How To Survive A Building Collapse

So, you’ve found yourself in a building collapse. Nice going. Shouldn’t you be somewhere else, like, I don’t know, maybe a building that hasn’t collapsed yet? Ok fine, I’ll try to help. Just remember the first bit next time you do something like this. It’s a whole lot easier to get out of situations of which you never see the beginning. That said, you’re not in an impossible situation. Difficult, yes. Also likely fatal. But not entirely impossible. Continue reading “How To Survive A Building Collapse”

Beware of Disaster Scams

I​n the wake of Hurricane Matthew having pounded Georgia in the US, and a string of powerful storms here in my home of Australia, I thought a reminder about disaster scammers was due. We’re all aware that we live in an imperfect world, and that decent people are often faced with misfortune and adversity. In the middle of hard times though, sometimes opportunistic scum emerge from the depths to take advantage of people who need help. This is the case in Georgia at the moment – as disaster survivors work to rebuild their homes and livelihoods, scammers and con-men are out searching for new marks. Disaster recovery is stressful and resource intensive. Survivors aren’t in their best shape mentally and physically, which can make it easier to fall prey to deception. Here are some tips that could save you from further losses if you’re recovering from a disaster.


Pay attention to door-knockers.
Anyone going door to door in storm ravaged suburbs, or cold-calling homeowners claiming to be building contractors should be treated with caution. If they ask for payment for disaster aid or payment details, this probably means they’re trying to scam you. In fact, anyone who claims to be from the government at the same time as offering help, is probably trying to scam you.

Ask for ID.
All FEMA representatives carry a federal ID badge which you’re entitled to ask to see before disclosing any information. A FEMA uniform isn’t proof of identity. If you have doubts that the person you’re talking to represents FEMA, contact law enforcement. If the representative slowly backs away as you dial the numbers, breaking into a full sprint as they get to the street, this is a good indication that you weren’t speaking to a genuine government representative.

Safeguard personal information.
FEMA representatives won’t ask for personal information like bank account or credit card numbers. Remember – they’re government workers, and the government doesn’t need your bank account number or credit card details to steal from you.

Relief workers don’t ask for money.
Regardless of whether they work for government or NGO, genuine relief workers won’t ask for pre-payment, booking fees, application fees, or any other forms of payment for disaster assistance.

If after reading all of this you still want to pay for assistance that you’d receive as a natural part of being a taxpayer, please get in touch to ask for my paypal details.

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How to deal with a snake bite

So you got bitten by a snake. Didn’t I tell it wasn’t a giant, angry noodle? I told you that, and you still insisted on tasting it. You probably deserve whatever happens next. Ok fine, I’ll be more helpful.

Here we have a few easy “Dos and Don’ts” of the snake world. Unsurprisingly, they haven’t included rule #1, which is never taste a live snake. You should have known that. No it’s not a secret. Also bear in mind that you oughtn’t try to suck the poison out of the wound or cut the bite victim open. Hahaha…this guide really spells it out. Don’t waterboard people who’ve been bitten by snakes either, in case you’re wondering.


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What To Do If You’re Lost In The Woods

I remember when I was a kid, going for a walk in the forest near my house with my family and some friends . We were playing and having fun, not paying much attention, when we heard someone screaming and crying a ways behind us. One of the girls with us had become separated from the main group, lost her bearings, and lost her mind in what she felt was an infinite forest. Now she was just a kid, and there’s lots of excuses for freaking out when you’re lost in a forest as a kid. But in reality, she was not further than a hundred meters from a road and indeed the forest edge. So what should you do if you find yourself lost in an unfamiliar forest?

1: Keep your cool.


Maybe sit down and wait for your frustration to wear off. You’re not going to make your best decisions if you’re emotional, so just stop and have a seat. When you regain your composure, you can try to get your bearings again. Look at the position of the sun. Where was it when you set off? Where was it when you were walking? Can you use it to piece together the trail back?

2: If help is coming, wait for it.

There’s no sense making it harder for your rescuers to find you by wandering deeper into unfamiliar territory. By staying put, you will make it easier to be found.

3: Get ready for the night.


Check how much time you have before night fall. You have four needs now that night is coming- shelter, fire, food, and water. Shelter and fire are the most important, as you’re unlikely to die if you go without food or water for 12 hours. If you’ve practiced building a lean-to, this is definitely something to set about as soon as possible. Making a windproof rain shelter can make the difference between life and death if you’re lost in the woods. Ensure that your lean-to actually blocks the wind out and encloses you properly. The idea is to make a space of still air that you will heat with your body. To make a fire you can use this method to make your own hand drill.

4. Food and water.

Water can be difficult to find if you’re in an unfamiliar area. You can try these tips for using animals as clues to finding water. For food, remember that hunting for meat is only one way to survive. Bugs in the ground and on trees can give you the sustenance you need to keep going. Make sure to cook them first so that any bacteria in them is dead.

5. Get found.

Simply being able to make a fire will raise your chances of being found. If you think that an aerial search is possible, make a signal that can be seen from above. Keep your spirits high by maintaining your shelter and fire while continuing to gather food and water. Stay motivated and don’t give in to despair.

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How To Grow Potatoes – Cheap, Life Giving Carbs.

The big idea with prep is to take advantage of the global supply chain and the easy availability of goods and services as things are now, in order to get ready for an uncertain future. One great way of getting your house ready for an emergency situation in which food is harder to find, is to grow your own. You don’t want to start with rice or wheat. Green veggies are good but limited in storage options. If I had to suggest a starting point, it would be to grow potatoes. They’re easy to grow, prolific, and store well after harvest. They’re also versatile and delicious. You can’t get everything you need from potatoes alone, but you won’t starve if you’ve got a good supply of them.

To grow your own potatoes you don’t need much. Even if you lack a field or a yard, you can still grow potatoes in a box of dirt. I’m going to go through the steps to growing your own potatoes. You’ll see how easy it is to have an unlimited supply of carbs ready to go, no matter how much SHTF.

To Grow Potatoes In The Ground –

1: Get your seed potatoes.

Nurseries and other places that sell plants, sell seed potatoes too. In winter time, seed potatoes should be available to buy. There are optimal planting times that pro farmers use, but potatoes will still probably take as long as you don’t plant them in the snow. Let your potatoes sit in daylight until they shoot. Not full sun though! Too much direct sunlight can burn them. Wait until you’ve got shoots about 1cm long and then…

2: Plant them.

In temperate regions, the best time of year to grow potatoes is from the end of winter through the middle of spring. Cut your seed potatoes up, making an effort to leave two shoots per piece of potato. Dig a trench 20cm deep and put a layer of manure or blood and bone in the bottom. Now you can put your seed potato pieces in. Space them at about 40cm apart and then cover them with dirt.

3: Cover the shoots as they grow.

When your potato plant’s shoots are about 20cm out of the ground, cover half of their height in dirt. Leave some of the stalk exposed so it can absorb sunlight, but don’t let any potatoes have exposure to sunlight. Potatoes exposed to sunlight turn green and become poisonous. If I have to explain the detriments of eating poison, well…well I just won’t know where to start. Just don’t eat poison ok? Keep covering the potato plant’s shoot until the plant has yellowed and died off a bit, at which point you can…

4: Harvest your potatoes.

Dig them up carefully. Store them in a cool, dark place. Enjoy those delicious carbs, cause nothing tastes quite as good as what you grew yourself.

grow potatoes

To Grow Potatoes In A Container –

1: Forget about growing your potatoes in tyres.

Yeah I know it’s a cool idea. And I know it sounds super convenient to be able to just knock the layers of tyres apart to find bundles of sweet sweet potatoes waiting for you in the soil. Cool right? But what’s not cool is that tyres are made of fairly poisonous stuff, and it leeches into soil as well as whatever is growing in the soil. Tyres essentially poison soil eventually. You wouldn’t eat a meal off a car tyre, so why would you grow food in one? It’s poisonous.

2. Use a planting pot, or wooden box.

Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom. Line the container with newspaper and then put your pieces of seed potato down, covering them with soil.

3: Cover the shoots as they grow.

When your potato plant’s shoots are about 20cm out of the ground, cover half of their height in dirt. Leave some of the stalk exposed so it can absorb sunlight, but don’t let any potatoes have exposure to sunlight. I’ve been over this just above, where I tried to convince you not to eat poisonous green potatoes and you were all like “Don’t tell me how to live man, I do what I want,” so I kinda just shrugged and said ok. But deep inside I knew it wasn’t ok, cause green potatoes are poison and suicide’s not ok. Ok?

Make sure to water the potatoes regularly. Many growers suggest watering three or four times a day, or the number of times daily that Hillary Clinton bathes in the blood of innocents. Keeping the potatoes well hydrated helps them grow strong and brave.

4: Harvest your potatoes.

You can just tip the containers up and rifle about for the potatoes hidden in the soil. Store them in a cool, dark place. Enjoy them in good health.

grow potatoes


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How to perform wilderness wound treatment

In prepper lore, there will come a day when the S hits the fan and the TEO hits the TWAWKI. After this, everyone except those who packed the correct bug out bag will die, while those who prepped will inherit the Earth. As the story goes, the lights go out but life goes on. Anything that was mass produced will disappear after a while as supplies are used up. People will return to a slower paced, simpler way of life, something like the frontiersmen of America in the days of Jebediah Springfield. Even things viewed as simple today, such as wound treatment, will become life threatening in the days to come. That’s why it’s good to know how to treat a wound in the case that you have no available medical technology. You might want to put your sandwich away for this one.

wilderness wound treatment

Even in today’s age of high tech medical treatment, you can be wounded “out there” in the wilderness. What should you do if you can’t get help straight away?

  1. Firstly, slow the bleeding. Get the wound above your heart. This is easier if you’re wounded on your arms or legs, as you can lie on your back and elevate the wounded appendage. Gravity will work for you by making it harder to pump blood out of the affected area. Keep pressure on the wound and the opened blood vessels should eventually close themselves up, slowing the bleeding. Stay calm by repeating encouraging things to yourself like “Don’t freak out, don’t freak out, it’s someone else’s blood and I’m awesome, don’t freak out.”

2. If you’re well prepared and have carried soap and a clean bandage, now you can flush the wound with clean water (use drinking water if you have it) and wash it out with soap. Be sure to remove any foreign matter such as dirt or bullets. Check that all bullets have been removed before bandaging. If you suspect there are still more bullets inside the wound, check by jumping up and down. The jingling sound is a dead give away.

wilderness wound treatment

3. After the wound has been thoroughly cleaned, ensure that it stays that way. Don’t try to give yourself stitches, as your screaming will probably attract bears and mountain lions. This is true even if you live in an area that has no bears or mountain lions. That, and attempting stitches without a good knowledge of what you’re doing raises your chances of infecting the wound. Just keeping a clean bandage on the wound, and keeping the wound washed, should do the trick. Change the bandage when you wash the wound. Soap and water are fine. Don’t use antiseptic on an open wound – this kills bacteria, sure. But it also kills your own live cells inside the wound, ensuring you’re left with a gaping scar.

wilderness wound treatment

4. If the wound does become infected, you can rely on the help of nature’s magical wound cleaners – maggots. They’re more than just pretty faces. Let some flies come and play in your wound. Pay attention for the development of maggots in your infected wound. How’s that sandwich going?

5. Maggots will eat away at your dead, infected flesh. Eventually they will get down to good flesh. This is where you want to stop them. You will be able to tell that they’re eating good flesh by the way they hurt even more than usual, and by the colour of the blood coming out. You should be able to see nice, bright red blood that gets you freaking right out. This is the time to flush all the maggots out of the wound and start again from step #3. The most important thing in a situation in which you’re hurt and without help is to stay positive and make sure to keep the wound clean. Ultra Survival is an attitude!

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Emergency Water Sources – Where to find water

Have you considered what you would do without government supplied water? Maybe you’re smart and prepared with your own rain water supply at home. But what if you were to find yourself in an unfamiliar place and trouble comes? Something big that leads to the public water supply’s failure. Suddenly when you try to turn on a tap, nothing comes out. Where can you find a source of emergency water? You might be surprised to find that there are still a good number of places around a normal home that can hide clean drinking water. You won’t need to start making immediate trips to whichever river of filth your city has flowing through its center. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind in case you find yourself in a difficult situation.

  1. Toilet cistern. Yeah we’re going straight for the toilet water, but this is toilet water before it’s gained any added…flavours. There are some newer styles of toilet that don’t have a flushbox cistern suspended above the bowl. They aren’t as much use unfortuately. But if there’s a cistern there, you have probably found a good 10 litres of emergency water. It can’t hurt to boil it before drinking it to make dead sure it’s clean though. Make sure not to pull the vertical cylinder that you see in the middle of the box – that’s what will dump all the water out in the bowl.

emergency water2. Hot water system. Modern hot water systems, shaped like robots from 1940s Hollywood movies, hold water inside that is normally kept heated and ready for when someone spins the hot tap. A normal family home’s hot water system can hold anywhere from 120 – 160 litres of water, making it a veritable gold mine in an urban survival situation. Given normal people need 2 litres of water per day for drinking, a hot water system could supply a month of emergency water if carefully rationed.

emergency water3. Irrigation pipes. If you have an automatic watering system for your lawn or garden, you can bet there’s water inside of it. Be careful not to crack or puncture the pipes before you want them open. Dig them up carefully! A lush, green lawn is no good if you and your family have no water.

emergency water4. An Atmospheric Water Generator. Provided the electricity stays on, there are machines that can pull the humidity from the air and turn it into useful amounts of drinking water. This device will store about 12 litres of water that it kind of “makes” by itself. Not in the same way that you or I make water either.

emergency water

So there you go. Maybe you’d never thought of what to do if the water got turned off in your suburb. I hope you have some ideas now of how to get through what would be a very difficult situation. It’s not impossible when you know where to look.

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Survive The Summer Heat

It’s the height of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer right now. Living in Australia, this is none of my concern, except for my midyear jaunts to my wife’s homeland of Taiwan. I am no lover of the sun, so I find that summer can be challenging. Waking up to find the morning already hot. Spending the whole day feeling like I’m melting. All day having dust and filth cling to my sweat. Coke’s summer imagery is compelling but dishonest. Who in their right mind is out there under the full blazing sun? Even more, how are they smiling?!

Last summer here in Australia included a full week where the daily maximums were above 40°C (104°F). I have to say, it was relentlessly uncomfortable. Given the sufferings of our Northern brethren at the moment, I’ve decided to spend some time on advice on staying cool in the heat.

1. Drink water. 

This is always the first advice. You’re lost in a desert? Drink water. You feel cold/flu symptoms coming on? Drink water. You’re in an active shooter situation and you feel a dry mouth? You know what to do. Your body is mostly water, and the heat sucks it out of you. Forget silly sugar drinks, or the even sillier sports drinks. The part of those drinks that hydrates you is present in better quantity in good old tap water. You need something to keep sweating out, after all.

Woman Drinking Water

2. Stay in the shade. 

When I went back to visit family in a cooler region of Australia, they mocked me for getting even whiter than I was when I left. This is because I stay out of the sun, and so should you when the heat is on. If you’ve sat in a car in direct sunlight with the windows up, you know it can get dangerously hot. It’s the same even if you’re in the open air. Direct sunlight will heat you up far beyond what you’ll get in the shade.

sit in shade

3. Limit your activity.

It’s not too hard to plan your day so that most of your work falls in the cooler periods. For example – if you want to work out and it’s going to be a scorcher, get your workout wrapped up before 7am and you won’t feel any extra suffering. Don’t go thrashing yourself at noon time – you’re just begging for heatstroke.


4. Get an evaporative cooling cloth.

While you might be under the impression that my day job is simply “Ultra Surviving”, in reality I work in a warehouse. Hot like hell in the summer, cold like…uh…cold hell? Yeah let’s go with that. Cold like cold hell in the winter. When there’s bills to pay, I can’t just take the whole summer off work. No matter if it’s 40°C or more, I have to put up with it. Using an evaporative cooling cloth makes the heat bearable. These cloths are filled with hydrophillic crystals that absorb and retain water, slowly releasing it through evaporation. As the water is evaporated out of the cloth, it sucks your body heat out as well. It’s a method of passive cooling that takes the edge off the terribly hot weather and enables me to keep on working. I wear two – one on my head and one on my neck. I highly recommend this kind of cooling cloth.

Does boiling polluted water make it safe?

Only a couple of hundred years ago, any water  you found would likely only contain dirt, bacteria, and maybe some poop. It was relatively clean and with a good filtering and a nice long boil, it would be rendered safe to drink (leftover flavours notwithstanding). Well, I don’t have to tell you that it’s not hundreds of years ago anymore. No sir, it’s today. Today when water carries heavy metals, chemicals, antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria. It’s not nice, but unfortunately it’s reality and you gotta deal with that sometimes.

boiling water

So what are you going to do if you’re out there, unable to make it home but in need of a drink? Well, upon finding some water you can still make a nice bottle filter and get the macro-filth out of it. No more large pieces of poop going down the old tract. The next step is to get that filtered water into a pot and boil the hell out of it for at least a minute. That way everything that was alive in there will be properly dead. However, this will still not remove metals and other pollutants. If someone had dissolved sugar, dog poison, hair spray, or asbestos into your water, then even after filtration and boiling those contaminants would still be there.

boiling water

Distillation is the only real way to remove pollution or contaminants from water. The process involves boiling water, and then collecting the condensation of the water vapor. This condensation should be free of any pollution. I only say “should” because there are certain chemicals that do not separate from water even if it is boiled. I guess that’s just to keep you terrified in all situations and remind you that you are never, ever safe. Another thing to note about distilled water is that, because it lacks any salts (salt cannot evaporate), distilled water is bad for you in the long term. In a survival situation, sure, it’s fine because you’ll live long enough to get help. But distilled water’s lack of salt means that it cannot have its electrolyte function in your body, which is not only essential to your health, but to your very life.

How To Survive A Terrorist Attack

Have you considered what you should to do to survive a terrorist attack? While the media likes to sell terrorism as a new phenomenon that has changed the world forever, the reality is that it has been going on for a long time. Early historical recordings of terrorism include the Jewish Sicarii in the first century. The Sicarii started a revolution aiming to overthrow Roman government in Israel. They would enter crowded areas like markets or public events and stab people; Romans, public officials, and Roman sympathisers.

how to survive a terrorist attack

Maybe I should first say that this sort of thing is never alright. I’m not trying to make it sound like, because there’s at least 2000 recorded years of terrorist history, we should just get used to it. All I mean is that people have always been like this. We shouldn’t panic just because a government or news corporation tells us we have terrorists surrounding us. What we should do instead, as people who are responsible for ourselves, is to be as prepared as possible to survive a terrorist attack. Preparation makes it harder to be influenced by the people who benefit from terrorism – both terrorist groups and government.

how to survive a terrorist attack

Surviving a bombing or suicide attack

It is an easily dismissed fact that the people who conduct their entire lives furthest from terrorism and terrorist targets, are the ones with the highest survivorship of such attacks. Being 2000km from a nail bomb or rooftop sniper does wonders for the health. So my first tip in surviving a terrorist attack may be laughably simple, but just don’t be there for it when it happens. You may have to make changes to your life to apply this principle. The changes may be unpalatable or even unacceptable, but the effectiveness of terrorism is magnified by population density. How many dairy farm bombings do you hear of? Yeah me neither. Staying away from places that terrorists would want to attack, in times when they would want to attack them, is better than all the body armor in the world. That means that public events, market places, nightclubs, political rallies, anywhere there is a concentration of people, should be avoided at times of high risk of terrorist attack. This isn’t “letting terror win”. Leave the protest appearances to the protesters.

how to survive a terrorist attack

One great difficulty though, is anticipating an attack. Seldom do terrorists share their plans, which means that as we go about our day to day lives, we must do so with our eyes open. Don’t sleepwalk through your routine or walk around buried in your Facebook feed – you might be missing cues that could alert you to potential danger. In his book ‘Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life‘ former CIA agent Jason Hanson calls this operating in Code Yellow. It doesn’t mean living in paranoia; rather it means we are constantly observing our surroundings so that potential dangers can be identified ahead of time, so that you can survive a terrorist attack.

how to survive a terrorist attack

The US Department of Justice lists suicide bomber indicators using the acrostic A.L.E.R.T.

  • A – Alone and nervous.
  • L – Loose and bulky clothing that might not match weather conditions.
  • E – Exposed wires in clothing.
  • R – Rigid mid-section from wearing explosives belt / vest / harness
  • T – Tightened hands (maybe holding detonation device)

If you’re observing your surroundings as you go about your day and someone like this catches your attention, you don’t have to cause a crowd crush by shouting “BOMB BOMB EVERYBODY OUT BOMB BOMB BOMB!!” but if you go with your gut, it’s not hard to simply choose another route to the office. And if you’d like to take your chances walking past someone covered with panic sweat in loose, bulky clothing that has exposed wiring as they appear to be praying, Godspeed you and I hope it all works out.

how to survive a terrorist attack

Surviving an active shooter event

Unfortunately, people from time to time find themselves in situations they can’t observe their way out of. It is a sad reality that every year, numbers of people who live in otherwise peaceful places meet their end at the hands of some maniac with a gun. So what should you do if you’re in the supermarket and all of the sudden you’re confronted with an active shooter? Most importantly, keep your cool as you consider your three options.

how to survive a terrorist attack

Run. This is a very good reason to keep your cardio fitness at a decent level. Running away is the best way to survive a terrorist attack. You’re not a hero, and you’re not going to take a bullet well. Forget your groceries and hot-foot it out of the danger zone, on the most direct path away from the shooter. Escape, and don’t stick around. If you see police, get those hands high and don’t make any sudden moves towards them. They don’t know you’re not a shooter and will react to protect themselves against any perceived aggression.

If you can’t run, hide. Maybe you’re too close to the action and running will put you in the shooters’ sights. If that’s the case, don’t do it. Get out of sight as quick as you can. Aim for cover that’s made of concrete or dirt. If you have a car to hide behind, ensure you shelter on the engine end rather than in the middle passenger section. Bullets will easily pass through the thin steel panels of a car. If you have trees for cover, remember – if you can hug it, you can hide behind it. If the tree is thinner than hugging width, there’s a chance that bullets could pass through still. Visual cover will do the job for the first moment though, as they can’t shoot what they can’t see. Make sure to quickly move to substantial cover as soon as possible though, and continually search for a safe exit.

If you can’t run or hide, fight. Yes, you’ll probably die. But when you’re out of options are you going to stand there and let them do what they want? Or will you at least take a swing? If you can catch your attacker off guard and get them off balance, press your advantage and don’t let them recover. You will have to close the distance between yourself and the terrorist though, while not letting them shoot you. Like I said, you will probably die. Look around though and make a weapon of anything nearby. Even dirt on the ground can be flung into a shooter’s eyes for a moment’s opening. Don’t be a hero though. If there’s any way out, take it and thank the Lord for your safety.

how to survive a terrorist attack

In summary, this has not been a pleasant topic and I hope none of us have to use this information practically. However, we live in a world that can serve up unpleasantness in quantity, with ease. It pays to have considered what we should do if faced with the untoward. Sure, you might still die. But then again, you might remember how to survive a terrorist attack and Ultra Survive.


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