stick, but still not very technical.

When you live near the ocean, like coastal dwelling people throughout history, you must master the sea and to do so you’re going to need a boat. I’m going to talk about boat building next week, but will talk this week a little about some aspects of their use.

When you’re standing on the beach and looking out to sea, due to the curvature of the earth, the horizon is only 8 miles away. You can see larger objects such as cruise ships or aircraft carriers out to 10-12 miles depending on their height but a small motor boat or row boat, you would be lucky to see at 8 miles. If you were sitting in a canoe or kayak out in the water your horizon would be down to perhaps 5-6 miles. This comes into play when we start talking about navigation.N-chart_11451-9

Whether you’re navigating on land or on sea, before you can plan where you’re going; first you must know where you are. To know where you are, you need a map or chart, a compass, and a straight edge. There are a few different grades of certainty that I want to talk about. If you look on your map and find a tower, an antenna, or even a notable landmark or pier that you can see from your location; take a bearing to the object and lay it out on your map with your straight edge, what you have now is a line of bearing. Find another object that is like 50-60 degrees off from the last, and lay it out on your map, you now have an estimated position. Repeating the process and at the point where the 3 lines meet is a fix, for most of what we’re doing here an estimated position will work for what we need, if you’re navigating a deep draft ship in close proximity to shoal water, knowing your exact location is crucial, however if you’re in a row boat, and you know where you are within 100 or 200 yards, you will be fine because from there you can visually navigate to where you want to go.

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Urban Survival

In the United States, 80.7 percent of the population lives in an urban area, according to the 2010 census which is the latest census data available. Many of us would love to live on our own plot of a thousand acres, off grid and self sufficient or our own private island, but for most of us it’s just not a reality. When life gives you lemons, you can just be sour, or you can look at the bright side, take stock of your resources and make lemonade. If you are like me and although you would truly prefer to live on a mountaintop somewhere, but due to the circumstances you find yourself in, created by the choices you’ve made over your life thus far; your preference has to take a backseat to the realities and responsibilities of the life that you have created. Just because you work and live in an urban area, doesn’t mean you’re any more or less vulnerable than the person that lives on the mountain. highway

In the city you don’t normally have to worry about wolves or bears, but there is the potential of human predators that can cross your path. When living in the city there are two different times of concern: everyday life and life after TEOTWAWKI. Generally speaking in everyday life, minimizing your chance of becoming a victim can be done through situational awareness, attitude, and body language. One thing about living in or near the city; if you want to protect your family and prepare for any emergency, embracing technology is a necessity.

One night last May the wife and I were sitting in an upstairs room of our house that overlooks our driveway, watching a movie. The following morning, my wife got in her car to find out it had been burglarized! They didn’t take a whole lot, just a few CD’s, a box of .380 ammo and her garage door remote.home-security-cameras-480pix I zeroed out all the garage door codes and paired new remotes and installed a day/night vision HD security camera system. Lesson learned, no matter how nice the neighborhood, there is always the potential for theft. Another thing that I am in the process of doing is converting my home to a smart home system, utilizing the z-wave and zigby technologies as well as wifi. I have a hardwired security system but want the added flexibility of a wireless system.

Other basic steps for hardening your home against intruders:

Doors, make sure all your exterior doors are solid core and deadbolts go without saying. Take the screws out of the existing plates in your door jams and replace them with 3 inch screws, do the same with the hinges. The longer screws will go through the door jam and into the double studs inside the wall on each side of the door. If the hinges face outside replace them with hinges that the hinge pins are not removable. Consider installing a separate steel security door in addition to other external doors.

Windows, during normal life there isn’t much you can do except lock them and have window sensors and breaking glass detectors, unless you wantwindowBars to live with bars on your windows. However, you can precut plywood for each of your windows. In the event of a storm or an SHTF event you will have the plywood sheets cut and labeled; use 3-3 ½” hex head lag bolts with washers to bolt them to the studs and plates inside the wall around the window opening.

Security lights and motion sensors are a big deterrent for criminal activity. Turn on the lights floodlightsand the cockroaches run for cover. Inexpensive exterior lights can be purchased with motion sensors attached from most hardware stores.

Monitored security systems and their signs are also a huge deterrent. Actually it’s the signs that scare off the bad guys. Actually the average response time of police to a 911 call in the U.S. is 10 minutes, if they come at all to a house alarm. In cities like Los Angeles or Salt Lake police won’t respond to home alarms unless they have an eye witness like a private security company.

In an SHTF event, more often than not the best course of action is to shelter in place, unless like in the case of a storm or other emergency where burglarcompetent governmental agencies have called for an evacuation. If after such an event, a real and legitimate government has not been reestablished in the area, you may need to defend borders until such time as it has been reestablished. In that case, what you have or more accurately what people think you have can make you a target. In an urban area your greatest threat is the rest of the starving, sick and scared population.

Another thing about an urban area is the plethora of resources in a post TEOTWAWKI event. While there is game to hunt in the country, in the city and surrounding area there are rail yards, steel plants, lumber yards, warehouses, cold storage, dry storage and many other places, even national guard armories in a post apocalyptic world.

 

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Having FON Yet?

According to international law, all sea bordering countries are allowed to claim 12 miles off their coast as their sovereign water. Outside 12 miles from every country is considered international waters and can be used by any other country for any internationally legal use. With every rule there are always exceptions. One such exception is that if the sea lane is less than 12 miles wide and there is international water on either side of the sea lane, free travel must be allowed. There are other exceptions as well, but the primary one that I want to discuss is when a country tries to claim more than the 12 miles. This is pretty common because the 12 mile limit is supposed to follow the coastline, however sometimes a country will have a gulf that exists adjacent to their  country and although they’re only entitled to 12 miles off their coast they will claim the whole gulf. After a period of time, that country will then go to the United Nations and claim that since no other countries use that waterway, it should be internationally recognized as theirs.map In places where there are internationally contested waters the US Navy will periodically conduct Freedom Of Navigation (FON) operations. Where a ship will navigate through the contested waters and their movement will then be sent to the UN to prove that it is indeed not undisputed water and that other countries do use it. You may be thinking right now that it’s not their place, why doesn’t the US just mind their own business? Great question let me give you an example. Say Country B claims the whole gulf instead of just the 12 mile limit. If left undisputed, the fishermen from countries A and C couldn’t fish the very rich fisheries in the gulf which they should be able to do.

It’s all very interesting but, so what? Why am I bringing this up? Well its relevance is very simple. We, all must occasionally conduct FON Ops. I’m not talking about buying a boat and heading to some disputed water. I’m talking about exercising your rights sometimes just because you have the right to do it! I’m talking here about peaceful protest, speaking your mind and letting your voice be heard, carrying a gun if and when you can (NOT ILLEGALLY!),chl if the police want to look around your property or search your car, make them get a warrant. Look I’m not saying from now on lets all just be argumentative, I’m not saying that at all. Let me relate an experience that happened to me recently.

People that know me can attest that I’m a pretty big gun rights advocate, not that I’m an activist or anything. I just believe passionately in my Second Amendment rights, that it’s the 2nd that give the rest teeth, and if it goes away the others will follow. As I’ve stated before, I live in Texas and have had a Concealed Handgun License for years. For those of you that don’t know, as of January 1st 2016, anyone that possesses a CHL in Texas, can now carry an open handgun. In other words, handguns, if carried in a designated manner, no longer have to be concealed. I have a full sized 1911 .45 ACP that I have rarely carried because it’s so large that it’s difficult to carry concealed, but it’s also my favorite gun to shoot and the one that I am most accurate with. When the new law passed, I thought “I will finally get to carry my 1911” and occasionally I do, in a shoulder holster.shoulderholster Last week I was shopping in Costco warehouse near my home. I’ve been a member there for over 11 years and have been in there several times, open carrying since it was legal to do so. I was approached at the back of the store by what turned out to be a manager, who informed me that my gun was not allowed in Costco, I asked if it was because I was open carrying, because they didn’t have the required signage prohibiting it. He asserted that all guns were prohibited. To make a very long story short, I left with a refund of my membership fee and vowed I would never go back. I then appealed to the corporate office, hoping that it was just an antigun manager and that I could at least carry concealed in the store.  The response that I got from Costco corporate headquarters was actually more ridiculous than what I was told at the store. I was told that for the safety of Costco guests and staff no firearms were allowed on the premises. I say more ridiculous because most mass shootings happen in gun free zones, so by banning guns they’re actually increasing their risk factor. DS-mass-shootingsI have been asked by friends and associates why, I didn’t just leave and come back either without a gun or just carry concealed. The answer is this: to carry after I have been verbally notified that it is not allowed makes my doing so a crime; to not carry and continue to shop there, requires that I compromise my beliefs and in my eyes at least, put the lives of my family and myself at risk.

Folks, like I said earlier, I’m an advocate. I truly believe more guns make a society safer. To that end, I refuse to do business with companies that don’t allow some form of handgun carry. I understand property owners have rights too, if they don’t want people walking around their store with a hand cannon on their hip, I will still do business with them if they will allow me (and others) to carry concealed. If, like in the case of Costco, they ban all firearms from their store, I believe their policy is foolish and dangerous and I will spend my money elsewhere. Studies show that 32% of Americans own guns. If those gun owners stopped doing business with companies that are openly hostile to gun ownership, those companies profits would tumble to the point, they would necessarily be required to change their policies or go bankrupt.deathsUS

I’m merely using gun ownership as an example; there are many issues out there that people feel strongly about. Take a stand and stop supporting something that you disagree with by blindly going along. Before you start with, one person can’t make a difference, you’re right, one can’t, but it has to start somewhere and if everyone took a stand for what they believe in, then we will make a difference. This includes these Hollywood celebrities that use their popularity to further a cause. If they come out against something you’re passionate about, blacklist them. There are several stars that I won’t watch a movie just because they’re in it! And I’m a big movie fan! I have purchased over 500 movies.

Go out there and exercise your Freedom Of Navigation! Are you having FON yet?

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What’s the plan?

How-to-Develop-a-Business-Plan-in-Six-Easy-Steps

So if you’ve read any of the other posts on this blog, you know that I’m a big advocate of planning. For example, last week we talked about situational awareness and the OODA Loop. I won’t rehash the OODA Loop but the general premise is, whoever completes the loop first has tactical advantage of the situation. In New Year, Fresh Look, I talk about having a plan, a backup plan, a contingency plan, and an emergency plan. Through planning we set ourselves up to have a head start in the OODA Loop, through plan redundancy we minimize the risk that when we do get hit, we’re caught flat footed, and then we have a plan for that too.

“Well where do I start?” you may ask. First, let’s start with developing your own personal threat matrix. riskSignBasically, what do you see as the primary threats to your/your family’s safety and security? Earthquake? Tornado? Martial law? Alien invasion? Zombie apocalypse?  Joking aside, only you can establish your realistic threat priorities. Your planning is only as good as your imagination and your ability to foresee your true threat priorities. If you set your priority on planning for an event that although, if it occurred would be devastating, the odds of occurrence are astronomical, then you’re setting yourself up to take that hit. So, if you live in California and spend more time planning for alien invasion, than for earthquake, maybe your threat matrix isn’t… realistic. Look honestly, do I think you should prepare for an alien invasion and a zombie apocalypse? Why not? The US Government and CDC have plans in place; I just don’t think they should be a priority.

“How do I prioritize my threat matrix?” In my opinion, you should have the most detailed plans on the threats that are the most imminent. If you are a 5 foot tall, female emergency trauma nurse that commutes alone on the subway in New York City at 3 am, six days each week, maybe a can of pepper spray and a Krav Maga class should be in your future, more so than the plans for a nuclear fallout shelter.preparedsmallsmall There is nothing wrong with planning for a nuclear strike, little green men, or a virus that reanimates the dead, but develop those plans after you are sufficiently prepared for all the threats that impact you daily.

Let’s start with lifestyle… Identify the risks you face every day. Develop a plan to mitigate those risks, and then look for weak points in your primary plan, things that could go wrong and develop a backup plan. Now come up with contingencies for your backup and finally if sh!t goes south and everything goes wrong, have an emergency plan! Do this for all the risks you can identify based on what you do, where you go, frequent and infrequent activities and the people that go along with them.storm2_2865528b In addition to lifestyle, identify the risks you face geographically. How common are storms, earthquakes, volcanic activity? What is the local population and will the geography support them in a catastrophic event?

As we peel back the layers of this onion and consider all the different possible scenarios, it’s easy to see how mind boggling the planning can be. When planning use the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid! The more complex the plan, the more that can go wrong, so keep it simple! Even with all of our planning, there will be events that we don’t foresee. That is why situational awareness is so important.

Be your own boss, you are responsible for you. The chances are that if you’re reading this, you read other survival material as well and you are accumulating knowledge, so trust your instincts. During the 9/11 tragedy many lives were lost that could have been prevented, because people were told “the building is fine” and “stay put unless authorities tell you to leave”. sheepYou are responsible for yourself and your family; use your common sense, listen to your gut and take the appropriate action. Whatever you do, don’t follow the crowd! People are like water, they take the path of least resistance, usually that is the wrong path to take. According to psychcentral, there is a new study that shows it only takes a minority of 5% to influence the crowd, 95% will follow without even realizing it. The study was conducted by scientists at the University of Leeds and shows humans flock like birds or sheep while in a crowd. If you’re in a crowd during an emergency think of the acronym STOP:

click here Stop, don’t get caught up. Distance yourself.
go site Think, develop a plan.
http://ashleyannlaz.com/?cat=458 Orient, take stock of your surroundings.
Perform, take deliberate action.

Good luck with your plans! See you next week…

Other resources:

CDC Emergency Action Plan Template
OSHA EAP Checklist
National Fire Prevention Association EAP Guidelines
Ready.gov

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