Friday, September 28, 2012

Forth Half - Kit

This is the forth half of the post on kit. You will find links to other bloggers and websites about the subject for this week.


Bison Survival Blog - Survival Key Ring

Stealth Survival - Sheltering in Place: The Home Disaster Kit, Part Two - Basic Contents

Stealth Survival - Water Resistant Survival Kit Containers


Equipped To Survive - Survival Kits: Assembled by Doug Ritter for Personal Use

Wikipedia - Survival Kit

Third Half - Kit

To the third half of the post about kit.

Military Morons
These folks have the best site on personal military equipment. I can't say enough about them. They evaluate the latest equipment from many manufactures. Plus, they have many, many, many photos of the gear.

Remember, watch those opinions.


Military Morons

Kit Up
"Kit Up is the stuff you weren't issued but that you couldn't have done without during your military life." They even have an outdoors and survival category on the left side of their web page.

I'll say it again.

Make sure you are buying much needed beans, bullets, and band-aids before the Batman belts and other bullsh*t.



Second Half - Kit

This is the second half of the blog about kit. You will find videos/podcasts, instructions, and other information about the subject for this week.


Pack Rat 556 - 72 Hour Load Bearing Equipment 1/3

Pack Rat 556 - 72 Hour Load Bearing Equipment 2/3

Pack Rat 556 - 72 Hour Load Bearing Equipment 3/3


Smart Cords/Lanyards
Remember me telling you about being pissed over losing a $200 knife. Well, one way of preventing losing your gear is to use smart cords.

Some people call them "dummy cords." My thought is: if you use dummy cords you must be very smart. Let me tell you a story.

When I was younger, my mother would take a shoe lace run it through the arms of my coat and tie my mittens to the end of the shoe lace. I would run around outside, take my gloves off to make snowballs, and never lose my gloves.

Flash forward about two decades, a few years in the military, and to the great state of Montana for a two-week training mission. Before we went to the woods, I took a length of 550 cord and ran it through the sleeves of my field jacket and tied my gloves to the ends of the 550 cord. I was joked.

Dude, does your mother dress you? Man, how old are you? and ... You get the point.

Well, we start running around in the woods and people start losing their gloves. Remember, it is cold, very cold. People started using wool socks as gloves. Me, I still have mine.

Then, I start seeing others with their gloves tied to their field jackets. The coolest was seeing the Sargent Major and the Colonel wearing their gloves on smart cords.

So, how do you make smart cords/dummy cords?

Basically, you take a piece of strong cord and tie it to the object you want to keep from losing then the other end is tied to you or your gear. The string should be long enough that you can use the tool with the cord still attached.

Once you are finished, you wrap the cord around the tool and put it back in its place.


Wikipedia - Lanyard

Wikipedia - Parachute Cord

Other Information:

What Should Be In Your Kit?
There are many opinions about what should be in your kit. Some people suggest carrying a lot of gear, and some people suggest carrying a minimal amount of gear.

My recommendation:

Learn some skills and practice those skills.

What do I mean by that?

If you can build three or four different types of shelter using just a blue tarp, a knife, and some 550 cord, you don't need to carry a tent. Plus, a blue (or any other color) tarp can be used for many other uses. Just do a search for "Uses for a Blue Tarp" if you want some ideas.

Also realize that your kit is yours, nobody elses, so you have to carry your kit and be able to use every item. As an example; firefighters, I am told; have to learn the 21 uses for a shovel, so you should learn the uses for all of your kit.


Viking Preparedness - On Sherry, ALICE, and Personal Growth

Doctors for Disaster Preparedness - Uses of a Shovel

Week Fifteen - Kit


I still can't think of one.

Blog Post:

A British soldier calls it "kit" and an US soldier would call it "web gear." A German soldier calls it; I don't know probably something in German, but it does all the same thing.

It carries their stuff.

Not the ordinary everyday stuff, but the special stuff that they use to survive battles and kill other people with.

A few words of caution before I begin.

Many, many people have very different ideas on the type, amount, quality and need for tactical gear. Remember those opinions! Others lose focus and start buying unneeded guns and tactical gear instead of much needed food, water, and medical supplies.

With that said, I will continue ...

This kit is important. It helps a soldier fight and survive. For us, our kit is going to help us survive.

Now, I am going to use a couple of ways to write about my/your kit. The first method is going to be a layered approach. The next method is going to talk about specific equipment.

In the layered approach, we use a method similar to getting dressed, a base layer, next a mid-layer, and finally an outer layer.

Before I start, remember your threat analysis, your pocketbook/wallet, and watch those opinions.

Base Layer/Personal Equipment

This equipment is carried in your pockets and/or on your pants' belt. It is always carried with you.

Fire Starter
Bic Lighter, matches, and many other things are carried to start a fire. Heck, some people still carry flint and steel.

One of my cousins and his wife are cavers. They explore and chart routes through caves. They always carry three sources of light on them when they are in a cave. If you have even been in a cave with all the lights off, you know why.

Now, some people will buy an expensive flashlight like a Surefire ($75-150) and think they are done.

Maybe not because a Surefire is really bright but it only lasts about 2 hours on high. If you need a light to last longer, you might need something like a Photon Light (14 hours), a Maglite (26 hours), or a cellphone.

Knife/Scissors/Cutting Instrument
Another cousin is a school teacher, she is prohibited from carrying a knife, so she carries scissors. Some people (a few terrorists) got around a similar restriction by carrying a box cutter/razor knife.

Besides deciding if you are going to carry a knife, you are going to have to decide which type of knife you are going to carry.

Fixed Blade or Folder
To me, a fixed bladed knife is stronger but you will need to carry it in a belt sheath. Additionally, a big knife can do a small knife's tasks, but a small knife can't do a big knife's job.

A folding knife can fit in your pocket, but some of the bigger ones need a belt sheath, too. Plus, a folder knife can be carried in your pocket and no one will know.

Inexpensive or Expensive
I can tell you from personal experience that you will be very, very, very pissed when you lost your $200 special-ordered hand-made knife. Heck, I was pissed when I lost my Buck 110, but I have never been very angry over losing any of my $20 imported knives.

A gun or a knife, it's to be used to protect your life.

But there are more choices!

Batons or folding batons like the ASAP. Sprays and Stun Guns round out some more of your choices for protection.

Check your local laws, just to be legal.

And, buy the best quality that you can.

Now, some people will suggest carrying other/more items. Such as ...

I bought my first one, over 20 years ago. It was a Leatherman PST. OK, I lied it was fifty years ago and a Swiss Army knife. Don't ask me which one because I have had about five different models over 50 years.

The modern multi-tools usually are carried on the belt, so you may need a belt sheath, too.

The range of choices, from price to quality, are many for compasses. You will have to choose from little button compasses to $90 military-issued tritium lensatic compasses. All of them you will have to practise with, and don't forget GPS.

Pocket Survival Kit/Survival Tin
John Wiseman, author of the SAS Survival Handbook, introduced the world to the survival tin. The survival tin is a small pocket-sized metal container. This container holds many items that can be used in a survival situation such as matches, tinder, string, large trash bag, and other items.

Some people say the survival tins are as good as a 72-hour kit. Others say a survival tin is all you really need to carry when you go into the woods, and others (myself included) say you need a little bit more to survive 72-hours. So remember, watch those opinions.

The mid-layer is equipment that is carried in a pouch, vest, or harness. The gear carried in a vest or harness is more extensive then the stuff carried in your pockets. It also makes surviving a little easier.

If you decide to build and stock a survival vest, pouch, or harness, I urge you to buy quality when you purchase your pouch, vest, or harness because your pouch will be repacked/refilled many times.

Now which one? A vest, a pouch, or a harness.

A vest doesn't stand out, much; it just makes you look like a photographer or fly-fisherman. A pouch doesn't stand out either, unless you are a guy and most guys don't carry a purse/pouch. A harness, like the Israeli combat harness, will stand out. Actually, wearing a harness shouts survivalist!

There are many pros about a vest.

*Everything has a place and everything is in its place.

*Vests can be worn under a coat for added warmth and concealment of the vest.

*Vests come in various colors, but the colors are usually limited to green, khaki, or black.

Now most people think of something like a photographers/fishing vest for a survival vest. They are great. Most have about 10 outside pockets, 4 inside vest pockets, and one or two pockets on the back of the vest.

One article I read, from a Cowboy Action Shooting prospective, suggested a regular lined vest, with 2 outside pockets and 4 inside pockets, as a good survival vest. They made the argument that a person doesn't need a lot of pockets to carry a lot of stuff. Just a few pockets to carry the essentials for survival.

Plus, you don't standout; you're just someone wearing a vest to keep your body warm and your arms cool. (Sorry, I can't find the article to link to. It was a pretty good idea)

A pouch also has many of the same pros as a vest, but there is one con. A pouch usually only has one main pocket with several other really tiny pockets, so everything is usually mixed up inside a pouch. Plus, there is limited space when compared to a vest.

A harness is usually used/reserved for tactical or combat situations. My brother Spartan uses an Israeli combat harness (remember those threat analysis) for one of his mid-layers.

In a tactical situation, you are going to need a combat harness. I prefer the US Army LBE (Load Bearing Equipment) because it is inexpensive ($50 compared to over $200 for an Israeli combat harness) and the LBE can be tailored to different rifles/missions.

I have a pistol belt, two rifle magazine pouches, two canteens with canteen covers, one canteen cup, an open bottom canteen cup stove, and a butt pack. All of these items were standard US military issue. I use a FMCO LBE H-Harness 8 point suspension instead of the Y-straps normally worn by 1980s era US military soldiers. The 8 point suspenders have a first-aid pouch attached with one or two first-aid dressings inside of it. I also have a nylon grease gun magazine pouch. I use this magazine pouch as a dump pouch for my empty rifle magazines.

My combat kit is modified. I removed the hooks that are on the H-harness. These hooks attach to the pistol belt. The hooks were replaced with 550 cord.

The butt pack is also slightly modified. The big flap that closes the pack had a pocket added by sewing a piece of BDU material (from a worn out pair of BDU pants). I also added a pocket to each side of the butt pack. All three pockets have velcro closures and are sewn on the inside of the butt pack.

On the outside of the butt pack, I carry a poncho liner wrapped in a poncho/space blanket inside a water-proof bag. The bag protects the poncho and keeps the poncho liner dry.

I was going to write and tell you what I have in my butt pack , but then I remembered. You are going to have to decide, using your threat analysis, what you are going to carry in the butt pack, or even if you are going to have any tactical kit.

Outer Layer
The outer layer is a backpack. The backpack carries the stuff to make your life easier. More food, more water, better shelter, better medical items. There are so many differing opinions on what to carry; you will have to decide for yourself.

Remember one thing; you are going to have to carry this pack. The heavier it is the slower you will go, and the more energy you will use to move. So choose your items you are going to carry and then carry it.

If is too heavy, or even slightly heavy, go through the bag and remove some items. Once you have done this, try it on again. If the bag is an OK weight, take the bag out and practice with it.

I will say it, again. After you have made the many decisions about kit, you will have to practice with your kit and its contents.

So get out there and practise with your kit, and I'll ...

See you, on Monday.

Note: There are a lot of links for this post because I wanted you to see the various items I was talking about, and to give you some differing opinions about kit.


Wikipedia - Caving

Flashlight Reviews

Flashlight Reviews - Fakes, Frauds, and ...

Toolmonger - Hot or Not? Folding Utility Knife

Survival Gear - Razor Knife

Kit Up - The Often Imitated, But Never Duplicated, Buck 110 - What Baton Do You Carry?

Wikipedia - Pepper Spray

How Stuff Works - How Stun Guns Work

The Name Says It All

Wikipedia - Multi-tool

Wikipedia - Swiss Army Knife

Olive Drab - Lensatic Compass

Army Navy Shop - Compasses

Global Positioning System

Best Glide Aviation Survival Equipment - SAS Survival Tins

Wikipedia - Survival Kit

Trueways Survival School - John "Lofty" Wiseman

Hoods Woods - Best (Bennett's Expedient Survival Tin)

Survival Gear - Survival Tin

Simple Survival - The Making of a Simple Survival Vest

Don Rearic - Airman's Survival Kit

Urban Fredriksson - Swedish Air Force Combat Survival Vest

The Camo Store, LLC - Making A Simple Survival Vest

Zahal - Combat Harness For Infantry and Paratroops

Wikipedia - ALICE

FMCO - LBE H-Harness 8 Point Suspension

Equipped To Survive - On Your Own - Personal Survival Equipment

Mayo Clinic - Survival Kit: Stock Up on Essentials for a Disaster

Friday, September 21, 2012

Forth Half - Emergency Evacuation Kits

This is the forth half of the post on emergency evacuation kits. You will find links to other bloggers and websites about the subject for this week.


Sh*t Hit The Fan Blog - Go Bag, Bug Out Bag (BOB), Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) Bag

Tennessee Preppers Network - Guest Post: G.O.O.D Bag: Ideas and How To

New Jersey Preppers Network - A Bug Out Bag for Your Kid

California Preppers Network - With the Changing Weather, Rotate Your BOB Items


TBO Tech - Survival Kits

TBO Tech - Bug Out Bags

TBO Tech - Backpack Bug Out Bag

TBO Tech - Bug Out Bag Survival Items

Urban Journal - Bug-Out Bag Basics

Third Half - Emegency Evacution Kits

This is the third half of the post on emergency evacuation kits.

Sorry folks, nothing here right now.

Second Half - Emergency Evacuation Kits

To the second half of the blog about emergency evacuation kits. You will find videos/podcasts, instructions, and other information about the subject for this week.


Emergency Disaster Preparedness B*O*B (Bug Out Bag)

Note: Don't, Do Not, Never use a gas can for water storage. You will poison yourself and your family.

Note: Instead of cutting off you shirt sleeves, roll the sleeves up. If you think you are going to need a pair of shorts, pack shorts.

Patriot Armory - The Bag Out Bag (Part 1)

Note: Just so you know, a little bit of a potty mouth.

Part 2

PAW Productions - Survivalist B.O.B.

Note: Watch the rest of the videos. There are four parts; additionally, this group has many more informative videos.

Bug Out Survival Essentials 1/4

Note: Watch the rest of his videos, too.


Turning a Sack into a Pack

For those on a very tight budget, you can use a U.S. military laundry bag as a rudimentary backpack by tying the drawstrings to the bottom corners of the bag. This will create straps to put your arms through.

Be Warned! The drawstrings will cut into your shoulders if you are carrying too much in you bag. You can prevent this by folding two small towels and placing them between each of the drawstrings and your shoulders.

The link is to illustrate what a laundry bag looks like, not as a recommendation on where to buy, because you can get them cheaper used.


Flying Tigers Surplus Army/Navy Surplus - Laundry Bags

Other Information:

Packing a Bag

After you stock your emergency evacuation kit, you need to practice with it. There are two main reasons for this practice. First, you need to make sure you can carry it. An evacuation bag is useless if you have to leave it behind because you are unable to carry it. The second reason, you need to practice with your bag is to be able to use the stuff in it. A fire striker takes a little bit a practice to make it work. The same for a blue tarp.

Sorry, I was side tracked.

So, back to packing an emergency evacuation bag. First, make a list. This list is for you to organize your thought on what you are going to need. As an example: In the southern U.S. you will need a different type of shelter than in the northern U.S., so plan accordingly.

Next, pile all the stuff on that list in one location. (A bed works great) Next, pile all the stuff into similar categories. Food with food; water with water; fire with fire; and so on.

Now, some of this stuff you are going to need more of then other stuff, take fire. If you live in the northern part of these United States, you will want many different capabilities to make fire.

After, you get everything into similar categories; you will need to decide what you are really going to carry. The little stuff quickly adds up to a bunch of weight, so trim your load in your bag.

Next, pack the bag. Now guys and gals, you need to have the person who is carrying the bag (if possible) pack the bag because they are going to get stuff out of the bag. Plus, men and women have a different physiology. Men need to have the heavy items in the top of the bag and women need to have the heavy stuff in the bottom of the bag.

Next, you need to have everyone put the pack on and walk with it to find out if the bag is too heavy.

That's it. Now, go out and practice with the stuff in your emergency evacuation bag.


The Possible Shop - Fire Strikers & Bow Drills

Alpha Disaster Contingencies

Week Fourteen - Emergency Evacuation Kits


Call a friend or family member, in the same city that you live, and ask if you could come stay with them during an emergency. Then do the same thing with a friend or family member in a different state.

Now, make sure you call around until you have a definite yes from a friend or family member in town and out of state. If you know some folks outside of the country you live in, give them a call too. You never know how far you will have to evacuate.

Blog Post:

Some people call them bug-out bags (BOBs). Others call them get out of Dodge bags (GOOD), and others call them 72-hour kits. I am going to call them emergency evacuation kits.

They all serve the same purpose, to get you away from trouble.

You will need one for your car, one for your work, and one for your home. When I say you, I mean every member of the family. Even the kids should have a BOB for each of these places.

You might disagree about the need for a work and a car bug-out bag, but I want you to think about this. How much time do you spend at work? For me it is at least eight hours. How much time do you spend in your car, and/or how many miles do you travel in your car? For me two hours a day and 7o miles, at least, during the weekday. On the weekends, it might be as great as 8 hours in the car and over 150 miles from home.

That is a lot of time and a long distance. Plus, can you guarantee that you can get to your car during an evacuation from work.

The first bag that you need is a bag for your home.

Now, some people put all kinds of stuff in their bag. Matches, water bladders, ultralight sleeping bags, tents, and many other things. Just like a threat analysis, you have to decide what are you escaping from and where are you going.

Let me give you a few scenarios.

What would a Jewish family have needed to leave Nazi Germany in 1939 if they were going to Palestine to live with friends. The list would have been different for a Tutsi family coming to the United States to live with family in the 1990s.

What would your family need if they were evacuating from your home after an area wide earthquake, to your front or backyard. The list would be different if there had been a fire, instead.

I was going to write about a lot of stuff. Until, I started reading the wikipedia article on bug-out bags, so I am going to stop writing and let you read it.

Pretty good article, wasn't it. Plus, if you want, you can always do a key word search on the internet.

So, back to this weeks entry.

A emergency evacuation bag for work will be different from the GOOD bag for your home. The work bag is about getting out of your office or having to stay in your office.

A few posts ago, I told you that I have bunny slippers in my office kit. That is true. I keep them in a box, but this box is for storing the stuff I need for staying over. Modest sleeping clothes, toiletries, blankets, and a pillow are a few of the items. I also include a door wedge to wedge the door close in an active shooter scenario.

An active shooter scenario is when a person is walking around the building shooting employees. Since we can't carry guns at work, I will try to barricade myself, and others, in my office.

Now, I have a different kit for getting out. Once again, this kit will be different for someone working in a high-rise office building compared to someone working in a strip mall, but both of these kits have similarities.

This similarity is having practiced the evacuation routes.

Yes, routes is plural. A primary route, an alternative route, a contingency route, and an emergency route. These routes should be taken at least once a week, if possible.

Some emergency routes might not be usable/legal until an emergency say like kicking through the wall to get to another room, breaking the large glass window to walk through to the showroom floor, or taking the fire hose to use as a rope to get to the ground floor. You get the idea.

My car kit, I have written about in the past. Since I don't know a lot about fixing cars, I don't keep repair parts in my car. I have towing on my insurance policy.

And this is important. The End Of The World probably won't happen. You are more likely to have a fire, earthquake, laid off, accident, heart attack, and many other mundane emergencies then TEOTWAWKI. Google it if you want to know.

When all is said and done. A bug-out bag (BOB), get out of Dodge (GOOD) bag, and/or a 72 hour kit is used to get to a place that knows that you are coming.

These bags are not used to go to an unknown location. You must have a destination because these bags don't have all the stuff to keep you and your family alive and healthy after 72 hours.

So, pack a bag, and I'll ...

See you, Monday.


Mogen Daypack

My BOB (Bug Out Bag)

Go Bag

Wikipedia - Bug-Out Bag
make sure you read the links within the article.

Alpha Rubicon - Backpack Survival

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Sister's Death

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

I learned yesterday that my sister had died, two weeks ago.

She will be missed.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Update Y'all

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

As some of you know, I started a new job; it's a dosey.

One of our tasks is to cut the grass, about 20 acres. We have two of everything, two tractors with pull-behind finish mowers/brush hogs, two push mowers, and two string trimmers (weed eaters).

Guess what?

Yeah, you guessed it, most of the equipment is old and is/was poorly maintained.

So, I have been push mowing about five acres, just to get started knocking down the grass.

And, this brings up my first point.

Physical Fitness
Folks, preppers need to be fit.

In the last five days, I have pushed a mower for 4 hours each day, two of those days, I walked behind a mower for six hours. Needless to say, I took it easy on Friday because we start trimming on Monday.

And, this brings up my next point

Use Machines
Right now, preppers have access to electricity, so we need to be using power tools to build those labor intensive projects. Just think what it would have been like for me and my family to build the chicken coop without a truck, power tools, and manufactured products such as screws, diminsional lumber, and metal roofing.

And this brings up my next point

Long-Term Projects
I'm not talking about the projects that you are planning to do in the long-term. I'm talking about starting those projects that will take a long time before thay start paying off, like planting fruit trees or improving the soil on your property.


You just might have a couple more years before the collapse happens.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Forth Half - Power/Power Production

This is the forth half of the post on communications. You will find links to other bloggers and websites about the subject for this week.


Surviving in Argentina - Things to Look for When Shopping for Flashlights

Everyday Prepper - Wood Gas Stove: Attempt 1

Everyday Prepper - Wood Gas Stove Success!

The Survivalist Blog - Simple Solar Homesteading

The Survivalist Blog - 10 Ways to Keep Warm

Be a Survivor - How to Survive The Coming Apocalypse (Part IV)


Wikipedia - DC Connector: Anderson Powerpoles

The KB1DIG & KB1GTR Ham Page - Anderson Powerpole Ideas: Get Everyone Connected!

Build it Solar

Third Half - Power/Power Production

This is the third half of the post on power/power production.

Gobar Gas/Gober Gas
Basically, you collect poop, put the poop in a bag, then collect the gas. If you have seen "Mad Max - Beyond Thunderdome" with Tina Turner, you know about gobar/gober gas.

By the way, it's called methane.


The Methane Digester for Biogas

Green Trust - Methane Digesters

rmt131 - Simple Setup for Methane Digester

Second Half - Power/Power Production

To the second half of the blog about power/power production. You will find videos/podcasts, instructions, and other information about the subject for this week.


Solar Electricity Solar Power 101 - How Does Sunlight Turn Into Electricity

Solar Inverters: Turning DC to AC power

DIY Solar Power Solar Panel PV Photovoltaic Harbor Freight Solar Energy Solar Panels

Solar Panel DIY Wiring Configurations Solar Power DIY Get Off the Grid Part 2 Solar Power PV Photovoltaic

Solar Panel DIY Wiring Configuration Solar Power DIY Modified SINE Inverter Pure SINE Inverter Deep Cycle 12 V

My Solar Power System



Solar Heating Home Made Solar Air Heater - Update


Clean Power Show Episode 5 - Solar Heater

The Great Depression 2 Corrugated Cardboard Solar Forced Air Heater Fight High Heating Oil

Solar Hot Water Shower DIY Black Water Hose Part 1

Solar Hot Water 2 DIY Using Black Water Hose

Solar Batch Water Heater "Part One"

Solar Batch Water Heater "Part Two"

Free Solar Heat "How to Build a Solar Panel" Part 1

Passive Solar Heating - Glass is all you need

Food Dyhydration Solar Food Dehydration

How to Make A Solar Dehydrator

Solar Herb Dryer Green-It-Yourself Project

SolarFlex Food Dryer and Solar Heater


Building Your Own Generator
Some of us don't have a lot on money. Others look at being prepared as a hobby, and others want to know how to fix the things they will rely upon in an emergency.

The Emergency Preparedness Information Center has several great articles on building a generator. The link below will take you to their Emergency Preparedness Tip o'da Week page. Look on the left hand side of your computer screen and click on Build a Lawn Mower Generator. The other articles are really informative, too.

Protecting a Generator From Thieves
The easiest method of protecting your generator from thieves is to have a piece of chain, a place to chain the generator to, and a good lock. It is also a good idea to place the generator in a location that you can easily see it. If you need to leave, turn off the generator and lock it up in your garage. (Make Sure The Generator Has Cooled Down and is OFF)

Make sure you can see your generator. I read an article about a gang of thieves; they would take old, beat-up lawn mowers, start them, then replace your generator with the ratty mower.

A more expensive option is to get a dedicated concrete pad poured for the generator and than build an enclosure for it. The generators in these enclosures usually have a much better muffler installed. Another method is to follow the United States military method of concealing a generator.

The military digs a hole a little bit bigger then the size of the generator and a little deeper then the height of the generator. A pallet is placed in the bottom of the hole and the generator is placed on top of the pallet. Sand bags are then used to build a small wall all the way around the hole, about two feet high. A piece of camouflage netting is placed over the finished enclosure. This method will greatly silence a portable generator, additionally; it is a pain to refill the generator. Plus, the military has lots of heavily armed people gruading their stuff.

Other Information:

Standardizing on Battery Size
A few posts ago, I mentioned only buying radios and other electronics that use "AA" or "D" size batteries. I say this for a few reasons. The first, you can walk into any store in the United States and buy AA or D size batteries. Next, you save money if you buy things in bulk, in most cases. (Check prices to be sure) Next, you can switch out batteries to power more important equipment.

Week Thirteen - Power/Power Prodution


Find the shutoffs valves for your water and gas service and the main circuit breaker for your electricity.

After you do that, identify and label what each circuit breaker will turn off if tripped.

Blog Post:

As people living in the First World, we take power for granted. We need light; we flip a switch. Our clothes need washed; we fill an empty basket with clothes, add some washing powder, and push a button. We need to preserve some leftovers for tomorrow or food for next week; we put it in a freezer/refrigerator and forget about the food until we need it.

Take away that power away and things stop.

No gasoline/diesel from the gas station pump, no climate control at work or home, no continuous positive airway pressure machines, no sewage treatment, no water, the list goes on.

What is a family to do?

First, look at your threat analysis. How long would you be without power, if one of those threats happened? One day, two weeks, three months, forever!

I ask you to check your threat analysis for a reason; you could easily spend $25,000 for a solar powered system that doesn't do anything to give you power in an emergency. Yep, 25 grand and no power in an emergency.

So, let us look at some equipment, in order, from a short-term to a long-term power outage.

Short-Term Emergency Power
(A few hours to a week and maybe just a little longer)

A gasoline generator that you buy from one of the big-box home improvement stores or local hardware/equipment stores will easily fill this time frame. All you need to figure out is how big of a generator you need, some extension cords, and oil and gasoline for the generator.

Using this idea, you plug in the appliances as they need power. Plug in the freezer; run it for an hour. Unplug the freezer then plug in the refrigerator for an hour. Need to do a load of wash; unplug the refrigerator and plug in the washer. You get the idea.

There are safety issues though.

A running generator will give off carbon monoxide. This is the number one killer. Every year, people put the generator in their garage, to protect the generator from thieves, and they die from the generator's exhaust fumes.

Another safety issue, the electrical extension cords must be the right size. A too small cord will overheat and possibly start a fire.

Do Not, Don't, Never plug a generator directly into the house wiring. This is called backfeeding; it can kill an electrical worker attempting to restore power.

Lastly, operate the generator on a level, firm, and dry surface/area.

An upgrade to this idea is to have an electrician install a transfer switch in your home. A transfer switch manually or automatically transfers the power source to power your appliances. It will cost about as much as a generator.

Now, you have to remember that you will need fuel for your generator. The longer the emergency, you are preparing for, the more fuel you will need.

Almost all of a generator's fuel usage is figured at half-load. That means, if the generator is rated at 10,000 watts, the fuel usage is calculated with the generator running a 5,000 watt load. Yeah, I know it is misrepresenting/misleading, but now you know.

If you are preparing for more then a few days, you might want to look at generators that use a different fuel then gasoline. Generators can be found that run using diesel, vegetable oil, or propane/natural gas.

The natural gas powered generators can be permanently hooked up to the underground gas lines found in most cities. This allows you to never have to worry about fuel storage because the gas lines are pressurized by the gas company. The gas lines will have pressure as long as the lines and the gas company are intact.

Sorry folks planning to survive an earthquake. Those gas lines might break in an earthquake, so you shouldn't depend on a gas-line fed natural gas generator for power.

But, you might be able to use a natural gas/propane generator hooked up to a 100, 250, 500 gallon or larger tank. You know, the tanks that you see sitting next to houses in the rural areas of the country.

Natural gas/propane will last as long as the tank it is stored in. Gasoline and diesel will need to be rotated. As I empty a fuel container, I buy more. I always put fuel stabilizer in my stored gasoline then use the oldest gasoline first.

Medium-Term Emergency
(A month or two)

For a medium-term emergency, you will need to buy a better generator and store lots of fuel. I can tell you; you will want a transfer switch. Just think, a month of unplugging and plugging in your appliances without a transfer switch.

Long-Term Emergency
(months to years)

For long-term emergencies, you are going to have to become a power company. Albeit, a small power company, but a power company nevertheless.

To supply power for the long-term, you and your family are going to have to conserve power. The reason: The less power you use; the less power you will have to generate, and the less money you will spend.

There are multiple ways of producing this power for the long-term. They are solar, wind, hydro, and methane.

The premier source for information is Home Power magazine. I can not say enough good things about this magazine and their staff. They have walked the walk and can talk the talk, and they have done it for over 20 years!

That's all for, now, so I'll ...

See you, Monday!


Wikipedia - First World

NASA - Earth at Night

NASA - Earth Lights

NOAA - Low Light Imaging of the Earth at Night
Electrical Power Consumption/Infrastructure Prorated by Population Density

Sizing a Generator for Home Use

Select the Right Portable Generator after a Disaster

Generator Sizing Calculator

Consumer Product Safety Commision - Portable Generator Hazards

Portable Electric Generator Safety Tips

American Red Cross - Fact Sheet: Using a generator when Disaster Strikes

Selecting an Extension Cord

Clatskanie People's Utility District - Generators

Wikipedia - Transfer Switch

Transfer Switch Guide

Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer

Home Power magazine

HP Magazine - Getting Started

HP Magazine - Solar Electricity Basics

HP Magazine - Wind Electricity basics

HP Magazine - Microhydro Electricity Basics

HP Magazine - Solar Hot Water Basics

HP Magazine - Home Design

Methane Digester - Methane Digester Design

Solar Cooking Archive

Friday, September 7, 2012

Forth Half - Communications

This is the forth half of the post on communications. You will find links to other bloggers and websites about the subject for this week.


Avian Flu Diary - Neighborhood Communications

Stealth Survival - Riverwalker's Gear: Eye max Am/Fm/Weather ...

Surviving in Argentina - Message from Russia: Survival During the Civil War ...

The Survivalist Blog - Internet Service While Living Off The Grid


End Times Report - Communications

The Epi Center - Emergency Communications

Third Half - Communications

To the third half of the post about communications

Panic Words
As I have said in the past, I read "Surviving In Argentina" by FerFAL, at least weekly. FerFAL has a certain perspective about living through an economic collapse. Also weekly, I read a blog called "Global Guerrillas" by John Robb. Mr. Robb writes about "... systems disruption, and the emerging bazaar of violence. Resilient Communities, ..." Both blogs are very informative.

Now, both of these blogs warn about the possibility of increased violence as the United States of America and other national governments have difficulty managing the various crises facing their citizens. This violence includes home invasions, kidnappings, and terrorism.

Now, what does this have to do with communications?

Before I explain, let me ask you a couple of questions.

If your wife screams, how do you know to bring a gun or a medical kit?

If your children call, how do you know to come pick them up without them embarrassing themselves?

If a criminal came into your home, and you were going to shoot, how does your husband and family know to "go low" to avoid getting shot as the bullets penetrate the bedroom walls?

I would like to suggest that your family develop a set, a very short list, of innocent words that let other family members respond to emergency situations.

An example might be "Barney" shouted by everyone in the house to let everyone know to get to the safe room because of a home invasion. Another might be "Zombie" to designate an active shooter situation in the mall, as you and your family shop. Lastly, "How is Grandma?" might mean "I'm O.K." in a hostage situation.

Now, remember your panic words cover the threats you are preparing for and are unique to your family. Additionally, remember OPSEC, so remind the kids not to tell anyone their panic words.


Surviving In Argentina

Global Guerrillas

Wikipedia - Crisis

PBS Kids: Barney

Indiana University Police Department - What To Expect: Active Shooter Situation
(I don't agree with everything in this article, but it is a plan)

Of Arms and The Law - Thoughts on "Active Shooters"

Center for Personal Protection and Safety - Guidance for Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

Second Half - Communications

To the second half of the blog about communications. You will find videos/podcasts, instructions, and other information about the subject for this week.


The Tonight Show - Text Message vs Morse Cord


Electromagnetic Pulse Protection
Most preppers will need to protect one or two backup radios from EMP. These backup radios would be used to listen for/gather information after a Nuclear/EMP attack.

The easiest method for protecting a radio is to place the radio in a box padded with bubble wrap or crumpled paper then wrap the box with aluminum foil. If you are like me, you will then place the first box wrapped in foil into another box and wrap that box with aluminum foil, too.

But then you have to unwrap everything to listen to the radio. Another method involves popcorn tins.

Basically, you take a popcorn tin, I get mine from swap meets, and place the radio inside the tin. I place padding between the radio and the tin. This padding prevents the radio from touching the metal canister. Then all you have to do is place the top on the tin and your radio is protected from EMP, supposedly.

Just so you know, I provided a link to the Popcorn Factory to show you the various sizes and graphics of popcorn tins that you might find at flea markets.

Other Information:

Codes and Ciphers
All of the radios I talked about are available to anyone, so people could be listening to your conversations. To keep folks from understanding what you and your family may be talking about, you might want to create a code for your family to use.

As an example, in the book "Alas, Babylon," the two brothers have a code word that signals the possibility of a nuclear war. This code word and the arrival of one brother's family sets into motion a series of preparations by the other brother.

The United States Military used to use a one-time pad, as a code. Basically, it is a sheet of paper with letters representing words such as

IBR = attack DLH = break
FMQ = defend LZE = launch
MPT = report LBD = find
AKY = tomorrow NHG = tonight

so the message "LZE, IBR, AKY" would be decoded as "Launch attack tonight."

Now, a one-time pad is used only once, so the message "LZE, IBR, AKY" would mean something totally different the next day.

The links, below, give a lot more information about codes and ciphers. Some of the information is technical, but it is interesting. So, go read about codes and ciphers; additionally, your local library might have some books on codes, code makers, and code breakers. Check them out, if you are interested.


Wikipedia - Morse Code

The Popcorn Factory

Protecting Yourself from EMP by Duncan Long

Grounding and Bonding in Command, Control, Communications, ...

Wikipedia - Cipher

Wikipedia - Code

Wikipedia - Tap Code

SparkNotes - Alas, Babylon

SparkNotes - Alas, Babylon: Chapter 1 and 2

Wikipedia - One-Time Pad

Week Twelve - Communications


Have all your family members memorize key phone numbers. Mom and Dad's cell phone and work numbers. Parents, this includes you, too. Memorize the kids school's and the children's cell phone numbers.

If you can't memorize the numbers, then make a business card-sized list of important numbers for each family member to carry.

Blog Post:

Communication, it allows us to exchange information. Stop it, and we know nothing about each other and the outside world.

To communicate during an emergency, you will need to plan.

The first part of the plan is to look at your threat analysis. What are you planning to survive? Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes/extreme weather, civil unrest, financial depression/hyperinflation, EMP attack and/or nuclear war. Each of these emergencies will determine what you will need to do.

Let's start with the simple solutions.

First, buy a weather radio. A weather radio will automatically notify you of flood, high winds, storms, tornadoes, and other extreme weather. They range in price from $20 to $200 depending on their features. For outdoor folks, there are portable weather radio models available.

If you can afford it, I suggest buying a radio with the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) and battery backup. The SAME feature allows you to program the radio to sound the alert only for the counties you want to know about.

Some organizations suggest purchasing a battery-powered portable radio. This is a good idea. A portable radio will allow you to receive updates on emergencies and other information The radio will also allow you to take it with you if you have to shelter-in-place, evacuate, or listen to the ball game.

This last one is important. You need to listen to your radio, now. This allows you to find the stations that will offer information about your area, find stations that have good reception, and you get to know your radio.

These two radios, some portable radios have weather alert, are all you need for natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and other extreme weather. These two radios will also provide information about other disasters.

If you live in the United States, forget about buying a radio with the TV audio band 2-13. (TV audio bands allow you to listen to the television stations) The new digital television conversion will stop television stations from broadcasting on those radio stations.

But we know that local and national media doesn't always have the time, money, and/or desire to provide all of the information we might need. This is where shortwave radio comes into play.

Shortwave radio has been a popular method of receiving information for many years. You have to be careful though; some shortwave broadcasts are propaganda.

A radio designed for shortwave listening will cost from $100 to $500. Before you buy make sure you shop around. I have heard Radio Shack has shortwave radios, made by famous names, for less then the famous maker.

Now don't confuse the shortwave radios that you listen to with transceivers. Shortwave transceivers allow you to transmit and receive messages. These transceivers require a licence. In the United States and various other countries, there are different classes of licences. The American Radio Relay League is the source for information if you want to obtain a licence to broadcast on shortwave radio in the United States.

Now, there are other radios that you can use to communicate with your family and/or friends. These radios are called Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios. They have a range of about 1/2 to 5 miles. The FRS radio does not require a licence; to use a GMRS radio, you will need to purchase a licence.

FRS and GMRS radios can be found in your local discount store and consumer-electronics stores. When buying, look for radios that use AA batteries.

Another popular radio is CB (Citizens' Band). CB radios do not require a licence. These radios have a range of 1 to 5 miles. As far as I know, CB radios require a car-type battery to operate.

The next type of radio is the MURS radios. Multi Use Radio Service (MURS) radios require no licence. According to one source, they are the best radio for local communications.

All of these radios are good; however, you need to make sure you know how to use them and they work. Nothing is more embarrassing then opening the package and the radio failing to work. (Happened at work last year)

Now, radios are pretty good, but they don't have the convenience of cell phones. Heck, my cell phone can call Tokyo, Baghdad, Paris, New York City, and many other places (for a small fee), but an emergency may block local calls from going through.

To overcome this problem, have your family designates an out-of-state contact. An out-of-state contact allows you to bypass local problems. The reason this might work during an emergency, it seem that local and long-distance phone calls are handled on different lines.

An out-of-state contact is someone everyone in the family will call. This person gets information about how the individual family members are doing. The contact gets information such as location, plans, and any problems. The contact can then update family members as needed.

Another cool feature of cell phones is the ability to enter phone numbers and contact information. You have probably heard of ICE numbers. ICE stands for In Case of an Emergency.

In the cell phone's contact list, ICE is entered and the number of the person to contact in case of an emergency is entered. If an emergency responder finds the phone, and you have been in an accident, they can immediately contact that person.

So memorize those contact lists for your family, and I'll ...

See you, Monday


NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio - SAME Info

Radio Shack's Guide to Weather Radio

American Red Cross - Personal Workplace Disaster Supplies Kit

C Crane - What You Should Know Before Buying a Radio with the TV Band

An Introduction to Shortwave Listening

Wikipedia - Shortwave Listening

Wikipedia - Shortwave

Wikipedia - International Broadcasting

Selecting a Shortwave Radio


Wikipedia - American Radio Relay League

American Radio Relay League

Family Radio Service FAQ

General Mobile Radio Service

Federal Communication Commission - FRS

Federal Communication Commission - GMRS

Best Buy - FRS and GMRS Radio Guide

Wikipedia - Citizens' Band Radio

Federal Communications Commission - Citizens' Band Radio

Federal Communications Commision - Multi Use Radio Service

MURS Radio - Why MURS

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Emergency Cooking

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

During an emergency,  'normal' methods of cooking food may be unavaliable to you and your family, so y'all may have to improvise.

Let's look at some of these primative methods.

Starting a Fire
Before I begin, most folks know a few ways of starting a fire. matches, lighter, even gunpowder from a firearms' cartridge will work. Your family can also use commercially avalible fire ribbon, or make your own home-made fire starter.

Camp Fire
Most folks already know this method. Find some dry sticks, pile them together, and light with a match. Pretty simple until you try it during a rain storm.

Dakota Fire Hole
The Dakota fire hole is a great method of cooking/heating your food with minimal light and smoke which is important in a tactical situation. It also uses a minimum amount of fuel.

OK folks, I'm on quick trip, over the long weekend, to see my brother Jumper, so you'll have to come back in a few days

The Art of Manliness - 9 Ways To Start a Fire Without Matches

Lifehacker - How to Build a Better Fire: Both Outdoors and In

The Art of Doing Stuff - Homemade Firestarters

Ready Nutrition - How to Make Homemade Fire Starters

Survival Topics - The Dakota Fire Hole