Disposable Items

It is hard to tell what you are going to need in SHTF in your medical part of prepping. Easiest thing to say is that you gonna need everything, but actually it depends from your level of medical knowledge i guess.
for example:

  • Full reanimation kit- O2 bottles, respirator (O2 powered) suction unit (O2 powered), laryngoscopes, tubes, airways, BVM s, tube holders, drugs (atropine, adrenaline, dopamine…)
  • Body protection like masks (booth surgical and respirators), gowns, gloves (sterile and non sterile), lot of rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers,paper sheets, delivery kits.
  • Wound care kit- all sterile gauzes, peans, tweezers, povidone, rivanole, staples, sutures, forceps, dressings, antibiotic creams…
    Vitamins, tablets and vials for injections.
  • Antibiotics full range, booth tabs and vials (Pennicilin, Gentamicin, Lincocin…) then full range iv fluids kit with NS and Glucosae, including IV systems, needles, syringes, IV catheters …
  • Children antibiotics, suspensions, together with antipyretics like Voltaren supositories.
  • Snake kits (horse serum), allergy shots (Urbason, Synopen…), urinal catheters…
  • Drugs like Furosemide, Novalgetol, Aminophyllin, Reglan, Ranitidin, (all vials), Albuterol (inhallant).

List is going more, but important is to choose what level you want to know, then find way to learn to use things on that level. You can not know everything. Maybe you gonna choose only to have powdered things for hydration instead of IV NS.

Whatever you choose to have, keep in mind that must be as more disposable as you can. For example paper instead of fabric, or sterile plastic tweezers instead of reusable. And again from my experience most of the problems were coming in the form of vomiting and diarrhea, due to bad water, or unknown food.

Typical Gang Members During SHTF

Because some personal reasons i ll focus more on gangs issue 🙂

It is very important to understand who is typical member of gang in SHTF. As i already said before, worst kind of people is in charge in SHTF. Usually they take lead, so you have then old criminals as a new gang leaders, of course you already figured they not gonna pay too much attention on moral issue or fair play.

In most parts of the world we already now in peace time have gangs, all kinds. In SHTF those gangs becoming something like private armies.
People joined them, it is easier to take stuff from other people then to find it on more “normal” way. So you gonna have normal folks who lost faith, lost strength, and for them it is only way to join gangs.

My point is to prepare you that in SHTF your first neighbor (who is now for example car salesman) may be very bad gang member.
It was much easier to be gang member.

Home Security

I already wrote about some basic home security during my SHTF.

It passed lot of years from that events so you may though my home defense is modern today, to be honest it is not. I like to keep things simple.
Right now i live in apartment building, fourth floor, so if SHTF again and caught me in the city what will i do. I ll wait week or two, i ll stay hidden. Then after the first period of panic is gone i ll try to get to my rural place.First period is marked with panic and chaos, everybody is trying to go somewhere, most of them will failed, roads are jammed. Best thing to do is stay hidden behind your door, heavily armed.

In first moments of SHTF, go out, leave lot of garbage outside your door (if you live in apartment building like me) smash your TV, your stereo, let passage outside your door looks like your apartment is robbed already, most of the apartment gonna look same like that, spill some red color, leave old clothes.

And wait.

In first days gangs not organized too good, probably most of them gonna think it is already robbed and abandoned. Maybe sounds stupid for you, but i ve seen that, it works. In other cases you have weapon and a lot of ammo.

You can set up some basic traps in passage outside, if you good with explosive devices you can set up some more sophisticated 🙂 After first period is gone, gangs will be more organized, they will be greater in numbers and more determined.

It is simple, first they gonna look for jewelery, LCD s,money and things like that, and if they see obstacle they just go away because there will be lot of other places without obstacles, later when they realize that real SHTF came, they will look for food, water, ammo, and they gonna try to destroy obstacles. So again, if you caught in city in SHTF, do not panic, stay focused, wait for the moment, and then of course leave the city. Where? Wherever you can, just leave.

Sorry guys there is no perfect home security in city SHTF, unless you have small army in your apartment. Get out and connect with family, friends and form a group.

What to carry? i guess you are not be able to carry a lot things with you, weapon, ammo, basic first aid kit, maybe food for a day. From all of this what i wrote, you can conclude that best thing is to have some hideout, some house close to your living place, place with all suplies, ammo, medical, food, water, friends. That is my plan, because my job i must be in city, but my real place in SHTF will be rural community. I hope.

I do not know how many of you is aware that in every city, every country and culture, there is considerable number of people who just waiting for some kind of collapse, some kind of chaos so they can start with robbing, killing and havoc. So if you counting on human kindness and help i suggest you to forget about that, you are not going to have too much friends, so do not prepare alone, have friends now. But choose wisely with who you are going to share your thougts about preparations and plans.

I have read some post from some guy, he states that he is not hiding fact that he is prepper from anybody. As soon as folks realizes what is happening,he gonna have visitors.

Getting MREs

In that time US air force had mission to drop food from airplanes from high altitudes as a part of the mission to help surrounded cities(not only mine)  there was not any kind of schedule, or right place to wait for them, it was matter of luck. I ll try to describe one waiting for MRE (it was not only MRE, but we called it, hunt for MRE )

At first real dark we took rifle (if you had it) or any kind of weapon, and go out, usually 3-4 men, never alone. Some 2-3 miles from my house there was hill, it used to be dense wood, but soon it was naked because need for firewood, so imagine bunch of people climbing on that hill, complete darkness, maybe 300-500 people every night, and waiting for the distant sound of airplane, it was matter of luck, i guess because they dropped that things from high altitude they just never know where they gonna go.

Funny thing was that few miles across that hill was another hill, on that another hill was enemy army, they usually shoot every half hour on our hill with PAT (anti aircraft cannon) in dark, without aiming, because they knew we are there. They could not see us, but i guess they did not need to see us, every time they hit someone.

On the other side, most of the folks were armed, we fight regularly between us on that hill, for better position behind some rock, or to get some pallete with parachute. It was regularly to see guy climbing with his buddies on pallets full of flour , loading his rifle with statement ” OK this is mine” If you and your friends had more fire power, you tried to convice him somehow 🙂

So if you had luck and plains dropped something useful right on that hill, you still mostly needed to fight for that.

I still remember everything from that MRE s , food, matches, sauces, salt, cookies…

Many many years later, after peace came, when i had MRE s again in hands, i just felt strange, i wanted to cry and laugh in same time.
Other important thing was with that airplanes missions, we just felt that we are not forgotten, that somewhere somebody thinks about us, sometimes that was more important than food.

How it all started

To make some things understandable i ll try to describe my street in that time, it was street in older part of town, all houses made from brick, small yards, usually with gardens, every yard had wall, brick or concrete, street was dead end street, maybe some 20 houses, not sure.
Neighborhood was nice, middle class, normal people, kids, cars, lawns…

When everything started due to advancing of enemy army, and occupation of some parts of town, population gone to maybe 50 000-60 000 citizen, not sure. Lines of separation between “us and them ” formed pretty soon as advance was stopped.

I guess then they decided to conquer it with long siege, starvation or something like that. Whatever reason was , it resulted with lot of people in condition of constant shelling, sniper fire, no distribution of any kind of goods, no authority or anything else that means civilization.

Very soon things started to go down, people realizes that everybody is potential enemy, so if anybody thinks there was some feeling of union in trouble or something like that, no sorry.

Some folks realizes that they can not survive alone, without weapon in that new world. In my case some family members came from other parts of town, from their houses to my house, because they did not feel safe there, some of them bring weapon, some bring some food,some did not bring anything.

Now when i remember, i think maybe we needed 15 days to realize that is not gonna be war like war in some other . Houses gets cold without heating, people slowly realizes it is gonna be fight for life, every single day. Like every normal city in world we had stores, markets and malls, but trust me, folks just break and take everything in day or two. And that s it.

Some order on storages and granaries was maintained, but pretty soon we realized that it was not order, gangs just take it. Anyway soon we found our neighbor and his family killed, and robed, nobody knew anything but i guess that was one more awake call, maybe half of the people in street were armed, rifles, pistols, different things.

So we formed something like watch or guard at the street entrance, we roll over burned car as barricade, few men always guarded there.Even then we never were sure is our first neighbor going to attack us, or he ll be friendly. So we barricade our street from outsiders and put some kind of guard, or watch, but we also barricade our houses from everyone, you can say that was very loose alliance between neighbors.

We used what we had, with constant shelling there was a lot ruins from where we used rocks, pieces of metal plates or anything to make house harder to penetrate. My weapon was AK 47, folding stock. Lot of the people asked me is it good? Is it better then…? I don t think that s right question, you see many years after that SHTF i had and used for some time m16 ( i think it was M16 A1) and i found it much better than AK47, but in case of another SHTF i going to have Kalashnikov again. Reason is simple, most of the people here use that rifle, that caliber. Same with pistol and same with everything else.

Keep it simple and ordinary.

Strength is in the numbers!

One man survivor?
I just say it on beginning- from my experience no way, or very hard, not in the city SHTF.

You know i watched on You tube few months ago great documentary about urban SHTF survival, i think guy is ex special force or something like that, i remember he shows how he crossing river with rope, hiding in ruined building, entering hospital and how he taking fuel from abandoned gas station so he can start electrical power unit in empty hospital ,later he is making some fuel from something… and things like that.I can not remember his name or name of show.

I mean guy is OK, he is doing some smart things, he is good. But what about other people in that town? It is OK if the city abandoned and you are alone in town, but chances are more that is gonna be crowded with desperate people, hungry, ready for everything.

You know i have seen a lot of shootings, but i never met Rambo, i never seen guy who killed 8 bad guys with three bullets from rifle. Some thing just did not worked, yes i ve seen some bad guys, lone wolfs, good armed, trained, and most of them finished shot from the back from some ordinary hungry folks.

So, from my experience be close with your family, or choose wisely your friends, share your prepping in normal times with them, because when SHTF come, they probably gonna be your group, your best defense. I don t know how things works in wilderness but in town SHTF your group is everything, it can be you family, your friends.

Do you think that s only you gonna have great idea to take fuel from abandoned gas station,or weapon from ruined police station, no, lot of guys gonna have same idea, probably you gonna have to fight for that, what is your chance for fight if you are alone? You can say that s you going to have everything because you are prepping for years, but sooner or later you gonna have to fight for resources, or defend your own.
You know i was pretty smart guy in that time (i think i am still) but in the time when i am figured that i need to go out and take things,because everything falling apart, i was too late, really smart people already took everything 🙂

If you really stays with one man survival in city SHTF, i suggests that you need to be invisible, dig in somewhere with lot of food and guns, and try to be invisible, and hope it is not going to last.

On the other hand, worst panic is in first few weeks of SHTF, when most of the people can not understand what is going on, most stupid deaths happened then, so again it is up to you, stay home with what you got and wait to see what s going on, or go out and risk life to acquire things .

What did we eat?

Not too many types of food, most popular was some kind of local pancakes, to prepare them you needed water, hand full of flour and local herbs, i don t know type of herb, but i am pretty sure it was cow food.It did not require cooking oil, and it needed few minutes on fire to be ready, feeling was like you are eating dusty carpet 🙂

To explain it simply, it was grass, we just use small amounts of flour and water to keep that grass together.
We eat that when we did not anything else.

Speaking about herbs, people used a lot garlic and  lavender as substitute for antibiotics, pine was popular as a antiseptic and of course camomile.

Mre s and cans were luxuries, we acquired cans mostly trough trade. Rice was popular to had, i ques one reason was because it easy to prepare it.
Who owned some kind of garden was in advance, i remember green salads mostly from gardens, to protect that gardens was another problem, but that is theme for another post i quess.

It was matter of whole new thinking, for example if you manage to get somewhere tomatoes, and happened to had some sugar in house, than probably you gonna make kind of marmalade from that, or sauce, call it as you like, and put it in jars.
Most popular kind of can was corned beef because few reasons, it was meat to eat of course, it had a lot of fat in that can, when we eat meat, we used that fat and can as a lamp (add a lace and bottle cap, melt fat)
As i said mostly it was a matter of improvisation,like to make small portable stove from pressure cooker, simply with hammer nails and saw we made two openings, one for smoke and one for wood, we attached some pipe on smoke opening, so basically we had small portable stove, we could carry that in bag, or backpack, if we going somewhere on day, we could quickly cook something on that, and warm our self.
Of course it looked funny, we cough because smoke all the time, but it worked, and it was portable.
We also made stove from the bigger cans, also portable.

A Way Out

Yes, there were few possible ways out of the town. First let mi notice if i had recognize what is coming, i would run away from town for sure, no matter where. Some signs were there, i did not notice them. From this point of view i was fool because i did not figure what is going to happen.
During the SHTF one way out from the town was that you pay to local gang leader huge amount in foreign currency (i guess now something like 15 000- 20 000 $, for us here it is fortune) to get you out of the city.I ve heard for agreements that people gave everything what they had, , jewelery, guns, everything.; They had power and connections to do that, to smuggle you through enemy lines, but; as i remember probability that they ll take your money and just shoot you was very high, i think chance for success; was something like 50%. Not good number if we talking about life 🙂

But yes there were cases of success that i heard later. Other way was to use another smuggling route to get out of the city, that other way was through mountain, it was used sometimes to take some wounded defenders out , on the horses, also it was one of the ways to get things from the other city, some 50 miles long trip, depends from the weather and enemy movements it usually takes 5-10 days.

It was not any kind of road or path, just big mountain standing between two cities, there is narrow “passage” between enemy lines, maybe 1 mile or something like that. So it was a real art to get there and back, with all hard environment , mines, hostilities and absence of any order.
Situation in other town was slightly better, so you could bring some useful things home, maybe.

But it was so hard and dangerous that probably worth only to mention here as way out. I took that trip once, in January, i think it was something like -15 C , freezing wind, blizzards, it was like swimming through snow, not to mention that nobody had clue where exactly mines and other traps were.

I was a city guy, i liked to watch snow from warm room, or on idyllic postcards for new year 🙂 But to walk many miles in deep snow at freezing temperatures, in military boots made probably for dry weather only, and to eat snow ( yes, i made that mistake ) it was nightmare. Local myth was that if you going to take that trip, you need to have sugar and few liters of alcohol, during the trip we mixed alcohol and sugar and drink that, it suppose to gave us energy for long walk on freezing temperature. To be honest, sounds ridiculous, i finished that trip, not sure is it because that mix, i know that most of the time on that trip i was half drunk and walked like zombie.

Sometimes people took that trip only to try to get some specific medicine. I remember also few times some of international aid workers, or some foreign news reporters tried to sneak into the town, or be smuggled in to the town, because help or interesting story i guess.

Also i met two foreign soldiers, mercenaries,(i think from UK) i did not have clue how they came in city, but i know that they “worked” with sniper weapon for those who payed more. Urban legend about them was that when they take position to shoot, they did not move several hours, and that the eat only chocolate bars when they are “on job” I don t know is this make any sense 🙂

In one occasion i spoke with them, nice guys, i think for them it was a job like any other job, they did not even look like “tough guys”
International red cross tried few times to get in to the town with food, but mostly unsuccessful, even when they get in it was in such small amounts, it did not mean anything.

Again rumors raged, there was a stories that some folks go through the sewage systems, and manage to get out, do not know for sure is it a true, it was a system about 100 years old, combined with newer sections, so it looked like labyrinth to me. I think now i would be great idea to have map, blueprints of that 🙂

An Ordinary Day

Actually it is more correct to say ordinary night, because if we had some business to do outside house , we did it during the night, like trade, collecting wood, waiting for mre,s etc.

During the day we usually sleep, or doing the things inside house, yard. We waited for every rain to collect rain water from roofs in barrels,try to filter it trough gauze, boil it, then used that water for everything, other solution was to go to close river and take water, but mostly it was dangerous, at the beginning there were some effort from authority to supply streets with water with tankers, but soon that fall apart like everything else.

So another precious item became water container, plastic canister, to carry water. We did not have any water filters, or water purifying tablets, so i guess lot of diseases occurred as a result of dirty water. Connected with carrying things like water canisters or firewood people started do make all kinds of carts, most basic was cart made from plastic crate (originally used to transport bottles, beer for example) on that crate people attached small wheels from rollers, or toys, and that s it. Nothing fancy. Funny actually.

Hardest thing was to collect fire wood for cooking and heating during cold days, very soon city lost all trees, so we started to use every wood, i burned almost all my furniture, my books. We started with trips trough ruins to collect wood like door and window frames, furniture, wooden floors, parquetry.

During cold days it was a constant problem, to keep the fire. Just to mention all of my windows were broken, we just plug the holes with anything, and when you add ruined roof, holes, then you get the picture how cold can be.

You know in some of the movies of SHTF you ll see guy who is operating from his perfect house while world outside falling apart.Well everything, is falling apart, including your house, especially if you don t have knowledge to fix things in your house, or you don t have tools, so another advice, learn how things work in your house, and learn how to fix things, and especially- have tools for that.
There is nobody to call when your door lock is blown up, or to fix roof tile.

I spent few nights trying to make some system with tarps and drain pipes to collect water, i just did not have any experience with that.

Same was with almost every aspect of life, skills, it all comes to your skills how to make something, we were not prepare for that situation, so i guess when system failed to provide us with goods like food, water, medicine and any other kind of support, we just used skills to made them or acquire them.

Same is today i think,in the case of SHTF, even if we are prepared very good, sooner or later we going to exhaust our supplies, and then we gonna use our skills to made them.

I think good example is to have a big supply of food, but still know how to work in small garden. Great fortune was if somebody knew how to fix things, guns, locks, shoes, people…

Gangs & Staying Hidden

To go out during the night and to do things was dangerous. There was no rule about anything and you did not know what to expect.We needed to go out to get things.Gangs and complete absence of any law was problem.

Constant shelling and snipers from enemy army was minor problem comparing to gangs. I think every city have criminals, people who live on edge of law,murderers, drug dealers and that kind of people.

In SHTF worst kind of people are mostly in charge, they formed very fast some kind of their own private army, in some cases their number was in hundreds, they were drunk from feeling of endless power, because of them you needed to be uninteresting, small, invisible.

They had everything, food, guns, luxuries, they owned black market. If they wanted something from you, eventually they get that from you, your food, house, wife, does not matter what. Only chance for you was that they did not notice you, or your other chance was that they see you have enough men and firepower so that what they want is going to cost them too much.

If you expecting some kind of fair fight or honor in SHTF, forget it right now. We just stay away from them, there was not Superman or Batman in city who saved good people from bad, if we met them it was shoot and run.Most of that folks did not vanished after SHTF ended, most of them still alive, some of them trough that power still have power today, some in private companies, some in politics.

Anyway to go out you needed to prepare some things, rifle,pistol,ammo,backpack,dark clothes, boots or shoes-kind of boots good for running, good for walk on broken stuff and trough ruins ( kind like adidas sport shoes ) in backpack i usually had more ammo, food for a day, candle or lamp, water for a day,sometimes some tool, key was to have some things in case that you need to stay somewhere hidden for a day, outside your house, but in the same time you needed to stay very light and mobile and not to attract anyone. So to had big backpack full of good thins during that trips(even if i had good things) was not good idea.

We took that trips never alone, always 2-3 men. About clothes, no specific rules, as long as it stay in dark color and does not catch too much attention, i used old overall (German army-something similar to US flight suit) and jacket similar to American jacket from Vietnam war. It did not looked fancy, but it worked. Small axe was nice thing to have , for fight and as a tool.

Some folks used small military shovel (folding) with sharpened edge, again as a weapon and as a tool. Every trip was mix of scouting and running,for example if you needed to cross over open space, like street first we spent some time checking for possible problems.If you seen other group of people, always hide until find out who they are and what they want. In short it was always like moving on enemy ground.

To add more about gangs: Yes they even had their own prisons, houses for fun, sometimes they abducted people for ransom, sometimes just for fun, there was no rule.