Survival

Survival

Caches are prepositioned resources put in place to support a future activity. Classically we "visualize" them as buried treasure but they don't have to be buried, and we will cover that a little later in this article

Shady stuff in the hills

What is a cache? Caches are prepositioned resources put in place to support a future activity. Classically we "visualize" them as buried treasure but they don't have to be buried, and we will cover that a little later in this article. Having been to a Special Forces school for this, I'm happy to say this subject is one of my favorites and an area that I have plenty of real world experience. The challenge of this article will be keeping it unclassified, so if there seems to be a "gap" in the flow of the article, accept my apologies up front I'm trying to make everyone happy... Caches have been used for centuries, there's nothing new about them but in todays fast paced disposable world they are usually overlooked as lacking imagination or to time consuming. Of course the big army (or military) as a whole doesn't really use caches, but a cache system doesn't make sense for our modern army. They come complete with supply trains and never really know where the next operation will take place. They are designed for mobility. You however are not.

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You KNOW where you will be staying, working and traveling. A cache network would fit easily into the busiest modern schedule and as we will discuss lighten your bug out loads considerably. Caches are the difference between a 100lbs Bog out Bag (BoB) and a 20lbs BoB. Use caches to offset your emergency weight and have enough that you can afford to lose a few to the elements. Caching is a process not a singular event. Why use them? DSC_0114Caches will drastically offset the amount of weight and equipment required to get from A to B on any map. If established correctly, you could have a cache set up at all of your major check points and if you don't need to contents of the cache, bypass it and save it for later. If you have ever wondered how commandos get away with traveling so light, its because we aren't just moving to a safe area I'm admitting we are cheating, and picking up food and ammo along the way that someone else buried before hand. Like a magician, the trick isn't magic, its the assistant who skillfully positions the tools needed ahead of time when no one was looking.
[gallery type="rectangular" orderby="rand" ids="2365,2366,2367,2368"] Site selection criteria. Its not good enough to just pick a gnarly oak tree and have at it. In theory you should have dozens of these located all over the place so site selection criteria has to take on a consistent, and more primary role as you develop your network. Consider:
  • 24 hour all weather access
  • Enough cover and concealment to hide loading and unloading of the cache
  • You must have access to the site, and avoid places like banks daycare or municipal buildings that will draw unwanted attention (or security footage) of your activities. There's nothing illegal about caches, but it doesn't look good hiding in the bushes of a children's park.....
  • Will it develop? Will your cache be a burger king next year?
  • Anchor points. If the cache site proper doesn't have good visual markers it may make sense to identify a reference point nearby. For instance, 3 yards due north of the North East road sign at the intersection of Mayberry and main St.
  • Anchor stakes. It may not make sense to map directly to a cache, if that's the case map to a tent stake with a string leading you to the buried goods. Experiment with different methods.
  • Always consider that SOMEONE ELSE will have to service the cache. Don't assume you will be the one who is unloading the goods. What if you're hurt? or busy saving lives? Don't assume the tree you picked is unique enough for a stranger who has never been there to pick out of the crowd.
Types of caches. I like to build caches based on themes so that's what ill discuss in this article. Most of my caches are simple food and water 24 hour kits, small and easy to hide. I have 1 large cache, that remains unmarked and only I know where it is that contains everything I need to start over... I bury this early and let it season in the elements. Consider:
  • Support cache. Food, water, clothing and medical supplies.
  • Action Caches: Ammunition and "other" supplies, just in case I get disarmed.
  • Recovery cache: Important documents, cash, food, water, ammo, perhaps a weapon, family pics you name it. If your house burned down right now, what would you need?
You can build and camouflage caches out of anything, you're limited only by your imagination. Just make sure they are double weathered sealed. Consider using packing grease when storing working "metal" parts for long periods of time and using metal containers for water. Metal containers don't leak into the water like plastic bottles do. How to organize them into usable networks. Its all about the mapping. I break my mapping down into useable blocks that are easy for family members to follow and understand. There are 3, maybe 4 basic sketches you need to learn:
  1. Macro Sketch. Think state with multiple ports of entry like airports or interstate intersections. This way my cousin Earl can drive in and find his way around.
  2. Navigator Sketch. Now that Earl has his bearing from the macro sketch, its time to get him to the area where the cache is. This is the street map level sketch that references the major ports of entry from the previous sketch, BUT gets you to the road intersection where the actual cache is located. Google maps works well here, and several navigator sketches can be support by a single Macro sketch.
  3. Micro Sketch. Now that Earl is at the right intersection, he needs to know exactly where to dig. This sketch should have the precise pace count and reference points required to walk right up to the cache and it should also include any pertinent details the user needs to know: Police station near by, bring a shovel, service between this hour and that, etc....
  4. Point of view (POV) sketch. In some cases a site may require a perspective as if seen from the person performing the task, this is the case when the person loading and unloading the cache is face with multiple but similar choices in a given are. For instance multiple paths or multiple telephone pole. It doesn't hurt to include one in every report, but frankly they aren't needed unless you gauge the circumstances to warrant the work.
Here's an organization example of how I set up my cache mapping:
  • Macro (2GA1FEB2015)
    • Navigator Bug out (Husbands work and home)
      • Micro (Support) GA323-01
      • Micro (Support) GA323-02
      • Micro (action) GA323-01a
        • with POV
      • Micro (Recovery) no mapping
    • Navigator Bug out (Wife's work and home)
      • Micro (Support) GA324-01
      • Micro (Support) GA324-02
      • Micro (Support) GA324-03
I would keep all of these in a book and even supplement the data with a Google earth maps overlay. Ideally when I forward a cache I want the information as simplified as possible yet accurate. This way in a pinch I could simply "text" it to someone and send them on their way.

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Under this organization I can group my caches and maps into zones, and maintain an underground supply network that supports multiple family members in different locations, perhaps a child in college and so on. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="2353,2355"]

Mapping.

Mapping is the trickiest part of all of this. Caches are aren't any good if YOU are the only one who can use them. But for OPSEC or data reasons you may not have access to accurate enough mapping to make this work. So make your own! [gallery type="rectangular" ids="2360,2361,2362"] The trick to this is finding the right amount of detail with out over crowding your work. Practice this amongst your own group to see what I mean. Have one person draw a map to an unknown location, and another person navigate to it with out any assistance. Then you will see how your assumption over the obviousness of a particular reference point may not be as obvious as you previously thought. There is an art to it and it must be learned and rehearsed. We wont go to far into mapping in this article, its an article all its own but we will write it up as an addition to this cache piece.

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Of course here at CAGmain we offer a wide variety of classes and that includes how to cache. Caching is a hybrid of field craft, administration and art its not just bury MREs in the woods for a rainy day. Play with Geocaching and get a feel for the venue and see what other folks have done. Its fun and family oriented I think you'll like it. Click this link to learn more! As always thank you, and please ask questions!

TR

Hemostatic Gauze Vs. Non-Hemostatic Gauze... There are many types of gauze on the market to choose, from standard gauze rolls to different types of "Hemostatic gauze", which are impregnated in substances to help stop bleeding. Without understanding the differences between a package of compressed gauze, to Combat gauze, Celox-gauze and Chito-gauze, how they work, or even if they work, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you and your medical kits. Here's the breakdown:

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Plain (Non-Hemostatic) Gauze:  Often called Kerlix, and coming in "Z-fold" or "S-rolled", or even compressed to take up less space, This is a must and a minimum. While this gauze certainly is not as good as the hemostatic gauzes in terms of controlling severe hemorrhage , It's inexpensive and versatile use make it a must. This isn't just for packing a bleeding wound that a tourniquet can't reach, it can be used as simple bandaging, dressings, stabilizing such as a sling and swathe and so much more. For the low-cost, it's a stepping stone towards hemostatic gauze. I recommend at least 2-3, and more in your house/truck kit, for those areas on your body where a tourniquet can't stop the bleeding, or for a little pressure in an extremity that is not a severe enough bleed to warrant a tourniquet. [gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" link="none" orderby="rand" ids="2327,2328,2329"] Hemostatic Gauzes - For arterial bleeding, don't risk having a non-hemostatic gauze as your Primary choice, you and your loved ones deserve the best shot at survival. What you do for bleeding control for the first few minutes is similar whether you are in an austere environment or 911 is just a few minutes away... If you don't get this bleeding stopped, it will eventually stop when the patient runs out of blood. Unlike previous generations of hemostatic gauze, these do not generate heat or burn.  Here's your choices, and how they work:
  1. Combat Gauze:  Combat Gauze is the #1 choice of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and Committee of T.C.C.C and has earned it's place. It is impregnated with kaolin, which helps the bodies clotting along much greater than using standard gauze. It's got a hefty price tag, but would you rather have a wallet with more money or a heart with enough blood to keep pumping? For a bare minimum medical pack I'd recommend at least 2, because if the first one does not work, you will have to be more aggressive your second time.
  2. Celox Gauze - Unlike Combat Gauze, Celox does not help your body itself clot but creates one. This is because when the it comes into contact with blood it creates a gel. What this means in basic terms is if your patient does not have good clotting factors ( Hypothermia, Medications such as Aspirin, etc.) this is a good choice because it works by itself instead of supporting the bodies clotting process. 3.   Chito Gauze - Chito Gauze does not rely on the bodies clotting process, as well. Instead of a gel, it uses the chitosan and dressing to slow down and stick the blood and platelets to create a clot. Again, for those with poor clotting factors, this is a good choice.
[gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="2338,2339,2340"] These are in no particular order, and I'd recommend all 3 as a good decision. While the Military recommends Combat Gauze as #1, their demographic is healthy young soldiers who likely don't have poor clotting factors. Even then, blood loss can cause hypothermia and ruin their clotting factors, making Celox or Chito-gauze an option as well. Now that you know why and how, you can make an educated purchase. Personally im a fan of Chito-Gauze, but I'm also a reasonably trained medic...

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A product is only as good as your training, so if you leave it on the shelf, it won't live up to it's potential in a stressful situation. Have a couple non-hemostatic gauze as "trainers" to practice wraps and packing wounds as free drills to keep sharp. You do dry fire drills with firearms to stay sharp, you need to dry fire your medical skills, too! [caption id="attachment_2216" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Fits in a cargo pocket CAGS Tier 1 Med Pack![/caption]

Easy question to answer! Self sufficient personnel often ask Austere Medical Professionals which medications, especially antibiotics they should stockpile to treat themselves or others in preparation of a time where the medical system may have collapsed, from geographical instability such as a Katrina like event to an economic event mirroring or worse than what Greece is currently going through.antibiotics Easy question to answer! Self sufficient personnel often ask Austere Medical Professionals which medications, especially antibiotics they should stockpile to treat themselves or others in preparation of a time where the medical system may have collapsed, from geographical instability such as a Katrina like event to an economic event mirroring or worse than what Greece is currently going through. My answer for which antibiotics/meds one should stockpile for that situation is none, maybe over-the-counter meds.  You're going to have to work hard to get from "None" to "Some."  Give me a second to explain myself.

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You can do a lot of harm by taking or giving medications, even the right ones. Best case scenario it didn't help at all, it could make it worse, and worst case be fatal. There is a reason why medical professionals are the only ones who can give certain medications. I'm not saying you need to rush out and go to Med School, but I am saying you're going to have to study and learn. While Medical Professionals have the foundation of schooling, that is not where knowledge is gained, it's where it just begins: What separates successful medical providers from the rest is studying and continuing to learn. So if a Doctor studies medications, why aren't you? Let's put it this way, You owe your patients, including yourself, the best possible treatment they could receive. Truly understanding why you're doing something is different from, "I'll buy Medication 'A' incase they have Sickness 'A'." Knowing which medication to give for which illness or injury is a knee-jerk reaction that does not account for obstacles and makes clinical judgment lazy. That's right, lazy. Medications are not just to be acquired and then left on a shelf. You don't treat by asking them to open their mouth, then throwing pills at them and whatever lands in there is good to go. You need to put some serious study hours in.

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It's the same concept as your Concealed Carry Weapon, you don't (or I hope you do not) buy it, slap a magazine in it and never touch it again; You do dry fire drills, go to the range, have spare parts, maintain and clean it. Weapons often get all the glamour, but the truth is you're far more likely to face a medical scenario, so why would you neglect the tools of the medical world? If you're going to use a medication you should know how it works, how much to give, side effects, alternate medications, and why you are giving it, etc. etc. Before that, you should know the patients history, especially medications, allergies. If they are allergic to cephalosporins, is Keflex good to give, or would you rather give Cefalexin? Is it used for gram positive or gram negative bacteria? Which antibiotics do you give for viruses? Will they survive without antibiotics? Why would you want to treat a teenager with strep throat? Now, The first antibiotic, the first medication someone should stockpile is a pharmacopeia as well as other references such as a Nursing Drug Handbook. [caption id="attachment_1968" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The good news is knowledge weighs nothing and you can take it with you everywhere! It's never hurts to have a few books on hand to double check, though. The good news is knowledge weighs nothing and you can take it with you everywhere! It's never hurts to have a few books on hand, though. There is a lot to remember and reference.[/caption]

"What if medicine is not my thing?"

If you're not that dedicated or medicine is not your forte, that is understandable. A minimum option that I wholeheartedly recommend for medical basics is the book, "When There Is No Doctor." It's used in countries as a medical reference for places that are much too far away to get help and casualty evacuation can be a voyage, much like what you and I prepare for. In addition, You can still benefit from keeping your stocks of medication, they are great to barter but may not be your level to administer care. Learning the chemistry and effects of medications takes YEARS of education and practice. Don't be in a hurry and don't settle for Google. Locate and learn how to use the references that the professionals use! CAG runs a forum called CAG NET, join and ask questions!

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Signature management is the ability to blend into your environment using different types of equipment or tradecraft. It is used to deceive your enemy’s observation equipment or mask your presence to the enemy. Just for a second, try to recall and remember the people you bumped into or encountered today while working, shopping or getting pumping gas. Most of you won't remember much unless someone or something stood out because of their clothing, attitude or language. Unless you work on a military installation, you more then likely didn’t see a whole bunch of people wearing military camouflage uniforms. When the SHTF, you may not want to take your family to your load out room and put on camouflage uniforms and body armor. Just because life just got complicated doesn't mean everyone is going to be wearing body armor and camouflage pants in the street or in town. Everything has a time and place to be used and taking just a minute to make the right choice might just save your life.Signature management is the ability to blend into your environment using different types of equipment or tradecraft. It is used to deceive your enemy’s observation equipment or mask your presence to the enemy. Just for a second, try to recall and remember the people you bumped into or encountered today while working, shopping or getting pumping gas. Most of you won't remember much unless someone or something stood out because of their clothing, attitude or language. Unless you work on a military installation, you more then likely didn’t see a whole bunch of people wearing military camouflage uniforms. When the SHTF, you may not want to take your family to your load out room and put on camouflage uniforms and body armor. Just because life just got complicated doesn't mean everyone is going to be wearing body armor and camouflage pants in the street or in town. Everything has a time and place to be used and taking just a minute to make the right choice might just save your life.2b6950e46da305872771bc6fc5de3485 Throughout my time in the military there has been one saying that has stood out and remained true in all the situations I have been in, “Right place, right time, right uniform, with the right attitude”. When the SHTF; it’s time to blend in and become the grey man/woman. You are not going want to stand out and bring attention to yourself and family. Being a "tactical peacock" could cost you your life or all of your provisions if you draw the attention of the wrong people. Does this mean you need to go and throw out all of your camouflage and hunting gear? No, because it has its place and use and is another tool in your arsenal. Think about this, if the police or federal agencies send in provocateurs to stir up trouble, they won’t wear their Sunday best in combat equipment looking all Operator as F&%k. operaator They will dress the part and blend in with the crowd. The same goes for undercover police officers today, the look and talk the part to deceive the untrained eyes and ears of criminals. You should try to blend in and go unnoticed. The best gunfight is the one you avoided. Being prepared and trained doesn't mean you should go out and look for trouble. Now let's discuss three styles of clothing.
  1. Military camouflage serves two purposes. One, it designed is to hide or conceal the soldier from the enemy and two, it provides the fighting force with a service common camouflage pattern that allows you to distinguish who is on your team. When its time to camouflage up and put on all that multi-cam gear you bought, just make sure it’s the “Right place, right time, right uniform, with the right attitude”. Remember military equipment intimidates most people. If you’re wearing combat equipment' it means you are on the offensive, you have planned a fight and its time to take action
  2. Hunting camouflage works great when trying to blend into the forest when you may need to explore or recon a new area. It takes a lot of energy and time to snoop and poop around unnoticed in full battle rattle. If it's hunting season or you're in an area where people are known to hunt, you may have access and placement when wearing commercial camo.  Just because SHTF doesn’t mean local authorities won't continue to try and enforce laws so blend in. It is a lot easier to just walk around in hunting camouflage with a hunting rifle (not a machine gun or death machine BOV you have been building in your garage). If you get caught in someone’s area and look like you belong to the military, a federal agency or a looter dressed like Rambo, the people you encounter just may shoot first and take your stuff off your dead body. But if you look like a local and act like you belong there, it just might give you that second look, just enough time to slow their reaction that could save your life (always have a back story). SF guys don't grow beards, mustaches or long hair to look cool, it's to blend in with the locals and give themselves the advantage of surprise and anonymity.dave
There are tons of low visibility techniques, from the simple like clothing, to the high tech like thermal mitigating camouflage, eventually we will cover them all. Next: Low vis/ signature rack systems verses body armor. (yes there's some 5th Group Mafia going on here for those that get it) Ski

TR

hypothermia It's 120 degrees on a hot summer day and your patient is dying of...hypothermia. You've controlled hemorrhage, have a patent airway and your patients respiration is stable. Why would you be worried about hypothermia? You don't need to be treating your patient on an iceberg for hypothermia to effect them. It's the 4th leading cause of death in Afghanistan and nearly 2/3 of all patients admitted to the Emergency Department have some form of hypothermia. It only takes a patients core going under 95' degrees to be considered hypothermic, which can happen even in 120' weather, especially if you've lost enough blood that your body is unable to stabilize itself.  There is a reason hypothermia has earned it's place in the algorithm "MARCH" and needs to be addressed in your austere medical considerations.  If you haven't got it by now, I'd recommend adding a survival blanket as a minimum, or an Hypothermia Prevention and Management Kit or HPMK. We will go over the benefits and how to use them because a proper wrap will save heat and it's more than just putting a blanket on them. Survival Blanket / "Space Blanket" Hypothermia Prevention and Management Kit (HPMK)