This blog is to help you in preparing for an emergency. It also contains other information that you might find spiritually up-lifting. This is not an official website of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". This site is maintained by Barry McCann (barry@mail.com)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

5 Cordage for Your Bug-Out Bag

ua_cordage_imgWhen we talk about what belongs in your bug-out bag, we often focus on things such as food, water, clothing and first-aid items. But if we look at the essential tools that helped everyone from early humans to pioneers survive, it’s clear they also mastered the use of another important item – cordage.
These people used cordage for everything from hunting to fishing to sailing. They wove nets and ropes from plant material, even using animal fibers such as sinew or catgut for making bows and arrows. Making cordage is essential to survival.
In the context of modern survival strategies, cordage is a blanket term that includes everything from nylon string to hauling rope. While you’ll find cordage on most bug-out bag lists, I want to discuss the specific types you’ll need and situations where it will come in handy. Here’s a brief rundown of five essential types you should consider including in your bug-out bag.
You’ll want to have a length of rope in your bug-out bag for dragging heavy items like game back to your campsite. Yes, rope is bulky, but you can easily fit a decent length (say 50 feet) in the bottom of your pack, or even strap it to the outside.
While plain old braided rope is cheaper, climbing rope is more durable. In addition to hauling stuff, you can use it for navigating steep terrain or hoisting up a food bag at night to keep it away from critters.
Parachute cord (a.k.a. Paracord or P-Cord) is lightweight but very strong. Look for military-grade P-cord with 550-pound test strength. A decent-sized spool of 50 feet or so only costs a few bucks, and will easily fit in your pack.
You can use it for any number of tasks, from binding logs to making a splint to lashing a tarp to a tree. P-cord is so strong when braided together, it’s even been used to pull vehicles out of ditches and snow banks.
Nylon Thread
You’ll want at least a spool or two of nylon string as part of your mobile survival kit. It’s cheap, and can be used in a wide variety of situations. For one, you can use it to mend your clothes (just remember to also pack a few sewing needles). Beyond the obvious, however, nylon thread also has several other key uses.
They include binding shelter rafters together, making animal snares and fishing lines, or bundling firewood and kindling. In an emergency, you could even put together a kite to help rescuers find you by using some string, duct tape and a bit of brightly colored rain poncho or tarp. Fishing line or monofilament provides added durability if you want to spend a few extra dollars.
Metal Wire
In some cases, metal wire is preferable over nylon string, such as tying up meat to roast over a fire. We’re talking about steel baling wire or floral wire here, not the copper stuff used for electrical wiring that’s insulated with plastic.
Thin metal wire is also useful for making trip wires, small game snares or even small repairs. You don’t need a huge length here, only a couple dozen feet or so.
Duct Tape
Duct tape is an all-purpose material that can be used as cordage, even if it isn’t technically cordage. For example, you can use duct tape to make a sling, handcuff bad guys or string up lights. Duct tape has about a zillion other survival uses, of course, but that’s a whole different discussion. The best part is you don’t have to pack an entire bulky roll of it – you can just wrap it around your water bottle and tear off a bit when you need it.
Even if you don’t need or know how to use all of these items, they can be useful for bartering or helping you strike up a partnership with others attempting to survive. You never know just what you might need in a bug-out situation, but you can be sure that having a variety of cordage types will make your life easier.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cutting Tools and How to Use Them for Survival

maxresdefaultShow me a bug-out bag that does not include a survival knife and I’ll show you a basically useless bug-out bag. A good survival knife is not a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity. The only way you’d be able to get along without one in an emergency that forces you to leave home is if you’re checking into a five-star hotel. This is an item that might save your life on more than one occasion.
But your survival knife will get lonely if it is your bag’s only cutting tool. You will probably have some problems if you don’t include others, and they can go a long way toward making your bug-out experience more tolerable and ultimately successful… especially if a crisis situation lingers longer than anticipated.
Let’s first examine the types of survival knives that are most appropriate for bugging out, as well as their features, then we’ll discuss reasons for including additional cutting tools with a variety of uses. You won’t require each one I’ll include in this article, but this will provide you with a few choices. Then you can decide which ones are right for you.
Some folks refer to a quality survival knife as the most important item in a bug-out bag that you can’t eat. I’d suggest spending a minimum of $40 and a maximum of $100 on this. Make sure it has a single-edge, fixed blade, six to eight inches long and made of quality steel. Choose one in which the heel of the knife is flat.
The handle should be comfortable in your hand. This is considerably more important than creative ridges, fancy designs and other ornamentation. Remember – a survival knife is for survival, not for show. The protruding guard between the blade and the grip, called the hilt, needs to be solid due to the fact that it is what prevents your hand from sliding down the blade when you’re applying cutting pressure. Keep your knife in a leather, web or composite sheath so you can wear it on a belt and have quick access.
What types of survival knives don’t you need? Overly large knives that are impressive looking but are difficult to maneuver, and knives with double-edged blades and no heels that you might need for splitting wood. Whatever kind of knife you own, don’t use it as a pry bar because once that blade breaks off, it will be useless.

Other Cutting Tools

Now let’s take a look at other cutting tools that could come in very handy when you’re in the wild. Include a medium-size lock blade folding knife with a blade of 2½ to four inches with a leather holster, web belt pouch or external belt clip in your bag. This knife is convenient for smaller jobs. You can probably acquire a good one for about $20.
Another item that should be included in your bug-out bag is a multi-tool. You can get one for $20, but you’re better off spending $40 to $80 for this tool because the quality of steel will be better. Find a model with all of its blades and tools locked, as this will prevent them from folding back on your knuckles while using it.
Some features to look for with this item are a folding set of needle-nose pliers with wire cutters, a can opener, screwdriver blades, a small saw or fish-scaling blade, a course-tooth file, a boring awl, ruler markings and a fold-out lithium LED flashlight. All models should include at least one pocket knife-sized blade, some of which are serrated or partially serrated and others that are straight. Multi-tools are highly convenient, but they can’t replace your main survival knife.
With both a quality survival knife and a multi-tool, a pocket knife or pen knife is not crucial, but it can’t hurt to include one. For about $10 to $15, you can buy a small or medium Swiss Army knife to handle finer tasks, including removing splinters.
And speaking of “minor surgery,” include a couple of sterile-packed disposal scalpels in your first-aid kit.
If you think there is any chance you might have to construct a wilderness shelter and/or cut firewood for more than a couple days, it might be a good idea to include an ax or hatchet in your bug-out bag. It could come in handy and will be worth the extra weight. This one-piece item with a steel blade should be at least 12 inches long, and you can probably acquire a suitable one for $25 to $30.
There are a couple alternatives for axes, but they have their drawbacks. A lightweight, compact camp ax with a synthetic material handle and titanium blade that won’t break or corrode is easy to handle, but requires considerably more effort to get the job done properly. A modern tactical ax looks like a tomahawk with a pickax on the rear of the cutting head. This item, which tends to be expensive, cannot be used as a hammer.
Regardless of your ax choice, make sure it comes with a complete head scabbard or reliable blade guard. Otherwise, it will move around in your bag and could cut other gear or the bag itself. An option if you prefer not to carry an ax is a folding camp saw. Some of them look like giant lock blade knifes (12-18 inches when closed). They run about $20.
Remember to keep your cutting tools sharp. This is imperative both for their usefulness and your safety. Dull blades require you to work harder and increase your injury risk. A pocket sharpening stone or sharpening steel device can be found at sporting goods or cutlery stores.
If you’re fortunate, your bug-out experience will be short. But it could last a long time, so it’s best to error on the side of caution and include a wide variety of cutting devices in your bag. You will be grateful that you did.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Best Batteries for Emergency Preparedness

The best batteries to prep
Stock rechargeable batteries! This has long been dispensed as preparedness advice. The reasoning behind this advice is of course to have the ability to recharge the batteries for additional use once exhausted. If the stores are closed or you can’t get to them for more batteries at least you can rely on stash of rechargeable batteries. Depending on how the long the power is out, they may last you just long enough to get you by with a few modern conveniences like flashlights, headlamps and radios.
At present, there are four main types of rechargeable batteries that are commonly available for use in place of disposable batteries in electronic equipment. There is also larger Lead-Acid batteries (auto and RV) which are also rechargeable but for the purposes of this article I am only covering smaller consumer dry cell batteries.  Rechargeable batteries are not all equal, each has it’s own positives and negatives, so which kind should you get? Keep reading and I will break down the different types of batteries for you below!

Non-Technical Battery Lingo for Normal People: 
Voltage: Strength of power output of the battery. 1.5 volts is what disposable batteries commonly put out, so rechargeable batteries put out a little less, but are still within the range of what consumer battery appliances need.
mAh: Milliamps Hour (mAh) is important because it’s the easiest way to distinguish the capacity of a battery. The higher the mAh, the more power the battery stores and the longer it will last before needing to be recharged. The higher the number is usually better. Think of a car’s gas tank.  Voltage is how much gas is being used, and mAh is the size of the gas tank (source).
LSD: Low Self Discharge; they won’t lose much energy while sitting around unused. Which means long shelf-life.
Charging Cycles: When a battery is completely drained and then completely charged up to full,  or when a battery is partial drained and charged up to full that is one changing cycle. Batteries that can hold up to many changing cycles are usually preferred.
Battery Chart 1
1. Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries
These batteries used to be the only type of rechargeable batteries available, NiCad batteries are harder to get now due to restrictions on poisonous cadmium that is used in their manufacturing. However, NiCad batteries are still in use for low-drain applications such as solar yard lights, remote controls, smoke detectors and emergency radios.
Overcharging Ni-Cd batteries can reduce cycle life (the number of times the battery can be charged).  Smart chargers know when the battery is full and stop charging.  Dumb chargers run on a timer and will almost always overcharge or fail to fill up the battery. You can charge whenever you like, but constantly draining them completely before charging actually shortens their life but on the same hand if you don’t, NiCd batteries have been known to suffer from a  “memory effect” which is when the battery remembers where it was last drained prior to recharging and from that time forward voltage drops as if the battery is going dead. In reality there is more power left to spare but voltage will drop as if the battery is going dead, while some manufacturers dispute this claim it remains widely reported. Occasional draining down to 1.0V is okay, and even recommended (source). A good brand of NiCd batteries you may recognize is Tenergy.

2. Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
The successors to Ni-Cd batteries, these commonly used and relatively inexpensive batteries are also the batteries that power some hybrid and electric vehicles. They can be relied on for most applications, but older batteries which have problems with self-discharge should never be used in smoke detectors as they can suddenly run out of power and leave you unprotected (source).

Remember that NiMH batteries come in two flavors: LSD and regular. LSD is “Low Self-Discharge”, which means long shelf-life (they won’t lose much energy while sitting around unused), vs. normal NiMH’s which go dead after a few months of sitting around. Given that, there’s not much incentive to get the normal NiMH’s, since they’re not any cheaper, and their capacity is only a little higher (2700 mAh for a normal NiMH vs. 2400 for a similarly-priced LSD NiMH). A good brand of Low Self-Discharge rechargeable battery is Eneloop, the Eneloop XXX batteries are one of the market’s best in capacity and charging cycles.
So how do you know whether a battery is the LSD kind or not? The easiest thing is to look for the good LSD-only brands: Eneloop and Imedion. You can also look for any of the marketing “code words” that indicate LSD, such as “Pre-charged” (since normal NiMH’s always require charging before use), “Ready to Use”, or “Hybrid” (source).

3. Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) Batteries
One of the newest types of rechargeable batteries for consumers, larger nickel-zinc battery systems have been known for over 100 years. Since 2000, development of a stabilized zinc electrode system has made this technology viable and competitive with other commercially available rechargeable battery systems. However because of their unique chemistry an voltage they require a special charger.

NiZn batteries are recommended for high-drain applications such as cameras, flashlights and outdoor equipment. The AA size NiZN batteries produce 1.6 volts which is higher than the voltage of disposable batteries as well as of NiMH batteries, which allows for better performance in motorized and light emitting equipment. However the main manufacturer of NiZn batteries discontinued production of them so they are no longer widely available. They also reportedly suffer from reliability problems, after only a few charging cycles the batteries self discharge considerably faster (source 1 and source 2).

4. Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Batteries
Li-ion batteries are sold as replacements for camera batteries, and they are also the most common batteries used in laptop computers, and some cell phones. Because they are easy to manufacture in different shapes, they are becoming the standard for use in personal electronics, and a built-in battery protection circuit keeps the battery operating safely preventing overcharge. They also store fairly well, therefore, having back-up battery packs for appliances that require them is not a bad idea. Unfortunately they are only available in the 3.6 voltage – accidentally using them in an appliance meant for standard batteries could easily fry the circuitry (source). Options for off-grid charging of lithium ion powered cameras, phones, GPS devices and tablets have expanded greatly in the past 4 years. Goal Zero’s solar recharging kit is one such highly recommended option that can be used to charge your USB capable devices and/or a pack of NiMH batteries. 

5. Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries (RAM)

Less common than other types of batteries, rechargeable alkaline batteries are similar to single-use alkaline batteries but have a chemical composition that allows them to be recharged. They are best used in low-drain applications, but once charged they are known to hold their charge for longer than other types of rechargeable batteries. If they were commonly manufactured and easy to find this would make them ideal to have available for backup or emergency use. However they have been basically pushed out of the market by the newer (LSD) NiMH batteries. RAM batteries also require a special charger as NiCd and NiMH chargers won’t work (source).

Battery Chargers for Emergency Preparedness
If storing batteries and not using them, you may want to periodically test them to make sure that they have not discharged. Dead batteries are of no help in an emergency.

Ideally you want a charger that will charge both NiCd and NiMH batteries so that you will have the option of using them in everyday life right now and also some stored away for emergencies. There are many nice smart chargers on the market that can safely charge both NiCd & NiMH batteries, and even recondition them for additional use when plugged into a source of AC power (click here to see a well rated charger that also reconditions batteries), however, when you narrow the field down to solar chargers your choices are considerably slim. A regular wall charger is still useful to have especially if you start incorporating rechargeable batteries into everyday life.  A solar charger is must for emergency preparedness as a battery charger that plugs into the wall wound be of little use in an event the grid goes down, therefore an alternative to that is solar power.

C. Crane makes an exceedingly affordable (under $30) and well rated a solar battery charger, that charges AA, AAA, C and D sized NiCd and NiMH batteries. While it is not a ‘smart charger’ the Solar 11 in 1 Battery Charger by C.Crane does have a very easy to read charge meter right on the front of it – a little vigilance is all that is required to make sure your batteries get a full charge. Another great charging option if you have the funds is the before mentioned Goal Zero Kit for AA and AAA batteries, which is actually a smart charger so you will not have to worry about over charging standard NiMH batteries (source). While Goal Zero will not endorse use of NiCd batteries with their product many reviewers have claimed the kit recharges them just as well. Since both these chargers are small in capacity my only advice is if you have the money, get two of them or in the case of Goal Zero to purchase an additional battery pack if necessary.
The Great Solar Yard Light Question
Can I use my solar yard lights as a solar battery charger?
solar light 2
(c) Stephanie Dayle 2014
You may have noticed some solar yard lights come with a replaceable AA or AAA rechargeable battery. The lights with these standard sized rechargeable batteries have become coveted items in emergency preparedness for their potential use as a super cheap battery charger.
The AA or AAA  batteries that come in solar yard lights are typically NiCd batteries (some solar lights use NiMH batteries instead, but not many). NiCd batteries have different characteristics than the NiMH batteries and should not be used interchangeably in solar yard lights. Usually solar yard lights are specifically designed to recharge the size, type and capacity (mAh) of battery the lights originally came with. This is why the slightly lower capacity (600 mAh) NiCd “Moonrays”are usually recommended as replacement batteries for solar yard lights.
Solor Light1
(c) Stephanie Dayle 2014
“Moonrays” are manufactured for solar yard lights with a slightly lower capacity which is better suited to the standard solar charge the lights usually give, so the batteries are not constantly under or over-charged. Always read the documentation that comes with your lights to see what type of batteries are needed; this well give you a better idea of what battery to keep on hand.
If the batteries you use for other appliances are compatible with your solar yard lights they do indeed make a handy recharger, but attempting to recharge a different type and/or capacity of battery could lead to over or undercharging issues (including overheating) unless you want to constantly test the battery all day to insure it gets a proper charge and is not damaged (source).
That being said, if I wanted to use solar lights to recharge batteries for use in other appliances I would go with the higher capacity Tenergy NiCd batteries (1000 mAh) and just be happy with whatever extra charge I got from the daylight over the Moonrays, knowing that they may end up always being slightly undercharged.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Propane or gas: How to choose a lantern and/or stove fuel

Let’s assume an emergency scenario where wood heat/light are not an option.  You can’t use a campfire and a biomass stove is out of the picture.  Maybe there is extreme fire danger, open fires are prohibited, or there isn’t a ready supply of fuel.
Should you have a propane or gas lantern or stove?  Tank or canister?  What are the advantages, disadvantages and what considerations should you be aware of?
My collection includes kerosene, gasoline and propane lanterns. The best  choice will depend on the situation, weight, safety and availability of fuel. (Pantenburg photo)
My collection includes kerosene, gasoline and propane lanterns. The best choice will depend on the situation, weight, safety and availability of fuel. (Pantenburg photos)
I can’t make up my mind which fuel is best.  I currently have one propane and four Coleman gas lanterns.  I own a dual-fuel campstove, gas backpacking stove, and one small stove that screws on top of a propane cylinder.  My go-to stove for all off grid cooking is a double burner Camp Chef propane cooker that uses bulk propane.  I have a propane space heater for emergency warmth.
Your emergency preparations should include some thoughts about lighting, heating and cooking implements over the long term.  Basically, your choices will boil down to two main categories: propane or liquid fuel (gasoline).
Before you buy anything though, consider where the appliance will be used.  Are you car camping, where weight is not an issue, or backpacking above the tree line, where weight will be a major consideration?  What temperatures will the item most likely be used in?  How important is long term use and the ability to replenish the fuel?
Here are some shopping considerations:
  • Convenience and ease of use:  Does the fuel source affect how easily the implement can be used?  There is no pouring, priming or pumping with propane.  With gas, the implement must be filled, and sometimes primed and pumped.  While the gas implement is operating, it will occasionally need to be pumped.
    Propane or gasoline? Where the appliance will be used, and the operating conditions will determine the best choice for you. (Pantenburg photos)
    Propane or gasoline? Check out the shopping considerations to decide.
  • Fuel availability:  The dual-fuel gas implements can use unleaded gasoline, at a fraction of the cost of Coleman fuel or white gas.  I’ve bought Coleman gas at tiny little stores in out-of-the-way areas of northern Minnesota, where the store inventory was sketchy at best.  Conversely, I’ve also seen standard 16.4 oz disposable propane gas cylinders at many of these same stores.  I’m guessing gas is still easier to find, but bulk propane is also very common and cheap.
  • Cost:  Last week at the local WalMart, the disposable propane cylinders were on sale for about $6 for two cylinders, versus almost $10 per gallon for Coleman fuel.  The dual-fuel gas stoves and lanterns are the clear winners in the cost-effectiveness category, with unleaded gasoline from the pump costing about $4 per gallon.  Not to mention, a dual-fuel implement can be re-fueled with a siphon hose from a vehicle gas tank.
  • Safety:  As a Boy scout volunteer, I see safety around fire as paramount.  I’ve noticed that the propane lanterns and stoves are easier, and hence safer, for the boys to light and use.  There is no priming, pouring or fuel to spill.  The idea of a container of gasoline anywhere near an open fire, with kids around, makes my blood run cold.
  • Implement design:  My Coleman model 442 backpacking gas stove has a listed weigh of 24 ounces.  That, in part, is due to the pump and generator required for a gas stove.  My single burner propane stove that screws on top of a propane cylinder weighs less than half that.
  • “Green” design:  I don’t like the disposable propane cylinders – they work great, but it seems to be a terrible waste to throw away the empties.  For a long-term situation, such as a lengthy campout, though, a bulk propane tank can be filled for about $2-something a gallon, making that option an economic favorite.
  • Temperature:  Cold affects propane’s effectiveness.  In extreme cold, a propane cylinder may not work at all.  Gasoline is not affected.  That’s one reason why I have so many gas-powered implements.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sensible Food Storage For a Year (Video)

In the video below Wendy Dewitt teaches us sensible ways to plan, organize and store our food storage for a year. She makes learning very easy and understandable for many of us who get overwhelmed with the entire process once we start researching the many different ways to become prepared.
She also discusses realistic and unrealistic expectations that can occur when thinking about SHTF scenarios. She touches on what our responsibilities will be to ourselves so that we can survive any long term situation.
If you have been trying to figure out how to make sure you have 3 meals a day for a year then Wendy is the person you will want listen to. She goes through how to meal plan for your family a week at a time and how to calculate the ingredients you need so that you are not overspending your budget and storing things that you may not need. In the long run, if you are buying sporadically for your food storage, you could be wasting money and lose track of what you actually have in regards to meals. Worse, you may not even have as many meals as you think. Meal planning and sticking to the food you have planned for not only saves you money, but it saves  you space as well. It will make you feel more confident KNOWING that you have 3 meals a day for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and then finally…for 1 year. She makes that goal reachable for you.
I hope you enjoy the video below and that it helps you and your family become prepared for natural/man made disasters that may be in store for us in the future.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Family Earthquake Preparedness Plan

earthquake 1
Do you have a family earthquake preparedness plan? Are you prepared to be self sufficient for days, weeks, or even months depending upon the severity of the earthquake? Do you ignore earthquake dangers because you think you aren’t at risk? Check out the article below – you may be more at risk than you previously thought. The first half of this article talks about what is currently going on in one part of the country and is a good example of why you may be at risk where you live. The second half of the article talks about the most important items to include in a preparedness plan.
In February we posted an article about Oklahoma’s dramatic rise in earthquakes and that residents should prepare themselves for more earthquakes to come. We also touched a little on whether or not the quakes are human-induced or a result of mother nature. Well, it happened again, more earthquakes have struck this area and other areas of the country are now at high risk according to the Unites States Geological Survey (USGS). Now is the time to come up with a family earthquake preparedness plan before the “big one” hits.
Early on Easter Sunday morning (March 27th) three earthquakes shook the ground again in northern Oklahoma at a magnitude of 2.7, 3.3, & 3.6. Then on the next day, Monday the 28th, the USGS released the first-ever hazard map for human induced earthquakes. Then the day after that on Tuesday the 29th, there were two more earthquakes (4.1 & 4.2 magnitude) near Crescent that were felt in Oklahoma City & in Tulsa.
This is unprecedented. Never before in our recorded history has there been such a large scale upsurge of continuous earthquakes and never before has the USGS released a human-induced earthquake hazard map. Right now the quakes are still relatively minor in terms of the magnitude it takes to create a major disaster; however, some experts believe these quakes are the warning signs (like the rumbling before an erupting volcano) leading up to a major catastrophic event.

If a major earthquake does hit, it is likely to cause catastrophic damage to the major metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wichita, and all areas around these cities, especially within the triangular shape that these three cities create (see the red area on Oklahoma & Kansas in the map above).
During the past couple years there has been a lot of debate on what is causing the sudden surge of quakes in Oklahoma and Kansas. According to some articles there has been enough science that suggests that the upsurge in quakes is human-induced mainly due to waste water injection wells from the sheer volume of oil & gas fracking in the area combined with high-angle faults. 
If theses earthquakes are human-induced as a result of waste water injection wells from fracking then this problem could be silently growing in other parts of the country as oil & gas fracking is now the industry standard. There are shale formations all across the country that contain prime reserves of natural gas. Many of these shale formations have already been tapped into and others will be getting tapped as the years go by.

Major quakes can make country roads impassible.

City highways and overpasses collapse making travel impossible.

Lets not talk about the devastation and the doom and gloom that follows a major earthquake, but rather about how this will effect you directly and what you need to do to be prepared. If you live anywhere near an earthquake risk area, your family earthquake preparedness plan will need to include three basic but very important items – food, water, and shelter.
A major quake will make many of the roads impassable and the power will be out for a long period of time. You will not be able to travel to find supplies and stores will not be able to restock their shelves as the supply trucks can’t get through. With the road infrastructure damaged and power grid down it will be a while before stores will be able to provide basic supplies to the general public. This is why it is so important to have your own source of food, water, and shelter.

Dehydrated/Freeze Dried Food vs. Canned & Boxed Food

So, what kind of food should you have on hand? The first thing that usually comes to mind is canned food and boxed goods from the grocery store. This may be a cheaper short term fix for the time being but will end up costing you in the long run. You will want to spend a little extra money for dehydrated and/or freeze dried food as it is well worth it. Canned food and boxed goods typically expire within a few years and don’t contain much in the way of nutrition due to the canning or manufacturing process. Dehydrated & freeze dried emergency food retains most of it’s original nutritional value as only the water is removed from the food items. Dehydrated & freeze dried foods can also last up to 25 years when stored properly vs. canned or boxed goods that expire within a few years.

Water Filtration vs. Water Storage

What about water? You will need to be prepared with water filtration or water storage options. If you live within walking distance to a water source (creek, river, lake, pond, etc.) you can simply filter the water as you need it. If you are filtering your water you’ll need to use a water filtration system that effectively removes biological pathogens (giardia, cryptosporidium, etc.), chemicals (toxic chemicals, pesticides, detergents, etc.), and dissolved solids (arsenic, lead, mercury, heavy metals, radiological radon 222, etc.).  If you do not have access to a body of water then you will need to either stock up on bottled water or store a supply of water in water storage containers such as in 50 gallon water storage containers. The CDC recommends 1 gallon of water needed per person per day for preparation of food, drinking, and personal hygiene. It is a good idea to have water stored away but to also having a water filtration system as a backup in case you run out of water. If water filtration is your primary water option then be sure to have a second water filtration system on hand in case the first one gets damaged or malfunctions for any reason.

Temporary Shelter

If your home is severely damaged and is unsafe to live in you will need some type of temporary shelter. Chances are that if the roads are impassible you will not be able to travel to a community shelter facility and even if you did it may be full by the time you get there. So then what? Have you ever been camping? Tents are a cheap, reliable, and effective means of temporary shelter. If you haven’t been camping then pick up a tent and take your family camping to get a feel for it. You need to see what works and what doesn’t work. Your tenting accommodations need to be somewhat comfortable so you don’t end up pulling each others hair out. Be sure to camp at a site that doesn’t have running water or electricity as this will mimic a realistic survival situation. This is extremely valuable as it shows how much or little water you will really need. You can get an idea of what it is like to try to conserve water when cleaning dishes, brushing your teeth, personal hygiene, etc. During your camping trip take notes on things you need to work on or other supplies you may need to make life more comfortable for you.
So there you have it – your earthquake preparedness plan needs to include food, water, and shelter. These three key items are the most basic but also the most important in terms of survival.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Economist Peter Schiff Warns of ‘Real Problem’: ‘The Economy Already Is in Recession. … When Is the Fed Going to Acknowledge It?’

Famed-economist Peter Schiff recently revealed to CNBC that he believes the U.S. economy is “weak” and likely in a recession.
Peter Schiff, President and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Peter Schiff, president Euro Pacific Capital. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
“The economy already is in recession,” Schiff said. “The question is, when is the Fed going to acknowledge it?”
“The real problem is the U.S. economy,” he added. “The U.S. economy is weakening.”
Schiff’s comments came just one day after Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen admitted the Fed had no real plan to raise interest rates, despite announcing last December that the central bank would be implementing four quarterly hikes in 2016.
However, Schiff said he was never fooled by Yellen, telling CNBC that he knew the Fed was never serious about continual interest rate hikes.
“Central bankers at the Fed bark but they won’t bite,” he said. “I knew all that talk was a bunch of nonsense.”

Friday, March 25, 2016

#Hallelujah—An Easter Message about Jesus Christ

We remember Easter foremost for the resurrection. The Lord remembers it foremost for the suffering in Gethsemane. In 1829, the Lord shared His reflection in a revelation to Joseph:

Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink— Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit. (D&C 19:15-20.)

It was important for the Lord to attain the resurrection, for it completed the process that frees mankind from death. But it was more important for the Lord to free us from sin. Because of what He accomplished in Gethsemane, we are able to be reconciled to God. It was “sore… exquisite… hard to bear…” and caused Him to “tremble because of pain,” and ask His Father that He might not drink the bitter cup. It caused the “greatest of all” to “shrink” away from the abyss of suffering.

By partaking anyway, and despite His desire to be spared, He “finished [His] preparations unto the children of men.” It was only “preparation” of an atonement because we are required in turn to receive its benefit through baptism and repentance. If we are unwilling to do this then it is as if no atonement were made for our sins, and we then are called upon to likewise suffer. The Lord has explained that if we refuse to repent then “our sufferings shall be sore.” Almost incomprehensibly difficult for us to bear.

The greatest response to the Easter celebration would be repentance and baptism.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dollar Store Prepping

Dollar Store Prepping

Most of us don’t have a ton of extra income, so when it comes to prepping, it often takes a back seat to every day expenses. After all, Jay Leno used to have a segment called “Things found at the dollar store”. There were creepy toys, and my favorite, a small toilet, that when you lifted the lid, had lip gloss in it!
Dollar store items are often overruns, have minor defects, and often are major brands. Here is a list of things to look for in dollar stores.
  • Over the counter medications. Why spend five dollars or more when you can get aspirin. Acetaminophen, allergy medications, Imodium, triple antibiotic cream, (We even found some with zink and some with silver.) and more for a dollar! Here is where a smart phone comes in handy. You know that for a dollar you aren’t going to get 100 pills, sometimes only a few, so check the prices and compare with other stores.
  • Band-Aids, gauze, tape, elastic support bandages, wrist, ankle and knee supports. Don’t forget the icy hot muscle relaxing pads. I keep them in my suitcase, for when I overdo when I travel, and my bug out bag, too.
  • Security items: Door stops can keep, or delay people from entering a door. I use them in hotels as well as putting Band-Aids over hotel room peep holes so no one can spy on you.
  • Board games. Yep, checker, backgammon, playing cards, and balls. Boredom is bad, especially when there are kids.
  • Hoola hoops and jump ropes are good exercise in a small space, like a bunker or a tent.
  • Clothes line is good for more than clothes.
  • Plastic tubs galore! Good for storage, washing yourself in, washing clothes and dishes…
  • Buckets
  • Cleaning supplies of all kinds.
  • Zip lock and other plastic bags
  • Blanket and garment storage bags.. not very thick but they keep the bugs out.
  • Duct tape, electrical tape, wire, nails and screws, screwdrivers and wrenches, flashlights, little pocket fans, garbage bags.
  • Small bags and even kid sized backpacks.
  • Food! I have found tuna, salmon and spam in foil pouches, which are great for bug out bags. Protein in a lightweight, slim pouch.
  • Boxed milk. Yes, it’s real and tastes good. Their expiration dates are months away, unlike regular milk, does not require refrigeration, but don’t get them hot, and they even last longer in the fridge when opened.   I keep it around for when I don’t  want to make a trip to the store.
  • Condiments: all kinds can be found here including sea salt, mustard with turmeric, hot sauce, spaghetti and sauces, parmesan cheese, ( check the cellulose levels ) spices..food boredom is bad for people in survival mode. Ever gone to the kitchen hungry and just didn’t want anything you had on hand? That’s food boredom. So when you prep, remember to get a huge variety of things you and/or your family, eat every month, like Mexican, Asian, Italian. Juices, powder drink additives..avoid ones with equal! (aspartame) and spices to pep the taste buds.
  • Clothes: Think socks, gloves, and hats.
  • Little miniature cloth wash cloths shrunk to the size of a small block, that when placed in water, spooing! (often called towels and have cartoon and super heroes on them.)
  • Pets: Food, collars, leashes, litter, pee pads. Which are great for kennel liners.
We have seen lots of brand name food and merchandise at dollar stores, sometimes it was made for a foreign country and did not sell well. We have gotten t-shirts, towels, lots of kitchen stuff, aluminum pans.
The cooking bags you sometimes see during the holidays can be used as crock pot/pot liners for easy cleanup. Really good when water is in short supply.
And speaking of the Holidays..seasonal items are always a time to get deals, like nuts for cheap, $1.00 solar yard lights, etc.

Things not worth getting:

  • Potting soil, you get about 5lbs for a dollar when Lowes and Home depot have 20lbs for less than $3.00.
  • Seeds..I have bought them several times and never had anything produce. So, poor quality seeds.
Never knew you could get so much eh? And different locations of the same stores will often have different items, check out stores around you and when you travel. Dollar Tree stores have where you can order cases online, and have them shipped for store pickup, for free.
Now grab those dollars and go shopping!