Welcome to the Thanksgiving to Christmas stretch. This year it will be a hard time and we all need to be safe. It’s a good time to curl up and read some books.
Today, Area 51: Interstellar is free. The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide is only .99 through 4 December. The Nightstalker books, Nightstalkers, Book of Truths, The Rift and Time Patrol are all only .99 all of December.
If you’re looking for a thoughtful stocking stuffer, The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide is perfect.
I’m working on the next Will Kane book, No Quarter as well as a sequel to Agnes and the Hitman which is tentatively titled Shane and the Red Wedding. More on that as I get into the home stretch of having a draft done early next year.
I’m also doing vidcasts with slides of various topics. My first one is about Why Prepare, is on Youtube, and is an appropriate topic as we go into the new year and we look forward to rebooting everything.
Please stay safe and wear a mask. It truly does work!
Only 2 of 50 states are not in red condition for COVID-19.
We’ve had almost a complete year to deal with this virus and have failed completely. We’ve worse than failed. Many Americans, including key leaders, still insist there is no real problem. The deadliest place on the planet for COVID right now is South Dakota whose governor still insists that masks are intrusive and nothing should be locked down.
We’re still short PPE. Seriously. Looking up the definition of negligent homicide, there is no doubt that starting from the top and moving down, there are numerous people in this administration who would be found guilty by any reasonable jury. 2,000 Americans die a day and the President golfs and undermines the pillars of democracy with ludicrous claims of election fraud. In case anyone forgot he claimed the election in 2016 was a fraud—until he won it.
I saw someone complaining on social media how mandates are restrictive and tyranny and I wondered if they felt the same way about speed limits? Even the Pope disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling on religious gatherings.
We will soon be seeing 3,000 die a day—an entire 9-11 every single day. The vaccine might start rolling out in mid-December but we will not see enough vaccinations for at least six months to make a difference. Hospitals are at the breaking point and we will see heart-breaking triages in December and January as we get hit with the Thanksgiving surge. People are dying because they wanted to out to a bar. Right now. In the time you took to read this, a couple of people have died and those deaths were most likely preventable.
Once more: wear a mask. Stay away from crowded places, especially indoors. Get take out if you need to have restaurant food.
The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide makes an excellent stocking stuffer and could save someone’s life.
Day 258: 2020 Pandemic. Preparation and Survival Task #9, 10 and 11. Continue Your Area Study: Your Home, Drowning, Fire Prevention and Firearm Safety.
I’m putting these three together. They seem common sense, but then again. I’ll discuss fire further on in more detail.
Mild: Drowning Prevention Checklist
Always monitor young children when bathing.
Insure your dishwasher and washing machine are off when done.
Never leave water running when you’re not watching it. This is not only for injuries but for home damage (speaking from experience).
Don’t use electronics around water, especially the bath.
Keep toilet lids closed.
Pools should be completely enclosed with at least a four-foot high fence and childproof gate.
Never allow children in a pool unsupervised.
Mild: Fire Prevention Checklist
Smoke detectors in every bedroom
Smoke detector on every floor
Test smoke detectors every month
Replace smoke detector batteries every six months
Never leave the kitchen while the stove is on
Never leave candles burning overnight or when not home
Mild: Firearm Prevention Checklist
All firearms must be secured in a locked area
Locked trigger guards on all firearms
Never leave a loaded firearm unattended
Know and follow all firearms safety rules
Day 257: 2020 Pandemic. Preparation and Survival Task #8. Continue Your Area Study: Your Home, Prevent Choking, Suffocation.
Hand in there. We’ll get to the exciting stuff soon enough.
To prevent choking and suffocation
There’s a reason certain toys are designated for certain ages. What a child can put in their mouth, they will put in their mouth.
When putting babies to sleep make sure there is nothing around them that can cause suffocation.
Watch children during meals. Do they know how to chew properly before swallowing? Cut up food for younger children into bite-sized portions. Stay away from hard candy and foods that can obstruct the airway.
Put trash bags and other plastic bags in places where children can’t get to them. The same with the plastic bag that comes back from the dry-cleaners.
Secure batteries, particularly button batteries, from children.
Mild: Choking/Suffocation Prevention Checklist
Keep small toys, items out of reach of toddlers
Clear sleeping areas for babies from all possible items that could smother them
Keep trash bags and plastic bags out of reach of children
Keep batteries, especially button batteries, out of reach of children
Day 256: 2020 Pandemic. Preparation and Survival Task #7. Continue Your Area Study: Your Home, Prevent Poisoning.
I know these tasks about the home seem mundane and not as sexy as learning to start a fire with a box and piece of wood, but I emphasize the things you’re more likely to deal with first. The most likely threats.
It is more likely for children to be seriously hurt or killed by ingesting a toxic agent.
To prevent poisoning
Label all unmarked liquid containers. If you wonder what’s in that old plastic jug or bottle, assume it’s poison. NEVER use food or drink containers to store hazardous material.
Store cleaning products safely and out of reach of children.
Store medicines securely and out of reach of children.
Put child proof cabinet locks on all doors within reach of children.
Have the poison control phone number posted in your kitchen and on speed dial on your cell phone. 800-222-1222.
Never mix household cleaning products together. Some don’t like each other and produce toxic gasses, particularly bleach and ammonia.
Never mix medicines together without consulting a doctor or pharmacist. Or call the poison help hotline which is monitored 24 hours a day and they can give you advice: 800-222-1222.
Monitor your heaters and fireplaces for CO2 emissions. Have fireplaces cleaned yearly.
Mild: Poison Prevention Checklist
Post Poison Control # Prominently in kitchen: 800-222-1222
Label all unmarked liquid containers
Insure all cleaning products are stores out of reach of children
Insure all medications are stores out of reach of children and have childproof caps
Never mix medications without approval
Monitor all heaters and fireplaces for CO2
Have fireplaces and chimneys cleaned annually
Day 255: 2020 Pandemic. Preparation and Survival Task #6. Continue Your Area Study: Your Home, Part I
When we think survival, we picture someone out in the wilderness in a pine tree lean-to, but we spend most of our time in our home and it’s easy to overlook what we can do to make that environment safer. It is far more likely, in fact a given, that you will experience one of the accidents or emergencies listed in this section.
When I research, I find statistics that are all over the place because people can’t agree on definitions. Once more, those statistics are variables that differ from home to home, so I won’t quote many (those of you with pocket protectors and calculators can google them) but let’s do an Area Study for your home in terms of the most likely areas of concern.
- Falls are a leading cause of injury and death. This is more likely based on the previous part of the Area Study: your personal physical condition. Older people, naturally, are more susceptible to falls and getting injured. One in three people, 65 or older, will suffer a fall leading to serious injury, if not death.
- Poisoning goes in the opposite direction for susceptibility: it is more likely for children to be seriously hurt or killed by ingesting a toxic agent.
- Children are also susceptible to choking, suffocation, drowning and scalding. This includes airway obstruction.
- Water leads to drowning. Do you have a pool? Water nearby?
- Fires and burns are likely dangers.
To prevent falls
Clear clutter. Pick things up and put them away. How many times have we tripped over something that doesn’t belong on the floor?
Look at your rugs. Are the edges secured? Are folds flattened? Do they slide? Use tape and rug mats underneath to prevent this.
Bathroom: place grab bars and non-slip maps in all bathrooms. The bathroom is very dangerous because water and soap makes things slippery; and if you do fall you’re going to hit something hard like a counter or tile floor. We never land on the fluffy pile of freshly laundered towels, do we?
Lighting: make sure all areas are sufficiently lit, particularly staircases. When we lived in a 100 year old house, a back stairwell didn’t have a light in it. The stairs also turned near the bottom. We bought a number of motion sensor, battery powered lights and put them in that stairwell and all over the house. Often we placed them just as you enter a room, inside the door jam or on the wall, low down. They have been life-savers.
Always wear slippers or shoes with rubber soles. I can attest to the danger of just socks on wooden stairs. Never a good combination.
Make your stairs safe. If you have small children or they visit, become an expert at installing childproof gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Have handrails for all stairs.
Use ladders properly and do not exceed specifications. Always place on solid footing. Have someone hold taller ladders at bottom when in use. Make sure leaning ladders are placed against a solid point.
Mild: Fall Prevention Checklist
Secure edges of all rugs
Secure rugs to floors so they don’t bunch or slide
Place grab bars and non-slip mats in bathrooms
Make sure all stairways and dark areas are adequately lit
AMIR motion sensor light: https://amzn.to/2LwlkKY
Wear Slippers or shoes with rubber bottoms at all times
Childproof stairs with gates at top and bottom
Do all stairs have handrails?
Use ladders properly according to specifications
Further evaluate the people on your A-Team.
Mild: Evaluate and list the following for you and each member of your A-Team.
Overall Physical Condition:
Ability to walk/run:
Able to drive? What types vehicles?
By looking at these checklists you can see what assets and liabilities you and your A-Team have.
One size does not fit all. A key step in preparation I found most preparation and survival books skip is the Area Study. This allows you to tailor the preparation that’s going to follow this task. There will be several tasks to complete under Area Study.
In Special Forces, prior to deploying to an Area of Operations, we conducted an Area Study. An Area Study is examining your area of operations with the perspective of evaluating assets and threats so you can properly prepare. An Area Study will tighten down your preparation and focus on things in order of priority for your specific situation. It’s not just the environment, but also includes yourself and your team. Then you study home, your work, school, and any other locales where you, and people on your A-Team, spend a significant amount of time. When taking a trip, you should conduct a travel area study, examining the route you will take, your destination, and your route back.
There are so many cases where a thoughtful Area Study followed up by the appropriate preparations would have saved lives. Preparation is so much better than reacting. Which is what we’re doing now.
Area Studies can have non-emergency uses, such as if you’re considering moving to a new place. An Area Study can provide valuable decision making data.
What special skills and background do you have? The people on your team?
These include medical, construction, problem solving, military, the list is basically about coping with a mild emergency that isn’t life-threatening. The key is to know what you can and can’t do, and what those around you can and can’t do. Think back to the last emergency experienced—what was the reaction? The answer to this will give a heads up to how one will react in the next emergency. There is no right or wrong answer, but awareness helps.
These skills include medical, military, gardening, hunting, survival training and experience, pilot, boat operation, camping, weapons, cooking, land navigation, swimming, communication (personal and technical) construction, problem solving, fire starting, knot tying, the list goes on and on. Think back to the last crisis encountered. What was the instinctual reaction? Some people can react well others panic. This is a reality that has to be factored into any scenario.
Mild: Evaluate & list the following for you and each member of your A-Team.
Ability to react in an emergency:
Special Skills Background #1:
Special Skills Background #2:
Special Skills Background #3:
Special Skills Background #4:
Overall physical condition
This includes ability to walk, how much of a pack one could carry, physical disabilities, allergies, medical status, special needs, etc.
For future tasks, I include specific information about gear and equipment. The items linked are for reference purpose. I personally have all things listed. Feel free to search further for what you want. I need to disclose I am using affiliate links for items on Amazon and the GAIA app later on. Not just because it’s required, but to understand I am giving examples and linking to things on Amazon makes it easier to show gear as there’s an overwhelming amount of things out there. One rule of thumb: the cheaper the gear costs, the cheaper the gear.
Also, any money made off affiliate links is donated to charity, primarily the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Also, sometimes things are no longer available, so I add the item description. Please email me if any links to gear, web sites, etcetera are no longer valid and I can update immediately.
You can get whatever you want, wherever you want. Also, if you want to talk to experts, I recommend finding the closest REI store or local outdoor store and talking to the people who work there.
Many households don’t have a basic first aid kit. If you don’t, it’s critical that you have one. I’ll have more information on medical gear later, but at least a basic kit to start.
Mild: If you don’t have one, get a first aid kit for your home.
M2 Basics First Aid Kit
Day 251: 2020 Pandemic. Preparation and Survival Task #2: Contact Information, Emergency Numbers and Alert Flow; IRP and ERP.
Unless you plan on being totally alone in an emergency there are others who are on your “A-Team”.
A-TEAM refers to the people you will be with during an emergency/disaster. In Special Forces, the core operational element is the A-Team. For many of us that means our family. For others, it could be a group of people we’ve coordinated with beforehand (more on that shortly). In an emergency it could also be the people we’re trapped with. I use this term instead of constantly referring to family/team/friends.
Do you have all the key information about those people? Do you have their phone number memorized or written down in case you aren’t able to access the address book in your cell phone?
Do you have an Out of Area Contact and an Immediate Rally Point and Emergency Rally Point?
IRP stands for Immediate Rally Point. This is a point outside of your home/work/school where your team can gather if they have to evacuate for some reason. The most likely reason for this would be if there was a fire. It needs to be a place that’s easily identifiable and not far from the home/work/school and everyone can find in the dark.
It’s also the place where your A-Team will rendezvous if they can’t go into the home/work/school for whatever reason, but need to assemble from other locations, such as school and/or work.
A street intersection works well. Or a nearby building.
ERP stands for Emergency Rally Point. It is where everyone will assemble if they can’t get to the IRP or home. This is also where your A-Team will rendezvous if they have to evacuate the home/work/school during a moderate or extreme emergency and have to stay remote for at least a day or more, with the possibility of not returning to the home.
Mild: A-Team Contact Information & Alert Flow
A-Team Member #1
Cell phone #:
A-Team Member #2
Cell phone #:
A-Team Member #3
Cell phone #:
A-Team Member #4
Cell phone #:
A-Team Member #5
Cell phone #:
A-Team Member #6
Cell phone #:
Out of Area Contact*, Immediate Rally Point, Emergency Rally Point
Out of Area Contact Location/Phone #:
Immediate Rally Point location:
Emergency Rally Point location:
Mild: Emergency Information
Poison Control: 800-222-1222
Health Insurance Phone # and Account #s:
Insurance Company Phone # and Account #s:
Closest Police Station Location/Phone:
Closest Emergency Room Location/Phone:
Closest Fire Station Location/Phone:
Power/Gas/Utilities Company Phone #:
Water Company Phone #:
*The out of area emergency point of contact is someone who would be unaffected by a local disaster or weather event and everyone on your team can contact to update their status. This is in case you can’t contact A-Team members in the midst of the emergency/disaster.