Archive for July, 2009

Seems to me that one of the more difficult skills that should be easy that I have seen botched in my time spent out of doors in the past years is the simple task of starting a fire. I’ve camped before next to city slickers that would pile what seemed like a quarter cord of wood on top of the fireplace in the next campsite. Then they would proceed to pour a can of charcoal lighter fluid over the tower of Babylon and throw a match, or two onto the waiting pyre.

Then they’d scream and holler at the resulting catastrophe, overshadowed by the resulting mushroom cloud, and still not have a fire. Actually, it wasn’t that bad, but it seemed like it, and aside from the potential disaster they could have caused by burning the forest surrounding the campground down, it was a tad humorous. Nothing funnier than watching a well dressed, and well outfitted camper making a fool of himself. Makes for good chatter around the campground as well.

But every person that wants to, or may have the need to venture out of doors should be able to start a fire with minimal effort. There are times when your life may well depend upon your having a fire going in a few short minutes. Today, we’ll look at some simple tips and hints on how to be prepared to start that fire with minimal effort, and the things you should have at your side for that purpose.

For starters, you should have some sort of starter at hand. The most dependable will probably be the old strike anywhere match in a waterproof tube/container. As long as those matches are kept dry, they will start. If they get wet, forget it. So here’s my tip on the match scenario-paraffin. At home, melt some paraffin in a double boiler, an when it is all liquid, hold a match on the non-striking end with a pair of tweezers or pliers and submerge the match for a couple of seconds. Pull it out and let the paraffin harden before placing on a damp paper towel to cool. If you let the matches touch before cooling the paraffin may stick and you’ll end up with a glob of matches.

Fill one of those metal containers with these matches and you’ll be all set as far as the starter end goes. Provided you haven’t forgotten them at home that is. But I would suggest doing that to an entire box of matches, just so you’ll have plenty on hand and ready to go. But that’s just one starter, and there are many, many more. Those disposable butane lighters are great for starting a blaze going. Just remember that they run off of the gas from the liquid in the lighter. That said, if you are in an extremely cold environment, your lighter may not work well, if at all. On the obverse of that coin, if your lighter gets too hot, the little devil just may explode into flames in your hand. Make sure you have the matches on hand, just in case.

There are also some gadgets out there that can also help you out of a jam at times as well. The most popular is the magnesium block and striker tool. Thos one normally has a key chain and/or hole so you can loop a chain around it and carry it on your neck. Not a bad idea, but it chafes the bare skin a bit. This one works simply. You take your knife, and scrape some of the magnesium off the block into a little pile. Then you take the back of your knife and strike the little embedded rod located on one side of the block. This will cause sparks to ignite the magnesium, and voila, your campfire is going, sort of.

There is another type of striker that has come upon the market that is simply a striking rod and a metal tool to make sparks with as you strike the rod. Being a man that prefers the lessons of experience, I plan on sticking with the magnesium block. If you prefer to be more primitive, there is also the flint and steel method, the fire drill method, and if it is sunny, you can always use a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s rays. And if you are clever, you can even use a battery to cause a spark and light your fire.

Once you have settled upon a starter source, you’ll need some tinder at the base of your fire pyramid. Pyramid? What, are we going to worship some sun god? Not at all. The best way to build a fire is to establish a small pyramid of different sizes of material, with you tinder in the middle of the base of that future fire. Around the tinder you’ll place some small sticks and other material to get a good hot flame going. That good hot flame is what will ignite the larger main fuel pieces around the outside of the pyramid.

There are many good choices for tinder in the forest, provided they are dry. Pine cones are great, as they are usually filled with pitch. Dried leaves catch quickly and are helpful, but remember that they burn quickly. You can also pull some long grasses from the ground and tie the grass into a tight ball. If you have birch trees nearby, a piece of birch bark will work well. Try to scrounge it from a dead tree first though, as we wouldn’t want to cause unnecessary harm to any tree if we don’t need to. And in some places, it may be illegal to take birch bark from a live tree anyways. You can also use the dried inner bark of a fallen tree as well. All of these are good tinder, but can be a problem in a pouring rain storm.

So what about alternatives? Glad you asked! One of my favorites is made up at the same time you are making your waterproof strike anywhere matches. Get some sawdust, and stir it into the paraffin that you melted in the double boiler. Stir it in till you make a thick, almost cookie dough like consistency. Spoon this out into a cardboard egg carton and let it all cool down. Then you can tear the carton apart and store the homemade tinder in a zip lock bag. Just put a couple at the base of your fire pyramid and light with your match. Works really good.

Another type of tinder is to take some cotton balls and soak them in a jar of petrolatum. Most people call this Vaseline. Afterwards, keep them in a zip lock bag. Simply place two or three at the base of your fire and light. You’ll be surprised to see just how flammable the stuff we rub on babies skin can be. There are many other tools you can prepare as well, most of them being candle like in nature. Another tool you can make on the spot is what we call a fuzz stick.

To make the fuzz stick, simply shave a dry stick, but instead of removing the shaving from the stick, stop short of the point where the shaving wants to pop off. You’ll end up with a stick that resembles a pine tree. Light this with a match or other fire source.

Around your starter and tinder, you should have some kindling. These are smaller pieces of fuel that will catch fire more readily than your main fuel source. they won’t last long, so make sure you have plenty enough to generate the heat needed to ignite the bigger sized fuel. I would suggest some sticks about one to two inches thick at first, surrounded by some pieces maybe three to four inches and finally some five to six inch pieces. Your main fuel can be placed over this pyramid, and the heat from the smaller pieces will dry out and ignite the bigger ones.

Try to make sure you build your fire out of the wind. It is not only safer, it is easier and faster. If you do have to build a fire in windy conditions, I would suggest making it between two large logs placed in a V shape, with the V pointing into the wind. Also, be certain you remove all flammable ground cover from the area of your fire. Underground fires have been known to smolder for days, only to erupt into a blazing inferno days after the campers have moved on for different camping grounds.

Fires needn’t be a tough chore to master. Use your mind and think the steps through carefully. Learn to do it now, and you won’t have to in an emergency.

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One of the biggest issues we need to be aware of, and involved in, is the weather. It rains and shines upon everyone at some point and time, and eventually, you will suffer a deluge, a hurricane or some other form of weather catastrophe. Sometimes, such as with tornadoes, the catastrophe cannot be avoided and we must ride the storm out as best we can. Other times, such as in a hurricane we can sometimes have many days warning of its coming.

The question of whether to evacuate or not is left to the moment, and frequently is up to the government. This doesn’t mean we have to like it, and it also doesn’t mean that we should stay put if they don’t tell us to leave. Remember, the same people who contracted to have formaldehyde laced trailers for the victims of Katrina are the same boneheads that make the decision for you to bug out. Not a real reassuring voice in the wilderness in my book.

In order to form a qualified decision as to whether to stay or go, we need to be fully cognizant of the approaching weather and storm fronts. This is actually easier done than said. There are many websites and news providers that can give you a detailed sit rep on the coming storm(s). (sit rep is situation report) The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, NOAA and most of the major news services and networks have real time data that they love to present to the public. Especially the networks. Of course, they may not be telling you the whole truth, so make sure you counter check all of the data being fed to you to verify the accuracy and legitimacy of those reports. Form my own experience, Weather Underground actuall has the best, and most complete weather forecasting tools and data I have come across.

I usually double check with the CRWS system at the San Francisco State University (http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws.html) and the NOAA weather advisory sites. They’re usually right on the money with their forecasts. The Weather Channel, Accuweather and some others are OK, but I’ve seen some forecasting that were more guess than scientific probability. That’s what forecasting should really be all about, I think. Probability.

But if you take the time to learn what all of those symbols numbers and arrows mean, you can do a pretty good job of guessing the probabilities on your own. And when you are good enough, you’ll be in a position to make that decision to bug out on your own. If you are fast enough, you can beat the crowds and not be seen on the six thirty news sitting on a stalled interstate with half a million stranded motorists, with a wall of water bearing down on the highway. Survival isn’t about being a man and sticking it out. Survival is about being alive tomorrow.

Let’s look at some of the sources you can use to begin to learn how to track the weather.

  1. Weather Underground; http://www.wunderground.com This is my favored site. You can get a home page set up with your zip code, and you’ll get all of the information the TV providers have. You’ll have to learn how to navigate around the site to gain the most benefit, but it doesn’t take long. Near the top is a menu board with topics ranging from tornadoes to travel. If it’s weather related you’ll find it here.
  2. The CRWS Jet Stream Menu; http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html Provided by the University of San Francisco, this site gives you some pretty clear idea of what’s coming down the road. The jet streams have a lot more to do with the weather than most people, even some meteorologists think. By paying attention to the activity on this page you’ll be able to discern general driving weather patterns as controlled by the flow of these high altitude winds.
  3. NOAA weather site; http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ This site gives you a comprehensive analysis based upon the governments vast array of satellites, radars and monitoring stations. It’s the place everyone else goes to for the details. This site tends to stick to short term forecasts and just the facts.
  4. Accuweather; http://www.accuweather.com Heavily monetized commercial site. This is one of the services the TV and radio networks use to provide you with forecasts. Tends to be a bit on the glitzy side for me, but you can get down to your local forecast by submitting your zip code in the search engine.
  5. Intellicast; http://www.intellicast.com This site is also a commercial service used by the broadcast industry, but is much better than some of the other commercial sites. Gives more details and stats in a less glitzy fashion.
  6. The Weather Channel; http://www.weather.com This site has their own cable news station. Minimal information given, and more heavily monetized than the other sites. Another drawback, in my opinion is their devotion to pushing the fraudulent global warming campaign. But that’s not surprising since they are owned by NBC.

This is just a short list. There are others, and maybe some that I haven’t seen that are better. If you know of one, feel free to email me with the source. I’m always willing to learn.

There are also lots of symbols and figures, as well as terms that you should learn as well. Go to the local library and pick up a couple of books on the subject and see what you can learn. Remember what I said a while ago in another post. Surviving time is no time to begin to learn.

In fact, your local library can be a gold mine of survival strategies, no matter the issue. Whether you are looking t the financial aspects of a recession, or running like you know what from a typhoon, you can learn more about what to do. But becoming weather wise isn’t just for emergencies. The skills you learn about the weather can help you plan for a more enjoyable vacation, or even your activities for just a day off. Farmers rely on their weather skills to work their farms to the best advantage. There are lots of reasons to learn about the weather.

But if you do learn to become weather wise, should the lights go out and there no longer is a news source or an internet to look up the forecast, you’ll be able to come pretty close to planning ahead just by what the sky tells you.

While vacationing last week I had the pleasure of traveling north on the interstate, and as per usual views, passed a few people broken down on the side of the road. Most of the vehicles had the orange tags placed on the vehicles by the state police. Only one person had his hood up and was working on his problem. Of course, a state PD cruiser was snoozing behind him with the flashing lights going.

It brought to mind the vast percentage of the population who are not prepared to handle emergencies and break downs on the highway while traveling on vacation. Breaking down while enjoying your time off from work is pretty inconvenient, isn’t it? Imagine the same thing happening while you are evacuating your region with a hurricane or other calamity breathing down the back of your pants! That would be a tad more than inconvenient. But we still do not prepare for the possibility of such an event.

I got to thinking about what one may need should we break down, and as usual my mind wandered to the catalogs and the endless array of so called roadside emergency kits. They’ve got a lot of gadgets inside those bright yellow bags, but some of them go nowhere near enough to cover eventualities. So I came up with my own list of supplies to have on hand in the trunk or behind the back seat.

Here’s the list:

  • Road maps and a compass. In the event that you should get turned around, a good roadmap will help you get back on track quickly. Sometimes it may be difficult, such as under a heavily overcast sky, to tell which way you are heading, and the compass will help you keep your sense of direction.
  • Booster cables. These are used to boost a dead battery, provided you can find somebody else to give you a boost. Remember that when you buy your cables, get them with the smallest number size available. Wire gauges are sized so that the smaller numbers have a larger sized cable, and vice-versa. Many cables I have seen have a 12 gauge wire, stay away from them. Get at least a 10 gauge, and if possible an 8 gauge set of cables. And also, make sure that the cables have a stranded core, not a solid one. The stranded core are more flexible and less susceptible to breakage.
  • Extra fuses. Get an assortment of fuses that contain at least two of every size and style of fuse used in your vehicle. The temptation is to simply buy one of the packaged assortments, but I would suggest you simply buy one package of every size fuse you need. Also pick up a couple of fusible links that are rated for your vehicles system. Package them up in a plastic box, like the type you can buy for fishing tackle. Throw in a fuse tester and a wire tool with a stripper, cutter and pliers ends. To complete your electrical readiness kit, wire nuts and a roll of black electrical tape will be needed.
  • Lug wrench. These come with your car, so there is no excuse to not have one in your vehicle. For better torque and ease of removing lug nuts. I purchased an eighteen inch, ½ inch breaker bar and a deep socket the size of my lug nuts. It doesn’t take up much space, and fits right into the tire well.
  • Small tool kit. A self contained tool kit, commercially available, with an assortment of wrenches and sockets should be in your trunk as well. One way to conserve on space, if that is an issue, would be to just get wrenches and sockets that fit the fasteners on your car. These could be fit into an old surplus tool roll or a small tackle box. The smaller canvas zippered bags you can get today fold down flat and don’t take up any extra space.
  • Repair guide. A Chilton’s or a Haines manual is essential for making repairs to your car. Read it over carefully to familiarize yourself with emergency repairs.
  • Duct tape and rubberized tape. These tapes are a wonder when you have broken down sometimes. With these tapes you can make a quick, but temporary repair to your heating and cooling systems, and have other uses as well.
  • Gloves and a plastic sheet. Get some heavy weight gloves for making radiator repairs and to protect your hands from injury. You can use the plastic sheet to keep you from getting too dirty of wet from the ground. I use a clear shower curtain. Its heavier weight makes it durable, and comes folded in a small shape to fit into any crevice in your car.
  • Extra radiator hoses and fan belts. If you are going on a long trip, it wouldn’t hurt to put extra hoses and belts in case of failure a long way from any town. It’ll beat a long walk should the break be too severe to simply be taped up. Fan belts can also be temporarily replaced with other items as well, such as rope and flexible wire. Panty hose is said to be usable, but I question the efficacy of such a repair.
  • First aid kit. Again, make sure you have a complete first aid kit. A box of bandages does not mean you have a first aid kit.
  • Water. Keep a gallon or two in the back of your car. If you break down it will keep you from getting dehydrated, and you may need it for the radiator as well.
  • Vehicle fluids. If you are going out of town, it wouldn’t hurt to carry an extra bottle of oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Extra windshield cleaner solvent would be handy as well.
  • Tires. Try to get a replacement for the donut tire most cars come with today. A full sized replacement will allow you to continue on your way with four fully functioning tires. The donut tires restrict your speed, and if you have a fully loaded vehicle and trailer on your trip, your vehicle will become more dangerous to drive.

These are just a few tips and hints. Survey your own situation and requirements, and establish your own preparedness list for your trip. Also, remember to make sure your car is maintained in tip-top shape. You never know when you might have to bug out, and if you do, what are the chances of getting your car in for a check up?

You may wonder why I have started to write about survival strategies, or maybe not. But some have, and by way of explanation, you’ll need to read some of my past posts. I have long been a supporter of conservatism, and haven’t voted Democrat once since I left home. Over the years I have come to realize that there is only one way this game will be played out that we are all involved in. The world is like a giant chess game being played by two masters, and all of the final moves have been made, and the pieces are in position for the final gambit.

The game will obviously end in a check and checkmate against the black king, but before that happens we still have much to go through as a civilization. Many have criticized the current administration in Washington, and we have been unknowingly censored by the dark powers that rule the internet. Search engines have been manipulated to prevent certain search term results from being presented at the front of queries. It is obvious that it is too late to stop the train. The time for prophecy and warning is over. It is time to prepare for the end.

There will be many calamities to afflict this nation in the coming months and years ahead, not all of them natural, and we need to be prepared to meet the coming storm. Therefore, I have decided to turn my attentions and writing towards the arena of survival and preparedness skills. Many do not seem to remember the warnings given by the infamous 9-11 attacks upon New York. But we will soon be reminded, I fear. If you do not believe the fight will be coming to your neighborhood, read on;

Pipe-Bomb Thrown Inside Buffalo Church

Buffalo Church Pipe Bomb A Buffalo church is on alert after a device, believed to…

China Riots – Muslim Group Riots, At least 140 Dead

China Riots Violence in the capital of China’s Xinjiang region leaves 140 people…

Cybercriminals Steal $415,000 From Bullitt County Kentucky

Sophisticated international cybercriminals stole $415,000 from a bank account belonging…

Terror Drill Planned For New York Harbor

New York City police (NYPD) and the U.S. Coast Guard plan a terrorism

Nuke-o-meter, How Many Nukes Within Range of Your Location

Nuke-o-Meter North Korea has sent tension soaring across Asia by launching missiles…

These are just a few notes from just one source, National Terror Alert. There are many more stories of terrorist activities that just don’t seem to make headlines anymore. The fact that there are thousands of nuclear warheads seems to be forgotten. Just this past week, terrorists in Pakistan attacked a nuclear research and production lab. New York City is preparing a terrorism drill and will be searching for low level nuclear weapons. Much is kept from our prying eyes. Because of this we fail to be ready.

Natural disasters also pose problems. Every year we read of hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and other weather related disasters. And every year people suffer because they fail to prepare themselves for these storms, in spite of warnings beforehand. So, in a small way, I hope to entice you to start making your own plans to survive whatever may befall us. Maine suffers little from the natural disasters other parts of the nation encounter, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, but we still have need to be prepared, especially in the long cold winter season. Remember the ice storm of 98?

Follow along as I share tips, hints, news and strategies regarding emergency preparedness.

Rev. 16:15 “Look, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed, so that he may not go naked, and they see his shame.

It will come quickly, indeed. Are you ready?

Terrorism news

Who and Where Are You?

One of the first steps we need to take in order to get ourselves prepared is to find out who we are, and where we are, followed up by where we are going. This all falls into the early preparedness part of our survival plan. Obviously, different people will have different needs, so these are just generalizations here.

If you are alone, the job of surviving the coming times will be much easier in some aspects, and more difficult in others. But there will be some areas of preparation that need to be addressed well before an emergency may occur. One of these areas is documentation and planning your possible escape route.

While Maine does not suffer from the same probability from earthquake damage as the west coast, nor the hurricane damage potential on the southeastern region of this nation, there is always the specter of destruction from any source to be aware of. Preparations from those areas of the country generally take a different sort of aura than we do up here in the chilly, but stable northeastern region.

Most emergencies are but brief and a minor inconvenience up here. But the potential for a mass evacuation, or a relocation for extended periods exists. One of the biggest threats we have to watch for today is the possibility of a terrorist action that may cause such an event. Many people do not realize what is truly occurring outside of our borders, and they are even less aware of what may be occurring within our own borders. For instance, were you aware that there are in the neighborhood of some six thousand, nine hundred plus armed nuclear warheads within reach of the state of Maine?

This is not to say we are going to be annihilated by the commies, but should a terrorist cell or group obtain such a weapon, what then? Are we prepared to live under the cloud of radioactive fallout? Probably not, and thus we need to be ready to relocate out of an area that may become contaminated. Of course, if some tragedy should cause a large area to become devoid of electricity and water supplies, such as greater Portland, where would these people go?

That being the case, we should have some basic documentation ready to go as we jump in the car so we can get stranded on the stalled interstate system. Many suggest having passports available for each member of the household. Personally, I am not a big fan of having a passport in hand, but they may hold some advantage in some situations. I distrust them today mainly for the fact that they contain embedded RFID chips, which allows the government to track your every move. We’ll get into RFID later on, so I won’t dwell on that here.

You should have the following in any case, for each member of your household

  • Drivers license or state issued ID
  • School ids for schoolchildren
  • Vehicle registration
  • Social Security cards (original)
  • Birth certificate copies
  • Detailed plan of where you intend to meet up
  • Local area maps

This package will make it easier to identify who you are to the authorities. There may be instances when this could be detrimental, but the odds of those instances of being real are seemingly miniscule.

But they could happen. More importantly, by including an action plan of where to meet up after or during an emergency forces you to plan ahead, as well as forcing all members of the household to get involved. Having everybody on the same page is vital to your success. This includes children, as well.

I may be wrong, since I am not one of those psycho doctors, but it seems to me that one of the reasons children may have such a hard time coping with disaster is because they are shielded from so much today. I feel that they should be made aware of things that may happen, and how to handle these emergencies. By doing so, we give them the tools to react in a positive manner, and to achieve success.

When we know we face failure, we are already defeated. So, make success the ultimate goal when you make your plans. In some cases a map may not be a practical solution. For instance, if you live in a large city, and a disaster occurs while your children are in a school on the other side of town, do you want them wandering alone through the town to meet you?

Not a good idea at any time. It would be better for the children to stay at the school and follow the schools plan for the time being. If they are in one location, you can retrieve them later when it becomes safe to do so. But you need to know ahead of time what the schools emergency disaster plans are so that you may make your own plan.

And that plan should cover multiple levels of severity. For instance, everyone knows we should have a plan of escape should the home catch on fire and be destroyed. Where will you all meet outside after escaping? It is the same idea at every level. If your block becomes quarantined or blocked off do to an environmental catastrophe, where will you meet? If the town you live in suffers a terrible catastrophe, say fifteen derailed ethanol cars get derailed and catch fire, where will you meet?

Once you meet up and everyone is safe and secure in the household unit, where will you go? That is the goal of this segment of your survival kit. A destination needs to be decided upon prior to your leaving an area that has become uninhabitable, for any reason, and for any length of time. That is the propose of developing maps. Maps help us see where to go. The rest of the documentation merely keeps the government officials happy, or unhappy if the case warrants it.

There are several scenarios where this other documentation may be needed, so I’ll briefly touch upon those situations here. If you become separated from your children, you will want to be able to prove who you, and they, are. This documentation should suffice in nearly every case. As another example, if you look like someone the government may be looking for, such as an alleged terrorist, you’ll need to prove who you are.

In the worst case, you may need the documentation to identify victims of the catastrophe. Hurricanes, earthquakes and other devastating events always lay claim to at least some fatalities, even if they are not directly caused by the event.

This documentation may also enable you to gain easier access to any aid you may need, as well. This country is full of homeless people looking to obtain free handouts. At some point and time, the government may require proof of who you are before granting you shelter and food. This is of course dependent upon your desire to obtain that food and shelter.

If you really have the proper mindset, and are truly prepared, you won’t need it, and you probably wouldn’t want it, even if you were offered the chance to obtain the aid. I know I wouldn’t.

While at home, this paperwork should be stored in one of those locking fire resistant boxes, preferably with a handle. When the crap hits the fan, grab the box and go. Inside the box, the papers should be kept in a Ziploc bag, preferably with a desiccant inside. An even better option is to seal the papers into one of those vacuum sealed bags. Those things are great. Everyone should have one.

If the box is too bulky to handle, discard the box and take the bag of papers with you. If you’ve folded them right, you’ll be able to slide them into your survival pack, which we’ll get into later.

There are many dangers facing us today as we enter the end times, and we need to be prepared. Not all of the calamities we may face will be of the natural kind, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards and earthquakes. This past weekend, North Korea launched seven missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in the direction of this nation. There are over six thousand nuclear warheads within reach of any portion of this nation. Lastly, yesterday, terrorists attacked a city in Pakistan and targeted a nuclear research/production laboratory. ’nuff said?

Preparedness news videos;