When the Power Grid Grinds to a Halt

Power Grid

Many people believe that the US is vulnerable to attack from other countries or from terror organizations. This is all true, but one of the most devastating attacks we might see in our lifetimes may come from outer space. No, not aliens…solar flares and other cosmic events. We know these events can hit the Earth because they have done so in the past with varying degrees of destruction and upheaval. The problem, of course, is back then people were not as reliant on the electric grid as we are today.

Consider this: how would your life change if the US lost electricity for two years or longer? It would affect your home, no doubt, but it would also affect virtually everything else in your life. No water supply from the tap, no gas delivery for your vehicles, no food delivery to the stores, no banking, no job, no medical services (or very limited services). And those are just a few of things we will have live without until service is returned.

And what about that? How long would it take for America to get back on its electrical feet? Best estimates are that a failure of the nation’s power grid would take at least 4 years to repair (and that may not include full service to all parts of the country). It is important to understand that our government (local and national) has not been doing due diligence when it comes to keeping our grid updated and in good repair.

SolarResearch, studies, and physical inspections of our power grid infrastructure have shown that we are very at-risk for failure. Much of our grid is based on technology that was developed back in the 1970’s (or earlier). Improvements are being made, but not fast enough. It will take decades for the grid to get up to standards, and there may not be that much time before the next cosmic event occurs.

If the grid goes down (and some will say “when” the grid goes down) those living in urban areas will suffer the most. Congress has been told by more than one expert that there is a 100% chance that a severe geo-magnetic event, strong enough to cripple the electric grid is a certainty.

The last huge event that was recorded took place in 1859 and is known as the Carrington event. We were not so tied to electricity then but, even so, this event caused massive problems with telegraph systems which were in use.

If the same type of event occurred today, NASA scientists say it would cause catastrophic damage to the US infrastructure, and that it would take at least 4 years to repair, costing as much as $2 trillion dollars the first year alone. It gets worse, as the Center for Security Policy estimates that 9 out of 10 Americans will die in the first year from starvation, dehydration, lack of medical services, or violence as the nation (especially the cities) turn to “survival crime” to stay alive. Experts from the CIA agree with this assessment.

The only thing people can do to survive this level of upheaval is to prepare for it now by stockpiling food, water and other supplies and also looking for safe “bug out” areas to go to if they live in urban areas. It really is not a matter of “if” but “when.”

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

What You Should Know About the Islamic State

ISIS sign

Known by various names over the last few years—ISIS, ISIL, and now simply IS— this terrorist group’s origins and goals have not changed.  It is also known that this radical group—and many like it—are not going away any time soon. The old adage that “knowledge is power” is just as true today as it ever has been. With that in mind, knowing more about this enemy to mankind is a worthy endeavor. Check out the fast fact sheet below to learn the basics about the United State’s new enemy.

Name Changes:

This group of radical jihadists is an off-shoot of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). It became known as ISIL which stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” ISIL then became known as ISIS, “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS has now morphed into IS, or simply “Islamic State.” These name changes reflect the group’s evolving philosophical, political, and geographic growth and expansion.

ISISEstimated Wealth:

Armed groups must have access to financing. It has been estimated that IS has assets of at least $2 billion. Of this amount, 5% comes from outside donations, 40% comes from sales of oil and electricity in certain areas, 30% comes from theft, extortion, and taxes they impose on those they overrun and 25% comes from other unknown sources.

Fast Timeline:

  • Takeover of Raqqa, a provincial capitol city in Syria: March 2013
  • IS captures the Iraq city of Fallujah: January 2014
  • IS captures Mosul and declares caliphate: June 2014
  • US airstrikes begin: August 2014

Who Are They?

IS (Islamic State) is a Sunni jihad group that has the stated goal of establishing an Islamic nation in the Middle East, with the ultimate goal of forcing Islam onto all peoples of the world. The group itself was created and formed by various fringe groups and movements that came together into this current fighting force. Current estimates of its numbers fall between 10,000 and 18,000 fighters. While small in size, its methods of brutality on those it overpowers has made it a force of fear, causing many Iraqi and Syrian forces to flee from them without putting up much of a fight. It has been suggested that IS forces are better paid and trained than other radical Islamic groups, which helps in its recruiting efforts.

The following is just one example of the many statements that IS puts out when it overtakes a city or village. This statement was released in June of 2014 to the citizens of Mosul:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

The State of Nineveh

Subject: Mandate

In the Name of Allah the Merciful

After liberation of the State of Nineveh, and the welcome shown by the people of the state to their brotherly mujahideen, and after the great conquest, and the defeat of the Safavid [Persian] troops in the State of Nineveh, and its liberation, and Allah willing, it will become the headquarters for the mujahideen.

Therefore we request that the people of this state offer their unmarried women so that they can fulfill their duty of jihad by sex to their brotherly mujahideen. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in enforcing the laws of Sharia upon them.

Allah we have notified, Allah bear witness.

Sha’ban 13, 1435

June 12, 2014

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

Fixed Blade Knives: What are the Best?

There are few tools as important to the careful prepper and survivalist as a good fixed blade knife. The problem, of course, is there are many knives available, some touting how great they are (when they are not), and choosing a high-quality knife can be challenging. Here are some tips on some of the better knives on the market today that you can easily find and afford.

Please keep in mind that this list is not organized by quality level. All of these fine knives have proven themselves as being superior to virtually any other survival knife available. They also have long histories of quality service.

The Tom Brown Tracker Knife: Let’s start with one of the most durable and useful knives that you will find today. This knife is somewhat expensive but it will last a lifetime (or longer) and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is especially at home in the wilderness, where its unique blade shape makes cutting and skinning a snap. The blade has three sections, and each is designed for a specific purpose: sawing, chopping, and cutting. Because of its long handle, it is great for wilderness work such as gutting fish and game or cutting firewood.

The USMC Mark 2 KA-BAR: This knife was originally designed for the US Marine Corp back in 1942 as a combat knife. The years have only made it better and it is, perhaps, the most famous survival knife in the world today. It is also one of the most “used” knives by Marines and survivalists today. The reason for that is that this knife is all but indestructible. It can pull its weight for any number of jobs and is a fantastic all-round utility knife.

KnivesThe Morakniv Companion: For those on a budget, consider the Companion. It can found for around $30 and it is far superior to most other survival knives in that price range. It is available in a variety of colors as well. These knives are durable and tough and will hold up where other less expensive knives will break, bend, or become useless.

The ESEE-6 Survival Knife: Those looking for a fine general purpose knife will find that this knife fits the bill nicely. It can be used for cutting, chopping, batoning, cleaning game and self-defense in urban conditions. The blade is made of carbon steel (1095 grade) and you can remove the handles.

The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion: This is the knife to look at if you plan to do heavy duty work. Ethan Becker designed this knife for use in tough environments. It has a thick, wide blade that can be used for just about anything in the wild and stand up to that use and abuse. It would not be your first choice for skinning game or fish, but it would be your first choice when setting up camp or cutting wood for fires.

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

How to Gather Everything You Need to Prep for Disaster in One Year: Part 2

Prepping Supplies

(To begin prepping from the first month, consult Part 1 of this series)

Sixth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 1-2 boxes of energy bars per individual
  • 3-6 rolls of paper towels
  • 1 box per individual N-95 or N-100 face masks

Tasks to Do

  • Refresh all tap water
  • Check dates on accumulated supplies and medication

Seventh Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 1-2 units of canned fruit juice per individual
  • NOAA Alert Weather Radio
  • 1-2 bottles of multi-vitamins
  • Emergency tool kit
  • 100-200 ft. of rope or paracord
  • Water purification kit or system

Tasks to Do

  • Begin learning first aid (information is online and free)
  • Set up a mock camp site and teach others how to perform basic tasks
  • Locate local fallout shelters and/or emergency shelters

Eighth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 1 box of sealed crackers per individual
  • 1 week supply of instant oatmeal or cereal per individual
  • 2 boxes of large quality garbage bags
  • Camping cookware (pots, pans, etc.)

Tasks to Do

  • Make your “bug out” bag (see articles on this subject here)
  • Refresh water and check dates. Rotate stock as needed.
  • Learn how to fish (online or with someone who knows) if needed

PreppingNinth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Extra batteries for devices
  • 2 rolls of duct tape
  • Extra ammo if needed
  • Fishing gear if needed

Tasks to Do

  • Ensure all stored medications are not expired, rotate if needed
  • Continue with general prepper education

Tenth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Purchase any items not already on-hand from prior months
  • Extra pet meds if needed

Tasks to Do

  • If possible, pack up some gear and go camping
  • Imagine you are in an emergency situation and see how you fare
  • Keep notes on what needs improvement
  • Hunt and fish for your food, if allowable (remember to get a hunting or fishing license first)

Eleventh Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • A good quality map of your local area
  • Add to fishing gear if needed
  • Extra water purification kit
  • Add to bottled water supply

Tasks to Do

  • Continue prepping education
  • Update emergency contact information

Twelfth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Extra food as needed
  • Heavy duty work gloves
  • Salt, pepper and spices in air-tight containers
  • Powered drink mix, if desired

Tasks to Do

  • Refresh water supplies
  • Check dates and rotate food and medications
  • Continue with survival education

In closing, there may be other items that you want to include, and that is fine. Try to consider any type of emergency and be prepared for each one. Keep your family involved and informed. If you follow the monthly plan, you will be well stocked and prepared for any emergency situation within a year, without breaking the bank.

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

How to Gather Everything You Need to Prep for Disaster in One Year: Part 1

Prepping Supplies

One of the first things that those who are newly interested in prepping need to know is that effective prepping is composed of, literally, hundreds of small components. All of these individual components are important, some more so than others, but, nonetheless, important. For some new preppers, the process of acquiring all that is needed may feel overwhelming. The following is a simple, yet effective, way to get started and to have what you need to survive on-hand within a year, without breaking the bank. The following list will get you and your family through at least 7 days of virtually any type of emergency. Feel free to adjust amounts and contents to suit your own preferences. Obtain the following gear and supplies and store them in your designated prep space.

First Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Manual can and bottle opener
  • 3-4 gallons of water (tap or bottled) per individual in your group and per pet
  • 5 each of canned stew, meat and pasta per individual
  • 2-3 quality flashlights and batteries

Tasks to Do

  • Make a list of what you may already have on-hand such as guns, camping gear, tools, etc.
  • Put dates on all of your water jugs and canned food
  • Begin your online education on prepper and survival tactics

Second Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 3 rolls of toilet paper per individual
  • 4-5 cans of fruit and vegetables per individual
  • 1-2 month supply of sanitary napkins
  • First aid kit (the larger the better)
  • High-quality survival knife

Tasks to Do

  • Gather and store in one safe place all important paperwork and documents such as insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, etc.
  • If you are not familiar with hunting weapons, begin learning about them now so you can select one in the future. This is part of your online education.

PreppingThird Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 2 Bags of hard candy per individual
  • Special diet foods
  • 1-3 large plastic tubs with a lid for use as storage space

Tasks to Do

  • Locate your water and gas shutoff valve; get a shut off tool if needed
  • List all important contact numbers that you will need to call
  • Have a family meeting to discuss where to meet in case of an emergency
  • Begin shopping for a hunting rifle (at least a .22). Purchase the weapon and ammo as soon as possible. Check pawn shops for lower priced weapons.

Fourth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • One week supply (minimum) of prescription medications, rotate usage
  • Cash: Small bills, $100 or more
  • Additional storage containers, if needed
  • Infant supplies (diapers, formula, etc)
  • Supplies for any pets

Tasks to Do

  • Modify storage area if needed
  • Ensure all food and medicine is labeled and being rotated
  • Re-fill your water jugs with fresh tap water if used
  • Make a list of what cold weather clothing is on hand; list what is needed

Fifth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 3 gallons of liquid bleach
  • 3 containers of liquid soap
  • 2 soap bars per individual
  • Set of metal dishes, forks, spoons, unbreakable cups etc.
  • 4-6 units of canned soup per individual
  • Emergency AM/FM radio and batteries

Tasks to Do

  • Conduct a family or group meeting
  • Answer questions and develop plans for where to meet, who will call who, who brings what, etc.

To continue your monthly prepping preparation, follow along in part two of this two part installment.

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

Can Soldiers March Faster and Longer?

Military Suit

Can Soldiers March Faster and Longer? This is a question that the Army is not only asking, but also actively working on as they develop new prototypes of soft suits that were designed by engineers at Harvard University. The suits will help soldiers to make longer marches and allow the soldiers to march faster without injury to certain muscles.

It is no secret that long marches and patrols can fatigue even the fittest soldiers. This is especially true when soldiers are carrying heavy loads or traveling over rough terrain, both of which are common in today’s military. Well, there may be a new “smart suit” on the horizon to help soldiers march faster, longer, and carry heavier loads.

Smart SuitThe prototypes are being developed and tested by Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. They are working with the Army as well as with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The goal is to develop a “smart suit” that incorporates a complex set of webbing straps that also contain muscle strain sensors and a microprocessor. In simple terms, the unit will mimic the leg muscles of the soldier thus requiring less energy to be expended by the soldier. The reduction in energy loss should allow the soldier to be able to march faster and longer than if he or she were not wearing the suit.

To date, the suit has been tested at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Tests included wearing full battle gear and were conducted on treadmills and a paved three-mile course with some rough terrain also on the course. As of October 2014, nine prototypes have been tested by the Army Research Laboratory. DARPA officials are currently overseeing what is being dubbed the Warrior Web program.

Testing includes measuring the soldier’s stride frequency and length. Measurements are also taken on how long the person’s foot is in contact with the ground. The amount of energy that is expended is also measured in order for testers to calculate how many calories are being used in various types of walking conditions. In addition, testers evaluate muscle activity in order to learn more on just how much work various muscles must use for various types of walking: uphill, downhill, smooth road, rough terrain, etc.

According to both the Army and DARPA, having a suit ready for field use is not far off. During the various phases of testing, the suit has been streamlined and is now easier to wear in terms of fit and comfort. The suit’s systems have also been streamlined, reducing weight and adding functionality. No specific date has been set for the suit’s full release to troops.

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

Will Same-Sex Couples Get VA Benefits?

With the historic Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriages in America comes renewed efforts to give VA benefits to eligible same-sex couples. The current call for action is coming from New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) as she presses the VA to grant full benefits to those who may be eligible for said benefits.

Sen. Shaheen has sent a letter to Robert McDonald, VA Secretary, in which she asks him to move as quickly as possible to set up and implement the “spirit of the Court’s decision” and to ensure and enact measures that eligible veterans are awarded the benefits that they are entitled to now. The onus behind her request is the current VA view that state laws restrict the VA from giving benefits to same-sex couples. Shaheen said in her letter that the current policy means some veterans are not getting all of the benefits that they should be getting simply because of where they reside and who they love.

Same Sex Marriage“This clear inequity has not only been an affront to thousands of men and women who have served our nation faithfully in uniform, it has also offended the basic principles of equality and fairness that are the foundation of our legal system,” the Senator added. With the court’s recent decision, Shaheen says Secretary McDonald should grant benefits immediately, no matter where the same-sex couples may live.

In March of this year, US Senators backed giving Social Security and VA benefits to same-sex couples within the budget bill. Even so, these votes were non-binding. In that measure, Social Security and VA benefits were desired for all: “legally married same-sex couples deserve equal treatment under the law regardless of where they live, but right now eligibility for spousal benefits provided under the Social Security Act and by the Department of Veterans Administration is determined by a residence standard. That means that legally married same-sex couples who move to a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage could be denied Social Security and veterans’ survivor benefits.”

Where all of this is headed is unclear at this point. Will Same-Sex Couples Get VA Benefits?

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

Civilian PTSD: Treatment Options


As a group leader, it will be one of your responsibilities to watch your group members after a natural disaster or other traumatic event in order to monitor for emotional distress, also known as civilian PTSD. If you discover someone is having problems coping, the following treatments may be helpful.

Comfort and Support:

Natural disasters and other traumatic events can change everything in a person’s life. It can shatter a person’s sense of safety. As a group (or family) leader, it will be important that you be proactive in providing both support and comfort to those affected. Encourage those with you, including those affected if they are able, to join in. Even doing small things will be better than being passive.

Establish a Routine:

Leaders should establish a routine, as this can help all members of the group but will be especially helpful for those needing a sense of familiarity to return to their lives. Getting back into any type of normal routine will help those who are traumatized and feeling stressed or helpless. Routines can include anything from eating at certain times to doing school work (for kids who may be affected). Try to keep the mind occupied with positive tasks and conversations.

Depressed ManConnecting with Other People:

Often, civilians with PTSD will want to withdraw from other people and activities. This is not good. The person should be allowed some “alone” time, but they must get back into the group setting as soon as possible. Support from others in the group can go a long way in making this happen.

Acknowledge Their Feelings:

Just because you do not, or cannot, feel the same as the person affected does not mean that their feelings are not real. As a leader, you should acknowledge their feelings and let the person know that you are there for them and will help them in any way possible. Do not mock them and do not order them to “shake it off.” As the leader, it is up to you to be the strong one, and that often means sharing your strength with those who are weakened.

In Summary:

  • Give the affected time to heal and let them mourn their losses
  • Do not try to force or rush the healing process
  • Be as patient as you can be
  • Be ready for volatile emotions from the affected person
  • Do not judge their feelings
  • Be there for them

The amount of time it takes a person to recover from civilian PTSD varies from person to person. Your actions (if they are appropriate and correct) will go a long way in helping this person to get back onto his or her own feet.

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

Honey: A Valuable Prepper Commodity?


Preppers often wonder what other kinds of foods they should have on hand besides beans and rice. One of the best foods to have is honey, and there are some good reasons for this. Let’s look a little deeper at this little wonder.

You already know that people have been using honey for centuries. It was so important in the past that it is listed in the Bible many times as a reward. In later years, honey was found to have many beneficial properties besides tasting great. Its long history is just one piece of evidence that we should be looking more closely at this golden substance.

Honey JarAs we all know, honey comes from honey bees. They gather nectar from flowers and store this in their hives. Proteins and enzymes produced by the bee while it carries the nectar is what turns the nectar into honey after it has been placed in the honeycomb. The water evaporates and the substance thickens. Voila, honey.

Honey is packed with nutrition, which is why we are looking at it here. It contains a variety of sugars, including glucose and fructose. It also contains a fair amount of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphate. More often than not, it also contains some of the B vitamins. The exact chemistry of any honey will depend on the kind of flowers the nectar was taken from. Darker honey is thought to be more packed with nutrition than lighter honey which may be sweeter. Honey can be bought in the stores and this type of honey is normally pasteurized, making it very safe to eat and easy to store. Raw honey has more nutrients but may not store well for long periods of time.

Honey can be used to sweeten things, foods and drinks, but it can do a lot more than that. Good quality honey has some medicinal qualities that the old folks know well. It can be used as an anti-microbial agent to help prevent infections. It can also be used to treat minor burns. Honey is still used in other parts of the world as it was long ago, and it still works. Adding a bit of honey to tea or whiskey is a good way to soothe a sore throat. Many people swear it is good for treating stomach ulcers, and some believe it is effective against respiratory infections. Honey also contains anti-oxidants.

When stored correctly, honey has a very long shelf life. If it happens to crystallize because of cold, just heat it up. If times get really rough, honey will make a fantastic barter item. Don’t forget honey as you are gathering items for your food stockpile.

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

New Airsoft Laws Are on the Way

Airsoft Rifle

Let’s start with a quick definition of what constitutes an airsoft gun. In general, airsoft guns use pressurized air to fire a variety of projectiles. These guns are normally very realistic looking and some are full-scale replicas of various types of powder guns. They can fire a 6 mm plastic pellet at 120 meters per second. To date, there are no federal laws that regulate airsoft guns other than the age requirement to buy one (you must be at least 18), but 22 states do have laws that regulate transfer, possession, and use of them. Most states allow minors to purchase and own these non-powder guns; 4 states consider the guns to be firearms, but only 3 states consider them to be “dangerous weapons.”

I bring all of this up because over the last few years these guns have been used for committing crimes, have resulted in people being shot (because others thought the person had a real gun), and are now considered by many medical professionals to be a major cause of eye injury (some very serious). For these reasons (and more), states are drafting (or considering drafting) new laws to regulate airsoft guns. The laws on the books right now vary from state to state, and airsoft owners should see what (if any) laws apply to their state.

Airsoft LawsOn a general level, most states will prosecute a person using an airsoft weapon to commit a crime. Just because the gun is not “real” will not always provide a valid defense; the person may be charged (and tried in court) as if the gun were authentic. Also, persons carrying a concealed airsoft gun may face problems with local police, including being “drawn down” on.

The following are some of the laws currently being enforced (by state/city):

  • Any and all replica guns (including airsoft types) are illegal in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and San Francisco, CA.
  • In New York City, airsoft guns and realistic-looking replica firearms must be marked with bright colors that can be seen by others. Brandishing these guns (in a threatening manner) is considered illegal.
  • In Michigan, purchase is legal but all realistic-looking replicas must have a bright orange tip on the barrel.
  • Minnesota has several laws: No one under the age of 14 may use any type of airsoft gun. In the city of Minneapolis, you cannot carry an airsoft gun unless it has an orange tip, and you cannot fire the gun inside the city limits. No one is allowed to carry any type of airsoft gun that has a laser attachment on it. Transporting of all airsoft guns must be within a concealed compartment and the gun must be unloaded.

With the rise in the use of airsoft guns during the commission of a crime, many states are drafting new airsoft gun laws in an effort to prevent further violence. Be sure you are up to date on the laws in your area.

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