Back in May, I pre-ordered the book “Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit”. When it arrived a short time later I read through it and was immediately impressed with the job the author Creek Stewart had done. As I was reading it the thought kept emerging that this book was exactly the sort of detailed how-to that we like to do here at Utah Preppers, but on a larger scale. As it turns out, the book initially started out as a blog post on the art of manliness blog. After receiving a good response, Creek decided to work on expanding the concept into a comprehensive how to guide.
We are now into Day 3 of the Dump Fire at Saratoga Springs in Utah. Our own Jayce and Neybar live near the fire, and while their homes do not seem to be in any danger, they still left work early yesterday to volunteer to help. Their experience and knowledge has undoubtedly been invaluable to the volunteer effort. They have been keeping us posted on Twitter (@JayceHall and @neybar), and I have seen several of their tweets mentioned and retweeted by others needing information. For those who haven’t been following along, you can keep an eye on the #dumpfire hashtag on Twitter. For any ham radio folks who want to monitor, they’re on 145.23 repeater (131.8 tone). NetOps is at station 2.
Cause of the Fire
It is believed that the fire was caused by people target shooting near the landfill. They were shooting in an area where it was legal to do so, and when the fire started, they called 911 and attempted to put the fire out. They have been cooperative with authorities, and have been helping the effort to put the fire out. Because they were shooting legally and did everything right after the fire started, they are unlikely to be charged criminally.
Being Prepared for Evacuation
In following news reports, I have noticed some things. When crews knocked on doors on Day 2 of the blaze to tell people they had 15 minutes to evacuate, a lot of people scrambled to pack up what they considered necessary. Family photos, pets, medications and a change of clothes. Less prominently featured in the stories were people who decided that they were going to have to evacuate, and started packing their cars long before evacuation orders came in. While I’m sure there were plenty of preppers who already had 72-hour kits ready to take at a moment’s notice, they were apparently not as newsworthy as the less-prepared. Though my family lives in Magna, far away from the fire, we still had one evacuee knock on our door asking to buy a small bottle of shampoo from my wife’s basement salon.
This incident underscores not only the importance of fire safety, but also the importance of being prepared and keeping a current 72-hour kit or Bug Out Bag. Fortunately, several local businesses pitched in to provide food and water at the local evacuation centers, but this is not always the case. Be sure to check expiration dates on the food in your kits and in your food storage in general.
Our hearts go out to those affected by the fire, and we hope that it will be out soon.
I recently had the chance to go back through my 72 hour kits. I changed out some clothing for my children, removed some things that didn’t make sense anymore and replaced the food. As I was doing this I found a few things that made me glad I had been looking over my kits.
The first item I found was in the food. I had placed pop-top mixed fruit cans, and in three of my kits the tops had been popped. The contents had gotten all over the rest of the food, and then of course had dried out. It was pretty gross. So if you are going to use those types of cans make sure you pack them in a way that they can’t get accidentally opened. (more…)
At times when I’m building up my various forms of disaster kits, I want to throw you hands up in frustration at how reliant I am on different forms of technology. As much as I enjoy the outdoors I’m always bending it back to my more technological side. While this may make things more fun, accurate, or whatever other benefits I get, it also makes me dependent on power.
A great example of this is my need for light outdoors. Now sure we’d like to never be reliant on non-natural light forms, but it’s a reality. Even if you just have a midnight bathroom run once and a while, there are times that you need light. Historically of course, man has relied on fire to provide this light, and now we have flashlights to give us nice, portable light whenever we want, provided we have charged batteries.
Like most preppers my family has 72 hour kits for each member of our family. We try to keep the consumable items in them rotated, work to ensure that the spare clothes in them are seasonal and fit, etc. Since my children are too young to be in school right now, I haven’t spent too much time considering how I will handle a “get home”, “bug out” or 72 hour kit for each child once they are spending a significant amount of their day in a state run education center. I also need to consider the restrictive policies in place these days regarding what is “dangerous” per current school policies. This begs the question, as a prepper, how do you handle emergency kits for young school age children when they are away from the home?
Recently I wrote a bit about my new toys, a varied set of Goal0 solar and battery products. One of the key pieces that I bought was their 7m folding solar panels. This well-designed kit provided 7-watts of peak solar power in a tiny kit that could easily strap on to my backpack and provide charging throughout the day for small devices. The kit I bought also included their ‘rockbox’ speaker set, a small set of speakers that that have a built in battery, but easily charge from this small panel.
As handy as the device is, there were some shortcomings. First off, the device I most wanted to use on it is extremely finicky with what it allows to charge (yeah, it’s an iPhone), and the variability of solar electricity meant that the iPhone didn’t like accepting the charge. Secondly, some of my devices simply take AA or AAA batteries, and I didn’t have a good charger that would run off the USB adaptor that the 7m provides.
Thankfully there is a relatively new product that addresses these shortcomings, their Goal0 Guide 10. In short, it’s a battery charger, that doubles as a combined power pack for those devices you would most likely charge from the panel. (more…)
With the current potential nuclear crisis in Japan, I have been inundated with questions about Fallout Survival, Nuclear Preparedness, General Preparedness and Potassium Iodide among many other things. I realized that while a lot of these things are covered on Utah Preppers, Potassium Iodide is kind of glossed over. This post is my answer to all those questions and should be a definitive post on KI or Potassium Iodide. Please note: at this time, due to the crisis in Japan, KI is Sold Out pretty much everywhere.
Potassium Iodide or KI is a salt of iodine and is what the body uses to make thyroid hormones. If you are exposed to radioactive iodine through fallout , your thyroid will quickly absorb it into your thyroid and cause serious problems. By super loading your thyroid with safe iodine via Potassium Iodide you can minimize your bodies absorption of radioactive iodine. It should be noted that Potassium Iodide is NOT a cure for radiation sickness nor will it prevent other problems that will occur from fallout or radioactive exposure.
There is an interesting example of Winter survival in the news today courtesy of KSL.
While these young men made an initial mistake that got them lost, they managed to remain calm and focused on survival. Creating a snow cave, starting a fire, etc. are all useful skills and as this example clearly shows can help to keep you alive.
Another aspect of preparedness is learning from our mistakes and other’s examples. In this case, if they had their avalanche beacon and some other gear, (perhaps some EDC items, or an emergency kit) they would have been located much sooner or not been lost in the first place, and been more comfortable while waiting for rescue.
Read the article and absorb any information you can so you can use that information if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
Continuing my Heat and Light Series, today we’re going to look at an alternative way to start a fire – with Steel Wool and Batteries. Like I’ve said in previous posts in this series, this is probably something that every old Boy Scout and every long time Prepper already knows. The point of this series is to get back to basics and cover things that new Preppers will need to get up to speed on – and to remind some of you about the skills and knowledge you have that you may have forgotten. :) (more…)
Continuing my series on Light and Heat, today I’m going to talk about making Fire Starting Candles. There are a variety of ways to do this, today we’re going to cover using cardboard egg cartons and dryer lint or cotton balls. This particular project will likely already be familiar to experienced Preppers and Boy Scouts. This post is aimed at those new to prepping who have never been exposed to this kind of thing.
Being able to start a fire is absolutely critical in many potential situations. It can literally mean the difference between life and death. Knowing many ways to be able to start a fire is an essential survival skill, practicing and maintaining those skills is just as essential. (more…)
A lot of people have written up their thoughts and their experiences about going through the Herriman “Machine Gun” fire 19 September 2010. I’ve had some friends ask me to do the same. One friend asked me to specifically to highlight the preparedness aspect of our experience.
We’ve lived in the Herriman area for about seven years. During that time, we’ve seen a handful of fires on the hills south of us, usually ignited by lightning. These have usually been small fires and quickly contained by firefighters. So when we heard there was a fire burning in the hills Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t terribly shocking news.
When we came out of church after 4:00 p.m., the sky was considerably smoky to the point that the light from the sun had taken on an orange-ish hue. That was remarkable, but it still didn’t really concern any of us. We carried on with our plans just as most everyone did.
I’ve been wanting to get out camping more often, but I suspect like many have had trouble convincing my wife to give camping a try. For some reason, sleeping on the hard, cold ground doesn’t appeal to her.
Buying a dedicated camper, pop-up tent, RV would be nice, but they are generally more than I want to spend, are single purpose and often require separate registration here in Utah. I often find a need for a small utility trailer for hauling mulch, compost, etc. and here in Utah, smaller trailers under a certain weight and size don’t need to be registered. When I obtained an old home built utility trailer recently, I decided to jump head first into a home built adventure trailer build.