10 Survival Tricks You Did Not Think Of

10 Survival Tricks You Did Not Think Of

10 Survival Tricks You Did Not Think Of

#1. Hide valuables

You may want to bury valuables somewhere on your property. You obviously want to remember exactly where the spot is but of course you do not want to write it down or leave any marks or clues. You can create a reminder so that only you and your companions know the exact location easily. Take a photo of your companions standing on the spot where you’re supposed to dig. Make copies of the photo and have everyone keep it in their wallets and bug out bags. No one will ever know or be able to guess the true purpose of those photos. Unless they just read this article.

#2. Get Fit

Bad situations always bring out the worst in people. You will probably need to fight one or more attackers one on one eventually. To save your life you must be able to outperform others. You never know if you may need to carry an injured loved one to safety. All of these tasks will require strength, flexibility, speed, and stamina. It’s very easy to improve all of them. The hardest part is simply getting started. I am used to walking far distances, thanks Army, but I always try to find excuses to disappear and spend an hour or two a day in the gym. Jogging, hiking, and going to the gym will all improve your physical fitness. I suggest, if starting, that you focus on body-weight exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups.

#3. Move Out Of The City

What always happens during riots is that the cities downtown area turns into a war zone. That’s why it’s the last place you want to live. You won’t be able to get in and you won’t be able to get out meaning you might get stuck inside for days, maybe even weeks. Even worse, you could get attacked and injured trying to get home.

You can find cheaper housing in the suburbs. You definitely have to be careful about the location so you can avoid high-crime neighborhoods. You want to be safe before and after a riot, not only during, when rioters who also live in the suburbs decide to take justice into their own hands. You will also want to plan a quick way out of the city if you need to go.

#4. Smart Way To Rotate Your Food Stockpile

If you stockpile some of your food under your bed, there’s an easy little trick to keep it rotating. Always deposit cans on one side of the bed and remove them from the other side. This process will push older cans through and cause you to take the oldest can when you want to use one. This way your food will most likely never go bad and end up sitting in the same spot for years. You can rearrange your shelves for this process as well.

#5. Clean Your Teeth With Baking Soda

After a disaster maintaining good personal hygiene is going to be tough. This tip is for the most basic: dental hygiene. Keeping your teeth healthy is fortunately going to be easy. The simple solution is baking soda and water. Just mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of water until they start to form a paste. That’s literally all you have to do. Now dip your toothbrush inside and get to work!

#6. Trees/Plants

Most vegetation can be useful in some way, whether it is edible or you can make something from it. Just be careful and start learning about your local plant life to be able to recognize what is safe and what is poisonous.

White birch is one example of a useful tree:

  • Drinkable sap that does not require purification
  • Bark is great at starting fires
  • Tar can be extracted from the bark which makes a excellent adhesive

American Basswood:

  • Fibers can be used to make very strong rope
  • Edible leaves and inner bark

#7. Escaping

You never know what can happen so you should learn and teach those around you some basic military SERE skills. SERE stands for survival, evasion, resistance, escape. If you are escaping or evading remember that it is best to rest and hide during the day to avoid detection and to stay out the heat. You need to save your energy! So observe, eat, hydrate, and plan your next move during the day and start moving at sunset. You can learn more by reading the Army Ranger Handbook.

#8. Security

Western nations following a collapse will be looking at a life a lot like current day third world countries. Several of these countries are crawling with armed gangs, militants, and citizens fed up with crime. Some start forming community watch groups and security forces in an effort to fight back and protect their communities and children. Purchase security items that will help protect you and your companions. Bulletproof vests are currently legal to purchase and will enhance your ability to survive if there is a gun fight. Razor wire can be very useful for protecting your bunker or compound from threats. You can’t set it up now because if someone gets hurt you will be responsible. Just have it ready for whenever SHTF.

Purchase the equipment you need to be able to refill your ammo. Practice and teach everyone around you how to be proficient at this. Eventually when everyone runs out of bullets you will still have the upper hand. Or you can trade for other supplies you may need. So, make sure to stockpile weapons, ammo, and the necessary to reload bullets. It probably will save your life.

#9. Opsec

In the military, we are regularly briefed about anything and everything, whether it is stupid or of utmost importance. Well one topic that always stuck with me is Opsec, it stands for operations security. You can look up the long definition but I will give you the basic meaning. Don’t say where, who, when, or why. Do not tell anyone anything that they do not need to know including friends or family members. You never know who will let something slip that could compromise your plans and security.

#10. Plan/Backup Plan

This maybe last on my list but it might just be the most important advice I can give you. Do all of you reading this have a plan to reach your family or companions in case disaster strikes? What if you’re at work? When SHTF it won’t wait for you; make sure everyone knows where to meet, how to get in contact, and the approximate time it will take. Don’t store all of your supplies in one location, even if you have a super secure bunker. What happens if someone finds it and you need to escape? All the years of prepping fall into someone else’s hands and you are left with nothing. You never know what might happen so come up with a backup plan to your plan. And then another backup plan to your backup plan.

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4 Keys To Keep A Newly Planted Garden Growing Strong And Healthy

newly planted garden
Newly planted tomatoes off to a good start

The first few weeks after planting is a critical time for vegetable plants. It is when tender seedlings and transplants are at their most vulnerable stage.

Up to this point, most vegetable plants have spent the majority of their life inside. They were watered regularly, and kept sheltered from wild temperature swings and the burning hot sun. And now, they have been planted outside to deal with the harsh realities of Mother Nature. Talk about tough love!

But with a few simple things in mind, you can get your newly planted garden off to a great start. And that of course, means a great harvest later!

Here’s a look at 4 of our biggest and best tips to get your garden growing into a lush, vegetable producing machine.

4 Tips To Keep A Newly Planted Garden Growing Strong

#1 Keep Foot Traffic Away From Root Zones

Whether you have a traditional garden, raised rows, or raised beds, keeping foot traffic away from your plant’s root zones is critical to their long-term success.

In the first few weeks of a newly planted garden, vegetable plants are desperately trying to establish a healthy root system underground.

newly planted garden
Mulching around each plant with compost is a great way to feed them too!

Those roots are crucial in soaking up much-needed water and nutrients all summer long. They also hold the plants strong against wind, rain, and the heavy load of veggies in mid-summer.

If the area 12″ around each plant is left undisturbed, it allows roots to more easily grow and expand. Compacted soil from heavy foot traffic in this zone can leave roots shallow and small. Be careful as you walk through the garden to stay in the walkways, and off of the root zones.

It’s one reason raised rows, raised beds and container gardens are so effective. By nature, they are designed to keep the root zones out of harms way.

#2 Mulch Those Plants!

More than anything else, be sure to apply a healthy dose of mulch around the base of each plant!

Mulching helps retain valuable moisture in the soil. That keeps young plants from drying out too quickly, and you from having to water too much. Mulch also aids in keeping the soil temperature regulated from the burning hot sun and cooler nights. Consistent soil temperature goes a long way in keeping plants growing strong.

Last but certainly not least, mulching plants helps keep weeds out. Those weeds steal valuable nutrients from the soil needed by young plants. So keeping them out is more than just keeping the garden looking pretty.

What are the best garden mulches?  Grass clippings, finished compost, straw and shredded leaves all work wonders.

#3 Watering Smart

When and how much to water a newly planted garden can be a tough chore to size up.

Too little water and plants shrivel up.  Too much water can keep them from developing a deep root structure needed to grow strong.

A good rule of thumb is that plants need about an inch, to an inch and a half of water per week. That equates to about 1/4 of a gallon of water to each plant’s root zone 3 times a week. If it’s not falling from the sky, then you need to supplement.It is best not to water every day unless you are having extremely hot weather. If you water every day, the plants will never send roots deeper. That results in less hardy and underdeveloped roots and plants.

#4 Boost With A Little Natural Fertilizer

The best time to fertilize a vegetable garden is when it first starts growing. A little boost of all-natural nutrients when plants are young can help them power up for the season.

We like to apply a little compost or worm casting tea to each plant about every 14 days, for the first 45 days after planing. After that, it’s best to stop fertilizing. Fertilizing too late in the season, or applying too much will keep plants growing leaf and root structure, and not vegetables.

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The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar: skin tonic, digestive aid, cancer fighter, and now hangover cure? Did that last one get your attention? As a kid, I only knew apple cider vinegar was used as a cleaning agent by the neighbor kid’s hippie mom. But oh, there’s more. Much more. Research is now revealing that apple cider vinegar has dozens of uses, not only around the home but also in our bodies!

Apple cider vinegar is a great nontoxic cleaner. Let’s start there. Also known as ACV, apple cider vinegar can be used to clean counters and floors, but it is not just a surface cleaner. It is fantastic as a fabric softener, laundry whitener, and toilet bowl cleaner. Beyond cleaning, it has more uses around the home. It will keep ants away and can be used as a weed killer, jewelry cleaner, or homemade dog shampoo! I guarantee there are uses in there you have never thought of.

Apple Cider Vinegar Uses - The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Plus a Recipe for Switchel

The cleaning functions of ACV are impressive. But the most powerful benefits of ACV have to do with improving and maintaining our health. Apple cider vinegar has a wealth of enzymes and helpful bacteria that can be put to multiple uses inside our bodies. But you need to be aware of a very important ACV fact. There are two types of apple cider vinegar you can buy. You might be tempted by the one that looks clear and pristine. This lovely looking refined ACV is great for cleaning, but not for health applications. The apple cider vinegar that is most beneficial to our insides is the raw, unfiltered version. This opaque version undergoes a double fermentation process that results in the production of boatloads of enzymes. So why is this fermented, unfiltered one better than the clearer filtered versions?

It is all about the mother. The “mother” is the beneficial complex structure of acids that makes the vinegar appear cloudy. Once removed, the vinegar is still a tremendous cleaning agent, but it unfortunately loses many of the highly coveted health benefits during the processing to make it clear.

What is in apple cider vinegar in addition to all those enzymes? Inside that murky maple-colored liquid are iron, potassium, magnesium, malic acid, acetic acid, calcium, pectin, and ash. All of these minerals and nutrients combine to make a deeply potent healing agent. But there are mixed reviews on the content of all these nutrients in ACV. More recent studies suggest that powerful phytonutrients – powerful plant qualities that scientists are only beginning to comprehend – may be responsible for the powerful effects of ACV. Whatever the secret ingredient, raw, unfiltered, mother-filled ACV is worth its weight in gold.

What are all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar? There are dozens and dozens in the literature, but some are more convincing as they are backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.

One of the most convincing studies involving apple cider vinegar has to do with blood sugar regulation. The research revealed that taking 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV before bed with a small amount of fat resulted in lower morning fasting blood sugar measurements. These studies also showed that those who participated also experienced a weight loss of several pounds over the four-week study. That was a nice bonus!

Another surprising health benefit of ACV is its ability to boost immune function. Researchers have found that the antioxidants found in ACV can reduce damage done by free radicals. Apple cider vinegar is also a strong antimicrobial agent and has been shown to work in some situations where medication would not.

I can’t step away from the health benefits of this wonder elixir until I talk a little about the gut-healing powers of ACV. Having suffered digestive issues for years, and being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, I take special interest in the fact that ACV has been shown to calm the digestive tract. Remember I mentioned above that ACV seemed to have some power over weight loss? Theorists believe that ACV, perhaps the acetic acid content, allows food to be more effectively broken down and absorbed in the intestinal tract. This proved key for the blood sugar study participants’ unexpected weight loss, but also means that ACV can reduce stress on the digestive tract.

Apple Cider Vinegar Can Improve Your Health - The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Plus a Recipe for Switchel

Anything that helps you break down and absorb that piece of broccoli means less stagnation and fermentation in the tract. If apple cider vinegar aids in this process the result is a more highly functioning food processing machine. Also, because of the plethora of enzymes, ACV starts acting on your digestion the minute it hits your lips. Finally, ACV is considered a prebiotic. Prebiotics are “food” for your probiotics. This is very important in keeping your probiotic number high and robust. All of these attributes translate into easier digestion and elimination.

Recently a new benefit of apple cider vinegar has been discovered. Who knew that after one happy hour cocktail turned into three, apple cider vinegar would be a welcome friend? You see, a recently discovered benefit of apple cider vinegar is “recovery.” When we “play” too hard we suffer dehydration and mineral loss. An apple cider-based beverage called switchel has been found to be an efficient and effective replacement beverage.

Switchel Recipe - The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Plus a Recipe for Switchel

Variations on switchel recipes have been around for years, but now you can find switchel bottled at natural grocers everywhere. But guess what? You don’t have to buy it. You can make it at home for pennies.

The recipe is a simple combination of apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, lemon, and a little water or seltzer to top it up. Combine these ingredients from the recipe below, and you have your very own recovery tonic.

You might know that pure maple syrup, ginger, and lemon have hundreds of benefits between them. Maple syrup is highly anti-inflammatory and loaded with antioxidants. Lemon is excellent for digestion and is rich with vitamin C. Finally, ginger adds the benefits of digestive relief, decreased inflammation, and immune support. I think this switchel tonic has superpowers.

Apple cider vinegar has a litany of uses for health and home. But now, move over kombucha – we can use apple cider vinegar to create a state of hydration and mineral balance perfect for after a night out, a heavy workout, or your workweek.

 

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How to Heat a Survival Shelter Without an Indoor Fire

How to Heat a Survival Shelter Without an Indoor Fire

Staying warm without fear of burning up

Building Fires

A fire lay is excellent at warming you up… So long as it’s not inside your survival shelter

Nothing in the backcountry gives off heat like a roaring fire. That’s why our recent ancestors built fireplaces in their log cabins – and more remote forebears burned fires in whatever structure they called home. And since it’s not wise to have a fire in a primitive hut made of sticks and dry vegetation (or a cave, for that matter), it’s good to know of other ways to heat your living and sleeping area. By digging a hot rock heating pit in the dirt floor of a shelter, you can enjoy the heat of a fire – with far less danger to yourself and your shelter. Here’s how.

Start by digging a small pit in the floor of your shelter, a little bigger than the bowling ball sized rock that you will be using to transfer heat. Dig the hole to match the rock’s size and shape, and find a flat rock to cover the pit. Make sure that you get your two rocks from a dry location (water-logged rocks tend to explode when heated, so do not use rocks pulled from rivers, streams, and ponds). Ensure that everything fits together well before you heat up the stone, since a 1200 degree F rock isn’t a fun thing to juggle. You could even recess the hole of the pit surrounding the cover, so the flat rock sits flush with the dirt floor (not a trip hazard). When it’s time to use your set-up, heat up your pit stone in a fire for about an hour (but don’t heat the lid stone), carry the stone to the pit (a shovel works well), and drop it in. Seal the pit with your flat stone lid, and bask in the radiant heat that will last for several hours.

For sustained heat, you could always have another rock of a similar shape and size to your first rock at the ready, so that when the first rock is done cooling off, the second rock can be swapped in its place to keep the heat going. This trick works best in very dry soil and with a red hot rock. Just clear all flammables out of the way as you move the near-molten stone toward the waiting pit!

Ever used hot rocks as a heat source for survival? Please let us know by leaving a comment.

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Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS)

The National Association of Radio Distress-Signalling and Infocommunications (RSOE) operates Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS) within the frame of his own web site which has the objective to monitor and document all the events on Earth which may cause disaster or emergency. The main objective is to manage information about events endangering the safety of our own country. Our service is using the speed and the data spectrum of the internet to gather information. We are monitoring and processing several foreign organization’s data to get quick and certified information. This data will be continuously published on our Internet web site. Beside the official information, with the help of special programs nearly 1500-2000 internet press publication will be monitored and the publication containing predefined keywords will be processed. However, these „news” cannot be considered as official and reliable information, but many times we have learnt critical information from the internet press.

We are screening the incoming information and storing in a central database sorted by category. After processing the information we are sending it immediately via E-Mail (or other format) for the organizations and persons who have requested it. We are aspiring that the processed data will be validated and reliable in all cases, to avoid the possible panic situation caused by unreal information. That is why we are trying to create and keep contact with all organizations, which can provide validated information for us, to operate EDIS. Certainly we are publishing all incoming data and information at our website to provide up-to-date information to the citizens as well as we are publishing useful knowledge for them.

Emergency Map Details

23 Motives to Prep Even If Doomsday Never Arrives

23 Motives to Prep Even If Doomsday Never Arrives

There are two types of people in this world:  The ones who prepare for the worst case scenario, and those who don’t.  Often you’ll hear people who don’t prepare for SHTF say things like “what will you do if SHTF never happens?”  But even if doomsday never comes, the people who prepare are actually better off than those who aren’t prepared for SHTF.  And here are 23 reasons why you should keep prepping even if SHTF never happens:

  1. Self-Defense: It’s no surprise that doomsday preppers are ready to keep their families safe from violence in SHTF.  Between street muggings and home invasions, normal everyday crime still poses a threat to us.  Having self-protection skills are a plus in SHTF or normal society. So, check out the best MMA self-defense techniques.
  1. Leadership: If you’ve been prepping for SHTF, you probably realize that a crisis requires a leader.  If you’ve studied on any leadership skills while getting ready for the big event, you’ve probably exhibited some of those qualities.  Leadership qualities aren’t a waste of time.   They can help you at home, at work, with friends.  Everyone wants to be around a strong leader.
  1. Inflation: The thought of a “weaker” national dollar or euro might scare some, but not the prepper.  When a prepper has 3 years supply of toilet paper, food and other toiletries, those goods are purchased at the price of “yesterday”.  Even if SHTF doesn’t happen, the prepper becomes insulated to the loss of purchasing power that people who have to buy groceries every week suffer.  It’s a great way to protect your wealth over time.
  1. First-Aid: In normal society people still get cuts, broken bones and need a first-responder.  If you’re prepared for anything, you are prepared for first-aid. And those skills and supplies may not go unused even if “S” doesn’t “HTF”.
  1. Droughts: The lack of water seems really scary to some, but to a prepper it’s just another hurdle to tackle.  From collecting and storing water to rationing and purifying water, the doomsday prepper can handle this naturally occurring disaster.  The end of the world might not come but the prepper will probably never go thirsty. Here’s how to can water for emergencies.
  1. Discipline: If you’ve been putting away food, water and training for the worst case scenario, you probably have discipline. The will to keep at something that may never happen shows dedication and a will to force yourself to “drive-on”. There are so many facets of normal life that exceptional discipline will pay off.  The prepper need not experience SHTF to be better off with good discipline. Keep prepping!
  1. Long-term Planning Skills: Along with discipline, long-term planning skills can help corporate employees improve the function of their department. Who knows, long-term planning skills could lead to a nice job promotion.
  1. Organizational Skills: Whether you’re in the corporate world or working in a skilled trade, better organizational skills will not go unused. Even if SHTF doesn’t happen, your boss and co-workers will love the better organized environment that you create.
  1. Fitness: To survive SHTF, you have to be in relatively good physical condition. But don’t let your health go if doomsday never happens. Your energy level, quality of life and cognitive outlook all benefit from excellent fitness levels.
  1. Dwelling Construction & Repair: Patching a roof to seal out the weather, insulating a house with no heat; these are concepts applicable to anyone who owns a home. Investing the time to learn to repair your home is a worthy endeavor. Whether SHTF comes along or not, you’ll save a lot of money doing your own house repairs.
  1. Automobile Maintenance: Similar to home repair, automobile repair is a handy skill for preppers, specifically so they can keep their bug-gout vehicle working. But just think of all the money you save by learning to repair your own vehicle, even if a post-apocalyptic never happens.
  1. Gardening: Growing your own food is a great way to lower your overall food bill. Even in the winter, if you are into canning, your family can enjoy the “fruits of your labor” all year long. Gardening is not just for preppers!
  1. Self-Sufficiency – Being self-sufficient has its perks. One of the nice things about being self-sufficient is that even if SHTF doesn’t happen, localized emergencies happen all the time. If you “prep” you won’t have to rely on intervention from government services, and in fact, you may be able to help your community if you’re prepared enough.
  1. Income Loss: We all suffer job loss from time to time. One of the major benefits of keeping a well-stocked pantry is that in the even that your income is severally cut, you can go quite a while without assistance from others. A good size pantry is a great insurance plan!
  1. Family Traditions: While you’re canning, gardening and baking , you’ll make traditions. Traditions are born out of the way families do things required to survive (such as baking, farming, gardening, etc.). Even if the grid never goes down, when you’re prepping with your family, you’re building wonderful bonds.
  1. Outdoor Survival Skills: All those outdoor survival skills you’ve gained while preparing for the end of the world . . . they won’t be lost on you or your family. Get out and go camping, real camping in the middle of the wilderness. Again this ties back into building traditions. Gaining outdoor survival skills are a great way to get ready for a camping trip of a lifetime.
  1. Tools: If you’re like me, you’ve stock piled several sets of every kind of tool you come across. And it’s done with good reason. If SHTF you’ll be able to barter for necessary items with the valuable tools you have. But I also like having extras of each type of tool to loan out to friends and give as “bond building” gifts to neighbors in need. Giving tools is a great way to build rapport and rapport is worth more than money, SHTF or not.
  1. Floods & Fires: Surviving floods and fires requires a special kind of person. A person who can bug-gout at a moment’s notice and get their loved ones to safety. Who’s better prepared to do that than a survivalist? People who aren’t into SHTF prepping are probably a lot more likely to listen to you about preparing for a flood or fire than the end of the world. Preppers should be experts on this topic.
  1. Earthquakes & Tornadoes: These types of disasters are common and requirean important but different set of skills than preparing for floods and fires. While doomsday isn’t here yet, one’s community might call on the prepper to use their search and rescue skills to locate folks after such events.
  1. Improvisation: We live in a disposable society. If something breaks we throw it away. But the prepper will find a way to fix what breaks or re-purpose it to something useful. When all the hardware stores are closed and you need a quick fix on your basement sub-pump, the prepper is a great person to know.
  1. Worry Free: By and large, preppers should live worry free. While they’re prepared for the worst case scenario, they are better prepared than 90% of the people around the globe. SHTF may happen, it may not, but either way, the prepping family “has it covered”.
  1. Interpersonal Skills: Dealing with difficult people can be a pain in a doomsday situation and in regular life.  But the prepper excels with great interpersonal skills, because he/she knows that dealing favorably with other people gets you far in life. The prepper has a spot in their library for “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.
  1. Motivation: Last and certainly not least is the concept of motivation. All the prepping, learning, doing and helping others is not in vain if S doesn’t HTF. If nothing else, the prepper motivates people to keep taking strides to be self-sufficient, help their community and secure their family.

Take heart, when other say “what if the end of the world never happens?”. You’ve got things covered either way. You have peace of mind. And all of your prepping is useful in many other ways. Don’t quit being prepared, you never know who’s watching, and who becomes inspired.

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11 Toxic Plants That You Should Learn to Identify

11 Toxic Plants That You Should Learn to Identify

11 Toxic Plants That You Should Learn to Identify

Whether you’re going camping for the weekend, exploring the land around your homestead, or learning about edible plants and medicinal herbs, knowing which plants are highly toxic is essential. Never, ever, consume a plant you have not positively identified as safe, OR that is a look-alike for one of the poisonous plants. For example, wild carrot is not poisonous, but its look-alike Water Hemlock is the most toxic plant in the US – a single drop of ingested sap can kill a child or adult.

Some plants are safe to handle as long as they are not ingested. Other plants can cause severe burns, rashes, and more just by brushing against the plant or getting sap on your skin. If you suspect you have had physical contact with one of the irritating toxic plants, immediately wash the area with warm water and soap, and seek proper treatment (like calamine lotion for Poison Ivy).

If you have children, one of the best things you can do is teach them to identify and avoid poisonous plants. Even a toddler can get interested in learning plants, and remember characteristics of toxic plants (like the “leaves of three, let it be” to identify and avoid poison sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak).

Here are 11 common toxic plants to beware of.

1. Water Hemlock – Cicuta

Water Hemlock

Water hemlock is a lacy plant with broad umbrellas of white flowers. Its leaves resemble those of carrot, and also elderberry. Unlike carrot and elderberry, however, it thrives in wet and marshy areas like stream banks and lakeshores, or marshes. To avoid water hemlock, avoid all carrot-looking plants growing in or close to water.

2. Giant Hogweed – Heracleum mantegazzianum

Giant Hogweed

This large plant prefers pasture, and the sunny edges of forests. Contact with the sap causes blisters, swelling, and sever photosensitivity that can cause second and third degree burns with sun exposure. This plant should be avoided, or reported. One should not attempt to chop (or burn) it on one’s own, it would require a hazmat suit.

3. Poison Hemlock – Conium maculatum

Poison Hemlock

Not quite as poisonous as water hemlock, poison hemlock has only slightly different characteristics.  It is a showy white-flowered plant with purple-spotted hollow stems, and leaves resembling parsley or carrot in their growing habit. The danger with poison hemlock is confusing it with wild carrot, or Queen Ann’s lace, which are not toxic.

4. Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans

Poison Ivy

Possibly the most common plant to cause painful irritation and rashes, poison ivy is found throughout North America. Its growing characteristics include leaves in groupings of three, pointed leaf tips, green leaves in spring, and yellow leaves in fall, with white berries. Any contact with poison ivy can cause a rash, including if it is on your clothing and you touch the contaminated spot. If you come in contact with poison ivy (or poison oak and poison sumac), do not touch any other part of your body with the contaminated part, and do not touch your clothing. Wash clothing as soon as possible, and wash any skin area the plant touched with soap and warm water before applying soothing lotions or other treatments.

5. Poison Oak – Toxicodendron diversilobum

Poison Oak

From the same family as poison ivy, poison oak also has similar characteristics. Poison oak has leaves in sets of three, is a low-growing plant that has green leaves in summer, and rich orangy red leaves in the autumn. The irritant in poison oak is the same as that in poison ivy, and the treatment would be the same.

6. Poison Sumac – Toxicodendron vernix

Poison Sumac

The foundation of the family, along with poison ivy and poison oak, this plant has very similar characteristics as well. Namely the leaves of this plant also growing in groups of three. This little group of three plants is why the “leave of three, let it be” is good to remember, then you’ll never go tramping through a growth of them accidentally.

Since the irritation from the Toxicodendron species is caused by an irritating oil, the most effective way to prevent it is washing the oil off your skin as soon as you realize you have come in contact with it.

7. Oleander – Nerium Oleander

Oleander

A showy and sweet-smelling ornamental in the dogbane family, this plant is toxic if ingested. There is no part of this plant that is not toxic. It bears a slight resemblance to an olive, and also to the also-poisonous rhododendron. The flowers grow in showy clusters, and can range from white to red with shades of pink in between, with dark green lance-shaped leaves in alternating pairs, sometimes whirls of three instead of pairs.

8. Deadly Nightshade – Atropa Belladonna

Deadly Nightshade

While nightshade has a history of cosmetic use, its foliage and fruit are all highly toxic. It bears a resemblance to the potato, with similarly shapped leaves. Its flowers are tubular with five petal-points, usually purple in tone. The fruit is dark purple black, and is the most toxic part of the plant.

9. English Yew – Taxus Baccata

English Yew

The yew is one of the few evergreens that grows flat needles. The needles appear flat, and are paired, giving the branches a flat feathered look. Unlike most conifers, the yew tree has a bright red, fleshy, berry/cone which holds the highly-toxic seed. Both the foliage and the seed of the Yew tree are poisonous, and during some European wars, there were reports of soldiers dying after drinking from yew-wood canteens. Caution should be observed when working with yew for any reason due to this toxicity.

10. Wolfsbane – Aconitum napellus

Wolfsbane

This is a very pretty purple flower which vaguely resembles a hooded monk. Traditionally, the Aconitum spp. were used for poisoning wolves, by farmers, hence it’s other common name of “wolfsbane.” All parts of Monkshood are poisonous to humans and animals.

As a quick rule of thumb, any flower that has a deep tube or trumpet shape (fox glove, petunia, lilac), is likely to be poisonous, no matter how good it smells. Also, bulb flowers that are trumpet shaped, like Easter lilies, daffodils, and narcissists, are also poisonous and should be avoided. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but if a plant has these characteristics you should only consume it after positively identifying it as safe, by 3 different people and/or sources.

11. Castor Bean – Ricinus communis

Castor Bean

The castor bean plant is from the spurge family, and is highly toxic. Even though edible castor-oil is produced from it, the oil is only safe because the process is designed to remove the water soluble toxin, ricin, from the oil. The castor bean specifically is the most poisonous part of the plant, and a single ingested bean can kill an adult. The castor plant is a common ornamental due to its showy feathery red flowers, and multi-fingered green-purple leaves.

Conclusion

As I said at the beginning of the article, you should only touch plants that you are positive are safe AND don’t look like any toxic plants. Remember, even if you’re sure a plant is safe, if it has a toxic lookalike, then you risk making a deadly mistake by handling it. Better safe than sorry.

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How to Make an Improvised Gas Mask

How to Make an Improvised Gas Mask

Last week I took part in the GoRuck Constellation here in Tulsa. Unlike the GoRuck Challenge with its hefting of heavy logs and doing lots of push-ups and squats, Constellation is a scenario-based event in which you learn urban survival skills and the techniques of escape and evasion from former U.S. military special operators. The emphasis is on skill acquisition instead of beating you down.

I had a great time and learned a lot during the event. One of the most interesting skills I learned was how to make an improvised gas mask from a 2-liter bottle and dust mask in the event tear gas or pepper spray is being used during civil unrest. After making it, we actually had to put it to the test by getting pepper sprayed in the face by our cadres.

And it worked. At least for me. Some folks still got some spray in their eyes. It looked really unpleasant. When creating an apparatus like this, you’ve got to be sure you put it together just right!

I thought it was fun skill to have and it could actually come in handy one day. So below I walk you through how to make an improvised gas mask in under 10 minutes.

Now is this thing anywhere close to a perfect gas mask? Far from it. But if you ever need it, it’s better than nothing.

How to Make an Improvised Gas Mask

Gas masks work by intaking “polluted” air through the “snout” of the mask, and then allowing that gas to pass through a filter before you inhale it. Professional gas masks have filters that can absorb and neutralize very fine particulate.

This jerry-rigged version is only designed to protect your eyes, mouth, and nose, while creating a physical barrier between larger particles in the air and your face. It’s obviously not going to protect you from truly toxic chemicals.

Materials

  • 2-liter soda bottle
  • Dust mask
  • Duct tape
  • Knife

1. Cut Off the Bottom of the 2-Liter Bottle

At the bottom of the bottle, you’ll find a seam. Using your knife, cut along the seam until you completely cut off the bottom of the bottle.

2. Cut a U-Shape on the Side of the Bottle

Remember to remove the plastic label that surrounds the bottle. Some of it will still be left on the bottle after you’ve taken it off. Cut your U-shape so it removes that remaining label. The U’s bottom should be about 2 inches above the bottle cap. The width of your U should be just large enough to fit your face into it. You don’t want to make it too big, as that would allow gas or pepper spray to enter your mask more easily.

3. Remove Bands From Dust Mask

Grab your dust mask and remove the bands from it. Put them in a safe place; we’ll be using them here in a bit.

4. Place Dust Mask Inside the Bottom of the U

Place your mask inside the bottom of the U-shape you just cut. You want the mask to tilt a bit downwards towards the bottle cap. As you see, this creates a small chamber between the bottle cap and the mask.

5. Duct Tape Mask to Bottle

Get your duct tape and secure the mask to the bottle. You want to make sure you have a solid seal around the mask area and no gaps where bad air can sneak in. Err on the side of too much duct tape.

Another view of the taped dust mask.

6. Duct Tape the Edges of Your Mask

You’ll likely have some jagged edges where you’ve cut the bottle. To make the mask a bit more comfortable, place some duct tape along those edges. The added benefit of the duct taped edges is that it allows you to get a better seal around your face — which is crucial in its effectiveness.

7. Cut Four Slits Near the Sides

We need to cut some slits into which to place our mask’s bands. Cut two slits near the top of the mask — one on each side — and another two four inches below — again, one on each side.

8. Thread Bands Through Slits and Tie Off

Thread your bands through the slits. Start from inside the bottle and thread out. Tie off the ends with an overhand knot so they don’t come out.

9. Duct Tape the Slits

To prevent air from entering your mask and as added security for your bands, place some duct tape over the slits.

10. Punch Some Holes in the Bottle Cap

Use your knife and punch a few holes or slits into your bottle cap. This will allow you get a bit of air when you have the gas mask on. Based on my experience from Constellation, the slits weren’t enough to get adequate air intake. I’d recommend cutting a small square to let in a bit more air.

Cap screwed back on after slitting holes.

You’re Ready to Face a Post-Apocalyptic World

There you go. How to make an improvised gas mask in under 10 minutes. Now you’re ready to face a Cormac McCarthy-esque post-apocalyptic world in which the fabric of society is torn apart and all hell has broken loose.

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How to Make Pemmican: Native American Survival Food

Pemmican

The PEMMICAN Manual
by
Lex Rooker
Pemmican is a concentrated nutritionally complete food invented by the North American Plains Indians. It was originally made during the summer months from dried lean Buffalo meat and rendered fat as a way to preserve and store the meat for use when traveling and as a primary food
source during the lean winter months. When pemmican was discovered by our early Frontiersmen (explorers, hunters, trappers, and the like) it became a highly sought after commodity. The Hudson Bay Company purchased tons of pemmican from the native tribes each year to satisfy the demand. The basic unit of trade was an animal hide filled with pemmican, sealed with pure rendered fat on the seams, and weighed
about 90 pounds. As long as it was kept away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight, it would last for many years with no refrigeration or other method of preservation.

Download Full Recipe

Seven 15 Minute Preps to Get Ready for Hurricane Season

Seven 15 Minute Preps to Get Ready for Hurricane Season

Seven 15 Minute Preps for Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane preparedness is key for anyone who lives within a few hundred miles of the coast.  Hurricanes and tropical storms can form and make landfall in less than 24 hours.  Impacts are felt far inland, not just the coastal areas.  Here are a few steps to get you started when preparing for the hurricane season.  Each prep takes 15 minutes or less to complete and will put you on the right track to be better prepared.

Keep Your Vehicle Gas Tank At Least Half Full Throughout the Season

When tropical storm or hurricanes threaten, one of the first commodities to go is gasoline.  Always try to keep your tanks half full.  This can keep you out of long lines at the pump, allow you to get a jump on an evacuation, or even prepare you for rationing if it occurs.

Check Flashlights, Lanterns, Radios, and Other Communications Gear

Home Emergency Supply KitPull those flashlights and lanterns out of the cabinet and light up the room!  Be sure the batteries are good and the light is functional before you need it.  Turn on your AM/FM radio and turn to a couple different channels to be sure it is functional.  This is a great time to check and see if you can tune in to your local emergency station from your homestead, work, or other location.  If you can not tune in to the emergency station, identify a secondary alternative.  This is also a good opportunity to test two way communications gear or family communications plans with the family.  And don’t forget to keep a few extra sets of batteries on hand.

Validate Your Insurance and Secure Important Documents

The worst time to find out you forgot to pay your insurance bill is after you lost a roof or got flooded because of a storm.  Take the opportunity at the beginning of the season to Validate Insurancelocate the latest copies of your insurance documents (flood, windstorm, home, renters, etc.) and store them in a waterproof container (a freezer bag works great).

Flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires a 30 day waiting period after payment of premium before the policy goes into effect. If you are on the fence about whether or not to get it, make the decision now so your policy is active before the season ramps up.

Keep your documents in a readily accessible location in case you have to quickly grab them to evacuate.  This is also a great time to identify and store your policy number and phone number used to file a claim.  If your policy documents get lost or destroyed due to storm damage, not knowing those numbers can  delay the claims process.  Having this information can help streamline your filing and keep your claim on the top of the insurance company’s claims pile.

Load Test Your Generator

Most people never test their generator until they need it.  Of those that do test it, the majority just start it up and let it run.  Take the few minutes to start up your generator and plug in a load.  Include anything you plan to run during or after the storm.  Let it run for 10-15 minutes, but if you have more time, the longer the better.  This will allow you to confirm the generator can handle the expected load after a storm.  It will also allow you to approximate the rate of fuel consumption.  As a follow-up, calculate the amount of fuel you have and how much runtime it will provide.  Get more fuel to store if required.  Also, don’t forget the oil!

Plan Your EvacuationPlan Your Evacuation

If you plan to evacuate, review your evacuation route and potential alternates.  Identify potential food and fuel stops along the routes.  Be sure to account for the fact that you will probably be dealing with traffic so you will travel less distance on a tank than usual.  Ensure you have a place to go that is outside of the impact area.  Relatives or friends are great, but confirm with them ahead of time.  If that isn’t an option, identify a lodging location and check it out before you need it.  Hotel and motel rooms fill up fast once an evacuation is triggered.  Make reservations ahead of time and pay attention to the cancellation policy.  For many major chains you can cancel with no charge up to 24 hours prior to check in. So you can cancel if the storm changes course.  You don’t want to be stuck at the run down place that charges by the hour!

Start Building Your Home Emergency Supply Kit

One of the easiest and most important supply kits to develop is your Home Emergency Supply Kit.  It is already started with the non-perishable food in your pantry and water in your water heater.  Add on a little from there each time you shop online or go to the grocery store.  Since your home is your storage bin, it provides ample space for storage and organization of supplies when compared to bag based go kits.

Keep Cash on Hand in Small Denominations

Cash is KingWhen the power goes out, electronic payment methods and ATM machines don’t work.  Don’t expect to pay with credit on your next run to refill your gas cans.  Keep cash on hand and in a secure location.  Small denominations are important unless you want to use that crisp $100 Benjamin to pay for $20 worth of wood and tarps at your local hardware store.  Many retailers quickly run out of the ability to make change, so small denominations allow you to keep more of that money in your pocket.

The List Goes On

When it comes to preparing for a Hurricane there is a number of items that need to be considered and many decisions that must be made.  These are just a few items that are quick and easy to get out of the way at the beginning of the season while also preparing you for a number of other hazards.

The more time you devote to pre-planning these matters before hand, the less stress they will bring when the incident occurs.  For kids and adults alike, having a plan provides a small sense of comfort and control during the chaos of a disaster.

 

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12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

In today’s age, we’ve grown pretty accustomed to 21st century medicine and all of the convenient solutions that it offers. However, there could come a day when the medicines, technologies, and medical professionals that comprise modern medicine are no longer so easily accessible. When and if that time comes, you can rely on these first aid tricks that really work:

1. Run a Burn Under Warm Water

It may sound counterintuitive to run a burn under warm water, but it turns out that this is one of the best ways to stop the pain. Even minor burns can be agonizing, but warm water works to relieve the pain and increase circulation to damaged tissue by expanding your blood vessels – as opposed to cold water which restricts them.

2. Treat a Nosebleed

Severe nosebleeds can lead to a serious amount of blood loss. To treat a nosebleed, most people lean their heads back. But instead, you should start by leaning forward so that the blood doesn’t run down your throat. Next, use a tissue or cloth to gently squeeze your nostrils shut. Continue leaning forward and applying pressure until the bleeding has stopped.

3. Remove an Insect Stinger with a Credit Card

Some insects such as bees will leave their stinger inside your skin when they sting you. It needs to be removed, but you have to be careful doing so. Squeezing the stinger with tweezers can cause more of the insect’s venom to be injected into your skin. Instead, use the edge of a credit card or a dull knife to gently scrape out the stinger. Just be careful to ensure that you are pushing it in the right direction; you don’t want to be pushing it further into your skin.

4. Soothe a Sore Throat with Salt Water

Without any kind of medicinal treatment, sore throats can be a real annoyance. One easy, medicine-free method of soothing a sore throat, though, is to gargle salt water. I highly recommend you try this before taking medicine or sore throat lozenges. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

5. Use Baking Soda to Stop the Itching from Insect Bites

Bites from mosquitos, chiggers, and other pesky insects often itch so bad it’s almost unbearable. This is especially a problem if the situation requires you to spend a lot more time in the woods than you might have before. In lieu of anti-itch cream, though, you can use a paste made from baking soda and water to stop the itching from insect bites. Just put one tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl and slowly add a little bit of water while stirring until a paste is formed.

6. Elevate a Sprain or Strain to Reduce Swelling

If you have suffered a sprained or strained ankle, it’s important to elevate it above your heart. Elevating a sprain above your heart reduces blood flow to the injury, which in turn prevents swelling. This is part of the RICE method.  Which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

7. Splint a Snake Bite

There are a lot of first aid myths centered around treating snake bites. One of the most persistent ones is the idea that shocking a snake bite will neutralize the venom. Before you hook yourself up to a car battery, though, you should know that this has been proven false.

Even slicing open the fang marks and sucking out the venom – once standard procedure for treating snake bites – is now thought to do more harm than good. The unfortunate truth is that venomous snakes are efficient killers, and short of antivenom, there is no proven way to neutralize the venom they inject.

One thing you can do, though, is to splint the limb that was bitten to restrict movement. Moving can cause the venom to spread further into the body. From there, though, you should always seek medical treatment if it is available. In a world where medical treatment is not available, avoid venomous snakes like the plague.

8. Treat a Heart Attack with Aspirin

If you find yourself suffering from a heart attack, one of the best things you can do short of seeking immediate medical help is to chew up an aspirin tablet. Taking aspirin within thirty minutes of the initial symptoms of a heart attack has been shown to greatly reduce the damage to the heart, prevent future problems that often develop after a heart attack, and, in many cases, actually save the patient’s life. If you have a history of heart problems, it’s a good idea to carry some aspirin with you everywhere you go.

9. Roll a Seizure Victim onto their Side

One of the dangers of seizures is the risk that the victim will choke to death on their vomit. To prevent this, standard procedure is to always roll a seizure victim onto their side and hold them there for the duration of the seizure. Here is some more information on how to help someone having a seizure.

10. Avoid Removing a Foreign Object that has Punctured Your Body

If you’ve seen all of the action movies where the unphased hero nonchalantly jerks an arrow or a knife from their body, you may think that removing the object from the puncture wound is the best course of action. In reality, though, it only speeds up blood loss.

It’s important to wait to remove a knife (or another penetrating object) from the body until you are ready to immediately commence other procedures that will stop the bleeding. It’s equally important though, that they remain still while the object is still inside them. In the case of knives, arrows, and other objects with sharp edges, moving can cause the blade to rub against tissue and blood vessels, leading to further damage.

11. Ease Nausea With Peppermint Tea

Nausea can come from a wide variety of causes, but no matter the source it is rarely ever enjoyable. One great and easy way to treat nausea, though, is with peppermint tea. To make peppermint tea, simply take peppermint leaves and boil them in water. Drink the tea warm and it will help ease nausea, sometimes making it go away entirely.

12. Treat Frostbite with Warm Water

If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms of frostbite – tingling, numbness, swelling, and blisters – it’s important to treat it right away by running the affected area under warm water.

It’s a natural reaction for people to try and rub their hands together to warm them up from the friction, but this should be avoided in the case of frostbite, where rubbing can damage sensitive skin and tissue.

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