Archive for the ‘Survival Knowledge’ Category


Posted: April 19, 2014 in Survival Knowledge

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Jim Cooper



When preparing your BOB’s, GHB’s, 72 hour kits or stocking your bug out location do not overlook prepping for your pets.  Make sure that you are prepared to care for your pets by having the proper food, gear and medical supplies to keep them safe, warm and happy.

Prepping to leave your home in the event of an emergency is both needed and an excellent idea.  Also take a look at preparing for emergencies at your home when you are away.  For instance if you are gone from home and your dogs and cats are home who may rescue them in the event of a house or wildfire?

I have been a firefighter, captain, training officer and EMT for 22 years and can assure you that the majority of us love animals.  We would take informed and calculated risks to save the life of a pet if we could do so with minimal risk to our lives.   The problem is that we can only make risk versus benefit decisions if we know that there are pets in a home.  If we do not hear barking or see your dogs or cats we may assume there are none in the home.

Anikan Looking Up 2

Our pets look up to and are supported by us and love us unconditionally.  Show the same love by making sure that they are prepared for bugging out or staying in.  Put together a pet Bail Out Bag (BOB) or 72 hour kit for each dog or cat under your care.  I will discuss the specific contents for a pet survival kit or BOB in my next post.

One thing that you can do to ensure your pets are safe is to place save our pet stickers on the outside of your external doors of your home.  The save our pet stickers will alert firefighters to the fact that you have pets in your home.

Start preparing for your pets safety now, order save our pets stickers one for each external door of your home.  Take advantage of the low shipping cost and order 1-25 stickers.  You may order them for yours as well as your friends and families homes.  Order your save our pet stickers by clicking on the pet sticker image below.

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Sticker Image with Border

So you may have your 72 hour kits, bug out bags, camping gear, water, food and other necessities to ride out any potential threat be it man made or natural in origin.  Have you thought about how to entertain yourself or your family for days, weeks or months after an event?  That is assuming that there is no power which means no video games, computers, smart-phones, tv’s, DVD players or any other form of electronic entertainment.  Kindred Games published an article that addresses solutions for post apocalyptic entertainment click the link below to view their article.

My wife and I decided to have a fire in our back yard fire pit last night so I took the opportunity to start the fire like I would in a survival situation.  I chose to use the parafin wax coated jute twine tinder I prepared a couple of months ago.  I carry this type of tinder in my Altoids survival tin and wanted to see how easy it would be to start a fire with it.  As you know there are many ways to give birth to fire such as a match, lighter, fire steel, magnesium bar, fire bow and so on.  For this attempt I used one match and one length of jute twine about 8 inches long to start the fire.

In the past I have used a fire steel to ignite sawdust and wood shavings as well as cotton balls coated in Vaseline to start fires.  The parafin wax treated jute twine is by far the quickest and most effective tinder I have used so far.  A couple benefits of this tinder is that it is waterproof and burns for a longer period of time than the cotton balls tend to.  Please view my Single Match Survival Fire video which demonstrates the effectiveness of parafin coated jute twine as tinder.



Here in part 3 of my 72 Hour Kits and Survival Bags post I discuss tips and information which may  help you to choose and build or purchase a kit/bag of your choosing.  My personal belief is that there is no wrong kit or bag nor one all encompassing mega survival ensemble.  Sure, some individuals may pack so much gear that there bag is too heavy for them to pack around; however it doesn’t mean it is wrong.  I will say if your bag is on the heavy side it would be advisable to hike/walk with it regularly to become acclimated and fit with it.  A survival kit or bag should be balanced with the suggested minimal amount of gear and tools to accomplish any survival task you may find a need to accomplish.

Again a belief of mine in regards to tools and equipment/gear is that the key items such as the following should be comprised of quality brand/researched items.

  • Knife(s) (survival/bushcraft, hunting etc.)
  • Multi-tool
  • Compass
  • Bottle
  • Paracord
  • Flashlight
  • Radio (transmitter and or receiver)
  • Fire Steel or Magnesium Bar

Other items may be comprised of lessor quality or more inexpensive items again my personal belief.  The reason behind this is that the key items are items which you may really need to depend on and use repeatedly.  You do not want any of those items to fail.

What kind of survival bag should I build or buy?  This really depends on what you intend for the kit/bag.  Do you want a bag that has the tools and equipment you need on a daily basis?  Then you may want to consider an EDC bag which would have the tools and equipment you may need daily such as a multi-tool, flashlight, pens and pencils, cell phone, camera and so on.  Is preparedness for disasters, disturbances, emergencies or road side mishaps your focus?  For these types of situations you may want to consider a 72 hour survival kit/bag for longer lasting more survival oriented scenarios.  Or do you desire a bag that will get you home (get home bag) from work on foot if necessary provided you live within walking/hiking distance of your work place.  Maximum walking distance per individual is variable dependent on fitness level, shoes and other factors such as whether you are carrying a pack but may be 6-20 miles in a day.  See the following article for more information and please conduct your own research on this topic.

My current survival bag is a morph between a 72 hour bag and get home bag however it also has items minus the cell phone and camera that could be used daily if needed.  Some individuals may consider a bag like mine heavy at 25-30 pounds which to be honest probably is.  I personally would rather have the items I need when I need them as opposed to needing the items I should of had.  One way to reduce the weight of your pack/bag is to pack it with items that have multiple uses such as a pencil sharpener which may sharpen a stick for a spear and provide shavings for fire tinder.  A good survival knife can skin an animal, baton down a tree and split kindling for a fire eliminating the need for an axe, and hunting knife.

If all of this information seems overwhelming to you I suggest you start small literally.  Begin with putting together your own Altoids survival tin which is an affordable way to have basic items you would need for survival that can be kept in your pocket or purse.  You can fit 15-30 or more items in the tin and many of them you can find around your home.  In my next post I will share my Altoids survival tin and suggest items to fill yours with.  Thank you for reading my posts.



I caught hold of the prepping bug and began to put a BOB together three years ago.  At first the bag was just a black back pack I found in our closet which I slowly stocked with the gear I believed that I needed.  I started purchasing items a little at a time from places like Walmart as I did not have funds to buy the name brand high end gear I desired.  You can actually obtain some fairly good items/gear from the mega marts fairly inexpensively however.  The Maglite, Energizer WeatherReady crank LED flashlight and Buck 110 folding knife are the best name brand buys I scored from Walmart.  Another excellent way to get great deals on your gear is to make purchases through Amazon.  If you pay attention and place only the items that offer free shipping at Amazon in your cart you can have an entire order ship for free.  I had an order for gear that totaled over a hundred dollars which shipped for free.  

The BOB pictured above is my current configuration of gear and bags.  I say current because as I mentioned in part 1 of this post BOB’s tend to evolve over time or carry on as a work in progress.  Some individuals even change up there BOB’s gear with the change of seasons.  I chose a Maxpedition Sabercat VersiPack in olive drab as my BOB and later added the Condor H2O bottle pouch in order to carry all of my gear.  The H2O pouch carries my two pots, water bottle, Leatherman Wave multi-tool, emergency blanket, some paracord and a magnesium bar.  For day hikes I split off and carry my H2O pouch with gear inside and have the basic survival equipment needed in an emergency.  The picture below shows all of my gear with the exception of my tarp and sleeping gear.


My BOB contains the following items:

  • Maxpedition Sabercat Versipack bag
  • Condor H2O water bottle pouch
  • Nalgene water bottle
  • Two cook pots/drinking cups and forks/spoons
  • Folding cook stove and  2 Sterno fuel cans
  • Food for 3 meals per day with a snack
  • Fire starting kit with fire steel, tin foil, water proof matches, Vaseline soaked cotton and a pencil sharpener
  • Fleece beanie cap, pair of work gloves, mosquito head net/fishing net and 2 bandanas
  • 1 crank LED flashlight and 3 other flashlights
  • Ham radio and FRS/GMRS radio
  • 4 AA batteries
  • Toilet paper, tooth brush, tooth paste, bar of soap, compressed towels and bug repellent 
  • Compass, emergency whistle/thermometer, knife sharpener and lip balm
  • Sunscreen, duct tape, pain relievers, tent stakes, thread and needles
  • Signal mirror, lighter and birthday candle
  • First aid kit, poncho and emergency blanket
  • Gallon size plastic bag, coffee filters, local map and navigation instructions
  • Shovel and hand saw
  • Survival knife
  • Hunting knife
  • Multi-tool
  • Paracord
  • Notepad, pens, pencil, and sharpies

My BOB is kept in the vehicle I drive and there is also another different one in the vehicle my wife drives.  Our two daughters that are still at home with us each have a 72 hour kit that I am continuing to build on as well.  If you are new to prepping or are just getting started with a BOB, or 72 hour kit hang in there and build on it a little at a time.  Before long you will have a fully functional BOB with the gear you need.

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To increase the odds of your survival in any extreme situation you must start with some knowledge in regards to survival.  Knowledge of survival tips, tricks and skills provide you with the foundation with which you can begin to build on.  This post is intended to give you some of the basic survival knowledge that you should be aware of.


In my opinion first you must keep calm and avoid panic.  Panic can cause you to make irrational decisions which could jeopardize your life.  Along with keeping calm practice maintaining a survival mindset believing you are going to survive and thinking about survival.  A good survival mindset involves managing your thoughts, fears and anxieties so that you can make good judgements and stay positive about your situation.  Survivors of horrible ordeals have been able to overcome all kinds of obstacles and fears and survive in a large part due to a survival mindset.  There are numerous recounts of documented survival feats such as one individual who overcame all odds to survive 76 days adrift in the ocean.  A survival mindset coupled with the will to survive can help save your life.

You need to know your vulnerabilities in order to protect yourself and as humans we all have the same basic vulnerabilities.  The Rule of Threes will help you remember that in any extreme situation you cannot survive for more than:

  • 3 minutes without breathing (drowning, asphyxiation)
  • 3 hours without shelter in an extreme environment (exposure)
  • 3 days without water (dehydration)
  • 3 weeks without food (starvation)

You need air to breath, shelter to stay warm and dry, water to stay hydrated with and food to maintain your energy.  The order in which they are prioritized with the exception of breathing may change depending on the circumstances or situation.  Memorize the rule of threes; however allow for flexibility of their priority.  If it is extremely hot or cold fighting the threat of exposure will be your highest priority.  Exposure is simply your body being exposed to extremes in temperature, the elements or environment.  If it is cold outside you could succumb to hypothermia with your heart ultimately stopping if no action is taken.  If it is extremely hot outside you may suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke and ultimately die.  So in these instances shelter and fire for the cold and shelter and water for the heat your priorities may be.  However you may need to consider whether in the heat of day it is advisable or detrimental to your health to look for water.  Instead it may be better to look for water in evening as the sun is going down but then it may be too dark and you may get hurt or further lost.  Or maybe you have the material to make a solar still for water which may not take as much energy in the heat of day as foraging for water may.  These are some of the things that you may need to think about and judge in your situation.

Preparation is a key element in your ability to survive as knowledge alone will not generally save you.  You will need some basic tools and equipment to aid you in your survival.  You should always have access to or carry the items that will help you in the event that you need them.  The items needed are directly related to the rule of threes in that they give you the ability to protect yourself from the elements, find or gather food, make shelter or provide warmth,the ability to cook and provide some security.  Items such as a good knife, a fire steel, emergency whistle, and emergency blanket are items that you may want to consider keeping on you or with you daily.  I have researched a lot of equipment and in doing so combined the high quality items together to form what I call an Every Day Carry (EDC) Survival Kit (pictured below).  The kit is meant to be kept in your vehicle or carried with you every day so that you are always prepared by having the basic items you may need.

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The above EDC Survival Kit is small in size and weight so it is easy to take along on hikes, kayaking, biking and camping trips or just any time your in the woods.  If you have a kit and don’t need to use it you will be at ease; however if you don’t have a kit and need one you will wish you had one.  Whether you research, find and buy items to build a kit on your own or purchase a ready made one like mine I Recommend that you do so now.  All of the items in the EDC Survival Kit that I sell are quality made items with very good reviews there are no imitations or poorly made items included.
The EDC Survival Kit includes the following items:
  • Water Bottle Pouch/Bag
  • 32 oz Water Bottle
  • Stainless Steel Pot/Drinking Cup
  • Filter Straw
  • Fire Steel/Striker
  • Pocket Cook Stove & Fuel Tablets
  • Bushcraft Knife
  • Mini L.E.D Flashlight
  • Heat Reflective Emergency Blanket/Survival Blanket
  • Compass
  • Emergency Whistle

I also include a list of additional items that you may find around your house to include in and enhance your kit even more.

The items in the kit enable you to perform the following:

  • Drink from a puddle, river, stream or lake with the included filter straw
  • Use the utility/bushcraft knife to process firewood/kindling and fire tinder or build a shelter
  • Start a fire
  • Use cooking pot and cookstove to boil water for safe drinking
  • Use the flashlight for signaling and in the dark
  • Use the emergency blanket for a reflective shelter to stay warm under or to wrap up in
  • Use the compass to navigate
  • Use the emergency whistle to alert rescuers

Thank you for reading my post I hope this post spurs your interest in preparedness and helps you become prepared if you are not.  If you are already prepared and have this knowledge thank you for reading my post.  Either way feel free to comment.  Be safe be prepared and be alive.

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In this post I discuss skills drawing on my 20 plus years of fire service experience in order to explain situational awareness as I believe it relates to your  preparedness and survival.  Situational awareness as defined by Wikipedia is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event.  I am going to simple that definition down a bit as I had trouble relating it to what I know as situational awareness.  Think of situational as a combination of circumstances that changes over time or simply what is going on around of or in front of you.  Look at the photo above.  If this was happening next door to your home that would be a rapidly changing combination of circumstances that you would surely need to address.  Dictionary dot com defines awareness as the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.  So in short situational awareness is to have knowledge of a situation; however I believe you should have awareness of your surroundings and what is going on around you at all times.

Situational Awareness is something you can use everyday to help ensure your readiness for the circumstances that could potentially occur whether it be while driving down the road or dealing with the aftermath of an astroid impact.  Being prepared by having the tools, equipment, food and supplies needed to sustain yourself or your family during an emergency is the core of preparedness; however you should also be knowledgeable of circumstances during and after an event.  For example earthquakes can occur anywhere so it would be to your advantage to know about what to do prior to, during and after an earthquake.  The information you need to know for earthquakes may be more in-depth depending on your geographical location such as near oceans or coastal rivers due to potential for tsunamis.  By obtaining knowledge of earthquakes you would be aware of how to protect yourself and your family through the entire event.  There are many natural disasters that could potentially happen and knowledge about each one will greatly enhance your ability to endure through them.  Human caused events such as terrorism, shootings, riots, civil disturbances, economic collapse as well as potential accidents are other areas that would benefit your being prepared for.  The day to day potential accidents are probably the most likely threat to your life.  Something as innocent  and mundane sounding as a child playing on a drift log at the beach have transformed into life changing tragedies for families of accident victims.  Had those family members know that it only takes a few inches of water from the ocean surf to float a drift log weighing a ton or more the accident and horrible tragedies may not have occurred.  There is literature and some warnings posted of potential log roll accidents or deaths however it is limited and ultimately it is up to individuals visiting coastal areas to learn of the potential dangers. I suggest that anyone planning on visiting areas more potentially dangerous than those encountered day to day do some research on the environmental hazards specific to those areas.  Examples of some of those areas may include lakes, rivers, mountains, deserts, in the snow, and at the oceans and beaches.  In future posts I will be writing about potential dangers associated with geographical areas and the knowledge needed in order to avoid the specific hazards.  The truth is you can not be 100% prepared for every possible circumstance that may arise as the future is unknown and anything is possible.  By learning about the events or circumstances most likely to occur and especially by having general awareness of your surroundings at all times you will have the best chance for longevity.  Thank you for reading my post and as always feel free to comment.  Be safe, be aware and be a survivor.


No matter where you live you are faced with some kind of potential natural or human caused occurrence or disaster.  Most of us have been informed through print, video or word of mouth that we should be prepared for potential disasters.  One way to be prepared is to have the water, food, tools and supplies that will sustain you and help you remain safe during potential emergency situations.  FEMA suggests having 72 hour kits and emergency preparedness plans for instance.  Do some research on 72 hour kits and you will find a plethora of videos, blogs, reviews, sales and the associated opinions on which one is the best.  The other thing you may find is that there are other bags or kits known by other names as well such as BOB’s, GOOD Bags, EDC kits or bags.  This is a 3 part blog which includes the following.  Part 1 is an introduction to the various types of emergency kits, and survival bags.  Part 2 will explore an in-depth review of my own personal survival bag.  Part 3 will include information to help you determine which survival bag or kit would be the best fit for your needs as well as cover the recommended equipment to include.

Lets begin with 72 hour kits which are typically recommended for use after a human caused or natural disaster or weather related emergency.  The purpose of which is to sustain an individual or group of individuals for 72 hours as the name suggests.  A basic 72 hour emergency kit may include the following FEMA recommended items for one individual:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least 72 hours (3 days)
  • Food, a three-day supply at minimum of non perishable food
  • A NOAA Weather Radio that is battery-powered or hand crank operated with extra batteries
  • A battery-powered or hand crank flashlight or both and extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask in order to help filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation purposes
  • Wrench or pliers in order to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.

The 72 hour kits may be either stored at a fixed location such as where you would shelter in place or portable such as in your automobile.  With the included 3 gallons of water for one person it does take a larger bag or container in order to store all of the items.  You have the option to build your own basic 72 hour kit or buy a ready-made one.  Should you choose to purchase one there are many kits and many company’s which sell them so do your research and make sure they include the minimum recommended items.   Once you have assembled or purchased your basic kit you may choose to expand/enhance your kit with additional items such as:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers (if needed)
  • Pet food and extra water for them
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family document such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.  Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold weather climate
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.  Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.  Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water.  Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Get Home Bag, BOB’s, GOOD bags, EDC or Survival Bags

A Get Home Bag is designed to help you get home from your work place or from somewhere within hiking distance of your home.  It is filled with the tools and equipment you would need to get you home safely.  A light weight backpack is best suited for this type of bag for comfort and duration of use.  The Get Home Bag is not meant for you to have to live off of the contents unless it is going to take you a day or more to walk/hike home.

BOB’s are either a Bail Out Bag or Bug Out Bag.  Bail Out Bag originated from the bags that military pilots kept survival gear within in the event they needed to bail out of the aircraft and survive on the ground.  Bug Out Bag is a more modern term for essentially the same thing.  GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bags are yet another name for them.  Regardless of which one you call it they are typically designed to get you out of an emergency situation and allow you to be self-reliant and survive for at least three days.  Inside the bag are the tools and equipment that help you survive.

EDC (Every Day Carry) bags carry the items you most likely need every day.  They typically have some of the same items as the bags described above but may also include things like pencils, pens, note pads, cell phones, chargers, cameras, laptops or tablets as well as currency.  Also note that there are personal EDC’s which are items you carry on you in your pockets or purse.  My swiss army knife is a tool I carry in my pocket every day hence it is an EDC item.  If you have a personal EDC your EDC bag will supply you with and supplement all of the items that you cannot carry in your pockets.
You may have noticed that there is some similarities between all of the kits and bags.  For instance the BOB or GOOD is similar to the 72 hour kits in that they typically will contain 72 hours worth of food.  The EDC may have some of the same tools and equipment as the others however typically does not have the 72 hour supply of food.  Through my research and my own experience I have learned that these kits/bags tend to evolve and remain as a work in progress.  In part 2 we will explore my BOB as an example and I will address the changes I have made to arrive at its current state.