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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Managing Emergency Fuel Stocks

With fuel at a 2 year low we may want to consider some storage both short and long term. Here's a few tips and tricks to help in your preparation efforts.

Managing emergency fuel stocks

In addition to vehicles, you may need extra fuel for an ATV that you might scout on, and you probably have a generator set that runs on either gas or diesel (some Kohler whole-house fixed gensets run on propane).
Regardless of what it's for, emergency fuel (defined as any fuel beyond what's in the main fuel tanks of the vehicle/generator/ATV/Boat) needs to be stored properly, transferred properly and preserved properly.
Read on.
There might be a difference in storing fuel depending on what type of fuel it is. Gasoline is difficult to store, but diesel isn't. Depending on how much you are going to store, you might use steel barrels, plastic fuel tanks, fuel bladders or just jerry jugs, either steel or plastic.
For diesel, you don't need to vent the storage tank, but it's a good idea. Diesel doesn't evaporate, but it does attract water out of the air more than gasoline. You need to have some ability to remove that trapped water, which lies in the bottom of your tank and grows algae in it, which then clogs up your fuel filters, usually at a critical time. Use two additives in diesel that is stored for longer than 2 months: an anti-gel (anti-wax) and a fuel biocide (kills the algae). If you live far North, you may wish to add up to 15% K-1 Kerosene to your diesel for easier starting of your equipment.
For gasoline, you have to deal with the volatility issue. Gasoline creates vapor pressure at fairly low temperatures, and can pressurize a sealed tank to the failure point. You have to provide for venting the vapor off. Problem: the vapor is heavier than air and explosive, so it seeks low ground and will blow things up if it ignites. Solution: keep the tanks cool (in the shade), keep their vents cracked to allow them to vent, and make sure the vented vapor isn't going to be trapped in a low place or have a source of ignition. The classic garage fire is usually started by vapors from a jerry jug of gas venting, with the vapors accumulating, and rising up high enough to reach the pilot light on a hot water heater or furnace, or get into a fridge compressor motor, or some other source of spark. The fire is prevented by storing the gas outside, away from anywhere it will accumulate in low places (under a toolshed, for example). Use a gasoline stabilizer (Stabil by Gold Eagle is what I use) if you are keeping the gas for over two months.
Barrels: try to cover the tops of barrels with a tarp to discourage standing water in the rimmed tops. That water will eventually seep past the barrel bung and get into the fuel. Keep the barrels off the ground, so they don't rust. Use wooden pallets of good quality, or interlocking rubber matting sections that are designed for this use. Depending on your area, there may be fire regulations on storing more than a few gallons of fuel above ground, and there are DEFINITELY regulations on storing it below ground (permanent tanks). Follow the regulations. Make or buy ground leads (at least #10 wire with copper-plated toothed spring clamps) and connect all the barrels together and to a ground rod driven 3 feet into the ground. Barrels can take some sun, but shade is best. If gasoline is stored in barrels, provide a vent.
Bladders: These are a way to store fuel in collapsible containers. Very nice. Very expensive, they can cost hundreds of dollars. Pay attention to the temperature limits of the bladders, both upper and lower limits, before you buy them. Bladders are best stored full in a plywood box made for that particular size bladder. Attach all the hosing for the fill, drain and vent before filling (gets real messy to do that with a full bladder). Sun is not good for these tanks, so store them in the shade.
Plastic tanks: Rotomolded plastic tanks are probably the best compromise for storing diesel fuel, and aren't bad for gasoline, either. Make sure the plastic is the right density for diesel or gas, as the composition of these tanks varies. They cost about a buck a gallon (over 25 gallons) to buy, and come with several locations for fill, drain and vents, which you install yourself. Most plastic tanks (Tempo is the best known brand) handle temperature extremes well, but check anyway before you buy. The downside of plastic tanks is that they can't be grounded, so extra care must be taken when filling or draining, both actions create static electricity in the fuel mass. Try to keep the sun off plastic tanks. Outboard gas tanks come with all the fittings, and handle easily, and can take more vapor pressure than jerry jugs, so they are really the best choice in a 4-to-6 gallon tank, but they cost $30 or so, compared to $7 for a plastic jerry jug.
Jerry jugs: anything 6 gallons and under with handles for pouring. They come in plastic (color-coded for the type of fuel, diesel ones are yellow), or steel (Blitz is the only manufacturer left, I think). Don't fill them to the rim, leave at least a half-gallon of extra room in them. keep them out of the sun, and storage on pallets is best.
This is where most fires start in fuel supplies. There is only one proper way to do it, and that does NOT involve pouring the fuel into a funnel positioned in the fill opening of the tank being fueled.
The only proper way to transfer fuel is by fuel hose. Get an appropriate length of Coast-Guard rated fuel hose, at least 3/8" ID if you are going to siphon. Push the hose into your storage tank slowly, so it fills, then cap off the transferring end with your finger and pull the hose out of the storage tank enough to put into the mouth of the tank to be fueled, which must be lower in elevation. Remove the finger and the fuel should flow. When it is flowing, put the transferring end down into the tank being filled, the lower, the better.
The way I prefer is to use an outboard-tank hose set. These sets come with a priming bulb and sufficient hose to transfer fuel from apickup bed into the pickup's gas tank. I buy a 12"X3/8" pipe nipple (galvanized iron), and a 45-degree Street Elbow of the same size. Screw the elbow onto one end of the nipple, tightly (with vise or vise-grips), and put the other end into a Tempo outboard hose ser of 3/8" size, in the SHORT END OF THE SET. Fasten a hose clamp over the joint to keep it together. To use this set-up, just drop the nipple end into a tank or jerry jug, put the ling end into the vehicle fuel tank, and squeeze several times on the bulb until you feel and hear fuel flowing.
I once had an electric fuel pump set up for this purpose, but quit using it when I realized that there was a potential for sparks, and that is not good.
Another important consideration here is tank capacity. Don't try to empty a 6-gallon jerry jug into a truck fuel tank that has 5 gallons of room in it. You'll make a mess, create a hazard and waste precious fuel. Know your tank capacities before you start refuelling.

Comments are always welcome. We want to hear from all of our readers. Let us know what you're doing to get prepared.

Above All, Get Ready !!
Author: Bullseye

Visit: Kentucky-Preppers-Network.blogspot.com

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A Little Food Storage Information

The idea of home food storage for most people has never crossed their minds. Convenience foods, take out or a quick trip to the corner grocery store satisfies our impulse for a bite to eat. However in today's economy, the concept of home food storage is now more than ever at the forefront of people's interest in order to save money. For those beginners at food storage it can be a vast undertaking as to where or how to start. Apartment dwellers or those with limited space may feel that it is impossible to have any type of pantry stock. A few of the following tips is all you will need to begin and from there the possibilities are endless.

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Repackaged large quantities of dry goods into smaller containers or bags if bought in bulk then store in a closet, under the bed, or even an end table if there is no room in the kitchen. The main thing when storing food stuffs in an unusual area is to start a reminder list of what and where you have placed the items. It could be hung next to your grocery list or on the back of a cupboard so that you do not over buy one particular food and also have the opportunity to use it before it expires from a forgotten storage area.
Buy only items you will actually use. There is no sense in buying a 5 pound bag of beans if you rarely eat this item. Not only is this a waste of money but it will occupy the limited space you already have. If this is an item you use occasionally, buy the smaller bag. Should you have a network of friends and family check up front before buying that larger bag at the cheaper per pound price, if you can barter or trade someone a pound of beans for a pound of pasta.
Stock up on foods that can be used for multiple dishes and have a long shelf life. Buying three heads of lettuce because they are on sale is not going to make them last any longer than one. Additionally, even on a diet, one can only take so many salads in a week. On the other hand, the special buy one get one offer on a can of tuna can be used in salads, sandwiches or casseroles and has a long shelf life and takes minimal space.
It doesn't have to be a daunting task to learn how to store or stock your pantry at home. Start small with your purchases and open your mind to the idea that food storage is not limited to the kitchen. A few tips and a little organization and you are on your way! The added plus to home food storage is that you may find that this will save you money in the long run.
If you have very limited space check out this blog for a lot of good ideas.

Author: Bullseye

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Cut expenses and prep at the same time

Author: matthiasj

The idea of storing food and water for an emergency might be very foreign to some. What do I buy? How much? How will I pay for this? These are some questions that many might ask themselves when they realize they need to prepare for a natural disaster or most of all, economic collapse. Most Americans rely on weekly or even daily Wal-Mart trips. What if there wasn’t any food at Wal-Mart? The answer is simple; keep a long term food supply for emergencies.

What do I buy?

Store what you eat, eat what you store. This should be the motto of any survivalist. You don’t want to store beans, rice and wheat if you don’t eat these foods. The first step in preparing to store food is to change your diet. Start eating foods that you can store for long term such as beans, rice and making homemade bread from your own wheat. This way when disaster strikes your taste buds won’t be shocked when your diet changes. Beans and rice are not the only items to store, but are staple foods and contain tons of nutrients that your body needs. Fruits, and vegetables are also very important and freeze dried or dehydrated fruits or vegetables is the way to go. In a survival situation, having a variety is the key to keeping a strong apatite and not getting bored with the same meals every day. Having a few good recipe books on hand that will show you how to make different homemade recipes from your raw materials will allow you to have a variety in your meals.

How Much?

This is another important question many would ask when faced with the fact they need to store food. Personally, I would start out small. Get a week or two worth of food and water for the whole family. Once you see what foods you need and the amounts you consume on a small scale, you can increase your quantity for longer periods on up until you have a year’s worth of food for the whole family. There are a lot of different opinions of how much of which foods to store. Most would agree that around 300lbs of wheat per person would be enough for a whole year, 200lbs of rice, and 50lbs of beans. These are the starting point of any long term food storage. 100lbs of salt, and sugar would also be other items to add for your year supply. From there you can judge how much on a weekly basis your family eats, and purchase accordingly.

How will I pay for this?

This question could be the most important question of all. When you hear 300lbs of this, 200lbs of that you think there’s no way I can afford that. In reality buying your basic survival foods in bulk is extremely cheap and will SAVE you tons of money in the long run. It might take a larger initial investment, but at the end of the year it will pay off tremendously. For example, 300lbs of wheat would cost you $100, and 200lbs of rice will cost only $60. Sam’s Club and Costco are great places to purchase bulk food on the cheap. There are many websites that offer freeze dried foods and dehydrated foods sealed in #10 cans for very cheap also.

Storing food, eating healthier, and cheaper is not hard and just takes a little work to figure out how much you need and which foods you would prefer. The bottom line is to try these foods out before you go out and spend money on them. Try eating pinto beans, black beans, and lentils and see which ones you like the best. From there you can choose which ones to store. Learn how to make homemade bread from raw wheat and decide what your favorite type of wheat is. Storing food is an insurance policy, just like we have car insurance and home insurance…why not have food insurance?

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Off Guard and Off Grid

Off grid means many things to many people but for this post we will be addressing off grid as not have any electric power from an outside source, electric power company, ect.. Most of us depend on this outside source to provide all of our electric needs and wants. Many dream of living off grid, I'm one of them, but it's not for everyone I know. But what happens when the electric company is unable to provide you with your electric power for what ever reason. I have, and I'm sure many of you have too, been left in the dark due to a power outage, downed power lines are common during winter storms, even summer storms for that matter. Fire, auto accidents and flooding are just a few of the many other things that can and do interrupt electric service. What I'm saying is that you could be caught off grid unintentionally. But you don't have to be caught off guard during this time. Power outages can last only a few minutes or in some cases a few weeks. You can go here to read one families adventure during a power outage and some of the things they wish they had prepared for. Here are a few things you can do to make this time a little more pleasant or at least comfortable.

First, don't panic. It's not the end of the world, you are not going to die. Keeping your head during this time is the most important thing you can do for your safety.

Know where your flashlights are and have fresh batteries in them. You do have a flashlight??

Gather all family members in the same room to make sure all are accounted for and assure them that everything is and will be ok. Give each family member a flashlight to use as necessary. Candles are always important during an emergency, find them and light them to provide light for all to move freely and safely around the house.

I always shut off my main power breaker and you need to make sure any gas appliances are shut off too. Some use an electric thermostat or pilot light and may not perform as they should without electricity. This is for the safety of the whole family.

Check to see if your neighbors or family close by have electricity. You may be on a different power grid than they are and they could have power when you don't. If conditions are favorable you could go to their house and wait out the power outage. If road conditions, the weather or you vehicle is not up to par, STAY PUT !!

Next, if it's a cold weather situation you need to stay warm. Put on your socks and shoes or boots. Layer clothing to stay warm. Put on a jacket or coat, gloves and hat. It's much easier to stay warm than it is to get warm again.

Do you have an alternate heat source? A wood stove or kerosene heater, small propane stove. Any of these will help keep you warm through this outage. Make sure to provide ventilation for any gas burning heater.Once you have a little heat and some light this situation will be feel much better for all.

Do you have some water stored?? I hope so because many times water service will be lost during these times too. You will need water to drink to help keep you hydrated during this outage.

Now, where's that battery operated radio. Listening to the radio will give you some idea of how long this outage may last and inform you of any road conditions as well as provide some form of entertainment.
Speaking of entertainment, how about those board games. This will keep everyone in a little better spirit until things get restored. If this outage doesn't last too long it can be really fun for the whole family. Sort of a camp out of sorts.It's a good idea to keep a note pad and pen or pencil handy too.

This is a good time to make notes of things that you should have had ready for an emergency. You will think of many things that would have made this time much more comfortable for you and your family.

So, let's review the basics that we need to be safe and comfortable.

Light source-- flashlight, candles, battery operated lantern, ect..

Heat- Wood stove, kerosene heater, warm clothes, ect..

Radio-- Weather Radio, AM/FM radio will do fine to keep you informed of the situation.

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries. You can never have too many extra batteries.

Entertainment--board games us no power source at all and are a lot of fun for everyone.

Sit back and relax until the electricity comes back on. With these few simple ideas you can be safe and secure during this time. Get a few preparations in order and don't get caught off Guard and Off Grid.

I know these are not all the things that may be useful during these times. I also know that many readers will have other ideas as to what to do. Let me know your ideas and anything I may have left out of this small list. We would love to hear from you. Be sure to leave us a comment.

Author: The Scavenger
Visit: johnsonfamilyfarm.blogspot.com

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The Basics of Being Prepared with Food & Why We Should Do It

In this country, we have become used to a certain way of living. We don’t have to hunt for food any more, our time is taken up with making or spending money and we have time for leisure activities and hobbies. Time for household chores has been cut dramatically, and cooking can be as quick as you want it. You can “drive thru”, go to a restaurant, cook on the bbq, create a home made masterpiece or “nuke” a hot pocket. Your local grocer has everything you could ever want to feed your family.

There are several problems with this.

The first is especially obvious in these current times, and that is the economy. Food prices are rising, nothing goes down…well, unless you believe in Wal Mart’s “roll back” pricing signs! Our very paycheck is at risk these days with such high unemployment. The prices go up even more when gas prices increase, which brings us to reason #2.

Our lovely, fully stocked grocer is only 3-7 days away from being almost empty! Your grocer (drug store, gas station, home depot) depends on a delivery to remain stocked. Raise the price of transport, raise the price of groceries. Stop the transport (due to a flu pandemic, an electrical outage, a natural disaster etc) and stop the groceries.

Nasty stuff is out there…we’ve heard of the poisonings and illnesses created by eating contaminated food. The government has the controls in place to prevent much of that, but they’d rather create more restrictive bills that will have us relying on big agribusiness. (another rant and a debate for another time lol). However, from time to time, things will slip by FDA and inspectors. Much of the problem is because we are spoiled and continue to demand food from other countries, out of season. We can add to that, our needs are so great that farms use chemicals to ensure the demand is met. This all can be solved by following what is called “The Hundred Mile Diet”. Eat food that is locally grown! Not only are you supporting local economy, you are eating food that is better adapted to your body. It’s also more likely to be less contaminated with harsh chemicals. Better yet, grow your own! A by-product of our eating habits is that we don’t always make meals that were once considered wholesome, hearty and healthy. We view them as too plain or fattening. This need not be true! All we need to do is make appropriate substitutions. But by fixing your own food from scratch, you definitely help with a variety of issues. Not to mention that your family will be very happy.

So, what does this have to do with Being Prepared? Well, the first thing that you need if something goes wrong, is food. FEMA, Homeland Security, Ready.gov, every state in the country, and even the White House suggest that every family be prepared for an emergency/interruption of services with food and water for 72 hours. However, that wouldn’t have done the people stranded in Katrina much good! The NEW suggestion is that you have at least 2 weeks worth of food, if not 30 days. That is the beginning of your basic food “preps” (preparations/emergency supplies).

So, how do you go about getting 2 weeks to 30 days worth of food? Do you have to resort to buying MRE’s (meals ready to eat like Army rations)? Are you going to turn into one of those wierdo’s that lives in a bunker with a thousand cans of Spam? Of course not, and it’s easy to do!

I follow the principle of “storing what I eat and eating what I store”. It’s kind of like having my own grocery store. It’s what used to be known as a full pantry in the old days.

Every time I go grocery shopping, when something I use is on sale, I get as many of that item as I can afford. For instance, we eat spaghetti often. When pasta is on sale, I pick up 10 boxes instead of two. When spaghetti sauce is on sale, I pick up 10 cans/jars. The shelf life of pasta (properly stored) is about 10 years. The shelf life of your canned/jarred sauce is about 5 years. I know that I have enough food for 10 meals without my family noticing that I haven’t been to the store! Of course, I do the same with tuna and mayo, flour and sugar and many other things. Make a menu for three meals a day for a week. All the stuff you would normally make, include comfort foods like brownie stuff) and then multiply the ingredients by 4 and then as the items go on sale, you can purchase enough. Soon, you will have enough to feed the family for a month with no hassles.

Consider why this might come in handy:
Flu/quarantine (yes, the government CAN quarantine you for 2 weeks! NO trips to the store)
Natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, fire)
Civil unrest (probably due to unemployment and high taxes lol)
Martial Law
Terror Attack

Your first responsibility to yourself and your family is to feed them, then defend them…can’t defend, can’t start a new life, can’t wait till the problem is solved if you starve to death!) You can’t be a Patriot and fight the government when they have food and you don’t.

Author: HerbalPagan
Visit: GreenSurviving.blogspot.com

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