Monday, May 30, 2011

Think you're ready? Think again!

Just this weekend, a neighbor had lost her power for the weekend for reasons I won't go into.  Although this was a temporary situation, she still needed help getting her genset out of the truck and hooked up.  After lots of fumbling around in the dark garage, the plug was found and the genset was hooked up and running.  One comment rang loud and clear in my head..."I can't go a whole weekend without power!"

I sat and pondered that comment for quite a while that evening...true, even though she had a generator which had just been picked up from a regular maintenance, she was totally unprepared.  There were perhaps a dozen 5 gallon cans of gas stored away for the generator, but the hook up plug in the garage was very tough to find as it was tangled in a ratsnest of extension cords and other wires.  To make matters worse, there was no flashlight on hand to help find it in the dark.  From what I could tell, the food in the fridge had gone bad already and there was little in the way of prep food in the pantry.  If she had a way to cook without her electric range, I have no idea.

This really got me thinking about my self and my preps.  No, I don't yet have a generator although it is high on the priority list.  But to not be able to survive a weekend without power?  We have already stored 2 days worth of drinking water for the family of 6 and are working to get more put away.  If we did run out of water, there is always the old surface well ready to go and plenty of bleach on hand to purify with. As for cooking, we can use an outdoor fireplace, propane BBQ, or even a 2 burner camp stove.  As for food, we are probably stocked for about a month in the pantry.  Lighting is covered by crank flashlight which also have a built in radio, oil lamps, and more pillar candles than I could count.  If I really needed electricity, there is always the car inverter and extension cords to work with.

You see, this neighbor thought that if she had a generator to run the well pump and a couple of plugs, as well as some stored fuel that she would be set.  Then reality smacked her square in the face and she realized at the worst possible moment that she was totally unprepared.  We extended an open invitation to her to just ask us if there was anything she needed, but she never came to the door again the entire weekend.  She did however love the crank radio/flashlight we had and thought that maybe she could get one of those.  Well at least we were able to show her something about being prepared. 

In the end, I took some time to think about our situation should we lose power for a weekend.  Would we be hard done by?  Would we starve or live off cold beans?  Would we have to go to bed at sundown because we couldn't see?  In short...heck no!  Now the question is "how do I approach my neighbor about being prepared?"  Well, looks like the door to that topic opened itself.  Sometimes people have to go through an actual experience of their own to realize that prepping for the unknown just makes sense.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tempus Fugit

If you’ve been watching the news this week, you’ll have seen stories about tornados, fires and floods. Devastating events, to be sure, but they are relatively short in duration and the effects are transient in their nature. They have devastating effects on the areas in which they occur, possibly fatal to some people. Yet in the big picture, it’s not that bad.

While terrible, these disasters are generally mitigated by the arrival of outside help from other communities, agencies, and levels of government. The loss of a hundred or two hundred lives is devastating to their families, but sustainable by a city such as Joplin, Mo., when taken as a whole. The loss of people’s homes in Slave Lake, Alta. is shocking to the homeowners, but they will rebuild, likely with some government insurance. Likewise with the flooding in various areas. Life will go on and things will return to normal sooner or later.

Now consider what happens if it does not. Consider what happens when everyone is in the same situation, and has little or nothing to spare to help out others. This is the sort of thing that a CME might bring about. Even a major economic collapse might leave individuals, towns, and cities in an ‘every man for themselves’ state of mind.

Most preppers prepare to a particular timeframe: 72 or 96 hours. Three months, six months, one year. Underlying those preparations is the assumption that somehow, things will return to some sort of normalcy. Even if that normalcy is a return to a lower level of technology, or a lower standard of living, the human desire for stability is there.

After all, who other than the hopelessly insane wants to live every day of the rest of their life armed to the teeth against attack, vulnerable to famine if their crops fail, and doomed to die if they get seriously ill? Unfortunately, in much of human history, those conditions have too often occurred, and may occur again.

In reality, surviving through a major collapse will not be like a novel where all the plot elements are neatly wound up in the last chapter and everyone lives happily ever after. Hopefully, your story will continue for years and years, but if you want that to happen, you need to consider what happens after you’ve eaten 23 months of a two year food supply, what you do when you’re down to only 10 rounds for your .22, and what you’ll for new shoes, new clothes, new anything once whatever you have runs out.

I’m not advocating massive stockpiling, nor am I saying it’s a hopeless situation. What I am saying is that once you’ve prepared to a certain level, you need to think and plan for the long haul. Think of as many long term scenarios as you can and try to imagine what you’ll need to prosper in those conditions. If you’re doing this honestly and not imagining yourself as some neo-feudal lord surrounded by loyal minions, you’ll likely come up with a list of skills and perhaps a few tools and supplies you may want to work toward in the long term.

A stockpile of bullets, band-aids and beany-weenies is fine, but it won’t last forever. Plan for when it runs out.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Prepper Podcast Radio Network

For some time now, I have been listening to several preparedness podcast on various networks.  The one thing I have noticed is the lack of Canadian content.  Not surprising, as these are American based networks, even though they broadcast to a worldwide audience over the internet.  For this reason, I have decided to put out a show myself, a Canadian, for Canadians, with Canadian content.  I hope you will stop by and give a listen every Sunday at 9PM central starting July 17, 2011 on the Prepper Podcast Radio Network.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Role Of Your Out Of Area Contact

The first step to prepping is to have a plan.  Part of that plan is to have local and out of area contacts that you can get in touch with.  These out of area people serve many purposes and every member of your family should have their numbers and spare change for pay phones to be able to call them if the need arises.

The first and foremost role of this contact person is to collect information from separated family members and to relay that information back to you.  Local cell phone service and even land line communication could be severly limited from the masses of people trying to get in touch with each other.  In a case like this, an out of area call can usually be made much easier that local calls.  Every member of your household should get in touch with them regardless of where they are.  This way, when someone calls, you family will have a better idea of what to do and where to go.  The plan may be to get everyone back home where Mom is waiting, or to go to the local church or school because your house has been cut off for some reason or another.

Secondly, your out of area contact will likely have access to more information regarding the local disaster than you do.  This will be valuable information as your access to radio, internet or television reports will be severely disrupted.  This information will give you a better idea of the scope of the situation and help you make informed decisions for your plan of action.

Last but not least, this contact could be a stop location on your way to a temporary location while you wait out the mayhem.  Even better, try to make this person your temporary location.  If family is separated, they will be able to direct everyone to them for reuniting.

Given that most disasters are local events and during that time, communications and information will be hampered, an out of the area contact will be a valuable resource.  Make sure everyone knows how to contact them and has the ability to do so.  When disaster strikes, they should be one of the first people you talk to.  Let them know where you are and where you plan to meet, who has not checked in, and get as much information about the situation as possible.  Doing this can be the difference between a successful survival plan and pure confusion.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Knives For Survival

In my time as a salesman in an army surplus store, I had opportunity to see and evaluate hundreds of different knives.  There are so many types, that choices for your preps can get quite confusing.  Here are some pros & cons that I have learned over the years.

The cheap "Rambo" knife -
these have a long, impressive blade, usually have a hollow handle with a few matches and some fishing hooks .inside and capped off with a compass.  These are absolute garbage.  Don't waste your time or money an these.  The blades are made of cheap metal that won't hold an edge and probably won't stay attached to the handle either.

Box cutters -
these little cutters have come a long way recently.  From the inexpensive plastic type to the fold up lock back with a belt pouch I just love these things. Although the blades are thin and can break easily, they are razor sharp.  When they do wear down, simply discard and buy new (for the cheap plastic type) or get inexpensive replacement blades(for the better quality models).

Swiss Army Knives
There are only two real swiss army knives - made by either Victoryknox or Wenger.  Anything else is an imitation and not worth the money.  These come in all sorts of sizes & configurations.  The blades hold an edge well and can easily be sharpened .  The multitude of tools will come in handy in any BOB or Get Home bag...not to mention in your pocket for day to day use.

Folding Multi Tools
Realativly new on the market, these are slowly replacing the swiss army knife.  The same tools and blades are included in a folding set of pliers.  Again, avoid cheap imitations.  Go with the brand name such as Gerber or Leatherman.  If you like the convenience of the swiss army knife, but want to be with the IN croud and have the latest gear...go for one of these.

The Straight Blade Sheith Knife
these come in useful in certain situations such as hunting and backwoods camping where a longer blade comes in handy.  DO NOT get fooled with an economy knife.  Expect to spend a few dollars to get a good quality knife, but search out deals.  A good option here is the military surplus models.  The K-Bar is a personal favorite, but the Brittish Special forces is a good bet too.  If you want top quality, look for a knife called the EK.  Made by John Ek, these babies will go through a ship's bulkhead, then still slice a tomato paper thin.

For your survival collection, I would suggest A collection of boxcutters(one for every BOB, car kit, f/a kit etc.  A swiss army of multi tool, and a quality straight blade.  This collection will cover you for just about anything life puts in your way that need cutting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Go Camping And Learn To Be Prepared

Personally, I think camping is one of the best ways to learn what you may be in for after a disaster.  Now I don't mean renting a fully equipped trailer with all the bells & whistles.  I mean down and dirty no service camping in a tent with no power, and a nice long walk to get water or firewood.  This is as close to post SHTF reality there is.  No, you may not be living in a tent, but having to travel by foot for water or wood is a likely scenario.  If you have never been camping before, then start with the basic supplies...a tent, camping cookwear, and a cooler.  No, you don't need sleeping bags as you can just as easily bring along some blankets instead.  Leave those expensive camping toys such as propane water heaters and battery powered blenders where they belong...on the store shelves.  Not sure you want to invest in the equipment?  Many campsites offer "turnkey" packages, with a tent, camping stove and some dishes & lantern ready to go.  If you have been prepping for any amount of time, you may find that you already have most, if not all of what you will need.

So just what will a camping trip teach me?  Well, for one, you will meet all sorts of people that have been camping for a long time.  They will have learned all sorts of tricks for keeping warm & dry, not to mention how to set up a site, lighting & keeping fire, etc.  The most valuable lessons will be fuel consumption.  For cooking, you will learn how much wood it will take to cook a meal.  If you are using a camp stove, you will learn how long a can of gas will last.  Once you know this, you can find ways to cut down on cooking time by bringing prepared meals that need only heating or short cooking periods.  Gas lanterns and oil lamps also use up fuel and a weekend camping trip might show you how much they really use...the answer may surprise you!  The other option for camping lights is battery operated lanterns & flashlights.  Not only will you learn how long a set of batteries will last, but how much effective light they put out.

Although hunting for wild game will surely get you evicted from a campground very quickly, fishing is usually permitted, provided you carry a valid permit.  in fishing for your dinner, you will learn how big(or small) the local fish are and how many it will take to feed your family a meal...not to mention how long you will have to fish to get that meal.  Also, practical experience will be gained by cleaning & cooking them on site, without the benefit of modern facilities & conveniences.

Pest control will be a valuable lesson on your trip.  Not just how to keep bugs away or treat a bee sting,  but how to keep larger wildlife like raccoons or even bears away from your site and food.  Remember, food is what these creatures are after.  Keeping garbage cleared away of your site, storing food in airtight containers and out of reach, and washing dishes after every meal should send any unwanted visitors looking somewhere else for an easy meal.

Once you get back home, it's time to take stock.  How much fuel did I use for cooking or lighting?  How many sets of batteries did I go through and were my flashlights and radio effective?  How cold did it get at night and how many blankets did it take to keep warm?  Was some of my equipment ineffective and need to be replaced?  ow many water containers should I have to minimize traveling for refills?

Now for the most important tired am I?  How badly do my muscles ache?  How long did it take to accomplish basic day to day activities such as cooking or cleaning up?  Once you answer these questions, you will have a good idea of what kind of preps and efforts you will need for a disaster situation.  You can upgrade equipment, adjust methods, or change some things around then try again. My advice would be to try camping a few times each year, in different weather conditions.  This way you continually test your skills & equipment while getting your mind and body used to the extra work involved in day to day post SHTF life.  Remember, experience trumps all the information you can gather from books, blogs, videos, podcasts & forums.  Just get out there and give your preps a workout.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let Murphy Do His Worst

If you're anything like me, you have had your spring chore list ready to go since sometime in March.  You know the list...those yearly chores that need to get done such as raking up winter's debris, turning the garden soil, etc.  Add to that the other projects you may have elected to do like build a chicken coop, or expand the veggie patch and soon you have a calendar with something to do every weekend.  It has taken you lots of time to carefully plan out the chores so that each and every project gets done on time.Although you look at the list and have a hard time finding even an hour or two to sit in the spring sun with a well deserved beer(or iced tea if you prefer), you are confident that everything will come together.

Then along comes this dude named Murphy with his own ideas about your plans.  On the day you want to turn the garden soil, Murphy will send you a freak snow storm...and then that one is delayed at least a week.  Time to mend the fences around the yard?  Guess again as Murphy will make sure you lose the materials you had stored away last fall.  Want to dig the foundation for a chicken coop?  Guess what?  Murphy just put a giant boulder right in your way...costing you days of struggle to get it out.  This is Murphy and his laws...whatever could go wrong will go  wrong and we have all been subject to his pranks.

And it doesn't stop there...when you want to pack some buckets of wheat, your O2 absorbers will be dead.  Want to can up some meat chille?  Sorry, the seal on your canner lid is gone.  Plans to dehydrate veggies will some how turn sour.  It seams like almost every day we say to ourselves...I wanted to do this, but that happened!  Well, that's life.  I know it sucks, but we all have to deal with it.  Somehow you have to find the encouragement to continue.  Try not thinking so much about how much didn't get done, but what did or can get accomplished.  If we keep looking at how far behind we are in our plans, we will soon feel so overwhelmed that we give up.  You can't afford to do that.  Food and fuel prices will continue to rise, the economy will continue to get worse, and some sort of disaster MAY well be right around the corner.  Constantly update your projects by priority. In delaying a project this week, you may have to get some other things done before you can get back to it. The chicken coop will have to be done before the chicks are in at the Co-op.  The fence may have to wait a few more weeks, or painting the shed can be put off for another month perhaps.

So let Murphy do his worst, I say!  I will just do whatever I couldn't some other day, but soon.  In time it will all get done...just in time to start a new list.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Be Prepared, Not Scared

How many websites, blogs, or podcasts have we seen that are pumping you to prepare because this or that is right around the corner.  It is true, that governments are spending way more than they are bringing in, food prices are on a sharp rise, and don't even get me started on fuel costs.  But honestly, will our government crash tomorrow or will a loaf of bread really cost hundreds of dollars next month?  Well, I can't honestly say 100% no, but I can make a 99.999999999% prediction. 

I have heard just about everything you could imagine.  Solar flares knocking out power grids and electronics worldwide, mysterious planet sized asteroids about to wipe out the entire planet, global economic crashes that will make printed money name it.  Now I will agree that a major earthquake could happen in countless regions at any time, or freak tornadoes could wipe out a community with little to no warning,  I simply refuse to bow to the scare tactics of the few who profit from the fear they create. 

When you hear that the world as we know it is coming to an end any day now, take a hard look at the source.  Chances are you will find some connection to the sale of emergency food or other supplies.  This is how many people sell their scaring the stuff hitting the fan out of you.  Now, I'm not saying that every prepper website, blog, or podcast network is just trying to get you to buy their products.  In fact, there are many sites that will simply inform for the sake of helping people and don't sell anything at all, including memberships.  What you want to look for when searching for information sources is a forum.  They are generally free to join, allow you to give your insights as well as read those of others, and the information you will find there is based on members personal experiences, not hype and fear mongering.

If you have a favorite site you visit(other than The Canadian Prepper Network of course), follow this link to the forum and post a link.

Prepare for what history has shown you can happen, experienced preppers have lived through, and what happens on a regular basis in your area and ignore the hype.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Got Wheat?

If you’ve been following the news in North America, this spring, you’ll notice that it’s all about water. Too much of it in fact. Several locations in Canada have experienced or are still experiencing severe flooding, and of course the ol’ Mississippi river in the US has been causing more than a little trouble. In Canada at least, seeding is well behind schedule due to wet conditions, and we might well see a repeat of 2010, where the seeded acreage was the lowest in decades.

And the US winter wheat crop is forecast to be down 27 percent, a drop of 11 bushels per acre on average, caused by dry, freezing conditions in February. We’ll see how the spring and summer proceed south of the border, but given the extreme weather we’ve seen so far this spring, it’s hard to know how good a harvest is going to be possible.

And then of course there is China. China is in the grips of a massive drought. A recent news article that I read stated that of China’s 35 million acres of wheat fields, almost 13 million acres were affected by drought. Drinking water for millions of head of livestock and millions of people is also in short supply.

It looks very likely that China may need to buy heavily on the world markets to feed her people, a surprising event for the world’s largest wheat producer and a country that has been self-sufficient in grains for decades. Wheat prices are already high, and if China starts buying big, prices will quickly go even higher.

The question is whether there will be grain to buy. Last year, North American production was down, Russia and the Ukraine stopped exporting to reserve what was left of poor crops for their own people, and another year like last year would be disastrous.

Additionally, reserves are being eroded. In November, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a report ‘predicting food prices will soar 10 to 20 percent in 2011 and warning the world to be prepared for "harder times ahead" unless production of major food crops increases significantly.
The FAO report indicates that world grain reserves slumped 7.2 percent in 2010, with barley plunging 35 percent, maize (corn) 12 percent, and wheat 10 percent. The decline is due to dismal fall harvests.’

What does it all mean to you? It means that you should keep a close eye on food prices. If you’re thinking about buying grain to store, stop thinking and do it. And quit putting off that garden. You just might need it sooner than you think.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Home Energy Efficiency - Summary

So there you go - a few tips and tricks to reduce your energy consumption.  Remember, turn it of, turn it down, and use efficient appliances.  Yes, some of my suggestions will take a little extra work, such as hand washing the dishes, but in the end it is worth the effort. 
So why, other than being green and saving a few bucks would you bother?  Well, like I said before, during a crisis, energy will be limited and likely the only energy available at all is what you can produce on your own.  Learning to live with reduced energy now, will only make living through a disaster that much easier.

Join me for my next series - Home Energy Production - coming next week.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Energy Efficiency - Refrigeration

We all have a fridge.  We can't really expect to go through day to day life without one.  If you are electrically starved say with an off grid system, then you may want to opt for a propane model.  Propane refrigerators are very efficient today and much safer for indoor use than they used to be.  For really small applications or grid down scenarios, a 3 way mini fridge designed for camper trailers would be a great idea.  These will work on 120v AC, 12vDC, or propane.  Keep your refrigeration to one fridge.  Many people that have a second fridge, don't really need it and end up having a very old and inefficient secondary unit with little if anything in it.  Also, using almost 10% of your power, do you really want to double that number just for a few cold brews?  Freezers should be used at a minimum also.  Home can meat & veggies as much as possible so as to keep the size of freezer you need minimal.  Don't place your fridge or freezer next to the stove, as they will be fighting the heat output.  Clean the back coils of your fridge monthly to help it run better and always keep an inch or two clear on either side and in back.

I hope you enjoyed this series and maybe found some ways to conserve power.  This will greatly help for those of us that may wish to convert to at least partial alternate energy and save some money.  Remember that when disaster strikes and the grid goes down, tat generator or solar/wind system will not get you very much power at all, so learning how to live using less now will make living without the grid that much easier.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Energy Efficiency - Hot Water

Although at about 14% of your energy bill hot water is not nearly the greatest user of energy, but it is still an important chunk of the bill and deserves a look.  First off, you may want to replace your heater.  On demand, tankless water heaters are an option, but they require a gas source and are still quite expensive.  At about $1000 plus gas connection and plumber installation, they may take you a while to realize any savings.  Consider a more efficient electric unit to replace the old one.  Next, check the water temperature.  To do this open the hot water faucet and allow the flow to come up to temperature.  Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.  If it is over 120deg.F, then you can turn the thermostats on your tank down.  Studies show that 120 deg. is all you need to properly wash dishes, hands, etc.  If you have exposed hot water pipes in a cold basement or garage, cover them with insulating foam available at any hardware store.  To help your tank maintain water temperature, and therefore turn on less often, wrap your heater in a water heater insulating blanket.  To help reduce hot water use, wash clothes in cold water, today's detergents work very well without hot water.  Avoid running water when you don't need to.  Us men can fill a sink with warm water for shaving instead of running the water for 10 minutes, just as an example.  If you really want to go green, you can have a solar preheating system added, but again, there may be some time lapse before savings are realized.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Energy Efficiency - Lighting, Cooking & Appliances

There are many ways to reduce your lighting energy consumption...first and foremost, turn them off when not in use or not needed.  Do I sound like your nagging mother yet?  Good!  She had a point!  You may also want to switch to CFL or LED bulbs.  CFL's are quite common where as good LED bulbs are still coming to fruition and are still quite expensive compared to light output so shop wisely here.  Switch your garden lighting to solar to save the power all those bulbs use by burning all night long.
Cooking with electricity can consume a lot of power needlessly.  To start with, cook with the lids on your pots.  Whenever possible, use a pressure cooker.  This will reduce cooking time dramatically.  Also, for smaller dishes, use your toaster oven instead of the stove.  Get or build a solar oven and use it often.  Bread can be baked reliably in one of these and they consume no energy whatsoever.  In the winter, use your wood stove to cook on, this way you get double duty from your wood.
Dishwashers are huge energy gobblers.  Not only do they run on electricity, they use a lot of hot water.  My suggestion is to uninstall your dishwasher, sell it on Craig's List, and start washing dishes by hand(gasp).  Don't keep the water running to do dishes, fill one dishpan with hot soapy water and another with clear hot water and a few drops of bleach.  Wash in the soapy, rinse in the bleached, and your done.  Now you can use that empty space for food storage.  Also, any appliance wit a little light on it when it is turned off uses a phantom load.  This means that even though the unit is off, power is being used to maintain the circuits so that it will come back to life faster when turned on.  Get a switched power bar for these items and turn that of when not in use.  True, each little item may not be using that much power but add them all up and they could equal 1 or 2 60w bulbs running all day every day.  When considering a new computer, keep in mind that laptops consume much less power than a desktop.  If you're house is like mine, then someone is likely using the computer at any given time of the day.  If you have a cloths dryer, consider the same fate as the dishwasher.  These monsters gobble power like no ones business.  Install an outdoor clothesline and get an indoor drying rack or two.  In winter, clothes hung near the fireplace or even next to the furnace will dry almost as fast as in the dryer.
In a nutshell, if not using it, turn it off.  Get efficient bulbs & appliances.  Get rid of what you really don't need.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Energy Efficiency - Reduce Heating & Cooling Energy Use

Heating & cooling our homes consumes about 44% of our energy usage.  That's a huge chunk to consider, and therefore the first thing to look at when reducing our energy consumption.  The first thing we want to look at is not how we add heat or cold into our homes, but rather how well our home hold it in.  Doors & windows are the number one escape route for air from your home.  Of course, old inefficient doors & windows can be replaced, but short of that, look for air flow around them.  Light and hold an incense stick near the edges of the casings.  If you have a good seal, the smoke will gently rise, but if air is escaping or drafts are entering, the smoke will follow the flow of this air.  Use a quality caulking to seal both the inside and outside of the casings to close these gaps.  Replace any worn or damaged weather stripping with an appropriate product.  Ask your local hardware clerk what to use and if possible, bring a sample of what was there to begin with.  On the exterior, take a walk around of your home and look for cracks or gaps in the siding, especially on the corners. Again, use caulk to fill the gaps or for larger voids, expanding foam insulation can be used.  We all know that heat rises, therefore, take a look in your attic at the insulation.  Chances are there could be more.  Fiberglass insulating bats or loose fill insulation is easy to add and greatly helps hold in the heat.  If you have a orced air heating & cooling system, inspect your ductwork looking for leaky joints and other gaps.  Your incense stick will come in handy here too.  Use duct tape(the real stuff, not that grey roll you find everywhere)to seal the gaps and consider wrapping them with an appropriate insulation to help prevent heat from dissipating into the air around them.  In winter, old windows can be covered in a plastic sheet that is then shrunk to a tight fit with a hair dryer.  Every hardware store will be selling these in the fall at little cost.  Remember to turn down your heat or AC at night or when you are away from home.  Programmable thermostats are great ideas for the forgetful. Ceiling fans will help circulate air throughout the house helping to reduce cold or hot spots.  Don't forget to check out incentive programs.  Many governments, and some energy companies will subsidize energy efficient upgrades to your home.  Remember,  it is more important to keep the conditioned air in your home than the method of conditioning it in the first place, but if your furnace or AC unit fails and must be replaced, take the opportunity to replace it wit an energy efficient model.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Powers That Be

Likely you’ve heard on the news that the Provincial Government of Manitoba decided to deliberately cut a dike in our flood ravaged land. This was done to effect a controlled release of water rather than risk a catastrophic failure.

The catch was that dozens of homes are likely to be flooded by this, perhaps as many as 150 or more, a choice mad to save 850 homes. The homeowners that will be flooded have no say, as the province has declared an emergency, which allows them wide ranging powers.

The city of Brandon also exercised its powers, declaring a local emergency. A mandatory evacuation order was issued, evacuating over a thousand people, and shutting down a large portion of the primary business district. This also gave the police the power to keep people off the dikes and fine them up to $50,000 for failing to comply. Additionally, the city can in essence trespass at will and commandeer private goods and vehicles.

This is nothing out of the ordinary for this kind of situation and is being done for the common good and safety, and all will return to normal in a few weeks. So why worry? How does this affect me as a prepper?

In a crisis, any kind of crisis, local, provincial and national governments will do their level best to cope. That is expected and reasonable. The problem is that they may invoke powers that are so sweeping that they could pose a danger to you. They can seize goods and vehicles, impose no go areas, and impose curfews and so on. At a certain point in a large enough crisis, they may be the monkey wrench in your plans, rather than a help.

Before that happens, take a look at your plans and how government acting in crisis might screw them up. Do you own a vehicle that would be attractive to a government short of equipment? Is your property strategic in some way, perhaps at a road junction or maybe just safer to park on than a lot of other places?

How about your food and equipment? Freeze dried food taken for the homeless and hungry, or maybe your generator and stored gas needed to run a pump somewhere else? It’s good to help your neighbours, but not to the point of watching years of preps vanish, and having your family no safer, warmer or better fed than anyone else.

The time to learn the extent of powers that your local government can wield is now, not during a crisis. Once you know exactly how far their powers go, and how little you have, it will probably make you think twice about your operational security, and whether you need to double up or keep out of sight some of your tools and equipment.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Update for Blogger Issues...

It would seem that blogger has yet to correct their situation...for now, posts will not appear.  We all hope this issue is resolved soon.

Problems With Blogger

Just to let you know that a problem with Blogger has delayed posting for the last couple of days.  Your daily posts are ready, and will be on their way shortly.  This will extend the current series post into next week however.  I apologize for the lost posts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Home Energy Eficiency - Yet Another Series

How the heck does energy efficiency  relate to prepping you may ask?  Well, that's really an easy one to answer, as in a grid down scenario following a disaster, even the mots well equipped prepper will recognize that what energy they can produce is a valuable resource not to be wasted.  There are four main uses of energy in your home and they all use different amounts of energy.  These are...

Heating & Cooling - 44%
Lighting , Cooking, & appliances (discounting refrigerator) - 33%
Water Heating - 14%
Refrigeration - 9%

Every home is different and these numbers can vary.  For instance, a home with a second refrigerator or chest freezer will have more than 9% going to that category.  Another home using wood as a primary heat source will have a much lower percentage in that category...but these are average numbers.

I will be taking a look at all our categories individually and offering some common sense suggestions to help reduce your energy consumption.  Some of these suggestions may end up making you a better prepper as you will learn how to live with less power.  For instance, using passive solar heating to help  heat your home, or using more efficient appliances or eliminating some of them completely will make not having them in a grid down situation seamless.  Many web sites will advise you to get a home energy audit.  Give me a break !  If you are grown up enough to own your own home, then you should be able to take care of it.  Besides, making sure your family is comfortable and  as energy efficient as possible is a grown up's responsibility.  All of the tips & suggestions posted will be easily handled by a responsible home owner.  Tune in tomorrow for   the biggest home energy eater....heating & cooling.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Remember to Prepare All Year Long

I hope you all enjoyed last weeks series on back to basics prepping and hopefully some new preppers learned a thing or two.  Just because Emergency Preparedness Week is over, don't forget about your preps.  Once you have the basics done, keep watching for more info on taking your preps to the next levels.  Many reader here will prepare for an absolute worst case scenario where utilities are all out, supplies are cut off and society has degraded beyond recognition.  Does that mean we expect something like this to happen?  Not really, but if we are prepared for that, then we could handle ANYTHING that could come our way.  Start slowly, and shop smart.  You don't need to have the newest, fanciest, mot durable high tech gear to get through your average storm with a power failure, but you do need some basics.  If you are not new to prepping and want to teach new comers, point then in the direction of this site. All levels or preppers are welcome and if you are new to this, then welcome.  Learn, ask questions, share experiences at The Canadian Preppers Network Forum

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Flood Follies

Well, once again, an interesting week in the world of crisis and disaster. At this time, several Manitoba towns and municipalities are frenetically trying to add more height to dikes and are frantically sandbagging to keep roads open. Several Manitoba homes have already been flooded due to a higher than expected flood waters.

It was already known that it was going to be a wet, dangerous year for flooding, but today it was announced that that the Assiniboine would crest up to two feet higher than predicted because of a flow gauge failure on the Qu’appelle River. This gauge gave lower readings than it should have, throwing off flood predictions badly. Assuming that a faulty gauge was indeed the case (I’m not a conspiracy type: I believe human ignorance, stupidity, and laziness are far more likely as a causative agent than secretive cabals.), it illustrates a point.

The point is: small failures have big consequences. A single small failure has thrown the preparedness planning of several local governments into the trashcan. These municipal organizations are being forced to revamp plans and cope with a rapidly changing (dare I say fluid?) situation. For the most part, they are doing pretty well.

The lesson we should learn from all of this is: Can I do the same? Almost every thing done in preparedness, whether government or personal, is done by developing likely crisis scenarios, and then prepping to meet those likely crises. It tends to lead us into well worn paths in our thinking, where we are using the same old set of what ifs and assumptions as the parameters that we use in our preparedness plans.
What the plan is really not important. It could be your bug out plan, your bug in plan, it might be your plan to raise and grow X amount of food. I guarantee, however, that in each and every plan there is the possibility of a single, small failure that will upset the most elaborate preparations.

If we are serious about being prepared, we need to scrutinize our preparations, looking for vulnerabilities, potential failure points, and invalid assumptions. It needs to be an ongoing process, but not an obsessive or fearful one. While you are looking for problems and trying to fix them before they become critical, remember that you can’t think of everything. Accept that there will always be something you haven’t thought of, even if you’ve thought of one hundred things that might go wrong.

Knowing that your plan is the best it can be, and that you have done everything you can do will give you the confidence and flexibility to react properly to that one hundred and first something that comes along.

Emergency Preparedness Week - Back To Basics - Clothing & Bedding

Let's face it, here in Canada almost all of us experience sub zero temperatures for what seems like most of the year.  Also, doesn't it seem that the power usually goes out when temperatures are at their coldest?  Here is where propper clothing & bedding come into play.  Even a home with an efficient wood stove can get cold fast when the fire dies down during the night.  Keep plenty of blankets, sleeping bags, comfortors, or whatever on hand.  Don't forget that you may be sleeping on the floor in a designated warm room and the extra comfort will be welcome.  A blanket or two under you will add to the warmth as well as comfort.  Clothing is also an important consideration not only for warmth but also for work.  During a disaster, many of us will have to perform household chores not usually on the daily list such as removal of downed trees & other debris, hauling firewood, water, or other manual labor.  Keep some old clothes for working such as jeans or heavy cotton work pants, long sleeve shirts, heavy socks, sensible footwear such as work boots, and work gloves.  For winter, dress in layers to improve thermal retention.  Thermal underwear, sweaters, wool socks, mitts, hats, scarves, live in Canada so you get the idea.  Keep in mind that you may not want to wear your designer outerwear, so keep something simple, low cost, and durable on hand.  For a bug out bag, you should keep a bedroll, and season appropriate clothing in it at all times.  Changing out the clothing with the seasons is a great opportunity to check on the other supplies to make sure everything is edible, charged, or otherwise in good condition.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Week - Back To Basics - Communications & Security

Let me get one thing cleared up first, by communications & security, I DO NOT mean police grade walkie talkies & guns-n-ammo.  This is a series aimed at the beginning prepper, with basic supplies that every household should and could have.
There are two forms of communications we need to consider.  First, we will want to be able to contact family members both locally and out of the area.  Since land lines will likely be overloaded, or not working at all, I advise you to get a cell phone and keep it charged and at the ready.  You can get a "pay as you go" type where blocks of time a purchased on a gift card.  All you have to do is enter the serial number on the card to activate the time.  This will avoid to monthly bills for a service you may not regularly use.  Keep in mind that cell lines may also be taxed during an emergency.  Text messages are handy in this situation as they will continue to attempt to get through until they succeed.  To help keep in touch with each other locally during the aftermath of a disaster, small handheld 2 way radios are a great solution.  You can find these now at electronics stores and camping stores with ranges in the 1 mile area.  The other form of communication is keeping up to speed with current events.  Since electricity is usually the first utility to fail, television will be out of the question unless you keep a backup generator.  Battery operated AM/FM radios are a must.  Actually, I prefer and recommend crank powered radios.  No batteries are needed so they will never be flat.  AM radio will provide you with news and information regarding the disaster affected area and FM will provide you with some entertainment.  I find that a little music in the background usually help reduce the stress of emergency situations.  There is a model I found at Canadian Tire that is an AM/FM radio + 1 or 3 LED flashlight + cell phone charger.  This cost me about $15.00 and I have 2 of them already.  They can also be kept charged by plugging the included USB cable into a computer.  This leads me to the issue of security.  Most of your security concerns are centered over light.  During a crisis, daily chores will be more numerous and take longer so light at the end of a day will be important.  The crank combination units mentioned earlier will work well for finding your way in the dark, but how about lighting up the kitchen for cooking or dishwashing?  There are several options for lighting available to you.  Beware of open flames such as candles & oil lamps.  These must be used with care so as to avoid a potential fire hazard.  Battery powered lanterns give off good light, but you have to remember batteries.  Unlike flashlights, lanterns are used for longer periods of time and will wear down batteries quickly.  There are crank powered lanterns available, but they give off mediocre light and are still quite expensive.  Propane or Naptha lanterns give good light, help add heat, and a tank full of gaz will last several hours.  However, as with candles, care must be taken to avoid tipping.  Weapons are advocated by many preppers, but I think that this kind of thinking is beyond the scope of this series.  If you do feel the need for protection then there are many non lethal options at your disposal.  I WOULD suggest pepper spray as good personal protection HOWEVER, at the time of this post, civilian possession of pepper spray is illegal, THEREFORE I cannot advocate it's use.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Week - Back To Basics - Shelter & Heat

Now let's take a look at shelter  and yet again, consider our two scenarios.  If you can stay in your home, all the better.  Frankly it's the best place for you considering all the mayhem in the world around you, your own home will offer some peace of mind & a sense of normality.  Not to mention that's where all your preps are.  There are only a few considerations you need to keep in mind, these are heating, lighting & cooking.  When disaster strikes, most likely you will be without power and possibly for a few days or longer.  Given the Canadian climate, heat will be a major concern.  For home owners, this will be a simple issue to tackle.  A wood or gas stove can supply enough heat to keep a room or two warm and prevent water pipes from freezing.  Others may prefer to use a portable generator to power a small electric space heater.  Whatever you choose, try to reduce your living space to one or two rooms, as trying to heat a whole house with a backup heat source will likely prove impossible.  There are several models of propane or kerosene heaters available on the market and although safer than in years past, any open flame heat source poses dangers.  When using this type of heat source, you must provide for ventilation as fire consumes oxygen and produces deadly carbon monoxide, not to mention a fire hazard.  Also, don't forget that you will need to store plenty of extra fuel AWAY from your living in OUTDOORS.  In any case, seal off all but your designated "warm room" and use passive solar heat whenever possible.  Any window that gets direct sunlight during the day should be unobstructed when the warmth of the sun is gleaming into the room.  Close the blinds or curtains at night to help prevent heat loss.  With a fireplace or stove installed, cooking can be handled with ease. Anything you can cook on a typical kitchen range can be cooked on a wood stove (or gaz stove for that matter).  Another great option is a propane or naptha camping stove with two or three burners.  These will put out about 10,000 - 12,000 cooking btu's per burner and have worked well for me in the past.  If you find the little 16 ounce cans of propane expensive to consider for a long term use, you can get an inexpensive adapter & hose to run them off a 20lb tank.

Bugging out will usher in a whole different set of preps.  For shelter, other than your car, consider a tent.  There are plenty of affordable options for you from tiny 1 man pups to virtual roll up apartments.  Do yourself a favor and set up a new tent in the yard, park, friend's house or whatever.  Seal the seams with a recommended seam sealer and familiarize yourself with how to set it up and take it down.  Another variation on this could be a tube tent or even a tarp with some cord in a pinch.  What you want to remember is how long will you need to use it?  For bugging out to a relatives house, a tube tent for two or three nights might well do the trick if the weather is right.  In the winter, or if you will need to live in a tent until repairs on your house are complete, then something more elaborate and comfortable will be needed.  For heat options when bugging out, small, portable, non electric options need to be used.  Remember the hazards of open flame sources in the home...this would be ten fold in a tent or temporary shelter.  Good clothing, worn in layers &blankets or a good sleeping bag will play an important roll to keeping warm.  As for cooking, well, consider your food preps for a bug out situation.  If relying on dehydrated foods, the a single burner camp stove, sterno stove, or solid fuel stove will serve well, as most of your cooking chores will be simply boiling water.  If you plan on using your car for shelter as well as transportation, remember that you will have to open a window when your car idles.  Start your car and crack a window.  Then run the heater until you have enough warmth.  Close the window and turn off the car.  Carbon monoxide easily gets into a car when it idles, so rely more on clothing & blankets than your car's heater.  This will also save valuable fuel for traveling. 

Of course, if you plan on heading to a friend or relative,make sure you have cleared that with them ahead of time.  By ahead of time, I don't mean 10 minutes before pulling into their driveway.  Make your destination part of your original plans and have several routes for getting there mapped out ahead of time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Week - Back To Basics - Sanitation & First Aid

One of the most important things about living through a disaster would be maintaining health.  If you get sick or are injured, then your chances of making it through an emergency situation decrease.  Care MUST be taken to maintain proper hygiene as well as having the ability to handle injuries properly.  In the case of cleanliness, a bottle of alcohol hand sanitizer just won't cut the mustard.  These products, while great for your hiking daypack, weren't meant for extended use.  Not only will they dry out your skin leading to painful cracks in the hands, but they just don't remove common dirt very well.  Soap and HOT water will be needed to maintain proper cleanliness.  A simple bar of soap will last the average person through just about any disaster situation.  Also, consider dishwashing, if you're like me, you plan on bugging out with camping cooksets that need to be cleaned after every use.  A small bottle of concentrated dishsoap costs little, and if you still find this too much for your bug out pack, there are small refillable utility bottles available at camping stores and pharmacies that you can use for smaller amounts.  Don't forget that even washing requires tools to do so.  A dishcloth & towel, metal scrubber, washcloth and hand towel should be considered for your bug out bags.  Now let's look at the loo.  If you have your own home, the you have probably stored up some grey water fo flushing.  If however, your sewer lines are broken or blocked, then you've gotta find another place to go.  An outhouse would be a great option...I know, the smell bad, they are cold, and who wants one in the back yard...well, agreed.  So just what can you do when you have to, you know?  My suggestion would be a simple portable toilet known as the 5 gallon bucket.  Camping stores sell versions with a detachable toilet seat.  Use plastic garbage bags for liners and when done, tie them up tightly.  Take these bags daily or more often if you can to a remote place and bury them....and I mean DEEP!  Don't go to the front lawn, dig up one shovel full of dirt and cover it with a few inches of soil.  Take them to the back 40 acres (a secluded area of a large city park) and dig a hole at least a foot or two deep.  Toss in the bag and cover as well as you can.  If you have the option, burning it is also a good disposal method.  Get your fire really hot and toss on the bag.  You will want to make sure you don't need this fire for cooking, or keeping warm for some time and be sure that all cooking utensils & grills have been far removed.  Many people will suggest chemical toilets, but remember, you can't easily get rid of the contents.  Keep plenty of bathroom tissue on don't want to run out and resort to leaves or cloths.  If you really aren't comfortable using the buckets, then consider a commode chair that can be found at geriatric supply stores.  You will always want a good supply of household cleaners on hand as well as plain household bleach for disinfecting.  Keep food prep surfaces as well as washroom facilities even cleaner than you normally do.  The last thing you want during a disaster  is to get sick. 
Once general cleanliness has been taken care of, first aid will be your next priority.  First of all, make sure you have a supply of all prescription medications you take and always have a week's worth on hand.  Basic first aid supplies are a must.  Small cuts on a hand can get infected and turn nasty if not properly taken care of.  For these little, everyday cuts & scrapes, have some disinfectant on hand such as rubbing alcohol or peroxide.  Bandaids are also a must...I suggest a box of assorted shapes & sizes that has not only the regular bandages, but also knuckle & fingertip types.  Add to this a roll or two of  cut to size bandages for custom  can also make the odd shaped ones yourself this way.  Get the fabric type instead of the plastic ones, the stretch to fit, hold better and allow the skin to breath.  Don't forget the antibiotic ointment to help keep infection at bay.  Next you will need an assortment of gauze pads, gauze bandages in rolls, First aid tape, tweezers, scissors, triangular bandages and safety pins.  A good idea would be to look for a first aid kit designed for small office use.  These will have everything you need, including a guide on how to deal with different the guide before you pack away your kit and read it again every few months to keep it fresh in your mind.  Many provinces require employers to have one or more trained first aiders and will pay them to send employees on training courses.  If you get this opportunity, take it.  This course will teach you basic cpr as well as how to handle everything from minor cuts to broken bones.  You could always take a first aid course yourself through the Red Cross, for a cost of about $50 - $100 depending on the course level. 
All in all the golden rule here is keep it clean...dirt & bacteria can cause some nasty illnesses that you don't want to be dealing with during a crisis.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Special Announcement

We interrupt the regularly scheduled series to bring you this special post.......

The Prepper Podcast Radio Network Needs You !

I have been a regular listener of The Prepper Podcast for quite some time now.  There are some shows I can miss from time to time, but there are many more I just can't NOT listen to.  Right now, the podcast is in a full blown expansion to a 24/7 format and is looking for new hosts.  I have been told that they are interested in adding more Canadian content and are looking for more Canadian hosts for shows.  Right now, they only have one Canadian show, Life on a Wild Horse Ranch, which can be heard on Fridays at 8PM central time.   If you would like to know more about the podcast, the best way is to tune in and listen to some of the shows.  Once you have checked it out and you feel you may be interested in hosting a show, drop me an email at and I will put you in touch with the right people.

Check out the podcast here....

Emergency Preparedness Week - Back To Basics Series - Water & Food

Here again, we have two possibilities to consider...bugging in or bugging out.  Your water & food preps will vary greatly depending on your choice.  Keep in mind that you may plan to bug in for almost everything, but there are any number of factors that may force you to leave.  Therefore, I would suggest prepping for both scenarios.  Let's take a look at water...the BASIC, and I repeat, BASIC requirements are 4 litres per day, per person.  This will cover drinking, cooking & washing on a very minimal basis.  Don't plan on taking a daily bubble bath with this amount of storage, you will be looking more at a sponge bath here and there instead.  There are two types of water you may wish to keep on hand, drinking water and what is known as grey water.  Drinking water will be used for consumption, cooking and hand washing.  This must be of the best quality and kept free of contamination.  Bottled water is a great option for this, but as you could imagine, this could get quite costly for large quantities.  Take for example a family of four prepping for 1 week.  4 litres x 4 people x 7 days gives you 112 litres.  At about a buck for a 4 litre bottle, that adds up to  $28.00.  Here is another option, see if you can get a local grocery store to sell you the empty water containers used for water coolers.   The deposit on them is $10.00 and they hold 18 - 20 litres.  These can be filled from the tap and stores in a cool, dark place.  Water will not store like this forever, in fact if exposed to light, algae may start to form or off tastes can appear.  An easy problem to solve though with regularly discarding the water, washing & disinfecting the bottles with soap & bleach, then refilling them for storage.  Many people with the space to do so, will fill 208 litre barrels.  This will require a pump to remove the water for use and also makes moving it in case of evacuation impossible.  Also, remember to keep some water in 500ml bottles that are easy to pack up and leave with as well as help you ration properly if need be.  Grey water is something many of us don't think about, but if your water supply is cut off, how will you flush those toilets or wash dishes?  A great source of grey water is a rain barrel.  Usually found in the 200 litre size complete with a faucet near the bottom, one has only to divert rain water from the roof into the barrel.  If properly filtered & treated, this could be used for drinking, but there are risks involved if the water is not properly prepared.  The best combination would probably be a rain barrel for grey water, larger containers in the 20litre range for drinking storage, and 4 litre & 500ml litre sizes for bugging out.  If you are lucky enough to have warning of an impending emergency situation, fill your bathtub, buckets or even empty soda bottles with water right away.  Now, there are plenty of filters out there costing hundreds of dollars, plans for solar stills, and what have you, but for the purpose of this series, let's keep things simple...remember....Back To Basics.

Now for a look at food, again, the two different scenarios apply.  For bugging in, things will be quite simple.  Keep in mind to store what you eat and eat what you store.  A week's worth of NON PERISHABLE food shouls always be on hand.  Again, government sites will tell you 3 days, but to me, that is simply not enough.  Canned food from the supermarket is by far the easiest to store.  For proteins, keep in mind that beans and nut butters are good substitutes for tuna and spam.  If you have kids, or even if you like it yourself, Beefaroni and other pasta meals are easy to prepare and are affordable.  Keep your food groups in mind.  Stock up on veggies & fruit, quick cooking rice and noodles, meats & substitutes and dairy.  For milk, the best options are dry milk powder (remember to consider extra water storage) and shelf stable milk in UHT cartons (commonly sold under the Grand Pre label).  Spices will be an important factor to consider as many storage foods will need a little something extra to help increase taste.  Remember to have some cooking oil, shortning or lard handy too.  For a basic emergency supply, you won't need to have buckets full of rice, dry beans, or wheat berries in the garage.  Simply keeping you pantry stocked up should do the trick.  For a bug out situation, you will want to consider two factors in your food preps...weight & bulk.  Space will be a factor to consider if you need to pack a bug out bag with supplies and weight will be important especially if  you have to go on foot.  Prepackaged dehydrated food will help, but remember your water supply as well, as these foods must be rehydrated before eating.  Consider foods that will give you higher energy and help you feel full such as nuts or high calorie energy bars.  When considering  your food storage, try to keep your cooking options mind...more will be posted on these options in a later post.  Just remember, you don't have to get everything set all at once.  Just buying a little extra with each grocery order will quickly build up your supplies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Emegency Preparedness Week - Back To Basics Series - Planning

In light of Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada, I thought I would take this week to go back over some of the basics of being prepared.  For today, let's take a look at planning.  One thing to keep in mind is that the more prepared the public is, the less stress will be put on emergency services.  Ideally, everyone would have plenty of water, food, first aid supplies and whatever else they would need to survive the first few days of a disaster.  From what I have gathered in talking with people is that this couldn't be further from reality.  One of the first things to consider is what to do immediately following a disaster.  How and where will you meet up with loved ones?  We should all have a family meeting place decided upon for different scenarios.  For example, if a fire or gas leek to occur in your home.  A place to meet, such as  the neighbor's front lawn could be a great idea.  For something bigger when we may all be at work, school, shopping etc, could be our homes, a neighborhood church, or other public place that everyone knows how to get to.  Now, what happens if you can't get to your meeting place or can't stay there once you arrive?  An out of town contact would be a great idea in this case.  Perhaps a family member that everyone can check in with so as to convey to others any change in plans.  Everyone should have the phone number of this person and be able to contact them when needed.  In addition, everyone should carry some form of ID along with emergency contact name & numbers in case they are injured or cannot speak for themselves.  Once you have decided how you will all get together after an emergency, the next thing to decide is what to do next.  There are really only two options here and sometimes the choice may be made for you.  In a nutshell,you may stay, or you may go.  If you can and decide to stay, then start making a list of what you will need to get by for the first week or so.  Public Safety Canada has just put out a new brochure on emergency preparedness, and are still advocating the 72 hour rule.  Personally, I believe a week is the bare minimum.  Instead of trying to list everything at once, break it down into a list different areas of preparedness that can be elaborated on later.  There are really only a few areas to be considered...they are:
Water & Food
Shelter & Heat
Sanitation & first Aid
Communications & Security
Clothing & Bedding
For the rest of the week, I will visit each of these topics per day and explain how to get your lists going as well as some tips on how to supply yourself without laying out thousands of dollars at once.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Week

Today marks the beginning of Emergency Preparedness Week.  This is an annual event held on the first full week of May.  Coordinated by Public Safety Canada, vist the site for more great info...

It’s been an interesting week. That’s interesting as in the old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. If you have been watching the news lately, there was a devastating series of storms in the southern USA that spawned dozens of tornados and left over 300 dead, the second worst occurrence in US tornado history. One of those tornados supposedly touched down and walked the earth for tens of miles, something so rare as to be almost unheard of.

We in Canada have not been untouched. A late April storm here in Manitoba has dumped freezing rain and lots of snow, and in combination with high winds are contributing factors in two highway accidents with multiple fatalities. I personally cannot remember a storm this intense so late in the year. And that extra precipitation just adds to the flooding concerns as well.

What’s going on, you ask? Is it the end times? Is HARP destroying us all? Why the extreme weather?

The short answer is climate change. You might not believe in the concept, you might not believe we are contributing to it, but that doesn’t matter. Whether you choose to believe the avalanche of data and the consensus of most of the climate scientists, or you prefer to cling to silly crud like ‘Climate-gate’ or believe fabricated lists of thousands of ‘scientists’ (some are even TV weathermen!), it again does not matter.

The FACT is that the average temperature of the earth has risen almost a degree Celsius. While that doesn’t sound like much, that’s just an average over the entire world, and some places like the Arctic are warming much faster. And the FACT is that even if we stop contributing to global warming right now, it will still get warmer before it stabilizes. Further, that one degree represents an enormous amount of energy that did not used to be present in our global climate system.

The implications for us are this: When you add energy into a stable system, the system tends to present more extremes before it settles into a higher energy steady state. This means extremes like blizzards in May, EF-5 tornadoes that stay on the ground for miles, and changes in the climate that affect rainfall, growing seasons, plant diseases and insect pests, to name just a few.

Make adjustments in your plans accordingly. Maybe you should stock seeds that are drought hardy in addition to your favourites. Make a tornado plan. Get going on some alternatives to the weather being what you expect it to be.

The sun don’t shine every day…….