Archive for Prep

8 Things I’ve Learned From Fallout Shelter

I admit it–I play Fallout Shelter on my phone when I have a few minutes around the edges of other tasks. It’s a game where you can take a minute or two to direct your players, then exit out and come back later to pick up where you left off.

So for What We Learned Wednesday, I decided to use Fallout Shelter as my inspiration (future posts will include the TV show Contagion as well as the board game Survival by Doom and Bloom).

What I Learned

  1. Specialization might be good sometimes, but only works if you have enough healthy people to cover all the necessary jobs. In the beginning of the game, you may need to move people around to different rooms to help get levels of the different resources up (food, water, electricity). Later in the game, when you have more people, your players can become more specialized toward working for each type of resource.
  2. Physical fitness is important. Explorers (hunters in real life?) are sometimes out for many hours and need to be able to react to people and events that they find while out.
  3. Even people who cannot work (children and the elderly) need food and water. Plan for extra stored food for the times when people cannot work. Even healthy adults may need to stop work if sick or injured. There needs to be enough extra put away to allow for times like that.
  4. When the raiders come, you need to be able to defend your home. You need to have the right tools to do and know how to use them. It also helps if you can reinforce points of entry. For windows, I recommend this window film. It helps slow down anyone trying to break your window, allowing occupants more time to react to the threat.
  5. Children happen. Plan accordingly. Maybe start planning using the books “Where There is No Doctor” and “A Book for Midwives,” both available from the Hesperian? Both can be downloaded for free. Although, Hesperian is a non-profit, does offer the books bound for sale, and also accepts donations if you are able to do so. Also, there are a lot of books available on Amazon with information about natural childbirth and midwifery. Bonus points if you luck into living close to a midwife or OB/GYN! If you expect to have anyone with you that may become pregnant, you may also want to look into getting a script for childbirth hypnosis.
  6. Pets can be really helpful, even if it is “just” to show us love and help us destress. Of course, many types of dogs can be trained to do “work,” but how many of us actually know anymore how to train a dog to herd or protect? There are a lot of books on Amazon about training herding dogs, as well as several on training your dog as a service dog. Obviously, some dogs are better at some jobs than others.
  7. Store medicine ahead of time. We don’t heal as quickly as players whose health bars refill at the tap of a screen, but keeping first aid supplies and needed/helpful medications on-hand sure go a long way toward helping. Ever seen those people standing in the cold medicine aisle at the grocery store or CVS? Don’t be that person.
  8. Video games are a time sink. It’s great to have something entertaining to fill a few minutes here and there, but make sure you keep it in perspective. If it’s eating into the time you’re supposed to be getting ready for work, maybe it’s time to delete it for a while (guilty; I had to do this before).

I think it’s really neat (do people say that now?) the kinds of useful things you can learn from games! Do you play any prep- or homestead-type games? Which ones do you like? I got us Survival by Doom and Bloom for Christmas. Look for a review soon!


31 Things Learned From “The Blackout” Movie

I watched a movie called “The Blackout” a few days ago. It’s streaming free on Amazon Prime, which you can watch for free with the 30-day free Amazon Prime trial.

The description says “A young expecting couple, four rebellious teenagers and a lone survival expert are confronted by a worldwide blackout that forces them to survive as society breaks apart around them. “The Blackout” is a riveting ensemble thriller that illustrates the strength of human endurance and the worst of human nature.” It’s a B movie, but not a bad one. It’s not terribly cheesy and has pretty good graphics.

I thought it would be interesting to list what kind of prepper lessons I learned from the movie. Here we go!

  1. People can get ugly fast. People in the small town highlighted in the movie were having fistfights over supplies within three days.
  2. DO NOT keep long-term food (e.g. expected to last the entire winter, such as entire deer or hogs) in the freezer. Can or dehydrate it as soon as possible!
  3. Have solar and wind backup. Regular generators make too much noise, attracting attention, and potentially inviting trouble.
  4. Knowing your neighbors is good, but does not guarantee that they won’t be royal jerks.
  5. Get as in-shape as you can. If you can’t get up a couple of flights of steps without panting, get to work fixing that. If you can’t lift a 50 lb bag of dog food or feed, get to work fixing that.
  6. Have enough pre-cut plywood to board up all of your windows. Use a sharpie to label each board as to which window it goes on. You should already have a battery-powered drill and a way to recharge it (see #3). I also recommend you apply BurglarGARD Glass Protection Film to the outside of your windows (preferably ahead of time) to slow down anyone trying to break the glass to get in.
  7. I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t get drunk or high.
  8. Have enough food and water that you don’t have to go get in ration lines right away. This is one instance where bad things can happen to those who wait.
  9. If the entire nation has gone into a tailspin, maybe it’s not the best time to stop on the road to help people whose vehicles are broke down. Maybe they are, but maybe they’re hunting.
  10. Your car is a weapon if you are surrounded by rioters or in danger. 3000 lbs plus momentum gets through an awful lot.
  11. Be armed. Always. Best if you can carry all the time, but at least have the gear to carry in an emergency. Take the time to train on whatever firearm you own.
  12. Have backup communications–FRS for around the house, Ham (requires a license but can potentially communicate internationally) or CB (no license required, goes farther than FRS, but not as far as Ham) for longer distances.
  13. Have a way to secure your livestock. Unsecured livestock may very well be stolen.
  14. Have extra gas stored with Sta-bil or Pri-G added. Sorry, I don’t know anything about storing diesel.
  15. Run-flat tires are awesome.
  16. Don’t leave large rocks or tools near doors or windows. You don’t want to give anyone any ideas.
  17. Know first aid and CPR.
  18. Do not go into other people’s houses or campsites without doing some recon first. Only fools rush in.
  19. Ladies, for the love of all that’s holy, learn some self defense!!! I was definitely reminded that it’s time to get my daughter some classes.
  20. If body armor’s in the budget, get some.
  21. Have backup lighting at home–candles, flashlights, kerosene lamps, oil lamps (can burn vegetable oil). Also have rechargeable batteries and a way to charge them. See #3.

I watched this movie after I saw it on a forum I frequently go to. Viking Preparedness (Pastor Joe) on Youtube saw the same movie and listed 20 things he learned in two separate videos (here and here). Items he had that I did not include:

  1. Having some type of organization ahead of time will be useful for after TSHTF. Pastor Joe uses even a bridge club as an example; you get to know people and get some idea of their personal strengths and weaknesses as well as what items they may have that can help the group/community survive.
  2. Have a security plan for your property. For example, chain your driveway gate to the fence so no one can pop it off the hinges (P.S. have a gate on your driveway).
  3. Shoot when it’s time to shoot. Have your firearm already loaded and be ready to use it. Remember, only point a gun at what you’re willing to kill (thanks, Dad!). Keep your finger OFF the trigger until ready to fire.
  4. Share what and when you can. Help when you can. Consider having preset limits to make sure you don’t give so much away that it causes problems for your own family.
  5. Keep tar paper/roofing felt on-hand to temporarily repair home damage. Heavier weight is better. Attach using a staple gun or hammer stapler. Also get heavy duty plastic (4, 5, or 6 mm) in case a window breaks and you want to be able to see through.
  6. Pickup trucks are very useful, especially 4-wheel drive.
  7. Check your body after a physical fight of any kind. You want to find wounds that might need treatment as soon as possible, and adrenaline can mask the pain even if something’s bleeding or broken.
  8. Cultivate humor as a way of dealing with stress. I remember finding out from an urgent care doctor that, just before I turned 33, I needed to have emergency surgery for diverticulitis. It was bad enough that the surgeon was going to meet me at the emergency room and that I either had to go by ambulance or have someone drive me to the hospital because the doctor was literally afraid I would die on the drive there. He found it a little disconcerting that I kept making jokes until I told him that that’s how we deal with bad stress in my family (laugh or cry, you choose).
  9. Practice security at all times. If you have other adults in your group, have somebody on watch. Never all sleep at once. Never let your guard down (really tiring mentally).
  10. Do not defend your house from your house. The enemy can surround you and the walls are usually not bulletproof (my note: unless you build an earthbag home; 1.25-1.5′ of packed earth should stop most anything a civilian can launch in your direction!).

Got Food?

In light of the situation in California, please start growing some of your own food if you don’t already. Not consider it, do it! Pick a method you like–conventional tilling, raised beds, square food, Back to Eden, whatever–just do something. Even if it’s just growing something in containers, it’ll help.

California is going into its third year of drought and news reports are already talking about prices on things like melons being affected. According to this article on, prices on artichokes, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower could rise at least 10 percent. It’s even worse according to this article on They list several types of produce that are only grown in the USA in California: almonds, dates, figs, plums, raisin grapes, olives, clingstone peaches, pistachios, pomegranates, sweet rice, walnuts and kiwis.

If you’re just learning or would like to check out a different style, check out some of the following books:

(Or you could skip the garden and buy food already stored at

What kind of garden are you going to work on (because you are going to work on a garden, right?)?


“Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises” by Max Velocity – Free Kindle Download 11/23 and 11/24

“Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises” will be available for FREE download on Kindle this weekend November 23/24.

HERE for the Amazon Kindle Page

From the back cover:

The United States has descended into Civil War.
The storm was rising for some time, a Resistance in the hearts of American Patriots to the strangulation of liberty by creeping authoritarianism.
The scene was set. It just took a little push. A terrorist attack on the United States leads to war with Iran, followed by collapse, as the economy goes over the cliff.
The final blow is a widespread opportunistic Chinese cyber attack, taking down the North American Power Grid.
From the ashes, the Regime emerges. Liberty is dead.
What remains of the United States of America is polarized.
The Resistance Rises.
Jack Berenger is a former Army Ranger Captain, living in northern Virginia with his family. Following the collapse, they fall foul of Regime violence and evacuate to the farm of an old Army friend. Jack is recruited into the resistance, to train the fledgling forces in the Shenandoah Valley.
The fight begins.
Live hard, Die Free.

Patriot Dawn was written as more than just a novel. The concept was to use a near future scenario of collapse and civil war as a vehicle to portray real combat and tactics; to bring to life the concepts described in the manual: ‘Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival’. It is open to opinion which is the best order to read them, but either way they are designed to be complimentary to each other.