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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DIY Waterproof Matches

Original Article

I love our readers, always asking interesting questions.  Lately, a reader asked about making DIY waterproof matches.  I know I have a few boxes packed in my camping gear, I also know I have a lighter and a fire steel.  A gal likes to have her options.
I had never thought about DIYing the matches though, and it’s a GREAT idea.
Start with some Strike Anywhere Matches.
Set up a work space. You need someplace out of wind, well ventilated, with a way to dry the matches.  I saw one set up that used some double sided tape to hold the matches while they dry. I saw another set up that used corrugated cardboard set on edge, with a match in each hole.
Dip the matches, head first into some shellac. Only cover about half the match.  Let the matches dry, heads down, on the sticky tape.
Voila! When dry you have waterproof matches.  The shellac is much nicer than the wax coating some people recommend. That wax coating can melt, it can crumble, it’s generally just a mess. Shellac avoids a lot of that. Clear nail polish works similarly to the shellac, if you happen to have that on hand.
Don’t forget to make some NO FAIL TINDER while you’re DIYing your fire kit.
Grab some dryer lint, add some flammable liquid to it, either some wax or paraffin. Let it dry into little ball and then pack them SAFELY into your emergency kit.
No need to spend crazy money on this, but do get it done, fire is too important to ignore.  Exposure will kill you every time, especially up here in cold country. :-D
- Calamity Jane

How To Survive A Stampede

Original Article

Mass casualties can result from a human stampede. A peaceful crowd can quickly turn into a senseless panicked heaving mass in which rational behavior by any single individual becomes nearly impossible. What’s worse is that the stampede can be triggered while there is no actual danger. Under certain situations, a crowd that has grown to a big and tight enough size and density  reaches a critical state at which the slightest twitch is sufficient to send it into a stampede.
Panicked crowds move fast and release an incredible amount of energy, usually compared to the energy generated by a running train: once a crowd gets moving it is very hard to stop, and the flow of people could literally sweep you off your feet.
It is interesting to note that the force of only 6 or 7 people pushing in the same direction can generate up to 1000 lbs of force – enough to bend steel railings and topple brick walls. During a deadly stampede, people can even die standing up… people die when pressure is applied to their bodies in a front to back direction, causing them not to be able to breath. When pressure is applied to their side, they often survive, probably because their rib cages are protecting their ability to breath.

If you are in a crowd, a first and most important thing is to make yourself familiar with your surroundings and mentally notice alternate exits. No matter where you are, make sure you always know how to get out.
Make yourself aware of the type of ground you are standing on, and know that in a crowd of moving people wet or uneven ground can be slippery or hazardous, causing you to fall.
Be aware of the general atmosphere of the event, as panic situations can often be anticipated. When in danger, a few seconds can make all the difference, giving you the possibility of taking advantage of your escaping route. Always stay closer to the escape route.
If you find yourself in the middle of a moving crowd do not fight against the pressure, do not stand still or sit down, because you could easily get trampled.
Instead, move in the same direction of the crowd; take advantage of any space that may open up to move sideways to the crowd movement where the flow is weaker.
Keep your hands up by your chest, like a boxer – it gives you movement and protects your chest.
If you fall, get up quickly. If you can’t get up because you are injured, get someone to pull you back up. If you have kids, lift them up.
If you fall and cannot get up, keep moving by crawling in the same direction of the crowd, or if that is not possible, then cover your head with your arms and curl up into the fetal position (do not lay on your stomach or back, as this dangerously exposes your lungs).
The worst scenario is to be pushed by the crowd against an immovable object. Try to stay away from walls, fences or barricades, as the crowd pressure can build up rapidly.
After you’re pushed forward, like in a wave there’s a lull. In that lull is your chance to move, and the way you move is on a diagonal, between pockets of people. There’s always space between people. A couple of steps sideways, another wave surge, then another couple of steps in the next lull. You work your way out that way till you get to the periphery.

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Pros and Cons of Popular Water Storage Containers

Original Article

Last month I asked you all to tell me how you store your water and boy did I get a variety of answers!  Which actually, is to be expected.  There are a myriad of different containers available for storing water and each method has its pros and cons.  Today we’re going to discuss some of the more popular containers and their strengths and weaknesses to give you an idea what is available and which containers might work best for you.

Gallon jugs of water from the store.

  • Relatively inexpensive (usually less than $1.00/gallon)
  • Easy to find at most grocery and big box stores
  • Not too heavy
  • If the jugs are the milk jug type, the plastic can break down and your water leaks out.  The jugs are usually good for about a year.
  • Don’t stack
Water bottles

  • Easy to find
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Portable, single serve, and reclosable if you don’t drink it all in one sitting
  • Great for emergency kits, either your personal kit or your vehicle kit
  • Can stack cases on each other, just not too deep

  • Small
  • Need a lot of them to get your 1 gallon per person per day quota, especially for a large family
  • Make a lot of trash
Refilled PETE bottles like 2 liter soda bottles

  • Practically free, especially if you offer to clean up after a party
  • Small enough to fit in little unused spaces in your house
  • Only about 4 1/2 lbs full, so easy to carry and move
  • Difficult to stack
  • A little extra effort required to clean them out before filling with water
5 gal hard plastic jugs
  • A little more expensive
  • Most are built very sturdy
  • Can get spout attachments to pour water out easily
  • Hold approximately one day’s worth of water for a family of 4-5
  • At 40 lbs each full, they’re borderline on being able to haul them around.  Tough guys, or wimpy people with wagons should still be able to move them around okay.
  • Some are designed to stack, others aren’t, so they can use up a lot of floor space
30-55 gallon drum
  • Hold a lot of water
  • Relatively small footprint for the amount of water they hold
  • Cost
  • Super heavy, so don’t plan on moving them once they’re full
  • Need a pump or siphon system to get your water out
  • Bulky–tough to find a place for one of these in a very small home.  I did see one house that had laid boards on top of their barrels and made a laundry folding table–pretty creative.
And here are a few less common water storage choices:
  • 3 1/2 gallon size is a manageable weight and they come with carrying handles
  • Wide mouth opening makes for easy cleaning
  • Stackable–in fact, the interlock kind of like legos to make a stack of waterbricks very stable
  • Flat enough to fit under a bed
  • Spout available separately makes dispensing your water easy
  • Cost–about $17 each, plus extra for the spout. Not awful, but not cheap either.
Water bladder
  • Hold a LOT of water.  These bladders range in size from a bathtub liner to industrial bladders that start at 100 gallons and go up from there.
  • The non-bathtub varieties lay fairly flat, so they could fit under a bed if your floor is strong enough to hold the 800 lbs!
  • Not easy to clean
  • Don’t mix well with pets, especially ones with sharp claws!
  • Some, like the WaterBOB are designed for one-time-use
Emergency water boxes and pouches
  • Small enough for emergency kits
  • Up to 5 year shelf life, so rarely need rotated
  • Once they’re open, you can’t close them back up, so they will need consumed in one sitting
  • More expensive than water bottles
For me, I have a combination of the Waterbricks, a lot of refilled soda bottles, water bottles and a few jugs from the store, and a couple of the 5 gallon containers.  We live in a super small house and those are the options that work best for us.   So give some thought to the water storage solutions that will work for you in your own situation, and get some water stored.