A Prepper’s Guide to Respirator Masks

A Prepper’s Guide to Respirator Masks | Preppers-Guide-to-Respirator-Masks | Medical & Health PreparednessSurvival

A respirator mask is a prep that is potentially lifesaving, doesn’t cost a lot of money, and is oft-overlooked in the prepper world. Some folks like to invest in gas masks (which, of course, are irreplaceable during certain types of disasters) or they forget about respiration altogether.

The importance of something that can help you breathe without sucking harmful particles or vapors into your lungs cannot be overstated. After all, in the prepper’s adage of 3, air comes first:

3 minutes without air

3 days without water

3 weeks without food

I recommend keeping disposable masks on hand. They aren’t just for people whose budget is tight. Disposable masks can be used in many different scenarios in which a gas mask may not be practical.

It’s interesting to note that in China, the particulate levels due to pollution are so high that many people won’t leave their homes without donning a protective mask. (source)

Classifications of masks

A major question when purchasing respirator masks is which kind to get.

There are many different classifications, but today, we’ll discuss 3 popular types: the N, R, and P series masks.

The letter in the classification indicates the resistance of the mask to oil.

  • N – is not resistant to oil
  • R – is resistant to oil
  • P – is oil-proof

Then there are numbers, generally between 95 and 100. The number indicates the percentage of potential leakage.

  • 95 – filters out 95% of airborne particles
  • 99 – filters out 99% of airborne particles
  • 100 – filters out 99.97% of airborne particles

The type of filter you need depends on the type of threat you are facing. I don’t spend money on anything less than 100 series filters unless it is for something very minor, like working with sawdust.  These will screen out the smallest of particulates and because you never know what type of disaster you’ll be facing, it seems to me the best idea to filter out as much as possible.

If you’re only getting one kind, get the P100 type because this will be resistant to just about any threat. It comes in a reusable ($16.95 at the time of posting) and disposable ($8.21 apiece at the time of posting) version. If you get the reusable type, be sure to stock up on replacement filters.

10 Reasons Why Preppers Need Respirator Masks

There are many different situations in which a respirator mask could be handy – or even life-saving.

  1. Evacuating from a fire: Having lived in wildfire country for the past few years, my vehicle kit contains swim goggles and N100 masks for everyone. In the event of a fire, the goggles will protect our eyes from the smoke, and the respirator mask will help us breathe despite the ash and smoke. These would also be helpful bedside during a house fire.
  2. In the event of a nuclear strike: If a nuclear strike were to occur, as I’ve written before, it wouldn’t automatically be a death sentence if you are outside the initial blast zone. If you must travel to get away from the radioactive aftermath, wearing gear like a P100 mask, goggles, and a Tyvek suit will provide some protection from radiation.
  3. During a pandemic: If an airborne contagious illness is spreading, you can prevent inhaling the virus with an N100 or P100 mask. It all depends on the size of the virus (this information will generally be available from the CDC. Ebola, for example, is .02 microns, so the protection of a 100 series mask is essential.
  4. During search and rescue: After a building collapse, many dangerous particles will be floating through the air. A huge number of first responders and people working at the WTC on 9-11 ended up with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood. Thousands of people have fought off the cancer, only to have it reoccur repeatedly. (source) During search and rescue after any type of structural collapse, after an earthquake, for example, protect your lungs from the toxic debris floating through the air. An N-series mask will work in this situation.
  5. When performing work that involves particles: Protect your lungs with the appropriate masks if you are doing any type of work in which dust particles are prevalent. For concerns about sawdust, for example, an inexpensive N95 mask will suffice. If you’re cleaning up an area in which rats have been present, you’ll need to be concerned about hantavirus, and an N100 is in order. Particles from welding can be very small, also necessitating an N100 mask.
  6. When performing work that involves fumes: If you are spray painting or using strong chemical solvents, protect your lungs with a P100 mask.
  7. During a chemical attack…sort of: A P-100 mask may provide some protection during a chemical attack, but some weaponized gases will also absorb into your body through your skin. As well, unless you are expecting the attack and already wearing the mask when the chemical weapon was dispersed, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to get your protective gear on before the damage was done.
  8. During a riot: Of course, I always recommend avoiding large angry crowds, but if for some reason you’re in the midst of one, be prepared for the opposition to use a method like tear gas to disperse the crowd. Only a P-series mask will help in this situation.
  9. After a volcano: This seems like a far-fetched scenario, but with all of the recent seismic activity at Yellowstone, the possibility of a volcanic eruption isn’t totally out of the question. One of the biggest risks if you survive the eruption is breathing in the volcanic ash. An N-series mask will protect your lungs.
  10. Working in an area with mold: Mold spores can be a cause of severe chronic illness. If you’re working in an area in which mold is suspected, an N100 mask will protect you from the spores.

What are some good respirator masks?

If you are going to add respirator masks to your preparedness supplies, practice putting them on. If you are in a situation during which you need them, seconds may count and there won’t be time to be bumbling around.

Below, you can find links to some of the respirator masks that I recommend:

In most situations when you’ll need a mask, safety goggles will also be necessary. Get the kind with an elastic band around the back and rubber around your eyes to ensure a good, snug fit. In a pinch, you can use anti-fog swim goggles.

What protective respirator masks do you keep on hand?

Do you have any type of protective respirator devices? If so, what type do you use and why? Please share your knowledge in the comments section below.


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Source: Alternative news journal

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Where Does Your Favorite Brand of Bottled Water Actually Come From? (VIDEO)

Where Does Your Favorite Brand of Bottled Water Actually Come From? (VIDEO) | water-bottles | General Health Multimedia Special Interests

In the hierarchy of water, from municipal to well to purchased, bottled water is generally heralded as the purest drinking water you can get. But is it really?

Often, the bottled water for which you pay a high premium is simply the same water you get from the tap, run through a purification process. In other words, it’s the same thing you could do with your faucet and a Big Berkey. (And if you add some special filters, you’ll be sure to get the fluoride out.)

report from Business Insider reveals that the most expensive and widely distributed brands are quite a disappointment. Dasani and Nestle are simply pumped from local water sources (often in drought-stricken places like California). Aquafina comes straight from public water sources. SmartWater is pretty smart when it comes to making a buck – it’s simply municipal tap water that has been purified.

This animated map shows exactly where in the United States the water is coming from.

In my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, I wrote at length about the potentially harmful chemical treatments added to municipal water sources. Even with “purification”, you have to wonder if the fluoride and choramination byproducts are actually removed from the water before it’s bottled, particularly the water that comes straight from the taps.

Personally, I’ll be skipping the bottled tap water (which across the board is actually more expensive) and going with the spring water.


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Source: Alternative news journal

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Truvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, And Contains Hardly Any Stevia (VIDEO)

Truvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, And Contains Hardly Any Stevia (VIDEO) | Truvias-sweet-deception | General Health GMOs Multimedia Organic Market Classifieds Propaganda Sleuth Journal Special Interests Toxins

If you’re one of the people who was excited when the “natural” sweetener that was allegedly made from the stevia plantTruvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, And Contains Hardly Any Stevia (VIDEO) | ir?t=nutr0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1502302993 | General Health GMOs Multimedia Organic Market Classifieds Propaganda Sleuth Journal Special Interests Toxins became more commonly available, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.

All of that hype about the “new” zero-calorie Truvia? All the talk about how natural it is? That’s just not true.

Incidentally, while the FDA has approved this bastardization of stevia, the actual leaf, where the active chemicals are found, is banned from sale as a food additive or sweetener and may only be sold as an “herbal supplement.”

The Big Food/Big Agri Connection

There’s a direct connection to Big Agri – Cargill, a privately held, multi-billion dollar corporation, was the driving force behind getting FDA approval of the sweetener, despite evidence that it might not actually be safe in its processed form. Cargill is also a major player in the meat industry (with all of its unspeakable feedlot horrors) and has been subject to numerous food safety recalls over the past few years due to contaminated meat. Cargill, that bastion of food safety, was the driving force behind the FDA’s decision to switch the status of stevia from a “supplement” to a food that is “generally recognized as safe”.

Cargill wasn’t alone, however. Big Food joined forces, since diet soda sales have plummeted over the past 10 years. According to the Wall Street Journal, the sale of low-calorie soft drinks has declined by billions per year over the past decade, as consumers became aware of the potential risks of neurotoxic artificial sweeteners.

So, to combat those health concerns, Coca Cola produced Truvia and Pepsi produced PureVia. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t consume anything produced by either of those companies (both Coke and Pepsi lobbied fiercely against the labeling of GMOs) and delude myself into believing the product is healthy.

Decades ago, diet sodas were touted as a healthy way to have a refreshing beverage without expanding your waistline. Unfortunately, the zero-calorie beverages were anything but healthy, and many people have suffered ill effects from the consumption of those drinks. Even corporate-funded Fox News was forced to admit that diet sodas were detrimental to human health.

Enter Truvia, the cure for all of those diet soda ills. Because, it’s natural!

Truvia is the second best-selling sugar substitute in the United States, most likely because the deceptive marketing is targeted at those who want to make healthier, less artificial choices. Remember how last week we discussed that Big Food isn’t making very much money? This is just the next volley of propaganda in which Big Food attempts to deceive the public into believing their processed food-like substances are actually food. Sales of Truvia in 2014 exceeded $400 million.

But…Truvia is not actually “natural”

Not so fast. While it’s true that the powdered stevia you get in the little packets is in part derived from a plant grown in Paraguay, it isn’t just the plant you’re getting. If it was just a powdered up plant, Coca Cola and Cargill wouldn’t be able to hold the patents to make it, right?

Traditionally, a leaf from the stevia plant was dropped into a hot beverage to steep and lend its sweetness. But the current product that’s being touted for its “natural sweetness” is a far cry from a leaf from the garden. (Despite how Cargill glosses over the heavy processing on the Truvia website.) In fact, Cargill had to settle a civil lawsuit a few years back because of their claims that the product was natural. The lawsuit forced them to put millions of dollars aside to settle future claims and they were required to put an asterisk on their tagline “Nature’s calorie-free sweetener.”

Nor is it actually mostly stevia…it’s mostly derived from GMO corn

Truvia is actually made mostly of erythritol, a sugar alcohol derived from genetically modified corn. Only 5% of the compound is actually derived from the stevia plant.

Despite the fact that erythritol is made from corn, and most corn is GMO, the Truvia website provides the strangest dance of denial I’ve witnessed in quite some time. They seem to feel that since it’s just derived from corn, then processed like crazy, that the origin of the corn has no bearing on the end product.  Here’s what the website says, which sure sounds to me like GMO corn is used:

Does Truvía® natural sweetener contain GMO? Is it genetically modified? [Link]

No. Truvía® natural sweetener is not GMO, and does not contain any genetically modified ingredients. There are no known varieties of genetically modified stevia available anywhere in the world. The carrier for the intensely sweet stevia leaf extract is called erythritol. The erythritol used in Truvía® natural sweetener is produced by a yeast organism that is found in nature. The yeast ferments or digests dextrose and other nutrients. In other words, dextrose is the food for the yeast – much like corn may be food for a cow that produces meat or milk. The dextrose used as the feedstock for the yeast is a simple sugar that is derived from the starch component of U.S.-grown corn. Although genetically enhanced corn and non-transgenic corn are grown in the U.S. today, erythritol is not derived from corn and dextrose feedstock (just as milk is not derived from cattle feed); it is derived from the yeast organism. Erythritol is not genetically modified, and does not contain any genetically modified proteins.

Do you use GMO corn to produce the erythritol used in Truvía® natural sweetener? [Link]

The erythritol used in Truvía® natural sweetener is produced by a yeast organism that is found in nature. The yeast “ferments” or “digests” dextrose and other nutrients. Dextrose is the food for the yeast – much like corn may be food for a cow that produces meat or milk. The dextrose is derived from the starch component of U.S.-grown corn. Both GM corn and non-GM corn are grown in the U.S. today. Cargill does not segregate the corn used to manufacture the dextrose used in the erythritol process.

Why is Truvía® natural sweetener non-GMO if you use GMO corn? [Link]

Erythritol is not made from corn or dextrose (just as milk is not made from cattle feed); erythritol is made from a yeast organism that eats the dextrose for food. Erythritol itself is not derived from a genetically modified source, and does not contain any genetically modified proteins.

Pardon me, but I sincerely doubt that Truvia is manufactured from the mere 12% of corn in the United States that is not GMO.

Here’s how Truvia is made

Truvia contains 3 ingredients: Erythritol, Rebiana, and natural flavors.

Erythritol

We talked about erythritol and it’s genetically modified origins above. This ingredient makes up 95-99% of the “natural sweetener.” Straight from the Cargill website, here’s how erythritol is made:

Erythritol is the first polyol to be manufactured on a commercial scale by a fermentation process. The starting material is a simple sugar-rich substrate which is fermented by a yeast like fungus to yield erythritol.

The product is then crystallized to 99.5 percent purity from the filtered and concentrated fermentation broth.

Truvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, And Contains Hardly Any Stevia (VIDEO) | erythritol | General Health GMOs Multimedia Organic Market Classifieds Propaganda Sleuth Journal Special Interests Toxins

Rebiana

Rebiana (chemical name rebaudioside A)  makes up less than 1% of the little packet. Rebiana (also called Reb-A) is a substance that is derived from the stevia leaf, but is not actually stevia. Although Truvia’s website says that Rebiana is retrieved from the stevia leaf by soaking it in water, the patent held by Coca Cola divulges that it actually takes 40 steps (!!!) to extract the desired molecule, steps that include the use of yummy stuff like acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol.

Natural Flavoring

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the term “natural flavoring” is so broad as to be without definition. Even MSG can be considered “natural” according to some, since it originates,far far back in the process, from yeast. Other types of natural additives are repugnant, so they hide the real origins behind that much-abused word, natural. (Read Natural Additives: Bugs, Hair, and Anal Secretions, Oh My for the full story on that meaningless ingredient listing.)So, really, this third ingredient could be anything.

A Dishonorable Mention Goes to Stevia in the Raw

Another deceptive product on the stevia bandwagon is Stevia in the Raw. It’s also not really stevia -it’s primary ingredients are dextrose and maltodextrin, both derived from corn, and both likely to be genetically modified. As well, maltodextrin often contains MSG, which doesn’t have to be disclosed in the ingredients list.

Incidentally, stevia may reduce fertility

While we’re on this subject, stevia alone may not be great for reproductive health. Women in South America use the herb to decrease the likelihood of conception. Check out this video on the topic.

The Conclusion? Truvia is NOT Stevia

Here’s the long and the short of it: if you have a sweet tooth, you simply have to understand that sweet things have calories. Whether you decide to consume things that are sweet is entirely up to you, but a non-harmful, no-calorie sweetener is simply the stuff of fairy tales. Little packets of sweet substances without calories are, without exception, highly processed and often very harmful.

If you want to sweeten a beverage with stevia, your very best bet is to make like the folks in Paraguay and steep a leaf of it in your beverage.(You can get organic stevia leaves HERETruvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, And Contains Hardly Any Stevia (VIDEO) | ir?t=nutr0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B004D7J1WY | General Health GMOs Multimedia Organic Market Classifieds Propaganda Sleuth Journal Special Interests Toxins , or you can grow it yourselfTruvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, And Contains Hardly Any Stevia (VIDEO) | ir?t=nutr0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B006RV7GVM | General Health GMOs Multimedia Organic Market Classifieds Propaganda Sleuth Journal Special Interests Toxins .) The second best option is a pure extract like this oneTruvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, And Contains Hardly Any Stevia (VIDEO) | ir?t=nutr0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001K2KR46 | General Health GMOs Multimedia Organic Market Classifieds Propaganda Sleuth Journal Special Interests Toxins .

Truvia, for all its gushing propaganda, contains less than 5% of anything even derived from the stevia plant, much less actual stevia.

 


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Source: Alternative news journal

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The Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today

The Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today | 25-Things-We-Did-as-Kids-That-Would-Get-Someone-Arrested-Today | Government Control Parental Rights Sleuth Journal Society Tyranny & Police State US News

With all of the ridiculous new regulations, coddling, and societal mores that seem to be the norm these days, it’s a miracle those of us over 30 survived our childhoods.

Here’s the problem with all of this babying: it creates a society of weenies.

There won’t be more rebels because this generation has been frightened into submission and apathy through a deliberately orchestrated culture of fear. No one will have faced adventure and lived to greatly embroider the storyThe Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today | ir?t=rev0303-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0451234197 | Government Control Parental Rights Sleuth Journal Society Tyranny & Police State US News .

Kids are brainwashed – yes, brainwashed – into believing that the mere thought of a gun means you’re a psychotic killer waiting for a place to rampage.

They are terrified to do anything when they aren’t wrapped up with helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, and other protective gear.

Parents can’t let them go out and be independent or they’re charged with neglect and the children are taken away.

Woe betide any teen who uses a tool like a pocket knife, or heck, even a table knife to cut meat.

Lighting their own fire? Good grief, those parents must either not care of their child is disfigured by 3rd-degree burns over 90% of his body or they’re purposely nurturing a little arsonist.

Heaven forbid that a child describe another child as “black” or, for that matter, refer to others as girls or boys. No actual descriptors can be used for the fear of “offending” that person, and “offending” someone is incredibly high on the hierarchy of Things Never To Do.

“Free range parenting” is all but illegalThe Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today | ir?t=theorgpre-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0470574755 | Government Control Parental Rights Sleuth Journal Society Tyranny & Police State US News  and childhood is a completely different experience these days.

All of this babying creates incompetent, fearful adults.

Our children have been enveloped in this softly padded culture of fear, and it’s creating a society of people who are fearful, out of shape, overly cautious, and painfully politically correct.  They are incredibly incompetent when they go out on their own because they’ve never actually done anything on their own.

When my oldest daughter came home after her first semester away at college, she told me how grateful she was to be an independent person. She described the scene in the dorm.  “I had to show a bunch of them how to do laundry and they didn’t even know how to make a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese,” she said.  Apparently they were in awe of her ability to cook actual food that did not originate in a pouch or box, her skills at changing a tire, her knack for making coffee using a French press instead of a coffee maker, and her ease at operating a washing machine and clothes dryer.  She says that even though she thought I was being mean at the time I began making her do things for herself, she’s now glad that she possesses those skills.  Hers was also the room that had everything needed to solve everyday problems: basic tools, first aid supplies, OTC medicine, and home remedies.

I was truly surprised when my daughter told me about the lack of life skills her friends have.  I always thought maybe I was secretly lazy and that was the basis on my insistence that my girls be able to fend for themselves, but it honestly prepares them for life far better than if I was a hands-on mom that did absolutely everything for them.  They need to realize that clothing does not get worn and then neatly reappear on a hanger in the closet, ready to be worn again. They need to understand that meals do not magically appear on the table, created by singing appliances a la Beauty and the Beast.

If the country is populated by a bunch of people who can’t even cook a box of macaroni and cheese when their stoves function at optimum efficiency, how on earth will they sustain themselves when they have to not only acquire their food, but must use off-grid methods to prepare it? How can someone who requires an instruction manual to operate a digital thermostat hope to keep warm when their home environment it controlled by wood they have collected and fires they have lit with it?  How can someone who is afraid of getting dirty plant a garden and shovel manure?

Did you do any of these things and live to tell the tale?

While I did make my children wear bicycle helmets and never took them on the highway in the back of a pick-up, many of the things on this list were not just allowed, they were encouraged. Before someone pipes up with outrage (because they’re *cough* offended) I’m not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and let your kids attempt to hang-glide off the roof with a sheet attached to a kite frame. (I’ve got a scar proving that makeshift hang-gliding is, in fact, a terrible idea). Common sense evolves, and I obviously don’t recommend that you purposely put your children in unsafe situations with a high risk of injury.

But, let them be kids. Let them explore and take reasonable risks. Let them learn to live life without fear.

Raise your hand if you survived a childhood in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that included one or more of the following, frowned-upon activities (raise both hands if you bear a scar proving your daredevil participation in these dare-devilish events):

  1. Riding in the back of an open pick-up truck with a bunch of other kids
  2. Leaving the house after breakfast and not returning until the streetlights came on, at which point, you raced home, ASAP so you didn’t get in trouble
  3. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the school cafeteria
  4. Riding your bike without a helmet
  5. Riding your bike with a buddy on the handlebars, and neither of you wearing helmets
  6. Drinking water from the hose in the yard
  7. Swimming in creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes (or what they now call *cough* “wild swimming“)
  8. Climbing trees (One park cut the lower branches from a tree on the playground in case some stalwart child dared to climb them)
  9. Having snowball fights (and accidentally hitting someone you shouldn’t)
  10. Sledding without enough protective equipment to play a game in the NFL
  11. Carrying a pocket knife to school (or having a fishing tackle box with sharp things on school property)
  12. Camping
  13. Throwing rocks at snakes in the river
  14. Playing politically incorrect games like Cowboys and Indians
  15. Playing Cops and Robbers with *gasp* toy guns
  16. Pretending to shoot each other with sticks we imagined were guns
  17. Shooting an actual gun or a bow (with *gasp* sharp arrows) at a can on a log, accompanied by our parents who gave us pointers to improve our aim. Heck, there was even a marksmanship club at my high school
  18. Saying the words “gun” or “bang” or “pow pow” (there actually a freakin’ CODE about “playing with invisible guns”)
  19. Working for your pocket money well before your teen years
  20. Taking that money to the store and buying as much penny candy as you could afford, then eating it in one sitting
  21. Eating pop rocks candy and drinking soda, just to prove we were exempt from that urban legend that said our stomachs would explode
  22. Getting so dirty that your mom washed you off with the hose in the yard before letting you come into the house to have a shower
  23. Writing lines for being a jerk at school, either on the board or on paper
  24. Playing “dangerous” games like dodgeball, kickball, tag, whiffle ball, and red rover (The Health Department of New York issued a warning about the “significant risk of injury” from these games)
  25. Walking to school alone

Come on, be honest.  Tell us what crazy stuff you did as a child.

Teach your children to be independent this summer.

We didn’t get trophies just for showing up. We were forced, yes, forced – to do actual work and no one called protective services. And we gained something from all of this.

Our independence.

Do you really think that children who are terrified by someone pointing his finger and saying “bang” are going to lead the revolution against tyranny? No, they will cower in their tiny apartments, hoping that if they behave well enough, they’ll continue to be fed.

Do you think our ancestors who fought in the revolutionary war were afraid to climb a tree or get dirty?

Those of us who grew up this way (and who raise our children to be fearless) are the resistance against a coddled, helmeted, non-offending society that aims for a dependant populace. In a country that was built on rugged self-reliance, we are now the minority.

Nurture the rebellion this summer. Boot them outsideThe Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today | ir?t=rev0303-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1611801699 | Government Control Parental Rights Sleuth Journal Society Tyranny & Police State US News . Get your kids away from their TVs, laptops, and video games. Get sweaty and dirty. Do things that makes the wind blow through your hair. Go off in search of the best climbing tree you can find. Shoot guns. Learn to use a bow and arrow. Play outside all day long and catch fireflies after dark. Do things that the coddled world considers too dangerousThe Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today | ir?t=rev0303-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0451234197 | Government Control Parental Rights Sleuth Journal Society Tyranny & Police State US News and watch your children blossom.

Teach your kids what freedom feels like.

 

 

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Source: Alternative news journal

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Strategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff

Strategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff | How-to-Move-All-That-Prepper-Stuff | PreparednessSurvival

In the prepper world, everyone always talks about “strategic relocationStrategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff | ir?t=mov61915-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00A2WLVZO | PreparednessSurvival ” but it’s rare to hear about the actual act of moving the enormous amount of stuff that we accumulate.

We’re preparing for what I hope is my final move ever. We have a nice little farm awaiting us, with a deep well, a greenhouse, and a barn: everything we need for self-reliance heaven.

But holy cow, we have a lot of stuff.

Nothing makes you come face-to-face with the extent of your stockpile like moving it from one place to another, trying to find space for it in a new home, and trying to move it with OPSEC (operational security) in mind.  Most of my prepper friends who have moved to a better location have shared my opinion: the sheer amount of “stuff” that we have makes a move quite an undertaking. When you’re setting up your little homesteadStrategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff | ir?t=mov61915-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00KALJK7S | PreparednessSurvival , the first step is to get there, with all of your belongings intact.

Long distance moves have many logistical challengesStrategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff | ir?t=mov61915-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1484018397 | PreparednessSurvival , but local moves are also nothing to sneeze at when you have a stockpile to move.

Because my family has moved numerous times (including one move that included an international border crossing and a drive across the continent), I’ve put down some tips to make it a little easier. Note that I said “a little” easier. Moving is never actually easy, as anyone who has ever done so can tell you with technicolor details of what went wrong.

A word about OPSEC

A very important issue is OPSEC – (operational security).  Preppers are private people, and moving opens us up to others seeing our supplies. Whether you have hired movers or you have friends and family helping you, suddenly, someone outside your immediate family knows how much stuff you have. When people are unloading your truck, you want to take care that your possessions don’t scream PREPPER.  Otherwise, you’ll hear that phrase we all love so much, “I know where I’m coming if I ever run out of food.”

One option is to box up your supplies like long-term food storage or weapons in boxes labeled with different names – even something vague like “basement”.  I know that all of the moving specialists tell you to be specific about what you write on the outsides of the boxes, but you really don’t want people commenting on the 90 boxes of ammo that they’ve just lugged into your new abode. (There’s more on organization below that will keep this from being a logistical nightmare when unpacking.)

Of course, the best OPSEC is moving all of the items yourself.  This isn’t always an option, though, for smaller families or those with physical limitations.

Before the move

The things you do before the move can make all the difference in the world to your ease during the actual move and while you’re getting settled in.

Get good quality moving boxes.

One thing I like to splurge on when I move is professional moving boxes. Sure, you can get boxes from the grocery store and liquor store, but the pro boxes are uniform in size, making them easier to Jenga into the moving truck. This saves space, stacks more securely, and these boxes tend to be very sturdy. (This is a great resource for inexpensive moving boxesStrategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff | ir?t=mov61915-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00I5LJAPW | PreparednessSurvival .)  As well, I often use these boxes at my destination for organizing my supplies for the very same reasons – ease of stackability and uniform sizes mean your storage space is used efficiently.

Get organized.

This is your chance to become the uber-organized prepperStrategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff | ir?t=mov61915-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0470431113 | PreparednessSurvival you always see on websites, with their glorious pantries, labeled tubs, and storage rooms, where all things needed can be found in a matter of seconds.

Before you start packing, if possible, designate a room to be packing central. (We used our dining room and have been eating in the living room since we began packing.)  Move everything of a type into the packing room. Here’s an example. Pull all of your food storage from various nooks and crannies in your home.  Divvy it up according to type: cans, dried foods, etc.  Check to be sure everything is packaged properly, with dates marked clearly on the packages. Wipe them if they’re dusty, and then box items according to their type.

Make a “key”.

For our moves, we have a notebook with a “key”.  This is a little trick we learned when we moved here from Canada and were required to have a complete manifest for crossing the border.  For the obvious reasons of OPSEC, you don’t want to write “Food” on dozens of boxes, but you could mark them F and add a number. In your key notebook, you can put a description of what is in each box to make unpacking or finding an item easier.

If you already know where the item will be stored once you move, mark the room on the box too, so the movers can take it right to its destination.

Of course, at the end, you may lose steam and just start chucking things into a box with no care for organization at all. But if most of your boxes are packed with organization in mind, unpacking will be vastly simpler. As well, if you absolutely must have a certain item, it’ll be far easier to locate in the pile of boxes with your notebook.

Do some decluttering.

As you pack, you will find that this is an excellent time to declutter and pare down your belongings. While the move we’re undertaking now is just a couple of towns over, when you’re undertaking a cross-country move, reducing the amount you relocate is even more important.  Many people who lead a preparedness lifestyle have accumulated a lot of “stuff” – we dismantle no-longer-working items for the spare parts, we save buttons and rubber bands, and we have stockpiles of all sorts.  If you are going a long distance, for some things, it will be far cheaper to replace them on the other end than to move them. Large items require a larger moving truck, and the weight increases the fuel usage. Make your judgment based on the following questions, particularly in the case of a long distance relocation.

  1. Would I be able to easily replace this in the future?  I get a lot of my things at yard sales and thrift stores, and this makes some of them tough to replace.  For example, I have an antique coffee grinder, an adorable little device with a hand crank.  I picked it up for $3, cleaned it and now use it on a regular basis in my kitchen.  It could be tough to replace because of the age and condition, so my beloved coffee grinder has always made the cut.  On the other hand, I had a toaster that I still use even though only one side actually works now. (Yes, I am so cheap that I turn the bread partway through the toasting time.)  I could easily find another one (that works!) for just a few dollars at a thrift store when I move, so the toaster is history.
  2. How much would it cost to replace this in the future?  This is a similar concept to question #1.  If you have a  collection of shampoos and soaps from the dollar store, they will take up a lot of space, but you could quickly and easily build a new stockpile of these items.   If most of your furniture is “vintage” – which is a nice way of saying that it came from yard sales and the occasional curbside pile, you can refurnish from yard sales when you arrive at your new home, rather than moving a couch that cost $20.
  3. Is it worth the space in the moving van?  How you rate the importance of an item is a personal decision for everyone.  There are some things that aren’t particularly useful, but they are sentimental – gifts from departed loved ones and photo albums, for example.  Expensive preps, like the Big Berkey water filter, the pressure canner, an assortment of books collected over the years, hand tools, and other off-grid kitchen tools, would be very costly to replace.  A great way to save space is to pack clothing and linens in “space bags”.

Make sure to have Box 1.

On the last day at your old home, put together Box 1 and keep that with you. Box 1 should contain the things you’ll need immediately: bedding; pjs; bathroom supplies like toilet paper, towels, soap, and shampoo; the coffee maker and supplies needed for coffee; paper plates and cutlery. This way, when you arrive you can immediately have these necessities available without a frustrating search.

Actually moving

When the big day arrives, your truck or trailer is loaded up with all of your worldly possessions.  The kids are buckled in, and the dog has her head out the window.  If your move is not local, there are some considerations for the road trip itself, some of which are unique to preppers.

Be prepped for the potential of disaster.

I always worry that a life-altering SHTF event will occur when I’m in the middle of a field in South Dakota, with no friends or family within 500 miles. (I can’t be the only one who thinks this way!) It is the preparedness mindset to constantly run scenarios – EMPs, sudden gas shortages, nuclear disasters, natural disasters… if these things happen while you’re on the road, you are a refugee.

The good news is, if you are driving your possessions, you have every prep that you felt was worth keeping in that big rolling bug-out bag of a trailer.  The bad news is, you have to protect those items, and you have to get them to a secure place.  Be as prepared as possible, with food that doesn’t require cooking, comfortable hiking gear readily available, camping gear easily accessible, and all of the necessary defense items.

Pay special attention to security.

Another consideration is general security.  This is particularly important if you are moving weapons.  Be sure that your truck or trailer is locked securely and consider installing some type of alarm on the door of the cargo area.  Be prepared to protect your family and possessions (all within the confines of local laws, of course). Choose stopping points and parking spaces carefully, and consider cracking a window if you are staying in a motel, so that you can hear what is going on outside.

Use common sense safety measures during the road trip.

  • Keep the kids within view of an adult at all times.
  • Keep a cell phone charged in case you need to call for help.  (If you are like me and don’t use cell phones, consider the purchase of an inexpensive Tracfone for the trip).
  • Make sure your vehicle maintenance has been taken care of before your departure.
  • Don’t let the fuel level drop below 1/4 of a tank – in remote areas, gas stations can be few and far between.
  • Always have plenty of drinking water in the vehicle, especially in hot weather.
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Remember that the police are not always your friend.  Strictly abide by speed limits to avoid lining the pockets of small town PDs. Be very aware of your surroundings if you are pulled over.  If possible, pull over in a public area, like a restaurant parking lot.
  • Don’t get lost – use a GPS or maps to stay on course.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings – ditch the headphones and remain alert during rest stops.
  • If possible, keep one adult with the moving van at rest areas, and take turns going to the bathroom.
  • Be constantly prepared to defend yourself if necessary.
  • Follow your gut – if you have a bad feeling about a situation, chances are, you’re right.

Settling in

Once you’ve arrived, it’s time for the fun stuff: settling into your new home.

First things first, unpack Box 1. This way, your basic necessities are available.

Get some food.

Before unpacking everything, make a quick run to the grocery store. Grab some healthful snacks, but splurge and get things that are already prepped. We usually get a veggie tray and a fruit tray from the deli, a rotisserie chicken, and a couple of frozen pizzas. Make it easy on yourself while you get unpacked.

If needed, do a quick clean of the house before putting things away.  (Hopefully the previous residents left things nice for you, but you always want to do at least a swipe to get rid of the cooties.)

Prioritize the most important rooms.

I usually prioritize unpacking in this order:

  • Bathroom
  • Small children’s rooms
  • Kitchen
  • Living room
  • A place to sleep in my room
  • Everything else

Once the necessities are put away and you can function, it’s time to get to all of that other stuff. Now’s your chance to be the most organized prepper around.  Remember all of those belongings you carefully sorted? Before putting them away, try to get the necessary modifications to your storage areas made. That way, you can put away your carefully organized possessions with the precision of a Costco warehouse.

Tell us about your experiences, moving as a prepper.

Keep in mind that during every move, there’s a catastrophe. There’s always something that goes wrong.  One friend was moving across three states when something flew off a vehicle ahead of her and punctured her fuel tank. She had to get a trailer to go on the back of her Uhaul at the last minuted to take her damaged vehicle to the new location. For us, the internet tower we thought we could hook into was shut down. Because we’re moving to a more rural location, I couldn’t find a service provider. (Panic-inducing for someone who works online and homeschools using an online resource.) Thankfully, we finally found a company that could work with us, but it was a sketchy, stressful couple of weeks.

The point is, there’s always some chaos. As a good friend of mine says, adapt and overcome.

It’ll be worth in when you look around your well-organized new home.

 

 

The post Strategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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The Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning

The Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning | cool-yourself | PreparednessSurvival US News

It’s that time of year again. The mercury is climbing…and staying there, way up at the top of the thermometer.  But running an air conditioner at full blast to combat the heat can be very expensive, and for those of us on a budget, the resulting bill can be crippling.

So what can you do when the heat is on, while still maintaining a reasonable electric bill? These simple tips can help you keep your cool on even the hottest day.

Avoid heating up your house.

Many of the things that we do without thinking are unconsciously adding 5-10 degrees of heat to an already uncomfortably warm house.  In the hottest part of the year, I avoid running certain appliances. Some folks say to run those heat-creating appliances at night, but I depend on the cool nighttime temperatures to bring my home down to a comfortable level for the next day.

In the summer, avoid or limit your use of the following:

  • Dryer: Make use of the hot sun and hang your laundry outside. Not only will you have fresh, clean smelling laundry that no dryer sheet can top, it’s free and it won’t warm up your house! If you have a small yard, look at these space-saving umbrella style clotheslinesThe Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning | ir?t=ac622-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0002YUAY0 | PreparednessSurvival US News . If you live in an apartment, these inexpensive drying racksThe Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning | ir?t=ac622-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00H7P1GPO | PreparednessSurvival US News will fit on a balcony and fold right up for easy storage when they aren’t in use.
  • Washer: Washing machines can also generate a great deal of heat and humidity, particularly if you wash your clothing in hot water.  If at all possible, wash your laundry in cold water during the hottest parts of the year.
  • Oven: Rely on outdoor cooking methods, (solar cookersThe Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning | ir?t=ac622-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00CURWARM | PreparednessSurvival US News or barbecues) or if that isn’t an option, use your slow cookerThe Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning | ir?t=ac622-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00EZI26C8 | PreparednessSurvival US News . (Click HERE to learn more about hot-weather cooking methods)
  • Dishwasher:  Think about how hot the dishes are if you reach in the second the dishwasher is finished running to grab a plate. Now, consider how much heat that adds to your house! It is much more efficient to wash your dishes by hand in the summer.  A sink full of soapy water and one full of rinse water will add far fewer degrees to the temperature of your house. (Rinse water does not have to be hot, either.)
  • Lighting: Some bulbs, particularly halogen bulbs, generate a great deal of heat. If a lightbulb is hot to the touch, it’s adding to the temperature of your house. Look into LED bulbsThe Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning | ir?t=ac622-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00KDZGBM8 | PreparednessSurvival US News or compact fluorescents to keep your home cooler.

Cool it down naturally.

Air conditioning is a fairly recent invention. It is only in the past few decades that most people decided that air conditioning was a “necessity.” Unfortunately now, most houses are built without consideration for natural cooling.  If a new home is being built, chances are, it will have central air conditioning. While this is a nice perk, it’s important to note that in the midst of a power outage, these houses with stunning floor to ceiling windows are going to be hotter than blue blazes.  Older homes  have a lot of advantages over their newer counterparts when it comes to cooling them without air conditioning.

Houses that are  100+ years old are often perfectly comfortable in all but the very hottest of weather. The windows are placed across from one another throughout the homes, for optimum cooling and cross-breezes.

Here’s the technique that keeps our home pleasant when the mercury climbs into the 90s:

  • As soon as it starts to cool down in the evening, I open all of the windows and blinds.  There’s a ceiling fan in every room and those run all the time.
  • We also have some window fans which we turn on in the evening.  These pulls in the lovely cool night air.
  • In the morning, the house is so cool that sometimes you need a hoodie during that first cup of coffee!
  • I then go around and close all of the windows and blinds.  This keeps out the heat and keeps the house from passively warming up from the sun. (In the winter, I do the opposite of this in order to heat the house using the sun.)  The ceiling fans continue to run all day and we have small oscillating fans to use in the rooms we are in.
  • Rarely does the temperature in my house ever rise about 85 degrees.  That’s pretty warm but certainly not intolerable.

Evaporative cooling for humans

Here’s the thing – we have basically evolved ourselves right out of being able to cool ourselves down without the aid of an air conditioner.  We go from an air-conditioned home to an air conditioned car to spend the day in an air-conditioned office and have lunch at an air conditioned restaurant. Then we drive our air conditioned car back home, suffer through perhaps 20-30 minutes of necessary outdoor work, and then go in, gasping for air, to cool off in front of another air conditioner.

Our bodies no longer know how to cool themselves because they never have to do so.  We’re sort of like those cave fish that never experience light, so they evolved to no longer have eyeballs. We suffer far more in the heat than previous generations ever did, because we never allow our bodies’ cooling mechanisms to be used.  That’s why my family has dramatically reduced our use of the air conditioner.  Think about it: what would happen in a longterm grid-down scenario?  People will drop like flies of heat-related illnesses.

But you can train your body to tolerate heat again.

A good friend of mine lives in the desert and has no air conditioning.  It regularly gets to 110 degrees in his home and he is barely affected. That’s because his body’s cooling system is efficient – he uses it on a regular basis

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have many other friends who do not tolerate heat well at all. (I used to be one of those people myself, but while I definitely prefer cooler temperatures, I have managed to recondition my body to withstand hot weather with less discomfort.)

I’m not suggesting that you go run a marathon in the midst of a heatwave or endure 110 degree weather with nothing but an oscillating fan. But don’t be afraid to sweat a little.

There’s a very good reason that people need to stop being so uncomfortable with sweat.  Sweat is the human body’s evaporative cooling system.  Here’s the rundown on how the human body cools itself from an article called “The Physics of Sweating“:

When we sweat, our skin and clothing become covered with water. If the atmospheric humidity is low, this water evaporates easily. The heat energy needed to evaporate the water comes from our bodies. So this evaporation cools our bodies, which have too much heat. For the same reason splashing water on ourselves when it is hot feels good. Being wet during cold weather, however can excessively chill us because of this same evaporation effect…

When it is very humid, our sweat does not evaporate as easily. With the body’s primary cooling process not working efficiently, we feel hotter. That is why a hot humid day is more uncomfortable than a hot dry day…

Despite the fact that sweating can make us feel unpleasantly sticky, the principles of thermal physics make sweating a very important mechanism for cooling the body in hot weather. (source)

So, by allowing yourself to get hot and letting your body cool itself, you can build up a tolerance to the heat.  By avoiding heat and sticking to chilly air-conditioned rooms, you will be far more uncomfortable in a situation in which air conditioning is not available.

When the grid fails…

Speaking of those times when air conditioning is not available…what can you do if the power goes out during the biggest heatwave of the summer?

The situation that comes to mind is the Derecho storms that struck metro DC in 2012. The power was out for a week in the midst of a terrible heatwave and quite a few people died from heat-related ailments.  Many others were sick, suffering from heat exhaustion and heat strokes, and millions of others were miserably uncomfortable.  As mentioned above, homes really aren’t built to be cooled without air conditioning any more, and humans aren’t used to letting their bodies cool themselves.

Here are some strategies to help you cool off when you can’t run fans or air conditioners:

  • Channel your inner Southern belle.  Slowly fan yourself with a handheld fanThe Cheapskate’s Guide To Surviving Without Air Conditioning | ir?t=ac622-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B003CX4JHM | PreparednessSurvival US News . Mint juleps are optional.
  • Keep hydrated.  Your body needs the extra water to help produce sweat, which cools you off.
  • Change your schedule.  There’s a reason that people who live near the equator close down their businesses and enjoy a midday siesta.  Take a tepid shower and then, without drying off, lay down and try to take a nap. At the very least, do a quiet activity.
  • Play in the water.  Either place a kiddie pool in a shaded part of the yard or use the bathtub indoors. Find a nearby creek or pond for wading or swimming. (Note: Playing in the water isn’t just for kids!)
  • Soak your feet.  A foot bath full of tepid water can help cool you down.
  • Avoid heavy meals.  Your body has to work hard to digest heavy, rich meals, and this raises your temperature.  Be gentle on your system with light, cool meals like salads, cold soups, and fruit.

Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic adds some great ideas for keeping cool when the grid is down.  Click HERE to check them out. Scott Kelley from Graywolf Survival has super-easy instructions for making your own air conditioner that will help cool down one room as long as the power is still on. His design doesn’t require ice, it’s VERY budget-friendly, and he offers suggestions for alternative power, as well. It’s a must-read!

How do you keep your cool?

Do you have air conditioning at your home? Do you run it all the time?  What are some techniques that you use to keep cool in hot weather?

 


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Temps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage

Temps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage | Temps-Reach-112 | PreparednessSurvival US News

Because 112 degree temperatures aren’t already bad enough, many Southern California residents also got to “enjoy” a summer power outage over the weekend of July 8, 2017.

A transformer in the San Fernando Valley exploded, causing a fire that burned for hours in the San Fernando Valley. The Los Angelos Department of Water and Power was forced to cut off power to 140,000 people while firefighters battled the blaze during a week of record-breaking high temperatures.

Traffic lights were out, people were trapped in elevators, and inside their homes, the air was still and sweltering. Temperatures in the affected areas reached as high as 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

About 40 thousand people had their power restored in only a few hours while nearly a hundred thousand were left without electricity for 12 hours. The DWP is still investigating the reason for the explosion, although some think it was the high demand for electricity due to the scorching hot weather. (Hat tip to Erin D)

Just ask the people who lived through the Derecho of 2012 how unpleasant that was.  Severe, fast-moving thunderstorms (called Derechos) swept through Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington DC. Millions lost power, an estimated 4 million for an entire week. As if a week-long power outage wasn’t miserable enough, that part of the country was in the midst of a record-setting heatwave during the time period.

Another notable summer power outage occurred back in 2003 when a software bug caused an extremely widespread power outage in the middle of August. It was a very hot day, and increased energy demand overloaded the system. Because of the issue with the software, engineers were not alerted of this, and what should have been a small local outage turned into an event that took out power for over 10 million Canadians and 45 million Americans. I remember this one clearly because the little sub shop beside my workplace gave away all the perishable food that they had out at the time before it spoiled and I took home fresh sandwiches for my girls’ dinner that night. We sweated uncomfortably through the next two days until the power was restored.

A summer power outage can be every bit as life-threatening as a winter power outage.

Much has been written about power outages in the winter and supplementary ways to keep warm, but not as much is written about summertime blackouts. However, it’s important to note that extreme heat can be every bit as deadly, particularly to older people, babies, or those who are already in fragile health.

We’ve become a society that isn’t accustomed to changes in weather because of our central air, our cool malls and restaurants, and our air-conditioned vehicles. When all of that air conditioning is taken away, our bodies no longer efficiently regulate themselves.

One of the things you can do proactively is to use a bit less air-conditioning.

We have basically evolved ourselves right out of being able to cool ourselves down without the aid of an air conditioner.  We go from an air-conditioned home to an air-conditioned car to spend the day in an air-conditioned office and have lunch at an air-conditioned restaurant. Then we drive our air-conditioned car back home, suffer through perhaps 20-30 minutes of necessary outdoor work, and then go in, gasping for air, to cool off in front of another air conditioner.

Our bodies no longer know how to cool themselves because they never have to do so.  We’re sort of like those cave fish that never experience light, so they evolved to no longer have eyeballs. We suffer far more in the heat than previous generations ever did, because we never allow our bodies’ cooling mechanisms to be used.  That’s why my family has dramatically reduced our use of the air conditioner.  Think about it: what would happen in a longterm grid-down scenario?  People will drop like flies of heat-related illnesses.

A good friend of mine lives in the desert and has no air conditioning.  It regularly gets to 110 degrees in his home and he is barely affected. That’s because his body’s cooling system is efficient – he uses it on a regular basis

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have many other friends who do not tolerate heat well at all. (I used to be one of those people myself, but while I definitely prefer cooler temperatures, I have managed to recondition my body to withstand hot weather with less discomfort.)

I’m not suggesting that you go run a marathon in the midst of a heatwave or endure 110 degree weather with nothing but an oscillating fan. But don’t be afraid to sweat a little.

There’s a very good reason that people need to stop being so uncomfortable with sweat.  Sweat is the human body’s evaporative cooling system.  Here’s the rundown on how the human body cools itself from an article called “The Physics of Sweating“:

When we sweat, our skin and clothing become covered with water. If the atmospheric humidity is low, this water evaporates easily. The heat energy needed to evaporate the water comes from our bodies. So this evaporation cools our bodies, which have too much heat. For the same reason splashing water on ourselves when it is hot feels good. Being wet during cold weather, however can excessively chill us because of this same evaporation effect…

When it is very humid, our sweat does not evaporate as easily. With the body’s primary cooling process not working efficiently, we feel hotter. That is why a hot humid day is more uncomfortable than a hot dry day…

Despite the fact that sweating can make us feel unpleasantly sticky, the principles of thermal physics make sweating a very important mechanism for cooling the body in hot weather. (source)

So, by allowing yourself to get hot and letting your body cool itself, you can build up a tolerance to the heat.  By avoiding heat and sticking to chilly air-conditioned rooms, you will be far more uncomfortable in a situation in which air conditioning is not available.

Here are some strategies you can use to help keep your house cooler without air conditioning. Of course, those strategies rely to some degree on moving the air around with fans, and that doesn’t help one bit in the midst of a heatwave blackout.

Tips for surviving a summer power outage

Sometimes people think that a summer power outage is easier to deal with than a winter one. After all, in the summer, you don’t have to worry about freezing to death, which is a very real threat during a long-lasting winter outage.

However, a summer power outage carries its own set of problems. Foremost are heat-related illnesses and the higher potential of spoilage for your food.

Even if you aren’t convinced that hardcore preparedness is for you, it would still be difficult to argue against the possibility of a disaster that takes out the power for a couple of weeks. Basic emergency preparedenss is important for everyoneTemps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage | ir?t=spo0701-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1496092589 | PreparednessSurvival US News , not just us “crazy preppers.”

 

Also keep in mind that summer stresses our fragile power grid to the max, as everyone increases their usage of electricity to try and keep cool with air conditioners and fans. This ups the chances of an outage even when there’s not a cloud in the sky.

Beware of dehydration and heat-related illnesses

One of the most serious concerns that sets apart a summer power outage from that of other times of the year is the heat. When you don’t have so much as a fan to move the air around, heat-related illnesses and dehydration are strong possibilities. From my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, here’s an excerpt from the chapter on dehydration:

Dehydration is the state that occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Your electrolytes are out of balance., which can lead to increasingly serious problems.

Symptoms of electrolyte imbalances include dizziness, fatigue, nausea (with or without vomiting), constipation, dry mouth, dry skin, muscle weakness, stiff or aching joints, confusion, delirium, rapid heart rate, twitching, blood pressure changes, seizures, and convulsions.

Dehydration can lead to very serious side effects, including death.

Following are the most common dehydration-related ailments.

Heat cramps: Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Heat cramps can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment or begin a few hours following such activities.

Heat exhaustion: Often accompanied by dehydration, heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures.

There are two types of heat exhaustion:

  • Water depletion. Signs include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and loss of consciousness.
  • Salt depletion. Signs include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

Heat stroke: Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency. Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures—usually in combination with dehydration—which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 105°F, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Other common symptoms include nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and, sometimes, loss of consciousness or coma.

Dehydration can lead to other potentially lethal complications. The Mayo Clinic offers the following examples:

  • Seizures: Electrolytes—such as potassium and sodium—help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions, and, sometimes, loss of consciousness.
  • Low blood volume (hypovolemic shock): This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
  • Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema): Sometimes, when you’re taking in fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. The consequences are especially grave when brain cells are affected.
  • Kidney failure: This potentially life-threatening problem occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood.
  • Coma and death: When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.

How to Treat Dehydration

People who are suffering from dehydration must replace fluids and electrolytes. The most common way to do this is through oral rehydration therapy (ORT). In extreme cases, fluids must be given intravenously. In a disaster situation, hospitals may not be readily available, so every effort should be made to prevent the situation from reaching that level of severity.

Humans cannot survive without electrolytes, which are minerals in your blood and other bodily fluids that carry an electric charge. They are important because they are what your cells (especially those in your nerves, heart, and muscles) use to maintain voltages across cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses and muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. Electrolytes, especially sodium, also help your body maintain its water balance.

Water itself does not contain electrolytes, but dehydration can cause serious electrolyte imbalances.

In most situations, avoid giving the dehydrated person salt tablets. Fresh, cool water is the best cure. In extreme temperatures or after very strenuous activities, electrolyte replacement drinks can be given. Sports drinks such as Gatorade can help replenish lost electrolytes. For children, rehydration beverages like Pedialyte can be helpful. (Source)

For electrolyte replacement, Tess Pennington offers these recipes for DIY rehydration powders that you can add to drinks.

Store lots of water

One of the best ways to avoid the heat-related problems above is to store lots of water.

You can’t always rely on the faucet in the kitchen. In the event of a disaster, the water may not run from the taps, and if it does, it might not be safe to drink, depending on the situation.  If there is a boil order in place, remember that if the power is out, boiling your water may not be as easy as turning on your stove. If you are on a well and don’t have a back-up in place, you won’t have running water.

Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person.  Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.

You can create your water supply very inexpensively.  Many people use clean 2 liter soda pop bottles to store tap water.  Others purchase the large 5 gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store and use them with a top-loading water dispenserTemps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage | ir?t=archive0d-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00HF67YAG | PreparednessSurvival US News .  Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tabletsTemps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage | ir?t=archive0d-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001949TKS | PreparednessSurvival US News  as well.

Because water is kind of my thing lately, you can find lots more information on this topic HERE.

How to keep cooler during the blackout

This is easier said than done when it’s 105 and you can’t even run a fan.

Here are some ways to keep a little bit cooler when the grid is down:

  • Get battery-operated fans. (And lots of batteries.) A battery-operated fan can help cool you down, particularly if you get yourself wet first. They’re reasonably inexpensive and work well, although I recommend spending a bit more than for the cheap ones at the dollar store. This one is big enough to reach more than one part of your body at a time and can help you get to sleep. 6 D batteries will run it for about 40 hours. These handheld fans are rechargeable (so you will either need an off-rid way to recharge them or you’ll need backups), these handheld fans have a misting option (also rechargeable) and these handheld fans are powered for up to 8 hours by 2 AA batteries.these handheld fans are powered for up to 8 hours by 2 AA batteries.
  • Stock up on cooling towels. I picked up some these cooling towels for use when I was working outside in the garden. I was stunned at how well they work. All you do is get them wet, wring them out, and give them a snap, then they cool you down, no power or refrigeration required. You can use them over and over again. They also come in these bands that can be worn around your head or neck.
  • Channel your inner Southern belle.  Slowly fan yourself with a handheld fanTemps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage | ir?t=ac622-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B003CX4JHM | PreparednessSurvival US News . Mint juleps are optional.
  • Keep hydrated.  Your body needs the extra water to help produce sweat, which cools you off.
  • Change your schedule.  There’s a reason that people who live near the equator close down their businesses and enjoy a midday siesta.  Take a tepid shower and then, without drying off, lay down and try to take a nap. At the very least, do a quiet activity.
  • Play in the water.  Either place a kiddie pool in a shaded part of the yard or use the bathtub indoors. Find a nearby creek or pond for wading or swimming. (Note: Playing in the water isn’t just for kids!)
  • Soak your feet.  A foot bath full of tepid water can help cool you down.
  • Avoid heavy meals.  Your body has to work hard to digest heavy, rich meals, and this raises your temperature.  Be gentle on your system with light, cool meals like salads and fruit.
  • Make sure your window screens are in good condition.  You’re going to need to have your windows open, but fighting off insects when you’re trying to sleep is a miserable and frustrating endeavor.

Scott Kelley from Graywolf Survival has super-easy instructions for making your own air conditioner that will help cool down one room as long as the power is still on. His design doesn’t require ice, it’s VERY budget-friendly, and he offers suggestions for alternative power, as well. It’s a must-read!

Be very conscious of food safety.

One way to take a terrible situation to an even worse one is to get food poisoning, which is bad enough during times with moderate temperatures.

If a power outage lasts for more than 4 hours, you need to err on the side of caution with regard to refrigerated and frozen food.  Coolers can help – you can put your most expensive perishables in a cooler and fill it with ice from the freezer to extend its lifespan. Whatever you do, don’t open the doors to the refrigerator and freezer. This will help it to maintain a cooler temperature for a longer time.

According to the Red Cross, if your freezer is half-filled and is not opened the entire time that the power is out, the food in it will remain sufficiently frozen for up to 24 hours. If it is completely filled, your food should remain safe for up to 48 hours.  If the worst happens and your freezer full of meat does spoil, keep in mind that most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies will pay for their replacement, but unless you’ve lost a whole lot or your deductible is very small, it may not be worth making a claim.

I strongly recommend the purchase of a digital, instant-read thermometer. This has many kitchen uses, but in the event of a disaster is worth its weight in gold for determining food safety.  I have this oneTemps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage | ir?t=spo0701-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B009IH0BZ0 | PreparednessSurvival US News  and at the time of posting, it was less than $10.  You can use your thermometer with this chart (print it out so you have it on hand in the event of a down-grid emergency) to determine the safety of your food.  (The chart is from FoodSafety.gov)

Food Categories Specific Foods Held above 40 °F for over 2 hours
MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes Discard
Thawing meat or poultry Discard
Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad Discard
Gravy, stuffing, broth Discard
Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef Discard
Pizza – with any topping Discard
Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated” Discard
Canned meats and fish, opened Discard
Casseroles, soups, stews Discard
CHEESE Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco Discard
Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano Safe
Processed Cheeses Safe
Shredded Cheeses Discard
Low-fat Cheeses Discard
Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar) Safe
DAIRY Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk Discard
Butter, margarine Safe
Baby formula, opened Discard
EGGS Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products Discard
Custards and puddings, quiche Discard
FRUITS Fresh fruits, cut Discard
Fruit juices, opened Safe
Canned fruits, opened Safe
Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates Safe
SAUCES, SPREADS, JAMS Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish Discard if above 50 °F for over 8 hrs.
Peanut butter Safe
Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles Safe
Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, hoisin sauces Safe
Fish sauces, oyster sauce Discard
Opened vinegar-based dressings Safe
Opened creamy-based dressings Discard
Spaghetti sauce, opened jar Discard
BREAD, CAKES, COOKIES, PASTA, GRAINS Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas Safe
Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough Discard
Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes Discard
Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette Discard
Fresh pasta Discard
Cheesecake Discard
Breakfast foods –waffles, pancakes, bagels Safe
PIES, PASTRY Pastries, cream filled Discard
Pies – custard, cheese filled, or chiffon; quiche Discard
Pies, fruit Safe
VEGETABLES Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices Safe
Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged Discard
Vegetables, raw Safe
Vegetables, cooked; tofu Discard
Vegetable juice, opened Discard
Baked potatoes Discard
Commercial garlic in oil Discard
Potato salad Discard
Casseroles, soups, stews Discard

Another way to combat the potential losses of a long-term sumer power outage is to use other methods for preserving your feed. Canning and dehydration are not grid-dependent and can save you a whole lot of money and prevent a mess of rotting meat in your freezer.

If a power-outage looks like it’s going to be lasting for quite some time, you can be proactive if you have canning supplies on hand and a propane burner, and you can pressure can your meat outdoors to preserve it. (Here’s how to pressure can roasts and chicken.)  If you decide to get one, THIS PROPANE BURNERTemps Reach 112 Degrees as California Residents Suffer a Summer Power Outage | ir?t=spo0701-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000291GBQ | PreparednessSurvival US News  is probably the closest one to a kitchen stove out there. It works well for keeping your product cooking at a steady temperature. Don’t cheap out on this purchase, or you will stand there in front of this burner for a long, frustrating time and still end up with food that has not been canned safely. Be very careful to supervise the canning pot: you don’t want the pressure to drop to an unsafe level and you want to keep kids and pets away from this project.  Added bonus – when you have a propane burner like this, the sky is the limit as far as cooking in a power outage.

Other stuff is the same as prepping for any other power outage

Many preparedness concerns are the same, no matter what time of the year your power outage occurs.  Following, you’ll find a list of the basic things you need for any power outage. (Go here to learn about these things in more detail.)

  • Food and a way to prepare it
  • Sanitation needs
  • Light
  • Tools like lighters, can openers, pliers, duct tape, etc.
  • A high-quality First Aid kit
  • Entertainment

Don’t forget about special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so. During a power outage, especially if it lasts for a while, you may not be able to get to the store or pharmacy to pick up necessary items.

Any other suggestions for a summer power outage?

Have you been through a summer power outages that lasted longer than a couple of hours? Do you have some suggestions to add? Please share the in the comments section below.


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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Should I Stay Or Should I Go? | Should-I-stay-or-should-I-go | PreparednessSurvival

When disaster seems imminent, there’s one vital decision that preppers have to make: bug in or bug out?  The lyrics from the chorus of a song by The Clash sums it up – you’ve got trouble either way,  but one way will be worse than the other.

Because this song is now stuck in my head, I thought it should be stuck in your head, too.

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

~ The Clash

Bug in or bug out?

First, some definitions:

Bugging In: This is when you shut the gate, lock the doors, and hunker down to weather the disaster at home with your supplies.

Bugging Out:  This is when you grab your bug-out bag and you hit the road to go somewhere else because your home is not safe.

In all but the most desperate circumstances, my personal plan is bugging in.  Being out on the road in the midst of a disaster means you’re a refugee. It means your supplies are minimal and that the things you’ve carefully stored over the years are very possibly going to be lost to you. The personal sustainability you’ve been cultivating at your home is also lost, including your garden, your livestock, and your water plan.

But, this is not a decision that’s engraved in stone. A while back, I wrote about the 3 steps to surviving any crisis:

1.) Accept

2.) Plan

2.) Act

If you are completely married to one, and only one, course of action, it limits your ability to perform the first step: accepting that whatever horrible event is out there, has actually occurred.  You have to be adaptable if you want to be able to survive extraordinary circumstances. Disasters rarely go by a script, and your plan can’t either.

The variables to consider

The answer to this question is hard to come by. There are so many different variables, there can never be a one-size-fits-all response.  Here are the major factors you have to look at.

Will you be safe if you remain at home? Bugging in is my first choice, but there are some situations in which evacuation is a necessity.  Last year, during the King Fire, we were only a few miles from the evacuation line. Had the fire leapt that line, it would have been suicidal to stay home. If you live near an erupting volcano, same thing. Storms like Hurricane Katrina also indicate that evacuation is a wiser course of action. Chemical spills, fires, biological contaminants, and extreme civil unrest can all be good cause to get-the-heck-out. You have to be willing to accept that no matter how fantastic your survival set-up is at your home, there are some circumstance beyond your control that would absolutely require a bug out.

Do you have a place to go? Bugging out to the woods to live off the land is not a good idea for most people. While there are some folks that would be just fine, most of us would not.  Are you going to go live in the woods with your children, your elderly mother-in-law, and your diabetic spouse?  Even though it’s a stretch, it might work briefly in good weather. But what about when the snow flies? What about when your food runs out? What about the fact that every third prepper has the same idea and will be out there shooting at deer, thus rendering your ability to bag one nearly impossible? If you do get one, do you know how to preserve it with only what you carried out to the woods on your back?  That list could go on and on. The point is, do you have a reliable retreat that is stocked with supplies?  Do you have a friend in the boondocks to whom you can go? Is that friend actually expecting you, and have you ponied up with some supplies before the event to ensure that you are welcome? If you have your own retreat set up somewhere, what will you do if someone hostile got there first? If it has really, truly hit the fan, your best bet for bugging out is a well-stocked retreat location where someone in your group resides full time.

Do you have a way to get there? So, you have a retreat, an awesome little compound that is up the mountain, over the stream, and around the bend.  That is a wonderful thing to have. But in a worst case scenario, how will you get to it? How long would it take you to hike there, should the roads be clogged by fellow evacuees, or in the event of an EMP event that takes out the power, including that of most vehicles?  Is it possible to get there on foot with the family members who will be accompanying you?  How far away is your secondary location?  If it is going to take you more than a week to get there on foot, your chances of making it to your destination with a family in tow are pretty slim.  Your secondary location should be less than 100 miles from your primary location if you expect to get there in a crisis.  A 25-mile range is optimal because it’s far enough not to be affected by localized disasters, but not so far you couldn’t make it on foot in a couple of strenuous days.

Can all of your family members make the trip?  It’s important to have a plan, a backup plan, and a backup to your backup. Often, in a bug-out scenario, that plan includes a difficult hike over rough terrain.  Have you thought about who you’ll be taking with you?  If there are children, are they old enough to walk on their own for long distances or will you be carrying them?  A 25-pound child piggy-backing on you will drain your energy very quickly, especially if you are going up and down steep trails.   What about elderly family members? If you have a parent who is frail, has a heart condition, or has age-related dementia, bugging out on foot is simply not an option for you unless you can rig up a sturdy cart with knobby, off-road tires, and pull it. If you have family members that can’t make it under their own steam, you must plan for your on-foot-bug-out to take far longer than it would normally. That doesn’t make it impossible – it just means that you MUST take these things into consideration, in advance, and make modifications to your travel arrangements.

When to go

When to go is every bit as important as whether to go.

If you live in the heart of the city, civil unrest is going down, and the homes around you are getting burned to the ground by rioters, you may have missed your window of opportunity for easy evacuation.

If there are only two roads out and everyone else has decided it’s time to go, you may be too late to get out quickly. For example, places like New York City and San Francisco are accessible by only a couple of bridges.  With the huge populations there, getting out of those cities would be nearly impossible if you wait too long to leave.

This all goes back to the three steps to survival: Accept, Plan, Act.  If the situation has shown signs of going South in a hurry, you need to get a move on. If you are going to go, go early.  You don’t want to be stuck in traffic, sitting in your car, when the hurricane hits.  If the local government gives an evacuation order, that means that everyone else in your area is getting that order at the same time. The roads will quickly become impassable, as traffic becomes gridlocked and unprepared people run out of fuel.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go? | line-of-cars-300x182 | PreparednessSurvival

Beaumont, TX August 30, 2008–Hundreds of vehicles line the interstate outside of Beaumont, Tx. Mandatory evacuation orders were made in east Texas near the Gulf Coast in advance of Hurricane Gustav’s landfall.in San Antonio. FEMA is working with State,local and other Federal agencies in a joint operation in preparation for Hurricane Gustav’s land fall. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEM

If you decide to stay…

If you decide that staying home and hunkering down is the best decision, then it’s time to commit to that decision.

You should be set up with the following (at the minimum – hopefully you have these supplies and more):

Be prepared to defend your home. Regardless of the reason you’ve hunkered down, when disaster strikes, vandals, looters, and thugs come out to play.

Defense is two-fold.  You want to stay under the radar and not draw attention to yourself. Some of the following recommendations are not necessary during an ordinary grid-down scenario, but could save your life in a more extreme civil unrest scenario or a situation that has gone long-term. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into that fight in the first place. Secure your home Should I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1612431151 | PreparednessSurvival and lay low, but be prepared if trouble comes to visit.

Here are some tips to make your home less of a target:

  • Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative grid-work over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door. Install a door barShould I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B007R6CALC | PreparednessSurvival on your front and back doors.
  • Keep the curtains closed. There’s no need for people walking past to be able to see what you have or to do reconnaissance on how many people are present. If the power is out, put dark plastic over the windows. (Heavy duty garbage bags work well.)  If it’s safe to do so, go outside and check to see if any light escapes from the windows. If your home is the only one on the block that is well-lit, it is a beacon to others.
  • Keep cooking smells to a minimum, especially if there is a food shortage.  If everyone else in the neighborhood is hungry, the meat on your grill will draw people like moths to a flame.
  • Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.
  • Keep pets indoors. Sometimes criminals use an animal in distress to get a homeowner to open the door for them. Sometimes people are just mean and hurt animals for “fun”.  Either way, it’s safer for your furry friends to be inside with you.
  • Be ready for the potential of fire. Have fire extinguishers mounted throughout your home. You can buy them in 6 packs from AmazonShould I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00002ND64 | PreparednessSurvival  Be sure to test them frequently and maintain them properly. (Allstate has a page about fire extinguisher maintenance.)  Have fire escape ladders Should I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000H5S96A | PreparednessSurvival that can be attached to a windowsill in all upper story rooms.  Drill with them so that your kids know how to use them if necessary.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family and your homeShould I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1478106697 | PreparednessSurvival  Firearms are an equalizer. A small woman can defend herself from multiple large intruders with a firearm, if she’s had some training and knows how to use it properly. But put a kitchen knife in her hand against those same intruders, and her odds decrease exponentially.

  • Don’t rely on 911. If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.  First responders may be tied up, and in some cases, the cops are not always your friends.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some officers joined in the crime sprees, and others stomped all over the 2nd Amendment and confiscated people’s legal firearms at a time when they needed them the most.
  • Be armed and keep your firearm on your person.  When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation over a nice cup of tea.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force. Be sure to keep your firearm on your person during this type of situation, because there won’t be time to go get it from your gunsafe. Don’t even go to the kitchen to get a snack without it. Home invasions go down in seconds, and you have to be constantly ready.
  • Know how to use your firearm. Whatever your choice of weapon, practice, practice, practice. A weapon you don’t know how to use is more dangerous than having no weapon at all. Here’s some advice from someone who knows a lot more about weapons than I do.
  • Make sure your children are familiar with the rules of gun safety. Of course, it should go without saying that you will have pre-emptively taught your children the rules of gun safety so that no horrifying accidents occur. In fact, it’s my fervent hope that any child old enough to do so has been taught to safely and effectively use a firearm themselves. Knowledge is safety.
  • Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members. If the worst happens and your home is breached, you need to have a room into which family members can escape.  This room needs to have a heavy exterior door instead of a regular hollow core interior door. There should be communications devices in the room so that the person can call for help, as well as a reliable weapon to be used in the unlikely event that the safe room is breached. The family members should be instructed not to come out of that room FOR ANY REASON until you give them the all clear or help has arrived. You can learn more about building a safe room HERE.  Focus the tips for creating a safe room in an apartment to put it together more quickly.

Even if your plan is to bug in, you must be ready to change that plan in the blink of an eye. Plan an escape route.  If the odds are against you, if your house catches on fire, if flood waters rise, if the levy breaks…devise a way to get your family to safety.  Your property is not worth your life. Be wise enough to accept that the situation has changed and move rapidly to Plan B.

If you decide to go…

Nearly everything to do with bugging out needs to be done ahead of time.  When the time comes to evacuate, you want to be able to put your plans into motion quickly and flawlessly, This reduces stress tremendously.

  • Have bug-out bags prepared . They should contain all of your important documents  in case you have to grab and go.  This is the best bug-out bag article I’ve ever seen – it’s only 25 pounds and has everything you need to survive.
  • Have a list.  Make a written checklist that you can easily access. You might include the location of items that are packed away. Decide on these things now, when you have the time to calmly think about what items are the most important. When we got the first evacuation alert during the King Fire(a notice that evacuation was highly likely within the next 24 hours), a woman who lived down the street was wailing and sobbing as her husband tried to pack up their vehicle.  She was rendered absolutely useless by fear. Meanwhile, my 13 year old was fulfilling her list while I fulfilled mine and we quickly made an orderly stack of important belongings, then turned on a movie to beat the stress. Had our area actually been forced to evacuate, those who panicked would have either been the last to leave, or they would have forgotten important things as they left in a disorganized rush. It’s important to decide ahead of time who packs what, and for each person to have a list. Sit down well before disaster strikes and make an evacuation plan with your family.   Here’s a list of things to pack if you have time.
  • Get organized.  All the lists in the world won’t help you pack quickly if you don’t know where things are. One change we made after the fire is that all of the items we deemed precious enough to pack and take with us are stored in one area so that we won’t have to look for them when seconds count.  Another friend ran into the issue of dirty clothes: he actually had to evacuate with hampers of unwashed laundry. Having your home tidy and organized (and your laundry washed and put way) will help your packing go smoothly in the event of a sudden evacuation.
  • Have multiple evacuation routes planned. Don’t rely on GPS, either – have physical maps on hand in case you need to set out on foot.
  • Have a destination.  Please don’t think you are going to go deep into the woods and live off the land. It’s one of those movie-of-the-week ideas that will get you killed.
  • Keep your vehicle full of fuel.  If you have to evacuate, lots of other people will be hitting the road too. When you’re stuck in traffic, you don’t want to be worried about your fuel gauge dropping to the empty mark, leaving you stranded in a dangerous situation.
  • Get fit.  If you aren’t in shape, bugging out on foot through the mountains isn’t going to go so well for you. When is the last time you hiked even 5 miles?  Did you have a pack on? How much did it weigh? There is a large contingent of armchair preppers who have this idea. However, they don’t exercise regularly. This is a classic recipe for a heart attack, by the way. Extreme over-exertion. High-stress situation. High-sodium, easily packable food. Out-of-shape person. A few miles into the journey, particularly if it includes a steep climb, the person will experience a pounding heart, dizziness, and faintness, as the body tries to shut down to protect itself from the unaccustomed demands.  If the physical stress continues, the heart won’t be able to keep up with the demand to pump blood. This can endanger not only you, but the people making the trek with you.  What if you have a heart attack half way up the mountain?  What if you have an asthma attack? What if you injure your out-of-shape self? Who is going to help you? If the situation is bad enough that you’re bugging out, you aren’t likely to be airlifted to a hospital for medical care.

These actions are not last minute actions. No matter what Plan A is, you need to have all of the above components in place long before any potential disaster occurs.

So….all of this and I didn’t answer your question

That’s because there is no answer.

Hopefully the information provided here has pointed out the important variables that will allow you to make good decisions should the need arise.

The biggest part of preparedness is being able to adapt to the situation at hand. For us, bugging in is our Plan A. That doesn’t mean we have disregarded Plans B and C, which are bugging out to a friend’s place by car, followed by bugging out to the same friend’s place on foot. We also have a second location should the first one be unavailable, which I suppose would be Plan D.

Don’t just make one plan. Make at least 3.  Try to figure out the shortcomings of all of your plans and solve those issues ahead of time. Whatever your plan is, strict adherence to one course of action is extremely dangerous and short-sighted.

You may get through life never needing to evacuate or hunker down, but if you do, the speed at which you make your decisions could be pivotal in saving the lives of your loved ones.

Resources:

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any DisasterShould I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1496092589 | PreparednessSurvival

The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price BudgetShould I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1508952809 | PreparednessSurvival

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means NecessaryShould I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1612431151 | PreparednessSurvival

Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying Put is not an OptionShould I Stay Or Should I Go? | ir?t=prepping0a-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1482351986 | PreparednessSurvival


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The post Should I Stay Or Should I Go? appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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7 Fast Facts About the Economic Collapse of Illinois

7 Fast Facts About the Economic Collapse of Illinois | 7-fast-facts-about-the-economic-collapse-of-illinois | Economy & Business Special Interests

The state of Illinois is in big trouble. In fact, they’re facing an economic collapse. Some pundits are calling them “The Venezuela of the United States.”

They owe $14,711,351,943.90 in overdue bills. This does not count their day-to-day operating expenses – this is money that should have already been paid out, but wasn’t. Nearly 15 BILLION DOLLARS.

Like every person who has ever spent more than they’re making with no regard for budget, things are starting to go downhill in an ever-growing avalanche of disasters. Here are 7 thing you need to know about what’s going on in Illinois and how they got to this crisis point.

1) Illinois is about to be the first state ever to have their credit downgraded to “junk.”

To put this in perspective, even  Michigan, with all of the issues in Detroit, has not been downgraded to junk status. That’s how much worse things are in Illinois.

Illinois has a tab of unpaid bills worth $15 billion, equivalent to 40% of its operating budget. The state’s backlog of financial obligations will skyrocket to $28 billion by June 2019 without a deal, Moody’s predicted, which would rack up even more interest and penalties than what is already owed. Even if a deal is reached, state debt and taxpayer dues will both likely increase. (source)

2) They haven’t had a state budget in 3 years.

Let me compare this to a household again, yet, of course on a far grander scale. To figure out how to pay off crippling debt, you have to have a strict budget in place.  You’ll need to slash expenditures where you can, increase income where you can, and do without some of the finer things. Pennies turn into dollars.

The trouble is, Illinois legislators haven’t passed a state budget in 3 years now.

Part of the issue is that the Democrat-led state Congress can’t come to an agreement with the Republican governor. (Something I think we can all relate to on a national level. Can we please look at this and figure out a way to get along in DC?) The July 1 fiscal year-end deadline has come and gone with no deal in place.

They’ve just been muddling along, not thinking about the big picture.

Without a budget, the state has continued to spend more than it brings in. That’s forced it to cover “core priority” payments first, including payroll, debt service and pensions that total about $1.85 billion a month. While those bills include some Medicaid-covered payments like health services for children and adults, the state has said there aren’t enough funds to include general payments to managed-care organizations as a top priority. (source)

Diana Rickert and Ted Dabrowski of the Illinois Policy Institute have some harsh criticism:

“Just because you don’t do something for two years doesn’t put you at a junk bond rating. That’s not the issue. The last two years are really a culmination of about three decades of mess,” Dabrowski says.

Dabrowski and Rickert place the blame at the feet of a Democratic party that at times in recent decades ran “unchecked” with a supermajority in the Illinois House and Senate. Legislation wasn’t passed when Democrats called all of the shots that would have alleviated the state’s growing pension problem or rein in escalating debt – aside from a temporary tax increase passed in 2010 that did not fully resolve the state’s problems.

And now that the supermajority is gone and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is in place to oppose Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, the negotiation of bills that could help the state’s debt situation has become complicated.

“[W]hen [Rauner] came in, he refused to sign on to what Madigan wanted, and it was really the first time someone had taken him on in decades, so that’s where this gridlock really started,” says Dabrowski. “So now, you get to where we are today, and you’ve got a pension system that’s eating up a quarter of the budget now. It’s eating into everything, from education to social services to higher ed to roads. And you have these unpaid bills that keep going up.” (source)

And despite this all, the state’s government still couldn’t come to an agreement.

3) A federal court ruling on Friday will force them to make payments of $600 million a month to catch up.

When no deal was struck, a federal judge in Chicago ordered the state to begin tackling the billions owed to Medicaid.

To take the situation from “horrific to catastrophic,” the state has been ordered to begin making payments of almost $600 million per month to catch up.

Judge Lefkow ordered the state to make $586 million in monthly payments (from the current $160 million) as well as another $2 billion toward a $3 billion backlog of payments – a $167 million increase in monthly outlays – the state owes to managed care organizations that process payments to providers.

While it is no secret that as part of its collapse into the financial abyss, Illinois has accumulated $15 billion in unpaid bills, the state’s Medicaid recipients had had enough, and went to court asking a judge to order the state to speed up its payments. On Friday, the court ruled in their favor (source)

Incidentally, states cannot file for bankruptcy.

4) So instead of a budget, state Congress approved a 32% income tax increase.

Hey, that money has to come from somewhere, right?

You’d think that all the revenue made from the excruciating toll roads through Chicago would help with this deficit, but you’ d be wrong. The tollway is owned by the city of Chicago but has been leased for 99 years to the Skyway Concession Company, a group of investors from Spain and Australia.

That’s right. The toll money doesn’t go to “build better roads” or help with the infrastructure. It is strictly for the profit of foreign countries, who are now apparently trying to sell the agreement to someone else. (source)

In fact, the Illinois House of Representatives just voted to raise taxes by an astonishing 32% in the largest tax increase in history.

Democratic Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. of Joliet said the vote was a huge leap forward to putting the state on a track to financial stability, but it wasn’t easy, especially for his Republican colleagues who voted for the increase.

“It was a hard vote for each and every one of us,” Walsh said. “[But] it’s the fiscally responsible thing to do.” (source)

Actually, the fiscally responsible thing to do would have been to have passed a reasonable budget a few years back. But maybe I’m a stickler.

The governor has vowed to veto the increase unless it comes with a stipulation of a 4-year limit and a 4-year freeze on property taxes. Either way, it’s clear that the taxpayers are going to get screwed. We all know that temporary taxes are never actually temporary, and the income tax will affect people who don’t necessarily own property. So, thanks, but that isn’t really going to help much.

5) The workforce of Illinois is fleeing the state as fast as they can pack.

There are far fewer taxpayers to pay this extravagant increase, by the way. There appears to be a mass exodus as people flee.

And demographics aren’t exactly on the state’s side to bring in more government revenues. Temporary tax increases to help cover debt and pension payments expired at the end of 2014, and the number of workers employed throughout the state in May – contributing income taxes to the state’s coffers – was more than 125,000 smaller than it was 10 years ago.

“Illinois has shrunk three years in a row. We used to have 26 representatives in Congress. We’re predicted to have 16 in a couple of years. That’s what’s happening to the population,” says Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy and a spokesman at the Illinois Policy Institute.

The institute found the size of the Illinois labor force has contracted by 230,000 since the Great Recession hit in 2007. And data from The Pew Charitable Trusts suggests personal income growth in Illinois has been among the worst in the nation in recent years. (source)

This means that they could increase the tax burden to 50% and still get less money than they would have back when fixing this deficit was still a possibility.

A study by Atlas, the moving company, summed it up:

… 60 percent of moves in Illinois were among people headed out of a state wracked by billions in unpaid bills, no approved state budget, a sluggish employment environment and, in the case of Chicago, soaring crime rates. (source)

Incidentally, the population of Chicago shrunk last year more than any other city in the United States. (source)

Even before this current tax hike, people were fleeing as fast as they could. In May, Michael Lucci, Vice President of Policy, wrote:

According to a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll released in October 2016, 47 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said they want to leave the state. And taxes were the most commonly cited reason people gave for their desire to move.

And according to a recent poll commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute, fewer than 1 in 3 likely Illinois voters support raising taxes to balance the state’s books. Yet the General Assembly continues to insist on tax hikes as the way to close the budget deficit.

Illinoisans are taxed enough already, and the state will continue to lose residents until it reins in taxes and adopts policies to support more jobs growth.

The General Assembly has run a losing strategy for years: raising taxes and failing to reform spending drivers. This has not brought prosperity or opportunity to the state, and will not do so over the longer term, either.

Illinois will not become sustainable again until the state implements reforms so that the government, its bureaucracies and special interests serve the people rather than the other way around. (source)

6) There’s more. A quarter of a trillion dollars in pensions will be due SOON.

You read that right. A quarter of a trillion dollars. $251 billion in pension payments.

First let me clarify that the people expecting their pension payments aren’t the bad guys here. They are expecting money that was promised to them as a perk of whatever job they happened to be working. The issue is that far more was promised than could be delivered in an unstructured, pie-in-the-sky system.

Eileen Norcross, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center explains why this is so bad for the state (beyond the obvious.)

…the situation in Illinois is further complicated by a provision in its state constitution that essentially prevents the government from doing anything that would result in “diminished or impaired” pensions.

“That pretty much ties their hands. They can’t change benefit formulas going forward for their employees,” she says. “They’ve built a house that is so rigid on very weak foundation, so there’s no give. It’s been built by politics and fiscal institutions that are really poor.” (source)

The pension issue has been building for decades.

The most glaring evidence is the enormous pension crisis. Rather than dealing with the problem, Illinois continued to reward the state’s powerful unions with more generous benefits.

The problem festered for so long that Moody’s estimates Illinois has unfunded pension liabilities totaling $251 billion. To put that into context, that’s more than the combined market value of four major Illinois companies: Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT), United Continental (UAL) and Allstate (ALL).

“The massive pension liability results from a chronic tendency to defer difficult decisions,” said Ted Hampton, who as a senior credit officer at Moody’s will help decide whether to downgrade Illinois into junk.

Hampton said Illinois treated the pension fund as a “financial cushion” that could be relied on to provide fiscal relief. He also pointed to a tendency to delay paying bills and chronically underestimate spending needs. (source)

There was one missed opportunity that could have averted this disaster.

Experts said the turning point may have been 1995. At that point, Illinois already had one of the worst-funded pension systems in the United States. State leaders took action by adopting a 50-year plan to get the pension plans 90% funded.

But that plan turned out to be badly flawed. The initial contributions were too modest, and Illinois didn’t make the politically difficult choices of tax hikes or spending cuts to get the budget on a sustainable path.

“It was one of the greatest pieces of chicanery ever pulled by a political system,” said Ralph Martire, executive director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a think tank that promotes social and economic justice.

Instead of reform, the compromise “codified the practice of underfunding the pension” and “intentionally” grew the shortfall by $45 billion, Martire said. (source)

During the most recent credit downgrade of the state, they were warned about this issue.

Moody’s issued a warning about the growth in the state’s massive pension debt. According to Moody’s calculations, Illinois owes over $250 billion in pension debt, far higher than the $130 billion the state says it owes. The agency stated:

“The downgrade to Baa3 for Illinois’ GO bonds is consistent with the state’s intensifying pressure from pension liabilities; by our calculation, the state’s unfunded pension liability (Moody’s adjusted net pension liability, or ANPL) for its five major plans in aggregate grew 25% in the year ended June 30, 2016, to $251 billion.” (source)

So, the condensed version is this: The government promised pensions to union members for decades, but the member’s contributions were too small to cover the payouts. Now that it’s time to start paying all of these people the monthly payments they were guaranteed for their retirement, the money must come out of the state budget because it was never put aside in the first place.

7) Here’s where the cuts are projected to happen.

 Meanwhile, in what is arguably the most stressful job in Illinois, the state comptroller is trying to keep Illinois afloat.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza has described the state as being in “massive crisis mode” as she attempts to prioritize which bills get paid in absence of a budget plan. Earlier this month, she warned that a slew of recent court orders mandating that the state pay certain debt holders will completely exhaust the state’s discretionary spending, which includes tax dollars typically funneled to, among other things, domestic violence shelters and ambulance services. (source)

So let’s be perfectly clear:

At the current rate and with the new federal ruling, they’re going to run out of money in August. Next month.

Here are some of the cuts that have been mentioned:

  • Medicaid
  • Pensions
  • Schools
  • Ambulance services
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Universities
  • State employee’s paychecks

Interestingly, no cuts to congressional salaries and perks were mentioned. I’m sure they’ll just volunteer to do that.

What should you do if you live in Illinois?

The obvious advice is to move out of the state if you can.

However, I completely understand that leaving the state isn’t an option for everyone. We get tied to places through homes that won’t sell, family members for whom we’re responsible, good jobs that are increasingly scarce, and a variety of other reasons. To say, “Just move” is to trivialize a massive issue. It’s like addressing only the toenail whe an entire elephant is standing on top of you.

Here are some tips that could help you weather the storm if you’re stuck in a place with a crumbling economy:

That disaster we’ve all been preparing for? In Illinois, it’s almost here.


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The post 7 Fast Facts About the Economic Collapse of Illinois appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Here’s How a DELIBERATE Cyberattack Could Happen To Us

Here’s How a DELIBERATE Cyberattack Could Happen To Us | How-a-cyberattack-could-happen-to-us | Science & Technology Special Interests

The Petya Ransomware attack hit globally, but one country, in particular, was devastated by it. The Ukrainian infrastructure was brought down by the attack, where the epicenter occurred, and now, experts are suggesting that it may have been deliberate and state-sponsored.

The ostensible purpose of all that damage was to make money — and yet there’s very little money to be found. Most ransomware flies under the radar, quietly collecting payouts from companies eager to get their data back and decrypting systems as payments come in. But Petya seems to have been incapable of decrypting infected machines, and its payout method was bizarrely complex, hinging on a single email address that was shut down almost as soon as the malware made headlines. As of this morning, the Bitcoin wallet associated with the attack had received just $10,000, a relatively meager payout by ransomware standards.

The post Here’s How a DELIBERATE Cyberattack Could Happen To Us appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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