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Your advice to someone new to emergency preparedness and/or self reliance
My advice is simple: You've spent your whole life unprepared, so being prepared isn't going to happen overnight. Being self sufficient is a long term philosophy, so do your homework and don't rush it.
Dual Survival, episode Swamplandia, Joe Teti demonstrates perfectly how to incorrectly strike a ferro rod with the sharp side of his knife blade. Please don't use the sharp side of your knife blade to strike your ferro rod. Use the backside of the blade preferably nearest the handle. Otherwise you'll dull your blade pretty well.
I just touched on this in another thread but wanted to reiterate it here as well.  In any type of SHTF situation your stress level is going to be high.  Being unprepared to deal with that situation is only going to increase your stress level.  When under high levels of stress our decision making skills diminish.  We are more susceptible to injury or illness.  And we aren't doing our loved ones any good like that.

The time to make a plan is when you are cool, calm and collected.  When you're not under stress you can make sound, sensible, practical decisions and then implement them.  It's like doing a favor for your future self.
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.
Make sure to put gloves in your EDC and GHB. Both rubber and Mechanix gloves.
First aid  Exclamation

When discussing emergency preparedness/SHTF/TEOTWAWKI/GOOD or whatever we focus on things such as food, water, shelter, defense.  All primary topics to be sure and vitally necessary.  Another area is first and self aid.  Anyone serious about 'survival' needs to address first and self aid.  In the First Aid section of this board I've compiled a lot of information, and the list is growing.  There are videos on CPR, AED, burns, gun shots, breaks and and information on medicinals.  This is also a vital area.  In a situation where first responder services are limited or no longer available you are responsible for your own well being.  

This is an area that isn't as sexy or tacticool as the latest attachment for a rifle or the next coolest back pack.  But it is an area that is of critical importance.  For a new person to the subject of 'survival' or to those of us that have made this a lifestyle I would encourage periodic training and practice.  

Check out the first aid section.  Tell a new person to ask themselves some simple questions:
  • Can you deal with an unconscious/unresponsive person?
  • Can you deal with someone that has been cut?
  • Can you deal with heat stroke/frostbite?
  • Can you deal with sprains and bruises?
  • Can you deal with a broken bone?
  • What if it happens to you?
  • What if it happens to a loved one?
  • What's your level of training?
  • What can you do to increase your skill set?
  • What kind of gear do you have to assist your skill set?
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.
How about, write down everything you do during any day of the week.

Wake up
Brush Teeth
Dry off
Get Dressed
Drive to work
Drive Home
Watch Tv
Check Computer
Brush Teeth
Goto Sleep

No Remove anything that has to do with power, requires gas or is entertaining. Insert manual labor, carrying a gun, guard duty and figuring out another way to do everything else.

In the mean time while you are trying to figure all that out, buy a couple extra cans of food a month (that you eat daily) and put it away. Learn to like new foods, buy #10 cans of veggies. Buy seeds learn to grow food. Do everything in small increments. Oh and you only have about a year to do it before everything starts getting ridiculously crazy. Cause we ain't seen nothin yet... Next couple of months are going to get interesting.

Its not always the popular suggestion...

Find a Preparedness website that is high in traffic or a site that covers your state specifically so you meet people who are closer to you. The more people you have to interact with, they saner you will stay... If you can find people who fit your personality, all the better... Don't talk about forming a group, just see if they can be a friend. If you mix, the group thing will happen on its own.

I used to be hard pressed to form a group... Its much easier to have people who you can get together with often and talk about prepping and other things.
We have plenty of supplies x2,we did however start a club.We got a gp a trauma nurse/fil-mil a vet and a dentist.We treat the meets just like family picnics,but we have them in the winter also.'08.
If you look like food,you will be eaten.

I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

Quantity has a quality all of its own.
First aid skills are critical for all people, IMO.
Ok.  I will take the challenge.  And, David, the answer is quite simple.

Go outside right now.  Just as you are presently dressed.  Stand for 15 minutes.  Then walk around the block.  Then walk just one mile.

If shtf, this is how you would be dressed.  Do you have a problem?  You probably do!  You think about the shoes you are wearing and the other clothes.  It doesn't matter whether you are in Florida or Maine.  Ok, so your first priority is to get some decent clothes and have them with you.

Obviously, some one will stick up his hand and smart off that the clothing needs 6 months later will be different.  That is the point.

And, just to make sure you have the right clothes, do the same drill at 2 am.  In addition to clothes, you will discern that you have a problem of seeing and having to deal with it.

Of course, I haven't spoken about water, food, guns and medical supplies.

Once you have the clothes figured out (and have some in the car or at work as well), you can start spending your money on other things.    Depending upon where you live, the darkness can be never up to 24 hours a day.    So, you figure out how you deal with the darkness next.  Then, you are appropriately dressed and can see!

Then, when you have a day off, do the following.  You have the clothes and/or the ability to see at night.  Pick a starting time.  Walk at your own pace for 12 hours.  "Don't care whether it is light or dark.  What do you discover?  You need water.  So you figure out how to get water/carry water/clean water so that you can comfortably survive for 12 hours.  You also learn about your physical conditioning and whether you have to do something about it.

I haven't made a list of what to buy or build.  I want you to start by do simple things that bring up survival issues with which you have to deal.

Sad Big Grin Tongue Dodgy
I'll sorta piggyback off BD's post.  Shut off the power to your house at the breaker box for 24 hours.  This is a realistic way to see issues/concerns that pop up during the day/night that perhaps weren't anticipated beforehand.  It's like a field test in your own home.  Once you can go 24 hours without a hitch, turn it off for 72 hours.  And do this throughout the year because your location and the time of year are going to bring out all sorts of variables.  

For me, winter isn't much of an issue at all.  It's mid-December and I'm in shorts and a T-shirt with the AC running.  But someone up north is going to have totally different considerations.  For me, summer time would suck.  I'd have to put mylar over the south-facing windows to try to keep some of the long/short wave radiation out of the house.  I'd have to set up some micro-environments within the house.  Whereas someone else's summer might not be that big of a deal.

As BD mentions, the ability to see at night can be a big deal.  And different times of the year yield different hours of darkness.  Again for me in summer it doesn't get dark till 9pm.  Winter about 5:30pm.  

Shutting off the electricity for a period of time will really show you where the rubber meets the road in quite a few different prepping areas!
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.

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