Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Best Christmas Gifts for the Survivalist

I can't believe I originally wrote this two years ago for Christmas 2008. But it's a fun topic and overdue for an update.

Ho ho ho! Everyone loves Christmas and its just around the corner!

So what to get the bunker dwelling, canned food hoarding, "end of the worlder" in your life?

Or maybe you need a handy little list of suggestions to slip under the pillow of a loved one who is not sure what to get for a prepper like us?

Here are my Best Christmas Gifts for the Survivalist

1) A retreat. If money is no object, then give your favorite survivalist a super gift!

Survival Realty features only survival style properties throughout the United States. Some are very affordable and there is one near (in the same state) where you live.

Or check out Missile Silos for Sale and let your special survivalist design his own fixer upper or get one already done! As for me, I am not a big proponent of buying a former government base for a bug out retreat as everyone knows where it is. But for the true afficinado, nothing beats an old Atlas or Titan silo.

2) The ultimate bug out vehicle

You got to have wheels to get around. Fortunately, there are several to choose from and model your own after out there.

What survivalist doesn't want his own special set of wheels for hightailing it to the mall before Christmas and to the wastelands the day after?

Why bother looking for a Ford F150 with a camper top when you can have something more exotic?

How about a Unicat

Or a Unimog ready to go?

Or your own submarine? While they don't have one currently for sale, they do have access to more for the buyer who wants their own World War II era sub for quick getaways!

3) Food, food, food

Nope we are not talking about a little food basket or worse, a fruit cake. We are talking survivalist food!

How about a Nitro Pak one year food supply? The best long term storage food company out there and now, for a low one time price, can purchase a year supply of goodies to stock the bunker. What prepper would not love to wake up to a full pallet of Nitro Pak boxes and white buckets?

How about some MRE's? MRE's are like SPAM and Tang to your prepper. A couple of cases are affordable and fit just right under the tree!

Trying to keep it simple? How about a case of SPAM Classic, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6 )?
Speaking of Spam, nothing goes better with egg nog than a Spam sandwich for Santa!

How about some quickie gifts from Amazon?

A Leatherman Surge!

Petzl E49P TacTikka Plus 4-LED Headlamp, Black

Or an LED headlamp?

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse

Or how about a simple copy of Patriots?

Either way, shopping for the prepper in your life is easy. There are only about 30 days left, so shop early and shop often!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Prepare: Remembering Civil Defense

Once upon a time ago, long before FEMA botched up hurricane relief and the TSA went around feeling people up in airports, the United States used to have a program called about civilian preparation called Civil Defense. Run by the Department of Defense, Civil Defense was charged with providing for civilian relief and response during natural disasters, but was primarily for preparing for the populace war and surviving the aftermath.

Civil Defense had its origins during World War 2, but that organization was concerned with blackout drills, aircraft spotting and civilian war effort organization. Following World War 2, civil defense fell by the wayside, until the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. At that point, the US realized that the potential of a intercontinental nuclear war and its effects on the civilian population. Unlike preparing cities for convential bombing, nuclear weapons brought a new dynamic into play.

Cities struck by atom bombs required suitable sheltering in place and avoiding the by produced effect of nuclear weapons; radioactive fallout. That meant an appropriate shelter underground and stocked with adaquate supplies of food, water and medicine to support the shelter inhabitants. It was assumed that a nuclear war could come with little notice so shelter dwellers might arrive with nothing more than the clothes on their back.

Further, civil defense required new communications between the public and the military. The use of air raid sirens and the new Conelrad radio plan were devised and developed to alert civilians in the event of attack. The air raid sirens were the same ones used during WWII, but were soon upgraded and made part of every city and town. The Conelrad radio system designated two separate radio frequencies found on any AM radio. Listeners were instructed to tune to either one (or sent to the other by the originating station) for important alerts and news. The Conelrad system was replaced with the Emergency Broadcast System which basically commandeered all radio stations. This system is still in effect today.  

Through the 1950's, individuals purchased or built their own fallout shelter at home. It was quite common during this time period, and especially after the Soviet Union demonstrated the first intercontinental rocket, for homeowners to dig a shelter in the backyard or convert part of the basement for fallout shelter duty.
When John Kennedy became president in 1960, the US kicked off a true nationwide, civilian civil defense plan into action with the Community Shelter Program. Thousands of office buildings, churches and schools were inspected and determined to be adequate for sheltering civilians for a period of up to two weeks during a post-atomic attack period.

The shelters were stocked with federally designed and funded supplies. Food, in the form of crackers, wafers and high cabohydrate candies, barrels of water, radioactive detection equipment, medical supplies and hygene items. The supplies were meant to last for years and upon regular inspection, could be rotated and replaced by the Civil Defense in concert with local authorities.

Some of the public shelters were huge and could house thousands of civilians. There were public shelters which were elaborate and were cleverly placed in chambers attached to massive bridges and overpasses. Rows of boxes and barrels of supplies filled alcoves and closets deep under public offices and schools. By 1965, more than 100 million civilians could be temporarily housed and fed up to 700 calories daily while sheltering for 10 days to two weeks underground. 

By 1970, Congress lost interest in funding an active nuclear war civil defense and preparation system. Shelters were ordered to keep supplies in place, but replacements were no longer available. Many of the supplies went bad; crackers turned rancid, water barrels rusted, medical supplies expired.

In the late 1970's, President Carter changed the name from Civil Defense to Office of Emergency Management reflecting a change in the federal government's plans for dealing with potentential nuclear threat. Despite the constant and real threat of nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union, the government adopted the philosophy that the cost of providing some basic protection for civilians was too high and the maintance work too much.

By the 1980's, at the height of the Cold War, most public shelters were cleaned out of decaying supplies and closed up. The familiar yellow and black signs remained, but little else was prepared for civilians in the event of an all out attack. The government recommended that civilans evacuate from cities and created a paper only plan which would shepherd civilians out of major cities along packed highways and direct them to overwhelm unprepared rural towns.

With the formal end of the Cold War in the late 80's, civil defense for all intents and purposes died. Weekly siren tests were cancelled. Remaining equipment like survey meters and dossimeters were auctioned off. Fallout shelter signs came down and public shelter areas were closed off. Many of the buildings which once held shelters had long been torn down or refurbished. A 1960's list of Community Shelters might only contain one or two buildings in a city which were still standing or had the same name 30 years later.

To this day, the news often reports of the discovery of an old abandoned and forgotten public shelter still stocked with molding crackers and rusted barrels of water. Writers scratch their collective heads and comment on the assumed futility of such preparations. The idea that the government would create a cost effective and workable plan which could have sheltered at that time, half of the civilian population, seemed ludicrous.

With the attacks on September 11, 2001, many asked where the public shelters were in the event of a nuclear attack and most were shocked to learn that there were no public shelters any longer for civilians. While the heads of government had secret bunkers scattered throughout the US, civilians were left to fend for themselves. Instead, the population was advised to purchase some bottled water and plastic wrap, hide inside their condominiums and wait for FEMA to show up.

What's worse, is there are no stockpiles of supplies, no matter how crude, available any longer. There are no readily available long term food supplies, hygene kits or survey meters available. In the event of an attack, cities and civilian governments will be left to distribute what food is available in grocery stores and warehouses and depend upon radiation detection equipment available to first responders or hobbyists. There are few who have any idea how to construct a fallout shelter or determine if a shelter is adequate for use.

Ironically, nuclear weapons have not gone away like the Civil Defense system has. More countries have atomic bombs than did during the early 1960's with more working on acquiring the technology. In many ways, the threat is higher than it was during the Kennedy era. Yet the US government, for the past thirty years has hoped that the "head in the sand" mentality will make the problem go away.

Regardless, it is up individuals and groups to prepare for the potential of a nuclear attack. Fortunately, the knowledge and supplies are available thanks to the internet. Anyone can prepare a simple shelter at home and stock it with food available from the grocers. Even survey meters and dossimeters are available online. The problem, however, is Murphy's law states the shelter will be in one location and the owner in another the day the nuclear weapon goes off. That was the beauty of the Civil Defense system - a shelter could be only a few blocks away from 90% of the population at any given moment.

This post is nothing more than an overview of the Civil Defense system we once enjoyed in the United States. For a better and more conise history with lots of great pictures and personal experience, please visit http://www.civildefensemuseum.com/

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