Hey everyone, it’s Friday! And to celebrate the awesomeness that is the oncoming of the beloved weekend, we have a really great giveaway for you today: Prepared Associates, a Maine-based company committed to helping people learn to prepare for the worst, is giving away a slot for one of you, our wonderful readers, in their upcoming May 3rd, 2014 Urban Skills Challenge. There is a caveat – the course occurs in Portland, Maine, so you should really be from the Northeast US and willing to travel up to the thriving metropolis of Portland to attend. If you live in Utah and you wanna fly out to attend the course, so be it, but we’re not footing the bill. :) I will personally be attending the course and will go through it with you, and hell, maybe even take you out to lunch afterwards if you don’t hate me. I’m trying to get Jarhead Survivor to jump on board with the class too, but no promises yet.
Stuart Thomas with a class
Who are Prepared Associates?
Prepared Associates (check out their website here, their Facebook page here) is run by a great guy named Stuart Thomas. In a lengthy email exchange we had, Stuart said that, “I started my company with the sole goal of providing practical, hands-on prepper training without all the doom and gloom….I decided to start Prepared Associates LLC after looking around and seeing that there was a niche needing filled. I have clients who are way into the zombie thing, all the way to those who just want an emergency kit for their cars. I don’t make judgements on what people are prepping for, I just assist them in meeting their goals, whatever they may be.” Stuart doesn’t run in the go-for-the-throat doomer crowd; he wants people to be prepared for ANY disaster, whether it be a fire in the home or an EMP blast.
And he’s really put the boots to the pavement. He offers extensive classes that cover many fundamentals needed for survival, from getting your Get-Home-Bag squared away and how to use it, to procuring a HAM radio licence, to long-term food and water storage, to pet first aid, with others to boot…including the Urban Skills Challenge giveaway offered today. Prepared Associates offers top-quality pre-made Emergency Kits that offer the highest-quality gear possible, with – GET THIS – actual step-by-step instructions that show you how to use EACH PIECE OF GEAR in your pack, so you can learn how to use it all at your leisure, right at home. It’s nice knowing you have the best gear, but also the knowledge that you know how to use it when the time arises; that’s a nice touch.
Prepared Associates also offers Business Emergency training, so if a man-made or natural disaster befalls your area while you are working, you have training of what to do in your building/business/area. You can also go in one-on-one and use Preparedness Associates to consult with (for a nominal hourly fee) to sit down and get yourself squared away for emergencies. Stuart writes a blog, available to read on the Prepared Associates website, where he goes over gear reviews, accounts from disaster survivors, or class training he’s had. It’s good stuff to read over, with its excellent well-documented content and graphic/photography use.
Stuart also started the Prepper Skills Group, a meetup.com based group that coordinates preppers to get together on varying subjects, whether it’s basic land navigation primers, or Bug-Out Vehicle preparedness, or a collaboration on how to combat cabin fever (amongst other things). It’s a comprehensive way for people of a common mindset to get some face time away from a computer or TV, and learn from each other, not a YouTube video, and to practice their own skills with others there to help with hints and tips, or learn from your strengths. It’s a great idea (I joined up, and will be attending classes) and I applaud his efforts. This guy lives and breathes this stuff, folks, and THAT’S the kind of guy I want to center and learn from – not someone who’s there because he/she is told to be. The courses are all VERY reasonably priced, as well.
The Urban Skills Challenge
So what is this Urban Skills Challenge course that we’re giving away, anyway? Well, first, go HERE and check it out. Watch the YouTube teaser. It’s a course that’s pretty damn cool in its pretense: Go in thinking that Portland, ME has befallen a disaster. The webpage sets the pretense: “Smoke, fire, and destruction engulfs the city of Portland, Maine. A disaster on an epic scale has occurred but no one seems to know the cause. True to human nature….rumors abound. The power grid and communications are down. Roads gridlocked. People are quickly panicking. You need to get out of town to a safe place. Do you possess the skills and gear necessary to complete the trip?”
Yes, a little imagination and role-playing will be involved…but this is the kind of training that will get your brain in gear, and your gear…well, in gear. When you to to a firearms training class, you don’t think that paper target is just a tree-derived human silhouette; you get your mind thinking it’s a badguy that’s gonna do you harm. The same works with this: get your mind in line with what the basic parameters are, and you will train it to work properly when those parameters come again.
This will be a six-mile course (with frequent breaks) through Portland…so make sure you’re physically up to a six-hour, six-mile walk in urban conditions before you enter. It won’t be a race, but it will be a group effort to make sure everyone gets to the end. Along the way, Stuart will teach techniques and skills, and there will be “skill stations” where we learn and practice urban survival skills, such as:
-Escaping urban centers during emergencies
-What to have in emergency kits, and how to carry it
-Procuring water and filtering it
There will be a few things needed for you to bring along, as well.
-$30 EMERGENCY cash
-First aid kit
-Two liters of water
-Lunch and snacks
-Change of socks/clothes
-High quality compass
-Lightweight jacket (Portland is a coastal city and it can be breezy)
-Appropriate clothing and footwear (flip-flops and high-heeled shoes are probably a no-go.)
I asked Stuart about specifics, and he said that if you don’t have things like a compass or water filter or stove (why wouldn’t you, is what I wanna know), don’t sweat it. There will be others who have the gear and we’ll share and play nice…this is a team effort. You can just bring everything in a cheapo grocery store bag, or don your whole bug-out bag! This will be a great way to get your own personal gear sorted out while learning from others successes and mistakes. Just be sure to bring a few bucks cash, good shoes, food and water. Emergency cards with insurance information, emergency contact info and allergies might be good too, just in case you get bitten by a rabid sewer rat or something. (kidding! but you never know….)
Sounds like fun, yes? I thought so! So how do you enter? Good question! Again, remember, THIS IS IN PORTLAND, MAINE. You must be willing to get there on the day and time provided under your own power and dime. If you are physically able to make the six-mile trek with a pack on, and you are able to be in Portland, ME on May 3rd, 2014, at 9am, then here’s what you need to leave in the comments section of THIS POST:
-Leave a suggestion for an idea of ONE BLOG POST you’d like to see written here on SHTFblog.com
-Tell us what state you reside in (and I don’t mean confusion, etc.), and state that you are willing to get to Maine for the course.
FOR EXTRA ENTRIES:
If you are on Facebook, “Like” and follow Prepared Associates and “like” and follow SHTFblog.com (I know it hasn’t been updated in a while, but that’s changing soon. You should be sure to “like” those pages anyway!!!), and mention in your entry comment that you have done so!
How’s that sound? I’m pretty excited to do this and to meet a reader. I’m sorry to exclude many of the readers, but this is a great opportunity. For anyone else, feel free to enter a suggestion about a blog post you’d like to see…we like to keep our readers happy!
Have a great weekend, and stay safe!