Posted on Leave a comment

Crisis at Work: Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness for Small Businesses

Hurricane Sandy, Ocean Grove Pier - New Jersey, October 29, 1012 - Photograph by Bob Bowné

Let’s start at the very beginning. Why do you need a small business disaster recovery plan? The answer is simple. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. An even greater number fail within 1 to 3 years, due to insurmountable losses.

While the recent devastation from Hurricane Matthew may lead some to believe that business emergency preparedness applies only to large storms or natural disasters, the fact is that there are many emergencies you should prepare for that can interrupt operations and profitability, from localized outages to random fires, floods and more.

According to the 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey, over 75% of businesses have experienced the loss of at least one critical application after a power outage – leading to an estimated cost of more than $5,000 per minute. For tech reliant companies, that’s a lot to put at stake for lack of preparation.

While there are many kinds of disasters that can strike and many reasons that businesses may fail afterward, doing your business disaster planning ahead of time is an essential step to being able to recover, reopen and recoup your losses in the event of any emergency. It’s crucial not only to have the correct insurance plans in place to protect your physical assets, but also to have strong business continuity and emergency preparedness plans so during a crisis situation at work, you can put your company in position to survive.

How Do Disasters Impact Small Businesses?

Beyond the immediate economic impact of a shutdown, business disruption due to floods and hurricanes, fires, outages and other emergencies can impact your company’s chances of survival in many ways.

Physical Damage

The first way that your business could be impacted is though physical damage to the premises and facility, including the building itself, pipes, ventilation systems and more. Consider what emergencies have happened in your area before and how they’ve impacted the businesses around you. What would the cost of not doing business for an hour, day, week or even longer be? It’s time to consider how to mitigate those losses. Review your insurance policies now – the cost to rebuild is often what results in closed doors.

1994, Los Angeles, California, USA --- Original caption: Los Angeles, California: Earthquake Aftermath. --- Image by © David Butow/Corbis

1994, Los Angeles, California, USA – Image by © David Butow/Corbis

Staffing and Clients

The second way a business will be impacted during an emergency is in staffing and customer retention. Employees may be evacuated or otherwise unable to come to work during the disaster, while significant damage to the area may impact both your staff and customers’ ability to return to their homes, jobs and consumer behaviors. What plans do you have in place to prepare for a change in your staffing or client base? Consider having a remote operations plan to ensure essential services continue in the event of on-site interference.

Business Disaster Planning: Be Prepared in Advance

The basics of business disaster planning have to do with effective preparation, testing, training and leadership. You have to prepare your small business continuity and recovery plans, test them regularly, train your people to perform their roles and have strong leaders in place to ensure they’re carried out when disaster strikes.

Getting Your Business Ready

Here are some of the technical things you might want to consider investing in now so you don’t regret it after a disaster:

  • Lightweight laptop that’s connected to essential business systems
  • Cell phone with mobile Wi-Fi capabilities or another sources of localized Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Cloud storage for essential documents
  • Off-premise operations hub

With cloud storage becoming more and more accessible and affordable, I highly recommend you save important business documents to a cloud storage platform, so you can still access crucial information should your on-site records be unsalvageable. It’s also important to consider where you’ll base operations if an evacuation order is issued or you’re otherwise unable to use your current facility due to damage

If you end up stranded in the office, you’ll also want to have what I call a “business BOB” on hand. Keep your bug-out bag in an area you’ll be able to access in an emergency, and stock it with essential items that can make the difference between life and death when you’re stranded at work.

Your business BOB should include enough supplies to support the people in your office for at least 72 hours:

  • Nonperishable foods and a way to prepare them – consider what you’ll do if there’s no power
  • Water, and plenty of it
  • A first aid kit, medical supplies and basic toiletries including soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, feminine products, baby wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Flashlights/Headlamp
  • Blankets
  • A toolkit including a compass, flashlights, duct tape, lighters, and other common tools

You may also want to consider having backup systems of defense should your alarm systems go out – especially if your facility is at high-risk for looting or other forms of opportunism that are common during emergencies.

emergency-preparedness

Getting Your People Ready

When it comes to human resources, the most important thing to consider is leadership and communication.

  • Establish leadership in advance. You should choose leaders with a high degree of trust, integrity, capability and experience.
    • Who should employees go to with questions about their work during an emergency? If you are stranded on-site, you’ll need leaders to supervise different essential areas, including food, defense, medical services and even conflict resolution.
  • Establish communications systems, buddy systems and meeting places. What will you do if wireless networks are down and you’re stranded at work?
    • Consider having a battery-operated, solar or reliable ham radio, satellite phone and other emergency communication systems on hand that can allow two-way communication and information delivery when cell phone towers and other business systems are down.
    • Sign up for alerts from the Red Cross and local authorities so you stay up-to-date on the state of the emergency.
  • Make sure every member of the team has a role and a job to do. Consider individual skill-sets – including any medical, counseling or defense training – and how they would be best put to use. Giving everyone a role not only expands the human resources you have available, but it also helps keep people calm in a crisis situation.

Long before disaster strikes, the business continuity plans you create must be shared with and practiced by employees so they know exactly what to do before panic sets in. Test your plans regularly, train employees to carry it out, assess effectiveness and always solicit for feedback. Having a plan will do nothing if it’s not tested, refined and continually refreshed.

It’s also smart to communicate your emergency and business continuity plans with any business partners who may be impacted by an interruption in your operations so they, too, know what to expect. Alerting them in advance will help them know how to stay in touch with you and help you avoid increased losses both during and after disaster.

Crisis at Work: Putting Your Plan into Action

If you’ve prepared well in advanced, you should be able to put your emergency business continuity and disaster recovery plans into action relatively smoothly. Of course, during a disaster, nothing is for sure, so here are a few tips to ensure you stay as safe as possible:

  • Immediately deploy your emergency communications system when disaster strikes to keep staff and customers alert, aware and ready to act.
  • Always follow evacuation orders and use the information available to get employees and personnel safely out of harm’s way before disaster strikes.
  • If you’re unable to exit the premises in an emergency, secure your location, people, supplies and equipment.
  • Remember that every member of your organization has value in an emergency. Just like managers look for employees’ best use when it comes to day-to-day operations, it’s important that you find the best way for everyone to contribute in an emergency so that no one feels helpless or alone.

That last point is probably the most important – beyond actually having a small business emergency recovery plan in place. Emotions run high in emergency situations, so you need to be ready to help people cope. Being sufficiently prepared prior to a disaster will go a long way to keeping everyone calm and collected until you make it safely to the other side.

Small Business Disaster Planning Resources

Explore FEMA’s Small Business Preparedness Toolkit, featuring a range of resources and planning documents.

Use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Sample Emergency Preparedness Checklist to create your own disaster checklist today.

Specific disaster preparedness information and sample assessment forms for small businesses are available at PrepareMyBusiness.org.

Get more resources from the Small Business Association:

  • Disaster Assistance Information to help you recover after a disaster.
  • Disaster Planning Resources to guide your emergency preparedness and business continuity plans and protect your assets during a disaster.
  • Also find Emergency Preparedness Resources that cover different types of natural and manmade disasters

Linked from: http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2016/10/27/crisis-at-work-hurricane-and-emergency-preparedness-for-small-businesses/

 

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Be a Prepper in College

university-of-washington

We all prep for different scenarios, and start at different times in our lives. What made you start prepping? Did someone convince you that it’s a good idea? What’s your excuse for not prepping? Most of the people I try to get prepared have many excuses for not starting. Being 22 and just one semester away from getting my bachelor’s, the most common excuse I hear is I can’t afford it. Well I say. If there’s a will,  there’s a way and in this article I am going to share how I practice being a prepper in college.

I grew up in a small farm town of 3500 people. Growing up I wasn’t in boy scouts. I was just a kid that liked shooting guns. We always had a little bit of food set aside, and we would always rotate food. I never realized what it was for. I never recall them talking about any radical ideas for it, just thought it was a good idea to stocked. Just. In. Case.

For the past four and a half years I’ve lived in a small apartment (now in a duplex) in a college town with a population of nearly 91,000.

The first couple years of my college life I was on campus in the dorms. Luckily for me, being on a native American campus we have a good amount of mother nature on our campus. Mother nature always provides, but you have to know where and what.

I have a pretty small collective of friends that I fully trust, but I have several acquaintances and connections that give me opportunity. My close friends my age know I prep, but they always say it costs too much to start prepping. While they say this I think in my head how much they drink and go out. Obviously you still need to live life and enjoy it, but I believe at some point you have to prioritize for the well-being of yourself and your family’s safety. There’s plenty of money to be made, and plenty of deals to be had. Building one bug out bag takes a good amount of planning and strategy which takes time. Just having one bag puts you ahead of most people in urban areas. I built my several bags and prep’s by purchasing one piece at a time. There is no excuse for the lack of prepping.

Prepping doesn’t have to cost a fortune

I’ve always had a knack for finding good deals. In no way am I wealthy, but I grew up wheeling and dealing. I am constantly scouring Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, etc. I work hard for my money, and when it’s not enough I find side jobs come in handy. Most college towns have places where you can donate plasma. This is a good way to build some spending money. My part-time job is an auto detailer for a dealership. I’ve found that I’m quite good at it and I like doing it. It is becoming a lost art and there is a lot of money to be made.

Side jobs are likely necessary to have enough cash to spend on discretionary supplies.

Side jobs are likely necessary to have extra cash to spend on discretionary supplies. Competition is fierce for these spots.

Another misconception that is popular with college kids making excuses in my area is that it’s all about spending money. Prepping isn’t only material things. Sure it’s a big part of it, but it’s also a mentality. Everyday I think what if’s and different scenarios to challenge my mind. Prepping is a prepared state of mind. This website and others brought me very good insight as to what I could and should do in different emergency scenarios. Even if you can’t afford to build several bug out bags, buy firearms, stockpile food and water, then you should definitely be researching other aspirations. Knowledge is power and there is a lot of survival information to be had on the internet! Not everyone grew up as a boy scout, I know I didn’t. Knots can be as important as knowing how to skin an animal, or what plants are edible.

Friends of mine that try to prep dismiss the fact that upon the beginning stages of WROL it will be a blood bath at regular store such as: grocery stores, pharmacies, gun stores, etc. They all say oh I’ll just go grab some food at the store. No. It won’t work that way. This is why it is very important for us to prep. Even if you live in the dorms it would be a very good idea to have some canned food, bottled water, flashlights, and batteries hidden away. There’s plenty more you can prep for but I believe most people I talk to could not handle a stressful event such as SHTF. If you have a little prior knowledge to survival and your environment, then it should help you prepare mentally. Having a small stockpile of supplies can be a safety net, and should provide you a little bit of time to collect your thoughts as to what just happened and forming your game-plan.

Start small but build continuously

I am just now starting to buy some canned food to put aside just in case of a power outage. A single can of corn in my area is merely 69 cents. It is easy and cheap to stock up on canned foods to keep in your place of residence. The only problem I see is when you must bug out, the canned food will be very, very heavy. Make sure to keep your home stockpile separate from your bug out bag supplies. A good habit for both is to still use the supplies in both spots and replace them with new ones to keep the “best by” date as far out as possible.

dormfood

It is easy and cheap to stock up on canned foods to keep in your place of residence.

My generation has lost the ability to be self-sufficient and prepared. For other college students reading this and wanting help to prep on a very tight budget, I urge you to read as much as you can. Free information will only be around as long as society holds up. To be clear I definitely live the “college experience”. I don’t go to parties or go out for nights of binge drinking. There is other ways to be social and they are much cheaper.

The biggest challenge in prepping for a college student is preparing for an active shooter. You don’t know when it’s coming, from where, or how many there are. Most college campuses don’t allow firearms or conceal carry. Some states are starting to allow conceal carry on campus which, in my opinion is a great idea. My state is one of those starting to allow that. Unfortunately for me I go to a Native American College that is federally owned so the law doesn’t hold there. How do you prep for an active shooter if you’re not allowed to have even a pocket knife, and you don’t want to break the law? This question brings me back to what I stated earlier about reading as much information as you can. The have been survivors of every school shooting and their stories are out there.

So I am constantly reading and building my knowledge of survival. Now what? Personally a bug out bag is my go to item to start with for any prep. Whether you believe in TEOTWAWKI or just wanna have a head start on a natural disaster there is always room for a bug out bag, and it is very important to have this bag with you at all times. I have found that Walmart can sell everything you would need for a bug out bag. Piece by piece you will complete it. That being said don’t be that person to go buy a “pre-made emergency bag” they are made in bulk and most likely won’t be very accepting to your specific needs. MRE’s are a good choice for any style of bag as well as freeze dried foods. You need to always consider where you would go, how far is it, and the terrain you would trek through. If you have found that there is several options for water I would choose Mountain House freeze-dried meals because, they are light and filling. If water sources will be scarce then MRE’s take much less water.

For the preppers who believe in the large-scale, scary things that could potentially happen remember that there’s always going to be someone wanting to take what you have. I once read a very good article on here that mentioned that no matter where you hunker down there will be people after it. You WILL be overrun. That has always stuck with me and because of it I am constantly thinking where would I go now? Where would I go next? I suggest knowing your terrain and various routes to get around area’s that are going to be most likely a huge mess.

A lot of the things I’ve talked about have been really similar. The constant repetition should help retain the information for all the young, hard-headed, minds I am trying motivate. I’ve only scratched the surface of what I could say, but for my first article I wanted to keep it short and to the point. Bottom line is if you keep making excuses you may find yourself scrambling when the stuff starts hitting the fan.

Linked from: http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2016/10/28/how-to-be-prepper-in-college/

Posted on Leave a comment

Preparing a Wild Turkey

Intro: Cleaning Your Wild Turkey

You have finally achieved a successful turkey hunt and the most difficult part is over. But, there is still a lot of work to do cleaning the bird to get it ready to be put in the freezer. One of the most common questions and concerns of new turkey hunters is how to clean a turkey after they have shot it. This article will hopefully answer most of the questions about cleaning a turkey with some of the techniques I and many other hunters utilize.

Step 1: Make a Decision


The cleaning or field dressing process begins right after you shoot your bird. The first thing you need to decide after the pictures are taken is what you are going to do with your turkey.

Make a decision immediately about whether you will have the turkey mounted. This will determine how you will proceed with the cleaning process and how much care you should take transporting your turkey. If you are planning on having the bird mounted, do not field dress the bird.

You might also consider how you plan on cooking the turkey. Roasting, smoking or whole deep frying are cooking processes that work best with the skin still on the turkey, although there are techniques for a skinless turkey as well. Frying or grilling pieces of turkey will work well with a bird that has been skinned.

At this point , you have basically three options for continuing cleaning your wild turkey.

  1. Prepare bird for the taxidermist.
  2. Field dress the bird if it’s hot or you’re a long way from home.
  3. Wait until you get home before proceeding with cleaning the bird. If it’s cool enough and you have a relatively short trip home, you can wait before taking on the task of cleaning the turkey.

Preparing Your Wild Turkey for the Taxidermist

If you are thinking about having a turkey mounted by a taxidermist, by all means, shop around by visiting professional taxidermists in your area before you go hunting and get a feeling for the quality of their work and the prices they will charge. If you don’t have a good taxidermist in your area do not get discouraged. There are many excellent taxidermists all across the country and by asking friends and fellow hunters or doing your own research, you can find a quality taxidermist. Spending a little extra money to ship your bird is well worth it to get an excellent reminder of your trophy hunt. Mounting a wild turkey is not easy and if you let an amateur mount if for you, don’t expect excellent results.

The secret to getting good taxidermy mounts of any animal is 1) Keeping the animal in as good as condition as possible before it reaches the taxidermist, and 2) Choosing a qualified taxidermist.

Before the Hunt

Finding a good taxidermist is up to you but there are some tips that will help you get your bird to the taxidermist in as good of condition as possible. These are some general ideas and your taxidermist may have specific instructions on the way he likes to receive birds.

First, make sure and take on your hunt a large plastic bag and a cooler large enough to lay the bird in without scrunching up the tail feathers. Take with you some paper towels, cotton balls, and either a large plastic bag, a section of used panty hose, or both. Many taxidermists recommend using a section of used panty hose cut from the thigh area as a covering for the bird to keep the feathers in place. Cut out a section of the hose from the thigh area and tie up one end. Then after you shoot a bird, carefully slip the bird into the bag head first, pulling the stocking over its entire body. This will help keep all of the feathers in place. You can also just use a large plastic bag and slip the bird inside it and carefully carry it out of the woods.

Shooting the Bird

When you harvest a bird, always try for a clean head and neck shot. If you want the tail feathers to look good, do not shoot the bird head-on while it is strutting. The shotgun pattern will shred through the tail feathers and that will not look good at all. In fact, it’s best not to shoot a strutting bird period. Tthe best shot to take is a side shot with the bird’s neck stretched up. This should keep all of the shotgun pellets well away from the tail and wing feathers. It is much easier for a taxidermist to replace or repair a shot-up head than to try and repair or replace tail and wing feathers.The distance should be around 25 to 30 yards which is a good distance to aim for any time you are hunting turkeys. This yardage allows for a clean kill without too dense of a shot pattern which may cause extreme damage to the head and neck. If for some reason you do need a second shot to kill the bird, try and take it at the head only and from a sufficient distance to limit more damage to the bird.

After any turkey is shot, they often thrash around on the ground before dying. There really is not a lot you can do about this since picking up a thrashing turkey is not very smart. Your best hope is that he will drop dead and lay stone still after the shot which does occasionally happen. If he does flop around, pick up all of the loose feathers you can find and send them along with the bird to your taxidermist.

After the Shot


After the bird is dead, there are three keys to getting your bird to the taxidermist in prime condition.

  1. Keep the plumage dry and clean. Stuff paper towels or cotton balls into the bird’s mouth and anus to keep any blood or body fluids from soiling the feathers. Also, if there are any large or bloody wounds, stuff them also to keep as much blood off of the feathers as possible. It may be necessary to wrap the head in paper towels if it is really bloody.
  2. Limit feather loss and damage by slipping the bird into either the pantyhose section or a large plastic bag or both. Be very conscious of the tail feathers and do not scrunch or bend them. If the bird flopped around a lot, be sure and pick up any of the loose feathers.
  3. Keep the bird cool – As soon as possible, start cooling the bird by placing it in a large cooler. If you have to wait more than several hours to get it to a taxidermist, you will probably need to freeze the bird.

Also, do not field dress the bird. Most taxidermists would much rather field dress and skin the bird themselves.

Storing and Shipping

If you do not have a taxidermist picked out or you have to store the bird for a long period of time you will have to freeze the bird. Just make sure the bird has plenty of room and do not pile other items onto the bird. If you need to ship the bird to a taxidermist, contact them and ask about the best way to do this. They will be up to date on any airline regulations and can give you the best methods for safely shipping your bird.

In conclusion, try and choose a bird in great condition to be mounted and find a good, quality taxidermist. It’s worth paying a little more up front to have a long-lasting, beautiful memory of a trophy hunt.

Field Dressing Your Wild Turkey

Field dressing is essentially gutting the bird in the field while leaving the feathers on. Removing the guts or entrails is important to help allow the bird to cool faster and to keep the “juices” inside the bird from spoiling any meat. If it is a cool day and you aren’t far from home, you can skip the field dressing step and wait until you are home before cleaning the bird.

Here are the steps for gutting or field dressing a wild turkey:

  1. Lay the turkey on its back.
  2. Follow the breast down to the rear of the bird until it narrows to a point between the legs.
  3. Pull up on the tip and cut the bird open by making a shallow horizontal incision (through the skin only) between the tip of the breast and the vent (anus). It helps to pull out a few of the feathers in this spot so you can cut more easily.
  4. Make the incision large enough to insert your hand and pull out the entrails, making sure to pull out the heart and lungs.
  5. Cut around the vent (anus) by carefully following the intestine back and then cutting around its exterior. This is where you need to be careful since you don’t want any of the intestine’s contents getting on the turkey.
  6. Remove the crop (sac-like thing filled with what the turkey’s been eating) by making a cut on the neck of the turkey and reaching down and removing the crop located at the top of the breast.
  7. Rinse out with water and wipe with paper towels if you have these available.

Plucking Your Wild Turkey

The traditional way to clean a wild turkey is to pluck the feathers off and then gut the bird. This will keep the skin on the turkey which will give it more moisture and flavor after you cook it. You can also save the “giblets” (heart, liver, gizzard) from the bird and make a traditional turkey gravy later when you cook it.

It is preferable to pluck the turkey before removing the entrails. This keeps feathers from getting inside the bird cavity and in general keeps things cleaner. If you’ve already field-dressed the bird, don’t worry about it but be sure and rinse out the cavity good to remove any feathers when you are done plucking.

Turkeys have over 5,000 feathers on them and it is easier to remove them if the bird is dipped in hot water. Some people use boiling water but many people swear that water at 140 degrees is the optimal temperature for plucking a bird. Once a bird has been dipped in hot water, the feathers will come off much easier and they also are easier to handle since they are damp and they won’t fly around the room. A large washtub is best for dipping the bird but you may have to improvise if one’s not available. The large primary wing feathers can also be a problem and it’s easier to just remove the wing at the first joint past the shoulder so those very large primary feathers don’t have to be pulled out.

If you have left the legs on to help you dip the bird, you now need to cut them off. Then it is time to go ahead and remove the entrails by gutting the bird. This process is basically the same as Field Dressing with the exception of needing to remove the head with a large knife, cleaver or hatchet. Some people also like to use the neck to toss in the stock pot. That is your choice. You can also save the turkey giblets (heart, liver, gizzard) and use them to make a traditional turkey gravy. The gizzard is what allows the bird to grind up its food. Be sure and cut the gizzard open and to thoroughly clean it.

You should now have a cleaned bird that is ready to be cooked or frozen.

Skinning and Fileting Your Wild Turkey

Another option to the plucking and gutting method is to skin and then filet the bird’s breast meat off and remove the legs and thighs. This method is quick and easy and allows you to remove the meat from the bird without even opening up the body cavity. If you plan on roasting, smoking or whole deep frying your turkey, you might stick with plucking and gutting the bird since this method does not save the skin. I generally cook my turkey by frying or grilling pieces of turkey; using methods that make up for not having the skin on.

Generally, the areas I hunt are only about a half hour or less from my home so I never worry about field dressing the turkey. I just take it home and clean it immediately. I also hunt in Kansas and the weather is typically very cool during most of the spring and fall turkey seasons. On one hunt during the spring, the weather changed from sunny, to rain. to hail, to sleet and finally snow. If it is warm where you are hunting and it takes you awhile to get to a place to finish dressing the turkey, by all means field dress it first.

  1. If you are saving the tail fan or cape from the turkey, remove them first. I also always remove the beard before starting to clean the bird. If you are not saving the bird’s cape or tail you can leave them on and start by laying the turkey on it’s back.
  2. To begin removing the breast filets, pluck some feathers from the middle of the breast and make a small cut through the skin. Then work your fingers underneath the skin and pull the skin back from the breast down to the sides of the turkey.
  3. Find the breast bone and start by cutting down one side of the breast bone to loosen the breast filet from the bone. This cut will run from the lower tip of the breast all of the way along the breast bone and eventually up along the wishbone and to the shoulder / wing joint..
  4. Start at the bottom tip of the breast and work your way from the rear of the breast forward, fileting off the breast by pulling the filet and using the knife to help separate the breast where needed. Be careful of the crop when you get to the top of the breast. (The crop is the balloon-like sac up between the two halves of the breast by the neck). It is full of some nasty stuff and you don’t want to puncture it.
  5. Repeat this for the other side of the breast.
  6. Remove the thigh/leg by flipping the turkey over on it’s breastbone and skinning the thigh and leg.
  7. After they are skinned, cut through the thigh muscle where it attaches to the back. To help this process, grab the leg/thigh and bend them up towards the backbone until the joint pops loose. Keep working and cutting through the thigh until you can free the thigh/leg from the turkey’s body. Repeat for the other side. I usually then cut through the leg joint and separate the drumstick from the thigh. Wild turkey drumsticks are notoriously tough when you cook them. They also have tons of tiny, tough, bone-like tendons running through them. The only way I’ve found to make them edible is to cook them for a long time in a crockpot and sometimes on an old gobbler this doesn’t even work.

I hope these methods will help you enjoy your turkey.

Linked from: http://www.survival-spot.com/survival-blog/preparing-a-wild-turkey/

Posted on Leave a comment

7 Ways to Recover When Life Sucks

7-ways-to-recover-when-life-sucks

You know what a curve ball is, right?  In baseball, the term curveball is used to describe a pitch of the ball that is thrown with spin so that its path curves as it approaches the batter.  In other words, it is a ball that is unexpected and when it arrives, it takes you by surprise.

Alas, in life, curve balls come out of nowhere all of the time.  Something unexpected happens that throws you off your game.  In the survival and prepping world, this could be a flood, a storm, a power outage or something more esoteric such as the loss of one’s job, ill health, or even financial collapse.  When this happens, we suffer fear, disappointment, vulnerability, and a loss of control.  In general, life sucks.

So what can you do?  I know that I am the first to always remind you to go with the flow, to buck up and to move forward.  I am always coaching you to not let the woes of life and the world render you incapable of action.  On the other hand, when sucky things happen, the aftermath can be devastating to morale and to physical well being.

Couple the stress of prepping with life’s daily set backs, and you have a recipe for a train wreck.  Or do you?

Sucky Things Happen

I first wrote about life’s little (and not so little) curve balls in 2012.  At the time, over a two week period I had been slammed with a number of calamities and, to be honest, it sucked.

  • I zoomed out of the house for an overnight trip and left the freezer door open.  Not even a whole house generator can remedy that.   An entire freezer full of food gone.
  • I had to have my second root canal in less than two months.  No insurance for that, just a major hit to the bank account.
  • A young family member of a dear friend suffered a medical calamity with recovery long and arduous at best.
  • My kitchen faucet literally fell apart and I had no kitchen water for a week while waiting for a plumber and parts.  (Good thing my Berkey was on hand for drinking water.)

More recently, the curve balls have had to do with eye surgery (one eye good, the other less so), and the stress of selling my home then having the buyers back out.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I list these not to start a pity party but only to point out that in the normal course of living  life, curve balls can and do happen.  They happen all of the time for better or for worse.  They happen under very ordinary circumstances to very ordinary people.

 

Seven Ways to Recover from Life’s Little Curve Balls

 1.  Call a friend.  Have a nice little chat – not about your woes and certainly not a pity party.  Instead, talk about the movies, your favorite foods, gossip, anything.  Enjoy your friendship and take a break from whatever it is that troubles you.

2.  Get dressed up and look your best.  Pick out a nice outfit and wear it.  It makes no matter that no one is going to see you.  Wear make-up if that is your thing (ladies) and cologne (both men and ladies).  Look terrific when you peek in the mirror and your day will seem better.

3.  Take your dog for a walk or hike.  Rain or shine, take a walk with your dog or other pet.  Some good, old-fashioned fresh air will put a revitalized spring in your step.  Plus, the antics of our four-legged friends will most assuredly make you want to smile.

4.  Eat some comfort food.  Strange as it sounds, my favorite comfort food is a baked potato or two or three.  So whatever floats your boat, have some.  Make a meal out of chocolate cake if that is what it takes.  You are your own judge and jury and sometimes you need to cut yourself a bit of slack in the healthy food department.

5.  Get out the adult coloring books and go at it.  I have been known to cue up music or an audiobook then color for hours. As someone who was born with a missing artistic gene, I derive great pride in my creations and find peace and relaxation in the process. There really is something to it which is why I mention adult coloring so often.

6.  Take a bubble bath. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil plus some Epsom salts then fill the tub. Put on some soothing music or close the door and bask in the quiet.  It is just my opinion but these days the simple pleasure of taking a bubble bath is being lost in the shuffle of our connected lives.  Note:  bubble baths are for real men too, not just the ladies.

7.  Get over it.  Okay – this is the hard one.  But stuff happens.  It will always happen.  Once you have gone through steps 1 to 6, you will be in the right frame of mind to say “S*it happens so get over it”.  Slap yourself in the forehead as the light bulb goes off and move on.

 

The Final Word

When hit with daily nuisances and woes,  I tend to sit down and gather my wits as a coping mechanism.  And sometimes I cry.  But when all is said and done, I take it all in stride and prevail.  The next day I get up, wash my face, put shoes on, and start the day anew.  I become a soldier marching down my own path with my head held high and a goal and purpose.  Preparing, and being a prepper, has taught me that life goes on and that worse things can happen.

The next time a curve ball is headed your way and you and you say “now what?”, why not pull out this list and act on it?  With a wee bit of fortitude and luck, your outlook will improve just like mine does.

Linked from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/7-ways-to-recover-when-life-sucks/

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Store Fish Antibiotics For Survival

why-store-fish-antibiotics-for-survival

I first learned about fish antibiotics in 2012 when I struggled with a tooth abscess while on vacation in the middle of nowhere.  I was totally unprepared for a bacterial infection and going forward, was determined to stockpile antibiotics for emergency purposes down the road.

As a layman and not a healthcare professional, this was not casual research.  I went to many sources, looked at bottles, and asked a lot of questions.  I came away confident that lacking proper medical facilities, the judicious use of fish and veterinary antibiotics would be safe in a SHTF situation.  And the best part about it?  Fish antibiotics are readily available online at reasonable prices without a prescription.

It was an epiphany.

But as I said, I am not a health care professional and am hesitant to offer even a modicum of advice on this subject.  On the other hand, contributing author Dr. Joe Alton is a medical doctor and is well versed in survival medicine.  In another exclusive article for Backdoor Survival, he is here today to share his knowledge of fish antibiotics and why peppers should include them as part of their long-term survival plan.

Why Store “Fish” Antibiotics?

By Joe Alton, MD

Years ago, I wrote the first article by a physician on the utility of certain antibiotics used in the aquarium and bird hobbies. Since then, fish antibiotics have become a part of many medical kits for those concerned about long-term survival. Indeed, a cottage industry has arisen to provide these products.

In my, perhaps, unique position as a doctor and a fish/bird keeper (everything from raising tilapia in ponds, breeding show bettas, and T.D. Bird, our 30 year old African Grey parrot), I’ve had the opportunity to treat both humans and animals that have bacterial infections.

When a human patient had a bacterial infection that required antibiotics, I might give them, say, amoxicillin. When a fish developed fin rot, I might use a product called Fish-Mox. For many years, I never gave it another thought.

Over time, however, I began to realize that there were avoidable deaths in long-term survival. With a large number of people performing activities they were unaccustomed to, such as chopping wood, injuries would occur. Some of these would get infected and could enter the bloodstream, a condition called septicemia, leading to life-threatening consequences. Having antibiotics in the survival medic’s kit could save lives otherwise lost.

This was illustrated in the 2010 History Channel offering “After Armageddon”. In the program, the Johnson family has survived a pandemic and was “bugging out”. They eventually joined a community of survivors. The father injures himself doing activities of daily survival, and incurs a cut that becomes infected. The community has run out of antibiotics and he, a paramedic himself, slowly dies as a result of the spreading infection. See it here (go to 1 hour 21 minutes to see the tragic outcome):

Here is a direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtP80Z08lfg

But how to get a reasonable supply of antibiotics? A sympathetic doctor may give you a prescription for 20 pills, but that would run out very quickly in a survival setting. You’d need to stockpile enough for long-term survival settings.

So I took a second look at some of my fish antibiotics. I examined a product called Fish Mox Forte. This fish medication contained only one ingredient: Amoxicillin 500mg. Nothing there that made your scales shinier or your fins longer.

Investigating further, I found that Fish Mox is produced in two dosages: 250mg and 500mg, the same dosages used in humans. Why would a guppy need the same amount of antibiotic as an adult human (no instructions for fish bowls compared to 200 gallon aquariums)?

I decided to compare samples of human Amoxicillin 500mg produced by Dava Pharmaceuticals and Fish Mox Forte (the 500mg version). The human version was a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it; Fish Mox Forte was a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it. In other words: Identical.

Why would companies use the same appearance and identification numbers if they are producing a different, lower grade product for veterinary use? First, it’s likely illegal to do so; second, It’s simple enough to just use a different colored capsule.

I found a number of fish and bird antibiotics that met my criteria, purchasable in quantity and without a prescription. They:

  • Had only 1 ingredient, the antibiotic itself
  • Were only produced in human dosages
  • Were identical in appearance to antibiotics produced by at least one human pharmaceutical company.

It was clear to me (and verified by readers who worked in the pharmacy and veterinary industries over the years) that they are the exact same products, taken from the same batches produced for humans.

This wasn’t true of all veterinary products. Some had additional ingredients that gave benefits to specific animals, others were in larger dosages that are not advisable in humans (for example, equine meds).

So let’s go back to the important question: Are the fish and bird antibiotics I write about useful additions to your survival medical storage? Some deaths may be unavoidable in a situation without rule of law, but does it make any sense not to have medicines that could possibly prevent an unnecessary death?

Of course, you’ll need to study antibiotics in detail to be effective as the medic for a survival group. Antibiotics are not something to use injudiciously; veterinary antibiotics are no different. Indeed, the overuse of antibiotics is the cause for the epidemic of antibiotic resistance we see today. 80% of these meds are used in livestock, mostly to speed growth rather than to treat disease. The CDC is starting to control the use of antibiotics, but are starting with livestock like cows, pigs, and chickens.

If you can obtain antibiotics in quantity now, you should consider it for use in survival settings. Having said this, don’t use them when doctors exist to prescribe standard medications for bacterial disease. You’ll need to be able to recognize bacterial infections (antibiotics don’t kill viruses) to use them effectively. This isn’t always easy. Learn what infections look like and get needed supplies; you just might save the life of a loved one in times of trouble.

 

The Final Word

I don’t believe in popping antibiotics every time I get a sniffle. And, for that matter, antibiotics do nothing at all to fight virus infections.  On the other hand, being prepared for a bacterial infection is just one more step toward surviving a major disruptive event were there is a likelihood of injury or disease.

Linked from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/why-store-fish-antibiotics-for-survival/

Posted on Leave a comment

10 Ways to Use Epsom Salts Now and During a Major Crisis

10-ways-to-use-epsom-salts

Over the years, I have learned that superstars of preparedness are those items that serve multiple purposes.  In many cases, these are common, everyday items that we already have on hand.  Not only that, many of these multi-taskers are budget friendly and available everywhere.  Some good examples include vinegar, salt, honey, duct tape, coffee filters, and even microfiber cloths.

There is one preparedness multi-tasker whose list of uses is so diverse that you will wonder why you had not thought of stockpiling it previously.  I am referring to old fashioned Epsom salts.

Let’s start with a bit of history.  According to this article on PubMed, the purgative effect of the waters of the town of Epsom UK were first discovered in the early seventeenth century. Epsom, the town, was subsequently developed as a great English spa where high society flocked to take the medicinal waters.  Eventually, Dr. Nehemiah Grew, a distinguished physician, botanist and early Fellow of the Royal Society, extracted Epsom salts from the spa, and the rest is history.

Since then, Epsom salts have been used for a multitude of beneficial purposes—from fertilizing gardens worldwide to easing muscle aches and other ailments.  But what about specific uses to the prepper and survivalist?

With the able assistance of Carmella Tyrell, here are 10 ways to use Epsom Salts both now and during a major disruptive event.

What are Epsom Salts?

Did you know that Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) have many medicinal, household, and garden uses? If not, then you probably dismissed them as an important part of your prepper stockpile. Nevertheless, in a pinch, Epsom salts can be used in place of more expensive items and perhaps even work better than expected. If you are looking to save money, create a smaller cache of diverse bug out gear supplies, or just want to make it easier to manage your home, it is well worth looking into Epsom salts.

Epsom Salt or Magnesium Sulfate is a common mineral found throughout the world. You can obtain your own Epsom Salt by boiling down ocean water (you can also get table salt from the same source), or pick up the crystals from around mines, hot springs, or other areas where magnesium sulfate can leach from the rocks and bind with water. Since Epsom Salt is so common in the environment, you can be assured of a steady supply of it when other items in your stockpile run out.

Controversies and Precautions When Using Epsom Salts

Many people believe that when Epsom salts are mixed with warm water, it becomes possible for the salts to pass through the skin as magnesium and sulfate. Even though magnesium is very important for maintaining good health and is necessary for many bodily functions, too much can be dangerous. For example, if you use too many laxatives with magnesium in them, they can cause kidney damage. While there is considerable debate over whether or not magnesium from Epsom salts can get past the skin and into other parts of the body, it is still best to exercise caution. By the same token, if you take Epsom salts internally, or even use them for other applications, handle them with care so that you do not cause permanent damage to your body.

10 Ways to Use Epsom Salts

1.  Relax Muscles

When it comes to relaxing muscles, Epsom salts work best when dissolved in warm water. They do not dissolve or work as well when mixed with oil or lotion, so it is best not to combine them with these carriers. There are many ways to use Epsom salts as a muscle relaxer. My two favorites are:

Take 1 ½ cups of Epsom salt and mix them in 4 – 6 cups of hot water (you can speed this up by getting hot water from the coffee maker) and then adding the Epsom salts into a bowl of hot water. Next, run enough water into the bathtub for soaking. The water should be warm and comfortable long enough so that you can stay in the water for about 15 minutes. Add the Epsom salt solution to the tub, get in, and soak for no more than 15 minutes. If you have arthritis or other long-term pain, you may have to soak once a day for a few days. Follow manufacturer instructions so that you do not use Epsom salts longer than what might be safe.

Take 1 cup of Epsom salts and add them to a foot bath full of warm water. Soak for about 15 minutes to ½ hour.

2.  Reduce Inflammation

To reduce inflammation in swollen or sore muscles, you can soak in an Epsom salt bath, or simply use a moist compress over the affected muscles. To make an Epsom salt compress, mix 2 cups of Epsom salts to one gallon of warm water, and then let it get cold. Soak a towel in the cold water, and then loosely wrap the region with the moist towel for 15 minutes.

3.  Relieve Constipation

As noted above, you need to be very careful when taking Epsom salts internally. That being said, the magnesium in these salts is well known for relieving constipation. You can use Epsom salts in two ways to resolve this problem:

If you do not want to ingest Epsom salts, try soaking in a mixture of warm water and Epsom salts. Just use 5 cups of salt in the water instead of just 1 ½ cups as you would to relieve sore muscles.

When ingesting Epsom salts to treat constipation, try dissolving 2 – 4 level teaspoons of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of water. If you are treating someone between the ages of 6 and 12, drop the Epsom salt amount down to 1 – 2 level teaspoons in 8 ounces of water. If you do not have a bowel movement after 4 hours, you can try a second dose. Do not take more than two doses in a 24 hour period, and do not use Epsom salts for more than 5 days.

4.  Soothe Insect Bites

Epsom salts can be used to relieve redness, itching, and irritation associated with mosquito and other insect bites. You can bathe in Epsom salts as you would for relieving sore muscles, use a cold compress, or apply an Epsom salt paste. To make the paste, just dissolve one teaspoon of Epsom salts into 1 cup of hot water, and then put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to speed up the process. Apply the paste to insect bite once you clean it and pat the area dry. You can also use these three solutions for poison ivy, poison oak, rashes, and sunburn.

5.  Emergency Battery Electrolyte

As with other uses for Epsom salts, there is a considerable amount of controversy surrounding their usage in enhancing or restoring automobile batteries. You can try adding a mixture and Epsom salt and hot water to old or weak batteries to see if it will help. Just be aware that if the plates inside the battery are excessively worn, or the contacts that join the cells together are in bad condition, it is not likely the Epsom salts will be of much help. Do not forget to wear goggles, acid-proof clothing and shoes, and work in a well-ventilated area for the sake of safety. Never underestimate what battery acid can do, especially if you don’t have much experience with batteries and how to make repairs to them.

6.  Garden Fertilizer

Plants are no different from other living things in the sense that they need magnesium in order to remain healthy and carry out many functions necessary for life. Unfortunately, many soils and old garden plots do not have enough magnesium. You can correct this problem by adding Epsom salts at a rate of 1 cup per 100 feet when you turn the soil over prior to planting.

You can also fertilize plants with Epsom salts during the growing season by drenching them. Use a mixture of 1 – 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water. Just pour the mixture at the base of the plant so that it goes straight to the roots. This is especially useful for tomatoes, and peppers which always need more magnesium. For these plants, apply the mixture every two weeks. You can also use Epsom salts for roses. Instead of using a liquid mixture, apply one teaspoon of Epsom salts per foot of plant growth to the soil, and then water the plants.

Fruit trees, your lawn, and flower beds will also do better if you apply Epsom salts to them. Be sure to look up each species of plant or tree so that you know how much Epsom salt to use. Typically, if you see yellow or curled leaves and don’t have anything else on hand, you can try to revive the plant with Epsom salt.

7.  Improve Seed Germination

No matter whether you are starting seeds that have low viability, or you often find that seedlings are weak and tend to die off, Epsom salts may just be the cure to your problems. Gardeners have noted for decades that Epsom salts improve germination and that the seedlings tend to be much sturdier once they emerge.

Aside from providing magnesium, the Epsom salts also provide extra sulfur, which seedlings also tend to need in greater quantities as they emerge and start to grow. Take one tablespoon of Epsom salt and add it to a gallon of water. Use this mixture to water the seeds when you first plant them.

8.  Reduce Transplant Shock

Seedlings, trees, rose bushes, and just about everything else in your garden will have to be transplanted at one time or another. While losing some plants is always to be expected, you can reduce the number of losses and accelerate growth by using Epsom salts. Here are a few methods to try:

If you are planting new trees or bushes, soak the root ball in ½ cup of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water

For moving plants from containers to soil, water them with 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water as soon as you are done planting them. This will ease shock to the roots and also improve the ability of the leaves to provide nutrients for the rest of the plant.

You can also try adding one tablespoon of Epsom salts to each hole, cover it with a thin layer of soil, and then place the new plant in the hole. As the plant grows, the roots will reach the Epsom salts later in the growing season when they need it most.

When using Epsom salts for transplanting, do not forget that too much can also be harmful to the plants. Always test the soil for nutrient content before adding Epsom salts or other fertilizer so that you create an optimal balance instead of creating harmful disruptions.

9.  Deter Raccoons

To many people, raccoons are cute creatures that are admired for their cleverness and pretty fur patterns. On the other hand, they can be quite a nuisance in the garden and around your home. Epsom salts can be used to keep raccoons away from the trash can, the hen house, and even out of your garden. Simply sprinkle Epsom salts around the area that you want to keep raccoons out of. You will need to sprinkle more Epsom salts after it rains because it is the smell and taste of the salts that deter the raccoons. If you are sprinkling Epsom salts around the border of the garden, you may need to replace the salts after watering the garden if the salts become moist.

Do not forget that raccoons are also very clever. If they are deterred from reaching their goal via a ground route, they can just as easily climb or find some other way in. You may need to use other deterrents (this includes removing or eliminating things that attract them) in combination with the Epsom salts in order to keep the raccoons at bay. Always study where you see signs of the animals and their possible paths so that you can succeed in outwitting them. Unfortunately, if you cannot deter the raccoons, then you may need professional help in order to trap and remove them.

10.  Easily Clean Pots and Pans

Have you ever baked or fried something and wound up with a mess at the bottom of the cooking vessel? If so, then you also know that soaking, scrubbing, and scouring can be frustrating tasks.

Epsom salts can help with loosening grease and grime so that it is easier to clean heavily soiled pots and pans. Start off by mixing ¼ tablespoon of Epsom salt and ¼ tablespoon of dish detergent in warm water. Let them sit and soak in the pot or pan that needs to be cleaned. When you are ready to start scrubbing, you can also add some Epsom salt onto troublesome areas, as it will release the grime faster. If the pots or pans are not heavily covered in grime, grease, or burnt food, you can simply add the Epsom salts directly to the soiled surface and scrub.

Linked from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/10-ways-to-use-epsom-salts/

Posted on Leave a comment

What You Need to Know About Expired Prescription Drugs

what-you-need-to-know-about-expired-prescription-drugs

The topic of using expired prescription drugs comes up frequently in survival and preparedness circles.  Although there are many articles detailing with the efficacy of outdated meds, one question I get over and over again is “what do I do when the meds run out?”

Whereas there is no single clear answer, one thing we can all start to do now is hang on to our old, unused meds.  For the most part and with very few exceptions, they will be viable for two to twelve years beyond their expiration date.  The secret is to keep them in a cool, dark, location that is not too dissimilar from your food storage.

In another exclusive article for Backdoor Survival, Dr. Joe Alton, a medical doctor who is well versed in survival medicine, is here today to give us an update on the use of expired drugs in a survival setting. In addition, for those of you that have asked, he is providing us with links you can use to initiate your own research on this important topic.

Of course, as with anything preparedness related, let your own good judgement prevail.

An Update on Expired Drugs in Survival Settings

By Joe Alton, MD

In normal times, replacing expired medicines isn’t a major issue. You call your physician and get a refill for “fresh” meds. Medicine bottle descriptions and those in print and online sources tell you to discard any drug that has gone expired, a recommendation so common that it’s considered standard.

You might be surprised to know, however, that expiration dates have only been government-mandated since 1979. The expiration date is simply the last day that the pharmaceutical company will guarantee 100% potency of the product. In other words, you won’t grow a horn in the middle of your forehead or other ill effect if you take the drug the week after it expires. Indeed, it is rare for expired drugs, especially in pill or capsule form, to be any more risky than the non-expired versions.

This is an important issue to those preparing medically for survival scenarios. If you believe that some disaster will take society to the brink, then you should also understand that such a scenario also means that it’s unlikely that pharmaceutical companies will be functioning to manufacture drugs. Therefore, at one point or another, a well-supplied survival medic will have to make a decision regarding the use of an expired medication.

This is a decision that also must be made by government agencies such as FEMA and the Department of Defense. Federal warehouses store tens of millions of dollars’ worth of drugs meant for use in peacetime disasters. When these drugs expired, the forklifts came out and huge quantities of life-saving medicines were discarded.

Over time, even the government began to think, “Wow. This is getting expensive. I wonder if these drugs are still good?”. And with that thought, the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) was developed.  The SLEP tested over a hundred drugs in their possession and found that the vast majority were 100% potent 2 to 12 years beyond their listed expiration dates.

These findings led the government to put out extensions of expiration dates for certain drugs as needed, such as the 5 year extension given the anti-viral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) during the 2009 swine flu epidemic. These are referred to as “emergency use authorizations”.

Despite this research, you’ll see opinions from those in academia or elsewhere that state all medications are dangerous when expired and should be discarded. These opinions are fine in normal times, but members of the preparedness community should at least consider holding on to medications that might no longer be available in times of trouble.

Think about this situation:  Let’s say that a true catastrophe has occurred that has taken out the grid and modern medical facilities for the foreseeable future. Your daughter is fading from a bacterial infection. You have an expired bottle of antibiotics. She’s dying. Are you going to use the expired drug or not. You decide.

Medicines, expired or not, should be stored in cool, dry, dark conditions. Their potency will fade twice as fast if stored at 90 degrees than if stored at 50 degrees. Freezing them, however, is rarely necessary. Even if stored in suboptimal conditions, a capsule or tablet that hasn’t changed color, smell, or consistency is probably still worth keeping for austere settings. Of course, in normal times, seek out qualified medical professionals whenever and wherever they are available.

Note: You may have read about kidney and liver toxicity in expired tetracycline products. The majority of these occurred before the formulation was changed some years ago. Having said that, Tetracycline is not on my list of top ten antibiotics to have in your medical storage. It is a first generation drug with reports of widespread resistance, and I would prefer you have doxycycline instead. It’s important to know that all drugs have side effects or restrictions in children, pregnant women, and patients with certain medical conditions. Take time to learn indications, dosage, and side effects of all medicines you keep in your medical supplies.

For more information on the Shelf Life Extension Program, click the links below:

Federal Shelf Life Extension Program
Shelf Life Extension Program (FDA)
Stability profiles of drug products extended beyond labeled expiration dates

 

The Final Word

Although I have shared information on the use of expired prescription drugs in the past, naysayers still comment and chide, quick to criticize the practice of saving old meds.  To that I say: do you own research and decide for yourself.  If faced with a dire medical condition where normal sources of medical and drug supplies are limited or non-existent, wouldn’t it be worth the risk to reach for an expired drug?

The ultimate decision is up to you but I, for one, know what I would do.

Linked from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/expired-prescription-drugs/

Posted on Leave a comment

PREPARE FOR FLOODS

bug-out-bag-builder-prepare-for-floods-1

Flood is perhaps the deadliest and most destructive of all natural disasters. The rush of water can destroy buildings, wash away cars, and people in a matter of minutes. You only need to see a few videos of Tsunamis to see what can happen in the extreme cases, and flash floods happen all the time in the US. It only takes a foot of water to cause massive damage.

CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Have an escape route. Evacuation can be difficult if not impossible in some cases. Shelter may be hard to find or to get to. If you live in a flood prone area you should have a very well thought out evacuation plan and two backup plans for both home, work, and school.

Find the local flood areas where you live. Have a list of the available shelters in and outside of your immediate area and keep a printout in each vehicle and with your emergency kits.

ACCESS TO FRESH WATER

Water sources will quickly become contaminated, and floodwaters will often be a toxic soup of chemicals and bacteriological wastes. Having fresh water available to drink and take with you is a top priority. If you need to filter water for drinking, you will need more than just a Sawyer or Lifestraw because there will be chemicals in the water as well. Berkey filters can remove many, but not all chemical contaminants however what they do remove is amazing, read it here. 

You can store 100 gallons of fresh water in your bathtub before the flood using a waterBOB.

COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS

It is a likely chance that land-line and cellular communications will be effected if massive flooding is prevalent and in a broad area. For local communications hand-held radios are a good backup option between family members and neighbors. Satellite communications work anywhere in the US, and can relay messages and phone conversations outside of the area. Make sure you have a backup energy system in place so you can keep them charged. Our article on Bug Out Communications will walk you through the details.  

PREPARING YOUR HOME

There are a few things you can do to keep your house from becoming damaged from low floodwaters:

Prepare for floods with aquadam

Use a product like the Aquadam or Hydrabarrier to keep water out of the structure.

Stop sewer water from coming back into the house via shower / tub drains and toilets by either installing a sewer backwater valve or inserting a Test Ball into your outgoing sewer pipe cleanout (many homes have a way to get into the pipe, look for a round PVC circle about 6″ wide in the front of your home.)

Having a sump pump will help you get water out of basements and low lying areas. A dehumidifier will remove excessive moisture from the air in the home.

If you want to have a boat for a backup, go for a flat bottomed boat that can run in a small amount of water. An aluminum river boat or inflatable boat are your best options.

PREPARING YOUR BUG OUT BAG

The key component here is to keep the water our of your other gear and therefore off your backpack. A rain cover for your backpack isn’t a bad idea, even if you aren’t in a flood area. Waterproof the items in the bag by keeping them in Ziploc bags or step-up and use a Locksack bag, which are very durable and good for electronics.

If you want to go a little further, dry sacks will take you to the next level and are the best choice to hold your clothing inside your backpack. If you want to go full throttle then get a waterproof backpack from OverBoard. They make great bags.

KEEPING YOURSELF DRY

Umbrellas are great, but if there is even a whisper of wind you are going to get wet. And tie-up your hands. A high-end poncho is a better idea. Avoid the cheap plastic bag types that you find in the camping stores. Another option is are Frogg Toggs rain suits which comes in men, women’s, and children’s sizes.

A good pair of waders can be a lifesaver. They keep you from getting utterly soaked in water thats waist deep – if you really need to be in it. Remember, you want to avoid being in flood waters as much as possible, very dangerous.

Linked from: http://www.bugoutbagbuilder.com/prepare-for-floods/

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Make a Trailer into a Suitable Camper

how-to-make-a-trailer-into-a-suitable-camper

How many times have you seen a travel trailer zooming by on the interstate and thought, “Boy, I wish I could travel in one of those?” It may not be as unreachable a dream as you think. Even though most of the ‘silver palaces’ of the 1940s–1960s are gone, and modern RVs are prohibitively expensive, there is another option.

Cargo trailers, like the Endura Cargo Trailer by Hillsboro Industries, can be easily converted and customized into a comfortable tiny home on wheels.

Advantages of Cargo Trailer Conversion

    • Fully-customizable – Classic travel trailers were designed to serve a different lifestyle, and may not be suitable for modern living. Many feel like dark, claustrophobic spaces. Cargo trailers are an empty, open space, just waiting to be built to your specific needs. Straight-hitch trailers can run from fourteen to twenty-eight feet in length. Fifth-wheel models vary between fourteen and thirty-four feet. Cargo trailers come in a variety of widths and heights, unlike pre-built travel trailers, and include many options for the numbers and types of doors and windows.

 

    • Less expensive – Starting costs for a customized cargo trailer are considerably less than an RV.

 

    • New – With a brand-new cargo trailer, there are no concerns over the condition of the frame, exterior, or electrical systems. When you buy a used travel trailer, you’re never sure of the condition it’s in.

 

    • Lighter – Aluminum, double-wall construction is light, stronger and more durable than steel. You can control how much weight you want to add to your mobile home-away-from-home.

 

    • Unobtrusive – Many people prefer using a cargo trailer because it attracts less attention. Traditional RVs may be subject to restrictions on where they can be parked, but those restrictions do not apply to cargo trailers.

 

Things to Consider First

] The first decision that must be made is, how will the trailer be used? Do you want to live in it full-time year round, or only as an alternative to a tent when camping in the great outdoors? How much do you want to spend? How much time and effort do you want to invest in the project? What climate zones do you plan to visit in your customized RV? What functional areas are most important to have in your trailer? What conveniences do you require?

External Functionality

Most cargo trailers include a standard side door and double rear doors. However, if you want the option of an outdoor room, or you want to use your RV as a toy hauler, consider buying a trailer with a rear ramp door. If you arrange supports to lower your ramp door so that it is level with the floor of the trailer, you can create an instant outdoor deck. Some people prefer to live in a trailer with no windows, or small windows set high up along the walls. This design is optimal if being unobtrusive is an important feature. In this case, you might want to consider installing small skylights.

Insulation Is Key to Comfort

One-inch aluminum studs are readily available and would support both rigid and soft foam insulation in walls and ceiling. However, insulation in the floor will be the most important factor in keeping the heat in during the winter, and out during the summer, especially if you plan on living in the RV full-time. Installing studs and internal walls are also necessary if you wish to install plumbing, additional electrical features (like outlets and specific lighting), and propane lines for furnaces and ovens.

Many Design Options Available for Wall Panels and Flooring

Many people choose aluminum panels or 3/8” wood panels for walls, but pre-fabricated wall panels are available in hardboard, MDF, fiberglass and vinyl with almost any decorating style including brick, tile, bead board, wood planks, and 3-D textures. Subfloor panels should be at least 3/4” thick, or the floor will feel spongy when you walk on it. Once that is installed, almost any type of flooring would work well, including vinyl flooring, wood parquet tiles, or small ceramic tiles. Another quick, easy and attractive option is to paint the subfloor with a few coats of marine varnish and leave it bare.

Utilities Needed

If you plan on living in your camper full-time, you will probably want both a furnace and an air-conditioner. Choose appliances that are designed for use in an RV. Used appliances can often be found in good condition if you are on a budget. Plumbing will be crucial if the trailer is your main residence. Most campgrounds offer public showers, so you may not require one of those in your trailer, but at least one sink and a toilet are important. PVC works great in RVs, and supplies can be found at almost any hardware store.

The principles of gravity are simple and almost anyone can install their own plumbing lines. Tanks for fresh, gray and black water add weight and take up space. If you design the drainage lines at the correct angle of descent, you can avoid installing tanks altogether. Most campgrounds provide sewer and water hook-ups. Since you’ll never know the quality of the water before you arrive at a campsite, installing a small water filter is a good idea. Also, look for a water heater that is designed for RV use. If you do want a shower, you might want to search for a used one from an old RV. Installing gas lines to the propane tanks is a job best left to professionals, though, so keep that in mind.

Appliances

Most campgrounds provide 120V and 240V electrical hook-ups, so once you’ve installed basic electrical wiring and outlets, you can fill your customized cargo trailer with whatever standard appliances you prefer. Small or medium-sized refrigerators, microwave and convection/toaster ovens make the most sense. Propane RV oven-stoves are also popular.

Off-Grid Living

If you don’t plan on berthing your new converted RV in a campground, there are a number of options like solar panels, chemical toilets, tent showers and other features you could install to save money and energy.

Interior Design

Once the basics are installed in your converted trailer, the real fun begins. Many people install customized shelving and platform or bunk beds. One unique idea is to use a pop-up trundle bed in conjunction with a daybed. During the day the daybed acts as a sofa. At night it converts into a king-sized bed. Not many RVs, even the really expensive ones, can support any bed larger than a queen-sized mattress. Multipurpose and convertible furniture ideas will also help make your new residence more livable.

No Limits

With the emergence of the tiny home movement and a robust RV industry, once you’ve decided to embark on the cargo trailer conversion adventure, there really are no limits as to the RV you can create. Visit a trailer dealer to see what brand-new, customizable cargo trailers are available and begin the journey.

Linked from: http://www.doomsdaymoose.com/2016/09/how-to-make-trailer-into-suitable-camper.html#.WBI7YvkrLIU

Posted on Leave a comment

NIGHTTIME SURVIVAL: HOW TO STAY SAFE AFTER THE SUN GOES DOWN

Most preppers spend a lot of time learning new skills to help them survive the perils of the wild. Many of us probably know a dozen different ways to purify water, or how to build rudimentary shelters out of forest debris, and set traps for small game etc.That’s all fine and good, but in terms of life threatening scenarios, there’s only one thing that’s more dangerous than the wilderness, and that’s other people. I can’t help but feel that nighttime survival is a bit neglected in the prepper community.

Nighttime SurvivalThere are a lot of useful and handy tips and tricks all around about various means of surviving in hostile environments and situation, but somehow, many of these seem to be neglecting nighttime survival. Focusing on daytime activities is a good thing, sure, as people are more active and efficient during the day time. But what happens after the sun goes down, when our main sense of detection (the vision) gets reduced dramatically? We don’t necessarily need to be active (as in gathering resources or looking for shelter); but, depending on the situation, we might very well be forced to. Not to mention that in the wild, many predators are night hunters, meaning they do all the work during the night; what chances do we have against felines, wolves or jackals who are inarguably advantaged over us? Well, just because we’re not naturally adapted, doesn’t mean we can fight against the odds and still come out on top. It’s only a matter of knowledge and the right equipment. If you happen to find yourself wondering through the wilderness during nighttime, just keep the basics in mind: shelter, vigilance and equipment. If you have enough knowledge in the area and a well formulated plan (and of course a well-equipped survival kit to go along with them) you will be fine.

First thing’s first: organize yourself

The first thing to do in order to be as prepared as possible for making it through the night in a hostile and wild setting is to start planning ahead, during daytime. You’ll need to decide (and fast) what and where your sleeping spot is going to be. Make sure it’s a secluded spot, as hard to detect or to reach as possible. You have a vast array of choices, from sleeping under big trees, on high tree branches, in caves or small holes in the ground. Under no circumstances should you sleep in open field, unless there’s no other option available. Getting a good night sleep is very important, especially in such a stressful scenario. If you’re part of a group, you should take turns sleeping, so somebody is always awake and on the lookout for incoming danger. If you’re alone, you’ll have to resort to the proverbial “sleeping with one eye open”. Your sleeping area shouldn’t be in the vicinity of your supply “storage space”; that way, if a wild animal is attracted to the scent of whatever it is you set aside, it won’t find you.

The flashlight and the campfire – the double-edged swords of nighttime survival
Unfortunately, one of the most pressing needs you’ll have is building a fire, which is also a dead giveaway for anyone who is looking for you. The light and smoke from a fire can reveal your position over long distances, even during the day. Many people will have a hard time keeping warm at night in the wilderness, especially during cold seasons. In most wild areas, the right survival gear (clothes) that keep you warm during the day might not just be enough during the night, where temperatures will drop considerably. Forget about purifying water or cooking food, in many climates you won’t survive a single night without a fire. So you’ll have to figure out how to stay warm without letting anyone know where you are. The first thing that comes in mind is to gather enough wood and start a camp fire. The camp fire is a great heating source and also gives you the option to cook a warm meal, be it dehydrated food packs or game animals. But it also has a great downside as well: it gives out your position and it makes you visible to predators. The light and smoke will catch the attention of night predators that will start tracking you down. Most animals might be afraid of an open fire and not approach. But hostile military forces or guerilla troops won’t have that problem and will attack as fast as they can… And that’s where the smokeless fire comes in. While it sounds absurd to some, in reality it’s very simple. Making a fire that doesn’t produce smoke is just a matter of making the combustion more efficient.

Today we’ll be covering how to create a Dakota Smokeless Fire Pit. These smokeless fire pits are great for hiding your fire from enemies. They tend to keep a hotter fire, and a great at being virtually smoke free. This is the perfect way to create a concealed fire.

Steps to creating a Dakota Smokeless Fire:

Step 1) Dig two fence post holes side by side (approximately 6-8 inches apart)

Step 2) Connect the two holes at the bottom to allow air to flow through

Step 3) Put your wood in one of the holes. We recommend putting your heaviest wood at the bottom, then middle density wood, then tinder/light wood on top

Step 4) Light the fire and maintain it

Essentially what this does is to allow the empty hole to act as an air intake for your fire hole. You can also place small stones at the bottom of your fire hole, this can also help enhance the air flow a bit making your fire hotter. Here’s a video tutorial to understand better the concept:

A flashlight would be a great advantage during the night, as it will greatly improve your vision over the environment, making it easier for you to move around, gather capture2provisions and even communicate by signaling your position. If you’re planning on signaling with a flashlight, you should turn it on and off repeatedly, giving out
intermittent flashes. Keeping it on all the time might give out the wrong vibe, as a light flashlight can be easily mistaken from a far with a reflection of moonlight on a watery surface; you risk getting ignored by the rescue party. Despite these advantages, just like in the case of the camp fire, the flashlight can work against you as well. The light sources can also be picked up by night hunters or hostile troops.

If we should sum up nighttime survival in a single word, that’d have to be indefectibility. Your best chance of survival in a hostile environment during night time is to keep a low profile; not being seen means you won’t attract danger on yourself. Be calm, vigilant and stay out of harm’s way, and you‘ll make it out alive.

Our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic survival skills to stay alive in any situation. Watch the video below:

tlwvid

Linked from: http://www.bioprepper.com/2016/09/17/nighttime-survival-stay-safe-sun-goes/

Posted on Leave a comment

Fast Acting Sore Throat Remedy (using natural antibiotics)

sore-throat-remedy

During cold and flu season, an effective sore throat remedy is crucial to have on hand to use when symptoms appear. Speed of treatment is of importance when it comes to this particular type of ailment so that symptoms don’t worsen into laryngitis or something more serious. This is especially true when the condition presents as probable strep throat!

There are many natural remedies for sore throats that are promoted within the alternative health community. Depending on whether the sore throat is caused by a virus or bacterial infection, how to know which one(s) to try first?

First of all, it’s important to understand which remedies alleviate symptoms only versus those that will destroy the virus or bacteria at the root of the problem.

For example, gargling with salt water is a much touted sore throat remedy. While it will indeed make your throat feel better temporarily, it isn’t going to provide ammo to your immune system to fight off the infection.

This is why gargling with salt water is a great remedy for post-oral surgery care to keep a wound clean for complication-free healing. It won’t help so much when your sinuses are draining infected mucous onto your throat while you sleep or your throat has white spots on it, however!

When the sore throat is caused by a virus or bacteria, natural antibiotics are your best bet. And yes, some natural antibiotics are even effective against viruses too, unlike drug based antibiotics which only work for bacterial infections.

Running to the doctor for drug based antibiotics or anti-virals should be a last resort. Even using Tylenol for the pain is a bad idea. Pharmaceuticals even if over the counter have side effects and a single round of antibiotics can negatively impact gut health for up to 4 years and maybe longer.

No worries though! In my experience, Mother Nature will come through for you with flying colors when it comes to sore throats.

Powerful Sore Throat Remedy using Natural Antibiotics

I keep the most effective natural antibiotics available at all times in my medicine cabinet. Which to use when time is of the essence? For sore throats, three of these work extremely well synergistically:

  1. Cayenne pepper
  2. Garlic
  3. Manuka honey

Cayenne Pepper for Sore Throats

Cayenne pepper, also called red hot chili pepper or capsicum, is part of the nightshade family of plants. It has been part of the human diet since about 7500 BC.

Cayenne is dried, ground and then sifted to make the powdered spice we are so familiar with. In cooking, cayenne is used for spicy dishes or for making hot sauces from a variety of cuisines around the world.

Medicinally, cayenne has been noted through the centuries to be helpful to digestion, as it stimulates gastric juices. It increases heat in the tissues, helping improve blood flow and the pain of arthritis, muscle cramps, and even toothache.

As a sore throat remedy, cayenne pepper is helpful due to the high amounts of capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) effects when used topically. It triggers a burning sensation on contact, which is why only small amounts are needed in the remedy below.

Cayenne pepper’s unique ability to increase blood flow has a twofold benefit when it comes to sore throats. First, it increases nutrient flow to the infected throat tissue. Second, it speeds removal of toxins from the area as well. Finally, cayenne promotes the health of the mucous membranes which is why it is included in this sore throat remedy.

Garlic: Antibiotic Powerhouse

Garlic is unique among the natural antibiotics because of its ability to destroy a wide variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and fungus. All this is accomplished without harming beneficial gut flora (unlike colloidal silver). In fact, garlic promotes intestinal health by acting as a prebiotic for the beneficial flora present in the gut.

The sulfur compounds in garlic along with the phytochemical allicin have such powerful antibiotic properties that they even combat the superbug known as MRSA.

If garlic can fight superbugs, it will definitely help resolve a sore throat!

Raw Manuka Honey

While any raw honey is helpful as a sore throat remedy, Manuka honey is especially effective.

Of all the honey on the planet, Manuka honey is the most powerful when it comes to resolving infections that are skin based. Just be sure it is completely raw and unheated. Most brands of Manuka honey that I’ve examined have been heated so be very careful what you buy.

Honey loses all of its antibiotic properties and even becomes toxic when heated!

The FDA recognizes the antibiotic properties of Manuka honey when used on the skin. In 2007, Manuka honey based wound dressings were approved by the FDA.

Now let’s see how the benefits of these three natural antibiotics are used synergistically for an effective sore throat remedy that will heal and not just relieve symptoms.

Sore Throat Remedy Ingredients

Fresh garlic cloves, preferably organic

Ground cayenne pepper (preferably organic and do not substitute the essential oil as it would be too burning)

Raw Manuka honey

Remedy Usage Instructions

Using a mortar & pestle, mash up 3 cloves of fresh garlic.

Mix in half a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper.

Mix in only raw Manuka honey to taste. If the Manuka honey is not raw, it will be worthless in this remedy!

Taste a tiny amount of the mixture to ensure that it isn’t too hot but comfortably warm on the throat.

Consume 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture every 30 minutes to an hour.

Make more as needed. As rapid improvement is noted, you can back off to using the mixture every 2-3 hours. Continue using a few times a day until you are certain the condition is resolved.

*If you already are forward thinking enough to have some of the powerful Master Tonic on hand, feel free to use instead of this remedy.

If you don’t see improvement quickly, reach out to your physician.

Want to Supercharge this Sore Throat Remedy?

If you would like to supercharge this remedy, gargle with raw apple cider vinegar diluted 50-50 with water three times a day.

If raw apple cider packed in glass bottles is not available in your area, you can make it easily with this ACV recipe.

I can attest to the effectiveness of using natural antibiotics for sore throats of all kinds. In our home, we have never resorted to drug based meds for any sore throats in over 25 years. This includes the raising of 3 children!

Just Need a Mild Sore Throat Remedy?

What if you really don’t need the big guns – cayenne pepper, manuka honey and garlic – as a natural way to cure your sore throat?

If you just need a mild sore throat soother, I use a cinnamon and raw honey paste.

I grate about a teaspoon of fresh cinnamon into a cup and mix with a similar amount of raw honey. Any raw honey will do, but the sweeter the better especially if you use fiery Saigon cinnamon. Note: using fresh cinnamon is very important. Don’t use supermarket sticks either as they are years old in most cases! Another thing not to get hung up about are the arguments about cassia versus ceylon cinnamon. Both types are true cinnamon (just from different parts of the world) and both work great!

Mix the two together well and have your child lick it slowly off a small spoon.  My kids typically ask for this when their throat is sore perhaps after a sporting event or other activity out in the winter air or when they are getting over a mild cold.

Prevention Strategy: Getting Sore Throats A LOT?

If your family is experiencing more than its fair share of sore throats, oral probiotics can help. There are specific strains of beneficial microbes that thrive in the ear, nose and throat (ENT). When they are missing or too few in number, a person is predisposed to infections like tonsillitis or pharyngitis.

I’ve examined several of the oral probiotics on the market, and this chewable tablet has the best ingredients (not perfect but the best I could find as of this writing). It contains two oral probiotic strains of Streptococcus salivarius (K12 and M18) scientifically shown to support ENT health when used regularly.

In one study published by International Journal of Internal Medicine, administration of Streptococcus salivariusK12 to children with a history of recurrent oral infections experienced reduced episodes of pharyngeal infections and/or tonsillitis as well as episodes of acute otitis media (middle ear infections).

Linked from: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/sore-throat-remedy-fast-acting/

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Use Solar To Boost Your Survival

how-to-use-solar-to-boost-your-survival-1

Today it’s all about how to use solar to boost your survival. Yes, use solar for survival. You don’t need electricity to charge the flashlight I’m highlighting in this post.  All you need is the sun shining outside to collect the power.  Goal Zero asked me to do a review on the Goal Zero Torch 250 USB Power Hub and Flashlight below. Here again, these opinions on that particular item are my own. I purchase Goal Zero items all the time because they are the best solar items I can find available, literally for camping, hiking and for survival situations. It’s all about solar, friends. No fuel or batteries needed. I have given some of the original Goal Zero flashlights to family and friends for Christmas. This new Torch 250 has more features and awesome ways we can use it for survival. It’s all about light for survival, at least for me.

Here’s the deal, if we lose all power are we prepared with at least some flashlights, at the very least? Oh, and don’t forget the batteries if your flashlights need them. Well, some flashlights do not require batteries at all. Here are some suggestions for flashlights and some other items that can be powered with solar, yay for solar. I do not like the dark, I have so many flashlights.  I would love to ask you how many flashlights do you own? Do they all work and do they need batteries? If you have a power outage for an extended time do you have some GOOD flashlights that will work?

These Use Solar:

use solar

Can you see how large this solar panel is? It’s twice the size of the old style (which I still love and use all the time). You can use this one as a flashlight, floodlight, or red emergency light! It has a built-in charging cable, solar panel, and hand crank. You can recharge it anywhere, anytime! You will have power for emergencies and activities. This would be a great emergency flashlight in your car, at the office or at your bedside.

use solar

It has an integrated USB port that will charge phones and boost tablets to stay connected. It has a long lasting lithium battery. It now has a metal feature to hang it on a hook, tree or whatever. It has a flood light, red light, and spotlight. I highly recommend getting several of these. You can’t go wrong with Goal Zero products. I promise. Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with Integrated Solar Panel

use solar

Okay, now onto this Goal Zero Solo Flashlight. I purchased two of these. I never buy just one of anything. I wanted one for the living room window and the window by the back door. Goal Zero 90109 Solo V2 Solar Flashlight I took the Solo flashlight out of the box and placed the solar panel towards the sunshine. I am ready for any power outage or a trip outside at night with my very own flashlight ready to go with me, no batteries needed. The solar charge lasts for 2-3 hours. SOLD!!!

It’s a dependable, bright flashlight that has builtin solar panel and long-lasting internal battery. Never have a dead flashlight again. Use solar, it rocks!

Linked from: http://www.foodstoragemoms.com/2016/09/use-solar-boost-survival/

Posted on Leave a comment

Build Stealth Antennas

Building stealth antennas to keep prying eyes from detecting your communications resources takes some skill and a lot of ingenuity. The skill part comes into play when it comes down to building antennas that will be sturdy and will perform optimally for the frequency/band desired. The ingenuity part of a stealth antenna comes about when it comes to hiding the antenna from nosy people with nothing better to do than to concern themselves with YOUR antenna. A lot of survivalists and others who want to hide their communications antennas think that mostly wire antennas are the type of antennas used the most and for the most part that’s fairly true. But that doesn’t mean that your HF/VHF/UHF beams and vertical antennas can’t be also hidden. In this picture to the right, you can see how easily a multi-element VHF beam was hidden in the average looking attic of this home. Admittedly it may not work as on receive or transmit as well as it would if it was mounted higher up on the outside Stealth Antenna 01of the home but it is thoroughly hidden away in the attic. Since this antenna is directional it has the characteristics of other beam antenna in that the transmit signal is higher in strength along with it having the ability to better receive signals that might otherwise be too weak to hear.

What Other Ways Can Be Used?

There are many but here are a a couple ideas to get your “idea factory” working on your own stealth antenna ideas.

This type of stealth antenna has been discussed elsewhere on this web site but it was decided that it should be included on this page. Can’t see the antenna yet? Just take a look at Old Glory wafting in the breeze andStealth antenna 02you will see the antenna. Give up? It’s the flagpole! These flagpole vertical antennas are popping up all all over the place, especially where outside antennas are restricted or forbidden altogether. If you wish to erect any sort of flagpole antenna such as this one then you might want to be sure there aren’t restrictions on flagpoles in the area where you wish to erect it. Some homeowner associations have an even more restrictive policy towards communications by stating that no radio emissions are allowed. Of course this would not apply to shortwave listening but it is best to check first. The flagpole antennas are permanent as they require a concrete base under them and this might keep them from being used in some survivalist situations.

Stealth antenna 03

The owner of this home has built a loop antenna that literally circles his house and no one is the wiser. Take note of the coax exiting the attic vent and running over to the balun1 which is connected to the wire running around the eaves of the house. Wire loop antennas like this one are quite effect and stealthy as well. Along with this is the fact that loop antennas tend to be broadbanded and can readily used on more than one band.

Well, about the time you think you have seen it all there comes around something like the Stealth antenna 04antenna to the right of your screen. It is manufactured by Rohn Products and should hide any antennas systems contained within fairly well. Of course it will also tend to make people stop and point thereby drawing more attention to it than one might desire. Nevertheless, it shows what can be done to hide your antenna.

1 Balun: Derived from the terms “balanced” & “unbalanced”. It is an adapter that converts an unbalanced signal, eg 93 ohm coax to 100 ohm.
Linked from: http://radiosurvivalist.com/radio-articles/build-stealth-antennas/
Posted on Leave a comment

SHTF Shopping At The Pet Store

shtfpet-store2

Backups to backups and redundancy planning go hand in hand with emergency preparedness right?  So, why shouldn’t you have backups to backups for your SHTF shopping location(s) if the primary is a no go?

After TSHTF, there could be various reasons why trying to get last minute supplies at a grocery/retail store could be very dangerous.  With that thought, today’s post is on SHTF shopping at the pet store.

The good things are that pet stores might not be on the top of people’s list for supplies when TSHTF.  If you really delve deep and scan all of the isles, you can actually find many potentially useful items for emergency preparedness.  With all of that said, let’s take a look at what I found in a local big name pet store.

Here is a list of pet store items I thought could be useful:

Activated carbon – This stuff was found in the aquarium section and could be used for making layered improvised water filters.

Fish antibiotic – (tetracycline hydrochloride 500 milligram powder capsules) – For keeping your fish healthy after the SHTF.

Hand sanitizer – For the obvious reason of sanitizing hands and as a fire-starting aid.

Pet food – For your dogs and cats after the SHTF.  Pet food could also be used as bait for game and fish.  I’ve heard that cat and dog food can be eaten by humans in the short term in an emergency situation.

Stainless steel pet food/water bowls – This would be on the top of my SHTF pet store shopping list if I had no other method of boiling water.

Leashes/straps/chains – Could be used to secure gear or for cordage/lashing.

Pet stroller – I didn’t know such things existed, but they do.   This could be used as an improvised SHTF hand cart for gear.

Hemostat – There could be a variety of potential uses for this in emergency preparedness.

Syringes – Like the hemostat, there could be a number of things this could be used for.

Droppers – After the SHTF, you might have to resort to using your stock of unscented bleach to treat water.  It would be nice to have a dropper to do that with.  Here is a post I did on different methods of treating water: Water: Options For Treating

Scissors – There could be multiple uses for scissors.

Self-stick wrap – If you’ve ever had blood drawn, you’ve probably had it wrapped with self-stick wrap afterwards.

Water proof food containers with a gamma style lid – This could be used as a dry box.

Hypoallergenic pet wipes – These are basically the pet version of baby wipes.

Dog beds – These could be used for insulation and warmth.

Linked from: http://allpreparedness.com/shtf-shopping-pet-store/

Posted on Leave a comment

Hiking and Navigating at Night

020

What should the hiker consider regarding hiking and navigating at night?

First, let us decide  that  this is not in a “lost hiker” scenario.  If lost, the best thing to do is to

just stay in place.  This makes the job much easier for the searchers.

At night the term used to describe our ability to see is “night vision.”   Good night vision is important.  Therefore, avoid bright lighting.   Flashes of bright white light will ruin night vision.  Recovery can take about 30-45 minutes.  Low level white light and low intensity red light are better.
Care should be taken with the use of a GPS.  The normal white backlight function of the GPS receiver will impair night vision. The good news is that the backlight can be adjusted.
Here are a few recommendations about hiking and navigating at night:
  • Stay on the trail and thoughtfully use flashlights and head lamps. A head lamp may be of more use than a handheld flashlight.  Two free hands are better than one.  Have extra batteries.
  • Examine the topographic map of your planned route.  Study the contours to evaluate the terrain. Your visual cues will be gone so you will need to establish new ones, larger objects. Lanes of extraction might present themselves on the map such as a power grid line, a road, a lake or an old jeep track.
  • Discuss your plan with all involved so that you are all on the same page.
  • Follow your trace on a map. Plot your position frequently.  Agree in advance how often you will do that.  Take your time with your navigation.
  • For night time travel a consideration may be to have one person designated to read maps (with dim lighting) while others in the party preserve their night vision and lead the way.
  • Move forward deliberately and cautiously.  Move more like you are stalking.
  • Others might be moving too.  Be alert for bears, coyotes, cougars and in some areas perhaps wolves.
  • Trekking poles or a walking staff provide support.
  • Sound travels well at night.  Be alert for audible clues to roads and running water.
  •  If you don’t have a GPS and are navigating with just a map and compass it is very important that you start from a known position.  Navigating without getting position fixes from a GPS or by visual sighting is called dead reckoning.  Such navigation requires you to plot your compass heading and distance traveled.  Distance is accounted by pacing (counting your steps) as you move

Night time navigation is not something to be taken lightly.  From reviewing my books, US Army field manuals and conversations with experienced backcountry travelers it should be carefully considered and practiced before an actual outing.  Practise your navigation at a local park with map and compass.  Consider geocaching to improve your GPS skills.

It just gets down to being careful when hiking and navigating at night.

Linked from: http://outdoorquest.blogspot.com/2016/09/hiking-and-navigating-at-night.html

Posted on Leave a comment

4 Ways To Preserve Food In A Solar Oven

survivopedia-4-ways-for-a-solar-oven

There are many ways to preserve food, but how many of those methods transfer to your solar cooker? I decided to check things out and see whether or not you can even use it for food preservation; after all, the temperatures can be a bit erratic and heat is dependent on the sun.

It turns out that you can use your solar oven for more than just one way to preserve your food. It’s possible to can your food and dehydrate it using your solar oven. If you don’t have one, we can take care of it, just read this article to the end to find an offer you can’t miss!

Before we get into that, I’m going to quickly explain how a solar oven works. There are a variety of different ways to trap the heat, but the general idea is that you trap the heat of the sun in order to heat up your “oven” enough to cook foods.

Most solar ovens only reach 325 degrees F, maximum, on a sunny day so you do have some limitations. Also, since it’s tough to maintain a consistently high temperature, you can’t really pressure can in your solar oven.

You can cook in it, you can roast in it, you can dehydrate in it, you can even can high-acid foods in your solar oven, but it’s not safe to can low-acid foods in it. There’s no way to guarantee that the temperature will stay high enough long enough to kill the botulinum toxin that causes botulism.

Canning High-Acid Foods in a Solar Oven

Now that we’ve established that you can’t pressure can, that narrows down the list of foods that you can preserve in your solar oven. High-acid foods such as most fruits and tomatoes are safe to can in your solar oven, but you can’t can most vegetables or any meats. Unless of course you’re willing to die for it! Trust me, botulism is no fun.

If you’re canning tomatoes, it’s still a good idea to add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice just to boost the acid content. Fruits that are low-acid include:

  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Papaya
  • Ripe pineapple (I know – this one surprised me, too!)
  • Persimmons

These fruits shouldn’t be canned in your solar cooker because there’s not enough acid in them to kill the bad bacteria.

acid-foods

To use your solar oven to can, it’s important that you start in the morning on a clear day so that you have plenty of time to get it warmed up and give your cans plenty of time to process.

Start by sterilizing your jars and equipment so that you reduce the risk of contaminating your canned goods with bacteria. Prepare your fruit just as you would for regular canning.

Just as you do when canning in a water bath, fill your jars with fruit, sugar (if you want) and water or juice. Slide your spatula down the sides to get as much air as possible out. Leave the head room at the top of the jar as recommended by the instructions for your particular fruit. You may want to leave a quarter of an inch or so more than recommended.

Place your jars in your solar oven and close the lid. Once the proper temperature has been reached, the fruits will begin to boil in the jars. Process according to the recommended time for what you’re canning, starting at the time that it boils.

Remove your jars carefully as they will be hot. Not only are you in danger of burning yourself, but the jars are also more fragile because they’re hot and pressurized. Set them somewhere where there won’t be a draft, cover them with a towel, and let them cool naturally.

To test if they sealed after the jars are cool, gently press down on the center of the seal. If it pops back up, your jars didn’t seal. You need to re-can them, or eat that jar within the next few days. I hate re-canning fruit because it gets soggy, so unless I’m making jam or jelly, I usually just eat it or give it to family or friends.

Personally, I would recommend starting with a small batch so that if things go wrong, you don’t lose a whole batch of fruit. I do this any time I try something new with canning because, even if I grow my own, it’s still labor-intensive and I don’t want to waste all my hard work. In this case, the heat source isn’t costing you anything, so what do you have to lose.

Note: I’ve seen some instructions on the internet that say it’s OK to allow your food to boil out of the jars, but as a long-time canner, that goes against what I’ve always been taught. Follow that advice at your own discretion, but I wouldn’t do it.

Dry Canning

I haven’t seen anything yet about dry canning in a solar oven, but it seems to me as if it would work, if you’re a person that dry cans in the oven.

Personally, I’ve used the oven method and it worked just fine, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a solar oven. Just keep the temp low – below 250 degrees or so.

Dehydrating Food in a Solar Oven

A solar oven is excellent for dehydrating food – the only trick is to keep the temperature low enough that you don’t cook it instead of dehydrating it. Prepare your meat, fruits, or vegetables just as you would for the dehydrator and place them on a sheet or, even better, on a drying wrack.

Put the pan or drying rack in the solar oven and leave it in there at a low temp of no more than 150 degrees until it reaches the crisp phase. Remember that your meat or produce needs to be sliced thinly before dehydrating. Flip your product from side to side every couple of hours so that it dehydrates evenly. Turn your dehydrator accordingly, too.

After you dehydrate your food, you could also dry can them in order to extend the shelf life.

Fruit Leather

Your solar oven would be a good way to make fruit leather, too. Prepare your fruit by creating a smooth paste. Add sugar to the mix if you’d like, but if you’re using super-ripe fruit, which is the best type to use for fruit leather, you probably won’t need any.

Again, you don’t want to cook the fruit; you want to dehydrate it, so you don’t want to let your solar cooker get too hot. Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or whatever type of pan will fit in your cooker, then spread the fruit puree in a thin layer on the paper. Dry as long as needed to make it like leather. It will still be flexible and slightly sticky, but should stay together in a sheet.

The only downside to making fruit leather in a solar oven is that you can only make a small amount at a time unless you have a way to stack the racks. Since we’re preppers and homesteaders, that shouldn’t be a problem, though!

You can only use your solar oven for a couple of food preservation methods, but even if you only can your jellies in it, you’ll be saving a ton of wood if you’re canning openly in a SHTF situation.

Linked from: http://www.survivopedia.com/how-to-use-a-solar-oven-for-preserving-foods/

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Track a Human

human-tracking-header-1-e1476394591925

It’s a common trope in classic Westerns. A posse is rounded up to find some bad guys who’ve headed out into the desert to hide. To help track them down, they bring on an Indian scout. To the astonishment of the cowboys, the native guide can determine how many people are in the bad guy’s gang, how long ago they camped at a particular spot, and that one of the ruffians is injured. It almost seems like magic.

But it’s not.

The scout was simply using a set of keen, field-developed senses, and practicing good forensics.

A few years ago when I did the ITS Tactical Muster, one of my favorite classes at the event was on human tracking, taught by professional combat tracker John Hurth. In just a few short hours, John was able to show us how to know what’s going on with someone on the lam and where he or she is headed simply by looking at their footsteps or noticing a broken branch.

Why would you need to know how to track a human? You’ll probably never have to go on a manhunt for a fugitive, but it’s a handy skill to have nonetheless. Maybe your kid wanders away from your house, or you lose a buddy in a remote wilderness area. Instead of wandering frantically and aimlessly, calling their name, you can know how to search for them effectively and efficiently.

Plus, once you know how to track a human, you can reverse engineer the process as well; that is, you’ll better be able to make your own escape without leaving a trail. You know, just in case you find yourself on an island, being chased by a stalker playing “the most dangerous game.”

Below, we provide a primer on tracking humans. Keep in mind, to really learn how to do this stuff, you need to practice it and practice it for years. But with some dedication, you may eventually reach the level of tracking evinced by the crack trackers in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, of whom the protagonists repeatedly said with exasperation, “Who are those guys?”

Develop Your Situational Awareness

The most important attribute a tracker must develop is his situational awareness. Without it, clues and signs that would lead him to his target go unnoticed.

Situational awareness comes down to two things: 1) observing, and 2) correctly interpreting your observations.

Learning how to become more observant takes time and dedication. It requires changing your mindset, training your memory and senses, and daily practice in truly noticing what you see. Fortunately, we have some fantastic guides on how to do all of those things:

  • How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne
  • The Sioux Guide to Situational Awareness
  • 10 Tests, Exercises, and Games to Heighten Your Senses and Situational Awareness

Once you sharpen your powers of observation, you next need to know how to correctly interpret what you see, in order to reach correct conclusions about what’s going on. To do that, you must broaden and deepen your mental models.

Broaden and Deepen Your Mental Models

Mental models are simply ways of looking at and understanding the world. These paradigms create our expectations for how the world works — helping us grasp what’s happened before, what’s happening now, and what’s likely to happen next.

For a tracker, the mental models he needs to broaden and deepen the most are the ones that will better help him find his target. These fall into two main categories: environment and psychology/habits.

Environment

The most obvious subject a tracker needs to know inside and out is the environment in which he is tracking. He needs to understand things like how snow keeps a track changes depending on whether it’s more wet or dry. He needs to know that spiders usually spin their webs late in the evening (if footprints are beneath an unbroken spider web, the tracker can assume that the target passed the point earlier in the day). He needs to know about the fauna and rocks in the area. He needs to know how the wind blows. He needs to know the usual temperature of embers a certain number of hours after a campfire has burned out.

He also needs to know how stuff ages in an environment. A skilled tracker can look at objects or signs in his surroundings and roughly gauge how long ago they were left there by his target. He knows how long it takes for paper to start to brown or a plastic bottle to become discolored after being discarded in a desert or forest. He should be able to look at a broken branch and, based on the color of the exposed wood, roughly guess when it was broken. He even knows what human feces look like 1, 2, 3 days after it was excreted by his target. Developing these mental models will come with practice and time, but one way to build them up before you need them is to make “aging stands.”

Aging Stands: The Tracker’s Experiment

aging stand for learning human tracking techniques illustration

Aging stands are described by expert combat tracker John Hurth as “science experiments” for trackers. You make a one-row grid on the ground out of branches and place different objects into its squares. Ideally, each square will be exposed partly to direct sunlight and partly to areas shaded and protected by trees. In week one, you put items that you want to test in the first square: footprints, paper, broken twigs, water bottles, and yes, even poop. You want to make sure you have duplicate samples in the shaded and unshaded part of the square.

Each day, visit your aging stand and take notes on how things have changed. How have the exposed branches changed color? Has the paper started fading? What’s happened to the poop? Have the impressions of the footprints changed over time?

The next week, move to the next square in the grid and put fresh samples of the same items in it. Compare them to the samples in the first week’s square. Take notes on differences. The next week put new samples in the third square. Compare them to the first and second week’s squares. Over time, you’ll get a rough idea of the aging progression undergone by both natural and manufactured items.

You’ll want to conduct aging stand experiments at different times of the year — spring, summer, fall, and winter — to learn how seasonal variations in humidity, temperature, and precipitation affect the aging process. It’s a laborious exercise, but it’s essential for creating the mental models you need to successfully track someone.

Human Psychology & Behavior

A tracker needs to not only know what’s going on in the environment in which he’s following a target, but what’s going on in the target’s head as well. He needs to develop mental models that deal with human behavior, and this means having a robust knowledge of human psychology and sociology. Knowing the mindset and cultural background of your target can help you know how he’ll act and lead you to where he is. The famous scout Frederick Russell Burnham had this to say about developing these kinds of mental models:

“It is imperative that a scout should know the history, tradition, religion, social customs, and superstitions of whatever country or people he is called on to work in or among. This is almost as necessary as to know the physical character of the country, its climate and products. Certain people will do certain things almost without fail. Certain other things, perfectly feasible, they will not do. There is no danger of knowing too much of the mental habits of an enemy. One should neither underestimate the enemy nor credit him with superhuman powers. Fear and courage are latent in every human being, though roused into activity by very diverse means.”

Besides general cultural and psychological mental models, you need to develop mental models for your particular target. Does he like to eat certain foods? Does he have any medical conditions? Does he smoke or bite his nails? Is he familiar with the outdoors or is he a city dweller? Does he have any particular fears or insecurities? Does he know anyone in the area?

Knowing this sort of information about your target will inform the way you conduct your search and interpret the evidence you find in the field. For example, if you know your target smokes, you’ll be on the lookout for cigarette butts. If he has diabetes, and you come across a puddle of urine that smells fruity, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

Scan and Search: Taking in Your Environment

Now that you’re working on increasing your situational awareness by becoming more observant and developing appropriate mental models (this is in fact an exercise that should never end), it’s time to start actually tracking.

When you’re out tracking, you’ll be engaging in two visual modes: scan and search.

Scan

When you scan the landscape, the goal is to get a general, big-picture overview of your surroundings. Keep an open focus. Don’t have any particular thing you’re looking for, as that will cause “target blindness” and result in your missing other pieces of evidence. Visually sweep the area for possible anomalies in your environment like tracks, litter, blood stains, etc.

Rather than scanning an area haphazardly, tracking experts David Diaz and V. L. McCann recommend dividing it horizontally into thirds:

“Imagine the territory in front of you is a two-dimensional canvas of a painted nature scene. The top boundary is the horizon; the bottom boundary is the ground in front of you. Now divide that canvas into three equal parts: the foreground, the mid-distance, and the far ground…

In order to ‘see’ everything in such a vast area, it must be scanned systematically. With a horizontal movement of your eyes, sweep the foreground from left to right, right to left, and left to right, moving your line of vision up just enough to slightly overlap the area above the last sweep.”

In this way, you methodically work your way up to the far ground and ensure that you don’t miss anything — distant or near — lying before you.

Search

Diaz and McCann describe searching as “in-depth analysis of an area or object.” You can begin searching at any point in the scanning process once you’ve noticed an anomaly. Searching involves looking at the anomaly more closely and recording it in your mind or notebook for later analysis.

Just because you’ve searched one anomaly, doesn’t mean you should stop your scan of the area. Keep scanning and looking for more anomalies that you can more closely examine. As you continue your scan and search, take extra caution to avoid contaminating signs that you’ve uncovered. Leave litter where you found it, and don’t walk on footprints. You want to leave things in their original locations so you can put the pieces together and construct a story based on the evidence found.

Using Light for Scanning and Searching

man tracking humans using angle of sunlight to help illustration

As you scan and search, use the light available to you to better locate possible anomalies. For example, in the morning and evening, the sun casts long shadows over impressions in the ground, bringing them into sharper relief. To better see these shadows, position yourself so that the tracks you’re following are between you and the light source. This will require you to change your position in relation to the tracks. Be mindful of not contaminating them with your own prints as you do so.

Tracking at night is possible with the assistance of a light source like a flashlight. You’ll want to use a colored light like green or red to avoid disrupting your night vision. (Side note: red used to be the preferred nighttime light color, but many operators are switching to green because it allows them to see objects more clearly without reducing night vision that much.)

using night vision to track someone in the dark

When you’re searching at night, if you look directly at the object you’ve identified, you’ll likely stop seeing it. Looking directly at objects requires you to use the cone area of the retina, and that’s not very active during low-light settings. To make up for this deficiency, you’ll want to use what Diaz and McCann call “off-center vision.” Instead of looking directly at the object you’ve identified, you’ll want to look left, right, above, and below it, pausing at times to verify the properties of the object.

Know What To Look For

As you scan and search your environment, you want to be on the lookout for a few indicators that will help you track your target. Hurth suggests being on the lookout for the following visual indicators.

Ground Indicators (on the ground)

how to track a person grass disturbed in straight line illustration

  • Footprints
  • Vehicle tracks
  • Trampled grass
  • Boot and shoe scuffs
  • Turned over dead leaves
  • Disturbed grass or soil
  • Mud, soil, sand, and water transferred from footwear onto another medium

Track Traps: The Honey Pot of Ground Indicators

Hurth suggests being on the lookout for “track traps.” These are areas on the ground that do an excellent job of capturing your target’s tracks. He calls them “honey pots” because they leave so much information behind. Mud, sand, soft dirt, and snow are great examples of track traps. Bodies of water or oil spills can be track traps too. A target who steps in water or oil will likely leave footprints on the ground after stepping in the fluid.

Aerial Indicators (above your ankle)

broken spider web between two trees how to track a person illustration

  • Broken cobwebs
  • Detached or missing leaves
  • Broken branches that point in the direction of the target
  • Scratches or scuffs on trees
  • Cut or broken vegetation
  • Tall grass or vegetation pushed down into an unnatural position
  • Clothing fabric in branches
  • Hair in branches

Litter Indicators (objects discarded intentionally or unintentionally)

  • Cigarette butts
  • Candy and food wrappers
  • Spent ammo casings
  • Used medical supplies
  • Gum/tobacco
  • Clothing

Blood Indicators

blood indicators what type of wound identification illustration

Your target might be injured and consequently leaving blood stains. The color of the blood stain can tell you a lot about the injury he or she has and how long it’s been since they left the blood stain there.

  • Dark red drops of blood. Indicates a venous wound. Non-life-threatening.
  • Bright red streaks of blood. Indicates a possible arterial wound. Life-threatening.
  • Pink, frothy blood. Indicates a possible wound to the lungs.
  • Light red, foul-smelling blood. Indicates a possible wound to the stomach.

Blood changes color over time as it’s exposed to the elements. Initially, blood spots will be brighter but will eventually fade to a brown or rust color.

Bodily Discharge Indicators

Vomit, poop, pee, snot — these bodily discharges may not be pleasant to contemplate, but they can not only help lead you in the direction of your target, but also paint a picture of his current condition.

Vomit and poop can tell you what sort of food your target’s been eating. If there’s a lot of liquid, clear vomit or you see diarrhea, there’s a chance he could be dehydrated.

If you find a urine spot that has a very fragrant ammonia smell, the target is likely dehydrated. If it has a fruity smell, there’s a chance he’s diabetic.

how to track a person man's urine on the ground illustration

Man peeing

how to track a person woman's urine on the ground illustration

Woman peeing

The relation of a urine stain’s position to a set of footprints can tell you if it came from a man or a woman. If the urine stain is in front of the footprints, probably a dude. If the stain is in the middle of the footprints or near the heels, likely a lady who popped a squat to do her business.

Audio and Olfactory Indicators

As a tracker, you can’t just rely on your sight to track down your target. Sounds — heavy breathing, talking, crying, movement in brush, coughing, etc. — can provide insights as to where your target is.

Smells can also provide useful clues. The smell of smoke can lead you to a campfire where the target is currently or has been recently. If the target’s been without a shower for a couple of days, he might also be giving off some pungent body odor.

Bottom line: as you scan and search with your eyes, don’t take your nose and ears offline. They can provide useful information you’d be missing using sight alone.

Identifying and Interpreting Footprints

While you should be scanning and searching for signs and indicators like blood, trampled grass, and broken cobwebs, footprints will be one of your primary ways of following and tracking your target.

A professional tracker is so adept at tracking footprints that he can identify individuals simply with a glance at the impressions in the ground. They can also immediately tell if the person is running, carrying a load, carrying another person, or even walking backwards.

The ability to create this dossier on a target simply by looking at their footprints requires some careful observation. Here’s what to look for when identifying and interpreting footprints.

Collect Information on a Footprint Data Card

A footprint data card is your police sketch of your target’s footprint. (John has a template in his book.) You’ll draw the pattern of the sole of his footwear on the card, determine if it’s a boot, shoe, or sandal, and make measurements that include the length of the print overall, the width of its heel (and its length if it’s a boot), and the width of the ball of the foot. You’ll also note if the impression reveals any manufacturer or sizing labels and if the toe is rounded, square, or pointed. You’ll want to record the time and location you located the print and the direction of travel as well.

Hurth recommends putting a nickname on top of the footprint data card based on its salient characteristics. So if you see a “Vibram” logo in a print, you can call that print “Vibram.”

If the target is barefoot, you’ll want to note whether he has a high arch, regular arch, or is flat-footed. You’ll want to measure the width of the ball of the foot and the heel. Make notes about their toes too — missing digits? Hammer toe?

Interpreting Footprints

determining meaning in footprints when tracking humans illustration

If you look closely enough at footprints, they can tell you a lot about what your target was doing when he left them.

For example, the spacing and depth of the impressions can tell you about the target’s gait — whether he was running or walking. Impressions that are far apart from each other and deeper in the toe or the heel indicate that the target was running; impressions that are shallower and closer together indicate walking.

If the gait is shorter and the impressions are deeper, the target was likely carrying a load like a backpack. If you see a short gait and deep impressions, along with intermittent additions of another set of prints next to the target’s, you can deduce that he was carrying a person (and occasionally putting them down for breaks).

A set of impressions that have a circular indention to the side indicates that the target is using a walking cane or stick.

If one foot leaves a deeper impression than the other, it likely means the target is favoring that leg and that the other leg is injured.

So as you look at footprints, don’t just stop with the observation phase. Try to put together a story of what your target was doing, as this can help you develop a theory as to what he’s likely to do next.

Determining the Number of People in a Group by Footprints

determining number of people in a group with footprints illustration

Sometimes counting the number of people in a target group is easy because there are distinct sets of footprints that you can count. But often the footprints overlap and mix together. How do you get a count then?

One way is to use the Box Method to get an estimate. Draw a line behind one print and then measure 48-60 inches forward and draw another line. Count all full and partial prints between those two lines (round up if you end on an odd number). Divide the total print count by two, and you’ll have a rough estimate of the number of people in your target group.

Practice Reading Footprints

Reading and interpreting footprints is a skill that can be acquired through practice. A great way to do that is to create an artificial track trap out of sand and then have your friends walk through it in different ways while you’re not looking. They can run, limp on one leg, carry each other, walk and then kneel, drag a body, pretend to fight each other, etc.

After they’ve left their tracks, go to the track trap and interpret what they did by looking at the tracks. After you’ve recreated the scenario your friends acted out, use a rake to clear the track trap’s slate and have your buds walk through it again.

I did this exercise with Hurth at the ITS Tactical Muster and had a blast. It’s pretty cool to be able to determine whether a fight went on or if someone was carrying a rifle simply by looking at footprints.

Putting It All Together: Creating a Story of Your Target

Tracking requires you to be hyper observant of your environment while simultaneously orienting your observations to the mental models in your head. This back and forth observing and orienting allows you to create a story of what’s going on with your target even though you weren’t there to observe them firsthand. By creating this story about your target as you collect evidence, you’ll be in a better position to figure out where they’re headed so you can find them.

Linked from: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/10/13/how-to-track-a-human/

Posted on Leave a comment

7 Mouth-Watering Recipes To Cook In The Sun

survivopedia-7-solar-oven-recipes

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Just remember there are some big differences between the different types of solar ovens available on the market.

With just a little practice, cooking on a solar oven is a piece of cake, and these seven recipes are exactly what you’ll need to prepare a good meal.

And if you’re wondering how could I proceed all these mouth-watering recipes without a proper oven, keep reading the article below, because we have a great offer up for grabs!

Follow These 10 Advice for the Best Solar Oven Cooking!

Since there are so many variations of solar ovens, it’s hard to set any hard and fast rules but there are some dos and don’ts that are applicable to pretty much all of them.

Don’t Assume you’re Invisible

One of the reasons that solar ovens are good is because they’re smokeless; they operate solely off the power of the sun. However, most ovens depend on a shiny surface to reflect the sun to cook the food (think 80s-style tanning with the silver tray under your face).

This means that you have a reflective surface that is easily seen from up to miles away depending upon how flat your geography is. Though there won’t be smoke, there will be shiny, so make sure that if you’re using your oven and trying to hide that you are completely surrounded in such a manner that it can’t be seen from a hilltop or anywhere else.

You won’t be able to do much about planes and you can’t (generally) use it in the dark, but you may be able to position it in such a way that you can use it without giving away your location. Just plan carefully.

Don’t be in a Hurry and Start Early

Many solar ovens don’t get super-hot, so you’re going to need to allow plenty of time to warm it up and then more extra time to cook. Food will likely take longer to cook in a solar oven, though that won’t always be the case.

If you’re planning a meal such as beans or stew that takes hours to cook, you need to start the meal early. Remember that you can’t typically use your solar oven after dusk because, well, it’s powered by the sun.

weather

Don’t Forget to Check the Weather

Remember, you’re counting on the sun. If it’s raining, you better have back-up rations if solar cooking is your only heat source. As a matter of fact, let’s make that a subsection here: Always have a backup cooking method.

If it’s smoggy or hazy, your food won’t cook as quickly and you’ll have to pay closer attention to make sure that your oven is pointed in the right direction.

Don’t Waste Food or Heat

Don’t waste food scraps or that precious heat – if you’re cooking supper tonight and planning a soup for tomorrow, use the leftover veggie and meat scraps to make a stock for tomorrow’s soups.

Put them in a jar or two, add salt or some vinegar or wine to pull the calcium out of the bones and into your stock, season it and toss it on the cooker

Don’t Forget to Level Your Oven

You’ve bought a super fancy oven, and you’re all excited to give it a shot. It’s set up and ready to go and you’re going to try something quick and easy – cookies.

You warm up your oven, you mix up your dough, you place the cookies on the sheet and slide it into the oven. Now all you have to do is wait, and you’re going to have ooey, gooey, deliciously crispy cookies.

You come back 20 minutes later and you have long, oval, thin cookies, which are crispy and delicious, but ugly as a mud fence in a rain storm because you forgot to level your oven. Now, the end result here is just ugly cookies, but if you were cooking cornbread or a pie, you would have had a mess on your hands.

So, the moral of the crooked cookie story is this: Level your solar oven!

Do Turn Your Cooker

Especially if you’re using a box cooker, it’s important that you turn it as you cook in order to increase efficiency. This isn’t as important if you’re cooking something quickly but if you’re cooking for longer periods of times (more than an hour), you definitely want to turn your solar oven in order to get the most out of it.

If you have to be away from your cooker for more than an hour or so and your food is going to take a few hours, point it to where it the sun will be directly on it in an hour and a half or so. As with all things survival and homesteading related, use your head and adapt to how long you’re going to be away.

Do Cook in Black Pans

Because you’re using reflection to direct your heat, it only makes sense that you use a non-reflective, heat-absorbing cooking vessel. A thin, black metal is best because it’s lightweight and dark colored. Cast iron is also good for a couple of reasons. First, it’s black and absorbs heat. Second, the iron holds heat for a long time.

As a matter of fact, even when I’m making cakes or cornbread in my iron skillet in a regular oven, I take it out a few minutes before it’s completely done because it holds so much heat that it keeps cooking for several minutes after the heat source is eliminated. The downside to iron skillets is that they’re heavy.

If you can’t use black cookware, use glass. Using aluminum or stainless steel is counterproductive. Never cover your food with foil.

Add Reflective Panels to Cook While You Bake

If you really want to crank up the temperature to fry foods, add additional reflectors that reflect the sun directly onto the food as well as the ones used to heat the oven. Elevate a shallow pan so that it touches the glass, then attach the three-panel reflector to aim the extra light onto your food. You can even do this while baking other products inside the rest of the oven.

Build Your Oven According to Your Needs

If you’re still experimenting with solar cooking, get the function down before you worry about a solid, permanent form. Also, if you just want to cook for yourself, you won’t need a full-sized cooker.

Do you want it to be portable? Do you want to cook for a large family? What size pans will you be using? Your cooker needs to have at least an inch headspace above your pot, including the lid. Build according to what you need.

Do Build in Security

If you’re building your own solar oven and it’s going to be substantial (not made from a pizza box) build in a way to padlock it to something larger. For example, you could build a place to attach a padlock to the hinges of a box cooker.

Time Your Cooking Accordingly

Just like when you’re cooking inside, don’t add carrots and spinach to a soup at the same time and expect them to cook evenly. Add hard vegetables first, and if you’re cooking more than one dish, start the one that takes longest to cook before you start the faster-cooking one.

dos-and-donts-of-cooking-on-solar-oven

Just use your cooking common sense that you use in the kitchen. If you don’t have any yet, you quickly will, as we help you cook your first meal on a solar oven with these 7 recipes.

And Finally, 7 Survival Recipes to Cook on Your Solar Oven

Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, these recipes are written specifically for that cooking method. Some of these recipes for solar ovens are basics, and some are for more luxurious dishes, but even in a survival situation, tasty treats can go a long way toward boosting morale.

After all, who doesn’t feel a little better after eating a good brownie?

Remember that times are going to be different depending upon how hot your oven gets. Some can get as hot as 425 degrees while some can barely break 325. Because of that, take the times with a grain of salt and start checking your food 5 minutes of so before the time listed to see if it’s done.

Fresh Baked Bread

This recipe will yield two loaves of bread or about 24 rolls. Remember that, unlike biscuits, the more you knead bread, the better it will be because kneading activates the gluten, which provides the elasticity.

  • oven-bread6 c bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 2 1/2 c very warm water (not hot!)
  • 2 packets quick rise yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

Stir the yeast into 1 cup of the warm water and set aside so that it can activate.

Sift together the flour, salt and sugar, than add the butter or oil and the yeasty water. Stir together, then mix in the remaining water 1/2 cup at a time until your bread is kneadable but not sticky. You can do this in a bowl or on a lightly floured surface.

Continue to knead by folding the dough in half on itself and pushing together until your dough is elastic and shapes easily into a loaf. If you need to add a bit more flour or water to reach a good consistency, do so. Count on kneading for at least 5 minutes, and maybe even 10.

Place in a warm place, rub a tsp of oil over the top, and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise until it doubles in size, then punch in down, knead it just a bit more, then divide your loaves or rolls, place in bread pans, and allow to rise again. Place in your sun oven, which is hopefully around 300 to 325 degrees F, and bake for about 45 minutes.

Tap on your bread and if it sounds hollow, it’s done.

Pot Roast

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes)

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Meatloaf

  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¾ c rolled oats or breadcrumbs

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl thoroughly then place in a loaf pan. Bake in solar oven at 350 for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until meat reaches 160 degrees inside.

Barbeque Chicken

Great served with fresh vegetables, corn on the cob and cornbread. You can also serve it with rice to feed more people. However you want to serve it, it’s delicious!

  • 6 chicken quarters or breasts, or a dozen legs
  • 1/2 c vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Combine all ingredients except for chicken. Just FYI, this is a good sauce to make ahead and can! Place chicken on a baking sheet and paint the sauce onto the chicken. You could marinate it in it for an hour if you’d like.

Place the chicken in the solar oven at about 325 degrees and bake for 45 minutes, saucing again about half way through. Chicken should be 165 degrees F in the center, not on the bone. A good tip is that the chicken will pull easily away from the bone.

Solar Brownies

Brownies are one of those comfort foods that will definitely boost morale with very little work, time, or special ingredients. Makes 1 8×8 pan or 4 pint jars.

  • 2 c sugarbrownies
  • 2 c white all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c dark cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c shortening
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts, optional

Cream sugar, shortening and vanilla together in a bowl, then beat in the eggs.

Add dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth – about 2 minutes.

Fold in nuts if you’re using them. Feel free to toss in mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, or whatever else you like in your brownies. Batter will be thick.

Pour into a greased and floured 8×8 pan and bake in solar oven at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until brownies pull away from the sides of the pan.

Note: If you’d like to make these ahead in pint jars, simply combine dry ingredients well and add to jars. Write complete recipe on an index card and attach to the jar. To extend shelf-life, dry-can.

Apple Crisp

Apple trees grow naturally and prolifically in every state in America, so this is a dessert that will barely touch your food supplies in the fall. It’s also extremely easy to make and, except for the peeling process, it’s not difficult to make enough to feed many people. You can also rehydrate dried apples to make it.

Filling:

  • 6 c apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/3 in slices
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 c water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

I always keep apple pie seasoning on hand and use this in replace of the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Topping:

  • 1 c rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c cold butter

Place apples in a large bowl and sprinkle in the lemon juice. Toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to coat the apples. Pour into an 8×12 pan and cover with a lid. Bake in solar oven at 350 degrees F for about an hour, or until apples are almost tender.

Combine topping ingredients by cutting together into pea-sized pieces with a fork or pastry cutter. Remove the lid from the apples and sprinkle the topping evenly over them. Put it back in the solar oven and cook for another 30 minutes or until the topping is brown and crispy and the apples are tender. Warm, homey, nutritious (for a dessert) and comforting.

To make peach crisp, simply substitute the same amount of peaches for the apples.

You can also make this by using your canned apple pie filling and skipping the first stage of cooking.

Cornbread

This is a dish that every survivalist and homesteader should know. It can be used as a bread or as a dessert – serve it with butter as a savory side for meals, or slather it with jam as a delicious dessert.

  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c milk or buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients thoroughly then add butter, eggs, and milk. Combine ingredients thoroughly and pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Bake in solar oven at the highest temperature for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If your oven doesn’t get that hot, just extend cooking time until it’s done. The top should be a good indicator of when it’s done as it will brown fairly evenly as it cooks.

Buttermilk adds tenderness and lightness to batter because the acids chemically interact with the baking powder or baking soda. If you want the tang of buttermilk but only have 2 percent or whole milk, add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to it and let it set for a few minutes before adding to the mix. It won’t have the thick creaminess of buttermilk, but will function the same.

Remember that for all of these recipes, you can use dry milk, canned or dried meat, fruit, or vegetables, and powdered butter and eggs. Just reconstitute according to directions and you’re good to go!

For the most part, cooking with a solar oven is extremely similar to cooking with a regular oven, except you may have to cook things longer. Nearly all of your favorite recipes, especially crock pot recipes, will translate right over.

Linked from: http://www.survivopedia.com/the-dos-and-donts-of-solar-oven-cooking-plus-7-recipes/

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Build A Winter Emergency Vehicle Kit From Scratch

winter-emergency-vehicle-kit

If you’ve yet to build a winter emergency vehicle kit, now’s the time.

With fall currently in full swing, those of us who live, work, and play in the mountains are seeing the first signs that winter is near.

Soon, the mountain peaks will be capped white with snow and roadway conditions will change for the worst at the drop of a hat. Icy roads and deep snow are extremely dangerous for travel and a leading cause of stranded vehicles.

Every year, we hear stories of motorists stranded in blizzards. Sometimes it’s only overnight, but occasionally (on rural back roads) they are stranded for days or weeks, huddled in their vehicle struggling to stay warm.

Too many of those sad tales end in tragedy. For example, here’s a story of a man trapped in his vehicle for 2 weeks when caught in a freak blizzard storm.

He was luck, he survived. But if he’d properly prepared, he wouldn’t have had such a close call.

With some basic survival knowledge and a stash of survival supplies, your odds of surviving stranded in a winter blizzard goes up significantly. These are supplies everyone should store in their vehicle for winter travel. It’s called a winter car emergency survival kit.

This kit will help you accomplish two things. It will help you get unstuck should your vehicle slide off the road. And this kit will help you survive should you not be able to get your vehicle unstuck.

So you winter emergency vehicle kit is made up of items that fit into these two categories:

  • Gear to help you get unstuck
  • Supplies in case you can’t get unstuck

car-stuck-in-snowy-road-1Items To Help You Get Unstuck

Your best bet is to be self-sufficient and avoid spending a night (or longer) stranded. So it’s worth having a few key tools in your vehicle to get you going again.

Mainly, the preventative equipment required for self-rescue consists of 1) ways to remove (or simply move) snow and 2) traction devices to help you get a grip on icy and snowy surfaces. Plus a few items to make the use of these items a little more convenient.

1 – Snow Shovelwinter car kit shovel

A good, sturdy shovel is an absolute must for a winter car kit. Often, some efficient digging can help you quickly get free.

And even if you still can’t get your vehicle free, a shovel will allow you to keep your vehicle from being entirely buried under a snow drift. Because a vehicle that’s completely buried in snow is nearly impossible for a rescue team to spot.

Or if worst came to worst, you could use your shovel to build a snow shelter.

2 – Windshield Scraper and Brushwindshield snow scraper and brush

In all winter weather conditions, you’ll have to remove a lot of snow and ice from your vehicle’s roof and windshield.

A good, heavy-duty scraper and brush with a long handle will save you a lot of time and effort, as well as make it easier to see out your windows, keeping it out of the ditch.

Have one of these is a must have all winter long. I’m always amazed when people are huddled in their cars for 30 or more minutes waiting for their vehicles defroster to warm their windshield because they don’t own a scraper. Talk about unprepared!

3 – Traction Mats

Often, a litttraction matsle extra traction is all that’s needed to get moving again. Many people use sand or kitty litter, but these items only work once and then you’re out of luck.

A set of traction mats are reusable and can be easily repositioned to keep you heading in the right direction.

4 – Tire Chainstire chains

In packed snow road conditions, tire chains are an excellent way to help with traction and prevent sliding in the first place. However, they are a controversial topic, so make sure to check the local regulations regarding their use.

Many western states, require tire chains in severe conditions. In the Midwest, they are illegal in most jurisdictions even during the worst snows.

If you carry chains, make sure you know how to install them – put them on first in your dry driveway and later in a snowy parking lot.

It’s a lot harder to get them on tight and secure when it’s dark, and you’re fumbling with cold hands, so you’ll appreciate the practice if the need arises.

5 – Small Tarpsmall-tarp

A small tarp makes kneeling in the snow (and roadside slush) a lot easier and drier.

It also helps keep you from losing parts or tools into the snow. A 5’x7′ tarp is a perfect size for a lot of roadside uses.

6 – Battery Boost Jumper

Cold weather is rough on your vehicle’s battery, and it’s easy to find yourself unable to start the engine when you need it most.

A self-contained battery jumper is a simple solution and much better than waiting for another motorist to jump start your engine.

7 – LED Tactical Flashlight

All survival kits need a super bright LED EDC flashlight. If it’s dark out or the blizzard has blocked the sun out you’ll need illumination to see what you’re doing. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of batteries in your winter emergency vehicle kit as well.

 

Help Written In SnowItems In Case You Can’t Get Unstuck

If you have to stay out overnight, you’ll need a few more things.

At this point, your focus turns from getting your vehicle out, to keeping yourself and your passengers protected from the elements and as warm as possible.

8 – Waterstainless-steel-water-bottle

In the winter, the colder temperatures often trick people into assuming they don’t need to drink as much water. You tend not to feel as thirsty.

The truth is you need to stay hydrated to maintain proper body temperature, no matter the weather outside. Want proof?

High-altitude mountaineers spend about as much time melting drinking water as they do climbing – it’s THAT important.

A stainless steel water bottle is an excellent choice since you can use it over a camp stove or small fire to melt and heat water.

Never eat large amounts of snow directly. Always melt the snow before ingesting. If you eat snow directly, you’re basically using your internal body temperature to melt the snow. This can lower your core temperature and lead to hypothermia.

9 – Foodhigh-calorie-food-bars

In the cold, your body is craving calories in any form, burning them at an increased pace to keep your core body temperature up.

Cookies, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, plain chocolate bars, jerky. I like the high-calorie bars since you buy them once and you’re food preparation is done.

Snickers bars may taste great, but you’ll chip a tooth on the caramel trying to eat one that’s been sitting in sub-zero temps for even a few hours.

If you’re able to heat water over a stove or fire, consider adding powdered hot chocolate or another warm drink with lots of calories.

10 – Extra Warm Clothesmechanix-gloves-1

If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, chances are you’ll int the cold for an extended period of time as you attempt to get out on your own.

Quite often, this can leave you snowy and wet, a bad combination for cold weather survival.

Carrying a change of clothes and some extra insulating layers will let you get out of any wet clothes and warm up while you plan your next move.

Glove are a must. If you’re trying to do any of these survival tasks with bare hands you’re not going to be successful. I like Mechanix brand gloves since they provide me the dexterity to perform survival tasks. Try lighting a fire with thick mittens on; not fun.

11 – All Weather Reflective Blanket

You can go with a thick wool blanket but I prefer an all-weather reflective emergency blanket.

These blankets are made with a heat reflective internal layer that helps trap the body heat you’re generating. Keeping you warmer, longer.

Also, consider how many people you’ll be traveling with and be sure that you can keep everyone warm.

12 – Paracord (FireCord)fire-cord-paracord

With so many paracord uses for survival, it a must-add item to any survival kit. You should spend a few dollars more to get Firecord. It’s designed with 7 strands of paracord and 1 strand of Fire Cord you can use as fire tinder.

firelaces_600x600_aThese fire starting shoe laces are also a good idea since you might not always be riding in your own vehicle and your shoe laces can go everywhere you go.

12 – Waterproof Matctesla-coil-lighterhes anwaterproof-matchesd Coil Lighter

Keeping a box of waterproof strike-anywhere matches and a coil windproof lighter in your vehicle is simple insurance in the winter.

A fire will allow you to keep warm, melt snow into water, and signal searchers.

14 – Camp Stove

Your matches and lighter won’t be worth small-portable-camp-stovemuch if you don’t have something dry enough to burn.

In dry, cold conditions (like the Rocky Mountains), you may be able to find enough dead, dry wood to maintain a small fire, so a fire starter makes a wise addition.

In wetter climates (like the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest), finding anything dry enough to burn is always a challenge. So adding a small portable camp stove is a better option.

15 – Extra Fuel Bottlefuel-bottle

Obviously, extra fuel can be handy if you’re relying on your vehicle for shelter. Running the engine for heat will help keep you warm, but it will also slowly drain your gas tank.

Carrying a couple of extra liters of fuel in a sturdy container will give you a bit of a buffer in case you run out.

And One More Item

16 – Winter Travel Kit Bag / Totewinter emergency vehicle kit duffle bag

A large zippered duffle bag is a great way to keep all your winter travel survival supplies organized and contained in your trunk or under the back seat. Once you’ve assembled your supplies, choose a bag that will fit them all.

It doesn’t necessarily need a lot of pockets, but make sure you have a way to separate your spare gas can and your camp fuel from the rest of the gear.

Action PlanWinter Emergency Vehicle Kit Action Plan

This action plan can be summed up in just two words: Do It.

Invest in the gear and supplies listed in this article. Then put them all in a duffle bag and put this bag full survival items in your trunk.

You have zero excuses not to do this. If you drive in winter conditions at all, it’s your personal responsibility to invest in a few essential tools and supplies.

This responsibility goes double for anyone who drives others around. That means parents of young children and those who take care of handicap or elderly.

The time to take meaningful action is NOW before the first flakes begin to fall.

Linked from: http://www.skilledsurvival.com/winter-emergency-vehicle-kit/

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Will the Elections Change Anything for Preppers?

elections-and-preppers-logo

As usual, no one can answer this question without setting out the parameters of the argument. I need to set the record straight first. What is wrong in America?

First, I must admit I am truly an impartial voter. I do not have a dog in this fight. I believe these elections are mostly rigged and nothing more than sheer folly these days. It is much like believing in Santa Clause for me. Sure there are new toys under the tree on Christmas morning. But did Santa really bring them, or does it just look that way? Are most of the promised gifts missing, having been replaced by badly knitted scarves and neck ties cleverly wrapped in bright foil? Are we supposed to be so excited that the day has finally arrived, that we won’t fuss about those forgotten promised gifts?

This article is more than just an argument regarding the American elections, and their outcomes.  It’s about more than which candidate will be able to fix America’s many problems once elected. It is above all else, I hope a way to shed some light on the real issues that face this country. And on the world for that matter. I hope it will open some doors of discussion, maybe shed some insight into the inevitable first steps involved in changing the crisis that America faces. Let me start by helping the prepper better understand why this is happening to him or her.

Sure, I may be a grey-haired old man, half a bubble off plumb, who spends way too much time by himself in the backwoods. Nevertheless I do keep up with my politics. More then most people these days. Unfortunately for the younger readers, I formed many of my opinions years ago (Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks). These are the opinions I will share with you as we move along.

Should we still keep prepping if Trump wins? That is the question here isn’t it?

Well absolutely. Our problems in America are far more complex than either one of these political candidates have eluded to in their campaigns. Two hundred and forty years ago, a righteous revolutionary act by the American colonies began a new form of nation. A nation which found itself, far from home, cornered by a tyrannical monarchy and without any remaining choice but to defy the current status quo and revolt against tyranny.  Thus was born the “Declaration of Independence” a fertile seed that grew into the US Constitution and begat the essence of the Bill of Rights.

Our country’s historical struggle with government overreach, and corrupt bankers, does not sound very different than today’s mess. Many citizens find it hard to believe that ones’ countrymen can do this sort of thing to one another, mocking it as a conspiracy joke. Yet, somehow it has become the same old same old today, in the land of the free. Lets face it people. This country has been brought down by the exact same tyrants that WE THE PEOPLE took it from in the first place, two hundred and forty years ago! Back then we stood up and created our own government, “we the people,” vowing never to be ruled by tyrants like King George and his Bankers ever again.

However, “THEY”RE BACK,” and instead of a fat English King, we have a Plutocracy in his place. Instead of elitist banker families, we have a greasy Wall Street gangs, running a globally controlled Central Banking system. Sounds way, too familiar, does it not?

Will this coming election fix the USA, or to coin a phrase, is this election simply just fixed?

First to all you readers consider this one question: Did your politicians from our recent past (Not exactly the cream of the crop mind you) become so easily fooled by these crooks and con men that they gave up our nation to them, simply “Handing over the keys to the vault, so to speak,” or did they benefit from this treason too?

Moreover, are these politicians and Banksters simply the same old scoundrels? The one who berated our forefathers, oh so many years ago, until they had no choice but to utter bold statements like, “Give Me Liberty, or give me Death” when pushed to their limits?

Have these same Banking Elitist once again usurped what has been referred to as “the greatest social experiment of true freedom ever devised in the history of mankind,”?  All the while cleverly sidestepping a perfectly constructed document, our U.S. Constitution, to again conquer the once great Republic called the United States of America. Have they done this all without firing a single shot? Wow, I feel pretty stupid, don’t you?

American Elections: are they Freedom of choice or just an illusion?

Let’s dig a little deeper now. It’s unanimous “we the people” of this great nation have once again lost control of our nation to those same fraudsters. We finally have we turned into what our forefather’s fought for, an international joke.

How did this happen? These politicians and banking bastards have harangued our nation, with nothing more than speeches, into one of their colonies again. They managed to do this all within just a few decades. The once good people of the United States are now so easily pacified by this illusion of freedom that we allow them to control us with merely a sideshow, held every four years, and a promise of change and mock freedom. A promise mind you, that is never delivered. A promise made to us as if it’s a treat a parent would give a child to persuade them to stop complaining in public. I don’t know about you, but I am no longer a child, are you?

We the American citizenry, pretty much pretend that we live in a democratic society these days. Upon closer inspection, we clearly do not. Your new owners, the Banking Elitist, hold these mock elections as proof of our elusive freedoms. Yet they are just a lark, a joke, a periodic dog and pony show, with a sole purpose of entertaining and pacifying the peasantry. Sure, they happen every four years, and like fools, we argue among ourselves over the inane issues and outcomes as if it makes a difference. The election “show” has merely created the illusions of a free and democratic society, which I see only as a joke on us. These elections steal your rights from you one farcical vote at a time and are merely for the entertainment of these tyrants. They are laughing at us all the way to the Federal Reserve. Elections have actually changed nothing for the people of this country, and history proves me right. If you take time to review the past half-century of these political fools and this country, you will see a steady decline.

Stealing Votes is Not New

There has been more then one smoking gun of voter fraud in the past elections. For example, the Florida incident and the Bush win, and the all too convenient counting of these votes by Jeb Bush, the brother of the winning candidate.

Now, take Mrs. Clinton’s new Democratic Party, one she has molded in her image. Her recent Colorado event clearly sent a message of fascism. The people of Colorado had their voting rights stolen from them by a monster, called a Super-delegate, during the pre-election nomination votes.

I wonder if the Bernie supporters actually understand what really happened that week. But that’s not all, the people of Colorado were further insulted by democratically controlled media spewing bogus “legalese” over the airwaves, repeating their same old shtick. “That’s the process you asked for, don’t you remember, we voted on it ourselves.” These hollow statements may have subdued some of the Colorado voters, but it was a slap in the face to the rest of us. We were sent back to the kiddie table, feeling even more like their little children, still not mature enough to SUP with the grown-ups yet.

I do not know about you people, but this stuff really pisses me off. My vote does not mean anything anymore. It seems to be happening every election. Over-and-over, each-and-every one of us are merely allowed to decide on a chosen party leader, who then tells us what to do, and how to think.

Trump vs. Clinton

THE ELECTION is COMING; THE ELECTION is COMING

Or

The Lesser of Two Evils

Will these political promises surface after the election?

So, what difference does this election make to our future, you may ask?

The Election Train of 2016

This election is not really a reflection of anyone’s reality is it?

What does the average person need from these Electoral Nominees?

Most of us around this great big world are very disappointed with our government. Well, at least the 99% of us who are waiting for a break from all this chaos. They the “politicians,” who claim to represent us, are only representing corporate or international banking interests. Not to mention the ire “we the people” have for other foreign governments that project their dishonest public relations as an image of freedom. All this, while exploiting and stealing basic human dignity from their very own citizens.

The truth is that approximately Ninety-One percent (91%) of Americansdo not trust these candidates from this coming election, be it Republicans, Democrat, or Independents. We are sick of their theatrics! We want real change. We can all agree on that one thing, can we not? None of us, no matter from where we hail, are happy with the direction our country is headed.

Human Rights are still at stake. On the one hand, we have Democratic candidate (Hillary), a candidate who keeps promising to bring to fruition a new socialist Orwellian future inflicted by the current democratic party, her party. The Democratic party flogged this same idea at the Obama administration and still is during his waning days as this country’s President? The promise is as soon as Hillary gets into power things are going to stay exactly, the SAME, and wow, maybe worse.

Her claims during the campaign are not only the boasting about going down the same old rabbit hole as the last eight years, but she is willing to orchestrate the final death knell of what was once the freest nation on earth. She plans to do it by infringing on your “Constitutional Rights,” again, and so be it. Suck it America.

The New World Order

This is the new fusion of a Crony capitalism, socialism, and fascism. A new type of government designed by the “new world order,” gang. If you have been really paying attention, it has been a nothing short of a political volleyball game. The ball has been set up above the net by previous Presidents, from both of the bought and paid for parties, standing behind our newly appointed Queen. She is now ready to spike the ball over the net.

This plutocracy has already demonstrated a willingness to circumvent the constitution by many past deeds of ignoring your civil rights and imposing Martial law whenever they like. Tactics such as in the Boston bombing attacks when that city was lock down for a house to house search. (This was Illegal by the way, a search and seizure of private property and private homes without warrant and without due process) But “we the people” welcomed it because it was under the guise of “protecting us all” from the horrible terrorist bombers.

Or maybe the little trick by the CIA, DOD, FBI, DOJ or some other acronym of government Nazi’s that orchestrated the Jade Helm Psyop. This was when your government actually used military personnel to patrol the Streets of America practicing maneuvers in civilian uniforms. (Using U.S. troops in America against its own citizens is highly unconstitutional)

Where We Now Stand

Do you still think we can relax and not prepare anymore because salvation is finally here? As soon as these elections are over everything will change.

Bear in mind if you plan to protest any nowadays, especially regarding the current administration, you should also, be prepared to be suppressed by these black booted thugs of Big Government. They are willing to impose all sorts of unconstitutional behaviors, on us citizens whenever “we the people” try to resist them.

Actions like restricting your right to travel freely within your country without being detained and searched. Or the right to privacy, the right to assemble, the right to protest, all being denied using the same Nazi behaviors of the Third Reich. Well that should drive their elitist message home. Their control over you is being backed up by their unconstitutional Patriot Act and the infamous NDAA Act, allowing such crimes as indefinite incarceration of citizens without trial, or the confiscation of private property without due process.

Constitutional Rights? Hillary has promised to sidestep the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution by force if necessary if elected. In doing so, she is stealing away many of your rights, such as the 4th Amendment (the Freedom of Speech), or the Second Amendment (the Right to Bear Arms), and your Right of Assembly. These tools of her gun control campaign, coupled with the Patriot Act, NDAA, are already enacted in some states. They will be used to quell any so-called unruliness or social upheaval on your part. There is no way for you to stop her or any President from using such tactics.

Think about this. No more Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms for your personal defense or to defend your country against domestic terror. No individual defense against an enemy of the state such as a terrorist or even a tyrannical Government. No more state Militias to defend our quickly fading US Constitution. Ask a Veteran what they think about this.

How about, confiscation of property without due process, the right to a fair trial, where did those come from? These Acts remove things like that “nasty due process thing from your lives.” Merely by using an illegal use of the “color of authority”, the politicians have manipulated the fake U.S. congress using lobbyists. This process is circumventing the constitutionally protected rights of the people. Gone are those rights like unlawful detainment, illegal search and seizure of persons or propert done without warrant or due process. This government is proving to be the actual Orwellian prophecy come true. And they would like to continue it before you catch on to stop them.

Is there any HOPE: Can we stop this by voting?

There is some that say another side of this bi-partisan coin has appeared, some say it is hopeful. I say yes, perhaps there is hope still, but it is very thin.

The less intrusive governance of a Trump administration is perhaps waiting for us around the corner. But perhaps his coming government is just as detrimental in the end to our civil liberties as the current one. Here, is why I still see nothing changing. The average sovereign citizen doesn’t give two cents as to who controls a tyrannical government. A stolen right, is a stolen right, is a stolen right. Chipping away at any of the rights will ultimately lead to losing many, many more eventually. These people will not stop, they cannot stop. It seems as if it’s a hidden agenda. Even if the next administration respects your rights, the subsequent administration may still abuse your rights because these historical acts of Congress still remain on the books unchallenged.

Donald Trump’s, best intentions may not be enough to make America Great again

Donald may be legit. He may not always be following constitutional law when he repeats things like “ I will impose eminent domain with the XL pipeline project,” or he allows the torture of political detainees. (Remember the Patriot Act overrules constitutional law and allows detainee citizens indefinitely. It also lists all of the “citizens of America” as potential political enemies under this act, and its vague definition of terrorist).

If Trump continues to use the power given to him by these Acts (and he has stated he is thinking of doing this), he will still be catering to the Money tyrants who now control the nation. This will be just as all of the other recent Presidents have done before him. (You decide for yourself how far back this goes)

Just because I’m Paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t watching me

Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Just because I’m Paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t watching me.” This statement maybe very profound after all the election votes are tallied this Fall.

Using the NDAA, the Patriot Act, CISPA, SIPA, and any other relentless unconstitutional Law, Act, or Bill will eventually affect all future American citizens one day. These unconstitutional laws ultimately only serve the money masters controlling your government now.

I have noticed that no matter how we complain about these, Unconstitutional Acts, and infringements on our civil liberties, they never get rescinded. As Alice once said curiouser, and curiouser. They just seem to quietly settle out of site, waiting for something. For what I wonder? Perhaps they are waiting for the right moment to use them.

Obama claimed he would never pass the any of these acts. But then he slid them through during the Christmas break, when congress was out for holidays. When it was publicized, he then claimed he would never use them the way they are worded. Good God no, not him. Yet, he secretly does. But do not fear, because if you are not one of the bad guys, you have nothing to worry about, RIGHT?

Does this mean they will have finally achieved their evil goal of complete control over the United States of America? Will they soon be moving on to the rest of the world without themselves ever firing a shot?

The real enemies of any country are the men behind the scenes manipulating us. Those men who have stolen your rights by proxy, using corporate tools that they twist to destroy the economy for their own benefit. Trump knows this as a fact. Therefore, despite his good intentions, Donald’s improper use of Presidential privileges like “eminent domain” or the Patriot Act, and NDAA after he is elected is just another form of tyranny (Even Eminent Domain was designed for War time and sovereign emergencies only).

At the very most, Expropriation of privately held land must be used in lockstep with an individuals constitutional right to property ownership. It must not be used as a Presidential hammer for building better economies. Even if that is, the quicker solution, remember Chip, Chip, Chip, goes your Rights.

Catering to the Oil and Gas Industry is not vital economic growth, and I can prove it.

It is not that simple. The right to have and own property is guaranteed to the all citizens by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Even people “in the way” of a Nation’s economic progress must be compensated for their losses. Having due process, or “their day in court,” is guaranteed by these documents. All property owners that will have their land expropriated should be paid in full for their losses. This includes but is not limited to their loss of use of that property and Nuisance, Inconvenience, and/or Adverse Affect after the fact.

We all must be concerned when it comes to private corporations using government policy to steal land from the nation’s citizens to benefit their company profit line. Whenever private companies cause damage to this Nation’s land and land owners, by way of our government policies for energy projects, such as fracking, oil and gas exploration, and pipelines construction, we all pay the price. These ventures should not automatically be considered in the public’s best interest, but should be dealt with case by case and locally. Utility and Oil & Gas projects are not always national Energy Concerns.

These Federally held, so-called back room deals are actually “corporate theft” of the nation’s natural resources. Remember when Nixon sold our national parks to these bankers as collateral for more debt? Probably not, because it was a back page story and still isn’t talked about much. But take time to check it out. I contest that the entire Nation’s highways, byways, major pipelines, and utility Companies should be owned and operated by the people collectively, and all the profits that they create should go to the people not the corporations.

How to handle “Property Rights” properly

An individual or citizens’ right to property should be handled with kid gloves, not by “Eminent Domain.” This is not a hard task to accomplish for any honest government. It is the simple use of honest negotiation and local arbitration hearings. It involves the recognition of the four (4) heads of compensation, used to determine losses by a landowner.

Having an arms length open house meetings, and negotiations upfront regarding such issues of property rights, environmental concerns, water use and rights, and compensation. These are essential to solving the nation’s energy problems without conflict. All of this plus the embracing of community involvement must be resolved before any government approval is allowed. Not to mention proper negotiations between landowners in any form, like so-called second and third party land interests.

I know this idea works because I was a “Land Agent in the Oil Patch for over Twenty years, and this is how it should be done. (Sorry we all have our little secrets)

Smaller Government: Our Federal government needs to be much, much, smaller, allowing the states to act like a republic again, handling their own affairs whenever possible. The rest of the Nation needs to butt out of these local and state decisions. Not every energy issue in America is a Federal issue, in fact none of them should be.

Each state has the right to determine how it exploits and taxes its own energy source, and how it utilizes it for itself. That is what a Republic is all about. Federal Government is the lattice. (Concerned with the infrastructure of the nation only) Not the ruler of a republic, that’s a dictatorship.

What if, TRUMP WINS? What can we expect from him?

As far as I can tell, Trump is not a magician or a sorcerer. So, I bet even with good intentions it will take at least two terms with every man on deck, working 24 hours a day and 365 days a year with him as President to turn this big ship around. Face it kiddo, we are on the good ship “Titanic” here. I am not sure that even this Nation will actually miss that proverbial Iceberg. I highly doubt it!

Trump brought up some real interesting issues, but are they enough?

Trump mentions upholding constitutional law, enforcing citizen’s rights, and real government transparency. Not the kind of transparency Obama or Bush promised I hope.

Sure, perhaps we have a chance to stem the tide of Tyranny for at least another 4 years by electing Donald Trump. But will he listen to the American people once he is in power? Who really knows? He may be the only reasonable hope left to America. Trump may help the nation “become great again,” especially if what he says he can do comes true. However, how can we be sure? We have been promised many things, many times before, by many politicians. And they never came through.

Even if Trump wins, will he fix our problems?

Sure, he seems to be the lesser of the two evils these days, and he has my vote because of that it.

(Footnote: Allow me to qualify my position by stating this; It is for lack of any other voting option. Like I said “No dog in the fight”. I’m more of a Libertarian, though that party is without real representative. It has strayed so far from its original doctrine, its lost. Face it Gary Johnson is a joke, already he has admittedly been bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers, when they were allowed to back his campaign this election. Yeah, that is right. I am a staunch supporter of no one in particular, and a pessimist when it comes to politicians in general, they all lie for your votes.)

Can Trump Do What He Says Even?

The Questions and the Facts:

Will Trump be able to do what he claims to want to do? He may not have much of a chance to succeed even if in the end, he is elected. So many entrenched enemies are already in the system. He is outnumbered by these posers, so then what?

Can he win using a rigged and flawed election system? Will your vote even be counted in the end? There is no shortage of evidence regarding the election tampering these days.

Can Trump succeed on the issues where he wants to, after elected? Bear in mind Trumps winning of this job is like asking someone to a game of Billiards and handing him a rope when everyone around him has a pool cue. In addition, can he do what he needs to do, because he really needs to clean house when he gets in power. If he is to take back this country from the bankers that control it.

Finally, yet most importantly will he be allowed to prosecute politicians for past crimes? Do you think he will actually go the distance and prosecute Hillary for her alleged crimes? This may actually be the defining moment for me as a voter. If Trump actually brings to trial and convicts Hillary for crimes she has committed. I will certainly become more involved in politics if this happens, and I bet, others will too.

My Conclusion

With all the points that I have brought up, I would think that it is apparent that our problems in this world are not going to be solved overnight. A presidential election one way or the other won’t magically solve anything. I do not know about any of you, but I feel it changes nothing in the short term.

Linked from: http://www.survivalsullivan.com/will-elections-change-anything-preppers/