Thursday, November 29, 2012

Color Code Alert Levels

Color Code Alert Levels

The color code alertness levels are designed to help overcome a person's initial fight, flight or freeze reaction to danger.  The system is comprised of between four and five colors, depending on which version you read.  I prefer the four color version for simplicity.  Why do it in five colors when I can get it done in four?


White is the lowest level on the scale.  Unfortunately, a lot of people spend a good deal of their lives in condition white.  In white, a person is not paying close attention to what is going on around them, and may miss many of the details of daily life.  Wandering around in condition white is a good way to wind up dead or horribly maimed.  At best you'll miss some pretty interesting stuff.   Condition white is for chilling out inside your home, secure behind your alarm system and moat. 
Condition Chill

                                                             CONDITION YELLOW

Condition yellow is a relaxed state of alertness.   In condition yellow, a person is relaxed and calm, but is aware of his surroundings. He notices details, but is not concentrating so hard that he tires quickly and is no longer effective.  Condition yellow is easy to maintain for an extended periods of time, like years, without tiring.  Whenever we are outside the secure perimeters of our homes, we should be in yellow.

Condition Cool

                                                              CONDITION ORANGE
Condition orange represents the third level.  A person goes from yellow to orange when she notices something out of place, threatening, or unusual.  A person in orange is paying close attention to what is causing the concern.  She is actively scanning her environment, searching for additional clues and information concerning the situation.  If the cause for concern turns out to be nothing, it is easy to return to yellow, and just as easy to escalate to condition red if needed.   

Condition I See You

                                                                    CONDITION RED

Condition red is a coiled spring, waiting to release its energy.  The situation has escalated, and all her energy, concentration, and focus are directly on the possible threat.  She is mentally and physically prepared to respond to an attack, should it develop.  She is scanning her sectors.  If no attack develops, she drops down into orange, and downgrades to yellow as she away from the danger area.  

Condition Crazy Eyes

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Crisis and Coping Periods of Survival

The Crisis and Coping Periods

 An individual or group’s ability to properly deal with stress and severe hardship will mean the difference between life and death in a major survival situation.  Understanding the scope of the situation and accepting it as reality is called the crisis period, and along with the coping period are two of the most important mental stages that each survivor must go through.  

Many people will be unable to come to grips with the new reality and will not advance beyond the crisis period.  A lot of people will remain in denial for so long that by the time they decide to face reality, it will be too late.  Some will never come to grips with the situation, and will wither and die in a sate of denial.  A collapse of society is going to cause shock in a way that none of us are going to be fully prepared for.  This is a normal reaction to such a catastrophic event.  Each survivor will recover from the shock in their own way, but they will recover.  People who aren’t able to recover from the shock of the event won’t be among the survivors, they’ll be among the dead.

Accepting the reality of a situation does not mean giving in, abandoning hope, quitting, or losing the will to survive.  It simply means that you accept the current situation, regardless of how bad it may be, as the new normal, and you are prepared to confront that reality head-on.  Once the survivor does that, they have entered into the coping period.

  The coping period begins when the survivor embraces the new reality and prepares, mentally and physically, to triumph over adversity and hardship, to win and to live.  During the coping period, the survivor takes stock of the situation, identifies assets,  prioritizes tasks, plans, and works towards achieving the goal of survival.  In a traditional survival situation the coping period begins once the survivor confronts the situation and endures and ends when some form of rescue is achieved.  In a post-collapse survival situation, the coping period may well last for the rest of your life.  Whether the rest of your life lasts a few days for for years to come will depend largely on how well you are able to cope with the stress of a post-collapse world.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pain, Fatigue, and Fear


Pain is usually the body’s way of letting you know that you have done something stupid.  Pain sucks, but pain, like lack of comfort, is not life threatening.  Pain’s primary purpose is to warn you that you need to protect and rest the injured bodily part.  Under normal circumstances, this would be good advice, but in survival mode, the pain message may have to be ignored so that the survivor can concentrate on more immediate needs, like suppressing hostile fire so you can pull back to a more defensible position.

Modern medical practice includes a heavy reliance on pain-killing medications.  In a survival situation, access to morphine or even aspirin will be limited, so the survivor must find alternative methods of dealing with pain.  Pain can be managed by:  understanding the source and nature of the pain, understanding that pain is not life-threatening, and focusing on mission critical tasks like camp security, food procurement, or water sanitation.  Pain may also be managed by treating wounds and injuries, so it's important to know the basics of wound management and emergency medicine.  


Stress, hunger, anxiety, depression, dehydration, and over-exertion will all contribute to the survivor’s fatigue.  Fatigue reduces physical and mental efficiency, and since working and thinking are important after a disaster, steps must be taken to avoid and remedy the effects of fatigue.

Group leadership must ensure that there is a proper rest plan in place.  Resting allows survivors to recover from fatigue and avoid future fatigue.  If the tactical situation permits, survivors should be allowed as much recovery time as they need in order to fully regain their strength.  Individuals will need different amounts of time to recover, based on age, fitness level, exertion levels, and health.  In any group, there will be people who try and do less than their share.  It will be important for group dynamics and harmony to closely monitor everyone’s workload and rest periods.  Favoritism when assigning a work detail or laziness on the part of an individual can fracture a group.

Instead of working until you are exhausted and then trying to recover, it is much better to take short rest breaks throughout the day.  For instance, if a work party is sent out to gather firewood, members of the work party can take turn providing a security overwatch for the group.  Standing guard allows the individual to take a break from the physical activity of hauling wood, while still providing a vital function for the group.  Short rests are valuable because they:
  1.          Give the individual a chance to partially recover from the effects of fatigue.
  2.         Lower energy use.
  3.         Increase efficiency.
  4.         Relieve boredom.
  5.         Increase morale and motivation.
The old adage, “Work smarter, not harder.” certainly applies in a survival situation.  Survivors must find the right pace for the energy being expended.  Trial and error and experience will show the survivor the right balance of pace and effort.  Slower, rhythmical movements expend less effort while accomplishing just a much as fast, jerky movements.  Remember to be economical in everything you do.


A healthy amount of fear is a good thing.  Fear, whether conscious (that guy has a gun and seems intent on shooting me with it) or subconscious, (I can’t explain why, but I have a really bad feeling about this) can be a great motivator.  Fear, when harnessed and channeled correctly, allows the survivor to remain sharp and alert, focused intently on the task at hand.  On the other hand, fear, if uncontrolled, can lead to a complete breakdown of the individual and if left unchecked, may spread to the group, causing a panic.  

The ability to control fear and use it to your advantage will be a critical component of long-term survival, because there are going to be a variety of things to be frightened of.  The survivor should come to terms with fear by trying to understand it better.  By admitting that fear exists and is a large part of the new normal, the survivor is in a better position to harness and make use of that fear instead of letting the fear control and paralyze.

In the post-collapse world, the survivor will need to be aware of the tendency (either in themselves or others) to completely blow danger signals out of proportion, turning a moderately dangerous situation into a full-blown, code red disaster of biblical proportions.  Conversely, some people may have a hard time recognizing real danger signals and will downplay or ignore the signals.  Either situation can have disastrous consequences for the survivor.  If the individual or group does not learn to understand, evaluate, and determine a best course of action based on the reality of fear instead of the fantasy, they will not be among the survivors for long.  You guessed it, they’ll be dead.  
Previous training and experience are two of the best ways to control fear.  Other methods of controlling fear include preparation, being informed, prioritizing and accomplishing tasks, setting and achieving goals, understanding your group dynamics, self-discipline, and effective leadership.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Survival Hunger

After a major societal collapse, transportation will grind to a halt.  Population superclusters that rely heavily on imported food to survive will be the first to feel the effects as people transition from thriving to surviving.  People will struggle with self-imposed food rationing as they experience the first hunger pains.  Even people who have stocked their survival larders ahead of time will burn through their supplies faster than they need to.  In a survival situation, you are going to be hungry.  Accept that reality now, and it will save you a lot of aggravation, heartache, and sorrow later on.

Understand that a lack of food is a serious concern.  Group dynamics, strategic alliances, and personal friendships are placed under enormous strain when people are hungry.  Early in the post-collapse world will be an especially traumatic time, as people are transitioning from thriving to surviving.  When they feel the first hunger pangs, they will panic, and a panicked group is a group you want to avoid.  About ten days into Ranger School, long before any of us really started to feel the physical effects of hunger, I saw a group of Army officers and senior enlisted personnel, men who had a lot of experience and training, nearly come to blows over a few pancakes and a couple of pieces of bacon.  Imagine what will happen when people without prior training, who have not planned for an emergency of this scope, and who have lead soft, comfortable lives where they have never known real hunger, begin to compete over the remaining resources.

During World War II, a group of 36 conscientious objectors volunteered for a nearly year-long study into the effects of long-term semi-starvation.  The experiment took place at the University of Minnesota, and so became known as The Minnesota Starvation Experiment.  During the six-month long semi-starvation period, the volunteers’ calorie intake was restricted to approximately 1,500 per day.  In addition, each volunteer was given work tasks to accomplish and was required to walk 22 miles per week.  Each volunteer lost approximately 25 percent of their pre-experiment weight.  Among other lessons learned, the study showed the behavioral changes that a survivor would undergo.  Those changes include:
  1. The dominance of the hunger drive over other drives.
  2. Chronic feelings of tiredness and weakness.
  3. A lack of spontaneous activity.
  4. An increasing inability to perform physical tasks.
  5. Increased vulnerability to cold temperatures.
  6. A dulling of all emotional responses (love, hate, anger, fear, shame, etc.)
  7. Apathy.
  8. Limited patience and self-control.
  9. Loss of a sense of humor.
  10. Moodiness, depression, and an attitude of resignation.
Insects are an excellent source of protein.
Obviously, the best way to avoid to effects of hunger is to have food stockpiled ahead of time and have the skills and equipment necessary to supplement that food through barter and trade, hunting and trapping, fishing, gathering, and gardening.   Understand that a problem survivors must overcome is food aversion, a reluctance to eat strange or unfamiliar foods.  Food aversion may also occur when the survivor’s diet is severely limited.  American POW’s in Vietnam reported that some of their fellow POWs eventually died after they could no longer eat the rice and scraps of fish they were fed on a daily basis for years at a time.

The survivor’s will to survive includes putting aside social and individual prejudices and eating food that many people would find repulsive.  Insects, worms, grubs, and roadkill are are viable sources of food available to the survivor. The survivor must recognize food for what it is, the body’s fuel source, and top off the tank whenever possible.  Survivors are more likely to try strange food when they are alone.  Survivors in a group tend to be more reluctant, as group pressure and conformity behavior (adjusting individual behavior to fit into a group) discourages people from trying new things.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bug-out Kits

The decision to evacuate your home or "bug-out" is not one that should be lightly made.  The decision to bug-out should be based on many factors, not the least of which is the tactical situation at the time.  If the day should ever come when you need to evacuate your home, be it from the results of a natural disaster or a complete societal collapse, there are a number of things you will need to address before you leave your home.

You will be limited on the amount of gear you can take with you, even if you are bugging-out in a vehicle.  If you are forced to evacuate on foot, the selection of gear and how to pack it becomes even more critical.

I put together this basic bug-out kit with supplies and equipment I had on hand, and used a golf bag trolley to carry a good deal of the stuff.  Carried bug-out bags are a must, but there is a limit on how much weight you can carry, and how far you can carry it.  I have done more than my share of long road marches carrying a lot of weight, and believe me, it hurts.  A lot.

You are much better off trying to push or pull the majority of your supplies.  You will be able to transport more, and the cost to your body won't be nearly as high.  A wheelbarrow, wagon, cart, or dolly would also work as a means of transport.  I will be going into more detail on what I have in this kit, how to select gear and why you will need it, and how to build and pack your transport in future blogs and on our YouTube channel, so check back in for more information.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Tactical Gardener: Backyard Ponds

The Tactical Gardener
Backyard Ponds

Backyard ponds make a wonderful addition for your yard.  These stressful times require  ways to relax and unwind, and a backyard pond has a nice Zen-like quality to it, perfect for unwinding at the end of a hectic day.  Feeding the goldfish, koi, or whatever aquatic critters you have, and listening to the sound of water falling across stones can have a real soothing effect on mind and spirit.

For those people who live in an urban environment like I do, backyard ponds could also have real benefit in a post-collapse long-term survival situation.  Turning your pond into an aquatic survival larder would be relatively easy, requiring only that you replace your ornamental fish with something more useful, like catfish.

There are many varieties of catfish, and the nice thing about them is that they will eat practically anything.  Bugs, allege, rotting vegetation, minnows, worms, carrion, etc.  They also eat each other, but if you can keep them fed with all the other stuff, more than likely that wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Another benefit to a backyard pond is that they attract other forms of wildlife.  I have seen numerous species of birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, deer, snakes, and fox drinking from the pond, especially in the winter time when their natural water sources may be frozen solid.  The pond also has a growing population of frogs, which would make an ideal protein source, and they are extremely easy to catch with a net.  Traps and snares set up around the pond would give you an excellent chance of adding meat to your diet.

Pond Construction Basics
If you don’t already have a backyard pond, they are relatively simple to build, depending on the size and scope of your plan.  I started with a pre-formed 200 gallon shell, which was fine, but it had some drawbacks.  It wasn’t deep enough to fully protect the fish from birds and other predators, and it’s small size limited the amount of fish it would support.

Last year I replaced the old pond with a new 800 gallon one, using a flexible liner instead of a pre-formed shell.  I hand dug the hole, using a good spade, five gallon bucket, wheelbarrow, and about two weeks of work, a few hours each night and a couple of good weekend days.  Oh, and use a good weight lifting belt or other back support, so you don’t blow your back out.  Remember, lift with your legs, not your back.

Aquatic Plants
I dug the hole to different depths, so the fish have a variety of places to hang out.  There are two shelves on the sides, at a depth of about two feet.  Cattails, ranked in the top ten survival plants by a lot of experts, could be grown in buckets sitting on the shelves.  Cattails and other varieties of edible aquatic plants can be grown in the marshy areas around the pond.  I built a bog at one end of the pond where I now grow ornamental plants, but it could easily be converted to grow some of the plants listed in this link.

Underlayment and Liner
Once the hole is dug, make sure you have smoothed out any rough spots, and removed any protruding rocks or tree roots.  Put old pieces of carpeting or thick cardboard down at the bottom of the hole as an underlayment, to protect the flexible liner.  You can buy underlayment made for this purpose, but the improvised stuff works just as well and it’s cheaper.  If you haven’t bought the liner yet, now is the time to figure out how much you’ll need.  It would suck if you put your liner in the hole and found out it was too small.  To calculate how much liner you will need, follow this simple formula.

Liner Width=  Pond width + 2x depth + 2-foot overlap

Liner Length=  Pond length + 2x depth + 2-foot overlap

Pumps and Calculating Pond Volume
You’ll need a pump that can move the entire volume of your pond in about an hour, to make sure that the fish have enough oxygen.  If the grid goes down and there is no power, you’ll have to agitate the water by hand to make sure the toxic gasses created from fish poo and rotting vegetation have a chance to release, as well as providing oxygen to the fish.

I figured out the volume of my pond by timing how long it took to fill up a five gallon bucket from my garden hose.  I did this four or five times, and it was within a few seconds each time, so I was pretty sure it was accurate.  Once you know how long it takes to fill up your bucket, you simply time how long it takes to fill your pond from start to finish.  It took about one minute to fill the bucket, so I multiplied the number of minutes it took to fill the pond by five (gallons in a minute) and presto, 800 gallon pond.

Another important consideration will be filtration.  Again, with no electricity, you’ll have to clean excess debris from the bottom of the pond by hand, but catfish would eat a lot of it for you.  Covering the pond full time with a net would also help keep unwanted debris from getting into the pond, as well as protect the fish from predators. 

In the meantime, you will want to put in a filter.  Store bought ones for a pond my size can run around $200 for a solid one, which seemed a bit much to me.  I made the one shown below out of an old bucket and salvaged parts from my original smaller pump.  I took my $200 savings and bought pork n' beans and bullets.

Remember, in a true survival situation, you could also improvise a pond out of an existing swimming pool or hot tub.  Bathtubs, large waterproof containers, and trash cans could also be used for smaller ponds.

Hope this helps.  If you need any advice or suggestions for your Zen/survival pond, let me know, I’ll be glad to help out.

Zen/Survival Pond

Pump in filter bucket with allege strainers.

Completed filter.

Cute frog/food source.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Terrorist Attack Methodology

Terrorist Attack Methodology

In order to avoid an attack, it is important to understand the basics of terrorist attack methodology. A study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, working in conjunction with the Rand Corporation, found that the vast majority of traditional terrorist attacks follow a seven-step formula.  

Seven Steps of Attack

The seven steps are:

Initial target selection/initial surveillance
Surveillance phase
Final target selection/continued surveillance
Planning/rehearsal phase/continued surveillance
Deployment/final surveillance
The attack phase
Escape/exploitation phase

During the initial target selection phase, the terrorist group may examine several potential targets.  The terrorist’s ultimate goal is to bring attention to their cause.  In the majority of terrorist attacks, the final target is chosen because of a perceived weakness in the security procedures of the close protection detail.  The terrorists want to be successful in their attack in order to fully exploit the deed.  If they have a choice between two targets, one of which is heavily guarded by a proactive, alert and professional security team, and one which is guarded by a security team that has fallen into a routine, travels the same routes on a daily basis, and otherwise presents a security posture that invites attack, the terrorists will almost without fail attack the softer target.

Although surveillance is a continuing process throughout the preparation, the second phase consists entirely of the surveillance effort.  It is during this phase that the terrorist group gathers information about all of its possible targets before choosing the final target in phase three.

During phase three, the final target selection is made based on the intelligence gathered during the initial two phases.  Final target selection is based on a number of factors.  During their surveillance, did the terrorist notice patterns and trends in the posture of the security team?  Has the detail become complacent in their behavior?  Do they travel the same routes at the same time every day?  Are the agents actively engaged in detecting surveillance?  The answers to these questions play a large part in the target selection process.

During phase four, the terrorists will use the information gathered during the surveillance effort to formulate their attack plans.  The terrorists have a tremendous advantage in this respect.  They possess two very valuable pieces of information:  the time and place the attack will take place.  The terrorists will choose their attack site carefully, based on several criteria.  The attack site will be a piece of terrain the motorcade travels through with predictable regularity.  It will provide natural barricades to help prevent the motorcade from escaping, while at the same time allowing the terrorists ease of escape.  It will have good fields of fire, provide good cover and concealment, and allow the terrorists to blend into the environment while waiting for the target to arrive.  The terrorists will carefully plan their attack and practice it repeatedly, often conducting “dry runs” on the actual motorcade before launching the ambush.  During this phase, surveillance operatives continue to gather information and intelligence on the target.

In phase five, the terrorists deploy at the attack site on the day of the planned attack.  They will normally position themselves ten to fifteen minutes prior to the estimated time of arrival of the motorcade.  They will have developed some disguise or ruse that will make their presence in the area seem natural, and avoid drawing unwanted attention to themselves.

The sixth phase—attack, is the culmination of all of their effort and planning.  Target surveillance is conducted right up until the time of the attack, with the final phase of the surveillance effort being target identification.  The surveillance and attack teams are normally kept separate for operational reasons.  The attack team will rely on the surveillance team to provide the final confirmation of the target’s identification before initiating the ambush.  To complete a successful attack, the terrorists rely on a combination of surprise, superior firepower, aggression, and violence of action.

The seventh and final phase is the escape from the attack site and exploitation of the act through the media.  If the attack is designed as a kidnapping, means of securing the victim and holding him or her throughout the negotiation process must be accounted for. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Route Survey and Analysis

Route Survey and Analysis

A properly conducted route survey and analysis is a crucial element in any close protection detail’s security posture.  The term route survey and analysis refers to the procedure of first planning a route to be used, then actually driving the route, looking for and noting danger areas, chokepoints, safe havens, construction sites, etc.  

Map Study
The first step in the route survey process is for the team to procure quality maps of the area to be driven.  Primary and alternate routes should be tentatively planned, and the location of hospitals, police and fire stations marked.  There are several good internet based map companies that can generate various routes based on such criteria as highway or street preferences, fewest stops, shortest time or shortest distance.  Satellite imagery of a proposed route may also be obtained from the internet.   

Driving the Route
The next step is to physically drive the routes.  Depending on the time available, the routes should be driven on several different occasions, at different times of the day.  This will familiarize the drivers with the routes, lessening the chance that they will become disoriented during the movement of the principal, as well as gaining a better understanding of traffic patterns.  The detail will confirm the locations of hospitals, police and fire stations, and any other suitable locations for a safe haven where the detail could take refuge in the event of a major problem.

Danger Areas and Attack Sites
The detail is also examining the routes for likely attack sites, danger areas, and chokepoints.  By identifying those sites most likely to be utilized by terrorists during an attack, the EP detail can plan their routes to avoid this area entirely.  If avoidance is not possible, and it is often not, as nearly every route will contain some location that would make a favorable attack site, the detail can spend time analyzing the site.  It is important for the detail to think like a terrorist.  By careful analysis of a potential attack site, the detail can already have a plan of action formulated.  In the event that an attack does ever take place, the agents have already spent time visualizing their response.  This mental preparation can save valuable time during an attack.  Examples of danger areas where attacks might occur include intersections, blind curves, one-way streets, narrow streets and alleys, construction zones, and bridges.

Another area of concern for the protective detail is chokepoints.  Chokepoints are defined as those areas that a security detail must travel through, as no other route option exists.  A chokepoint may be as short as the principal’s driveway, the one-way street leading to the office, or the only bridge that crosses a river between the principal’s office and home.  A chokepoint may also be as long as the only highway between the office and home.  The principal may insist, despite the detail’s objections to the contrary, on traveling a particular route to and from work.  If the detail is forced to use one particular route, the entire route becomes a chokepoint.

The primary danger of traveling through a chokepoint is that terrorists, through careful surveillance, know that the motorcade will travel through a specific area during the movement.  Two of the main concepts the protective detail must utilize during their movements is to remain time and place unpredictable.  Pattern avoidance by the security detail makes it that much more difficult for the terrorists to plan their attack.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Max Velocity Tactical: Video: Rally Point LLC Tactical Firearms Training

Evasive Driving Training

In addition to our firearms training, Rally Point LLC and Max Velocity Tactical offer a comprehensive, custom evasive driving program.  Contact us today for pricing and scheduling information.

Max Velocity Tactical: Video: Rally Point LLC Tactical Firearms Training

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Introduction to Executive Protection Motorcades

Close protection details and the executives they protect are most vulnerable to attack while they are traveling.  Studies indicate that about 85 % of all terrorist attacks, assassinations, and kidnappings take place in and around vehicles.  There are several reasons why the threat levels increase so dramatically when the details get into their cars.  

Physical locations can be protected by an array of security measures, including fences, gates, locks, armed security personnel, lights, and CCTV.  Once the executive is secured inside a building, his chances of being attacked are greatly reduced.

While the principal is in transit, the close protection detail is traveling through an environment that is largely beyond their control.  Available security measures and resources are limited.  Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, attackers who are unable to gain access to a secure facility have more freedom to conduct surveillance, plan, rehearse, and conduct an attack on public roads.

A comprehensive transportation security plan relies on both proactive and reactive skills in order to lessen the risk involved in moving the principal from one location to another.  Just as the physical barriers of a secure facility create concentric rings of protection around the principal, the transportation security plan relies on multiple proactive strategies to mitigate the risk. 

The proactive strategies for attack avoidance include:  understanding terrorist methodology, proper motorcade management, intelligence gathering, surveillance detection, pattern avoidance, and route surveys and analysis.

Should the proactive measures fail, the close protection detail must also be well trained in a variety of reactive countermeasures.  These include:  barricade breaching, the PIT, break contact drills, emergency turns, and backing.

The Will to Survive

The Will to Survive

  There are countless examples of suitably equipped, trained, and experienced people who died in a survival situation when they should have lived.  There are also numerous examples of people who did everything wrong, by all rights should have died numerous times over, and yet somehow managed to find a way to survive and live.  In many cases, the difference between living and dying is a matter of having the will to survive. 

The will to survive is a combination of many things.  It is a positive mental outlook and a refusal to give up, no matter how bad things get.  It is an inner drive to live and survive.  It is the ability to accept the reality of the situation while not being overwhelmed by it.  The will to survive is the ability to identify priorities, set and achieve goals, organize yourself and others, and the ability to quickly recover when things don’t go according to plan.

The will to survive means having a sense of humor.  When things get bad, and you’re dealing with life and death decisions on a daily if not hourly basis, you will be physically and mentally stressed to the freak out point.  Laughter is an excellent way to relieve stress and tension.  To make fun of a situation is to gain a little mental control over both the situation and yourself, and self-control will be highly needed when societies’ control measures break down and people are left to their own devices.

Above all else, the will to survive is the desire to live, despite hardship, physical and emotional obstacles, pain, suffering, fear, and uncertainty.  

Blizzard Survival

Winter Storms

Winter is almost here, so it’s time to make sure that you have the basics for winter survival in your home and car, and more importantly, it’s time to make sure that you understand something about winter storms and how to survive them.

The Schoolchildren’s Blizzard of 1888

On January 12, 1888, arctic air hurled down from Canada and smashed across the Plains from Montana to Texas.  It had been unseasonably warm the day before, and temperatures rapidly dropped by more than 40 degrees in many areas.  Some locations reported drops of almost 100 degrees in less than 24 hours.  

The blizzard also brought heavy snows and sustained high winds.  Visibility was reduced to zero.  The blizzard hit just as teachers, many of them newly arrived from back East, were letting their students out for the day.  Unfamiliar with the power of these storms, many of the teachers let their students leave for home, with tragic consequences.  In total, 235 people died in the Schoolchildren’s Blizzard, many of them school kids on their way home and the parents who went out to search for them.

Although there were many tragic deaths, there were also numerous examples of how to survive a winter storm.  One teacher who understood what was happening kept his 17 students at the school overnight, where they rode out the storm in safety, burning stockpiled firewood to keep warm.  The parents waited until the next morning when the storm died back to travel to the school and pick up the children.  These people were all experienced plainsmen, who understood that to be caught out in the open in a blizzard is a really good way to die in a hurry.  

Blizzard Survival Tips

 The wind and cold can drop your core body temperature to levels of dead quickly, so if you are caught outside in a winter storm, go to shelter immediately.  Remember, shelter is a relative term.  If you can’t get inside a building with a nice fire and hot chocolate, improvise and improve your situation the best you can.  Trees make an excellent windbreak.  If the snow is deep, dig down into it and get in the hole.  A snow cave can make an excellent shelter to ride out the storm in.

  If you are stuck in your car, stay in it until the storm passes.  If you still have fuel, run the car occasionally to aid a little heat.  While running the engine, bring your windows down a couple of inches to allow fresh air in, so you don’t kill yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Keeping the tailpipe clear of snow if you are able is a really good preventative measure to keep carbon monoxide levels from reaching dead.

Those are a few tips and suggestions for winter storm survival.  We’re really interested in what Rally Nation has to say on the subject, so please jump in with your winter storm survival tips and preparedness ideas.