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Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Mace is cheap, small, easily concealed and anyone can learn to use it quickly and efficiently. Many states don’t require licensing of mace either. Mace can disable someone long enough for you to make an escape.

m80153_maceEase of use: Mace is easy to use. It’s easy to deploy, aim and spray. You can give it to someone take them out back show them how to point and squeeze and they will be proficient enough to use it on their own. Please don’t forget to explain to them about being aware of wind direction, wind speed and possible drift. Like anything else you gotta try it before you try to use it under stress. If you carry mace and have never used it, you should try it out today or stop carrying it.

Escalation of force: A good reason everyone should carry mace is that you can use it as another step in your escalation of force continuum. If you ever need to defend yourself with deadly force you will be second guessed. Unless someone is threatening you with a firearm you may be better off using mace and making an escape. If mace doesn’t stop them then you might be able to escalate to deadly force. If you are able to say that you used escalating force it will help to buttress your case later when you end up in court. And regardless of zombie talk and video game fantasies, if you shoot someone you will end up in court. If you are not familiar with the concept of escalation of force or use of force continuum please click on the links.

A use of force continuum generally goes something like this:

  1. Escape, remove yourself from the risk.
  2. Verbal command to stop.
  3. Physical command to stop. Maybe something like holding up your hand in the halt position and saying “back off” or “give me space.”
  4. Use of empty hand techniques.
  5. Use of chemical weapons.
  6. Use of batons, clubs, keys, pens and the like.
  7. Use of deadly force.

This one on the use of force continuum from Wikipedia and this from some government authority in Australia. Granted it’s Australia, but the info on p. 6 and the chart on p. 7 are worth looking at if you carry concealed. I like the first model the most. Unlike cops I always expect to be in the defensive position. Point being you can’t use any more force than is necessary and chemical weapons should fit somewhere into your defensive model.

Barter and gifts: BTW I think buying extra mace for trade or barter is a great thing. Mace is also great for gift giving. I would be a lot more willing to trade mace han I would ammo. You barter ammo and you don’t know if it’s gonna come back and haunt you. Trading mace you don’t have to worry so much. Mace can also be stored a long time.

Get extra mace. BTW I should mention that mace is just a brand name like Kleenex or Bandaids. There are all sorts of brands out there. Get what works for you and fits in with your economic


My Choice: I personally like the Spitfire brand for a few reasons. It has a key chain clip so it is always with me. When I’m driving in my car it’s hanging right there. It has kind of a cool clip so that if you need to deploy it you can yank it right off the key ring. To spray it is a two step motion so you don’t have to worry about it firing by accident in your pocket. The spray comes out in a cone so it’s easy to aim from any direction in any direction. They also sell compressed air refills so you can practice with it. Lastly, you can get refills for it so you don’t have to buy the whole unit again.

First Aid: If you spray yourself flush the area with lots and lots of water. Flush your eyes with plenty of water. If it got on your clothes remove them. Get someplace with fresh air and hopefully a breeze. Don’t rub your eyes or scratch your skin. That will only rub it in and make it worse. I’ve also heard that baby shampoo works well.

Get outside into the woods. Stop. Listen.

i1Big bird in a big tree. Red tail hawk?

i3Little bird in little tree.

Original: http://hotdogjam.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/mace/

Grocery Budget

Frequent question:
"I just have two quick questions for you, how much do you spend on a monthly basis on grocery/household expenses(on average, I know it probably fluctuates) and how big is your family? I just stumbled onto your site and I'm trying to take it all in! I'm getting excited about getting a food storage for my family, I always used expense as an excuse to not have one."
That is a common reason why people put off getting their food storage--they think it is too expensive. The complete opposite is true!! Having your food storage SAVES you money!

I have a family of six--my husband (who is a BIG eater), four children (who have their fathers appetite) and myself (who unfortuatetly LOVES to eat). So...we are not small eaters by any means! We also have close family and have AT LEAST one family 'party' a week where it wouldn't be complete with out LOTS of food for 20+ people. I obviously LOVE to cook and average cooking 6 meals a week--plus, breakfasts, lunches & many snacks, desserts & homemade breads in between! Having said that, we spend an average of $300-$400 a month. The national average for a family of 6 would be $600 or more. This total also includes obtaining my families year supply of food along the way.
There are however, months where I spend MUCH less than the $400. Right now I am (for fun) seeing how long I can go without buying any meat for my family's meals. My freezers (three--scary!) are FULL! I stock up on meat when it goes on sale and have realized that I need to be on strike from buying meat for awhile! I have 100's of pounds of meat in my freezer--chicken, steak, roast, bacon, pork, sausage, turkey, whole chickens, etc. I only buy meat when it goes on sale for GREAT prices, stock up and over time you have a whole freezer filled with meat. It has been over two weeks and all I have bought is produce. I have averaged about $50 a week for produce, so at this rate I will only have spent $200 this month on groceries. That is what is so great about food storage and having your freezer stocked! Over time you find you really don't need anything for your food storage. This Macey's case lot sale all I needed to add to my food storage was 2 cases of applesauce, 2 cases of pasta sauce & 1 case of tomato paste. Once you start buying food storage you may think it will never end, but it does! You will find you are eventually just maintaining and replenishing your food storage instead of buying everything in bulk. When you buy a little food storage each time you go to the grocery store, and buy those items on sale for 'red/great' prices (we tell you which items to add each week) you will find it will not take any extra money, and you will begin to get your year supply, ONE WEEK AT A TIME!

One other tip that may help your family get your food storage is to put away $100-$500 of your tax return to go directly to your food storage. This is when we buy many of our long term items and make sure we are up to our 'year supply' totals. Many of these items we buy at the LDS Cannery (wheat, dried beans, powdered milk, potato pearls, oats, dried onions, hot chocolate, etc. IN BULK!). Other items we stock up on are rice, flour, pasta, etc. at Costco. The rest of the food storage items we buy, we buy throughout the year when they go on sale for great prices. You will be surprised how much food you can buy with $500! Even if you have only $100 available from your tax return, you can stock up on quite a few items.

My only number one rule, is I don't EVER buy groceries that are not on sale (if an item isn't on sale & I need it, I go to Walmart because it will be the next lowest price available)! To keep your grocery bill low, it does take will power! I rarely buy fruit snacks, treats, twinkies, chips, processed foods, etc. If my children want a snack, they get something homemade (cookies, popcorn, homemade granola, fruits, vegetables, etc.) These 'quick' meals and foods are MUCH more expensive than making them homemade. Learning to make many of your breads, snacks, and desserts from scratch will save you SO much money and will be much healthier for you.

With a little planning and dedication, you can get your year supply of food..and you will find it will be FUN & EASY! Begining in a small way as President Hinckley says will give BIG dividends in the future.

Original: http://myfoodstoragedeals.blogspot.com/2009/01/grocery-budget.html

How much of X will fit in a 5 gallon bucket

One of the most common search phrases that leads people to my site is “How much of x will fit in a 5 gallon bucket”. So for your conveince here is the information that I have gathered from both books, the internet and personal experiance.

  • Rice = 34-36 lbs.
  • Wheat = 34-36 lbs.
  • Cracked Wheat = 25-28 lbs.
  • Popcorn (unpopped of course) = 34-36 lbs.
  • Corn = 32-36 lbs.
  • Cornmeal = 22-27 lbs.
  • Flour = 23-25 lbs.
  • Rolled oats = 15-19 lbs.
  • Macaroni = 16-23 lbs.
  • Powdered Milk = 22-25 lbs.
  • Sugar - white = 29-34 lbs.
  • Sugar - brown = 30-36 lbs.
  • Salt = 36-38 lbs.
  • Navy beans = 35-38 lbs.
  • Whole or Split peas = 33-35 lbs.
  • Black Beans = 33-35 lbs.
  • Lentils = 30-33 lbs.
  • Black eye peas = 30-33 lbs.

There you have it and I hope it helps. Remember to use food grade buckets when storing your food. On a side note I picked up an empty paint bucket from Home Depot because it had a recycle symbol with a 2 in it. I have read that you can assume if you see that then the bucket is food grade but I did some research and found conflicting reports so I called the manufacture and they confirmed the the paint buckets they sell are NOT food grade. This should let you know that you can’t just trust the recycle symbol on a bucket. Verify with the manufacture before using any bucket you are unsure of. A common sense rule would be if it has the recycle symbol with a 2 and you know it previously held food then it should be safe (insert evil smiley for stating the odvious).

Original: http://everydayprepper.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/how-much-of-x-will-fit-in-a-5-gallon-bucket/

Update to Survival Gardening: Growing Food During a Second Great Depression, by H.I.C.

While re-reading my recent post concerning survival gardening, I realized that I have completely forgotten to point out some important info.
While living through a crisis you are going to need to eat more calories than normal [to provide adequate nutrition with the extra exertion, stress, and physical labor], perhaps twice as much. I am planning on 4,000 calories per day.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are important as a source of vitamins, however most green veggies do not contain enough calories to keep you going. During a crisis you are going to need several sources of protein, oils, and starch.

I believe the best way of storing red meat is to raise livestock. Naturally you want them to reproduce and raise enough young for you to enjoy fresh meat for the duration of the crisis. Rabbits, Chickens, and Goats are particularly easy to raise. Having fish in your agricultural pond is perfect.

Two acres planted to Wheat, Corn, Dry Beans, Potatoes, and Winter Squash will produce more food than a typical family can eat in a year. We used to plan our sweet corn, pinto beans, and potatoes in field rows and use the tractor to cultivate them.

An acre of winter wheat planted in good soil should yield 50 bushels (2,000 lbs) of easily storable grain. A second acre of open pollinated field corn should yield 80 bushels (4,000 lbs), but requires more fertilizer and more effort devoted to weed suppression. A full acre of pinto beans would be way too much, 35 bushels (1,400 lbs).

A native pecan averages 50 - 80 lbs of nuts which store for a year or more. Each acre of pecan trees would contain 15 large trees or 30 smaller trees and provides a rich source of calories, oils, and protein. Since you are hoping to avoid too much attention you might plant your fruit trees and a variety of hardwood nut trees scattered across your pasture or mixed in with your wood lot. Less attention and [given their wide spacing,] fewer insect pests. [JWR Adds: Some of us that live in high elevation or northern climates where most pecan trees are unlikely to survive (even the Hardy Pecan). But there are other nut trees such as as Carpathian Walnuts that do well in all but the most severe climate zones.]

I hope this helps explain my emphasis on trees, small livestock, row crops, and field crops. - H.I.C.

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/02/update_to_survival_gardening_g.html

Beyond the BabySteps: Water: Alternate Sources

BabyStep 2: Water

If you are new to food storage and following along with the BabySteps please refer to the Step 2: Water page before you read this post and get overwhelmed. In BabyStep 2 we recommend to store a 2-week supply of water for your family. This should be enough to sustain you through the majority of shorter-term emergencies. But what if water is unavailable for a longer period of time? Do you know where the closest source of water to your house is? Are you sure the water is drinkable? One of our readers over at the Fun With Food Storage Network Forum posted a picture of his ONE YEAR supply of water. (GO CONNOR!) but I would guess that most of us are not this prepared yet. This post will discuss some other means of finding drinking water in case you are not as amazing as Connor is yet ;)

Alternate Water Sources

Water in your home
- Hot water heater tank
- Toilet tanks (don’t use water that contains colored disinfectant!)
- Water pipes
- Ice in the freezer

Traditional bodies of water near your home
- Rivers and streams
- Ponds and lakes

Collect water from the air and plants
- Snow and ice
- Rain water
- Morning dew can be mopped up from rocks and plants (especially effective in desert areas). The easiest method is to use a handkerchief or shirt to gently mop up the dew and then wring it into a container. It is possible to mop up almost a quart an hour using this method!

Obtaining water from the soil
- A hole dug in a damp or muddy area allows water to seep in and accumulate
- Mud wrong in a shirt or other cloth will force out water (muddy water can be partially cleared by allowing it to stand overnight and then running it through several thickness of cloth)
- Make an evaporation still (we will do a separate post on this later)

Locate sources of groundwater (in mountainous areas)
- Sloping side of the hills in dry mountain ranges
- Small seeps and springs can be found by following narrow canyons and gullies up to their heads
- The water table is usually close to the surface and you could locate it by digging at the base of cliffs and rocks where lots of vegetation is thriving, at the base of large sand dunes on the shady or steep sides, anywhere the ground is damp or muddy, in low spots where patches of salt grass, cattails, willows or elderberries grow

Please note: Depending on the nature of the emergency situation you are in, some of these sources may be contaminated so make sure you have a plan in place for water purification. It never hurts to purify just to be on the safe side.

Original: http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/02/04/beyond-the-babysteps-water-alternate-sources/


The nuts and bolts of "how to" make an emergency plan is outlined on the Government of Canada preparedness site.

Rather than reinvent one of the many step-by-step plans, I would suggest that you take the time to browse this document. It should take you about 20 minutes.

Okay, you've just made your emergency plan. Well guess what...making a plan and seeing it through to fruition are two different things.

Did you ever wonder why some people die 20 feet from the road, but others survive for weeks on one peanut butter sandwich? To illustrate the point: about a month ago, an 80+ year old Inuit grandfather was lost while caribou hunting. They found his snowmobile stuck but he was miles away at the mouth of the nearest river. He survived over a week on 6 fish and 2 birds. Why did he survive in such an extreme environment? He didn't have the gold-plated emergency pack that you and I would have depended on. Equipment and a plan set the base for any Prepper. But experience and character allow you to be successful.

All survivors have the following mental states in common:

1) They Don't Panic: Just like in the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". When you panic, you get stupid...and stupid people die (How to Survive (Almost) Anything: 14 Survival Skills by Laurence Gonzales). You have a plan... stay calm!

2) They Are Confident: Confidence comes from trust in your plan and familiarity with your equipment. An emergency is not the time to assemble your gas heater in the dark. Testing each step of your plan before the emergency, eliminates self-doubt.

3) They Are Optimistic: This is a belief that things are going to get better tempered with the ability to recognize that right now, things are not all right and extreme steps are required.

4) They Are Able to Assess the Risk: Is it worth walking to the gas station, if it means leaving your dependants alone? Should you let the stranger wearing the hockey mask in to share your food? Someone prepared and with a plan does not have to take chances. Avoid risk.

5) They Help When They Can: Being selfless inspires others, makes you stronger, and gives you purpose in bad situations.

Make your plan, test your plan often and plan to survive!

Original: http://canadianpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/01/step-two-make-emergency-plan.html

Audio Podcast: Fishing Options for the Modern Survivalist

icon for podpress Episode-135- Fishing Options for the Modern Survivalist [41:10m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

Obama is appointing tax cheats, the government is mortgaging our future and Wall Street Execs are cashing in on bail out money. It is enough to make a man want to snap out! So let’s take a break and talk about something far more enjoyable, fishing and different options for adding fishing as a component of modern survival living and lifestyle planning.

Tune in Today to Hear

  • Anyone up for a surf fishing trip with Halffast and Jack on the Texas coast
  • Fishing is an adjunct for supplying food not an unending source
  • Thoughts on connecting with people that know the waters in your area
  • Thoughts on why fishing small rivers and streams is so effective
  • Thoughts on hiring a guide or several guides to learn larger bodies of water
  • How to keep fishing “profitable” vs. an expensive hobby
  • Several species of fish that are easy to catch and make great food species
  • Conservation by harvesting multiple species
  • Fishing larger rivers and inlets
  • Fishing the surf, cool shark story included
  • Ways to improve your odds by building your own structures and or chumming
  • Thoughts on basic tackle
  • The old school Mitchell 300, possibly the best spinning reel ever built
  • Where to invest the most money in your gear, where to be frugal
  • Finding fishing online forums
  • Thoughts on GPS use and Fish Finders (sonar)
  • The advantages of becoming an “expert” on one or two local bodies of water vs. lake hopping”
Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/survivalpcast/~3/531712321/fishing-options-for-the-modern-survivalist

Review: Tomorrow’s Harvest freeze-dried food

Tomorrow%27s+Harvest+Logo+(1) Review: Tomorrows Harvest freeze-dried food

There are several markets that are booming in the current economic climate, and one of those is emergency preparedness and food storage. People are quickly realizing that fiat dollars and credit cards won’t feed the family, and are working quickly to stock up on needed supplies. Many people are flying blind in their pursuit of food storage, and are unsure as to what to store.

Filling this niche and marketing themselves to these customers (and others), several companies offering freeze-dried products have begun to more aggressively promote their products and fill a need in the marketplace. I looked into several companies based in Utah, and ultimately ended up making a small purchase through Tomorrow’s Harvest.

There are a few reasons why I chose to acquire some freeze-dried food to begin with, and a couple reasons why I chose Tomorrow’s Harvest over their competitors.

I don’t believe that freeze-dried food should be one’s only food storage acquisition. I know one individual who purchased an entire year’s worth of freeze-dried food and subsequently checked his “year supply” task off his list. I think that this is unwise for a few reasons: 1) Diversification in any storage situation is important, 2) Supplementing the nutritional value of freeze-dried food is never a bad option, and 3) It encourages sloth when one thinks that he is “done” simply by making a single purchase and putting it on the shelf.

I do, however, think that freeze-dried food is a great way to supplement one’s overall food storage strategy. In the event of a TEOTWAWKI scenario, people will have rattled nerves and depleted energy. Having to cook meals out of basic staples is not my idea of fun, and I’d rather spend my time in more productive pursuits. For that reason, it’s important that I have some quick, easy-to-make meal options on hand to accommodate those days when I don’t want to spend a couple hours preparing my meals. Additionally, your other food storage items (rice, beans, wheat, etc.) can be integrated into the freeze-dried meals to add nutritional value and flavor.

Properly stored, freeze-dried food can last over 20 years. This rivals your basic food items such as rice and beans, and provides a great way to stock up on some easy meals for the long term. I chose Tomorrow’s Harvest over some of the other companies because the meal selection they provided sounded more appetizing than what others had listed, and in addition, they provide fruits and vegetables as part of their kit. An added bonus is their “Grab ‘n Go Bags”, included with your purchase, which consists of four mylar bags with 11 servings in each. These are handy for your bugout situations where you need to leave in a hurry—simply grab a bag or two (or four) and you’ll have an easy meal solution by simply heating up some water.

There’s no reason why we need to slave away cooking beans and wheat and subject ourselves to bland meals on a repeated basis. Having basic staples of food is an excellent idea, and one I recommend heartily—but I think it’s wise to store freeze-dried meals in addition to the rest, simply to provide for easier meal solutions on days when we’re exhausted, short on time, or simply looking for something with a bit more flavor.

I recently had some of the Baked Potato Cheese Soup, and it exceeded my expectations. The serving size for one of these meals is ten ounces, so it would be a good idea to supplement the meal with other items from your food storage, or their included fruits and veggies. Meal preparation was a piece of cake, of course, since we only had to boil some water, add it to the meal, and stir. Freeze-dried food is never going to taste like mom’s home cooking, but I was impressed by the flavor and taste and could definitely see myself living off of these meals for a while, especially giving how easy it is to store and prepare.

If you’re looking to round out your food storage and add in some delicious, easy-to-make meals, then freeze-dried food is an option you should consider. And Tomorrow’s Harvest, from my experience, has a great product and a knowledgeable team willing to help.

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/MRV1rXFT6s0/

Building a Low-Cost, Low-Profile Shortwave Dipole Antenna, by Jerry the Generator Guy

First, you decided to get your own shortwave receiver. You wanted to be able to listen to unfiltered worldwide news. Applause, and a pat on the back, for taking a positive step. However, an unexpected problem may soon surface. Any internal ferrite or wand/rod antenna, like what the radio came with, will only effectively receive strong signals. Unfortunately, it can’t do a good job on weak signals.

The obvious solution is to add an external antenna. But it may be spotted by the neighborhood or local “whiners” may complain that your obnoxious visible antenna is interfering with their television or radio reception. The fact that you are only receiving won’t stop their perception that it’s your fault. A second issue is that the “typical" outdoor antenna may not survive severe weather. It may fail in high wind/snow/ice.

Another negative is that any antenna wire in the wind will pick up static charges when dust hits the antenna. This dust hitting the antenna is what causes the “pop” sound in the audio during a storm. This electrostatic discharge (ESD) travels down the lead in wire and may weaken or damage the front end [electronic section] of the receiver. If you have an outside antenna a good antenna discharge unit is strongly recommended.

Is there a satisfactory solution for these problems? Yes! First determine what lengths of wire would be needed for a tuned dipole antenna to receive each desired frequency. Many Ham or Shortwave books either tell you how to calculate the desired dipole wire length or provide a suggested length data table for you. If you are fortunate the manual with the receiver may provide these parameters.

My low cost recommended solution follows:
I bought some 4 -conductor telephone cable and some 50 ohm TV coax cable at the local Home Depot. The 50 ohm cable is routed from the receiver to the center of the antenna. Cut the telephone wire at the center of the total length. Strip the insulation back slightly on all of the center wires. Solder [using electrical - not plumber type solder] the center conductor to one of the wire groups. Solder the coax shield to the other set of wires. Measure the desired distance from the center to the desired endpoint for a specific dipole. Carefully slit the outer cover of the phone cable at that location. Cut and remove the balance of an individual colored wire. Cutting the dipole for the lowest frequency first [ longest length ] will make removing the extra wire lengths easier. Measure, cut and repeat the same steps at the other side of the antenna. Note: Some books will suggest reducing the length of the antenna wire elements by 5%. This reduction is to compensate for the “close” distance to the other dipoles. Precise tune lengths are needed for transmitting but may not be necessary if the antenna is used for an entire shortwave band. The generic “rule of thumb” for most receiving antennas is the more wire available for signal pickup the better. Repeat this process for the other three wires. Cover the soldered connections with electrical tape. Fasten the antenna in a straight line along the cornice or eave of the house. Paint or stain to match the color nearby and it looks like it has been there forever.

If four tuned lengths aren’t enough - then the same approach could be done with 8-conductor unshielded computer network cable.

You now have a good antenna to pick up those weaker signals. In addition, the house now protects the antenna from any severe weather effects. If a nosey “snooper” comes by all that they will see is a “telephone” wire.

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/01/building_a_lowcost_lowprofile.html

The Community Retreat, by Kathy Harrison

Establishing a retreat seems to be the dream of many survivalists but realistically, evacuating to a retreat is not a proposition that is readily available to very many. There are generally problems with finances as well as family commitments to contend with. Many folks, like me, have spent years in establishing perennial food plants, compost piles, garden plots, building small businesses and, most importantly, forging important community ties that would not be easily broken. Therefore, we would be well advised to explore how to approach ways to turn our own residences into retreat communities.

The location of the community is of the utmost importance. Pulling off such a feat off in a large city or an affluent suburb would be pretty difficult. A small town in a rural location with a high proportion of families who already raise food and livestock is your best bet. Such a town is likely to have a well-developed sense of community, strong family ties and a faith-based community. You will also likely find a diverse set of necessary skills. Such communities are generally located in areas that have climates suitable to growing food crops. Hunting is often a part of the local culture so firearms ownership is not seen as a problem. It has been my experience that a large number of survival-minded folks find themselves living in this kind of locality. The question then becomes, “how do we locate like-minded families and establish a network of support, with possibility of barter arrangements and the sharing of skills and tools in such towns?”

We began by attending a film series a few years ago. Free showings of films such as The End of Suburbia, King Corn and Life At The End Of The Empire were shown. Each film was followed by a discussion group. Setting up this kind of series can happen at a library or house of worship. Out of this format, a core group formed, all with the sense that life as we knew it was unlikely to be sustainable for the long term and that we needed to take steps to prepare for the eventual change. We began meeting on a monthly basis. We are a diverse group; some more interested in the implications of Peak Oil, some with financial collapse. Others are the local growers of organic produce and the breeders of heritage breed livestock. We have no membership list, no rules of order, no dues and no criteria for coming to our monthly meetings. We do follow a loose agenda to ensure that we get some work20accomplished but much of our time together is devoted to chit chat about current topics and sharing ideas.

One of our most successful endeavors has been our "101" classes. This is a series of free workshops devoted to helping people learn valuable skills from others. We have had classes in raising chickens, canning produce, cheese making, mushroom propagation, herbal medicine, knitting and many other subjects. The object is to make all of us less dependant and share skills that might otherwise be lost.

Recognizing that energy shortages are likely, we set up a panel of people already alternative sources of energy. This was remarkably well-attended and led to a day long event where folks opened their homes to people who wanted to see each system in operation. We saw underground homes, photovoltaic systems, solar heat collectors, wind powered homes and a couple of places that had been off-grid for years. The tour ended with a pot-luck soup and bread dinner.

We consider helping each other as a given. We have helped each other get in our winter wood supply, can an abundance of bulk purchased chicken and traded off tools, vehicles and equipment. When my husband scored some very inexpensive sap buckets, he bought enough for many other group members. When I found myself overwhelmed with peaches, three of us processed 50 quarts in an afternoon. A couple of us are really interested in wild foods. Together we gathered fox grapes and put up 20 gallons of juice, harvested and dried over 100 pounds of wild mushrooms and canned 35 quarts of wild applesauce. We are still eating the fiddleheads we froze last May. Out latest project is to take a firearms safety course together.

When a major ice storm left our town without power for over a week, we saw an opportunity to check our preparedness level and hone our skills. Many of us were also able to provide help and provisions to those who were less prepared including the elderly in our small town.

We still have work to do. We realize that we are not as well prepared for medical emergencies as we would wish so some members are researching becoming EMTs and First Responders for our local volunteer fire department. We also see the wisdom in becoming more involved in our town government.

I know this is not the kind of preparedness one generally reads about on sites such as this but I think for many, this is the most realistic. Should the worst happen, we will be prepared to ride it out with friends and neighbors, bonded together with common purpose and presenting a united front. - Kathy Harrison

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/02/the_community_retreat_by_kathy.html

Retreat Building Lighting Systems, by The Old Yooper

Lighting systems in a retreat home (not connected to the grid).

My home does not fit the definition of a retreat. I built it about 30 years ago in the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) when the idea of a retreat location was not on my radar screen. Only by coincidence has my home worked out to fit a retreat definition, better situated them many, not as good as some. It is quite secluded, the only house at the end of a dead end dirt road. It has never had grid power run to it. The utility company wanted as much money to run the power lines through the woods back to my cabin as the cabin cost me to build. It’s not that I didn’t know that when I built the cabin, I just did not think it was anything I needed to have at the time. This is not that unusual in the UP as it may seem to most people. There are lots of homesteads too far off the beaten path to have grid power connected up here in the UP. The cabin is 2000 sq. ft. with three bedrooms, two baths, living room, kitchen and dining room. Also a full basement, not included in the square footage above. It is as modern as most houses today except for how every thing works. I will only concentrate on lighting in this essay. In later essays (if anyone is interested) I can explain cooking, refrigeration, heating, electricity, etc. I hope you don’t mind my folksy/personal writing style; it’s just the way I am.

Today we are heading into a monumental depression of historic magnitude. No one truly knows how bad it will get or how long it will last. I think it was Benjamin Franklin that said “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” and that’s as true today as it was over 200 years ago. I know the subject of lighting may seem somewhat mundane and even silly to some, put a few candles away and we will be OK, they hope. But without sustained, reliable lighting, day to day life can get pretty difficult at best. It’s important to try to keep your home as normal as possible in the hard times ahead for you, your family and whoever may be seeking refuge with you. All lighting systems take energy of some form just as cooking and heating do, this is the first thing to keep in mind when planning for your lighting systems.

As Mr. Rawles has said in the past “two is one and one is none”. I have learned this the hard way, by experiencing a failure in a system. I have four, separate, distinct and independent (from each other) lighting systems in the house. So a failure of one or even two will not make my lights go out.

The first lighting system is AC electric. The cabin is fully wired for 110/220V AC power, normal household electrical current. Supplied via gas generator, wind generator, and inverter/charger battery bank system, again if anyone is interested I can go into greater detail about the electrical systems in another essay. For the most part the electric lights in the house are compact fluorescent with a few exceptions. One of the exceptions are the under-cabinet 10 watt halogen lights in the kitchen. Ten watts is not much but there are 13 of them under the cabinets. I must admit that they are nice to have on and 130 watts is not all that much either, however I tend to forget about them being on and along with the TV and lights on in the living room, bathroom and a bedroom (kids, you know how that is) the batteries are drawn down much too fast. Well I can’t use the kids excuse anymore, it's grandkids now. We all know how electric lights work; you flip a switch and the lights come on. That is true with inverter power also, as long as you use the right inverter system.

Just to be clear about electricity, it is by far the most convenient and at the same time the most susceptible to failure of all the lighting systems I use. I have run out of gas, aggravating at the time but not a major problem, unless gas becomes unavailable? I have had generator and/or inverter system failures; yes even the best will not last indefinitely. The worst electrical failure I have experienced was lightning hitting the phone line coming into the cabin. The phone lines are underground but the lightning hit it anyway. It followed the line into the house, blowing every phone jack off the walls and ruined all three of my phones. It also crossed over to the electrical wiring and fried most every thing plugged in to wall outlets. NOTE: I have plug strips supposedly with electrical breakers built into them, so I can turn off the TV, stereo, and the like so they will not run down the batteries. All modern electronics and appliances use power even when there not in use. [JWR Adds: These are so-called "phantom loads", typically caused the microcircuits for clocks and other sub-modules.] The lightning went across these plug strips as if they were hard wired in. This was a major system failure. My homes owners insurance covered all repairs and replacements. However in a TEOTWAWKI there would be no insurance and no repairs or replacements unless I fixed them myself and, spare parts would be out of the question.

My second lighting system is propane gas. The cabin is plumbed for gas lights in most of the main rooms down stairs and the master bedroom and bathroom upstairs. These are gas mantle lights. To light them I use a Bic lighter under the mantle and turn on the gas, and I have instant light. When I first installed the gas lights, I would use a kitchen match (wooden matches), to light them. I soon discovered I was very good at poking a hole in the mantle with the match; I soon switched to a Bic lighter. Mantles cost about $7.00 each. They are about as bright as a 65 to 70 watt incandescent light bulb. I have two styles of gas mantle lights in my home. The first and the ones I started with are Humphrey gas lights; I only have two of them. These are good dependable well made lighting fixtures of sheet metal construction; the only drawback is there a little homely. As far as I know there is only one style, a wall mount fixture. Humphrey gas lighting fixtures can be found at most propane distributors and country hardware stores.

The second gas lighting fixture and the one I prefer is Falks gas lighting fixtures. These are a much more elegant lighting fixture made in Canada out of solid brass. There are three styles of Falks lighting fixtures to pick from. A single mantle wall mount, double mantle wall mount and a double mantle chandelier, I have all three styles in my cabin. Both the Humphrey and Falks gas lights use the same globes and mantles. I have several spare mantles and globes on hand at all times. Falks gas lights can be ordered from Lehman's. The cost for the single Falks gas light is about $80 US and $75 US for a Humphrey gas light. Gas lights are just as bright as electric lights.

When I installed the gas lights I used 1⁄2” soft copper tubing for main runs and 3/8” soft copper tubing off the main run for a single lighting fixture. If you put in gas lights never use hard copper tubing that requires soldering the joints. Only use soft copper tubing and flare fittings that are designed for gas applications. Use a soap swab to check for gas leaks at every connection. Never use a match to check for leaks. If there is a leak (and there will be some) at a connection you can have an instant blow torch on your hands, and that blow torch can just as well be in your face. If you do not know how to install gas fixtures have a licensed plumber do them.

Both Falks and Humphrey gas lights use about .085 lb of gas per hour per mantle. I think a little math is in order here.

One gallon of propane weighs about 4.23 lb.
A 20 lb. propane tank (type for gas grills) contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.7 gallons of gas. If you did the math you will find that it isn’t exactly 20 lbs., the numbers aren’t carried out properly to the last decimal place.

Therefore a 20 lb. propane tank will run one mantle light for approximately 234 hours of continues use. If you ran a gas light for 5 hours a night one 20 lb. tank will last for 47 days. However refilling 20 lb. tanks is the most expensive way to buy and store propane gas.

A 100 lb. tank will run one mantle light for approximately 1,176 hours of continues use. And if you ran a gas light for 5 hours a night, one 100 lb. tank will last for 235 days more or less. I’m sure someone will check my math to see if it works out and that’s Okay, I make lots of mistakes.

I have a 500 gallon propane pig (tank) for gas, which is kind of a lot for just lighting. I also use propane for other things in my cabin. The last time propane was delivered last October it cost $2.49 per gallon. At that price it cost approximately $0.05 per hour to run one light. Also propane will store for ever with no degradation of the gas (it doesn’t "go bad"). You can’t say that for gasoline, kerosene or diesel. A side note: I am told that we are in a deflationary spiral, but the only things that I can see going down in price is real estate and gasoline. Food, clothing, repairs of anything and the stuff you need day to day haven’t gone down at all. (Just a little whining).

My third independent lighting system; kerosene lights. I use two types of kerosene lights in the cabin. The first is Aladdin lamps. I have four Aladdin lamps, one is a Majestic Table lamp, and three Genie III shelf lamps one of which is in a hanging fixture in my bedroom, and the two others are on each end of the fireplace mantle. Aladdin lamps can be a bit temperamental to operate. All Aladdin lamps are mantle lamps similar to Coleman Lanterns however they use a round wick like an old kerosene lamp. The temperamental part, the wick must be trimmed evenly all around the top. If it is not you will get flame spikes (I call them horns) coming up into the mantle and if, (not when), these little fiery horns touch the mantle it will start building up with carbon. All you have to do is turn down thee wick so the horn is not touching the mantle and the carbon will burn off the mantle. However if you don’t turn the wick down, the mantle will continue to build up carbon and eventually put out copious amounts of lovely black soot, to coat your ceiling and fill the air with a witches' brew of noxious gas and smoke. On the bright side, Aladdin lamps will generate the equivalent of a 50 watt incandescent light bulb and at the same time will put out about 2,700 BTU’s of heat, that’s a lot of heat in the summer time from one lamp. In the evenings in the fall and spring of the year, I can heat my cabin with nothing but Aladdin lamps (if it’s not too cold out). A log cabin retains heat very well, and all my windows are triple glazed. If you would like to try Aladdin lamps they are available at many country hardware stores and Lehman’s by mail order. After making it sound awful, I like my Aladdin lamps, it just takes a little practice to learn how to use them. If you are going to use Aladdin lamps you will need to stock up on Aladdin Chimneys, Mantles and Wicks. There are two types of Aladdin Chimneys. The first is the Lox-On Chimney; I’ve had them last for years and also had them break in a week. In my opinion the Heel-Less Chimney is superior, it allows the glass to move as it heats up and cools off without breaking. For about $12.00 a Gallery Adapter will convert a Burner to use a Heel-less Chimney. Newly manufactured Aladdin Lamps come with Heel-Less Chimneys.

I have several table and wall mounted old fashion kerosene lamps. I also have one very ornate Victorian hanging library lamp in my dinning room. It is solid brass with a ruby red hob nail, glass shade, and lots of prisms. If it sounds like my cabin is old fashioned, it is. One rule of thumb in lighting any kerosene lamp, light the wick with a low flame and let the lamp and kerosene in it heat up. As the kerosene gets hotter its viscosity goes down and flows much faster. As the kerosene flows faster the flame will get bigger and bigger. There is no reason for the chimney to soot up if you just start with a low flame and let the lamp heat up. After the lamp is hot you can adjust the brightness. If you plan on using kerosene lamps stock up on wicks and chimneys. The wicks are consumables and no matter how careful you are chimneys break. Almost forgot, every time the lamps are filled the wick should be trimmed, I trim the wick just to clean it up flat across its top and I cut a small 45ยบ angle off each end of the wick, so the flame will have a domed appearance. If that is not clear just experiment with it, you will learn as you go.

How mush kerosene should be stored? I am told that kerosene will last for about 15 years before it goes bad. In 2008 I used about 30 gallons of kerosene; I use more in the winter then in the summer. In a TEOTWAWKI I would be mush more conservative than I am right now. If you’re going to use kerosene as one of your lighting systems I would suggest storing from 100 to 200 gallons in 55 gallon plastic drums.

The last lighting system is just old fashion candles. Several years ago I was able to acquire about 200 pounds of wax from a company I worked for. The company applied wax to one of the products they manufactured. When they had a product change on the coating machine they had to purge all the wax out of the machine and put in a different formula for the changeover. The purged wax was pumped out into five gallon buckets and discarded. It is amazing how much stuff is thrown away that could be used in a grid down situation. All this wax I have stashed will someday have to be made into candles. There are two basic ways to make candles. The first is to mold (cast) them in a candle mold. I have had one of these for a very long time; it casts 8 candles at a time. The candle mold is simple to use. Just feed a pre-waxed string (wick) through the hole in the bottom of each candle mold, bend it over so it will not come out. Tie the other end to a rod across the top of the mold and fill the mold with wax. Let the wax solidify, dip in hot water and pull out the candles. Trim the string off the bottom of each candle and store in a cool place until needed. Candle molds can be made fairly simply to just about any length and diameter you desire. I have made 1” diameter x 14” long candle molds. Use hard copper tubing, or PVC plastic pipe would work also. Cut to the length desired and chamfer both ends inside and out side (de-burr it). Take a cap that fits over the end of the tubing and drill a hole in the center of it to fit the size of wick you have, or make. Use the same procedure for casting candles above. After the candles are cast and hardened put the molds in vary hot water to loosen the wax from the mold. Remove the mold from the water and using a wooden rod with an end on it that fits the full diameter of the candle push the candle out of the mold and let cool. The ends of the candle will be flat, but this is not a drawback in my mind.

The second way to make candles is by dipping them. This way is a little more cumbersome [and time consuming] and I don’t recommend it. But if anyone is interested in hand dipping candles, just Google the subject to learn how.

One more safety concern, never melt wax in your house and never on your kitchen stove. Melted wax is highly flammable. A wax fire is almost impossible to put out with water; it just spreads the fire over the kitchen and all over you, and anyone that is with you at the time. Do not take this warning lightly. I make candles outside away from any buildings on a nice summer day. - The Old Yooper

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/02/retreat_building_lighting_syst.html

Solar Water Disinfection and Pasteurization, by Ariel

from SurvivalBlog.com

This article describes so me simple and practical methods for providing drinkable water in disaster situations. They fit with my motto: "Keep calm, and carry on!"

According to the EPA, if you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Do not use non-chlorine bleach to disinfect water. Typically, [when freshly-purchased] household chlorine bleaches will be 5.25% available chlorine. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers. There are two big disadvantages of treating water with chemicals. First chlorine can be potentially dangerous if used improperly and it may not be readily available when you need it. But there is a safe, chemical-free, and inexpensive option for disinfecting your water.

Cardboard and aluminum foil are unlikely tools for disinfection water until you factor in sunshine. Solar water pasteurization uses the heat of the sun to raise the temperature of water to a point where microbial pathogens are destroyed. Disease-causing organisms in water are killed by exposure to heat in a process called pasteurization. Water that has been heated to 165 degrees F is free from living microbes including Escherichia coli, Rotaviruses, Giardia and the Hepatitis-A virus. [JWR Adds: The water need not be "held" at a boiling point for ant period of time. Just make the water reach 165 degrees F, and it is done]

Although traditional fuels can be used to pasteurize water, on sunny days solar energy is the better choice. A major problem with boiling water for disinfection is its energy consumption in relation to cost and availability of the fuel supply. If you do not have electricity you might not be able to sanitize your water..

With full sunshine, it can takes up to two hours to reach 165 degrees F pasteurize two liters of water. In order to determine when water has reached pasteurization you will need to invest in a simple device called a Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI). The WAPI is a simple reusable device containing a special soy wax. The wax melts at the same temperature as the water is pasteurized. The tube hangs on a string inside the container with the wax end up, and once the water around it becomes hot enough to kill the bacteria the wax melts, running from the top part of the tube to the lower end. Although it is designed for solar pasteurization, the WAPI can be used for pasteurizing over most fuel sources including gas, wood, and charcoal. WAPIs generally cost between $5 and $10.

As described previously in SurvivalBlog, SOlar water DISinfection (SODIS) involves filling clean PETE (Polyethylene Terephtalate) transparent plastic bottles with water and exposing them to full sunlight for six or more hours. [JWR Adds: Do not use polycarbonate water bottles, such as those made up until recently by Nalgene, since that type of plastic blocks ultraviolet (UV) light!] The combination of UV-A radiation and raised water temperature disinfects the water. There are a few drawbacks to this method. SODIS efficiency depends on the physical condition of the plastic bottles, with scratches reducing the efficiency of the SODIS process. There has been some concern over the question whether plastic drinking containers can release chemicals or toxic components into water, a process possibly accelerated by heat. A solar cooker will make the SODIS process more efficient.

While pasteurizing will solve a lot of disease problems, it does not remove other things found in the water such as chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals.

You can purchase elaborate solar cookers or build one using simple materials. You can find a large number of solar cooker building plans at SolarCooking.org. I have included instructions for a simple windshield shade solar cooker as an addendum to this article. I have also included instructions from Needful Provision, Inc. on how to construct a simple solar water-distilling unit.

Building and testing a solar cooker also makes an excellent school science project. The last project I worked on with my child was, “Can you bake cookies in a solar oven in North Carolina in the month of January?” The conclusion was yes. Solar cookers should certainly be one the items at the top of the list for TEOTWAWKI. They are portable, use only the sun as an energy source and they work!

This is one of the easiest cookers to make and it works great. You can make it for less than $10:

Kathy Dahl-Bredine's Auto Windshield Shade Solar Cooker

Materials Needed:
Reflective accordion-folding car sunshade
Wire frame or grill)
4 inches of Velcro
Black pot
Bucket or plastic wastebasket
Plastic baking bag
1. Lay the sunshade out with the notched side toward you.
2. Cut the Velcro into three pieces, each about one inches long.
3. Stick or sew one half of each piece, evenly spaced, onto the edge to the left of the notch. Attach the matching half of each piece onto the underneath size to the right of the notch, so that they fit together when the two sides are brought together to form a funnel. If using stick-on Velcro, you can align the two pieces easily like this: Stick down one side of the Velcro, then press the two pieces of Velcro together, fold the shade into the funnel shape and stick down the second side.
4. Press the Velcro pieces together, and set the funnel on top of a bucket or a round or rectangular plastic wastebasket.
Place a black pot on top of the rack, placed inside a plastic baking bag. A standard size rack in the U.S. is 10 inches. This is placed inside the funnel, so that the rack rests on the top edges of the bucket or wastebasket. Since the sunshade material is soft and flexible, the rack is necessary to support the pot. It also allows the suns rays to shine down under the pot and reflect on all sides. If such a rack is not available, a wire frame could be made to work as well.

1. The funnel should be tilted in the direction of the sun.
2. A stick placed across from one side of the funnel to the other helps to stabilize it in windy weather.
3. After cooking, simply fold up your “oven” and slip the elastic bands in place for easy travel or storage.

Source: SolarCooking.org (A modification of a design by Kathy Dahl-Bredine, Oaxaca, Mexico)
[JWR Adds: As Reader William B. pointed out, distilled water is NOT good for you, for any length of time, as the minerals your body needs, have been effectively removed! Consider it a very short term contingency method!]

The Needful Provision Solar Water Distiller:

Select a place with good access to sunlight. Dig a hole in the ground about the size of 2-bushel basket, then smooth the bottom of the hole, and add about an inch of sand as necessary to cover any objects that have sharp edges. Line the hole with black plastic (10 mil if possible), and leave about 10 to 12 inches of the plastic around the outside edge of the hole. Use rocks, gravel, or course dirt to hold this edge to the ground. Fill the hole half-full of polluted water (or salt water). Then float a clean, potable water-tub, with open top, on the water. Use ropes and ground-anchors to secure the tub in a center position while floating on the polluted water.

Once the preceding steps are completed, place a siphon-type tube (suitable for potable water) so one end is anchored on the bottom of the tub--and one end extends a few feet beyond the edge of the hole. Now add a clear sheet of plastic over the hole, and allow enough plastic to extend 6 inches beyond the black plastic around the edge of the hole. Place a small, round rock in the center just over the above-described tub, so that the top plastic sags to within 4 to 6 inches of the tub. Now seal the edges of the top and bottom plastic using a layer of dirt at least 6 to 8 inches deep. Cut a circle of white cloth, or similar material, a few inches larger than the collection tub, and then place this over the tub, on top of the plastic, and under the rock (this covering should act to shade water in the tub).

By means of solar water distillation, pure water vapor collects on the underside of the clear plastic where it re-condenses and forms water droplets. The water droplets slide down the plastic, and fall off into the collection tub just below the rock. The siphon tube is then used daily to drain-off the daily ration (1 gallon per person day) of potable water. Hole sizes may be adjusted to meet the water demands of a particular family, as well as adjusting for changes in climatic conditions. If the same water distillation hole is to be used on a regular basis, then a tube and funnel system should be included to add more source water daily, without the need to move dirt or the plastic cover. Pure, potable water was the result of all our prior uses. We do know that there are 2 or 3 chemicals that may evaporate at about the same temperature as water. If such chemicals were present in the source water, then potable water may not always result.
Source: Needful Provision, Inc.

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/02/solar_water_disinfection_and_p.html

How to band together?

First, my question has to do with a TV "Pocky clypse" situation. I.e. almost no one has power, police are at home protecting their own, stores have been ransacked and emptied, etc.

Banding together is the best way to survive. Granted, you should band together with friends or family you know and trust. You know that ADD kid who couldn't hold a job down the streets? Not a good bet to team up with.

But my question is, if you don't have family around here, and your friends are going to sit tight alone in their scattered homes, how does a lone person and his kid find a stranger to get together and survive with? (Sentence ending prepositions notwithstanding.)

I mean, an approaching stranger would have to be friendly. That means, rifle on his back, not drawn. Being polite. Offering to work for shelter and food. That kind of thing. Many people on this board would not accept strangers, assuming them to be low lifes. You would be right, for the most part, but what abuot the small bunch that are really hard working and trust worthy? They could really help you.

How would you test them to see if you might work together to get food and water and shelter? What might you ask them?

First, I'd ask them what their philosophy on life is. See if it's positive or negative.

Original: http://www.wilderness-survival.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5682

You Need Back-Up Power!

Winter Storm Reveals Utilities' Woes

...The severe weather has cast a spotlight on maintenance at a time when utilities across the U.S. have been responding to higher costs and reduced energy sales by trimming capital spending. The tricky part is cutting spending without degrading companies' ability to maintain service.

In Ohio, the leading consumer advocate on utility issues renewed a call this week for the state to conduct a broad probe into utility spending plans to make sure tree trimming, pole replacement and equipment upgrades are adequate.

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel said that the damage from this week's storm underscores the urgency of ensuring that utilities are funding their own maintenance sufficiently to capably withstand severe weather. The office called for an investigation of utility practices in December after a wind storm in September knocked out power to more than two million people, but its concerns go back to storms as early as 2004 and 2005...

I remember 2 years of frequent power failures, literally with almost every snowfall, high wind or thunderstorm. We even lost power for 44 hours right after Christmas dinner clean-up had been completed due to a few inches of snow! Public hearings revealed that our power company deferred using a contractor to trim tree branches along its right of way until a line was taken down. They opted to fix on failure rather than preventive trimming! Management made line crews go home at the end of their shifts rather than pay overtime to complete restoration of power to an entire given area! The Public Utility Commission slapped the power company's hand and power has been more reliable during the past 5 years.

That 5KW generator I bought for the Y2K non-event allowed us to use the well pump, charge batteries and light the core of the house for short periods of time. I wish we could afford one of the new 7.5KW units. It was pathetic to watch the news showing a long line of people, at least one who said he lived in a rural area, at Home Depot waiting for the delivery of generators after the ice storm.

Original: http://pft2009.blogspot.com/2009/01/winter-storm-reveals-utilities-woes.html

Emergency Kit Essentials - Top of 2009 List

By Ben AntonMany people dismiss the time honored-tradition of making personal resolutions this time of year. That tradition has gone along the wayside for most - the idea of adding pressure to our hectic lives seems daunting in this day and age. While I am not one to encourage people to make personal resolutions around New Years, I am one who likes to see people make practical changes to the way they act and live in order to improve safety and give a little peace of mind.

One of the easiest things families can commit to doing this year is to create an emergency kit for their home. Unforeseen disaster and complications can hit us at any time. Preparation for these things can increase safety and give you peace-of-mind.

What You Need to Know

I break emergency kits into two types: Home and Travel. A kit stored at home will usually contain more supplies because of the added room and the potential to be stuck in the home for long spans of time during a disaster. However, during many disasters, evacuation is necessary. In these cases an emergency kit that can be easily picked up and taken with you is needed, something like a large waterproof backpack or easy to carry duffel bag work well here.

Packing Your Emergency Kit

There are a lot of items that should be included in a good emergency kit. Below is the list of the most common items recommended for kit, categorized by essential, important, and nice-to-have. Each family will need to evaluate the list and put together the items they believe will be the most crucial for them in a time of crisis.

Essential Kit Items

LED flashlight: These reliable torches are a must. The new technology is far superior to battery-draining incandescent bulbs and provides a brighter, more visible light than any other light source available. Remember to include two LED torches and extra batteries.

First-Aid kit: Stock a complete kit with basic medical items like bandages, disinfectant, basic pharmaceuticals, etc. If your family members require daily medication, make sure to store extras in the kit as well.

Multi-tool or pocketknife: A sturdy multi-tool provides you with basic tools in an easy to carry package. A good multi-tool will have screwdrivers and knife blades in various sizes for a number of different applications.

Non-perishable food: Include food that doesn't need to be cooked in your kit supplies. Pack enough for at least a 72-hour (3-day) period. Nuts, granola bars, dried foods, and peanut butter are all excellent choices. Canned food has a good shelf-life too. Just be sure to include a can opener (or make sure your multi-tool has one)!

Bottled water: Pack one gallon of water per person per day. This not only serves as your drinking water (which your body desperately needs) but will provide enough to use for sanitation purposes.

Warm blankets: For your home, any warm, dry blankets will suffice, preferably made of wool. Space blankets for your travel pack will conserve space and lighten the load.

Waterproof matches/lighter: It is important to have fire-starting tools in the event that extra warmth is needed.

Important Kit Items

AM/FM radio: Important information is often broadcast across radio waves in the event of an emergency. Keep extra batteries in your kit for the radio if you choose to include one in your kit.

Extra clothing: If inclement weather is involved, the value of warm, dry clothes increases dramatically. Put extra clothes in a waterproof bag.

Dust mask: Natural disasters can produce a big mess, stirring up dust and other harmful particles.

Bleach: This common household cleaner serves a number of purposes, the most important being purifying drinking water. Sixteen drops per gallon will provide you safe, drinkable water.

Cash (and change): ATMs and credit card machines don't work when the power is out. Keep extra cash in a safe place within your kit in case you need to buy supplies during an emergency.

Whistle: Often overlooked, do not underestimate the importance of a good whistle. These little wonders are simple to use, safe to carry, and easy for emergency personnel to hear.

Nice-To-Have Kit Items

• Moist Towelettes: For cleaning and sanitation
• Plastic garbage bags: For cleaning and sanitation
• Tarps / Plastic Sheeting: Window and Wall Repair
• Feminine Hygiene Products
• Baby Diapers / Formula
• Extra Glasses, contacts, etc.
• Duct Tape

Ben Anton lives in Portland, OR and writes for DLK.

We invite you to read more about portable emergency lights like flashlights and lanterns at our LED light source website.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ben_Anton

10 must haves for Bugging out

Code Name Insight originally published this list. Click Here to see the original

  1. Cash—there may not be an ATM (or it may not be working) when/where you evacuate to.
  2. Medications—you may not have your prescription on hand or pharmacies may not be open so bring your own necessary meds.
  3. Food and water—when you evacuate, stores may not be open or the place you end up may not have food and water so bring it with you.
  4. Important papers—things such as passports, birth certificates, marriage license, financial document, etc. are necessary to prove who you are and what you own. Bring them with you.
  5. An overnight bag—if you have a hygiene kit and a change of clothes, at least you will be able to clean up after you evacuate; this is a big psychological boost in a trying time.
  6. Communications stuff—a cell phone and a hard copy of your contact information (friend’s and family member’s phone and email contact info).
  7. A thumb drive with all of the contents of your computer backed up on it.
  8. Something to pass the time—playing cards, a book, an iPod, etc.
  9. Emergency supplies—first aid kit, flashlight, emergency blanket, etc.
  10. Any special, hard to replace item—dentures, hearing aids, glasses, nebulizer, etc.

Added by Mayberry

11. battery powered radio


Additional Reading:
Plan Your Escape Route Carefully
Global Disaster Map
Emergency Kit Essentials

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/528573840/10-must-haves-for-bugging-out.html

Bugging Out When the SHTF

I received an email from C.H. that brought forward some valid points concerning bugging out while the Sh*t is hitting the fan. The best case scenario will always be to move to your bug out location now before the doo-doo begins to fly. However, if you are like me, hunkering down may be your best option. Anywho, below is C.H.'s letter-Nomad

I think it is a common belief by newly awaken survivalist that they can wait until the shit actually hits the fan and then bug out with their vehicle and all of the survival gear and prepared food. I am curious, have any of you actually tried such a thing. Has anyone taken the time and effort to load your vehicle with 3 - 4000 lbs of gear and food, driven through a major city, a long distance interstate trip, stopped for the night, or had car trouble?

I don't mean to bust your bubble, but I have tried during normal times and it don't work worth a shit. I have a Dodge cummins diesel one ton pickup and my 5th wheel loaded with just my survival gear and food storage seriously overloads it. I tried towing a trailer filled with a compact tractor and tools cross country to work on a ranch I purchased and learned about road trash puncturing trailer tires (carry two spares), hardened criminals loitering at rest stops and RV parks (post guards), and the limited range of GMRS radios when the batteries run down (replace every 16 hrs).

If the US has a serious sudden crisis (another terror strike on top of today's economic crisis) I am going to stay put if it does not immediately threaten me. I have read all the emergence preparedness books talking about folks pulling together, one big nation singing cum-by-ya. I have also read the postings from folks who were late evacuating New Orleans.I believe that the risk of bugging out is just too great. Modern Americans will get scared and act like animals. They will threaten, attack, and steal from anyone they think is better prepared. They will stinking kill you.

I know from my experience that the best response is to bug out before the event. Move to a more secure area now. Preposition your very desirable, expensive, and irreplaceable survival tools and food storage at a secure site before the shit really hits the fan. I am in the middle of trying that little trick my self and it is very tough. Well one of my very favorite quotes is "life is tough, it is a lot tougher if you are stupid".

I am not at all certain that I can get all of my stuff cached before a crisis. But I am going to suggest some rules for bugging out:

1) Never travel alone, never drive alone, don't even go to the can alone.
2) Keep you bug out vehicle maintained at all times. Particularly the tires.
3) Carry all the fuel and spare parts you might possibly need. Consider detours.
4) Every adult needs to carry guns, the best shooters ride shotgun. Guard you stuff.
5) Avoid cities, avoid interstate highways if possible, avoid the cops, the military, and especially avoid FEMA.
6) If you do bug out, your ID will not match your location, use this. Make up a false address and cell phone # for authorities.
7) Do not stop for, talk to, or share your stuff with other people. This is not the time.
8) Other people will be dangerous, but FEMA was worse. If you can survive without contacting others for 6 months, do so.

Additional Reading:
10 Must Haves for Bugging Out
No Bug Out Place to Go
RE: No Bug Out Place to Go
Plan Your Escape Route Carefully

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Layoff Survival Guide

NBC 13 recently published this article on what to do if you are laid off from your job.

1. Know your rights and exit professionally-Ask the following questions: how much severance pay you are entitled to, whether you will be paid for vacation and sick days and how to file for unemployment benefits and extended health care. Always leave in a professional manner and never say or do anything that will come back to haunt you.

2. Take a deep breath-This is not the end of the world. Relax and realize you will overcome this situation. Do not let depression or despair seep in. Use your energy and imagination to overcome your problems.

3. Apply for unemployment-This should be your very first move.

4. Line up health care coverage-You need to know how long your employer will carry your coverage and where you can find coverage until you become re-employed. Even if you have a job you should start researching alternatives now, just in case. Always have a back up plan.

5. Network like crazy-Sixty percent of jobs are found through networking so start doing it.

6. Polish your resume

7. Start the search- Use all available resources.

8. Take any job available and then work up from there.

9. Take care of yourself-Be patient and keep in mind that it won’t be easy.

Additional Reading:

Gerald Celente on the Global Economic Collapse

10 Things to Help You Prepare for Hard Times

Game Plan for 2009

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Ice Storm Stories and Preparedness

 Ice Storm Stories and PreparednessAs most everyone should be aware, the last week has provided a harrowing survival experience for Kentucky and surrounding states with a major Ice Storm cutting off power to over 1.5 million homes and killing 55 people.

For those of us here in Utah, we’re more likely to see catastrophic events from a major snowstorm than an icestorm (in searching, I cannot find records of an icestorm like this hitting Utah). Our winter storms, especially in heavy snowfall years, can leave many icey problems. While we may not be likely to have an ice storm, there are still many lessons we can learn from those who have just experienced it. Let’s look at some reports from the Mid-South Ice Storm of 2009.

Click here to view the embedded video.

This video is a great photo documentary of the storm and much of the damage it caused.

Experience Reports

From the Indiana Preppers Network we hear:

the shelves (including generators and kerosene) were empty of the basic foods within 6 hours! Hmmm… does this pose a problem for anyone? The stores also quit taking debit/credit cards at this time. Some of the gas stations in the area wanted cash only as well. So, goes downhill rather quickly. BUT, if you are prepared, as I was, then you need not fear these events.

And from SurvivalBlog:

Within a few hours, everything became coated with a half-inch to an inch of ice: roads, cars, trees, power lines - everything. Throughout the night, we heard crashes as our neighbor’s trees lost massive limbs. We knew it was only a matter of time before trees limbs (which are not properly trimmed back by our utility company in an attempt to cut costs) collapsed on power lines and caused widespread outages. In the morning, everything had turned to crystal. About a quarter million people were without power in our county, but almost everyone in the western half of the state had lost power.

… Looking for a generator at the local big box home and garden center? Forget it, quickly sold out. Ice scrapers, gone. Gas cans, gone. Driveway salt, gone. Snow shovels, gone.

… The university asked students to leave, if possible, and those who couldn’t were sheltered in the campus auditorium. They didn’t have any cots so you had to sleep on the floor or in the auditorium chairs. She wanted me to come pick her up, so as I headed out the next morning on a full tank of gas, my plan was to stop at each significant town on the way to check their power and gas pumping status. Each stop was the same as the next - dead. As I neared the half-way point on my gas gauge, not one city on the way had electricity. It’s as if a nuclear ice bomb had been dropped on the state. I turned back.

…Lots of people I know have no alternatives to heat their homes or cook food. Fireplaces, like mine, are electrically controlled gas logs. I can’t even light it manually. I’ve learned a lesson: get what you need before you need it. Get extra. I will be buying a dependable generator once this crisis passes.

And now, from the perspective of a well prepped author on the Kentucky Preppers Network:

The brunt of the storm hit western Kentucky, where my family and myself live at, and luckily my family and I were somewhat prepared. Coincidentally, exactly a week before the storm hit I went out to China-Mart and purchased a $100 worth of prep items. Monday morning (January 26th) I went out and spent another $70 bucks on more preps to add to my Bug In Items in preparation for the storm. I was personally ready to be stuck with no electricity, no water, and no food for up to a month. My parents had just gone to the grocery store the weekend before so we had a pretty good supply of food in the house and we had purchased a 5000 watt generator about a month before. Monday evening we went out and filled all our cars up with gas, and filled our three, five gallon gas tanks up. Our generator is wired to be fed into the house breaker box so we were able to run all the lights, fridge, freezer, television, router, and my laptop. Cell phones were down most of the time, and so were the landlines, so Internet was our main source of communication.

… We did a good job conserving our fuel, ran the generator all day, and let it rest at night. We could stretch five gallons of gas to last a whole day of nearly continuous use. We were able to eat, cook, shower, and enjoy the majority of our usual luxuries. Now I said I personally was pretty prepared, but my family wasn’t as prepared. We only had a couple weeks of groceries, and not any stored water. Monday afternoon before the storm I talked my dad into purchasing a 55 gallon water drum from the local Rural King. We filled it up when water pressure was going out and had plenty of water to cook with and drink. The pressure was in and out but we never lost ours completely, others in the county did, and some still have no water.

… There are a lot of things that we could have had that would’ve made things a lot easier. We owned many flashlights, but didn’t have any batteries stored, so many of them were useless. In this situation having a stored set of batteries is important so you can power the flashlights you own. Having emergency candles is important when needing light in a room. We had a couple 72 hour candles from a few years ago, but more would have been better. Water is another thing that we did not have. I personally have been storing water in the seven gallon Reliance water containers you can get at China-Mart, but my parent’s had none (other than the fifty-five gallon barrel which was last minute). This could mean the difference in life and death in a survival situation. Getting the fifty-five gallon water drum made a huge difference when we needed to get a drink, flush the toilets, and cook a meal. Store water any way you can people; fill up old juice containers, buy the above mentioned containers from China-Mart or get a fifty-five gallon food grade barrel to store water in. Whatever you do, get a supply of stored water. Food is the next important thing. We had a decent supply of food for a couple weeks, but if this thing would’ve lasted any longer, we would’ve had to drive at least an hour to replenish our groceries. If you’re storing food you want to store food that is easily prepared, highly nutritious, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Warmth is another important factor. Everyone in the household needs to have a set of thermal underwear, wool socks, gloves, and a toboggan. If we didn’t have the generator to run the heat on, bundling up and staying in one room would’ve been the best thing to do.

… Having storable food, water, a way to cook, heat your home and a light source, will give you a great advantage when caught in a disaster.

And finally, from some not so prepared people in an article on Yahoo:

… among those resting in every corner of a university theater. Some sprawled in aisles, propped in chairs or curled up on the stage. they, like many others, ran out of food and water at their frigid, powerless home. “I had no idea the storm was going to last this long,” McClung said.

… Deputies trekked door-to-door in many communities to let people know where shelters were, forced to spread the word the old-fashioned way because cell phone and Internet service was spotty.

… Those who hunkered down in their homes face long lines to buy generators, firewood, groceries — even bottled water because power outages crippled local pumping stations.

… tried a half-dozen filling stations before finding one where they could buy kerosene. The two were in a line that swelled to 50 or more at the 13th Street Station, which began pumping kerosene after its owner set up a generator.

“We got food, but I’m just worried about staying warm,” said Brittan, who lives in Mayfield, adding she was frustrated by the search for supplies.

“By the time you hear about a place that’s open they’re out when you get there,” she said.

… Emergency officials feared that toll could rise if people stay in their homes without power for too long, because improper use of generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

… “I’m sleeping in a car, which is just fine,” Eason, 74, said. “There’s nothing wrong with a car. Every couple of hours I turn it on, I let it run for 10 minutes and that keeps it pretty warm.”

Lessons Learned/Demonstrated

So we are given the rare (fortunately) opportunity to learn from the actual lessons learned of those who have made it through a local disaster. On the one hand we can learn from a prepper and what they found valuable in their preps - and what they found lacking. We can also learn from those who don’t believe at all in being prepared and rely on the government to take care of them when their TV goes out. Here’s my summary of Lessons Learned:

  1. Be Prepared! (hehe) Make sure that you have plenty of food stored. I personally very strongly recommend having at the very least 3 months worth of food stored. One of the main reasons for so much is to be able to help your less prepared neighbors from starving to death.
  2. Store plenty of water. Recommendations vary, but the easiest to calculate is store 1 gallon per person per day. Try to get at least 2 weeks worth of water stored, then double it! In order to not waste your drinking supply, it is a good idea to also have several (I have 210) gallon or 2 liter bottles filled with water to flush toilets with. Just in case you don’t know, dumping a gallon or 2 liters of water into a toilet will force it to completely flush. This allows you to avoid unsanitary conditions when the water supply to your house is disrupted.
  3. Have a backup power generation system. This can be in the form of a generator, solar, wind or other alternative methods
  4. Have a way to produce heat. Whether it be a fireplace (have wood stored!) or propane or kerosene heaters.
  5. MAKE SURE that you have fuel stored for your alternative heat and power generation systems. Store enough to keep things going for at least 2 weeks, preferably for a month.
  6. Have gasoline stored. It seems that everytime there is an emergency situation in America we hear continuous stories about how there are 15 mile long lines at all the gas stations. Get a clue people! Store plenty of gas, at least enough to get quite a ways out of town.
  7. Keep cash at home! I recommend keeping around a thousand dollars in $20 and smaller demoniations at home in a safe. At the very least, keep $300. With a thousand you would likely be able to buy a ride out of town and to safety if you needed to, not so much so with 300. When the power goes out and things get bad, nobody takes credit cards or checks! Cash on hand is an absolute must if you are going to try to buy something. Keep $20 and smaller denominations so that you don’t have to find someone or some way to break something bigger.
  8. Keep your home stocked and prepped so you don’t have to go to one of these shelters. I’ve never read happy fun stories about a pack of 300 humans being stuffed into an emergency shelter.
  9. To conserve on your fueled heating systems, keep lots of warm clothes and blankets in your house. In a protracted emergency you may need to use your on hand fuel for a very long time.
  10. Make sure you have either plenty of batteries or rechargeable batteries and a way to charge them (generator). Flashlights and other battery powered items will likely only last a few days with constant or heavy use.
  11. Make sure you have some kind of battery or hand cranked radio in your house. This will probably be your most reliable way of getting news and updates on what is going on.

Those are probably the biggest things - do you have any other ideas or things you noticed should be on the list? Let us know in the comments!

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