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All posts for the month November, 2015

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

“Still … in this world only winter is certain.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)

If you happen to be a Game of Thrones fan, you know the Stark Family motto: “Winter is coming.”  It’s inevitable and sometimes dangerous. According to all predictions, this winter will be a repeat of last year, or perhaps even worse.  Most of the country can expect extreme cold, an abundance of snow, and a longer-than-normal winter. It may be early in the season, but that first storm of the year can sneak up on you. Now is the time to double check your preparations and be certain that you are ready for anything, well before the first snowflake falls.

Many of us spend far more of our waking hours away from home, busy with work, school, or chauffeuring our kids to their various activities. Because of this, a vehicle emergency kit is vital. In recent winters, there were two notable situations during which a well-stocked kit would have been beneficial. During one scenario, a freak snowstorm struck the Atlanta, Georgia area.  Because weather like this is such a rarity, the area was completely unprepared, officials didn’t have the experience or equipment needed to deal with it, and traffic gridlocked almost immediately. Hundreds of people were stranded as the freeway turned into a scene reminiscent of The Walking Dead, with bumper-to-bumper vehicles at a standstill.  Those without food and water in their vehicles went hungry, and many people ran out of gas as they tried to keep warm. No matter how comfortable you are with winter driving, in a situation like this, you are at the mercy of others who may not be so experienced.

The take-home preparedness point here is that it doesn’t matter how great of a driver you are in the snow, whether or not you have moved to the tropics from your winter chalet in Antarctica, or whether you have huge knobby tires and 4WD.  Over-confidence in your own ability can cause people to forget about the lack of skills that other folks have. Many times, people end up in a crisis situation through no fault of their own and are at the mercy of other people who have no idea what they are doing. (source)

The next situation had a lot more potential for a tragic ending, had it not been for the survival skills of a father of 4 small children.  A family of six had taken off for a day of snowy adventure, when their Jeep flipped over in a remote part of the Seven Troughs mountain range in Northwestern Nevada. James Glanton, a miner and experienced hunter, kept his family alive and unscathed for two days in the frigid wilderness using only the items from his vehicle and the environment. Due to his survival skills and the things he had on hand, none of the family members so much as suffered frostbite while awaiting rescue. You can learn more about the hero dad’s resourcefulness HERE.

Before adding any preps to your vehicle, make sure that it is well maintained, because not having a breakdown in the first place is a better plan than surviving the breakdown. Change your oil as recommended, keep your fluids topped up,  and keep your tires in good condition, replacing them when needed.  As well, particularly when poor weather is imminent, be sure to keep your fuel level above the halfway point. If you happen to get stranded, being able to run your vehicle for increments of time will help keep you warm. Build a relationship with a mechanic you can trust, and pre-empt issues before they become vehicle failures at the worst possible time.

What’s in my vehicle emergency kit?

Disaster can strike when you least expect it, so now is the time to put together a kit that can see you through a variety of situations. I drive an SUV, and I keep the following gear in the back at all times. You can modify this list for your amount of space, your environment, the seasons, and your particular skill set.  Some people who are adept at living off the land may scale this down, while other people may feel it isn’t enough.  I make small modifications between my cold weather kit and my warm weather kit, but the basics remain the same. While you should have the supplies available to set off on foot, in many cases, the safer course of action is to stay with your vehicle and wait for assistance.

Some people feel that having a cell phone means they can just call for assistance. While this is a great plan, and you should have a communications device, it should never be your only plan. What if there is no signal in your area or if cell service has been interrupted?  What if you simply forgot to charge your phone? In any scenario, calling for help should never be your only plan. You should always be prepared to save yourself.

How-to-Create-a-Vehicle-Emergency-Kit1-300x236

I drive a small SUV, and I manage to fit a substantial amount of gear in it, still leaving plenty of room for occupants. The tub on the right hand side just has a couple of things in the bottom and serves two purposes. It keeps the other tubs from sliding around, and it contains shopping bags after a trip to the grocery store. You can also place purchases on top of the other containers if necessary. I have two 18 gallon totes and a smaller 10 gallon tote, with individual components in small containers within them.

Tools

tools

knife

First Aid

first aid

I use old Altoids containers for small items like band-aids and alcohol wipes. They stand up far better than the flimsy cardboard boxes those items come in.  (Also, that means we get to have Altoids.)

altoids tin

Light

The police flashlight is also a taser.

Individual Kits

individual kit It’s sort of hard to see but in the photo above, the container is a stocking hat for warmth and a waterproof hat that will also provide some sun protection.  Inside the container are two pairs of socks, a rain poncho, a Berkey sport bottle (it can purify up to 100 gallons of water), and a space blanket. Each of these is topped off with a hoodie in warmer weather. In the winter, gloves and scarves replace the hoodie.

Shelter

shelter Obviously, THIS is not the Taj Mahal of tents. But it fits easily into a backpack and would be sufficient for day-to-day emergencies in warmer weather.  In the winter, and anytime we are going further from home, we have a bigger sturdier tent that we put in the vehicle. This would be used in the event that we were stranded but for some reason, unable to use the vehicle for shelter. Generally speaking, your vehicle will provide better shelter and safety than a tent.

Emergency Kit

All of the above mini-kits go into one big 18-gallon tote.

Emergency kit

Also included are a few different types of rope, a compass, a road atlas (I like the kind that are spiral-bound), WD-40, duct tape, and a 4 pack of toilet paper. There is room for 2 warm blankets folded on top.

Food

I use a separate smaller container for food and hygiene items.

food

Our food kit contains graham crackers with peanut butter, pop-top cans of soup, pop-top cans of fruit, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, garbage bags, spoons, forks, a survival guide, and plastic dishes.  Not shown: ziplock bags of dog food in single servings.

portable dog bowls

These collapsible pet dishes are lightweight additions for a backpack. In a pinch, they could be used for human food also.

Shoes

The second large tote in the back is a lot fuller in the winter. I leave it back there year-round because it keeps the other container from sliding around and it makes a good container for shopping bags and small items that I am transporting. In the winter, I have a pair of heavy, snow and moisture resistant winter boots for each passenger, snow pants, and winter coats. Since the coats and snow pants are squishy, we can still put grocery bags and parcels on top of them.

shoes

Notes

  • Not shown: My vehicle has space beneath the back seats, where we store tightly rolled sleeping bags. If I didn’t have this space, I’d be able to put them in the tote that holds the shoes.
  • Because of extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the year, the food should be rotated out of the vehicle every couple of months so that you always have fresh food available.
  • In cold weather, your water bottles should have about 2 inches of the water removed to allow room for expansion when the contents freeze.
  • Always have a backpack for each family member.  If you are forced by circumstances to leave your vehicle on foot, you want to be able to carry as much of your gear as possible.
  • Depending on the laws in your state (and your interest in complying with them) weapons and ammunition can be very useful additions to your vehicle kit.
  • Your kit should change with the seasons.  Snow pants won’t do you much good in the heat of summer, but extra water will be invaluable.
  • When taking a longer trip, add more food and water to your kit than you might normally keep in it.
  • Don’t forget about communications: you can summon help with a cell phone or a two-way radio.

Vehicle Emergency Kit Checklist

Not every person needs every item on this list.  Pick and choose the items that are important given your family situation, your environment, and your most-likely disaster scenarios. No list can be comprehensive for every person, but this one has served us well.

Do you have any other supplies to add to the list? Have you ever needed to use your vehicle emergency kit?

Other Resources:

Packing Survival Junk in Your Trunk

15 Items That Should Be in Your Vehicle During the Winter

Be Ready with Vehicle 72 Hour Kits

What do you need in your car survival kit?

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: Winter is Coming: Here’s Your Vehicle Emergency Kit Checklist

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

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By Tess Pennington – Ready Nutrition

“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”

– Charles Darwin

In a critical emergency, how quickly we respond to a disaster directly impacts how successful we are at coming out of the situation. Many of us typically go through a processing phase, or what many call the normalcy bias. This bias is actually a coping mechanism that occurs when we are trying to register and sort out a traumatic event or impending disaster. It is very natural to slip into this phase – but getting out of it is takes a little longer. The reason being is we are creatures of habit and resist change at every turn. When we begin to come out of the normalcy bias, only then do we open our eyes to the changes that have occurred in our lives; and we must react to them. Sometimes these changes are short-lived and sometimes, depending on the disaster, will be long lasting. Our military forces train for reacting quickly in a situation, and we must train for this as well.

Having a plan and a supply of food is well and good. If you need a good place to start, I suggest using the 52 Weeks to Preparedness series. It’s the skills and ingenuity that will help you thrive and stay alive.

As much as I do not like to spew doom, mark my words – after a disaster, times will quickly change, and the sooner we can adapt, the better our chances at survival will be. One of the first things we should do following a disaster (assuming the danger has passed and everyone is safe) is to begin to see how everyday items can be used as tools for off-grid living. A simple credit card or a busted cell phone can go a long way in surviving an emergency. We can easily find items around our home to promote our security and wellbeing.

7 Ways to Use Items To Adapt and Survive

  1. Gravity fed water filter – Water is key to survival and your number one priority when all hell breaks loose. When you drink unpurified water, it can cause severe illnesses, even death. If you haven’t invested in a water filtration system, then you need to learn how to purify water for consumption. Here are instructions for the most basic type of water filtration system. It’s so easy to make, it’s an elementary school project!
  2. Rope – Rope or paracord can serve multiple purposes in off grid living. Read about the 50+ ways to use paracord toward surviving. One of my favorite uses is to line dry clothing.
  3. Busted motors – Essentially any motor with a copper wire can be converted into an energy producer. You could easily convert your washing machine into windmill to make power. This is an essential skill to have for surviving a long term emergency.
  4. Stationary bikes – Did you ever think that stationary bikes could help to promote your self sustainability? Attaching your wheat grinder to your stationary bike by a pulley will help you put the peddle to the metal and grind grains more efficiently. Here are few additional ways to produce energy using a bicycle.
  5. Passive solar heater – We tend to think of solar heating as an expensive option, but with a few 2×4’s and a stash of soda cans you can create a passive solar heater. This could be a life saving item if you find yourself living in a grid down environment in a cold climate. Here are some basic instructions for building this.
  6. Cellular phones – As mentioned previously, cell phones have many uses in a survival situation. If your phone is still intact, you can download survival programs now (some are even for free) to learn and practice in your free time. However, if your phone is busted during a disaster there are core parts that can be utilized towards your survival. Some of these parts are the speaker, LCD screen, metal divider, wire, circuit board and battery. Read more on how you can meet some of your basic needs.
  7. Biomass briquettes – Your trash could save your life. Biomass briquettes are a green fuel source and are comprised of compressed organic compounds such as corn husks, coconut shells, grass clippings, dried leaves, saw dust, cardboard or paper. Biomass fuel sources are equivalent to that of common fuel sources and can be inside or in outside settings. Learn how to make them.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: SHTF Planning: 7 Ways to Use The Items Around You To Adapt and Survive

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

 

big 10 chemicals

By   – SurvivoPedia

Unless you grow all of your own food, you have no way of knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body. Even then, up to 90 percent of all ground water contains at least trace amounts of pesticides and herbicides due to run-off. A simple can of green beans or a bottle of water can contain toxins that aren’t even listed on the label.

The bottom line: food labels are confusing and often misleading. For that matter, many of the chemicals in your food aren’t even LISTED on the label. Those are the ones that we’re going to discuss today.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: Top 10 Chemicals Food Labels Won’t Tell You About

How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water - Backdoor Survival

By Gaye Levy – Backdoor Survival

If I were to ask how many of you store liquid bleach along with your other prepping supplies, I am certain that a good percentage of you would raise your hands.  Liquid bleach is a powerful disinfectant and sanitizer but did you know that there is something better?  Something with an almost indefinite shelf life that is inexpensive and takes almost no room to store?

That something is the chemical Calcium Hypochlorite most commonly known as Pool Shock.

I have known about Pool Shock for years but because it is not readily available in my area, I never took the time to search it out so I could stockpile some for my own emergency preps.  That has now changed and today I plan to show you how to use Pool Shock the easy way, step by step.

Continue reading at Backdoor Survival: How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water

About the author:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

 

The Little-Known, Simple Way To Keep Frigid Temps Outside Your Home

Image source: Pixabay.com

By Angela Counter Off The Grid News

As the weather turns colder, thoughts are no doubt turning to adding insulation, sealing leaks, and pulling the wool rugs out of storage. Properly winterizing your home helps keep energy costs down and spirits high once Jack Frost moves in.

The doors and windows to your home can be challenging to properly insulate, however, and will remain vulnerable to heat loss. Consider preventing some of this vulnerability with the addition of a mud room to provide a buffer between your home and the inhospitable conditions.

Although you can install well-insulated fiberglass exterior doors to keep weather out, nothing compares to the insulation offered by an interior wall. A mud room is a vestibule built along the side of the main dwelling which separates the door from the outside. Whether fully insulated or not, it functions as an airlock and prevents the full force of wind, rain and snow from having access to the exterior door. Consequently, less cold air and moisture finds their way inside. A mud room will even provide your home with protection from heat, making it more energy-efficient in summertime, too.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: The Little-Known, Simple Way To Keep Frigid Temps Outside Your Home

baking-powder-soda-shelf-life

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

The basic baking essentials used to make bread from your stored grains (e.g. wheat berries) include baking powder, baking soda, salt, and yeast. Some people (e.g. Mrs.J) also keep a supply of vital wheat gluten (or bread enhancer) for their bread making.

The question (and answer) for today is, How do I store these baking essentials for longevity?
The NUMBER ONE concern for these particular ingredients is MOISTURE.

For optimum shelf life the storage conditions must be DRY.

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: How To Store Baking Essentials For Longer Shelf Life

 

NASA study

By Natural News Editors – Natural News

(NaturalNews) As any long-time reader of this column knows, we routinely draw from historical lessons to highlight that this time is not different. (Story by Simon Black, republished from SovereignMan.com)

Throughout the 18th century, for example, France was the greatest superpower in Europe, if not the world.

But they became complacent, believing that they had some sort of ‘divine right’ to reign supreme, and that they could be as fiscally irresponsible as they liked.

The French government spent money like drunken sailors; they had substantial welfare programs, free hospitals, and grand monuments.

They held vast territories overseas, engaged in constant warfare, and even had their own intrusive intelligence service that spied on King and subject alike.

Of course, they couldn’t pay for any of this.

Continue reading at Natural News: NASA-Funded Study: Over 32 Advanced Civilizations Have Collapsed Before Us, And We’re Next In Line