Taking Care of Small Children and Babies in Survival Situation

small children survival

Popular picture of „true survivalist“ can often fool you down if you are easily get under the influence of stereotypes.

So for example you gonna see true survivalist with his favorite rifle standing while world is going to hell behind him, and he is tough. He has rifle and lots of ammo.

It is good picture, but rarely you are gonna see picture of that true survivalist with rifle in one hand, and 1 year old baby with bad case of diarrhea and vomiting in other hand.

It is not nice picture, but it is realistic. Personally I did not have kids during my SHTF time, but I saw how relatives had problems with kids and babies. And more important is that I have kids now, so I want to be prepared for some stuff.

I get question what to do about kids on regular basis and I speak in detail about this in my course and also wrote about how to help children with traumatic experiences.

When SHTF all you people who have small kids can count on multiplying all of your problems with kids so it is good to be prepared to some of those. Having kids during SHTF can be burden but at same time it is not, because if you have kids it becomes your reason for everything. Some people might fight harder or see more sense in staying alive to protect family than just for themselves. In my opinion there is no “right way” here and we still have to live in present moment and not in future that looks dark but we do not know what and when things will turn really ugly.

All this is also if you have very old people or people with handicap in group of course. You can replace babies and small children simply with “people who need help”.

1. Health problems

Be ready for “usual” emergencies that can strike your kid, remember that most probably you are not gonna be able to take your kid to the pediatrician, so you gonna be forced to solve emergencies like:

  • Fever
  • Typical first aid „cases“ (cuts, scrapes, fractures etc.)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear or throat infections and similar

Talk to other mothers and fathers what works with their kids with typical child illnesses.

Research what kind of illness you can expect, usual symptoms, therapy, care etc. Lot of that knowledge can be found online, but also be ready to invest in some literature.

If your kid lives with some health problems already, learn about it and also learn alternative treatments so you can help your kids when modern medicine is not there anymore.

2. Store things

One very valuable thing during SHTF was baby food. Very valuable. It may sound too “heartless”, but it is simply mathematics – kids are precious to the parents, and because of that baby food became very valuable. People have been ready to do a lot to get some of that.

So do not become some of those desperate folks when SHTF. If you have baby be ready to store A LOT of baby food, especially if your kid is allergic to some ingredients and you need to have some unusual baby food.

You can imagine how rare and expensive it will be to get that stuff.

3. Be there for them

When SHTF we had many other things on our minds so for kids it was only about how to keep them safe, and that was it. I mean somehow most of the folks thought that if they put kids in some safe room inside house, provide them food it will be somehow all OK when everything ends.

But in lots of cases it was not OK at all. Great number of those “safe” kids grow up and become very troubled people. Lots of them adopted philosophy that violence is key for everything, or others simply grow up without influence of their parents. No surprise, everyone struggled to pick up and rebuild life from nothing after war was over.

They have been safe, but not paid attention to.

So keep in mind that part of survival is also raising your kid into a normal person. If you failed to do that, somebody could say that there was no sense in surviving. Do not let part of your children die when you can avoid it. It is maybe crazy if you hear me talk about this now but maybe one day you remember this and use the last bit of energy after long and hard day getting things in order to survive you spend some time with kids instead of just relaxing. This can make huge difference.

Include your kids in everything and be there for them on bad days. They see everything, and if they do not have someone who is explaining to them what is going on, they could come to their own conclusions, wrong ones and that can mark them for rest of their lives.

As a part of preparing, be ready to teach your kids at home (homeschooling) and to spend time with them with games and teaching. It is survival too. Just the family side of it.

Never forget that even during collapse time still goes by. It is not like you are in frozen space and everything is different. It looks like that but we all keep learning and experience shapes what we become later. A “master” survivalist also manages to be good father or mother even in times of hardship. Many generations before us did and so can we.

What do you do prepare for, for your kids or those who need help? Join our discussion in our forum or in comments below.

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Loyalty in your survival group

When I write about SHTF world and interactions between people in that time, I always emphasize that you cannot trust in people any more. There are many examples why in my course.

Your neighbour that had been always nice to you in normal times is simply not same guy when SHTF, because now he may have hard time to keep his family fed, and comparing to his family you are nothing.

So simply trust no one outside your group.

Your group matters, you need people who you can trust, people that you can put your life in their hands. It is your group of people that you are preparing with for the time when SHTF.

Loyalty is one thing that you need to “grow”, and it needs time to grow, that is why it makes sense to have prepared your group before SHTF, it may be slow process, and you need to be sure what kind of people you have there.

My SHTF experience was very bad from the perspective of what I saw when it comes to loyalty.

When you have big number of unprepared folks thrown in really hard situation like war, you can see all kind of examples, mostly bad one.

Yes, I saw people betraying their friends, or even families. Sometimes for the few more hours of life.
Sometimes even for food.

But I have seen also people getting killed trying to save their families, sometimes they were almost sure that they going to get killed.

My old school friend get killed at the beginning of the war simply because he did not wanted to leave his wife under the ruins of collapsed house, he was trying to save her until the moment when rest of the building collapsed and kill them both.

And I already mention people trying to help friends or family members who get shot and wounded from sniper fire, only to get themselves killed from the same sniper.

Once I was pass out from the explosion (detonation) and my relative drag me to safety, while shells were still exploding.
You need to know what kind of people you have with you when it comes to loyalty.

Before you expect loyalty, ask yourself, are you loyal?

What kind of man you are? Do you have feeling of belonging to the group and what that group mean to you?
Of course there is your family or your friends inside the group, but what kind of the things you are ready to do for them? Do not expect more from them if you are not ready to do similar for them.

What keeps your group together?

There s few answers to that, fear can keep group together, or temporary circumstances too can keep it together when SHTF, but both of those examples will keep it together on very short run, and be sure that group not going to function good.

If members of the group are loyal to each other group will function much better, loyalty will be thing that keeps it together when things get tough. Creating a shared goal, idea and identity everyone feels part of, is another way to create more loyalty. You want as much things to be loyal to as possible. Patriots are examples of people loyal to something bigger.

Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.

Mark Twain

I would slightly modify the quote for survival groups and add “loyalty to the group and cause” and not the government. Some of us also do not feel loyal to country anymore because most important ideas and values that country was build upon have been lost long time ago. Just look in your group who is loyal to something. These people can be loyal to your cause or group as well if they want to.

Be realistic

Just try to be realistic when it comes to the loyalty of the people in your group. They are people, not machines. Do not ask from them impossible things.

Everybody has a breaking point. It is important to know EXACTLY where (or when) that breaking point is in every man. Observe people and see where their limits are in low risk situations.

Expect some weird things when people get to that breaking point. You may be surprised when you find out that some “tough” guys have much lower breaking point than you expected. When people break they often forget to put group interest first and just think about themselves. So a loyal weaker person can be much more worth than tough guy who is very selfish.

Point is to understand loyalty ends somewhere for most people. Try to find out that breaking point today BEFORE the SHTF so you can know what to expect.

Vision, goal and causes in your survival group

I saw some groups turn to gangs simply because it was easiest thing to do and took not much effort besides lack of compassion for others. There was no shared cause, vision or goal. Just selfish people who want to survive. Same groups often fell apart because of internal fighting.

In other words what makes group of survivalists different from the simple group of scavengers and thieves? Vision, goals or a cause.

While one group is simply going to use the opportunity of lack of law to do nasty things, other group will try to survive in order to make some sense in all of that chaos. In short you MUST have goal or cause however strange that can sound. Our simple shared cause was to keep our family save. Very simple. I went out and risked my life every day for people back at our place. Think now about shared cause or goal when you are with other families or friends in survival group.

For someone it may be trying to survive in order to build better society afterwards, for other trying to teach folks good things. Do not ever let your group get lost without cause or vision of better tomorrow. A cause or vision can carry group like picture of a loved one you look at when you are held hostage.

A cause can be simply to survive to tell others how it was back then. In this sense I found another cause years after, writing here today.

Share your thoughts and plans on your survival group in our forum and get feedback from other survivalists and preppers.

True Nature of Survival

If you are not eating right now take moment and watch this video of monkey eating gazelle.

It feels very wrong for most people to look at this. This shows how much we are out of touch with nature. Most people want to eat meat but not kill it themselves for example. What happens to gazelle is not good and not bad, its nature. It simply is.

When you find yourself in survival situation you get quickly in touch with nature again, and nature is cruel and concept of fairness does not exist.

It is hard to be prepared for that before you experience it. But understanding how nature really is and that we only live in soft bubble protected from true face of nature, is a first step.

I talk a lot in interview in my course about events that lead to total collapse. Here is one more experience I want to share.

When SHTF started, in the time when great majority of us thought that what was going on around us is something like temporary rioting that got a bit out of control, city services still worked in some parts of the city, everybody was waiting for madness to stop.

In that short period before s. hit the fan with full force, people usually lost their lives because they did not recognize situation.

People were out rioting, stealing, fighting. But all that was still like “moderate”.

At that moment people still were “inside” the system, so we all were trying to hide more or less when looting was going on in neighborhood. Police were still arresting people and trying to control things. People were shooting each other yes, but it was not yet like full scale shooting and violence, mostly people were scaring each other with shootings.

One of my friends was involved in shootings in those days, after looting some stores, he got wounded. Wound was not too dangerous, he was shot in foot.

As I said, most of the city services were still working and trying to bring order to that chaos. City ambulances came and picked him up and they rushed to hospital with him.

About one kilometer from place where he got picked up, the group of people that actually shot him stopped the ambulance on some improvised barricade, first shot the driver and then killed my friend in the back of the ambulance. They killed him little bit slower than driver, and more painfully, they used knives. We got there a bit later, too late.

Now this story may sound confusing to you, you may say “it happens in war” but for 95% of folks at that time it was not war, it was something like violent rioting, and those 95% of folks still trusted the system, had trust in police and government that they are going to restore law and order. People still trusted that ambulances are like “protected” and nobody will stop them, not to mention shoot at one.

In this story here that wounded guy and ambulance driver simply did not recognize situation. He was a nice guy, why would this happen to him? Back then I probably would go with ambulance as well if I was shot. It felt very wrong that this happened but was one of first wakeup calls that fair and unfair are concepts of the past.

My friend in the first place should not have been there in that time of chaos. Ambulance driver should have said ”screw it” take valuable medicines and go home at first signs of real violence and total collapse. He did not. It is easy to call him hero and maybe day before or hours before he helped save life of someone else but it was still too high risk to be out at this point in time.

It is easy to say that now, in those time we all still called things by old names, police, trust, government, law, system, penalty…
If that happened maybe day or two later my friend would have crawled and treated his wounds alone, or driver would have refused to drive, or…

Few days after that event s. hit the fan with real force, and nobody had illusions anymore that something temporary is going on or that things get back to normal.

But point is that lots of people died in that short period before realizing that things aren’t the same. You can not still believe in good of people around you, but most people did. This ambulance event was one of many that ended with similar deaths.

So next time, when some rioting erupts in your city, some violence after football game, or some protests because high unemployment or similar and you hear gunshots and screams, and words about people being killed on the streets, stores being looted, you need to hope that it is temporary disturbance but you can not trust in that.

Be suspicious, trust in your bug out bag, trust in your storage, trust in your weapon. Do not go out just “because everyone goes out”. Avoid being greedy and go looting to have a bit more, even if it sounds easy, you prepare to not have to go out.

When you realize how random and brutal nature and violence is, then you realize you do not prepare to be hero, you prepare to survive. That ambulance guy could have helped many more people in later months when we were fighting for survival if he would not have died. But back then, we did not understand situation.

If you experienced situation that reminded you that fairness and unfairness are just concepts in our “civilized” world, please share in comments.

Self Defense in Survival Situations

Lots of people wrote about George Zimmerman case that followed the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

To sum up story, Zimmerman was local neighborhood watch volunteer and followed Trayvon Martin who he considered suspicious. Then they got into fight and Martin was shot by Zimmerman.

There is much more to this of course but reading about this gave me idea for article today. About what my understanding of self defense is and how it changed throughout my year in war.

If Martin was beating Zimmerman and smashing head into ground then what should he do? Wait until his head opens up?

I think world is going to hell very soon, and most of people are kinda idiots, brainless media blinded puppets.

I cannot see any sense in following big headlines and news about what some „famous reality star“ said about shooting and who is right and who is wrong.

When exactly we started to wait for statements from empty celebrity heads like some kinds of messages from Messiah?

Am I supposed to form my opinion based on her or his opinion just because she has public videotape of having sex with someone, or he can rap about throwing money in the air?

We have some wrong idols, and s. gonna hit the fan very bad, and if you look at humankind mostly we are deserving it.

Every lost life is tragedy, especially young life. Being in war I have seen many many people killed, young and old, innocent and guilty.

Some things never gonna change, there is always gonna be violence and stupid people.

Self defense for me was when I did not have any other option left and when only option was to shoot and kill. For example if I could not run away, or hide very good not to be seen. I would use any other option first, last option was to shoot.

Attacking them meant when I shoot first, even if I had other options to use first. In reality if I wanted to confront them I would attack them, if I did not want I would use any other option (go away, hide, or sometimes negotiate) then use force as a last option (self defense)

Real life example was two (drunk and high) guys going from house to house and killing and setting houses on fire, clearly self defense (as I understand it) because there is no sense of talking with them and leaving house was no option too. If you hear or see them murdering others, you are not going to be first person to talk sense into them.

When you shoot and kill the man, later you always think „Did i have to do it? Was there any other option?“. But yeah, in the beginning period, I mean when you are driven mostly by fear and adrenalin you tend to shoot too much. Like „shoot first and then ask“ stuff.

But man in my neigbourhood put like 20 bullets in his own brother just because his brother wanted to scare him (as a joke) while he was guarding their house. That is joke gone very wrong.

When you are new to survival situation most people do not understand all options they have. After some weeks and months you get familiar with your options and shooting is just one of the options.

Self defense changed troughout my year fighting for survival in two ways. First when people realized that SHTF for real, and there is no law it was like if you are smart and practice „self defense“ you would stay home, hidden and shoot at anyone who comes to you. That was self defense.

People on street were practicing something like „fun“ with weapon, like shooting and having fun, so nothing like real reasons for attack or self defense. Later when folks realized that it is becoming easy to get killed, and hard to survive, more people tried to stay „put“ and move out of way of other folks.

Self defense & carrying a weapon

Carrying weapon is not only about caring that gun, it is much more. It is about understanding the fact that you are ready to take someone else life, kill him, destroy his family.

There are not too many people who can live same life after killing someone, usually their life is destroyed too. They suffer slowly for the rest of their lives.

In short it is about understanding that and all consequences. People who can not understand it, should not carry weapons.

If you are right man then you are gonna be much more careful where to go and what to do after you start to carry weapons. You are not gonna look for trouble.

In terms of SHTF weapon have strange power not to transform man, but rather to remove mask from him. So you could see how weapon „turn“ someone to monster, or other guy to good and „righteous“ dude.

Actually weapon just „pushed“ them a little to show their real face.

When people seen that rules are gone, weapons were kinda used like firecrackers, so you could see people just having fun shooting at others with assault weapons, or killing each other because of minor fight.

But as I said those were specific kind of folks.

Smart self defense was that we just avoided all the time situations where we had to use weapon. And when we found ourselves in events when we had to use it, it was used with deadly force, not to demonstrate something, rather to kill.

If you miss it sends message too but when you shoot you shoot to kill.

How action movies kill people in survival situations

Lack of knowledge in the beginning days made people do stupid things, so people were killed in great numbers simply because they did not have clue about weapon and combat, so they use it a lot, and act like they had super powers.

Also lack of knowledge can be used to your advantage. I knew guy who used to shoot from his rifle using the old exhaust from his woodstove as a something like sound amplifier, so when someone attack his house it was like „what kind of weapon is that?”

Smart. More stuff like this in my course.

Pretty soon people realized that it is very easy to get killed so they become „smarter“ with weapon use.

When S hits the fan next time, on some global level, i believe it is gonna be very bad (or if you have very dark sense of humor funny), one of the reasons is because generations are raised and „thaught“ about weapons and shooting from action movies and music.

So it is almost like it is romantic and fun to use weapon. People will die in stupid ways again.

Weapons are not for everyone, and understanding of self defense can be different from man to man. I am using term „survival mode“.

In reality, today, fact that I carry weapon does not give me excuse to go in the middle of the night to the part of the town where I can expect trouble if I do not really need to go there.

I ll do lot of things in order to avoid the need to use weapon, some of those things you may call stupid, or cowardly, but I know how it is to use weapon to shoot to kill.

On the other hand when I judge that I really need to use weapon, I will go into „survival mode“ I will use it without mercy and hesitation, and I will use it with deadly force. And I will live with it.

If you can not swallow your pride sometimes in order to avoid the fight do not carry weapon, also if you are not ready to pull it and kill in moment do not carry it as well.

So these are my thoughts on self defense and I do not need false idols to teach me when to use weapons and when not.

I appreciate readers here, because somehow it seems what I write attracts more “true survivalists” and less rambo movie survivalists who live in dreamworld. So what are your thoughts on this case and self defense?

The reality of combat

When SHTF nobody told me how hard is gonna be and what things I will have to do to survive, there was no training or simulations, through most of the stuff I was going for the first time in my life, and I was hoping it is only temporary situation, it is not going to last for whole year.

Few events opened my eyes, and somehow make me survivor right at the beginning, and I can say I have luck to understand in very early stage how hard it is, and what it takes.

During one of the first bigger events of killing in the streets, I was out together with my friend who also was medical professional.

Fire from machine guns was on people who were standing in front of the main city bread factory, and people started to scream and run over each other.

My first impulse was to run to nearest cover but my friend got down to help some lady, so I stayed one meter next to him.

I was confused about my decision and not sure to stay with him or run. Bullets from machine gun hit him over his legs, and I saw how his knee cap exploded, it looked like some bad movie special effect.

He just looked at his legs, then at me, in silence. Even that was just seconds moments like this feel very long.

I took him by the hands and drag him some 20 or 30 meters to safety. Only there I saw that he was missing his leg under the knee. It stayed with dead lady on the street.

And only then he started to scream.

I used belt to stop bleeding, ambulance still worked in that period. He went to hospital and then evacuated from the city. He survived but never came back.

Lessons learned?

In moments of chaos always listen to your instincts and do not hesitate. Especially if you are involved in situation when someone is shooting at you with high caliber machine gun. Just accept that people will die, and you have to survive. To help others is great thing, to survive is even better, also I realized that human being is so fragile and easy to destroy.

Later I learned some things about weapons and how to use them, so I realize that more firepower does not necessary mean more dangerous and better chance to kill.

Owning a weapon is just absolutely necessary in preparing for a survival scenario, even more in urban survival. You just need to go and get as close as you can to the real stuff while you are doing the preparing and training for the SHTF, so it makes sense to go out and check your preps, to check your gear and yourself.

For example pair of boots that you bought and store for bad days will not be used for walking only, it will be use for running, squatting, jumping, in mud, junk, blood, guts maybe or just running trough a shallow river.

Everything that you have prepared and stored for SHTF will be pushed to the limits.

One thing is to go out into woods nearby and do recording of your weapon testing on some beer bottles with your friends, and after that concluding that particular gun or rifle is best for SHTF, and that you are dangerous dude because your accuracy rules. Some people gonna put that clip on you tube and go home convinced that they are ready and prepared.

In reality you do not know if you are prepared.

A lot of survival stores that sell things sell idea of buy this and you are safe. No you are not. Also you learn more about real urban survival scenario in my survival course and this helps you to mentally be better prepared but real deal when SHTF always comes as surprise.

When time comes again it gonna hit everyone like a hammer. Good news is that when you know you will get hit like that you can recover fast and use your skills, knowledge and preps to make best out of situation.

Using weapon in real life, in real survival situation is something absolutely different from shooting bear bottles, and if you could do some real training that is realistic that would be maybe going to camping with trash bag as a tent, being on camping for 10 days with 10 small cans of food, and 10 liters of water, walking every day for 10 km.

And then on 11th day run few kilometers and then shoot and see how accurate you are when your body is wasting away.

And still the most important thing is missing. While you are shooting at the beer bottles they do not shoot back at you in order to kill you.

During some of the first battles in city I was moving trough the building behind a guy, we both had rifles. He was sweeping the rooms and shooting, it was the closest urban combat as it can be. In the moment when he run out of ammo he used his rifle as something between spear and bat.

Now someone could say why he did not just switch to pistol? He did not have one, also he did not have time to look for ammo. But there I learned how it is useful to have folded stock of rifle when shooting and moving in very confined spaces.

Also I learned that rifle with pretty sharp parts at the barrel can be very handy. He stabbed guy to the cheek, ripping his face down and finishing him on ground.

One of the biggest misconception at the people who do not have fighting experience is what they need to practice.

It is all about pressure. You need to learn:

1. What your weapon can take

In terms of kicking, throwing, how often and when will it malfunction, and what the most common malfunctions are, and how to fix it, of course how to fix it in middle of fight. If you find yourself in the middle of fighting, and your weapon „jams“ do not be as we called “zblesavljen” or in English is probably looking like idiot.

I have seen that: guy is shooting and in the middle of fighting his weapon jammed, and he surprisingly look at the weapon in a „what the f#ck?“ state. And of course in two seconds he ends up dead.

You absolutely need to know how to manage small weapon jams without looking at the weapon, you need to look at the target while you are „repairing“ weapon (clearing the bullet, switching to other magazine etc.)

Other option would be to MOVE immediately when your weapon jams, move to cover in same second, or to dropping it on ground, or on your back, and switching to your other weapon. But you need to learn to do all of above without thinking. You need to train that this becomes automatic.

Small things like how quickly you can put your rifle on your back and a switch to pistol can be difference between life and death, if you somehow „trip“ yourself while you are trying to put rifle on your back in order to take pistol you can end up dead.

2. What you can take

Remember this: while you are shooting at the bad guys, those bad guys will be SHOOTING AT YOU TOO.

So shooting at the beer bottles in the woods with your buddies will not really do all the training you need. I am doing it often, but it just not covering everything.

Fighting and surviving combat means constant moving and outsmarting the guys on the other side, you gonna need to run, squat, throw yourself in the ditch, lay down in all kinds of sh!t and shoot at the same time, and probably fix your rifle from jams, or switch to another weapon.

Do some basic weapon training and learn about line of sight and how to get out off it.

Very great percentage of shooting is done without aiming, just spraying bullets.

It makes sense to do some airsoft or paintball in the woods to check how constant moving change whole game, and what kind of moving makes sense in order to survive gunfight.

For example how often you shoot from your weapon with both hands, dominant and not dominant? In urban fighting you will need switch weapon around very often (moving through the apartments, rooms, around the corners etc.). When you are shooting behind corner, and you are having rifle in your right hand and corner is on your left side it make sense to transfer weapon to left hand. otherwise it is dangerous to stick your left part of body out in order to shoot form right hand.

For all you who have some military experience this all is basic stuff, but I have seen many guys who were killed in stupid ways.

Real gunfight is dynamic thing. Adrenaline is weird thing too, so people can do tremendous things while adrenaline is pumping, but also with lack of training and common sense guy can do tremendously stupid things. I have seen man who was pointing to something and he stood up from the cover, and got shot.

3. How to train yourself

Training is the key. You can not do anything else today except to train very hard.

You can not experience real stuff today of course, but you can take it as close to real stuff as you can. Go out with your friends and think about all possible scenarios. But think about worst case scenarios. SHTF is not gonna wait for nice and sunny weather, you gonna be maybe hungry, dirty. Maybe have to give up your shelter and food storage on second day of SHTF.

Or you gonna be forced to use other weapon that you are not used to. Maybe you gonna be forced to hide for hours hidden under a pile of rubble and then you are gonna be forced to jump out and „kill“ ten beer bottles. Sounds like fun? This is why resilience and mental strength is so important.

Maybe you are gonna be cold and thirsty and in the middle of the battle. One thing is sure – very rarely it goes the way that you planned. So just be ready for many options and do not panic when things go other way. Want to get some funny sounding advice?

Get good at suffering while still being able to work towards a goal.

4. What weapon, caliber, stopping power etc?

It is very hard question (that I get asked a lot). But think about fact that everything today is about mainstream and commercial. And somehow it is more about what other people say is good and not necessarily about what you need and what is good for YOU.

You and your hand kill, weapon is only tool. I have seen fight when man with knife is killing the guy with rifle. He had mastered fighting with knife and had will to kill. Other guy had a rifle only, and he ends up dead. I also seen more than once people shot with rifle bullets still fighting, running for good amount of time. Some of them were not even aware that they are wounded before someone else pointed that out to them.

What I am trying to say, do not expect miracles if you own weapon that is at the moment most popular, having great stopping power, cool reviews. It is about practicing , weapon mastering and correct bullets placement.

I said bullets for a reason, I have seen many things, but I did not see someone survive multiple shots in correct place at the body. Have weapon that is best for your case, and achieve perfection in using it. Do not expect that people will fly back if you shoot them with one bullet from some widely popular weapon and caliber (not talking about shotguns).

So I am not gonna tell you what is the best weapon because what works for me maybe does not work for you or others.

Having a weapon that is too rare, too good or too bad does not make too much sense for me. Do not find yourself in situation when you lose your weapon and pick someone else and then find out that you do not have clue about it, because your weapon was special and rare.

Just have what everyone else around you has, because of gun parts, ammo and you look like everyone else.

Your weapon is only tool to survive, be ready to lose it if you need to lose it, and pick some other from ground in the middle of fight.

I knew a guy who did some scary stuff with rusty shortened M48. He was old and poor looking dude, he played that part good, until he would take out this old gun from under his coat and rob and kill people. Simple strategy but it worked for him. So look around and think what works for you.

If you have experienced combat or heard what matters from veterans please share in comments.

Types of real survivalists: 4. The good boss

Just quick reminder in this series of posts I write about typical types of survivalists I came across during my time in war. I speak in detail about complete time in my online course.

Today is about typical leader who knew how to handle our survival situation during war.

He was police officer, we called him “boss” because his look and stand, he had 30 years of service and I do not think that he used a gun too much, but he had a palm like a shovel and he used that a lot dealing with problematic teenagers.

Grumpy guy with who you do not want to have too much business, and if you get caught for some minor thing, theft or whatever, he did not talk to much with you, but his look talked stories, and his hands too. He gave people justice on spot and got respect for that too. He made difference for our neighborhood and was type of police officer that in my opinion does not exist today anymore.

He and his colleagues had a patrol in better part of the city when SHTF, and in the beginning they tried to make some sense in all that, restore order, but when they saw that ambulance vehicle on call gets shredded with shots they realized that a new time had come.

They did not discuss too much but they were sure that law and order is something that is gone now, and to act like law keepers just does not make sense anymore.

They went back to the police station and took more weapons and equipment and then they used police van and went to army storage and took more weapons.

They took that to their homes, and separated. His colleague shook his hand and left, each fighting their own fight, he pushed police van out of the street and went home.

He lived alone for many years before SHTF, and also being the police officer for years gave him advantage of knowing something about mob mentality and power over people, so he did not had too much problems in dealing with problems in that beginning days, but he was alone and that was a problem. But he was smart and that made difference.

In these days everything fell apart in the city, all that makes life normal, so institutions were falling apart too.

Local correction youth center, something like open type jail for teenagers was falling apart too, so young folks were going out from there.

He went there and took 7 guys from there. He used to be something like their “watcher” in normal times, he arrested them for small time burglaries, cons etc. He also kept eye on them when they were out of the correction facility and on streets again. Because of how he did things he was like father who gave them slaps here and then.

They all were kids without family, that correction center was their home or the streets. Anyway he took them to his home, and took care of them in that chaos, and after some time they took care of him too. They all were around 16-17 years old at that time when all hell broke lose.

He taught them to shoot, to defend, to trade, to recognize problematic people, fact that they been that problematic people once only helped in process of teaching. Those kids were street smart. And he was not too soft in process of teaching, in other words he used his “shovel” a lot in process of “making people of them” as he called that.

But he also teach them never to take from someone else. He was still police man and kept his ideals. They never turned against him. I saw many times that real sons turn against fathers in that time, or brother against brother, but they were perfectly loyal to each other, real family. I guess it was because they know that only in this group they can survive.

They did pretty well because starting “capital” he took from the army barracks, so they stand for people that you could visit and get rifle in fair trade, without danger that you could be shot in the back. Also they stand for the people that you do not want to f… with because violence is not problem for them at all.

“Boss” died few months before peace came, from wound infection. All seven of his “boys” survived and I never heard that they did something bad in that time. OK, bad in little bit different terms maybe. Not atrocities, noting about unnecessary violence. What was necessary is different question of course but all we who survived were not most gentle folks at that time.

One of them later in peace went to organized crime and ended shot dead, but all rest 6 of them grow up and became proud and strong family people. Type of man that you want to have for friend.

They all refer to Boss as their father. They live today in different cities and countries, some of them even on another continent, but once in two years they have meeting, all together in his memory.

And that guy from the beginning of the story, colleague of the Boss? He used his share of loot from the barracks to form gang, and they did lot of stuff to the people, he finished dead, stabbed more than 30 times. Nobody remembers him, or wants to remember him, like he did not exist at all. More about “bad bosses” in next article.

So what to make out of this? In survival scenario you want people around you who know why group matters. Just like early humans who knew not to fight each other or cause problems for survival of whole group. In case of boss the street kids already knew about survival and he was perfect leader for them who also knew what kind of leadership style worked with them.

Now I could say nice things about how to choose your group and of course include that annoying drama person that maybe your brother or sister married because “he/she is part of family”. But I speak from my experience and if you want to survive like in any other “team” your group has to work. Having strong leader like boss helps a lot.

Normal laws and norms of society are gone in long term survival situation so people who still do things because it looks good are at disadvantage compared to people who make what works and makes team stronger and not weaker. If someone makes my team weaker on purpose (not because of sickness or age) he is not part of it.

When you think about your survival group, think about who makes best boss? How to lead the people? What works? Prepare for that too and you are far ahead of many other preppers who think they can buy safety with money and having the most preps and gear.

When more chaos helps for surival

chaos survivalI work in medical field and few days ago we got called to transport some guy who broke his back. Nothing special but this guy broke his back while trying to attack woman to maybe rob or rape her.

He attacked her on staircase in house where she lives.

Instead of resisting his attack from behind, woman was just so shocked she fell backwards on the guy and he fell down staircase and broke his back.

That is what some might call happy end. Woman had just few bruises and got away.

This reminded me of something that happened to my cousin during war.

In this region here, western type of culture was always more popular than eastern. Especially for everyday things that young people do. So young folks here always like things that most of the people in west like. Things like music, way of living and all of that.

Few years before war that all became even more popular, I guess thanks to the all political changes and all of that.

Few months before war, my cousin ordered from some small company military ID tags for him. It looked just like originally US ID tags, with those rubber covers.

It was some kind of fashion thing for him. He did not engrave his name on it, he engraved name of metal group he liked, and on other plate he engraved an eagle.

He was all in the music, guitars, concerts, long hair and all that.

Important thing to mention is that army and armies here did not have ID tags, and even if they had, it looked completely different. It was actually one small metal plate, inside that plate were name, unit numbers etc. on one small piece of paper (kind of thin plastic paper, waterproof)

In first month, when everything still was confusing and when all kinds of people were on the street, some tried to run or hide somewhere, others tried to take whatever they can in this chaos. He found himself trying to run from his apartment to a safe place and house. All kinds of different armed groups were on the street, some on barricades, some other running through the city, doing “raids”.

They stopped him and bunch of other guys on one “check point”, and immediately started to beat them and search them for valuable things.

One guy pointed pistol towards him and started to search him by ripping his pockets on shirt. He said later in first moments of that he was scared to death, and went completely numb and paralyzed, and that probably saved his life.

Guy who searched him saw his ID tags. He started to yell at him. The conversation as he can remember went something like this:

Gang member 1: “WTF is this you idiot? Are you belonging to some group?” (slapping him)

Cousin:

Gang member 1: “I will blow your head off if you do not answer me.”

Cousin:

Gang member 2: “What do you have there, White gold? Silver? Just take it from him.”

Gang member 1: “No, it is something else, and he is playing deaf.”

Gang member 2: “Let me see, ****, maybe he is French, I think it is on french.”

On that moment my cousin realized that he needs to keep his mouth closed, not only because of fear.

Gang member 2: “K.R.E.A.T.O.R. ( spelling from the ID tags) IS YOUR NAME KREATOR ?” (yelling in local language)

In background my cousin heard few shots, he did not turn his head to check who was shot or why.

Gang member 2: “Anybody here speak French?” (asking other group members)

Cousin said luckily guys looked like they barely could speak their native language, most of the time they just yell, and grunt, moan, like bunch of apes.

Gang member 1: (yelling) UN? NEWSPAPERS?BBC?SPAIN?REPORTER?

Gang member 2: “OK just leave the idiot, we do not want any troubles.”

Gang member 1: GO GO, YOU CAN GO”" (waving with his hands on my cousin)

Gang member 3: “Maybe he could write story about us, our group”

Gang member 2: “Shut up you idiot!”

My cousin just slowly moved away from them, and after 100 meters started to run. He said one of the guys said to him few times “nice nice” in English, probably trying to say to him that he can go, but probably that words were only English words that he knew.

I asked him why he did not start to speak English, because I knew that he know some basic English. He said : “In that moment I forget how to speak my native language, not to mention English.”

Not to mention that he had in back of his pocket some documents that clearly stated he is local, guys just did not make it to his pocket.

The survival lesson from these stories is that when you are outnumbered or clearly in weaker position often it helps by introducing more chaos and confusion.

The woman did not plan to fall backwards on guy but just was shocked and then because of falling the cards were mixed new. She could have got hurt or attacker but luckily attacker got hurt more.

Same with my cousin. He did not plan for this but by having this ID he made straight forward situation for the gang members more confusing. It is hard to unkill someone so he was let go because they did not know how to react in this situation.

Both, my cousin and the woman, did not do what they did on purpose. They got lucky. But if you ever find yourself in hopeless situation keep in mind that if something nobody expects happens or you make it happen, cards are mixed new and your chance for survival might have increased.

Shuffling cards new is often better than sure death.

Perfect Survival Shelter

For survival to have safe shelter was of course a priority once SHTF.

But these shelters do not always look like you maybe imagine.

At the beginning of everything, when all the shelling and shooting started most of the folks wanted a secure basement. Those who had one, often moved there permanently, to avoid hell outside.

Other folks started with all kinds of ideas how to create their own little fortresses. First thing was to secure any kind of openings of houses. Think about those scenes when people flee from hurricane and nail their windows with wood planks, just in case of SHTF you have to protect all openings not only from wind but from bullets, shrapnel and people who want to get in.

In most of the cases people used sand bags, dirt bags or any kinds of junk piles combined with plywood over that. Then they added a small hole for something like an exhaust pipe or chimney and attached some kind of improvised or real wood stove etc.

I remember story that if you used two pieces of plywood, and put pillow between that you made perfect device for stopping smaller caliber bullets, and smaller pieces of explosive devices. The cushioning did the trick. People used that a lot.

After some time when people started to learn from bad experiences and stories they heard about things changed. Folks realized that being in the basement is not a good option, because they can be easily trapped inside.

I am talking about situation when you and your family are hidden inside basement, even if you have enough food, water, even if you are pretty good with weapons and have enough ammo, it can be tricky if you do not have few more exits from the basement, you could be easily get caught there and killed (or like in some cases burned or smoked out).

In some parts of the town, depending on situation and if they were under heavy shelling or not, people chose to stay sometimes on top floors of higher buildings of partially destroyed houses. They used these places as their base, and moved through destroyed apartments to other houses.

Over the time when you get to know enough that building with all holes and passages between apartments you could easily be something like a „king“ of the place.
I mean it would be nightmare for someone, or even a group of people to attack you there, especially because the whole building was changing almost every day when things broke down or new shells hit. I mean new holes and passages would open, old ones would closed etc.

If you saw the video in the course area in which I visit one house at frontline with Jay, these houses also have many small holes just big enough to push rifle through and shoot people. Now imagine not knowing this building and having to go through at night in complete darkness…

I had a relative who had an apartment in building of 10 floors. Due to heavy shelling building was partially burned, some floors completely destroyed, from the outside building looked like it is gonna fall apart at any moment, actually it looks like it started to collapse in the middle of the building and suddenly stop. Most of the folks run from the building, he stayed, for months, and survived.

He told me that even with all horrible things going on he had some kind of feelings that he was a rich man, he had all the building for himself, all of the normal entrances and exits were shut down, buried under rubble, mostly because of the destruction, but he also moved a lot of dirt and garbage to some in order to shut them down.

While others were in their small little rooms, whole families huddled together, he had a whole apartment complex for himself. He inspected his “kingdom” every day during daytime to look for changes and check his traps.

He made primitive traps and few explosive traps, most of the time he was left alone by anyone. He never had problems with gangs. Only few desperate people wanted to enter a ruin that looked like breaking down anytime.

When someone entered building in order to check if there is anything useful inside he just used holes between apartments and floors to move away from them. Nobody tried to come up to higher floors.

It was impossible to move trough the building and especially higher up for others without knowing it and probably because people constantly feared it would collapse nobody took time to find out my relatives secret ways.

After everything ended and we get in contact, he gets me to that building and took me on some kind of tour.

He had his own whole new system how he can get from first floor to 8th floor where he had some kind of base. Normal entrance was buried, we used one balcony, then covered hole to another apartment, then disguised hole and rope to second floor etc. like a big adventure playground, just that all dangers were very real.

To get up to his base it took us some two hours of crawling, uncovering holes, climbing, he said it was so long because he watched me so I would not run into the traps that he made, mostly peaces of big rocks that he put so if someone walks or crawls or puts hand on some place and they get buried under junk.

It was smart idea, because whenever someone ran in one of his traps it just looked like accident and if that person was with small group they left quickly in fear this can happen to more of them.

He said for him it took some 20 minutes for him from base floor to his base on 8 floor.
On the roof of the building he had something like playground, I guess, because he said that whenever he felt down he goes there at night and ride bike that he took from some apartment. Creepy and a bit crazy.

He would not go out so often, he said, I suspect that had something to do with fact that he had a lot of opportunity to trap people when they came to check the building and collect their supplies. He never spoke about how he got his supplies to survive but he was alone and that is only way I see.

Funny thing is that building did not collapse due to damage and shelling, but after everything ended authorities leveled it with explosive and built mall there.

I lost contact with my relative, I heard that he became weirder and weirder. I guess that has something with waiting for months every day that building gonna collapse on your head.

Point of everything in this story is that perfect shelter does not need to look like perfect shelter.

Sometimes perfect shelter does not need to look like shelter at all, and still it is just perfect shelter. It can be a place where nobody else can and wants to be except you.

Perfect shelter can be a place where in all of the chaos you make the rules.

The 5 First Symptoms of SHTF

It is crucial to understand when SHTF starts. I think it is one of the most important things, to recognize that, in some cases it is more important to recognize that event and correct moment than to be prepared for that, no matter how strange this sounds.

I believe this is the truth because knowing when things turn bad can give you chance of escape.

But even if it is too late for escape, if you know this is a survival situation you think different. Make different decisions, think twice when dealing with strangers in need or accepting help from stranger who “want your best” or at least say so.

How do I prepare to know when survival mode has to kick in? Here are 5 symptoms that show that you might have a terrible disease in your area that can kill and that disease is called SHTF, society collapse or fight to survive. It comes with many names but if you know the first symptoms you can fight it better, earlier and smarter or avoid it.

Symptom 1: More violence in your area

Best information is a key for survival.

Personally I do not care much about press and media anymore. If you heard how situation went from bad to worse in my interviews in course area you know why.

Then there are global news of big events. They are good to keep an eye on and I read them but what really matters for me are local news. I get very few of important news from local newspapers but more from Police officers I chat with.

I also work in medical field so when things in my city get worse I know about it. More murder, riots, fights or other events where people get hurt.
You might not work in field like that but know someone, then talk to them. I did quick research and for the US for example there are law enforcement forums you could try to connect with some officers in your area.

If you find someone in your area, chat with them. Tell them you want to know their opinion. People who work in these fields have much better idea of how local situation is than what any media can tell you.

Media has to play nice with politicians, politicians need good news. Barack Obama ordered operation to kill Osama Bin Laden. Heard about it? It is election year, you will hear a lot more often about it.

But people who help victims or fight crime and give you their opinion will be able to tell you what’s really going on. Is violence up in your area? Is the media just hyping one incident or are there many more “normal” violent events like fights or stabbings nobody writes about.

Forget disaster media who write about new breakdown every day. Unless it is really something local it will take time before it affects you. Maybe you have local survival blogger or officer in your area who keeps people informed then you are lucky. Read those websites if you have them.

So besides real local street news what can help you to spot signs of SHTF?

Symptom 2: Group behavior changes, survival brings people closer and makes others less human

First you need to try to understand that SHTF event brings whole new set of things, and laws, together with complete absence of old laws.
Most important thing is, it is scary and when something is scary or people just sense things are going bad they band together.

They try to stick with people most similar to them. That’s in prisons and that’s everywhere once signs show something bad might happen.
Part of violence or why violence is easy is because the predator the one being violent considers his victim as someone very different. Almost like a thing. He is some else, almost not human. In these cases it is much easier to do bad things.

This happened during war, happens now in prisons and has happened through all of history. So once people band together and groups form and there is maybe your group or neighbours group and then there is this very different “other group”, then chance of things getting more ugly is bigger.

Symptom 3: Dead streets

Along with groups forming people try to stay with people they trust. Less people go out and if then also in group. People show up less often to meetings and social activitys.

Casual activitys like going to park change to visiting neighbors. When fear has spread so far that streets become less populated at certain times of day then it is time to get ready for disaster.

It means some people already live in survival mode but they do not know it. They probably will not have realized they have too little food storage and other things. Fear just makes them less social.

Symptom 4: New leaders emerge

Some people will use widespread fear to their advantage. Fear is powerful to control masses. Some election campaigns of politicians use fear to influence voters and get them on their side. This works with many people who do not know about it.

On local level this means that loud person in your favorite bar gathers more people around him. Some people organize groups for different also harmless things to make situation better. In times of fear people look for leader to hold on to. When things get tough those leaders will turn to be gang leaders.

Even some who did good things and became leader of good group to for example improve local situation turned into hard gang leaders who did everything to survive. I’m sure some of them never expected that but when things get tough everything changes.

Symptom 5: Nobody to trust anymore

I explain this with story of what happend to a friend.

Like great majority of people my friend watched in first days the situation deteriorating. I talked with him few days ago and I asked him can he remember right moment, or right event that he can call like something like point of no going back, or point when he clearly saw that everything is going to sh.. and something completely new is coming.

He lived in apartment building on seventh floor with his family, and he said that he like great majority of people watched in first week or two how things going down, stories of sporadic killing in city fueled by rage and hate, fear slowly started to creep into people’s mind, fear from unknown, still people believed things somehow gonna revert back to normal, nobody wanted to think too much about worst things, it was somehow unimaginable.

On one late afternoon or evening he heard shots, brakes and sounds of car crash. He goes to window and seen that truck went off the road to the dirt beside road, driver fell out from the truck, and screamed that sniper shot him. Vehicles were going on the road close to the guy but nobody wanted to stop and help him.

After 10 minutes, 10 or 12 policeman came with rifles, and take position close to the truck and wounded guy, I guess trying to figure where sniper was. Firefighters also came, but they stay 100 or 150 meters from truck. Also taking cover from possible sniper.

It was in first days when very few people knew who is fighting with who and why and who is enemy, nobody mentioned the word war too much, people still thought that things were some local unrests that gonna cease soon.

On the intersection, right across that burning truck and screaming driver, there was small store, „newspapers store“ they sell cigarettes, newspapers, lighters, candy and stuff like that.

When that truck crashed salesman ran away in fear from everything I guess.

Anyway police guys were hiding and lying down everywhere while that guy screamed, after some time one of them came to the store, used his baton and smashed glass and took couple boxes of cigarettes, after him few other also did that, he said one even took big box of bubble gums.

Police guys did not know what do with that sniper, after some time my friend says darkness came and someone started to shoot at them too, so they ran away carrying one Police man who was wounded. Firefighters ran away earlier, everybody forgot the screaming guy.

My friend said he did not even realize when the truck driver who has been shot stopped with screams. He said the image of police officers in full gear with weapon stealing things from that store was so new for him and so crushing that he clearly took that event and that moment as point of real beginning, moment when SHTF and his world broke down.

From that moment on he knew it was about survival now and rules had changed.

When you believe for years that guys in uniforms are there only to serve and protect you, awakening to something like that can be rude.
So symptom 5 is when behavior of authorities change. Clear signs now things are bad. Those might be smaller changes first and not so extreme like in my friends case, but at the end of day policeman are also fathers and sons and have family to take care of.

That night he and his family left that apartment, and moved to some safer parts of town, at that time they figured that S. had hit the fan. Not so much because of screaming guy, who died soon, but much more because image of police officers stealing things.

Also, few hours after police officers were gone, he sneaked out to the store and took some stuff, not too many things were left, but few boxes of cigarettes worth fortune in coming months.

Those are 5 important early warning signs or symptoms of SHTF. There are many more fine details to pay attention to of course. I speak in detail about all events that happened before we realized we were in a SHTF scenario in my course.

What are your early warning signs you watch out for?

Dogs in violent survival situations

I did not have a pet when SHTF, I did not have it later, most of the people who had it when SHTF let them go or in some cases probably ate them.

Just to clean up with some things I believe are myths. Dogs for protection did work but not that a dog guards you and fights for you. When human life matters little nobody has problems shooting a dog. Dogs were sometimes shot for fun.

So leaving family at home with dogs as protection is bad idea.

In civilized times somebody who breaks in house and never killed a human might wait long enough before shooting dog and get attacked, but in our case, nobody waited.

People who waited and did not shoot, did not live more than first few weeks after SHTF, or if they were and if they could not get themselves to shoot at living beings, they were just hiding somewhere.

Some families just locked dog out and never let in again. Food was only for humans after some point in time for most.

About eating dogs, not much to say about this. Dogs are animals and hunger can make people go eat everything. There were some people who nobody knew what they ate and how they got food. Most “exotic” meat I had was rat, some sort of big water rat, not sure if I would have touched dog.

I say not sure because of course I’m against eating dog now but once it is matter of your life or that of a dog, opinion can change.

One of the guys from my street had and kept his dog trough all of that, dog lived few years after all was over with them. I did not think too much about that dog, his importance for that family or burden or whatever.

But after many questions about pets when SHTF via email and in my course I decided to ask that guy about his dog and their SHTF time.

They get dog few years before war, ordinary mixed puppy, I mean no famous breed. Small dog, we call it “house” dog or “kids ” dog here. They called it Rino. Kids paid attention to Rino, but after few years when kids were grown up into teenagers they stopped to pay too much attention to him.

Oldest guy in family took him as something as a best friend, so it was normal to see grandpa walking trough the street with that dog.

When everything started family pretty much forgot about the dog, I mean a lot of much more important stuff were on their schedule. Some other folks moved in the house and it was crowded, with many problems, food, hygiene and all what our survival situation brought.

Dog still stayed with grandpa mostly, he shared some of his food with him, even some of the family members had opinion that giving food to the dog in that time was not so smart idea.

Anyway old guy went sick, he was pretty much old and had problems with high blood pressure and heart, and the stress and overall bad situation just speed up things. He lose his strength and fell into the bed.

For two months he was laying in the bed with Rino beneath his legs, that dog did not want to move from him. Grandpa and that dog became something like best friends. That guy from the street told me that it was like they both felt that they are not so useful in the whole situation, so they just move very close to each other.

Nobody told anything bad to the old guy, or show or act like he is a burden because he is sick, but being old does not mean stupid, the old guy felt useless.

Neighbor said it was at the same time so sad to see them together always. Like a picture of things breaking down.

Grandpa died in the middle of the hardest period, when hostilities and hunger was worst, and nobody knows what tomorrow gonna be. My neighbor also said, and he sweared to me it is truth, that night before grandpa died that dog was howling all night, and he said that dogs can smell death when is approaching the house. I do not know but when he told me that I got chills.

Dogs saved themselves from recent Tsunamis before they came so they seem to have some sort of sense for things.

In the morning they found grandpa dead, they burried him in the park, and they keep dog. In next few days they noticed that dog is blind, nobody knows when or how that happened, neighbor said nobody paid too much attention in those days what dog is eating or how clean it is, so everything is possible.

But he also noticed something else: when bad guys came in to the street, some 150 meters maybe that dog always would run and tried to hide, when somebody friendly came in the street dog is gonna stand next to the window frame with front two legs up there.

So they learned that and they use it as a some kind of early warning sign. He said that dog actually probably saved their lives couple of times.

When everything ended dog had something like special place in that house, something like special decorated war hero, best food, best care, best everything.

My neighbor told me at the end of the story that they found dog dead one morning, on exact place where grandpa was lying for months and where he died at the end.

I do not know too much about dogs, and I do not know if things from the story are possible, but that my neighbor sweared to me couple of times, he even cried at the end of his story.

He told me that story while we had few beers in a cafe, across the cafe was park where his grandpa is buried. They did not exhume people from the park, too many graves, too many problems and authorities after the war just turn that park officially in the graveyard with everything that goes with any other „normal“ graveyard.

So in short, no dogs will not be great fighters on your side when weapons are commonly used but dogs can help you with their senses. If you are dog owner please share your opinion about this in comments.