Showing posts with label medical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medical. Show all posts

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Family Tent, Single Stack 9mm's and a Saturday Night ER Trip

Awhile back our larger tent finally kicked the bucket. Since, IIRC, my Dad bought it for me as a Freshmen in highschool it stopped owing us anything years ago but it still left a vacuum. Also honestly we needed a bigger tent. The one I had technically slept three which actually means it sleeps two unless 2 of the 3 are small children or all three are very intimately close.

Walker has been asking about it and since the budget was looking OK this month we decided to go get a tent. So we went to Academy in the nearest decent sized town and walked down to the tent aisle. Ended up with a big ole Coleman. Honestly it is a bit bigger than we want/ need but there is sort of a size gap in options and we'd rather be on the big end. It is like 12x7. Definitely a car or other mode of conveyance type tent.

We set it up in the living room so kiddo and I can sleep in it. Honestly sleeping outside when the low is 80 or so sucks so we are doing it inside.

On the door of the tent there is about an 8 inch lip at the bottom. Walker tripped on it and slammed his face into the floor biting his lip pretty bad in the process. Of course there was some blood and lots of crying. His sister joined in with some sympathy crying for good measure.

We got him cleaned up and the cut was pretty good, solidly in the 'maybe it needs stitches' range. So we hopped in the family hauler and went off to the ER. Just what everyone wants to do at 6pm on a Saturday. The injury was more in the 'urgent care' range but with our medical coverage it is ER, a few rare same day appointments (M-F of course) or waiting several days to a month for an appointment. Consequently in addition to relatively minor issues like Walkers there are always lots of moms with kids who have the snivels.

I dropped Wifey and Walker off then went to do a couple things with Princess.

Walker got checked out and the verdict was since the deep cut is inside his mouth (vs the lip) they would not do stitches due to infection concerns (and I think the mouth cures pretty well plus a scar there is not an issue).  The advice was to feed him lots of popsicles and keep an eye on it.

We had a quick drive thru dinner on the way back. After getting home we let him watch a tv show then it was bed time. Read stories in the tent and he passed out shortly after.

I have been doing some more thinking and research on Single Stack 9mm's. I have been looking at the S&W Shield for awhile but recently came to a revelation. I think the Shield is a tiny bit too big to really be a meaningful difference from other guns on the inventory.

The Shield is 4.5in tall which for reference is roughly in the middle between a Glock 26 (4.1in) and a Glock 19 (4.99in). Honestly (and interestingly my initial observation from the first time I handled it) the Shield is sort of closer to a single stack COMPACT pistol in terms of height and grip length than a true subcompact.

As I have learned with small guns you can always get a bit more grip (and usually an extra round) with a mag extension but if you want a gun to be smaller, to say fit in a pocket, you cannot remove a half inch off the grip of a larger handgun.
Now I want to get my hands on a couple other guns to see if they might better suit my needs.

Going to read some junk on the net, watch a bit more TV then go to sleep in a tent that's in my living room.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

An Accident and a First Aid Kit Lesson

Not too long ago I had an accident. Was coming into the garage carrying something heavy and needed to move the garbage can back to clear room. With one hand I grabbed for it . The can's top was open and I caught my hand on a piece of plexiglass that was sticking out at an odd angle. Skewered my thumb pretty good in the process. By the time I pulled my hand back blood was pouring out pretty good. Applied pressure with my other hand. Got into the kitchen then grabbed the first piece of material I could see which was a washcloth. Stuck that over the cut and kept applying pressure to stop the bleeding.

By this point the cursing and commotion had brought Wifey into the kitchen to find out what was going on. Seeing me holding my thumb and (small amounts) of blood all over the answer was obvious. She asked what I needed her to get. I knew this was definitely not a band aid cut but also wasn't bad enough that it would not heal on it's own so I said gauze pads and tape.

Wifey went to the linen closet where the medical stuff ended up in the recent move in/ unpacking efforts. The stuff was in a cardboard box in no particular order. Eventually Wifey found some big wound dressings and vet wrap which was good enough. We got my cut wrapped up which took care of the pressing issue.

This accident made it pretty clear to me that we needed to move and organize the first aid stuff. I figured the kitchen was the logical place to keep first aid stuff. It is the place we are most likely to have cuts due to food prep and cooking. Also like most American homes the kitchen is the central, if not focal point of the house. Most specifically it is where the doors to the garage and back yard are.

Today I talked with Wifey to find a space in the kitchen (decisively her territory) where some first aid stuff could go. Thankfully our kitchen has a fair amount of cabinet space. She found a space for me to put some stuff. In that space I put the following stuff:
1 box bandaids (various sizes)
1 box 2x2 gauze
1 box 4x4 gauze
1 box 5x9 gauze pads (never know)
1 roll athletic tape
1 roll paper tape
Iso Alcohol
vet wrap

My purpose here was not to make an all encompassing first aid kit but set out the stuff to deal with realistic issues we are likely to face in our home, typically cuts and scrapes. The only thing I plan to add is an IFAK, or really a beefed up version of one along the lines of a CLS bag. 

In putting this stuff together it became apparent to me we do not have a good household first aid kit. We have a decent kit in my vehicle and a good one in the family hauler but it's pretty aparant we need a dedicated home kit. A kit like this or this would be good. We have the components but a nice put together setup would be handy in case I/ we need to grab something to run out to the yard, help a neighbor or whatever.

So we are better prepared for dealing with basic scrapes and cuts now. Also I put the rest of our stuff into a clear tub (vs a box) then after looking through it went to fill some small holes. So in terms of medical stuff it was a pretty productive day.

How is your first aid stuff organized?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Note from Camping Survival

Good morning,

The good folks from Camping Survival recently traveled to Ohio a few weeks ago and interviewed Chuck Fenwick of Medical Corps, the manufacturer of our KIO3 potassium iodate tabs. They made a video of the interview and while it's long, We are very excited as it came out great and is jam packed with terrific info. Here it is. Please spread the word as this is hot!

Also, tomorrow May 15, is the last day of our Mountain House freeze dried foods sale.  Last day to get these massively discounted priced and we still have tons of stock and are shipping out quickly.

-Camping Survival

Friday, April 5, 2013

Death Squads, What Collapse Looks Like and Things To Do Now

Well it looks like the friendly (snark) local Aryan Brotherhood offed that DA and his wife, as well as the Colorado prison department guy in Colorado and probably the ADA from Texas. As AM noted recently Assistant Attorney Jay Hileman stepped down from prosecuting an Aryan Brotherhood case. Part of me says the dude should man up and do the job Texas is paying him to but on the other hand I can see his perspective. The guy took the job to bridge into something else and now all of a sudden some crazy honkeys are killing folks in the exact situation he was in. As AM noted this is bad.

I do not know what will happen. It is worth noting this is how death squads come to be. Some group either Criminal or Revolutionary in nature (yes there could be others but lets keep it simple)  decides to start hitting back at the cops and or soldiers (for the sake of flow I will just say cops from here on). The cops decide that it sucks when they are being attacked and killed. In small to medium sized groups they decide to do something about it. Given that they are the cops who have significant discretion about which cases to pursue and where to pursue them, especially with politically marginalized people, the odds of getting caught are about zero. Cops know who the bad guys are, who their friends are and where they hang out. Maybe they go all Vick Mackey and bend some rules, slap some folks around for info or whatever; or they might go strait to 'black sight prisons, torture and summary executions and shallow graves. In the big picture it doesn't really matter because it is bad.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Actions by angry groups of armed men are typically violent. Once the pro regime death squads get going the anti regime (criminal or revolutionary) death squads are sure to follow, if they do not exist already. The tit for tat spiral goes into full effect. The end result is Iraq from 2006-2010ish, the dirty wars in South America or Mexico right now. For those who are not up on their current history that means very bad. Tons of people getting killed or just vanishing. Some are legit players in the conflict but many, of not most, are normal folks ratted out for personal reasons or just at the wrong place during the wrong time.

This is the kind of thing that happens with the mob in Italy or tribal groups in Iraq during the bad years. It leads to a paralyzed system in the short term due to turnover. Eventually folks get into these positions who are not inclined to prosecute these cases unless it's a slam dunk (like caught on live TV and the guy says his name out loud) or maybe even not at all. It would be difficult to overstate the impact this sort of thing has on rule of law.

Along other lines (well except mooching off AM for material;) we need to know that collapses do not typically happen in a day. Rome wasn't going great then all of a sudden those pesky Germanic Hordes showed up. One could make a legitimate argument that right now is what collapse looks like.

What can we do? Long term shelf stable food and dehydrated emergency food are good options. Ammo and precious metals are always good ideas.  A quality water filter is essential. All old hat.

Today I had a couple of cavities filled. Not so long ago I went to the eye doctor to get a couple extra sets of glasses. Wifey has done or is about to do these things. We make sure the kids stay current on all their stuff too. Typically these are things that get put off or delayed when money gets tight, which it is now for about everybody. Best case you still have a job but magical price increases that are clearly not  inflation are decreasing purchasing power.

I urge you to take care of this stuff ASAP. A tooth that you've been putting off getting fixed would be a real problem if things go all Argentina on us. Ditto for needing a spare set of spectacles. If your family need medicine it would be prudent to stock some. Yes it costs money, sometimes a lot of money. However I can't see medical/ dental/ optometry care getting cheaper, more available or better in the next couple years. Quite frankly I suspect the opposite is going to happen. In other words that filling or new pair of glasses you are putting off now will be even less affordable in a year. They may just plain be out of the reach of many folks who are currently in the middle class.

Along the health and fitness effort line work on getting into shape. Also slowly work to make your addictions into luxuries. In other words decrease frequency and consumption such that if you need to stop using them it is not a big deal. Do this a bit at a time and it doesn't suck that bad. I'm down to 2 cups of coffee a day and more days without beer than with so it can be done. It's not fun but sure beats needing to quit these things because you do not have and can not get them during an already stressful situation.

 That covered a lot of ground but hopefully everyone got something out of it.Get moving and do something.


Monday, March 4, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

A few things happened here. Recently I have put some time and energy into stocking a few extra household items. Stuff like laundry soap, light bulbs, etc. Also picked up a few OTC meds and a half gallon of 'emergency whiskey'. While obviously not a good choice for some emergencies but for plenty of more likely ones 2 drinks at the end of a long day would be nice. It isn't a bad idea to stash some of whatever you like.

Didn't really do a long run but overall last weeks fitness efforts went decent. 

Ended up selling off the crimson trace laser grips that came with my new revolver. They are cumbersome for concealed carry being fairly large for a small gun like a J frame. They are just subtly too big to really let the gun do what I want. Also I shoot it better using the sights anyway. It's true they may be useful someday but that potential day is a long way off and during that time many new developments will likely come into play. Long before then I will probably be running red dots on my defensive pistols anyway. Also it dropped the price point for the little wheel gun which was nice. More importantly along with another sale freed up some cash for some things I will keep to myself at least for now.

Well that is what I did to prepare this week. What did you do?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Product Review: Tourni-Kwik AKA TK4

These Tourniquets have been discussed around the blogosphere. To be honest I ordered a few as a lark when getting stuff to make a few more IFAK's awhile back. The idea of an affordable compact TQ appealed to me and at a bit over 5 bucks a piece why not.

The Tourni-Kwik TQ is basically a 40" bungee cord made of 2" (or maybe 1 3/4 in any case the same size as the rigger belt on m waist) elastic. The hooks are big S type hooks like well a bungee cord. They are securely attached with 3 metal clamp things. The product's fit and finish is roughly aligned with the price point but they seem to be solidly serviceable and within their fairly disposable nature plenty rugged.

The way the Tourni-Kwik is employed happens to be pretty simple. Slap it on, loop the hook around the elastic, crank it the other way, wrap it tightly then slip the loose end under the top layer of it. 

The Good:
Very affordable at $5.55 from Chinook Medical and comparable prices elsewhere. The benefit of the low price point to me is that you can have them all over the place, give them to like minded friends as a stocking stuffer, spot 3 to a broke buddy without a thought or whatever.

They are also smaller than other TQ's. About the size of a can of a squared off can of chew. Since they are mostly elastic without a long windlass they are more pliable and able to fit where you want them to go then other models.

The Bad:
While technically able to be employed one handed it requires IMO a couple of relatively fine motor skills (hooking the S hook to the elastic so it stays on and wrapping the end hook under the elastic to hold it in place) that can be difficult to really execute under stress. Of course training is the answer but I still have my doubts.

The Ugly:
The main criticism I have heard is that the Tourni-Kwik lacks a windlass device to really tighten it up. This is accurate. That being said 40" of strong elastic wrapped tightly will really constrict. Still it is like something held by a bungee cord vs a cranked down ratchet strap.

Do they work? I think a Tourni-Kwik would work a whole lot better than a host of improvisational methods. Note how I framed that answer. It is worth noting that none of these methods are absolutely 100% and getting seriously injured is by definition quite dangerous.

Yeah yeah yeah "What is your life worth?" I would counter that some people simply cannot afford to spend $33 on a CAT which means $60-70 on an IFAK. Getting a Tourni-Kwik instead of a CAT or whatever takes the cost down to more like $25 which is much easier on the budget. listing all the possible places you might like to have a TQ and multiplying that by $30 would get out of control really fast. For the price of a CAT a family of three could each have two TK models or a family of 6 could each have one. That family would be a whole lot better off than if mom or dad had a single more expensive tourniquet. 

While comparison is natural weighing this product against a $27ish SOF T or a $33ish Combat Applications Tourniquet is sort of lop sided and arguably missing the point. Expecting a $150 Charles Daily to do what a Benelli M1 can or a Hyundai Accent to do what a Lexus can is asking for disappointment.  I do not expect the TK models to perform exactly like a CAT because they cost 1/6th as much.

Our primary tourniquets are CAT models and that is not going to change. I have trained with them and like the way they work. However as noted before once you start thinking of all the places it might be nice to have a TQ the cost gets crazy in a hurry. I am quite comfortable with these as a backup or the 3rd TQ in a kit.

If you are in the market for a TQ but seriously short on cash, or are looking to put a dozen extras away then it is worth looking at the Tourni-Kwik.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sick Household Blues

We are down with a nasty stomach bug. Thankfully this is not the Oregon Trail or kid #6 would be toast for sure. Seriously kids on that show are like the random guys who went to the planet with Kurt and Spoc on Star Trek.

My gratitude for endless clean water as well as waste removal and modern over the counter drugs like knock off Imodium AD and Pepto Bismol as well as the re hydrating power of Gatorade is impossible to express. Unfortunately Wifey is pretty far along in the pregnancy so her medical choices are far more limited. Kiddo puked once and had a mild case of the runs but today is just fine.

Hopefully this clears up pretty quick because both adults down the the count and a crazy 2 year old is a rough combination. Anyway I hope your Saturday is going a lot better than ours is.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Elections, Life and Family

The presidential election is over. I am almost entirely ambivalent about it. In many ways except party catch phrases the 'solutions' being offered were very comparable.

I considered doing some panic buying but things are pretty solid on most fronts. A few more magazines for the .22's will be ordered shortly. After that things will be pretty good here. Also we have other areas where that money would be better spent.

The last couple days have been pretty crazy here. We've got some medical stuff going on. I will probably say more down the road when things are clearer. Something can be nothing or it can be something so I'll be intentionally vague for a bit.

I have been talking with some of our advertisers and there is good stuff coming up. Expect lots of product reviews as well as give away's and contests. This stuff should be fun and interesting for everybody.

Right now I am cooking up some brownies for Wifey and Walker in the Sun Oven. Will post the results and an in progress review later today or tomorrow.

So that is what's going on here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Busy Saturday: Night Sights, Good Food and Big Fun

Today we were all over the place. This morning we went to the farmers market in town. It was pretty small but was still fun. We got some pistachios and kiddo got a cookie. Ran down to Wally World for a garden hose and picked up some .357 ammo to help fill that shortage and a Blackhawk holster for the Glock 19. After taking it home and fiddling with it I wasn't very happy. The retention seems to be some weird little plastic thing that seems really flimsy. It will get returned on our next trip there.

Recently Tam talked about some night sights. Since I like stealing borrowing ideas from folks who are more knowledgable than me on a given subject and I needed some night sights for my heater a set were ordered. They showed up the other day and I took them to the local gun shop for installation. I should order the tools to do this sort of thing myself but it would probably take forever to recoup the costs. Anyway they were nice enough to put them on right away and didn't charge me anything. These folks understand building relationships and the concept of a loss leader. Since I owed them one and needed some things anyway one of those new 25 round .22 magazines and a Galco Matrix paddle holster came home with me. Both were on the list so it was an easy decision. For small purchases a local dealers slightly higher price is less than shipping anyway. The sites seem quite nice, fast to acquire but still capable of deliberate shots.

We also checked out the local food coop which was great. They had all sorts of interesting food and homeopathic/ alternative medicine stuff. After that we hit a new park which was big fun for the kid. Shortly therafter we went home to make dinner and were in for the night.

Anyway lots of fun stuff happened and the Glock has sweet new sights.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

RE: Southern Prepper 1 Video Thoughts, What Would I Do..

I posted a video from Southern Prepper 1 a couple weeks back. It has been in the back of my head since then. The things I would do if I KNEW an economic collapse was coming in say 6 months are as follows in no particular order:

1) Secure 6 months of all medications we use.
2) Get a new bike for me (mine was stolen) and ensure the wife's is ready and functional. Stash extra tubes, tires and chains and such.
3) Sell the SUV we shipped from Germany and purchase a small commuter car. Depending on how bad things might get fuel may still be available but more expensive. A little car would let us do things that are not easily walkable at the lowest possible cost.
4) Stash lots of food.
5) Buy a better small solar setup.
6) Finish off a variety of loose ends. Just small stuff really.
7) Have more of my available liquid cash on hand than in the bank.
8) Have developed and refined a couple more systems for light and heavy (vehicle) bug outs.
9) Purchase a small (5X8 or 9ish) enclosed trailer.
10) Store some gasoline.
and one more for the bonus
11) Ensure we had the next 2 sized of clothes and shoes for the kid(s).

Of course I would also pull out everything we have in the bank and stocks and convert it into PM's or readily barter able stuff but that is kind of gaming the scenario. 

Anyway most of this stuff is what we should be doing anyway. Might not be a bad little list to work on.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

In addition to kicking butt at the weight pile I am feeling better than I have in a long time. Looks like I may have finally kicked that cough. I am excited to start kicking butt at running. Some other good stuff happened this week.

I ordered a Benchmade Griptillian as part of my birthday.

From Chinook Medical

Qty: 4 Item: 02122 Price: $3.67 - Nasopharyngeal Airway, 32Fr
Qty: 4 Item: 05157 Price: $5.55 - Tourni-Kwik TK-4 Combat Tourniquet
Qty: 4 Item: 05131 Price: $6.01 - Israeli Emergency Bandage - 6"
Qty: 3 Item: 02189 Price: $12.71 - Tension Pneumothorax Decompression Needle, 3.25"
Qty: 4 Item: 05143 Price: $1.45 - PriMed Compressed Gauze Bandage
Qty: 1 Item: 05166 Price: $39.99 - QuikClot 1st Response 50g (3 pack)

If the contents didn't show I am putting some IFAK's together. Anyway it was a good week here.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Randomness

Today was a pretty good day. Our weather finally snapped out of early spring nastiness if just for the day. We went out to a you pick field which was pretty fun. Kiddo had a good time. He didn't quite get putting them into the bucket but ate it all instead. The fruit we picked was pretty cheap which was cool. Far cheaper (healthier and fresher) than we could get in a store. This was definitely a reminder that we want to be close to our food. Producing some of our food would be ideal but with my job that can be problematic. Certainly we can buy from farmers markets (did it in the South) and if possible look into coop and group buy type stuff.

Went through and layed out my purchasing priorities for the next few months using my Intentional Purchasing Plan. Using this as a forcing function to put more money into medical stuff, alternative energy and food will probably make things much better balanced. Incidentally I planned to buy a bunch of medical stuff to put together a few IFAK's tonight but the Chinook Medical website, or at least my connection to it, is on the fritz. Sure it will be up tomorrow or the next day.

I stumbled onto the Hillpeoplegear site. Their recon kit bags are probably the best way to carry concealed on your body with a ruck on your back that I have seen. The stuff isn't cheap but I have heard good things about it. Don't need anything they make but some of their stuff would be aweful nice and make the outdoors more comfortable. In a couple years when, having squared up more basic stuff, I can afford some luxuries they will get some money from me.

A big highlight in our recent lives is getting hulu plus running through the Wii. We get a lot of TV for $7 a month which is pretty cool. We are enjoying watching Lost. As we have been over here for almost 3 years we are pretty behind the TV power curve. Some new entertainment opportunities are surely enjoyed in our house.

We had a pretty good Saturday here. Tomorrow will be a pretty quiet day as we take care of a lot of household stuff like grocery shopping and laundry on Sunday's. Anyway I hope you all are having a good weekend.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Intentional Purchasing Plan

Last night I realized that my purchases in terms of stores and survivalist stuff have been all over the map for awhile now. I got motivated to build a few more IFAK's which is a great idea. Also I got to looking into longer term 'feminine hygiene' solutions. All of this is good stuff but there is no order. The point is that I need a way to manage my resources more evenly. I probably tend to gravitate towards certain areas at the detriment of others.

I have done pretty well at rank ordering stuff within a given category. I can figure out what the most important thing is, then the next, the one after that, etc. However between different categories it is a bit of a mess. Divying up money between categories and working down their respective lists makes the most sense to me.

Here is what I came up with. Dedicated survivalist funds will be spent in the following manner:
50% food, water, various cleaning and ancillary household stuff like dishwashing soap, bleach, etc.
25% Medical and communications/ alternative energy
25% Defensive stuff and gear/ wilderness survival items
(Note: precious metals, savings and investments are not addressed here as their plans are working fine)

The simplest way to do this I can see is to do it is Medical and Communications/ Energy one month, food the next, then defensive stuff and finally food again. Putting percentages into each every month really split my effort as the amounts involved would be below the threashhold for many common purchases. By going with one area a month I can cover most purchases or save up for bigger ones if need be. That food is weighted higher is because it is really important and also where it is right now in our overall priorities. Having been here for a few years I have been able to take care of a lot of stuff but food has lagged behind due to multiple long moves.

 I think these categories pretty much cover the major bases. Medical and communications/ alternative energy is not at all a cohesive category but it seemed easier to group those than having a half dozen categories. I know some stuff doesn't fit perfectly into any of these categories but using common sense and the rough groupings outlined above it should work out OK.

Personal money and gifts/Christmas/ Birthday's etc are going to stay discretionary. I regularly use 50-75% of this money towards survivalist purposes but reserve, if just to myself, the right to do this as I please or not at all. Sometimes I want a bottle of good scotch or a book or whatever. These should also be a pretty good valve for little things that come up or when I all of a sudden decide that X is super important or would just be really cool.

Anyway I am going to give this a shot. I think at least 4 months should give me a clue if it works, needs to be changed or just scrapped.

Do you have some sort of intentional purchasing plan? If so what is it and how is it working for you?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Azimuth Check

I have stolen this title from Lizard Farmer who runs an excellent newish blog that focuses on retreat/ farm/ ranch defense. His post was more a check on how folks thought his blog was doing. I will head in a different direction. My azimuth check is more about the direction from where my/ your overall situation was to where we want it to be. I will break it into a few categories.

How is your debt situation? Do you have any debt with an adjustable or otherwise particularly high interest rate?

Do you have some savings for if something happens?

Do you have some money accessible to buy things if there is an event that interupts normal banking (this means cash on hand)?

If you can afford it have you considered putting some money into precious metals? There isn't a right or wrong answer to this one. Folks differ widely on this topic.

Are you and your family of a reasonably healthy body weight? If not are you making tangible progress towards getting there?

Do you have any health/ medical/ dental issues that could be improved but have not been? Maybe you need an elective surgery or have been putting off dental work or need to get into physical therapy to get something worked out. Bringing us back to the last question it is utterly amazing how many medical issues decrease or go away if you get to a reasonably healthy body weight.

If applicable do you keep a stash of essential perscription meds on hand? Keeping 30 days on hand is ok, 90 days is pretty decent and will cover a lot of issues but of course more is better. It may mean paying out of pocket but consider the alternative which is, to varying degrees, very ugly.

If applicable do you have at least a pair of spare glasses in your current perscription (two or three would be better)?

How are your chompers doing?

How are you doing at physical fitness? Can you walk long distances with a load? Run fast for short periods and slower for longer ones? Control your body weight through a variety of tasks and obstacles? Lift heavy things or carry another person?

Skills and Training:

Can you make a fire? At night? Can you do it when it has been raining for a week strait?

Can you find your way around with a compass and a map?

Can you make or improvise some sort of shelter to be as comfortable as possible in a variety of situations?

Can you turn basic staples like flour, rice or wheat into a decent or even tasty meal?

Can you grow or raise your own food?

Can you find or gather food from fishing, hunting, plant gathering or something else really cool I have never heard of?

Can you fix stuff? Mechanical things? Small arms? Brick and mortar? Wood? Plumbing? Electrical?

Can you engage targets with personal weapons in realistic circumstances?

Can you organize a defense be it at home or in some sort of hasty situation?

If the Chinese invade or whateveer can you plan and execute small unit Red Dawn/ partisan/ G style offensive operations?

Stockpile and Equipment:

How is your food storage doing?

Do you have personal weapons as well as the stuff needed to use them? Do you have some spare parts, cleaning stuff and ammunition to keep your guns running without a trip to Wally World or the local gun shop?

How are you doing at storing all of the other stuff like medical supplies, batteries, fuel, cleaning and hygiene stuff, spare parts, etc all to keep on keeping on as well as you can without outside assistance?

Is the stuff you have put together into kits or packages or systems that will meet your needs on short notice?

I am sure there are some good questions that I missed. This covers a ton of ground so do not be ashamed if there are some areas where you fall short. My goal is to give you some areas to think about and see where you are at. Every one of these questions is not equally applicable to all situations. Like many things you would be well advised look at these questions with brutal honesty, action what is applicable and disregard what is not.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This week we added more cash to our on hand emergency fund. A few weeks back we were trying to figure out what to do with some money, a rather decent problem to have I guess. Anyway we decided that where it would do the most good is at home with us.

Also I got some tuna pouches and granola bars for the get home bag I am working on. It is pretty much functional now though I do need to order a few things. Kinda holding off on buying anything until the Glock 19 mag deal is completed.
We organized and inventoried our medical and hygiene supplies. I am pretty happy with what we have got, especially considering most of it can't be shipped when we move back to the US. My one big take away is that we need to be more organized. I think there were 2 half empty bottle of cough syrup and 3 things of Ibuprophen that were being used. We shifted to one area for stuff we are using and another to store replacement's.

Also I tweeked my workout routine some. More on that once it is solidly underway.
Though not exactly traditional preparedness tasks we did get some good stuff done this week. What did you do to prepare this week?

Edited to include: This was supposed to post yesterday, I am not sure why it didn't.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Night Ramblings and Tab Clearing

I always knew that liberal dudes were weaker and generally less masculine but now there is scientific proof.

Apparantly CNBN did a hit piece of the venerable Remington 870. Hat tip to The Firearms Blog for the find. Maybe they could have been even more unamerican by bashing apple pie and cold beer.
Now for my take. I will even set aside the fact that the so called experts who testify about how pretty much every firearm is unsafe FOR MONEY and are trying to sell some new safety thing they invented.

The thing is that shotgun safeties, to the best of my knowledge are not so much safeties as trigger stoppers. To the best of my knowledge there isn't a shotgun out there that has a safety which blocks the sort of accidental impact based discharge that happened to the unfortunate fellow mentioned in the story. Sort of like many open bolt machine guns if you give them a good whack they will probably go off.

There is a simple and time tested way to handle this mechanical weakness. KEEP THE CHAMBER EMPTY UNLESS YOU ARE ACTIVELY USING THE GUN! For a shotgun this means that when you are done using it take the round out of the cylinder and stick it back into the tube or buttstock carrier.
I own a Remington 870 Express. With both short and long barrels it is a really versatile weapon equally capable of defending ones home or all manner of hunting and sporting. I have trusted it with my life in the past as a primary home defense weapon and would not hesitate to do so again in the future. As to my thoughts on reliability and usefullness the Remington 870 I won't sell the one I have and at some point will get another one.

I was at the store the other day picking up a couple things on my way home from work. The folks in front of me bought some stuff using WIC. Nothing really new about that. Overseas food costs are pretty high so they calculate eligibility differently and a lot more folks get it. I bought my few items and walked out to the parking lot. The folks who bought the stuff with WIC in front of me got into a car that was maybe a year old. Nothing crazy, I think it was a Ford Focus or something like that. I got into my 10 year old SUV with some minor cosmetic damage and drove home. Honestly it sort of made me angry. Why should I be subsidizing them? If they don't make very much money maybe they should be doing things like not buying new cars so they can afford food for their kids. I got to thinking. Given the state of our nation I don't really look down on folks who figure out how to work the system a bit in their favor. A few years back I did look down on them for being moochers. These days I sort of look at it that if you can get a little bit back it isn't a bad thing.
Ironically this year we qualify for welfare Earned Income Credit. A nuance of combat deployments is that since our pay is not taxed. Thus as far as my taxes are concerned it does not count. Since I deployed in February and was gone for a year our taxable income was pretty tiny for last year. Thus we get welfare Earned Income Credit. I wouldn't have thought of it but a pretty sharp contractor (ironically also a contrarian investor and survivalist) said I should look into it. This is something I had some real internal conflict about. It is pretty crazy that we qualify because my income fell into a different column on the stupid little piece of paper that is the W2. I make a decent living and we aren't in any sort of need. However me deciding to be a good guy and turning away free money is not going to fix the national deficit. We are putting the money into our house fund. I kind of look at it as a partial refund of all that money I put into SS and medicare
The man who committed 10 felonies in 9 hours was pretty impressive. Some folks are just bad and if this sort of thing happens when everything is normal toss in a power outage or a hurricane or a riot and well, it ain't pretty.

Well it is just about a done deal that Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican presidential candidate. I am almost entirely ambivalent about this. Got to purchase some more mags between now and November.
Heineken is pretty good and Jimmy Fallon probably has the best late night TV show these days.

That is all.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

No Secrets

This one has been brewing in my head for awhile. Every once in awhile there is a post I really wish I would have written and this is one of those times. I am going to take a few selections from John Mosby's original post (italicized for clarity). I suggest reading it if you somehow missed it awhile back.

"Many people believe that only “super-secret-squirrel” elite units of the military and law enforcement have access to the most effective secret techniques of interpersonal violence. They want to believe the ridiculous advertising of companies that claim you can learn their “super-secret-above-top-secret-Delta-SEAL-SWAT-Ninja fighting methods” for only $79.95 plus shipping and handling. The truth is far more simple…and demanding. Every single method, technique, and concept used by elite military units is available to the general public through non-classified, open-source, public venues.

They are available to “Joe Citizen” just like they are available to “Danny Delta” and “Sammy the SEAL.” The difference is that the legitimate Delta/SEAL/SWAT/Ninja is willing to sacrifice the effort to “do the work.” He is willing to practice any specific skill 100,000 times, or more, in every possible environment, until that skill becomes part of his neural programming.

There it is in plain and simple English. There are no secrets. No matter what some idiot tells you a $49.95 dvd will not turn you into a super Spetznas prison cage fighter. Regular training in a functional martial art coupled with regular weight training will make you a scary person to fight, not 6 easy moves you can learn in an afternoon.

You can get really good, like scary good with pistols and rifles if you choose. It will take some academic work, quality training, a lot of dry fire and some rounds downrange in a determined training fashion on a regular basis. The exact same could be said about wilderness survival skills, battle drills, fieldcraft, fitness or comunications or medical skills. It is all readily available if you will take the time, energy and expense to learn and internalize it.

I want to leave you off with another quote (from earlier in the post but it served my purposes better here) from the post that inspired this one. The professional, motivated war-fighter trains like the classic Type-A alpha male of his tribe. He seeks out the best training available and practices the skills he learns until he has mastered them…then he practices them some more. He lifts heavy weights and he runs fast. He boxes and wrestles in training to ensure that he can continue to bring the fight to the enemy, even if he loses his weapons. He attends training courses from companies like Magpul, CSAT, or VTAC, to ensure that he is learning combat shooting methods from experienced war-fighters. Then, he spends hours each week dry-firing his weapons so that he masters the physical skills he will need. Like some fabled Tier One JSOC Jedi, he trains to perfection…and then he trains some more.

It is all available to you if you are willing to do the work.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Field Hygiene

Somebody asked about this in the comments section of a recent post. Let me start by saying that I am not a doctor or a gynecologist or a medic. Do not take what I say as legitimate medical advice and is just my observations and experiences of what has and has not worked well. As always consult your personal panel consisting of the family doctor, your lawyer, accountant, life coach, therapist and any applicable specialists (in this case a doc with a background in wilderness medicine seems appropriate) before doing anything.  If you think that the cost of such a panel would be ruinous than act like an adult, do your own research and take some personal responsibility before acting.

Let me define the scope of this post. I am going to talk about keeping healthy, clean and functional with limited access to modern facilities or hygiene supplies for periods of time between 24 hours and a month. Again don’t take this as the gospel; remember it is just one guys opinion.

To start I must say Americans have a fairly OCD approach to personal hygiene based heavily around almost limitless supplies of hot water and clean clothes. Also half the need for a shower is to wash off all the junk we cover ourselves with. Believe it or not people survived just fine for centuries without a hot shower (or 2) and clean clothes every day. In many parts of the world they still manage to survive without these luxuries which show that people have not biologically changed in recent years so it is in fact possible.
Let us go from head to toe and short periods to long periods.

Hair-For relatively short periods the easiest solution is to do nothing. Don’t put gel, hairspray or any other junk in it. Worst case it gets a bit greasy or something. Over longer periods (say beyond a week) I recommend men cut their hair very short and women cut it relatively short. Washing weekly is sufficient if you are short on water. Get it wet, shampoo, rinse.

Teeth-This one is the easiest as there is no change. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. If you are going to be out for a long time bring an extra roll of floss.

Shaving- I recommend not doing it unless you have good amounts of hot water. Men embrace your inner mountain man. Ladies, why you would try to shave anything in primitive conditions is completely beyond me.
The Army does this stupid thing where it expects soldiers to be clean shaven in the middle of nowhere in a dry camp. If I am ever in charge I will (at a minimum) institute a rule that if hot water is not made available to soldiers daily then shaving is not required. In any case if hot water is available shave as normal, a small mirror helps. Of hot water is not available I recommend electric razors (not rechargeable, the kind that take AAA or AA batteries) as the option is scraping half your face off dry shaving or using a little bit of cold water. I have a 20 dollar electric that has kept me in compliance to our stupid rule for years of field time.

Skin- If possible I like to clean my body daily even when a shower is not practical. As an added bonus doing this daily before bed helps keep your sleeping bag clean. This is especially important if you are in a hot/ humid environment or doing strenuous tasks. I am a big fan of baby wipes. You don’t need to use many of them and unless I am particularly funky 2 wipes works for my whole body. Order of precedence is face, upper torso, legs, armpits, crotch, butt. I should not have to explain to you why this is important. Baby wipes are super easy and cheap so you should get a lot of them.

If you are going to be out for awhile and or have access to at least some warm water then a washcloth and soap can be used to get the same effect.  Use the same order of precedence and don’t let the washcloth get funky. I recommend letting it hang to dry and washing it often. This is pretty much how people bathed for a long time so it works fine to keep you clean over the long run.

That brings us to the subject of soap. The fellow who asked about this topic in a comment mentioned unscented soap. There is a theory/ historic anecdote that goes like this, GI’s in ‘Nam would use unscented soap so the Vietcong couldn’t smell them in the jungle. The same idea pops up every now and again in our Army culture. However in the contemporary operating environment in Iraq and Afghanistan it is completely irrelevant for almost everybody. The reason is that everybody pretty much knows who we are. We are the Americans in the crazy uniforms with all the armor and the huge tan trucks. In Iraq the centers of gravity are the cities and you just can’t hide during a patrol. They don’t have to smell you as they can see you 6 blocks away because an MRAP is about 12 feet tall. In Afghanistan we do some more patrolling but there is almost always a mounted component due to long distances involved and sparsely distributed soldiers. Also the terrain is so open that you can see people from hundreds of meters off. So I would say to use whatever kind of soap you like.

The crotch-  I am going to talk about this area specifically because the crotch and inner thighs are where people tend to chafe, if they chafe. Typically chafing is an issue most often when you do a lot of walking in a hot and humid environment. You can get wicked friction burns and it is no fun at all, especially when you have to keep moving with them. Stay dry if at all possible. Some of the worst chafing I can remember was during a long road march in the spring at Benning when there was a thunderstorm. I would have been fine except my pants were completely soaked. At that point not a lot can be done.

Underwear is a factor as they cause friction. Tighty whities are probably the worst as they are right in that crotch/ inner thigh area where chafing is rife. Boxer briefs (like the spandex kind not the whitey tightey’s with legs kind) are better. The best option IMO is wearing no underwear. It decreases chafing due to less material in the area and letting things breathe better.  From the time I have spent in the field with women I have never heard one gripe about chaffing. I think that smaller legs, wider hips and different anatomy make it a non issue. (As for women and underwear in the field I am about clueless. I would guess that stringy little underwear is not the way to go but other than that can’t help you. Also as to specific to female field hygiene issues I know they exist but I just don’t know anything about that)

To prevent or manage chafing you can use some gold bond powder (a darn good thing to have) to keep things dry down there. Also I’ve heard of runners using Vaseline at friction points like thighs and nipples (that wasn’t meant to sound dirty but does). 

Feet- If you ignore everything else take care of your feet. Keep them in good shape or you are useless. Some folks like foot powder but I am not one of them. I find that it cakes onto your socks and decreases their ability to breathe while simultaneously shortening the amount of time you can wear them for. Keep toe nails reasonably short. Wearing good socks that are (as much as possible) dry is the best thing you can do for your feet. Also take off your socks and let your feet air out at night. 

Carry plenty of spare socks, they are about the only piece of clothing you really need to change semi regularly (every couple days or so, depending). Also (though of course you should do this with everything) be sure to put your socks into plastic bags to keep them dry.

Boots- This is not a place to pinch pennies. Buy quality boots that suit your purpose from  a good reputable manufacturer. Break them in by wearing them as you do everyday tasks and then for progressively longer walks and then hikes. Hardening your feet is done in the same manner. Start with short marches and then get progressively longer with heavier loads. This will also harden your legs and heart. Foot care and footwear could be a whole different post as it covers so much and is so important.

Clothes- Keep as clean as is practical. Keep some clean (a relative word) dry clothes to wear in the evening for down time and sleep. This will also let your day’s clothes air out overnight (if possible) and dry. Do the same thing with your socks.  If possible wash them when you can.

Sleep wear- If your operational situation allows letting your body breathe at night is good. I typically will sleep in shorts unless it is real cold.

Sleeping bags- Get a liner as it is far more practical to was it than the whole bag in the field.

In conclusion with a little bit of planning you can stay quite healthy in the field for a prolonged period of time. Using the techniques outlines above I have been just fine for upwards of a month in the woods on multiple occasions. Mostly it just requires getting used to not having modern conveniences.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bags VS Chest Rigs/ LBE's

Bags that are expressedly built to carry the necessary stuff for a rifle fight (but not fit the rifle itself) have started popping up over the last few years. I got to thinking about them today because I saw someone talking about them on some blog. After some reflection here are my thoughts.

As a replacement for a chest rig/ lbe rifle bags are junk. They are hard to carry under less than casual walking around conditions. Seriously when was the last time you tried to run a couple miles with a fairly heavy duffel bag flopping around all over the place? Bet it wasn't real comfortable. What about trying to overcome real world type obstacles with a duffel bag getting hung up on everything?

I know that no matter what I am doing with a chest rig/ rack or to a slightly lesser degree an LBE (they flop around more) I know exactly where my mags are and can get them out quickly. My IFAK is in the same place also, not burried in a small duffel bag flopping around someplace.

If I saw a realistic chance of anything happening I would toss a legit chest rif inside of a duffel bag to carry it around conveniently and discretely if need be. So a 'rifle bag' does not replace a chest rig/ rack/ lbe for likely combat type situations. I would not say that doesn't mean they cannot have a legitimate nitche. What is that nitche exactly?

To me that nitche is as more of a tactical equivalent of a range bag. There is not a known or likely scenario where you see yourself using your rifle. You are just going camping or on a road trip or like to keep a gun in the trunk or whatever. While you aren't planning on anything really bad happening having 4-6 mags, a few extra boxes of ammo, maybe a tourniquet or two and some misc gun stuff just makes sense. Instead of having junk all over the place it is desirable to keep everything nicely organized in a purpose built bag.

A bag of this type is on my long list of gear.

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