Outside of three West African nations, which are being ravaged by Ebola, the health threat from Ebola still remains small. Am I dismissing the risk of further spread? No. Am I dismissing the fact the numbers infected are still exponentially increasing? No. Am I even claiming that Ebola won’t return to the US and spread globally? No. What I am saying is that for those of us in the US, the biggest danger Ebola poses to the masses in the near term is economic. In fact, if you want to best prepare for an Ebola pandemic, you should prepare for an economic collapse, which will affect you long before you run a real risk of infection. Read more
For Part II in our series on bug out kits, I will look at some specifics for planning your kit if you happen to live in or around the nation’s capital. I chose to address DC first, because it is a city where the conditions that trigger bugging out are likely to occur and it offers some very specific challenges that are applicable to many urban centers across the US. Hopefully, you have had a chance to read my intro post on building your bug out kit. If not, first review thin information we posted at: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/13/location-specific-bug-out-bags-part-i/.
Why would you worry about having to bug out if you live in DC? Read more
Compliments of Zerohedge.com we get a look inside the aircraft I like to term the Ebola Gay. I just wonder what the fail safe is for an unexpected cabin depressurization.
October 16, 2014
I would estimate that at least once a week I get an email from someone asking me about what is the best bug-out bag. I have apparently, quite noticeably, avoided posting on this topic because there is a ton of commentary already out there on the subject and it honestly just “depends.” However, after looking through “images” of various bug out bags on the internet, I realized just how poorly prepared and informed most people are. From junk gear to ridiculous “essentials,” I reviewed over 100 images and did not see a single kit I would grade as sufficient (of course a smart person won’t post their kit online). As such, the critical need for good information appears as relevant now as it ever was. So, in an attempt to inform our readers and answer your questions I want to make this discussion relevant. To do so, I must get specific to the unique details of each situation. Therefore, I will speak to kits best suited for urban hubs as well as specialized travel situations like at an airport or taking a cruise, both domestically and abroad, where someone could find themselves trapped during a crisis and needing to escape to survive. Due to the specificity of this series of posts, I believe our readers will find this information to be some of the most valuable and relevant tips and advice out there on the net. Further, the kits and my methodology have been proven over and over across the globe not just in combat, but in real life crises and disasters of every sort. As an intro post on this subject, I will cover the general issues, I see most often, to lay a foundation for follow-on posts detailing location and situation specific kits.
“What is the best bug out bag?” is the first question I normally get. The answer is simple; it is the one you have with you at the time when you need it. In both combat and peacetime operations overseas, I repeatedly witnessed the lesson that if it isn’t on you when you need it, you might as well have trashed it before you left. For this reason, I don’t like to refer to a bug out “bag” because it implies this may be something you don’t have immediately on you and left behind. Instead, I prefer the term bug out kit. However, as we will discuss, I do believe in having various preparedness kits that include bags stowed where they are immediately available.
“What should I pack in my kit?” is the second question I normally get. For starters, always use the highest quality items you can acquire. All too often I review a kit of a client and find that they have used cheap, throwaway type items. Ask yourself, how much money is my life worth. This is the gear you will rely on for survival under the worst case conditions. Can you afford not to have the best possible gear? The second part of the answer is put nothing in it you haven’t first thoroughly tested and become proficient with. In this regard I often find brand new water purifiers, radios, and firearms that have never been used. When I ask the owner about how to operate the system, I usually get a blank stare and a scramble for the directions. This is an automatic failure. Know your gear, use it, and master it. I don’t care how sexy your gear is, if you don’t know how to properly operate it, it is a liability.
Perhaps ironically, the third question I usually get is something in regards to the viability of their bug out plan. This tells me immediately that their planning priorities are out of sync and most likely will be flawed. A deep analysis should be done of your bug out options long before a crisis ensues. This allows time for proper rehearsals, testing, and modification of said plan under controlled conditions. Note, in later posts, I will discuss in extremis escape bug out planning. Further, before you can properly prepare your bug out kit, it is essential to know what you are preparing to do. For example, if you have to go through subterranean tunnels, headlamps, batteries, and respirators are a must. However, if your plan takes you through waterways, you better have a way to waterproof your gear and cross bodies of moving water. Finally, your kit must be fully integrated to support your bug out plan. For example, if you staged your kit on the top floor of a downtown high rise building where your office is located, but you spend the majority of your day on the road making sales visits, it is probably not going to help you in an emergency. Nonetheless, in spite of the seemingly endless variables, there are still basic essentials that a prepared person should never leave home without.
This list of items is not prioritized since I consider all items as must have. A prepared person will not only tailor their wardrobe for functionality, but also in a way that allows them to have all of their essential kit with them at all times. Optimally, “one is none and two is one.” I can’t expect you to incur the added weight in many situations for redundant systems, but you should opt for overlap in your gear and planning as much as possible. To make these posts as useful as possible, I will often reference specific products and gear. I have personally used all of the items I recommend and know that when employed properly, the gear will work as advertised. You may read these specific references as product advertising, but I assure you, I have not received any financial gain and am only speaking from my own experience. These products stand on their own quality and I am simply validating the products work well for the purposes I describe based on my real life use and employment of them. Further, there are many other products that are equally suitable or perhaps, better for your specific needs. You need to test and choose what specific items fit “your” needs best. With this understanding, always have:
- A means of communication (cell phone/CB/SatPhone/etc.): If you use a cell, make sure you have important numbers memorized or written down because in the event your phone is lost or destroyed, you may still be able to find and use another. I find that with phones, I can slip a laminated list of emergency numbers inside the battery compartment or protective case. Make sure you harden your phone so that it is stored in a ruggedized, shock and weatherproof case. OtterBox and Pelican make a rugged line of cases that have performed well under tough environments. With all electronic items, you should have a backup power source or spare batteries. I have used both GOALZERO and Solio commercial products for this purpose successfully. Both are well engineered as lightweight, packable, ruggedized chargers that are suitable for bugging out.
- Water: You cannot last more than a few days without water in the best of conditions. Your plan must provide for redundant sources of potable water. Optimally, you will need one gallon of water per day. However, water is one of the heaviest things you carry so for anyone bugging out on foot, it is reasonable to plan to carry as little as two quarts at a time between water resupply points, but your resupply plan must be sound. Many people have transitioned to hydration packs such as those made by Camelbak, which are excellent for hydration on the move. However, I still carry a couple insulated water bottles/canteens. The wide mouth containers are excellent if you plan on traveling in temperatures that will drop below freezing where the water in the hydration bladder tubes will freeze solid. Wide mouth bottles are also much easier to clean and thanks to insulation, keep cold things cold and hot things hot. Finally, depending on the type of purifier you use, a bottle is far easier to use.
- Purifier: If you don’t carry all the water you need with you, you must have the means to purify it as you go. Failure to properly purify water even once could lead to becoming very ill or contracting crippling…even deadly diseases. In fact, clean water in most of the world is virtually unknown. Fortunately, today, there are a wide variety of purification technologies to choose from. However, it is important to get the right information. In particular, most water “filters” are great for purifying relatively clean water or water only likely to contain bacterial (or larger) contaminates, but do not kill or remove viruses. Chemical treatments have similar virus “or” bacteria drawbacks and are prone to only being effective in a narrow water temperature band. As such, I tailor purification equipment to the available water sources in a client’s bug out plan. Dangerously, some of the worst diseases like Hepatitis and Polio thrive in water polluted with human waste, which is quite common during a disaster or grid down situation and would not be neutralized by typical bacterial purifiers using just a filter such as water purifying straws. Thus, for most applications, I recommended a redundant system of a pot or cup to boil water when stationary and a SteriPen to use on the move to effectively kill the full spectrum of microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoans). The application of a few drops of stabilized oxygen can also serve the same purpose. None of these methods add harmful chemicals or a foul taste to the water. Further, few other methods effectively deal with all microorganisms across a broad water temperature range. In special situations where high levels of industrial contaminants are found throughout the region’s water supplies, I will also recommend a water filter that incorporates a carbon filtration cartridge to pre-filter the water and reduce (not eliminate) chemical contaminates.
- Metal pot or cup and a spoon: Whether you are brewing a cup of coffee or boiling water to reconstitute your meal, you need some type of metal pot or cup and a metal spoon. Further, when all other means of water purification fail, boiling water is still your best method to kill the things in your water that will make you sick. When selecting a pot or cup, try to find one that will “nest” with other gear to save space. Often people will take a very lightweight backpacker’s stove and fuel cartridge and store it inside their pot or store their food in their pot. Remember, you will need to handle your cup or pot over a fire when its boiling hot so have some type of tool to grab the pot, a handle, or leather glove. Having a fitted lid will allow you to boil your water faster, keep out debris and bugs, and prevent spills. Finally, make sure you have a couple of sealable plastic bags with a scrub pad to clean your pot. As for the spoon, it is a do it all tool for cooking. Just make sure it is metal so it won’t melt or break. If you want to shave a couple ounces of weight you can purchase a titanium spoon and pot. Otherwise, I prefer to use stainless steel over aluminum even though it is heavier.
- Food: Depending on your bug out plan, you should plan for a minimum of three days of food without resupply. A good kit will have both quick trail foods you can keep in your pockets such as energy bars and more substantial meals such as a dinner entrees in your pack. I have used bars for as long as I can remember to “take the edge off.” Bars, peanut butter, and trail mix are high energy, easy to carry, and reasonably non-perishable foods that will be your first option if you must stay on the move. However, as soon as you get a chance to stop, you will need to eat a high calorie meal. Freeze dried backpacking meals are some of the lightest, most nutritious, and easiest to prepare (just add boiling water), but are also the most expensive. Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs) require no preparation, but are heavier because they already have water added. Both are palatable, but I would not class these meals as “good.” Both options also have long shelf lives, which combine to make them your optimum choices for pre-packed emergency food. However, which type of meal is best really depends on whether your plan allows for building a fire and boiling water or laying low and eating a cold meal from a bag.
- An emergency signaling device (whistle, mirror, high visibility panel, flare, etc.): Most people find a way to totally integrate this into their wardrobe. For example, attach a whistle to all of your jacket zippers and have an article of clothing that is brightly colored.
- Ziploc bags: Carry a few heavy duty freezer bags of various sizes to organize and waterproof your gear. Later, these can be used for many things such as carry water or gathering food.
- A weatherproofed fire starter (lighter, matches, fire steel) with some type of weatherproofed tinder (cotton balls dipped in Vaseline are excellent): This is not a time to prove your woodcraft skills. If you need a fire, you don’t want to mess around. Put one lighter in your pocket. Then have a secondary in a small waterproof case that includes tinder independently sealed. I have found small Pelican cases for water sports excellent in the regard. They are tough, float, and remain watertight. Fire starters are one time where redundancy is a must.
- A navigation aid (preferably a liquid filled compass): I have successfully used many different compasses. Suunto, Brunton, and Silva all make great compasses that can be acquired at a reasonable price. A lensatic model will be far more accurate for someone skilled in orienteering. However, don’t waste your money on super small (swallow size) survival compasses unless you plan on hiding it as a POW. They rarely work well and if it comes down to actually needing to navigate with it beyond finding cardinal directions, you will not be served well. A GPS and or electronic compass are also very nice, but remember they are never as robust; especially, in an EMP type event. Nonetheless, I still use a Casio Pathfinder watch with an electronic compass as a tool for acquiring a rapid and reasonably accurate direction and azimuth. If you have electronic devices, use them while they last because they are excellent navigation tools. However, they burn batteries quick. As with cell phones, you will have to plan on some type of recharger that converts renewable energy like solar or thermal to electricity. Also, be cognizant of the fact that in the wrong hands, your data stored on a GPS device could tip off others to your route and location. For example, if your GPS has a secret bug out location stored on it and you ditch it once the batteries die, but someone else later finds and charges it, expect visitors.
- A laminated map of any areas you will be or plan to travel to in an emergency: At minimum, you should have a road map of your local area obtainable at any gas station. As mentioned above, a stand-alone GPS or one on your phone is wonderful when working, but plan for a system failure during a crisis. Also, as with a GPS, be careful not to label your map in a manner that if it is obtained by others, would compromise your bug out plans. The easiest way to protect your information, if you must label the map, is to tape a piece of clear acetate paper over it and use either a wax pencil or alcohol pen to make your annotations. In the event of a possible compromise, you can separate the acetate paper from the map making the information useless.
- A pocket knife and/or multitool: One has a vast choice of knives and tools to choose from so pick what works for you. I found it best to carry both. For quick access and daily use, I carry a sturdy, lightweight, flip-out folder that can be operated with one hand and clipped inside my pocket for the most common tasks. The blades are between 3-4 inches so are still suitable for self-defense, but are better designed for making short work of packaging, game, and other daily chores like cutting bailing twine. Great knives in this category can be found for less than $60, but don’t buy a cheap knock off made in China. The blades are junk. I also have used multitools made by Leathermen, SOG, and Gerber. They are all great tools and each offer some special features and tools so evaluate each based on your unique needs. Further, if space and weight are at a premium, both Gerber and Leatherman have mini-tools that are well-built, very light, and can fit right in your pocket, but still perform most of the functions of their big brothers. I use them in all of my overseas blow out kits. Again, don’t buy junk. It really pays to get a brand name tool that is quality. I also see a lot of pretty massive bowie knives and exotic fighting knives. Generally speaking, leave them at home. For the weight and size, I can carry a pistol and keep it better concealed. Gil Hibben exotics (no offense Gil, I still love your works of art) normally aren’t truly functional tools. However, if your daily life demands or allows you to wear a sheaf knife strapped to your belt, then by all means opt for a fixed blade survival knife. They are tougher, safer, and generally more capable than any flip out folder. I really like the robustness and simplicity of ESEE, Swamp Rat, Gerber, and Cold Steel fixed blades, but for the price, Mora bushcraft knives from Sweden are exceptionally good survival knives for half what others cost. Mora knives are also extremely light and easy to pack so you can get away with one in your kit without the big weight penalty of others. One last note on knives, I often get asked about the old school Swiss Army Knife. They do many things, but none of them well. They are still great little tools and I still occasionally use them when I must be in a suit and tie or less “scary” knives are required, but they are not as user friendly as new flip out folders, not as capable or durable as modern multitools, and not suitable as a fighting knife.
- A flashlight: Flashlights, like fire starters, are an area where redundancy is key. I highly recommend all your lights use high intensity LEDs. LEDs use far less energy and are far more durable than mono-filament bulbs. For starters, I buy Photo LED keychain lights in bulk. I place them on all of my zippers and key rings and have them in various LED colors for signaling and illumination. An LED headlamp is something I always carry and find indispensable for hands free work at night. I also recommend you carry a pocket size, high intensity “tactical” light. These are designed to be waterproof and take enormous shock. Further, they are now very lightweight, put out over 100 lumens (bright), and double as hand held weapons. I have used Surefire lights for years, and still do on my firearms for their proven reliability, but find they eat batteries quickly and are pricey. More recently, I have switched to carrying a Fenix PD32 tactical light that is great. It puts out a blinding 340 lumens, is smaller than most cigars, and has a power adjustment button that allows me to use the brightness I need without burning extra battery life. For a tight budget, Olight does pretty well in this category too and shouldn’t be cast aside for the more popular brands.
- A warming layer: Even in the middle of the summer or in the desert, always have a warming layer to offset cool nights and rainy chills. Choose a garment made from wool or a poly synthetic material that will still insulate even when wet. Fleece tops with an outer weave that stops wind are excellent. If you can find a jacket style top with a hood, you will get even more thermal retention out of a small garment. Any of your major brands such as Marmot, REI, The North Face, and Mountain Hardware have excellent pullovers and jackets to choose from.
- A rain jacket and pants: The ability to stay dry is not only necessary for comfort, but for survival. Many people that die from hypothermia don’t die in the extreme cold, but rather, die in temperatures between 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit after becoming wet. To stay dry, you need both a top and bottom. It is easy to discount rain pants until you actually have to stay out in the pouring rain and walk some distance. With only a top, water will soon be running down your soaked pants and puddling in your boots leaving you chilled with badly blistered feet. Pants don’t take up much space, but are absolutely necessary. Further, when coupled with a warming layer, the rain gear makes an effective light weight coat and windproof pants that are enough to keep you alive in remarkably cold weather. Again, all of your major brands of outdoor apparel make affordable, lightweight, raingear that you can pack into a small corner of your pack.
- Medical kit: At minimum, your medical kit needs to be designed to sustain life at least until higher level treatment can be obtained and should include a few items to allow for disease isolation. If your kit is to sustain more than one person, you should increase the numbers of the items contained. To begin, you need to obtain higher level medical training so that you can correctly and safely use the various medical tools and equipment, which we provide at LMS. With the proper training, the items in this kit will allow you to treat survivable wounds up to and including gunshots and amputations. However, you will need to train any other persons involved in your bug out plan thoroughly to use the medical supplies because it should be obvious that if you are the injured person in need of higher level medical care, you will be in no condition to do it. For treating massive hemorrhaging, carry at least two readily accessible tourniquets, two packages of Celox Gauze, one H-Bandage, a roll of Coban style gauze, and two rolls of ACE wrap. I prefer the SOF-T design for my tourniquets, which is suitable for rapid, one-handed application. For splinting a host of breaks and sprains, carry two SAM Splints with two or three cravat bandages and safety pins. For treating penetrating injuries to the chest, include one HyFin chest seal and two ARS needles for chest decompression will be sufficient. Burns are hard to treat so carry at least one packet of burn gel and a roll of sterile dry gauze. Airways are can be very complex to maintain so carry at least one nasal pharyngeal airway, a sterile scalpel, and a roll of cloth medical tape. For minor cuts and abrasions, carry a tube of anti-microbial cream or ointment and a pack of various size Band-Aids. For blisters add a section of mole skin. You should also have a pair of EMT Shears and a set of tweezers. Make a trauma pill pack (includes powerful antibiotics and pain killers taken immediately after a serious injury) for everyone in your party and then additional medications for diarrhea and nausea, acetaminophen for pain and fever, oral rehydration salts, and ibuprofen for inflammation. For body substance isolation, carry at least one N95 mask and two sets of properly fitting nitrile exam gloves.
- Personal hygiene kit: To stay healthy, you need to keep yourself clean. Your kit should include a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, a small bar of soap, a small washcloth or handkerchief, hand sanitizer, anti-fungal foot powder, lip balm with sunscreen, Glide anti-chafe stick (if you walk a long way and rub the inside of your thighs raw, you will never question adding this again), and nail clippers (this may seem unnecessary too until you deal with an ingrown nail).
- Duct Tape: Don’t leave home without it.
- Cash: During a crisis, the power is often out and banks are closed. This means ATMs and credit card machines will not work. If any money is still being used for transactions, it will likely be cash. During long term power outages, it will only be the people with cash that will be able to buy gas, ice, and other needed supplies until they are sold out. Overseas, it is also cash that can buy your freedom or the emergency airfare out of a collapsing country where the currency has been frozen and is quickly becoming worthless.
- Bug repellent: Some would argue this isn’t essential until they are forced to spend the night outside without a good shelter and get eaten alive by mosquitos, biting flies, and ticks. Good sleep and comfort are essential for long term survival, but only discomforting in the short term. However, more and more mosquitos and ticks in North America are again carrying debilitating and potentially deadly diseases such as West Nile, Malaria, Dengue Fever, Lyme, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which could be devastating in a survival situation if contracted. To reduce your exposure and risk, carry a small bottle of repellent. I find that Eucalyptus Oil serves well as a non-carcinogenic, natural bug repellent. If you must use DEET, use a formula with a concentration of no more than 30 percent. Higher concentrations do not keep bugs away any better and are just more toxic. Be careful of applying DEET to any synthetic or plastic material because it can dissolve it. Further, do not put DEET directly on your skin or body. Apply it by holding the article of clothing away from your body and spraying it and then wash your hands if possible. Ultimately though, your best bet will be dressing appropriately and covering your body.
- Sunscreen: Like bug spray, many people would write this off as unnecessary. If you truly don’t burn or live in an area that gets no sun, then that is valid. However, for the rest of us, a bad burn is not just possible, but crippling if you suddenly find yourself outdoors all day. For most of us, we spend most of our time indoors and our skin is not prepared for the sudden exposure to the elements. Further, for pale skinned people, a very bad sunburn could occur in just 10-15 minutes so application of strong sunblock is critical before we even venture out on a sunny day. To pack your lotion, find a small travel size squeeze bottle to carry a high SPF, waterproof, sun screen.
- A hat: Prevention of problems is of the utmost importance during a crisis. A simple item such as a hat not only provides shade for your eyes and can prevent your face from becoming sunburned, but it also is critical for maintaining body heat during cold weather. It is also handy for protecting your identity in urban environments continuously monitored by surveillance cameras. For a summer bug out kit, one should always have some type of brimmed hat. For colder seasons, a knit or synthetic watch cap is essential for warmth.
- Gloves: Your hands are critical to your survival. Protect them like you protect the rest of your body. It is quite easy to injure your hands in a manner that they could quickly become dangerously infected so take proper precautions. For example, after a major earthquake, medics were constantly treating patients presenting with deep lacerations to their hands. The quake had shattered windows and left broken glass everywhere. Anytime you need to work with your hands you risk cuts, abrasions, bruises, sticks, and blisters. Blisters are very common if you have to use a shovel or axe for any length of time such as digging food or cutting wood. If working on a car engine or rapidly firing a weapon you can also badly burn your hands. Environmental injuries are also possible in the summer from burns and winter from frost bite if you don’t protect your hands. However, almost all of these injuries are preventable by packing a pair of gloves. If you live in hotter environments, you can get away with leather work gloves or Mechanix type gloves. However, for colder environments, you will need to have either mittens or insulated ski type gloves to properly protect your hands.
- Eye protection: Vision is your most important sense and must be protected. Something as simple as a speck of dust can cause immense pain and blindness. Invest in a good pair of glasses that provide ballistic wrap around protection for your eyes. Try to find a pair that provides interchangeable clear and tinted lenses such as Oakley’s SI series so you can adjust them for all lighting conditions.
- Good shoes: Most people don’t buy shoes thinking about what they would buy if this pair was the last pair they could buy. Further, they often don’t get dressed for work planning to have to walk for miles in their shoes across rough terrain. Bugging out in high heels or smooth soled dress shoes is not an option. You will need to either be wearing the shoes you will bug out in or have a pair with you that you can quickly change into. Fortunately, there are plenty of great options for shoes that are made tough, will carry you for miles, and still look sharp. The best options across the board for bugging out tend to be mid-weight hiking boots or heavier backpacking boots made by companies such as Asolo, Salomon, Merrell, Lowa, and Vasque to name just a few. If you are on a tight budget, you can also find a pair of lightly used combat boots, which today are far better than the combat boots issued just ten years ago. Go to your local outdoor store to try on and find the pair that fits you best.
- Clothing: If you go to work daily in a suit, you need to carry a change of clothes with you. Your high dollar, custom tailored, designer suit is virtually worthless beyond inconspicuously leaving your office building if you need to bug out. Find durable clothes that are comfortable enough to walk for miles in while not standing out. By standing out, I mean that unless your plan absolutely requires you to wear woodland camouflage and look like you robbed the local army surplus, stick with conservative clothes such as some cargo pants and a pullover. You can wear colors like khaki, brown, and green if you need to be low profile without drawing attention. Further, even bright colors will soon take on earth tones from dirt and grime if a grid down situation persists. Ultimately, your clothes just need to be functional and should be suitable for the environment you live in.
- Any medications or eye glasses: How many people carry their medications for more than a few days with them? In the event of a crisis forcing you to bug out, you may not be able to get home to gather your medications. If you have allergic reactions leading to anaphylaxis, you must have at least 2 doses of epinephrine and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Further, how many people that wear contacts to work have their glasses with them? After just a day without cleaning your contacts, you run the risk of severe eye pain and infection if you are unable to clean them properly. To seriously prepare to bug out, carry at least three weeks’ worth of medications in your kit and if you wear contacts, have your glasses with you. Even better, if your glasses can double as ballistic protection, this is one less thing you need to put in your kit.
- Passport: If you don’t have one, get one. Preferably, get a second passport from another country. Put the passport(s) in a waterproof container and keep on your person.
- A shelter: No matter where you are going, you should have some means of providing shelter. At minimum, two Mylar space blankets and at least 30 feet of strong braided rope should be in any kit. I recommend two space blankets because they tend to rip at the worst times and are never big enough to cover a full grown man. Given the ability to carry more weight, keep the above and add a tarp. With a little practice and good site selection, a tarp is the lightest, most versatile shelter you can carry. However, if you live in an area with swarms of biting insects and/or lots of rain, it is worth a good night’s sleep and dry gear to carry the additional weight of an ultralight backpacking tent. REI’s Halfdome backpacking tent and Big Agnes entire line of lightweight tents are definitely great ultralight buys.
- An insulated sleep pad: If you are like many, your body is not as young and limber as it used to be. Having some type of sleep pad provides a significant improvement in comfort. Unlike others, I recommend carrying slightly more weight if the comfort factor justifies it; especially, in regards to sleep. When you don’t get good sleep, you feel bad, make bad decisions, are less likely to work well as a team, get sick easier, get chilled easier, and don’t heal as well. Sleep is all too often underrated by “experts” and critical during a crisis. As important as providing better sleep, a sleep pad insulates you from the ground. Even on “warm” nights, body heat conducted to the cooler ground can leave you freezing cold if you lay directly on the ground. On cold nights, it is essential to avoid freezing to death. The cheapest sleep pads are closed cell foam pads, which are durable and insulate well. Ridge Rest makes a proven line of refined closed cell sleep pads. For more money, you can buy a self-inflating, insulated sleep pad. Their major selling point is that they pack smaller and are generally more comfortable; however, they can be punctured and can weigh more than simple foam pads. Therma-a-Rest, Big Agnes, Nemo all make great self-inflating, insulated sleep pads.
- And a sleeping bag: Many experts would simply recommend sleeping in your clothes wrapped in a coat or space blanket. I have done this plenty of times and it sucks. You don’t sleep well and feel like you were beat with baseball bats. As noted above, sleep is vital. If you must travel with the absolute minimum of gear or are skilled at building an improvised camp, this is viable. For example, in urban areas you can layer cardboard for a sleep pad and find plenty of unoccupied structures to act as your ready built shelter. In the forest you can lay bows of pine under a rock ledge to act as your sleep pad and shelter. Otherwise, you can get away with a sleep pad and a light synthetic blanket like the classic military poncho liner. Anyone that has served in the infantry will be able to tell you about the many nights they spent wrapped in nothing more than their poncho and liner. I can attest that this arrangement can become very comfortable and works very well for summer nights in the dessert. However, try this in cold weather or during a rain storm and the fun wears off fast. Under these circumstances, you must modify your bug out kit. You will need a good shelter, a well-insulated sleep pad, and a good sleeping bag. Down bags are going to be your warmest for the weight and pack very well; however, they don’t insulate when wet. For wet environments, a synthetic bag is the better option even if bulkier and heavier. Both are going to add weight, but if your conditions require bugging out during cold and or wet weather, you are going to need the extra warmth. You can find a great bag at any good outfitter such as REI. I have found Marmot, REI, The North Face, Eddie Bauer First Ascent Series, and Mountain Hardware brand bags all to be outstanding.
- Binoculars: A set of small, high quality, ruggedized binoculars or other similar magnifying optic will be extremely valuable. This item is one that many forget or forego, but is vital to identifying problems and threats before they identify you. During a bug out situation, it may be necessary to cross areas that could be quite dangerous, gang infested, or otherwise unknown. Binoculars will allow you to safely observe the area in question from a covered and concealed position until you are confident it is safe to travel or can formulate and alternate movement plan.
- Additional items: Depending on your budget and ability to carry additional items you may decide to carry include a solar rechargeable multi-ban weather radio, hand warmers, night vision devices, a firearm, ammunition, and cleaning kit, bolt cutters, copies of vital personal documents, and gear specific to your bug out plan such as climbing equipment and rope, and river dry bags.
Now that you know what you need in a basic bug out kit, you can design your “bag” around it. Make sure you include in your size estimate any additional items you may need or want to carry. Find a bag that you can comfortably carry the items of your kit all day, but make sure the essential small items such as a cell phone, firestarter, pocket knife, flashlight, compass, cash, warming layer or jacket, food ration, and a water bottle are on your person. For all day carry, make sure your pack has a comfortable waist belt. The waist band is key because it is actually where most of the weight is carried. There is a host of military style or “tactical” bags that suit this purpose well, but I don’t recommend them. They tend to be heavy, uncomfortable, draw unnecessary attention, and instantly scream military. Unless that is the image you intend to present, it is best to buy a quality backpacking pack. Again, going to a store like REI and trying out various packs sized to carry the weight and volume of your gear is critical. A backpack is sized to the individual and outfitters specialize in finding you the best fit. These packs are designed to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and are more than capable of supporting your bug out. REI, Kelty, Gregory, and Osprey are brands that make a variety of excellent packs that will more than suit your purposes.
Where you store your bug out kit is ultimately specific to you, but it must be close by and readily accessible at all times. Another option to constantly transitioning your kit from house to vehicle to place of work is to pack multiple mirrored bug out kits and pre-stage them in key areas. I practice this myself and keep identical bags packed in every vehicle, residence, and place of work I regularly use. This also allows me to move light, react quickly, and not draw a lot of attention. When I deviate from my normal patterns, I make sure I carry my “jump” bag with me so that I never have to remove my pre-staged bags. If you can build your preps to this level, you will be far better prepared in the event of a crisis situation.
Today’s post covered a lot of information. For the beginner, this can be overwhelming. For the seasoned prepper, this information should have helped them refine their plans and gear. If you are serious about preparing your bug out plan and ensuring your kit is ready for the worst, contact us at Last Minute Survival for expert and discrete consulting. We can walk you through building a resilient bug out plan or evaluate your current plan, custom tailor your kit, and teach you the hard survival skills you need to safely evacuate you and your family from any situation.
By Guiles Hendrick
October 12, 2014
President Obama and his top military advisors have learned nothing and have made a grave mistake starting a war with Syria using ISIL as the pretext. Just as I was confident and proven correct that this situation would materialize, I am equally confident in my analysis that this new war will lead to America’s greatest foreign policy disaster to date. Neither war with Syrian nor ISIL will be decisive, successful, or lead to greater security for the American people. However, the war may indeed turn out to lead to America’s unwinding as the world’s sole superpower and economic bankruptcy. This post will continue my analysis on the on-going crisis unfolding in the Middle East respective of Obama’s newest war. Read more
Ebola is now here. I told you so.
Earlier this week I thought it was time to write a post alerting our readers to the fact the Obama Administration is intentionally spreading disease throughout the US and killing thousands. By intentional, I meant it exactly. The Administration has been mandating polices that they know will lead to the deaths of Americans, but our lives and security have been superseded by the needs of the Party. In particular, I warned of how the failure to secure our borders would lead to the inevitable spread of a host of deadly diseases to America. I also predicted the enterovirus would claim its first lives. Sadly, both have now been confirmed. I recommended that you stock up on your pandemic supplies and demand the borders to be secured. I also would recommend reviewing that article if you haven’t read it, post it, and pass it on to friends and relative.
http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/09/26/obama-administ…inside-the-usa/ Read more
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote: “For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.” Kissinger, like him or not, is spot on in his succinct assessment of Obama’s policy for Russia. As the West descends into another reckless and disastrous war in the Middle East, Putin must be quietly laughing knowing that very soon the US will soon have its Soviet moment of collapse. In fact, to strategically defeat the US, all Russia must do is wait for the utter mismanagement of our nation to bring about its implosion. In this third and final installment of our exclusive analysis of the conflicting Russo-American policies, it is clear that in the first major post-Cold War struggle between Russia and the US, it will be Russia that scores a victory in the Ukraine crisis. Read more
A conversation with Americans that watch the news regularly would reveal they are aware and worried about terrorism and Ebola coming to the US. Their fears are not unfounded, but profoundly biased by sensationalized coverage that has been heavily edited by those with political motives. To illustrate this point, the threat of terrorists using a biological weapon in the US strikes fear into the heart of Americans, but outside of a small use of anthrax, this threat has never materialized. However, what if I told you literally tens of thousands of Americans have died and millions have been sickened by a deliberate biological attack. Wouldn’t that on-going attack generate far more fear, outrage, and a sense of urgency to act? You would think, but it hasn’t. In fact, as I write this post, millions of Americans have been sickened and or killed by a host of diseases that were once thought eradicated in the US. Further, new illnesses are spreading to the US that were either non-existent in the US or extremely rare. How could this be one should ask. The answer is simple. A deliberate government policy that ignores the safety and security of the American people, while undermining the nation’s sovereignty has been put in place and allowed to exist by both Republicans and Democrats vying for greater political power. Read more
Disclaimer: Let me begin by saying I am not a financial advisor or money manager or investment specialist. This article only represents the thoughts of the author.
Many of our readers will immediately conclude gold and or silver are the metals to buy and have on hand to weather rough economic times. In fact, I don’t disagree and recommend to our readers that they do diversify their investment portfolios to include a percentage of real gold and silver in both US and foreign coinage. However, one metal is now poised to become extremely valuable and could prove more valuable for a prepper than gold. That metal is lead and here is why I strongly urge my readers to hoard this metal. Read more
In my on-going series analyzing the growing rift between the US and Russia, it is important to evaluate a nation’s leadership. Specifically, let’s look at the qualifications and performance to date of Presidents Putin and Obama. Before we go any further, it is necessary to lay down a few ground rules of the debate. First of all, I want to dispel the myth that a person can be of mediocre intellect, but a good president as long as they have a good staff. This oft stated notion is a ridiculous excuse used by political parties to mitigate criticism that their brainless candidate is not up to the task. Further, it is true that no one man has total control of a government, but to say that the leaders of Russia and the US have their hands tied and do not have real power would be a poorly informed lie. In fact, both presidents have substantial power and influence over both foreign and domestic affairs and craft geopolitical strategy that affects the world. If there wasn’t truth to this, then why would we ascribe so much prestige upon leaders like Thatcher, Reagan, Lincoln, and Washington? Due to the real power and influence presidents wield, it is important to assess who has demonstrated the ability to more effectively lead and use that power. Based on that evaluation, you are better able to analyze and predict the actions and ultimate outcomes of any potential or on-going political conflicts between the US and Russia. Read more
Much of the rhetoric behind the push to create a new Cold War centers on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The complicit media and the Obama Administration have pulled no punches in smearing President Putin and casting him as the most evil of tyrants and a political thug imprisoning opposition, seizing assets, enriching himself on the government’s dime, and intimidating reporters and political dissidents. In fact, much of this is probably true; however, before we cast the first stone and judge Putin as evil incarnate and start World War III, perhaps some national retrospection of our own actions and character would be in order. Let’s step back and evaluate America’s actions and consider whether or not we may have lost the moral high ground and then,…just perhaps, should rethink our policy, attitudes, and actions toward Russia. Read more
THE NEXT 9/11: We are not prepared for how ISIL will use advanced military weapons to attack US targets
The Obama Administration has knowingly allowed ISIL to gain strength and capture more and more territory inside of Iraq and has set the stage for a second 9/11 style attack against US targets, which may in fact be the US Embassy Baghdad. The White House looked the other way for years because the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, in particular, were covertly arming, training, equipping, and advising elements of what it falsely believed was the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria. This organization of what became ISIL occurred at US sponsored bases in Jordan, Turkey, and now Syria proper. However, the FSA was in the complete control of Islamic extremists from an early stage (http://www.blackboxwire.com/2013/09/09/media-missed-the-biggest-coup-in-the-middle-east-and-it-wasnt-in-egypt/). This CIA created rebel army then quickly grew too big for the CIA to control as many insiders warned would happen. As extremists took over the remaining “moderate” elements of the FSA, advanced weapons covertly provided to fight Assad, such as the US made Stinger missiles, were seized and retasked for the fight in Iraq. With the covert backing of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, ISIL gained enough strength and organization to become a formidable light infantry army and capture large swaths of Sunni controlled areas of Iraq. This fight was originally justified as necessary to build a cross border sanctuary for the anti-Assad forces fighting in Syria, but in reality turned out to be the genesis of a new terrorist state. With the capture of territory that included Syrian and Iraqi military bases, ISIL fell into control of a large number of advanced military weapons that supercharged their fighting ability beyond what the CIA intended or could control. At this point, some advisors took refuge in that ISIL may not have the technical knowhow to maintain and fully operate systems such as fighter jets, air defense systems, and M1 Abrams tanks. However, this is a false logic that breeds a false sense of security because ISIL certainly has the skills to use these advanced weapons asymmetrically in attacks never before possible. The US national security establishment is simply not prepared to deal with this increased level of state-like terrorist organization. Read more
Over the last few years, I have written many posts and provided consultation on the situation I predicted would materialize in the Middle East and North Africa as a result of US policy blunders. In short, I predicted that our policies would lead to the creation of an even greater Islamist enemy that would destabilize the entire region and likely lead to a multi-front regional war for hegemonic dominance between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. I predicted we would be forced to recognize the Kurds, that Iraq would breakup and return to sectarian violence, that we would support false flag chemical attacks in Syria to try and ignite a war, and that our proxy army in Syria would back fire and become our worst enemy. Further, I detailed how this conflict would continue to increase in intensity until it no longer was proxy war, but a direct full-fledged war between the belligerents with global implications. As my previous analyses have come to pass and been proven accurate by current events down to the most specific details, it is time to expand and update what one can expect respective of the impact of Islamic extremism. Read more
The events leading up to the shooting death of an 18 year old man in Fergusson by a police officer are under investigation and the “facts” appear to be conflicting. What are not in doubt are the events that transpired after the shooting. Citizens genuinely concerned and outraged wanting a full and impartial investigation rose up in peaceful, legitimate protests, but so did the most criminal elements within our society. It appears that not only was the race baiting, rabble rousers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton ready to pounce and exploit this shooting, but so were many hoodlums that exploited the protests to rob, loot, and destroy. The media was right on their heels to cover the ratings generating violence and President Obama wasted no time wading into what can only be considered divisive racial politics his track record suggests he favors stoking. However, as prepared citizens, what really should concern us is at least two-fold and goes far beyond the distractive on-going racial narrative from Missouri. Read more
Recently, many of our readers have become very concerned about the on-going Ebola outbreak that has spread across West Africa. In particular, they want to know if this disease is something to worry about and when and how they should hit the bug out button. The answers to these questions now are relatively simple, but as this disease evolves, possible contingencies may arise where one must be prepared to take more drastic measures.
To begin, Ebola is a fatal communicable disease where up to around 90% of patients die. This particular strain does not appear to be as fatal, but has spread over a much broader region. There is no known cure and treatment is generally limited to providing pain management and fluids. The disease is transmitted by close contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids that include sweat, vomit, and most likely saliva. It does appear possible that the disease has some persistence and items contaminated with infected body fluids can transmit the disease until sterilized or disinfected. Also, the virus can be transmitted from an infected corpse after the person has died making burial and handling of bodies very risky. At this time though, the disease is not airborne and effective precautions can be taken to mitigate the spread. Nonetheless, to date, over 100 health care workers that did take “proper precautions” have become ill with the disease and most have since died. Further, it is important to note that a virus by its design mutates to survive. It is possible that in a worst case scenario, Ebola could mutate to be an airborne virus. This would constitute a biological worst case scenario that would quickly become a worldwide pandemic. Still though, for the virus to rapidly spread, it doesn’t require it to be airborne. In an area like West Africa where diseases are already endemic, understanding of the disease is poor, and hygiene and health care services are inadequate, the disease is now spreading like wildfire. In fact, since the virus has made its way out of the jungles and into the cities, Ebola escaped our best chance to contain the virus and is now exponentially spreading.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has instructed the public not to worry and said that Ebola does not pose a threat to Americans. However, actions speak louder than words. The CDC declared a Level 1 health emergency, which is its highest threat level, making one wonder why the CDC would go on its highest state of alert if the public has “nothing to fear” as the government claims. Since then, a growing number of Americans are being tested for Ebola “symptoms,” but the government has not released the details of these possible cases even as the numbers grow. This leads one to conclude the government is trying to suppress the true danger of this disease to prevent panic all while hiding behind medical privacy. Further, other countries are taking Ebola very serious. Nigeria recently declared a state of emergency after at least five people in and around Lagos were confirmed to have Ebola and Sierra Leon and Liberia are deploying troops and closing borders. The World Health Organization has also declared the Ebola outbreak as out of control and declared it a health emergency. So, even if the CDC says not to worry, it is clear governments are very worried. In fact, when the government says stay calm and don’t panic, it is probably time to become worried.
Extremely worrisome is the fact it appears that the US government and CDC are trying to calm nerves with faux action designed more to prevent hurt feelings than to stop the spread of a deadly disease. Instead of closing down our borders and restricting travel to and from countries known to have active Ebola outbreaks, the US government announced it was only stepping up the screening of passengers for symptoms coming from countries in West Africa. Those that understand the disease should quickly realize the ridiculous ineffectiveness of this strategy. Specifically, the disease can take up to 21 days for a patient to become symptomatic after exposure to Ebola. Although a patient is only believed to be contagious while actively showing symptoms, the infected person could easily move through international airports around the world for weeks before any symptoms arise. This means individuals with Ebola could already be inside the US and easily pass through our ports of entry with the disease. Further, once here, it would likely be a number of days before an infected person sought medical help for their worsening symptoms that first present like any other bad flu. During this time, even one infected person could come into contact with thousands of other people and unknowingly infect many. As this disease spreads into the urban populations, it has the potential to quickly overwhelm medical facilities and fuel very real panic.
So to answer your questions, yes, Ebola is something you should worry about, but radical action at this time would be premature. I have read many articles that claim Ebola is being used to create panic and sell vaccines. These articles often seem to imply that because a pharmaceutical company may seek to profit off of this disease that somehow the disease is overblown or not a threat. This logic is plain stupid and although companies may indeed exploit this situation, it by no means mitigates the disease threat to you and your family. Ebola has not yet spread to the point that one should consider bugging out/in. However, after analyzing the spread of the disease in West African cities, it is clear the numbers of infected hit a critical tipping point approximately two weeks ago and is now exponentially spreading. As such, I predict with a high level of assurance that Ebola will begin to be confirmed in major cities around the globe over the next two weeks. As the cases are confirmed and patients are moved to quarantine in hospitals, a growing number of health care workers will contract Ebola. This will begin a cycle that could quickly strain the health care system if the disease is not contained within days from this post.
If Ebola breaks out in major cities around the world, as it now looks increasing likely, this is when you will need to start looking at a bug out/in option. Right now, if you have not done so, you should be stocking up on decontaminates like hydrogen peroxide and Clorox as well as medical grade masks, gloves, face shields, and gowns. These items will become nearly impossible to get once Ebola goes mainstream in major cities around the world. Note that these items alone will not protect you from Ebola contamination if you are in direct close contact with an infected patient, but they will give you some stand off and ability to decontaminate your own living spaces. For proper precautions against Ebola, one would need to be fully covered in duplicate full body suits and ideally have a totally contained suit with its own oxygen supply. Depending on how the outbreak develops, if it becomes clear hospitals in the US are receiving a growing number of Ebola patients, which almost definitely would correspond with a growing number of health care workers contracting the disease, it would be wise to go ahead and pull your kids from school and take a long term leave of absence from work. In short, this is when one should be ready to leave town.
My personal trip wire for bugging out parallels this logic, but is a tiered response. Specifically, as I monitor the disease outbreak, I initially self-segregate from others and highly populated areas as much as possible. This includes restricting my travel through major transportation hubs and completely avoiding large public gatherings. I also mandate constant hand washing and implement more severe disease mitigation strategies around my work and home. Further, I try to get what I can delivered to my house and do any residual necessary shopping when the fewest number of people are out, usually in the early morning or late evening. I also will not shake hands and forego any type of hugs or physical contact with others. If the disease spread worsens, I then close up shop and move all my operations to an offsite interim bug out location. This location is far safer, more secure, and requires only the most minimal contact with the outside, but one which is still in contact with my work, small town America, stores, and supplies if needed. If the disease outbreak moves to Middle America and continues to spread, I execute my full scale bug out contingency and lock down my retreat. Until the disease has a vaccine or burns itself out, I remain completely isolated from anyone that wasn’t a part of the initially quarantined group. This makes bugging in a poor choice for those located in urban areas where the disease spread will always be worse. If at all possible, remove yourself and your family/group to a remote bug out location and monitor the crisis safely from the radio, internet, and TV. Your guiding principles should be the sooner you leave the better and the fewer people you have contact with the safer. You also should not advertise your plans and destination, but rather use a viable cover story if necessary for work and school to explain the absence. Ultimately, each one of your situations is unique and will require a custom tailored response; however, always trust your good judgment and maintain a bias for action. Do not rely on the government to help you or to tell you when it is too late. Remember that when the government steps in, it will be because it is already too late and their mission is not to protect you, but rather, retain their control. This will almost certainly not work out well for you if your plan for survival relies on the government to save you so act now, the clock is ticking.
Stay safe and healthy,
August 8, 2014
All rights reserved.
As the worst drought in living memory persists in California, more evidence has arisen supporting my previously published theory on earthquakes from December 2013 http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2013/12/17/earthquakes-on-the-rise-in-oklahoma-a-new-theory-to-explain-seismic-activity-in-areas-once-considered-geologically-stable/
Specifically, scientists are now beginning to bandwagon on the idea that as aquifers are drawn down, the earth will simultaneously sink and rebound causing quakes. I outlined this theory as a probable mechanism to explain why quakes in areas such as Charlottesville, Virginia and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where quakes were very rare, were suddenly occurring. I was able to conclude that there was a close correlation to quake activity in regions centered over confined, lake-like aquifers that have been heavily drawn down in recent years. Both Oklahoma City and Charlottesville have seen significant population increases over the last decade and have significantly drawn down their aquifers, which I believe has resulted in the occurrence of earthquakes. This conclusion better explains what I believe is a generally flawed belief that hydraulic fracking has caused quakes, specifically around Oklahoma. I dismissed fracking in my theory because the occurrence of quakes simply did not correspond well with high fracking activity. For example, if quakes were caused by fracking alone, then West Virginia and Pennsylvania should be experiencing a large number of quakes. This is not the case and when accounting for naturally occurring fault lines and other “known” causes of quakes, one must conclude that something other than fracking is at work. As stated, I have theorized that aquifer depletion is at the root of this quake activity and have been publishing on it since before the mainstream scientific community even considered the possibility.
The “so what” factor for our readers is apparent when it comes to my quake activity theory. If you live in an area that draws on a confined aquifer and has a high population density, preparing for earthquake activity would be smart. As the drought in the South West persists, demand on ground water resources will continue to grow. The increased demand will unleash a number of small quakes that may or may not be capable of damaging homes and infrastructure. What is not known is if these quakes could disturb the stability of the ground so much that the aquifer reductions could trigger secondary and much larger quakes along known fault lines. I theorize that in the event an isolated aquifer is heavily drawn down and is collocated with a known fault, it could indeed trigger much larger and unpredicted quakes than previously thought possible. Now don’t say you didn’t see it coming!
By Guiles Hendrik
August 13, 2014
All rights reserved.
If you are looking to update your medical kit with effective and proven products, consider adding hemostatic agents. Over the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan trauma medicine has markedly improved with hemostatic gauze being one major advance. These clotting agents have proven so effective; they are standard in every medic’s trauma kit on the battlefield. As such, it is worth comparing the two most popular brands sold under the names QuickClot®Combat Gauze and Celox.
First of all, one should understand that clotting agents have been around for some time and have undergone an evolution in both composition and the mechanisms by which they work. Both Combat Gauze and Celox are the current result of this evolution and are far safer and more effective than their earlier ancestors. For example, the original QuickClot® essentially cauterized a wound with heat from a chemical reaction, which caused serious burns and contraindications. As a result, it was removed from medical kits and replaced with newer and better hemostatic agents. Today’s products are impregnated with hemostatic agents that facilitate blood clotting by complimenting or enhancing the body’s natural clotting faculties to stop massive hemorrhaging. Both Combat Gauze and Celox do this well, but which is best? Both also are used broadly by military, law enforcement, and rescue units around the world. However, these products are not cheap so if one is to invest in only one product, I recommend Celox for your medical kit.
Hemostatic agents in Combat Gauze and Celox allow for the formation of much larger clots than normal, which are more stable and more difficult to dislodge. This is critical for effective stoppage of heavy bleeding, especially, when a patient will have to be moved and clots could be jarred loose such as on the battle field. Further, both require the gauze to be used with constant firm pressure to be effective and allow the clot to form. Both are essentially used in the same manner. The specific location of the massive hemorrhage is located in the wound (usually a severed artery or large vein), is quickly wiped clean so that the wound location is identifiable, and the gauze is placed firmly and directly upon the bleed. For penetrating wounds such as gunshots, the cavity is then packed tightly being careful to maintain constant pressure on the bleed location while completely filling the void with tightly packed gauze. The packing is then held in place with a compression dressing. The gauze should be so tightly packed that it forms a gauze golf ball in the wound channel. The critical aspect for effective application of both products relies on their correct placement on the bleeding vein or artery and the maintenance of constant pressure until the bleeding stops. It is also worth noting that plain sterile gauze packed in a wound in the same manner using direct pressure is also still highly effective for stopping hemorrhaging.
Even though both products essentially are used the same way, Celox has notable advantages. First, in tests and operational employment, the Celox simply worked better at stopping serious bleeds. When similar wounds were unpacked in a surgical setting, it was clear from the degree of blood saturation that far less blood was lost in a patient when Celox was used. Specifically, in like wounds that severed the femoral artery of patients, Combat Gauze was unpacked and laid out showing over 12 yards of blood saturation whereas Celox showed approximately 12 inches before the gauze was blood free. This large difference could mean the difference between decompensated shock induced by severe blood loss and then the death of a patient or the complete prevention of hemorrhagic shock and survival of the patient. Further, the thicker Z-Folded Celox was much easier to handle and pack into wounds than the old school style of rolled Combat Gauze. Nothing is worse than having an entire roll of sterile gauze unwind into the muck on the ground just as you are trying to pack the wound of a severely hemorrhaging patient.
Evaluations of wounds treated with Celox and Combat Gauze also revealed that the clots formed by Celox tended to be larger and more stable. This may be due to how Celox and Combat Gauze clot. With Celox, the clotting agents are inherent in the compound so that they react instantly when they come into contact with blood. However, Combat Gauze relies upon concentrating the body’s own clotting agents (platelets) as they contact, accumulate, and react with the gauze. This is problematic since often, as a body enters shock from blood loss; the body naturally shunts blood flow from the core preventing the critical clotting compounds from reaching the wound site and the gauze. Further, when intravenous fluids are given without the addition of platelets, it reduces the effectiveness of Combat Gauze’s clotting mechanism because the fluid dilutes the blood’s natural clotting compounds.
Celox and Combat Gauze both help blood to begin clotting, but Celox is designed to work across a much broader range of patients. Specifically, Combat Gauze is designed to work with the narrow body chemistry of healthy fighting age patients. Celox on the other hand is designed to be effective across a much greater range of patients to include geriatric, those taking medications, and those taking blood thinners. This alone makes Celox a better “civilian” choice where it is more likely the patient will not fit into the perfect physically fit specimen of a fighting age soldier. In short, Celox employs a hemostatic agent that applies to everyone, whereas Combat Gauze is only designed to be effective in healthy fighting age soldiers.
In the recent DoD comparative study, Celox Gauze had the least overall blood loss, the highest survival and the highest overall hemostasis of all products. This study corresponds to the empiric evidence that I have gathered over the years using a variety of these products operationally.
By Guiles Hendrik
July 8, 2014
All rights reserved.
Think your latest purchase of a firearm or ammunition from Wal-Mart was innocent? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), aka Department of Homeland Oppression, in coordination with the FBI doesn’t think so and wants to know who you are. In fact, they believe you may be a potential domestic terrorist according to reports from Wal-Mart sales managers.
Over the last two weeks our field reporters dispersed across Northern Virginia to question sales representatives selling sporting goods throughout Virginia after rumors surfaced of agents questioning sales representatives. What they found should is shocking. In Wal-Mart after Wal-Mart, our reporters were able to verify that FBI and or DHS special agents had recently visited the stores requesting information on any suspicious buyers. According to sales managers working in the retail chain Wal-Mart, special agents requested information about anyone that appeared suspicious, attempted to buy ammo in bulk, or made anti-government comments. The special agents inquired specifically about anyone that made statements relating to sovereign citizen movements and buyers that seemed out of place to the sales manager warning that they could be potential domestic terrorists. In the event the sales manager had information, they were instructed to contact various agents from the FBI and DHS.
Make no mistake; DHS and the Justice Department consider you a threat to the US. If you buy ammunition in bulk to save money, exercise your constitutionally protected First Amendment, or are otherwise having a bad day your name and information could be passed on to the FBI or DHS for investigation as a potential terrorist. This information then goes to fusion centers across the nation where you are labeled and placed on watch lists as a domestic threat. Often this information is then used to generate faux “probable cause” to obtain a search warrant that will be justified under the nebulous national security exceptions to the rule of law and basic civil “RIGHTS.” Once a warrant is obtained, agents will execute a high risk, “no-knock” warrant most likely in the middle of the night and heavily armed to arrest you and ransack your home looking for anything they can construe as a threat. Often things as innocent as duct tape, old wire, and water barrels that many of us have in abundance are cited as “bomb making” materials or evidence of “terrorist” activities. God forbid if you are caught with a book that is politically incorrect on top of the duct tape and old wire.
If you think you have nothing to hide because you are “innocent” and have done nothing wrong, don’t be fooled because you are not exempt. Remember, all it takes is the impression of a Wal-Mart sales clerk to get labeled. Who knows, perhaps, you came across as unfriendly, maybe you were disturbed that they didn’t have any 9mm ammunition in stock, or maybe the sales clerk is just a bad judge of character. Either way, it doesn’t matter in a spy state where intimidation tactics abound and citizens are coerced into spying on their fellow neighbors by the government. Many honest Americans have had their lives ruined by being “swatted” or by unjustly becoming the subject of investigation by an overly militaristic gestapo agent at DHS or the FBI. Being “watch listed” is an extremely dangerous threat. We have seen numerous examples of how these “tips” have led to egregious acts on the part of law enforcement. At best you are questioned and labeled for surveillance. However, the worst examples include raiding the homes on innocent victims, which led to the incarceration of harmless citizens, pets being shot, children kidnapped by Child “Protective” Services, and even the killing of the unsuspecting homeowner that reached for a gun in self-defense as gestapo agents broke down their door in the middle of the night.
You need to protect yourselves. Option one is to maintain a low profile and not use traceable means of commerce such as credit cards instead of cash when purchasing guns or ammunition from retailers. However, that alone apparently constitutes you being a potential threat according to memos released by DHS and doesn’t solve the issue. A better method may be to use sunlight to disinfect and inoculate your local stores before the feds can hijack your information. Use the size and finances of these companies to fight our battle for freedom. To do this, directly contact your local sporting goods retailers and have a frank, honest, and open discussion about these gestapo tactics with their management. Make it clear to store managers that you are not comfortable shopping at their stores if you know you are going to be spied on and your information potentially handed to the government. Insist that your privacy is respected and demand proof. Further, ensure their employees are briefed on the underhanded government tactics and how that violates basic civil liberties.
Contrary to what the government desires, companies still require profits to exist and no matter what the government wants, the companies; especially large retailers like Wal-Mart, will begin to push back against the government (legally if necessary), when they are boycotted and their profits begin to shrink. We have witnessed this in the case of internet companies and NSA spying. Even Google and AT&T have begun to legally push back against government spying as they recognize their profits are not immune and free men and women across the globe will take their business elsewhere if their privacy is not ensured. The bottom line is if the management pushes back on protecting our basic civil rights, organize local and regional boycotts of the retailer. Make it impossible for them to conduct profitable business if it becomes clear that they are supporting domestic targeting of innocent Americans. When the knowledge of what the retailer is doing goes viral, contemporary precedents suggest that the retailer will cave to customer demands.
By Guiles Hendrik
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July 14, 2014
Against my better judgment, I decided to watch a segment of “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News to hear his points on the latest developments in Iraq. In O’Reilly’s defense, he has been a brilliant talk show host and highly successful writer and businessman. However, at the end of the day, O’Reilly is still a journalist with limited real world expertise on many of the topics he provides commentary on. Specifically, O’Reilly poses as an expert, but is totally lacking in experience when it comes to matters of military application and foreign affairs. O’Reilly has never served in combat, is not an intelligence analyst, and so far has not demonstrated himself as a policy maker. So to no surprise, when I tuned in, O’Reilly was expounding his usual pompous, ill informed, bomb them all rhetoric with respect to the Islamic extremist army dubbed ISIL or ISIS. Within thirty seconds of listening to O’Reilly’s poorly informed diatribe, I remembered why I had stopped watching Fox. As such, I feel as though Fox News and Bill O’Reilly needed some better informed input to ensure Fox lives up to its “fair and balanced” moniker and openly challenge O’Reilly to a debate on Iraq policy.
First of all, I want to make it clear we lost in Iraq. Bill O’Reilly is still grasping to a false reality and believes we actually accomplished strategic objectives (won) in Iraq before our retreat. The fact the US was defeated is tough to deal with, but nonetheless fact. It in no way diminishes the honor of our veterans. Suggesting otherwise to those that cannot dissect honor from the success or failure of an army in battle is ridiculous. The notion that loss in battle or war dishonors our troops is no more logical than suggesting soldiers of losing armies across thousands of years of recorded history had no honor. For example, the many British army units fought with the utmost honor in the American Revolution, soldiers fighting for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War fought with great honor, and Rommel’s Afrika Corps has been distinguished again and again for its honor by historians, but all of the above armies ultimately lost their respective wars. In fact, honor is not hinged upon whether one wins or loses, but in how one conducts himself in combat. Iraq was never pacified and never made safe for Americans, but we maintained our honor. The US certainly isn’t calling the shots across the nation now. The end state achieved was a strategic setback for US interests across the region by strengthening our foes. No matter how much the Obama Administration whitewashes our retreat from Iraq, the enemy was still fighting and still holding ground when we left.
For those of you who did not fight in Iraq and have not visited Iraq since our retreat, you should know that Mosul was never pacified and maintained its status as a hotbed of Al Qaeda (AQ) activity. Neither President Bush nor President Obama finished the war. To the present day, Mosul has been a part of the ratline of jihadists making their way to fight in Syria. In fact, US intelligence has been well aware that Mosul has been a key staging point for AQ training and equipping jihadists en route to joining ISIL for years. Mosul has also been effectively “no-go” territory for westerners and has been controlled since before the US retreat by Sunni extremists. As such, the fear and panic that ISIL has “captured” Mosul is overstated. It is true they kicked out the token government forces, but the Iraqi military never controlled anything beyond the ground below their feet hiding behind the walls of abandoned US military bases. Beyond kicking out the token Iraqi forces, the only difference appears to be ISIL formally cemented their previous control of that city and surrounding regions with the execution of anyone supporting the Iraq government. So, if O’Reilly was consistent and well informed, he would have recognized that Mosul and neighboring cities like Tikrit with a large presence of Sunni extremists “falling” to ISIL was not in and of itself a game changer.
Second, O’Reilly fails to remember that it was the Sunnis, during the “Awakening,” that allied with US forces to fight the Shia militias attacking and killing Americans daily. In fact, I distinctly remember Sadr’s brigades of Shia militia backed by Iran attacking US military personnel with zeal throughout the war. I also remember the Shia going from house to house in what was originally mixed Sunni-Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad and ethnically cleansing the population. The Shia death squads brutally murdered any Sunni they found and turned Baghdad into a Shia city. However, it is now the Sunni extremists that O’Reilly has repeatedly called “savages” that deserve to be bombed. I would argue to O’Reilly that both factions have lived up to the pejorative term savage and have demonstrated their eagerness to kill Americans before their fellow Iraqi time and again and as such, we should be happy to leave them to their demise. In short, they are getting what they deserve and I see no reason Americans need to be again placed in the line of fire and paying to “save” savages that want us dead while they are busy killing one another.
Third, O’Reilly has totally forgotten that it was Maliki and the Iraqi government that refused to grant the US a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that would have protected our troops and allowed them to remain in Iraq beyond their set date of retreat. True, President Obama used the SOFA as a means to justify the US retreat out of Iraq, but nonetheless, the Iraqis wanted American forces out of their country. O’Reilly should perhaps volunteer himself for military service in a country that he is not invited and where killing, even in self-defense, will be deemed murder. Perhaps he does not realize the very real legal dangers our troops will be faced with as they return to Iraq. O’Reilly’s insistence on the deployment of military forces creates a conundrum for the troops because they are being deployed outside of war, to a sovereign nation, and violating its laws. Does O’Reilly actually believe Maliki’s word that our troops will now receive immunity and that President Obama will do whatever is necessary to ensure Maliki is held to his word? I think not.
Third, O’Reilly just doesn’t seem to get the fact that the war as fought under Bush was a disaster and later under Obama was also a disaster. I guess O’Reilly missed the fact that when the war began, Saddam Hussein was killing extremists for free and had nothing to do with 9/11 beyond being the fall guy for Saudi Arabia. It was Saudi Arabia, not Iraq, which was responsible for carrying out a state sponsored act of war against the US on 9/11. This fact is why Representative Walter Jones from North Carolina wants the classified 9/11 Report released so that the public will know the truth and the lies perpetrated by the US government. If US strategy was effective, there would be LESS, not more extremists. Of course it is overwhelmingly clear our strategy failed judged by this bar. O’Reilly also seems to forget that by toppling Saddam’s regime, we created the vacuum that allowed these extremists to flourish to the point they now occupy their own autonomous Islamic state. When this point is made, O’Reilly flies into defense mode and charges the person as an “apologist.” O’Reilly solely blames the Islamists, but fails to recognize the very clear order of events of cause and effect leading to this situation. O’Reilly can believe what he wants, but is not allowed to create his own facts and cherry pick from his arbitrary timeline of events. For example, O’Reilly makes the point that we invaded Iraq to rid the country of Saddam and for humanitarian purposes. On this point alone, O’Reilly must have deleted his memory files much as the IRS seems to have deleted emails. We did not invade Iraq for the purposes O’Reilly states. We invaded Iraq because we were made to believe that Iraq was an existential threat that possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that it would not turnover to U.N. inspectors, was going to use the WMD against the US, and was supporting AQ. Nothing short of creating this existential threat would have brought American into the war. As the invasion kicked off and the contrived lies became clear, the Bush Administration had to save face. The Administration then made a deliberate policy decision to change the motive for the war effort to regime change and humanitarian issues. As such, O’Reilly’s stated purpose for the war is completely fictitious. Further, O’Reilly has chided every democratic administration for humanitarian military operations, but somehow thinks he can hang on to that rationale to defend the disaster Bush created in Iraq.
O’Reilly claims we did Iraq a great favor by ridding the country of Saddam, but again, suspends logic by implying that a full invasion was the only way to “rid” Iraq of Saddam. O’Reilly has to know that there were numerous opportunities and plenty of other options to eliminate and or contain Saddam and any threat he could have possibly posed to the US. In stating this, O’Reilly totally undermines the deaths of near 1,000,000 Iraqis throughout both wars with Iraq. More importantly to me, he also dishonors the American veterans that fought in Iraq by incorrectly believing that perpetuating political lies and propaganda he somehow brings honor to their unnecessary injuries and deaths. Only by telling the truth and prosecuting the political liars within our own government that sent them out to fight a senseless war would he actually do these honorable men and women justice. However, O’Reilly continues to pander to his establishment masters to the disgrace of all who served. Although the likes of Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney may applaud O’Reilly, Bill becomes vile in the eyes of veterans those traitors sent to an illegal war. I am positive that very few of the million dead Iraqis posed even the slightest threat to America and would be much happier if they were alive for starters. I am also confident that the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones or that were horribly wounded would also be better off alive and well today, even if Saddam was still in power. No matter what O’Reilly believes from his ivory tower about how we improved the lives of the average Iraqi, the millions of wounded, displaced, starved, and dead would find comfort in knowing the US would never come to “help” Iraq again.
Fourth, our bombing didn’t work, yet, O’Reilly is adamant about the positive effects “heavy bombing” would have for the US against ISIL. O’Reilly seems to think that if we just carpet bomb one more convoy we will win. He seems to “know” that our pilots can positively identify targets flying at nearly the speed of sound or faster and often from above 35,000 feet as long as the “bad guys” are in the open desert. I would laugh, but he is actually serious…and using his own words, a buffoon. I guess he fails to understand how the fact ISIL is operating with the same US provided military vehicles that the Iraqi military is using can complicate targeting. If perhaps, O’Reilly had actually served in combat as a Joint Tactical Air Controller, he would know that his line of logic is ridiculous, but since he did not, let me enlighten him. Just because there is a convoy of trucks with guns in the Middle East does not positively identify the convoy as “bad guys.” In fact, the factions fighting often look indistinguishable even from the ground and much less so from the air. Without good intelligence and legitimate boots on the ground observing, identifying, and marking targets for air, O’Reilly’s airstrikes will not only be futile, but 100% counterproductive. I also think that O’Reilly must have somehow shelved the knowledge that ISIL possesses “Stinger” missiles. Even though I would argue that the likelihood is the bulk of these man portable, surface-to-air missiles are advanced Soviet designs smuggled into Syria by our very own CIA from Libya (hello Benghazi), the missiles nonetheless exist and pose a significant threat to our aircraft operating at low altitudes. I wonder if the loss of an American pilot and an F-16 is worth it to O’Reilly?
Finally, O’Reilly went on to say that ISIL does not recognize the Iraq-Syrian border and that we must pursue ISIL into Syria. I do not disagree that the border has long since ceased to exist and that to prosecute an effective campaign, you must not allow the insurgent sanctuary. Too bad we didn’t use this same logic in Afghanistan where even the dullest of officers recognized that to decisively defeat the Taliban, one must either secure the border or cross into Pakistan, but I digress. Moving back to bombing ISIL in Syria, O’Reilly completely demonstrates his hypocrisy and wins the award for pinhead. Time and again, O’Reilly has been on air demanding President Obama support the rebels in Syria and has attacked the Administration repeatedly for not doing enough, yet, he fails to realize that he is simultaneously demanding we bomb ISIL and support ISIL. O’Reilly is naïve and or ignorant if he fails to make the connection that we have been covertly organizing, arming, training, and equipping the rebel forces in Syria to fight President Assad and it is these same forces, which are now rampaging throughout Iraq. The savages that O’Reilly demands we bomb are the savages we created just like in Afghanistan and Libya. In fact, if we bomb ISIL at their points of origin as O’Reilly suggests… in their training camps in Syria (Jordan and Turkey too O’Reilly), I wonder if he realizes we will be killing American special forces and CIA ground branch officers currently training these terrorists. So I ask O’Reilly, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys because I am very confused.
By Guiles Hendrik
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