Wednesday, April 30, 2014

5 Easy Ways to Start Prepping for Emergencies - Guest Post by Lee Flynn

5 Easy Ways to Start Prepping for Emergencies

It seems like you can’t go two days in a row without hearing about some terrifying natural disaster or emergency occurring somewhere in the world. From ice storms to wildfires; from hurricanes and tornados to earthquakes, pandemics, tidal waves, and blackouts—the truth is that there’s a lot that can go wrong for us on our deceptively peaceful blue marble. But with responsibilities associated with work and family, it can be difficult to scrounge up enough time and money to adequately prepare for all of the dangers this planet has to offer. Well, don’t fret; here are five simple and inexpensive ways you can get yourself and your loved ones ready to face down any disaster.

1. Start Storing Water

In an emergency, water is often both the most important and most difficult to acquire of all of the basic human needs. We tend to forget just how much we rely on our city’s water purification systems, right up until the moment we find ourselves having to drain drinking water from the back of the toilet. The truth is that clean, fresh water can be very difficult to come by. Thus, one of the most important things you can do is to start including as much water as you can in your emergency food storage. An easy way to do this is to purchase a gallon of water for your emergency supply every time you go shopping. This will only end up costing you an extra dollar or so every trip, and your water storage will build up very quickly. Also, it would be a good idea to invest in some non-electric water purifiers (such as the kind that operate with a pump), or to get some purifying drops/tablets as a back up (but remember: stored clean water is always a safer way to go).

2. Make a Grab-And-Go Box For All Your Important Documents

If you find that you have to evacuate your home, you’re not going to want to waste precious minutes running around the house gathering important documents. Instead, store all of the paperwork that you absolutely can’t do without in a small, portable, fire-proof box. Things such as birth certificates, social security cards, financial documents, insurance info, etc., should all be able to fit inside. Keep the box in an easy-to-remember spot. Make copies of these documents and keep them in a safe location away from your home, such as with a relative or in a safe-deposit box.

3. Consider The Poop Issue

It is entirely possible during an emergency that your toilet may become unusable. If this were to happen to your family, what would you do? If you have a big enough yard and don’t mind a little digging, you could always go that route, but you might end up regretting it once the emergency has passed and you’re left with a bunch of feces-filled sinkholes hiding under your lawn. The better alternative is to create (or purchase, if you prefer) a human-waste disposal kit. These usually consist of a 5 gallon metal bucket, a snap-on toilet seat, some heavy-duty trash bags, powdered chlorinated lime, borax, a spoon or ladle, and toilet paper.

4. Have a Way to Prepare Your Stored Food

Once you have a large enough food storage to get you and your family safely through the disaster, you’ll need a way to prepare it. Sure, you could live off of dried nuts and cold canned goods, but morale is bound to suffer if you can’t provide everyone with a nice warm meal. Camping stoves are relatively inexpensive, and can be used to whip up some steaming-hot whatever quickly. Alternatively, if you have enough wood and a fireplace/fire pit, you can make like the pioneers and use the flames for all of your cooking needs. In either case, just make sure that you’re careful when dealing with fire/fuel; it wouldn’t do to add to the emergency by burning your house down. You could also purchase or build your own solar oven and let the sun do all of the hard work for you.

5. Stock Up On First Aid Supplies

Many people forget about the first aid side of emergency preparedness. However, when it comes to disaster related situations, simple things like gauze, painkillers, and antiseptics can be literal life-savers in dire circumstances. Again, if you’d like you can purchase well-stocked emergency first aid kits, or you can assemble one more tailored to your family’s needs. Be sure to include any necessary medications that you might require if you’re unable to make it to the doctor/pharmacy during the crisis. This can be somewhat tricky, as expired medication may lose its effectiveness or even become dangerous, and emergency storage is generally supposed to be able to be kept for a long time without needing to be replaced. Speak with your doctor about the possibility of getting a larger prescription when you go in for a refill so that you can keep extra, non-expired medication in with your food storage. It may be a hassle, but at least you won’t have to worry about not having your medicine when you need it.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Difference Between Life and Death - First Aid

There are moments in life in which it seems the world has stopped spinning – at least for you. The words coming through the phone seem to echo into your soul… “We are going to send an ambulance right now.” Any parent who has lived through a similar experience can testify of the terror that those events instill. HealthLink said those sombre words to us conveying that the life of our 1 month old was now in jeopardy. One full week in the Children’s Hospital, 6 more weeks of Oxygen tanks and tubes, a roller coaster of emotions and we were finally back on track. Our hearts were full of gratitude for the Nurses, Doctors, Hospital and health care technology that were available to us and our precious newborn in our time of need.

Have you ever considered how life would be if those professionals, treatments and hospitals were no longer available to us? What would you do when your loved one’s life hangs in the balance and you are all they have to depend on? The thought of my little ones depending on me in such a serious scenario makes me feel very helpless and worried as I know my skills and resources are very limited compared to the safety net we currently have.

One of the things that does bring me some peace is in knowing that I have access to some important tools that can come to my aid in such a time of need. Thankfully technology and Healthcare have come a long way to allow someone with no medical background an opportunity to use some life-saving tools safely and easily.

Here is my go to list and how they work:

1) Woundseal powder –

This is designed to stop bleeding in a matter of seconds and it will heal with less scar tissue than stitches. Woundseal is non-toxic, disinfects and it can be used on hemophiliacs or those on blood thinners. To use it, simply just pour on a wound and apply with pressure. It becomes waterproof after 3 hrs and will allow the body to heal from the “inside out” minimizing scar tissue.

2) Wrap It Cool -

The most effective method for sprains and strains.  It’s the only product that provides compression, cooling and draws out inflammation/swelling and bruising all at once.  One hour of using this wrap equals 12 hours of cooling.  It's four active ingredients are menthol, ethyl alcohol, calendula and arnica oil

3) Quik Clot -

This is the easiest product to use to stop serious bleeding including arterial bleeding and will save lives. Used by the US military and US Forest Service.  Just apply it directly to wound with pressure.  It is safe, non-toxic and is easy for medical personnel to remove.  It also does not cut off circulation to the extremities.  No one has ever died using the product. If you want to see this product in action you can search Youtube for "Quik Clot pig video" (do not watch if you have a sensitive stomach).

4) Buffered Isotonic Eye Wash Solution –

This will neutralize any chemical in the eyes or on the skin. It is great because it penetrates quicker than water.

5) Fracture fork –

This detects fractures including hair-line fractures through vibration

6) Cool Blaze -

The most advanced burn gel product.  It is non-toxic, does not stain clothing and does not contain lidocain. This gel will remove heat, disinfect burn injuries and can eliminate up to a 3rd degree burn. Simply apply it liberally and do not rub in.

7) Foreign Object Removal Kit –

Comes with 3 instruments

     1.  Eye magnet and loop: to remove particles on the eye ball or between the eye ball and eye lids.     
     2.  Splinter probe: most effective instrument at removing splinters
     3.  Tweezers: stainless steel and pointed

These items and a whole lot more are found in my heavy-duty trauma kit and give me some peace of mind knowing that I will at least have a fighting chance to safe my loved one’s life. You can view the full contents of our Trauma Kit here.

This post by Kristen from Briden Solutions - Proudly helping Canadians obtain high quality Survival supplies.   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Emergency Comms On The Road - What Works, And Doesn't Work

Every so often I hop in the car and head out to a place I call "Down Home".  Down Home is a good three to three and a half hours away, depending on traffic, so I always make sure I have as many communications possibilities with me when I go.  I took this trip just about 2 weeks ago, and had some car trouble on the way back...the kind of car trouble that stops you dead in your tracks.  As soon as I noticed that my car was about to come to a halt, I took the first exit off of Highway 40...towards a town called Yamachiche.  This is not a big town by any means, and with a population of about 3000, a traveller passing through at 11PM can pretty much find the sidewalks rolled up and the entire town closed.  I found myself pulled over on an off ramp, needing assistance with no one in sight.  I had three ways of communications with me, a cell phone, a CB radio, and my 2 meter ham HT.  This was the perfect situation to find out which would be most useful.  Here is a rundown...

CB Radio - A citizen band radio can come in handy, especially for preppers.  One of the reasons that a lot of preppers like the CB, is the fact that they are cheap to get because almost no one uses them anymore.  This proved to be the biggest downfall.  I turned on the radio and tuned to channel 9, which is supposed to be the emergency channel.  This being an emergency, I keyed up and called MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY...nothing but static.  This came as no big surprise, the reason I have CB in the car is to be able to talk with my home base, and others that have CB within my group.  Any means of communication requires there to be more than one person using can call out all you want, but if there is no one else on the air at the time, well, it's pretty much useless.

2 Meter Ham - This requires a little more efort than just keying up a mic.  My 5 watt HT gets some OK range, but the likelyhood of there being someone on the air locally was slim, and finding out what frequency they are on makes a set to set contact next to impossible.  Enter the road atlas and my printed out list of repeaters from repeaterbook dot com.  Within a few minutes I was able to identify the closest repeaters to my location and began to try to get one...with some success!  Although I could hit a repeater not far from me, again, there was no one else on the air at the time.  I also keep a list of emergency services frequencies, but these are out of the ham band, and I really didn't want to find out how the provincial police would react to me transmitting directly to their dispatch frequency.

Cell Phone - This is where I had the best luck...actually I knew it would be, but wanted to test out my other comms first.  Along the highways there are signs posted for the numbers to call for help.  On long trips, you simply can't avoid them being drilled into your head every few kilometers.  So to the cell phone I go and call the emergency number, which connects me to a provincial police dispatch center. I explained my problem, told them my location and they sent the cavalry right to me to take care of my every need....NOT!  There was no accident, no real danger of an accident, I was simply broken down, so there really wasn't anything they could do for me even if they did send a car.  They did however, have the phone number for the closest tow truck company.  This is important, so please, please, take this advice to heart...CARRY A NOTEBOOK AND PENCIL WHEN YOU TRAVEL.  You will need to write stuff down like tow truck numbers, garage numbers, etc...

So, does this mean that I will no longer bother with CB and ham radio when I travel?  No, of course not, each as it's merits and I assume that some of my issues with them were related to the late hour.  I often listen to CB on the highway for truckers passing on info about traffic and other issues and the ham radio conveniently tunes to police bands so I can get a sense of any emergencies (read speed traps) that are in progress.  It does mean that I will make sure my cell phone is charged and that I have a way to recharge it, and I will always have a notebook and pencil in the car with me.

As a side note, cash is as important as anything else I mentioned earlier.  Tow trucks, auto repairs, and hotels rooms add up, so make sure you carry money with you when you travel.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Golden Nuggets from Prepping's Past

Recently I found some golden nuggets in the form of old civil defense pamphlets put out by the US government in the 50's. They are archived online and links are below. I will disclaim that though some of the information in these forms has been proven inaccurate in modern studies, the general themes are great and much can be learned. I also love the tone of voice used in the writing. There is no sugar coating, no high level jargon. The tone is borderline sarcastic and humorous if you think like that. From page 4 of Survival Under Atomic Attack, I quote:

"Should you happen to be one of the unlucky people right under the bomb, there is practically no hope of living through it."

Well, now I know not to prep for a direct overhead nuclear hit! Whew! Humor aside though, the general themes are great. A major push of civil defense in those days was having everyone prepared. Every single man, woman and child. Each was to know their role and how to react no matter where they stood the moment the emergency began. Take a look at the National Civil Defense Pattern:
1) The Individual - Calm and well trained
2) The Family - the base of organized self protection
3) Neighborhood
4) Community - Puts civil defense into action immediately
5) Nearby Cities - move in aid as needed
6) Federal Government - Furnishes aid and supplies if needed

It starts with the individual - calm and well trained. Perfect. Then permeates to the family working together. Then the community coming together, then communities working together, and then finally and IF needed, the government. If being the keyword there. Compare that to modern day where you can basically guarantee immediate panic and complete reliance on government agencies.

Another nugget of simple wisdom I enjoyed from the concluding pages of Survival under attack:

"If you follow the pointers in this little booklet, you stand far better than an even chance of surviving the bomb's blast, heat, and radioactivity. What's more, you will make a definite contribution to civil defense in your community, because civil defense must start with you. But if you lose your head and blindly attempt to run from the dangers, you may touch off a panic that will cost your life and put tremendous obstacles in the way of your Civil Defense Corps."

Well said! In my training days as part of our local Search and Rescue team we were constantly drilled that we must always be conscious of our actions and abilities. If we were not able to operate at 100%, we were to voluntarily pull ourselves out of the operation. Keep your head on and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

And the last nugget for today:
"Civil Defense is everybody's business" - AKA - Everyone should be a Prepper. I couldn't agree more. You may enjoy poking through the following resources.

United States Dept of Civil Defense - Survival under Atomic Attack PDF

United States Dept of Civil Defense - Fallout Protection PDF

Federal Civil Defense Administration - A Day Called X - A 1957 film production about the evacuation of Portland. (27 min - grab some popcorn and enjoy this gem!)

This post by Dwight from Briden Solutions - Proudly helping Canadians obtain high quality Survival supplies.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Casting Call

I don't post many casting calls here, but this one seems to target those who may want to put their survival skills to the test.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Free Permaculutre Cuorse