The notion of prepping is slowly becoming less stigmatized. When people are able to discuss their preparations more freely, it creates a community of knowledge sharing.
Pooling the best advice means everyone can be better prepared for the unexpected. Now, when the SHTF, you’ve got to look out for you and yours. But there’s no us-versus-them in prepping.
Part of my goal for the Weekly Drop is to foster a dialogue among my readership. I enjoy getting your feedback in addition to answering your questions.
So let’s kick off this week’s mailbag with a helpful reminder from one of my readers. And remember, you can send your own comments and inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be aware that in some localities if you post a “Beware of Dog” sign, there is an assumption that the dog, if you have one, has vicious tendencies. So if the dog bites someone under certain circumstances, that foreknowledge will be held against you. And the dog!
You bring up a good point, M.D. Dog bites are one of the most common liability claims on homeowner’s insurance. You should check with local and state laws before posting any signage — regulations can vary depending on where you live.
In fact, in some states it actually makes you less liable if you have posted signs that say “Beware of Dog.” This is because, in essence, you have notified anyone who comes onto your property that there is a dog on the premises, and sometimes dogs bite.
With all that being said, these signs are still a great deterrent for criminals — even if you don’t have a dog.
Can you recommend some spy camera glasses and a spy recorder able to pick up faint sounds?
— James Y.
That’s a great question, James. There are many different choices when it comes to spy camera glasses. One brand I recommend is the Toughsty hidden camera video glasses, which sells for around $65 on Amazon.
These glasses record HD-quality video and audio — and they have a micro SD card slot, so you can use a 32GB card for more storage. They operate on a rechargeable battery that lasts for about an hour of recording time.
For recording only audio, you can find spy audio recorders that resemble key fobs, pens and even USB flash drives. The only drawback to these tiny recorders is that they aren’t the best choice for picking up faint or faraway sounds.
One USB recorder I suggest checking out is the SpygearGadgets voice-activated professional-grade audio recorder. It sells for around $50 on Amazon and is also a functional USB drive, so you can store important files on it as well.
What affordable SHTF emergency recommendations do you have for keeping in contact with my kids attending different colleges two–five hours away? Also, any recommendations for kids on campus without cars in a SHTF scenario would be appreciated. They all have bug-out bags, but dorms don’t allow for much privacy in preparedness.
— Patty L.
Communications can be affected during any type of emergency and may take days to restore. Cellphone towers are frequently damaged or overloaded during storms or emergencies, so it’s important to have a backup communication plan. I’m glad you’re thinking about this now, Patty.
One alternative is to use a satellite phone. The downside there is these phones aren’t cheap — a quality one will cost around $500.
Another option is a ham radio. I recommend the Baofeng UV-5R, which is only about $30 on Amazon. It’s actually a two-way radio, but it can also be used as a ham radio.
Now, operating a ham radio does require a license, but with a little bit of studying, this is something your family can easily learn. And if you have the right equipment and repeaters, you can communicate long distances using ham radios.
For kids at college during an emergency, it’s usually best for them to stay in their dorm if they don’t have access to transportation. What I mean is if they have no way to safely leave the area, they should hunker down in their dorm until someone can come get them.
If things get bad enough and they need to leave campus immediately, fleeing on a bike or on foot is fine — if that’s their only option.
The key is to be prepared with a bug-out bag and an evacuation plan. Your kids should have a campus map and know the quickest way to leave the area. You should also talk to them and decide on a meeting place in the event they have to leave campus and you are coming to get them.
How do I escape the trunk of a car?
— Gavin R.
Most newer cars have a glow-in-the-dark trunk release built into them. Or you might be able to kick out the back seat and crawl out of the trunk through the car itself.
Thanks for the info. Having lived through the Cold War and the era of bomb shelters, I have some additional thoughts for you and your readers to consider…
In the land of civilian shelters, regardless of the budget, there are several significant limitations. Everybody covers the food and water aspects. You also addressed sewage in your article. Good thinking, but perhaps more suited to a natural disaster than anything else. Due to their small size, the amount of supplies you can pack into your shelter is a limiting factor. However, the air intake system is the single-weakest link in almost all cases. If we are talking about shelter from storms or natural events, this is less of a concern.
— Stuart W.
Honestly, Stuart, I think if you are considering any type of survival shelter, factoring in an air filtration system should be an essential part of your plans. You need to build a system that can bring in fresh air — and it should have two different intake points.
It’s also not a bad idea to add fake intake vents, so if someone is trying to harm you by closing off or gassing your vents, the fake vents might fool them. When possible, I recommend hiding the actual intake vents near rocks or trees and concealing them as best you can without blocking them.
While it can be fairly expensive, your air intake system should also be able to filter the air. And don’t forget to store spare filters in your shelter in case you need to replace them during an emergency.