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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lessons learned from Drown Proofing

Over the last week I have been away from the net assisting my son's class in learning the fine art of not sinking to the bottom of the Bay, should they unexpectedly find themselves in a waterborne emergency. It was an interesting class. Even though several of the kids could not swim they left the lessons armed with the ability to stay afloat long enough to get rescued.

From the side lines, where I worked as an assistant, I was able to pick up a few gems that I thought I'd share with you all.
  • Don't engage in water borne activities if you can't swim. Seems like logic to me.
  • After it's all said and done, the people with a personal floatation device on, stay above water, longer than every other method or technique used.
  • Treading water burns a tremedous amount of energy.
  • If you happen to have on the right type of clothes, you may be able to inflate them enough to float.
  • Cold water can quickly suck the heat right out of your body. Try to keep as much of your body out of the water as possible.
  • If you are in the water with a group of people you should all huddle together in a tight circle. This will enable you to save energy and conserve heat.
  • Place the injured or weak in the center of the circle to offer them more protection and assistance.
  • If alone, Survival floating or the dead mans float is an excellent way to conserve energy. Simply lie, face down in the water and float. Raise your head out of the water for each breath. Swim when you can and rest using this technique when your tired.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
Overall this was an excellent course and I am glad it is a requirred subject taught through our public school system. Finally, they've done something right. We live in an area that is literally covered with large bodies of water and I am thankfull that my boy has a foundation on which he can rest his life, while in the water.

Lastly, I thought I'd share a few thoughts of my own.
  • Avoid the water, when at all possible, when the temperatures are such that it makes survival, near impossible.
  • Always use the proper safety equipment.
  • Always use a PFD.
  • If you can't swim, you don't belong on the water.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages while on the water.
  • Prepare for the worst, and pray it don't happen.

Updating the Ancient Art of Caching, by C.W.B.

It was the summer of 1985 and I was deep in the rain forest near the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal in Guatemala. Talking over the cries of howler monkeys, the guide showed us a small cave that had been uncovered on the side of the road. He told us this was one of many caches archeologists had found around the outskirts of the crumbling city. Some had contained only empty containers, and some had been full of grain and other food items. Could some of the citizens of Tikal, preparing for what they saw as the inevitable collapse of their civilization, been preparing by caching supplies around their doomed city? Whether they did or didn’t the fact remains that caching can be an extremely effective survival tool. It is my understanding that the Apache Indians had several caches in the Guadalupe Mountains and elsewhere when fighting U.S. Cavalry units at the end of the last century. Caching allows you to spread out supplies so if any one area is hit, you have a fallback position and have not lost all of your resources. However, caches have other benefits as well. In finding and placing caches you learn your area inside and out. You can also learn how to navigate with or without a map and compass. In short it is good preparation and teaches you good skills.

I live in a small town in Central Texas (we call it "The Hill Country") near a large river. I live in an average suburban house. As a teacher I cannot afford to pay for the perfect retreat. I can only do my best to prepare for the worst right where I am. However, I know I can hedge my bets by getting to know my area of operations as best I can before disaster strikes. In so doing, I can also place caches of supplies and have fallback camps if my home becomes endangered. The best way I have found to do this is through the modern art of geocaching.
Geocaching is aptly described on the web site www.geocaching.com as follows:
“Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.
Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.”
And that same web site is probably the best place to get started in your geocaching adventures. Geocaching is a great way to learn your area. It will also train you to effectively place and find caches around your area of operations. It does, however, depend on a high tech (global positioning system (GPS) network and satellites that may be susceptible to destruction or an electromagnetic pulse. Therefore, after learning with a GPS you may want to start using map, compass, and landmarks to locate caches. A great book and a true classic on orienteering is "Be Expert with Map and Compass: The Complete Orienteering Handbook" by Bjorn Kjellstrom.

I could go into all these skills but you really just need to explore the resources mentioned above and practice, practice, practice! What I want to spend the rest of this article on is where to cache, how to cache, and what to cache. Although caches can and are placed in the middle of cities, I prefer placing mine on public lands with heavy cover or on my own property. I also have permission from friends to place caches on their property. This avoids potential conflicts with law enforcement; the discovery by “muggles” (non-geocaching folk); and respects the rights of private landowners.

Containers should be watertight and a color that matches the landscape. I like using ammo cans. I wrap the seal with camo duck tape and add additional protection by placing my items in Tupperware or sealing them in vacuum bags. That way, if the can is penetrated by water, my items are still safe and sound. For this article, I recently went back to Houston where I placed an above ground cache along Buffalo Bayou right before Hurricane Katrina. The ammo can was still intact and everything inside looked just like it did when I placed it. I then took the opportunity to cache it in my new area of operations. Keeping caches small and portable is a big advantage!

What you put in your cache really depends on what you anticipate your needs will be. I usually place food, emergency blankets, water, and water purification systems in my caches. I have found that the Katadyn water filter systems have held up the best on my backpacking trips. A cheaper and smaller alternative is water purification tablets or straws. A good collapsible water container is also a must. Those new water purifier bottles make a good addition to any cache or G.O.O.D. pack. Make sure to write down any expiration dates on food, water, glow sticks, etc. on your cache location sheets and rotate out items as needed.

Another good choice for your cache is non perishable medical supplies such as bandages. But until the Schumer hits the fan, you should not cache anything that could be considered the least bit dangerous such as firearms or ammunition unless it is on your own property. Even then, you may want to break firearms down and cache the pieces in different locations. Boxes of ammunition store great if vacuum sealed. I don’t even presently cache fire starting materials for the sake of safety, although I sure keep them ready in my G.O.O.D. bag.
One thing geocachers don’t do but preppercachers (my own term) can do is bury your booty. This makes it almost impossible for others to find. If you do this make sure to camouflage your dig site well with natural materials until time and rain make things less obvious. Also, make sure to record your cache locations on paper. I keep a coded list of my locations in my wallet, another in my G.O.O.D. bag, and yet another in my gun safe at home. A cache is worthless if you cannot find it again. I also visit my caches once in a while to make sure I can find them and that they are still intact. Because I do this I can usually locate my caches without a GPS receiver or map and compass. I simply navigate using landmarks. A great book on landmark navigation is "Finding Your Way Without Map or Compas"sby Harold Gatty. Once again, make sure you write expiration dates on your list. That way you can rotate items out and use them before they expire.

In conclusion, I enjoy geocaching with my family, it has allowed us to learn to work as a team. We all now know how to navigate with GPS units, map and compass, or by using landmarks. We also have learned how to travel quietly through the landscape without being detected by muggles. Geocaching is not only fun but allows you to practice some very important survival skills. Also, preppercaching is a great way to spread out your resources and not put all of your eggs in one basket. But please, when you are caching remember to avoid dangerous items and respect the rights of private landowners! A carefully thought out and placed cache may very well save your life someday!
rosół z kury

Simple Survival Tips - Soup Safety

When making soup for your survival, take the time to properly store your leftovers. Following a few simple guidelines will keep your soup safe for later use if it isn’t consumed completely.
1.) Large amounts of hot leftovers should be divided and placed in smaller, shallow containers. These should be only a few inches deep in order to allow a faster cool down time in your refrigerator. These leftovers should be used within 3 to 4 days.

2.) For longer storage purposes or if the leftovers aren’t going to be used within a few days, leftover soup may be frozen and needs to be used within 60 to 90 days. Leave some headspace in your storage container to allow room for expansion.

3.) Soup leftovers should be thawed in the refrigerator and not out in the open or left sitting on the kitchen counter.

4.) When re-heating soup leftovers, use low heat and always bring the soup to a boil. Soup leftovers that are too thick may be thinned by adding additional broth or water.

Staying above the water line!

Adapting to Adversity

Being able to adapt to the adverse conditions that occur during a crisis or an emergency will help you be better prepared. Even creatures in nature have to adapt to different conditions in order to survive extreme changes in their environment. People that learn to adapt will survive and those who don’t may suffer the effects of any adverse conditions they encounter.
Adapting to change can be a difficult process that will require many people to expend additional effort when normal routines are interrupted. People are generally creatures of habit and become comfortable in their environment when they have developed a daily routine that is both familiar and comfortable. Unfortunately, changing your daily routines can be hard to accomplish.
Why change or vary your daily routine? Varying your daily routine from time to time will help you learn to adapt to changing conditions. You will also be better able to deal with small emergencies when they occur with fewer disruptions to your life. These disruptions can then be easily overcome without creating a major event that leaves you in a state of panic.
Adapting to small changes will increase your ability to deal with larger disruptions, if and when they occur. You can then become comfortable with change when it occurs and approach it with a new outlook that will allow you to overcome the adversity created by a crisis or an emergency.
How well can you adapt to change?
Staying above the water line!

Hunting Under the Radar? Try the .22 CB Cap Round

If you’ve already taken my advice and purchased yourself a 22 LR rifle (like the Ruger 10/22 which is my favorite) or already have one, you probably love how quiet the 22LR rounds are compared to most other ammunition. But despite being relatively quiet, they are still noticeable to within a few hundred yards by others around you.
22 CB Cap long (left), 22 CB Cap short (right)
Well short of using a suppressor (silencer) which may not be legal in your area, there is a super quiet round available for your rifle that you may not be aware of. It’s called the 22 CB Cap (short for “conical ball cap”).
While not as powerful or accurate over long range as the 22LR round, it is still powerful enough to take small game such as rabbit or squirrel and provides the added advantage of being no louder than a pellet gun (and perhaps even less so). The reason for its silence is due to its minute propellant charge (in many cases it’s just the primer with no gunpowder) which results in a low muzzle velocity of around 700 ft/s (subsonic).
The advantages of this kind of round in a serious survival situation (urban or wilderness) are obvious. With a report no louder than a pellet gun, the .22 CB Cap round gives you the benefit of being able to easily take smaller game — even in a congested urban area — without anyone the wiser (Pigeon anyone? yummy…). It also allows for target practice without bothering the pesky neighbors.
One of the main disadvantages of the .22 CB Cap is that it won’t cycle most semi-automatic firearms. Since the round doesn’t provide enough power to cycle the bolt, each round must be fed manually, one at a time. Despite this major disadvantage I still highly recommend adding a box or two of .22 CB Cap to your store (and some for your second tier kit while your at it) when silence is of primary importance.