Prepare for Disaster with a Portable Generator

16 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Living or working in a disaster-prone area always requires that you be prepared for the worst. When a natural disaster strikes, you might not have the time to take the right recuperative measures if you were ill prepared. It is vital that you have an electric portable generator in standby just to be on the safe side.

If you live in such an area, it could mean having to survive some uncomfortable situations like enduring darkness for days, eating canned foods and having a lot more store in your fridge or freezer going bad due to lack of power.

 If you are experiencing floods, you will have your basement filling up with water since your sump pump stops working and have mold growing in your house.

In a business premise, you risk losing a lot of your products especially if you deal with perishable goods. Finding an emergency generator to rent for the period that you stay without power can be very challenging since they are in high demand at that time.

Statistics show that the demand for these generators rises rapidly during natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, ice storms, and others and that businesses with emergency power kits record minimal losses. Here is what you need to ensure when setting up an emergency power tool kit.

Know Your Power Needs

Before you buy your emergency generator, check the maximum amount of power needed in your building and compare that to the generator that you wish to buy. You can check the power rating of your building on the nameplate of the main electrical panel.

Take some time to determine the probable load of your house or building. You can connect an ammeter to the various electrical panels when power is being used at its peak. Do this for about two weeks to determine the amount of power that your generator will have to provide during the disaster period. You can also check your monthly utility bills over several months and get an average to find the approximate load.

Knowing your power needs will guide you to the size of the generator you need at your home or at your business premises.

Placement and Security

When you finally settle on one particular generator, you will need to find a suitable place in your building to place it. The generator, whether it is at home or in business premises, should be at a location where you can easily access it.

 It should be near the building’s electrical panel so that you use a little amount of electrical cable and reduce the cost of installation.

The generator’s location should be away from traffic for safety issues and in a dry area. If you can, have the generator completely away from public access.

Finally, ensure that only certified electricians connect your generator to the electrical panel. If you are not a qualified electrician, never try to connect it yourself. Never handle your generator with wet hands or in a wet environment.

Fueling:

When using your emergency generator, you will need to fuel it. During the disaster period, you may need to use a lot of fuel to keep it running for the period you will be without power.

We recommend that you go for one with a large fuel tank that you do not have to keep refueling. Know how much fuel per hour the generator you want to buy burns when at both full and half loads. This data will give you an estimate of the amount of fuel you need to have and at what intervals.

It would be counterproductive to run out of power in the middle of the night while using a generator yet it is that very situation that you got a generator for.

Avoid such scenarios by calculating properly the amount of fuel that your generator will burn up at a go, and have some reserve fuel within reach to refuel if need be especially during odd night hours. As a safety measure, you should not store gasoline and diesel for an extended period of times as will then need some chemicals to use them safely which will add up to your cost. 

Inspect and Maintain Your Generator

Now when you have your generator, you need to ensure that it is always in a top-notch condition. You never know when disaster will strike and you need to use it again. Even then, there will be instances at one time or another when there is a power outage in normal days.

These come as a blessing in a way since they remind you to once in a while run your generator to keep it in a good condition. You might also want to have annual maintenance, especially when expecting a harsh weather season. Always ensure that you use clean fuel.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Prepare for Disaster with a Portable Generator appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Tooting Our Own Horn

13 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Seriously, if we don’t then who will?

We have been making changes and we need to brag about some of them.

The Archive

Admittedly it was left as a secondary task but NOW has been not only updated to contain over 1,300 articles, but will be updated on a monthly basis to add the proceeding months posts going forward. This thanks to the efforts of one amazing IT guy.

The intended purpose of the Archive is to give followers the collective wisdom of the many writers who have contributed to The Prepper Journal over the years. Experts on survival, weapons, foods from seeds to stored supplies, gardening under almost every possible condition, and of course the re-purposing of so many things others consider landfill.

Variety

Yes, the spice of life as The Prepper Journal contains a variety of articles across the spectrum of Prepping topics and presents varying viewpoints and prospectuses from experts throughout the field. More everyones opportunity to educate and share than one mans blog. And on subjects others may not tackle. We keep the content relevant, fresh and never repetitive.

And Yes, we do Sell Survival Gear

And a wide variety at prices that compete with anyone. The “store”, a recent addition, is specifically for our followers to find survival gear that is tried and tested, offered at reasonable prices.

So give us another look, check out the new links added to the Resources page, and stay prepared for what life throws at you.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Tooting Our Own Horn appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

If You Only Had One Tool

11 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

What if you were suddenly overwhelmed by an event? An earthquake, a micro-burst along a lonely road that did in your vehicle, you barely got out before it was washed down a swollen creek during a flash flood? An avalanche that cut off your trail back to civilization? Heads down in your work and you step out the door to finally head home for the night and you step into the middle of a riot? Or a pandemic? The world suddenly gone mad!

Assuming being prepared is a habit chances are you have your EDC (every day carry) with you, and we all have a general idea of what that  should be, but most of it was in that car now heading down the river to a used car lot in rural Arizona to be sold in the future as “newly arrived.” Or your pack stolen the minute your emerge from your office door, headphones still on, oblivious to the SHTF going on all around you? What is the one tool that would serve you the best if you were smart enough to keep it close?

In The Prepper Journal’s opinion it is a knife. The universal tool that has served humans since we first picked up a stick and realized we needed something to sharpen it order to make our point and carrying a boulder as a sharpening implement was not working out.

And knives throughout history have been made from many interesting materials from sticks and stones and animal bones and are at the foundation of the development of metallurgy throughout human history. History actually defined as the Stone Age, The Bronze Age et al. 

So, whether you are a newbie to prepping and survival or an expert,  the importance of survival knife for not only a planned adventure but a true survival situation, is clear.

While some people may consider knives as a prized possession, I for one have a special one as a wall decoration hanging between two black-powder pistols, all in their own clear display cases, I also have others for use as survival equipment to their full potential when faced with dangers of the unknown, the unexpected.

From self defense to making fire to making traps and spears to obtain food to opening found supplies to making shelter the knife is the singular tool I would never want to be without (other than when the government makes me – airports, government buildings, public schools, and the like.)

As Caityln Bell says, finding the best survival knife is not just about convenience  – it’s about safety. If you don’t have a good knife in your survival kit, you are not prepared. So, with hundreds of options in the market, it can become hard to choose the right knife that would suit your needs. That’s why she is going to break it down for you today and make  choosing the best survival knife more an intelligent process than a random selection on factors that may catch the eye but not preform when the rubber meets the road. 

These are a few factors that you must keep in mind while choosing the right knife.

Blade Type and Material

While a pocket knife is convenient to carry and use, the fixed blade knife is really the best bet for survival. Fixed blade knives perform well from carving to chopping and they don’t have a built-in fail point where the blade connects and folds into the handle. Of course folding knives are easier to pocket, but at a price – durability. Therefore, you should go for a knife with a spine ranging from 0.6 to 0.25-inch thickness, which lasts longer without failing on demanding functions. 

Talking about the blade material, you can pick from carbon steel and stainless steel to find your right match. Carbon steel blades last long but get rusted if you don’t take proper care of them. On the other hand, stainless steel blades don’t rust- but are more difficult to keep sharpen.

Blade Size

Size matters! When it comes to picking the right survival knife, it is important to choose a knife that comes in the right size. Since you’ll be using the knife for multiple functions, don’t pick one that’s too broad as you cannot use the same for cutting down snare traps. Similarly, a small blade might be too delicate for cutting wood. 

So, pick an average sized knife, of about 10 to 12 inches, that is good enough to do most of the tasks that require the use of a survival knife.

Now, carrying a 12″ knife everyday, to work and play is a challenge in itself, so temper this with your attire and your daily travels. A knife with a blade of less than 4″ is not going to be a true survival tool. 

Handle

Just because the blade is strong enough to cut a piece of wood doesn’t mean that the handle is not important. If you go wrong with the handle, you might be putting a lot at stake. The knife with a small handle can give you blisters while the one with a large one might not have an excellent grip.

That being said, go for a knife that has a firm handle and facilitates better action. Also, make sure that the guard of the knife is sturdy enough and excels at keeping your hand from running up onto the blade.

Shank

A shank or tang is the back portion of the blade component that connects the blade and the handle. If you are looking for a reduction in weight, then you can choose between the partial tang and half tang, but if you are after something that helps you tackle extreme conditions, then the only tang worth your money and time is full tang. 

Since the handle is connected to the tang through bolts, pins, glue and more, opting for a full tang allows for great balance and leverage capabilities. The bottom line is a full tang will reinforce stability, ensure a firm grip and enhanced strength when in use.

These are some of the things you must consider when you are out picking a survival knife for long trips in the back-country. Just make sure the survival knife you choose, is the right one for you.

Fixed Blade V/S Fixed Blade: The Knife For You

Choosing a survival knife is mostly a matter of personal choice. And when it comes to picking either a fixed blade or folding knife, the debate has been going for years among knife aficionados and we already gave our two-cents above but…

Every knife owner has their opinion on what works the best given the tasks they face in their everyday life. Therefore, the following section of the article looks at some general areas for both types of blades.

Folding Knives

When it comes to everyday survival, folding knives are generally considered the most popular for their ease and convenience. Generally, folders are associated with everyday carry because they are perfect for routine tasks that make people want to carry a knife in the first place. 

For instance, trimming a wire, cutting open a box, cutting a rope or paracord or self-defense. There are some more advantages of the folding knives:

  • They are more discreet and easy to conceal
  • Th blade of a well-constructed folded knife is as tough as a fixed blade

On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage of a fixed blade is that their folders are tough to clean and also have, historically at least, been known to break easier.

Fixed Blades 

Perhaps because of the way they have been introduced in the movies, fixed blade knives have a reputation for being the more serious type. That’s definitely true. But, this doesn’t mean that they cannot be used in almost any situation. 

There are a lot of advantages to the fixed blade. For the most parts, they are associated with rough outdoor work – jobs like splitting, food preparation, skinning a buck, digging etc. Other advantages include:

  • They are big and come in whatever size you need, from a small handy blade to a large-monster sized blade. One trait that is common among all sizes is the strength of the blade 
  • They are easier to clean and maintain. So, you don’t have to worry about the hinge as you have to with a folding knife
  • They don’t break easily as there are no moving parts on fixed blades 
  • Fixed blades are generally twice as long as folding blades
  • During tactical situations, a fixed blade knife can be brought into play faster than a folding knife.

On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage of fixed blade knives is that they are not as convenient to carry and are harder to conceal.

There you have it – Advantages and Disadvantages of Fixed and Folding Blades. The ultimate decision comes down to the buyer and how they plan to use the blade! 

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post If You Only Had One Tool appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Mobility vs Armored: Which is Better?

10 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Survival is more of an art than a science and there are as many opinions on the “right” way to do it as there are preppers. While everyone isn’t certain they have the final answer, the truth is, no one really knows because the showdown, apocalypse, calamity, SHTF, disaster, fall of America, whatever you want to call it, hasn’t happened yet. Since it hasn’t happened yet, and reliable prophets are few and far between, there is no way of knowing what kind of situation you’ll find yourself in when it arrives.

If history has taught us anything it is that the earliest ones to recognize the coming change will be mocked and chastised by the masses, and persecuted by those bringing about the coming changes. It will be subtle, covert and matter of fact as the spin is set into motion. A transgression here used to quell the first flash points by complicit and coordinated judgement by the 5th estate, supported by the social media infrastructure we see as more benevolent that would George Orwell. History abounds with such grant illusions, the sheep in denial until slaughter is inescapable. The government of Venezuela has been killing its citizens for months, do you see that on the news or do you see the latest tweet from some troll elected to Congress by a disconnected populace?

Since we all like planning for vacations and trying to get the best travel bargains so should we also be trying to plan ahead for the long term when it all goes south. That means you need to consider which option is better for you and your family. Should you hunker down in an armored bunker and ride out the storm? Or, should you opt to be mobile so you can stay one step ahead of the storm? (taking into consideration the lessons of the Golden Horde, of course.)

Armor Up

If you’ve ever been in the military you might be familiar with the saying among tank crews about scratching each other’s backs. This happened a lot in Vietnam, where a VC would wait until a tank got right up close to them. When it was close enough they would jump up on the tank and try to stuff a grenade or something down the hatches. They were locked of course; after all, what good is armor if you leave the door open?

Then a second tank would radio in that they were going to scratch the back of the first tank with the VC on it. The second tank would hose down the first tank with machine gun fire until all the enemies were gone. They knew the crew inside the first tank was safe behind all that armor so they could fire away.

Is that your goal?

A heavily armored bunker dug deep in the ground with limited access in or out, is a tough nut to crack. When the balloon goes up you’ll be safe and sound behind steel and concrete walls while the world tears itself apart outside. This is an especially good option if the outside world is engaged in a war of all against all. Widespread guerrilla warfare, mainly dependent on small arms, doesn’t generally include the use of the kind of heavy-duty explosives that could breach an armored bunker.

Properly constructed and camouflaged, your bunker might not even be noticed during that type of conflict. Once all the heavy fighting is over or has moved out of your area, you can emerge with all your own firepower intact and ready for action.

Staying Mobile

But what if a situation develops where two large enemies are fighting it out with heavy artillery and bunker buster bombs, going after anyone who won’t declare for their side? In a case like that, you might want to get out of Dodge. That means you need to stay mobile.

Wherever the fighting is, you need to be somewhere else. If you’re in a jeep or truck of some kind you’ll have to sleep in a tent or portable shelter at night. If you’re running in an RV, then you’ll be sleeping in your RV when you have the chance.

An RV is certainly an attractive choice since it has so much storage room inside and acts as a home away from home when you’re on the road. It is also clearly a civilian vehicle, one of the millions on the road, which allows you to perhaps hide in plain sight, lost in the crowd. Any military style vehicle will draw unwanted attention but an RV, the vehicle of choice for aging (and “harmless”) snowbirds, will have a much greater chance of letting you fly under the radar. 

Now driving one while armed to the teeth, decked out head-to-toe in camo and wearing your body armor might make yo boil to the top of the “harmless” crowd, but having all those items at the ready affords a measure of confidence, and preparedness that, as preppers, give us some comfort.

Staying Healthy in the Apocalypse

Weapons, armor, and mobility aside, you need to stay healthy while the world around you is eating itself. Water first, a well-stocked medical cabinet and first aid supplies is next, of course. After that, you need to ensure your and your family have a balanced diet, enough to last for several months during the initial unrest, then a good supply of seeds to grow your own food after that.

And son’t forget the value of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a well-known tactic for wearing down prisoners. Don’t do that to yourself with primitive sleeping quarters or rotten mattresses that kill your back. When it comes to survival, you need to be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and bring back a sense of balance to a world that has gone crazy.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Mobility vs Armored: Which is Better? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Survival of the Richest: How the World’s Financial Elite are Preparing for Armageddon

9 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

As we normal folks prepare for emergencies, disasters and the like, I was curious as to how one might approach this should “money be no object.” I myself have never had that problem, when cost was an afterthought, not a concern. But there are those that are born to or succeed to a point where this is their reality and in such Daniel Williams brought the following to my attention.

I for one found it fascinating, not just for the content and presentation but for the reality that if the EOTWAWKI, SHTF happens some of the “Golden Horde” is going to be its own little fiefdom, replete with private armies and weapons you only see in the movies. Another consideration to take into account as we all try to survive.

If it demonstrates anything it clearly shows that being rich and successful does not mean you are not just as flawed as us little people.

Since The New Yorker unveiled the doomsday survivalist strategies of the super-rich in 2017, the planet’s most monied men and women have proceeded to amp things up.

And you can’t fault the scope of their ambition as they look to inter-planetary escape, de facto states and even immortality to evade the collapse of our planet and the revolt of its stinking, heathen masses.

As such, the content team at Loanable have created an infographic which shows the freshest, weirdest and most popular ways the master’s of the universe will side-step doom should a catastrophe topple the natural order.

Mars Biospheres

Do you believe this better for mankind than to become extinct?

It is possible this dilemma will come to pass. Because what if Musk musters only a few thousand survivalists to colonize the red planet? It will be their duty to spread life on Mars.

Musk’s recent pledge to bring Pizza Hut to his biospheres also extends to some of The Hut’s industry rivals, so his Spaceship X survivalists will see out their days with a heady mix of fast food inside a giant greenhouse with an anti-gravity chamber on hand. Should the world end, some will perhaps consider that an upgrade on our current form of civilization.

Laser Eye Surgery

To prepare for post-nuclear melt down and martial law being unable to contain the baying mobs, then first things first. You absolutely, positively, need to pre-emptively correct the plus 1.2 vision in your left eye, right?

Because this is what Steve Huffman would have us believe.

And if you can’t get round to laser eye surgery before the world goes to hell, then you must face down the existential threats by stockpiling contact lens solution instead.

And who am I to deride Huffman and his survivalist priorities? This man who is the brilliant, billionaire, founder of the “front page of the internet” as against a glib content creator, sitting in pajamas in a tiny basement flat, with pieces of peppermint immovably lodged in between his teeth?

Private Armies

The private standing army is the essential end-of-the world accessory for the financial overlord. And what really matters is how big your force of mercenary soldiers is compared to the next man’s.

In this spirit, a number of American survivalist billionaires recently met in secret in Switzerland – with the size of their squadrons top of the agenda. After all, what’s the point in accruing billions of dollars if you don’t have a system in place to protect it from the antsy hoi polloi when the world is in peril?

But if food and water and law and order are in short supply, and hyper-inflation kicks in as it typically does during extreme crisis, then subordinating one’s troops becomes a real issue.

And whereas in the past, the very rich could trade Givenchy, Chapaud and furs for loyalty, today’s fiscally elite survivalists are largely austere, righteous and lacking in ostentatious possessions (other than, ironically, their anti-armageddon accouterments) This means they’ll be faced with the futile task of trading stock in solar powered hectares in Arizona for the fading loyalty of their soldiers.

Food Mountains

Instead of posing the tired question of what would be your last meal before you die, we can instead ask what’s the best meal to have when the planet dies?

And on this front, survivalist food kits are a multi-billion dollar business. They are also a great leveler: rich and poor alike will typically be reliant on the same, boring types of emergency food: cereals, tinned fruit and vegetable and freeze-dried produce.

Many of the survivalist food kits, though, do offer charming, unexpected flourishes such as the hand wipes provided by leading emergency food kit manufacturer, Gear Hungry. After all, it’s bad enough having the world end before your very eyes without also having to deal with pesky, sticky fingers from your mini-pack raisin and sultana mix.

Survival Condo Projects

Luxury living inside a former nuclear bunker is a special pitch for special times. This form of subterranean existence is perfect for the super rich survivalist who isn’t grandiose or romantic enough to set their sites on living in space.

The full luxury, doomsday units in Wichita Falls, Texas can be yours from around $3 million USD and they will allow 75 people to outlive the real world for up to 5 years.

There is also a special, organic hydroponic and aquaculture facility which is THE place to get your hands on luxury survivalist produce. This means that when the general public run out of food and start eating each other’s radio- active flesh, you can dine on carefully cultivated matsutake mushrooms, saffron and albino sturgeon procured from the Sterlet fish being farmed in the sea water tanks.

The Wichita Falls condo units also offer a further, rich blend of banal and apocalyptic features. So you can enjoy “Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical air filtration” alongside the “Washer and dryer in each unit”. And as well as the “Command & Control Center” you will find “Full kitchens with High-end stainless appliances” lest you endure a nuclear fall out with the added indignity of not having a sashimi-grade cutting knife.

The Doomsday Clock

The time of the clock (which gauges how close the world is to catastrophe) is governed by The Board of Atomic Scientists whose numbers include a dozen Nobel prize winners and experts in various fields.

As well as the present day, the only other occasion the Doomsday Clock was as far gone as 11:58 pm was in 1953 – after the Soviet Union and the U.S had developed and tested “H-Bombs”.

So it doesn’t look good for us then.

It might, perhaps, be said, though, that The Board of Atomic Scientists a doom- laden lot. The earliest time they have ever recorded was 11:43 pm in 1991, after a pact between Russia and the U.S to reduce nuclear arms.

Which means we’ve never been more than a figurative 17 minutes from the end of the world. And this begs the question of what insane level of utopia we’d have to attain to make it, say, 08:27 am?

New Zealand

Many New Zealand media outlets reacted with anger to vast parts of their beautiful country being sold to over a dozen Silicon Valley billionaires. Presumably, it was more irritating still, though, when James Cameron started buying up land there.

All of the above contributed to a change in the law in 2018, restricting non-citizens’ right to buy property in New Zealand. This can be side-stepped, however, by acquiring permanent residency if $7.5m USD is invested in the country year-on year after an initial outlay.

This forms part of a bigger picture of “passport collecting” amongst dozens of the world’s richest survivalists. Because as well as allowing them to find political and economic safe havens, multi-citizenship is the ultimate keeping-it-classy-the hell with-you status symbol; the non-gauche equivalent of the mega-yacht.

Inside the mind of Ray Kurzweil

Eternal life achieved through a downloaded conscience is of long-running intrigue to survivalists, science fiction writers and raging narcissists alike. So let us ponder, then, what it means to exist without bodily movement or sensation for infinity…

…Those billions of years you’d have alone with your biggest regrets. The trillions of years spent with no means of generating new memories. Or perhaps you’d lose your mind and your memories altogether; for there can be no absolute guarantee against that.

So maybe, then, you’d be terrified, trapped and confused ad infinitum. In which case you’d think someone would flip the switch and put out of your misery. Unless you get overlooked in the data base, lost in the system. Forever conscious.

Enjoy it, Ray.

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Happy Independence Day America!

4 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

The Prepper Journal wishes all a safe and sane and happy Independence Day.

Good times, with family and friends, a moment of reflection on those who set us upon this journey and those that made us a land of opportunity and continue to do so every day.

The freedoms we enjoy should be celebrated.

And remember:

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Happy Independence Day America! appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Mental Health Benefits of High Concentration Sports

28 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

As you know The Prepper Journal usually doesn’t republish already published articles, but every so often we come across some that truly add value to our followers and warrant further exposure. And with the “internet” being like the universe, ever expanding in every direction, some valuable content can easily be missed. While the focus here is the United Kingdom, population 65,000,000 it is simple to project the statistics on the United States, population 327,000,000.

So, thanks to permission from the Team at Target Crazy, I am sharing their article on The Mental Health Benefits of High Concentration Sports herein. While it focuses on archery it can be applied to any of the shooting sports as well as others, golf and billiards come to mind, as does chess.

If there’s one topic which appears regularly in the media at the moment, it’s mental health. It might be celebrities coming clean about their previous hidden mental health problems, or journalists and pressure groups highlighting the chronic under-funding of our health services over the last few years.

I often think… is this epidemic a by-product of modern western living? 

Perhaps a result of economic wealth and the influence and interference of technology such as social media. Mental health issues seem less prevalent than say fifty years ago among previous generations. Are they even seen at all in the developing world?

Data reveals that mental health problems are definitely on the rise and here are some enlightening statistics:

1 in 6 have issues

NHS Digital reveal that at any given time, one sixth of the UK population between the ages of six and sixty-four have a mental health problem  

6,000 suicides / year

There are about six thousand suicides per year in the UK, the largest proportion of these people are male, accounting for three quarters of this figure.  And it is the biggest killer of men up to the age of forty-nine reveals the Office for National Statistics who have control of the data gathered from the registrations of deaths in the UK

1 in 5 Women, 1 in 8 Men

Women are more commonly affected than men with one in five women reporting a mental health issue compared to one in eight among the male population, these figures come from NHS Digital and their Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in 2014.

75% affected before age 24

The majority of mental health problems begin in childhood or early adulthood, with three quarters of problems established by the age of twenty-four, the Mental Health Taskforce revealed in 2016.  Young people do seem to be particularly susceptible.

Services are underfunded…

A whopping 23% of NHS activity is taken up with mental health issues but the corresponding funding is only 11%. (The Kings Fund 2015)

Medicine use is growing…

The number of medicines dispensed for mental health related conditions and illnesses such as depression and panic attacks, has more than doubled in the last ten years; this data comes from an NHS Prescription Survey over the decade 2006-2016. These statistics may be tempered somewhat by the growing evidence that anti-depressants are a more effective way to treat some of these conditions, therefore patients tend to be prescribed these drugs for a longer period of time.

How High Concentration Sports Can Help

The situation in the UK with regard to mental health is quite closely reflected in the US so apart from investing more money in diagnosis and treatment services, is there anything that individual people can do to help themselves? 

As Prince Harry said quite recently, “everyone no matter who they are has physical health and mental health“.

Physical activity and sport has a huge part to play in promoting and sustaining good mental health but surely it is not as simple as saying, ‘go for a run, it will take your mind off things’?  Sport in general is very much in vogue at the moment, not just for the evident physical health benefits but for the well documented effect that physical activity can have on the mind.  

This is because when we exercise, the brain releases certain chemicals which can help with mood and alleviate issues such as anxiety and depression, even if only for defined periods.  And of course collective sport, where we engage with other people whether as a group or in a team, also promotes our mental health as it offers interaction with others, fundamental for a healthy mind and outlook.

If sport is beneficial therefore to the state of our mind, surely high concentration sports must be the best elixir for those struggling with mental health issues? 

The four key mental factors in sport are considered to be:

  • Concentration
  • Confidence
  • Control
  • Commitment

The demand for concentration varies with the sport and is divided into three types:

  • Sustained concentration – relevant to sports with an endurance element such as long distance running, cycling marathons or tennis matches
  • Short burst concentration – evident in golf and cricket and short sprint field events
  • Intense concentration – sprinting, bobsleigh, target archery, darts, skeet or clay shooting

Negative emotions such as anxiety, anger or depression can affect the ability to concentrate so is this not a chicken and egg scenario?  

Learning techniques to concentrate intensely for short periods of time are fundamental to sporting success and can also have proven benefits for those who are struggling with mental health issues, ergo high concentration sports can be an excellent mechanism to help support mental health in a whole range of people. Whether it is supportive to existing conditions or to some degree preventative.  

This is because the amount of focus required trains the brain to concentrate on the here and now, to ignore negative self-talk and doubt by utilizing positive self-talk. Employing strategies such as ‘parking’ techniques to temporarily remove unhelpful thoughts and emotions and put them to one side for a defined period of time. 

Focusing on the here and now and forgetting your negative emotions is key to sporting success

From this, it is easy to understand why all these techniques used by successful athletes in high concentration sports, can have a positive effect on almost anyone.

Archery and Other Target Sports

Archery as a target sport requires high levels of concentration and offers to the individual perhaps not such an obvious benefit and that is one of self-discovery and self-truth, in fact a road to mindfulness and inner peace.

Mindfulness is a heightened state of self-awareness, a way of slowing down the moment and focusing only on that point in time, developing deep levels of consciousness, of how the body feels rather than by being solely driven by the constant jumble of thoughts and emotions in our heads.  Becoming more aware of immediate physical sensations and our environment allows us to understand and process our mental traffic; it’s not about changing it but more the ability to disassociate ourselves from it and see it for what it is which is something that does not need to govern and define our lives.

The Japanese who have not picked up a bow in anger for centuries (Editors Note: I challenge this statement) use archery, the ‘Way of the Bow’ or Kyudo as a mechanism to provide focus and self-discipline.  Kyudo has strong links with the teachings of both Shinto and Zen, providing a whole body and holistic experience of focus and concentration – whole body control means that the mind is also completely focused; Kyudo is sometimes referred to as ‘standing Zen’ because of the total immersion that is required in the technique.

How You Benefit

Archery requires significant mental input from the archer but this high level of concentration also gives rise to and develops many other faculties and emotions and some among these include:

  • Focus and concentration – mindfulness
  • Motivation
  • Self-efficacy
  • Patience

This can lead onto the following, positive lifestyle developments:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced levels of stress and depression
  • Sharpening mind and mental faculties including memory
  • A lessening of anxiety
  • Increasing brain capacity and power including problem solving skills

Other benefits may include:

  • Enjoying the great outdoors
  • Aesthetic appreciation
  • New experiences
  • New friendships and social engagement with real people rather than the virtual world
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Prevention of depression – just one hour’s exercise a week can help manage existing depression and help guard against future bouts through the physical activity and engagement with others
  • Relaxation
  • Fun and enjoyment
  • Healthy competition
  • Equality of participation, a level playing field for those who may be marginalised for example, due to physical disability
  • Co-operation, teamwork and leadership skills
  • Improved social skills through changes in brain function due to mental training and focus

Inclusion

Target archery is an all inclusive sport so can be enjoyed by children, older people and the less than physically able.  There is a level and involvement for everyone.   But don’t let me wax lyrical about how inclusive a sport archer is, meet Martin Douglas who suffers from Asperges Syndrome and let him tell you how archery has helped him deal with this condition and how in fact, mild autism has made him a better archer.

Mel Clarke, originally from Norfolk and now living in Worcestershire, is just one example of how disability is no bar to participation in archery.  A former European Champion in 2002, Mel was the first disabled archer in Europe to make it onto the able bodied team a year later in 2003. Mel has since gone on to compete at the World Championships and the Olympics with considerable medal success of different colors.

Participation in archery is possible with all types of disabilities and impairments and perhaps the most difficult one can imagine, being blind, is also no bar to involvement as there is a thriving organisation called British Blind Sport which promotes archery among many other disciplines.  Visually impaired archers use what is described as a tactile sight to help them take aim in case you are wondering.  

Archery has a place for all age groups from the young to the elderly and embraces a whole range of archers in between including those with disabilities as well who compete on a level playing field with their fellow archers – it is one of the most inclusive sports.

More Than Just the Mind

So is target archery really a physical sport?  

If it is possible for the young, the old and the less physically able to participate in it, does target archery offer any physical benefit to the participant? 

Yes it does.  

The connection between mind and body welfare has already been discussed but target archery does offer many purely physical benefits including:

  • The development of upper body strength through the shoulders, chest and arms
  • Hand co-ordination and control
  • Balance and co-ordination
  • Flexibility
  • Core strength and endurance
  • Calorie burning
  • Weight loss and enhanced body shape and posture
  • Improved mood and well being from endorphin release

Target archery is a year round sport which promotes the benefits of the great outdoors and the friendship and camaraderie of others before you even lift a bow to take a shot.

The average 35 year old female can burn 144 calories per hour target shooting and that is not within a hunting environment which clearly offers even more potential for calorie consumption with the hike to and from the target destination across varying and perhaps challenging terrain.  And don’t forget, the weight of your bow and pack and, the energy required for mental focus and concentration either when you take a shot.

Target archery and bow hunting is a sport that is hard to beat in terms of what it can offer the participant – stated mental health benefits, physical exercise and the companionship and friendship of other archers, with plenty of healthy competition to boot.  Inclusive to all types of people and set in the great outdoors, you will be hard pressed to find a sport that can offer as much to the individual, sustaining good mental health being just one among many of the key benefits.

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Prepping Your Truck In Case You Have to Live Out of It

27 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Whether you’re out of work and lose your house, in a natural disaster, or SHTF scenario or are one of the sole survivors of a zombie apocalypse (an election in California), there may come a time when you find yourself unexpectedly living out of your truck. Preparing your truck ahead of time so that you can live out of it will save you frustration in an already stressful situation.  It will also prove invaluable should you breakdown somewhere that seems like the end of the world, like Interstate 10 between El Paso to San Antonio.

This guide will explain to you what you need to do to prepare your truck in case you’re one day stuck living out of it.

Invest in Shelter

Once upon a time, living out of your vehicle meant trying to get comfortable in a reclined seat while your steering wheel dug into you. Luckily, when you own a pickup truck, this doesn’t have to be the case. On this website you can find truck tents which will provide you shelter in the bed of your truck while letting you actually lay out. Pairing a truck tent with a couple of roll-out camp mattresses can bring you from surviving in your truck to living pretty comfortably.

You should also invest in some of the little things that make a shelter feel more like a home, such as a small pot and pan and utensils so that you can make real food while living out of your truck.

Keep Emergency Supplies in Your Truck

One of the best ways to prep your truck in case you have to live out of it is to keep emergency supplies in your truck at all times. Your emergency supplies should include a first aid kit and enough food and water to last for a while. A lot of stores offer 72-hour kits which include everything you would need to survive 72 hours, from flashlights to food. If you don’t have any other emergency preparedness items in your truck, a 72-hour kit would be a great place to start.

Other emergency supplies to keep in your truck include a couple of changes of clothes, winter gear, and emergency blankets.

Take Care of Your Truck

If you’re going to live out of your truck, you want to be sure that your truck is in tip-top condition. That’s why it’s important to pay your truck off as soon as possible so that the bank can’t seize it from you. If times are tough and you find yourself making a call between paying rent and paying your truck off, choose the truck: You can live out of your truck, but you can’t drive your home to and from work.

Meanwhile, regular maintenance on your truck can keep it from deteriorating quicker than it should. Make sure that you get your oil changed and your fluids topped off on a regular basis. And consider investing in premium gasoline. Just like your body, your truck runs better when you give it the right nutrition. If you want your truck to be able to withstand anything, you need to feed it from the top shelf.

Know How to Repair Your Truck Yourself

In today’s world this is a skill to be envied. You can’t fix them with a set of rackets and a timing light anymore. They are as complicated as any other machine in the 21st century, but doing the basics of fluids and tires is a must skill.

Let’s be real: If the apocalypse comes, AAA isn’t going to fend off the golden horde to change your tire for you. If you really want to be prepared for any eventuality, you need to know how to do at least the most basic repairs on your truck yourself. Source out YouTube videos and practice changing a tire, jump-starting your truck, changing your own oil and fluids, and replacing windshield wipers and bulbs. The more that you can take care of yourself, the less you’ll have to rely on–or pay–other people to do for you.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you want to know what it would be like to live out of your truck–and whether you could really pull it off if you had to–your best bet is to try living out of your truck for a period of time. Take a weekend in the woods to practice just living out of your truck, and take note of what was hard for you and what things you weren’t prepared for. Then, correct any issues and try again. When you get good at it, you can try camping out of your truck for longer periods of time to prove to yourself that you would be able to do it in a pinch.

Living with modern amenities is great, and we’re not going to tell you to give those up. But it’s important to realize that our homes and our luxuries are just that–luxuries. Thinking about and considering a future without those can not only prepare you in case of unforeseen circumstances but can also teach you to appreciate what you have now. By practicing and preparing for a time when you might need to live out of your truck, you learn gratitude for your current lifestyle. And if something does come down the road, at least you’ll be prepared.

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OMG, Now What?

26 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

While we all hope to never have to make the decision to use deadly force to defend ourselves and our loved ones, it happens everyday somewhere and with an opposition party in the USA that incites and advocates violence, hate and criminality in the place of reasoned debate and an open mind, criminals may not always be that person kicking in your front door.

From road rage escalating to flag burning to destruction of public and private property to the assault on our history, the flash points can be anywhere and escalation is sometimes impossible to control.

The Christian approach of “turning the other cheek” can often result in that one getting struck as well or worse. 

“How Did This Start?”

Always the first question, how did this start, how did it escalate so quickly, how did it come to this? This is also the map of the trail that is going to play out in your life going forward. Like the 5 steps of grief each must be examined under a microscope and defined ad nauseum before moving on to the next step.

The temptation to find self guilt in your actions will be real, no matter what endless keyboard warriors and armchair quarterbacks claim. Every soldier and every police officer goes through the same process, or lies about it. 

And this is your most dangerous time, as you try and process what happened those tasked with determining what happened will not give you the time to process your actions. Memories go stale and get convoluted by time and distance from any event. And every word spoken in that first hour will haunt you forever, set the trail map mentioned above and map out where things will go from there. This is your most vulnerable period.

“MAKE IT STOP!”

When someone escalates a confrontation to the level of using deadly force every one who has faced this, including professionals like police officers and soldiers, has the same gut reaction – NOT to shoot to kill, but to shoot to make it stop. That they may be one and the same is situational. This is why your first reaction is to keep pulling the trigger until it doesn’t go “bang” anymore, why suspects in armed confrontations with police are often shot multiple times. It isn’t some macho thing, it is preservation of self and loved ones. It is subduing the threat. 

I for one blame the mind-numbing desensitization of this on the media, from the old westerns of the post WWII period to the movies to TV news who refuse to show the reality. (Thank goodness Sam Peckinpah finally showed up.)

If you take nothing from this article other than to make your first statement as to what happened “I shot to make it stop!” as opposed to “I shot to kill” then I will have provided some value. 

Remember, the Police Want to Go Home that Night too

To quote Hans Gruber from the first Die Hard Movie “Relax, police intervention was inevitable….” And it will be in your case should you be involved in any self-defense using firearms.

Understand that they are responding to an “active shooter situation” and are clueless as to who shot who or why when they arrive BUT will engage, with gunfire, anyone they see with a gun, so, if the threat has been neutralized by you, make sure to holster or put down your weapon before they kick in your door and keep your hands in clear sight. And answer from cover and then follow their demands. They will arrest you and handcuff you and take your weapon. So would you if you were in their role. They want the situation completely defused, the same “make it stop” mindset.

Do not, under any circumstances pass the weapon you used to anyone else, not a trusted family member, no one. It is now a crucial piece of evidence in your defense and you do not want it convoluted by others fingerprints, etc.

Lawyer Up

No matter how justified, no matter how many witnesses, get professional council immediately. Look into Texas Law Shield or USCCA now, before you need it. There are others, these are the two I have used, and still do. KNOW what they do and do not provide.

Know also that it only takes one prosecutor looking to make a name for him or her self and further a political career to make a justified shooting in self defense into a jumping off point for their gain, at your expense. And don’t lose site of the fact that criminals have families and they can hire lawyers too and they have a complicit media always willing to give them public voice. 

Now is NOT the time to tell your side of events other than to state you were assaulted and you want your lawyer.

The ten (10) things NOT to do are:

  • Call 911 in a Panic
  • Leave the scene
  • Move or tamper with evidence
  • Have your gun in your hand
  • Make a statement to police without your lawyer
  • Fall for the “good cop/bad cop” routine
  • Try your case on the spot with them
  • Lecture them on “your rights”
  • Fail to address them as either “sir or officer”
  • Be surprised if you are treated as a criminal

In a society so over-burdened with laws by so many governing agencies you can be assured you have broken at least on law, if not several, in your act of self defense. For example most cities make it a crime to discharge a weapon within their limits, no matter the reason. The list could be long. Even if the city doesn’t have that law, the county may, or you may be withing a restricted distance to a school, government facility, and on and on. 

Consider simply stating “My gun is laying over there, and that is the gun that I used to shoot my attacker in self defense because I feared for my life. I do not want to say anything else until I have had time to talk to my attorney. I want to cooperate with the investigation completely, but I’m very upset right now and I need to talk to my attorney first. I hope you understand.”

Believe me, if you can say the above in a clear controlled voice you are better than 90% of you fellow citizens who will be traumatized by the situation. Taking a life is a necessary evil sometimes, but it is never easy, and you will never be the same.

Better to be judged by 12 than carried by six, you will be judged. Try and not be your harshest critic and seeking professional counseling is not a sign of weakness.

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Really, the FIRST Day, Really?

21 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

June 21st – The beginning of Summer north of the equator, the longest day of the year (daylight vs. night) and the Summer Solstice, the opposite for those south of the equator. Really? REALLY?

Well it was 111 degrees in Phoenix last Wednesday and Thursday and 112 degrees last Friday. One can understand my skepticism about today being the beginning of summer, but then it did cool to a bone-chilling 104 degrees over last weekend.

Like living on the surface of the sun. What better time than talk about water and hydration and how they sustain all life on earth.

Water

We have spoken of this often in other posts such as:

Bug-Out Bags – Water on the Move and Lessons From History, the Importance of Water by R. Ann Parris

Building Your Water Storage and Safe Water In Case the Grid Goes Down, Pt. 2 by John Hertig

Hydration

Good to know, good to review and understand, but hydration is something we should always have on our minds.

As Pat Henry wrote in 2015 – “A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would carry all of the water they needed in their bug out bags. If you figure 3 gallons (1 gallon per person per day), that would simply not be wise or possible for most people for very long. Then I started seeing people say they would pack 3 liters of water. That’s better, but 3 big plastic bottles is almost 7 pounds, not to mention you must have space for them. Not the end of the world, but not insignificant either.”

And as John Hertig pointed out – Water is water, but not all water is the same.  There is pure water, just combinations of two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom (H2O).  Generally the closest you can get to this is distilled water.  This is useful and fairly harmless, although it is hypotonic (has a lower solute concentration than do human cells) and can cause hemolysis (rupturing of red blood cells); this is usually not a major concern even if this is all that is available to drink.  Using it on wounds may delay healing a bit; and it might be a problem for people with ulcers (bleeding in the stomach).  But this is still way better than no water.  On the other end of the scale are various degrees of contaminated water, polluted with chemicals and/or biological organisms, which can make you very sick and even kill you.  Salt water can be considered in this latter class as well, even if there is nothing else in it besides the salt.  In between are various types of water, all of which are potable (suitable for drinking without major harmful effects).

Look, we all know keeping hydrated is crucial for our health and well-being, yet many people do not consume enough fluids each day. Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water, and around 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by water, though only 2 percent of that is fresh water.

Are salt-laced energy drinks really good for you?

We know Gatorade has been around forever, developed by the University of Florida. It was developed to replenish electrolytes, a set of minerals that your body needs to maintain healthy fluid levels and regulate its muscle function. There is science in this one. On the other hand the rash of new energy drinks has been a double edged sword. While they do give you a sugar or caffeine rush, it is at a price.

Bottom line – a growing body of scientific evidence shows that energy drinks can have serious health effects, particularly in children, teenagers, and young adults. In several studies, energy drinks have been found to improve physical endurance, but there’s less evidence of any effect on muscle strength or power, and in one case a woman who had six-to eight energy drinks a day for several years ended up having to have a pacemaker attached to her 32 year old heart.

So follow R. Ann Parris’s advice and if you must have something other than water consider these drink mixes.

Be smart, stay hydrated, always carry water with you and stay away from the energy drinks that do as much to dehydrate you as they do to quench your immediate thirst. First day of Summer, yeah, right.

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