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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Product of the Day

There are endless uses for a good length of paracord, but how to carry it on an everyday basis?

How about the Paracord Bracelet Parachute Cord Survival 550!

I'll be ordering a couple of these for myself and family.

Basic Survival Gear

It seems everyone likes lists. Lists can be used as a quick reference point and a guide when stockpiling survival gear, keep in mind that this is only a guide and not formed in stone, the end product should be tailor made for you and your needs. After all who knows your skills, location and resources better than you? But with that being said; I feel this list is a good starting point and a thrust in the right direction.

I have purposely left out such items as cookware, clothing and other everyday household items, for the fact every home should already have a plentiful supply of these everyday staples. I have also not included food, barter goods or firearms since these have already been covered in my Survival 101 series.

I have tried to keep this list as short and to the point as possible, including only items I feel to be absolutely essential. Sure you could survive with less, but with some basic gear things become less of a challenge. If nothing else it should generate discourse, lets get started.

  1. (Grain Mill – Back to Basics 555 or Universal 500 ) are basic budget mills that will get the job done with a lot of work and elbow grease. The Country Living Grain Mill is much faster and easier to use, but more expensive then the other two, and out of our budget here.
  2. Water Filter - American-made Aqua Rain brand and if budget allows the Katadyn Hiker PRO Microfilter is a good back up unit.
  3. Coleman Dual Fuel Gas Stove, extra mantles and Coleman Two-Mantle Dual Fuel Powerhouse Lantern and at least six gallon of white gas.
  4. Sleeping bag for each person in your group. A good rule of thumb is to think about the coldest condition you might experience, and then drop down ten or twenty degrees in the temperature rating when choosing a bag.
  5. A good belt knife and a Victorinox Swiss Pocket Knife or Leatherman Multitool for each person in your group is recommended.
  6. A large box of 4-mill plastic sheeting.
  7. 250 feet of 3/8 inch nylon rope.
  8. $20 worth of wooden kitchen matches, stored in waterproof containers.
  9. A rake, shovel and hoe for every two people in your group.
  10. Chain Saw, extra chain and box files, mixing oil, bar oil and five or more gallon of fuel. Choose a saw that is powerful enough to get the job done but light enough so it doesn’t ware you down prematurely.
  11. Two-man crosscut saw and file, bow saw and extra blade, ax and sharpening files.
  12. Comprehensive Medical kit and the skills to put it to use if the need should arise.
  13. Flashlight, Maglite or equivalent with extra batteries and bulb.
  14. Walkie Talkies rated at a 5 mile range or better; check at Wal-Mart in the electronic department.
  15. Shortwave receiver with AM and FM, weather and citizens (cb) bands .
  16. Leather Work Gloves.
From http://thesurvivalistblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Survival%20101

Sustainable Urban Agriculture?

Posted in Survival Food by Rob Taylor on August 20th, 2007

That’s the promise Garden Girl makes on her website. Good tips for those of you who want to try your hand an small scale food production which is a good idea. You never know when a few extra chickens and tomatoes will come in handy!

Here’s a promo video chock full of tips for the beginning urban farmer:

Link of the Day

The Yahoogroup "MSM - misc_survivalism_moderated"

Huge range of topics on Survivalism and Preparedness.


Quote of the Day

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. Charles Darwin

What is the difference between a recession and a depression?

THE word “depression” is popping up more often than at any time in the past 60 years, but what exactly does it mean? The popular rule of thumb for a recession is two consecutive quarters of falling GDP. America’s National Bureau of Economic Research has officially declared a recession based on a more rigorous analysis of a range of economic indicators. But there is no widely accepted definition of depression. So how severe does this current slump have to get before it warrants the “D” word? Diagnosing depression

How to Find the North Star

The North Star Points True North

Knowing how to find the north star in the northern hemisphere is one of the most basic survival skills.

Those of us in the north are fortunate to have the North Star as a handy survival tool for determining direction without a compass. Visible from the surface of the earth during clear nights, nearly everybody has heard of this celestial body and most probably feel confident they would be able to find the North Star whenever they choose.

For many thousands of years Polaris has been used as a guiding star and reference point for navigators and astronomers. Through experience and observation wayfarers discovered the North Star lights the way to true north.

In ancient times locating this lodestar was crucial to navigating long distances through the wilderness. The beauty of using the north star for navigation is that unlike a magnetic compass the north star always points to to true north. There is no magnetic declination to deal with.

locating the north star
North Star Location

By shear luck, the northern axis of the earth points directly toward the North Star. This means that when you are observing this star you are facing true north toward the North Pole. Because of this we also call the North Star the Polestar or Polaris, its astronomic name.

When you are facing the North Star you are looking toward true north. This is because by chance this lodestar lines up with the celestial sphere almost perfectly, so that all other stars appear to rotate around it. Simply by finding the North Star travelers are able to determine all the points of the compass: westward would be on your left, eastward to the right, and southward in back of you.

Do You Know Where the North Star Is?

Experience has shown that knowing about and reliably locating the North Star in the night sky are two different things. Being lost in the wilderness without a compass is not the time to be trying to figure out where the northern polestar is.

You need to know where the north star is before it is a matter of survival.

Many people erroneously think the North Star is one of the brightest stars in the sky and so is easy to find. In actuality the star is not so outstanding in its order of magnitude, or brightness, which is about average when compared to all the other stars in the celestial sphere.

Finding the Big Dipper is Key to Finding the North Star

The key to locating the North Star in the night sky is to first find the Big Dipper, a constellation of stars known as Ursa Major (the dippers are not a true constellations. They are groups of stars known as asterisms located within a constellation). The Big Dipper is perhaps the best known group of stars in the northern sky and is easy to distinguish from all others. Also known as the Great Bear, the Big Dipper is located just north of the celestial pole. Knowing how to find the Big Dipper makes it easy to find the north star.

The second key to finding the North Star is a similarly shaped constellation of stars known as the Little Dipper. The Little Dipper, also known as Ursa Minor, is smaller and more difficult to find in the night sky. Fortunately its big brother the Big Dipper points the way.

The PoleStar we are seeking is the brightest of the Little Dipper stars and is located at the tip of the dipper’s handle.

Directions To Find the North Star

  1. Locate the Big Dipper in the northern sky. Knowing how to find the Big Dipper is easy due to its large size and distinct shape. Depending upon the time of the year constellation of stars may be tipped in different directions as it rotates around the polestar.
  2. As shown in the diagram, locate the two stars that form the outer edge of the Big Dipper.
  3. Draw an imaginary line straight through the two stars of the dipper edge and toward the Little Dipper. The line will point very close to the handle of the Little Dipper.
  4. The brightest star in the Little Dipper is at the end of its handle. This is the North Star.
  5. Congratulations, you now know how to find the North Star, Polestar, or Lodestar.

Find the North Star and Discover Your Latitude

When you have found the north star you can also use it to determine your latitude north of the equator. Simply measure the angle formed between the horizon and the polestar. And there you have it!

A Stellar Performance

Now that you know

  1. How to Find the North Star.
  2. Determine the direction of the four cardinal points using the North Star.
  3. Discover your latitude above the equator.
Knowing how to find the north star is not at all difficult. I recommend you do some star gazing on the next clear night!

From: http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/how-to-find-the-north-star/

Food Shortages Hitting America!

Posted in Getting Prepared, Survival News by Rob Taylor on April 21st, 2008

Time to start hoarding food, and some ammunition? From The New York Sun:

Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. “You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

The story goes on to detail the grumbling of people who don’t realize their support for “green” this or that (especially Ethanol) has led the world to the brink of starvation. There is much complaining about the current trend of of big box stores limiting purchases of rice and other staples. Then the survivalists chime in:

The curbs and shortages are being tracked with concern by survivalists who view the phenomenon as a harbinger of more serious trouble to come.

“It’s sporadic. It’s not every store, but it’s becoming more commonplace,” the editor of SurvivalBlog.com, James Rawles, said. “The number of reports I’ve been getting from readers who have seen signs posted with limits has increased almost exponentially, I’d say in the last three to five weeks.”

Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of new contract for foreign rice sales.

“I’m surprised the Bush administration hasn’t slapped export controls on wheat,” Mr. Rawles said. “The Asian countries are here buying every kind of wheat.”

Mr. Rawles said it is hard to know how much of the shortages are due to lagging supply and how much is caused by consumers hedging against future price hikes or a total lack of product.

“There have been so many stories about worldwide shortages that it encourages people to stock up. What most people don’t realize is that supply chains have changed, so inventories are very short,” Mr. Rawles, a former Army intelligence officer, said. “Even if people increased their purchasing by 20%, all the store shelves would be wiped out.”

Panic inducing stuff. Speakng as a crazed survivalist myself (with the fallow blog to prove it) I say Rawles, a man who uses radical leftist websites to “prove” America’s on the verge of collapse, isn’t over stating this one. Food shortages are real and even one season of corn crop lost here to trendy eco-nonsense has serious repercussions for the rest of the world.

I’m a free marketer but in this case Bush should be looking into some export caps, because the food shortages world wide will have a cascading effect as countries buy out our stock of food, causing more shortages and ultimately more chaos. If you’re going shopping stock up on long lasting foods you’ll be able to break out 4-8 months from now when shortages drive prices up beyond the ability of many to afford.

Me? I like my canned chicken breast, baked beans and canned fruit. But you’ll want a bigger variety, especially if you have kids. Beans are a good source of protein and most canned vegetables have a long enough shelf life to make storing them when they’re on sale easy.

Don’t panic, but be prepared.

Alternate plans for safe retreats

By Joseph Parish

While we may think that we are clever and very smart when it comes to creating different scenarios which could take place in the real world when danger threatens us we may find that we are merely fooling ourselves. We will never know for sure if we are selecting the proper course of hunkering down or perhaps to bug out.

Consider for a moment that you and your family had all your supplies wiped out as a result of a disaster. There are a considerable number of scenarios which come to mind as to how this could easily come about however let’s for a minute assume that this has actually occurred after all of your years of disaster planning and making all the necessary preparations. All your food, weapons, supplies, medicines and first aid materials, fishing and hunting supplies gone, your alternative power equipment gone, all your camping gear destroyed, your clothing left in rags, the BOV damage4d beyond repair, no fuel what-so-ever, communications gear completely wiped out, seeds destroyed and perhaps your home and bug out location has been over run and taken over.

In such situations do you have alternate plans in the making? Can you honestly say that this could not happen to you? Well it could and provisions must be made to deal with emergency situations such as these.

I am sure the act of after thought will quickly come to mind with ideas as to what you could have done differently to prevent this from happening. How could you have prevented the loss of all your supplies?

You may only be a single individual who has worked hard to prepare for any sort of emergency or you might even belong to a group of like minded people who have built up a stockpile for several decades. But either way you could be looking at many years of hard work and preparation gone in a short period of time. Keep in mind that it only takes a larger majority of people to quickly over throw and reverse what you have worked so hard to accomplish.

I bring this type of scenario up at this time so that many of us can give it proper thought and perhaps be better prepared with our hidden cache in the event that we are actually over thrown. If any of us remain in the city or the suburbs it will only be a matter of time before we are attacked by outsiders who have failed to store supplies of their own. What moves can we take to protect and preserve what we have accumulated? Would it be possible to maintain supplies in more then one location? If you are in a group would you consider it a safety move to not inform so many of the members of your group of all the locations of stored supplies? Proper planning must take place now and not when TSHTF and you are confronted by the hordes of freeloaders, vicious gangs of thugs, frightened and scared neighbors, and national martial law or presented with the anti-hoarding laws.

The problem doesn’t stop with having your garage or basement filled with supplies. The point to be made here is you can loose it all very easily.

In reviewing the situation we are presented with several alternatives. The first is that we could choose to hunker down with our retreat. This retreat could have a lot of supplies in it plus perhaps a wood burning stove for winter time heat. This retreat should not be visible from the road and we must remember that wood burning stove send out smoke signals that we are there.

Our next plan may be to bug out with the supplies which we can carry in our BOV and maybe an attached trailer. Possibly you have picked out a site somewhere that you feel would be safe. Is the site easily accessed? If so that is not good. Is it near a body of water? This would be a plus for the site. For power would you use a generator? Once again this would certainly give your location away if your equipment were noisy. What about fuel to run the generator? Have you stored up on that?

These are merely scratching the surface of possible scenarios that could take place. Sit down and consider your own situation and what could happen in your neck of the woods to affect all your hard worked out plans.

Copyright @2008 Joseph Parish

How to Use A Fire Steel

Firesteel and Scraper
A FireSteel.com Fire Steel and scraper

Before we get down to actually using a Fire Steel, we need to understand one of the most important survival rules of all:

Survival Gear is only as good as the ability of the person who uses it.

As an example consider a very simple tool, the axe. In my area there are men who were just about born with an axe in their hands. Give them a well sharpened axe and with three or four deft blows they can slice right through a six-inch thick hardwood tree as though it were made of butter.

Hand the same axe to someone else and after 30 or 40 hacks into the tree they may throw the axe down in disgust and declare the tool is poorly made and does not cut worth a damn. After all they declare, they were in the Boy Scouts or in the army and used axes and cutting implements a number of times.

To be fair, they probably are familiar with the axe, compass, or some other survival related gear that is the subject of problems. But that does not mean they are using it optimally or correctly and it certainly does not mean they are an expert at its usage.

Firesteel and Scraper
FireSteel.com Scraper Teeth

These teeth and ridges, located on the backside of the scraper, are the key to generating sparks on a Fire Steel.

Having started some campfires in Boy Scouts does not an expert fire maker make. As with every human endeavor, there is a scale of abilities that range from neophyte to expert. Getting to the expert level can take a great deal of experience in all conditions mother nature can dish out and is certainly not based on a scrap of paper given at the end of a seminar or class.

Another problem arises. Human nature being what it is, once someone takes the stance that the gear is at fault it can be very difficult to get them to believe it could be the user instead. That is why people will sometimes disbelieve the reading from compass when they are lost. After all, they have used a compass a number of times and they never got lost before!

FireSteel.com Fire Steels

Now that we understand the vital importance of the User of survival gear, we can learn how to optimally create sparks using a FireSteel.com Fire Steel.

First of all, try to remove all prior notions you may already have about using Fire Steels and follow my instructions to the word. Even if you are already a proficient user of Fire Steels, you may discover a tweak or two that can improve your abilities. Secondly, read the following carefully – because I cannot know your particular knowledge and abilities I will have to start with the very basics and work from there.

To make sparks with a Fire Steel requires two components.

  1. The Fire Steel itself
  2. The scraper
Firesteel and Scraper
FireSteel.com Scraper Nock

Fit the Fire Steel snugly into the nock formed by the wide and the narrow portion of the scraper

Because the Fire Steel “is what it is” there is little we can do to tweak it. However the scraper bears further investigation.

Fire Steel Scrapers

Although I have been able to scrape sparks from Fire Steels using a shard of ordinary glass, some objects work better than others. Good scrapers for making sparks include:

  • Blades of knives - including survival and bushcraft knives.

  • Backs of knives

  • Hacksaw blades – both the toothed edge and the opposite side.

  • Various other thin metal pieces.

  • FireSteel.com specially made scrapers.

Important attributes of a good Fire Steel scraper are hardness, strength against deformity as it is scraped against the metal of the Fire Steel, and its size and shape allowing your fingers a good grip.

It is important to note that not all materials when used as a scraper for Fire Steels will perform in the same way. For example, some knives when scraped along a Fire Steel will produce more sparks than others. In general high carbon steel blades are harder and more spark producing. The bottom line is you will have to experiment some to find what works best for you.

Firesteel and Scraper

The Angle is Important

For optimum sparking, the angle you hold your scraper is important

In this photo you can see the proper way to hold the FireSteel.com scraper.

Make sure the word "UP" is facing toward the hand and fingers holding the fire steel. Hold the scraper at about a 45-degree angle to the fire steel. Scrape the fire steel in the direction away from you.

Tests I have performed show that with prolonged usage as Fire Steel scrapers some blades, including hacksaw blades, will degrade. This may be due to mechanically rubbing the metal of the blade against the metal Fire Steel rod and the 5,500 degree temperature of the sparks.

Because the edges of some scrapers degrade with use, you may have to occasionally obtain a fresh scraper in order to optimally create sparks from your Fire Steel.

Using FireSteel.com Scrapers

An important quality of FireSteel.com scrapers is that they are not prone to degradation during repeated use with Fire Steels as are many knives and blades.

In talking with many users of FireSteel.com scrapers, I am surprised to find that some are using the scrapers upside down or even scraping the Fire Steels with the wrong end. Using the scraper incorrectly will of course lead to sub-par performance.

Once again, survival gear is only as good as the ability of the person who uses it.

If you take a close look at your FireSteel.com scraper you will note there is

  • A front side, where the word “UP” and the “FireSteel.com” logo is engraved into the metal.

  • A back side where there are no words.

  • A right-side up (with the word “UP” in normal readable position).

  • An upside down (with the word “UP” being upside down).

  • A left side (the narrow portion where the word “UP” is printed).

  • A right side (where the “FireSteel.com logo is printed”)

Take a look at the back side of your FireSteel.com scraper (the side that has no wordage). If you closely observe the narrow portion of the scraper you will see and feel a set of “teeth” with raised ridges. In the picture a pencil is being used to point directly at them.

These teeth are the working portion of the scraper. You want them bite into the Fire Steel as you move the scraper along it in a quick and fluid motion.

To optimally use the FireSteel.com scraper:

  1. Grasp the right side of the scraper firmly in your right hand so that your thumb covers the “FireSteel.com logo. You want a good solid grip.

  2. Grasp one end of the Fire Steel firmly in the fingers of your left hand.

  3. Place the Fire Steel in the “nock” of the scraper (where the narrow part meets the wider part), being sure that the word “UP” on the scraper is readable and facing the fingers holding the fire steel.

  4. Tilt the scraper so that it makes an angle of about 45 degrees with the Fire Steel. This will allow the teeth on the scraper to dig into the Fire Steel.

  5. Press the scraper down hard onto the fire steel.

  6. In one fluid motion, while continuing to press the scraper down hard, scrape along the entire length of the rod in the direction away from you. The key is to scrape hard and scrape fast.

  7. Sparks will fly.

Troubleshooting Your FireSteel

Sometimes with use the surface of a Fire Steel will become very smooth, so that a scraper is merely running over its surface and not biting in at all. This problem can be remedied by roughing up the surface of the fire steel. The teeth on the FireSteel.com scrapers can be used for this purpose.

So there you have it, the basic how to use a fire steel instruction. In our next Survival Topics we will make sparks with Fire Steels and use them to start fires in actual outdoor conditions.

Original at: http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/how-to-use-a-firesteel/

Winter Storm Info

by Chris Killmer

A winter storm can range from moderate snow over a few hours to blizzard conditions that last several days. Some winter storms may be large enough to affect several states, while others may affect only a single community. All winter storms are accompanied by low temperatures and blowing snow, which can severely reduce visibility. A Sever Winter Storm is one that drops four (4) or more inches of snow during a 12-hour period or six (6) or more inches during a 24 hour span. An Ice Storm occurs when freezing rain falls and freezes immediately on impact. All winter storms make walking and driving extremely hazardous.

Winter Weather Awareness Tips:

Be Aware

Know what winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean.

A National Weather Service Winter Storm watch is a message indicating that conditions are favorable for hazardous winter precipitation to develop.

An NWS warning indicates that a winter storm is occurring or is imminent, and could threaten life and property.

A blizzard warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable falling or blowing snow are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.

Depend on your NOAA Weather Radio along with local radio and television stations for weather reports.

Plan for a Winter Storm

Develop a Family Disaster Plan for winter storms. Discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together when a winter storm hits.

Understand the hazards of wind chill. Cold temperatures are even more dangerous, and potentially deadly, when combined with strong winds. The lower the temperature and stronger the wind, the more at risk you are.

Check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Make sure they are prepared.

Don’t forget about the pets. Make sure they have good food and water supplies and a place to seek shelter.

Have your car winterized before winter storm season. During winter storm season keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.

Protect Your Property

Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary insulate walls and attic. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills.

Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.

To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.

Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.

Know how to shut off water valves.

Install and check smoke alarms.

Keep safe emergency heating equipment, such as a fireplace with wood. Always be cautious in using a portable space heater. Consider storing extra heating fuel

If You Must Go Out During a Winter Storm:

The best way to stay safe in a snowstorm is not to be out in it. Long periods of exposure to severe cold can result in frostbite or hypothermia. It is easy to become disoriented in blowing snow.

Stretch before you do so. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.

Avoid over exertion such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow.

Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather.

Dress in many layers and wear a hat and mittens.

Come inside often for warm-up breaks.

If you start to shiver or get very tired, or if your nose, fingers, toes, or ear lobes start to feel numb or turn very pale, come inside right away and seek medical assistance. These are the signs of hypothermia and frostbite and need immediate attention.

Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive.

If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle and hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood (after snow stops falling).

Make sure your Winter Storm Disaster Supplies Kit includes:

A cell phone with extra battery or two-way radio

Windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal

Several blankets or sleeping bags

Rain gear and extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks and a cap

Non-perishable snacks like canned fruit, nuts and other high energy “munchies.” Include non-electric can opener if necessary.

Several bottles of water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature. If necessary, melt it first.

A small sack of sand or kitty litter for generating traction under wheels, a set of tire chains or traction mats.

Jumper cables

A first aid kit

A flashlight with extra batteries

A brightly colored cloth to tie to the antenna if you get stranded.Winter Storm Watch
Indicates that severe winter weather may affect your area.

Winter Storm Warning Indicates that severe winter weather conditions are definitely on the way.

Blizzard Warning Large amounts of falling or blowing snow and sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several hours.

Traveler's Advisory Is issued if travel is expected to be difficult or dangerous.

Frostbite and Hypothermia - Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. A loss of feeling and a white pale appearance of fingers, toes or nose and ears is one of the first signs of frostbite. Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops due to prolonged exposure to temperatures less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness and exhaustion. Elderly people are affected by this quite often and should be checked on during cold weather events.

If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, warm the person and seek immediate medical assistance. Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine or alcohol in it.

Wind Chill - Wind chill is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the actual temperature and the speed of the wind are combined. A strong wind, combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder. Dress warmly in layers and always wear a hat to hold in body heat.

Kerosene Heaters - Use only correct fuel for your unit and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to include adequate ventilation. Remember that kerosene heaters produce carbon monoxide, a deadly odorless gas that can kill quickly at high levels. Stay alert for family members that experience drowsiness and flu like symptoms. Maintain a carbon monoxide detector if a kerosene heater is in use. If the detector activates or you notice symptoms, turn off the appliance and open windows to ventilate the area. Move the occupants of the dwelling to fresh air and call 911 immediately.

Before a Winter Storm - Follow the advisories issued by forecasters, which describe the location, strength and movement of the storm. Service snow removal equipment and have ice melter on hand to melt ice on walkways and kitty litter to generate temporary traction. Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be unavailable. Winterize your home by insulating walls and the attic; caulk and weather-strip doors and windows; and install storm windows or cover windows with plastic on the inside. Have safe emergency heating equipment available such as a fireplace with an ample supply of wood, a small, well-vented wood, coal or camp stove with fuel, or portable space heaters or kerosene heaters. All of these heat sources will create carbon monoxide, which is an odorless deadly gas. Have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your dwelling and always provide adequate ventilation when these products are in use. Keep pipes from freezing. Wrap pipes with insulation or layers of old newspapers and cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing and know how to shut off water valves. Never attempt to thaw frozen pipes with a blowtorch or other flame-producing object. Have the recommended emergency supplies on hand. Move cars out of the roadway to allow plows and emergency vehicles access. Check on neighbors to make sure they know about the impending situation. Assist elderly or disabled neighbors with their preparations

If Indoors - Stay indoors and dress warmly. Be alert for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia. Conserve fuel. Lower the thermostat to 65 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Close off unused rooms. Listen to the radio or television for the latest storm information or emergency instructions.

If Outdoors - Dress warmly. Wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Layers can be removed to prevent perspiration and chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens are warmer then gloves because fingers share warmth when they touch each other. Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air. Try not to speak. Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing cars can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent loss of body heat.

If Trapped in a Car - Do not leave the car unless help is visible within 100 yards. Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna. Keep the tail pipe clear of snow build up and run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Open a down-wind window slightly for ventilation. Keep a winter travel kit in the trunk with a small amount of sand in a covered container, a blanket, extra mittens and a few candles and a pack of matches in a non-flammable container (1 pound coffee can). The candle will provide warmth in the vehicle if you are stuck in your vehicle for an extended period of time. Do minor exercises to keep up circulation. Clap your hands and move arms and legs occasionally. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping. For warmth, huddle together. Use newspapers, maps or floor mats for added insulation. If you must drive during a major winter storm, let someone know where you are going and what time you plan to arrive. Advise them of your route of travel and tell them you will call when you arrive.

After a Winter Storm - Be patient. It will take time for plows to clear the snow from the roadways. Major routes will have priority. Secondary roads and residential areas will be cleared next. Remove parked cars from the street to assist in the plowing efforts. Do not allow children to build snow tunnels or forts near the roadways. During plowing operations they can collapse and trap children under the snow. Check on your neighbors and help each other dig out. If you have a long driveway, call a private contractor to plow it out. Do not call for government resources to clear your driveway. They are not permitted to do so. If you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, volunteer to assist in transporting medical personnel to hospitals or patients to necessary treatment (kidney dialysis, cancer treatments, etc). Emergency Medical Services may be too busy with emergency calls to assist in routine medical needs.

Original at: http://www.comanchecounty.us/mainhome/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=191&Itemid=44