June, 2009

Electricity During an Emergency: Solar Power Generation


photo credit: twentyeight

For several months I’ve been exploring different options for generating electricity in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. My initial search revolved mainly around gasoline generators, and I decided that I would get a Honda EU2000i. This is a great unit that can also be converted to accept not only gasoline, but propane and natural gas as well. This makes it a versatile unit worth considering if you have a source for any of these three fuels.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was not a good option for my needs. I ultimately decided not to buy the generator for a couple reasons. First, generators are loud. If you are in a crap-hit-the-fan scenario and are using your generator, then you are likely the only one in the area making that much noise. You will stand out and attract unwanted attention very easily. Second, the usefulness of this generator is directly dependent upon the source fuel. When your supply runs out, then the generator becomes a heavy paperweight. You could barter for additional fuel, sure—but in a dire emergency, the general supply of oil-based fuels will likely quickly deplete. Prompted by Wade’s post, I had been considering acquiring a propane tank for long-term emergency use. But even still, the usefulness of this item has a hard limit that acts as a barrier for utility.

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Lightning Safety and Preparedness

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!”

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week 21-27 June 2009

This week is National Lightning Safety week so let’s take a few minutes to talk about lightning and how it affects preppers.  There isn’t much you can do to prep for lightning to hit you, if that happens you better be right with God.  But what about lightning hitting near you – your home, your neighborhood, etc. The biggest impact of a lightning strike for us is usually the power being out.  It turns out that there are plenty of things you can do to try to encourage lightning to not hit you.

There are an estimated 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year in the U.S.   So far in 2009, there have been 15 fatalities due to lightning. On average, there are 400 people hit by lightning each year, resulting in about 80 deaths.

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Solar Cooking Challenge and Special Price

A while back, I did a post detailing the unboxing of my Solar Oven Society Sportster solar oven. I’ve been meaning to do a post where I showed how easy it is to use, but haven’t been able to get around to it.

My wife and I have been using the oven pretty frequently and are very pleased with it. When we first got it, we did a side by side comparison of it and my neighbor’s Global Sun Oven which costs just a bit more. Without getting into too many details, I think that the build quality of the Global is better, which translates to faster heat up times. The Sportster oven on the other hand is a bit larger and can handle two small pots where the Global is restricted to just one. Since a meal often consists of more than one dish, cooked in a different pot, this can be a real concern.
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Final call for orders on water storage tank option 2

We are excited about those that have been able to participate in the high-capacity water storage tank group buy. We will soon have a lot more people prepared water-wise. The last orders for option 1 were collected Saturday. That option is complete. The window to submit orders for option 2 has been extended to Tuesday, 30 June. We will place the combined order the next day. Those that have already placed their orders should have already been contacted by the distributor to arrange for payment. Additional orders (between now and the end of the month) will be contacted after the order is closed.

The product is a high-capacity residential water storage tank. It holds 275 gallons (the equivalent of five 55 gallon water drums) and is being sold for $345 (includes shipping). The unit fits through a standard doorway so you can place it in a back room or a basement. Please note the SureWater tank also comes in a 525 gallon option. While we did not include the larger size in the original announcement, it is available for the same discount at $470.

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Freezing broccoli and cauliflower

One of the most significant weaknesses in my gardening has been storing my harvest. Gardens aren’t just about fresh produce. People used to live off them year round. With so many people struggling to make ends meet or struggling to establish adequate food storage, I am surprised there are so few gardens. This year I have committed to educating myself on effective storage techniques and significantly adding to the variety and quality of my food storage with the fruits of my garden.

There are many ways to preserve and store food including canning, smoking, bottling, drying, and freezing. Each has it’s own advantages and weaknesses and varies in effectiveness depending on the food. For example, I could eat canned green beans with meatloaf every night of the week but would rather eat dirt than canned peas. Of course, if it really came down to it, I would likely choose to supplement the dirt with the canned peas to avoid death. Thus, I would recommend having a variety of food stored in several different methods.

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Survival Book Review: One Second After

I’ve just finished reading One Second After
by William R. Forstchen – I received it two days ago – I couldn’t put it down.  This is an excellent book that I fully recommend every Survivalist/Prepper/Anyone Else read.  Seriously, this book is one of those that will help to open people’s eyes to just how fragile we are and just how stinkin’ hard it is going to be to survive TEOTWAWKI.

The book is based on an EMP event and most of the things in it are pretty close to all the research I’ve seen on EMPs.  The survival story is quite well researched and explored as well.  The book covers the time period from when an EMP event occurs to one year later and includes several of the same type of survival scenarios we read in Patriots.  The great thing about this book is that it makes you think broadly about survival and just how prepared you really are for it.  Reading it made me think of some areas where I can improve my preps but also made me feel that I was well prepared in several areas.  The saddest part of this book is the realization of just how bad it will be for the wholly unprepared, which is a large majority of our population.

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Ham Radio: Emergency Communication


photo credit: w9jim

Ham (“Amateur”) Radio is a reliable form of communication that is used in all sorts of scenarios, from hobby/recreation use to emergencies. This type of radio use is termed “amateur” because such communications are not allowed to be made for commercial or money-making purposes. Note that ham radios are a “step up”, as it were, from FRS/GMRSwalkie talkie” devices.

Licensing

Regulated by the FCC, Ham Radio has three classes—different levels of competency and licensed use. These are Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. Each class offers a wider spectrum of authorized use. In previous years, otherwise interested individuals were often discouraged from Ham radio because of the morse code requirement. However, the FCC phased out this requirement in 2007 for all class levels.

After a short class and a fairly easy exam, any individual (regardless of age) may obtain a license. Once a license is given, a callsign will be assigned as well (as an example, mine is KE7LMI).

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Evacuation/Emergency Combat Readiness

Paris rioters in 2008

Paris rioters in 2008

This is the seventh installment of the Evacuation Preparedness Kit Series.  The first post, on Evac Prep Basics is here, and the second post, which introduces the Evac Prep Master List is here.  The third post, and the first post on the list review is here.  This post will cover Combat Readiness.

Contrary to the belief of some, being a Prepper is NOT synonymous with being well armed and ready to protect yourself and your preps in a violent situation.  However, this article is specifically about being prepared to defend yourself, your family and your preps if it comes down to it.

History shows us that when things go bad we can expect riots, looters, roving gangs of marauders and plenty of random acts of armed violence.  We have witnessed this just this week with the riots in Iran that ended in violence.  Or we can look at the looting during Hurricane Katrina, rioting and looting during the L.A. Rodney King riots, the French riots (pictured above) and several others.

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Shelf Reliance: Free On Friday

Our friends over at Shelf Reliance are having a giveaway that they would like people to know about.  Now I am slightly loathe to tell folks about it, since hey, I want to win.  But it’s only fair to share right?  So over on the Shelf Reliance blog they have a post with all the details, some of which I’ll copy here:

“Shelf Reliance is giving away a Harvest 72″ food rotation system! Visit the Shelf Reliance blog at http://www.shelfreliance.com/blog/ to enter. The Harvest 72″ is valued at $459.99 and can hold up to 600 cans, making it perfect for a healthy food storage supply. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 26th, so hurry to the blog for your chance to win!” (more…)

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Evacuation Kits – 72 Hour Kits/BOBs/G.O.O.D. Bag Management

72 Hour Kits - Serenity

This is the sixth installment of the Evacuation Preparedness Kit Series.  The first post, on Evac Prep Basics is here, and the second post, which introduces the Evac Prep Master List is here.  The third post, and the first post on the list review is here.  This post will cover 72 Hour Kit management.

It seems that every time I inventory my preps I find things that are missing.  It’s usually something like that one time when my wife needed to send a couple water bottles to school and the easiest thing to grab was a couple out of a 72 Hour Kit, then we forgot to replace it.  Or you needed some batteries, or a flashlight, or whatever.  When something can’t be found, it’s hard to not say “Oh, there’s one in the preps somewhere”.   Every time it happens there is always good intent to replace the removed item right away – and invariably it is forgotten about.

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It’s Offical – we’re in a Pandemic – Link Roundup

Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO)  officially declared a Level 6 Pandemic.

There is a lot of good information out there about Pandemic Preparedness.  We’ve written several carefully researched articles about Pandemic Preparedness and in order to make them more convenient to our readers, we’ve put together a glossary to try to make finding that information easier.  If you know of any pages that have a lot of valuable information on H1N1 (Swine Flu), Pandemic Preparedness or Quarantines, please leave us a link so we can add it to our list.

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Utah Garden Planning Documents

A while back we posted on a series of classes that the incomparable Gordon Wells was teaching throughout the Utah Valley. Some of you may have attended and hopefully have started out on your first gardening attempts or are implementing his teachings into your existing garden.

A coworker of mine went to the same class last year and implemented it in his garden that spring. He was amazed at the results he was able to obtain just by following the simple guidelines laid out by Mr. Wells. He was so impressed that he created a series of three PDF documents that simply and quickly illustrate when and what to plant. (more…)

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