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Never Drop Your Guard: 7 Tips To Improve Your Situational Awareness February 22, 2017

 This article you should not only save, but also burn it into your memory for the finer points mentioned.  As you Guys and Gals out there in ReadyNutrition Land have deduced from the title, situational awareness is a topic covered before in many different articles and it is important all the time.

You must blend that situational awareness with actions to take immediately upon the perception that a situation has arrived.  Notice I said “perception” and not confirmation.  Know why? Because you need to react accordingly with the perception: the confirmation may be too late.

Scoffers are already picking this one apart, thinking “OK, well, you react…what if you overreact and nothing was really wrong?”  Guess what?  I wrote “accordingly with the perception,” meaning that if you are acting accordingly, you’re not overreacting and therefore not responding/taking action with more than what is necessary.

React accordingly, and after you’re in the clear, then you can assess everything that has happened.

Here’s the reason I’m writing this article:

The other day I parked my vehicle and was getting ready to walk into an establishment.  Just as I left the vehicle, two state troopers pulled up: one in front of my vehicle (head to head) and another slightly off to the first vehicle’s left, but facing mine as well.  A trooper left each vehicle, and although they had sunglasses on their attention was riveted to me.  They watched me and began to follow me as I walked toward the establishment.

Having nothing to worry about, I continued toward the building; however, my logic is that the time to worry is when there is nothing to worry about.  This is a day and age when cops shoot first and ask questions later.  Mistaken identity doesn’t bring a person back from the dead, and it’s better to err on the side of caution.  As I walked toward the building, I angled my approach and immediately placed both of them in enfilade.

This means as I stepped in the front of one of them, both were lined up (in a “line,” if you will) before me.  Neither had drawn a weapon, but the motion I made is instinctive…or “muscle memory” if you wish to label it.  Both were, if it became necessary, in my line of fire, and the first one (closest to me) was masking the fire of the second if they wanted to play.  “Masking” means to block another’s line of fire by (stupidly/unknowingly) placing yourself in between his fire and a potential enemy/target.

Now, obviously these two thought they “had something,” and from their movements and actions, it was also obvious that they soon realized I was not their quarry.  Dismissing it and them (while keeping an eye on them), I entered the building.  One of them poked his head inside the door, and the manager/proprietor looked at him.

“Don’t worry, what we’re looking for is not in here,” he said, and then left.

There was no incident, but I stress this to you: this was a situation.

For those who love law and order, do not take this as an indictment against those state troopers, but keep this in mind: the days of “Officer Friendly” are over.  Sometimes warranted by fear (in the case of city cops constantly attacked by gangs and other miscreants), and sometimes unwarranted, many times they’ll pull the trigger and not mete out the force that is commensurate with the perceived threat.  My thoughts?  I’m not bothering anybody, but if I’m in the ground because of their mistake, I’m the one who really pays for that mistake, right?

It’s better to face a jury of 7 than to be carried by 6.

The situational awareness will help you to avoid complications.  Be aware of your surroundings, and who is in those surroundings.  My wife and I gassing up her vehicle, and as I pulled up to the pump, there were two young men and a young woman just acting stupidly…right in front of the door to the convenience store/gas station.  My wife was going to go in and pay while I pumped the gas.  I motioned for her to stay put while I both paid for and pumped the gas.

The men were carrying beer and the woman carousing with both while all played the fools.  No matter.  I kept my eye on them and paid for the gas, then came out and pumped it as they moved off (“staggered off” being a better term) across the parking lot.

Situational awareness.  I didn’t have to say anything.  I avoided a situation.  Most of the times avoidance is the best answer.  Move out of the area and away from the potential situation before it escalates.  It will all be forgotten in no time.  It is important in the moment for the threat it potentially poses, however, in the long term it is not even worth the time of day.


Situations accomplish nothing if they’re allowed to escalate: avoid them as much as possible.


7 Tips To Improve Your Situational Awareness

Let’s cover some simple basics that you can use all the time.

  1. As with “Driver’s Education,” Get the big picture: see everything that is happening around you and take in the full view.
  2. Watch what people are doing, and what state they are in: whether they’re mad, inebriated, overly friendly…watch them and pay attention to their actions.
  3. Watch what people have in their hands or on their person (such as a knife strapped to their belt, etc.)
  4. Know where you are. Are you up against the wall as two men are approaching you from two different directions?  Do you have a narrow alley to walk through and a gang of thugs just took notice of you and they’re in motion?  Are you in the back corner of a dimly-lit diner, and in came the Hell’s Angels and they’re staring at you?
  5. Know what your escape routes are. In #4 above, do you have alternate routes to take?  Do the Hell’s Angels know about that small fire exit door beyond the restrooms?  Have a backup route to employ…in all things you do…whether walking, driving, or just sitting having a cup of coffee.
  6. Have a plan in place. If you’re attacked, how will you defend yourself?  Having a plan in place and knowing how you’ll execute that plan…rehearsing it in your mind…this will keep you from being completely unprepared.
  7. Avoid a situation by not allowing it to happen. You can leave the area.  If your bargaining skills/people skills are good, you may be able to talk your way out of it and defuse it before it occurs

Take it seriously.  Take each thing seriously, and remember that even the most harmless looking scenario can turn into a full-blown problem at any moment.  Think outside of the box.  Remember: lawbreakers aren’t worried about breaking the laws…the ones you are upholding.  You’ll have to assess the situation as it arises, and you must also assess it as it changes.  Take care of business when it occurs, and take care of one another.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 22nd, 2017
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Forge Ahead: This Unique Post-Collapse Skill Will Help You Fabricate and Repair Essential Items February 3, 2017

OK, ReadyNutrition Readers, we’re going to forge ahead with those self-reliant skill sets and I’m going to tell you how to make your own forge.  Try not to become too excited!  Seriously, you’re not going to put US Steel out of business, nor do any of the refineries in Pittsburgh feel threatened.  No, this is a simple furnace that you can make on your own in your spare time.  If you follow the instructions and do it right, you won’t burn your house down or set fire to the neighborhood.  Seriously, there are plenty of applications you can use for this, and (in the end) it’s up to you.

So, what is a forge, (or furnace, if you prefer)?  Just a modified oven that can be defined as an enclosed oven for the express purpose of containing and raising the temperature of the fuels burned.  The forge-label usually denotes fabrication, primarily from metals within that fiery furnace.  This simple list of materials will give you what you need to build your own forge.

  1. Steel 5-gallon bucket (cylindrical, akin to contractor-grade)
  2. 2-3-gallon galvanized bucket
  3. 20 lbs. of sand or cat litter
  4. “stand” fashioned out of heavy-gauge wire fencing
  5. 6-10 bricks or several large bricks/masonry tiles
  6. Charcoal briquettes (about 20-lbs)
  7. Hair dryer
  8. Tongs/long-handled pliers
  9. Water pan (approx. 1 square foot L, and 3-4” deep)
  10. Fire extinguisher
  11. Heavy gloves, and goggles

Why These Materials, J.J.?

With these materials, you’ll be able to make a forge for yourself.  Why?  So you can fabricate items made of metal, repair things, and obtain heat where a higher heat than just a standard fire is required.  The charcoal briquettes enable you to have an even fire that can be super-oxygenated with the aid of the hair dryer.  If you want to pick up an old-fashioned bellows, then knock yourself out.  Using a hair dryer on the “cold” setting enables you to oxygenate the fire without burning out the hair dryer’s heating element.

The wire stand on the inside of the interior bucket is to enable the briquettes to heat your crucible, which is a container/vessel used to melt materials at high temperatures.  You can have a welder fabricate one of these out of steel piping, preferably 5-6 inches in diameter and about 1 foot in length.  The bottom of the steel pipe needs to be covered over with about a ¼ inch piece of steel slightly larger than the steel pipe’s diameter and welded to it.  This can be done for a reasonable price.

The tongs you’ll need to remove the crucible from when you heat it up, and the goggles and gloves for your own safety.  How many times do we throw away old cans and scrap metal?  Well, a while back, I did a piece on keeping metal bins for use as salvaging metals.  Here’s your chance to use that metal with your forge.

Furnace-Forge

Instructions For Making a Forge

  1. Set your 5-gallon bucket on the bricks or brick tile, away from flammable surfaces, such as wood.  The ground is better.  You will want to be close enough to an outlet to plug in the hair dryer.
  2. Next pour in the sand or litter until the bottom of the galvanized bucket sits firmly on it.  You’ll want to make a funnel out of cardboard or paper to fill in around to the top of the bucket with sand/litter if the bucket is angled.  If it’s a cylinder, no problem…go up to about ½” from the bucket’s top.  Make sure the top of your interior, galvanized bucket is about 1-2” below the 5-gallon bucket’s top lip.
  3. Construct your heavy-duty wire fencing stand as a rack to hold your crucible within the galvanized bucket.  The sand/cat litter insulates the outer vessel from the tremendous heat your forge will produce.  You want the crucible off the bottom of the bucket, with space in between it and the charcoal briquettes, for the promotion of airflow, steady burning, and to prevent the crucible from putting out the fire.  Your first firing is to get the briquettes up to (but no higher than) the top level of the stand the crucible is sitting on.
  4. Using the hair dryer on “cool/cold” setting, you can evenly oxygenate the briquettes until they are glowing evenly and hotter than a regular fire.  It is going to take time and practice to perfect this.
  5. Then (being safe) you will manipulate your crucible with the tongs.  You can also place a big metal can full of cat litter with a hollow in it to set the crucible to cool, and use the pan of water after it is no longer glowing hot.  Be sure to have an updated and serviceable fire extinguisher handy in case the operation is not all going along with your plan.
  6. Research your metals you wish to melt.  Perhaps bars or ingots can be made for later use.  You may want to fabricate parts for different tools and machinery.  This is beyond the scope of this article; however, remember that a part can be duplicated if you can make an impression of that part in a suitable material to take a pouring.  There are plenty of websites and resources out there to pursue an interest in metallurgy if you take the time.

Be safe, and be sure before you attempt any of this.  Don’t heat up anything inside of your garage or on your porch, and never in an enclosed area because of carbon monoxide fumes that can kill you.  Study and learn as much as you can before operating your forge.  Whatever you intend to build, have all your steps written down before you go about building it.  Be safe, be professional, and keep in that good fight!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 3rd, 2017
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A Green Beret’s Guide To Building an Emergency Winter Shelter January 31, 2017

ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, we covered a few items on winter camouflage and winter preparedness training.  I’m going to throw out to you the concept of the winter shelter.  Most are self-explanatory.  Going into the basics, we need something to keep the snow from falling on our heads, as well as something to insulate us from the cold and the wind.  If you have no tent available, then it’s up to you to build something if the emergency arises.  Undoubtedly someone will comment about sleeping in the car, but circumstances may arise that may prevent that, such as a bad accident with leaking gas or combustible fluids.

The Simplest Survival Shelters

One answer for you is the lean-to, which is simply a couple of vertical poles jammed into the ground and a cross-pole (or cross-beam, if you will) lashed to the top across the two vertical poles.  Then you “lean” other branches across the top edge of your cross-pole, building a triangular shelter for yourself as you create this roof.  Ideally the rear can be on the slope of a hill or mountain without any runoff, leaving you a “front” to sit in at the edge of the lean to.

Tree-pit ShelterIn areas where heavy snows accumulate, you can also make a tree-pit shelter.  Excavate around the trunk of a pine tree with low boughs (a tree with thick branches and the boughs close to the ground).  If you have about two to three feet to dig, all the better in this case.  You’ll excavate about a 6-7’ diameter “hole” around the tree, and with the snow you remove, stack it up and pack it on the edges of the hole, building it up until you reach those bottom boughs.  You can also reinforce the construction by using boughs and dead branches to set the snow on top of.  Be creative, and use your imagination to make the situation fit your needs.  You want to make a front “gap” for yourself to squeeze through, and maybe a “door” out of pine boughs to close the gap off.


The principle being to create walls of snow that extend to the thick tree-boughs.  The tree will be your insulation topside, and the walls of snow akin to a semi “igloo” that will protect you on the sides. 


Reinforce those walls by placing branches on the inside vertically, stuck into the ground, or use a foam pad to run around the walls of the pit (Army issue ones work well).  Pack the top of the wall before putting branches and snow on the sides to build it up.  Don’t build a fire in the thing, unless you want to risk the fate of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” character and risk bringing stuff down on top of you to smother you.  Also, don’t pick a tree heavily laden with a billion pounds of snow.

Why These Shelters Are Ideal

The principle is to crawl in this thing, taking support against the tree (lean against it to rest and sleep).  Even if you were buried, the tree itself will protect you and create an air pocket when you lean against it.  This type of shelter will buy you some time until you can build something a little more permanent.  If you did what I advised many moons ago, and packed your “A-bag”/bug-out happy-camper-survivor bag the way I advised, it’s packed per the season, and you should have a poncho and poncho liner in it.  The poncho can either be stretched out on the ground for a ground-cover, or used to solidify a lean-to and make it more waterproof.

The tree-pit shelter is for when you need to get out of the elements quickly.  If that can’t be done, you can dig a snow-cave for yourself.  With the poncho and/or a ground pad, you can insulate yourself from the ground and “hole up” in this snow cave (nothing more than a “spider hole” to protect you from the bite of the elements) and allow your body heat to warm up the hole.  It is the same principle that sled dogs use when they dig holes in the snow and bury themselves.  The principle is sound and can work for you as well.

Also for the tree-pit shelter: try not to pick a tree that is growing on the side of a mountain or hill.  You don’t need an avalanche to ruin your day on this one.  The lean to you can get out of.  Let the tree-pit shelter be on fairly-level ground, if you can make it so, and check it out thoroughly beforehand.  Be prudent and carry your pack with you should you have to leave the vehicle.  Practice building these shelters and familiarize yourself with them when you have the time, prior to an emergency occurring.  Stay warm, drink coffee, and take care of one another!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 31st, 2017
Comments Off on A Green Beret’s Guide To Building an Emergency Winter Shelter