Survival Medicine Hour: Ticks, Volcanoes, Special Guests

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Survival Medicine Hour: Ticks, Volcanoes, Special Guests

SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST

Old Faithful is a sign of a mass of superheated water and rock below Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful is a sign of a mass of superheated water and rock below Yellowstone National Park

Can you prepare for a day at the beach? Can you prepare for an asteroid strike? Well, preparing for volcanic eruptions is in the middle, actually closer to an asteroid strike that anyone would like. Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP discuss what can and can’t be done to prepare for a volcano, and whether volcano preparedness is an oxymoron!


Also, school’s almost out and families will out hiking and camping. Ticks will also be out, and ready to make a meal out of the blood of your loved ones. The Altons discuss how to avoid being a blood donor to a tick this summer, and avoid diseases they transmit like Lyme disease.

All this and more in this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/05/18/survival-medicine-hour-ticks-volcanoes-interviews-more

Follow us on Twitter @preppershow; on Facebook at the Doom and Bloom(tm) page; on YouTube at the DrBones NurseAmy channel

Also, check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net!

Joe and Amy Alton

3 common disasters that could result in devastation

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Editor’s note: PlanandPrepared.com welcomes Tony C to the website. Tony first realized the how ill prepared he was following the 2008 stock market/housing collapse. Tony vowed to change that, and has been preparing him and his family ever since. He’s a proud husband of 20+ years and a father of two boys. You can find Tony […]

The post 3 common disasters that could result in devastation appeared first on Plan and Prepared.

Video: Volcano Preparedness?

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Video: Volcano Preparedness?

VIDEO: VOLCANO PREPAREDNESS?

Being prepared certainly increases your chances of surviving and staying healthy in a lot of disaster settings, but can you prepare for a volcanic eruption like we’re seeing at Mount Kilauea in Hawaii? A volcano can form a river of lava, molten rock at 750-1250 degrees, plus shoot out rocks the size of boulders onto the landscape. Over time, falling ash can cause roofs to collapse. Sure, most of the country isn’t at risk for a volcanic eruption, or is it? Yellowstone National Park is home to a huge “caldera” where superheated gases cause geysers like Old Faithful. It exploded 640,000 years ago, and we’re due, some geologists say, for another event (in the next 40,000 years or so).

While you can’t protect your home from a wall of lava, there might be some actions that could give you a fighting chance to survive the event. In this video, Joe Alton, MD explores your options and offers some thoughts on what might make a difference and what might not for a volcanic eruption.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe Alton MD

Learn more about natural disasters and medical issues you might confront in one in the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.  Also, check out some of Nurse Amy’s medical kits for off-grid scenarios at store.doomandbloom.net.

How To Be Prepared For An Unforeseen Disaster

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Are you prepared for an unforeseen disaster? Our country, our whole world for that matter is in an interesting situation, to say the least. I’m not a doomsday prepper, but if you listen to the radio or watch the news on TV, it’s pretty obvious, life may be very different sooner than later. This may seem like I’m on a soapbox, which occasionally I admit to standing on, but when I receive over 100 emails from readers after our President spoke on “Breaking News” about Syria and the recent action to try and eliminate that country’s ability to manufacture chemical weapons, how can any of us think we are safe from the effects of events throughout the world. I stay away from religion and politics on my blog, but I try to teach people to be prepared for the unexpected.

If you don’t have water stored, why not? If you don’t have some food stored for at least 30 days at the very least, why not? Please remember, the government will not step in and deliver water, food, over the counter pharmacy needs, first aid supplies for days, weeks or months, if at all, where you are.

If you think that grocery store right around the corner will be open, it will not be after an unforeseen disaster. The shelves will be empty and you will not be able to buy anything even with cash, OR the 20-ounce water bottle may be $20.00 CASH ONLY. I think you understand what I’m saying.

Unforeseen Disaster

Unforeseen Disaster

Let me be clear today, you cannot depend on the government, your church, the food bank or your neighbors to take care of you. You are responsible for your family, yes YOU. You MUST be prepared for an unforeseen disaster today, not next month. I have people say to me, “now Linda, how could you turn away a small child after a disaster that needs water or food?” My reply is this, it would be very hard, but it’s been very hard for me to save money to prepare for myself and Mark.

I’m not saying I will be ruthless, I want that to be very clear. I have written almost 1200 posts trying to teach people to be prepared. I have taught classes for many years showing people how to make bread, being self-reliant, food storage and emergency preparedness.

Water

You know the drill, 4 gallons per person per day.

Food

I do not count calories, I fill a pantry with staples in order to cook and bake from scratch. I store #10 cans of freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and a few #10 cans of dehydrated foods. I store cans and packages of beans, rice, quinoa and so much more.

Gas Tank

I highly recommend you keep you keep your gas tanks 3/4 to nearly full at all times. Please keep your car, truck or vehicles maintained properly.

Hand Crank Radio

Please purchase an emergency radio with a crank or with batteries or some way to recharge it. We need to know what’s going on in the world. If you know someone who has a ham radio they may be your new best friend.

Phone Chargers

Please make sure you turn your cell phones off at least once a week so when it is turned back on it will locate any new cell towers located new your current location. Keep those phones charged according to your manufacturer instructions. If you can afford a solar phone charger that would be awesome.

Flashlights

Yard lights are affordable, you can charge them during the day and bring them in your home when needed. If you choose battery-operated flashlights, please stash appropriate batteries to use with them as a backup. I prefer a solar-powered flashlight and several lanterns that can be recharged without batteries.

First Aid Kit

Here is my post on first aid kits: Linda’s First Aid Kit

Essential Oils

This may be controversial but I love love love essential oils. I prefer the brand DoTerra. I do not sell them. You must decide what is right for you. They work for me and can possibly make you feel better during the tough times.

OTC Drug Needs/Prescriptions

I want you to think of the (OTC) over the counter drugs you use often, or those prescriptions you need on a consistent basis. Some may be on my first aid kit list above. If the pharmacies are closed and you need a fever or cough reducer, do you have some? Do you have some Gatorade with electrolytes? Influenza may hit, please be prepared to keep your family hydrated.

Dog/Cat/Pet Supplies

Don’t forget about our furry friends, they need water, food, and items that will comfort them. Keep in mind, you may want a 72-hour kit for your pet in your car as well as your own 72-hour kits.

Pantry Supplies

Here is a post I wrote about how to fill your pantry with some necessary items: Pantry Supplies

Butane Stove and Fuel

This is a great Mother’s Day, birthday, or any holiday gift, or just a love gift for those you care about. Check the links below for stove and fuel.

Outdoor Cooking Devices

I have written many posts on outdoor cooking devices. Here is one: Stoves by Linda

Outdoor Fuel

Fuel is critical: Fuel by Linda

Cash

Please store one dollar and five dollar bills in a safe secure place, you may need cash when the banks are closed. It’s possible no pension, social security, or paychecks will be mailed or deposited if the issuing agent or government is shut down for a while. Trust me on this, it can and will happen. You can count on it.

Anxiety-Learning To Breathe

This is something I had a friend send me about anxiety:

Breathing to the square:
• breathe in & count to 4
• hold and count to 4
• breathe out & count to 4
• hold and count to 4

Repeat.

I hope today’s post helps those getting started prepping to start, baby steps, just start, it’s easy. You don’t have to be a millionaire and have a pallet of food delivered to your home. Start with one can at a time. You can do it. Please do not be overwhelmed, get my book and get going. Please read Ted Koppel’s book “Lights Out” and my book “Prepare Your Family For Survival”. May God bless this world.

Cooking with a Dutch Oven

Dutch Ovens, Butane Stove, Butane Fuel, Fire Starter, Matches, Cast Iron Cookware, Charcoal

Copyright pictures:

Are You Ready: AdobeStock_97688910 by Tashatuvango

The post How To Be Prepared For An Unforeseen Disaster appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Survival Medicine Hour: E. Coli Outbreak, Mudslides, Water Disinfection, More

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR #386

MUDSLIDES

MUDSLIDES

Spring has sprung, and snowmelt plus heavy rains may increase the risk of mudslides, aka debris flows, in many areas. Find out more about this dangerous natural phenomenom which is akin to a river of wet concrete, plus some early warning signs that you property is at risk. Joe and Amy, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, also discuss a new E. Coli outbreak that is hitting several states across the country but is still mysterious in its origin, plus their recommendations for water disinfection and how it compares to official EPA directives.

bacterial outbreak in 7 states

bacterial outbreak in 7 states

Also, some examples as to when the medic has to make tough decisions in survival settings, like giving medicines to someone who is really sick but claims to have an allergy to the only drug or natural option you’ve got in your medical supplies.

All this and more in the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/04/13/survival-medicine-hour-e-coli-outbreak-mudslides-disinfection-more

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

 

Follow Joe and Amy on twitter @preppershow; Facebook at Doom and Bloom, and on Youtube at drbones nurseamy channel!

Find the award-winning third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook at Amazon.com

Video: Hygiene and Comfort Issues

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VIDEO: Hygiene and Comforts Issues in Survival Settings

Comfort and Hygiene in Survival

Comfort and Hygiene in Survival

Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy, again steps in front of the camera to discuss issues relating to hygiene and “comfort” in disaster settings. Supplies include important items that will help assure both physical and mental preparedness even in tough times.

To watch, click below:

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel!

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Amy and Joe Alton

The Altons

The Altons

Don’t forget to fill those holes in your medical storage by checking out our books, DVDs, kits, and individual supplies at store.doomandbloom.net!

medical kits

medical kits

Third Edition: Book Excellence Award Winner in Medicine

Third Edition: Book Excellence Award Winner in Medicine

Video: Disaster Food Supplies

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VIDEO: Disaster Food Supply Advice

Storing food for disasters

Storing food for disasters

In this video, Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy, steps in front of the camera to discuss disaster food supplies. Food, water, and shelter (don’t forget air!) are absolute basics for survival in a major disaster, followed by, in our opinion, medical supplies. Using common sense regarding your food storage will give your family the best chance to succeed, even when everything else fails.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Amy Alton ARNP

Amy  Alton

Amy Alton

Fill those holes in your disaster medical supplies with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net.

Some of Nurse Amy's Kits

Some of Nurse Amy’s Kits

Avalanche Survival – Important Skills to Survive During and After

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by Ryan

Skiing, snowboarding, or just climbing an untouched snow canvas is about the best thing ever. Unfortunately, we know the bad side of winter sports and mountain expeditions: avalanches.

As any snow guide will tell you, an avalanche is the most ruthless treat that nature can throw your way. Ski resorts have been buried under tons of snow and 25 people succumb to avalanche-related accidents each season on average.

Although this number seems pretty low, you don’t want to be the one to take it higher. That’s why it pays to have several important skills that could help you survive during and after an avalanche.

What causes an avalanche?

Although avalanches do occur naturally, studies show that a large proportion is triggered by the skiers, snowboarders, or climbers themselves. Animals, extremely low temperatures, and earthquakes are other known causes.

Sure, snow trucks on the road below the slopes could also cause mild tremors that could break the hell loose on you.

What should you do in case of an avalanche?

Jump upslope

If the avalanche starts happening right on your feet, the chances are that it’s you who have triggered it. Your reactions in the first few seconds determine how huge this misfortune will impact on your survival.

Safety experts recommend jumping upslope beyond the fracture line. Well, this might be a little bit hard to do since fracture lines develop and start racing down the slope in a split second.

But several people have survived dangerous avalanches just by doing this. Jumping uphill protects you from being caught in the moving mass of snow.

Move to the sides

In the event that the avalanche starts above you, the wisest thing to do is to begin moving to its sides as fast as possible.

Avalanches are fiercest at the center. It’s also pretty difficult to fight your way out if you are caught in the middle since this is where the snow is at its highest peak and volume. Being caught around this place could lead to fatalities and be buried too deep to survive.

However, if you are quick enough to dash to the side, you could avoid being swept altogether. Take care though not to lose your footing as you do so.

If time does not allow you to get out of the way completely, then the next thing will be to protect yourself from being swept.

Ditch your backpack

At this point, what’s more important is getting away with your life. Losing anything that adds weight to your body adds to your odds of surviving. Letting go of your backpack, climbing poles, and any other heavy equipment makes you more buoyant. This minimizes the chance of being buried too deep into the snow.

By the same breath, letting go of some of your light items will increase your chance of being saved in case other rescuers locate them on the surface of the snow.

But wait. I don’t mean losing anything that might increase your survival chances including an avalanche shovel, transceiver, or a probe. These will come in handy in case you get buried. So, losing them can be a counterproductive move to increase your survival chances.

Hold onto a tree

The ability to grab onto a tree or a rock depends on whether or not you’ve already being swept off your feet and the velocity of the snow.

If you are near a tree during the first few seconds and it’s a less powerful avalanche, grabbing it may save your life. Even if the fast-moving snow roughs you up, holding on for a longer time minimizes the probability of being buried too deep.

But do know that the roughest avalanches could uproot trees and rocks. Again, if you’ve already being swept downhill, trying to grab stationary objects can result in serious injuries that might make things even more difficult for you.

Crouching behind trees and rocks in a big avalanche is also somewhat dangerous since these stationary objects tend to slow the snow forcing it to pile and bury anything around them.

Backstroke uphill

In case the snow topples you, the National Centre for Snow and Ice advises thrusting upward using swimming motions. This isn’t easy. But it has been found to increase survival rates in dangerous avalanches.

To do this, you want to dig your feet to the bed of the avalanche and get a foothold to slow your descent. Note that your feet should be facing down the slope to allow you to backstroke with your arms.

This is quite different from what you may have heard: body surfing the snow. You will be at a higher risk of being buried if you try to body-surf an avalanche since this technique tends to take you to the heart of the fast flowing snow.

The turbulent snow at the foot of the avalanche could disorient you and minimize your ability to dig your way out if you are buried.

On the other hand, backstroking keeps you afloat. This enables you to keep your head in the air. It also increases your chance of not being buried too deep.

What if you get buried anyways?

 Know the way up

In the event that you are buried, stop fighting against the snow and strategize on how you will increase your chances of getting out.

Keeping one hand pointed toward the surface of the snow will help you not to lose focus of the way up. Don’t worry in case the turbulence makes this impossible though.

The spit test is another sure way of knowing the direction of the surface. Simply clear some space around your face and spit. Thanks to gravity, the liquid should flow downwards- the opposite direction is the way up.

Create a pocket of air

Once you are buried, your biggest threat is asphyxiation- being deprived of oxygen. Lack of air plus the freezing condition under the snow leaves you with about 15 minutes of survival. But you could take this to around 30 minutes by increasing the amount of air around you.

Drowning in snow is quite different from drowning in water. This is because there is a lot of air around you. Putting your arms across your face helps in creating a pocket of air that may allow your rescuers enough time as they dig towards you. Pushing the snow with your body also compacts it to create more room around you.

Remain calm albeit rather hard

If you are lucky to be just a few inches from the surface, you could use your hands or avalanche shovel to climb out.

However, fighting out of that trap might be hard if you are buried deep in the snow. So, rather than jeopardizing the little energy that you have and the oxygen within your air pockets, it would be advisable to remain cool and wait for rescue.

This is the last thing that you’ll want anyone to tell you after being clobbered by debris and hard snow right, left, and center. But it could be your last line of defense. Remaining calm helps you to breathe slowly and conserve energy and air as you get rescued.

Shout for help

If you can hear the rescuers within where you are buried, shouting may help them locate you much faster. This eliminates their likelihood of digging at the wrong place. Remember that every second counts in this struggle.

How to increase your safety during an avalanche

Take a course on avalanche safety and survival skills

The best way to increase your survival rate on the slopes is by preparing adequately for an avalanche and knowing what to do in the event of one. It’s, therefore, important to take an avalanche course before charging out into the backcountry.

Among other things that you’ll learn in this course is how to scout for safe slopes and how to tell the likelihood of an avalanche. Knowing how to dig and rescue a snowboarder or skier who has been buried is crucial for the safety of the team too.

Carry the right survival equipment

No matter how skilled you are, avoiding being buried during an avalanche is never 100% guaranteed. As such, you need to arm yourself with a few tools that increase your survival odds. They include;

Avalanche beacon

This is one piece of safety gear that you don’t want to head to the slopes without. Also known as a transceiver, this device sends signals at 457 KHz to other beacons to help locate the wearer.

The best part about this gadget is that it can switch from sending to receiving signals from other transceivers. It increases its beeps as you get closer to another beacon.

Worth pointing out is that an avalanche transceiver should always be harnessed to your body rather than being put in your backpack. This minimizes the chances of losing it in case you lose your bag.

Helmet

Most fatalities in avalanches occur when the victim sustains injuries on the head. If you are swept over by an avalanche gliding at 50-80 MPH, you become pretty much vulnerable to being clobbered by tree trunks and rocks among other debris.

A helmet minimizes the risk of head trauma that could make you pass out. This increases your ability to fight more and more.

A probe

This is a collapsible, lightweight stick that helps in determining the current snowpack in case a friend is buried. It also helps you identify the ideal place to start digging.

An avalanche shovel

While this tool is of much help when digging for a person who has been caught in the snow, you could also use it to dig your way out. Importantly, it should be collapsible, straightforward to use, and high-volume.

Airbag

No, I don’t mean taking your car’s airbag to the snowy slopes. I mean an avalanche airbag. This is a balloon system that is incorporated to your backpack. It has an activation handle that inflates it when pulled. Doing this in an avalanche keeps you afloat thereby minimizing the risk of being buried.

Conclusion

Avalanches are hard to predict as they are hard to fight. But you could increase your odds of survival by being prepared for it before heading to the backcountry. The right way to do this is by taking a safety course and arming yourself with the right tools always.

Do you have other skills that you would like to share with other skiers, snowboarders, and climbers? Have you ever been caught in a raging avalanche? We would like to hear about your experience and how you survived in the comments!

About Ryan

Ryan is founder of cleverhunters.com a blog about outdoor activities and hunting at night. He writes a lot of articles about night hunting tips and review related products. You can also find useful information about outdoor activities in his blog.

Avalanche Survival

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Avalanche!

Avalanche!

An avalanche, also called a “snowslide”, is a mass of snow, ice, and debris sliding rapidly down a mountainside, and is a risk to any winter hiker. Just as a snowball rolling down a hill picks up more snow as it goes, an avalanche can achieve significantly more volume and mass as it travels.

Although they rarely make the news, avalanches cause an average of 28 deaths a year. This event may seem like a rare occurrence, but it happens a lot more often than you’d think; certainly more than, say, shark attacks (which get a lot more press).

Snowslides are part and parcel of the winter wilderness experience, and it pays to know what to do if you’re caught in one.  If you’re not prepared to deal with issues associated with your environment, then you have made it your enemy.  This is not just good advice for skiers or backcountry hikers; anyone driving on mountain roads in winter could get in caught in an avalanche if not prepared.

Avalanches may be caused by simple gravity, a major snowfall, seismic tremors, or human activity. The speed and force of an avalanche may depend on whether the snow is “wet” or “dry powder”. Powder snow avalanches may reach speeds of 190 miles per hour. Wet slides travel slower, but with a great deal of force due to the density of the snowpack.

What Kills An Avalanche Victim?

These members of the 1912 Scott Expedition froze to death, but avalanche victims more likely succumb to trauma or suffocation.

These members of the 1912 Scott Expedition froze to death, but avalanche victims more likely succumb to trauma or suffocation.

You might assume that the main cause of death in this circumstance is freezing to death. There are other ways, however, that are more likely to end the life of an avalanche victim:

Trauma:  serious injury is not uncommon in an avalanche, and not just due to the weight of the snow. Debris, such as rocks, branches, and even entire trees, can be carried along in the cascade and cause life-ending traumatic wounds.

Suffocation:  When buried in the snow, asphyxiation is a major risk.  Densely packed snow is like concrete; many victims may find themselves immobilized and unable to dig themselves out of trouble.

Hypothermia: Hypothermia is, surprisingly, the cause of death of only a small percentage of avalanche victims. It’s much more likely that they will perish due to traumatic injury or suffocation before they freeze to death.

Factors involved in deciding your fate include:

  • The density of the snowpack
  • The presence of air pockets for breathing (or the lack of them)
  • The position of the body in the snow (if not upright, you’ll be disoriented)
  • Traumatic injuries sustained
  • The availability of rescue equipment at the scene

Important Avalanche Survival Basics and Equipment

On any wilderness outing, it makes sense to go prepared. Appropriately warm clothing for the weather is, of course, a basic concern in winter. Food, water, heat packs, spare dry clothing, and a cell phone are just some of the items you should take with you if you’re attempting a mountain hike in January.

In avalanche country, space yourselves out

In avalanche country, space yourselves out

Most backcountry expeditions are best attempted in a group. That goes for avalanche country, as well, except for one thing: Space yourselves out far enough so that there’s not too much weight on any one area of snow. If a member of your party is buried in the snow, know that you have to act quickly to find them and dig them out. It’s unlikely that going for help will end in a successful rescue. Therefore, it’s especially important to have some specialized items in avalanche country.

Recommended gear (besides warm clothing) would include:

PIEPS avalanche beacon

PIEPS avalanche beacon

An avalanche beacon:  A device that emits a pulsed radio signal.  Everyone in the group carries one. If a member gets buried in an avalanche, the rest of the party picks up the signal from under the snow. The receivers interpret the signal into a display that aids the search.

An avalanche shovel:  Lightweight short aluminum shovels that fit inside your backpack and help chop and remove snow and debris on top of a buried hiker. These shovels usually have telescoping shafts. Shovels with D-shaped grips can be used with mittens.

rescue team with avalanche probes

rescue team with avalanche probes

An avalanche probe: Essentially, a stick that helps you pinpoint the exact location of an avalanche victim and see how far down he/she is. 2 meters or more in length, you can use the probe to tell a victim under the snow from the ground; the victim will feel “softer”.

A helmet: Many fatalities occur due to head trauma from rocks and debris flung around by the snow.

Skier’s Air Bags:  Relatively new, these brightly colored air bags auto-inflate with a trigger; they work like a lifejacket to keep you buoyant and, therefore, closer to the surface and easier to find.

Ortovox Skier Air Bags

Ortovox Skier Air Bags

avalanche air bags in action

avalanche air bags in action

What To Do As The Avalanche Starts

83% of avalanches in recreational settings are triggered by the victim. To survive, quick thinking and rapid action will be needed:

Yell: Let everyone in your group know that you’re in trouble. At the very start of the slide, wave your arms and shout as loud as you can to alert as many people as possible to your location.

Move. If you started the avalanche, you may notice a crevice forming in the snow.  Jump uphill of it quickly and you might not get carried off.  If this isn’t an option, run sideways as fast as you can away from the center of the event, which is where the snow will be moving fastest and with the most force.

Get Lighter. Heavier objects sink in snow, so jettison unnecessary heavy equipment so that you’ll be closer to the surface. Throwing off something light isn’t a bad idea either: A loose glove or hat on top of the snow could signal rescuers to your general location and save precious time.  Deploy your avalanche air bag if you have one.

Hug a tree (or rock). If the avalanche is relatively small, you could grab the nearest immobile object and hold on for dear life.  In a very large avalanche, trees and rocks may not be safe anchors; trees can be uprooted by the force of the snowslide.

"Swimming" in an avalanche

“Swimming” in an avalanche

Swim!  To survive an avalanche, the key is to stay as close to the top of the snow as possible. Increase your surface area by spreading your legs (feet downhill) and raising your hands. While in this position, swing your arms while trying to stay on your back (it’s easier to breathe if face up), similar to swimming backstroke.  With any luck, this strategy will keep you towards the surface of the snow.

What To Do If You’re Buried In The Snow

You did your best, but still got completely buried in the snow.  You’ve got maybe 15-30 minutes, on average, before you suffocate.  Snow may be porous, but warm breath melts the snow which then refreezes as solid ice.  This makes breathing difficult.

As the snow slows: The larger the air pocket you have, the longer you’ll survive.  As the snowslide slows to a stop, put one arm in front of your face in such a way as to form a space that will give you the most air. If possible, raise the other arm straight up toward the avalanche surface.  Your glove might signal your location to rescuers.  Expand your chest by inhaling deeply so that you have more room to breathe once the snow has settled.

Once buried: Once you are completely buried, the snowpack may be so dense as to prevent you from moving. Stay calm, in order to use up less oxygen.  If you’re not sure which way is up, spit.  The spit will go towards the ground due to gravity.  If you can move, work to make a bigger air pocket in the direction of the surface.

You’ll only have a second or two to act to avoid most avalanches.  Rapid action, and some basic rescue equipment, may prevent you from being the harsh winter’s latest victim.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Find out about how to survive avalanche and just about every other kind of natural disaster, plus much more, in the 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook!

Winner of the 2017 Book Excellence Award in Medicine

Winner of the 2017 Book Excellence Award in Medicine

How To Be Prepared To Feed Families After A Natural Disaster

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Are you prepared? If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you are, or you’re at least trying to be prepared. Can you feed families who have not prepared for a natural disaster? I feel I am over the top prepared, according to some people. I don’t really care for the word survivalist. It’s not me, but I am prepared for the unexpected. I was a prepper before the word became popular. It’s a way of life for me and I know it is for so many of you as well. I applaud you, and you know it! I love hearing from you that you are doing what you can to be prepared for a natural disaster or whatever comes your way.

Somedays, I wonder if we can feed families that have maybe only one or two days worth of food in their pantry. I’m aware families have been told by a few churches, and government agencies to store food for emergencies. I have been at luncheons and I will casually ask people sitting at my table, “Have you thought about storing food and water for emergencies?” Some people have said, “I can’t afford to buy any extra food or water to store.”

Feed Families-Church Food Assistance

I have also heard someone say they were in a church food assistance program and said they have to throw out the excess cans of tuna they were given because they can only eat so much tuna. Oh, yes, I was in shock, I couldn’t say anything. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Well, you know what I mean. I was shocked and disappointed that they didn’t think to save those cans for an emergency or give the cans to others in need. At some point, food handouts will stop, right?

Feed Families-Church Serves Food

feed families

There is a wonderful church (not this picture) in Southern Utah that serves food to families in need every Sunday from donations they receive from local grocery stores, other churches and out of their own pocket. The pastor told me once “This may be the only meal these people get all week.” I have seen him and his family at Costco piling up food for their Sunday meals. It’s humbling and a blessing to all those involved.

Feed Families-Where To Start

  1. We need to teach our families to be self-reliant and not depend on other people or family members unless they have no other choice (stop entitlement).
  2. Our families must feed, clothe, and hydrate themselves without government assistant (stop entitlement).
  3. Every family should jot down what they eat each week and throw another can of food in the grocery basket each time they shop.
  4. All families should have a plan as to how much food they need to store for emergencies. This will help you: Food Storage by Linda
  5. Please store water to hydrate your family. I suggest 4-gallons per person per day. Please don’t put yourself and your family in a position that you have to stand in lines after a disaster at the county buildings, prepare today, not tomorrow.
  6. You can count on riots shortly after we have a disaster, people get mean when they are hungry and thirsty. Let’s get real here and do our part to be prepared. Think about how many people live in your community and how many of those people can be housed, clothed and fed if there is a true emergency.
  7. It would be very hard for me to turn away hungry people, BUT they have known for years to be prepared. Who is listening?
  8. Please do not use the excuse that you can’t afford to store food storage. You can’t afford NOT to store food storage, or store water. Period. There are cheap foods, for instance, pasta, beans, rice, canned vegetables and canned fruits.
  9. Grow a garden, learn from neighbors how to get started, or visit your local garden nurseries. The food you grow someday may be the only food you have to eat. Learn to dehydrate food when it’s on sale or from your garden. Visit your local farmer’s markets when foods are in their harvest season and producing healthy bounties.
  10. Visit your local State Extension service since they will teach you the safe ways to preserve your food, whether by dehydrating, water bath, or pressure canning. Please be safe in your preservation methods. I see so many dangerous canning ideas on the internet. Four Foods Not Safe To Can by Linda
  11. Learn how to cook from scratch to stretch your grocery budget. Buy the basics and learn how to use them: What You Need In Your Pantry by Linda
  12. Learn to make bread, biscuits, tortillas, and crackers, it will save your life and your budget. Borrow your grandma’s cookbooks or recipe cards. We all need to know how to make the items listed above. Plan a get-together and share your cooking skills. You and those you invite will need them sooner than you think. Trust me on this one.
  13. Invest in a good soup pot. You can make so many good soups with beans, rice, pasta or vegetables. Soup Pot or Dutch Oven
  14. Be prepared to cook without electricity or your gas stove after an unexpected natural disaster. If we have a gas leak we will have to turn off our gas lines. Invest in a Butane Stove and Butane Fuel or an outside Dutch Oven with briquettes. This way you can at least make a pot of soup or boil water.

I hope you realize, and I know so many of you do understand, the urgency at hand to be able to feed families that are not prepared at all. Many of us can feed our family, but how can we teach people that they need to stop depending on help from others, including the government.

Copyright Pictures:

Church: AdobeStock_184629638 by Bettys4240

Rice/Beans: AdobeStock_43398560 by Angela Schmidt

The post How To Be Prepared To Feed Families After A Natural Disaster appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Survival Medicine Hour: Mudslides, Antibiotics, EMPs

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR #372

Aftermath of a mudslide

Aftermath of a mudslide

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe and Amy Alton discuss California’s double whammy of drought wildfires, then mudslides and flash floods when the rain finally comes. A mudslide can be like a river of wet concrete, is there any way to survive one? If you know the signs, maybe, and is plan out that mountain retreats with mudslides in mind, definitely.

Dr. Alton, aka Dr. Bones, also gives you some common sense advice about the use of fish antibiotics, and tells the story of how he came to be the first medical doctor to write about them as a tool in the survival woodshed. More to come about individual antibiotics in future shows.

the wise use of antibiotics

the wise use of antibiotics

Also, Anthony Furey comes back to discuss the risk of an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States by saber-rattling North Korea or another irrational regime. His book “Pulse Attack” is in bookstores across North America.

To listen in, click here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/01/12/survival-medicine-hour-mudslides-antibiotics-emps

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

Fill those holes in your medical supplies with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s entire line at store.doomandbloom.net

Some Doom and Bloom Kits

Some Doom and Bloom Kits

Surviving A Mudslide

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CAN YOU SURVIVE A MUDSLIDE?

mudslide aftermath

mudslide aftermath

Southern California can’t catch a break. Enjoy a sunny climate, get wildfires. Wish for rain, get mudslides.

After record-setting wildfires that lasted all the way to late December, the first rain in Southern California in months caused a major mudslide that killed more than 15 people, injured others, and destroyed several dozen homes. Rescue teams are still searching for survivors in the wreckage.

I probably should write more about landslide events. We live part-time in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with a mountain home overlooking town and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  As such, we live on a slope. How much of a slope? Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to take a dive off our deck.

A mudslide, sometimes called a “debris flow”, is a landslide with a high water content. Mudslides act like a river that, if the mud is thick, has the consistency of wet concrete. Mud, rocks, trees, and other large objects are carried along and can cause homes to collapse and a huge amount of traumatic injury to residents.

Another type of landslide is a “mud flow“, which is characterized by a very rapid flow of water and debris. A mud flow is more “liquefied” due, at least partially, to a lot of rain in a short period of time. A third of the rainfall in Southern California when the rains finally came occurred in five (yes, five) minutes.

In the U.S., 25-50 deaths occur on average as a result of landslides.

Mudslides occur for a number of reasons: Periods of heavy rainfall or snow melt saturate the ground and cause instability in sloping areas. Areas prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters are especially susceptible. In the case of the California mudslide, soil which had been charred by recent fires made the it less absorptive; as such, water that couldn’t get through hard earth quickly formed a flash flood that cascaded down slopes, picking up soil and debris to become a mudslide.

CAN YOU PREVENT A MUDSLIDE?

Humans contribute to the risk of mudslides by planning poorly: Roads cut into hills and mountains and scenic mountain homes make mudslides more likely. River retreats at the base of a hill or mountain (in the “holler”, as we say in Tennessee) are also vulnerable.

mudslide1mudslide

Once you’ve built that home on a hillside, there’s a limited amount of preventative measures that can be undertaken. It’s a different story, however, when planning out that dream home:

  • -Beware of steep slopes, natural or man-made runoff conduits, or eroded areas.
  • -Have the county Geological Survey specialist assess your property for possible mudslide risk.
  • -Consider flexible pipe fittings (installed by pros) less prone to gas or water leaks.
  • -Consider building a retaining wall in likely mudslide channels.
  • -Avoid areas that have experienced mudslides in the past.
  • -Plan out an evacuation route.
  • -Have a battery-powered NOAA weather radio.
  • -Have a medical kit with items to deal with both traumatic injury and water sterilization.

WARNING SIGNS OF A HOME AT RISK

Sometimes, pressure from unstable earth may give you a hint that trouble is on the way and give you time to evacuate. Mudslide prone areas will begin to show signs of strain:

  • -Cracks develop in walls, flooring, paving, driveways, or foundations.
  • -Outside structures (for example, stairs) begin to separate from buildings
  • -Doors and windows start becoming jammed.
  • -Utility lines start breaking.
  • -Fences, trees, and utility poles start tilting.
  • -Water starts accumulating in strange places
  • -Roads and embankments along slopes start breaking off at the edges.
  • -The Terrain starts to “bulge” or starts slanting at the base of the slope.

DURING THE EVENT

mudslide2

  • -Turn on the NOAA radio and listen to warnings as they are reported.
  • -Warn your neighbors!
  • -If a mudslide is imminent, get out of Dodge if at all possible, with the understanding that roads may be washed out.  Stay away from mudslide areas; new mudslides may still occur.

In some mudslides, as in Southern California, things happen very quickly and you don’t have time to evacuate:

  • -If you stay home, get to the second story if you have one.
  • -Watch for and avoid downed power lines.
  • -As the slide passes through, get under a table and curl into a ball, protecting your head.
  • -If you’re trapped in the mud, survival rates go up if you can form an air pocket around you.
  • -it’s a good idea to carry a cell phone with you at all times in case you are trapped in the house.

Mudslides, like wildfires, leave scars on the land but are part and parcel of living with Mother Nature. Plan before you build, know the danger signs, and hit the road if at all possible in the face of an imminent threat.

Joe Alton MD

Dr. Alton

Dr. Alton

Fill those holes in your medical supplies with some of Nurse Amy’s kits or individual items at store.doomandbloom.net.

Burn Injuries On and Off The Grid

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second degree burn

second degree burn

BURN INJURIES

 

burn injuries

burn injuries

Whether caused by a raging wildfire or due to an accident while preparing food, burns are a major challenge both on and off the grid. Injuries from burns that require medical help top one million each year in the United States, with thousands of deaths reported. These numbers are alarming, given the fact that, in modern times, few are us are exposed to fire as often or directly as our ancestors were. Despite this, only a small percentage of families have formulated and practiced an escape plan for their own homestead.

There are different types of burns. the American Burn Association’s statistics show their relative frequencies:

  • 44 per cent: burns from flames
  • 33 per cent: scalds caused by exposure to hot fluids (50 per cent of burns in children)
  • 9 per cent: contact with a heat source
  • 4 per cent: electrical burns
  • 3 per cent: chemical burns
  • 7 per cent:   miscellaneous causes

Of course, anyone who sustains a serious burn should be transported immediately to a hospital, preferably one with a dedicated burn unit. After a disaster, however, these facilities may be inaccessible or overwhelmed by a large number of casualties. Therefore, it is possible that the average citizen may be required to provide burn care in disaster settings.

Off the grid long-term, the risks are even greater. Without power, we will be cooking over fires more frequently.  The potential for significant burn injuries will rise, especially if small children get too close.  It’s important for the “medic” to have a working knowledge of burns and their treatment.

Rule of 9's: Front torso 18%, back 18%

Rule of 9’s: percentages slightly different in babies

The percentage of body surface area is often used to determine the severity of injury. A system known as the “rule of 9’s” is thought to give a rough estimate of the risks involved. Any burn covering more than the size of, say, your palm is serious enough to be medically evaluated. In survival settings, the general health (not to mention work efficiency) of a group member already under stress may be impacted.

(Note: Normally, the palm area measure is used only for burns that are more than superficial, but I believe that all burns this size or greater should be brought to the attention of the medic.)

burn degrees

burn degrees

Off or on the grid, burns are best categorized by “degrees”, a measure related to the depth of penetration. The deeper the burn damage, the graver the consequences for the victim.

1st degree burn (sunburn)

1st degree burn (sunburn)

FIRST DEGREE BURNS:  First-degree burns affect the epidermis, the topmost layer of the skin. A typical example would be a “sunburn”. These burns appear red, warm, and dry, and are painful to the touch. Mild swelling may occur. Dry, dead skin will cause itching, but peels off after a period of time. No scarring is expected.

Although most first-degree burns are minor, extensive ones must be watched closely. They can cause dehydration and even enough heat loss to cause hypothermia.

Treating a first-degree burn: Treatments for a first-degree burn include:

  • Cool water soaks for five to ten minutes (many make the mistake of running cold water over the burned area for only a few seconds). Avoid ice, which traumatizes already-damaged skin by decreasing circulation to it.
  • Pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). After a day or so, the pain will subside.
  • Anesthetic ointments and burn gels containing aloe vera.
  • Antihistamines for itching.

Expect complete healing in a week or so.

second degree burn

second degree burn

SECOND-DEGREE BURNS:  Second-degree burns, sometimes called “partial-thickness” burns, affect the deep layer of the skin (the “dermis”). You will see areas that are painful, swollen, and appear moist rather than dry. The area will have a tendency to weep clear or whitish fluid. These injuries often have a number of blisters of various sizes.

Treating a second-degree burn: Treatment for a second-degree burn should be quick and intensive. The faster treatment is begun, the faster the recovery. Consider:

  • Running cool water on the burn for 15 minutes or longer.
  • Quick removal of rings, bracelets, and necklaces due to rapid swelling that occurs.
  • Bandaging the wound with non-stick dressings like Telfa pads. Avoid the use of cotton balls as dressings due to the sloughing off of fibers that can increase the likelihood of infection.
  • Using specialized burn dressings like Xeroform; similar dressings can be improvised using gauze and petroleum jelly.
  • Giving pain medicines as needed.
  • Applying antibiotic cream to blisters to prevent infection.

Blisters may be numerous, but should be broken only if very large or it is clear they would break during normal activity or in bed. The “Popping” of blisters may increase the risk of infection. If you feel it’s necessary, puncture with a sterilized needle at the base and leave the skin covering the raw area.

Keeping the area protected from infectious organisms is important; dressings should be changed at least daily. Most second-degree burns heal in 2-3 weeks without thick scars, but may leave the skin darker than its original color.

third-degree burn

third-degree burn

THIRD-DEGREE BURNS:  A severe type of burn injury, third-degree burns damage the full thickness of the skin and, often, deeper structures like the nerves and blood vessels below the skin. Once the damage goes through the skin, you have lost your body’s “armor”, causing the rapid loss of fluids and ensuing dehydration. Loss of body heat is also a major issue.

Third-degree burns can vary in appearance based upon the type of burn incurred. They may appear white and waxy, charred brown, or black.  The area may feel stiff or “leathery”.

Treating a third-degree burn: Start by following the steps for a second-degree burn. Long-term care is much more complex, however. The skin lost in an injury is normally replaced by new skin cells produced by the dermis. The dermis, however, has been destroyed in a third-degree burn, so skin can only grow from the edges of the wound. This not only takes more time than the patient has, but also results in thick scarring.

Sometimes, skin edges have dead tissue which must be cut away so living tissue behind it can grow; this (sometimes painful) process is known as “debridement”.

In normal times, gaps left by extensive burns are treated by “skin grafting”. A skin graft is skin taken from an uninjured area and placed on the site of the burn. Skin taken from the injured person is less likely to be rejected than if taken from another individual.

Of course, the technology needed for skin grafting won’t be accessible off the grid. The best that might be done in a remote setting would be covering the area where skin no longer exists with products like honey or aloe vera gel. A non-stick covering is then applied for protection. Celox hemostatic gauze, when wet, makes for a serviceable burn bandage. Dressing major burns, however, can compromise blood flow as swelling occurs. As such, these wounds shouldn’t be wrapped tightly, if at all. Vigilance is needed to keep the wound clean so as to prevent infection.

Expect these wounds to require a very long time to heal. Often, a “contracture” will develop as a result of scarring. This is a condition where deformity or loss of movement occurs in joints due to the stiffening of muscles and other tissues. The result, at the very least, is loss of range of motion.

Fourth degree burn

Fourth degree burn

FOURTH-DEGREE BURNS: Once considered just a severe case of a third-degree burn, the damage extends down through subcutaneous fat to muscle and bone. The tissue appears dark, dry, and “crispy”. Third and fourth-degree burns are often described as painless, as the nerve endings have been destroyed. These burns, however, often have second-degree and first-degree components at their peripheries, which can be very painful.

Treatment for Fourth-Degree Burns: Even in the most advanced settings, treating fourth-degree burns is complex and may even involve amputation of an affected limb. Without a modern burn unit, the survival rate for third- and fourth-degree burns covering any significant portion of the body will be very low. This is due not only to destruction of tissue; the inability to replace fluids rapidly in these patients and the high frequency of infection will be factors, as well.

COMMON MISTAKES WHEN TREATING BURNS

-Failing to run cool water on the burn for the time recommended.

-Using ice on burnt skin.

-Ignoring airway burns. With smoke inhalation, airways may swell rapidly and cause breathing difficulties. Signs include severe coughing, hoarseness, black-specked sputum, and facial burns.

-Popping blisters unnecessarily. Intervene only when they are very large or interfere with function.

-Assuming a burn is less of an issue than it is. Even a first-degree burn, like an extensive sunburn, can be dangerous if steps aren’t taken to avoid further exposure and keep up the level of hydration.

-Using lard or butter as a home remedy. These substances can trap heat in and cause a delay in healing. Other home remedies, like aloe vera, are more preferable.

BURN PREVENTION

Toddlers and Campfires = Burns

Toddlers and Campfires = Burns

Burn care in an off-grid setting is difficult, so it makes sense to do everything possible to prevent these kinds of injuries. As your people may be performing activities of daily survival to which they are not accustomed, perhaps the most important advice is to be certain that they are wearing appropriate personal protection like gloves, masks, goggles, and footwear. Any burn injury prevented is one less headache (and perhaps, heartache) for the medic. Other considerations:

  • never allow children to be unsupervised near a campfire or wherever food is being cooked or water boiled.
  • Don’t let kids play with matches or lighters.
  • Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply frequently.
  • Avoid cooking if you are impaired by exhaustion (or alcohol/drugs).
  • Avoid smoking inside your shelter or anywhere there are flammable materials (or maybe not smoke at all).
  • Keep firewood and other flammables away from buildings.
  • If you have power, be wary of space heaters; leave a good space between them and anything combustible.
  • Avoid using frayed electrical cords.
  • Learn how to recognize gas leaks.
  • Have and know how to use fire extinguishers.
  • Have functioning smoke alarms.

Last but not least, have a plan of action for a fire at your homestead, and practice drills so that family members will know exactly what to do. This includes a method of communication and a place to meet in the event that you are separated from each other.

The risk for burn injury exists even in the best of times. Off the grid, they represent a major challenge to the caregiver. The ability to recognize and treat different degrees of burns will be an important skill for the medic in tough times.

In future articles, we’ll review electrical, chemical, scalds, and other burns, as well as ways to recognize and treat them effectively. We’ll also discuss some natural remedies that will work to help speed recovery from burn injuries.

Joe Alton MD

Dr. Alton

Dr. Alton

Find out more about treating burns and 150 other medical issues in disaster settings in the 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide For When Medical Help Is Not On The Way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Crimes Against Harvey Victims Will Make You Angry — and teach you how to avoid becoming a victim

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crimes against harvey victimsHurricane Harvey put a huge dent in my hometown, with close to 200 businesses and 20% of the homes here flooded, some up past their rooflines. It’s been a tough couple of months. Our home was spared but if the flood waters had continued to rise for just a few more hours, we wouldn’t have been so lucky.

Piles and piles of “house guts” as I called them quickly lined the streets, and in some cases are still there, waiting to be picked up. Needless to say, the mounds of wet carpet, sheetrock, furniture, clothing, and every type of belonging you could imagine drew flies, rodents, bred mosquitoes, and, unfortunately, attracted a certain group of human predators who focused on bedraggled families as their next victims.

You can see from this photo how many, many people have lived in the weeks, and now months, post-Harvey.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The community here was and continues to be outstanding in their level of support. Our church was one of the leaders in organizing work crews who went into homes and helped shellshocked owners do what had to be done — dismantle the remnants of their secure lives, leaving them with nothing but concrete floors and wall studs. It was backbreaking work, but “Texas Strong” was a reality, every single day.

The worst in human nature came in the form of those who had no shame in taking advantage of my community in every possible way. Looters, of course, arrived to go through homes that had been temporarily abandoned, taking off with what very little the homeowner had salvaged. I now completely understand the sentiment, “Looters will be shot.”

Homeowners, in their rush to gut their homes and start the drying process, piled things in the front yard to sort through later, but soon discovered that ANYTHING left outside was considered fair game. At different hours of the day and into the night, cars prowled these neighborhoods, with human vultures looking for anything with potential value.

Along with piles of house guts, people had no choice but to put out piles of soggy paperwork, mail, and files of family and financial records. Incredibly, the dregs of society soon found those and began putting them to use, creating fake identities, complete with drivers licenses, checks, and credit cards. In some cases it was the work crews who found the documents and sold them to other criminals. Here’s an example of one identity thief who was caught. I’ve heard of many instances of mail being stolen out of mailboxes once mail delivery resumed. With so many homeowners unable to stay in their homes and check their mail in a timely manner, it was there for the taking.

Speaking of work crews, as you can probably imagine, our town soon attracted construction workers and contractors of all kinds who took advantage of flood victims in every possible way, from demanding large deposits and then never doing the job to doing shoddy work that had to be re-done by actual professionals. Anti-mold companies sold products and services that weren’t necessary, and one experienced construction professional sent this plea on a Facebook page,

As you look for your homes and properties to be repaired, PLEASE don’t tell contractors, bidders, and handyman you’ve just received your insurance check unless you absolutely need to. And please don’t tell them how much it was. I’ve seen several areas become devastated and people will be looking to get the most money from you. Telling them you received your check and how much it was, tells them just how much to bid the job for! Whether or not the work is worth that amount. People unfortunately, are not as honest these days. Do not be afraid to ask to see a portfolio of pictures of their work, request references, and by all means… ask questions! Keep all quotes to yourself, unless using it to negotiate a lower price. This will ensure your quotes and estimates are truthful and honest. Don’t be afraid to get multiple quotes either. This will make the money hungry bids stand out. And last but not least… cheapest isn’t always the best. Some people will cut corners to cut costs.

On Facebook pages and in community forums, I’ve seen multiple examples of scammers, hired by desperate people but, in the end, leaving them even more desperate, betrayed, and a lot poorer.

My wife very actively kept track of people in need and worked to connect them with donations, but in a few cases, she saw that some individuals whose homes had NOT been flooded, were joining in with requests for everything from furniture to appliances, clothing, you name it. One woman posted a variety of sob stories on different Facebook pages, until the community began to catch on. Many of us began requesting more information from those posting needs, like asking for an address so we could make sure there was an actual need, their home had actually flooded, and they weren’t just someone looking for a handout, leaving less for the true flood victims.

And then there were those who used the telephone and a computer to try and defraud:

I just received a call from someone saying they were with FEMA and that I was being offered $9k. They wanted my banking info. They could not tell my name or address. They hung up when I asked if they knew my name. It was from a 202 (DC) number. Don’t give banking info over the phone. FEMA should already have it if you applied for relief.

Here’s another example of the lengths criminals go to in order to defraud victims:

There are individuals out there that are using addresses of homes that have been vacant due to flooding for purposes of obtaining governmental services (i.e. Unemployment Benefits and/or Government Assistance). How can you tell? When you receive mail addressed to strangers with your address and a lot # after the street address. Watch out for this as it has happened to me from about 4 strangers. I contacted the TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) and reported them. I then returned the mail to the Post Office marked RETURN TO SENDER – DOES NOT LIVE HERE. This could stem from strangers driving the neighborhood to Contractors working in the neighborhood.

We asked our community about other crimes they had experienced during this horrific flood, and here’s just a sampling:

  • (People are) selling flooded cars or other items with out disclosing the damage.
  • My friend got her purse stolen at Lowe’s. The police told her a lot of people have come into town to steal. Because everyone is so distracted, we become easy targets.
  • Someone in the streets where I’m volunteering asked me for donations. I talked with other volunteers, asking about help to find donations for him and they said he was selling the donations.
  • There are people selling items they collect from donation points. I see it all over Facebook. Huge stockpiles of diapers, cleaning supplies, clothes, purses, etc.
  • I have had friends have AC companies quote for new AC unit ($10k a pop) and then sent my repair man out to say the units are fine and may need a new coil at $1400 max. Also had a general inspector confirm units were fine.
  • (My husband’s) warehouse was broken into during the hurricane. They took almost everything valuable from his office including his signed print of The Alamo.
  • People trying to return our donated items to the store for cash- we were told to cross through the bar code with a thick black marker so this couldn’t happen.
  • Price gouging! I got quotes for drywall replacement from $20K to $41K!
  • A picture of my collapsed townhome was posted on FB as if it was someone else’s home. They used it so they could garner sympathy and collect donations for a boy who wasn’t living in any of the Townhomes and his home wasn’t flooded. The post was eventually taken down but not until they bragged about getting all kinds of money….for example $5k from someone and $250 from State Farm.
  • The Red Cross hasn’t even been here yet and all I hear is them asking for donations.

I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the level of crimes and scams that happened across the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey. I have to admit, I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime and, in fact, lived for more than 20 years in a part of the world where typhoons were a regular occurrence, but seeing up close the impact a record-breaking flood has on families and businesses and then hearing about the lowlifes who saw opportunities to commit crime — well, it’s been discouraging. Life for these families will forever be divided into, “before the flood” and “after the flood,” and they didn’t deserve to be victimized twice, first by Mother Nature and second by their fellow human beings.

Not everything post-Harvey has been terrible. In fact, on our partner blog, The Survival Mom, you can read inspiring examples of how the communities, including my own, pulled together in extraordinary ways. “27 Creative Ways to Help Disaster Victims” and “50+ Ways to Help the Victims of Harvey (and other disasters yet to come)” are encouraging because just about everyone in our community found a way to help out.

There’s no doubt that the crimes listed here are happening again and again across the country, wherever vulnerable people can be found. With these examples from my own experience, I hope you’ll be able to protect yourself and your loved ones from the human scum who see you as their prey.

 

 

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Disaster Supplies

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DISASTER SUPPLIES

Disaster Supplies

Disaster Supplies

A natural disaster can disrupt the lives of average citizens, and having the right supplies when it hits can mean the difference between life and death. Assembling these supplies in advance is the key to success.

 

If you’ve ever lived in a community that was in the path of a hurricane, you’ve seen the empty shelves and crowds at local supermarkets.  Panic buying is a poor alternative to an organized plan of action, with many supplies unavailable by the time you get to the store.

 

But where to start? Lists of recommended items are long and sometimes so detailed that you mind just explodes at the thought of gathering it all. You can’t finish if you don’t start, however; begin to accumulate a few items each month and you’ll be much more likely to weather the storm.

 

I split my personal supplies into three types: short-, medium-, and long-term. A typical short-term event would be, say, a blizzard or other event that takes you off the grid for just a few days or not at all. A medium-term event could be the aftermath of a major hurricane, where weeks may go by without electricity. A classic long-term event would be an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), where years may go by without power.

 

Preparing for any emergency involves knowing who you will be responsible for. If you have family with special needs, consider extra supplies tailored for them. Infants and children require even more thought when gathering supplies, like formula and diapers. Older members of your family may need items to keep them safe and healthy, like extra medications, adult diapers, or walkers.

 

The categories of items you’ll need (called “preps”) don’t really change with the length of time off the grid, but the quantities and variety do. The amount you stockpile depend upon what event your community is most at risk to experience.

 

Just the mere fact of not having enough drinkable or “potable” water puts you and your family in danger. Knowing how to turn unsafe water into drinkable water may save your life. Knowledge is the greatest power, but having supplies will make that knowledge work much better.

A way to disinfect water is imperative

A way to disinfect water is imperative

If you need to leave your house, consider making “go bags” for each member of the family, including pets. Keep them lightweight and easily carried. Look for compact items, like energy bars and small water filters (Lifestraw and Mini Sawyers are examples).

 

 

Here’s a list of useful items grouped by category:

 

  1. Water: Just the mere fact of not having enough drinkable or “potable” water puts you and your family in danger. Knowing how to turn unsafe water into drinkable water may save your life

 

To avoid dehydration, have at least 1 gallon of drinkable water per person, per day. Have a way to store water and methods to make water safe to drink through filtration, and purification. You can use plain, non-scented, household bleach, at 12-16 drops per gallon, to help purify water (filter first if needed). Be sure to wait 30 min for the bleach to take effect, then shake to aerate which makes it taste better.

 

  1. Food: Most municipalities recommend you have at least 3 days of food. This is somewhat arbitrary; I suggest at least 7-10 days, as loss of power can easily last longer. Get non-perishable food and have a manual can-opener. Some freeze-dried foods come in packets that last for 15-30 years and only require boiling water to prepare.

 

  1. Warmth and Shelter: Have ways to start fires (outside only) to stay warm, cook food, and boil water. Get tents, tarps, rope and paracord. Learn how to make shelters and seal off roof or window leaks. Have extra plywood for doors and windows in case of a hurricane; taping windows is no longer recommended.
three compact first aid kits great for hiking and camping made by Amy Alton of store.doomandbloom.net

medical kits

  1. First Aid: Have at least a basic first aid kit and OTC medicines to deal with common injuries and illnesses seen in the aftermath of disasters, such as cuts, bleeding, sprains and strains, diarrhea, pains and aches, colds and flus, etc. Don’t forget prescription medications for those with chronic medical issues.

 

  1. Hygiene: In order to stay healthy, you must keep your family clean. Get extra toilet paper, paper towels, buckets for washing, moist towelettes, feminine supplies, and supplies for waste disposal (like garbage bags and ties).

 

  1. Lighting: Have ways to light up the night. Get flashlights, of course extra batteries (rechargeable are better), solar lights, crank powered lights (power discussed later). The medic should consider a head lamp to keep both hands free.

 

  1. Whistle or Loud Sound Producing item: Have a method to make a loud noise to alert emergency response personnel to your whereabouts.
useful multitool

useful multitool

  1. Tools: Get multiuse tools, like the Swiss army knife and Leatherman. Have a wrench to turn off utilities, some duct tape, an axe, and a saw. If you are in a flood zone, place the axe and saw in your roof space to aid you in escaping to the roof.

 

An escape ladder may be necessary if you are getting out of a roof or higher than a 1-story building. Make sure you know where the fire extinguishers are and that they are not expired.

 

  1. Communication: Text messages will be delivered easier than voice in some circumstances. A CB radio, Ham radio (you need a license), and two-way radios are good to have. To keep updated on the news and emergency bulletins, have a battery and hand-crank radio with NOAA Weather tone alerts. Don’t forget the extra batteries.

 

  1. Power: If the electricity is out, you will need a way to recharge batteries and other items. Solar panels along with a solar storage “battery” can help. There are several on the market. Small solar charged battery storage products are lightweight and can recharge a cellphone or power a radio. These may be best for your “go bag”.

 

Generators that use gasoline must be outside and far away from open doors and windows, to avoid being overcome by fumes.

 

  1. ID and Important Document Storage: Back-up all computers on external hard drives (more than one). Put important scanned documents on an icloud account (which you can then access anywhere later), and on memory USB sticks (several).

 

Place them in different locations like a water/fire-proof safe, in a bank safety deposit box and mail to a trusted relative). Store documents in small waterproof containers for your “go bag”. Include insurance policies, driver licenses, passports, birth certificates, and photos of every room of your house (for insurance purposes).

 

You can also email these scanned documents to yourself for later printing. Don’t forget ID and passwords for accounts, I write mine in a way only I can interpret (for safety).

 

  1. Money: When we talk about a power outage, there may be another loss of power: purchasing power. If the electricity is out stores will not be able to process credit cards or make change. Have cash on hand in small denominations. Keep small bills and coins in a waterproof case/bag, and consider a little silver as well.

 

  1. Evacuation: Your GPS may not function, so have maps and a compass to help guide your escape. You may end up in an area you are not familiar with.

 

Plan routes of escape for fires and flooding and make sure each family member practices drills and has a specific meeting point. As mentioned earlier, each person should also have their own personal “go” bag with appropriate items, including the kids and pets.

 

  1. Writing Tools: You may want to document events or communicate with others, so having pens, pencils (and a sharpener) and notebooks should be considered.

 

  1. Distractions and Fun: Stress is not good for people long-term. Get some playing cards and a book with rules for lots of different ways to play games. Put an extra toy or favorite stuffed animal in your child’s “go bag”. Get some board games, puzzles and hobby craft supplies. (Don’t focus on the disaster and all the horrible details with your children; keep it light if you can.)
Consider the needs of kids and pets

Consider the needs of kids and pets

  1. Pets: Have extra pet supplies including food and medications. Have a way to get them out of the house safely if needed. Few people know that hotels cannot refuse to rent you a room during officially-declared states of emergency just because you have a (small) pet, but don’t expect them to let your family goat or chicken in the room. Have a plan for larger pets if possible.

 

Knowledge is power, but having supplies will make that knowledge work much better! Have a survival library in print books (not digital) with the knowledge you don’t have right now; A flashlight or fire is all you will need to read them in the dark.

Amy Alton, ARNP

Amy Alton ARNP

Amy Alton ARNP

Find lists of medical items you should have, and a lot  more information, in the 2017 Winner of the Book Excellence Award in Medicine “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way”.

Survival Medicine Handbook, Third Edition

Survival Medicine Handbook, Third Edition

 

Video: Using a SteriPen

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the SteriPen

the SteriPen

Learning how to make water safe to drink is important in any backcountry or disaster scenario. One method that is gaining popularity is using an ultraviolet light handheld water purifier. Outdoor activities, like hiking, can make having a portable water purifier a lifesaver. In this video hosted by Amy Alton, ARNP of https://www.doomandbloom.net/ , she demonstrates the item and its use in the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

How does it work? Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) uses short-wavelength ultraviolet (UV-C) light to kill or inactivate bacteria and parasites by disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform the functions needed to survive.

To watch, click below…

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Amy Alton MD

Amy Alton

Amy Alton

Hey, fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net. You’ll be glad you did.

Award-Winning Survival Medicine Handbook (third edition)

Award-Winning Survival Medicine Handbook (third edition)

Survival Medicine Hour: Disaster Supplies, Vehicular Terror, Pain Relief

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Survival Medicine Hour #362

vehicular terror

vehicular terror

The NYC attack, which occurred very close to our daughter’s workplace, killed 8 and injured a dozen more. More and more, terriorists are using vehicles to cause mayhem. What are some ways that you might be able to use rapid action to avoid losing your life in such an incident. Joe and Amy Alton discuss some options that might save some lives in these uncertain times.

Also, disasters seem to always be in the news, but are people spending enough time getting supplies to get through tough times? Some important tips from Nurse Amy on what you need to have in your storage closet or “GO” bag before a disaster occurs.

pain relief

pain relief

Plus, our hosts discussed the mechanisms of pain last week, but what should you have in your survival medicine cabinet to deal with the inevitable pain and inflammation that goes with the activities of daily survival? Some pharmaceutical AND natural options to deal with discomfort off the grid.

All this and more in the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton!

To Listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/11/03/survival-medicine-hour-vehicular-terror-disaster-supplies-pain-relief

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad…

Hey, follow us on twitter @preppershow, YouTube at DrBones NurseAmy, and FB at Doom and Bloom. Plus, don’t forget to get a copy of the third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook, 2017 Book Excellence Award winner in Medicine!

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

We’re pleased to announce that our third edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way” is the 2017 winner of the Book Excellence Award in Medicine!

Mother Nature Can Be Fierce!

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Mother Nature is an exceedingly powerful force! So often she is calm, mild, even pleasant. However there are times when this force can become extremely destructive, and it can happen fast… Having just gone through a major windstorm up here in northern New Hampshire, the New England region experienced a powerful Nor’easter (without the snow) that brought down trees and power lines all over the place. Up here we had wind gusts and straight line winds powerful enough that flattened swaths of trees, especially those with a southern exposure along slopes and ridges. Jet-stream upper level winds were brought down

The post Mother Nature Can Be Fierce! appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Survival Medicine Hour: Mudlslides, OTC Drugs, More

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST #360

A loaded first aid kit with medical supplies for trauma,burns, sprains and strains and other medical issues

Your medic kit should contain various OTC meds

Your survival medicine cabinet should have plenty of different meds that can handle pain, inflammation, fever, respiratory infections, stomach upset, diarrhea, and many more of the common issues that the survival medic will confront off the grid. Here’s a good list and explanation of why you should have these medicines in your storage.

mudslide

mudslide

Plus, Living in a cliffhanging home on Ski Mountain in Gatlinburg, TN, gateway to the Smokies, puts ol’ Dr. Bones and the lovely Nurse Amy at risk for a mudslide, especially since the 2016 wildfire, destroyed so many trees that were preventing erosion in the area. What are warning signs of future mudslides and what can you do to prevent becoming a victim?

All this and more in the Latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/10/20/survival-medicine-hour-mudslides-otc-drugs-more

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

We’re pleased to announce that the Survival Medicine Handbook’s 700 page Third Edition has won the 2017 Book Excellence Award in the category of medicine. Earlier editions are out there, so make sure get the latest edition!

California Fires Are Wakeup Call For Preparedness

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California fires are burning down everything in their path. Towns, neighborhoods and businesses have been burnt to the ground. While looking at images of the devastation it looks like a war zone. As of this posting 3,500 structures have been destroyed, 23 people have been killed, 285 remain missing, and 170,000 acres have been scorched to the ground. Homes have been reduced to ash and rubble. This got me to thinking about preparedness and how it relates to out-of-control fires. Preparedness For Fire What strikes me when I look at pictures of burnt out neighborhoods is that EVERYTHING can easily

The post California Fires Are Wakeup Call For Preparedness appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Ugly Bug Out Lessons You Need To Know Now!

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There’s a lot of survival info out there on bug out preparation. Even FEMA has directives on evacuations. But that didn’t stop the recent hurricane disasters from destroying the best laid bug out plans and killing people in the process.

The problem is, everything you thought you knew about SHTF bugging out is probably WRONG! As Mike Tyson once paraphrased from an original historic quote, ‘Everybody has a plan…until they get punched in the face’.

With more potential weather disasters still threatening to thrash lives and properties by smacking down mercilessly on the South East Coast during the height of ‘hurricane season’, here’s how NOT to die during the bug out itself…

Don’t Rely on Government Orders

These recent Harvey and Irma hurricane disasters caused the end of the world as they knew it for so many unfortunate people in the aftermath, and were among the strangest storms in meteorology annals, but these were not the worst or deadliest coastal storms in history.

 

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

 

In the 1900’s, the best weather forecasting usually relied upon how much your joints ached and what you noticed when you looked out your window about as far as your eyes could see. There was no real warning in Texas when a Cat 4 hurricane blasted in with a storm surge that made landfall at Galveston, and took enough people by surprise to kill upwards of 8 thousand before they could escape.

In later years, local governments began to develop evacuation plans and emergency backup procedures for public safety by relying on modern weather prediction science to eliminate the element of surprise.

However, as usual, the government eventually botched up these strategies as well. When Rita thundered down to Texas in 2005 at a brutal category five level, the governor’s office issued mandatory immediate evacuation orders when it was all but too late for the greater Houston metropolis.

Over 113 people died and numerous injured when all was said and done, but the problem was that almost 100 of them were killed in the evacuation itself! Imagine trying desperately to survive but winding up driving in your own funeral procession?

Rita was such a gruesome bug out debacle that this time, during Harvey’s recent retro two step storm stomp on Houston, the authorities -and I use that term with visceral scorn- decided to ultimately leave it up to the individual citizen’s discretion to bug out, or not.

Houston officials made excuses, but the real reason they copped out was so that they could not repeat Rita’s flawed decision making mistake and be blamed for screwing up, if anything went wrong, Which, of course, could detrimentally affect future political stature.

The fact I’m going to try to get everyone reading this to accept is that you simply cannot depend on government information or timely help, especially in a serious evacuation scenario. They can’t even get in urgent supplies and relief effort moving fast enough because of all the ‘red tape’. Private volunteer first responders are doing most of the heavy helping at this point in time.

Video first seen on News Today.

The Government is Not Here to Help

The truth about the government being ‘here to help’ is one of the dirtiest secrets in the great American Book of Secrets. The gruesome reality is that you are worth more to the Government DEAD, than alive. Especially if the IRS doesn’t make a lot of tax dollars off of you. In fact, you’re a spreadsheet liability if you’re on welfare, food stamps, or some other socialist dole program.

The bottom line revenue math is all the Govt really cares about. So between estate taxes and getting you off social security and medicare and you no longer using what clean air and water we have left in a government polluted world after you die…well, you get the graveyard picture?

The government’s sole (certainly not to be confused with ‘soul’ because they don’t have one) purpose in any major emergency is only twofold.

First preserve the safety of their own power elite entity, and then only make decisions that prioritize the strength of their political power base. This is the only reason that FEMA exists. On the surface, it appears to be a governmental humanitarian organization to really help the people for the benefit of nanny state propaganda.

But its primary function is to protect the government power elite during emergencies by controlling the masses or incarcerating them in the camps if necessary, to prevent the formation of strong enclaves of anti-government resistance due to an epiphany in realization that the government is mostly part of the problem, and not the solution.

All totalitarian dictatorship countries around the world have similar methodology backed by military force. Government FEMA evacuations should be the LAST resort for any knowledgeable well-prepared prepper. Because virtually all government sponsored evacuations are too little too late and amount to nothing more than another catastrophe in the making.

So first and foremost, your bug out success depends only upon your own plans and self-reliance skills. Forget about shelters or counting on neighbors being a good bet in any grand scale emergency. There are many media suppressed horror stories about the way these stockyard emergency shelters wind up in almost all cases.

During Katrina, these shelters were virtual prison dormitories that got so bad that security guards fled these sites that then turned into hell camps of violence, crime, rape, and death.

There’s some anecdotal evidence, but hard documented facts are long covered up by now, that one of the reasons there was a gun confiscation orders during Katrina were so that looting wars wouldn’t cause so much carnage that unfavorable mainstream media coverage would be bad for government business.

Never mind that the regular citizens would also be disarmed and at the mercy of violent criminals who still got their hands-on guns because they stole them from homes and people before the police did.

In emergency survival preparations, no ‘one plan fits all’. There are some basics, but generally plans vary and adapt according the demographics, area climate, magnitude and types of disasters. So we have some apostasy and schisms among preppers. We can have either ‘bugging out’ or ‘bugging in’, also known as ‘surviving in place’, for the same emergency.

To me and many other experts, ‘surviving in place’ is a euphemism for soiling all your clean underwear while waiting in sheer terror to see if you die or not.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Bug Out

There’s an interesting clash of aphorisms many of us learned coming up in life that our parents and teachers would mentor. You remember, ‘the early bird always gets the worm’. And my favorite, the legendary race between the ‘Hare and the Tortoise’, both of which are nothing as they seem.

The ‘early bird’ metaphor was really designed to get everybody up early enough to put in a long, hard day’s work as in ‘make hey while the sun shines’ so the government can milk more taxes out of you.

But the rabbit and the turtle race was nothing less than the power elite brainwashing you into believing that ‘slowly but surely’ was the best way to go in life. All the while the wealthy power elite was moving as fast as they could in life to take advantage of the most beneficial, but sparse, opportunities as soon as possible…while the rest of the masses of dumb asses would ‘snooze, and ya lose’.

It’s the same thing with bugging out. First know that despite the other placating but specious notion that prepping for ‘surviving in place’ would be a good alternative to bugging out has a lot of alternative following, however, it is simply wrong and stupid in most cases, and almost suicidal in some of the serious disasters like we’ve seen.

I realize too well that not everyone can bug out easily, or even at all. The critically injured, very elderly, or mobility disabled and travel disadvantaged come to mind first.

But if they reach out and develop a serious plan, way BEFORE the bad events so that they are prepared, it is not impossible for disabled persons to safely bug out. In fact, the strategy I’m about to reveal will accommodate the solution to a minimum amount of stress and danger and a maximum level of success.

Get Out of Dodge Way Before the Gunfight Starts

Think ‘fast, but not furious’. In these recent hurricane predicaments, the government’s entire emergency early warning weather system is ‘bass ackward’. They start off with a good advanced catch of a potential storm disaster-sometimes several days in advance, which allows plenty of time for safe evacuations and preparation, but this never happens!

What does happen to most people instead is a common syndrome that in my experienced opinion is sponsored by the ignorant control freak government disaster authorities, and contributes to the problems that reduce your chances of a successful evacuation. It’s called imminent fear induced procrastination.

They keep everybody focused on the track of the storm, like a gambler at a poker game of death, intently studying the other players, waiting to bet their lives on getting the winning hand, hoping that their luck changes on the odds that a hurricane hand can change dramatically at the last minute…

This causes a feeding frenzy to clean out the local food stores so they have enough to stuff down their pie holes as they stay superglued to their TV or computer screen, waiting for the metal monster truck to splat them like a paintball, when they could already be safe and sound someplace else.

This creates a mentality that ‘well, maybe it won’t hit us directly and we don’t have to do anything but have a few beers to calm down, while we wait it out?’ Or, ‘maybe it just won’t be so bad’?

Which wastes valuable time better spent hightailing it out on the road not yet critically infested with boiling road raging bumper to bumper traffic crawling slower and slower until…it grinds to dreadful stop. And now you’re trapped. In a potentially worse situation than had you at least prepared well to survive in place and not evacuated at all.

And then panic will set in. But again, the virtual reality is that almost everyone–with the exception of highly trained professional responders or experienced military operators–always panics. It’s unnatural not to panic in such terrifying life threatening SHTF situations.

 

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

 

But the simple procedures we’ll show you here will guarantee a much less stressful and safer alternative.

So the number one message here is don’t prepare for the evacuation by primarily planning to ride out the storm in place. This is only for persons whose original plan to bug out failed because for some insane reason they didn’t read this information and somehow couldn’t get out in time and/or then had no other choice.

And also, don’t just wait for the Govt holy decree telling to ‘get on your mark, get set, GO!’ and then proceed like the obedient lil’ doggies’ who then all at once get whipped along by the police cowboys, to join the vast growing herd of panic driven cattle heading for their last roundup, at the last most dangerous minute to FEMA CAMP corrals.

Instead, prepare to BEAT the storm AND the evacuation! In other words…

The only sure way to not be a disaster victim is to NOT be there when the disaster happens!”

The Best Way to Bug Out

1. Have a Bug Out Location (BOL) in Advance

No serious self-reliant prepper should be without one, especially if you live in a major city or other very disaster-prone area. The best option, of course, would be to be already living in a safe rural area with well-prepared survival set up at your home.

The second would be a 2nd home or cabin somewhere more secluded that’s stocked and ready. The next option would be to have a safe, relatively remote, piece of empty land to pull your BOT (Bug Out Trailer) to and set up for a long-term stay.

Next have a small BOT packed and ready to rock at a moment’s hook up at your residence, and a designated BOL like a public camp ground or something to rent or go to for an extended set up in advance.

After that, well, improvise as best as you can. If you don’t have a trailer, you can be surprised what you can fit in a truck, minivan, or even a compact car for extended camping at safer location. If you have a good friend or relative in a safe location, that could work out well.

The idea is to know where you’re going, and be ready as best you can to move out immediately after you make your own decision to ‘go’.

2. Don’t Overplan the Escape Trip Itself

I see so many Bug Out Preps that are a waste of time. Bugging out is simply going from one place to another to avoid serious catastrophe. You don’t need to hire a semi-tractor truck moving van to take everything but the kitchen sink.

The critical point is not so much ‘How’ you do it, But ‘When’. If you leave early enough and know your best route to destination, you don’t need five alternative routes which will be just as dangerously congested as a main one if you leave too late.

The idea is leave early enough so that your Bug Out resembles more of an anytime weekend getaway drive to the country! No stress, no shutdowns, plenty of gas along the way, and so on. If you leave early enough you can probably stop for dinner before you reach your BOL! You don’t need extensive prepping or a plan B, C, or D, if you have a good plan A.

3. When to Move Out!

And that’s the critical analysis. The short answer is that ideally, if there’s any chance at all that a hurricane will affect your residence, you want to be sitting and watching the weather radar on your TV at your Bug Out Location while the storm is still off far enough off the coastline.

In other words, If I lived in Florida near the ocean in the path of hurricane Maria AND it was aiming directly at my town, and just saw what it did to Puerto Rico early this morning, I’d ignore the weather reports hoping that Jose would somehow deflect Maria’s landfall.

By now I’d already be about six hours into my bug out, calmly cruising across the Northern Florida State line, blowing kisses and waving the bird at all those hungry gators and snakes, at the normal speed limit. I’d be heading further inland to a safe location where I’d be sitting in front of the TV safely and comfortably, watching all the destruction and praying for the poor souls who didn’t make it out in time.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can always come back if it missed your area. But if you check in to Hurricane Hotel by trying to ‘survive in place’, you might just never check out?

Video first seen on Dane Wigington.

Post Script

It surprises me that so many don’t quite grasp the fact that major metropolitan areas will always be a death trap in apocalyptic scenarios.

They will rapidly breed everything from scarcity of every necessary life sustaining essential, to neverending disasters from criminal anarchy, to disease by unsanitary conditions, such as are now happening in Florida, to intense, systematic looting and murdering.

That’s why having a well thought out BOL is so important. Sure, you don’t need one way up in mountainous no man’s land just to escape and hole up from coastal storms, a couple hundred miles inland on elevated terrain would work for that. But it would be more prudent to put in a little more effort, and have a BOL that fits all or at least most catastrophic events. Maybe a group effort with family and friends to minimize cost?

The big cities and most of the smaller ones will be uninhabitable if the so-called long overdue massive power outage, total economic collapse, nuclear war, or out of control plague or pandemic hit us.

Bugging out, smartly, and sooner rather than later, is the ‘only way to go’!


This article has been written by Mahatma Muhjesbude for Survivopedia.

How Much Of A Beating Can We Take?

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In the last three weeks, we’ve seen two of the worst hurricanes in history strike our shores, with Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston and the surrounding area, and Hurricane Irma hitting all of Florida.

While the 6.5 million inhabitants of the Houston metro weren’t told to evacuate, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a statewide evacuation order, telling 5.6 million people to move out of the state for the duration.

Considering that only 1.2 million people live in the New Orleans area, either of these hurricanes dwarf the number of people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, the costliest hurricane in US history.

The total dollars of damage from these two hurricanes is far from being discovered, but it will clearly put a major dent in our national economy.

At the same time all of this is happening, much of the western United States is ablaze with forest fires. Every state west of the Continental Divide has numerous fires, with California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho being hit the hardest. While much of this is wilderness area, the cost in lost timber will be astronomical. It will regrow, but that will take time.

On top of all this, the seismic activity in the area of Yellowstone National Park is spiking, with a “swarm” of over 1,500 earthquakes. Scientists state that there is no reason to suspect an eruption of the supervolcano yet, but they also tell us that Yellowstone is overdue for an eruption. What is keeping them from predicting one anytime soon is that there are too many other signs of a pending earthquake that aren’t visible yet. While that could change at any time, we should, at least, have some warning.

Of course, those who believe religiously in Climate Change are trying to make political hay from these disasters, claiming that they are caused by climate change. But then, we’ve heard them blame climate change for Brexit, the Flint water crisis (which was caused by bad management), a surge in fatal shark attacks, severe acne and even the election of Donald Trump as president.

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

Anyone who understand the science of hurricanes and forest fires knows that even if global warming were true, it would not cause these events. But then, those who push that narrative are selling it to a group of low-information voters, who don’t really understand, but merely accept what they’re told.

President Trump has already asked Congress for a 7.9 billion dollar relief fund for Hurricane Harvey and will probably end up doing something similar for the victims of Hurricane Irma.

If Congress follows their normal routine, other billions in pork spending will be added to these two bills, money spent on projects that couldn’t normally make it through the Congressional review process, but may very well be funded on the backs of the important legislation providing relief for those affected by the hurricanes.

But one has to wonder how many of these disasters the country can absorb, before they start causing a serious impact on our economy.

Granted, the United States is the richest country in the world, but even our well of resources isn’t bottomless. Eventually, we’ll hit a point where our government can’t keep borrowing money, then what will happen?

We in the prepping community look at a wide variety of potential disasters, wondering if one or another will end up being the downfall of our nation, creating that TEOTWAWKI world that we all prepare for. Yet, while we always look to a single event being the cause of such change, there’s nothing to say that there can’t be a series of events that cumulatively bring the nation down.

Right now, we have three of the country’s largest 20 metropolitan areas lying in ruins, not counting the damage to smaller communities. Over a million people had to abandon their homes, due to flooding, in Houston alone.

How much those cities are in ruins is still being evaluated; but it’s clear that it’s going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next three years to rebuild them; estimates are running as high as $290 billion dollars.

In Florida, the local power company is predicting that it could take weeks to restore power to everyone, just as it did after Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. The damage is so severe, that they are looking at the possibility of a wholesale rebuild of the electrical grid.

 

Video first seen on TODAY.

But this is nothing compared to Puerto Rico, where they are saying restoring the grid will probably take more than six months.

All this is from just the first two hurricanes of the season. We still have a month and a half of peak hurricane season to go. Who knows what else might happen in that time?

So, Where Does this Leave Us?

Sadly, few of the people hit by either of these hurricanes or the hurricanes to come are prepared for this sort of event to happen in their lives. Flood insurance and hurricane insurance are expensive; so few people buy them, unless they are required to as a stipulation in their mortgage contract.

What that means is that those whose homes are damaged will still have to pay their mortgage, as well as pay for expensive repairs to their homes, somehow. It will take some of these people years to effect those repairs, simply because they don’t have the money to do so and whatever aid they receive from the government won’t be enough to finish the work.

But what if those people didn’t pay their mortgages, but instead abandoned their wrecked homes and ruined lives? What would happen then?

In that case, the banks and mortgage companies would begin the process of foreclosing on their homes, taking that property, which was the collateral for those loans. The banks would then sell off the property, writing off the loss.

If each bank were to just absorb a few such losses, it wouldn’t make much difference. But if we end up seeing a continuation of destruction, there is a possibility of enough of these losses causing banks, especially smaller banks, to fail. While the government has typically bailed out the banks that were “too big to fail,” they don’t offer that same protection to smaller ones.

Each failed bank, like each disaster, becomes a burden on the economy, dragging us closer to the edge of the cliff of financial collapse. There’s really no way of knowing exactly how close that cliff is or which event might trigger a fall. A lot of that depends on psychology, never a very exact science. But one that is even less exact when you combine the psychology of many different people together.

All the More Reason to Prep

If anything, these events merely show all the more reason why you and I need to prepare. None of us know what is coming our way next week, let alone next year.

The things I’ve mentioned so far in this article are just disasters that nature has provided, without even looking at man-made problems that we could face. The world we live in is clearly a dangerous place, and it’s not going to get safer anytime soon.

But our prepping needs to go far beyond building a stockpile. I don’t care if you have ten years worth of food stashed away, it’s not going to do you much good, if it’s under ten feet of water. Nor, for that matter, is most of it going to be available for you to use if your home gets destroyed.

One way of mitigating this risk is by having at least some of your stockpile off-site, preferably in a secure location that you can bug out to, should you be forced to abandon your home. That way, you have something to use while you are away, and maybe even while you are trying to dig your home out of the rubble and see what you can salvage.

But there’s something even more important than your stockpile; that’s the knowledge you learn as part of preparing to face a disaster. Even in the worst of cases, where everything you own is taken from you, your knowledge will remain.

That’s what you’ll have to depend on to survive.

With enough knowledge, you can use just about anything you can find to survive. Maybe you won’t be living in the lap of luxury, but you’ll be warm, fed and have clean water to drink. That’s a whole lot more than millions of displaced victims of these two hurricanes can say today.

While they might be comfortably hiding away in a hotel room today, they’ll be in trouble when their funds run out. You, on the other hand, won’t run out of funds, because you’ll turn your evacuation into a camping trip.

Throughout history, it has been the more resourceful of us who have been the most successful. Whether that resourcefulness led them to invent new things, find new ways of doing things, or just do the necessary tasks of life.

In the wake of any disaster, it will be those who are the most resourceful who are the most successful as well. That survival knowledge you are learning is what is going to put you in this small, elite group of people.

Build your knowledge and prepare yourself! Your family’s survival will depend on that!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Hurricane Irma: This is why we PREPARE.

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I’m preaching to the choir but it had to be stated.  If you take a look at what is going on right now in Florida it is a classic case of why preparedness should be a critical part of one’s life.  Folks are lined up around the block for bottled water that they will never get a chance to buy because the shelves are already empty, the next opportinuty to collect supplies probably coming when the National Guard sets up a distro point.

Long lines form at Costco in Florida as residents brace for Hurricane Irma. Image @ KITV Channel 4

Think about these components of preparedness and how they could apply in this situation.

Bugging In:  Having the necessisary supplies (food, water, even gasoline) on hand to stay in place for weeks even without power and without having to rely on outside sources.  Even if the water supply became unusuable for a period of time it would not be a major factor.

Bugging Out:  Having all of the necessary supplies to quickly displace, be self sufficient while on the move knowing that critical items were along for the ride.  Ability to move without having to stop to refuel until out of the danger area, secondary location already identified and ready / willing to accept visitors.

Security:  Understanding that in long term power down scenarios there will be no shortage of folks looking to take advantage of thin law enforcement coverage.  Having a security plan in place in order to address this.

First Aid: Folks could get hurt, not only having the equipment on hand (not just a first aid kit, but things like IFAKs, IV kits etc) but the training in order to employ these properly.

Communication:  Cell phone coverage most likely will go down, having a secondary and tertiary plan (HAM radio).

I could go on and on but the main point is this:  taking initiative and remaining proactive while times are good so that when the tough times come, the only difference is this is now a time for execution and not rehearsals.  I’ve stated this many times, if one is primarily prepping for EMP strikes and WW3 / Martial Law, priorities are misplaced!  The greatest threat all of us face come in the form of localized or even wide spread natural disasters.  Hurricanes, flooding, tornados, wildfires, earthquakes etc.  It’s too late for the folks who are just now lining up hoping to catch a case of bottled water at the grocery store but hopefully many will learn from this experience….sadly most will not.

 

Hurricane Preparedness Tips: What You Need To Know

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hurricane image by pixabay

hurricane image by pixabay

Hurricane Irma, already a powerful storm, is steaming its way towards the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast. With Texas and Louisiana still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, it’s just one more reason to always be prepared for disasters.

 

You only have to read the news to know that hurricanes are dangerous, but they don’t have to be life-threatening for those who prepare.  Unlike tornadoes, which can pop up suddenly, hurricanes are first identified when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  We can watch their development and have a good idea of how bad the situation might become and how much time we have to get ready.

 

Even before it’s clear that your area is in danger of being hit by the storm, you should have considered factors like food, water, power, and shelter. Here are a few (actually, 28!) tips to help those preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best:

 

GETTING OUT OF DODGE

hurricane winds

hurricane winds

Make a G.O.O.D. (Get Out Of Dodge) decision: Rugged individualists may want to ride out the storm, but as we learned from Harvey, coastal residents would be best served by hitting the road. When the authorities say it’s time to evacuate, you should be ready to go. Don’t forget to turn off the power, gas, and water before you leave.

 

Head Inland: Hurricanes gain their strength over warm ocean waters, and lose strength quickly as they get further into the interior. Therefore, the further inland you go, the safer you’ll be.

 

Have a “GO” bag: Always have a set of supplies ready to take with you on short notice. Non-perishable food, bottled water, extra clothing, flashlights and batteries, a NOAA weather radio, medicines, and a first aid kit are just a few of the items you should have ready at all times.

 

(you might see recommendations online to have a 72-hour supply, but this figure is arbitrary. A week’s worth would be even better.)

 

Have a portable cell phone charger: Communication is important, so have a car charger or other mobile method to power up the phone. Consider a small solar charger kit, like Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit.

 

Have cash on hand: One power shortage you don’t want to experience is the loss of purchasing power. Power for credit card verification could be down after a hurricane; keep some cash on hand. Have small bills to prevent needing cash back that the store may not have available.

 

Let’s say you haven’t received an evacuation order, and you’re going to ride out the storm in place. Here are some considerations you want to take into account:

 

SHELTER

tent

Not a good choice for a hurricane shelter

Without shelter, you’re at greater risk for a bad outcome in a hurricane. If you can’t leave the area, find a sturdy haven from the storm. Most buildings are required to withstand at least 90 mph winds (125 mph in South Florida), but for the strongest hurricanes, it’s best to find the nearest municipal shelter. f there isn’t time, most coastal municipalities will have designated a sturdy building as a hurricane shelter.

 

Put Up The Shutters:  If you have hurricane shutters, put them up at least 24 hours before hurricane landfall. It’s no fun to have to stand on a ladder in gale force winds and pouring rain to install them. Been there, done that.

 

Move Furniture/Plants Inside: Move the patio furniture and potted plants indoors. If you can’t, chain them together against an outer wall downwind from the direction of the storm.

 

Prune Trees: Prune all trees near your home so that wind can easily flow through the crowns. Otherwise, expect some to be downed by the storm. Branches, fruit (in South Florida, coconuts!), and other debris can act as missiles in high winds.

 

Pick a “Safe Room”: If you have a basement, good for you. If not, choose a room in the interior of the home, preferably one without windows. Get the storm supplies into this area for safe keeping. Put a sharp axe in this room in case you must get out through the roof in a severe flooding.

 

Place candles in pans: Candles are handy, but they can be knocked over by winds and cause fires. If you must use them, stick them in a pan with shiny sides that would be deep enough to cover the flame.

 

Have Tarps at the Ready: Large tarps can be used to cover windows and, after the storm, to cover any areas of the roof that might have been damaged. Keep extra rolls of plastic sheeting and duct tape to secure broken windows or doors.

 

Come to the local municipal shelter with a full stomach, blankets, and a favorite pillow: Meals and other comforts may be limited in supply. Supplies for that infant or toddler, like diapers and formula, will likely be scarce. Also, inquire as to whether the county shelter accepts and has supplies for pets.

 

FOOD

Keep food cold

Keep food cold

 

Keep it Cold: Have the refrigerator and freezer down to their coldest settings so that food will stay fresh longer. Go shopping as early as possible and get non-perishable food items as staples for long-term.

 

Collect Ice: Collect ice in plastic bags or empty plastic containers and place them among refrigerated foods to prolong freshness. Empty plastic soda bottles/milk jugs will do in a pinch. The fuller the fridge is with ice, the longer the items in it will stay cool.

 

Wrap It in Foil: Wrap food items in aluminum foil, eliminating air pockets, and cram the foil packs together as closely as possible.

 

Cook ‘Em and Freeze ‘Em: Cook meats before the hurricane gets close and freeze them. As cooking requires fuel, have some full propane tanks or charcoal briquettes in your supplies for when the power goes out.

 

Eat the Perishables Now: Eat the perishable food first, canned foods later. Make sure to have a manual can opener, paper plates, cups and plastic utensils. Have a plan so you can cook food and boil water after the storm and the electricity is out. Fuel (as mentioned above), a small portable stove or grill and appropriate pans will be needed.

 

Keep It Closed: Don’t leave the refrigerator door open while deciding what food to take out. Visualize where a particular item is and then open the door. Close it as quickly as possible.

 

WATER

Flood waters won't be this clean

Flood waters won’t be this clean

 

Water, Water everywhere: Have a stockpile of 5-gallon bottles of water or a plentiful supply of smaller bottles. After the storm, don’t expect that flood waters will be clean enough to drink.

 

Fill the Tub: Fill all bathtubs with water. You might think this is overkill, but every member of your family needs 1 gallon of water per day. It goes fast, even faster if you use it to keep clean.

 

Drink the Melted Ice: As the ice you refrigerated in containers melts, don’t waste it. Use it as an additional source of drinking water.

 

Hot Water Heaters Hold…Water!: Hot water heaters have gallons and gallons of drinkable water; don’t hesitate to raid them if you get low. First, turn off the electricity or gas. Attach a hose to the drain valve and release the vacuum in the tank by opening a hot water faucet. There might be some sediment at the bottom that should be filtered or drained out first.

 

Purify It: Have some household bleach available to purify questionable water (like from the water heater). 12-16 drops per gallon should do the job. It takes a while, so wait 30 minutes before drinking, shaking the water container to aerate will make the water taste better.

 

Have A Water Filter: Handheld filters like the Lifestraw or Sawyer Mini, or larger ones like the Berkey can be useful to deal with cloudy water. Using a cotton cloth will help get out the dirt and debris before using the commercial filter.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

 

The Kids: Have board games, toys, and books to keep the children’s minds off scary winds. If you’re evacuating, let kids bring their favorite stuffed animals, blanket, or pillow to keep them calm. Give each child their own flashlight to use.

 

Your Other Kids: Don’t forget to take into account the needs of your pets. Have food, water, and their favorite toy available, whether you leave or stay at home.

 

Your Other, Other Kid: Make sure your car is in good working order and filled with gas. Already, there’s a run on gas at South Florida gas stations in advance of Hurricane Irma. An extra supply in gas cans will be useful in case of a shortage at the pumps, and can be used to run generators (although never inside).

 

Important Documents: Place important papers like birth certificates, passports, insurance documents, and others in waterproof containers. Scan them and send them in an email to yourself and keep a few memory sticks in waterproof bags in different areas of the house, a safe and/or on yourself.

 

Keep The Radio On: A NOAA weather radio, battery-powered, solar powered or hand-cranked, will be an important source of information on the progress of the storm, and for community updates. Have solar or battery powered flashlights (and extra batteries) and lanterns (inflatable ones are very safe).

 

No Outside Selfies During The Storm! A number of preventable deaths occur during or in the early aftermath of a hurricane due to foolish choices. Flood waters, downed power lines, and high winds are just some of the ways that lives end unnecessarily.

Here is our Flood Safety Article: https://www.doomandbloom.net/13-flood-safety-tips/

flooding water in a neighborhood

Beware of flood waters

Being prepared for a hurricane can make sure that a hurricane is just a bump in the road, and not the end of the road for you and your family. Have a plan of action, get some supplies, use your common sense, and you’ll weather the storm.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Find out more about disasters (natural and man-made) with the 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way. And don’t forget to fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net.

Doom and Bloom Kits

Doom and Bloom Medical

Houston Flooding Catastrophe

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The Houston flooding disaster is a shocking example of why preparedness and preemptive action is so very important. Unfortunately many did not take appropriate actions and the consequences are stunning. Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, has triggered catastrophic, unprecedented Houston flooding. The rains have broken all-time records. There may be no parallel available to any other rainstorm in U.S. history, based on the number of people affected, amount of water involved, and other factors, meteorologists have warned. Due to its wide geographic scope across America’s 4th-largest city, the ensuing flood disaster may rank as one of the most, if

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Five Survival Lessons We’ve Learned From Natural Calamities!

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Five Survival Lessons We’ve Learned From Natural Calamities Since the dawn of man, there have been countless natural disasters responsible for taking innocent lives and causing quite a bit of both material and emotional damage. Fortunately, since technology is so advanced nowadays, we are much better equipped to deal with this kind of scenario than … Continue reading Five Survival Lessons We’ve Learned From Natural Calamities!

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Total Solar Eclipse 2017 – New Madrid Seismic Zone – Yellowstone

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During August 21, 2017, a large swath across the United States will experience a rare total solar eclipse. Here’s the thing: The New-Madrid seismic zone is on the direct path of the eclipse. And if that wasn’t enough to get you thinking: The Yellowstone super volcano is also on path!   I began to wonder whether or not the increased gravitational pull of the sun and moon alignment will have any effects on the planet Earth. Think about how the moon itself has tremendous gravitational pull: The tides! It’s amazing when you think about the enormous power of the moon’s

Uncommon Off-grid Survival: How to Get Electricity from Mud

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It is no secret that anything from EMP blast and natural phenomena to outright sabotage from inside the country can lead to large scale disruptions in the power grid.

You have at least a few electronic devices that you’ll need to operate until you have made a full adjustment to living without electricity. Regardless of whether you need to access data on the memory chip for your smart phone, health monitoring tools, or even a battery powered radio, you should know how to generate electricity using as many methods as possible.

Overall, generating electricity or other sources of power from mud may be a viable option.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Earth Batteries?

How is this type of generator different from other devices made from similar materials? How a mud based electricity generator differs from an earth battery? Here are the main things to remember:

  • An Earth battery does not require salt or any other electrolyte. You can add salt to increase the amount of electricity produced. On the other hand, generating electricity with mud always requires the addition of salt.
  • To use an earth battery, you can take the soil from any location and it will still work. If you want to generate electricity using mud, you must make use of mud from areas rich in bacteria that do not rely on oxygen. Most people use mud found at the bottom of ponds or other areas that have been under fresh water for some time.
  • When generating electricity from mud, the bacteria responsible for making the electricity must have food. While waste or sewage can be used for this purpose, some bacteria may also require the addition of glucose or sugar. An earth battery does not require living organisms to generate or store electricity, so there is never a need to add food. At most, you will only need to add regular water from time to time in order to keep the soil slightly moist.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Using Electrolytes?

Even though generating power from mud requires salt, it does not work quite the same way as an electrolyte battery. The bacteria themselves charge up one side of the fuel cell as a part of their biological function.

On the other hand, an electrolyte battery works because molecules break down into ions when mixed with water. These ions gravitate to the different metals at different rates, which produces an electrical charge.

Over the years, many different methods have been used to generate electricity from electrolytes. If you are near the ocean, you won’t need much more than access to salt water and two different metal types that will serve as electrodes. With a few minor modifications, you can also make wet capacitors using similar materials.

If you are going to work with higher voltages, you might need to make this kind of capacitor both for storing electricity and making sure you can create and even discharge once the power is gathered in one location.

Alternatively, if you have pennies made 1983 or later, you will already have two perfectly good metals in the same coin for making an electrolyte battery. All you will need to do is sand off some of the copper from one side of each penny in order to expose the zinc.

Next, make a sandwich of cardboard disks dipped in salt water and add pennies between each set of disks. You can make approximately one volt of electricity for every penny you combine with the salt water and cardboard disks.

Should I Use the Mud Cell to Generate Electricity?

Overall, you will find that a mud cell generates relatively small amounts of electricity when compared to the size of the device. Something is better than nothing, so it will still take a lot of work to multiply that electricity and be able to use it even to produce the same voltage as you would get from a AAA battery.

You can most certainly try building a mud cell power generator to see how it works, and then try to adapt it to produce more power.

Here’s what you need to achieve to produce more electricity:

  • Find some way to get existing bacteria to boost their metabolism 200 – 300 times the current rate.
  • Get the bacteria to multiply faster.
  • To generate electricity, the bacteria actually form networks of conductive “bridges” or “wires” in the growing medium. At this time, it is not known if the bacteria themselves are producing the most optimal pattern for conducting electricity from one place to another. Changing the pattern may improve efficiency and it may also boost the amount of current produced by the generator.
  • Find a way to make the cells smaller: see if you can use a more liquefied mud cell, and then irrigate it with a steady flow of nutrient rich water. Provide some kind of growing film for the bacteria so they aren’t washed away each time the mud cell is bathed in water. Even though nanotechnologies may be outside of your available list of materials, they may one day be useful for making an optimized structure for the bacteria to live in and generate electricity across. This leads to a smaller footprint for each cell, as well as higher levels of efficiency.
  • Get equipment that will help you find out the answers to several questions: a microscope and access to white papers on nanotechnology, conductive material molecular structures, and other materials may be of use to you.

Basic Steps for Building a Mud Cell Energy Generator

To make a microbial fuel cell, start off by gathering the right kind of mud. Dig around in the bottom of a pond that has been around for a few years, and pull up some of the black mud at the bottom. This mud will be rich in the kind of bacteria that can be used to generate electricity.

Next, you will need some salt, water, agar, and PVC pipe. Mix the salt, water, and agar together, and then fill the pipe with them. Once the agar cools, it should be hard enough so that it will not spill out of the tube.

The agar acts as a repository for salt, which restores the ionic balance as electricity is drawn from the cell. You can also try cardboard dipped in salt water or other methods for making the salt bridge.

The microbial fuel cell requires two chambers that are connected by the agar filled PVC pipe. Make sure the seals connecting the chambers are waterproof, and that you can easily replace the salt bridge, so that you can refill or make changes to the ingredients in the other chambers as needed.

After you connect the containers with the salt bridge, fill one container part of the way with mud and insert an electrode. Since the electrode will need a fairly wide surface area, make one from regular wire, and then attach an aluminum mesh to it. Finish filling up the container.

Your next step will be to fill the remaining chamber with distilled water and salt. As with the first chamber, install an electrode and some wire.

You can also insert some air tubing that will be used to run an air pump that will aerate the solution in the water chamber.

If you want to increase the amount of air going into the chamber and ensure more stays in the water, try using an aquarium air stone. If you do not aerate the water in the second chamber, it will produce hydrogen gas.

Depending on the activity levels of the bacteria, you may notice a small amount of voltage immediately. It may still take days, or even weeks for the bacteria to rebuild their transport structure and produce more electricity.

Video first seen on CCS Microbial Fuel Cell

Are there any Other Uses for a Mud Cell?

Many inner city areas are soon to become areas where gas mains will explode and skyscrapers will tumble to the ground. Land with clean water and soil is rapidly becoming something that simply cannot be bought in an area with good weather conditions.

Aside from pointing to inevitable massive depopulation, it also means that if you want a homestead, you may have to settle for land that isn’t as clean or as safe as you would want it to be. This, in return, means that you will need some way to clean the soil. While mud batteries may not do much to generate electricity, they can do a great deal to increase the rate at which other bacteria remove toxins from the soil.

Therefore, if you are interested in owning a homestead, or know that you are already dealing with contaminated soil, you may want to experiment with these batteries to see if they will be of use to you.

Like many others, over the years, I have tossed around the idea of living completely free of electricity and electronic devices. While I have arrived at the sad conclusion these devices may be necessary for years to decades after a major crash, I still give a lot of thought to using as little electricity as possible. Since electricity is used for everything from cooking to home heating/cooling, this also means other fuel types must be considered.

Mud batteries can be used to generate hydrogen and biofuels. Typically, this process only requires carbon dioxide and sunlight. There is a good bit of research going on at this time to determine if this means of making butanol, a biofuel, can replace corn, beets, and other crops normally used for food.

Many people prefer cooking with electric stoves because they are safer, but just about everyone agrees that gas stoves produce better tasting food. You can build a gas stove to run on natural gas or methane, so don’t be surprised that this fuel is of immense interest to off gridders and preppers.

The bacteria that generate methane and natural gas also form similar structures within the growing medium that allow for the transport of electricity. As a result, even if you decide the mud battery is not a feasible option, you could check if the best bacteria for this method will also produce larger amounts of natural gas.

Aside from saving on soil depletion, this method may even be used one day to produce sugars suitable for addition in foods. In fact, bacteria are being used to make omega fatty acids that are added into organic milk. The bacteria strain may be different from the ones used to generate electricity, but never underestimate what mud and different methods for getting bacteria to produce various chemicals can do.

Right now, mainstream media continues to avoid covering topics like the Fukushima disaster, and other issues related to the leaking of nuclear materials into rivers and oceans. Virtually everyone points to other factors and blames them for the rises in cancer rates and other diseases that may well have an origin in hidden exposure to ionized radiation in the groundwater.

The same strains of bacteria used to generate electricity are also capable of removing uranium from ground water. If you are building a homestead near an area exposed to nuclear waste or materials, these bacteria may help. There may even be a way to develop a strain of bacteria that can be used to remove tritium from potable water supplies.

Once you begin exploring how electrically active bacteria work, it seems entirely possible this property can be used to remove tritium from non-radioactive water molecules.

In the case of making electricity from mud, the hydrogen generated by this process may be of more use as a fuel to power some other device that will deliver more electricity or some other useful form of power.

When it comes to generating electricity, cost, availability, and ease of assembly must always be your primary focus points. If you cannot generate enough electricity directly from any given application, see what else you can obtain that may be useful.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://sciencing.com/making-electricity-salt-water-4883969.html

http://theconversation.com/mud-power-how-bacteria-can-turn-waste-into-electricity-3677

Five Preparedness Lessons Learned from Recent Natural Disasters

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Nature is the source of all life, but it can also be a force to be reckoned with. There have been many natural disasters since the dawn of mankind – tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and even ice ages, and the scariest thing is that these can pretty much strike at any moment. We’ve seen quite a […]

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Preppers University – Sign Up Now

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Preppers UniversityFounded by Lisa Bedford of The Survival Mom fame and prolific writer, Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper, Preppers University is a unique and interactive online school designed for a small group of highly focused students, willing to commit their time and energy to ensure their homes and families are prepared.

Preppers University Instructors

A really impressive list of instructors has been gathered to teach and be available for questions. Click through some of their web sites and look at the books that this group have authored. This is the best online resource I have seen to date!

Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom: Lisa is the founder of The Survival Mom blog, an author, speaker, and will teach webinars throughout the course.


Daisy Luther is a prolific writer and author and is Co-Founder of Preppers University. Daisy’s expertise lies in the practical application of preparedness and common sense survival. She will be teaching webinars throughout the term.


Dr. Arthur T. Bradley is nationally known as an expert in EMP research. He has written numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction, and joins us to talk about EMP preparedness.


​Fernando Aguirre is better known to some as FerFAL, author, blogger, and survivor of Argentina’s economic decline and collapse. Fernando will join us to talk about realities of an economic collapse.


Jim Cobb is the author of 9 books related to survival and preparedness. He joins Prep U students to teach Suburban/Urban Survival and Security. Jim is a private investigator and is the lead consultant with Disaster Prep Consultants.


Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen Ph.D. has been a forager all his life. Author of Idiot’s Guide to Foraging, he’ll be teaching how to harvest nature’s free food to supplement your food storage pantry.


Herbalist Cat Ellis shares her experience and expertise in a session focused on natural remedies for times when there is no doctor. Cat is a blogger, author, and hosts 2 podcasts.


Patrice Lewis, well-known columnist for World Net Daily, author, and blogger at Rural-Revolution will teach our Intensive students the realities of rural life. Our students will leave her session with a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of a rural homestead.


Cherie Norton is an NRA Firearms Instructor and an avid homesteader. She is a long-time advocate of the Second Amendment and will be presenting a webinar about keeping yourself safe through situational awareness.


Tammy Trayer is a freelance writer and author, radio show host and homesteader. She’ll talks to students about living of the grid, and surviving with no power.


Lisa Egan is a researcher and writer. She has a BS in Health Science. Lisa has worked as both a personal trainer and nutritionist. Her experiences help to give lots of information when she talks about bug out boot camps in her webinar.


Selco is the founder of SHTF School. Join him when he discuses what it’s really like to live in a war-torn country.


Steven Konkoly graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1993, receiving a bachelor of science in English literature. He is the best selling author of multiple books including the recently released Fractured State books. In his webinar, he’ll talks all about Pandemics.


A. American is the author of the Survivalist hit series. He is a prepper, survivalist and avid outdoors men with a wide knowledge of medicinal and edible plants.


Rick Austin is the author of Secret Garden of Survival. He is a researcher, farmer, and survivalist and will join us to teach you how to grow a plentiful and sustainable food supply that is camouflaged and hides in plain sight.


Brandon Smith is the founder and chief strategist behind the Alternative Market Project. He’ll join students in an informative webinar.


Tim Young is author of the bestselling book How to Make Money Homesteading, as well as many other books that can help people enjoy a more prepared and self-sufficient lifestyle.

Preppers University – Sign Up Now

Preppers University

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Survival Medicine Hour: Disaster Deaths, Antibiotics, XStat, More

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ebola1

In this episode of The Survival Medicine Hour, Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, discuss an antibiotic called Clavamox that’s used in dogs and cats as a possible survival med. Also know as Augmentin, is it exactly the same as the human drug, as  Dr. Alton found was the case years ago with certain fish and bird antibiotics? You might be surprised.

Also, the military may be getting taken for a ride with the expensive prescription product XSTAT, a syringe of hemostatic sponges used for severe hemorrhages. Sounds good, but does it work and what’s behind the recommendations for the government to add this item to military supplies? And does it have any application for survival medics?

Xstat-300x225

XSTAT hemostatic syringe

Plus, do dead bodies from natural disasters cause epidemics? Amy and Joe explore this possibility and compare it to Ebola in 2014 and other events. Lastly, a young man wants to take his 6 month old son and wife to Belize, currently under a Zika warning from the CDC. What is Dr. Bones’ opinion?

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/03/31/survival-medicine-hour-antibiotics-dead-bodies-and-disasters-more

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

Home Emergency Procedures – Plan and Practice

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Do you have the basic home emergency procedures in place? Does your family know what to do in case of fire, tornado, hurricane, or robbery? If not, you should put some thought into making some emergency preps. It is important to make a plan, set up procedures, and practice them with your family until everyone knows what to do — without panicking — in case of emergency.

Each emergency should have a checklist associated with it. Each person should know what they are supposed to do, what they are responsible for, and know the overall plan well enough to execute it without having to stop and think.

Fire Emergency Procedures

Emergency Procedures - House Fire The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you put a plan together and practice it twice a year with everyone in the house. There are comprehensive instructions about how to go about making your family’s escape plan on the NFPA website, but the basics are as follows:

  • Confirm that there are smoke detectors placed appropriately throughout your home.
  • Identify all potential escape routes and exits, doors and windows.
  • Assign an escape buddy to very young children, handicapped, and elderly residents.
  • Decide where you will all gather, outside, after making your escape. A neighbor’s house, a light pole, a stop sign–be specific.
  • Each person should know how to call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or a neighbors house.
  • Obtain and place escape ladders near windows of upper floors. Train all family on how to use them safely, and practice until proficient.
  • Discuss alternate plans in case someone is unable to get out. “Sealing in” and how to signal from an open window.

The NFPA also recommends fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and home fire sprinklers for your home, depending upon your situation.

Tornado Emergency Procedures

Tornado The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service offer a webpage published by their Storm Prediction Center which covers tornado safety. They advise that you develop a tornado emergency plan and practice it at least once a year. Your tornado plan should include the following considerations:

  • Have a tornado plan in place, based on the type of dwelling you live in.
  • Designate a specific place to take shelter BEFORE you find yourself in this emergency situation so you will know where to go and can get there in seconds.
  • Decide where you will gather after the emergency, in case you get separated.
  • Store protective coverings (eg: mattresses, thick blankets, motorcycle helmets) inside or near your shelter spot to protect yourself from flying debris.
  • Know the signs of a tornado, and be able to recognize when it’s time to take shelter.

The tornado safety webpage lists many different types of dwellings and instructions about how what to do if a tornado occurs, whether you are inside or outside. They also offer the following advice, for after the tornado is over, because navigating the aftermath can be just as dangerous as the tornado itself!

“Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.”

Hurricane Emergency Procedures

Hurricane Unlike tornadoes, with a hurricane you’re most likely to know that the storm is coming. That can be a very good thing, when it comes to making preparations. But it can also make you procrastinate, thinking that you have plenty of time and don’t need to rush. It’s best to be prepared and have a plan well before the clouds roll in. The Red Cross offers advice on their website about how to prepare for hurricanes.

  • Prepare in advance. Have an emergency kit assembled and an evacuation plan — which includes your pets — in place.
  • Talk with your family about what to expect. This reduces fear, especially among children.
  • Monitor the weather with a hand-crank radio, if possible, since electricity is likely to lost at some point during the storm.
  • Protect windows and secure outdoor furniture, and anything else likely to be blown about by high winds.
  • Fill plastic bottles with water to drink, fills tubs and sinks with water for flushing toilets, fill your car’s gas tank and have fuel onhand if you own a generator.
  • After the storm starts, stay indoors. Avoid contact with flood water. Do NOT use candles.
  • After the storm is over, be careful to stay away from downed or dangling powerlines. Avoid buildings that have standing water around them.
  • After the storm, register yourself as “safe” on the Red Cross’ Safe and Well website so your friends and family can know that you’re okay.

The Red Cross has advice about what to do to recover after a hurricane, advising that you take plenty of photos of any damage for insurance purposes, and offers tips about how to clean and repair your home. Spend some time exploring their website. It’s comprehensive and informative.

Robbery/Break In Emergency Procedures

Emergency Procedures - Home Intruder It’s scary to think about, but a break-in is probably a more likely emergency than any other on this list. The people who make the home security system SimpliSafe have put together a great webpage about what to do if someone breaks into your home while you’re there. They advise you to:

  • Make a plan before anything happens. Determine who is responsible for gathering any dependents, and where you will meet once you’re outside of the house.
  • Get a security system. It can be as simple as an alarm that sounds when a door/window is opened, or as complex as online video surveillance and motion detectors.
  • Keep your car remote handy, so that you can use it to activate the panic button once you and your family are hidden away.
  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Tell the operator about the break-in, how many people are with you in the house, and what room you are hiding in.
  • Keep everyone as silent as you can so that you don’t alert the intruder to your location in the house.
  • If you can escape safely, without alerting the intruder, get out of the house and head straight for your pre-determined meeting place.
  • If you can’t get out without being seen, then stay put in your pre-determined safe place. If possible, barricade the door (quietly) with furniture.
  • Wait for the police. Stay on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator and check with them to confirm that the police have arrived before you come out of hiding.

In addition to SimpliSafe’s list, be sure to go over firearm procedure with your family. If your family is at risk prior to the police arriving, then it may be necessary to use a firearm for protection. Smart procedure and careful actions are important to ensure that there are no injuries to your loved ones. Familiarize yourself with the gun laws in your state — especially the use-of-force laws for gun owners. Once you are clear on the legal implications of using a gun in self-defense, think about these things:

  • Are you willing to shoot (and possibly kill) someone? Be certain of your answer to this question ahead of time. Any hesitation can allow your gun to be taken and used against you.
  • Do not go on the offensive! Avoid shooting if possible. Be calm and patient. Use your head. Let the police take care of the intruder. You’ll maximize your family’s safety, and save yourself a lot of headache and legal entanglement by hanging back.
  • Clearly identify the intruder–and their intent–before firing. Last thing you want to do is shoot a family member that has made an unexpected noise in the middle of the night.
  • I’ve said it before, but it deserves repeating. Avoid shooting unless your lives are actively in danger. Getting out of the house should be your first choice. Waiting for the police, your second choice. Shooting should only be your plan of action if all else fails.
  • If you find yourself in a situation where waiting for police is not an option and you must shoot, then shoot center mass and double tap (two shots to same area). Make sure you shoot at the area of the body that is easy to hit while in close proximity to you. If you have to fire, it is imperative that you shoot to STOP the intruder. A wounded criminal quickly turns into an angry, desperate criminal; unpredictable and more dangerous. And keep in mind that every bullet that flies through the air could kill family members as easily as it could the intruder.

Robbery/Break In Reference Links

Each of these emergency situations is scary to think about, but think long and hard about them anyway. Think each through, carefully, and talk with your family about what to do, just in case. Preparation can make the difference between survival and tragedy. Don’t fail to make a plan and end up wishing that you had.

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Meteor Crater Near Winslow Arizona A Reminder Of Asteroid Impact Dangers

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Meteor Crater: Winslow, Arizona (full size image)   Wow, just wow… We recently visited the meteor crater near Winslow, Arizona (for the purpose of this post!) and it was an awesome visual reminder of the devastating potential from asteroids (becoming meteors when they enter our atmosphere) smashing into our planet.   50,000 years ago, a […]

7 Dangerous Events That Could Lead to Martial Law

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For most of humanity’s existence, entire countries were run by little more than glorified warlords. Although today we take the concept of individual rights for granted, the vast majority of people had never heard of such a thing until a few hundred years ago. As democracy began to shape the face of the Western world, […]

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Blizzard Safety Tips

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carsinsnow

The March Blizzard

 

 

I find myself a little surprised to be writing about blizzard survival with Spring just around the corner, but weather forecasts are predicting a particularly nasty blizzard for the East Coast. Strong winds and a foot of snow are possible from Maryland to Maine. March came in like a lamb, but it’s acting like a lion for those in the Northeast.

Winter storms (this one is named “Stella”) occur every year in the United States, and cause fatalities among the unprepared. 70% of deaths occur due to traffic accidents and 25% from hypothermia from being caught outside during the blizzard. With Stella’s strong winds, trees and power lines burdened with heavy snowfall may topple, causing additional hazards.

If a blizzard knocks you off the grid but you’re still in your home (a great place to be), keep everyone in an inside room, preferably without windows. The heat from several bodies will make a small space warmer.

Heat in the home can be conserved by shutting the doors of unused rooms and drawing blinds and curtains to add insulation.  Stuff towels under the door to prevent loss of warmth from the room you’re using. If you’re using some form of alternative heat, however, make certain that there is reasonable ventilation. Prepare for mishaps by having a fire extinguisher handy.

Staying hydrated is important. You’d be surprised how much a family uses, so fill the bathtub with water. Plumbing might be kept from freezing by allowing faucets to drip. Stock up on non-perishable food.

Winter conditions don’t just affect people; they affect cars as well. Cold affects rubber and metal; it even decreases the battery’s efficiency. Tires become stiff and flat for the first few hundred yards. Motor oil and other lubricants become thicker at cold temperatures. This makes the engine work harder.

Therefore, vehicles that will be doing duty in extreme cold should be “winterized”. This involves switching to a lighter viscosity oil, changing to snow tires, and choosing the right (anti-freeze) ratio of coolant to water. Gas tanks should be full if at all possible.

blizzard

Not the best time to be outside (image courtesy of pixabay.com)

 

OUTSIDE IN A BLIZZARD

You’re not a bear, so you can’t hibernate through the cold weather; you’ll have to take measures to avoid getting stranded out in the cold. Many deaths from exposure are avoidable if simple precautions are taken

The first thing that you should do before planning a day outdoors in snowy weather is consult your weather radio for the forecast. If a storm is on the way, postpone your outing until the weather improves.

Dress appropriately and in layers. Each successive layer of clothing traps warm air near your body. Wool is the best material for staying warm. Unlike cotton, wool will stay warm even if somewhat wet, and wicks perspiration away from the skin. Wet clothing will cause you to lose body core temperature faster. Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves.

SEEK SHELTER

tree well

A Tree Well Shelter

Some people might be caught by surprise when a winter storm hits the backcountry. If you’re in the wilderness, seek some form of shelter immediately to get out of the wind. There are many types of shelters, but one can be made in a “tree well”. A tree well is the sunken area around the trunk in very deep snow. This area is relatively easy to excavate and, if the tree has low-hanging branches, should provide some protection from falling snow. Look for natural barriers nearby that may serve as windbreaks, but beware of slopes where you may be exposed to drifting snow or avalanches.

The space you dig out should be small, as small shelters take less effort to keep warm than large ones. Pack your snow “walls” well, which retains heat better and can support a makeshift roof. Place evergreen boughs and debris on the floor to protect you from the cold ground. Then add some on top to make a roof. Tarps or solar blankets may also be used for this purpose, but winds might easily blow them off. Tie rocks to the corners as weights.

If a tree well is not an option, digging a “cave” out of deep snow can serve to insulate you from the wind (think igloo). If you make a fire, be sure to have ventilation holes in your shelter. Entrances and ventilation holes should open at a 90 degree angle to the prevailing winds.

Stay hydrated but don’t eat snow. Your body must first melt it and loses heat as a result. If you don’t have fire to melt snow, put a container with it in your clothes, but not next to the skin. Hypothermia and other cold-related medical issues are covered here.

STRANDED IN THE CAR

caraccidentwinter

You won’t always be stranded on a busy highway

The first question you should ask before you get in the car in cold weather is “Is this trip necessary?”. If you don’t have to leave the house in a snowstorm, don’t. Period. If you do, drive as if your life depended on it, because it does. Don’t speed, tailgate, or weave from lane to lane. Make turns slowly and deliberately, and be careful to avoid quick stops and starts

Let’s say that, despite your best efforts, you’re stuck on the road in a blizzard. Help may be on the way, but what if it isn’t? It’s important to stay calm and don’t leave the car. It’s warmer there than outside and you’re protected from the wind.

Wet snow can block up your exhaust pipes and cause carbon monoxide gas to enter the passenger compartment. You’ll need fresh air, but don’t crack a window on the side where the wind is coming from. If you’re in a group, huddle together as best you can to create a warm pocket in the car. Rub your hands, put them in your armpits, or otherwise keep moving; this will help your muscles produce heat.

Maybe you can dig yourself out, but beware of overexertion in extreme cold. You’ll sweat, and wet clothes are a main cause of hypothermia. If you have flares, use them to let others know you need help.

THE WINTER SURVIVAL CAR KIT

There are a number of items that you should always have in your car, especially in cold weather. These are meant to keep you safe if the unthinkable happens and you’re stranded without hope of rescue. Your blizzard survival car kit should contain:

  • Wool blankets (for warmth; wool can stay warm even if wet)
  • Spare sets of dry clothes, especially socks, hats, and mittens.
  • Hard warmers or other instant heat packs (activated by shak- ing, they’ll last for hours)
  • Matches, lighters, and fire starters to manufacture heat Flashlights and candles (keep batteries in backwards until you need them to extend life).
  • Small multi-tool with blade, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.
  • Larger combination tool like a foldable military surplus shovel (some are multipurpose and can be used as an axe or saw)
  • Sand or rock salt (to give traction where needed)
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Flares
  • Starter cables (for jump starts)
  • Water and food (energy bars, MREs, dehydrated soups, candies)
  • Baby wipes (for hygiene purposes)
  • A medical kit and medications
  • Tarp and duct tape (brightly colored ones will be more visible and aid rescue)
  • Metal cup or thermos (to melt snow, make soup, etc.) Noisemaker (whistle) to signal for help
  • Cell phone and charger, weather radio

A March storm can be as deadly as one in January. With a plan of action, a few supplies, and a little luck, you’ll survive even in the worst blizzard.

 

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton, MD

Find out more about cold weather, hot weather, and many other issues in our Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook, The Essential Guide for When Help is Not on the Way!

Tornado Preparedness

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tornado

Tornadoes

 

There are many natural disasters that might befall a community, but a tornado is one of the most unpredictable. Several people were killed in the last few days as a rash of storms wreaked havoc in the South and Midwest. Indeed, hundreds of people are killed yearly by tornadoes, but many injuries and deaths may be avoided with sound preparation.

 

 

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and the thunderstorm (sometimes called a “supercell”) that spawned it. From a distance, tornadoes usually appear in the form of a visible dark funnel with all sorts of flying debris in and around it. Because of rainfall, they may be difficult to see when close up.

 

 

A tornado (also called a “twister”) may have winds of up to 300 miles per hour, and can travel for a number of miles before petering out. They may be accompanied by hail and emit a distinctive roaring sound that will remind you of a passing train. We have personally experienced this at our own home some years ago, and it is terrifying.

 

 

There are almost a thousand tornadoes in the United States every year, more than are reported in any other country. Most of these occur in “Tornado Alley”, an area that encompasses parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and neighboring states. Spring and early summer are the peak seasons.

 

 

Injuries from tornadoes usually come as a result of trauma from the flying debris that is carried along with it. Strong winds can carry large objects and fling them around in a manner that is hard to believe. Indeed, there is a report that, in 1931, an 83 ton train was lifted and thrown 80 feet from the tracks.

 

 

Tornadoes are categorized as level 0-5 by the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is based on wind speeds and the amount of damage caused:

 

 

F0 Light: Winds 40-72 miles per hour; smaller trees uprooted or branches broken, mild structural damage.
F1 Moderate: winds 73–112 miles per hour; Broken windows, small tree trunks broken, overturned mobile homes, destruction of carports or toolsheds, roof tiles missing.
F2 Considerable: winds 113–157 miles per hour; Mobile homes destroyed, major structural damage to frame homes due to flying debris, some large trees snapped in half or uprooted.
F3 Severe: winds 158–206 miles per hour; Roofs torn from homes, small frame homes destroyed, most trees snapped and uprooted.
F4 Devastating: winds 207–260 miles per hour; Strong- structure buildings damaged or destroyed or lifted from foundations, cars lifted and blown away, even large debris airborne.

F5 Incredible: winds 261–318 miles per hour; Larger buildings lifted from foundations, trees snapped, uprooted and debarked, objects weighing more than a ton become airborne missiles.

 

 

Although some places may have sirens or other methods of warning you of an approaching twister, it is important to plan for your family to weather the storm. Having a plan before a tornado touches down is the most likely way you will survive the event. Children should be taught where to find the medical kits, and how to use a fire extinguisher. If appropriate, teach everyone how to safely turn off the gas and electricity. For a more complete supply list of items before, during, and after the storm, follow this link on tornado safety from the Red Cross:

 

 

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340177_Tornado.pdf

 

 

When you are in the path of a tornado, take shelter immediately unless you live in a mobile home. These are especially vulnerable to damage from the winds. If there is time, get to the nearest building that has a tornado shelter or is, at least, solidly constructed; underground shelters are best.

 

 

If you live in Tornado Alley, consider putting together your own underground shelter. Unlike bunkers and other structures built for long-term use, a tornado shelter only has to provide safety for a short period of time. As such, it doesn’t have to be very large; 8-10 square feet per person would be acceptable. Despite this, be sure to consider ventilation and the comfort or special needs of those using the shelter.

 

 

If you don’t have a shelter, find the safest place in the house where family members can gather. Basements, bathrooms, closets or inside rooms without windows are the best options. Windows can easily shatter from impact due to flying debris.

 

 

For added protection, get under a heavy object such as a sturdy table. Covering your body with a sleeping bag or mattress will provide an additional shield. Discuss this plan of action with every member of your family regularly, so that they will know this process by heart.

 

 

If you’re in a car and can drive to a shelter, do so. Although you may be hesitant to leave your vehicle, remember that they can be easily tossed around by high winds; you may be safer if there is a culvert or other area lower than the roadway. It is not safe to hide under a bridge or overpass, however, as the winds can easily reach you.

 

 

In town, leaving the car to enter a sturdy building is appropriate. If there is no other shelter, however, staying in your car will protect you from some of the flying debris (it should be noted that even a car can be sent flying in a powerful tornado). Keep your seat belt on, put your head down below the level of the windows, and cover yourself if at all possible.

 

 

If you’re out hiking when a tornado hits, get away from heavily wooded areas. Torn branches and other debris become missiles, so an open field or ditch may be safer. Lying face down flat in a ditch or other low spot in the ground may give you some protection. Make sure to cover your head if at all possible, even if it’s just with your hands.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

 

JoeAltonLibrary3

Fill those holes in your medical preparedness supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net!

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Hypothermia Pt. 3, Frostbite, Winter Hazards

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frostbite2

Frostbite with gangrene

The Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy discusses altitude sickness, winter car survival, falling through the ice or into very cold water and more. Car Survival equipment should include wool blankets, instant hand warmers, flashlights and extra batteries (fresh), small tool with blade, screwdrivers, pliers etc, foldable shovel, sand or rock salt, flares and reflective large triangles, tow chain or tough rope, jumper cables, water and food, a first aid kit (Doom and Bloom makes a grab and go bag), tarp, noisemaker and more.

caraccidentwinter

Winter car survival

To increase your chances of survival in cold water you should wear a life jacket whenever you are on a boat. It enables you to stay alive longer by keeping you afloat without burning too much energy. A built-in whistle is a great item to have on the life jacket also. Keep your clothes on while you are still in the water. Button or zip up to retain some body heat. The layer of water between your clothing and your body is slightly warmer and will help insulate you from the cold.

 

To listen in, click the link below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/01/20/survival-medicine-hour-hypothermia-pt3-frostbite-winter-hazards

 

Wishing you all the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Fill those holes in your medical preparedness with Nurse Amy’s kit and individual supplies at store.doomandbloom.net!

 

 

Car Survival in Winter

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carsinsnow

It’s predicted to be another harsh winter and, for most in the U.S., this means trouble if someone gets stuck out on the road during a blizzard or other extreme conditions. Hypothermia (the effects on the body from exposure to cold) may occur on the wilderness trail, but also right in the driver’s seat of the family car. It’s important to have a plan in case you are stranded in your vehicle.

 

Your Car

 

Winter conditions don’t just affect people, they affect cars as well. Cold affects rubber and metal; it even decreases the battery’s efficiency. Tires become stiff and flat for the first few hundred yards. Your oil and other lubricants become thicker at cold temperatures. This makes the engine work harder.

 

Therefore, vehicles that will be doing duty in extreme cold should be “winterized”. This involves switching to a lighter viscosity oil, changing to snow tires, and choosing the right (anti-freeze) ratio of coolant to water. Gas tanks should never be less than half full.

 

Your Life 

 

You’re not a bear, so you can’t hibernate through the cold weather; you’ll have to live in it, so take measures to avoid becoming a victim of it. Many deaths from exposure are avoidable if simple precautions are taken.

 

The first question you should ask before you get in the car in cold weather is: What’s the forecast? Is it possible that you’re driving straight into trouble? Checking the weather beforehand is a lot better than finding out about it on the road.

 

The second question should be: “Is this trip necessary?” If the answer is “no”, you should stay home. For most people that work, however, the answer is “yes”. If you have no choice but to hit the road during a winter storm, drive as if your life depends on it (because it does). Brush ice and snow off windshields, side mirrors, or anywhere your view might be blocked. Don’t speed, tailgate, or weave in and out of traffic. Make turns slowly and deliberately; avoid quick stops and starts.

 

Notify someone of your travel plans before you head out, especially if you’re in rural areas. Take your cell phone with you but save it for emergencies. Your focus has to be on the road, not on texts from your friends.

 

Stranded!

 

If you live in an area that routinely has very cold winters, you may not be able to avoid being stranded in your car one day. Your level of preparedness will improve your chances of staying healthy and getting back home. So what should your plan of action be?

 

  1. Stay calm and don’t leave the car. It’s warmer there than outside and you have protection from the wind. Having adequate shelter is one of the keys to success, whether it’s in the wilderness or on a snow-covered highway.
  2. Ventilation is preferable to asphyxiation. Crack a window on the side away from the wind for some fresh air. People talk about water and food being necessary for survival but, first, you’ll need air to breathe. Wet snow can block up your exhaust system, which causes carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment. Colorless and odorless, it’s a deadly gas that kills in enclosed spaces without ventilation. Clearing the exhaust pipe of snow and running the engine only ten minutes or so an hour will help prevent monoxide poisoning.
  3. Group Hug. If you’re in a group, huddle together as best you can to create a warm pocket in the car.
  4. Keep Moving. Rub your hands, put them in your armpits, or otherwise keep moving to make your muscles produce heat.
  5. Don’t overexert yourself. If your car is stuck in the snow, you’ll want to dig yourself out. A lot of sweat, however, will cause clothing to become wet. Wet clothing loses its value as insulation and leads to hypothermia.
  6. Let others know you’re there. If you have flares, use them. Flashing emergency lights on your vehicle will drain battery power, so use them only if you think someone might see them.

The Winter Car Kit 

caraccidentwinter

If you’re going to travel in very cold conditions, there are a certain number of items that you should keep in your vehicle. This is what an effective winter survival car kit contains:

 

  • Wool Blankets. Wool can stay warm even when wet.
  • Spare sets of dry clothes, including socks, hats, and mittens.
  • Hard warmers or other instant heat packs (activated, usually, by shaking, they’ll last for hours)
  • Matches, lighters and/or firestarters in case you need to manufacture heat.
  • Candles, flashlights (keep batteries in backwards until you need them).
  • Small multi-tool with blade, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.
  • Larger combination tool like a foldable shovel (acts as a shovel but also an axe, saw, etc.)
  • Sand or rock salt in plastic container (to give traction where needed.)
  • Tow chain or rope.
  • Flares.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Water, Food (energy bars, MREs, dehydrated soups, candies).
  • Baby wipes for hygiene purposes.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Medications as needed.
  • Tarp and duct tape (brightly colored ones will be more visible and aid rescue.)
  • Metal cup, thermos, heat source (to melt snow, make soup, etc.)
  • Noisemaker (whistle)
  • Cell phone and charger

The items above will give you a head start in keeping safe and sound even if stranded. With a plan of action, a few supplies, and a little luck, you’ll survive even in the worst blizzard.

 

Joe Alton MD

AuthorJoe

7+ Tips To Survive When Camping In Winter

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Survive When Camping In Winter

For the average Joe out there, myself included, winter camping usually means renting a cabin somewhere nice in the mountains and spending the holidays with friends, family, and a few bottles of booze while chatting, listening to CCR and enjoying the downtime. (Still I would survive out there without these, if I have to.)

However, there are hardcore outdoors aficionados who actually resent the idea of camping in a heated cabin by a romantic wood stove. That’s not camping – it’s glamping.

Moreover, there are adventurous folks who prefer to grab their backpack, rent a snowmobile, and go somewhere in the wilderness away from the mad world, the rush, and the insanity of civilization for a few days or weeks.

Regardless of what your pleasure is about camping during winter, there are a few tips and tricks you should know before going out in the cold.

Hypothermia is a very “cold” (pun intended) fact to consider if camping outside in extreme weather conditions. If you want to return home in one piece, with all your thumbs and toes in working condition, then keep reading, as I will share with you some important information about how to stay warm even in -45 F. Okay, maybe not toasty warm when it’s that cold, but you got the idea.

To begin with, you should be realistic and realize that winter camping is not for everyone. However, if you’re properly equipped and trained, you may very well have the time of your life even on Everest.

Let’s begin with the basics: pre-trip planning. Pre-planning prior to any type of endeavor is the key to success, especially if we’re talking about camping during winter.

If you remember that old Bob Dylan song, you don’t need a weatherman to tell you where the wind blows. In other words, regardless what the weather forecast says, you must always prepare for the worst winter conditions possible. Better safe than sorry, right?

1. Plan Your Trip

Even if it may sound like overkill, make sure you’ll be packing all the emergency supplies you’ll ever need in a winter survival situation, such as extra food and water supplies (or means to procure water by melting snow and ice), extra clothes, etc., especially if you’re going somewhere remote.

Also, if the weather conditions are likely to bad, as in dangerous bad, you should play it safe and postpone your trip, that is, if you don’t want to win the Darwin award, if you know what I mean. If not, Google it. It’s fun in a macabre sort of way.

Pack light, but don’t scrimp on essential gear, like a camping snow shovel, plenty of lighting, spare batteries, a first-aid kit, ski poles/walking poles and always go for a strong/sturdy waterproof tent.

20 Survival Uses For An Emergency Survival Blanket. Get yours today! 

2. Take a Friend With You

Another crucial rule when it comes to winter outdoors survival is a rule I’ve learned from a Jack London novel. Never travel alone. Period.

3. Research the Campsite

Research the area you’re going to visit, check the surroundings, see if there’s a forest nearby (read firewood), see if there are any villages or small towns around, learn how long it will take to get from point A to B, etc. We’re living in the age of Google Maps and satellite imagery, so you don’t have any excuse not to get proper intel before going in!

Choose the right campsite (the sun is your best friend during the winter, so check out where it rises), start your fire first thing, before anything else, plan ahead, and stay warm folks.

4. Inform Your Family & Friends

Also, remember to inform your friends and family about your whereabouts, i.e. where you’re going to be for the next couple of days/weeks or whatever, thus making sure you’ll be able to get help if SHTF. If you can give them a detailed map of your route, that’s even better.

5. Keep Warm

Now, let’s talk about keeping warm. Obviously, the main thing to consider when camping outside during the winter is the right clothing. That’s the detail that will make all the difference in the world.

Dress in Layers

Layers is the word. Wear layers of clothing, as layers are the outdoors explorer’s best friend, besides a good fire. Layers work by trapping air between them, thus insulating your body from the cold. A few layers of clothing are more efficient than a single one, regardless of how thick it is.

Also, stay away from cotton clothes, because cotton absorbs moisture (you’ll get sweaty at some point during your trip) and damp or wet clothes are your worst enemy when it’s cold outside.

Basically, you should use three layers of clothing: the base layer, something like a second skin which helps you trap the body heat (synthetic materials/merino wool are the best for the base layer), the mid layer, which works as the main insulator (you can go for fleece lined trousers/heavy fleece) and the outer layer, which must be waterproof.

Dress In Layers

Keep Your Feet Warm

Feet are the infantry’s secret weapon, as my old drill sergeant used to say, so when you go out camping during the winter, pay extra attention to your feet.

To avoid cold feet, keep your cotton socks at home and go for polyester socks or wool socks. Specialty stores stock special foot gear (read socks and boots) designed for hiking. Obviously, the boots are very important too, as they must be waterproof and grippy, especially if you’re going to hike through the snow or ice.

Never Neglect Your Head and Your Hands

A huge amount of body heat, almost half of it in fact, is lost through the head during the winter, so make sure you wear a hat that’s going to block the wind and keep your heat in. Finally, don’t forget a nice pair of gloves.

6. Know Your Gear

The sleeping bag is an essential piece of gear when it comes to winter camping, so know your gear well if you want to survive low night-time temperatures. The idea is that you’ll require a high-quality sleeping bag if you want to be comfortable during the night and wake up healthy.

Or, double up your existing one just in case by putting one inside the other. Remember to always put a foam roll mat (or 2) under your mattress.

The idea is that shelter is pretty important when camping during the winter, as you may experience snowstorms, strong winds, and the whole palaver. Don’t get cheap on your tent, nor on your sleeping bag. They can make the difference between waking up relatively warm and safe and having somebody find your popsicle body.

7. Know Your Body

Together with knowing your gear, knowing your body is very important. Some folks sleep cold, others sleep warm. There are variables, like your age, sex, fitness level, experience, the amount of body fat and lots of other factors, which differentiate between the comfort levels achieved by different people using the exact same gear.

If you’re not familiarized with winter camping, it’s better to be over-prepared than not prepared enough. I am talking about layers of clothing, sleeping bags, and just about anything else that counts toward survival.

Go to Sleep Already Warmed Up

Always remember to go to bed, (inside your sleeping bag that is) already warmed up. The idea is that warmth cometh from within, while the sleeping bag is playing just the insulation part, so if you’re freezing and sleepy, do a few press ups/sit ups or just jump around a little before getting inside your sleeping bag. You’ll thank me later.

Eat Late

Another trick for a good night’s sleep while winter camping is to eat late, ideally a hot meal just before going to sleep. The ideal meal would be fatty (as opposed to carbohydrates), as fat gets metabolized slowly by your body (it lasts longer) and, needless to say, you’ll require fuel to make heat, right? Cheese, olive oil, bacon, pork; you know what I am talking about.

Eat high-energy food at all times, preferably in the form of warm meals. If you can’t, go for nuts, chocolate, and energy bars. Cover your exposed skin in animal fat or vaseline, just like the Inuit have been doing forever, thus preventing frostbite and windburn.

Keep Your Sleeping Bag Dry

Keep your sleeping bag dry at all costs, add more layers outside eventually as you need them. This doesn’t have to be clothes; it can be as simple as putting a metallic survival blanket over your sleeping bag.

This Emergency Survival Blanket helps retain 90% of your body heat. Get yours now! 

Video first seen on Survival Frog

Avoid breathing into your sleeping bag while sleeping (it introduces moisture) and sleep with your boots in your bag. Put them at the bottom of your sleeping bag so they don’t freeze during the night.

Leave your water filter at home and concentrate on boiling the snow. Chemical filters work painfully slow in the cold while mechanical ones may crack/fail due to the cold.

Hydrate

Don’t forget to drink enough water, even if you don’t have your usual thirst reflex, which is common in extreme cold. However, dehydration is a serious danger in sub-zero conditions, especially if you’re sweating. Also, a lot of moisture gets lost while breathing in and exhaling the cold air, as the air is very dry during the winter.

Try to prevent your water supply from freezing, but that’s easier said than done.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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2016: An Apocalyptic Thrill Ride

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2016: An Apocalyptic Thrill Ride Host: Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow“ Audio in player below! On this year-end episode of the Prepping for Tomorrow program, bestselling Author Bobby Akart looks back upon 2016 and the apocalyptic roller coaster ride it provided us all. 2016 provided us one of the most intriguing political elections in our … Continue reading 2016: An Apocalyptic Thrill Ride

The post 2016: An Apocalyptic Thrill Ride appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Survival Medicine Hour: Ron Melchiore on 36 Years of Living Off the Grid

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Survival Medicine Hour

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Nurse Amy Alton interviews Ron Melchiore, who with his wife Joanna, has lived for 36 years off the grid in Maine and, now, Northern Saskatchewan. Amy finds out all about what Ron’s life as a self-reliant “pioneer” has been like, and how he’s put it all in his book “Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness“. Ron has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and has ridden a bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Ron talks about power issues, experience with local animals, wildfires, and other challenges he and his wife have faced in their long-term adventure in the woods. Ron currently lives at a homestead only reachable by float plane, with trips to get supplies twice a year.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/10/28/survival-medicine-hour-interview-with-ron-melchiore-author-off-grid-and-free

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Amy Alton ARNP

Survival Medicine Hour: Dan O’Hara of Gateway Prepper Expos, More

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cincy-expo

Maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to go to one Dan and Kit O’Hara’s Gateway Prepper Expos, in which case, you’ve missed out on an opportunity to meet a lot of awesome, like-minded folks who are preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best. In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy welcomes good friend Dan O’Hara to the show and gets a real insight on what these shows are all about, and the thinking behind putting these events out to the  public. Plus, Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones, gives you an update on the latest news reports on the East coast after Matthew, and much more!

Amy Alton Everglades Close up 400 x 600

Nurse Amy

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/10/08/survival-medicine-hour-dan-ohara-interview-cincy-expo

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Joe and Amy Alton

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Disaster Preparedness

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Disaster Preparedness They’re sneaky, and strike without warning; causing millions of dollars in damage, leaving families without much to look forward to. They rumble, tumble, blow, and shake any and everything that stands in their way. In some cases, they’ll even blaze and freeze individuals who are […]

The post The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Disaster Preparedness appeared first on SHTF DAD.

Preparing for a Hurricane: 15 Last Minute Ways to Get Ready

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15 last minute ways to prepare for a hurricaneHurricane season is upon us and for those in the storm path, preparation is key to getting through the storm in the best way possible.  But what if you haven’t prepared yet?  While it’s always better to be prepared ahead of time, here are 15 last minute things to do to help you be as prepared as possible!

  1. Monitor local news for updates–on TV, radio, or online.  You may also be able to sign up for text alerts or emergency information phone calls through your local law enforcement’s reverse 911 system.
  2. Evacuate.  If it’s not too last minute, and you live in an area that has received an evacuation notice, throw some survival supplies in your vehicle and get out of town.  Your area may have a shelter set up for evacuations or you can head to a friend or family member’s house out of the danger zone.  A great book to prepare for evacuations of all kinds is the Survival Mom’s No Worries Guide to Emergency Evacuations.
  3. Close and secure storm shutters or board up windows.
  4. Check your supplies at home and determine what foods you can eat with little preparation and that don’t need refrigeration over the next few days.
  5. Hit the store for the things you’ll need.  The most common items you’ll be needing are food, toiletries, and possibly feminine hygiene or baby products.  Unfortunately, that’s what everyone else will be shopping for as well, so anticipate long lines and items out of stock.  This store trip is best done a week or more before the event, and I usually recommend staying away from stores in the hours leading up to a known disaster, but if you really need some supplies, go ahead and see what you can find.  You may get lucky.
  6. Eat foods that will spoil or melt all over everything and ruin other foods if your power goes out.
  7. Fill water containers. Here are the the pros and cons on some of the most common water containers.
  8. Freeze some water containers to be used as ice blocks in your freezer or refrigerator in the event of a power outage.
  9. Find flashlights and make sure they’re charged.  Need more light?  Here are nine great emergency light sources other than a flashlight.
  10. Charge your cell phone.  If you have a charging phone case or portable phone charger make sure they are charged up as well.
  11. Fill sand bags.  If you’re in an area that is expected to have flooding, get ready now to keep your home from getting wet.
  12. Move light weight yard furniture and decorations indoors to keep them from sustaining damage or becoming projectiles.
  13. Fill your gas tank.  And a gas can if you can.  As with the trip to the store, this is really best done long ahead of the storm’s arrival.  Many stations will run out of fuel in the days leading up to the hurricane’s landfall, and most won’t be able to pump if the power goes out.
  14. Refill prescriptions.  If you are evacuating, send your prescription to a pharmacy out of the evacuation zone and near where you are evacuating to so you can get out of town faster.
  15. Check on your neighbors–especially elderly or those with special needs or who may not be connected to news sources.

Stay safe out there!

 

Keep preparing!
Angela

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28 Sensible Tips To Get Through A Hurricane

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storm surge

Hurricane Matthew is slowly churning it way towards the U.S. with sustained winds of 140 mph or more, and the potential for major damage and loss of life exists for many coastal areas.

Hurricanes can certainly be dangerous, but they don’t have to be life-threatening for those who prepare.  Unlike tornadoes, which can pop up suddenly, hurricanes are first identified when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  We can watch their development and have a good idea of how bad the situation might be and how much time we have to get ready.

Even before it’s clear that your area is in danger of being hit by the storm, you should have considered factors like food, water, power, and shelter. By having a plan of action beforehand, you’ll decrease the risk to your family significantly.

Here are a few (actually, 28!) tips to help those preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best:

HITTING THE ROAD

1.Make a G.O.O.D. (Get Out Of Dodge) decision: Rugged individualists may want to ride out the storm, but some coastal residents would be best served by hitting the road. When the authorities say it’s time to evacuate, you should be ready to go. Don’t forget to turn off the power, gas, and water before you leave.

2.Head inland: Hurricanes gain their strength by warm ocean waters, and lose strength quickly as they get further into the interior. If you’re escaping the storm, the further inland you go, the safer you’ll be. If there isn’t time, most coastal municipalities will have designated a sturdy building as a hurricane shelter.

3.Have a “GO” bag: Always have a set of supplies ready to take with you on short notice. Non-perishable food, bottled water, extra clothing, flashlights and batteries, a NOAA weather radio, medicines, and a first aid kit are just a few of the items that will ensure your survival. Although you’ll see recommendations to have a 72 hour supply, this figure is arbitrary, and a week’s worth would be even better.

4.Have a cell phone charger: Communication is key. Many cell phone chargers can be plugged into the car where the cigarette lighter used to be.

5.Have cash on hand: Power for credit card verification could be down after a hurricane; if you don’t keep some cash on hand, you’ll have a power shortage: Purchasing power.

Let’s say you haven’t received an evacuation order, and you’re going to ride out the storm in place. Here are some considerations you want to take into account:

FOOD

6.Keep it Cold: Have the refrigerator and freezer down to their coldest settings so that food will take longer to spoil.

7.Collect Ice: Collect ice in plastic bags and place them throughout to prolong freshness. If there are open spots, fill Tupperware containers or plastic soda bottles/milk jugs with water, freeze them, and place them in the spaces. The fuller the fridge is, the longer the items in it will stay cool.

8.Wrap It in Foil: Wrap food items in aluminum foil, eliminating air pockets, and cram the foil packs together as closely as possible.

9.Cook ‘Em and Freeze ‘Em: Cook meats before the hurricane gets close and freeze them. As cooking requires fuel, have some full propane tanks or charcoal briquettes in your supplies for when the power goes out.

10.Eat the Perishables Now: Eat the perishables first, canned foods later.

11.Keep It Closed: Don’t leave the refrigerator door open while deciding what food to take out. Visualize where a particular item is and then open the door. Close it as quickly as possible.

WATER

12.Water, Water everywhere: Have a stockpile of 5 gallon bottles of water or a plentiful supply of smaller bottles.

13.Fill the Tub: Fill all bathtubs with water. You might think this is overkill, but every member of your family needs 1 gallon of water per day. It goes fast.

14.Drink the Melted Ice: As refrigerated ice in containers melts, don’t waste it. Use it as an additional source of drinking water.

15.Hot Water Heaters Hold….Water!: Hot water heaters have gallons and gallons of drinkable water; don’t hesitate to raid them if you get low. First, turn off the electricity or gas. Attach a hose to the drain valve and release the vacuum in the tank by opening a hot water faucet. There might be some sediment at the bottom that should be drained out first.

16.Sterilize it: Have some household bleach available to sterilize questionable water (like from the water heater). 12-16 drops per gallon should do the job. Wait 30 minutes before drinking.

17.Have a water filter: handheld filters like the Lifestraw or Sawyer Mini, or larger ones like the Berkey can be useful to deal with cloudy water.

SHELTER

18.Put Up The Shutters:  If you have hurricane shutters, put them up at least 24 hours before hurricane landfall. It’s no fun to have to stand on a ladder in gale force winds and pouring rain to install them. Been there, done that.

19.Move Furniture/Plants Inside: Move the patio furniture and potted plants indoors. If you can’t for some reason, chain them together against an outer wall downwind from the direction of the storm.

20.Prune Trees: Prune all trees near your home so that wind can easily flow through the crowns. Otherwise, expect some to be downed by the storm. Branches, fruit (in South Florida, coconuts!), and other debris can act as missiles in high winds.

21.Pick a “Safe Room”: Choose a room in the interior of the home, preferably one without unshuttered windows.

22.Place candles in pans: Candles can be knocked over by winds and cause fires. If you must use them, stick them in a pan with shiny sides that would be deep enough to cover the flame.

23.Have Tarps at the Ready: Large tarps can be used to cover windows and, after the storm, to cover any areas of the roof that might have been damaged.

OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

24.The Kids: Have board games, toys, and books to keep the children’s minds off scary winds. If you’re evacuating, let kids bring their favorite stuffed animals, blanket, or pillow to keep them calm.

25.Your Other Kids: Don’t forget to take into account the needs of your pets. Have food, water, and their favorite toy available, whether you leave or stay at home.

26.Your Other, Other Kid: Make sure your car is in good working order and filled with gas. Having some spare gas cans will be useful in case of a shortage at the pumps, and can be used to run generators (although never inside).

27.Your documents: Place important papers like birth certificates, passports, insurance documents, and others in waterproof containers. Scan them and send them in an email to yourself.

28.Keep your radio on: A NOAA weather radio, battery-powered or hand-cranked, will be an important source of information on the progress of the storm, and for community updates.

Being prepared for a hurricane can make sure that the storm will be just a bump in the road, and not the end of the road for you and your family. Have a plan of action, get some supplies, and you’ll join the ranks of the few, the proud, the prepared!

Joe Alton, MD

 

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Joe Alton, MD

 

Find out more about hurricane preparedness and many other natural disasters in the new Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide For When Help is Not on the Way, available on this website or at amazon.com.

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Would You Survive A Hurricane?

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hurricane satellite image pixabay

The “eye” of a hurricane

After more than a decade without a major hurricane, South Florida faces the possibility of a glancing blow from powerful Hurricane Matthew. Are you ready, Floridians and East Coasters? Matthew was downgraded to a very strong category 4 storm recently but is thought to still pack winds of 150 mph.

It doesn’t take very long for people to forget the devastation that previous hurricanes have caused in the United States. Hurricanes are one of the few disasters that advanced weather forecasting can predict well ahead of its arrival. The National Weather Service puts out regular advisories for upcoming storms. Despite this, few are prepared to handle the dangers to life and property that can occur.

Hurricane Matthew is a high level storm with winds of up to 150 mph. Hurricanes are graded into 5 categories by the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The scale uses maximum sustained winds as a measure:
Category 1: 74-95 mph winds

Category 2:  96-110 mph winds

Category 3:  111-130 mph winds

Category 4:  131-155 mph winds

Category 5:  >155 mph winds

Although hurricane season starts in June, most major storms in the Atlantic seem to hit in August, September, and October. Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey shore in late October. Category five hurricanes Katrina and Andrew (2005, 1992) hit in late August.

hurricanepalms2

Coconuts? You mean missiles…

Are You Ready?

Hurricanes can be dangerous, but they don’t have to be life-threatening for those who prepare.  Unlike tornadoes, which can pop up suddenly, hurricanes are first identified when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  We can watch their development and have a good idea of how bad it might get and how much time we have to get ready.

An effective plan of action takes into account factors like shelter, clean water, food, power, and other important issues.  By planning before a hurricane threatens your area, you’ll avoid the mad rush for supplies that leaves supermarket shelves empty.

Perhaps your most important decision might be:  Should you get out of Dodge? You can actually outrun one of these storms if you get enough of a head start. At present, for example, Hurricane Matthew is plodding along at about 7 mph.  If you live on the coast or in an area that floods often, there will be rising tide waters (known as the “storm surge”) that might cause impressive flooding. Indeed, flooding is the leading cause of deaths due to hurricanes.

The National Weather Service keeps a close eye on hurricanes and issues two types of warnings:

Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within a specified area.

Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within a specified area.

In many cases, the authorities will issue an order to evacuate areas that will be hardest hit. If such an order is broadcast, you should leave. If you live near the coast in pre-fabricated housing, such as a trailer, it’s wisest to hit the road before the storm makes landfall. Alternatively, many municipalities will designate a hurricane-resistant public building nearby as an official shelter.

If you do choose to leave town, plan to go as far inland as possible.   Hurricanes get their strength from the warm water temperatures over the tropical ocean; they lose strength quickly as they travel over land.  It might be a wise move to make reservations at a hotel early if you don’t have a place to go; there will be little room at the inn for the latecomers.

A good idea is to always have a set of supplies ready to go for any emergency. This kit is called a “Bug-Out”, “Go”, or “GOOD” (Get Out Of Dodge) bag. Although most survivalists recommend packing for 72 hours off the grid in case of a disaster, that number is arbitrary; be prepared to at least have a week’s supply of food and drinking water, as well as extra clothing and medical supplies.

storm surge

storm surge

Riding Out The Storm

If you decide to weather the storm at home, have an idea of what your home’s weak spots are.  What amount of sustained wind your structure can withstand?  Most homes are built to withstand 90 mph winds, but when South Florida was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, new homes in South Florida were mandated to be able to withstand 125 mph winds. If the coming storm has sustained winds over that level, you may not be able to depend on the structural integrity of older homes.

Where is the best place in the home to serve as a “safe room”?  It should be in the part of the home most downwind of the direction from which the hurricane is hitting you. Be certain to plan for any special needs that family members (and pets) may have.  You may wind up taking care of more people that you expect, so have more water and non-perishable food than you think you’ll need (1 gallon/day per person minimum). Filling bathtubs with fresh water would give you a reasonable supply.

Outdoors

Unsecured objects can become missiles in a hurricane. Outdoors, move all patio furniture and potted plants either inside the house or up against the outside wall, preferably secured with chains. Put up hurricane shutters if you have them.

One special issue for South Floridians is coconuts:  They turn into cannonballs in a hurricane.  Cut them off the tree before the winds come.  Interestingly, the palm trees themselves, as they don’t have a dense crown, seem to weather most high winds without a problem.  Trees with dense crowns, however, should be pruned to allow wind through and all dead branches removed.

Roof shingles are often casualties of the storm, so have some waterproof tarps available. Roofers are going to be pretty busy after a major storm and might not get to you right away.  In South Florida after Wilma (2005), there were still tarps on roofs more than a year later.

Indoors

Indoor planning is important as well.  Communications may be out in a major storm, so have a NOAA weather radio and lots of fresh batteries. Turn refrigerators and freezers down to their coldest settings, so that food won’t spoil right away if the power fails.  Coolers filled with ice or dry ice will extend the life of some of your more perishable items. Don’t forget a hand-operated can opener.

Fill up gas and propane tanks early in every hurricane season. Make sure that you know how to shut off the electricity, gas and water, if necessary, and perhaps consider getting a generator and some extra gas cans. Never use gas grills or generators indoors, though, as the fumes may be life-threatening.

There’s another kind of power you should be concerned about. In the aftermath of a storm, credit card verification may be down; without cash, you may have no purchasing power at all.

What About The Kids?

If you’ve hunkered down in your home during the storm, make sure that you’ve got books, board games, and light sources for when the power goes down. Kids (and most adults) go stir crazy when stuck inside, especially if they don’t have TVs or computers in service.

Take time to discuss the coming storm in advance with the whole family; this will give everyone an idea of what to expect, and keep fear down to a minimum.  Give the kids some responsibility, as well.  Give them the opportunity to pack their own bag or select games to play.  This will keep their minds busy and their nerves calm.

Be Smart

It’s amazing how thrill-seekers will go out in the middle of a storm; people seem to be enthralled with hurricanes, and will go out in dangerous winds to take selfies or do other foolish things. This is a recipe for a bad outcome, and some avoidable deaths will occur as a result. Several were killed during Hurricane Sandy because of their zeal to go out during the worst part of the storm. Take hurricanes seriously; there’s danger from flooding, flying debris, falling trees, and much more.

After the Storm

Some items will be useful in the cleanup after the storm.  You’ll need work gloves, plastic garbage bags, duct tape, insect repellent, and even tweezers to deal with the splinters that inevitably are part and parcel of moving a lot of debris.  A chain saw might be needed as well.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, cell phone service may be down due to the huge volume of calls. Texts may be possible, however, even if voice calls aren’t.

By planning early to get your home and family prepared for a hurricane, you’ll have the best chance of .

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

 

always have some medical supplies available for your GO bag to deal with injuries caused by violent storms, and what better place to find kits and supplies than by checking out Nurse Amy’s often-imitated but never-equaled entire line specifically meant for disaster and homestead settings. Find them at store.doomandbloom.net!

Survival Medicine Hour: Hurricanes, Zika Update, Bee Deaths

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zika virus

Zika Virus

In this episode of the Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP, a Florida landfall occurs for a hurricane for the first time in more than a decade. Were you ready? What should you do to prepare for the next one? Plus, Dr. Bones discusses new tragedies for the native bee population in the U.S. What will be the straw that break’s the bee’s, I mean, camel’s back? With every third bite of food you put in your mouth coming as a result of some bee pollinating a plant, you should be invested in this topic!

storm surge

A hurricane’s storm surge

Plus, we haven’t talked about Zika for a while, but that’s not because there hasn’t been a lot of news about it. Nurse Amy and Dr. Bones follow the globetrotting pandemic to a new outbreak in Singapore, talk about outbreaks that might not be reported due to lack of testing, and the effects that could occur on zika-infected newborns that are born looking perfectly normal.

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More bad news for bees

All this and more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/09/04/survival-medicine-hour-more-bad-news-for-bees-hurricanes-and-a-zika-update

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

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The Altons

Are You Ready For A Hurricane?

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hurricane satellite image pixabay

image by pixabay.com

As Hurricane Hermine makes landfall in the Florida panhandle, I realized that I haven’t written an article on hurricane preparedness since Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey coast in 2012. Florida, usually considered the most hurricane-prone state, has been extraordinarily lucky until now, with Hurricane Wilma in 2005 (the same year as Katrina) hit South Florida.

It doesn’t take very long for people to forget the devastation that previous hurricanes have caused in the United States. Hurricanes are one of the few disasters that advanced weather forecasting can predict well ahead of its arrival. The National Weather Service puts out regular advisories for upcoming storms. Despite this, few are prepared to handle the dangers to life and property that can occur.

Hurricane Hermine is, as hurricanes go, a lower level storm known as a “Category 1” with winds of 74-95 mph. Hurricanes are graded into 5 categories by the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The scale uses maximum sustained winds as a measure; stronger storms are categorized as follows:
Category 2:  96-110 mph winds

Category 3:  111-130 mph winds

Category 4:  131-155 mph winds

Category 5:  >155 mph winds

 

Hurricane season starts in June, but most major storms seem to hit in August, September, and October. Sandy hit the U.S. in late October. Category five hurricanes Katrina and Andrew (1992) hit in late August.

Are You Ready for a Hurricane?

Certainly, hurricanes can be severe, but they don’t have to be life-threatening for those who prepare.  Unlike tornadoes, which can pop up suddenly, hurricanes are first identified when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  We can watch their development and have a good idea of how bad it might get and how much time we have to get ready.  An effective plan of action takes into account factors like shelter, clean water, food, power, and other important issues.  By planning before a hurricane threatens your area, you’ll avoid the mad rush for supplies that leaves supermarket shelves empty.

storm surge

the “storm surge” is responsible for many hurricane-related deaths

You can outrun one of these storms if you get enough of a head start. That’s actually one of your most important decisions:  Should you get out of Dodge?  If you live on the coast or in an area that floods often, there will be rising tide waters (known as the “storm surge”) that might reason enough to leave. The storm surge, combined with heavy rains, can cause impressive flooding, and is the leading cause of deaths due to hurricanes.

The National Weather Service keeps a close eye on hurricanes and issues two types of warnings:

Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within a specified area.

Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within a specified area.

In many cases, the authorities will issue an order to evacuate areas that will be hardest hit. If such an order is broadcast, you should leave. If you live in pre-fabricated housing, such as a trailer, or near the coast, it’s wisest to hit the road before the storm makes landfall. Alternatively, many municipalities will designate a hurricane-resistant public building in your own community as an official shelter.

If you do choose to leave town, plan to go as far inland as possible.   Hurricanes get their strength from the warm water temperatures over the tropical ocean; they lose strength quickly as they travel over land.  It might be a wise move to make reservations at a hotel early; there will be little room at the inn for the latecomers.

A good idea is to always have a “GO” bag ready for any emergency. Although most people pack for 72 hours off the grid in case of a disaster, that number is relatively arbitrary; be prepared to at least have a week’s supply of food and drinking water, as well as extra clothing and medical supplies.

You should have an idea of what your home’s weak spots are.  Do you know what amount of sustained wind your structure can withstand?  Most homes are built to withstand 90 mph winds, but when South Florida was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, new homes in South Florida were mandated to be able to withstand 125 mph winds. If the coming storm has sustained winds over that level, you may not be able to depend on the structural integrity of your home.

Riding Out The Storm

If you decide to weather the storm at home, designate a safe room somewhere in the interior of the house.  It should be in a part of the home most downwind from the direction the hurricane is hitting you. Be certain to plan for any special needs that family members (and pets) may have.  You may wind up taking care of more people that you expect, so have more water and non-perishable food than you think you’ll need (1 gallon/day per person minimum). Filling bathtubs with fresh water would give you a reasonable supply.

Outdoors

Unsecured objects can become missiles in a hurricane. Outdoors, move all patio furniture and potted plants either inside the house or up against the outside wall, preferably secured with chains. Put up hurricane shutters if you have them.

One special issue for South Floridians is coconuts:  They turn into cannonballs in a hurricane.  Cut them off the tree before the winds come.  Interestingly, the palm trees themselves, as they don’t have a dense crown, seem to weather most high winds without a problem.  Trees with dense crowns, however, should be pruned to allow wind through and all dead branches removed.

Roof shingles are often casualties of the storm, so have some waterproof tarps available. Roofers are going to be pretty busy after a major storm and might not get to you right away.  In South Florida after Wilma (2005), there were still tarps on roofs more than a year later.

Indoors

Indoor planning is important as well.  Communications may be out in a major storm, so have a NOAA weather radio and lots of fresh batteries. Turn refrigerators and freezers down to their coldest settings, so that food won’t spoil right away if the power fails.  Coolers filled with ice or dry ice will extend the life of some of your more perishable items. Don’t forget a hand-operated can opener.

Fill up gas and propane tanks early in every hurricane season. Make sure that you know how to shut off the electricity, gas and water, if necessary, and perhaps consider getting a generator and some extra gas cans. Never use gas grills or generators indoors, though, as the fumes may be life-threatening.

There’s another kind of power you should be concerned about. In the aftermath of a storm, credit card verification may be down; without cash, you may have no purchasing power at all.

What About The Kids?

If you’ve hunkered down in your home during the storm, make sure that you’ve got books, board games, and light sources for when the power goes down. Kids (and most adults) go stir crazy when stuck inside, especially if they don’t have TVs or computers in service.

Take time to discuss the coming storm in advance with the whole family; this will give everyone an idea of what to expect, and keep fear down to a minimum.  Give the kids some responsibility, as well.  Give them the opportunity to pack their own bag or select games to play.  This will keep their minds busy and their nerves calm.

People are enthralled with hurricanes, and will go out in dangerous winds to take selfies or do other foolish things. This is a recipe for a bad outcome, and some avoidable deaths will occur as a result.

Some items will be useful in the cleanup after the storm.  You’ll need work gloves, plastic garbage bags, duct tape, insect repellent, and even tweezers to deal with the splinters that inevitably are part and parcel of moving a lot of debris.  A chain saw might be needed as well.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, cell phone service may be down due to the huge volume of calls. Texts may be possible, however, even if voice calls aren’t.

By planning early to get your home and family prepared for a hurricane, you’ll get through the storm in the best shape possible.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Dr. Alton

Video: Wildfire Safety Tips

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wildfire

Wildfire Safety

The West coast has been in the grip of several wildfires that have caused millions in damage. In a companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD discusses strategies that might save your home (and your life) in a wildfire.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

 

Get medical preparedness tips for any disaster by checking out Joe and Amy Alton’s brand new third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is Not on the Way.

Survival Medicine Hour: Earthquakes, Epi-Pens, More

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epipen

The Epi-Pen

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss some general thoughts on the nature of survival medicine that you might not have taken into account in making your preparedness plans. Also, Epi-Pens, indispensable products for anaphylactic shock, go beyond the financial wherewithal of most Americans. What’s going on, and is this something that we can accept? If so, kids are going to die from allergies of bee stings and other allergens. Also, the earthquake in Italy kills 300 and injures hundreds more. Could you survive an earthquake? What should be your plan of action in case of tremors?

earthquakedamage

earthquake safety

All this and more in the latest Survival Medicine Hour! To listen in, click here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/08/27/survival-medicine-hour-earthquakes-epi-pens-more

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times and bad,

 

Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP

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Could You Survive An Earthquake?

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earthquake

earthquake preparedness

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake has struck central Italy, killing at least 250 and injuring hundreds more throughout the region.  More than 200 aftershocks have been recorded by seismologists since the major quake hit August 23, 2016 at 3:36 a.m. local time.

The area, part of the Apennine mountain range that forms the central “spine” of Italy, is no stranger to seismic activity, with deadly quakes most recently in 2009 and 2012. This time, the tremors occurred only 65 miles Northeast of Rome.

The United States, especially (but not exclusively) the West Coast, is also susceptible to natural disasters like earthquakes. The West Coast and some areas of the Midwest are located over what we call “fault lines”.  A fault is a fracture in a volume of base rock. Movement of the earth releases energy, which then causes major surface disruptions. This movement is sometimes called a “seismic wave”.

The strength of an earthquake has been historically measured using the Richter scale.  This measurement (from 0-10 or, theoretically, more) identifies the magnitude of tremors at a certain location.  Quakes less than 2.0 on the Richter scale are common occurrences unlikely to be noticed by the average person. Each increase of 1.0 magnitude, however, increases the strength by a factor of 10. The highest-intensity earthquake ever recorded was The Great Chilean Earthquake of 1960 (9.5 on the Richter scale).

Although most people are aware of the Richter Scale, a newer measurement, the Moment Magnitude scale, is thought to be more accurate for higher intensity quakes. The Moment Magnitude scale calculates each point of magnitude as releasing more than 30 times the energy of the previous one.

If the fault lines shift offshore, a “tsunami” or tidal wave may be generated.  In Fukushima, the earthquake (8.9 magnitude) spawned a large tsunami which caused major damage, loss of life, and meltdowns in local nuclear reactors. Tsunami warning were issued for both the Japanese and Ecuadorian earthquakes reported this week. 

AN EARTHQUAKE SURVIVAL PLAN

A major earthquake is especially dangerous due to its unpredictability. Although researchers are working to find ways to determine when a quake will hit, there is usually little warning. This fact makes having a plan before an earthquake hits a major factor in your chances of survival.

This plan of action has to be shared with each family member, even the children. Unless the earthquake happens in the dead of night, it’s unlikely you will all be in the house together. You might be at work and the kids at school, so making everyone aware of what to do will give you the best chance of gathering your family and surviving the earthquake together.

To be prepared, you’ll need, at the very least, the following supplies:

  • Food and water
  • Power sources
  • Alternative shelters
  • Medical supplies
  • Clothing appropriate to the weather
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Means of communication
  • Money (don’t count on credit or debit cards if the power’s down)
  • An adjustable wrench to turn off gas or water
  • Copies of important documents, including insurance policies

In areas at risk for earthquakes, the school system and municipal authorities usually have formulated a disaster plan. They may even have designated a quake-proof shelter. If possible, this may be the best place to go. Make certain to inquire about your town’s precautions in case of a seismic event.

Besides the general supplies listed above, it would be wise to put together a separate “get-home” bag to keep at work or in the car.  Some food, liquids, and a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes are useful items to have in this kit.

Home Earthquake Safety

In the home, it’s important to know where your gas, electric, and water main shutoffs are.  Make sure that everyone of age knows how to turn them off if there is a leak or electrical short.  Know where the nearest medical facility is, but be aware that you may be on your own; medical responders are going to be overwhelmed and may not get to you quickly.

Look around your house for fixtures like chandeliers and bookcases that might not be stable enough to withstand an earthquake. Placing heavier objects on bottom shelves will make cabinets more stable.

Flat screen TVs, especially large ones, could easily topple.  Be sure to check out kitchen and pantry shelves, and the stability of anything hanging over the headboard of your bed.

When The Earthquake Hits

earthquake drop cover hold on

What should you do when the tremors start?  If you’re indoors, get under a table, desk, or something else solid and hold on. This strategy is called “Drop, Cover, Hold”. Dropping to your knees will prevent a fall from causing injuries. Cover may protect you from falling objects. Hold on tight. If cover isn’t available, stand against the corner of an inside wall.

While the building is shaking, don’t try to run out, especially if you’re on an upper floor; you could easily fall down stairs or get hit by falling debris.  Don’t try to use elevators. You should stay clear of windows, shelves, and kitchen areas.

It’s often taught that you should stand in the doorway because of the frame’s sturdiness. It turns out, however, that in modern homes, doorways aren’t much more solid than any other part of the structure. Even if sturdy, you could still get hit by falling objects.

Once the initial tremors are over, go outside.  Once there, stay as far out in the open as possible, away from power lines, chimneys, and anything else that could fall on top of you.

You could, possibly, be in your automobile when the earthquake hits.  Get out of traffic as quickly as possible; other drivers are likely to be less level-headed than you are. Don’t stop your car under bridges, trees, overpasses, power lines, or light posts. They’re likely to topple in a major quake. Stay in your vehicle while the tremors are active.

After The Earthquake

Even after the tremors stop, there are still dangers. One issue to be concerned about is gas leaks; make sure you don’t use your camp stoves, lighters, or even matches until you’re certain all is clear.  Even a match could ignite a spark that could lead to an explosion.  If you turned the gas off, you might consider letting the utility company turn it back on.

Buildings that have structural damage may be unstable or have loose concrete which could rain down on the unsuspecting. Falling stone from damaged buildings killed rescuers in the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Towers collapse.

Don’t count on telephone service after a natural disaster.  Telephone companies only have enough lines to deal with 20% of total call volume at any one time.  It’s likely all lines will be occupied.  Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to apply to texts; you’ll have a better to chance to communicate by texting than by voice due to the wavelength used.

That cell phone will come in handy if you’re trapped under rubble after an earthquake. Even if voice calls won’t work, texts might. Text to loved ones, social media, anyone that can let people know you’re trapped. If you live in quake country, you might consider a whistle on your keychain. It’ll last longer than your voice will as a signal for help. Don’t give up; people can live several days without water, and much longer without food. With any luck, rescuers will find you.

Joe Alton, MD

 

Video: Flood Safety Tips

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car driving in flood

Less than 2 feet of moving water can lift away a vehicle

In this companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD discusses the different causes of floods and some important tips for before, during, and after the disaster. To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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The Altons

Flood preparedness is just one of the new topics you’ll find in the brand new Third Edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way“. You’ll find it at Amazon.com

Save the Whales, I Mean, Bees

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bee

typical honey bee

You may or may not be an environmentalist, but a part of nature that everyone should support is the humble bee. It’s thought that every third bite of food that you take is there because of pollination by bees. Honey, when raw and unprocessed, may even be used as a wound covering for burns and other injuries due to its antibiotic effect. Honey has a lot of other benefits, as well.

But bees are in big trouble, and we still don’t know all the reasons why. In the last decade, bee colonies are experiencing die-offs that affect a significant percentage of all the colonies in various areas. From April 2015-April 2016, our beekeepers lost 44% of their colonies.

Why is this happening? A new  reason is becoming apparent, but first a sad tale: Some time ago, customers at an Oregon Target store arrived to see tens of thousands of dead and dying bumblebees in the parking lot.  An investigation the day before revealed that a pest-control company had sprayed insecticide on surrounding trees due to an aphid infestation. Of course, bees don’t read warning signs and 300 colonies were destroyed. That’s a lot of lost pollinators.

The pesticide used is known as a neonicotinoid, popularly called a “neonic”. It was developed by Bayer a decade ago and differs from other pesticides, like organophosphates, in that they clear from the air a lot slower.

Many crops are treated with neonics. It works like this: The chemical, once sprayed on the plant, is absorbed by the plant’s vascular system. This makes it poisonous to bugs that eat the leaves, nectar, and pollen. Sometimes the soil is treated, with the same absorption effect that makes it deadly to pests. Unfortunately, the pesticide kills good insects, as well.

When a Bayer neonic doesn’t kill a bee, it can damage its immune system and even affect its ability to navigate. It becomes lost and can’t find the hive.

Now, a new study indicates that neonics harm drone bees’ sperm, killing close to 40 per cent and causing a condition called “queen failure”. A queen failure is when queen bees fail to have live offspring. A queen failure is a hive failure.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons a hive can fail. Parasites, disease, and many other factors may come into play. But given the stress that our nation’s bee population is already under, could this be the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Once a chemical has been approved in the U.S., it has to be proven dangerous to be removed from the market. Bayer is a German company, and you might be interested to know that you can’t use neonics in Germany or anywhere in the European Union. Too dangerous. In the U.S., however, neonics are widely used and the bees pay the price.

Some areas in the U.S., however, are taking action. Eugene, Oregon has forbidden the use of this pesticide, and others should follow. We need to encourage others to follow their lead and urge action by the federal government to ban neonicotinoids from use.

Our bees are an important natural resource, not just for beekeepers, but for farmers and for you, the consumer. Big agriculture’s chemical branch is big and influential, but if an entire continent like Europe can outlaw neonics, why can’t we?

Unless you’re one of those people who don’t eat food, you should be invested in this fight. I’d like to Save the Whales, but it’s just as important to save the bees.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

joe alton, md

Under The Heat Dome

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heat dome reuse

heat dome

This summer is turning out to be a real scorcher, with the formation of a “heat dome” bringing some of the hottest weather so far this year to large swaths of U.S. territory this week.

Many consider a heat wave to be just a time to put an extra ice cube in the lemonade, but it’s a deadly natural disaster. More people die in heat waves in the U.S. than just about any recent weather event short of hurricane Katrina. A recent heat wave in the Southwest and West caused temperatures to reach 124 degrees Fahrenheit in Palms Springs, California and 115 degrees in Tucson, Arizona. The highest temperature on Earth ever recorded was 134 degrees in Death Valley, California in 1913.

Heat waves causing large numbers of deaths have been common in recent years.  In 2015, thousands died in a major heat wave in India and Pakistan. Tens of thousands died in a European heat wave in 2003.

This week’s “heat dome” is caused by hot air unable to escape due to high pressure systems over much of the central part of the country.  These systems act like a lid on a pot, causing temperatures to soar. Storms may form at the edges, possibly leading to tornadoes in some areas.

noaa heat index chart

NOAA Heat Index Chart

Making matters worse, the heat index will make it feel even hotter. The heat index is calculated from the temperature combined with the humidity, much like wind chill is a combination of air temperature and wind speed. High humidity limits the ability of the body to sweat, one of the important ways humans get rid of excess heat. It is expected that, due to the heat index, residents will feel as if the temperature is 10 to 20 degrees higher than what the actual air temperature is.

Prepper-Corn-Garden-Container

Yes, Corn can sweat!

Where is this humidity coming from? It could be coming from, of all things, cornfields. The huge amount of land dedicated to growing corn in the Midwest increases air humidity. This is because corn “sweats” much like a human does in hot weather. This humidity will have the effect of increasing the heat index.

Rural areas won’t be the only areas affected. Urban areas will also feel the heat. Paved roads and concrete buildings absorb more heat and cool down slower at night. This causes nighttime temperatures to stay high.

You might think that the most danger will be in areas like South Florida, which has a subtropical climate year-round. But citizens of Miami are accustomed to heat, and less heat-related deaths occur there than would in parts of the country that normally have milder weather. Residents of Minnesota, for example, have less experience with extreme heat and some buildings may not have air conditioners. This puts them at more risk for hyperthermia (heat-related emergencies). Older individuals that might have limited ability to seek help are especially at risk.

Below is advice on heat-related illness from our recent article:

The ill effects due to overheating are called “heat exhaustion” if mild to moderate; if severe, these effects are referred to as “heat stroke”. Heat exhaustion usually does not result in permanent damage, but heat stroke does; indeed, it can permanently disable or even kill its victim.  It is a medical emergency that must be diagnosed and treated promptly.

Simply having muscle cramps or a fainting spell does not necessarily signify a major heat-related medical event. You will see “heat cramps” often in children that have been running around on a hot day.  Getting them out of the sun, massaging the affected muscles, and providing hydration will usually resolve the problem.

In addition to muscle cramps and/or fainting, heat exhaustion is characterized by:

  • Confusion
  • Rapid pulse
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Temperature elevation up to 105 degrees F

If no action is taken to cool the victim, heat stroke may ensue. Heat stroke, in addition to all the possible signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, will manifest as loss of consciousness, seizures or even bleeding (seen in the urine or vomit).  Breathing becomes rapid and shallow.

heat stroke vs heat exhaustion

heat exhaustion (L) Heat Stroke (R)

If not dealt with quickly, shock and organ malfunction may ensue, possibly leading to death. In heat stroke, the skin is hot to the touch, but dry; sweating might be absent.  The body makes efforts to cool itself down until it hits a temperature of about 105 degrees. At that point, thermoregulation breaks down and the body’s ability to use sweating as a natural temperature regulator fails. In heat stroke, the body core can rise to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

In some circumstances, the patient’s skin may actually seem cool.  It is important to realize that it is the body core temperature that is elevated. A person in shock may feel “cold and clammy” to the touch.  You could be misled by this finding, but taking a reading with a thermometer will reveal the patient’s true status.

heat stroke graphic

When overheated patients are no longer able to cool themselves, it is up to their rescuers to do the job. If hyperthermia is suspected, the victim should immediately:

  • Be removed from the heat source (for example, out of the sun).
  • Have their clothing removed.
  • Be drenched with cool water (or ice, if available)
  • Have their legs elevated above the level of their heart (the shock position)
  • Be fanned or otherwise ventilated to help with heat evaporation
  • Have moist cold compresses placed in the neck, armpit and groin areas

Why the neck, armpit and groin? Major blood vessels pass close to the skin in these areas, and cold packs will more efficiently cool the body core.

heat-stroke

Oral rehydration is useful to replace fluids lost, but only if the patient is awake and alert. If your patient has altered mental status, he or she might “swallow” the fluid into their airways; this causes damage to the lungs and puts you in worse shape than when you started.

Heat stroke is preventable in many cases. The Arizona state department of health recommends the following:

  • Drink at least 2 liters (about a half-gallon) of water per day if you are mostly indoors and 1 to 2 additional liters for every hour of outdoor time. Drink before you feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a sun hat or an umbrella to deflect the sun’s rays.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Take regular breaks if you must exert yourself on warm days.

In a heat wave, it’s important to check on the elderly, the very young, and the infirm regularly and often. These people have more difficulty seeking help, and you might just save a life if you’re vigilant. Know the warning signs and how to help those with hyperthermia.

Joe Alton, MD

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Video: Heat Wave Safety

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heat stroke 1

Man, it’s hot! In this video on Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP‘s YouTube channel, Dr. Bones discusses a natural disaster: Heat Waves. You might not consider the heat to be a natural disaster, but it can be deadly to a community as it was when a major one hit Europe in 2003, causing tens of thousands of deaths. Find out how to identify, treat, and prevent heat-related complications like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and you might just save a life this summer!

To watch, click below:

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and individual items at store.doomandbloom.net.

Survival Medicine Hour: Sprains/Strains, Heat Wave Safety, Brazil’s Zika Woes

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sprained-ankle

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy (Joe Alton, MD, and Amy Alton, ARNP), we discuss how a heat waves is a major natural disaster which commonly causes deaths, sometimes on a large scale, and how you can stay safe and avoid, identify, and treat heat stroke and other heat-related illness. Also, how to deal with orthopedic injuries like sprains and strains, plus some natural remedies from Nurse Amy that might be helpful to speed healing. We also discuss Brazil’s many woes, of which Zika virus is just one. Brazil is suffering from economic and political turmoil, and you can expect issues with security that may cause some injuries and deaths on top of the risk of infection. All this and more in this week’s Survival Medicine Hour!

heat stroke 1

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/07/01/survival-medicine-hour-sprainsstrains-heat-waves-brazils-zika-woes

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

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Don’t forget to check out our brand new 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook, now available at amazon.com!

American Survival Radio, June 25

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American Survival Radio is Joe and Amy Alton’s second and latest podcast, focused on current events, health, and politics. It is separate and distinct from The Survival Medicine Hour, which continues as before focused mostly on health issues as they pertain to preparedness and survival.  If you’re interested in Survival, your own and that of your country, we bet you’ll like both!

In this episode of American Survival Radio, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss the issues of the day, which seems to include terror events and active shooters more and more as time goes on. Of course, with that, the political battle over gun control rages while, perhaps, the discussion over how to make Americans more difficult targets gets ignored. Plus, the state of California”s lawmakers pass a bill to allow Obamacare to be offered to undocumented immigrants, something President Obama himself had guaranteed repeatedly would NOT happen. Listen to how California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D) found a loophole in the law, and how, unless, they find funds to pay the premiums for these immigrants , Obamacare is still going to be unaffordable to most even if offered.

On the natural disaster front, a deadly heat wave in the West is causing problems for the 3500 firefighters trying to control multiple wildfires in the area. Yes, a heat wave is a natural disaster: A major one in 2003 on the European continent killed tens of thousands of people. Joe and Amy Alton tell you how to stay safe in the hottest weather. All this and more in American Survival Radio #14!

American Survival Radio

The Altons

Why Preppers Should Consider Homeschooling

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preppers homeschoolI don’t remember when I first became convinced that homeschooling was the only type of education I wanted for our children. I do know it was long before I ever became pregnant. Now that we’ve finished our eleventh year of homeschooling, I’m more glad than ever of our choice. Homeschooling has been the perfect fit for our prepping family.

The foremost benefit for preppers like us is that homeschooling provides a continuous flow of education in spite of changing circumstances. Any event that would normally disrupt the school year doesn’t have nearly the same impact on homeschoolers. During a time of intense stress and change, a homeschooling family is together, along with the reassurance and the anchor that only parents can provide. This family survival manual will set you up with everything necessary for getting ready for emergencies.

Experienced homeschoolers know that you can “do school” at any time of the day or night. You can fill a backpack and a Kindle with all the curriculum you need and hit the road. School can happen in the waiting room of a hospital, in a Red Cross emergency shelter, or at Grandma’s house for an extended stay.

READ MORE: What if you were forced to homeschool? Could you do it? What might you need to do now to prepare?

It’s the versatility of homeschooling that lured us to this way of life and should everything hit the fan, for whatever reason, it may disrupt our homeschooling for a time, but at least we have the curriculum, supplies, and confidence to continue, even through the high school years.

No relocation trauma

If a family decides to move to another location or has to evacuate for a time, other than losing some time in the moving process, kids can pick up their schooling right where they left off. When we moved from Arizona to Texas, it did take a bit of catching up and a few hours with a math tutor to get my daughter back on track with Algebra, but within weeks, it was as if we’d always lived here and our schooling just continued in spite of the rather large blip.

(Our move didn’t go exactly smoothly, and I wrote about it here.)

The trauma of leaving one school and starting over in another is a non-issue. Our kids didn’t have to face walking into a classroom of strangers and when we landed in our little corner of Texas, little by little, they found their place among homeschoolers. We joined a large group of homeschooling families, which offered a Girls Book Club, a Boys Book Club, papercrafting classes, a homeschool baseball team, horseback riding lessons, a homeschool archery club, a rowing team, rugby, lacrosse,  you name it. Within a short time, it was as if my kids had always lived here.

In case a pandemic hits, homeschooled kids will already be at home, along with their textbooks, computers, and everything else they need for learning. School closings and quarantines will be one less thing to worry about.

Will they be isolated and weird?

If you’re worried about socialization, that homeschooled kids will turn out “weird” and unable to order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s,  I present to you my two children.

My daughter is now a senior in high school and, gasp!, she’s been homeschooled since kindergarten and throughout her high school years. She has taken sewing classes, been on swim teams and in a year-round swim club. She’s tried out cheerleading, took piano lessons, has been in Toastmasters for 3 years, a homeschool drama class, has dissected just about everything a Biology student can dissect and is handy with both a rifle and a handgun. She cooks from scratch, can make her own homemade beauty products, knows how to dehydrate food and can use a Sun Oven.

When she left for church camp this summer, she packed a small emergency kit with her: an emergency blanket, her Swedish fire knife, a Sawyer mini water filter, a multitool and a flashlight. She is confident and in so many ways already ready for college and beyond.

So proud.

My son is now 14. He’s in Civil Air Patrol and focused like a laser on moving up in the ranks. He’s on a rowing team, plays on a homeschool baseball team, and can talk with anyone about anything, anywhere, anytime. In the past, he’s been on an archery team, gone to a shooting skills summer camp, taken horseback riding lessons, and has even made his own forge. I’ve seen him stay calm in situations where I was near panic and have come to rely on him as a strong and steady member of our family.

Just from these bits and pieces of my kids’ homeschooling activities over the years, you can see they’ve had plenty of time to learn practical skills and spend time with people of all ages. They aren’t unique. They are very much typical homeschoolers and ours is the typical homeschool experience.

The false argument, “But what about socialization?”, isn’t an issue, and it never really was. (I don’t happen to think that putting a gaggle of kids who just happen to be the same age in a room together for 9 months is the ultimate in developing well-rounded kids, but maybe that’s just me.)

Both social and practical skills

Our homeschooling has given them the time to develop practical skills, like canning and gardening, that would otherwise be limited by public school hours and homework. For preppers, this is the ideal educational setting: kids are able to learn academic subjects and still have time to explore their own interests and learn skills of self-reliance.

When I was in elementary and high school, decades ago, there were practical skills classes beginning in 7th grade. I learned how to iron, how to bake and cook, and how to use basic hand tools. Hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, and canning were once a part of everyday life for the majority of Americans. Now, if parents do not teach these skills to their kids, who will? Certainly not the public school system.

DON’T MISS: “Homeschooling: Where Academics & Survival Skills Meet

If you want your kids, to learn practical, life-long skills, it’s up to you. This is where grandparents and extended family can play a huge role. Certainly, among the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in you family circle, there’s an abundance of knowledge and skills that could die out with that generation. Just yesterday, I was wishing that I had thought to ask my own great-aunts about growing up during the Great Depression.

Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge right in your own backyard and prepare your kids for a future of self-reliance by learning those skills now. Homeschooling helps make this possible because the “school day” is generally much, much shorter than the 7-8 hours spent in public schools, Monday through Friday.

Homeschooling for the tightest budgets

Another reason that preppers should consider homeschooling is because it’s many advantages come with a tiny price tag. In fact, there is a multitude of resources online that are absolutely free.

The curriculum that our family has thoroughly enjoyed over the years is AmblesideOnline. This challenging, 36-week curriculum is completely free and follows the educational philosophy and principles of Charlotte Mason, a British educator who established several schools in the late 1800’s. The website, SimplyCharlotteMason, explains:

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

AmblesideOnline provides the curriculum, book lists, and dozens of resources — the only expense is the actual books, and many of those are free online and can be found in used bookstores. For many reasons, this curriculum worked out perfectly for my family. When I saw my 11-12 year old daughter reading the original Mary Poppins, the original Peter Pan, and Oliver Twist and then discussing with me the themes of the novels without the need of a textbook or workbook guiding her thoughts and conclusions, well, I was impressed, especially coming from a public school background as a teacher, where so much literature for kids is “bottom of the barrel.” (Captain Underpants, anyone? The mindset of the public school system is that kids just aren’t bright enough to comprehend “hard” books.)

There are dozens of other curricula, though, and if you’re a beginner, you can read through my articles of advice for beginners. The main point is that homeschooling doesn’t have to cost much money at all. In fact, since so many homeschooling families are single-income with mom staying home, you’ll find yourself right at home with families who are also budget-minded and prefer to live simply in order to provide this education for their kids.

A multitude of free homeschooling resources on the web can take the place of more expensive curriculum if need be.

Self-reliant families in homeschool circles

I have found that homeschooling parents are generally eager to share their experiences and offer advice and suggestions, and chances are, there are homeschooling activity groups and co-ops in your area. However, beyond that help, you will find that homeschooling families tend toward self-reliance, and you will likely find other prepper families in these groups.

We’re used to swimming against the flow and are just a little bit rebels at heart, so prepping and homeschooling are a natural fit.

READ MORE: Here is a list of all the homeschooling articles that have appeared here on The Survival Mom.

“Follow your heart”, isn’t always the best advice, but when it comes to homeschooling, I think it’s an excellent guide. If your heart is telling you to, at least, consider homeschooling, there’s no better time to do that than right now.

This article was originally published in June, 2009, and has been updated.

preppers homeschool

It’s A Cruel, Cruel Summer: Heat Waves

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house on fire burning

Well, Summer is here and the West is experiencing record high temperatures in a series of heat waves that may continue until Fall. Even worse, the scorching temperatures are igniting scores of wildfires that are threatening communities throughout the region.

Officials predicted a high-risk situation as the heat surpassed 100 degrees across much of Southern California; desert cities throughout Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico hit temperatures reaching the 120s. These temperatures place the more than 3,000 firefighters in the area in extreme danger for heat-related complications.

The power grid is being tested by the millions of air conditioning units set on “max cool”, and we can expect to see some major issues if the electricity goes out and people have to fight the heat with hand fans.

You might not consider a heat wave a natural disaster, but it most certainly is. Heat waves can cause mass casualties, as they did in Europe when 70,000 died of exposure (not in the Middle Ages, but in 2003). India, Pakistan, and other underdeveloped tropical countries experience thousands of heat-related deaths yearly. A pre-monsoon heat wave in April killed hundreds in the region. There are already several recorded deaths in the American West.

So how exactly does heat kill a person? Your body core regulates its temperature for optimal organ function. When core body temperature rises excessively (known as “hyperthermia”), damage occurs that leak toxins, cause cell death, and major inflammation. These deaths can occur very quickly without intervention, even in those who are physically fit. Even in modern times, hyperthermia carries a 10% death rate, mostly in the elderly and infirm.

The ill effects due to overheating are called “heat exhaustion” if mild to moderate; if severe, these effects are referred to as “heat stroke”. Heat exhaustion usually does not result in permanent damage, but heat stroke does; indeed, it can permanently disable or even kill its victim.  It is a medical emergency that must be diagnosed and treated promptly.

The risk of heat stroke correlates strongly to the “heat index”, a measurement of the effects of air temperature combined with high humidity.  Above 60% relative humidity, loss of heat by perspiration is impaired, increasing the chances of heat-related illness.  Exposure to full sun increases the reported heat index by as much as 10-15 degrees F.

Simply having muscle cramps or a fainting spell does not necessarily signify a major heat-related medical event. You will see “heat cramps” often in children that have been running around on a hot day.  Getting them out of the sun, massaging the affected muscles, and providing hydration will usually resolve the problem.

heat stroke vs heat exhaustion

In addition to muscle cramps and/or fainting, heat exhaustion is characterized by:

  • Confusion
  • Rapid pulse
  • Flushing
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Temperature elevation up to 105 degrees F

If no action is taken to cool the victim, heat stroke may ensue. Heat stroke, in addition to all the possible signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, will manifest as loss of consciousness, seizures or even bleeding (seen in the urine or vomit).  Breathing becomes rapid and shallow.

If not dealt with quickly, shock and organ malfunction may ensue, possibly leading to death. In heat stroke, the skin is likely to be hot to the touch, but dry; sweating might be absent.  The body makes efforts to cool itself down until it hits a temperature of 105-6 degrees or so. At that point, thermoregulation breaks down and the body’s ability to use sweating as a natural temperature regulator fails. In heat stroke, the body core can rise to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

You’ll notice that the skin becomes red, not because it is burned, but because the blood vessels are dilating in an effort to dissipate some of the heat.

In some circumstances, the patient’s skin may actually seem cool.  It is important to realize that it is the body core temperature that is elevated. A person in shock may feel “cold and clammy” to the touch.  You could be misled by this finding, but simply taking a reading with a thermometer will reveal the patient’s true status.

heat-stroke

When overheated patients are no longer able to cool themselves, it is up to their rescuers to do the job. If hyperthermia is suspected, the victim should immediately:

  • Be removed from the heat source (for example, out of the sun).
  • Have their clothing removed.
  • Be drenched with cool water (or ice, if available)
  • Have their legs elevated above the level of their heart (the shock position)
  • Be fanned or otherwise ventilated to help with heat evaporation
  • Have moist cold compresses placed in the neck, armpit and groin areas

Why the neck, armpit and groin? Major blood vessels pass close to the skin in these areas, and cold packs will more efficiently cool the body core.

heat stroke graphic

Treating heat stroke: Only give fluids in someone that is awake and alert

Oral rehydration is useful to replace fluids lost, but only if the patient is awake and alert. If your patient has altered mental status, he or she might “swallow” the fluid into their airways; this causes damage to the lungs and puts you in worse shape than when you started.

Heat stroke is preventable in many cases. The Arizona state department of health recommends the following:

  • Drink at least 2 liters (about a half-gallon) of water per day if you are mostly indoors and 1 to 2 additional liters for every hour of outdoor time. Drink before you feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a sun hat or an umbrella to deflect the sun’s rays.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Take regular breaks if you must exert yourself on warm days.

In a heat wave, it’s important to check on the elderly, the very young, and the infirm regularly and often. These people have more difficulty seeking help, and you might just save a life if you’re vigilant. Know the warning signs and how to help those with hyperthermia.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Announcing The NEW Third Edition Survival Medicine Handbook

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The Survival medicine handbook Third Edition 2016

The Survival Medicine Handbook 2016 Third Edition

Well, we’ve returned from an awesome week in the great state of Oregon and got to look at the final proof of the Third Edition, which arrived while we were away. It looks good on review, so we hit the publish button and it’s now available at Amazon.

 

For those who don’t know us, the third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook is not your standard first aid book: Unlike other medical books (even some outdoor and “survival” medicine books), it assumes that a disaster, natural or man-made, has removed all access to hospitals or doctors for the foreseeable future; you, the average person, are now the highest medical resource left to your family.  It’s also for the family that lives or is traveling in rural areas where the ambulance is more than a few minutes away, or where there isn’t cell phone service.

 

To let you know what’s in the book, most of the topics are below. Every chapter has been revised to some extent. We’ve greatly increased the content on hemorrhagic wounds, adding chapters on active shooters, tourniquets, gunshot and knife wounds, discussions of ballistic trauma and body armor, and even the medic under fire. Food/water contamination, pandemic diseases, rodent issues, and disease-causing microbes also added as individual discussions. The section on respiratory infections is completely reworked as is the section on physical exams. Additional natural disaster preparedness topics include blizzards, avalanches, survival when lost at sea, mudslides, and more. Nurse Amy has added a lot of material to the medical supplies section, plus how to sterilize supplies, choosing a medic bag, and more. Soft tissue wound care and patient transport have been expanded. As always, we discuss alternative remedies wherever they may be helpful.
Here are just some of the over 150 topics (175 illustrations) covered in our 670 page book:

PRINCIPLES OF MEDICAL PREPAREDNESS-HISTORY OF PREPAREDNESS-USING ALL THE TOOLS IN THE WOODSHED-SPIRITUALITY AND SURVIVAL-MODERN MEDICINE VS. SURVIVAL MEDICINE-THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY-HOW TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE MEDIC-LIKELY MEDICAL ISSUES YOU’LL FACE-MEDICAL SKILLS YOU’LL WANT TO LEARN-MEDICAL BAGS, KITS, AND SUPPLIES-HOW TO STERILIZE MEDICAL SUPPLIES-NATURAL REMEDIES, LIKE OILS, TEAS, TINCTURES, AND SALVES-THE MEDICAL HISTORY AND PHYSICAL EXAM-THE MASS CASUALTY INCIDENT-THE ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENT-PATIENT TRANSPORT-HYGIENE-RELATED MEDICAL ISSUES-LICE, TICKS, AND WORMS-DENTAL ISSUES AND PROCEDURES-RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS-GUIDE TO PROTECTIVE MASKS-FOOD AND WATER-BORNE ILLNESS-WATER STERILIZATION-DIARRHEAL DISEASE AND DEHYDRATION-DEALING WITH SEWAGE ISSUES-RODENTS AS DISEASE VECTORS-FOOD POISONING-PATHOGENS (DISEASE-CAUSING ORGANISMS)-HOW INFECTIONS SPREAD-APPENDICITIS AND OTHER ABDOMINAL INFECTIONS AND CONDITIONS-HEPATITIS-URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS-INFECTIONS CAUSED BY YEAST-CELLULITIS-ABSCESSES-TETANUS-MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES-PANDEMICS-THE SURVIVAL SICK ROOM -HYPERTHERMIA (HEAT STROKE)-HYPOTHERMIA-FROSTBITE/IMMERSION (TRENCH) FOOT-COLD WATER SAFETY-FALLING THROUGH THE ICE-AVALANCHE PREPAREDNESS-ALTITUDE SICKNESS-WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS-SMOKE INHALATION-TORNADO PREPAREDNESS-HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS-EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS-FLOOD PREPAREDNESS-MARITIME SURVIVAL-NEAR-DROWNING-VOLCANO PREPAREDNESS-ALLERGIC REACTIONS-ASTHMA-ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK-POISON IVY, OAK, AND SUMAC-RADIATION SICKNESS-BIOLOGICAL WARFARE-INJURIES TO SOFT TISSUES- MINOR WOUNDS-HEMORRHAGIC WOUNDS-PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF BLOOD LOSS-HEMORRHAGE CONTROL-TOURNIQUETS-COMMERCIAL BLOOD-CLOTTING AGENTS-KNIFE AND BULLET WOUNDS-BODY ARMOR-THE MEDIC UNDER FIRE-SOFT TISSUE CHRONIC WOUND CARE-HOW TO SUTURE SKIN-HOW TO STAPLE SKIN-LOCAL NERVE BLOCKS-BLISTERS, SPLINTERS, AND FISHHOOKS-NAIL BED INJURIES-BURN INJURIES-ANIMAL BITES-SNAKE BITES-INSECT BITES AND STINGS-HEAD INJURIES-SPRAINS AND STRAINS-DISLOCATIONS-FRACTURES-PNEUMOTHORAX-AMPUTATION-THYROID DISEASE-DIABETES-HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE-HEART DISEASE-ULCER AND ACID REFLUX DISEASE-SEIZURE DISORDERS-JOINT DISEASE-KIDNEY AND GALL BLADDER STONES-SKIN RASHES-VARICOSE VEINS-HEMORRHOIDS-AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION-TRACHEOTOMY-CPR IN THE UNCONSCIOUS PATIENT-HEADACHE-EYE TRAUMA AND INFECTIONS-NASAL TRAUMA-EAR INFECTIONS-PREGNANCY AND DELIVERY-ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION-SLEEP DEPRIVATION-OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS-PAIN RELIEF-ANTIBIOTICS (and how to use them)- EXPIRATION DATES

 

We hope you’ll consider the Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook for your library.

 

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyLabcoatSMALL300x300

Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP

 

Natural Disasters Since 1900 Infographic

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Ever wonder what natural disasters had the biggest impact on the human race since 1900? Well, the infographic below provides a good overview (click to embiggen). The biggest natural disasters since 1900 are listed by the number of persons affected as well as the total death toll. As you can see, the most destructive events […]

The post Natural Disasters Since 1900 Infographic appeared first on Smart Suburban Survival.

Calling for Backup: How to Stack the Deck in Your Favor When a Disaster Strikes

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disaster survivalFor many of us, it’s hard to ask for help. We pride ourselves in our preparedness for emergencies; in many cases we are the go-to people in our social circle for what to do in case of…fill in the blank. Or at least we know who to ask or where to look up the answer. But as strong as we are, there are many things in nature and in our industrialized world that are much stronger. In some cases, we need to call for help…for backup.

It’s OK to need some backup!

Remember that every day, police and fire departments send their people out to dangerous situations. In most cases, one unit (police car, fire truck, ambulance) can handle the situation by themselves with little problem. If you think you have a hard time asking for help, just imagine the egos needed by cops who respond to an armed robbery, or firefighters entering a burning building. In those lines of work, you only ask for help if you really need it: ask for it too often or unnecessarily, and you get a bad reputation.

But when they do really need it, calling for backup allows that first responding unit to stay at the scene and finish the job…with a little help (sometimes with a lot of help). In some cases, that first unit can anticipate trouble before it actually happens and ask for backup as a precaution. For instance, a cop might pull over the car of a known felon, on parole for assaulting a police officer. Common sense would be to call for backup, knowing this person is a high-risk contact.

In a different case, back in the day when I was a street cop I was driving through town on a two-lane road when an old El Camino heading toward me in the other direction suddenly lost its load of furniture into the road right as I passed them. I turned on my red and blue lights and did a U-turn, pulling in behind them where they had already pulled over on the shoulder. I called in the license plate and location to my dispatcher and got out of my car to talk to the occupants, a couple in their 30’s. Having moved many times in my life, I wasn’t in an enforcement frame of mind; I just wanted to make sure they could safely load their cargo back in the car. Our conversation was friendly and light.

Just about the time that I looked in the car and saw the screwdriver sticking out of the steering column, my dispatcher notified me that it was a stolen vehicle and sent another unit toward my location for backup. With a smile on my face, I quickly handcuffed the male and sat him on the curb about the time that the backup car arrived. In this case, a seemingly innocent contact unexpectedly became potentially dangerous, justifying the backup.

Not Just for Cops and Firefighters

Now that you understand what I mean by “backup,” let’s apply the concept to surviving disasters. Most preparedness advice treats each family as an individual unit, but the truth is that most of us have a network of neighbors, friends, and relatives that could potentially help us in various ways in a disaster. And each of us can make a real difference providing backup to our social circle when they are jeopardy.

RELATED ARTICLE: “Where Do You Start When Everything Has Been Lost?

In general, there are two categories of disasters:

  • No-notice disasters like earthquakes and train derailments
  • Prior-notice disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires

There are some calamities like floods that can fit in both categories (i.e. flash floods vs. slow-rise floods), but those tend to be location-specific. You generally have one or the other in a particular place.

Prior-notice Disasters

Let’s talk about prior-notice incidents first, because planning a backup strategy for them will yield an easy approach to no-notice backup. We want our backup to be able to provide help when we need:

  • Sandbagging to keep water out from a flood
  • Flammable items removed from around the house as a fire approaches
  • Hurricane shutters put up
  • Babysitting, so parents can do important tasks
  • Supplies or messages delivered when phone service is out
  • Water removed from a flooded basement

No-notice Disasters

The preparation that you put in place for prior-notice emergencies will really pay off for no-notice incidents. No-notice events will often cause communications difficulty when they suddenly occur, because the natural reaction of most people is to immediately call their kids or other loved ones. Cellular networks quickly become overloaded with voice traffic, but they can often still accommodate text messages. With a critical contacts list, your group should be able to gain awareness of everyone’s circumstances, and learn who needs help.


Before a disaster strikes, put a critical contacts list together.
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The Critical Contacts List

This contact list is simply a list of who you might want to call on to help in an emergency, but it’s not enough to just put these names and phone numbers on paper. It’s very important to have a conversation with each individual. Once you have a fairly solid list of people you think would be willing to help in a disaster, host a dinner party or potluck (at least with those within a reasonable distance) where you can not only continue the conversation with individuals, but foster connections among the group.

As a personal example, I had no idea that my second cousin was a fairly serious ham radio enthusiast. I found out by chance at a family get-together. Talk about a valuable skill set in a disaster! This would be a great resource to foster communications within the family during an emergency and to keep tabs on info from other hams. The point is that you won’t know if you never ask.

The Agenda, and the List

Before the main course is served at your dinner party, make sure you give each of your guests an agenda of what you hope to accomplish, and a list of contact info for all of your guests. It may seem over the top, but it will focus the group and show them what you want to do. Keep it short and to the point. You can joke with the group that you’re holding dinner hostage until the task is complete. The most important thing is to state your interest in helping organize your neighbors, family and friends to be able to help each other in emergencies.

The contact list is a critical part of your effort; even if an attendee doesn’t enthusiastically buy in to your suggestions, chances are they will hang on to the contact list. If you put forth a little more effort and make it into a laminated card, those odds go way up, as do the odds that the list will be available to each member of your group when it hits the fan. A laminated card, small enough to fit inside a wallet, helps insures that everyone has those important contacts no matter where they are.

One Last Thought

Just as my dispatcher sent backup to me whenever I was anticipating problems, you can anticipate many problems yourself (or even as a group). Most weather-related problems have some warning time, and with all of the warnings available from the National Weather Service and various phone apps, you should have time to alert your people. Think you’ll need backup? Time for a slumber party at your place. Get your crew together, make a plan, and you’ll be more ready than 99% of your neighbors.

A few more resources for disaster survival

disaster survival

Preparing For Wildfires

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wildfire

Wildfire

After experiencing a hellish wildfire season last summer and fall in the U.S., a huge conflagration in the Canadian province of Alberta has us thinking again of wildfire preparedness. The wildfire in our northern neighbor’s territory has burned 400,000 acres so far and destroyed or damaged 1600 buildings. Two have died in a car crash while attempting to escape the flames, which has caused the evacuation of 100,000 people. The grid is damaged, the water undrinkable, and even local firefighters are seeing their homes burn to the ground.

In a news conference today, authorities state that, although the spread has slowed, the fire might continue to burn for months and threatens the neighboring province of Saskatchewan. The region affected is the heart of Canada’s oil industry, with the third-largest reserves in the world. A quarter of the country’s oil production has been suspended, leaving questions about the effect the natural disaster will have on Canada’s economy.

Many people are concerned about disasters that threaten their way of life, and wildfires should be high on the list in many areas. But how can you protect your property from being devastated by fire? Two main principles are 1) vegetation management and 2) creating a “defensible space”.

 

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT

wildfire1

vegetation management is key to fire protection

 

An important factor in protecting your home is what we call “vegetation management”. With vegetation management, the key is to direct fires away from your house. There are several ways to accomplish this, all of which require vigilance and regular maintenance.

 

You’ll want to clean up dead wood and leaf piles lying on the ground close to your buildings and off the roofs and gutters. Although you may have spent time and money putting lush landscaping around your home, you may have to remove some of the vegetation close to the structure. Some people place thorny bushes by windows to deter home invaders, but these would have to go if your concern is fire protection.

 

You’ll want to thin out those thick canopied trees near your house, making sure that no two canopies touch each other. Any trees within 50 feet on flatland, or 200 feet if downhill from your retreat needs to be thinned, so that you’re pruning branches off below 10-12 feet high, and separating them by 10-20 feet. No tree should overhang the roof. Also, eliminate all shrubs at the base of the trunks.

 

Lawns and gardens should be well-hydrated; collect lawn cuttings and other debris that could be used as fuel by the fire. If water is limited, keep dry lawns cut back as much as possible (or remove them).

 

DEFENSIBLE SPACES

 

From a wildfire perspective, a defensible space is an area around a structure where wood and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of flames towards a structure. Having a defensible space will also provide room to work for those fighting the fire.

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

The amount of defensible space you’ll need depends on whether you’re on flat land or on a steep slope. Flatland fires spread more slowly than a fire on a slope (hot air and flames rise). A fire on a steep slope with wind blowing uphill spreads fast and produces “spot fires”. These are small fires that ignite vegetation ahead of the main burn, due to small bits of burning debris in the air.

 

Woodpiles and other flammables should be located at least 20-30 feet away from structures. Gardening tools should be kept in sheds, and those sheds should be at a distance from the home.  Concrete walkways and perimeter walls may serve to impede the progress of the fire.

 

Attic and other vents should be covered with screen mesh to prevent small embers from entering the structure. Additional strategies can be found at firewise.org.

 

ESCAPING A WILDFIRE

 

Of course, once you have created a defensible space, the natural inclination is to want to, well, defend it. Unfortunately, you have to remember that you’ll be in the middle of a lot of heat and smoke. Therefore, you’re probably not going to be able to function effectively unless you’re an Olympic athlete. It stands to reason that most of us will not be up to the task.

 

The safest recommendation, therefore, would be to get out of Dodge if there’s a safe way out. It’s a personal decision but your family’s lives depend on it, so be realistic. If you’re leaving, have that bug-out bag already in the car, as well as any important papers you might need to keep and some cash.

 

Before leaving, make sure you shut off any air conditioning system that draws air into the house from outside. Turn off all your appliances, close all your windows and lock all your doors. Like any other emergency, you should have some form of communication established with your loved ones so that you can contact each other. Make sure your medical kit contains some eyewash; smoke is a major irritant to the eyes.

 

TRAPPED IN A WILDFIRE

 

If your routes of escape are blocked, make sure you’re dressed in long pants, sleeves, and heavy boots. A wool blanket is very helpful as an additional outside layer because wool is relatively fire-resistant. If you don’t have wool blankets, this is a good time to add some to your storage, or keep some in your car.

 

If you’re in a building, stay on the side of the building farthest from the fire with the least number of windows (windows transfer heat to the inside). Stay there unless you have to leave due to smoke or the building catching fire. If that’s the case and you have to leave, wrap yourself in that blanket, leaving only your eyes uncovered. Some people think it’s a good idea to wet the blanket first. Don’t! Wet materials transfer heat much faster than dry materials and will cause more severe burns.

 

If you’re having trouble breathing because of the smoke, stay low, and crawl out of the building if you have to. There’s less smoke and heat the lower you go.Keep your face down towards the floor. This will help protect your airway, which is very important. You can recover from burns on your skin, but not from major burns in your lungs. For some more information about smoke inhalation, click this link to a short article: http://www.doomandbloom.net/smoke-inhalation/

 

BUILDING A FIRE-RESISTANT HOME

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

You might consider building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). These are polystrene blocks made to fit together. Filled with concrete, ICFs create solid insulation that locks out sound, weather, and gives some fire resistance. Mostly used in commercial buildings and schools, constructing a home with ICFs cost a little more, but is superior to wood.

 

Flame-resistant roofing and siding is important, also. Asphalt shingles are used in most roofs, but there’s a fiberglass variety that offers better fire resistance. Decking can also be fire-resistant if constructed with Class A composite materials made from PVC and wood fiber. Windows using heat-reflective glass reduce the  heat that  enters your home in a wildfire. The heat-reflective coating acts to reduce up to 90 percent of the heat. Metal or fiber cement siding is superior to wood or vinyl products. As you might imagine, all these fire-proofing strategies come at an increased cost.

 

Wildfires and other catastrophes, whether natural or man-made, can threaten your life and the lives of your loved ones. Planning before the event will give you the best shot at getting through them in the best shape possible.

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4
Learn more about wildfire safety plus how to deal with many other events that threaten your survival with The Survival Medicine Handbook, with 300 5-star reviews on Amazon!

More Notice For Tornado Events?

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tornado

Disasters happen, and a tornado is one of the classic ones that can cause damage and death. Will a new computer-driven warning system give citizens more time to get out of the way of the path of destruction?

 

A tornado’s a violently rotating column of air in contact with both the surface of the earth and the thunderstorm (sometimes called a “supercell”) that spawned it. Although they’re difficult to see close up, from a distance, tornadoes usually appear in the form of a visible dark funnel with all sorts of flying debris in and around it.

 

A tornado (also called a “twister”) may have winds of up to 300 miles per hour, and can travel quite a ways, miles and miles, before petering out.  They may be accompanied by hail and will emit a roaring sound that will remind you of a passing train. When I say a passing train, I mean a roaring locomotive passing by 3 inches before your nose. We have personally experienced this at our own home, and we can tell you that it is terrifying even though it only caused minor damage.

tornado alley

Tornado Alley

 

Tornadoes can come anytime, but most often right about now in the part of the country known as Tornado Alley. That’s a group of tornado-prone areas located between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains that experiences more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world. It is not an official weather term; it was primarily a phrase popularized by the media.

 

Now, the first multi-state tornado outbreak of the spring season is being forecast, with weather experts at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma sounding the alarm by issuing a “moderate risk” outlook. Sounds pretty boring, but a moderate risk designation is the fourth-highest on the organization’s five-point scale. About 4 million people live within the risk area, which encompasses Oklahoma City as well as Wichita, Kansas.

 

Not uncommonly, the tornadoes that are spawned in this situation will cause a lot of damage, as well as possible injuries and deaths. Making them more predictable is the Storm Prediction Center’s mission. Although it uses computer models to issue the latest warnings with more notice than ever before, it’s not certain if they’ll actually help.

 

It’s possible that, with 15 minutes’ notice, that the only action might be heading to a (hopefully) underground shelter. With an hour, though, would people hide in a shelter or get in the car and hit the road?  If they do, is it safer or will they be caught in the path of the twister? Now, we might be able to give some days’ notice, but will it make a difference?

 

It’s possible that giving people several days’ notice of a potentially stormy day won’t significantly alter their behavior, unlike those who receive similar hurricane warnings. It’s not certain why that is, but I think that these tornado warnings are for an event that doesn’t yet exist, while a hurricane warning is for a storm that’s there: you can see it on the radar heading in your direction and it carries a sense of urgency.

 

But ignoring tornado warnings isn’t a good idea. Every year, hundreds of people are killed by tornadoes, but many injuries and deaths could have been avoided with some planning.

 

Injuries from tornadoes usually come as a result of trauma from the flying debris that is carried along with it.  Strong winds can carry large objects and fling them around in a manner that is hard to believe. Indeed, there’s a report that, in 1931, an 83 ton train was lifted and thrown 80 feet from the tracks.

 

Tornadoes are categorized as level 0-5 by the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is based on wind speeds and the amount of damage caused:

 

  • F0 Light: Winds 40-72 miles per hour; smaller trees uprooted or branches broken, mild structural damage
  • F1 Moderate: winds 73–112 miles per hour; Broken windows, small tree trunks broken, overturned mobile homes, destruction of carports or toolsheds, roof tiles missing
  • F2 Considerable: winds 113–157 miles per hour; Mobile homes destroyed, major structural damage to frame homes due to flying debris, some large trees snapped in half or uprooted
  • F3 Severe: winds 158–206 miles per hour; Roofs torn from homes, small frame homes destroyed, most trees snapped and uprooted
  • F4 Devastating: winds 207–260 miles per hour; Strong-structure buildings damaged or destroyed or lifted from foundations, cars lifted and blown away, even large debris airborne
  • F5 Incredible: winds 261–318 miles per hour; Larger buildings lifted from foundations, trees snapped, uprooted and debarked, objects weighing more than a ton become airborne missiles

 

Although some places may have sirens or other methods to warn you of an approaching twister, it’s important to have a weather radio and plan for your family to weather the storm.  Having a plan before a tornado touches down is the most likely way you’ll survive the event. Children should be taught where to find the medical kits and how to use a fire extinguisher.  If appropriate, teach everyone how to safely turn off the gas and electricity.

 

If you’re in the path of a tornado, take shelter immediately unless you live in a mobile home. These are especially vulnerable to damage from the winds.  If there is time, get to the nearest building that has a tornado shelter, preferably underground.

 

If you live in Tornado Alley, consider putting together your own underground shelter. Unlike bunkers and other structures built for long-term use, a tornado shelter only has to provide safety for a short period of time.  As such, it doesn’t have to be very large; 8-10 square feet per person is perfectly acceptable.  Despite this, be sure to consider ventilation and the comfort or special needs of those using the shelter.

 

If you don’t have a shelter, find the safest place in the house where family members can gather. Basements, bathrooms, closets or inside rooms without windows are the best options. Windows can easily shatter from impact due to flying debris.

 

For added protection, get under a heavy object such as a sturdy table.  Covering your body with a sleeping bag or mattress will provide an additional shield.  Discuss this plan of action with every member of your family often, so that they will know this process by heart.

 

If you’re in a car and can drive to a shelter, do so. Although you may be hesitant to leave your vehicle, remember that they can be easily tossed around by high winds; you may be safer if there is a culvert or other area lower than the roadway. It is not safe to hide under a bridge or overpass, however, as the winds can easily reach you.

 

In town, leaving the car to enter a sturdy building may be appropriate. If there is no other shelter, however, staying in your car will protect you from some of the flying debris.  Keep your seat beat on, put your head down below the level of the windows, and cover yourself if at all possible.

 

If you’re out hiking when the tornado hits, get away from heavily wooded areas.  Torn branches and other debris become missiles, so an open field or ditch may be safer. Lying down flat in a ditch or other low spot in the ground will give you some protection.  Make sure to cover your head if at all possible, even if it’s just with your hands.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

 

Get those medical supplies to weather the storm at store.doomandbloom.net, and follow us on Twitter @preppershow and on YouTube at drbones nurseamy.

5 Major Earthquakes In 48 Hours As A Seismologist Warns ‘Catastrophic Mega Earthquakes’ Are Coming

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Survival World News

Earthquake Freeway Collapse

By Michael Snyder – End Of The American Dream

Why is the crust of the Earth shaking so violently all of a sudden?  Over the past 48 hours, there have been five major earthquakes globally, and one prominent seismologist has declared that “catastrophic mega earthquakes” could be on the way.  In fact, seismologist Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado has made headlines all over the world by warning that “current conditions might trigger at least four earthquakes greater than 8.0 in magnitude”.  If his projections are accurate, our planet could be on the precipice of a wave of natural disasters unlike anything that any of us have ever experienced before.

Since the beginning of 2016, south Asia has been hit by an unusually high number of large earthquakes, and this has scientists groping for an explanation.  The following comes from the Express

Scientists say there has been an above…

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Earthquake Survival

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ring of fire

The “Ring Of Fire”

Some significant seismic activity has been reported this week, especially in the zone bordering the rim of the Pacific Ocean (sometimes called the “Ring of Fire”). It’s important to have a plan for earthquake survival so that your family will remain safe in what can be a major disaster.

 

 

Recent Earthquake Events

shutterstock_281220074

 

First, the news: 2 major earthquakes have hit Southern Japan, with hundreds of aftershocks and perhaps more on the way. Soon after, an even stronger quake struck Ecuador on the West Coast of South America.

 

 

Troops have been called in to dig out almost 100 people buried in rubble after a magnitude 6.2 quake devastated the densely populated island of Kyushu.  9 people were killed and 1000 injured in the earthquake. Just over a day later, a second, more powerful 7.0 quake hit that killed 30 people and injured hundreds more. Some large buildings toppled and a large landslide buried others.

 

 

At the same time, Japanese media reported that Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in the country and another part of the “Ring of Fire”. No damage reported, as of yet, from that event.

 

 

Japan is no stranger to seismic events. In 2011, we reported extensively on the Fukushima earthquake and tidal wave, which killed 20,000 and caused nuclear meltdowns that have rendered nearby areas uninhabitable to this day.

 

 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the “Ring of Fire”: In Ecuador, The strongest earthquake in many years destroyed buildings and rendered roads unpassable along its Pacific coast. Officials report at least 77 killed and hundreds injured. Damage could be observed for hundreds of miles in various major cities as dozens of aftershocks followed.

 

 

The earthquake, measured at a magnitude of 7.8, was centered in less-populated areas than the Japanese quakes, but the infrastructure is not as strong. Numerous landslides are causing difficulties for rescue personnel trying to reach the affected communities.

 

 

Earthquakes And The United States

americanflag-284x177

The United States, especially but not exclusively the West Coast, is also susceptible to natural disasters like earthquakes. Hurricanes are, of course, more likely threats to residents of the Gulf or East Coasts of the United States, but the West Coast and even some areas of the Midwest are located over what we call “fault lines”.  A fault is a fracture in a volume of base rock. This is an area where earth movement releases energy that can cause major surface disruptions. This movement is sometimes called a “seismic wave”.

 

 

The strength of an earthquake has been historically measured using the Richter scale.  This measurement (from 0-10 or more) identifies the magnitude of tremors at a certain location.  Quakes less than 2.0 on the Richter scale may occur every day, but are unlikely to be noticed by the average person. Each increase of 1.0 magnitude increases the strength by a factor of 10. The highest registered earthquake was The Great Chilean Earthquake of 1960 (9.5 on the Richter scale).

 

 

Although most people are aware of the Richter Scale, a newer measurement, the Moment Magnitude scale, is thought to be perhaps more accurate. The Moment Magnitude scale calculates each point of magnitude as releasing more than 30 times the energy of the previous one. For higher level quakes, it’s more commonly used.

 

 

If the fault lines shift offshore, a “tsunami” or tidal wave may be generated.  In Fukushima, the earthquake (8.9 magnitude) spawned a major tsunami which caused major damage, loss of life, and meltdowns in local nuclear reactors. Tsunami warning were issued for both the Japanese and Ecuadorian earthquakes reported this week.

 

 

EARTHQUAKE SURVIVAL PLAN

Medical-Supplies-Doom-and-Bloom1

 

A major earthquake is especially dangerous due to its unpredictability. Although researchers are working to find ways to determine when a quake will hit, there is usually little notice. This fact makes having a plan before an earthquake occurs a major factor in your chances of survival.

 

 

This plan of action has to be shared with each family member, even the children. Unless the earthquake happens in the dead of night, it’s unlikely you will all be in the house together. You might be at work and the kids might be at school, so making everyone aware of what to do will give you the best chance of gathering your family and surviving the earthquake together.

 

 

To be prepared, you’ll need, at the very least, the following supplies:

 

 

  • Food and water
  • Power sources
  • Alternative shelters
  • Medical supplies
  • Clothing appropriate to the weather
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Means of communication
  • Money (don’t count on credit or debit cards if the power’s down)
  • An adjustable wrench to turn off gas or water

 

In areas at risk for earthquakes, the school system and municipal authorities have probably formulated a disaster plan. They may have designated a quake-proof shelter; if so, this may be the best place to go. Make certain to inquire about your town’s earthquake measures.

 

 

Besides the general supplies listed above, it would be wise to put together a separate “get-home” bag to keep at work or in the car.  Some food, liquids, and a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes are useful items to have in this kit.

 

 

Home Earthquake Safety

earthquakedamage

In the home, it’s important to know is where your gas, electric, and water main shutoffs are.  Make sure that everyone of age knows how to turn them off if there is a leak or electrical short.  Know where the nearest medical facility is, but be aware that you may be on your own; medical responders are going to be overwhelmed and may not get to you quickly.

 

 

Look around your house for fixtures like chandeliers and bookcases that might not be stable enough to withstand an earthquake. Placing heavier object on bottom shelves and make shelves more stable.

 

 

Flat screen TVs, especially large ones, could easily topple.  Be sure to check out kitchen and pantry shelves, and the stability of anything hanging over the headboard of your bed.

 

 

When The Earthquake Hits

earthquake drop cover hold on

What should you do when the tremors start?  If you’re indoors, get under a table, desk, or something else solid and hold on. This strategy is called “Drop, Cover, Hold”. If cover isn’t available, stand against an inside wall.  Don’t try to use elevators. You should stay clear of windows, shelves, and kitchen areas.

 

 

While the building is shaking, don’t try to run out; you could easily fall down stairs or get hit by falling debris.  We had always thought you should stand in the doorway because of the frame’s sturdiness, but it turns out that, in modern homes, doorways aren’t any more solid than any other part of the structure.

 

 

Once the initial tremors are over, go outside.  Once there, stay as far out in the open as possible, away from power lines, chimneys, and anything else that could fall on top of you.

 

 

You could, possibly, be in your automobile when the earthquake hits.  Get out of traffic as quickly as possible; other drivers are likely to be less level-headed than you are. Don’t stop your car under bridges, trees, overpasses, power lines, or light posts.  Stay in your vehicle while the tremors are active.

 

 

After The Earthquake

 

 

Even after the tremors stop, there are still dangers. One issue to be concerned about is gas leaks; make sure you don’t use your camp stoves, lighters, or even matches until you’re certain all is clear.  Even a match could ignite a spark that could lead to an explosion.  If you turned the gas off, you might consider letting the utility company turn it back on.

 

 

Buildings that have structural damage may be unstable or have loose concrete which could rain down on the unsuspecting. Falling stone from damaged buildings killed rescuers in the Oklahoma City bombing and the Twin Trade Towers collapse.

 

 

Don’t count on telephone service after a natural disaster.  Telephone companies only have enough lines to deal with 20% of total call volume at any one time.  It’s likely all lines will be occupied.  Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to apply to texts; you’ll have a better to chance to communicate by texting than by voice due to the wavelength used.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Diseases To Beware Of After The SHTF

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After the SHTF, there are going to be many challenges. Our generation has been rather spoiled with easy access to clean water and modern medicines that help fight infections. After a major disaster, clean water will be extremely limited, sanitation systems will be down, and waste disposal companies […]

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6 Tips To Help You Survive a Blizzard

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Editor’s Note: I know it’s a little late for an article about blizzards, but they’ve been known to hit up North in the middle of spring. And it will be snowing in Australia in a few months, so for my readers down under, here go you. With every […]

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70 Tips That Will Help You Survive What Is About To Happen To America

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Survival World News

70 Sign

By Michael Snyder – End Of The American Dream

You may have noticed that things are starting to get crazy. Financial markets are imploding, violent crime rates are soaring in our major cities, and we have witnessed a truly unusual series of natural disasters in recent months. War in the Middle East continues to rage out of control, and Islamic terror continues to spread all over the globe. And many believe that 2016 is going to be a year of political shaking, civil unrest, governmental crackdowns and great economic chaos in the United States. All it is going to take to plunge our society into full-blown panic mode is a major “trigger event” of some sort. Another 9/11, a new “Lehman Brothers” moment, a massive EMP burst from the sun or a historic seismic event are all examples of what this “trigger event” could look like.

So are you…

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Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, How To Prepare, Prepping

3 Considerations to Build an In-House Safe Room

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3 Considerations to Build an In-House Safe Room

Old basement laundry room with old appliances.

Old basement laundry room with old appliances.

Oklahoma is considered one of the most notorious states for tornado activity, yet basements are rare in the Sooner State.

NPR reported in 2013 that less than one percent of homes in the southern part of the state have basements. Freeze lines, water tables and higher construction costs impede builders from including basements regardless of obvious need. Most Arizona, Florida and Louisiana homes also lack basements, as do newer constructions in California.

Whether it’s a violent act of nature, government manipulation or nuclear disaster, a safe room is essential to protect your family. You neither need to dig a deep hole on your property nor add a room to your existing home to make this happen. There’s already an area in your home that you can use for this purpose.

Location

  • The primary advantage of retrofitting your current home with a safe room is that it gives all occupants immediate access to it when disaster strikes. It’s also less expensive than building an external, above-ground room.
  • Pre-fab shelters (typically 5×10 for three people) run upward of $8,000 installed. But if you’re willing to spend that much, it’s best to just fortify an existing room in your home. A safe room cannot have windows. Once windows break out of a house during tornadoes or hurricanes, it’s a matter of minutes before the air pressure destroys everything inside and out. It’s also preferable to build a safe room somewhere that does not touch outside walls.
  • Large walk-in closets and bathrooms on ground levels are the best places to build when basements aren’t available. The door to enter the room should be graded for exteriors and have a deadbolt.

Construction Requirements

  • There is no such thing as a 100 percent “safe” room, unless it’s a fortress-type dwelling that can withstand missiles. But FEMA publishes step-by-step, detailed, up-to-date instructions on how to build International Code Council (ICC) 500-compliant safe rooms that anyone can download for free.
  • Building a safe room in your home comes down to feasibility and need. Those living in areas prone to tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes and the like are good safe room candidates. There’s also the potential of martial law, wartime regulations or some other SHTF scenario that makes safe rooms a necessity. But these latter types of safe rooms are more like in-house bunkers.
  • Survivalists and so-called preppers stock safe rooms with non-perishable foods, water, weapons and everything else needed to survive societal breakdown. Some even install multi-camera surveillance systems to see exactly what’s going on outside the room and around the perimeter. Construction of your safe room comes down to personal needs and preferences.

Funding

  • Costs will ultimately dictate whether a safe room is realistic for most families. There are several federal grant options you may qualify for depending on locale and risk assessments. Alabama and Minnesota have their own hazard mitigation grant programs for both individual families and communities. Check with your state’s hazard mitigation officer for details on local programs and to determine eligibility.

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Operations Planning for Your Family

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Due to the nature of survival it is wise to prepare for what to do in case someone becomes incapacitated, missing or leaves for some reason, even if the event or absence is only temporary.  A disruption event can happen at any time; it doesn’t matter where everyone is or what they are doing.

To ensure that the family can come together and continue to operate you will want to do some key tasks ahead of time.

First we want to understand the different types of event that could happen and how they relate to your situation at the time. A tornado, for instance, is a very possible event that will drastically affect a relatively small number of people at one time and usually occurs with predictable severe weather. Often the tornado strikes during the day when everyone is separated, but not always. As for an event from the complete other end of the spectrum, a massive grid down power outage that keeps a city without electricity for many days, weeks or months will affect large numbers of people and cause all sorts of societal problems and could happen at anytime.

In either of these scenarios there is one thing in common, you and your family.  You have already stocked and planned for what to do in case of disaster, but have you planned on what exactly to do if someone is lost or incapacitated? What if that person, or even you, are the only one who knows how to survive, operate a well pump, flip a breaker, shoot a weapon safely, access a bank account, contact relatives, etc. In short, are you or the kids prepared to take over the leadership position in case the worst happens?

In the case of a large scale event you may have to bug out or you may even have people coming to you. In a survival group there are usually several people with key skills, but for a small family, this may not always be the case. In a complex survival situation it will be very difficult to know and do everything by yourself so why not plan ahead so you can keep operating if such a time comes.

Top 5 reasons you will need to consider a continuity or succession plan:

    • A key person is delayed by  disaster conditions or travel restrictions
    • Someone is injured, ill, lost or killed along the way
    • Someone cannot participate because of their own lack of planning
    • Not able to communicate for some reason leaving everyone else in the dark
    • Perhaps a key person just chose to not participate for some reason

How do we get started?

The first steps are to identify who is key to the plan and identify an alternate person who is not in the primary member’s traveling party or immediate family. This is to give the best chance of the alternate showing up and staying with the survival group, family or community. The alternate should be able to perform the duties of the primary and be trained properly. Importantly, the alternate must be made aware of his/her title as alternate, and must voluntarily accept the assignment. At this point the alternate will provide all possible contact info to include an out of area relay contact so that there is the best chance of communication.

*Important tip: Anytime an out of area contact is to be used as a relay point for information, the information relay person must be made aware of the arrangement and be ready to answer calls from unusual numbers.

Next is to identify key operations. These are tasks or processes that must be done to provide for the safety and welfare of the family or survival group in an emergency.

Key operations may include:

  • Activating the emergency plan

  • Collecting everyone from work, school, shopping or other travels

  • Security: protecting everyone and everything from loss or destruction at all times

  • Food and water provisions to keep everyone going strong for the predetermined period of time. i.e. 3 days, 3 months, 1 year, etc.

  • Sheltering: keeping everyone out of the elements

  • Energy for warmth, power or communications

  • Transportation to re-position resources or evacuation

  • Medical response to injuries and safety oversight during emergency activities

  • Site safety such as immediate response to fire, flood, wind events, dangerous people

  • Communication with each other and outside world. Use your Commo Plan to stay in contact and set up a relay contact that is far away from the event location

  • Evacuation/convoy in case of rapid displacement

But what about the smaller disasters?

Not every event is the coming apocalypse, what happens if a family member is in a car accident? Your wallet gets lost, you must hurry to a family emergency out of town for several days. Who will hold down the fort, feed the kids and pay the bills?

This is when your Family Contingency Binder (FCB) will prove to be a lifesaver, This is a notebook that contains all of your operational information from critical documents such as birth certificates to credit cards to insurance policies and vehicle titles.

The FCB also has your emergency plans, maps to important places, passwords to everything, medical information, wills and trusts, Powers of Attorney for someone to handle your affairs and those of your children and actual written phone numbers to everyone important in your life (just in case you lost your cell phone too).

Just as with planning for alternate key personnel, alternate methods to achieve key operations should be defined, documented and communicated to all personnel within the group or family, not just those involved in those operations. Resilience depends on a group wide effort and everyone should know what is supposed to happen and how it should get done, this way people can adapt as needed and remain close to any defined objectives or wishes. Be sure to keep all of this information secure and under lock and key but don’t forget to make sure that several people know how to access it in an emergency.

If a sudden emergency strikes and you must evacuate quickly, try to take your binder, it will have everything you need to recover from a burned out home, prove who you are and get your life back on track.

When you take some time to prepare the people in your life as well as the stuff on the shelf you will begin to see that you may need less stuff. Share your plans and expectations with the people around you so they can be there when you need them the most and have them do the same. Give everyone the tools they would need to stand in for you if something happens, because something always happens.

For more information on group and family contingency planning, check out The Survival Group Handbook at http://bit.ly/survivalgrouphandbook 

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Why Survival is Mental At Any Age

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Survival is not always a gear-centric proposition.

In fact, gear is only a small (albeit important!) factor in many scenarios. It has been said that survival is 90% mental and 10% everything else. A recent tragedy in the news demonstrates just how true this is and offers some great opportunities to learn from a brave young girl’s actions.

Many people familiar with the story of Sailor Gutzler will insist that it is only by divine intervention that a seven year old was able to survive in freezing conditions lost and wandering in thick woodlands at night for help. While a miracle is possible, along with an amazing amount of luck, the will to survive likely kept her going long enough to find help for her family.

At the innocent age of seven this girl was not tainted by the demon of hopelessness, she was apparently taught by her parents when to go for help in an emergency and a plane crash where her family wouldn’t wake up certainly met the threshold of an emergency for her. She had a mission and was determined to go for help.

As we read a summary of her story I want you to consider your possible actions from two angles, the victim and the person who answered her knocks at the door.

Important thoughts and take-a-ways from her experience:

  • What is the importance of individual basic survival skills?

  • Would you know what to do if you were presented with the responsibility of caring for victims until help arrives?

  • Would you know what to do, both as a victim and as a citizen first responder?

  • Do you know how to call or signal for help?

  • What skills should kids learn and how early should we start them?

A summary of Sailor Gutzler’s story:

A 7-year-old girl survives a plane crash that kills her whole family on a trip back from the Florida Keys to Illinois. The small twin-engine plane crashes in stormy weather at night and ends up upside down in thick woods in western Kentucky.  There were 4 other people in the plane with her, her two parents, a 9-year-old sister and 14-year-old cousin. After the crash everyone in the plane was unconscious, she tried to wake them up but was not successful.

Sailor climbs out of the upturned aircraft past her dead family dressed only for the warm Florida weather in a t-shirt and shorts, no shoes and no jacket. She has a broken wrist, cuts and bruises. She finds herself in wet 38-degree weather with no idea where she is and no indication of civilization in sight.

The wing of the plane is on fire. She attempts to lite a stick to make a torch to see with but the wet weather doused the fire. There is no trail for her to use and she is not at all outfitted for the journey.

Knowing she must go for help she chooses a direction and walks nearly a mile in dark, dense, wet, freezing underbrush of thickets, blackberries, fallen trees and a 12-foot deep creek embankment.

With great fortune she eventually stumbles upon the only occupied house in the area for miles. Had she gone in any other direction she would have certainly been lost to the environment and succumbed to hypothermia.

Upon getting someone to answer the door she has the composure to explain her ordeal and ask for help. She gives enough accurate information about her situation to guide rescuers on foot to the crash site within 2 hours. She also gave enough information to increase the response from lost child to downed aircraft; this can make a difference in the type of assets called in and the speed of response.

It has been reported that the second grader had been taught some basic survival by her father and it seems that she attempted to apply some of that knowledge in her situation.

Let’s think about how this situation played out and then how we can learn from it. Ask yourself or even better; ask your family the following questions. Keep in mind that this was a seven year old who acted with amazing resolve. Think of how you would do things different at different age, health and skill levels.

    • What was working against Sailor? (Climate, fear, terrain, etc.)
    • What did she do right?
    • What poor decisions did she make?
    • What could she have done to better her chances? (Put on shoes and warm clothes, left a message at the crash, etc.)
    • Think of some similar situations that we might find ourselves in? (As a rescuer and possibly a victim)
    • What are our immediate basic needs in a survival situation?

maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

In order to survive we must address our basic needs of physiology then safety and while they are very closely related, they must be in this order. When you find yourself in a survival situation, your decisions and priorities of work must address keeping you alive and safe before you do anything else. Only then can you work on improving your position, signaling for help or setting off to find help.

This leads us to the well-known Rule of 3’s

In any extreme situation you may not survive for more than:

    • 3 minutes without air (underwater, confined, hazardous atmosphere)
    • 3 hours without shelter, clothing (freezing, hot, exposed)
    • 3 days without water
    • 3 weeks without food.

The Rule of Threes is just a guide or rule of thumb and is not scientifically accurate in all situations. The thing to remember is that if you make it to 3 in any of these categories, you are already in serious trouble and going downhill quick, hence the need to protect your physiological situation first and foremost.

Take-a-ways for the victim of disaster or tragedy

  • Provide for your physiological needs such as air, food, water and shelter/ create a microclimate
  • Assist others in your situation
  • Secure the scene and make your location safe
  • Plan to be rescued or decide to thoughtfully self-rescue
  • Use your surroundings and all resources to your advantage
  • Continually update your plan and predict for important needs
  • Draw on your will to survive and have a reason to survive no matter how odd it may be, this is critical and gives you a mission to accomplish (think of the movie Castaway and the FedEx box)
  • Focus on the job at hand and just keep going

What if someone else needs help?

As a citizen you may be called upon at any time to help in an emergency and possibly even provide life saving medical assistance.  Most of the time we have something called reach back capability. This means that there is almost always someone else to call for the next level of care and support no matter how bad or how big the emergency or disaster becomes.

Since we do not very often call for help we may be a little rusty at actually providing the proper and timely information. Additionally the stress and or surprise of an emergency may very likely cause us to forget the most basic information such as where we are, our address, phone number or even our own name.  It may sound easy to describe what is happening around you but when the adrenaline begins pumping your words might just jumble up on the way out of your mouth.

So how do we react to something dangerous and unusual where people may be injured, maybe our family or even ourselves?

    • Take a deep breath to purge your adrenaline and unlock your muscles
    • Size up the situation for safety
    • Take charge or follow the lead of someone who seems to be knowledgeable
    • Don’t argue or make things worse
    • If appropriate, send a specific person or team to call for help (you may need to provide information to guide responders to scene)
    • Secure the area
    • Provide care up to the level you are officially trained in but don’t be afraid to perform lifesaving measures
    • Gather information and update responders when they arrive
    • Assist them if they need and want help
    • A responder may also have a heavy emotional load and may need to dig deep to endure tragic situations, respect that and give them space to work
    • In long duration events you must also care for yourself. Water, food, rest
    • After all is done it will be important to properly debrief and address your mental trauma as well as others involved. It may take weeks or months for trauma to manifest

If someone flags you down or knocks on the door you will do most of the same things we just talked about but maybe in a different order.

    • Calm the person down
    • Ask what happened
    • Is anyone injured?
    • What help do they need?
    • Where is help needed?
    • Gather information needed to direct response to scene
    • Call for help
    • Go to scene or wait for help to arrive
    • Size up the scene for safety
    • Update responders with any new information if necessary
    • Render assistance as needed

In the case of the young crash survivor, she went for help and the neighbor who was at home watching TV became the initial response.  He asked the important questions and got enough information to relay to 911 to get the proper level of help alerted and on the way. He then provided care until responders arrived.  The girl knew just enough to point the responders in the right direction of the crash.

What should we teach our children that can help them survive and possibly get help in an emergency?

General Safety:

    • Their name address and phone number
    • How to call 911
    • When to call for help (mommy or daddy won’t wake up, smoke in the house, sibling is playing near the pool, etc.)
    • How to recognize dangerous situations (true signs of drowning, fire, electricity, poisons, animals, strangers, etc.)
    • Home hazards awareness
    • Basic first aid
    • Fire safety

Basic age appropriate survival:

    • What to do if they get separated urban/wilderness
    • How to stay warm/cool
    • The importance of drinking water and where to find it
    • How to make a fire
    • How to make an emergency kit for home and away
    • How to signal for help
    • How and where to build a quick shelter
    • Lightning safety/ severe weather awareness
    • How to swim, water safety
    • Recognize the real signs of drowning, how to safely rescue or help others
    • Animal dangers from pets to wild animals
    • Cyber safety
    • Stranger safety, self defense and escape from capture
    • Firearm safety

Most kids will resist outright attempts to teach them anything, especially from parents. You may need to create a culture of fun or covert learning and almost fool them into it.  It is easier if you sneak the training into events like camping, even if it’s in a tent in the living room or backyard. Anything that helps with problem solving and understanding danger is helpful and success will make them more confident.  Start young and build on their training because some skills are perishable.

Here are some ways to remember important information in case of emergency:

    • Write important things down and post on refrigerator or cabinet
    • Create a family contingency binder of critical information
    • Create a wallet card for each family member that lists everyone’s phone number including an out of area contact to use as a relay for messages. (Don’t trust memory of common numbers)
    • When you leave for the day actually look at the clothing everyone is wearing and try to remember it or take a quick picture with your cell phone you use in case of becoming separated
    • Take a headcount so you know how many are with you and if you have everyone throughout the day
    • Pay attention to where you are while driving or riding. Look at mile markers, exits, notable places
    • Know what direction you are heading
    • Be able to describe your stuff, family members, and vehicle, tag number, etc.
    • Keep a notepad and pencil handy at all times
    • Use your smartphone to take notes and pictures
    • I.C.E. the important contacts in your phone
    • Add your emergency contacts to your driver’s license online at the DMV website. Also do this for family members. In case of accident you will be notified

Let us know what you do to teach kids about survival and safety in the comments section.

Best of luck and be safe

The post Why Survival is Mental At Any Age appeared first on P.R.E.P. Personal Readiness Education Programs.

National Preparedness Month is September!

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National Preparedness Month is Here.

National Preparedness MonthIf you haven’t recently, now might be a good time to access your overall preparedness during National Preparedness Month.  With so many reasons to have some of the essentials you’ll need on a daily basis at your disposal, it makes sense to take some time to do a needs assessment.  Unfortunately, this is something we should all be doing on a regular basis and not just in September.  But for those who are fairly new to self reliance and preparedness it’s a start.

Most of the time “Preppers” are not thought of as anything more than crazy people preparing for the end of the world by the media as we have seen on television.  However, being prepared or prepping is not defined by “Doomsayers” but actually includes over 3 million Americans from all walks of life and from every corner of the country.  Why is this you might ask?  There are a few good reasons that prepping is growing and it has mostly to do with living a more sustainable lifestyle and getting back to basics while realizing the government isn’t going to be there to help  when a major disaster strikes.

Amazingly, according to a new survey conducted by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, 55 percent of Americans believe that the authorities will come to their rescue when disaster strikes. We have news for you,  FEMA is not going to come to anyones rescue anytime soon if disaster strikes.  If we think back to Hurricane Katrina of any other natural disaster in recent memory, or consider some of the potential scenarios including a major financial collapse, It’s time to get prepared so you can take care of your own family if need be.

So what are just few of the things you and your family can start to do today?  We compiled a short basic list to help you to start to get your “Preparedness”  house in order.

Air> Air is the most important thing we need to survive.  It is said that you can live “four minutes without air, four days without water, and forty days without food.”  So, are you CPR certified?  Can you help someone if they stopped breathing? If not get certified.  Here is how to get certified 

Water > Water is an essential to have on hand.  30 gallons per person (2 gallons per person per day for 1 week). This might sound excessive, but look at your water bill this month! This figure assumes that when at home, you will occasionally want a sponge bath, or to cook something like pasta or rice. You might even wash your hair or clothes, and will eventually flush a toilet. Large food grade 55 gallon plastic drums are ideal for bulk water storage. A good location is in your detached garage. Remember that your water heater in the house is typically 50 gallons, and may be used if your dwelling survives. Additional water may be purchased in single use plastic bottles, and should be stored away from the house or garage. Remember that these water bottles will need to be rotated out since they have a limited shelf life unless water treatment is used.  A portable water filtration system is a must.  These systems can provide a very high quality of clean fresh water.  A good water test kit is also recommended so you can evaluate your stored water on an on-going basis.

Shelter > Where would you go if a disaster struck and left you without your home?    FEMA recommends that you know that information now as well as some other important evacuation routes in your area. Do you have a temporary shelter at home that you could use if needed?  If not get one and keep it dry and easy to get too.

Fire > We have all seen survival television shows and each and every time lighting a fire is paramount to survival over the long haul.  We may need it to keep warm, to cook, to disinfect water, for light and protection.  Can you light a fire if needs be?  How to build a fire so it will light – survival 101

Food > If you’re considering a food storage system at your home, than a food storage calculator is going to be required so you have the right amount to meet your families needs. The type of food you store can vary but it might include canned foods long term food storage systems to MRE’s, grains, legumes and alike canned fruits and veggies from your own garden.  Cooking and heating tools for survival incase of a disaster or emergency are easy to use and not very expensive to get.  Wondering how much grain to store? You might be surprised.  Read more at http://www.preparednesspro.com/do-you-have-enough#u1fS0AHFwQfYJ2vg.99

First Aid Kit > A good first aid kit could save a life during a disaster  Make sure you have a good one.   Off Grid Survival recommends “30 Things you Should Have in Your Medical First Aid Kits

Survival Kit > A survival kit is a short term kit of essentials to last you approx three days.  It can be kept in your car incase you get stranded in an emergency. > Learn more

BOB or Bug Out Bag > A Bug Out Bag is more of a long term survival kit designed to help you get out of town or “bug out”.  It would include all of the above mentioned items to a greater or lesser degree plus much more.  Some examples of items included might be weapons, shelter and bedding, clothing, a heat source and tools to name a few.  A good example can be found right here.

 

There is so much more that you can do to get your self prepared both in the short and long term but this will be a good start.  Remember the Internet is a great source of information on all things “Preparedness”.

If you start today you will be better off than most Americans are in case of a natural disaster or National emergency.

Follow our Facebook page for more info on all things preparedness.

Thanks,

Jeff “The Berkey Guy”

 

Sources:

http://scoutingrediscovered.com/scout-skills/the-scouts-guide-to-survival-the-big-5/
http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/55-percent-of-americans-believe-that-the-government-will-take-care-of-them-if-disaster-strikes
http://theepicenter.com/howto.html
http://www.preparednesspro.com/do-you-have-enough#u1fS0AHFwQfYJ2vg.99
http://www.bhs.idaho.gov/pages/Preparedness/PDF/Disaster_Preparedness_Kit_Supply_List.pdf
http://www.directive21.com/
http://offgridsurvival.com/30-things-you-should-have-in-your-medical-kits/
http://www.preparednesspro.com/do-you-have-enough
http://www.isu.edu/outdoor/survkit.htm
http://bugoutbagacademy.com/free-bug-out-bag-list/
http://www.philly.com/philly/health/HealthDay666756_20120720_Many_Americans_Not_Prepared_for_Disasters__Poll.html?cmpid=138896554
http://graywolfsurvival.com/2810/build-fire-basics/

The post National Preparedness Month is September! appeared first on LPC Survival.