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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keeping Your Valuables Safe, Part 3

This is the next installment in this series. Today, we're talking about hiding places and safes. You need ... something. Think about it this way: you've taken the time and money to collect something of value: gold coins, stacks of negotiable cash, jewelry, etc. Now you need to protect them.


Most burglars will spend LESS THAN 6 MINUTES in your home. They only have time to search some of the "usual" places. They'll look in jewelry boxes, sock drawers, under the bed, and in the freezer. They head straight for the bedrooms because they know most people tuck away money, jewelry, and other items of value beneath lingerie, socks, and other top-drawer clothing. Next they head for the kitchen cabinets and drawers.

You can find a small fire-proof safe at almost any local general store, like Wal-Mart or a home improvement store. I have a small one that usually is kept in our safe-room, and holds safe a few things that I really don't want to do without, including my son's birth certificate and a cameo pin that my grandmother left me when she passed. But even a small safe is hard to effectively hide. Basically, if someone sees a safe, it screams "I have valuables - take me with you!" Hiding Places for a small safe could include:
  • your crawl space
  • the floor of your closet with lots of junk and boxes blocking it from view
  • cover with boxes of Christmas ornaments on top, or buckets of bolts and nuts and screws on top

Don't want a safe? Some police recommend that you hide your valuables right in plain sight! Here are some examples:

  • a false back or bottom to a drawer, especially taped to the bottom of the BOTTOM dresser drawer
  • a phony "book" safe - only if you actually have other books that match!
  • place your small valuables in a baggie or seal-a-meal, place it in a large popcorn tin, then fill the tin with unpopped popcorn kernels
  • same principle - place your valuables in a well-sealed baggie or ten, place in an empty powdered detergent box, and top/hide with powdered laundry detergent. Don't fill it all the way, leave the scoop in there, and don't use for your actual laundry needs.
  • behind the grate at the bottom of your refrigerator (if you have one)
  • a water bottle
  • an insulated coffee mug (kept in the kitchen)
  • working wall-clock safe
  • soda or power-drink can (empty, clean, remove bottom, fill, replace bottom, and keep with similar items where it won't look out of place)
  • ditto with a peanut butter plastic jar, canned fruit, pringles can, etc.
  • underside of trash cans
  • hollow out the bottom/inside of a large candle - the size of a baby-food jar. Place your valuables in the jar, screw on the lid, and stick into the bottom of the candle. Keep it on your coffee table on a decorative stand or plate, and light from time to time. Be careful to not let it burn too far down or you'll reveal your hiding place!
  • paint can - who's going to open up a paint can with splatters to see if it has paint or coins?
  • toys in a young child's room - with all of the stuff in a child's room, it would be difficult to do a quick search in such a room.

Don't use these places:

  • something taped to the back of a picture - too obvious!
  • the fake frozen dinner or ice-trays
If you can afford a really big safe, locate it in a permanent place and bolt it to the floor from the inside, and/or surround it with concrete. Consider using a fake front for it.

Note: You need to understand that there are very few places that a burglar WON'T find your stash. A burglar has two motivations: (1) to steal as much as possible, and (2) to do it and get out as quickly as possible. If a burglar can't find something quickly, he will begin to tear apart the house to find something... anything! Leave a decoy little stash of cash in a top dresser drawer or in the freezer where it can be easily found and taken, leaving the rest to hide another day.

Another way to decoy is leave an envelope in a drawer near your computer marked "“Bank Safe Deposit Box” on the outside and with a list of items on the inside. This will tip off the burglar that your most valuable items are stored at the bank and will discourage him from tearing up your house looking for them.

Make sure another adult knows where you've hidden the valuables.

More coming...

Original: http://colorado-preppers.blogspot.com/2009/05/keeping-your-valuables-safe-part-3.html

How to Make a No-Spill Cooking Fire

Here's a quick thought about how to build a fire for cooking. You will need:
-Large Rocks
-Short but semi-thick logs
-A Small Grate
-A Larger Grate for bigger meals

Arrange large rocks in a circle big enough to hold your campfire. This is a safety-must! Then arrange two green logs, about 2+ foot long each, and 8-10 inches wide, into a V-Shape. That will give you room to accommodate a variety of sizes of pans. This is better than using rocks because rocks tend to be unstable, and it's difficult to find flat rocks that can be properly arranged.

Build your fire between the V-Logs using kindling and sticks, and once that's going, you can start to put your pots and pans of different sizes on. Start at the point of the V that comes together to put your smallest pan.

For larger pots and pans, place your lightweight grate across the top part of the V, making a bridge. Make sure it's firmly in place. Now you can add more pots and pans.

If that isn't sufficient, or if you're carrying a larger size grate between you have larger pots or are cooking for a bigger group, use 2-4 slightly-smaller logs parallel to each other and place your larger grate on top of those. That will give you enough room for several pots and pans at once.

Original: http://colorado-preppers.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-to-make-no-spill-cooking-fire.html

20 Wilderness Skills

It's mid summer and (hopefully) you will be getting out to the wilderness to practice your survival skills before fall. Here's 20 things you should know how to do in the woods:
  1. Start and maintain a fire.

  2. Find and purify water.

  3. Use a map, compass, and GPS device for route finding (land navigation).

  4. Make a shelter from native materials.

  5. Fish.

  6. Hunt/use a snare.

  7. Find and prepare wild foods (nuts, berries, roots, etc).

  8. Travel cross country (ie: not along a trail).

  9. Perform basic wilderness first aid skills.

  10. Signal for help.

  11. Cross a stream/river.

  12. Cross a variety of terrains (ice, rock, scree, etc).

  13. Track animals.

  14. Improvise tools and weapons.

  15. Predict weather.

  16. Keep yourself warm (ie: prevent hypothermia).

  17. Protect yourself from animals (from the smallest bugs like tics and mosquitoes to bears).

  18. Night skills (travel, stalking, navigating, etc).

  19. Knots and rope skills.

  20. Keeping yourself entertained (whittling, carving, etc).

Some of these things you can learn from a book or video, some things you can learn from friends, and some things (like crossing glaciers and rope skills) you may want to learn from an expert (learning a skill means you give yourself room for error under the guidance of an instructor, not risk life and limb to practice a difficult skill).

Original; http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/07/20-wilderness-skills.html

5 Basic Survival Skills

When it comes to basic survival skills, you might automatically think such skills would include things like firearms handling, bugging out, and the proper use of camouflage paint. Here's five survival skills that anyone can learn that will be a whole lot more useful (and critical) than the aforementioned items:
  1. How to make money. Money makes the world go round. There are very, very few people who can live off the land indefinitely and be satisfied with such a life. For the majority of us, living takes money. Knowing how to make money in any circumstance and situation is a very useful skill to know. To learn how to make money, learn a skill or three, sell your skills to someone who wants to pay for them, and continue to refine the process.
  2. How to live a low profile life. This includes everything from not earning a bad reputation to living below your means so that you don't have creditors and the IRS hunting for you. You want to avoid lawsuits, legal problems, court issues, vindictive/psychotic exes and anything/anyone else that can thoroughly disrupt your life.
  3. How to take care of your health. An ounce of prevention, you know... The better your health, the more easily it is to survive a disaster or even function on an average day. If you are in good health, keep it that way. If your health is declining, take all possible steps to return it to a better state.
  4. How to do for yourself. In most survival situations, you are on your own, at least during the initial stages. This means that the more that you can do for yourself, the more likely you are to survive. I know people who are infinitely specialized (neurosurgeons, international business lawyers, derivatives traders) yet they are clueless about basic things like replacing a light fixture, growing a vegetable, or cooking a meal from scratch. Granted these particular skills aren't critical to survival, you can usually pay someone to do these things for you, but the idea is that the more skills you have and the more experiences you have, the more likely you are to be able to fix problems as they arise if there is no one else around to do it (plus in a disaster, who would you find more useful--someone who can cobble together a meal from stuff found in the forest or someone who can trade a now worthless financial instrument?).
  5. How to be flexible and creative. Life isn't always linear and it doesn't always turn out how you expect. Rolling with the punches and handling difficulties with creativity instead of stress and frustration will go a long way towards lowering your blood pressure, solving small problems before they explode into something huge, and making others more likely to respect you (and offer a helping hand if needed).

Original: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/07/5-basic-survival-skills.html