Survival Shelter

1. Everything can be breaked, forced, overwhelmed

“Let them come, I will take down all of them”

Yep, eventually someone will come, and NO sometimes you can not take them down all. You need to accept fact that point of survival is to survive, not to die like hero in big gunfight. I prefer to be living sneaky person who is good at hiding, instead of dead brave hero.

No matter how much time and money you spent in making your shelter inpenetrable, everything can be broken and taken, it is just matter of time and enough force. We are talking here about ordinary people who do not have ex. rocket launch silo for shelter.

2. Your shelter can not look different than anything that surrounds it

No matter what kind of shelter we are talking about, be sure that it looks like anything else around it. What that means? There is no sense of doing things to your house in order to make it more secure and then to look very different from other houses in your neighbourhood.

If you want to improve your house security do it in way that nobody sees it from the outside. In other words if you are living in street where all of the houses are pretty much same in way of looking, same yards, lawns, fences etc. just look like everybody else.

This is like a swarm of fish who all look the same. Chances that you get picked out and eaten are smaller that way.

The first looted houses in your area show up, loot your own house and make it look like it was looted already. You do not want to be first house that looks abandoned and not last.

so:

3. Improve your security the “invisible” way

Of course you need to improve your house security, but doing that with only high fences and alarm alone will not do the job.

Plan now in peaceful and “normal” times. If you have yard, plan and plant plants and trees. Go out with pen and paper, sit down and take some time. Think about planting some stuff in order to help you in some future time. Think about any possible scenario that can happen to you and your neighbourhood. Trees (big or fallen trees…) or some plants (garden) can hide some things, can be obstacles, can offer you some outpost for scouting things. Also some plants carefully planned can hide some emergency exit or entrance in/out out of your house.

Some things, usually bad things can happen (and things like that happened) by pure luck or bad luck, so sometimes just to have house that is not so clearly “visible” from street is great thing.

I mean lot of bad things happened just because something just looked interesting from the street, or something just caught attention.

Be sure to have things ready in your storage to reinforce your house. Things like steel bars, steel plates, plywood, bags (for sand bags). Look now around your living place and think what you could use for reinforcment when SHTF. For example I used steel covers from sewage openings to reinforce our house.

4. First make your self uninteresting

When you think how to make your home the perfect shelter, first think about how to remove any possible reason for somebody to check it, to attack it.

Today in this time be “usual”. Do not give anybody reason to pay you visit when SHTF. That means of course to hide that you are prepper and that you have interesting things inside your house when SHTF. People are acting on one way today, when SHTF yor first neighbor or your colleague from work may remember you that you mention few times that you have good storage and plenty food for any case. Keep low profile.

Think about any possible scenario that can happen in your area. Nuclear plant? Military base? Infectious diseases outbreak? Think in that terms and obtain some signs. Depending what scenario is gonna happen good thing is to have some original signs like: unexploded devices, infectious desease, or chemical hazard or similar.

5. To go in and out

To have one hidden enterance and exit is must have. In SHTF scenario people might not have food, but time to watch surroundings. Prepare for fact that you are not going to use your normal way in house, your door or gate. You must have one exit that is not visible from the outside of the house. Point is that you can go in and out of the house in order to do things, or to evacuate and that people on the street can not see you.

Think what is the best option for your house and for you. For example simple hole from one of the back rooms reinforced inside with bags and hidden outside with plants. For apartment one of the ideas to use windows and neighbourhood apartment to go out and in.

Reasons are multiple: People are gonna scout and check if your house is empty, how many of you are inside, what kind of things you are taking in and out, or simple evacuation.

This all does not mean that you have to now make hole in your wall. But good idea is to think about this now, and have plan where to make this thing when times are here, or to simply plant some trees and plants on correct place now. Or to check now on your neighbouring apartment and figure what is safest route, and what aparment probably gonna be empty. Point is to plan today and take right steps.

6. Have things ready and practice

Think today how you can collect water from roof, try it few times and see how it works because you gonna save time when need really comes. Rainwater is usally also good for your plants you keep so it might not be bad idea to collect some now.

Just try to collect water during the rain with some barels pipes putten in your drainage and filter it. Practice safest, most silent and quickest way.

Have things ready and think about anything possible scenario that can happen to you and your house. Keep in mind you are more vulnerable outside of house than inside, so if you have more inside of house you have to go out less.

Think and try some things today. If you never broke through wall with big hammer you might not have security googles to protect your eyes from flying stones.

7. Out of the sight house

Yes, but again you need to make it out of the sight. Eventually you gonna need to defend it. But as more as you delay that moment it is better for you. I am not finding too much use in term “distant house” from city, or far from the most frequented road in the city. In city everything is close, and to have house in real densly populated area in city can be better than to have it in more peaceful neighbourhood in city. It is matter of attraction again. It is more peaceful in “eye of the storm” then in more rich and nice city neighbourhood when SHTF. Especially if you make yourself not interesting.

A “ghetto” area in which families of gang members live can be more protected and safe than nice suburb that the gangs go in to hunt for resources.

8. Understand your priorities and understand your chances

Your priority is your life. So everything else comes after that. Do not think about your house like about something that cannot be left behind sometimes. If you find your self in situation that you must leave your house, just leave it. Come back again later if you can and continue. Have some place inside your house, safe and hidden where you can put valuable things and run.

I know what I speak about. If I could turn back time I should have left before I was trapped in city.

A guy who I knew left his house several times because people who searched it, and looked for valuable things. His urban survival shelter was just apartment but he had good scouting position right under the roof of his house where he could lay down and look out of small gap under the roof.

Whenever he saw them coming he run and hide in neighboring graveyard. Once he spent two days and nights there while guys drink his alcohol inside his house. He had small hidden chamber under his floor where he kept his small storage. After they left he just came back. He survived. He said he felt really safe in one of the family tombs where he hided. Later he made jokes that guy who saved his life is dead for almost 100 years.

He just did not had chance in fight with the guys who came to his place, but was smart enough to know it.

Conclusion

Shelter in urban environment is about low profile, many ways of hidden exit and entry and also being in the right area of your city. A good urban survival shelter does not have to be strongest fortress, it can be the one with the best overview and escape routes (like the guy who hided on the graveyard), the one that looks least desirable, the one that people do not see as shelter.

Flexible and creative way of thinking and looking like everyone else while thinking different can save your life in finding the right shelter, like in most survival things.

Real Survival Exercises… that you can do today

Know your limits and push them when you prepare

We are preparing for any possible scenario, buying things that we possibly gonna need, practicing skills that we gonna need, talking and discussing about scenarios. We are doing anything in order to be more prepared and less surprised when sky falls down, when trucks stop going and it is each man for himself (and family).

Rarely we are ready to admit that we can not imagine how things are going to be. I found that part of preparing very important.

It is hard to discuss about things that we can not imagine, but it is absolutely important to prepare your mind that lot of things are not gonna unfold on the way as we imagine it now. When this happens we push our limits. You might have to do things you never do, see things you can hardly believe.

We need to prepare ourselves that we will be confused because this is what happens when you cross limits and end up at place you never been before. We need to expect that. We need to be able to feel confident while being confused and in new situations.

I mention before my friend who went trough same SHTF situation like me, and in some areas he experienced much more things than me. We talk and laugh a lot, we spend lot of time together, many years. But still he can surprise me with some of his story from that period, i guess lot of years need to pass by in order to men can talk about some traumatic events.

He was wounded couple of times, his story about one of his wounds is quite good for understanding how things are going, and how little or how great you can do in some situations.

Prepare for confusion

They hold position in one of the ruined houses on far outskirts of city, more like a small settlement a bit outside of city, he was there with 12 more guys when attack came.

He says attack was so great that they fired few rounds only in response and then started to run, in very loud situation, with lot of firing and explosions they had enough time for very short discussion and plan, so they agreed that they run and retreat to a position some 2 miles from that house, if things get rougher they agree that backup position would be 1 more miles from first one.

They split in groups of 3 people and start to run trough ruined settlement.

I laughed when he said to me that after 1 mile he said to two other guys „f#ck the first place, let s go immediately to back up place“ But he said to me it was not funny at all.

One of them gets bullet in the head, and stayed there, they could not even check him if he is dead. After some time he said they were running through the woods, he asked me then „did you ever run through woods, in pitch dark, while bunch of the guys trying to shoot you?“

I did not answer anything.

On some small clearing he gets bullet in the thigh, and fell down, other guy helped him, while they keep running and he dragged himself through the woods, they start to use hand grenades in the direction where they tought attackers are coming.

Anyway they threw lot of that stuff, and after some time, everything went quiet.

They dragged themselves to back up position, he gets some more medical help there, there he realized that he lost most of his muscle on his upper leg, he said it did not hurt too much, not to mention that he managed to run over some time with that wound. Adrenaline and fear for your life does this to humans.

Little bit later 4 more guys came to that position, two of them wounded, nobody else came. Those two of them tell them that they get wounded with hand grenades that someone was throwing on them in whole confusion and dark.

They said that probably other guys from the group get killed on same area in the woods, maybe from the same grenades.

My friend and his colleague did not say anything. In that moment he started to feel pain from the wound, he says it still hurts him sometimes, even 20 years later.

Learning from your or others experience is important but practice too

The takeaway from this is if you train for SHTF put yourself in new situations. Start by running at night, when its raining on small dark paths (that you know in beginning). It takes time to get used to things like that and feel more confident when you hardly see where you go.

Survival is about advantages. If I feel comfortable in shady ruins or moving fast during pitch black forest that is a real advantage. You can imagine how to do this, but try doing this is much more important.

It feels funny to step into the darkness.

Simple things like running in the dark can be practiced and can make a big difference once things get tough.

Try this:

  • Run in the dark
  • Eat things you do not like to eat and try to appreciate them
  • Be able to get dirty without getting stressed about it
  • Walk different ways, get comfortable with unknown environments

Add your ideas in comments

Think about it this way, you are now in complete different world. Living every day like humans live. SHTF will be like moving on to a new, less civilized more brutal and unfair world. Like a fish in aquarium. When SHTF that aquarium breaks and you get flushed down toilet and have to swim in sewers. It is dirty and there are other predator fish out to get you. When the world changes you have to be ready to change too and from my experience many people could not.

If you hear this you might think, Selco has been in war so he describes very brutal situations I hopefully never experience. True, but in any crisis when people feel threatened they will turn unfair and every crisis will bring new situations. So when you practice this you will be better prepared not only for violent extreme SHTF, but for everything life can throw in your way.

If you are member of my course you will know from the interviews how unfair and wrong things can go. This helps to get better understanding of what to expect. Less surprises and hearing about successful ways to survive gives you a big advantage. But practice makes perfect so while theory is very important, a book warrior will never outrun someone who has real practice or experience.

Adjusting your life to do things not the typical human way and putting yourself in unfamiliar situations is one small change that can make you more confident when things get tough. Start doing it… better today than tomorrow. For some time now there will not be a better tomorrow.

Lesson in survival and dying

I work in medical field and last week we had emergency that reminded me of something I first learned in my SHTF time. It is lesson in survival even if it helps also with dying.

So during my SHTF time. The night this happened started normal. I left my house right after dark. That night shelling was a lot. I had bad feeling, I remember that. Not that it was not normal to have bad feeling going out but this night I remember was worse.

Before shell hits, depending on shell, you have a bit time to hide. Not much, seconds at best. So you hide to stay not seen and when you hear sound of artillery you try to make yourself even smaller. Usually jump behind next pile of rubble or whatever is there.

Early that night I came to bigger street and some shells came down in front of me. I was still in ruined building hiding so no problem. I made it over street a bit later and then saw the mess. Woman, I do not know age had caught shrapnel to her body and face.

She somehow got in entrance of house and was lying there in shock. It looked bad. I did not know what to do. She tried to touch her face but there was not much left. She keep on saying she can not see. I told her to be calm and that help comes. It did not but I did not know what else to say. There was nobody to help and hospital with few doctors and few medication was in different part of city.

Then I took her hand that she stop touching her face. She became more quiet, almost relaxed. So I sit there, hold hand and she start talking about how nice place was before war. We sit and talk maybe twenty minutes, not sure if she really heard me and then she was gone.

I thought that holding hands has helped her to take last journey more relaxed.

I saw many people dying in my time in war and always try to give them gentle touch if they want. It usually has same effect. They get more relaxed and peaceful. Some want to roll up and left alone too but many more do not want to be alone.

Now when I work in emergency service I know how important that is. Last week we had emergency car accident with older married couple involved. Man ended up dead right away, woman survived. I hold her hand on way to hospital and few days later she remembered and thanked me for that.

This is not only for woman but for man too. If you still see and under shock you might feel like in bad dream, someone holding your hand can help you bring you closer to normal.

So if you can do anything to help do it, if you know first aid and nobody else already doing it, do it. Other than that show that they are not alone. Holding hand can work wonders. They are scared and do not want to be left alone.

This can make big differnce for someone even if it is in last minutes of life.

SHTF First Aid: When small cuts kill

I was invited to check guy who was badly beaten by few guys, man who invited me offered me to introduce me to some man who had connection with smugglers, so i can get stuff cheap if i help this guy.

first aid

When i entered house, guy was laying on bed, could not move too much, lot of bruises everywhere on body, he was conscious, in pains, pretty much drunk. On first look he did not have some serious open injuries, my biggest concern was that i was pretty sure that he had few broken ribs, strong pain while deep breathing, and while moving his body, and clear mark of boot on his chest, obviously someone was jumping on him.

I could not do too much with broken rib, actually i only wrapped him with some layers of clothes, to improvise some kind of belt, and hope that broken rib did not induce some more serious injury to lungs, or something else.

He was coughing and spitting blood, but again i was hoping that comes from broken teeth, not from stomach or lungs. Minor cuts and bruises we just rinsed with rakia, and that s it. Nothing more we could do.

And guess, what? Few days later, i was called again, and everything was fine, except nothing was fine. One of the pretty much small cuts on his hand got infected, it was small cut, in normal times would not required sewing or stitching, maybe butterfly closure. But it turned bad.

I’ve spent days and days cleaning and removing dead tissue from that wound, trying to do something, some of his friends manage after some time to get some antibiotics, child dosage in suspension with expired date of use.

I used scalpel, not medical, it was scalpel for some wood work, i removed tissue with that, his family used mixture of honey and some pine stuff for wound, i used rakia and peace of old rubber glove to keep it open.

Anyway he survived, he did not lose his hand, but he lost function of three fingers. It was pure luck that he did not lose his life. And funny thing, not the broken ribs killed him but small cut almost killed him.

Probably nothing would happen if i had Iodine and enough sterile gauze, not to mention stuff like topical antibiotic, or Ciprobay tabs or any of this.

Now of course I’m prepared and have everything, for topical, oral, intravenous use.

Later he told me that guy wanted to hit him in the head with some agricultural tool for digging, he missed his head, he just scratch his hand with that.

Just basics can go a long way

Anyway, point is, to buy today full set for treating wounds, does not cost too much, sterile gloves, compress, forceps, butterfly closures, antibiotic treatment, povidone, hydrogen peroxide, anti tetanus shots, sutures… everything, it can be found for maybe 100$ here.

Is it worth 100$? Yes, it can worth 1000$ or 10000$ it can be priceless actually. When it comes to you or your family member it is priceless, if you helping someone else, you can say a price.

first aid set

I learned medical profession before SHTF and work now for over 20 years in medical field, mostly emergency room and see people stabbed and shot every week. Often I’m person who has to get them ready for transport when they still lay in their blood. Here are two simple things you can do now to help your chances of survival.

Just learn basic procedure for treating wounds and make sure people around you know it too. You might be unconscious when you need treatment and loved ones should know how. Too often people treat things and make things worse not better.

Most wounds that you are going to care are gonna be small cuts, lacerations. I am not saying that you are not going to be in situation to treat gunshot wound, or open fracture on leg for example, i am using laceration as a example to show some basic rules, everything else takes much more to say, and needs to be addressed as separate and big subject.

      1. Use protection if you treat wounded man, gloves, mask, face shield, gown… whatever you have if possible.
      2. Stop any massive bleeding (if it present) by direct pressure on wound, elevation (extremity) or pressure points.
      3. Remove dirt from wound by irrigation, i prefer hydrogen peroxide and sterile water, use sterile swab or sterile forceps for that.
      4. Use iodine on sterile compresses, and dress the wound with bandages.
      5. Start with antibiotic treatment (Xiclav or similar antibiotic)
      6. Inspect wound every day, clean it, then use Iodine and compresses and bandaging.

Now remember, this all matters for you if YOU are only person with some medical knowledge and some medical supplies, if there is no doctor, no hospital, in other words if SHTF for real. If there is a higher medical authority than you available, look for it.

These are some general rules, exceptions are many, stab wound you can not flush in some cases, you can kill man in few seconds if you instantly remove knife from his leg (example), is he allergic on antibiotics? What if wound become infected after few days? Antibiotic ointments oral antibiotics or IV antibiotics?… Much more to say about this. Anyway, the standard procedure will get you out of biggest trouble in most cases.

Basic EDC (every day carry) First Aid Set

Now here is my basic first aid EDC (every day carry). I have in bag with my gun. I have that bag usually with me or in car.

Military First Aid Bandage / Field Dressing, 6-pack, Camouflage, 4″x7″ with Gauze Ties
Military bandage is used to quickly plug hole in sterile way. It is first thing that you gonna put on any bigger wound, it is made from something like gauze pad and bandage all in one, point is if you do not have time to take too much time on the place, just use military bandage to cover wound, stop bleeding, and bandage it, all in one, and it is packeged sterile. This is often first thing used just after someone is shot or stabbed.

C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet – Black by North American Rescue Brand
To stop massive blood loss.

Sterile Latex Exam Gloves, Individual Peel-Open Package, Medium, Box of 50 Pairs
There are also sets with mask and gloves in one sterile package. I use that.

Prestige Medical Fluoride Scissor, Black, 7 1/2 Inch
EMT scissors, it is very heavy duty scissors, for quick removing clothes from patient, i often use it on my job for cutting seat belt. Quickly, sharp and with guard so you can not cut or stab patient and good ones can even cut wire.

Povidone Scrub Solution, 16 Oz
Kills bacteria.

KENDALL VERSALONTM All-purpose Sterile Sponge, 4 Ply, 4″ X 4″, 2/pk – Pack 25
+ 3M Medipore H Soft Cloth Surgical Tape – 2″ wide –
+ 3M Steri Strip Skin Closures 1/4” X 3” – 10 Packages of 3
+ Kerlix Type Gauze Rolls 4″X4 yds, Sterile, 10/bag
If I have more time to treat wound or follow up treatment.

I have a bit different things but as most of you are from US or other country with Internet shops I looked products similar to mine up. As you see it is not much but it can make a big difference. Difference between life and death.

Some of our Survival Food

As the situation deteriorated more and more, some things about food changed, things were brought to a level where we eat just to survive. To explain you in simple way: in first month it was like-oh i really could use pizza or beer, but after a few months it was like- oh i really want to eat SOMETHING, it was not too important what.

survival food

There was not to many different kinds of foods, i ll try to remember here what we use to eat. Cooking and preparing food mostly was not my part in that days, but i ll do my best here.

Bread was not everyday thing, and it was not bread like we eat today, and it was homemade of course. Flour was bad quality, actually it was some kind of mixture i think. We use to bake that bread in small pots, on plate, not in oven, it took less firewood to bake it like that. After baking we wrap it in wet clothes, rug or something similar and leave it for hour or two, to make it softer.

About pancakes, we just call it pancakes, but actually it was mixture of herbs , water and small amounts of flour, baked also on plates, so when it is done you got something what look like pancake, with lot of green stuff inside and taste bad. For pancakes we used two kind of herbs, one was wild onion or bear onion, other was nettle (urtica).

We also used herbs mostly for different kind of soups, as a soup we used mostly nettle, especially if we had few potatoes to put in. We used all kinds of tea, actually something between tea and soup, i ques depended did we had anything else to put inside. Rice was popular also, alone or in form of some kind of pie.

Sometimes i did not eat for few days but at the end i always managed to get something trough trade or on other ways. It was a question of your strength and brain and some luck to find food.

Now you are going to ask me how?

OK for example two from our group go out to wait for MREs, two others go to find someone to trade something, two are going to find some usable herbs.
Food was coming in town trough few ways, depended on state of those ways in some days was easier to get some food, in other days was just too hard.
For example in one period in black market there were great amounts of some kind of cookies, or hard biscuits, in big metal containers, i do not have clue from where. Something similar to those crackers in MRE.

People avoided to eat that because rumor was that cookies are poisoned, i did not avoided them. So it was some strange situations with food too. Of course all different kinds of cans, MREs, end every other “luxury” thing was subject of many different “if s”. Preparing of food was pointed to how to “how to make it with less firewood”

In summer we prepared food in a yard on a simple two stone and one plate fire. But most of the preparing of food was simple and took as long as to “boil water”, like pancakes or kinds of donuts (not real donuts, more like a bad case of a donut)

Spices were pretty important for the simple reason because most of the home made foods tasted awful, or did not have taste at all, so we practically used them for every meal. Tabascino, peppers, rosemary everything.

You may say that we actually experimented with food but actually that is a really nice way to put it. We did not have too much problems with storing food, because we never had enough food to store it actually. It was like finding food for day or two in most cases, i mean to get somewhere more than 15 cans at once was really rare. There was some importance of having jars, because people tried a lot with making some kind of sauce or marmalade, if we had sugar it was marmalade, without sugar it was tomato sauce.

Most useful tool in preparation of food was something like a small stove, i mean even if we had a wood stove in house it was not to economic to prepare something really fast on it, it just required too much firewood to get hot so you can prepare something.

So solution was to remodel it so you can faster get “water boiling” or even try to make new one from very thin material, so you do not need too much wood to make it really hot. People used sometimes big cans for that purpose, or changed original material on old stove with thinner.

Money was actually not much worth, only in rare occasions you could use it, and under very changed valuation of course. Even before everything started the monetary situation was confused and we had hyperinflation. When all started i had as i said before some food in my house, for a week maybe not sure, some other folks who joined me brought more, and i had some money, if you compare it with today situation and money i can say that i had something like 700-1000 Euros in house and good savings in bank.

In first days of confusion i did nothing with that money, i just waited for situation to get better, so in some two months i barely found some guy and bought from him some flour for that money, at price maybe 40 times more than at the beginning of everything. On the other way if i would have been smarter and bought candles, batteries, and food for example at the beginning, in few months i would have been rich trough trading that stuff.

So real explanation of question was money worth much it depended how smart you used it. I was not smart. But truth is that very soon money simply didnt matter anymore or was nothing we even thought about.

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.