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Contents 4 From the Editor’s Desk
19 Top 10 Items Every Survival Kit Needs
5 The Right Kind Of Survival Knife Could Save Your Life
9 Protect Your Homestead With Well Trained Dogs Top Tips for Great Results
15 How To Survive
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When The Grid Goes Down
23 The Real Zombie Apocalypse
27 7 Great Ways To
Prep For Survival Now 31 All American Shelters
From The Editor’s Desk ‘CJ’ Jackson
Welcome everyone to our very first edition of the Survival Times Magazine. We want to provide you with valuable, practical information which will help our readers keep your families safe and healthy in the event of a financial collapse, major disaster or crisis. Our aim is to provide you with information about surviving in an urban ‐ suburban environment as opposed to living in a rural environment. But even if you are ina rural area the information you find throughout these pages will help educate you and prepare you for the uncertain times ahead. The information found inside each issue will empower you and your loved ones to become more self‐reliant instead of fearful of the unknown. Of course we hope none of us will experience a complete financial collapse or major disaster but I am sure most of you are not blind to the financial and political problems we face worldwide either. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 4
We understand that not everyone lives in a rural environment, in fact 70% of the U.S. population lives in or near large urban areas. Survivalist Times is helping to prepare our readers to become self reliant, protected and safe from problems that may arise from living in urban/suburban areas. For the majority of people having the ability to escape into the wilderness is not realistic or even affordable these days. However you still need to be prepared to survive in your neighborhood and that’s where we come in to help. Our articles will be filled with tips, suggestions and easy ways to make your survival life a little easier. As much as possible we will try and bring to you affordable solutions that won’t break the bank. There is a lot of information in the internet that instructs people to buy that and make sure you have this and we know how overwhelming this can be for anyone. Searching for good information is time consuming and this is why we have started the Survival Times magazine. We will take the confusion out of searching for good information and help you check off your survival list of much needed things right here. If you would like to see some information on a particular product, let us know and we will include that in our magazine for you. Send us some feedback or if you have a question, just E‐Mail us. We have provided our address in the front of the magazine. So that’s about it from my desk for this month! Best Wishes
The Right Kind of Survival Knife Could Save Your Life
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How does a person decide which survival knife is right for them? The knife you choose must be comfortable to handle, easy to use and protect you in a life‐threatening situation. Below are three things you should consider when looking for a survival knife:
A Fixed Blade: Fixed blade knives are much stronger than folding blades. These blades also come with a full tang which extends from the butt of the handle all the way to the tip of the blade. This allows you to plunge the whole blade into a predator without breaking or buckling under pressure.
Folding Blade Knives: how often you will be using the knife is the real question? These knives are great for campsites and the occasional rabbit, but do not have the same strength and durability of a fixed blade knife. For hunting purposes a folding blade will not work for larger game like deer or skinning.
Top Quality Steel: The best survival knives will be made from stainless steel, carbon steel or a mixture of both. These types of steel have been rated to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure and are rust proof. They also remain sharper for longer and will not suffer from pitting. These types of blades are also easier to keep clean.
Blade Thickness: Survival knives should be able to hack through thick brush, chop wood and easily slice the skin of a predator. A good blade like this will save your life. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 6
Most good‐quality blades are ¼” thick or more and have been heat‐treated to make them strong and robust.
The Becker BK2: The fixed blade is 5 inches long and ¼ inch thick. It has been rated to take several hundred pounds pressure which makes it perfect for fending off predators or hunting game. The handle is made from Givory which is easy to grip and comfortable in your hand. The knife comes with a full sheaf and belt strap so it can be carried on your person at all times.
KA‐BAR 7” Utility Knife: The KA‐BAR brand has been around for a long time and is a favorite for survivalists, woodsman and hunters. The company that makes these knives will only use a stainless steel carbon mix for the blade. This makes them durable and will hold a razor sharp edge for a very long time. The handle is made from Kraton G (super tough rubber) which is waterproof. The KA‐BAR 7” has been used by the United States Marine Corps for years and is a standard issue in all of their kits.
Buck Special: The Buck 119 special survival knife is loved by outdoors –men all over the world. The blade is made from stainless steel and his very robust. It requires very little maintenance and comes with a 100% lifetime guarantee from the company. The handle is made from leather which is very comfortable and fits nicely into the palm of your hand. The Buck special is perfect for anyone who is looking for a top quality knife at a reasonable price.
Cold Steel SRK: Cold steel make their knives from grade 8 high tensile steel which is super tough, durable and will remain sharp for longer periods of time. The handle is made from durable rubber which gives you a stronger grip and his waterproof. The blade is 3/16” thick and will withstand a lot of hacking and slashing before you need to sharpen it. From some of the above knife recommendations we feel it’s also good advice to encourage people to have at least two survival knives in your kit. If for any reason one gets broken or lost you will always have a backup. Now you have a good idea of what you may need in the way of great survival knives.
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Protect Your Homestead With Well Trained Dogs
TOP TIPS To ensure great results! Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 9
Without a doubt, one of the best home security systems you can have is a dog. Good guard dogs are intelligent, willing to learn, respect pack structure and only bark if there is a reason to do so. Dog’s can also be a very valuable asset to your home. They provide protection, companionship and loyalty in return for food, a warm place to sleep and some affection. It is important to know, not all dogs are suitable for guard dog training. They need to have the right temperament and be willing to follow directions. We have a list of things people should consider when choosing a dog for property protection:
Breed Selection: Some of the best breeds for protecting are seen as aggressive and dangerous. These include: Japanese Akita’s, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweiler’s, Pit Bulls, Siberian huskies, chows and Alaskan Malamutes.
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All of these types of dogs have often been depicted in the media and entertainment industry as being dangerous and unpredictable. Yet, they are among the most intelligent and highly trainable dogs on the planet. You need a dog that will listen to your commands and be big enough to give a burglar a reason to give your property a wide berth. The dog needs to be confident enough to stand their ground, but not dominant enough to challenge you or your decisions. Overly dominant dogs do not make good pets or good guard dogs. These kinds of dogs are best suited to specialty jobs like police or military service. They are very intelligent and need to be worked for hours every day to keep them happy. There are many great dogs that end up in shelters because their owners don’t train them or spend any time with them. You can find a great pedigree dog from a rescue organization or shelter that you will be able to train.
Many dogs that come from shelters and rescue organizations are extremely grateful to have a new home and become very protective of it.
Building The Right Relationship: Even guard dogs need to know that they have a purpose and a place in your pack. In wild dog packs, every member knows their place. There is an alpha male and female who take responsibility for the whole pack. They are smart and strong and will use their body language to communicate effectively. The alpha male or female will only resort to a physical reprimand if they have no choice.
This means the dog challenging them has ignored their body language, personal body space and guttural growls. Even then they may make a lot of snapping sounds with strong body language without making physical contact. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 11
It sounds and looks aggressive; however it is the only way for them to show their pack that they are strong. The subordinate dog often backs down when the alpha dog proves that they can still run the pack. The only time that pack leadership will change is when the Alpha dog is no longer up to the job. As humans we can’t snap at our dogs and wouldn’t want to put our face near a dog that is challenging us. We can use strong body language, the right kind of timing and deep guttural tones to make them understand they are making a mistake. Once you prove that you are the pack leader and have established the right relationship, you can never back down. You must be consistent. You can’t tolerate a behavior one day and get upset over it the next. If you put a rule in place, you must follow through; otherwise your dog/s will see you as weak and continue to challenge you. Any dog that is being used to protect a property must have total respect for you. If they don’t you might find that they become more of a liability than an asset.
Basic Training: All dogs need some form of basic training. Your dog also needs to be able to sit, lie down, come when called and stay when you tell them to. If you don't have this basis level of control, then you won't be able to teach them how to be effective guard dogs. Basic commands are the building blocks for more advanced training techniques.
Property Boundary Lines: Dogs need to be taught to respect the boundary lines of the property. If something is outside the boundary line they need to leave it alone.
If a person comes onto the property uninvited, then the dog has the right to chase them off the property. There is no need to teach a guard dog to attack. Dogs will naturally protect their property, family members and themselves if they feel threatened. Some of the best guard dogs will take a watch and wait attitude. While may get onto the property you won’t be leaving until they say you can. You will also need to decide if you want your dogs to run the boundary line at night. Many owners bring their dogs closer to the house in the evening hours. If a stranger enters the property the owners can hear the dog barking and react faster.
Respect Your Judgment: When you invite someone to come onto your property, your dog must accept your judgment. There are two ways to ensure that no harm comes to people you have invited onto your property.
Firstly, let your guests know that there are dogs that patrol the property. Tell them not to get out of their vehicle until you have made your dog understand that they are not a threat. Secondly, train your dog to come to you when you call them. You are effectively calling your dogs off and making them understand that you are in control of the situation. Ask your dog to sit and stay while you greet your guests. Your dogs must not move until you give them permission to do so. Invite your guests to get out of the car and walk with them to the house. Your dog will understand that these people are not a threat. Training your dog in this way will help them understand the difference between invited and uninvited guests.
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Guard Dog Versus Domestic Pets: Many farms and homesteads have a mixture of dogs. Some are working dogs that do a job and some are domestic pets. It is very important that your guards dogs understand that your domestic pets are part of the pack. If you have established yourself as the pack leader, then there shouldn’t be any problems. Your pet dogs also need to respect your guard dogs and not start any trouble. It can get ugly if your guard dogs and domestic pets have no respect for each other. It’s your job as pack leader to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Alert Barking Versus Nuisance Barking: A dog that barks to let you know that something isn’t right is different to one that barks when a leaf drops off the tree.
A dog that barks at any movement, vehicles going past the property, birds in the trees and wildlife IS NOT a good watch dog. That is nuisance barking and you will become desensitized to it over time. Alert barking is when there is a threat or a problem. This can be someone jumping a fence, a car coming up the driveway, a fire on the property or livestock being attacked. These are some of the traits which turn an ordinary dog into a great guard dog. Training your dog to be an asset to you and your property is not that hard to do. If you have the right dog and establish yourself as the pack leader from the start you will have a loyal friend and great guard dog all in one. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 13
Your trained guard dog will not hesitate to do their job and they are the most reliable security system you could ever invest in.
Rottweiler, German Shepherd & Akita
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How To Survive When The Grid Goes Down
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America as a nation is extremely dependent on electrical power but were you aware the electricity grid hasn’t been upgraded in years? It could easily be shut down by a circuit overload or attack. If just nine power stations were destroyed in the USA, the whole grid will collapse. Life as we know it would cease to exist. Grocery stores, financial institutions, telecommunications devices and transportation will no longer function. As panic begins to set in, people will rush the grocery stores and fight over a few scraps of food. A power outage which lasts longer than two to three days will be a major catastrophe. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 16
There will be no water for drinking, bathing or other sanitation needs. The city infrastructure will collapse and make it very hard for people to survive. A power outage that lasts for more than a year will severely devastate the population. Up to 90% of people in the city will die. 50% of people in suburban areas will not survive and more than 40% of people in rural areas will not have a way to support themselves.
With this in mind what can you do to increase your chances of survival should the grid go down in your state? We have a few steps you can implement today:
Invest In A Generator: A generator is one of
Purchase Kerosene Heaters And Oil Lamps:
the best investments you can make. Try to find a generator which uses very little fuel or runs on solar power. The quieter the generator the harder it will be for people to hearing it running from outside the house. If the generator is loud you can build a soundproof box and put it in an internal room in the home. This way no one else will know that you have a way to cook food, boil water and stay clean.
Kerosene heaters are a great alternative to wood burning stoves and will keep a small room very warm. Having a kerosene heater will also conserve the fuel you are using in the generator. Buy a few oil lamps as an alternative source of lighting. Oil lamps will burn for a very long and give you enough light to cook food and illuminate a small room.
Reduce Your Dependence On Modern Conveniences: Don't upgrade phones, electrical equipment or household appliances. Instead visit second‐hand stores and start buying household appliances which require no electricity. You may also want to buy second‐hand camping equipment which can be used in the basement of a home or as a temporary shelter should you need to leave your current location. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 17
Learn To Grow Your Own Food: You don’t need a big garden to grow food. An indoor aquaponics system can provide fresh vegetables to supplement your diet. Solar pumps can keep the aquaponics system running without electricity. There is a great online community you can join to learn more about growing food with aquaponics. It can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/AquaponicsSurvivalCom munities
Start Storing Water And Canned Foods: a few 50 gallon plastic barrels or food Purchase grade IBC containers and begin filling them with water now. Storing water this way is much cheaper than purchasing water bottles and takes up less room. You can add a very small amount of bleach into the water to prevent any bacteria build‐up. Make a list of supplies and items you will need to survive for at least a year. Check off your items as you collect them. Before you know it the basement will be full. Start adding an extra ten to twenty cans of vegetables and meats to your shopping cart each week. It will cost you about $20.00 a week to start a small stockpile and could be the difference between eating and going hungry when the power goes out.
If you follow these easy steps your chances of surviving a grid shutdown will increase. Now is the time to become more self‐reliant and learn how to live a simpler lifestyle.
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TOP 10 ITEMS EVERY SURVIVAL KIT NEEDS Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 19
In a survival situation the items you have in your kit can be the difference between life and death. A bottle of water, a couple of protein bars and some extra clothing may help you survive for a few hours, but in reality you are going to need much more than that. Below is a list of the top 10 items every survival Kit needs:
Hunting Knife Or Machete: These types of knives can be used for self defense against large predators. You can also use your knife to building a temporary shelter, chop firewood, dig in the ground to find water and forage for food.
Small First Aid Kit: A first aid kit is one of the most essential items to have in your bag. Something as simple as an infected cut can lead to a life threatening illness and blood poisoning. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, make a first aid kit from the following items: Band aids, bandages latex gloves to stop the spread of infection, needle, thread, butterfly sutures, a small surgical knife, disinfectant and hydrogen peroxide.
A Way To Purify Water: Drinking water with parasites can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. This will dehydrate you and could make you extremely sick. Add two packets of water purification tablets or keep a Lifestraw® in your pack. The Lifestraw® has become a popular item for survivalists to carry over the last few years. The straw can purify up to 260 gallons of water and takes up very little space in a kit. You can drink from rivers, lakes, streams and without getting sick or the need to boil the water first. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 20
A Small Pot: Having a container to
carry water and cook food is a great item to add to your survival kit. The pot can also be used to keep hot coals, so you can transport your fire from one campsite to another.
Fire: Don’t forget to pack a way to make fire! Lighters, matches and magnesium fire starters will work. These items will ensure you can make a much needed fire. A fire will keep you warm, boil water, cook food and if need be, become a signal for rescue. Lighters can also be used to sterilize and cauterize large gashes or wounds.
Clothing: Most of the clothing in your survival Kit should be underwear and socks. Clean underwear and socks help keep the moist areas of your body dry and stop bacterial infections from forming. Carry at least four extra pairs of underwear and socks in your pack. Other essential items include: a lightweight waterproof jacket, waterproof pants and one full change of clothing.
Food and Water: Protein bars, nuts and dried fruits make great survival foods. They don’t take up a lot of room and are packed with nutrition. You can live for several days on a protein bar and a handful of nuts. These items are also much cheaper than dehydrated foods and can be purchased from the supermarket shelf.
Compass and a Map: In a survival situation it is easy to become disorientated as fear and anxiety take over. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 21
A compass and a map will reduce the fear and help you navigate your way to safety. It is a good idea to practice with these items on a regular basis. Every couple of weeks, choose a new location to hike in and use your compass to guide you through the woods. If you do live in a city and decide it’s time to leave, make sure you have alternative escape routes planned out. The highways will be congested with other people; be smart and escape by using older less travelled roads.
A Plastic Tarpaulin and Twine: Mike Forti, a former United States Air Force graduate believes that plastic tarpaulins are one of the best items to carry in a survival kit. They are lightweight, take up very little room and make an excellent temporary shelter. The tarpaulin can also be used as a ground cover or extra bedding if the weather is warm.
Mylar Survival Blanket: Mylar blankets are lightweight and easy to carry. They are made from materials which are designed to reflect your own body heat and keep you warm. The blanket will protect you from hypothermia and can be used as a waterproof wrap to keep you warm throughout the day.
Other items we would like to suggest: Good walking shoes! A good pair of durable shoes or hiking boots will keep your feet protected and give you the ability to walk to a safer location if need be. Keeping a well stocked bug out bag, in your car is a necessary addition for escape. If you are caught in a serious situation, the bag will become a life saver in an emergency. If you have children make sure they have a backpack ready to grab in an emergency too. Teach them the importance of regular family drills. Have a good plan set in place so everyone knows what to take and where to meet in an emergency. We can’t emphasis this step enough to reduce the panic and stress on children. All this items on the list are basic, easy to purchase and will save your life in case of emergency. Good luck with your survival preparation plans! Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 22
Zombie Apocalypse Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 23
walking dead but people who refuse to believe that anything bad could happen to them. These individuals will not prepare themselves mentally or physically for any type of disaster. Should an economic collapse or civil war break out, these types of people will be totally unprepared to deal with the reality of the situation. Fear, anxiety and a sudden realization that life as they know it has changed, may bring out killer instincts and make them very dangerous to be around. They will fight to survive at all costs despite the fact they ignored all warning signs and did nothing to ensure their own survival. These are the types of people who are totally distracted by their cell phones, Hollywood stars, laptops and their suburban lifestyles. Then there is another sector of people: a large cross‐section of the population who rely on pharmaceutical drugs to help them cope with day to day life. Anti‐depressants and psychotropic drugs have been linked to many deaths and suicides in the last few years. With this in mind, can you imagine the kind of panic and mayhem that will occur for these people when the brain chemistry becomes completely imbalanced? It’s not pleasant to discuss these situations but necessary, so you understand the ramifications of a society in absolute turmoil. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 24
People Call You Crazy, Yet Once In The USA Keeping A Cold Cellar Full Of Food Was Called Prudent Planning.
day zombies are not the
Most People Are Too Busy Playing Video Games, Watching TV, Involved In Mindless Entertainment & Will Not Believe Anything Bad Could Ever Happen
People will not have the ability to think straight, reason or find a way out of the situation without becoming violent. If you add in the fluoride and other toxins which are already in the water, the threat of a zombie like apocalypse becomes very real. There are also a growing number of children who have been placed on pharmaceutical drugs to control behavior, anxiety and depression. These children have no coping mechanisms and will be the first to suffer when disaster strikes. What about the millions of people who are addicted to hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin? When people can’t get their fix they will become violent and take their rage out on anyone who is within striking distance.
Methamphetamine is the biggest threat of all. Have you ever noticed how somebody on methamphetamine behaves? They pace, can't sit still, are easily angered and have no coping skills. This drug has become one of the biggest problems in modern day society because it is made from cleaning agents and other toxic substances which eats away at the brain and causes permanent damage. Some people will form gangs in an effort to survive, but won’t last longer than a few days, without guidance from others who know how to survive.
If you live in a city, think about every aspect of your home’s security before the shift occurs. Set up alarms and reinforce areas that people can break into. You will need to be careful about making noise, cooking food or burning fuel as there will be hundreds of people on the street who have NO shelter, food or water. You might even want to think about bunker to live in. We have added a great article in this month’s magazine about a company in Texas making bunkers. We have included the costs and what this company will do for people. It’s absolutely imperative to have a stockpile of food, water, and a very secure location which you can defend. In three days a complete breakdown in the city will occur. People will start living in desperate circumstances and roaming around like wild animals. This is the real zombie apocalypse and not the half dead flesh eating humanoids which you see glorified in the media today.
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Awareness Health and Fitness Survival Skills First Aid Training
Off The Grid Supplies Grow Your Own Food Communicating With Others
7 Great Ways
To Prep For Survival Now Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 27
There has never been a better time to start prepping than right now, today! It has become virtually impossible to watch any media sources and not see problems occurring both in the USA and abroad. It just makes good sense to prepare for not only natural disasters but any other problem that may occur in the near future. The vast majority of preppers are ordinary people just like you who want to survive the uncertain times ahead. It doesn’t take a lot of money or specialized skills to put a few simple strategies in place. We thought we would introduce 7 important ways to begin prepping today and stay ahead of the curve!
Begin With The Right Mindset Developing the right mindset is crucial if you are going to survive a disaster. Becoming more self‐sufficient and taking personal responsibility for your own life is the first step before applying the other things in becoming prepared. Understand that people will change dramatically in a crisis situation. You will see both the best and worse in human behavior. How you deal with this is very important for you. Recent disasters like hurricane Katrina are very good reminder of what happens when people are unprepared for tragedy. Many of those residents chose to stay in the city, even though they had been warned that disaster was about to strike. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 28
Citizens couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that life as they knew it was about to change. Panic and mayhem ensued when people realized they should have evacuated the city days ago. It didn’t take long for the situation to deteriorate and become a living nightmare. Disease spread quickly due to unsanitary conditions and many lost their lives. Lack of food and water started riots, looting was rampant and martial law was declared to bring the situation under control. This is just one example of what happens when people ignore the warning signs. Even now most people refuse to believe that one of these scenarios could actually happen to them.
Stockpiling: The average person needs one gallon of water a day to survive. Two quarts of water will be used for drinking and the rest can be used for cooking and personal hygiene. You should be storing foods that are high in nutrition, cheap and have a shelf life of three to six months. These include: beans, rice, canned vegetables, canned fruit, protein bars, pasta, peanut butter, nuts, cooking oils herbs and spices. Don’t wait to stockpile; instead every time you go to the store buy an extra $10.00 to $20.00 in canned, packet foods and water. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 29
Your long‐term goal should stock enough food to last between six and twelve months.
Learn New Skills: There are a vast range of skills that you can learn to become more self‐sufficient. Preserving your own food is a very valuable skill. Find a mentor who knows the local area and can teach you how to find water and forage for food.
Take A Self Defense Course: learn to protect yourself. Having a skill like this can save your life and that of your children. I was once asked a very important question and then given a perfect example of a scenario that could happen. If a person hasn’t drunk any water for over 24 hours and sees you drinking water, what do you think will happen? Do you believe people will be polite about asking for your water or do you think they will just physically take it from you? Do you think they will care that you need the water for your children? These are realistic questions to think about because if the dollar collapses, society as we know it will quickly erode as people become more desperate for food and water.
Prepared Bags: Every person in the
household needs a bag equipped with enough supplies last at the least three days. This is normally enough until you can get to a safer location. Water, lightweight prepackaged foods, a simple first aid kit and extra clothing are essential items for your pack.
Connect With Other Preppers:
skills have enormous value and will improve your chances of survival. A skill like first aid will become more important if the financial system collapses. Most people will not be able to afford any health care. If you know how to bandage a wound or treat your family with more natural methods, you will be way ahead of the game.
Choose websites and online forums which are made up of mainstream preppers. When you become part of the forum look for long term members who are willing to share their knowledge and skills with you. Ask people if they have free tutorials and videos you can watch to learn new skills. The best survival websites offer training and are serious about helping as many people as they can prepare for disaster.
Work Out And Improve Your Diet: People who are physically
Hunting and Gathering: One more
fit have a far greater chance of surviving a disaster. Individuals, who are fit able to walk greater distances, do more physical labor and have the strength and stamina to defend themselves. Just one hour a day of physical activity can reduce stress, regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure. Add a healthy diet which is high in protein, complex carbohydrates and vegetables and your health will improve quickly. If you are serious about prepping then getting in shape should be a priority.
thing we might like to add to this list. Learn how to hunt for food and gather wild edibles and herbs. If you already live in the country you have the upper hand advantage here. Fishing, hunting and gathering skills can save your life. They will also provide your family the much needed proteins and medicines to maintain a healthy body. Meats can also be dried out and kept for a long time as food stores. Dried meats can be taken in backpacks and make great snacks for the whole family.
Take A First Aid Course: learn how to treat wounds. All of these
Emergency Evacuation Plans: Take the time to map out an evacuation route. Keep some paper maps or books and take note of strategic landmarks so you can maneuver your way better. This way when disaster strikes you will already know which road to take. There will be NO GPS systems working if there are problems in cities. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 30
All American Shelters Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 31
There is a stretch of highway 41 along the Northern border of Texas where golden fields fade away to farm acreage and individual plots of land cozy up to tree‐lined roads, dipping and twisting through a magical entanglement of Texas ash trees, and opening up on a hill ‐‐ a beautiful, secluded hill ‐‐ that is the home of All American Shelters, the family endeavor run by husband‐and‐ wife team Jeff and Quitha Gratrix.
Begun in 2013, All America Shelters, with their made‐to‐order storm & disaster systems, is one of the premier providers of emergency shelters in the United States. Having survived a category F4 tornado themselves, the Gratrix's are more than aware of the need of every American to safeguard and protect themselves and their families during catastrophic events. Jeff's experience in construction and deep sea saturation dive systems lends to his impeccable skill in creating an emergency shelter that is not only discreet to those "above deck," but has proven to be airtight, waterproof and completely sustainable in every kind of emergency situation.
In today's uncertain political climate and wavering economy, many Americans are reaching out for stability and a sense of control over their own lives. Not only do we find ourselves questioning our ability to withstand a natural disaster, but we're also faced with the question of "What if?" What if our country has, at last, lost its grip on the concept of individual freedom? What if we end up at war again, but this time on our own soil? What if we experience another 911 event? Or a grid‐down event? What if another F4 tornado tears through our hometown and our family is left scrambling for protection? The possibilities are endless, and so are the options with an All American Shelter. We took a field trip to All American Shelters to meet the brains behind the operation and find out exactly what makes this business tick. What we discovered was fascinating. Combining years of experience in the tried‐and‐true technology of American deep sea diving saturation "life support" systems, and the passion of a husband and father whose priority is protecting his family, Jeff Gratrix is a stalwart man whose enthusiasm and knowledge of his business spills over in his conversation. Talking with his hands, he goes on to explain the importance of using American‐made materials in all of their shelters, and discusses the options available; everything from kitchenettes and entertainment centers to certified blast hatches and NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical warfare) filtration systems can be added to these units. All American Shelters' approach to customer service is unflappable; the customer gets what the customer wants.
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Constructed of corrugated, galvanized steel, each of the shelters is created according to the client's individual specifications; right down to the number of beds needed, and are constructed on‐site. Ranging from 8 x 10 foot storm shelters, which can also double as root cellars, armory storage or any number of temporary‐use facilities, to a year‐round livable 12 x 45 foot family shelter including under‐ floor storage and multiple escape hatches, every All American Shelter is sunk 20 feet below ground by a team of certified experts with experience ranging from the Great Alaska pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, with the goal of maintaining a proper depth to accommodate the geothermal cooling system that is built into each, while still surpassing required depths to avoid satellite scanning that might pinpoint the location. Utilizing the belief that each shelter built should meet the same specification requirements as his own families, Jeff is adamant that no detail is left out of the construction of any of their units, and with that credo in hand, he carefully seals each of the bulkheads with epoxy rust inhibitor and "line‐X," an industrial strength sealant used in marine equipment and underwater vessels.
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As he takes us through the prototype unit in the company workshop, pointing out each of the variants in construction, as compared to standard emergency shelters, we begin to understand that All American Shelters is not just any standard producer of storm or disaster shelters; instead, they've vested their years of experience in implementing the very best materials and methods available toward keeping their shelters gas‐proof, airtight and waterproof, so that the customer is guaranteed a safe retreat in their moment of greatest need. Sitting behind the desk in the office of All American Shelters, Quitha is manning the computer. A fast‐ talking bundle of energy with an eye on the company's online exposure, she's also at the helm of the Gratrix's auxiliary company, G9, which specializes in green living through aquaponics, organic gardening, solar and wind energy, and homesteading. But today, she has her hat on for All American Shelters. They've just completed their first commercial, scheduled to air locally within the next week, and she's more than excited to take us down into their own shelter. Opening the blast hatch with one hand, its hydraulic hinge lifting easily, Quitha starts down a ladder; a direct descent 20 feet under the ground to a landing "dock," where she turns and disappears into the dark. Sure, I follow her, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little unnerving. Looking up at the sky through a 48" square in the ground, it's hard to pretend you aren't aware that you are, indeed, underneath hundreds of pounds of dirt. She switches on a light, though, and suddenly we're in a new world.
The shelter is a full‐size 10 x 45 foot unit, extending well beyond the visible outside entrance and ending conveniently at an undisclosed point, where one of the two emergency hatches releases under a pretty impressive disguise. As she leads me through each section of the shelter, she points out all the details we've been talking about, but that I hadn't seen just yet. The initial landing dock also serves as an ample space for storage, not to mention that the first (and main) chamber door is a double‐hinged Marine door that, when sealed, makes this shelter impenetrable from any outside element that we've experienced so far in America's history.
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As we continue into the main chamber, Quitha demonstrates the "long‐term livability" of the shelter….by way of solar‐generated power, LED lights, a working toilet and shower, vented holding tanks and a macerator pump for disposal, geothermal heating and cooling system that keeps the shelter a comfortable 70* temperature at all times, and all the comforts of home, literally. A television with DVD player and a shelf of kids' DVDs belie our pre‐conceived assumption that a storm shelter would be an uncomfortable and frightening place to hunker down in. Obviously, this shelter has been acquainted more than once. Shelves holding canned goods and books line one wall, and a desk with working computer and research materials sits on the opposite wall.
Further back in the unit, two sets of twin bunk beds are already dressed and ready for use, and a smattering of little boys' books lies on one. Beyond that, we reach the NBC air filtration system, an optional unit provided by American Safe Room. It's here that I learn about some of the "tricks" that come with an All American Shelter, including emergency escape hatches, air filtration units in the case of chemical or biological warfare and the awesome amount of under floor storage. Never having stood inside one of these shelters before, I obviously had a list of questions when we first started, but my focus changed almost immediately after seeing the setup inside. The biggest question I had at that point was: Why Round?? Over the last several decades, engineers and builders have sought to create indestructible bomb and disaster shelters for individual use, always keeping in mind the wear and tear of the natural elements, the threat of attack, the "shelf‐ life" of building materials and the viability of a human being to survive underground for extended periods of time. While many shelters have been created and met all of those requirements, there has been a reckoning in the viewpoint that a flat‐ topped square or rectangular structure is sufficient for this type of facility. In fact, a number of companies are beginning to revert to the circular structure based on a few common sense points:
1. First, the amount of underground space required in a square shelter far surpasses that of a circular shelter in terms of area, or if you think about it from the perspective of a fly on a wall (or a person unfamiliar with shelter configurations), the amount of empty and unused space along the tops of walls and corners.
These points have to be reinforced not only with galvanized steel joists but usually with a second layer of roofing material as well. The extra expense and materials needed simply to fortify pockets of dead space is not only expensive but unreasonably unsafe. Why is it unsafe? Well, consider the second common sense point:
2. Weight distribution across the top of a square or rectangular shelter is basically indeterminate, but has been proven to be detrimental to the structure. Most builders agree that flat‐topped shelters require (yet again) reinforcements and double‐layered roofs in order to withstand the pressure of 10 feet of soil that is literally going nowhere but…down. With a circular shelter, however, soil is distributed along the sides of the unit as it's loaded on top of the shelter after it has been sunk in the ground, and packed in uniformly until it reaches a "peak" at the top. The shelter is basically hugged by the earth, rather than being crushed by it. Think of it like this: When we were children, we used to ice skate on a frozen pond outside our hometown. One rule was told to always remember: Step lightly and take each step far away from the last.
The Reason? Weight distribution. If we'd stood in one place with both feet together and our full body weight cooperating with gravity, the ice would crack (and most likely break ‐‐ and it did, more than once). However, if we walked in a long, gliding manner, keeping our feet far apart and our weight distributed over a greater area, the ice absorbed the weight much easier and there were no disasters. So why do so many websites knock the idea of circular shelters?
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The integrity of a corrugated steel pipe is at question. Many sites have promoted the idea that a corrugated steel shelter is more apt to rust, or flood, simply due to the properties in the steel, as opposed to the "enduring strength" of a concrete bunker. This is a valid concern, and one that shouldn't be brushed aside.
The Answer? Well, according to Jeff, that question was addressed early on in the development of All American Shelters, and was one of the reasons he chose to start the business in the first place: his years of experience with deep sea diving has given him an insight into the vulnerability of steel housing and the preventive measures needed to ensure that issues like rust, water (or other liquid) leakage, and collapse doesn't occur. It is precisely this concern that sets All American Shelters apart: no other shelter company has taken the step to seal their units with industrial‐ strength marine sealant. Jeff does, painstakingly and by hand, to ensure that each seam, hatch and connecting point is fool‐proof and passes strict inspection requirements carried over from his years in dive industry. To be concise, failure is not an option. Ironically, during our visit, a business call came in from a local photographer who'd been referred to All American Shelters as prospective "People to Watch" in the Northern Texas region. He was arriving just as we were leaving. And so his tour was beginning as ours was ending. On the walk back to the car, I asked Quitha…why do you do this? It's a shot‐in‐the‐dark business. The economy is hurting. People have more on their plate to worry about than something as "optional" as an underground shelter. Survivalist Times| Edition 1| Page 36
Her answer to me convinced me of the necessity of efforts like hers and Jeff's: She told me that when the F4 tornado struck their home in 2010, they were hiding inside a closet in the middle of the house. A 20ft travel trailer was picked up outside, tossed across the yard, and landed within inches of her and her children, on the other side of the closet wall. While their family survived, others in their area did not. She has seen the power of Mother Nature. And she believes in the power of human nature. Both can be destructive when they want to be. The Gratrix's started a business they love, based on their passion to help other families escape the destruction they've experienced, whether it be through natural causes or the hand of human error. The American drive is strong; we protect our own and we always come back from the ashes. The Gratrix's are proof of that. We left our day with All American Shelters full of information, photos and excitement: excitement over the entrepreneurial spirit at work, excitement over the possibilities of what can be done with a little ingenuity and a whole lot of grit, and most of all, excitement over the future of a burgeoning American business that's flourishing 20 feet below the surface of the earth on a beautiful hill in Northern Texas. All American Shelters website: www.allamericanshelters.com Special thanks to the Aquaponics Survival Communities Magazine for allowing us to use this article.
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Survivalist Times Magazine Issue #1
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