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Monday, April 13, 2009

Book Review: Emergency - This Book Will Save Your Life

Harper Collins recently contacted me and sent me a copy of Neil Strauss's new book: Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life. I have to admit I had never read a Neil Strauss book so I know nothing about him. The book arrived a few weeks ago as promised and I have since read it and I must say I did enjoy it. Mr. Strauss really submerged himself in the research he did for the book and went above and beyond in the recommendations many in the survivalist world preach. The book is an easy read and once you pick it up you will not want to put it down. I unfortunately have had several things that actually forced me to put it down. Normally this would have been a two day read for me, max.

The book is broken into five parts:
Orientation
Five Steps
Escape
Survive
Rescue

Orientation is a brief introduction in the who, what, when, where, and why of Mr. Strauss's infatuation with the apocalypse and how he suddenly realized it is more of a possibility than it was prior (at least in his eyes).

Five Steps is a culmination of dangers faced in our world from why people hate us, to Israeli gas masks that suck, to air travel. The topics meander about in a way that is not consistent but still works. It is interesting to read about his experiences and what he views as signs of impending doom all around us.

Escape is a very interesting set of chapters. Mr. Strauss explains how to find loopholes to allow things such as citizenship in another country (dual)...why would you want to do something like this?...for the passport dummy! Who wants to be stuck in a country that HATES Americans with an AMERICAN passport. Some of the tips are extreme and a bit unpractical for most people, but I must admit I was impressed he had gone through such trouble to accomplish his end game. Chapter names such as "War, Genocide and Other Real Estate Scams" and "Why Knocking Up A Brazilian Woman Can Save Your Life" should give you a clue that is not only an interesting book but an entertaining one as well.

Survive covers some real interesting things such as obtaining firearms training, Red Cross and EMT medical training, survival tips, camping tips, evasion advice, motorbikes, etc. This is the real tip section of the book if you will. This is some of the stuff that many of your may be familiar with. I enjoyed reading all the advice and more importantly the experiences that Mr. Strauss shared with his readers.

Rescue covers everything from emergency response, to EMT training, to getting a Ham radio license. It really is amazing the amount of effort and time that the author put into researching this book, he should be commended on that. He covers Katrina and the "governments" plan to save you (yeah right!). My favorite chapter in this section..."The Odds of Dying Horribly"...you figure it out!

I have no problem recommending this book to my readers. It offers some practical and even some extreme advice that is at least worth give a look. I can't say I will be going for any foreign passports anytime soon but it is interesting to read about the processes and experience. Hats off to Mr. Strauss and all the effort he put into this book!

...that is all.

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BeASurvivor/~3/RmJLw8HxNMQ/book-review-emergency-this-book-will.html

The Top Shelf


I am continuing sharing some of my food storage. Food storage will be something that YOU will not regret having. I have a zillion reasons why I began being one who tried to prepare for any scenario, but why I am glad I still have food storage is because of one word: ECONOMY.

Now I must point out here that I am only 5'0 short. The top shelf of my pantry is nearly 8 feet high, and my footstool barely allows me to reach it(hence the appearance of tossing items up there- it is because I did!).

Now to what I have on the top shelf : dehydrated milk, sea salt, baking soda, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and instant potatoes. Anywhere you would use milk you can use powdered milk. I am not suggesting that you have powdered milk in your pantry if you have not used it- please, please get familiar with using it. I use it for all my needs in milk. I have about fifteen boxes, as we have two goats we also milk, and soon can supplement our milk needs as a family. Currently we use the milk for the babies on the farm.

I have fifty pounds of regular salt- but the sea salt is in my food storage for more medicinal and hygienic reasons. I make my toothpaste with sea salt...and if you have a sore throat you can gargle with warm water and sea salt- the same thing can be done if you have a cold sore in your mouth. Baking soda- this is four fold for me 1) for baking, 2) for hygienic reasons-toothpaste 3) medicinal- make a paste if you are stung by a bee, and 4) cleaning- I use baking soda to scrub tubs, toilets and to sprinkle on the carpets as a carpet freshener, to add to the wash to freshen the load, add to the litter box to remove smells...and I am sure there are many more uses.

Brown sugar- can be used in baking all kinds of goodies, breakfast(oatmeal, arroz con leche), even making some drinks. I am short of my goal of 15 lbs, but should meet this by next month. Instant potatoes- This is a quick fix item that ensures potatoes in your diet if you don't have fresh. They are not as healthy for you, but I like that to complete the dish you can heat a pan of water on the woodstove, and when it is boiling take it off, and add the instant potatoes. I need not mention the ton of recipes you can make with potatoes(except this- you can make potato bread with instant potatoes!)

Shelf two: Well this shelf is mostly condiments, but I will point out some important items. Peanut butter: this is a protein source if you have no other readily available source. Of course it requires no cooking so you can eat it as is from a spoon or like some of my children used to-with a finger dip! Mapleine- this is a flavored syrup that is to make syrup. Of course it is not syrup but my family enjoys this. It takes up little space that a gallon of syrup may take up, and it is a per serving mix. On Saturdays I make up a batch, and it last for the weekend of pancakes and waffles. My syrup, especially in the summer, used to crystallize. Mapleine does not and is a great item to add to your food storage if you like pancakes and the likes. Oh and I bought this at my local Wal*mart. Molasses-it is a wonderful forgotten cooking aid with several uses outside the home.

The rest of the items include Italian dressing which we love during the summer to use on our summer salads. Barbecue sauces and steak sauces, because-well my kids love them.(I found the BBQ sauce at the local store for $. 33 each, so I bought a dozen of them.) Be sure to load on on items that are on sale that you use. I have several jellies, some of grape, and the others are jalapeno jelly, elderberry jelly, crab apple jelly, and blackberry jelly.

Please do not minimize the importance of condiments in your food storage, as in times of crisis, it may be difficult to have a child eat something, unless it is the old standby of peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I believe that the time to increase and build up your pantry is NOW. Times are rapidly coming where the economy will make little affordable to us all, whether we are Canadian or American.
(c)double nickel farm


Original: http://northwestterritoriespreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/top-shelf.html

Delicious Indian Naan Bread


If you have ever been to an Indian resteraunt, the Naan bread they serve is SO delicious! They are light, buttery, garlicy, and YUMMY! We served these with a pasta dish, but would be great with a curry dish. If you get tired of making the same bread recipe, this one is fun for a change.

Naan
2 3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl by hand), stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and yeast. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, yogurt, and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir for about 1 minute, until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the wet ingredients.

Increase machine speed to 2 (or by hand) and knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

Put a baking stone or heavy baking sheet on the lowest rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.

Divide the dough into eight pieces and form into teardrop (mine were more like oval) shapes with your hands, about 6 to 8 inches across.

Cook two or three pieces at a time. Drop the dough onto the hot stone and shut the oven door, watching until they are just starting to turn brown in places, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the naan and lay on a board. Butter the naan with garlic butter after it comes out of the oven.


Original: http://myfoodstoragedeals.blogspot.com/2009/03/delicious-indian-naan-bread.html

foil pouches

Foil pouches or Mylar bags are a great choice for longer-term storage repacking. They are lightweight, adaptable and reusable. Any dry food (10% or less moisture) can be placed into these bags, which come in many different sizes, and sealed for long-term storage.

It is easy to repackage bulk foods using these pouches. You can borrow a sealer from LDS Home Storage Centers, your local LDS congregation or you can purchase one (LDS Distribution and Amazon both offer these sealers) for $100 to $300 dollars. Pouches, depending upon the size, cost around $.50+ each. Oxygen absorbers should be used inside of the pouches to remove all oxygen. Foil pouches are not rodent-proof. I would recommend that you store the filled pouches in a food-grade plastic container to provide a second line of defense against rodents.

These pouches are made of aluminum and lined with food grade plastic. Once you open the pouch, it is easy to reseal or reuse them if you've purchased a sealer. Some have stated that you can use an iron to reseal these pouches, but I don't recommend doing this because of the following statement at Provident Living, "Do not use an iron or another household heating device because it will not provide an adequate seal, especially for powdered products such as flour or dry milk."



Here is a link with more information about foil pouches, including pictures and instructions, at Provident Living.

Original: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2009/04/foil-pouches.html

PETE bottles



Polyethylene terephthalate bottles, or those with the recycling symbol shown above, are some of the most inexpensive and readily available container resources for long-term storage. These bottles are available all over the world. Many products, like juice, soda and water, that we purchase at the supermarket come already packaged in these reusable bottles. If you are unable to find buckets, foil pouches or buckets for use in your area, PETE bottles can be your solution. It's pretty easy to collect these bottles over time and then repack them for long-term storage.

Here are some instructions:

1) Use only bottles that previously contained food items.
1) Clean bottles with dish soap, rinse thoroughly and dry completely.
2) Verify that lid has a plastic/rubber seal (not foam or paper) and is airtight by replacing the cap and immersing the bottle into water. Squeeze the bottle. If you see bubbles, then the bottle is not air-tight and cannot be used for long-term storage.
3) Put an oxygen absorber (available through LDS distribution) into each bottle. Replace the oxygen absorber if you reuse the bottle.
4) Pour dry (less than 10% moisture content) storage items, such as wheat, rice, beans or popcorn, into bottle using a funnel if needed.
5) Wipe the top of the bottle to remove any dust or foil-seal remnants that will compromise an air-tight seal. Tighten lid and label bottle.
6) Store bottles in a dark area to reduce light exposure. Storing bottles in a food-grade bin or box can also reduce light and help thwart rodents.


These are two great links for further information:
Storing Bulk Dry Foods in PETE Bottles (includes pictures)
Provident Living - PETE Bottles


Original: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2009/04/pete-bottles.html

A caution about those candles...

Many thanks to Stephanie in AR, who left a comment after reading my last post about buying stuff little by little, including a scented candle. Hopefully she will not mind my reprinting the comment here, because it is pertinent information that could benefit anyone in possession of such candles:

"Please remember that scented candles are only good for lighting for a short time - usually 3 hours or less. Not because they don't stay lit, they will but because of the scent. Too much - both from too many or too long of burning - can make you very sick.

We did not know this & neither did our friends. During an ice storm (not this one) our friends relied heavily on her scented candles for lighting, leaving the very large ones lit in the bathroom for a 'nightlight'. They became very sick, esp. the smallest (not youngest). The Dr. said it was due to the scenting agents. Who knew?"

Scented candles are fine - they make the place smell better & brighten our mood, but only is bursts."

For our 72-hour kits, we have flashlights, which we prefer anyway, but we have some candles stocked from many years ago, because we just don't use them that often. They are for true emergencies, and I had heard something about scented candles not being ideal, but this information puts things in a whole new light. (No pun intended. :) You don't need preventable illness on top of an emergency.

If you haven't seen me mention before that I learn a lot from comments, and greatly appreciate them, here is a case in point. Thanks, Stephanie!!


Original: http://adventuresinbloggingtoo.blogspot.com/2009/04/caution-about-those-candles.html

Survival Health–The Government Gives Warnings Against Suicide

I’ve touched on the subject of suicide once before in this blog, and now our government has decided to address the subject with a web page and hotline. Click here for the web page. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Department of Health and Human Services entitled this guide, “Getting Through Tough Economic Times.” In a nutshell, the guide offers tips on “how to deal with the effects financial difficulties can have on your physical and mental health.” One of the negative effects of our economic downturn is suicide, and they offer signs to look for when someone becomes suicidal. Those suffering from such things as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or substance abuse are at greater risk.

Let’s face it. Economic pressures can change one’s perspective and strain relationships as well as wallets. Coping can be difficult. The government’s site encourages stress management, staying connected with others, and getting exercise. Don’t be afraid to seek help from medical and mental health professionals. Community organizations are encouraged to provide support for those who need it in these difficult times.

Suicide warning signs include:

* Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself

* Looking for ways to kill oneself

* Thinking or fantasizing about suicide

* Acting recklessly

* Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

If someone you know is encountering these problems, the site suggests getting immediate help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Again, the number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Isn’t it interesting that the government has chosen to address the issue of suicide? Are they finally acknowledging how bad things really are? Or is this another step in the direction of becoming an even greater Nanny State? Whatever the reason, they’re offering some common sense advice worth taking.

Just as when Uncle Sam tells us to have 72-hour kits at the ready, or to be prepared in other ways for storms, their advice is worth considering. Often the government can be criticized for dealing in generalities and dishing out common sense anybody supposedly could have figured out on their own, but that doesn’t make Uncle Sam wrong. Yes, they actually get it right sometimes. Tackling the issue of suicide is one of those times.

Emergency Disaster Planning: Building a Bug-Out Kit


By Soni Pitts

Report after report comes in about how many people couldn't or didn't escape the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. More reports come in about the disorganized relief effort, the communications problems they're having and the difficulty in getting survivors to safety even when they are reachable by rescue personnel.

Hopefully, few of us will ever be caught in such a widespread and devastating disaster as Hurricane Katrina. But should a natural or man-made disaster threaten your family or force an evacuation, having a fully-stocked and easily-reached emergency "bug-out" bag could help save your life during the first stages, and help make rescue, recovery and a return to normalcy easier and more successful.

A bug-out bag is basically a duffle bag or other easy to carry luggage piece stocked with the following items:

  • Photocopies of important documents such as birth certificates, drivers' licenses and so on for the entire family. Note: keep the originals in a safe deposit box or other safe place – non-notarized photocopies cannot generally be used for official actions like getting a drivers license, but are more than fine for temporary ID in emergency situations. And don't forget insurance papers and other items you might need to begin rebuilding.

  • A small sum of cash ($20-50) for immediate emergency use.

  • A temporary supply of prescription drugs in their originally-labeled containers, regularly rotated for freshness. This is easily done by buying one refill ahead. As you finish your current package or bottle, take the next one out of the bag and replace with a newly purchased refill.

  • A supply of meal replacement and energy bars. Look for items that are designed more for calorie and nutrient density, such as protein bars and hikers' meal bars, rather than those sold as snack products or candy bar substitutes. You can also include dried foods or hiking meals and other lightweight, easy to prepare and eat items such as nuts, small candies and oatmeal packs.

  • A water purification kit or hiker's filter system. Bottled water is bulky, heavy and goes stale quickly. Dirty water, while distasteful, can often be easily found, roughly filtered through cloth to remove large particulate matter and then sterilized for safe drinking. In a worst-case scenario, boiling dirty water for 15 minutes will serve until alternatives can be found.

  • A pre-paid phone card and a list of relatives, friends and emergency numbers. Check for expiration date and rotate out or renew as needed.

  • A non-battery-dependent, rechargeable flashlight, radio and cell phone charger, if you have a phone (alternatives include solar, squeeze-charge or kinetically charged options). Even when phone service was available, many Katrina survivors could not call out to get help or update relatives because their phones were dead and there was no power. Keep in mind also that even when phone service is spotty, small text messages can sometime get through.

  • A multi-tool (the kind with blades, pliers, screwdrivers and so on) for taking care of small but sometimes life-or-death repairs and jury-rigs.

  • A small first aid kit containing at least bandages of various sizes, antiseptic ointment, sunscreen, a bottle of contact lens saline solution (good for cleaning injuries and flushing eyes) and OTC pain relievers.

  • A safety lighter and a few small candles. Never light these unless you are sure that there is no chance of an explosion from natural gas, propane or other leaking fuels. For safety, use your flashlight for your primary light source. Save the lighter and candles for starting cooking or heating fires.

  • An indelible, waterproof black permanent marker (buy new and keep in package until needed, to maintain freshness). Useful for many things including leaving notes for rescuers or others on whatever is at hand, marking your gear at a shelter, and writing ID and medical info on the arms of kids, the elderly, the ill or anyone who may become separated or are unable to speak for themselves. (There are also white markers that can be used for darker-skinned individuals, or simply write on a lighter area of their body). Sturdy hospital or nightclub-style ID bracelets are also handy for this purpose. Note: there is always danger in having children's ID plainly visible to strangers. Use your best judgment in each situation to weigh the various benefits and concerns.

  • Don’t forget the pets! Keep their carriers handy, clean and ready to go. Your kit should have any food, medications, leashes and important papers necessary for them, as well. Not all evacuation shelters will take animals. If you have pets, it is important that you know ahead of time where they can go and how you will take care of them in an emergency.

The bag should be checked and the edibles or expirables rotated at least every 6 months or as needed (schedule a regular check during daylight savings changeovers, when you also check your smoke alarm batteries and do other seasonal activities). Although this will cover most survival situations, you should customize it to fit your needs (toiletries, special gear, food additives, small paperback books, etc). Just keep in mind the weight and size of the final kit and that in an emergency situation you may have to carry it for a long time over rough terrain while tired, hungry or even injured.

Your bug-out kit should be placed near the main entrance and exit, or in an easy-to-reach central location. Every member of the family should know where it is and to make sure it is part of any emergency evacuation. (It is important to stress, however, that no one ever go after any item, even the emergency bag, in the case of a house fire. In that case, focus only on getting out as soon as you can.) Smaller versions of this bag can also be kept in offices and vehicles.

Although having a bug-out kit cannot guarantee your safety, it goes a long way toward ensuring that you and your family have the best chance possible of making it through any unforeseen emergency as healthy and safe as possible.


Original: http://survival-training.info/articles/EmergencyDisasterPlanningBuildingaBugOutKit.htm

How to Survive a Winter Storm if You are Ever Exposed to One

By Ivan A Cuxeva

Living in extremely cold places poses a serious risk to those living in areas where temperatures can drop dramatically. Northern US states, Canada, northern European countries, Asia as well as countries in South America meet the meteorological conditions which trigger winter storms. Drastic temperature drops represent a serious hazard to anyone living in these areas who is not prepared to handle such conditions and things just get worse when snow starts to fall.

People living in populated cities have much of the resources needed to survive such weather, but campers, people who practice winter sports and many others are in serious risks of getting caught in one of these storms, in fact these are the people we often hear about on the news who get disoriented and lost because of winter storms.

The first step is to always be prepared for the unexpected winter storm, whether you are just heading out to camp or to ski on nearby slopes, caution is the first step to survival. There are two common ways people get caught on a winter storm, the first is when people's vehicles fail on them or they are outside and get lost due to the weather conditions, many think that surviving a storm inside a car is easy compared to being outside without any type of shelter but this thought can be quite deceiving.

People who get caught in a winter storm while on their vehicles face the risks of hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is recommended to run the motor every hour in order to keep some heat in the vehicle which will keep you warm, you should never keep yourself completely locked inside with the windows rolled up for an extended period of time, open them periodically in order to avoid intoxication by dangerous gases. Since you might be in a confined space try to move your arms legs and fingers vigorously in order to keep the blood flowing and your core temperature stable, once the storm has passed make yourself visible to rescuers by raising the hood of your car or hanging clothes with eye catching colors outside the car.

If you are caught without any type of shelter the first thing is to look for a cave or make yourself an improvise Igloo using tree branches and solid ice to ride the storm, it is also recommended to build a fire and place stones around it in order to reflect the heat. If you start to sweat, remove part of the clothes for a brief instant until you are dry and them put them back on, this helps you avoid subsequent chills, moreover, never eat snow without first melting it because it can lower your core temperature. Once the storm has passed make sure you are on an area where helicopters and rescuers can easily spot you.


Original: http://survival-training.info/articles/HowtoSurviveaWinterStormifYouareEverExposedtoOne.htm

Emergency Communications - Part 3 (thank you WV Santa!)

YES - WVSanta is back with the third installment to his "Emergency Communications" series here on the CPN! This series has received much feedback in the form of comments and there has been much discussion among the members of the Canadian and American Preppers Networks about HAM radio and other types of Emergency Communications because of the stir that this series has caused! We encourage any new readers to read the series in it its order...Emergency Communications - Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.


We at the CPN would like to thank WVSanta from the West Virginia Preppers Network for sharing his extensive knowledge about Emergency Communications with us - and we would also like to say - THAT is one Kick-*ss mobile comms station you got disguised as a truck, Santa!


And without any further ado...here is the much-anticipated Emergency Communications - Part 3:




MY MOBILE SETUP


This is the setup in my service truck that I work out of everyday. I hope that this will let people see some of what can be done with Ham and CB radio equipment. Now I know my truck is a mess but many times I spend 10 hrs or more per day in it and I did not take the time to spit polish it for the pictures.


FIRST MY ANTENNAS


On the roof in the middle is my CB antenna. Yes I do use a CB as I am in my own excavating business and need to be able to talk to my other trucks and the scale houses at the gravel quarry. Not everyone has a Ham license so the CB is still a big part of my communications setup.



Next on the drivers side on the tool bed is a 10 meter only Ham antenna.


On the rear corner in the back is what they call a screwdriver antenna; this one in its current configuration covers 12 meter thru 80 meter Ham bands and is tuned by a switch in the cab that raises or lowers the upper mast depending on what band you tune to.( see 3rd picture)


Last is my 2 meter ham antenna on the tool box on the passenger side.





NOW ON TO THE RADIOS


From left to right on the dash CB radio.


Next the small face plate is my Icom 706 MK II G ham rig and the main radio is pictured on the seat (second and third picture below) for this but is normally mounted under the seat.


The next item is the light controller for the bar beacon on the roof which is also a PA and electric air horn. The truck was originally owned by a fire department.


Last on the right is a linear amplifier (by law for ham use only but also will work with the CB just keep that between us).





I hope this helps some people see what these radios look like if you have never seen them before. The pack of cigarettes is there for size reference. Again please excuse the mess in my truck it is a work truck and does see some very long days.


I will be doing more on the ham radio as I get my base station antennas back up in the air and will try to get pictures of that process also for everyone to see. As always if you have any questions please email me at wvsantaclaus@aol.com and I will do my best to help you. Sorry it took so long to get this done for you.


God Bless from the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia

Santa



Thank you Santa - thank you a hundred times over for being willing to share your knowledge and experience! And remember - you are always welcome to guest-post at the CPN! Thank you!



Original: http://canadianpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/emergency-communications-part-3-thank.html

Using Your Food Storage


Do you buy foods and then put them in an emergency pantry, and have no idea how to use them? Filling a pantry and preparing for any emergency is critical. But if you buy something like powdered milk and then have no idea how to use it then you have wasted money, storage space, and quite frankly your time.

I have used powdered milk for many years, as it is easier to use when I make arroz con leche(rice and milk) or oatmeal. As the years passed I slowly began using powdered milk for baking sweets and even bread.

So my pantry has powdered milk. This is a comfort to me to know that I can make the foods my family eats, because I have learned how to use powdered milk on my leisure and if a crisis occurs, I am totally comfortable baking with this.

I think that in the times we live in that one need to learn to cook/bake as many foods as possible from scratch. I challenge you(if you haven't already) to buy some powdered milk and then bake with it.

How much powdered milk should you store for your family? Here is a good link to get you started on calculating your food needs.

Here are five of six loaves of bread I recently made using powdered milk...the sixth never makes it to a bag as the family dives in so fast!
Jennifer


Original: http://saskatchewanpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/using-your-food-storage.html