Worst Case Scenario: Alone In SHTF

Selco definitely gives you some points to ponder if you are a Survivalist planning on going it alone. Lonewolfing it definitely is a last resort. If you have no one else, well then you go it alone. If you have the option to have a partner or a group that you can trust (a big part of it), and you choose to go it alone, you are a fool. Learning how to do things on your own is fine, and I actually recommend it. Even just having one “Battle Buddy” can make all the difference.

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Going it Alone… Some Things To Consider.

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In one of my recent posts I wrote (answering one reader’s question) about perspectives of surviving SHTF between being alone in urban settings or being in wilderness settings and similar, and just like always, I concluded that it is very hard to survive alone when SHTF especially in urban settings.

I’ve written numerous posts about advantage of having a trusted group when SHTF.

Still I get questions about how to actually survive alone when SHTF, or how to be lone wolf. So it make sense to write a post about it.

Yes, people managed to survive alone when SHTF, but in much lower percentage and at much higher price (and effort).

So, based on the my experiences, of what I saw, and what kind of folks  survived alone (and how). Here’s some advice for all you lone wolves out there:

 

Mental Strength – Having A Cause

 

Being alone in hard times gives you much more chances to find yourself without emotional or psychological support when you need it.

SHTF situation will have huge impact on your mental state, your emotional strength, and since you are going to be alone, you will lack that everyday small and big support from your family and friends in group.

Do not underestimate the effect of this. If you forget, over time you may well just turn into an animal, or simply get yourself in a state where you going to make some basic mistake and end up dead.

I was in group during my SHTF, and I had support from other family members, but still I had moments when I had doubts about everything, when I was so deep down that I could not see and sense and reason to move on, I had my own method for coping with that, together with support from close family and friends.

What you can do if you are alone?

Find yourself a cause and purpose in the chaos that will unfold around you.

If you are believer, a religious man (or woman) you may have an advantage here, that can give you strength and sense in everything.

Other things help also, be sure to find out what helps in your case before SHTF, because remember – you are going to be alone with your fears and doubts.

I knew a man who was alone during the SHTF, and he wrote everyday a journal about things that happened around him , he told me later that he started with that without any plan, over some time it became almost ‘sense of everything’, to carefully monitor all what happening and to preserve it in written form. 

 

Mobility

 

I already mention that if you are planning to be alone when SHTF you need to be mobile, very much, what does that mean?

It means that you need to be ready to move more, in any case , much more then if you had a group.

Acquiring information, getting resources, scouting etc etc it all come to you only, you are everything in your survival circle.

That can change lot of things.

For example how much firepower you can have alone in defending your home against invaders, let’s say against 15 invaders?

It simply mean that there is much more chance that you can not defend your home because you are one man, that equals that there is much more chance that you ll be forced to leave (run) from your home.

All that means is that you must be ready to have more. More then one shelter, more than one secret stash with ammo, weapon, food, etc more then one option for almost everything.

You need more options because you are alone.

It is simple- lone wolf needs to pay attention on same things just like any other group of survivalist, but much more and much deeper. Because you will pay for your mistakes much higher, and usually only once and you are gone.

 

Skills

 

Every survivalist need to have certain skills, group or no group. Lone wolf survivalist need to have skills to, but again on a much deeper level.

He needs to be expert in at least one (Relevant) field.  As a lone wolf you’ll be forced (especially in prolonged SHTF) to form some kind of alliances to get stuff, or simply you’ll be forced to join (for shorter or longer period) to some group.

When all you other „valuables“ are gone (and you have more chances for it to be gone because you are alone) you will have that precious skill as a bartering value. Your skill will be much more important to you because you are alone.

Choose today, before SHTF, some skill that you feel and find best suits you and learn everything about it.

Think about weapon repairing, gardening, medical skill, herbal knowledge…

Become a real master in it.

One more thing about being alone and skills. Simple fact that you are alone asks from you much more effort and skills then having trusted friends or group, and it goes like that for every aspect of survival.

It take much more time to gather firewood, start fire and prepare food for you alone, than if two or three men do that. Not to mention how many skills have three men combined together comparing to one survivalist.

Let me give you example, and it is real life experience based, if two survivalist travel through urban area and decide to spent night or few hours resting in some ruin it is easy more or less, they choose building, check it,and take rest with one man on watch.

If you travel alone, you will look for building, you will do that with more effort, it will take more time, you will look for a bit different type of building because there is one defender (you), you will have to make some traps (warning or killing) which will take more time, and you’ll sleep with „one eye open“ and so on…

As I said, both examples are from my experience and my SHTF. Being alone is not impossible, it simply requires more effort and skills.

 

Other People and You

 

You are lone wolf, but you will be forced to deal with other folks, that is for sure. You will come in situation to cooperate with other people, or to trust to other people.

My survival philosophy when it comes to urban survival is that urban SHTF means more people, and more people means more problems, because you’ll have to deal with people more or less in order to survive.

That „dealing with other people“ when you are lone wolf is much more dangerous then dealing with them while you are in group.

It is simply because you are more vulnerable, less protected.

For example if you are going to trade deal it is much more dangerous for you alone to make safe trade setup, as opposed to having you and two more group members with you.

With that in mind you come to the point where you may conclude that you’ll be forced much more to avoid people because you are lone wolf. It is simply safer like that.

There is reason why most of the lone wolves who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people.

 

Aftermath and Consequences

 

Again let me explain through my experience and my example.

I survived SHTF.

I have PTSD for years, which drives my mind everywhere, from thoughts of ‘reasons for still being on this world’ up to the thoughts of writing the book.

I can say that I am pretty much not capable of living normal everyday life, I cannot stand crowded places, in nice cafes I look for possible exits… in exchange for this pain I am completely sure and ready for another SHTF.

But again that does not give me ease of living normal life, simply I have lost that ability long time ago because I went through SHTF.

I forgot names of people, or streets or places, I even sometimes forget when exactly my kid is born.

But I remember so clear how grown up people cried before they died, gaping wounds and blood that always gave me „how much blood is there“ thoughts, smell of building on fire, crackling noise of fire and glowing that mesmerized me.

And I remember much worse things, they are carved in my brain…

I am all that and I remember all that, even though I had support through my group of family members. We cared about each other, about mental state of each one of us.

I feel sorry for lone wolf survivalist who will survive SHTF, he is going to be mess.

There is reason why most of lone wolfs who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people before and have terrible time with the aftermath after…

As you might conclude up to now, there is no magic formula about how to survive alone when SHTF.

Rules of survival are mostly same like being in group, but much harder or sharper in a way, with much less margins for error…

 

*Toby Comments* – Selco raises a REALLY important point today about the ‘aftermath’.

So many of us are focused on surviving bad times, but we have to think, what ‘price’ will that journey cost?

One of the reasons we do so many of our physical courses in the Balkans is to clearly show people the ‘aftermath’ of such events. Even now, 25 years after the war, you will see people, ‘regular’ people, just wandering in the streets and the towns, still clearly struggling with what they went through. It is ‘normal’ in this area.

Every village, every town, has the people that are ‘known’ (by the locals) to be ‘still fighting the war in their mind’, to visiting outsiders it is a often shocking, very clear and sobering indicator of the cost of living through terrible times… This is an aspect you cannot afford to overlook.

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JCD

Radiation’s Effects And Materials To Mitigate Them

 

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How many of you remember “Dr Strangelove”?

While in conversation with a friend the other night, he mentioned the two previous posts that were published on this blog, and asked if more topics could be discussed. I advised him that there were more in the works, and it was just time constraints that limited their release. Today we will talk about what types of radiation are of concern in a nuclear war context, what kind of a threat they are and for how long, and ways to mitigate those effects. Throughout all this information we will put out about radiation protection, the three basic things to keep in mind that you can use to protect yourself from radiation are Distance, Time, and Shielding.

Radiation

Generally speaking, there are three types of radiation that we are concerned about. Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. The Alpha Radiation/particle is the least dangerous realistically, but it is still a concern. The effects it has can be mitigated by 1 inch of air, a layer of common clothing, and even your skin to a degree. The place where Alpha Radiation can cause you damage is if you ingest it, whether through inhaling or swallowing it. It can cause serious issues with internal organs it comes into contact with. A tightly sealed bandanna, commercial dust respirator or gas mask will inhibit the inhalation part, and cleaning your food off will generally stop the swallowing it part. Keep in mind though, the Alpha particle is 20 times more damaging to human tissue (in contact) than an equal amount of Gamma radiation/rays.

Beta Radiation is more of a concern, but it is usually stopped by 10 inches of air, or several layers of clothing. As with the Alpha particles, Beta’s are also a concern if ingested, and the commercial respirator or gas mask still applies for that concern. Although regular clothing in layers will usually defeat Beta particles, I suggests using a heavy commercial rain suit (pants and hooded jacket will work, but the “overall” type pants with a jacket or a trench coat type jacket with regular pants will work better for the overlap these combos provide), heavy rubber over boots, and gauntlet style rubber gloves (all this was talked about in this post) will help with a speedy decontamination when you arrive back at your home/retreat. You simply get brushed off then sprayed off in a designated decontamination area with a water hose.

Gamma Radiation is the big killer in a nuclear fallout context. Unhindered by a barrier, Gama particles have a range of a 1/2 mile. The way to defeat or mitigate the effects of Gamma radiation is to not be anywhere near it, or to use different types of material to shield against it. The radiation output measurement is called Gray (Gy) or Rad (R) and is measure by the hour.

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Remember this Soviet funded  anti-nuke BBC production? I do. It was on TV and host by that POS Maury Povich in the summer of ’84. Make it look unsurvivable and no one will prepare for it. Unfortunately, by that time, I had read Nuclear War Survival Skills and knew the movie was BS.

Terminology

The “Rad” term is an older one (old US system), and 1 Gray(Gy) equals 100 Rad (R). The term REM stands for “Roentgen Equivalent Man” is generally equal to the same amount as a RAD (1 Rad= 1 REM). The REM is the older US system’s nomenclature for dose received and 100 REM’s  are equal to 1 Sievert (Sv). Both REM and Sievert are a measurement of the dose received by the individual. 1 Sievert equals 100 REM in dose, 1 Gray equals 100 Rads in radiation measurements per hour.   If you are told the radiation level is 1,000R (10 Gy), that means it is 1,000 Rads (10 Gy) in an hour. If you are told the dose received is 1,000R (10 Sv), it means the person received 1,000 REM (10 Sv), and if that person was exposed to that dose for 3 hours, it would not be 1,000 REM (10 Sv), but 3,000 REM (30 Sv).

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In this instance, you’d substitute Sieverts (Sv) for Gray (Gy), and if you are using the older standard US system, you’d take the Gy amount and multiply by 100 for the REM quantity.

Here’s another chart in my notes that will give you an idea of what happens after you are exposed to a given amount of radiation in a given time period.

Doses are listed as REM.

  • 0-70=  Dose period/6-12 hours. No effects to slight incidents of headache, nausea, vomiting. Up to 5%. No medical care required.
  • 70-150= Dose period/2-20 hours. Same as above, from 5-30% effected. Some medical care might be required.
  • 150-300= Dose period/2hrs-2 days. 20-70% percent same as above. Fatigue and weakness in 25-60% of personnel. 5% deaths at low end, 10% at high end.
  • 300-530= Dose period/2hrs-3 days. 50-90% as above. Fatigue and weakness in 50-90%. At low end 10% deaths, at high end 50% deaths
  • 530-830= Dose period/2hrs- 2 days, 80-100% of personnel with moderate to severe nausea and vomiting. 2hrs- 6 weeks, moderate to severe fatigue and weakness in 90-100%. 50% dead in 6 weeks at low end, 99% dead in 3 weeks at high end
  • 830-3000=Dose period/30mins to 2 days, severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, and moderate to severe fluid imbalance and headache. 100% death in 5 days to 3 weeks
  • 3000-8000= Dose period/30mins to 5 days, 100% experience severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, fluid imbalance, and headache. 100% death in 2-3 days
  • Greater than 8000= Dose period/30mins to 1 day, severe and prolonged nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, fluid imbalance and headache. 100% death in 1 day

Understanding The Half Life of gamma radiation.

There is a basic rule that applies to the effectiveness of radiation, this is called the “Rule of Sevens”. “Half-Life” is the term used to measure the amount of time required for the radioactivity being generated to be cut in half. When measuring Gamma radiation, we use the “Rule of Seven”. In a nut shell this means that for any given amount of radiation, a time span of seven will reduce that radiation to 10% of the quantity previously measured (it will be reduced 90%).

If we start with an example of 2000R in your area one hour after a detonation (H+1), within 7 hours, the radiation level will be reduced to 200R. After 49 hours (approx 2 days), the radiation is reduced to 20R, and after 14 days (two weeks), it will be reduced to 2R. Finally after 98 days ( approx 3 months) it is at 2/10R. Note that the chart above does not measure below a dose rate of 1Gy/1Sv (100 R/100REM). Although there would be trouble spots where fallout would have collected, for the most part, you are relatively safe to come out of the shelter after two weeks in all but the worst hit areas. If you are in those areas, I think you probably would have had a more immediate concern from the initial blast damage, than the radiation.

Blocking Radiation

So now we’re all depressed because we realize what radiation will do to our bodies, let’s talk about how we’re gonna stop it. We’ve already talked about how to block the radioactive Alpha and Beta particles from harming us internally and externally with protective apparel, but one other thing to mention in this regard is potassium iodide (KI) tablets. These are to be taken 48 hours prior to a possible exposure to Alpha and Beta particles due to ingestion or inhalation (they don’t help with external radiation exposure).

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I purchased these here

It’s good to have them on hand in case you won’t have the ability to block the inhalation or ingestion of Alpha or Beta particles with some type of respirator, but KI does have numerous side effects that are possible after being taken. Also, KI is not recommended for people over the age of 40, due to side effects affecting the thyroid that are possible.

SHELTERING

OK, so now we are going to shelter in place, and we need to build or add to a shelter, whether it is a shelter within a building, or making the whole building into a shelter. What are some common materials that are available to us for use in our shelter.

We will talk about a number of readily available materials and what radiation shielding capabilities they have. First up is air.

AIR– Distance is your friend when it comes to radiation. To cut the output of radiation in half, you need 200 feet of air/space. This 200 feet of distance will halve whatever Rad or Gray count is emanating from the source of the radiation. Using an uncontaminated parking garage basement that you decide to build a shelter in as an example. If you have 200 feet of air between you and the outside, discounting any other material (steel, concrete, etc) the radiation level is cut in half with that 200 feet of distance. Different types of architecture (high rises) will assist with this.

DIRT– It requires 3.3 inches of dirt to halve the amount of radiation that is put out from a source outside the shelter. If you have an outside radioactive source, 12 inches of dirt will reduce the radiation to 1/10th of the original output, 23″ to 1/100th, and 33″ to 1/1,000th of the outside radiation output.

WOOD– Wood will reduce the effects of outside radiation to 1/10th with 35″, 1/100th with 58″. and 1/1,000th with 88″. The halving thickness is 8.8″.

STEEL– Steel’s radiation reduction is as follows: 1/10th is 2.3″, 1/100th is 5″, and 1/1,000th is 7″. The halving thickness is .7″.

CONCRETE– 10 inches of concrete will block 1/10th of the outside radiation, 15 inches blocks 1/100th, and 23 inches blocks 1/1,000th. The halving thickness is 2.2″.

PAPER– the protection books and magazines provide equals 1/10th with 28 inches, 1/100th with 54 inches, and 1/1,000th with 77 inches. The halving thickness is 7.7″

WATER– Something like a waterbed in the room above might be factored into your protection. Water provides 1/10th the exposure with 19 inches, 1/100th the exposure with 30 inches, and 1/1,000th with 48 inches. The halving thickness is 4.8″.

In case you didn’t notice, the denser and heavier a substance is for a given size (example 1 cubic foot) the better the protection and shielding from radiation.

In the next nuke series post, we’ll talk about using some of the materials listed above to build shelters out of your home, within your home, and in a building you might get caught in or in the open after a blast.

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 Expedient shelter, page 101, chapter 14 of Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny

JCD

 

 

The Nuke-O-Spot Report

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In the last post we discussed personal protective equipment for the nuclear environment. This post concerns having a way to communicate a nuclear explosion in your area via HAM or whatever other commo device you might have available. This is modeled after the the military’s NBC reporting format, but is different and more specific just for a nuclear situation. The reason I set it up that way is simple. If this info makes it’s way back to the military or government through civilian channels, it will be easier for them to convert it into a report to send higher up the chain without having to totally reconstruct or interpret the reports.

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OK, so let’s go through the “Nuke-O-Spot 1 Report” step by step. If the right column is blacked out, it does not get filled in on that specific report. NOTE: If a letter is skipped, it was for the chem or bio part of the original military report template, and doesn’t relate to the nuclear section.  B- Where are you? Find out on a map or GPS what your location is and make sure you list the type of coords you’re using. C- Using your compass, what direction is the blast in? D- Usually, this will be as follows “DDMMMYY, and 24 hour time format with your time zone (that’s important) listed after the number. G- Self explanatory.  H- Was it up in the sky, or close to the ground when it went off? J- Count “one thousand one, one thousand two…..” and take that times 330 to give you the distance in meters. You only need to put the time between the flash and bang in this block though.  L- Use the finger scale below as your measurement guide in Mils., and take the width measurement 5 minutes after detonation. This is an approximation. M- A fist held straight away from the body with arm extended is approximately 150 Mils,. take the height measurement 1 minute after detonation. Just measure the height by how many stacked fists it is. This is an approximation. O- If you can’t take the height measurement at H+1 (or you take another measurement) reference the date/time of blast (H+0), and the height in mils or degree. Example at H+15 the height is 4 fists (approx. 600 mils) high.   Q- When taking a radiation reading, put the location coordinates, or the name of the location (town, major intersection, etc.).  R- Dose rate of the radiation in Rads or Gray measurements. See the chart below.  S- The date and time group that the reading was taken.

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The “Nuke-O-Spot 2 Report” is basically a compilation of multiple N-O-S 1 Reports at an “Info Hub”. Here’s how it works. A- This number is assigned by the group compiling the info   D- Same as N-O-S 1.   F- The Info Hub will use the multiple N-O-S 1 reports to triangulate the location of the detonation.  G- Same as N-O-S 1 reports.  H- Same as N-O-S 1 reports.  N- If the Info Hub has the capability to determine yield by using the cloud height and width information.  P- Info Hub uses weather/winds aloft reports to determine the direction of fallout.  Z- The Info Hub will use the weather/winds aloft report to determine and report the speed of the fallout cloud.

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HOW IT WORKS

There are enough HAM operators (AMRRON maybe) out there to be able to pass this info on to those that can disseminate it to those who need it most and can determine countermeasures. My suggestion is to find a HAM operator in your region that was an NBC specialist in the military, and use him or her as your Info Hub to feed N-O-S 1 reports to. There are plenty of NBC FM’s out there to figure a good bit of this out for yourself. Your group should understand and be able to apply this info for the group’s protection. NOTE: Winds aloft can change directions about every 2,000 feet, and this is why a fallout pattern does not always have a circular or oval shape. Keep this in mind if you are trying to predict the fallout pattern.

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I while back, a friend asked me to put this format out. I have finally gotten around to it, because I think it might be needed in the near future, considering the direction certain national and international players are leaning. Hopefully it won’t be needed, but you know what they say, “Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

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Even “Vault Boy” from the game “Fallout 4” knows how to use the “Rule of Thumb”. If the mushroom cloud is wider than the thumb, seek cover immediately. If not, you have a little time.

JCD

  

 

Personal Protective Gear For A Nuclear Threat.

 

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As a kid, the threat of nuclear war was a very real. One of the reasons I chose to go to NBC School while in the military was due to my interest in learning how to survive it as a teenager, and realizing that whatever I may have learned as a civilian, I could probably learn a lot more in the military. At one point I served as a Battalion NBC NCO, and assisted in the planning and conducting of battalion level training events.

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Although there are a lot of resources out there, the book Nuclear War Survival Skills is still one of the best and most practical. Although a lot of people believe you need a military NBC suit to survive fallout, in actuality, a standard rubber rainsuit will protect you just as well. The military NBC suit is more for the chemicals in a chemical attack than the nuclear radiation threat. You cannot survive in a high radiation dose area simply by what you are wearing. Wearing a protective suit is to help keep the fallout off of your clothing, keep it off your skin, and to make a barrier that is easily decontaminated (decontaminate by hosing or brush off the fallout). Below is a rainsuit on the left, and an military NBC suit on the right.

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Besides the mask you wear to keep from inhaling radioactive debris, the other accessories you need are gauntlet type gloves and some type of over boot. Both of these items need to be able to be easily decontaminated like the suit you’re wearing, and heavy rubber seams to be the best material for that.

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Left to right: Green military rain/NBC overboots. Old style military NBC over boots, and military NBC gloves with cloth liners (makes getting them on and off easier). NOTE: Make sure you duct tape the seams where your gloves and boots are covered by your suit.

Last but most definitely the most important part of personal nuclear apparel is the mask. The purpose of the mask is primarily to filter the air you breathe. Inhalation of radioactive particulates will kill you from the inside out. A secondary purpose is to keep the fallout out of your hair and the inside of your collar if the mask has a hood. Even a dust mask will work, but I use a military issue masks for their durability and filter compatibility with what the military uses. Below is the M17A1 Mask on the left, the M40A1 on the right. Both have the hoods attached.

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A lot of people discount the older M17A1 masks, but if you find one in good condition, grab it. The internal filters are a pain in the ass to change when needed, but this type of mask is harder for someone to rip off your face in a close quarters fight. However, the side filter models do give you a better cheek weld when using a rifle, and the filter is easy to change quickly.

 

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Keeping track of your personal dose of radiation is done by wearing a dosimeter “pen”. This is pictured on the left above. The item to the right is a dosimeter charger. This is basically a meter that you look through and a needle inside tells you what your radiation exposure is on a scale that is inside the “pen”.

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Last but not least in the electronics department is a radiation survey meter/geiger counter. Depending on the model you get, you can measure the radiation level in your immediate area, or at a distance (some have a cable that you can place at a distance from the meter). This will give you the Rad/Gray level for your location.

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Rad to Gray conversion chart.

That’s all we’re gonna discuss in this post about personal protective apparel for a nuclear threat.

JCD