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Friday, July 17, 2009

Batteries part 1 – primary cells

A primary cell is non-rechargeable. Although some people recharge them, the danger of leaking is high and they will only recharge a small percentage of the original capacity. These cells have two common types: carbon-zinc and alkaline (zinc-manganese). Today, the cheaper carbon-zinc have been all but pushed off the market by the longer lasting alkaline batteries, which have 3-5 times the capacity and a longer shelf life. There’s no real reason to buy carbon-zinc batteries, so this is about the common alkaline cell.
Alkaline batteries, like almost everything, have a variable shelf life depending on the storage temperature. The current cells have a 3 year shelf life (defined as still having 80% of original capacity after sitting 3 years at 70F), this time can be doubled by having them at refrigerator temperatures. Don’t freeze them, though!
They come in standard sizes: AAA, AA, C and D are the common ones. These all have the same output voltage, 1.5V. There is also a 9V battery that uses 6 small alkaline cells in a common case. Batteries are normally put in series to provide more voltage.
Cell storage capacity and maximum load is by the cell size. The larger the battery is, the more electrons it can hold and give. The remaining capacity of these batteries can be roughly determined by their voltage. 1.5v=most to all left, 1.4v=over half gone, 1.3v=very little left, 1.2v or less = useless. Generally speaking, lower current draw means more total capacity from the battery. For example, the ubiquitous AA cell can last over 6 hours with a 300mA load, but can only handle 45 minutes of a 1000mA (maximum for that cell size) load. My digital camera uses two AA cells, they need to be replaced after an hour of heavy picture-taking. A LED flashlight using the same cells will last 10 hours before needing new batteries.
So, why have these instead of rechargeable batteries? They have the best shelf life by far, so in an emergency when you need a flashlight that works Now, alkaline batteries are your friend. For daily use, they can get expensive quick.

A Pontoon Boat for Survival?

White River  Paddlefish Pontoon Boat

Now that weather is warming up, fishermen and recreational boaters are taking to the water. But after reading Prell’s latest letter from his survivalist friend Karl, a few questions about stealth survival came to mind.

What about exploring waterways as a means of escape into obscurity for a while? What if you wanted to make people think you were fishing or taking pictures of nature from your boat, rather than getting out of Dodge? Is it possible to find a boat you could carry from place to place? What if you could put such a boat into a car or truck for a trip to the water?

Pictured above is a White River Paddlefish pontoon boat available from Bass Pro Shop. I don’t know if it answers my ponderings, but it could have possibilities for you other than fly fishing. If you click on the picture, you’ll go to the page that features this boat. You’ll find more information there, and you can place your order, but here are a few highlights to consider.

Bass Pro says the Paddlefish Pontoon is the ideal entry level pontoon that performs exceptionally well in both moving and still water. I understand such a boat isn’t fast, but can go quietly into a lot of places other boats can’t. The elevated solid seat offers a great vantage point for sight fishing as well as all-day comfort. It’s designed with 8 foot pontoons to provide a very-smooth riding watercraft with high maneuverability.

The Paddlefish features oars, strong aluminum oar locks, a convenient easy to reach tackle pocket, plus a mesh cargo deck with enough room to store plenty of fishing gear or other equipment or supplies.

The Paddlefish is constructed with a three-piece corrosion resistant steel frame, rugged 600 denier PVC and 5mm vinyl bladders. The total load capacity is 300 lbs., but the boat itself only weighs 56 lbs., which makes it easy to transport.

Whether you’re a fly fisherman, or are thinking of other purposes for the White River Paddlefish pontoon boat, start answering the questions you may have had come to mind by clicking on the picture above for more info or to order directly from Bass Pro Shop’s site.

Most Overlooked Prep - First Aid Kit

Author: Mathiasj
Kentucky-Preppers-Network.blogspot.com

It seems that the most overlooked item for a preparedness kit would be a first aid kit. There are a lot of preppers and non-preppers alike who don't have any first aid supplies in their home. A first aid kit is very important to keep because when you need it, it's handy to have. I know some people who don't keep any first aid supplies in their home until someone needs a band aid. Emergency situations that require first aid usually won't allow you enough time to head down to the store to purchase the stuff. You want to have a kit ahead of time so if the time comes and you need it, then you will have it.

A first aid kit is just as important as your food storage, and your water storage. When you're talking about getting your 3 month supply built up, you not only want to have your 3 month supply of food and water, but also your other necessities including first aid supplies. Most common and minor injuries can be treated with a good first aid kit and save a hospital trip and the hospital bills. There are many different first aid kits on the market, although most include the same stuff. You just want to find one that is large enough and includes the items in it to fit your needs.

I purchased a first aid kit from eBay a few months ago and after some issues with the kit I purchased being out of stock, I lucked up and got sent two of the same first aid kit. I received the 327pc. Deluxe First Aid Center, the kind you can buy from Sam's Club. These kits are very nice and include plenty of first aid supplies. They are designed for use with up to 30 people in a manufacturing setting. This kit meets OSHA and ANSI guidelines for business use and comes with a study hard case for storage or wall mounting.

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The Kit Includes:
Clean:
-27 Antiseptic Towelettes
-27 alcohol Prep Pads
-9 Povidone Iodine Prep Pads
-1 Eye Wash 1 oz.
-20 Cotton Tip Applicators
-6 Examination Gloves
Treat:
-1 Hydrogen Peroxide Spray Pump
-10 Antibiotic Ointment Packets
-12 Sting Relief Pads (for insect bites)
-5 Burn Cream Ointments
-10 Antacid Tablets
-12 Ibuprofen Tablets
-12 Non-Aspirin Tablets
-1 Instant Chemical Cold Pack-6"x9"
-1 Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Pack 6"x9"
Protect:
-40 Adhesive Bandages-3/8"x1 1/2"
-30 Adhesive Bandages-3"x3/4"
-10 Antibacterial Bandages-3"x3/4"
-15 Adhesive Bandages-1"x3"
-10 Antibacterial Bandages-1"x3"
-5 Butterfly Closures Bandages
-12 Wound Closure Strips-1/4"x1 1/2"
-4 Knuckle Bandages
-1 Adhesive Tape Roll-1/2"x2.5 yds
-1 Adhesive Tape Roll-1/2"x5 yds
-3 Non-Adherent Gauze Pads 2"x3"
-8 Sterile Gauze Sponge 2"x2"
-1 Sterile Trauma Sponge-5"x9"
-2 Gauze rolls-2"x4.1yds
-1 Triangular Bandage 40"x40"x56"
-2 Round Eye Pads 2"
-5 Insect Repellent Packets (1 gram)
Additional Supplies:
-4 Finger Splints
-3 Disposable Thermometers
-1 Metal Tweezer 3"
-1 Metal Scissor
-3 Splinter Removers
-1 English First Aid Instruction Guide
-1 Spanish First Aid Instruction Guide
More Items of Value:
-Antibacterial Bandages Disposable
-Thermometer
-Hydrogen Peroxide Spray Pump
-Larger Sting Relief Pads
-Thicker Sterile Gauze Sponges
-Instant Chemical Cold Pack 6"x9"
-Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Pack 6"x9"

I'm not sure what the price of these kits are at Sam's Club, but you can get one off of eBay for about $40 shipped, and the same at Amazon. First aid kits are vital to your total preparedness, at the least I would pick up one of these to put back, and a couple if you have a family. These kits will never go bad and most people could make it last a long time.

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Four Easy Ways To Avoid The West Nile Virus

Author: Nomad
SurviveTheWorst.blogspot.com

West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness that is spread when mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds bite humans. Eighty percent of the humans infected with the virus show no symptoms at all. However, according to the Center for Disease Control the remaining twenty percent have experienced the following symptoms: fever, head and body aches, swollen lymph glands, and rashes on the chest, stomach, and back. These symptoms have been known to last from just a few days to several weeks. Also, in as few cases as one out of every one hundred and fifty, people have experienced severe reactions to this virus. Their symptoms have included high fevers, headaches, neck stiffness, stupor, coma, tremors, disorientation, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. These symptoms have been reported to last several weeks and some of the neurological effects appear to be permanent.

This virus can be life altering if you happen to be the one out of one hundred fifty who experience the most severe reactions therefore, it is imperative that you take these four easy steps to avoid getting bitten by an infected mosquito.

  1. When you know you are going outside always use an insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. While repellents containing DEET are the most common, the CDC also has recommended products containing Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD, and a chemical known as IR3535. Remember, regardless of which substance you use, always read and follow the directions. They are there for your safety.
  2. Avoid the outdoors from the periods between sunset to sunrise. This is the most active time for a majority of mosquitoes. If you must go outside during these periods wear long sleeve pants, shirts, and socks. Your goal should be to cover up as much of your skin as possible. Apply the above mentioned repellents to your clothes and limit your exposure outside as much as possible.
  3. Check the screens of all the windows and doors of your house. Repair or replace them as necessary. These are your best defense against unwanted house guests.
  4. Mosquitoes lay there eggs in water so make sure your property is not mosquito friendly. You can do this by removing any standing pools of water on your property. Do a through search and correct any potential problem source.

Following this quick steps will help you avoid the potential exposure to this serious illness. Paying attention to the details and using the right products just might save you life.

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5 steps to avoid getting caught with your pants down during the Great Depression II

Author: Nomad
SurviveTheWorst.blogspot.com

The global financial situation is grim. Prior preparations are the key to your ability to endure an eventual collapse of our global economies. Without this prior preparations your only hope will be to rely on the same corrupt organizations that got us in this mess in the first place. Namely are governments.

I have prepared a quick list of 5 steps you can take NOW to avoid the embarrassment of being caught with your pants down when the end of the economic world as we know it finally arrives.

Track your spending and cut the fat. The majority of people are spending way more than they earn. A truly sad tale of this whole experience is that most people do not even have a clue as to how much they are actually spending. You should track all of your spending for one month. This way you will be able to identify patterns in your spending habits. After you have identified your habits it is just a simple lesson in self control to eliminate your bad habits. Spending controlled, problem solved.

Eliminate Clutter. Take the time to go through your closets, garage, basement and attics. Evaluate every item you come across against your ability to use the item for survival. If it will not aid you in your efforts, sell it and use to money to purchase items you actually need. If you can't sell it try to either trade it, donate it or give it away. The key is to make room for the stuff you truly need.

Systematically acquire what you need. Create a master list of items you need in order to survive. Inventory your possessions and develop a shopping list from the master list. There are numerous places where you can acquire items at discounted prices. From brick and mortar establishments like Walmart, Salvation Army and good will to the cyber-world of EBay, craigslist and freecycle, persevere until you find what you need.

Stock up the Pantry. Shop wisely. Use coupons. Purchase items on sale. Purchase more food than you can actually consume from week to week. Always mark the date of purchase and the "use by date" with a permanent marker. Rotate your stock using the first in, first out method which allows you to always use the oldest products first. If you come across an item in your pantry that just doesn't seem right, throw it out. Never eat anything that doesn't look right or smell right. It will do you more harm than good.

Top off all fuel tanks. Make sure your fuel tanks are always full. Regardless of the type of fuel you are using top them off whenever possible. During a crises, fuel becomes nearly impossible to acquire. Be sure to add fuel stabilizers and anti bacterial solutions to all storage tanks.

By following the 5 steps presented here you will ensure that you and your family will be able to endure the worst conditions possible. You will always stay several steps ahead of your neighbors who, more than likely, will not be any where near the level of preparation required to survive the worst.

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Organize To Evacuate

Author: The Survival Mom
TheSurvivalMom.com

“All for one and one for all!” makes a great family motto when it comes to an emergency evacuation. When everyone has designated jobs and knows what, exactly, to do, your family can be packed and out of town before most other families grab their toothbrushes. To make this happen and avoid panic, chaos, and tears, your family needs a Family Evacuation Plan.

When I first started thinking about the possibility of evacuating from our home, I visualized sheer panic. Immediately, I realized that I needed a written list of procedures posted in two or three locations.

First, I want all our pets contained. I don’t need them underfoot as I rush around, and my daughter would become hysterical if she thought they would be left behind. First on my list is to load the dog crate in the Tahoe and then put each dog inside. We have four small dogs, so they all fit, in a cozy sort of way!

Next on the list is to crate the cat and put her in the Tahoe as well. I can’t tell you how much easier this is said than done! In fact, this summer we’ll be having regularly scheduled cat-in-the-crate drills! I expect to go through plenty of Band-Aids. By the way, I have delegated the job of loading the pets to my daughter. They love and trust her, and this will free me to get busy with other details.

Next, we’ll begin loading necessities. If the concept of a 72 Hour Kit, or a Bug-Out Bag, is new to you, you can find details here and here. It feels so reassuring to know that I have basic supplies already packed. In fact, I keep a well-stocked 72 Hour Kit out in the Tahoe for emergencies when we’re on the road.

As I put our evacuation plan together, the steps seemed to fall into five main categories.

1. Animals and their supplies
2. Food, water, and other personal necessities
3. Preparing the house
4. Documents/Computer
5. Vehicle

Here is my finished Family Evacuation Plan, along with a few comments.

Animals and their supplies

* Put dog crate into car, crate dogs. (I have their collars, leashes, and a water bowl already stored in the crate, along with some dog food double-bagged in two large Zip-Locs. Ants love dog food!)
* Put cat into crate. Keep her away from the dogs!! Pack small bag of kitty litter and her food.

Food, water, and personal necessities

* Load 72 Hour Kits and personal 72 Hour Backpacks.
* Load our strong box. (This contains originals of things like Social Security cards and birth certificates.)
* Load our firearms and ammunition. (Guns are one of the first things burglars look for. I don’t want them getting into the wrong hands, and who knows? In a worst case scenario, we may need them for protection.)
* Cash. I usually keep this in twenties or smaller. (In case of a widespread electrical outage, ATMs and credit/debit card machines may not be working. I want to be sure we can pay for hotels, gas and food.)
* Load the five-gallon bucket with plastic liners. (This also holds a couple of small blankets and extra shoes, but in an emergency, it can be used as a toilet. I’ve read accounts of the Hurricane Ike evacuation in 2008, and I don’t want my family using the side of the road as a toilet. Enough said.)
* Pack my Grab-and-Go Binder and my Survival Mom Binder. (The Grab-and-Go is detailed here. I’ll have details on the Survival Mom Binder in an upcoming article.)
* Load additional food and water, as much as we have room for. (I keep our freeze-dried food separate from everything else, and this is what we’ll pack first. It’s light-weight, and a little goes a long way. It was also pretty darn expensive!!)

Preparing the House

* Turn off gas and water.
* Go out to electrical panel and switch off everything except for the breakers marked for the kitchen.
* Unplug everything in the house except refrigerator, freezer and a lamp. (The lamp is already on a timer. We’ll plug it into an outlet in the kitchen. Even if our entire neighborhood is evacuated, I would just rather my home look occupied.)
* Turn off and unplug the computers.
* Close and lock all windows. Close blinds and curtains.
* Turn off air conditioner/heat.

Documents/Computer

* Use a flash drive to save important business and financial information from our desktop computer. Pack flash drive with laptop.
* Pack our laptop computer.
* Turn off desktop computers.

Vehicle

* load extra gas cans

Depending on how much time we have and how much room is left in the Tahoe, we’ll also pack extra clothing. There’s a change of clothes or two in our 72 Hour Kits, but if we are gone for days or weeks, we’ll need more. We can pack these in large plastic trash bags. Ugly, but they’re not as bulky as suitcases. Hey, they could double as raincoats in an emergency!

When our plan was finished, I discussed each step with my husband, and we delegated each task to a different family member. In a crisis situation, assigned tasks will help defuse feelings of panic and confusion. It’s more difficult to become hysterical when you have something to focus on. Not impossible! Just more difficult!

I’m very aware that an emergency evacuation may happen while my husband is not at home, so I’ve made sure that I know how to turn off the gas, water and electricity in case it’s just the kids and me.

There’s one step missing. Will this really work? How much time will it take, and will there be any room for passengers in the Tahoe once it’s loaded?? Obviously, we need an evacuation drill. Sounds like a great summertime family activity to me!

“Hey kids! Let’s pretend there’s a mountain of red hot lava rushing toward us, and we have to be out of the house in thirty minutes. Everybody know their jobs? Okay! Ready…..GO!!!”

When we have our first drill, I’ll let you know how it goes! In the meantime, I encourage you to make your own personalized Family Evacuation Plan. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, wildfires, and the like, you already know a thing or two about bugging out in a hurry. Share your experiences and tips on this blog.
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4 Super-Cheap Prepping Resources

Author: The Survival Mom
TheSurvivalMom.com

Our family is simultaneously trying to become debt-free, save as much money as we can, have at least six months of food on hand, and take care of some badly needed DIY home projects. Believe me, I need every cheap resource I can possibly find to help me toward my prepping goals! The four cheapest resources I have found are all available to you, too!

1. Garage and Estate Sales

Been there, done that? Aren’t thrilled about buying other people’s junk? When you’re prepping, your shopping will have a focus, and I think you’ll find these sales a useful resource. Keep a list of items still needed for your 72 Hour Kit or general preparedness. This list will help you visit more garage and estate sales in less time because usually, with a quick glance, you can tell if a sale has what you need.

Even better, use online garage sale locators. Google “local garage sales” or something similar. You’ll be surprised at what pops up! Often, these sites will list items at the sale, and this can help you choose which sales to visit. You can also find estate sales in your area here. I prefer estate sales since everything in the house will be sold, down to half used bottles of Windex. Here are a few things I’ve been looking for:

* tools — I don’t want to count on, “Made in China” if we’re ever truly in a bind. Tools made decades ago will be high quality with lots of years still left in them.
* backpacks, gym bags — I need two more backpacks for our personal 72 Hour Kits and miscellaneous gym-size bags are great for holding all kinds of gear to take camping.
* camping equipment — we have a tent but nothing else. My husband is hardly Grizzly Adams! I would especially like an outdoor cook stove.

Remember, once you know what you want, the search goes much more quickly!

Oh! BONUS TIP! Retirement communities often run their garage sales Thursday through Saturday.. You can get a jump on all the other bargain hunters by heading to these neighborhoods early on Thursday mornings!

2. Freecycle.org

Freecycle is exactly what it sounds like. Recyling things you own by giving them away for free. Once you’ve signed up with a Freecycle email group in your area, you’ll begin receiving regular notices from other members with offers of free “stuff”.

I’ve seen some great items offered on Freecycle that would help out any prepper. Watch for glass canning jars, camping equipment, water barrels, dog crates, and so much more. Usually what is offered is mentioned in the email’s subject line so you can scan through them quickly. Remember to offer things hanging around your house or garage that you no longer want or need!

3. Dollar Stores

Don’t forget to visit your local dollar store! Apparently, dollar stores are becoming quite trendy. Who would have guessed?

I took a stroll through one near my home last weekend, and here are some of the best bargains I found.

* binders starting at just $2
* a package of 8 small memo books for $2. These are great for keeping in your car, your 72 Hour Kits and your purse.
* vinyl shower curtain, $2 Multiple uses for this including a ground cover and a quickie tent.
* can opener, $1.25
* chess game, $4. Would be useful in providing entertainment during a crisis.
* triple antibiotic cream, $2.30, along with a good variety of other pharmaceuticals
* large bottles of spices for $1
* a can of Quick Flat Fix, $3
* a 6-pack of Top Ramen, $1.10

Not everything is a great bargain, but you won’t know that unless you’re paying attention to prices at regular retail stores. Would you believe, I didn’t think my town even had dollar stores until I checked out these websites. What a find!

* Dollar Tree
* Family Dollar
* Big Lots!

4. Friends, Relatives, Neighbors, Casual Acquaintances…

You get the idea! Every one of us has stuff around the house, in the attic, out in the garage, in a storage unit, etc., etc. that we’ll never use again, and so do your friends, relatives, neighbors, and so on. When you get to the end of your prepping list, and you still have items you need, why not ask around?

Consider a casual barter agreement to get what you want, such as a few hours babysitting in exchange for a tent or a set of sleeping bags. Here’s a great article on the age-old practice of bartering.

We don’t know when an emergency will happen, and it just makes sense to get your preparations in order as quickly as you can. If you’re like me, your don’t have an infinite amount of money to prepare for everything, perfectly, all at once. I decided to jump in and do what I can, when I can, and I’ve been pretty impressed with how quickly my prepping has come together with these four money-savers!

Check out these four cheap resources and see if your dollar doesn’t go a whole lot farther! Soon, you’ll be ready for just about anything!

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Ask The Survival Mom: Hunker Down vs. Bug Out?

Author: The Survival Mom
TheSurvivalMom.com

Reader DJF read “Organize to Evacuate“, which you can read here, and had this to say.

Good work and great page!

I would like to mention one thing, though. I’ve heard a lot of folks going with the “bug out” idea. Now, if you had a week’s warning that something was happening, it might make sense. So it doesn’t hurt to be prepared BUT!! In general, I think the “bug out” option is not very viable.

First, there will be ten thousand other folks trying to do the same thing. The roads will most likely be impassable.

Second, in the event of empty supermarket shelves or stuff like that, you would be putting your life at risk by traveling, even if well armed.

Third, I think you would be far better off IMMEDIATELY organizing with your neighbors to set up guard watches and divisions of responsibility.

Just my thoughts.

So, which is it? Do you hunker down in an emergency or bug out?


The Survival Mom:

DJF, actually, I agree with you. I’ve heard it said that once the authorities give the word to evacuate, it’s already too late. In other words, you should get out when your own eyes and ears tell you it’s time and not rely on an official directive. Your assessment of road conditions in an evacuation is right on.

Once you leave your home, even if you’re well-armed, you’ve just become another refugee. You are highly vulnerable until you reach your destination. I don’t like that option, but in many cases, there’s no other choice. In the case of natural disasters, for example, potential or actual structural damage to your home and the surrounding areas may require bugging out as the only safe option.

Hunkering down has its’ own pros and cons. It really depends on what type of crisis you’re experiencing or expecting. By staying put, you’re gambling that you will be ABLE to get out later, if need be. In a martial law scenario, you may be prevented from leaving. Also, if the crisis continues long-term, supplies will run low for everyone. You may end up at the mercy of government officials handing out boxes of food and bags of ice, if that. Could be a horrific scenario.

On the other hand, at home you’re in familiar surroundings with neighbors who, hopefully, will be willing to join with you in sharing resources and protecting property. All your stored gear and food will be in one place. You know the neighborhood, the businesses and all the routes to and from. If you have kids, remaining in their own home will almost surely be less traumatic.

A final thought. Consider the home itself. Is it defensible? What is the construction like? If you stay put, can you be sure of a long-term clean water source? Do you have neighbors you can count on or will they be part of the problem? The room I’m sitting in right now has five large windows on three walls. It’s a nice feature, unless you’re concerned about armed groups of zombies roaming neighborhoods in search of food! Critique your own home, and if hunkering down is your first choice, take steps now to “harden” your home against both natural disasters common in your part of the country as well as the criminal element.

Ultimately, our most important survival tool is our brain. If you prepare for both hunkering down and staying put, you’ll be ready for whatever the future brings.

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