Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Greece Collapse: The real situation in the streets of Athens

Greek banks to shut for six days; ATM withdrawals capped at €60 a ...
Hello from Greece. About the situation with capital controls.
-A lot of false information on media in Greece (TV, Social media etc.) is spread. You do not know what true or not any more is. A lot of rumors are presented as real news by people that benefit from the situation.
-People cannot use their debit cards for food or fuel. Most supermarkets and fuel shops only accept cash. The same goes for other kind of shops, although public announcements say otherwise.
-Those that had already web banking in use are luckier. They can use it to pay bills and shop online but only from stores within the country. No international shopping.
-Although the situation looked bad weeks ago, many people were unprepared for this and were left with 5€ in their pocket and no food or fuel.
-A lot of shops and companies put their employees in mandatory leave as they cannot get supplies to continue their production. So people that had a good steady job are left without income in addition to the already unemployed.
-Although the government says that capital controls will be withdrawn soon, this is not expected to happen but after many months.
Petros N.
Athens, Greece
Hello Petros,
Thanks for your email letting us know about what’s really going on over there.
What you are describing in your letter is an exact copy of what happened in Argentina after the “corralito” went up in 2001. Officially speaking, the capital control is done to stop bank runs and money leaving the country, either because Greeks close their bank accounts and horde Euros under their mattresses or directly wire transfer money to banks abroad. Officially speaking, you can use your debit card to pay for food, gas and pay your bills, so you don’t really need a lot of cash. The problem is that’s not what ends up happening in the streets.
Speaking in practical terms, when you’re standing in line in a grocery store with a bottle of milk, some eggs and a bag of bread, you can’t actually force the shop owner or employee to take your debit card if he doesn’t want to. You can complain all you want, but you won’t change that person’s mind. With a country on the edge of collapse, it’s perfectly understandable that most businesses will prefer cash. This also happened in Argentina. The “cash only” signs went up almost instantly. Some of the larger retailers still accepted debit cards but for years gas stations operated on a “cash only” basis after the collapse.
As you say, a lot of people have been caught completely unprepared. We discuss these topics here all the time because we do prepare for these events and notice the red flags, especially such obvious ones as those seen in Greece. Still, the average person in Greece, just like the average person elsewhere, is not a prepper let alone a true survivalist. I think that in the following years, the two main concerns people will have will be the economy and crime. The economic mess you are already seeing and have experienced it for some time now. Crime will be the next stage. With growing poverty, social instability and lots of cash on the streets there’s no way around it you will see crime rise unless the government does and outstanding job in keeping it under control, which I don’t think they will.
You also mention people losing their jobs right now specifically because of the default. Again, the exact same thing happened in Argentina. You already had high unemployment, but this is like a dagger through the heart. Businesses just hold on until they figure out their next move, they downscale, they don’t want to sign any contracts or move any merchandise until they know what’s happening next. From a speculator’s perspective, why would I buy a ton of cheese if maybe tomorrow I can buy it for a lot less money under a new currency? I’d rather stick to my Euros and pile them under the mattress. I can later exchange those Euros for whatever new currency comes up, which will no doubt be worth a lot less and buy that cheese for maybe half the amount of Euros. With this kind of uncertainty, the entire economy just freezes.
Its going to be a bumpy ride in Greece from now own, even more than before. If you have been following my advice over the years it will sure serve you well. If not, then you probably want to start digging into the website archives because you’ll end up experiencing a lot of that sooner rather than later.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Argentina 2001, Greece 2015

Default" argentino del 2001. ¿Quién tuvo la cul
"Thieves" Argentina, 2001
"Here are the Thieves" Greece, 2010

"Corralito" in Argentina, 2002

Locked out: Pensioners argue with a National Bank employee outside a closed branch in Heraklion on Crete. The country’s stock exchange and most banks will be closed all week
"Corralito" in Greece, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Greece imposes capital controls and the “corralito” goes up

greek banks atm line

It was as predictable as it could be.
I do hope our readers in Greece followed the advice given in “Greece about to Leave the Euro?” posted February this year. If not, well, here’s five things you should probably start doing as of tomorrow morning:

So far it seems that bank transfers abroad have been suspended and the limit for cash withdrawals will be 60 Euros per day. Of course that is, if you find an ATM with cash, which only 40% seem to have any left.
So, what can you do at this point? If you didn’t take your money out of the Greek banking system and you don’t have any cash either you’re out of luck. It’s time to go around hunting for ATMs with money still left. You have to get up early, hit various ATMs. You should also use your debit card and purchase a good amount of food, make sure you top up any medical prescriptions you have and stock up on those as well. If you haven’t bought it already, I sincerely recommend you my book “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse”. It’s not written in Greek, English only so far, but it does provide useful advice for many of the things you will no doubt experience in the future.
It’s not the end of the world and Greeks have been living with the crisis for some time now. Lets hope it doesn’t happen, but things could get even more complicated. It’s time to hope for the best but plan for the worst as well.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Thoughts on the terror attack in Tunisia

Friday, June 26, 2015

Icebreaker 100% Merino Wool Clothes

In my search for the ultimate survivalist wardrobe I came across Icebreaker brand of clothes. I’m pretty excited with my first Icebreaker 100% Merino base layer. Fits great and being made of 100% merino wool, what’s not to like?

-Warm, even when wet
-Cool when needed
-Wicking action, drawing moisture away from the skin.
-Antibacterial properties.
-Naturally odor-resistant, Non-itch merino
-Great material and very finely made garment.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Russian Conflict: USA sends tanks and armor to Europe

U.S. is sending tanks, Bradley armored fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers to its allies in Central and Eastern Europe.
U.S. soldiers fire ceremonial rounds from M1A2 Abrams tanks at the Adazi training area, in Latvia, last November.
 It will include 90 tanks, 140 armored vehicles and 20 pieces of heavy artillery. Enough equipment to arm an entire brigade will be positioned in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland.
Dragoons assigned to Head Hunter Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment load their Strykers and equipment onto a local railway as they prepare for their upcoming rotation in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve at Rose Barracks, Germany, March 11, 2015.
This is a clear response to Putin’s actions in Eastern Ukraine and a show of support for its NATO allies. U.S. had this same amount of armor stationed in West Germany during the Cold War, making it more of a symbolic move than a strategic one.
At this point, it could all end in sabre-rattling but with this kind of escalation there is always the possibility of more serious conflict erupting.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Schools after an Economic Collapse?‏

Hi, I was wondering what would happen to school in a "collapse" of the economy. Based on your experiences, would kids still be needing to go to school? Would I still need to worry about getting kids to school? And if they do need to go after a collapse, is it something you would recommend taking them to school? Or is it safer to keep them home?

Thank you for bringing up an interesting and very relevant topic that isn’t brought up often. Other than the time spent in our homes, our work place is the one were most adults spent most of their time. When it comes to children though, that place will be the school they attend.

School standards… not what they used to be
An economic collapse such as the one that took place in Argentina directly impacts schools. Public schools and many private ones depend on government money to support themselves. To some degree, this reality affected the education on most countries around the world after the global economic crisis of 2008. While some private schools can keep up their standards by increasing the fees, other private schools may not be able to do so because parents have a more limited income. These schools only offer standards that are marginally better than public ones. This creates one of the most noticeable and more enduring levels of inequality which will stick with the child for the rest of his life. In the case of Argentina, parents have two main priorities: Pay for medical health cover and pay for a good enough school for their kids. Other than a handful of exceptional cases, public schools simply aren’t an option if you expect your child to have any kind of future.
With less funds, teachers are less motivated. They make less and as time goes by becoming a teacher becomes less of a career option given the low wages and overall depressing experience of having to teach in a much more challenging environment. As the society becomes poorer, the infrastructure and supplies suffer as well. Maintenance is rarely kept up to date, even the kids clothes or school uniforms start showing their age. If this all sounds a bit depressing, its because that’s exactly how it feels.
School meals suffer as well. The quality of food is worse, there’s even LESS food in the children’s plate, and I’m not talking about Argentina here, I’m talking about reports of school meals in United Kingdom in the last couple years. Both in Argentina and UK, school personal would downright lie about how much a child has been eating or how many servings they’ve had. Many parents have reported being surprised by how hungry their supposedly well fed children were after class hours.

Safety in and around schools
One of the most concerning aspects of post-collapse schools is safety. In the case of Argentina, pupils that went to some of the more exclusive (and more expensive) private schools were told to stop using the school uniform given that many had been kidnaped for ransom. A kid walking down the street with a uniform of a 500 USd a month school was a dead giveaway.
Violence within school themselves was and still is a problem. Stress affects not only parents but children as well and the entire society becomes more violent. School fights become much worse, more brutal. In some of the worst public schools it is common for kids to beaten one another almost to death, stabbings occur practically every day and a good number of pupils attend classrooms armed with firearms. In many cases, they even do so for self-defense rather than looking for trouble. The economic polarization quickly becomes a social one as well. Since kids with money don’t attend schools where poor people go, others things to hate about one another are quickly found. Among girls, its been years now that reports of one girl being targeted, not just bullied but severely beaten or even disfigured or killed “because she was pretty”. Last week a boy almost beaten to death “because he was white”. In the case of Argentina, “being white” may be having a slightly clear colored skin compared to the group average rather than being a clear ethnic difference.
If all this sounds chaotic and dangerous, its because it is so. Even in some of the more exclusive private schools the level of violence is considerably higher than in most other developed countries, simply because it has become a more violent society. No one bats an eye because of some Facebook bullying. Getting bullied in that context means getting physically beaten not just once but recurrently.

What to do?
Do you send your kids to school? Of course you do, its important to do so and I’ll give you several reasons. Not only does your child need to have an education, he needs to learn to handle other peers as well. Regarding education you could argue that homeschooling is just as good or even better. I’m not trying to start a debate here but I do know some very well educated home schooled children but I probably know even more children that are home schooled that simply don’t have the education level found is good students attending good schools. It really depends on the parents, how well educated they are themselves and how much time they have to spend with their children. Not everyone is capable of objective self-criticism when it comes to these two.
But even more important than education, is the ability to get along and learn how to interact, even succeed and compete with others socially. If a child can’t handle other children like him, he wont be able to do so as an adult either, and believe me this will be more challenging in a post-collapse society.
What you should do is find a good, safe school for your children to attend. The best one you can provide. Sometimes its about paying for it, sometimes its moving to places where you have them. It takes a bit of work but in most developed countries parents cant find a good school for their children.
Besides sending your child to a good school, you need to give them the tools to defend themselves, both verbally and physically if needed. The right attitude, the right amount of self-confidence will go a long way in avoiding being targeted by bullies in the first place. When it comes to physical self-defense, I recommend teaching your child basic self-defense techniques. I specifically recommend Brazilian jiu-jitsu over all other martial arts for children. It’s one of the safest martial arts to practice for kids given the lack of punches, it focuses more on technique rather than strength (good for girls!), it is highly effective in the real-world (too much mumbo jumbo in the martial arts world) and it can be used without leaving visible wounds. Maybe your son is more than capable of putting a well-deserved beating on anyone that deserves it, but even if that’s the case he can get into trouble none the less. In places like Argentina there’ little tolerance for such nonsense and few school principals would bother a parent of a child that was clearly defending himself but in other countries this may not be the case and a “twisted arm” will get your child in a lot less trouble than a “broken nose” or even a simple bloody lip.

Schools have changed quite a bit in the last few years. I’m not yet forty and I remember a very different school environment. I would have the monthly Guns & Ammo magazine which I openly read in the classroom during breaks and by the time I was fifteen years old teachers knew that if they needed to cut something I was the kid to ask for help because I always had a folding knife with me… in the classroom.
Different times? My classroom was right next to the school’s air rifle shooting range. We had one in the school’s courtyard. You first learned to shoot air rifles in school, then you’d go to the Federal Shooting Club (TFLZ) and shoot 22LR and finally you learned to shoot a Mauser 1909 in 7,65 Argentino as part of the school’s curriculum.
Different times indeed.
Aiming with a Mauser 1909 Modelo Argentino

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fun Fact About Fallout and Nuclear Explosions

Fallout 3 other Vault Boy images - The Fallout wiki - Fallout: New ...

If you ever played videogames you’re probably familiar with the charismatic Vault Dweller, the mascot of the Fallout series videogames. But why is it that the little guy is bringing his thumb up? Turns out it’s not just the much needed positive attitude. He’s actually measuring the distance of a nuclear explosion. It seem that an old nuclear war survival tip said that if with your arm extended you could cover the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion with your thumb then you were far enough to survive. I think that wind direction will play a big role as well but still, fun to know and I hope I NEVER have to try it out for real!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Thoughts on the recent mass shooting in South Carolina

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Greece About to Default

... low as Greece edges closer to a possible default | Daily Mail Online
The chances seem to be pretty high. The Vulture Funds are looking to cash in on those credit default swaps...
Wall Street bets on 75% chance of Greek default
You might be receiving questions about the Greek debt situation and concerns about the outcome.
I thought I would share this article with you.

Why Greece’s pension problems are also ours…
It’s looking more and more like Greece will not be able to reach an agreement with its creditors by the end of this month. That’s when more than $1.8 billion in debt comes due.
A last-minute deal is always a possibility. After all, a so-called “Grexit” event would have huge implications … especially for bond markets.
But even if negotiators suddenly come up with a grand bargain, there’s something every single U.S. citizen should take away from this ongoing crisis …
I’m talking about the fact that Greece’s unsustainable pension system is one of the biggest sticking points between Athens and its creditors.
Essentially, the International Monetary Fund is asking Greece to:
•  Cut its pension promises by the equivalent of 1% of the country’s GDP
•  Quickly address the fact that loads of Greeks are taking early retirement, and
•  Enact other cuts to things like state-funded supplementary pensions.
Meanwhile, Athens says it’s unwilling to take any of these steps.
According to an article from the BBC yesterday:
“[Prime Minister] Tsipras rejected demands for pension cuts, citing his country’s dignity.”
And Mr. Tispras himself was quoted as telling a Greek newspaper,
“Further cuts to pensions after five years of looting under the bailouts can only be viewed as serving political expediency.”
Wait — a country preserves its dignity by defaulting on its debts? And making budget cuts to stave off bankruptcy is considered looting?
(Continue reading over at uncommonwisdomdaily.com )
Thanks Larry, interesting read.
I’d say yes, defaulting may preserve the dignity of the people if not doing so means you’ll drop further into poverty and misery. Defaulting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While some look to make legitimate business, other “investors”, (yes, lets be kind and call them that) that “lend” money to a country that is falling apart and has no way of repaying have other things in mind. Lets look at it from a capitalist point of view. If I invest money with some shady company looking to sell ice in the north pole, and this company I just invested it suddenly fails, who’s fault is it? It’s mine of course. Mine because I’m the one that made a poor decision and invested in something that had little chance of success. That’s the nature of capitalism, sometimes you lose money, sometimes you make it. If you’re always in a win-win scenario, then you’re unfairly rigging the game to your benefit.
The problem you have in countries such as Argentina isn’t that politicians tried to get rid of the corrupt IMF, but rather that they did so only to steal money themselves. In many ways, Argentina did well on its own all things considered after the crisis. The problem was the massive amount of money stolen by the ruling government.
Greece would do well to put its own people ahead of the interest of companies, foreign or domestic. That you don’t bargain with, the lives of your people, their health and dignity comes before anything else. If they can’t come to an agreement with the EU, then they should default and leave the union.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thrunite TN36: 6510 lumens Monster light!

It wasn’t that long that a good friend of mine sent me a Surefire G2 flashlight from USA to Argentina. OK, maybe it was almost ten years ago, but I do remember how amazed I was by it. This “tactical” flashlight used two CR123A batteries, it had a hi-tech Xenon light bulb and it produced… 100 lumens! It was incredible. It put to shame the large Maglite I had back then that used 3 large C type batteries and yet it was so small that the G2 fit in your pocket.
Today, the flashlight world is a completely different universe. My keychain LED light produces 162 lumens. The Thrunite TN36 that I’m reviewing in this article? The turbo mode produces 6510 lumens. Yes six thousand.

The Thrunite TN36
Let me explain what its like to handle a 6000 lumen flashlight. The Thrunite TN36 bright. As in, really bright. As in, it doesn’t matter so much that it doesn’t have a lot of throw, with 6000 lumens everything in front of you just lights up as if the sun just came out. 6000 lumens is so bright that it will burn your hand if left in front of the reflector. It’s so bright that the reflection on white or pastel colored walls hurts your eyes, and direct expose with dilated pupils will cause permanent eye damage. How’s that for “tactical” applications?
If you want to put out a wall of light in front of you that will turn night into day this is it. 6000 lumens will get the job done and even though it’s a flood light, being so bright objects a couple hundred yards away are still illuminated.

So as to achieve this, the TN36 packs some serious hardware under the hood: You’ve got three Cree MK-R LEDs powered by 4x 18650 3400MHA Li-ion batteries. The flashlight is well machined out of aluminum, displaying a quality high end finish all around. The user interface is classic Thrunite, which I’ve learned to appreciate due to its simplicity and quick access of modes. If you just want a bit of light, a long press turns it on in moonlight mode (1.6 lumens for 33days) while double clicking turns it on in turbo mode (6510 lumens for 119 minutes). Double clicking again goes to strobe, also 6510 lumens but for 137 minutes. A 6000 lumen strobe will definitely be highly disruptive for anyone glancing your way. A simple click will turn it on in either low (116 lumens for 54 hours), medium (785 lumens for 587 minutes) or high (2280 lumens for 194 minutes)depending on which one was last used thanks to the memory mode. To cycle through these three simply keep the side switch pressed. The maximum beam distance is 299 meters and the TN36 is also waterproof to IPX-8 standards and drop tested to 1.5 meters.

At 390gr. the TN36 isn’t exactly light, it feels more like a can of coke. Thankfully, the holster (included) makes it easy to carry around. Other accessories include spare 0rings, a lanyard and spare switch cap.

The Thrunite TN36 is simply a monster of a light capable of blinding anyone in front of it. The different modes allow you to use it for extended periods of time if needed but this flashlight is clearly intended for those looking for maximum brightness in a still relatively compact form factor.
At $199.95, the TN36 presents a great value, including a 24 month free repair warranty and lifetime limited warranty.
Thrunite TN36 in Amazon
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Giveaway with 26 great prizes

Our good friend Tess Pennington over at Ready Nutrition is doing a pretty neat giveaway, which includes the Wonder Junior Grain Mill, SOG knives, Mountain House food, and several books including “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” written by yours truly.
Here’s the link to sign up for the Giveaway.
Good Luck!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What to do with gold/silver?‏

This subject has come a couple of times and I was wondered how this was handled in Argentina.
You go to the grocery store to buy some things. When the cashier talleys the amount you hand her s couple of ounces of silver? Did/do stores keep track as to what the conversion is for precious metals - maybe a silver Maple Leaf or Golden American Eagle? Or maybe there are laws in place that force the stores to reject the precious metals or coinage?
Hello Gary,
Thanks for your email and sorry for taking so long to reply.
Gold became an instant hit right after the economic collapse of 2001, the business of buying gold went up 500% the years after the collapse. All of a sudden every jewelry store and every kiosk, every new shop that opened was all about buying gold. With terrible rates of unemployment and inflation people became desperate, and the first thing they did after running out of money was turn to belongings they could sell. Of course, selling jewelry meant you could go to any of these stores and walk out with some cash to put food on the table.
Here its important to notice that in spite of its popularity, the real business was for the person buying the gold and melting it, rather than the desperate person selling at a big loss, often for a spot price that was well below market value. For those that had gold coins, the loss when selling was generally not as bad if they went to a reputable precious metal dealer or bank.
Answering your first question, no, you wouldn’t pay in a grocery store with any kind of precious metal. You could although go to one of the many dealers looking to buy precious metals, which could be found all over town, sell your precious metals for whatever the price was that moment, and then with the cash now go to the grocery store. People that had gold and silver coins would sell a little bit at a time so as to preserve it from inflation. Answering your second question, yes, knowing the ongoing price of precious metals and especially currencies was very important. For years and still today, for any Argentine catching the price of the US dollar that day before leaving to work is as much of a ritual as checking the weather forescast.
Regarding your last question, there’s many aspects to it. First, when things get really bad what the law says sometimes isnt taken that much into consideration. Expect a big black market to rise if regulations restricting the use of precious metals is imposed. Second, precious metals aren’t as much of a deal in Argentina as they are in USA. A restricting to precious metals in USA would be hugely controversial. Lots of Americans keep and understand precious metals very well. Any attempt to restrict the use of gold and silver would be met by an opposing effect. This would probably increase the value of precious metals.
In the past I have recommended having some “junk” gold for selling without attracting much attention. I still think its a good idea to have some as the precious metal equivalent of pocket change but only when paying spot metal price. Simple rings such as old wedding bands or broken jewelry, mostly simple chains and necklaces are good choices. As for the majority of your precious metals, stick to well recognized bullion coins.
One last tip, keep in mind that you can only go into the US or leave America without declaring the money you have if it is bellow 10.000 USd. This goes for precious metals as well.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Can we Predict Disasters and SHTF events?

An essential part of the preparedness problematic is how unpredictable disasters and emergencies are by their own nature. If we always knew what was going to go wrong, when and where, the incident could then be prevented or avoided entirely. The unpredictability is a key element of a disaster. This may lead us to believe that there’s no way of knowing when disaster will strike.
This isn’t entirely true. Although it sure isn’t an exact science, to a significant extent we can predict within a certain margin of error most of these disruptive events. Some may be more predictable than others, and you can’t hope for much accuracy regarding timeframes, but detailed risk assessment goes a long way in knowing what we’re likely to deal with in the future.
The problem many preppers and survivalists encounter is, yet again, the lack of objective, reality-based research and analysis. Popular beliefs among the prepper community, most of them fueled by nothing more than romantic fantasies, are brought to the discussion as if they were unquestionable facts written in stone even though they may be completely fabricated. The simple truth is that a lot of the objective analysis isn’t very entertaining, and the conclusions to where they lead are even less so.

Don’t bother owning more than one gun for defense, you’re unlikely to ever need to use even one, needing two for self-defense in the civilian world is statistically impossible. Don’t live in some beautiful place surrounded by nature, practically all research shows that you’ll live a healthier and happier lives living in a condo, hitting the gym three times a week and working hard on your career. That doesn’t sound very adventurous, does it? Well, many times preparing isn’t supposed to be fun.
It is right at this point where I’ll happily be the first one to point out the obvious: There’s more to life than surviving. It’s about living YOUR life after all, living it YOUR way. If you love living by the ocean because you love sailing or living surrounded by thousands of acres of forest because you love the outdoors, then that’s what you should do. The trick is, be honest with yourself, don’t lie to yourself about what you want, what you need and the reasons for doing what you do in an attempt to justify your decisions. Not everything has to be logical and functional, not everything requires a practical use that justifies your decisions. If you can accept this, then your decisions will be much wiser. If we reach this point of honesty with ourselves then we can start looking at things from a new perspective and understand better the challenges we are likely to face.
If we are interested in the study of survival, then the first thing we want to avoid is dying. Simple enough, isn’t it? Ask yourself, what are the leading causes of death? 2 seconds of googling will show you the following:

Heart disease: 611,105
Cancer: 584,881
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
Alzheimer's disease: 84,767
Diabetes: 75,578
Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149

Out of the ten most common causes of death, other than the 4th one (which we’ll get to in a second) are directly linked to having a healthy body and mind, a sound diet and a good level of fitness. Surprisingly enough very few of these are ever discussed in most preparedness discussions. Why? Because watching your diet, not overeating and eating more vegetables isn’t as much fun as talking about zombies, raiders and the end of the world. From a practical approach to survivalism though, it is much more effective.
When it comes to the 4th top cause of death, accidental injury related deaths, the truth doesn’t align with the popular belief of avoiding cities being the better option. Why Cities Are Safer Than Rural Areas: 5 Surprising Facts
Not dying is a good start, but for step number two we also want to have a healthy life worth living. Notice how by tackling the main causes of death we are also addressing the main causes of sickness, which considerably improves your quality of life while alive. As if that wasn’t enough, staying healthy and in shape boosts your morale and overall sense of joy. Here we may want to pay particular attention to the mental or emotional aspect of health: Avoiding depression, having a good marriage and family relationship, enjoying the kind of work you do. Emotional health is as important as the physical one.

Ok, so we’re not dying, which is a good start, and we’re not getting sick physically or mentally. Things are already looking good! But what about good old Murphy showing up and spoiling our little personal utopia? What ruins life for people, what concerns us the most? Which are the threats we are likely to face? This is the third step, the one where we go past the first two unavoidable facts of life (dying and getting sick) which have a probability of 100% on the long run, and we start doing a dedicated risk assessment based on our location and lifestyle. In general, this is the one most preppers and survivalist jump right into, completely overlooking the all-important first two. “oh, here’s where my CCW comes into play and saves me from all the thugs on the streets..” Actually, no. Hold your horses. Lets take a look at the leading causes of injury-related deaths:
1 Suicide
2 Motor vehicle crashes
3 Poisoning
4 Falls
5 Homicide

Turns out, chances are that you’re more likely to end up killing yourself than getting shot by some street thug. Clearly we can’t emphasize enough how important mental health is.
Not being much of a surprise, car accidents are a leading cause of death. Its safe to say chances of getting involved in a car crash are pretty high during our lifetimes. What can we do about it? Here’s where the intelligent survivalist goes to work. You drive carefully, that should be obvious enough. But you also buy a vehicle with a high safety and survivability score. You keep your car serviced. You make sure your tires are in good shape. You never drink and drive. You try not to drive during nighttime and you avoid driving during storms. These alone will highly improve your odds for one of the most common causes of injury related death.
While some children do die of unintentional poisoning (very careful with that!) “Poisoning” also seems to be today’s politically correct way of saying death due to drug overdose. Again, working on emotional health and strong family bonds is essential.
Falls are a common form of injury, especially among the elder population. How likely? 1 in 3 of the elder population +65 fall each year. By the time they reach 80, 1 out of 2 will fall at least once a year. http://www.learnnottofall.com/content/fall-facts/how-often.jsp
The falls often causes fractures, which may lead to more serious conditions or even death. Understanding how likely this is to happen helps towards planning for it better. Have proper footwear and walking aid when required. Consider moving with someone else so as to not be alone or keep your cellphone with you in case you fall. Be particularly careful with ice and wet floors.

When it comes to homicide, avoiding dangerous places and having means of self-defense will obviously help. USA has a homicide rate average of 4.7 per 100.000 population. While this isn’t something to lose sleep over, it makes sense to have means of self-defense and avoid dangerous places as much as possible. In high-crime areas, the greater risk calls for other measures such as better safety habits and improved home security. The higher the crime rate, the less forgiving the environment will tend to be.

Natural disasters are also predictable to a great extent. Events such as earthquakes, tornados, floods and storms, they tend to occur in specific areas where they have happened before. While this doesn’t make them completely predictable, it does mean that they are very likely to occur again and that you should prepare for them.
Many times man-made disasters can be detected as well before they occur. On a macroeconomic level we see signs such as inflation, unemployment and institutional instability as signs of possible economic problems and civil unrest. Geopolitical tensions may be a prelude to open hostilities between nations. Staying informed is key to detecting potential problems on the horizon.
When preparedness is approached through a logical, educated, common sense process, we can foresee some of the most likely disasters and emergency situations.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.