Preparing for Disasters and Common Emergencies

preparing for disastersPreparing for Disasters and Common Emergencies

Most people have never thought about preparing for disasters. Their thought process is usually, “It will never happen to me.” However, what about some everyday common emergencies that could present themselves when you least expect it? Would you be able to survive a relatively common emergency situation?

In January 2014, thousands of people were stranded on Atlanta area highways after snow caught the South unprepared. Thousands of drivers were hopelessly stuck for one day and then subsequently a second day on Wednesday January 29, 2014. Many drivers were stranded without food and water, on paralyzed interstates around Atlanta after a winter storm took the city by surprise. This is a very basic situation that caught many unprepared. Some people abandoned their cars altogether and walked to warmth and shelter. Would you be prepared for such a situation?

Three Basic Emergency Principles to Follow

There are three basic factors to keep in mind when preparing for disasters or an emergency situation. I am not talking about a 9/11 type event. Some of the most basic emergencies can wreak havoc on every day life. The following three points will keep you safe and sound in an event such as the surprise ice storm that hit the south in January of 2014.

1. You’ll need access to shelter within 3 hours should you have to abandon your vehicle.
2. You’ll need access to drinkable water.
3. You’ll need access to nutritionally viable food.

XMRE MR MealsWithout these basic staples, an emergency situation can become unbearable in no time at all and deadly over extended periods of time. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on an emergency that catches you off guard in your vehicle. After securing shelter from the elements and a source of clean water is available, food becomes your priority. Storing some shelf stable food in your car is an excellent idea and simple to do. One good short term option is the tried and true MRE, a “meal ready to eat.” These meals require no cooking, water or refrigeration.

Make sure that you have enough food and water for 1-2 days available for every member of the family. Don’t forget to take into consideration any special needs if you have any infants or individuals with special dietary needs in your family. If your pet regularly travels with you, don’t forget to take that into consideration as well.

Because you should store emergency food supplies in a cool, dry location at 40 -60 degrees, you need to take that into account during the different seasons. If you are going to store MRE’s during the winter months, consider storing the MRE’s that come with chemical heaters in case you need to warm up your food. If you have MRE components, make sure to follow the directions on the packaging for both storage and preparation.

Meals ready to eat (MRE) generally have a shelf life of up to five years. Make sure that you check dates on your food supply. Replace those that are close to expiring as needed. Lastly, don’t forget to include utensils. Even though stable food items are easy to store and prepare without the need for water, cooking or refrigeration, a fork and spoon always come in handy. Check out our full line of MRE meals from XMRE. All XMRE meals are made in the USA and are the highest quality MREs on the market.

Preventing Colds

Preventing ColdsPreventing Colds

If you have been listening to the news, you already know that America is suffering from a flu and cold outbreak. Preventing colds is a real problem in the winter and cooler months. While we have flu vaccines available, what would you do if you and your family could not get those vaccines? More recently, the news is filled with stories of parents who refuse vaccinations. How do you prevent transmission of these illnesses when there is a distinct niche of parents who don’t believe in vaccinations. Here are some tips that can help you prevent flu and colds from getting to your family.

First of all, you should know that there is simply no known cure for either flu or colds. Because of this, prevention is key.

Preventing ColdsClean Hands: Flu and cold viruses are most commonly spread through direct contact. When someone who has the flu or a cold, sneezes onto his or her hand and then touches someone or something else, the virus sticks to that new host. These little buggers can live for hours and will happily make the new host sick. By washing your hands often, you and your family can help reduce the spread of these viruses.

preventing coldsHands Off: If at all possible, never cough or sneeze into your hands. Again, once the viruses get onto your hands, they can spread quickly. Preventing colds and the flu virus transmission is greatly reduced when you keep your hands away from sneezes and coughs.

Face Off: Flu and cold viruses will easily get into your body via nose, eyes, or mouth. Try to keep your hands off your face and the faces of others. If you have kids, try to teach them this lesson as well as children love to touch one another.

Less Smoking: If you smoke, either stop or cut back during flu season. It is a fact that smokers get more flu and colds than non-smokers. It is also a fact those who are in the same room with smoke can lower their immune systems. Smoke is known to dry out nasal passages as well as affect the delicate hairs that line the nose and lungs. These hairs move in waves and carry debris (including cold and flu viruses) out of the nose and lungs.

preventing coldsPhytochemicals: These particular natural chemicals come from certain types of plants. These include dark green, yellow, or red fruits and vegetables. It is a great idea to eat these foods all year round, but especially during flu and cold season. When possible, eat fresh vegetables and fruits rather than canned.

Less Alcohol: Chemicals in alcohol can suppress your immune system in many ways. Those who drink heavily are known to be easier targets for flu and cold viruses. The less you drink, the better your immune system will be able to protect you.

While preventing colds and flu transmission in totality is impossible, you can put these tips to work to help give you and your family an edge. This can be very important if you ever find yourself without medical assistance.

Complementing the Bug Out Bag

Complementing-the-Bug-Out-BagComplementing the Bug Out Bag

Stuck in TrafficDriving in to work, you notice traffic is heavier than normal. You turn down the radio to concentrate on the road and you hear distant sirens that grow louder as you near the city. You decide to turn on the local news station to see what they have to say. You quickly learn that there is a regional disaster, and you will not be working today. The only problem is that your bug-out-bag is at home, and the roads are clogged as people flee the city towards the suburbs.

The fastest way to get out of the panic is by foot, so you set off towards home. This is where your bail-out-bag, get-back-home-bag comes into play. Similar to your Bug Out Bag, your GBHB has everything you need for an emergency situation. The difference though is that your GBHB is smaller and easier to carry, but is only going to help you for 24 to 48 hours.  The idea is to use this bag to get you back home to shelter, or back home to grab your BOB. In this article, we will go over the basics of what to put into your GBHB.

Just like the BOB, you will need food, water, shelter, and security, but the amounts will be reduced from 72-96 hours’ worth of gear to 24-48 hours.

FOOD: A few granola bars, a foil pack of tuna, and perhaps a few pieces of candy will do well. You can also throw in an MRE, but food is your bottom concern as you should be home before you get too hungry.

Water: A Camelbak® should be in the bag. Some people choose to use a hydration bladder carrier with added pouches for the GBHB for their small size. In addition to the bladder, you should have 2 water bottles, as they can be used to filter water in a pinch. Also, bring a bottle of water purification tabs. You should have a minimum of 3 liters of water.

Shelter: By throwing in a jacket, a Mylar blanket, and a wool cap, you should be good. If you live in an extreme temperature location, take that into consideration, whether it is extreme heat or cold.

 Fuel Hydration Pack by CondorSecurity: As always, bring fire. This will help to make your shelter more effective as well as provide some security from animals. A good knife for bushcraft and self-defense should be added. If you are unable to carry a firearm at work, you can carry a firearm in the bag. If you leave the bag in the car at all times, however, you should either find another way to carry your gun, or make sure your remove it from the bag when you are not in the car.

By carrying a GBHB everywhere you go (at least keeping it the car), you can increase your odds of surviving the trip home to get your larger, more complete BOB. Just remember, this bag is supposed to be light, small, easy to carry, and quick to grab. Check out the Fuel Hydration Pack manufactured by Condor. This compact hydration pack has enough room to store 24 to 48 hours worth of survival necessities and includes a 2.5L TPU material baldder with bite valve for plenty of water storage.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.


Complying with Police – Hands Up Don’t Shoot

Jarrett Maupin isn’t known for complying with police officers. He is a Phoenix, Arizona activist who has been extremely critical of the police. Specifically, he has been very vocal about police use of force. In an interesting turn of events, he agreed to undergo a day of law enforcement training that focuses on use of deadly force on the job. He underwent a use of force scenarios exercise with a local police department recently. Guess what? He completely reversed his view on the police and the use of deadly force. In short, he had a change of heart.

According to local television station KSAZ-TV in Phoenix, Maupin helped lead several marches on Phoenix police headquarters in recent months. He was protesting a recent police shooting of an unarmed man. Maupin was caught on video at a protest shouting, “We want his badge, we want his gun, we want his job.”  But what would happen if Maupin experienced what it’s like to actually wear a badge, and be put in a life or death situation? The activist agreed to undergo a standard use of force training exercise with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department where he was had to decide whether to shoot or not to shoot in three different scenarios.

Complying with the Police

Image Source KZAZ News

In the first scenario, Maupin was tasked with breaking up an argument. “What’s going on today gentlemen, what are you doing?” he asked the suspects. The situation quickly escalated and got physical. One of the unarmed subjects rushed Maupin and he shot the suspect. “Hey, he rushed me … I shot because he was in that zone, I didn’t see him armed, he came clearly to do some harm to my person,” he explained to the Fox affiliate. “It’s hard to make that call; it shakes you up.”

FOX 10 News |

In his second training scenario a suspect hides behind a car where he pulled a gun and shot him. “When he came to the back of the vehicle and started hiding, I could sense something was wrong,” Maupin said he didn’t react in time. Had it been a real world scenario, he would be dead.

In the third and final scenario, Maupin successfully managed to detain a suspect on the ground. Unbeknownst to Maupin however, the suspect had a knife in his waistband. Once the training exercise was completed, the activist said he had a change of heart. “I didn’t understand how important compliance was, but after going through this; yes my attitude has changed, this happens in 10-15 seconds. People need to comply for their own sake.”

Complying with police officers is critical. If a law officer tells you to get on the ground, do so. If an officer tells you to put your hands behind your back so he can cuff you, get handcuffed. When you choose to not follow a police officer’s commands and make the decision to fight, there is a strong chance you are going to get hurt at the minimum or at worst killed. It is not worth fighting a police officer who is simply enforcing the law and trying to make it home to his family safe and alive. Live to fight another day in the court system. Yes, there are some cops who abuse authority. Yes, the court system isn’t always fair. But, by complying with police officers during a police involved situation, you will live to fight another day.

Here is the full body camera footage from Maupin’s simulation, and how police debriefed him on what happened.

Backpack Sizing – What You Need to Know

Backpack SizingHow to Size a Backpack – Backpack Sizing

Do you know where to begin when it comes to backpack sizing? An important step to getting the most fun from your outdoor adventures is selecting the right backpack. In order to choose the right backpack, you should consider three things:

  • Length of trip (overnight, a week, longer?).
  • Weight of gear to be carried.
  • Your torso size (hips to shoulders).

When it comes to backpack sizing, most modern backpacks rate the amount of space available for carrying “stuff” in liters these days. The more liters a pack will hold the more “stuff” it will hold. The amount of capacity your pack needs to have often depends on how long you will be out, as well as what specific items you will be taking. Some people are happy to head out for an overnight trip, taking nothing but the essentials. Other folks, on the same overnight trip, might want to take everything they can plus the kitchen sink! Choose a backpack that meets your personal capacity needs.

As a general rule with respect to backpack sizing, the following can be used to estimate needed capacity:

  • 1-2 day trip: 20-50 liters
  • 2-5 day trip: 60-80 liters
  • 5 or more days: 80+ liters

Backpack SizingTorso Size:

It cannot be stated enough that getting the right size for your torso is crucial if you want the best service from your pack. The amount of weight you will be carrying (much or little) will mean nothing if the pack does not fit you properly. Any load will become a burden after a short time. Make sure your pack:

  • Is the right size for your TORSO, not your overall body height
  • Has a snug, but comfortable, fit around your hips

Torso Measurements:

Measure from the level of your spine (at the top of your shoulders/collar bones) down to the top of your hips (the highest part of the hip bone). This should be recorded in inches. Manufacturers usually size backpacks as follows:

  • Size: Extra Small—Torso 15.5 inches
  • Size: Small-Torso 16 to 17½ inches
  • Size: Medium or Regular—Torso 18 to 19½ inches
  • Size: Large or Tall—Torso 20+ inches

Waist Size:

Many modern backpacks offer buyers interchangeable hip-belts. Understand that about 80 percent of the pack’s weight is supported by the hips, so getting the right hip-belt is important. Measure your hips around the high (top) part of your hips and waist.

Backpack SizingSome Important Notes about Backpack Sizing:

If you plan on being out during cold months or at higher altitudes, consider buying a larger pack as you will almost certainly have to carry additional supplies and gear.

Keep in mind that packing “light” is a skill and requires experience. Many people will buy a small pack thinking they can pack light when, in reality, they find they cannot do this. It is better to have more pack and not need it than to find yourself without enough pack.

Check the pack you are interested in buying for pockets and hydration systems (if you want easy access to fluids). Many packs have a hydration pack built into them. Click here to see our selection of hydration compatible backpacks. It is best to check these pack assets now as not all packs come with pockets or hydration systems. Check now to avoid disappointment later.

Pet Survival Kit

pet survival kitPet Survival Kit

There can be any number of reasons for you and your family to need access to a survival kit. Natural disasters, civil unrest, you name it, there are many situations that could make it necessary for you to grab your kit and go. However, what about your pets? Do you have a pet survival kit prepared for Fido? In an emergency, the pets are the last the last thing on our minds until it is go time.

For many individuals and families, their pets are members of the family, and leaving them behind when an emergency evacuation is called for is just unthinkable. If you fall into this group, here are some tips to help you get a pet survival kit of essentials prepared.

Food for Your Pet Survival Kit:

Collapsible Dog Bowl for Your Pet Survival KitDo not assume that you will be able to buy pet food during an emergency situation. If the power grid, for instance, has been disrupted, stores will be shut down, making access to fresh pet food difficult. Try to have 1 or 2 weeks of food held in reserve. You can rotate this food to prevent spoilage, and remember to keep dry food in an airtight container as this will keep dry food safe for a longer period of time. It can also be a good idea to include treats for your pet as he or she may be stressed during these times. Lastly, have a can opener and bowls (collapsible bowls are a good idea).

Pack Water in Your Pet Survival Kit

When you plan your water requirements for your family survival kit, include enough water for your pet. The amount of water needed will depend on the type of pet you have and how long you believe you may be without safe drinking water.

Medication and First Aid Supplies

If your pet is on medication, remember to have an ample supply on hand that you can take with your kit. You may also want to buy a pet first aid kit (yes, these are available). Pets can become injured, and you may not be able to find medical assistance in times of trouble. As an added precaution, consider adding flea powder or flea collars to your kit.

Collar and Leash:

Again, your pet may be stressed during this time, and having access to both a collar and leash will be useful. Depending on your pet, you may also need access to a travel cage.

Miscellaneous Items:

You may also want to pack a few toys for your pet to play with to reduce stress. Also, have blankets or other items to help keep the pet warm during cold weather and don’t forget bedding.

pet survival kitDog Backpacks for Your Pet Survival Kit

It only takes a few minutes to put together a pet survival kit. There are even special backpacks for dogs that you can attach to your pet so he is carrying his fair share of the load! A few tips on using a backpack on your dog. Put the backpack on without anything in the pockets at first. Let Fido get used to it before bugging out. Go for 2-4 walks with the backpack empty. If your dog is ignoring the backpack after 2-4 walks begin adding weight a little at a time. Go by the size of your dog. For large dogs try a 12-ounce bottle of water on each side. For a medium dogs, start with 4 oz or less.  Many dogs become eager to put it on once they connect the backpack to a walk.

Once you have your pet survival kit set up and ready to go, you will feel better. Knowing that you have done all that you can to make any time of trouble more comfortable for your loved ones and pets is a reward in and of itself.

Snow Bound At Home

Snow Bound at Home

Snow Bound At Home

Would you be able to survive being snow bound at home? Most Americans live in a world where we have power, water, heat and lights. All the niceties of a comfortable life, available at the flip of a switch. This comfortable lifestyle can be lost easier than many of us wish to imagine. For the purposes of this article, let’s look at what can happen if a severe snowstorm dumps a few feet of snow on top of you and your family. How would you survive the ordeal until life returns to normal?

Downed Power LinesA snowstorm or ice storm can shut things down fast, usually without much warning. One of the first things we tend to lose is the power. It does not take much for power lines to fail, and when they do, entire areas can be thrown back into the dark ages. When the power fails, lights go out, many types of phones go out, the heat goes off if we have electric heaters. The list goes on and on. In some areas, if the power goes out, the water pumps stop working, and you may be without water as well.

So, what can you do if you live in a home that has lost all power, communication, and possibly water? A winter storm might just kill you and your family if you do not take precautions.

Be Prepared:

How many times have we heard this bit of advice, and yet how many homes are ready to endure this type of emergency? Not many, if the truth is told. At a minimum, you should have on hand:

  • Bottled Water
  • Canned or Packaged Food
  • Kerosene Heater and Fuel
  • Flashlights, Batteries
  • Battery or Solar-Powered Radio
  • Candles

It cannot be said enough that the better prepared you are for a cold-weather emergency, the safer and more comfortable you will be. However, if you do not have what you need, you can still survive this type of emergency. Here are some tips.

First, don’t panic. For some people, this is easier said than done. However, keeping a cool head (no pun intended) is crucial as it prevents people from making bad mistakes.

Second, if you know the power will be out for an extended period, check in with your neighbors (if you have any). You may need their help, and they may need your help. It is best to make contact as soon as safely possible.

Third, if you have no heat at all (no fireplace, heater, etc.), you need to get busy right away preparing a safe place. Find the smallest room you have in the house and make it your bunker. This is where you want all people in the house to gather, even if it is a walk-in closet. If you have candles, use those to beat back the cold. They may not make you warm and toasty, but they can be useful in providing enough heat (in a small space) to keep you alive.

Fourth, bundle yourself and family in layers of warm clothing. The layering principle is important, so make sure you do it.

If you need water, the water in the back of your toilet is usually safe to drink. You don’t have to tell your family where you got it!

Use your vehicle’s heater for periodic heating, but make sure you keep the interior ventilated. If weather and safety allow, build a fire in your yard to help keep warm, but make sure someone monitors it.

Lastly, keep moving and avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, and it can draw heat from your body. When you drink, it dilates the peripheral blood vessels near your skin. This means more blood and heat flows to these vessels. That takes blood and much-needed heat away from the core of your body. Although it feels like you are warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs are not as warm as you might think they are.





Winter Socks


Winter Socks

When hard, bitter winter sets in, even the most seemingly insignificant items become crucial. Such is the case with winter socks. It has been said that once your feet get cold it is all but impossible to warm the rest of your body, no matter what you do. People already experienced with outdoor life will know how to buy the best winter socks; those who may be new to winter adventures may not. This article is written for them.

Types of Socks to Use with Your Boots

Winter Socks

The type of sock that you wear outdoors in cold weather is every bit as important as the kind of boot or shoe you wear. In fact, if you wear the wrong type of sock in extreme weather, it will not matter much what kind of boots you are wearing. Your feet will get cold (possibly wet) and therein lays the dangers of frostbite or other cold weather injuries.

Don’t Wear Cotton Socks in the Winter

Most of us have many pairs of cotton socks. These may be fine for everyday wear around the house and such, but they are horrible for cold weather protection. The reason that cotton socks are a poor option for winter is because the material offers virtually no insulation protection at all, and they are known to hold moisture. Keep in mind that as soon as a cotton sock gets wet, all of its insulating value is gone; not that it has much to begin with. Moreover, once wet, from perspiration or external water, it keeps your foot wet. The result is cold and wet feet.

Quality Winter Socks

Anyone planning to spend time outdoors during cold weather needs to invest in at least two pairs of quality winter socks. You wear one pair, and if they get wet, you put on the other pair while the first pair dries out. Armed forces across the globe have long used this technique to protect their troops, and it works.

So, what type of sock is best for winter wear?

Many people swear by the wool sock, and so do I. Wool offers exceptional insulating quality, and it dries super fast. Even your body heat can be used to dry them out. Other types of good winter socks include those made of shearling or fleece. All of these socks maintain their insulating abilities even when wet. These types of winter socks are thicker which allows them to absorb more moisture than any cotton sock.

You can find a wide variety of high-quality winter socks either online or at most sporting good’s stores. They may cost a few bucks more than cotton socks, but the investment is worth it. It only takes a short amount of time before frostbite sets in on those who are not prepared for it. If you live in a snow-prone area, throw a pair in your vehicle just in case you get stranded and have to hike for help.

Click here to check out our selection of winter socks.

Evaluating the Best Winter Eyewear

winter eyewear

Winter Eyewear

Now that winter is here, it is time to consider winter eyewear that can provide protection against the unique conditions your eyes will face. It is a mistake to believe that overcast, cloudy days and other winter conditions are not dangerous. In fact, without the proper eye protection, your eyes can suffer temporary or permanent damage.

Why You Need Winter Eyewear Protection:

Many people do not know that their eyes can become sunburned during the winter months. As much as 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can be reflected off of snow and ice. These rays can come at you from all angles, making it nearly impossible to avoid them. This is true even on those cloudy days.

UltraViolet (UV) rays that make it to the eyes can cause a variety of problems. One condition due to exposure photo keratitis, also known as snow blindness. Intense glare from any source can cause the symptoms of this painful condition.

In addition to preventing snow blindness, protecting your eyes during the winter can also help to prevent other eye conditions, such as:

  • Wrinkles
  • Cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Age-related macular degeneration

It is not only the sun’s rays that can harm your eyes, but also the cold itself. When eyes are exposed to cold, they can become painful, and you may find yourself with blurred vision. In extreme cases, the cornea can actually freeze.

While eye damage can occur at any time when UV rays are hitting the eyes, the highest risk of damage is during the late winter months and early spring. You will find that UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, and are stronger the more south you go and at higher altitudes.

Children Need Winter Eyewear Protection Too:

We often miss thinking about our children and their eye protection when they go out to play in the winter. Studies have shown UV rays can damage young eyes easier than adult eyes. It is also worth knowing that UV exposure will build up over a person’s lifetime. It is especially important to have protection for your kids if they play in the snow and this includes any activity that takes place on snow (or ice). You should look for protection that provide 100 percent blockage of UV rays.

To encourage your kids to actually wear their sunglasses, consider letting them pick out the style they want. There is an enormous variety of high-quality sunglasses on the market today.

Winter Eyewear for Adults

The sunglasses that you pick out for yourself need to block 100 percent of UV rays as well. You can easily find the exact style of glasses that fit your needs online or at eyewear clinics. If you spend a lot of time in bright snow, consider buying wraparound sunglasses as they provide the most protection against the rays. If you ski or snowboard, goggles are your best bet as they protect you from the rays, wind, and cold.

Check out our selection of sunglasses at Patriot Surplus for a great deal on winter eyewear.

Dislocated Joints: More Common Than You Think

Dislocated Joints: More Common Than You Think

There are many types of injuries that can occur when we are out in the wilds. One of the more common types of injuries are dislocated joints. These injuries can occur because of falls, twisting actions, and are often seen in ATV-type accidents. When confronted with a dislocated joint, many people tend to panic as the limb can look simply awful if the injury is serious. Here are some tips on handle dislocations.

dislocated_jointAs is true with any serious injury, if at all possible, get professional medical care as quickly as possible. Even so, there are some things you can do to help the victim in the meantime.

First Aid for Dislocated Joints:

When dislocations happen, the victim may freak out when they see the injury. Your first task is to reassure the person and keep them as still and quiet as possible. The less they move, the less pain they will feel.

If you find that the skin has been broken because of a broken bone, or if you believe the bone may be broken under the injury, you will need to do a couple of things:

Keep the open wound as clean as possible to prevent infection. Don’t touch or breathe on the wound. Dress the open wound with a sterile bandage before you move on to immobilizing the limb.

The next step may take some creative thinking on your part. It is important to splint the injury in place. That means not moving the limb or trying to “pop” a dislocated joint back into place. You want to tie the injury above and below the joint, but make sure you do not cut off the blood circulation.

If you can, apply ice to the area to help reduce swelling and to ease pain. Once you have the person stabilized, treat him or her for shock. You do this by keeping the person on his or her back and elevating their feet about a foot off the ground (if the legs are not injured). Cover the person with a blanket or jacket. It is imperative that you not move the person if you think they may also have other injuries to the back or neck. Moreover, of course, get help quickly.

Remember, with dislocated joints, do not:

  • Move the person any more than you have to until the injury is splinted.
  • Move the person if there is any chance of neck or back injury.
  • Move anyone who has a hip, leg, or pelvis injury unless you simply have to do so.
  • If you have to move them, drag them by their clothing as gently as possible.
  • Also, never try to put the joint back into place!

You can reassure the person by telling them that almost all dislocated joints can be treated and fixed and that full recovery is often seen within a few weeks.

Keep in mind that you as the caregiver will have to keep your wits about yourself if you have someone with a dislocated joint. Stay calm, move these steps, and get help. That is the best you can do with these types of injuries.