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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prepper’s New Years Resolutions

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Yes, it’s that time of year again. That time to make those New Year’s Resolutions.  Those promises we make to ourselves for the upcoming year, which many of us never keep. The “I’m going to lose weight… I’m going to exercise more… I’m going to eat healthier… I’m going to be on time for work everyday… etc.”  I think we’ve all been there.
Well this year, why not consider adding some or all of the following resolutions, designed for the prepper-minded to complete.  This is also a great list for beginners to get their feet wet and get started in prepping. While resolution #4 may be difficult (but important!), the rest of them should be fairly easy to complete.


#1 Get a Disaster/Emergency Binder completed. In a previous post titled ‘Disaster Preparedness Binder‘, we discussed the importance of having a binder handy in your home for all family members to be able to reference.  Especially if you have latch-key kids or anyone in the house who may not remember all the right things to do in an emergency, this binder could literally be a life saver.
The binder should include step by step instructions (with photos) of how to shut off the gas, water and electricity leading to your house, which could prevent a real disaster from occurring. Include a list of emergency contacts (including insurances, doctor, etc..) along with a list of pre-determined items to take with you if you and your family had to evacuate.


#2 Get a 72 hour kit in ALL of your vehicles. In a previous post ‘72 Hour kit‘ we discussed the importance of having a 72 hour emergency kit in your vehicle, along with a video showing one example of a home-made kit. This should be a must for everyone.  The reality is that you never know when you may become stranded.  Maybe not for 72 hours, but the contents of a kit can provide much needed comfort even you are stuck for a few hours in a snow storm or even a commute nightmare!
There have been a few nights when our kit provided us with an impromptu dinner in the car as we waited for a bridge to reopen during our commute home.  Just remember to replenish what you use!  And don’t forget to keep good quality maps in your vehicle, as discussed in this post, ‘Maps and Direction‘.


#3 Get your food storage up to at least a 30 day supply.  Even if you are struggling financially you can still take advantage of sales and coupons to increase your food storage.  Not only will this give you a food supply, but you will save money in the long run as prices will only keep increasing.
There are many posts throughout our site regarding food storage, such as, ‘Store the Food You Will Eat“.  Please reference them and build your storage.  Set a goal to have a 30 day supply built up within 2 months.  That’s 2 months to load up…..a completely doable resolution!


#4 Get yourself out of debt! This one may be a tough one for some of you.  But you have to start somewhere.  Look at your spending habits, and come up with ways to reduce your expenses.  Then put that money towards paying off your debt. You can reference some previous posts such as ‘3 Simple Ways To Save More Money‘, or ‘Survival Preparedness With Limited Resources‘, and ‘Kill All Credit Card Debt‘, which you may find helpful.


If you are a beginning prepper, we wish you success in starting your preparedness plan in 2011. If you are an experienced prepper, then good for you, and keep up the good work!
Have a Happy and SAFE New Year from both of us at Modern Survival Blog!



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Scavenging for Fuel

A lot of people seem to have a lack of imagination when it comes to being prepared for a lot of things. One of the quandaries that seem most perplexing is what are we going to do for fuels after the major melt down occurs and there is no more power, no more fuel deliveries, the gas stations are shut down and there are millions of cars sitting on the roadside and hundreds of thousands of homes with no heat because their generators ran out of gas, and on and on….
There is a simple solution, and it really is a rather cheap solution as well. Of course, you need to remember that doing what I am going to say here has some danger attached to it, not to mention the fact that it is technically illegal. You simply steal or more appropriately, scavenge the fuels you need from others. In the face of an ultimate meltdown and it’s you verses the rest of the world, there won’t be any law enforcement. There will be roving gangs of thugs and nasty deviants that will be causing no end of trouble, and there will quite likely be some sort of military occupation to give you problems. Don’t forget about these problems either, they will be there simmering on the back burner, waiting for enough heat for them to come to a full boil.
There exists on the market a wide assortment of oil and gas rated pumps that are used for everything from cleaning out the huge underground tanks at the filling station to a home heating oil tank in the basement. All of them are quite expensive, and even a small one can cost you several hundreds of dollars. The reason for this is that they are explosion proof and some can even be submerged into a tank of gasoline with no ill effects.
One thing you can do is to take an aftermarket submersible fuel pump designed for an automobiles gas tank and modify it for multiple uses. There are different models on the market, but what you will want to do is attach a long nylon or poly tubing that is resistant to gas and attach it to where the feed goes on the pump in place of the gas line fitting. Connect two 12 gauge wires to the electrical connector and run them along the tubing, taping them with appropriate tape every 6 to 8 inches. Remember to make the tubing and wire assembly long enough to get you away from the tank you will be draining, just in case.
Separate the wires and tubing when you have a long enough assembly for your task. Wire in a double pole single throw switch near the end of the wires, and then attach a cigarette lighter style plug to the ends of the wire. Make sure the polarity is correct for the pump you are using as you don’t want the pump to run backwards. Place the end of the tubing into a fill container, and then submerge the fuel pump into the tank you wish to drain. Making sure the switch is in the off position, plug cord into your cars cigarette lighter socket. Another option is to use gator clips and a twelve volt battery for the power source. Turn the switch on and settle back while the pump does all the work.
Bear in mind that this setup can take a long time to drain a tank as these automotive fuel pumps really aren’t designed for high volume.
That being the case, here’s what I’ve chosen for my bag of survival tricks: a cheap drill pump and some tubing, with fittings. The pump I chose runs about thirteen bucks in most hardware shops, and it pumps 3.6 gallons of fuel at five feet of head, and will pump about 90 feet before it runs out of oomph.
Attach about twenty feet of tubing via a hose fitting to the inlet side of the pump. Attach another 50 feet to the outlet side the same way. If you are pumping gasoline, use one of those old fashioned hand drills as the power source to avoid risk of sparks and explosion. A battery powered drill will safely do the job in other situations. If a battery drill isn’t available a regular drill powered off a generator will be just the ticket.
Just remember that in dire straits you may not want to run a generator as you prowl around sucking your neighbors’ oil tanks dry. Those roving gangs of thugs just may hear you and put an end to your misery of living without power. Make sure you have one of those hand drills no matter what you think your prospects will be. They may not be so fast at getting the job done, but there is no risk of stray sparks setting the vapors off, and they make little noise. And as an afterthought, attach a mesh strainer to the pickup end to keep gunk from being picked up and deposited into your fill containers.
Remember also that there is great risk of explosion if you don’t do these types of tasks carefully and take all necessary precautions to prevent calamity from paying a visit. And again, I want to stress that you will most likely face the risk of being charged with theft, unless of course we do actually suffer the ultimate meltdown, and the resulting loss of governmental control and ensuing anarchy. Be careful and use your brains to think whatever course of action you chose through to the end.
Just as an anecdotal note here, during the great New England ice storm of 98 we were without power for over two weeks. I drained the heating oil out of the tank for our boiler this way and used that fuel in our Omni top hat heater. It never got below 70 in our home and I cooked our meals on top of the heater. How’s that for survival savvy?


POLL Results: How many gallons of gasoline have you stored for emergencies?

 1-10
  88 (53%)
 
10-20
  25 (15%)
 
20-30
  21 (12%)
 
30+
  30 (18%)
 

Votes so far: 164
Poll closed

Only 18% of respondents seem well prepared in this category. My own rule of thumb has been to always have at least enough gas to fill your main vehicle's tank stored for emergencies.


Bax

Surviving Peak Oil

The ‘Peak Oil’ theory seems to be making a bit of a comeback, not surprisingly, but it still reeks of what I call Apocolypsia Nervousa. “What the heck is that” you ask? It’s simply the urge by some to become afraid of the things to come. The loss of our oil supplies and easy living they bring us is too much to bear by some people, and so they envision a worst case scenario and think it means the end of the world for us. This isn’t rightly so, and the theory behind Peak Oil has some factual problems that distort our perception of what it really means for our future.
What does peak oil really mean for us today? Well, to answer that we have to look at what it really is, and not automatically buy into some of the OMG fads surrounding it. Simply put, there are really two definitions behind peak oil. One definition simply states that oil reaches its highest point of production, and then declines from that point forward. Another definition says that the peak is at its highest level of quantity. Given these two definitions are both factual, we have to look at what this means for us today.
We already are on the downward trend of supply based upon the definition that peak oil means the highest level of supply. Pretty much everyone can agree that there is no more oil being made today, and that it appears to be a byproduct of ancient carbon based life forms having been crushed and ground under tons of pressure and subjected to high temperature. I know, that’s an incredibly simplistic statement and maybe not necessarily 100% correct, but I’m not writing a book here, so go with the flow. We can manufacture carbon based fuels, and we do that today by making ethanol. And please don’t cry the carbon neutral song, there is no such thing. Carbon based fuels emit CO2 no matter how you slice the loaf. It’s still bread, just a different name for it.
What we really need to be looking at here is not peak quantity, but peak production. It’s all a matter of the supply and demand laws of economics, not the physical need and availability of the product. At some point and time, unless the Lord returns before that point, we will in fact run out of what we have come to call ‘fossil fuels.’ When that happens all we will have is what we can manufacture, i.e. ethanol etc.
It costs money to extract this oil from the ground, and those who invest in these companies expect to make a profit from their investments. As the costs to retrieve this product increase, the increase is passed along to the consumer. And unfortunately, we also have to remember that there will be speculators involved in the investments, artificially driving the costs of oil higher than they should be. Remember the price hikes in the Hurricane Katrina era? But in reality, we will see these true costs continue upward in an irreversible trend, increasing the bottom line cost of energy year after year. At some point and time, the cost will exceed our ability to pay for the oil we use. The law of supply and demand will suggest that the cost should go down, but in reality there will be no more reduction in the price. Only the wealthiest will be able to afford the treats that oil can bring us.
And that’s the point we preppers and survivalists need to be on the watch for. And I believe that point will be coming within the next few years. That point will arrive at different times depending upon your own financial situation, but why waste time waiting for the inevitable? Get ready for that time now, and avoid the pain that oil withdrawal symptoms will provide.
I’ve never been a fan of trying to survive in the big cities as it will be near impossible to do so. That’s why I urge everyone to get the heck out of Dodge today. Buy your own little piece of land in the sparsely populated ‘burbs, or even better in the rural regions of wide open farmlands or forests. With your own piece of property set up as a survival homestead you can beat the heat and prepare for your own peak oil event. Many homes are heated by oil fired furnaces and boilers. Get rid of them and either install biofuels or wood fired units, or go electric and install your own solar panels and wind turbines.
Equip your vehicles to run off of ethanol, and learn how to produce your own fuel. Learn how to produce your own alcohol based fuels. When the automobile was first invented, motors ran on alcohol fuels. Some of the world’s fastest race cars run on alcohol as a fuel. Who knows, you could wind up with a very profitable business by producing fuel for sale or barter down the road. Peak oil is going to cause some very high energy prices in the coming times, and anything you can do now to wean yourself off of these carbon based fossil fuels will only benefit you in the long run.
Heating and refrigeration, as well as transportation are the primary uses of carbon based fuels today, but we don’t necessarily have to rely on fossil fuels for these needs. We can use alternative power sources, such as solar and wind for some of our electrical needs, geothermal for heating and cooling our homes and so forth. As the availability of this technology increases the cost come down, and as the technology improves, so doesn’t the efficiency. It’s worth looking into making the switch today. And this is also based upon the supply and demand laws of economics.
As we get closer to the time of peak production the demand for these alternatives will be increasing, also increasing the costs for this technology. You can survive the coming peak oil crisis, but only if you take the steps to prepare for it now.