CENTRAL TEXAS 2018 WILDFIRE SYMPOSIUM MAY 4 – FREE TO ATTEND
I hope you’ll join me on Friday, May 4 for the annual Wildfire Symposium put on by the City of Austin. This is a great event. You can get more information here.
The following day, May 5, is National Wildfire Preparedness Day. You can learn more about it here. Over 98 million people in the U.S. live in a neighborhood at riks for wildfires. As this spring is shaping up to be both warmer and drier than average (thanks to La Nina), wildfire risk is a growing threat.
We just had our FireWise assessment done at our home last Saturday, conducted by the Austin Fire Department. It was very helpful, and there’s no charge. If you would like to have one done, email Nia Henry and ask her to set one up for you – and feel free to tell her I suggested you reach out to her.
EQUIPPING YOU WITH DATA AND FACTS ON THE GUN CONTROL DEBATE
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve managed to save a number of articles that you may find helpful in the coming months.
Teachers are signing up for free gun training in Ohio
NPR: Millennials are no more liberal on gun control than their elders
USA Today: School shootings are not the new normal
NPR: Rate of gun violence has fallen since 1993
Scientific American: If you want to know how to stop school shootings, ask the Secret Service
National Review: How Nazis used gun control
National Review: Parkland Shooter did not use high capacity magazines
5 Years After Sandy Hook Shooting, Connecticut School Districts Violating Safety Laws
Washington Times: School safer today than 1990s.
US Secret Service and Department of Education: Final Report And Findings of the Safe School Initiative (2004)
Breitbart: Former Air Marshal: Arming Pilots Post-9/11 Worked, So Will Arming Teachers
NATIONAL STOP THE BLEED DAY IS MARCH 31
The top cause of preventable death in trauma is bleeding. Twenty percent of people who have died from traumatic injuries could have survived with quick bleeding control. Learn how you can help yourself or others in the event of trauma.
MORE EPISODES OF THE SITUATION
I’m trying to do an episode every week. I hope it is of interest.
March 6 episode: Rising interest rates hit homebuilders hard; Houston ambulances are in a "deplorable" condition; Natural gas provider in Dallas cuts gas to 2,800 homes for "3 to 4 weeks."
March 11 episode: DST conversion leads to increased chance of heart attacks; Costco selling prepper food; CNBC reports retirees have little savings; Ron Paul says another financial crisis is possible; Richard Duarte shares an article on changing migration patterns due to disasters; KQED reports on problems with response to California wildfires
Solar Cooker demo: Here’s a 42 second video on my solar cooker (which is different than a solar oven).
AUSTIN PACKAGE BOMBS AND THE NEED FOR READINESS
This month’s tragic package bombings in Austin – during SXSW, one of the busiest times for our first responders – once again demonstrates the need to be situationally aware and to be ready to be our own first responders until help arrives.
Seek out first aid and CPR classes. Learn to use a fire extinguisher. Get a NOAA weather radio for your home, and while you’re at it, pick up a TornadoAlert which I highly recommend.
If you are taking LTC and other firearm classes to help protect the lives of you and your family, then you also need to be getting trained to protect lives in other ways – for emergencies far more common than self defense.
UPCOMING LTC COURSES
I didn’t have any takers for the March 10 class – probably due to the fact it was the first weekend of spring break.
Let me know if you are interested in taking a class and what dates might work for you.
Also, if you have a group that is interested in the course, contact me about a flat fee to teach your group.
That’s all for now. Stay safe out there -
FRANKLIN BBQ EVENT FOR THE CENTRAL TEXAS FOOD BANK – SKIP THE LINE AND CONSUME ALL THE BBQ AND BEER YOU WANT
Once again, Kendel and I will be hosting a fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank at Franklin BBQ on February 20. Seating is very limited – ticket sales are capped at 60 people. That means there’s no line outside for you to stand in. Come eat dinner, drink some beer, and bid on some great live auction items (where I will be serving as the auctioneer once again.)
Karl Rehn at KR Training has graciously donated training certificates you can bid on, and I’ll be offering an all inclusive LTC class for you and your friends to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.
Again – seating is limited – at least half of the tickets were sold in the first week they went on sale – get yours today.
DO NOT FIRE WARNING SHOTS
We cover this in my LTC class. Do not fire warning shots. This LTC holder here is facing a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Travis County, which is a second-degree felony.
LISTEN TO THIS COP’S 911 CALL AFTER HE USED DEADLY FORCE.
This officer did it well. He is not facing charges. Listen to how he handles the situation with 911.
Note how he:
WORLD STAR HIP HOP: BAD TACTICS AND YET STILL GETS THE WIN
A security guard happens upon a robbery in progress. There’s a lot the security officer did wrong here, and yet he shuts down the robbery in progress. The lesson here is to get training so that you’ll be better able to handle yourself in this situation – and realize that sometimes the win comes with little to no resistance.
AS SPRING RAINS AND FLOODING APPROACHES, NEW FEMA MAPS SHOW GROWING RISK IN CENTRAL TEXAS
I just attended the annual Skywarn training for storm spotters on Saturday, and they were conveying that we still lose a lot of lives due to flooding.
The new FEMA flood maps show a significant increase in flood risk. Talk to your insurance agent to ensure that you have the right coverages.
WHEN’S THE NEXT LTC CLASS?
I’d like to do one in March. Message me if you’re interested.
AND WHAT SORT OF PREPAREDNESS TRAINING/MEETINGS ARE HAPPENING?
We had a good meeting at Inks Lake State Park last weekend – tested some get home bags, tried out various fire starting techniques, and talked about how we could be better prepared.
I’m hoping to schedule another weeknight meeting sometime in March and another campout sometime in April. Message me if you are interested.
THE SITUATION: DOW DOWN 666 ON FRIDAY – WHAT’S YOUR PLAN IN THE EVENT OF ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS?
I posted this Friday – last week the markets were somewhat unsettled. Here’s my take on what’s happening and what we need to be doing.
Meanwhile, Chris Martenson sounds the financial alarm. This reading isn’t for those looking for a rosy economic outlook.
That’s it for now. Stay safe out there.
Part of being an advocate for preparedness means we support organizations that help people in times of crisis. And for me, that means supporting the Central Texas Food Bank.
Kendel and I are once again part of the host team that rents out award winning Franklin BBQ to put on the Skip The Line For Hunger event to support the Food Bank. Rather than stand in line for hours to eat some of the best BBQ on the planet, you can be a part of a limited seating audience and consume all of the BBQ and beer you want.
This event runs from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM on Tuesday, February 20. We'll also have a live auction - with yours truly serving as auctioneer - with a number great items for you to bid on. KR Training has graciously agreed once again to donate certificates good for training at their firearms classes as part of this event.
We hope you will join us for the event. Click here to get your tickets!
Often in the first responder/emergency response community, we hear of reports and analyses of lessons learned and weaknesses identified after a training exercise or actual emergency. These are often referred to as an after action review or AAR.
I find AARs quite helpful, not only for formal training and actual events, but even for smaller happenings in our lives. Memorializing the lessons we learn from various things that happen in our lives - the car battery dies at an inconvenient time, getting stuck in an airport overnight, your kid leaves the water running in the bathtub for too long - help us identify ways to prevent such things from happening again.
As the winter weather approached Texas from the Rockies and Northern Plains a few days ago, I began my planning in earnest, knowing that I'd be doing an AAR on my efforts once the storm passed. I thought I'd share this AAR with you with the hopes that a) you'll get something out of what I did and learned and b) you'll consider doing AARs in your various efforts at home and work as well.
First things first: since we live in a new house (built by us and occupied since May 2017), we had no checklist of what to do in the event of a pending ice storm. I began formulating a check list to memorialize the various things I did in anticipation of being iced in for a couple of days. (I'm posting a draft of that checklist below, with the caveat that a) it's a draft and b) I will likely be amending it in the days to come).
I'm a big believer in checklists. My sister in law gave me The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande for Christmas. A prepper friend recommended the book this fall, and so I am looking forward to reading it this weekend. Checklists are great, especially when you are trying to get your house ready for a severe weather event in short order. I made a similar checklist as Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas coast.
Things I did not have on hand (and had to purchase):
Things we did well:
Things were we learned lessons or could improve upon:
At this point, many people would say, "Paul....enough with the lists and the analysis of what you did and didn't do." And that's fine - we all learn in different ways. For me, being able to streamline the process and do things thoroughly are priorities. This is the best way I have found to do that.
This weekend, Karl Rehn of KR Training and I held our annual prepper training weekend event, normally scheduled for the first full weekend after January 1.
This year's event deviated dramatically from the past five years. First, we moved from our usual venue - the Cabela's outdoor store in Buda, Texas - to Karl's facility near Lincoln. This enabled us to have training in the classroom as well as the range. We also expanded the event to two days, which enabled us to cover much more material than we normally would have.
The new format seemed to really go over well with attendees. Most of them had never attended the Cabela's events before (of 14 attendees, only three had previously joined us at Cabela's.)
Here are some notes on some selected parts of the presentations I did:
In addition, Karl taught two mornings on the range. We gave students the option of classroom training or range training during the morning session. Karl covered fundamentals on Saturday morning, progressing to shooting from cover and armed movement in structures. The Sunday morning range session had students conducting team tactics - something most shooting programs don't stress. In an emergency, you may not only be trying to stop the threat - you may have to coordinate the movements of friends and family who are with you.
Some overall thoughts:
Karl and I are already working on some advanced preparedness training opportunities for this summer and beyond. I have some ideas on where we need to go next, and the participants offered some good suggestions as well.
Make 2018 the year you get better prepared.
I've mentioned the upcoming preparedness training at KR Training previously, but now we have more details to share with you.
After five years of annual conferences, we reviewed attendee feedback and have opted for a two day training conference with more activities than just a classroom. This is the most robust preparedness training conference in Texas to my knowledge.
First, the 411:
Dates: January 6-7, 2018
Times: 9 AM to 4 PM, each day
Location: KR Training, 1166 CR 145, Lincoln, TX 78948
KR Training is located near Giddings, Texas, about an hour east of Austin.
To Sign Up:
Go to www.krtraining.com and click on "Register for Classes" in the upper left corner. Select the days you wish to attend. Once you're registered, click on "Pay for Classes" on the upper left hand of the home page and pay the registration fees. You are not registered until you have paid the registration fee.
Each day will be divided into a morning session and afternoon session.
Saturday will emphasize basic preparedness concepts, while Sunday will cover more advanced preparedness skills. There are no prerequisites to any of these sessions. A beginning prepper could attend both days and gain a lot of information that would jump start their efforts.
Morning sessions: Each morning will have a Range portion and a Classroom portion. Students will choose whether to spend the morning on the range or classroom.
Afternoon sessions: Both afternoon sessions with be Classroom only.
The Range portions are designed to take someone from a basic level of training (such as someone who has only taken a License To Carry course) to a point where they are better prepared for self defense encounters at home, work, church or a mall.
The Classroom portions are designed to focus more on "how to" get better prepared quickly.
Saturday, January 6 - Basic Preparedness Training
9 AM - Noon
Range portion: During the range portion, students will run drills with pistols and long guns useful in home defense situations, starting with safe gun handling and marksmanship fundamentals, progressing to shooting from cover and armed movement in structures.
Classroom portion: The Saturday morning classroom portion will cover a number of basic topics of interest to beginning preppers. Some of our topics will include:
12:15 PM - 12:45 PM
I'll provide my annual briefing on the state of the preparedness movement and what we need to be focusing on in 2018.
1 PM - 4 PM
The Classroom Portion will cover topics such as:
Sunday, January 7 - Advanced Preparedness Training
9 AM - Noon
Range Portion: During the range portion, students will run drills with pistols and long guns useful in situations occurring outside the home. Range work will emphasize gun handling appropriate for a 360 degree environment in close proximity to others (threats, strangers and friends/family).
1 PM - 4 PM
The Classroom Portion will cover topics such as:
So which day or days should you attend?
If you're a beginner to preparedness and are highly motivated - attend both days. If you have a LTC and want to learn how to be better able to defend yourself, attend the range portions both days.
If you're a beginner to preparedness and have had some advanced firearm training - attend both days, choosing to attend all of the classroom portions.
If you're a beginner to preparedness, but are a little freaked out about the whole "prepper" thing - attend the Saturday classroom sessions.
If you're an advanced prepper with minimal firearms experience - attend the Saturday and Sunday morning range portions.
You and your spouse want to attend - You may wish to split up duties and have one spouse attend the range portions while the other attends the morning classroom portions. You could then both attend the afternoon classroom portions together.
Questions? Use the comment section below.
One of the benefits of being an advocate in preparedness is that people call me when they are worried about their safety. It gives me a front row seat into how Americans think about perils and preparedness.
Over the last month, we've had a number of problems here in the United States, including:
Meanwhile, over at my YouTube channel (to which I hope you have subscribed), we've been talking about the specter of civil war in America. It's odd typing those words - civil war in America - and uncomfortable to discuss in the videos. Yet when you consider the analysis from New Yorker magazine on the subject, it's clear the discussion is no longer limited to those who regularly talk in dystopic tones.
I visited with a friend last weekend about what we are seeing. She mentioned that she felt like she had become better prepared as a result of our ongoing conversations. But to prove to her that her motivation for becoming more resilient wasn't necessarily a function of me, I texted her the following:
Forget everything I've ever told you. Forget that you ever met me. Just think about what you have seen in the news over the last 24 months and tell me we aren't in store for some sort of societal reset.
It's avoidable - if we have the courage to pull ourselves back from the cliff. But the media insists that we get on the bullet train to chaos.
Do you believe we are in store for a societal reset?
I have friends on both ends of the political spectrum who believe such a reset - however you choose to describe what that means and looks like - is a distinct possibility.
At this point in this post, I could go a number of directions in the discussion:
While all of these are interesting discussion topics, for now I am content leaving you with the original question: Do you think we are heading towards some sort of societal reset?
LOOKING TO SET ANOTHER LTC CLASS FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7; ANYONE INTERESTED?
I had a great LTC class last Saturday. Six more students qualified to possess their LTC.
I’m considering another class on October 7. If you are interested in attending a class that date, please let me know.
DPS HOSTS LTC INSTRUCTOR RECERTIFICATION COURSE; HILARITY ENSUES
At the very real risk of sounding snarky, I must say I found a number of the questions and comments from my fellow LTC instructors at this week’s DPS Instructor Recertification Course rather concerning.
For example: Can people who “carry lots of cash” legally carry a gun without a LTC? It went downhill from there.
If you or a friend are looking for a good LTC instructor, here’s what to look for:
I am happy to help anyone find an instructor who meets their needs if I cannot do it myself. I’d rather you go to an instructor who does a great job than someone who gives you lots of war stories and bad advice. Carrying a gun for self defense is not to be taken lightly, and your instruction should not be provided by the cheapest instructor out there.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE LTC LAWS IN 2017?
I think the biggest change is the elimination of the minimum caliber requirement to take the LTC course. Beginning September 1, a LTC applicant will be able to qualify with a 22 caliber handgun. While I encourage students to qualify with at least a 9mm, legally speaking, they can qualify with any caliber they want.
This will likely result in more people taking the course. A number of folks have told me “I shoot a 22 really well but I don’t think I could shoot a 9mm well enough to pass.” I think we will see these people making the decision to take the course. At the end of the day, I would rather people get the training and license rather than be deterred by the minimum caliber requirement. But it’s my hope that anyone who qualifies with a 22 will take more training to be able to shoot a 9mm well enough to pass.
A close second in terms of important changes – the application fee for your initial LTC drops from $140 down to $40 on September 1. This drop greatly subsidizes your LTC course fees.
HEIGHTENED SOCIETAL TENSIONS INCREASE INTEREST IN PREPAREDNESS
I’m getting lots of questions over the last few days about how to get prepared cheaply and quickly. The good news it that you can in fact do it – here’s a special edition of The Situation devotedly solely to the issue of quick and fast prepping. And here’s where I tell you about a 40 Day Challenge I am doing in which I encourage you join me.
And please don’t be led to think that the attack in Barcelona today is something that “happens over there.” Thirteen people didn’t go home to their family tonight, and over 100 were injured. Pay attention to your surroundings. Be ready to act.
HURRICANE ACTIVITY PICKING UP IN ATLANTIC; TS HARVEY SET TO ENTER CARIBBEAN OVER THE WEEKEND
The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Harvey. Note there is activity further east in the Atlantic as well. We are approaching the more active time in the hurricane season. Please make sure your preps are up to date, especially if you live on the coast.
Also note the month of September historically presents a significant tornado risk to Texas. Here’s the risk level, by month, for every state.
PSA FOR NONVIOLENCE
I urge you to spend 60 seconds reading this. These are the Six Priniciples of Nonviolence from Dr. Martin Luther King. I have yet to have a student in my LTC course that wouldn’t agree with all six.
LOOKING TO SET NEXT LTC CLASS FOR SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER – SEEKING YOUR INPUT ON POSSIBLE DATES
If you’re interested in taking the LTC course, send me some dates that work for you in September and October. I will be looking to set up another class soon. As the application fee for the LTC goes down to $40 on September 1, and since you’ll be able to qualify with any caliber of your choice beginning September 1, we will likely see an uptick in people signing up to take the class.
THE SITUATION – PREPARING FOR THE NEXT FINANCIAL EMERGENCY
Preppers are really good about talking about the next financial crisis, but I find few actually do anything to prepare for it. There are a number of steps you can take – regardless of your skill level in investing – that will greatly reduce your risk of losing money and can actually help you make money during those events.
I don’t know what or when the next event will be. But if you think the current trajectory of our economy is unsustainable, you owe it to yourself and family to have a plan. You can create the plan in under an hour by following the steps in this week’s edition of The Situation:
Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to the YouTube channel or have commented on the videos.
NRA CARRY GUARD…OR SOMETHING ELSE?
No doubt you’ve heard of the NRA’s Carry Guard program. I’m still researching it (as an insurance lawyer, I’d rather read the contracts myself than rely on what the NRA or its competitors say it does and doesn’t provide), and so I hope to provide you with more analysis in the coming days.
I personally use two methods of protection from civil and criminal liability:
The NRA has definitely irked a number of people with the Carry Guard program for a host of reasons (again, I hope to have something on this in the future.) For now, I would suggest that you start doing your homework and decide what product is best for you. Ideally, you’re looking for a product that pays for your lawyer up front, rather than one that reimburses you after you’ve spent thousands of dollars to defend yourself in court.
LAS VEGAS POLICE BODY CAMERA: GUN FIGHT AND TORNIQUET USAGE!
Most people think gun fights look like something out of a movie, but the reality is that they are quite chaotic as this video shows. The language and images are graphic.
This is what it looks like, folks. Condition yourself to the likelihood of noise, yelling, injuries and significant bleeding.
There are many ways to prepare for this, including quality training at KR Training.
This past week, my high school alma mater - The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee - held its second emergency medical responder training course twelve months. I'd like to share some of our experiences with you in hopes that it helps you develop similar programs at your local schools.
Eight rising seniors and five faculty and staff members took the course which will enable them to sit for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Responders (NREMT) examination to become a state licensed emergency medical responder. The class offered at Webb consisted of six consecutive days, ten hours each, with skills training and testing, along with lecture and written testing.
The EMR certification from the NREMT is quite robust. EMRs are able to do many of the functions of an EMT-B. In addition, these responders will now be able to participate in the county EMS system, where they can get more experience and serve the community by volunteering to serve time serving on EMS ambulances and receiving additional training by the local EMS system.
In the school's rural setting, the isolation can be both an asset and liability. "Big city problems" don't generally plague Bell Buckle (population: 519, as of 2016). Conversely, EMS response times can be north of 20 minutes if the nearest ambulance isn't available. There are only four sheriff's deputies on duty at any time, meaning if there is a significant emergency on campus, the students and faculty will have to be their own responders for quite some time.
We started developing this program back in 2012 with a day long training session for student responders developed by Lone Star Medics. Over time, the school was able to join the other local high schools and receive training qualifying them to be licensed responders in the local EMS system.
As this evolves, we're learning more about how to build a strong response system along the way. We're now to point that:
Meanwhile, other schools in the area are stepping up their game. Nashville television station WKRN did a week long series on school safety this past week, with a number of good reports of what area schools are doing to protect their students and staff.
The report that really made an impression on me dealt with the efforts in Wilson County, TN school system. Watch the report for yourself. These people are doing it right:
In short, school safety programming is in a constant state of evolution. As the standard of care for school safety and security increases over time, schools must ensure they are evolving their plans to keep kids and faculty safe.
Here's where I tell you what I think about things I think about.