Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

The newspapers and television stations we get our current news from have a propensity to label every storm that comes down the road the greatest disaster since whenever. It is true that we have some terrific storms, but how do we really classify them as disasters? Many of the so-called greatest disasters of today become minuscule in tragedy compared to disasters of yesterday.

Hurricane Katrina was called the worst disaster since whenever, but the reality is that the hurricane that wiped out 1,836 people back in 2005. But the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane  caused more real damage, taking many more lives than Katrina did. The damage was just as extensive, but because costs have risen so much over the decades due to the decline in the value of currency worldwide, Katrina cost much more in cash to recover from.

Do not take me the wrong way here, Katrina was a tragedy, but in real terms, it was in fact a tragedy that really might have been prevented. However, that was then, Sandy Hook has come and gone and we wait with tingling buttocks the next media fed disaster of the century.

Let us look at our own disaster levels, and prepare for them by creating plans for each of the different levels of disaster. I have developed a personal tiered system of five levels of disaster/preparedness that we should be ready for. You can develop your own system as you see fit, but please develop prepping goals that help you achieve a permanent survival plan in case the worst does come to pass.

Here are my five stages:

  • Stage 1; Stage 1 is the simplest, and least stressful of prepping events. This would include any situation involving no more than one night without your usual or normal infrastructure in place. This could involve a thunderstorm creating a blackout of just a few minutes to a 24-48 hour time frame. At this point, you will be consuming the food in your refrigerator first, as it is likely to thaw and spoil in just a couple of days.

 

  • Stage 2; Stage 2 is a little more complex, with your infrastructure being interrupted for up to one week to a month. By day three you should have cleaned out your refrigerator, and begun to consume the contents of a deep freeze if you have one. Store bought canned and dry food in your pantry will be consumed at this point. You will want to save MRE’s and long-term food supplies for stage three and beyond. Batteries will likely have been used up by this point, and you would be on alternative lighting such as oil lamps, etc. cooking will be done with camp stoves, so you would need plenty of fuel on hand for this stage.

 

  • Stage 3; Stage 3 is a duration of from one month to a six months or so. You would have consumed all fresh foods long before the beginning of this stage, and would be utilizing your short-term storage foods such as canned goods and may have begun your MRE  program. Availability of foods and fuels in the marketplace is no longer an option, as there likely is no marketplace to speak of. Your fuel may be gone, and you would be utilizing wood for heating and cooking. The smart prepper would have developed a solar lighting scheme to recharge batteries for lighting and other needs.

 

  • Stage 4; Stage 4 is a period of from six months to one year. This is the time frame in which you would have mentally sat back and taken stock of the fact that we are really screwed, it is not just a bad dream. Short-term food supplies will be running low, and you will begin consuming your long-term food supply. A good prepper would have seen this coming and realized early on that your short and mid-term supplies would need to be rationed to avoid running out too quickly. By now you will be at the barter stage to obtain needed supplies as the government is obviously  dumber than we gave them credit for being.

 

  • Stage 5; Stage 5 is a period of survival lasting from one year to two years out from the initial disaster. You finally figured out that you were right all along, and there is no going back to the way things were. You will be on your long-term food supply, and will by springtime have planted that survival garden you thought you would never need. There are no jobs, no money, and transportation is now 100% people powered. Bicycles and animals provide the means of getting anyplace faster than walking. Your long term food is holding out, and in the fall, you will harvest and prepare for storage your food needs for the entire following year.

 

  • Stage 6;  Stage 6 is no longer a survival stage. If you have made it this far, you will find that this is the new normal. It had been over two years since the disaster that created the situation you are in, the government, the economy, and society have all crumbled into a sort of 18th century mentality. Roving gangs have moved from the depleted urban areas and are now roaming the countryside to take what they want. You have banned together with your neighbors to form militia groups for protection from these marauding gangs. You have found that life truly sucks, but that is OK, you will weather the storm.

 

That is a brief rundown of the stages of disaster preparedness. Most of us only have to put up with an occasional stage 1 setting, and a few of us go on to a stage 2 setting. Very few people ever come close to a stage three in these days, but it could happen. We owe it to our families to prepare for the worst, but pray that it never happens.

Happy prepping folks!

A lot of people claiming to be Christians like to throw their relationship with God around and claim that because of their faith, America is held in a special place by God and therefore cannot fall. Brings to mind the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t it?

You know how it goes; Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, my will be done on earth as it is…..”Whoa! Wait a minute, that is not how it goes,” you are screaming as you read this piece. (I know you are, I can hear you.) Of course, it isn’t but that is how most Americans pray, isn’t it? You seem to believe that America has a special dispensation to be relieved from misery and failure. However, this simply is not true.

A peculiar revelation crept into the back of my mind as I was mowing the lawn earlier today. Scripture tells us that we are to be a good steward with the earth, and to tend to His flock and garden. But we all too often forget that they are His flock, and His garden, not ours. We are merely to tend to His property and take care of it.

It is not our lot to decide which grapes to grow and where. It is not our decision to decide whether to make wine, grape juice or simply harvest the grapes to eat as a fruit. It is our lot to tend to the vines, clipping, weeding and watering the crop. It is up to God to decide which grapes will be grown and how they will be used after HE harvests them.

We are required to tend to His property here on earth, not make all of the decisions and control the earth for our own benefit. What we do is to be done for His benefit.

As we get ready to survive the coming times, we need to hold these truths in mind as we develop our preparedness plans. Some of you are under the impression that America will never fall under the dominion of the spirit of the Anti-Christ, but scripture says otherwise.

According to Revelation 17:17; for God did give into their hearts to do its mind, and to make one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast till the sayings of God may be complete… (Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) The King James version puts it; For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled…

What this verse basically says is that all rulers will give control of their nations over to the power of the beast. Gods will cannot be done until this occurs. And guess what, this is being done even today. More and more we are seeing control of our lives being put into the hands of people who are clearly not true believers in Christ.

The end times are a comin’, watcha gonna do ’bout it? The answer is, naturally, prepare for the coming times. This brouhaha over the so called debt ceiling is certainly sign enough for anyone willing to open their eyes and ears to realize that there never was a recovery from this economic depression time we are going through today. Prices continue to rise, food and other products are becoming scarce and we frequently se out of stock labels on an increasing number of products on the grocery store shelves.

Sales figures are trending downward across the entire retail spectrum. Even Walmart has experienced their seventh period in a row of declining sales volume. And you know things are bad if the big blue giant is struggling. So what are we going to do to get ready for the coming times?

There are several areas of need that you should be taking a serious look at. One of them is heating your home this winter, and in following winters as well. I have already posted a piece on heating oil and guaranteed price contracts, usually known as fixed or capped price contracts. Read it and use that knowledge to lock in some good pricing for this coming season. (2011-12 season) You should also take a look at how well insulated your home is and ways you can improve upon that insulation to lower your heating costs. Also take a look at some of the various alternative heating sources, as well as back up plans in case you suddenly find yourself unable to heat with your usual equipment.

Your food storage needs also should be examined. Have you started your long term food storage plans? Have you begun to acquire this type of food supply? How are you going to store that food so that it is kept safe and in a controlled environment?

Water is another concern. What are your plans should the public water supply suddenly fail if that is your current source? If you are on a well, is your pump operable without having to rely on the commercial electric grid for power? Look into a DC pump and a solar panel/battery setup for your wells pumping need.

How about your income situation? If things collapse will you still be able to collect a paycheck, and actually use it to purchase what you need without having to rely upon that little plastic card we all use today? Do you have some cash on hand in a safe place to tide you over until that cash becomes useless? In addition, do you have a plan to have a second or alternative income stream should you no longer be able to work? I hate to say this, but if the economy collapses, will your employer fold like a bad poker hand?

There is really no need for the economy to come to a crashing halt should an agreement not be met on raising this bogus debt ceiling, but it is possible that this is simply an engineered disaster that will allow the government to implement its plans to enact a dictatorship of this country. This is not a pleasant thought, but it is a possibility, however remote it may be. We will know in three weeks time what the outcome will be. I am predicting that the debt ceiling will be raised and that our government will continue to increase its spending on wasteful programs that do little more than lock in votes for those professional politicians that have come to rely on buying the vote as opposed to truly earning the vote of the people.

Hard times are a comin’, brother, watcha gonna do ’bout it?

On my internet radio show, Surviving the Times, I take time out every Fall season to report on the position of energy costs. And, every August I remind people that that month is the best time of the year to make your arrangements for your heating oil contracts. This year will be no different, as I can see at this point, since the pricing of the futures contracts follow the same trend even though the price is going up.

You can keep your fuel costs low by entering into a fixed contract, of which there are two basic types for your home energy needs. One of these types is a fixed price contract, and the other is a capped price contract. You can get burned easily on either one if you are not careful, but it is much better than praying that the price of oil won’t climb beyond your ability to pay for it.

Here are a few general points to consider, and bear in mind as you search for an oil supplier;

  • All contracts for the retail sale of home heating oil must be in writing.
  • Read all the terms and conditions outlined in the contract before signing; keep a copy for your personal records. Pay extra attention to the small print.
  • Be familiar with the types of contracts a company offers for price protection programs.
  • Usually, fuel contractors offering pre-paid fuel contracts must show upon request that they have pre-purchased the fuel or have obtained a bond against fuel sales.
  • Be aware of any default terms that may void the contract.
  • Check on references of customers who have had contracts with the oil company.
  • If you think that a fuel company has not abided by its contract or has used unfair or deceptive business practices, you can generally approach or contact your state agency that covers the issues in question.

States have different regulatory requirements for not only supplying fuel oil, but in how the individual contract/agreements can be set up, so I would recommend you investigate thoroughly the laws pertaining to your state before committing to any deals.

Fixed Price Contracts

Fixed price contracts are simply that, a contract that says you pay X number of dollars per gallon of fuel for the duration of the contract. Normally, a fuel dealer is able to provide for this pricing structure because he either has pre-purchased the fuel under contract, or has made an agreement with a wholesale supplier via a similar contract scheme as you have agreed to with the retail dealer. Initially, the price per gallon may be higher than the market price or advertised price, and you may feel as though the dealer is screwing you, but as demand for heating fuel increases, so doesn’t the market price. With a fixed price contract, you will pay that same amount no matter how high the market price gets. You will be happy when the price soars, but not so happy when it does not. It is in fact a gamble, but in my experience, it is a gamble well worth taking.

The commodities markets show a steadily increasing price on the wholesale market, and I would guess that we may easily see $4.50 to $4.75 by the end of January, at least in the area I live in at the moment. Currently, the price ranges from $3.299 to $3.539 per gallon in this same area. And there are indications that the price may in fact top $5.00 per gallon, though I do not see prices in this area getting that high.

Capped Price Contracts

In a capped price contract the price per gallon is free to float up and down, but it will not exceed the top price set between you and your retailer. This scheme may have some benefits that are not readily apparent, such as the possibility that some extant reason may keep the price of oil lower than expected for the entirety of the season, which would be a bummer for those who chose the fixed price scheme. But again, I do not at this time see any such thing happening in the markets this year.

No matter which way you chose to pay for these contracts, you will always have to either prepay the entire amount owed to the dealer, or agree to installments, which sometimes come with added surprises, such as processing fees and high interest rates for late payments. Either way, you need to be able to guarantee that you can in fact pay for the fuel. This usually leaves those who are poor out of the loop as their credit score suck like a broken Hoover.

It is best that you investigate now as to what your options are for your situation. No matter what the forecast says, it is going to be a cold winter, and heating your home is something only the truly obtuse will put off till the last minute.

As I stated before, August is always the best month to buy oil for heating, so keep an eye out for pricing deals that will allow you to save big during the winter months. Always read, and reread the contracts before signing, pay attention to the small print, and if you don’t understand something on the contract, get someone to explain it before signing. Another thing to watch for is the financial stability of the retailer you are looking at to buy your heating oil from. Are they stable enough that they won’t pull the plug from you in the middle of the winter? I have seen too many instances where dealers have gone under in the middle of the season because they failed to anticipate market conditions far enough in advance. Many good people have been literally left in the cold because of no fault of their own.

Pay attention, do your research and prepare for the coming times. Don’t be cold this winter because you thought a better deal might come along.

My new book ‘Surviving the Times’ is now available online at amazon.com, as well as at the Remember ME! Media bookstore! Surviving the Times takes you through the steps of building your preparedness binder, as well as how to determine what the most viable disaster scenarios would be that you need to prepare for. I also look at the issue of gold and silver in your preparedness planning and what makes a good basic survival arsenal.

Alternatively, you can click onto the titles to go to a securedordering site.

Surviving The Times

Print: $20.00

Download: $10.00

Surviving the Times takes you through the steps to make your own preparedness planning binder. You’ll learn how to guage the level of various threats as they relate to your preparedness planning by using the three P’s of preparedness, the SaWaFo pyramid and more. We will look at some of the main issues such as gold and silver for survival, and the basic survival arsenal as well.

 

A Handy Disaster Preparedness Guide

Print: $14.95

Download: $10.00

A compilation of tips and how to’s on developing an emergency preparedness plan, and how to get ready for natural and man-made disasters. Also includes a comprehensive listing of state and federal agencies to contact for more help and assistance in dealing with emergency planning and dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.

Kinds of Fire and Their Uses

One of the important things about camping is a campfire. There are two kinds of campfires, the “warming up” fire, and the “cooking” fire. Of course there are others, such as the “smudge” to drive away mosquitoes, and the “friendship”—the kind you just like to sit around and talk or silently watch the flames shape themselves into fantastic forms. The most useful since man discovered fire is the cooking fire—flames for the pot and coal for the pan.

Select a sheltered and safe place to build your cooking fire, where no wind can blow it out or into the surrounding dry brush, ascertain the direction of the wind, and then build your fire so that the smoke will not blow into your face when you are doing the cooking. Next in importance is the wood. Certain kinds of wood, such as hickory, oak, beech, birch, hard maple, ash, elm, locust, longleaf pine, and cherry, have fairly high heat values, and laboratory tests show that one cord of seasoned wood of these species is equal to one ton of good coal. Short leaf maple, hemlock, sycamore, cedar, poplar, Norway pine, cypress, basswood, spruce, and white pine, have a comparatively low heat value. These woods ignite readily and give out a quick hot flame, but one that soon dies down. The principal disadvantage of the resinous, pines is their oily black smoke.

The woodsmen of British Columbia have a wood-chopping trick that keeps nicks out of the axe blade. When chopping the wood, instead of laying it on a block or on the ground where you have a chance to miss and put a nice nick in your axe, just stand it on end, holding it with the left hand at a convenient angle and strike a glancing blow into it, turning the branch till you have gone all the way round. It will then break with a blow from the head of the axe and you have a nice feathery end to catch fire easily.

You can make make what are called “fuzz-sticks” or “firelighters,” by taking a dry, resinous stick about an inch thick and shaving it with a good sharp knife into thin slivers, which remain on the stick. Three or four of the “fuzz-sticks” will insure the starting of a fire.

Gather dry twigs and dead branches and plenty of birch tinder. When the wood has been gathered and prepared, you are ready to begin building the fire. Time is saved by having everything on hand and within reach. Haste always wastes time in making a cooking fire.

The simplest and handiest all-round cooking fire is that made of two green logs laid parallel on the ground. Level off the top with an axe. Place them a few inches apart, so that a frying pan or coffee pot can rest upon both. Between the logs scrape a trench about six inches deep. In placing the wood in the trench, pile it in such a way that allows plenty of air space. Place several “fuzz-sticks” first, then dry twigs, and keep adding heavier wood as the fire progresses. When it is blazing well, start your water boiling. For broiling, or frying, or baking, scrape the hot ashes and live coals evenly, and you will have a wonderful fire for such purposes. Never add more fuel just before putting on your stuff to cook. Avoid too big a fire. Remember that you do not cook with flames, but with hot coals, which give a greater heat and one that is steady. Never use soft wood if you can get hard wood. Soft wood is smoky, covers the food with flaky soot, and produces a ruffled temper. A windbreak or fender will add to the convenience during chilly or windy weather.

A simple camp-fire crane that may be used in connection with any kind of an open fire can be made by cutting a sapling of hard wood about three inches in thickness. Drive sapling firmly into ground.

A common method of building a cooking fire is to take flat stones and put them together in a sort of fireplace. Grates may also be purchased for outdoor cooking. Toasted bread just reaches the right spot. A useful toaster can be made from flexible withes bent and tied in the shape similar to that of a miniature Wikiup. Bread will toast better when placed before glowing embers. Turn the bread frequently.

Making Fire Without Matches

There are three distinct ways of building a fire without matches. The simplest, but most difficult, is by the rubbing of two sticks or hand drills together; the second, by use of a bow drill, which is an improvement over the first, in that it gives a more rapid movement and increases the friction; and, third, by the use of flint and steel. Every good camper should be able to accomplish all three, and by all odds the last two.

Fig. 8 is a good illustration of the simplest sort of fire drill, one used by the Indians of Washington and the Northwest. Following is a description of the set, quoted by special permission from the Smithsonian Report, “Firemaking Apparatus in the United States National Museum,” by Dr. Walter Hough:

“It consists of a hearth, two drills, and a slow match. The hearth is a rounded piece of cedar wood; opposite the fire-holes, it is dressed flat, so as to rest firmly on the ground. There are three fire-holes with wide notches. The drills taper to each end, that is, are larger in the middle (Fig. 8). The powder, a fine brown dust, collects at the junction of the slot and fire-hole, where they form a lip, and there readily ignites. This side of the hearth is semi-decayed. No doubt the slots were cut in that side for the purpose of utilizing this quality. The drills are bulged toward the middle, thereby rendering it possible to give great pressure and at the same time rapid rotation without allowing the hands to slip down too rapidly, a fault in many fire drills. The slow-match is of frayed cedar bark, about a yard long, folded squarely together, and used section by section. Mr. Willoughby says:

“The stick with three cavities was placed upon the ground, the Indian kneeling and placing a knee upon each end. He placed one end of the smaller stick in one of the cavities, and, holding the other end between the palms of his hands, kept up a rapid, half-rotary motion, causing an amount of friction sufficient to produce fire. With this he lighted the end of the braided slowmatch of cedar bark. This was often carried for weeks thus ignited and held carefully beneath the blanket to protect it from wind and rain.’

“Fire is easily produced with this set. It takes but a slight effort to cause a wreath of aromatic smoke to curl up, and the friction easily grinds off a dark powder, which collects between the edges of the slot. When this ignites it drops down the slot in a little pellet, and falls upon the tinder placed below to receive it. Both drill and hearth are eighteen inches long.”

Fig. 9 shows a second set, reproduced from the same book, and shows the method the Indians used to keep the precious hearth dry. The entire length is carefully wrapped with a strip of taut buckskin.

Fig. 10, also from “Firemaking Apparatus in the United States National Museum,” and shows an interesting feature. The handle by which the hearth is fastened to the Indian’s belt also shows the spliced drill, the hardwood point spliced into a favorite or especially desirable handle.

Probably when the simple hand drill was used, the grinding of the powder was facilitated by adding a small pinch of fine sand to the bowl of the hearth.

The next method is that of intensifying the friction by means of using the bow drill. This is the more common method, and is found in general use, from the Indians of Alaska—who use bone instruments, except the hearth, which is usually white pine—to the Indians of South America. The principal law, however, is the same in all; only the material used changes with the locality. See Fig. 11.

Ernest Thompson Seton, the master of woodcraft, declares that the best results are obtainable by having the hearth and the drill of the same material. But others are not so agreed. There is one thing certain, however: the wood used must not be too hard nor too soft, but hard enough to make very fine brown grindings, and soft enough to make a sufficient quantity to hold the spark. The tinder and carefully prepared pile of slivers should be ready before the drill is set going.

No matter how carefully the process is described, you will never be able to make a fire without practice and personal experimentation. Study the cuts here reproduced, then adapt what you have to the principle. You are sure to succeed if persistent.

Third method, building fire with a flint and steel. Note carefully the implements in Fig. 12. To be successful you will need a select piece of absolutely dry punk wood, the longer the fibers the better, a piece of hard steel fashioned so as to get a good striking surface without injury to the hand (a large, stout jackknife can be made to work well), a selected piece of flint—it will take much experimenting to find just the right piece, but when found you have a prize. A small tin can may be used for a tinder horn, but the tip end of a cow’s horn is better and safer. Prepare the tinder, place it in the horn, then dash the sparks into it. When a tiny bit of smoke rises, blow carefully into a flame and apply the burning tinder to the twigs previously arranged for the fire. Anyone can become expert in this little trick with persistent effort. If not successful, ask some neighboring old-timer to come in and aid you until you see how it is done.