Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Three Survival Items Worth Saving For

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About this time last year, heavy rains caused widespread flooding in parts of Texas, prompting many people to evacuate their homes. But in Rosharon, Texas, one family chose not to leave as the floodwaters rose. Instead, they built a dam around their home and decided to stay.

Yes, you read that right — this enterprising family built a dam around their entire home to hold back the floodwaters.

You see, when local authorities warned Rosharon residents about the potential flooding, Randy Wagner decided to begin his preparations. He purchased a product called AquaDam, which is basically a giant tube you fill with water. Randy bought 400 feet of the 30-inch tubing, placed it around his home and filled it up.

Neighbors were leery, and local news station KHOU quoted Wagner as saying, “I was the crazy guy. Everybody was kind of going by, laughing at me. But today, they are really impressed with this AquaDam.”

As the rain intensified, the water level outside the dam reached 27 inches. But the floodwater never breached Randy’s dam, and he and his family remained safe.

The Price of Survival

Now, building a dam around your house is not cheap. In fact, Randy paid approximately $8,300 for his AquaDam. However, it potentially prevented a lot of damage to his home, saving him tens of thousands of dollars in repairs — and a huge headache. From a cost/benefits perspective, Randy definitely made a good choice.

Like the AquaDam, there are many great survival items we could all use — if they didn’t cost thousands of dollars. So until you win the lottery, here are some items I recommend saving up to purchase. One day, they just might save you.

1) Food Storage: You’re probably thinking, I can build up food storage. That’s not expensive. But I’m talking about building an entire year’s worth of food storage, which can be expensive, so I recommend building it up slowly.

Food storage is critical because not only will it save you in a survival situation, but it can also be a relief in times of financial crisis — like a job loss, medical emergency or other unforeseen circumstances that tighten your purse strings.

By accumulating an entire year’s worth of food, you can be confident in your ability to feed your family. Just remember to be mindful of expiration dates and rotate your food storage regularly so it doesn’t spoil.

2) Generator: When it comes to generators, there are a range of different options. For thousands of dollars, you can install a huge generator that will power your entire home. Another (cheaper) option is to buy a portable generator to power just the necessities.

Both choices have their advantages. A generator attached to your home, for example, has more juice to power more items. However, a portable generator can be taken with you in an emergency.

Either way, it’s worth spending the money to buy a quality generator in the event you are without power for an extended time. Personally, I prefer a portable propane generator, but that’s only one alternative. Do some research and find the option that best meets the needs of you and your family.

3) Guns & Ammo: Since I’m a big gun guy, I have more than a few guns in my home that I can use to protect my family. And since you never know how long a crisis situation will last, I have also stockpiled plenty of ammo — I strongly encourage you to do the same.

I recommend having at least 1,000 rounds for each caliber of firearm you own. If you own several guns of the same caliber — 9 mm, for example — you may want to increase your supply to 2,000 rounds. Remember, you may need to use your firearms to hunt as well as defend your family, and a gun without ammo is useless.

The Bottom Line

Of course, the items mentioned above can be purchased on a budget. But the more money you spend on stocking up, the bigger the benefit in the long term.

And while you’re at it, think like Randy Wagner and look for ways you can reduce damage to your home from natural disasters. For example, if you live in a hurricane-prone area, keep sheets of plywood on hand to cover your windows, and make sure your roof is in good shape. Or if you live in an area where earthquakes occur, look for ways to reinforce the structural integrity of your home.

At the end of the day, I would much rather be like Randy Wagner and have my neighbors laugh at me than have my home trashed during a natural disaster.


Spy pen in action


  • Fred Philibert says:

    I googled Randy Wagner, and read his story on the weather channel. Then I looked at some of the photos of Flood Evacuees and rescues. While I did see some innovative floatation methods – Air beds and plastic tote bins – I was struck by the fact that I didn’t see a single person carrying a Bug-out bag. The closest seen were some plastic garbage bags, filled with who knows what, definitely not anything that was planned. If you’re reading this, and you don’t have a bag packed, pack one NOW! Choose your items from what you have on hand RIGHT NOW. Then think about what you may want to add in the future. And, if you hear of a flood or other danger coming, at least you will have a starting point you can modify, if you have time. If not, at least you have something.

  • Dale says:

    The story doesn’t exactly match the photo. I’d be nice to have a photo of his place surrounded by water but safely protected from it.

    • Jason Crawford says:

      Hey Dale,

      I do my best to match photos with the story. However, without being there to take the picture myself, getting the photo of the actual event would require us taking it from somewhere else, which may violate certain ownership rights. And we advocate protecting private property here.

      If you happen to have a photo that better describes the situation and are willing to give us the rights to use it, I’d love to put it in the story.


  • Marie elsom says:

    I’m sorry to report that last night at the Detroit airport my tactical pen was noticed and taken from me when I went through security. The TSA person checked with two other TSA people, and the second person nixed the pen. I will be replacing it but probably will carry it in my checked bag in the future.

    • Jason Crawford says:

      Hey Marie,

      We’ve been hearing a few stories about that lately. A tactical pen is still a great tool, but many airports are starting to catch on. We’re now recommending that people check their tactical pens and utilize other means of protection on airplanes. Many people have reported that they’ve had better luck keeping it in their carry-on bag rather than their person. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that anything will get passed security these days.

      • Joel ALTMAN says:

        I suggest the Cold Steel Pocket Shark. It’s plastic & I’ve never had mine questioned.

        • Jason Crawford says:

          Hey Joel,

          I checked a couple of reviews on the Cold Steel Pocket Shark and I wouldn’t recommend it. First, it doesn’t seem to have any sharp point of impact. This means that it’s just another dull object that needs brute force to be effective. It’s also huge and conspicuous. The tactical pen’s sharp point not only makes it a great tool for poking an attacker, but it can be used to shatter glass among other things.

          It’s only $8, so not a huge waste of money if you don’t like it, but I couldn’t see myself using that as a regular pen. I use my tactical pen to write every day, so it’s always with me. I know we’re talking specifically about getting past airport security here, but I think I’d go for a rolled up airline magazine over the Pocket Shark.

          But if you’re happy with yours, I’m glad to hear it. Maybe the reviews I saw painted in a bad light, but it all looks accurate from the videos.


  • Nils Mellquist says:

    In your book you have a few free offers like the keychain and credit card knife. How do I claim these goodies? Thx, Nils

  • Earl Morgan says:

    I can’t agree with you more regarding the ammo. A gun without ammo is an expensive stick.

  • Schevonne says:

    Hi. I am a single female that loves to hike. I will be attempting 350km of the Camino De Santiago, alone this summer. I have been training for this adventure. I do a lot of solo hiking in the Pacific Northwest. I have heard of a few single woman hikers being attacked/assaulted or in one case go missing during their journey to Santiago. I also want to complete the Mont Blanc hike in Europe soon, once again traveling as a single woman alone across Europe. I have no formal self defense training and will only be carrying a good quality Swiss Army knife for conventional reasons vs. self defense reasons along my long hikes. Would you advise I come to your ranch for formal training or are your self defense videos, bug out kit advice and products such as the pen and flashlight sufficient to take along with me? Please bear in mind I am trying to keep my back pack as light as possible with the most intelligent essentials when responding. I have ordered a few things off your website so far but do not want to duplicate my efforts so would greatly appreciate your best advice on me gaining the most amount of experience and acquiring the right gear to protect me in any and all situations I may encounter. I look forward to hearing from you. With many thanks and best regards!

    • Jason Crawford says:

      Hey Schevonne,

      I will make sure Jason Hanson gets this question, but he’s incredibly busy this week and may not be able to get to it anytime soon. I suspect our answers will be pretty much the same, so I’m going to give you an answer now and see if he wants to add to it later.

      I highly recommend taking one of our courses for anyone who will be traveling. They’re not dedicated self-defense courses, but rather tailored for those who might be at risk of any dangers of being in a new environment. We cover things like hotel security, social engineering, secure communications, and so on. While we do include some basic self-defense, our courses are much more inclusive and definitely a good idea for anyone who will be traveling.

      That being said, as of last week I still don’t have confirmed dates to publish for any upcoming courses. We just completed one in April and are in the process of scheduling new ones. Let me know if you’d like to be added to our contact list to be notified as soon as we have confirmed dates.

      As for a dedicated self-defense tool, I would seriously look at the micro-spy tool ( ). It looks a little silly and I didn’t take it very seriously myself at first. But the first time I got one in my hands, I understood it’s value. I now think it’s the best option for people who have little or no experience with defense. It has a total 12 sharp corners pointing in various directions. Unlike knives and other devices where you need to have the skill and composure to keep a blade or fixed point at the proper angle to your threat, this tool basically allows you to swing in panic and hurt your attacker. You’ll also have no problem getting this tool into various countries in your checked bag. Most people have reported that they’ve been able to carry it in their carried luggage, but there will always be a risk there with airport security. So if you’re going to carry one on you, I recommend you take two (one in checked luggage).

      If you have any other questions or comments, please let me know.

      Safe Travels!

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