A Prepper’s Beans, Bandages & Bullets

Article by Pinoy Prepper, Emergency Research Center "Lamang ang Handa sa Hindi!" Prepper Definition:
Prepper (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle
Source: Prepper.org Rule of Threes
  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food and you will die
These are your survival priorities. Remember them well. Do not eat food unless you have adequate water. In an emergency – you will generally have three options:
  • Lockdown
  • Shelter-In-Place
  • Evacuate
In any of the three cases above, you will need basic supplies:

BEANS – Food and Water

"We are 9 meals away from chaos" – Preppers predict that peace and order will be at risk after the population misses 9 meals. That’s only three days worth of meals. While it’s true that you may live several weeks without food provided you have water, that’s on the assumption that your are just lying down or sitting still. During a survival situation you may have a lot of tasks to perform. Walking from one place to another is one of them. Walking burns calories and you will need an appropriate amount of food to replenish your energy source. You may well be constantly avoiding hordes of hungry people. Remember the pack of kids begging for money at street intersections? Imagine this multiplied by the thousands. People begging for food and stealing what’s available. Plan your food stocks well. Consider nutrition, weight, portability and palatability. Your food stocks must be nutritious. This means most junk foods are out. Since you may end up carrying your food stocks, weight is a premium. This will take most canned goods out of the equation. Remember, you cannot eat if you do not have an adequate supply of water. Water is heavy as 1 liter weighs approximately 1 kilogram (weight to volume is dependent on temperature, water quality, etc). For this reason, have alternate means to purify your water. You can buy water filters or make simple ones that will filter out the coarser suspended particles. You can find details elsewhere in this book. In a pinch, you may have to resort to SODIS. Solar Disinfection is a UN approved method which involves any clear bottle, filling it with questionable water (filter the water first if its cloudy) and exposing it to the sun for a whole day. SODIS works by exposing the microorganisms in the water to ultra violet light in our sun’s rays killing them in the process. Use clear glass bottles for SODIS, only use clear plastic bottles if glass is not available. WARNING: SODIS will not keep toxins out of the water - use filters for this purpose.<.em> Store enough water for drinking. Avoid using the water for bathing! People can live without bathing.

BANDAGES – Medical Skills, Equipment and Supplies.

Its not enough to have a deluxe Medical kit with the latest bells and whistles. A Prepper should have enough first aid knowledge to handle medical, dental and mental emergencies. Emergency Childbirth is one of the must have skills in the Prepper’s medical tool kit. If you have to read the manual during an actual emergency, its too late! Learn life saving skills such as managing shock, controlling severe bleeding and performing CPR. Along the way, learn and practice basic first aid skills such as bandaging, splinting, and wound care. The time to learn is now, before it’s too late. To control severe bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound until the bleeding visibly stops. One of the best improvised dressings one can use is a feminine napkin. This direct descendant of the battle dressing absorbs blood effectively and can thus perform an admirable job of controlling bleeding when coupled with direct pressure. To manage shock – watch the face. If the face is pale or bluish, raise the feet. This will make the blood from the extremities flow to the vital organs such as the brain, heart and lungs. Keep the victim warm by covering him/her with a blanket, jacket or other material. In as much as your pets will need to have their own supplies of food and water, don’t forget to learn first aid for your pets. You can even learn how to do CPR for man’s best friend - your dog!

BULLETS – Skills and equipment to defend oneself.

It’s not enough to have a gun and ammunition. One must be proficient in its safe and effective use. The same applies to knives, spears, sticks, bottles, stones, bows & arrows. Learn basic self defense moves. It is better to master one technique than be spotty with a thousand. Learn and practice your skills with different people. In self defense, familiarity breeds contempt. Remember: Trained fighters are predictable; but the world is full of dangerous amateurs!

BUGGING OUT – (Evacuating)

EDC (Every Day Carry) These are the items you carry on your person on an everyday basis. EDC’s are predicated on the premise that an emergency may strike at any moment, any time, any day. My EDC is my wallet, I have adhesive strips “band aids”, a large safety pin that I use for repairs, first aid, lock picking, and a host of other McGyver stuff. There’s also a survival multi-tool with a dozen uses and of course, cash. Bring a flashlight – the small LED button lights are marvelous. Bring a lighter – nothing beats a lighter for starting fires. An emergency situation is not the place to start learning how to light a fire. Rubbing sticks together or striking stones to make fire takes some time to learn. Study now. Learn how to start a fire with a battery (your cellphone has one – but only use it if a fire has priority over communications) and a staple wire. BOB (Bug Out Bag) My bug out bag is my 33 liter capacity laptop bag which contains my pocket survival kit, ten mile cloth bandanna, monocular, hoody wind/rain jacket, trauma medical kit and a host of other goodies. This bag goes with me to corporate meetings (my netbook, flash drives and peripherals are in it) as well as three day jaunts to the province, training courses, jungle treks and the rest of my Prepper activities. BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) Depending on where you live and your situation, your bug out vehicle may be a 4X4 monster truck, a family sedan, a dual purpose motorcycle, a mountain bike or a cariton! Consider the fact that in a bug out situation the usual routes will be clogged with fellow evacuees. Recall images of Hurricane Katrina in Florida and Louisiana – highways filled with so many cars they looked like giant parking lots. Figure out your PACE – Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency routes. Have at least two and at best four routes out of your area. Consider waterways for your bug out. If you have the means, consider air travel as well. Otherwise, be prepared to hunker down and Shelter-In-Place in your home, office or school.

Pinoy Prepper’s Observations:

Its not the rich Prepper with the latest bells and whistles who will make it through a long term disaster. It’s the street dwellers who live on survival mode on a daily basis. It’s the person with the kariton poking through the garbage and cooking with the tin can you threw out months ago. It’s the street folk who are used to this environment. They know where the best pickings are, where to find water, how to prepare what food they forage. They live without most of the things we “civilized folks” take for granted. No bed, no bathroom, no water, no closet full of clothes, no laptop, no aircon, heck, no electricity! The point being raised here is the fact that we have to train and condition ourselves to survival conditions. Anybody who is comfort oriented will have a hard time surviving the big one. If you can’t sleep without air conditioning, can’t go to the corner convenience store without your car or can’t walk a city block, think again. You have to toughen yourself up for an emergency. Think about this… Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks. Exercise! More than half of us chair sitters are going to die of a heart attack let alone a major emergency. If push comes to shove, can you walk 10 kilometers (that’s not far – runners run that distance)? Drink water from a nearby stream? Sleep under the stars? Can you live without your aircon? Cellphone? Car? Comfort food? Starbucks? Facebook? - if you can’t, have another think. Establish your priorities. Have you made peace with your maker? Do you have faith in your abilities? Are you trained? Do you have the skills needed to survive? This is what Prepping and being a Prepper is all about. Continue Reading

Firearms for self-protection after a disaster

I have not seen any of the mainstream preparedness information resources discuss the effectiveness of firearms for self-protection after a major disaster. Usually it is left to the niche survivalist sites to tackle. Perhaps the subject is too politically sensitive for large organizations. Generally, the focus is simply on stocking up on supplies, making a plan and then taking your lead from 'The Authorities'. Unfortunately, recent examples have shown that for some time after a disaster, the authorities are often nowhere to be seen. Looting and violent crime surge while ordinary people are left to fend for themselves against criminals. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans suffered from widespread looting. Survivors of the Chilean Earthquke of 2010 were forced to form their own local watch group against criminals, arming themselves with makeshift weapons. In Haiti, criminals fought with other earthquake survivors over scarce resources. One Haitian witness said, "All the policemen are busy rescuing and burying their own families. They don't have the time to patrol the streets." Interestingly, the 2011 Earthquake in Japan proved to be an exception. There, the quake victims were orderly, looting was almost non-existent and even the Yakuza enforced order while helping to distribute relief goods.

Post-disaster Manila will not be orderly

Will a post-disaster Manila more resemble Japan or Haiti? It's silly even to pose the question when we have, as a normal occurrence, akyat-bahay (house intruder) gangs who sneak into homes, sometimes killing the occupants for low value items. Of course, there's a place for expecting the best out of your fellow man and people often pull together during adversity. Just don't rely on this happening. It seems likely that desperation will cause more people to use violence on others. In particular, the people who've taken the effort to prepare beforehand may become a target of envy from those who did nothing, or those unfortunate enough to have lost everything. We must accept the fact that people may want to do us harm and there is no tool more effective at repelling them than a firearm in the hands of a trained person. Sticks, pepper-spray, unarmed self-defence and strong words all have their place but only a firearm enables a weaker person to repel several stronger attackers.

Get a gun, learn how to use it

I realize that advocating this is controversial but I would be doing you a great disservice by simply ignoring the topic. If you are at all serious about preparedness, you need to get a gun and learn how to use it. Preparedness includes being ready to protect yourself, your family and your property. There's little point in stocking up on supplies when everything can be taken away by a street thug or desperate mob. Let me be clear, however, that using your firearm against an adversary should obviously be considered the absolute last option; there are many, many things you can do to avoid that situation altogether. Nevertheless, dealing with reality means acknowledging that the danger exists. Some believe that the best way to protect people is to strive for a 'gunless society'. While they are entitled to their point-of-view, these well-meaning people are sadly misguided. A deeper discussion belongs elsewhere so all I will say here is that if a major disaster hits the Philippines, our society will definitely not be gunless. Fortunately, Filipino civilians can legally own firearms and the country has an active sport shooting culture so there are many information sources available. If you are a novice, do yourself a big favor and join a gun club. There you can get more information about training and legally purchasing a firearm. Armscor, Jethro and Stronghand are just a few of the the more popular clubs in Manila.

Types of firearms useful in a disaster

The subject of which types of firearms for a disaster sitauation can, on its own, cover many articles and generate heated debate. I'll just give you a summary of my opinion on the matter. 'Prepper' and survivalist sites, usually US-based, often advocate that you should have three types of firearms: a handgun, a rifle and a shotgun. Their reasoning is that this covers you for the range of uses from concealed carry and home defense to hunting game for food. I don't think this advice quite applies to Manila residents. First of all, the only 'game' you're likely to hunt will probably be disease-ridden rats, cats and dogs. Secondly, the tight confines of our city would mean that the longer range of a rifle may pose a risk to innocent people if you miss your target. (And if someone is at a distance where you'd need a rifle, they're not likely to pose an immediate danger so why would you be shooting at them?) Personally, I believe that the best combination for those of us living in Manila is the handgun and shotgun. A handgun can be kept with you at all times and easily concealed so as not to cause alarm. The shotgun provides more power while being reasonably priced and versatile. Shotgun shells are also widely available and cheaper than rifle ammunition.
Shotgun and pistol with ammunition
Firearms for home protection after a disaster: Mossberg 500 with a variety of loads, Springfield XD 45 and Ruger LCP pistols
Many Filipino preppers, like their American counterparts, are also fans of what are classed in the Philippines as 'high powered rifles' (HPRs). Examples of these include the AR-15, M4 (technically a carbine) or AK-47. Some tend to look down on the shotgun as an inferior cousin and believe that you must have a HPR for any serious civil unrest situation. If your situation allows you the opportunity to own a carbine or high-powered rifle, great; there's nothing wrong with having more tools in your toolbox. However, these are expensive and the sale of HPRs to civilians are restricted. The expense and effort it takes to procure one may be better spent on other areas, like learning first aid or buying food and medical supplies.

Choose what suits your situation

Ultimately you should choose what suits your situation while considering what's most likely to happen. A major earthquake or flood is unlikely to turn Manila into a war zone so stocking up like Rambo may not be the best use of your resources. However, it's prudent to expect a rise in violent crime like looting, hold-ups, rapes and armed home invasions. Also remember that those who are most at risk would be the weaker members of your family such as children, grandparents and especially women. You may not be around to protect them so it's important to ensure that they're capable of protecting themselves. Firearms do this more effectively than any other tool.
Please practice peaceful and responsible firearms ownership Remember to observe the four rules of firearm safety:
  1. Always assume that the gun is loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
For more information, please visit progun.ph
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