Best 5 Options For Off Grid Batteries To Choose From

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As renewable fuel technologies develop, more and more people are looking to use them in order to reduce reliance on commercial electricity and other fuels.

But both options can be quite expensive if you simply buy pre-fabricated power generation equipment and batteries for storage. That’s why our reader’s question makes a lot of sense:

“Have you any info about batteries for solar off grid? Especially inexpensive alternatives?

Joe”

Before you make a decision about which batteries to buy, think about all your options and try a few things out first.

Keep reading to find out more!

1. Pre-Fab Large Scale Batteries

Aside from being expensive, pre-fabricated large scale batteries will be ruined by an EMP blast if they are hooked up to wires or any equipment that can transmit the pulse to the battery.

Even if you use DIY windmills or other power generating equipment that can be easily repaired after an EMP, these batteries may still leave you without electricity. Therefore, it may not make sense to invest a lot of money in these batteries or put all your reliance on them for future power storage needs.

World’s Smallest Battery Will Power Your House For More Than 2 Days!

Here are some other things you should know about large scale batteries so that you can have a clearer insight into how they compare to something you might build on your own.

Edison Batteries

Even though Edison batteries are some of the best insofar as deep cycling and constant use, they can also be very unreliable and break down easily.

Over the years, Edison Batteries have been discarded and may be very cheap to find in junk yards and scrap metal stations. If you can refurbish one and get it to work reliably, this will be your cheapest option. You can also make your own Edison batteries and make sure they are built to tolerate repairs.

Tesla Batteries

As with other Lithium Ion batteries, the Tesla Battery cannot be deep cycled as much as an Edison battery. They are also fairly new on the market, so there is relatively little information on how easy or difficult it is to repair them and the cost.

While a Tesla battery may appear more reliable in the short term, that does not mean it is better for long term needs, or that will be reliable enough in a time of major social crisis.

Flooded Lead Acid Batteries (FLA)

As with Edison batteries, the FLA batteries have been around for decades. They were also some of the first used for off gridding power needs.

These batteries tend to have problems in colder weather, and may break down under constant deep cycling. That being said, if you are looking for a budget battery that has plenty of field experience, FLAs might be your best bet in the pre-fabs.

Lithium Ion Batteries

Even though lithium ion batteries are smaller and more durable than flooded lead acid batteries, they can still easily be damaged if something goes wrong with the inverters and controllers. Since they are also relatively new on the market, it is hard to say if they will last as long as older battery designs.

As with Tesla batteries, if a Lithium Ion battery breaks down, it is doubtful you will be able to repair it.

Lead-Carbon Batteries

These are relatively new batteries that use lead for the positive side of the battery, and activated carbon for the negative side. They are supposed to last much longer than Lithium Ion batteries and will take a lot more wear and tear.

While they are maintenance free batteries, you also will not be able to repair them if something goes wrong.

Flow Batteries

This is also a relatively new battery type that stores two electrochemical liquids in separate containers. From there, they are introduced into a central vessel separated by a membrane. As electrical charges build up, the electrons can be drawn off for use.

“Recharging” the battery is as simple as feeding energy into one tank or the other. These batteries are useful for meeting expanding energy needs because you only need to add larger storage tanks and equipment to upgrade the battery. Even though the electrochemical fluids can last for decades, they still require pumps to move them around.

2. Small Scale Pre-Fab Batteries

There are many ways to scavenge lithium ion batteries from cell phones, tablets, and other devices, but some other small scale pre-fabricated batteries may also be of some interest to you.

As with larger batteries, these will also be destroyed during an EMP if the battery is hooked up to a device that is susceptible or one where the pulse can be transmitted by wire to the battery.

On the other hand, since these batteries are much smaller and lighter in weight, it is also easier to build Faraday Cages to store spare batteries. Just don’t forget to rotate the batteries on a regular basis with the ones you are using for routine use so that they don’t deteriorate from lack of use.

World’s Smallest Battery Will Power Your House For More Than 2 Days!

You will also need to look for less power hungry appliances and devices so that you can use the smaller batteries more efficiently. Insofar as collecting power from generating sources, it will be of immense benefit to build smaller modules and then feed the power from each module into the smaller batteries.

If you are interested in exploring diverse power sources, or can produce limited amounts of power using different devices, then these batteries may be an ideal answer for you. For larger appliances, it may also be of use to shift to natural gas or some other fuel source instead of relying on electricity.

NiMH

These small, rechargeable batteries are used in high drain devices such as cameras. They will last a long time, and can withstand both deep cycling and a range of temperatures. Unfortunately, they cannot be repaired and can also be quite expensive to purchase.

Cotton Batteries

Even though Ryden Batteries are still not on the market, there is every indicator that they will be available for both large scale and small applications. As innovative as these batteries are, they do rely on complex technology for manufacture, and are not likely to be repairable.

Automobile Batteries

Standard wet cell and gel cell batteries can be used for low drain applications. They can also be scavenged and refurbished as long as the metal plates in the battery are still in good condition. Just remember that the average life of most automobile batteries is 2 – 5 years.

Even if there are plenty of batteries available now, you may find very few viable scavenge options within just a few years after a major social crisis occurs.

Photosynthesis Based Batteries

These batteries require a special pot, a plant, and some water. As the plant absorbs sunlight and carries out photosynthesis, an electrical current is generated. Even though these batteries are expensive and do not make much electricity, they can last for decades and require very little in the way of refurbishing or repair.

Gold Nano Batteries

The manipulation of molecular structures at that level is truly leading to some amazing innovations in batteries. For example, gold nano wires can be used to make a battery that can be recharged well over 200,000 times without showing wear or breaking down.

While these batteries are not yet on the market, they may quickly become popular with people that want reliable batteries that will last for a long time.

Graphene Batteries

Even though graphene was forgotten about for decades, it is still possible to make it at home. That being said, actually making a functional graphene battery takes considerably more effort. Today, graphene batteries are rapidly taking over, and being used to replace lithium ion batteries.

You can purchase small batteries as well as larger ones that can be used to power a motor vehicle. These batteries are known for durability as well as the capacity to work well in high drain situations. They also recharge in minutes when compared to lithium ion and other batteries.

Nano Batteries

Today, there are many batteries and power generation devices that take advantage of molecular manipulation to create lattices, honeycombs, and other patterns that accelerate energy flow, or achieve some other goal. Nano technology is also being used to create new materials that have characteristics that are very different from the parent material by virtue of how the atoms and molecules are arranged. This is distinctly different from chemical reactions that cause an exchange of electrons, or replace atoms and molecules for others of interest.

Many batteries are using these materials for making batteries, but the battery itself is not necessarily referred to as a “nano battery”. Rather, this designation is meant for batteries that are made up of tiny batteries that are joined together to make a larger battery. They tend to be more efficient and charge faster because the electrons do not have to travel as far.

If you are interested in the smallest possible size battery with the largest amount of power, nano batteries should be at the top of your list. Perhaps at some point, nano technology will even provide some answers for EMP proofing and deliver a battery that will not be damaged if an attached device transfers the pulse to it.

3. DIY Smaller Modules Using Simple Systems

If you build these batteries correctly, they can produce anywhere from 1 to 12 volts, which makes them comparable to small scale pre-fab batteries.

These batteries will be the best for long term prepping as you will be able to make them from scavenged materials in nature as well as from junk piles or other locations. Their main drawback revolves around the need for trial and error as well as the limitations on the amount of electricity you can store with them.

As with small scale pre-fab batteries, you may need to make smaller power generation systems such as CD Tesla Turbines or other devices that will generate smaller amounts of electricity that can be combined to power larger devices.

Flywheel Battery

Unlike conventional batteries, a flywheel battery stores mechanical energy instead of electricity. Since many power generators rely on mechanical motion to produce electricity, you should be able to do the same with a flywheel system.

Aside from being able to build these batteries from many different materials, you can also adapt them to different sizes. This includes expanding to large scale batteries.

Other Mechanical Batteries

Twisting ropes, variations of the ancient Chinese Trip Hammer, and even springs can be used to store mechanical energy and then convert it to electricity when needed.

Electrolyte Batteries

Salt water, and many other electrolyte solutions can be used to make wet cell batteries that will store and release electricity.

These batteries may require a good bit of maintenance, and you will always have to be concerned with replacing the electrolyte once it breaks down.

Even though you can also scale these batteries to larger sizes, it may not be worthwhile because of electrolyte availability, or what it will take to produce more.

Natural Batteries

Potatoes, lemons, mud, and even copper pennies can be used to generate and store electrical charges. Even though these batteries won’t last for very long or generate much electricity, they can be used in an emergency situation.

Video first seen on Two-Point-Four.

Leyden Jar

You can make a Leyden Jar from little more than a glass jar and some tin foil. Even though the Leyden Jar seems primitive by modern standards, it can still build up thousands of volts of electricity and work reliably for years on end.

You can also add salt water to the Leyden Jar to increase the amount of electricity it can store. Unlike other batteries, you store and concentrate static electricity to make it of use for a wide range of applications.

Aluminum Graphite Batteries

These batteries do not hold as much electricity as lithium ion batteries, but you may be able to make them from scavenged parts.

Since they recharge faster, you may also find them useful for low drain devices and other applications. Because these batteries do recharge very quickly, researchers are looking for ways to bring them to the market.

4. DIY Larger Scale Batteries

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on batteries that will power a household. Here are two battery types that you can build from scraps that will last for years and serve your needs well.

Even though it will take some hard work to set them up, it will be well worth the effort. Unlike pre-fab batteries, these will last a long time, require little or no maintenance, and are very easy to refill or repair as needed.

Earth Batteries

These batteries are some of the easiest and most versatile batteries that you can make from scavenged material and a place to bury it.

All you need is some soil, two different kinds of metal, and some wire. You can build small versions of Earth Batteries in ice cube trays, or larger ones in your backyard.

Video first seen on MrTeslonian

If you want to increase the yield from these batteries, just add salt water or some other electrolyte. Insofar a ease of building, you will find that no complex tools are required.

They are also very easy to repair and fairly easy to maintain. Start off with a small version and then put several of them together before creating underground versions.

Salt Water Batteries

While salt water batteries were available on the market, the company that made them, Aquinon, filed bankruptcy earlier this year. It is difficult to say at this time if salt water batteries will continue to be available on the market. It is also very hard to say how useful or durable a DIY version of a salt water battery will be.

That being said, if you live near an ocean or have access to plenty of salt, this may be a good option for you to pursue.

5. Highly Unconventional DIY Batteries

Chances are, if you are a fan of Nikola Tesla, then you know that he was working on finding ways to generate electricity from the Earth. He was also very interested in transmitting electricity through the air.

While Earth Batteries may be far weaker than what Tesla envisioned, modern researchers are making some headway on transmitting electricity through the air. For example, devices exist now that utilize ultrasound, which is then converted to sound signals, and then transmitted to a receiver.

The receiver converts the sound to electricity, which powers the device. If you do some research, you will find many devices that work on similar principles, yet have never made it to the consumer markets. As such, you can adapt these ideas for your own use and see what you can come up with.

Each year, it seems like the types of batteries for off grid power usage expand in some interesting ways. Not so long ago, your choices were limited to Edison, FLA, and Lithium Ion Batteries.

Today, you can still take these batteries into consideration, or you can pursue DIY and unconventional models that will also serve your needs at a lower cost.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Further Reading

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/130380-future-batteries-coming-soon-charge-in-seconds-last-months-and-power-over-the-air

https://realgoods.com/solar-renewable-energy/deep-cycle-batteries/flooded-lead-acid

https://seekingalpha.com/article/115257-lead-carbon-a-game-changer-for-alternative-energy-storage

http://energystorage.org/energy-storage/storage-technology-comparisons/flow-batteries

http://graphene-battery.net/graphene.htm

Puerto Rico: A Real Life Case Study In Surviving The Worst

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Our country has been plastered by hurricanes lately.

First there was Hurricane Harvey, which turned much of Houston, Texas into a lake, along with Corpus Christi, Rockport and the surrounding area. Then there was Hurricane Irma, which brushed by Puerto Rico and then tried to devour the Florida Peninsula. Finally, the third villain in this story was Hurricane Maria, which demolished Puerto Rico.

While Hurricane Maria was the “weakest” of the three, only a Category IV hurricane, it probably did the most damage. That damage is exacerbated by the fact that Puerto Rico is an island, making it harder to get relief workers and supplies in. Unlike Houston, access to Puerto Rico is limited to a few ports and airports, both of which were damaged by the storm.

Thousands of homes in Puerto Rico were destroyed by the hurricane, some only having their roofs torn off, while others were flattened entirely. Entire apartment buildings are standing with the façade torn off by the high winds, leaving the apartments exposed to the elements.

But the really serious damage from the hurricane wasn’t to people’s homes, although that is rather serious, but rather to the electrical grid. Over 95% of the island is currently without electrical power, not because of damage to the power plants, but rather to the near-total destruction of the transmission lines that carry the electricity produced to people’s homes, offices, stores and companies.

Without electricity, much of what people depend on to survive is eliminated. There is no running water, no communications, and most stores are unable to operate.

Between the lack of electric power to run their cash registers and the communications necessary to reorder stock, even if they sell their inventory for cash, using hand-written receipts, the stores will be empty of critical supplies, such as food, within less than three days.

World’s Smallest Battery Will Power Your House For More Than 2 Days!

But coming up with that cash will be difficult for most people, as the ATM machines that they need to use and the computers for the banks are without power and communications as well. Since few people hold onto much cash these days, but rather use plastic for all their purchases, they are left without the ability to buy even the most basic necessities of life.

While relief efforts are pouring in, there isn’t enough and it’s not getting there fast enough. Unlike the rest of the country, the people of Puerto Rico are limited by being on an island. There isn’t anyplace they can go themselves, to get away from the problems or get what they need.

But getting supplies to the island is only the beginning of the problems. Once the supplies get there, workers encounter problems moving them to those in need. Roads are damaged or blocked by felled trees and other debris and gasoline is in short supply. Those nearest the ports and airports have the best chances of receiving relief supplies, while others, on more remote areas, may receive none.

Medical Issues

The problems that ordinary people have are bad enough. But they don’t hold a candle up to the problems faced by those with serious medical conditions. Hospitals are overrun, between the people who were injured by the hurricane and the normal problems they have to deal with.

On top of that, diesel fuel to run the hospitals’ generators is running short, limiting their ability to treat patients.

The lack of electricity is causing other medical problems as well, such as there not being power to run kidney dialysis machines. People with kidney failure need this treatment three times per week. Without it, their body accumulates too many minerals in the bloodstream and organs, leading to heavy-metal poisoning and death.

The same can be said for many other medical treatments which require electricity to run the equipment.

Medicines themselves are becoming an issue as well. While pharmacies and hospitals were well stocked before the storm, some medicines are running short. The worst of this are medicines which require refrigeration, like insulin. Without refrigeration to keep insulin supplies fresh, diabetics will soon find themselves without this life-saving drug.

Recovery from the Disaster

Rebuilding and restoring Puerto Rico is going to be a major project. The damage was so severe and widespread, that there isn’t any place “safe” on the island that people can go to, to get away from the problems. That also means that there is no good starting point to work from in rebuilding the island. If only part had been damaged, they could use that as a base for rebuilding the rest.

Unsurprisingly, officials have decided that the first focus of restoration has to be government facilities and hospitals. While that makes sense from the viewpoint of needing those to be functional in order to rebuild the rest of the island, it can also be seen as government bureaucrats taking care of themselves.

The first thing that has to be restored is the electrical grid. With so much of the grid damaged, repairs are impossible. Rather, the distribution grid needs to be rebuilt. This little project is projected to take six months, which probably means it will take much longer.

In the mean time, the loss of electricity will mean that people will be without clean running water, power in their homes, refrigeration and the distribution of products to retail stores will be severely limited. As all the farms in the country were destroyed by the hurricane, all food will need to be shipped in for at least the next year, until the 2018 harvest comes in.

While the death toll from the hurricane is officially stated as 16 people, that number will surely rise. Between the lack of necessary medical attention and the lack of clean water, they can expect to see more and more people dying, either of pre-existing conditions or from disease spreading easily due to lack of sanitation. The situation isn’t pretty and it’s likely to get worse, even with all of the efforts being thrown into relief and recovery.

This problem is amplified by the Puerto Rican government’s poor financial condition. With an economy that is near the bankruptcy point, there isn’t the money needed to rebuild the island. Fortunately for them, President Trump has waived the normal requirement for states to pay 25% of disaster relief and recovery funds.

Lessons to be Learned

This disaster was just about as serious as they come. While the process of rebuilding won’t be as bad as it would have been with an EMP, the outright destruction is much worse. The people of Puerto Rico, American citizens, are going to be hard pressed to survive this disaster and come out on top.

Video first seen on The Oregonian.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of lessons that you and I can learn from this disaster. Lessons that we should apply to our own prepping plans, so that when our turn comes, we are not left in the same boat as our countrymen find themselves.

If we don’t take the opportunity to learn, then we could say that their suffering would be in vain.

Shelter

One of the biggest lessons that we can take away from this hurricane, as well as the ones that hit Houston and Florida is that American homes are not built to withstand natural disasters, especially disasters that involve enormous amounts of water. Our homes are easily damaged in any sort of flooding, which ends up soaking into the materials and destroying them.

Granted, many of the homes which were the worst hit in the hurricane are those of the poor. As such, they aren’t built according to normal American standards, but rather, in any way possible. So they are not as strong as a typical American home.

But that really doesn’t make much difference.

In a time of major disaster, we have to assume that our home will be damaged, unless you happen to live in a concrete box. With that in mind, there are two things that we should do.

The first is to be ready to make emergency repairs to our home, having the necessary tools, materials and skills on hand to accomplish those repairs. The second is to have an alternate means of shelter that we can use, if our homes become completely destroyed.

I had previously thought of using a travel trailer as my alternate shelter, in case of a hurricane destroying my home (I live in a hurricane zone as well). However, looking at the damage in Puerto Rico, it is clear that such an idea was ill-founded; a travel trailer would not survive.

It would be best to have a shelter somewhere away from your home, the classic survival retreat that we all aspire to. But if you can’t afford that, at least make sure that you have a good tent or two that you can count on.

Water

The lack of clean water in Puerto Rico is going to account for many deaths. Had those people but had some means of purifying their water, they could survive. Yet few actually did. While I have no idea how many preppers there are in Puerto Rico, it is clear that there aren’t enough.

But I see something else here as well. This is one area, in which we, as preppers, can really serve our communities, earning their respect and hopefully giving them a reason to not attack us. That is, for us to be ready to provide water filtration to those around us. For us, this is easy, as we already plan on purifying our own water. All we really need to do is increase our capacity.

Another lesson that we can take away from this is the need to be ready to harvest rainwater. While a lot of us are already using rainwater capture, we probably don’t have anywhere near the capacity needed to capture even an infinitesimal amount of the water that would fall on our homes in a hurricane. Increasing that capacity would also increase our chances of survival.

Food

With the island’s farms in a shambles, food is going to be a real challenge for the next year, with prices considerably higher than normal. While food shortages aren’t a major issue yet, they soon will be, as people and stores run out. FEMA and other relief agencies just can’t get food to the island quick enough.

This pretty much answers the question of whether or not it is unreasonable to have a year’s worth of food stockpiled. For the people of Puerto Rico, a one year supply of food seems like a minimum, right now. Those that don’t have that much (most people) are probably going to end up losing weight.

There’s something else that this disaster brings up in the food area, as well. That is, protecting your food stockpile from destruction. If my home had been in Puerto Rico for the hurricane, it looks to me like much of my food stockpile would have been damaged or even floated away. I need to rethink my food storage, looking for ways to make sure that my food stays at my home site, even if my home becomes damaged.

One way to do this is to bury some of it. Five gallon buckets, filled with food will bury just fine, protecting the food. About the only thing that could happen to it, to destroy it, would be driving a vehicle over the top.

Electric Power

As usual, the electrical grid is one of the first things damaged by any storm. Therefore, none of us can count on electricity after a disaster. We either need to be ready to do without, or to produce our own.

In this case, people who had solar panels or wind turbines probably saw them damaged by the storm. High winds can be hard on both, especially if they are not properly anchored. In that case, their preparedness wouldn’t have helped them at all.

When Hurricane Harvey was headed for my home, before turning and making landfall at Rockport, I took down my wind turbine, strapping it down behind a cement wall to protect it from the storm. Had it been up and the hurricane hit our area, I am sure that it would have been destroyed.

Medical Needs

As I mentioned above, one of the biggest problems facing the citizens of Puerto Rico is medical services and supplies. This is not uncommon in any disaster situation, as medical services tend to become overwhelmed.

But there is a big difference in this case, that is, their generators are going to prove to not be enough. When the supply of fuel is exhausted, the hospitals and all their equipment will be down.

The only medical services we can truly count on in a time of emergency are those that are already in our possession. If anything, we had better count on needing more than we thing, not less. Chances are, we’re going to find ourselves in a position where we won’t be able to count on the medical community.

Self-Defense

It didn’t take long for the two-legged predators to come out of the woodwork and start taking what they wanted. I’ve heard stories of gunmen at gas stations, threatening others so that they could get in line first. While a fairly simple example, this is indicative of what is going on in other areas as well.

As supplies become even shorter, people will become more desperate. More and more acts of violence will break forth, with people fighting over food, water and other basic necessities. Those who are not prepared to defend themselves will be the loser in this game.

FEMA

Once again, FEMA has proven that they are unprepared to deal with any emergency, especially a major one. While their workers are hard at it, trying to coordinate relief efforts, they are behind the curve. Without others pitching in to help out, FEMA will be unable to meet all the needs.

There is a stark difference between what is happening in Puerto Rico and what has happened in Houston. While I don’t have any actual figures for how much aid is reaching Puerto Rico or how much of that is from FEMA, most of it seems to be coming from FEMA or through the Red Cross. On the other hand, the large Christian community in Texas provided most of the help to the citizens of Houston. In fact, there was so much aid given by the Christian Community, that news agencies who are normally hostile to Christians commented positively about it.

Anyone who is dependent on the government to provide them with aid is asking for trouble. While government relief workers do their best, it’s never enough.

We must be ready to take care of ourselves, and if possible, those around us as well. Are you prepared?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Can You Survive Below Radar? Off Grid Tips And Tricks

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Lately so many people are getting so fed up with pervasive totalitarian spying on literally everything we say and do, that they’re wondering whatever happened to the American Dream?

Add in out of control greed municipal intrusions with building code tyranny for exorbitant property tax profits, not to mention a noticeable increase in strangely nosy parasitic neighbors, all combined in a world starting to crumble under the weight of its own violent insanity.

Truth be told, is it even remotely possible anymore to enjoy the wonderful freedom of personal privacy, the peaceful solace that this great land, and our precious Constitution, once held for us?

Let’s take a closer look at the cold, hard reality.

It’s not what you think…

Where Did All the Freedom Go?

 “We tried so hard, and came so far, but in the end it never really mattered….”

The sadness of this discussion is that we should not even be having it in a truly Free country. The first important revelation here is that “We, the People” screwed up big time in the last generation with our mass passive acquiescence to the government nanny state.

We allowed Them to brainwash us into relinquishing our rights of self-determination to a point where they now control every facet of our lives in exchange for a specious promise (not even in writing!) to take care of us, and make us all little happy faced cherubs, bouncing blissfully on big daddy government woo woo’s cushy knee from cradle to grave.

Then they threw us a few bare bones in the dirt and we licked them up like the obedient State sponsored lap dogs we became.

The history is clear, but our own innate weaknesses ultimately caused our own libertarian demise because the mouse never resists the free cheese on the mouse trap. I don’t know if we even deserve liberty salvation anymore, or whether we can ever get it back…but that’s another depressing topic.

In any case, here’s what’s left of the whole idea of the off grid under the radar privacy situation today:

“You can run, but you cannot hide!”

First, I hope everybody realizes, or at least most Liberty minded Patriots, that if you want absolute, complete privacy from any kind of government or private sector intrusion, it simply doesn’t exist anymore. Nada, Zippo, Zero, No Mas! And all of YOU, my beloved, let them get away with it!

This is because the so-called ‘Grid’ is now everywhere. The Grid is now life itself! Therefore it stands to reason, if one desires to indulge in the solace of private seclusion, one must first escape the dreaded Grid itself? Unfortunately, there isn’t anywhere to go… where the grid ain’t.

The last nail in the coffin of human privacy, ironically, which replaced the Patriot Act, was the American Freedom Act, which allows the FISA courts and the government dark state agencies to casually violate our 4th/A protections.

Toss in ubiquitous surveillance/location/tracking technology (also 4th/A violating in usage) so advanced that I’d need several more pages to even begin describing them here. Think of it like this, all despotic power elite totalitarian regimes need the same control as farmers have over their cattle.

They need to know where they are and what they are doing at all times. The more Big Brother/Minority Reporting the government becomes, the more of a slave you wind up being.

So before we go any further, realize and accept the following as FACT. If a government agency or one of its oxymoronic private contractors wants to find you, They Will.

Unless you just go somewhere so remote and deep in the jungles or mountains. and disappear yourself, one way or the other, permanently, which is really an optimal below radar off grid style of living, even if they don’t get you physically, as in someone like Assange or Snowden (who traded their freedom to travel for a prison sentence by escaping to sanctuary in other countries), they will be tracking every move you make, every day of your life, and then some.

Even Jason Bourne, today, couldn’t evade them or disappear for very long. Not with the latest biometric facial recognition and location tracking techniques. Not with the specially trained seek and capture teams assisted by inhuman god-like AI computers with seemingly mystical sources of information and telepathic powers! And just by being alive, we all generate some type of electronic trackable footprint.

Ironically, the only real effective way to disappear off grid is to let the government do it for you. Just like they recently did with the September 17th illegal street arrest and due process killing disappearance’ of attorney and activist dissident, Andy Ostrowski.

Oh, you thought they did that only in Russia! The true history is that The American Dark State INVENTED it along with the formation of the CIA and the Soviet Union merely copied it. Apparently, you’ve never heard of the infamous Homan Ave police detention center in Chicago? Where it was impossible for your lawyer to find you after you were arrested?

Instead of just arranging for you to be an “unfortunate victim” of an armed robber and shot dead like Hilary’s campaign staffer Seth Rich, who some say knew way too much about something that could kill her campaign (still not solved). Or a suspicious suicide like Vince Foster, remember that one related to Shady Clinton business dealings? (still not solved).

But if you’re merely a vocal dissident with a growing political following, there are less violent tricks of the trade totalitarian authorities use such as simply remove you by arranging for you to be “picked up for your own safety” (same way they’ll eventually get all our guns) as well as the public’s safety, because you are obviously mentally ill if you talk too much toward the government to where it might incite people to vote.

 

This is Why Conventional Preparedness Wisdom is Deadly!

 

There was some recent law maker talk about anti-gov speech being made into some kind of prohibited law!

Then you will be lost in the matrix of bureaucratic red tape, never to be found, until they feel like letting you go after their government psychiatrist prescribed sedative drugs they treated you with left your brain with little desire to activate over any cause ever again.

And you still wonder why so many people have “visions of bushcraft homesteading dancing” in their heads?

Currently our so-called free society here does have some current and growing levels of below radar existence if you consider living like an illegal immigrant or a sleeper cell ISIS group or something like that. You could say these are pretty far off grid, but it would not be in a good way.

They cannot step out of their social status into what authorities call “going deep dark” or “lone wolf”, which is a misrepresented term. Just to maintain such a meager sustenance these types of people need others to depend on and things like fake I.D.s and unreliable associates. Once they do, they’re on radar again, and the authorities will be hot on their trail.

But can’t I just opt out of society and live my own life the way I want? I’m not a criminal fugitive or anything, I just want to be left alone and live as quietly and privately as possible.

Isn’t there a way just to be law abiding, but minding my own business and avoid contact with anybody and not be a constant victim of their agenda based for-profit rip-off abuse on my personal life and money, without getting into all that radical stuff???

It Depends

One of the advantages in a capitalistic society is that money goes a long way towards fixing personal problems in any venue and any scenario. The wealthier you are, the easier it is to disappear and virtually never be bugged by anyone including the government (as long as you pay your taxes).

On a bare bones budget level it’s more difficult but it can be done. But probably the first thing you would need to do, is realize that you would have to change your lifestyle, and especially your location.

And for some it might be fairly dramatic and emotionally troublesome. But for most, just the sheer inconvenience and work outside of your normal life ritual would be too much of sticker shock of a life transition and an automatic deterrent.

Still, some people have valid reasons to go below radar off grid and often no longer have any choice but would even welcome an escape from the typical 8 to 5 lifestyle with a heavily mortgaged three bedroom two car garage home with 2.5 kids, and 1.5 pets.

But hurdles would still exist. Mostly economic. And because of the sub-culture of literally one third of the workforce adults barely existing hand to mouth from pay check to pay check, it is no longer considered a “such a shame” to reconsider a major life change. In any case this requires very pensive rumination.

Because you need to understand what off-grid really means.

But let’s say you simply can’t stand it anymore! You want to cut the twisted umbilical cord to the nanny state womb, and you made up your mind that you seriously want to give it a shot anyway.

What Should We Do?

Okay, here’s the main tricks, tips, and flips.

1. Get Off the Radar Screens

If the government or anybody is NOT LOOKING for you, you won’t be found! Remember, they CAN find anybody if they really want to, but they are not actively looking for everybody.

So don’t let them target you. Don’t buy form 4,473 guns every week. Buy them privately and pay cash. Don’t do anything that will make them come after you and you’re pretty safe from scrutiny.

It’s a shame we have to be so “defensive” like this but we made our own beds and now have to sleep in them. I still wax fondly reminiscent of the days when They knew they had NO business violating our private lives. Now it’s BIG Business.

However, if you think you’re going off the grid and below radar so that you can skip your student loan debt, IRS tax liens, child support payment, etc. then forget about it. All this kind of stuff comes back to your driver’s license, especially the new National I.D Card ones we all MUST have now, by unconstitutional illegal law.

Unless you are hiding primitively up in the mountains like some weird Sasquatch eating grubs, roots, and berries all day and only peddling your bike down the trail every few months for emergency supplies, sooner or later you’ll be rudely dragged back in the grid from that remote mountain paradise, when some bored sheriff’s deputy with nothing better to do than check on strangers takes a second glance at you.

2. Become Untrackable

This is probably going to be the hardest thing to do to consider yourself really off the grid. And it’s a lengthy process to untangle yourself from a spider web Grid.

Everybody knows that being on Facebook or Twitter or everything else is directly reporting your life’s activities and thoughts to the big “cloud” in the sky where the big all-seeing NSA, CIA ‘EYE’ lives. To really become off grid and under the radar you must unplug yourself from the mainstream computer.

Remember, there are specialty resources for this. One really doesn’t need to get this deep into it. If you just want to homestead and self-sustain somewhere private and get off the conventional power grid, you don’t have to get so primitive that you don’t even have a computer.

But it’s not a bad idea to read one of those “how to disappear” books on Amazon to get an idea how thoroughly you are connected to society.

3. Find the Right Off Grid Location

This will likely be the biggest challenge. The problem is that municipalities are often ugly little siblings of Big Brother.

I seems like they stay up late at night trying to figure out new ordinances and ways to tax or fine you into compliance in everything from size and type of housing you MUST have, to what you can do in terms of growing or hunting or recreating on your own private land.

And it gets worse if your land is close to wetlands or has a pond or stream through it. The Feds are usually in on that tyranny as well. This is because county municipalities are going broke due to excessive patronage jobs provided by the town officials to their feckless friends, and recalcitrant relatives who otherwise would fall to the laws of natural selection by themselves.

So many do not allow full time living on your own property in a nice modern travel trailer, for instance! And restrict you to minimum square footage requirements on new built construction so you pay more in property taxes.

And many will allow you—if you file special paperwork/permits and pay an inspector–to have a solar or other off grid power system, but you STILL must be connected to the conventional power line grid besides! Obviously because there’s a monthly base charge whether you use their electricity or not as long as you’re connected.

So this is an important first step. You must determine an off-grid friendly location in which to purchase your own piece of land. These are out there.

The problem is they’re not advertised as such and you have to search them out and find out the local codes. And most of the time they’ll be pretty remote. Deep in the Yukon you can probably find some land at a good price where there’s probably no building codes. Also up in the Canadian Wilderness.

And they say you can find heavenly peace and solitude “Down in the Bayou” Country where the climate might be more hospitable if you don’t mind snakes and alligators and who knows what else?

So make up your mind only after you decide exactly what the extent of your off grid life actually will mean to you, and how much privacy you can afford.

If you are on a fixed retirement income, then that will be your determining cost factor. If you are still stuck in a job that’s location locked then the next best thing is to start prepping for your retirement off grid location.

Or do like some people I know who found themselves a suitable location away from where they must live now, bought at least the land and will begin the steady set up of their off grid retreat as an ongoing project for a future transition.

4. Get a Trust or LLC as an Alt Identity

It’s too complicated to explain here why this is a very good idea for privacy and off-grid security. If you pay cash for your retreat location and have ownership in a Trust or registered in a business, this is the best way to go. Especially if you are into unplugging yourself as much as possible from the New World Order. Even your vehicles can be owned by the Trust or LLC or Nevada type corp. And nobody can just ‘check’ on your property anytime they want to see who owns it.

5. Last but NOT the Least…

…stop dreaming about it and get proactive!

If you’re one of those liberty minded free choice loving hold outs who can’t stand all this government overbearing authority, and truly don’t want to lose every last single bit of privacy (even smart toilets are coming), it would be best to start working on your emancipation from the grid ASAP.

Once a few final straws whack the collective Camel’s back, like the imminent elimination of cash (and illegalization and prohibition of using gold as alt currency) in favor of an all digital daily commerce system, it will become more and more difficult to get comfortably off grid and below radar if you haven’t already done so.

As this is being written the UK has the world’s first food store where customers use their palm finger vein scans as a credit card and facial recognition scans as identification. China is expanding fast on this.

In the U.S. distance radar scanners with biometric facial recognition (linked from your National I.D. card drivers license holographic photo) are being installed to instantly search and identify anyone just walking around an airport or train terminal.

So if you’re going to go off grid and below radar, better get started NOW!

This article has been written by Mahatma Muhjesbude for Survivopedia.

References:

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/19/homan-square-chicago-police-disappeared-thousands

telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/20/british-supermarket-offers-payment-fingerprint-worldwide-first/

10 Ways To Repurpose A Lawn Mower Engine

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Have you ever noticed that the body of your lawnmower wears out long before the engine? If so, then you may even have a few extra engines laying around, but have no idea what to do with them.

There are several ways to reuse a lawn mower engine to meet a range of off gridding and survival goals. Whether you use an engine that was sitting in your garage for years on end, or you happen to find one abandoned by someone that saw no use for it, there is a chance you can use it for any of the following purposes.

Here’s how!

Build a Generator

From surviving the aftermath of a hurricane to trying to cut back on your electric bill, you would be amazed at how much electricity you can get from a lawn mower engine.

Depending on the horsepower of the engine, you could power household lights, and perhaps a few smaller, low drain appliances. For example, if you have RV or other 12 volt appliances on hand, you should be able to run them with ease.

Unless you convert the lawn mower engine to run on some other fuel, you will need gasoline. Fortunately, you will need far less than what you would need if you were running a conventional generator.

Even if you do not get as much power from the lawn mower engine, it will still get you through though times as long as you pair it with energy conserving appliances.

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

Power Transport Vehicles

Let’s say an EMP blast has wiped out most computers, and most cars and other vehicles that rely on computer are unable to run. If you have a lawn mower engine that doesn’t have any computerized or electronic parts, you can use it to power smaller vehicles.

Here are just a few options you may want to consider:

  • Bicycles – the lightweight frames and large wheels make it possible for even a small lawnmower engine to power the bike at a fairly good speed. For the sake of balance, you may want to add training wheels on the back wheel of the bike. Don’t forget to make sure that you can still use the brakes and turn the bike easily while the engine is running. You can also power tricycles using a lawnmower engine.
  • Motor bikes – even though motor bikes and scooters may not move as fast, they will still get you from one place to another.
  • ATVs, Go Carts, and Other Small Vehicles – You can power just about any light weight vehicle suitable for carrying one person with a lawn mower engine. This includes designing your own vehicles that will incorporate elements that you feel will be most important during a major crisis. This may even include a small side cart where you can put supplies, larger tires, or even tracks for navigating off road and in rough terrain. You may also want to include other design elements that will help you navigate in the snow or ice if you will be traveling in areas where these forms of precipitation will lead to problems. Just remember not to exceed the weight bearing capacity of the engine you are using to power the vehicle.

Power a Wheelchair

Even outside of a crisis situation, many people that need wheelchairs cannot afford motorized versions.

While these people may be able to get around a small room using a manual wheelchair, the lack of a motorized transport device makes it impossible for them to go the park or enjoy other activities in places where a motorized wheelchair may not be available.

In order to use a lawn mower engine to power a wheelchair, you would need to start off by building a suitable frame. Depending on the person, you can build a recumbent design, or something that looks more like a conventional motor driven wheelchair.

Regardless of the design you choose, a motorized wheelchair driven by a lawn mower engine is not suitable for use indoors or other areas with poor ventilation. As with any other gasoline driven engine, a running lawn mower engine still gives off carbon monoxide and other toxic gasses.

Build a Power Wheelbarrow

More than a few people interested in gardening these days live on very small pieces of land, or have medical conditions that make it very hard to tend a conventional garden. If you have a small deck or porch, a power wheelbarrow can be of immense benefit in setting up a container garden.

Among other things, you can fill it up with soil or compost and bring it to the site where you intend to plant. As long as the wheelbarrow has suitable wheels, it will be able to travel from one area to another with relative ease.

Video first seen on Roy Rickstrew.

When powering wheelbarrow with a lawnmower engine, it will more than likely have to run on at least three wheels. If you include longer handles for leverage, keep the single wheel in the front. This will enable you to use the wheelbarrow as a manual design as well as a motorized one.

If you plan on bringing soil and compost indoors to grow plants in a single room, it will still be best to have the lawn mower engine turned off.

During the process of building a power wheelbarrow, you’ll still need some way to steer the device even though you will not be sitting in it.

Your best option is likely to be an Arduino controller that has a remote controller on it. For the most part, once you know how to use Arduino to control a remote control car model, you can adapt the same methods for controlling a power wheelbarrow.

Power an Air Compressor

If you have ever worked with hand tools, then you were sure to be amazed at the ease and convenience associated with power tools. While you may need to go back to hand saws and other simple devices in a time of need, chances are you still love jig saws, circular saws, drills, and rotary tools.

As wonderful as these tools may be, many people that have used compressed air tools tend to think of conventional power tools as nice, but primitive. If you are serious about repairing cars or working materials that require a lot of force to manage, you are likely to want to use compressed air tools.

One of the most disappointing things is an air compressor connected to a tiny tank that won’t give you compressed air or time to get much of anything done. The most useful air compressors with big tanks or the capacity to deliver air without going to a tank can be expensive and bulky, so it makes sense to make an air compressor from an old lawn mower engine.

As with generating electricity, you will find that just about anything that spins can be combined with other parts and materials to compress air.

 

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

 

Power a Small Boat

As you look at the scenes of devastation in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, it becomes clear that transport over land may not be the only cause for concern during a crisis.

Small conventional boats can be powered by lawn mower engines. It will will take some extra fitting to ensure the lawn mower engine doesn’t get wet, however it is well worth the effort, especially if you have to travel a significant distance in order to get to some kind of safety. The boat will have to be fairly small for this to work, and consider keeping it at home in a garage or some other area where you can get to it easily if needed.

Aside from conventional boats, consider adapting a lawnmower engine to run an air boat. If you take a careful look, in particular, at the pictures from Texas, you will find these boats are very important and useful when there is a lot of flooding combined with the potential for excessive amounts of underwater debris.

As with navigating through swamps or marshes, an airboat may be a much better choice if you are in a city or other suburban area and need to get out through flooded streets.

Build a Rotary Tool

Even though most people use hand held rotary tools without a stand, it is also possible to use them while suspended to a platform. Since a lawnmower engine can deliver plenty of power to spin a central shaft, it can be used to take the place of many different kinds of rotary tools. This includes:

  • Drill presses, screwdrivers, and power drills. Even though you cannot simply lift the lawn mower engine by hand for the smaller hand drilling devices, you can still use an extension that will deliver the spinning motion to a tool that you hold in your hand. For example, Dremel, Foredom, and other rotary tool manufacturers all make flexible shafts that fit onto the main rotary appliance while it it is mounted on a platform.
  • Polishers – you can use rotary tools to polish everything from metal and stone to wood. You will still need the proper grits and pastes to create smooth, even polishing effects.
  • Stone or Metal cutting and embossing – if you are interested in creating stone or metal art, it always helps to have a rotary device that can cut through these materials. In addition, you can also adapt rotary tools to polish and sharpen knives or other metal equipment that you buy or make yourself.

Depending on how you line up the equipment extending from the shaft, you may also be able to make a very crude wood and metal working lathe. Just be aware of the fact that the platform for this kind of application can be very tedious to design and will need to withstand a good bit of vibration without moving. You will also need proper tools for forming the items being spun by the lathe.

Power for Water Irrigation and Transport

If you own a homestead, you may have ponds or streams on the land that can be used for irrigation. If you have to get the water to move uphill or around complex land features, you’ll need pumps or other devices to ensure adequate water movement.

Combine a lawnmower engine with an Archimedes Screw or other devices in order transport water during times when the flow is too slow for your needs. This may also include pumping water up from shallow wells or other underground resources.

Even though it is true that there is no place for water to go during a major flood scenario, there are just as many other times when you can direct the water away from your home and property and have a reasonable expectation that it won’t just come right back. Therefore, converting a lawn mower engine to be used as a sump pump or other water draining device also makes a good bit of sense.

Many people going off grid often find themselves wondering how they can capture rainwater and deliver it inside their homes as efficiently as possible. If you need a low budget option, try using a lawn mower engine converted for pumping water so that you can move water from the rain trap through pipes to a tank inside your home.

Depending on where the tank’s lowest point is in relation to the other pipes, you can still get a reasonable amount of water pressure for household needs, or you may still need to add extra smaller sized water pumps around the house.

Power Heavy Lifting and Towing Equipment

As a budget conscious prepper, you might think that you will only have simple devices such as rope hoists and levers to move heavy equipment around.

On the other side of the equation, the spinning shaft of a lawn mower can be used to power hoists and pulley systems. Just convert the motion of the lawn mower shaft so that it wraps the rope around a reel, then you’ll have to work out a method to release the rope once the weight is removed from it.

Unless you feel like creating some type of transmission, it will be very difficult to create a “reverse” motion with the lawnmower engine.

You may be surprised at the number of times you will need to haul something big and heavy from one place to another. For example, if you are clearing trees or need to move bulky logs, you could create a cart and then attach a pulley system to it.

From there, you can attach the lawn mower engine to the cart, and then use the pulley system to drag the object from one place to another. As with any other moving device, you must also be able to stop the cart from moving forward, and you must also be able to lock the wheels in place for stationary use.

Learn the Fundamentals of Engine Cleaning and Repair

Today, more than a few people are interested in retrofitting cars or putting older ones back on the road. But as these vehicles become scarcer, you may be forced to try and refurbish a vehicle that has serious engine problems.

A lawn mower engine has the same kind of piston and cylinder system as a conventional gas engine, so you can take it apart and learn the basics on a much smaller device. As you go through this process, learn and practice good disassembly and assembly practices as well as learn how to clean and evaluate parts.

You won’t be spending thousands of dollars on a vehicle, and then find out that you do not have the skills necessary to rebuild the engine. While there will still be a learning curve in transiting from lawn mower engines to old style automobile gasoline engines, it will not be as steep or complicated.

Over the years, many people have thrown out perfectly good lawn mower engines because they saw no other use for them. But lawn mower engines are small, durable, and reliable. With just a little bit of adaption, they can be used to meet a range of homesteading and survival needs.

No matter whether you start adapting lawn mower engines to other uses as a matter of hobby or necessity, you are sure to learn a lot, and enjoy a lower budget useful task at the same time.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

7+1 Tips On How To Deal With Flood Remains

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The problem with dealing with hurricanes, tropical storms, or other storm systems that bring a lot of rain in a little time is that you’re not just dealing with the storms. Though that’s certainly bad enough, sometimes it’s what comes after that does more damage than the actual storm.

What am I talking about? Flooding. I live in a hurricane zone, and we have a saying: hide from the winds, but run from the water. That’s because there usually very few lives lost due to damage from the high winds; most lives are lost to flooding.

On top of that, much of the extensive damage is also caused by flooding. How do you deal with the remains?

The actual storm itself rarely lasts more than a few hours but it can take weeks for a river to crest after the storm is past.

For example, the St. Johns River that runs from Vero Beach in Southeast Florida, up the middle of the state, then empties into the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville, is a north-flowing, lazy river. That can make for a bad situation for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s common for hurricanes to hit the southern part of the state then pound the rest of it with heavy downfalls. Since the St. Johns both starts and empties into the Atlantic Ocean, it can get a storm surge from both ends if the storm hits just right.

This Device Easily Turns Air Into Water!

Add in a foot or two of heavy rain to a state that’s not very far from sea level and you’re going to see major flooding in the dry areas, too.

So, you have the initial surge, which can push it off the banks, then you have water draining toward it from all directions inland then you have to factor in the slow rate at which it runs – .3 mph. That means that, assuming we’re lucky enough to have dry weather for a couple of weeks after the hurricane, it can take the river up to a week or so to crest; if it rains it can take even longer than that. And, since it’s lazy, it’s not receding for several days to a week.

So it’s not uncommon for a house near the St. Johns to make it through the hurricane just fine, but flood three or four days later, and stay that way for a few days. And this is a problem that happens all over the world; I just used the St. Johns because it’s one that I have first-hand experience with.

The reason that I took the time to go into this is because it’s important to understand that time plays a huge factor in things. Houses, yards, manufacturing plants, and buildings can be flooded for days, or even a week.

This opens up the door to a tremendous amount of potential toxins to flow, mix, and/or grow:

  • Septic waste: A septic tank may be able to handle a little bit of flooding, especially if it’s localized, but if the land is submerged for several days, it’s a different story. The leech field and even the tank itself are leaking into the floodwaters.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides: Again, a quick wash of floodwater may contaminate things a little, but when the water has plenty of time to sit and thoroughly saturate the soil deep down, it draws up toxins that have been soaking into the ground for months or years and spreads it far and wide.
  • Sewage plants: It’s practically a given that at least one sewage plant is going to suffer spillage during a flood.
  • Landfills: if it’s in a flood zone, it’s going to share the wonders of decomposing food, feminine hygiene products, diapers, and all the other stuff you’d typically want to make tea with. Home garbage containers also spill into floodwaters, so that’s another source of loveliness.
  • Dead Fish: between the contamination and the change in temperature and pH levels, there’s almost always a huge amount of dead fish that add to the contamination of the water, and also end up scattered on the banks, leaving the lovely smell – and health hazard – of dead fish strung along the shore, baking in the sun.
  • Mold: now that there’s a lovely, poisonous soup sitting in a building, or even on the ground, stewing in the heat, mold, and mildew start to grow. This creates another hazard that’s hazardous to you, both if you touch it and if you breathe it.
  • Storm debris: the winds and rushing water bring down trees and tree limbs, roof shingles, siding, fences, signs, and many other hazards that flow in the water and are left scattered behind once the water recedes, leaving physical hazards as well as chemical ones.

Now that you have an idea of just how damaging floods are, you need to know how to deal with the aftermath.

Be Prepared

Just like food is going to be scarce before the storm, cleaning supplies are going to be in demand following it. Stock up on garbage bags, bleach, rubber gloves, paper towels, rags, and whatever else you may need to clean up your area. Of course, if you prepare for a hurricane throughout the year, this may not be an issue for you.

Don’t Swim in It

After learning about all of the disgusting contents in floodwaters, the last thing you would probably think to do is swim in it. But many people don’t.

Kids of all ages like to get out and wade in the floodwaters, and even after the waters start to go down, it’s hot and people want to go swimming in the river.

Don’t. Just because the water has receded doesn’t mean that the toxins aren’t still there.

Pay attention to local EPA and Fish and Wildlife folks who monitor the level of contamination in the water and don’t go back in until they deem it safe.

Boil Water

Often, if you’re on city water, your city will issue a boil-water alert until they’re sure that the water is safe to drink again. Heed these warnings – they’re given for a reason. Usually, this is just for drinking water, but sometimes they’ll issue one for water used for hygiene as well.

It’s best to stockpile some water, both because your power may be out for awhile and because of the danger of contamination after the storm.

Test Your Soil

Though most of the time, the soil will be OK a few weeks or months after the flood, have it tested. The contaminants stay in it for a long time after the waters recede.

As a matter of fact, I once lost an entire litter of 4-week-old puppies to Parvo two weeks after a flood because the ground had been contaminated via rats’ nests that had been flooded.

As we know, rats also caused a couple of plagues, so this isn’t something to take lightly.

Wear Sturdy Shoes

By now, you’ve probably figured out that the ground is gross even after the waters recede. If you have to wade in the water, wear rubber boots that are higher than the water so that your feet don’t come into contact with water.

However, it’s best not to wade in the water at all because there are all kinds of things – boards with nails, broken glass, etc. – that you can’t see and will cut your shoes right along with your feet. Then all of those lovely contaminants are in your bloodstream.

Wear Gloves and Masks

Once you have to go in and start doing cleanup, you don’t want to touch the contaminated debris with your bare hands and you don’t want to breathe the air in enclosed spaces because of the mold and mildew. It can and will cause serious health issues once you suck it into your lungs. Medical masks are fairly cheap, especially compared to funeral expenses.

Dispose of Debris Appropriately

At the time of this writing, it’s three weeks post-Irma and there are still huge piles of yard debris lining the streets and stacked in parking lots. Follow local ordinances and be patient. If you want to dispose of it yourself rather than wait for city or county waste companies to get to you, there are often designated drop-off areas where you can haul it to.

Typically, these drop zones are for yard debris only. Drywall, fencing, shingles, flooded household goods and furniture, or any other non-bushy stuff isn’t accepted. Check for area dumps to haul building debris to, or call your municipality to find out if they’ve made special arrangements to pick up this type of waste.

Watch your Pets

Dogs and cats just love to roll in gross stuff and eat dead things that they shouldn’t.

There’s also the danger of nails, glass, and disease (see afore-mentioned Parvo) that are dangers to your animals. Horses are at particular risk, too, because of the way that their hooves are made. A nail can easily penetrate the sole, so be sure to police the yard and turnout areas where your pets will be roaming before you let them out.

Floods cause millions of dollars of damage and lives are lost both to the rushing waters and the hazards that accompany the water, both during and after the event.

Use common sense and follow precautions set forth by your local authorities. Post-disaster really isn’t a time to ignore safety directions because if warnings are issued, you can guarantee that there’s some level of risk.

That’s why you need to stay prepared and to know how to keep you and your family safe!

Have you been through floods and have suggestions, tips, or a story you’d like to share? If so, please do so in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Nuclear Prepping On Fast Forward: 10 Cheap & Easy To-Dos

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North Korea doesn’t have the power to wipe out the United States. They can take a lot of lives and make us uncomfortable, but they won’t be able to destroy us.

Our nation still faces a nuclear crisis; and it may come right from our own nuclear power plants.

No matter what nation you look at these days, there are hackers that can turn our power plants against us. This is an imminent threat that can disburse lethal radiation to just about every corner of our nation.

If you have been putting off nuclear prepping because it seems useless or expensive, then you may be wondering if there is something you can do right away. Keep reading to find out!

Here are 10 things you can do in just a few minutes to 48 hours to secure your survival in the outer bands of a nuclear crisis zone from the time the event occurs to 5 days past the main event.

Know Where the Nuclear Shelters are in Your Area

One of the first things you should do is find out where the local blast shelters and fallout shelters are located. You can try doing a web search for this information in relation to your local area, and also ask at your town or city clerk’s office.

Since the United States has become remarkably lax in this area, you may not get any viable answers.

 

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

 

If you find that you cannot get the address and information on a viable nuclear shelter, then start looking around for places that might make a viable shelter in time of need. Old brick churches, schools, or other sturdy buildings with solid basements might be of some use.

Do not overlook underground parking garages or other places where you can put a lot of heavy material between you and the radiation. If you find a viable place, but no plans have been made to store water, food, and other supplies, now might be a good time to approach the owner and get some volunteer efforts going in that direction.

Given the current state of the news, you may find people are more amenable to these ideas than they would have been even a year ago.

Have a Plan for Getting Underground and Test It

It is often said that most people living in a city will be doomed if a nuclear bomb is detonated. On the other hand, if the city buildings survive, there is every chance the lower and underground levels of the buildings may be suitable for a fallout shelter.

Therefore, if you live in a city, locate at least five buildings with basements that you can get into quickly in a time of need. Try to space out the buildings so that you can get to them in under five minutes on foot.

If you have to approach a building owner or superintendent to make these arrangements, do not forget to add extra supplies. Unfortunately, people can become very untrustworthy in a time of need, however you may still find others that will honor their agreements.

No matter whether you live in a rural area or a location in the city where you can dig into the ground, build a small fallout shelter that you can reach in a matter of minutes. There are several resources online that you can use for starter plans to build everything from a foxhole design to larger ones.

When building your shelter, you must make sure you have at least 3 feet (6 – 7 feet is better if you can manage it) of well packed soil around you and above you. Just remember to make sure there is also enough room in the shelter to store at least 5 days of water, food, and anything you may decide to take along to another area.

If you are looking to build the shelter in less than 24 hours, you can also add a vent shaft, however the air will need to be pulled in through a MIRV 16 filter or better in order to remove as much radioactive dust as possible.

Be Able to Calculate When and Where to Go

As soon as you find out there is a nuclear blast and that you are in the radiation zone, get underground or put as much material between you and the blast site as possible. When you find the safest possible shelter, you’ll need to stay there for about 5 days.

When it comes to short term, fast prepping for a nuclear disaster, you will find the time after this much more challenging. Even though the most immediate threats from heavy doses of radiation will be over, you must still contend with all the contaminated things in your area. This includes food, water, tools, and anything else that would normally be of use in time of need.

Insofar as where to go after emerging from your blast/fallout shelter, it will depend largely on where the blast occurred and what else is going on in surrounding areas.

If you are dealing with a single nuclear power plant, you must know where the radioactive fallout is most likely to be carried by wind and water currents. Heading away from the projected fallout zone will be your best bet.

Make sure you know where all the nuclear power plants are within a 500 mile radius of locality. Some college campuses also have nuclear reactors for research purposes, so make sure that you know where those are in case they also get hacked.

Listen to the radio and find out what other areas are contaminated so that you have a better chance of picking a safe area. Take geographic features such as mountains and fresh water resources into consideration when deciding where you will go.

At the current time, relatively few analysts think that North Korea has a vehicle capable of reaching the eastern areas of the United States. Most also think North Korea has not yet developed a MERV device, so it is likely you will be dealing with a single detonation as opposed to a localized pattern.

On the other hand, a strike far enough into the west coast can still bring a lot of radiation to the eastern areas in a matter of a day or two. It is important to know how to get to the mountains or other areas where air and water currents from the west will be mainly blocked out.

Prepare for Radiation Sickness

You can start preparing for radiation sickness by having potassium iodide tablets on hand. Even though you will not need them until a nuclear event happens, it is still important to have them on hand. If you live close enough to a nuclear power plant, they may give them out for free if you ask for them.

There are also some vitamins (E and C) that can help reduce the effects of nuclear radiation, however they are best taken beforehand. Do not take more than the recommended amounts of these vitamins as some can be poisonous if you take too much.

See our articles on foods and vitamins for prepping to see what you need to be consuming right now, as well as which foods are best to store. Fortunately, the most useful vitamins for nuclear prepping can be found in a good quality multi-vitamin.

Just make sure that you include a new bottle in your food cache so that you have an uncontaminated supply at your shelter location.

Overall, treatment for radiation sickness will entail managing symptoms such as nausea, vomit, cough, and bleeding. To keep things as simple as possible, buy extra of any OTC medications you use for the most common symptoms and keep them in your shelter area. This includes any herbal remedies that you may already have experience with.

There are also some medications you can use to remove radiation from your body if you become exposed to it. The cheapest and easiest to obtain will be activated carbon capsules and zeolite capsules. When using zeolites, bear in mind, however, that it can be carcinogenic. Try not to use zeolites for a prolonged period of time.

Build a Radiation Detector

The fastest and cheapest way to build a radiation detector is to follow the designs for a Kearny Fallout Meter.

Try to build at least three or four of them, and place them in different areas. Once you know how to read the meters, it will be easier to determine when radiation levels are elevated in your area.

If you have some extra money, you can also buy a device that will attach to your cell phone that will act like a Geiger counter.

Secure a 5 Day Food Supply

One of the most important things you can do is store away at least five days worth of food. Stick to canned, dried, or powdered foods that do not require heating.

At least half of your food choices should be items that will shield your body from radiation or remove it from your body. It may also help to store away a few MREs for more balance. Sadly, I would not necessarily recommend putting food in a bug out bag, as it will get contaminated by radiation while you are moving to a place of safety.

Store your foods in your fallout shelter, and the remainder under at least 6 feet of dirt, and then retrieve when it is safe to do so.

Water Cleaning During a Nuclear Disaster

The cheapest way to remove nuclear radiation from water is to use uncontaminated dirt. Zeolites and activated carbon will also remove some radiation. Later on, when you emerge from your shelter, the best thing you can do is distill the water.

Even though this will not remove tritium, it will still get rid of all the other nuclear contaminants. It is also very important to have a 5 day supply of bottled water in your fallout shelter.

The plastic bottles will shield the water from the radiation. Be sure to wipe all dust off the bottles so that you do no contaminate the water with any fallout that may have gotten into the shelter.

Secure Decontamination and Hygiene Essentials

With the exception of Gamma radiation, almost all other radiation will be trapped by your clothes. Therefore, it is very important to have a change of clothes in your shelter.

The most effective decontamination is a long shower and scrubbing with lye soap. Since it is not likely you will be able to create an underground piping system for this purpose in a day, your best bet will be to make sure as much of your skin and hair as possible remain covered with white fabric.

Include a bandanna or scarf (preferably sari cloth as it can also double as a water filter) that you can quickly and easily slip over your nose and mouth to block out as much dust as possible. Even weaker Alpha and Beta radiation particles can wreak havoc if they get into your body via your mouth or nose.

Insofar as hygiene, store away wet wipes and other aides for keeping yourself as clean as possible without using water.It will also be useful to store away bags that can be used for urine and stool as you will not want them building up in the shelter. These can be pushed into an adjoining tunnel from your living area, and then sealed off with dirt or a door.

As much as you may be tempted to find a way to put these bags above ground, I do not recommend it. They can leave you open to detection by people above ground. You will also be exposed to radiation each time you emerge from the earth.

Be Ready to Defend Yourself

If you have a gun and ammo, you will be ahead of the game. That being said, it is also important to store away knives and anything else you can use as a weapon. Try to practice basic self defense moves now and do what you can to brush up on your situation awareness skills. Even 15 minutes of practice each day can be of benefit.

Depending on where you live and the severity of the blast in your area, it is possible that people will be roving around while you are still underground. These people are likely to be looking for food, medicine, and water. Even if they are suffering from radiation sickness and have just a few days to live, do not be surprised if they try to get into your shelter to steal from you.

Do what you can to disguise your shelter so that no one can find it once you enter it. If you have neighbors, it will be best to dig and work on your shelter during night hours or other times when no one knows what you are doing.

Communications and Gathering Information

Other than medical devices, your phone and radios are the most common electronic survival tools that will be damaged by an EMP.

Be sure to put an unlocked smart phone, a mobile SIM (Freedom Pop gives you free minutes and time every month), and backup computer files in an EMP proof bag, and store them in your shelter.

Even if cell service and internet go down, you can still use the phone for accessing digital files. Most web pages can be easily saved as PDF files, and it is also possible to download many useful YouTube videos for viewing offline. Build your library now of information that you may need while you are in the shelter, and once you emerge.

It is also important to store away a radio that gets AM and FM bands. If the radio is based on transistors or IC circuits, it should also go in an EMP proof bag. Include a solar battery charger and sufficient rechargeable (and fully charged) batteries to last 5 days for all your devices.

You may not be able to use the solar charger during the first five days of a nuclear crisis, but you can use it once you emerge from your shelter. Since crank radios can be quite expensive, you may be better served by storing away simple materials that you can use to build a foxhole radio and a simple transmitter.

Right now there are several things you can integrate into your daily life to prepare for a nuclear emergency. There are also some cheap, fast things you can do in a weekend that will put you well ahead of anyone else that makes no effort at all this direction.

While these suggestions will not take you much past five days, they are an important start that will give you an advantage that can still be wielded once you emerge from your shelter.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/natural-remedies-for-radiation-exposure/

http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p919.htm 

Urban Camping When The Power Is Out

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The emotions that accompany living through a disaster then surviving the aftermath are many and complex.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have a few limbs down or maybe lose some screens or a few roof shingles breathe a sigh of relief, but then feel unnecessarily guilty because we got lucky while our neighbors a few streets over are without power or lost belongings due to flooding, or had a tree fall in their car.

Even if we’re without power, many of us would rather stay in our own homes rather than go stay with a friend, especially if it’s a long-term thing.

Part of that is because home is home. All of your stuff is there and it’s still your sanctuary, even if it’s dark and hot. Part of it is also to protect your property. Unfortunately, the vultures circle after disasters and if they know that a household has evacuated, then the home is fair game for looting.

So, the alternative to imposing on friends – even if they don’t feel that you’re imposing – and leaving your belongings unprotected is staying in your home.

We have a laugh-or-cry joke that our houses turn into giant tents or RVs after a storm and we’re camping in our homes.

And that’s seriously, literally what we’re doing. There’s no power, which means there’s no lights, no air conditioning, no technology, no hot showers, no refrigeration, and often no stove because most stoves here are electric.

The main difference is that we still have our beds, there aren’t as many bugs, and the toilet almost always works. That’s about it.

So, how do you live in a house that’s been turned into a large tent? You take a deep breath, be thankful you still have a house to camp in, find shortcuts and you need to know how to do it safely.

Be Prepared

I probably don’t have to stress the importance of preparation in general, but I will share some details that I’ve learned from experience.

First, don’t wait till the last minute. Ideally, you should have most, if not all, of everything that you need stockpiled. If you don’t, get your rear to the store as soon as you hear the first whisper of impending disaster. If you wait, you’ll be too late.

Now, you probably think that if you have water, canned soups, and maybe ice stocked back, you’ll be fine. Well, yeah, but you don’t need to live that rustically.

Stock up on regular items, too. Chips, juice, a pack or two of Oreos, and maybe a case of beer or a couple of bottles of wine if that’s your thing.

Those types of comfort items make a bad situation a little more comfortable—not that I’m suggesting you drink yourself silly during a hurricane when you’re going to need your wits about you, but you may want to have a beer with dinner after the hurricane, when you’re grilling the stuff from your freezer, and the stores may not have any.

Here are a few more items to stockpile:

  • Charcoal
  • Gasoline for generators and all vehicles
  • Propane for the grill
  • A generator will make your life a thousand times easier. You don’t appreciate a fridge and fan till you don’t have them
  • Comfort foods such as chips
  • Canned soups, canned fruits, and other foods that require minimal preparation and no refrigeration
  • Board games
  • Ice – frozen jugs full of water
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Batteries for your flashlights and games
  • Jar candles or tea light candles – they burn for a few hours and if you drop them in a heat-proof jar, you get quite a bit of light with minimal heat.
  • Matches and/or lighters
  • Cold/hot neck wraps
  • Baby wipes
  • Water, sports drinks, instant coffee/tea
  • Lighter fluid
  • A large cooler
  • Extension cord to run outside to the generator

You’ll be surprised how much the items on this list will come in handy and will mke your life easier if you have to essentially camp in your own house.

Don’t Mess with Power Lines

It never fails that at least one person dies after a storm because they don’t heed his warning. Power Lines carry more than enough juice to kill you. Even if they’re dead, if your chainsaw accidentally hits on one, it can kick back and kill you.

 

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

 

As a matter of fact, this just happened during hurricane Irma. A guy was on a ladder trimming limbs off the power line, and his chainsaw snagged, hit the wire, kicked back up, and hit him in the neck. Completely horrible, and needless, way to die.

If the wires are down, assume they’re hot and stay away from them. Move animals if you need to so that they won’t get hurt either by the wire or the downed limbs and debris.

Don’t Use Grills or Generators Inside

There were four fatalities in my area because people were running their generators inside the house and died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Running a generator in the house, even if it’s well-ventilated, is akin to sitting in your car in the garage, with a tube running from the exhaust to the cracked window. Seriously. A generator should always be at least 15 feet away from the house – thus the extension cords on the list above.

Grills pose a double hazard if you use them in the house – you’re breathing the smoke and gas/lighter fluid fumes, and you’re also running the risk of burning your house down. That’s certainly an instance of going from bad to worse! Seriously though, keep the grills – whether they’re little camp grills or full-sized outdoor grills where they belong – outside!

Here are some alternative methods to cooking without power that may be better for you.

Keep Your Food Cold

Food poisoning would most certainly make urban camping life miserable, especially if it gets so bad that you need to go to a hospital that you can’t reach or that is likely already inundated with disaster-related illnesses and injuries in addition to its standard load. Keeping your food at a safe temperature will go a long way toward helping keep you well.

There’s a saying in the food industry – keep your hot food hot and your cold food cold. It’s pretty self-explanatory, except for one are that many people overlook, especially when camping, urban or otherwise. That’s what to do with food after you’ve already cooked it.

It’s tempting to leave food out for several hours, especially when you have limited cooler or fridge space, but in order to close that room-temperature window of time when illness-causing bacteria likes to grow, get it cold again within two hours of cooking, or one hour if it’s over 90 degrees where the food is sitting.

Here’s a cool way to make a refrigeration unit with clay pots.

Now, to reduce the chance of raw food spoiling and making you sick, here are some suggestions:

  • Keep meats separate from all other foods, and keep fowl away from red meat to prevent the spread of salmonella
  • Don’t let your food float in ice water in the cooler.
  • Once the ice has melted and the water in your cooler is no longer icy cold, dump it. It’s now a cesspool for bacteria. Use it to flush the commode.
  • Cook thawed meats within a couple hours after they’ve reached room temperature if you don’t have a source of refrigeration or within a few days if you’ve kept them cold. Watch for signs of spoilage such as smell, discoloration, or sliminess.
  • If your meat thaws, don’t just wait for it to go bad. Cook it up – that will buy you a couple of extra days if you can refrigerate it afterwards. If you have too much to eat by yourself, give it to a neighbor or somebody else that’s in need. I promise you that for many folks, a hamburger or a piece of real chicken will taste magnificent if they’ve been living on canned food for three days. Whatever you do, don’t waste it if you can avoid it.

Clean Up Flood Waters

Rule number one in staying healthy while you’re urban camping. If your place was flooded, clean it up. Seriously – flood waters are cesspools for disease.

Scrub everything that you can with hot, soapy water and disinfect with bleach. Especially if your power is off, mold and mildew that can damage everything from your respiratory system to your heart and nervous system will start to grow within just a couple of days. The first thing you need to do is clean up any flood waters. Afterward, wash your hands.

Be Careful with Open Fires

Cooking on an open fire or even having a burn pile to clean up the yard can turn catastrophic quickly. Within just a few days after falling, tree leaves and limbs are excellent tinder, regardless of whether it’s roasting outside or freezing, and a stray ash or spark can turn into an inferno in the blink of an eye.

Be even more careful with outdoor fires than you normally would because you may be existing in perfect-storm circumstances – plenty of dry fuel and a team of first responders that are stretched beyond their limits.

There are several different ways to cook when the power is out, so fire may not be your best option. If it is, be careful.

Maintain Personal Hygiene and a Clean Living Space

As with any SHTF scenario, hygiene is a must. If you have no restroom, make sure that your modified one is in an area that isn’t going to affect your food and water supply or stink up the area where you’re going to be living.

Also, wash your hands frequently (hand sanitizer is awesome in this situation) and keep counters and other areas where food may come into contact clean. Dispose of food waste far away from the house.

Urban camping isn’t going to be a walk in the park, but you can make it as comfortable as possible by avoiding sickness and making the best of things.

Maintaining a positive morale is every bit as critical as maintaining a healthy body – when you start to feel sorry for yourself, or angry, think about the family of the man who died in the chainsaw accident, the family who lost their home, and the small businesses that sustained catastrophic damage to inventory or storefront.

Things could always be worse; at least you have a house to “urban camp” in and friends and family who are healthy enough to be so cranky due to the circumstances that you want to smack them.

It may be tough, but you’ll get over it. And that’s all that matters in the end – everything else is just stuff.

If you’ve lived through a situation that required urban camping and have some hints and tips to share please do so in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Prep Blog Review: Top Communication Skills For SHTF Survival

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How many time have you ever wondered what you need to communicate in a disaster situation or what skill you need to have?

Most people consider that they only need a handful of devices on hand, but what are the most important electronic appliances that you will actually use? Some give a list based on their priorities but these are not always the same for everyone, as we each have our own criteria of what’s important and what is not.

Another problem worth mentioning is, that it’s one thing to have them by your side and a completely different story in using them. We all know how to change a battery, that’s true, but what other options do we have in case of a disaster and when these are not longer available.

Sometimes we can just rely on old, proven techniques and sometimes we can improvise.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of 5+1 articles that will help you out so let’s get started !

1. Ten Principles of Preparedness: #10 Communication

“In the second season of one of my favorite television shows, “Jericho”, there was a perfect illustration of what can happen if reliable communication does not exist (I recommend you renting this two-season series or at least catching some of it on hulu.com).

While communication is the last aspect of the Principles of Preparedness, this doesn’t mean it’s insignificant in any way. In fact,  there’s a lot of danger, panic, relying on misinformation and chaos that can arise, all from the lack of communication.”

Read more on Preparedness Pro.

2. How To Modify An Am Radio To Receive Shortwave Broadcasts

“You can convert AM radios to receive shortwave frequencies between 4 and 9 MHz and used it that way for a while. You can make a like conversion on an AM radio you own. This can be really helpful when SHTF and you need to communicate.

Shortwave frequencies bounce off of the ionosphere and return to earth halfway around the world. It is easy to receive broadcasts from another continent; depending on conditions, time of day, signal strength, and target area for the broadcast.”

Read more on SHTF Preparedness.

3. SHTF Survivalist Radio Lists

“From monkeys in the Amazon Rainforest, to dolphins in the Caribbean, to ants under your picnic table, all species rely on communication with each other for survival. Humans are no different – we rely on communication to both warn and inform us, especially in times of crisis.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

4. Light, Fire and Smoke | Emergency Communication Signals

“In ancient days, people communicated by firelight. Signal fires were the “in thing.” Not only did they tell friendly forces of a presence, or of success in battle, a large collection of fires also intimidated intended victims.

Fire and smoke have been used to communicate trouble or distress among people ever since. The invention of the telescope in the 1700s significantly increased the range of long distance silent communication—observers could see signals at far greater distances.”

Read more on Survival Life.

5. Off-Grid Charging System For AA-AAA Batteries, Plus USB

“Off-grid charging for the AA or AAA battery and other consumer batteries can be accomplished with a combination of the right portable solar panel and battery charger to get the job done. When might this be useful?

While off-grid, camping, hiking, a remote location, or simply for your own preparedness.

-Communications devices
-Portable radios
-Flashlights
-Handheld GPS
-Etc..

While on the go, out in the field or backpacking, the following off-grid charging equipment will charge the most popular size consumer batteries (AA, AAA).”

Read more on Modern Survival Blog.

6. Campfires From Scratch: No Boy Scout Juice Required

“Liar, liar, pants on fire! I discover at a young age that pouring Boy Scout Juice on sticks for a “quick” campfire was not real smart. Boy Scout Juice is a vague term which includes all sorts of liquid accelerants. We had gasoline at the cabin that day.

I can’t remember who to blame for this grand idea, Henry or Craig, but I vividly remember the low whoosh sound that transformed a flickering kitchen match into a flaming mushroom cloud billowing up my legs. Screaming and wild dancing, reminiscent of cartoon characters, commenced in a desperate attempt to extinguish my now flaming trousers.”

Read more on Survival Sherpa.

This article has been written by Edward Szalinksi for Survivopedia.

Q&A On Storing Meat Without Refrigeration In Hot Areas

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You work hard to stretch your grocery dollars, but there’s no way around it – meat is expensive. When you find a good deal, or if you’re preparing for an emergency, you stockpile. Also, if you’re a hunter like most of the people in my family are, you probably bring in game meat.

Regardless of how much meat you have in the freezer – a lot or a little – when emergency strikes, you don’t want it to go bad.

“How can I store meat in Florida with no refrigeration? Your attic is not cool, your storage building is not cool, and if you go underground it is still only about 68°F if you are lucky. Can you please give me some ideas?

Thank You.

Frank “

Yes, Frank, you got it right! This isn’t much of an issue if you lose power because off a blizzard in Connecticut in February. That’s an entirely different set of worries, but keeping meat cold isn’t one of them. But if you lose it because of a hurricane in Florida or Texas or the Bahamas in September, you have a problem. I know it because I live in Florida too.

Once meat defrosts, you’re on a pretty strict time-clock, especially if you don’t have a fridge. There are, of course, refrigeration units that you can build that don’t need power, but chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’re probably a little too far behind the eight ball for that kind of info to do you any good.

Here are some tips that may help you get a bit more mileage before your meat goes bad. None of them are long-term solutions to refrigerating meat without power, but they’ll help you get through a little longer.

Freeze Jugs and Baggies of Water

If you know the emergency is coming and you have meat stored in your refrigerator, prepare. Block ice melts much slower than bagged, cubed ice, plus you’re probably not going to be able to lay hands on a bag of ice for two hundred square miles.

I save milk jugs and juice jugs (a couple of different sizes) and fill them with water. I usually fill some quart-sized baggies, too, then I freeze them. Typically, it takes a day or a day and a half for the milk jugs to freeze all the way through, and less for the smaller containers and baggies.

I realize you may not have much room in your freezer to hold the jugs, but since you’re only a few days away from the storm, Throw the frozen ones to the back of the top shelf of the fridge where it’s coldest and throw a few more in the freezer.

Basically, what you’re doing here is creating the elements for an old-fashioned ice box that will keep the inside of your fridge and freezer cooler for longer. For Irma, I froze 5 gallons of water one half-gallon and several baggies. You can also use them in coolers, and when it melts, you have drinking water. Double duty!

For that matter, freeze your milk, juice, and other perishable liquids to extend their lives and to have additional “ice” to keep the inside of the freezer, fridge, or cooler cold.

Use the Igloo Effect

Group food together into piles in your fridge or freezer. Doing so will keep it all colder longer. This is something you can do before a major storm as part of your preps.

Make a few smaller clusters that you’ll use in one day, then you can just pull them from the freezer all at once and close the door for the rest of the day.

Dry Ice

Dry ice is -140 degrees F. That’s cold enough to freeze your skin instantly, but it’s a good thing when it comes to power outages because 50 pounds of dry ice will keep a fully stocked 18-cubic-inch freezer cold for two days and it’s not that hard to come by.

I know that there are places in Miami and Tampa in Florida that sells it, and I’m sure that there are other places, too. Plus you can order it and have it delivered. May be a worthy investment if you have a ton of meat.

Make a Clay Pot Cooler

This is actually a really good idea and can be made pretty much on the fly if you have two unglazed terra cotta pots – one bigger than the other.

It works no matter the size of the pots; as a matter of fact, it’s based on the same premise as modern refrigeration: evaporative cooling.

Video first seen on GlobeAware.

Here’s also a Survivopedia article that walks you through it, even though it’s a simple project, I would hypothesize that if you used extremely cold water, the temp inside the pots would drop significantly, too.

Don’t Freeze it to Begin With

Yes, I realize this is a case of pointing out the glaringly obvious, but it’s only glaringly obvious because you’re sitting there with a freezer full of thawing meat and no idea what to do with it.

The bottom line is that without refrigeration, your meat is going to be bad in a few days, and in the heat, there aren’t many viable options for keeping meat cold other than electric refrigeration. Store meat in other ways – can it or dry it – if you want to have it for emergencies.

You can find a lot of helpful info in this article about canning meat, and you can also get the proper way to dry the meat if you read this article.

If you’re worried about wasting it, the only real solution is to cook it up and what you don’t eat, give away.

For Irma, a bunch of us got together and had a huge barbecue. Not only did it keep us from wasting meat, it gave us all a much-needed morale boost and some leftovers to throw in the cooler. Also, keep your coolers in the shade to extend what little bit of cold you have left for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options for keeping meat cold for longer than a few days in hot regions without refrigeration. Heat trumps ice every time.

But there are ways to do it, same as our ancestors used to do it. Check the banner below for more!

However, I hope that some of these tips helped at least a little bit, and if you’re in this situation, please share it before you just let it go to waste. In those situations, there’s never a lack of people who could use it.

If you have any other suggestions for keeping meat cold in hot climates without refrigeration, please share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse 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.

What You Can Do When The Power Is Out

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I have a few ideas today about what you can do when the power is out. We have crazy weather going on everywhere, and that reminded me that all of us at some time or another will be without power. It could be for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or longer. I have some fun ideas of what you can do if your power is out. That’s all good, but I also have some serious ideas you may want to consider as well. I was honored to be asked to speak about food storage and water storage last night to a large group in a subdivision here in Southern Utah. When you see a large group like the one last night who want to learn new things about being prepared, you know people like this group will for sure work together should a disaster hit their neighborhood. Please be sure you have a light source, here is one I really like Goal Zero Lantern.

Now there are some fun things you probably have in your closet or cupboards to help distract people from the stress of an extended outage. The first day without power we will check with neighbors to see if they have power or not. The second day, we will start checking on all of our neighbors to make sure everyone is okay. The third day without power we need to have some playing cards, board games, bingo cards, and a few of our other favorite games ready to entertain people and help relax a crowd.

My cute niece, Maralee survived Hurricane Sandy and let me know that she had food, water, and popcorn during the devastating storm. She invited people over to watch a DVD on a television and served popcorn and hot chocolate to as many friends and neighbors as she could.  They had no heat, so everyone huddled with blankets to stay warm. After the storm and heavy clean up in the yard, they invested in a wood burning stove. She was one of the few that still had electricity, but zero heat. I’m a proud aunt and loved hearing she was prepared and opened her home to others.

Where Mark and I live the HOA has so many restrictions we could not have a wood burning stove. Yes, we could have an electric fireplace that blows warm air, but it wouldn’t work if the power is out. Plus, it isn’t designed to cook meals or boil water. Luckily, we live where it rarely gets really cold, as in freezing weather. I have so many blankets and quilts we could bundle up and layer our clothes to stay warm. Spray bottles filled with water can help keep us cooler, we use them when we go to parks to cool us down.

Here’s a simple way to have light and charge your cell phone: Sunbell Solar Lamp & Cell Phone Charger

You know I keep seeing the news and it seems like the weather everywhere is rainy, windy, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. I want to know that I can have some solar power to use, like for my 20-inch TV with a DVD player. Without electricity, we will not have our “Dish” or “Cable” available. But even a 32-inch TV works great with a Goal Zero YETI 400 solar generator as well. I keep my Goal Zero generators plugged in all the time with surge protectors to keep them charged, and I have solar panels to charge them outside if I need to.

power is out

I put my Goal Zero YETI 400 on the kitchen counter and plugged the hand mixer into the unit. Yep, the hand mixer worked great with the solar power. I basically plugged the mixer into the front of the YETI 400 and pushed two buttons….and it powered up!! Of course, we can use a wooden spoon or Danish whisk, but this gives you a few possibilities to use this unit. Yes, it can power up our laptops, cell phones, and IPads.

power is out

I wanted to test my NutriMill L’Equip Wheat Grinder which has 1200 WATTS. All you do is plug in the item you want to use in the solar power unit that matches a number of watts needed. Today I used the Goal Zero YETI 1250 because the wheat grinder has 1200 watts.  It worked great. I actually ground about 16 cups of hard white wheat. No problem. It hardly used any of the stored solar power. Yay!

power is out

I also wanted to power up my Bosch Universal Bread Mixer which has 800 WATTS. I plugged in the Bosch Universal Bread Mixer in the plug outlet on the front of the Goal Zero unit and turned on the bread mixer. I ran it for ten full minutes (my whole wheat bread recipe). No problem. After finishing the wheat grinding and the bread mixing (14 cups of whole wheat flour) I had only used 20% of the solar power. Yep, that was a cartwheel moment. I am totally self-sufficient. I can grind my wheat by hand as well, but I wanted to know I could use my FREE solar power. How easy, no instructions…just plug it in and it works. I will tell you this….I keep all my Goal Zero Solar Power Sources charged at all times with power surge suppressors. Gotta love solar! I can make bread in my huge silver bowl as well, here again, just giving you the heads-up how to use solar units.

power is out

I have been very concerned for some of my friends, family members, and neighbors who use a CPAP machine at night for sleep apnea issues. Here’s the deal, I needed to check to see which solar powered unit from Goal Zero would work for the people that need a source of power if we lose power in our communities. I am totally excited to tell you this new Goal Zero YETI 400 works like a champ with my son-in-law’s CPAP….even if it has a humidifier. I learned that when a CPAP has a humidifier it uses more power than one without the humidifier. Here are some pictures of Nate, my son-in-law using his CPAP with a humidifier built into the machine. He used it for 8-1/2 hours one night and it still had power left. He could then recharge it with wall outlets if the power were to come back on, or with his solar panels outside.

power is out

This is Jenna below with her mouth-piece attached to the nebulizer which is being powered using zero electricity from an outlet, just solar power from the Goal Zero YETI 400. This is critical for her if the power is out.

I asked their mother, Elaine, to explain how a nebulizer works:

“My girls use a nebulizer whenever their asthma flares up, or when they have any respiratory problems restricting their breathing. This could be something as simple as a mild cold, but for someone with asthma, it can quickly turn into pneumonia because their lungs just aren’t as strong and can’t clear out the obstructions. The nebulizer works by delivering liquid medication (Albuterol is what we use) in vapor form directly into their lungs and it helps open up the airways so they can cough easier and breathe more naturally. When we need it, it takes about 10 minutes to disperse the medicine and is repeated every 4 hours. We typically are doing this every 4 hours for a few days when we are doing it.”
power is out

This is Avery using her mouthpiece with the nebulizer. All solar power from the Goal Zero YETI 400! Here is the nebulizer in action using only solar power.

power is out

Please keep in mind a high-speed blender uses about 1800 watts and I didn’t even try to use it with one of my generators. Yes, I love smoothies, but if I lose power a smoothie and ice will not be on my list of must have menu items. I hope this post gives you some ideas to be prepared when the power goes out, and it will. May God bless you for your efforts in being prepared for the unexpected.

Survival food storage by Linda

Goal Zero Flashlight

 

The post What You Can Do When The Power Is Out appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

The North Korean Threat Just Got Real

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Kim Jong-un’s hermit regime in North Korea has been grabbing a lot of international attention lately, with their ongoing string of missile tests. He’s been launching a missile a week, with each of the latest ones performing better than its predecessor.

Kim Jong-un is not someone you’d want in charge of a country that has around 20 nuclear warheads. We have all the reasons not to ignore the North Korean nuclear threat, but to stay aware and prepare! 

Just a few short weeks ago I wrote to you that they had launched their first successful two-stage ICBM, which gave them enough range to reach Alaska and possibly Seattle. That launch has since been trumped by one with a potential range of 6,500 miles.

What that means is that Denver and even Chicago are now theoretically within reach of North Korea’s missiles. I say theoretically mostly because one launch doesn’t prove that they have a viable system.

Launching an ICBM and having it hit its intended target is one of the most complex undertakings mankind has ever done. So there may very well still be a host of technical details that North Korea has to correct before this can be called a viable weapon.

The biggest of those hurdles is mating a nuclear warhead to the missile. For this to happen, the nuke has to be “miniaturized.” While not on par with the type of miniaturization we find in modern electronics (like smartphones), compared to the original nuclear bombs, which were huge devices, they are tiny.

We know that North Korea has somewhere around 20 nuclear warheads; but we don’t know how big they are. So, while they are working hard on developing both their nuclear weapons program and missile program, we don’t really know if they are ready to mate the two together yet. But even if not, at the rate they are working, it probably won’t take them long.

There is also the issue of aiming the missile. While nukes make a big enough bang that being a mile or two off target really isn’t going to make much of a difference, a one percent error factor works out to 60 miles if they shoot at Denver from North Korea. That’s enough of a difference that chances are that the bomb would go off in some farmer’s field, rather than over Denver.

While these two issues are enough to cause North Korea considerable trouble, they have already overcome a number of monumental technical problems to get to where they are today. With their national policy of putting the military first, they are investing an incredible amount of time, effort and money into pushing towards becoming a nuclear power.

That alone would be something to be concerned about; but the real concern is the rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang, much of which is filled with threats to attack the United States with those nuclear weapons.

Video first seen on Fox Business.

Whether they are actually foolish enough to think that they could survive such an attack is, of course, at question. But it’s not one that we can afford to take for granted. When the discourse between countries centers around threats and counter-threats, it’s something that must be taken seriously. To do otherwise, is flirting with disaster.

You and I really don’t have much to do with whether there is an attack or not. Nor are we in the position to do much about intercepting those missiles, if they ever fly in our direction. The government has to take care of negotiations with North Korea and the military has to try to stop the missiles. We are incapable of doing anything about it.

But there are aspects of this in which we can and do have an impact; most specifically on our own ability to survive. Since we won’t be able to depend on FEMA’s assistance, we will have to depend on ourselves.

So, what are you and I to do?

If There’s a Conventional Nuclear Attack

While Kim Jong-un has not been specific about how he plans on using his nuclear arsenal to attack the USA, he has made it clear that he intends to. With no specifics given, it’s easy to assume that he is talking about taking out some major cities or military bases with a conventional nuclear attack.

That would be devastating for the lives of millions of people, but it would actually be better off for the country as a whole.

In a conventional nuclear attack, the missiles would most likely be aimed at major population centers. Which ones would depend a lot on the type of message he wants to send. If he wants to show off his military and technical prowess, he’d be more likely to pick targets that are farther from the launch point. But if he wants to do the most damage possible, he’d pick the largest population centers he can reach.

In either case, it’s not a good time to be living in a big city. If you do, you might want to consider moving if at all possible.

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

With a typical air burst over the center of a city, we could pretty much count on any major city being totally destroyed and everyone within a ten mile radius of the blast dying instantly. At a slightly larger distance there would be some who lived, but with major injuries that would shorten their lives and cause considerable pain.

A nuclear blast releases three major components of energy; heat, the shock wave (wind), and nuclear radiation. It is the combination of the heat and shock wave that will kill people who are closer in towards, the blast. The radiation will cause burns and sickness for those who are farther out, as well as those who are downwind of the blast, who must contend with the risk of fallout.

If you are actually far enough away from the blast that you see it happen, there is a fairly good chance that you will survive.

While the nuclear radiation will reach you instantly, it will take some seconds for the blast and heat to arrive where you are. This gives you a chance to seek cover. Ideally, what you want is something like a low concrete retaining wall, which you can lay down behind. You want to be cautious about buildings, as the blast wave can destroy them and the heat can cause them to ignite.

If you are in a building, you’re best off being in the basement, where you are protected from the direct force of the blast. But even in the basement there is a risk, as it could collapse upon you.

Once the blast has passed, you’ll need to move to a better shelter where you can wait out the fallout from the explosion. This means having a prepared shelter, preferably underground, stocked with enough supplies to meet your needs for 30 days. After the 30 days are over, it will be safe to come out.

If at any time during the 30 days you experience any symptoms of sickness, you should leave your fallout shelter and seek medical help. While it may not be anything serious, it could be the onset of radiation sickness.

There will probably be military hospitals established in the area, in addition to the normal medical services which are available. Any military or emergency service personnel could direct you to the nearest medical facility.

If There’s an EMP Attack

The bigger risk to us is if North Korea attacks us with an EMP. While a conventional nuclear attack will kill millions, an EMP would indirectly kill as many as 290 million people. The bulk of those people would die of starvation, but there would also be many who would die from the spread of disease or from the lack of medicine to treat their chronic conditions.

Ultimately, this is a much bigger catastrophe than the death of a few million people killed by a nuclear blast taking out a city. It’s also one that is easier to prepare for, giving us each a much better chance of survival.

Since generating an EMP by nuclear explosion requires exploding the bomb above the atmosphere, the energy leaves the bomb in its original electro-magnetic form. So there is no blast wave and no heat to contend with. While there will be nuclear radiation that reaches the earth, it will be dissipated across a large enough area that it won’t cause radiation sickness and there would be no fallout to worry about. The biggest thing we’ll all notice is a sudden loss of electrical power.

At first, hardly anyone will understand what has happened, as there will not be any obvious signs of the EMP, other than the loss of electrical power. Since communications will be down, we won’t have any idea that it is more than a localized event. Few will realize that communications are usually intact during a blackout, which should indicate that something more serious is happening.

By the second or third day after the event, pretty much everyone will know what had happened and will be trying to come to grips with the situation. Stores will be looted for whatever people can get and mass demonstrations will happen, with people demanding that the government take care of them. But the government won’t be able to help them. What’s left of the government won’t even be able to take care of itself.

This is the survival scenario that we are all supposedly working towards. Whether or not you believe that an EMP is a true risk to us, if you are working towards self-sufficiency you are preparing for it. More than any other scenario we can imagine, an EMP will require that self-sufficiency. The total loss of electrical power will mean that pretty much everything we depend on will be gone. We will be on our own.

That’s why it’s so important to develop a long-term survival plan. Just stockpiling food and water to get you through a few months won’t do it. For this scenario, you have to assume that the power won’t come back on and there won’t be any resupply. If there is, it will be far enough into the future that it won’t matter for the 90 percent of the population that dies.

More than anything, preparing for an EMP means developing the means to provide your own food, water and fuel, even after your stockpile runs out. Even if you have enough of a stockpile to last a year, it won’t be enough. Restoring some semblance of normality to life will take much longer than that year. But the year will be enough time to allow you to plant and harvest food to continue eating.

Your biggest concern during that year will be protecting yourself and your family from attack. All the starving people out there will be desperate and will be willing to do anything in order to eat. Killing you, so that they can steal what you have could easily be seen as a small price, when compared to their own lives.

While you might be able to fight off a small group of people on your own, you can’t continue to fight off attack after attack. You will need help. This is why it’s important to form a survival team; a group of like-minded preppers, who are all investing in surviving such an event. Together, your chances of defending yourselves and surviving will be greater than your chances will be alone.

The survival team also provides you with more hands to work together in the business of survival. While there will be more mouths to feed, there will also be more people raising food. Ultimately, this should work out to a more efficient operation, with greater harvests and more for everyone to eat.

But it will have to be carefully planned out. More than anything, you’ll need some sort of compound where everyone can live and work together. Unless you all happen to be neighbors, this probably means a place out in the country, where each of you build a shelter for your family, as well as communal buildings that you can use for meetings, storage and shared tasks.

This is the one error I have seen with most survival teams. While they might have a goodly collection of skills between them, they usually don’t have a good place to retreat to. But it’s one that needs to be resolved, if the team is going to be able to survive.

Take action on those, and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way! Being ready to survive a blackout is one big step to take!

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

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

11 Ways To Stay Warm When You Have No Shelter

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Have you noticed the skyrocketing rate of homelessness that keeps growing since Obamacare and other harmful systems drain jobs, money, and energy from the economy?

Once the final blow comes that spells the beginning of large scale social collapse, the ability to find a shelter will be as scarce as food and water supplies.

Many preppers think they will be able to get into the woods and build shelters, or find some other means to avoid living exclusively outdoors. It will be even worse: a sheer number of problems might lead to illness and disability that will prevent you from building or effectively managing an existing shelter.

You don’t believe you may wind up homeless and disabled so you still need to know how to stay warm when you have no shelter and can’t build much of a fire.

Wear Clothing in Layers

When you know it is going to be cold, you may be tempted to wear the heaviest garments you can find, thinking that weight and dense fabric equate to warmth. On the other hand, the best way to keep heat in close to your body is to have more air pockets that within the clothing itself.

Wearing clothes in layers gives you better air pockets than wearing just one thick garment.

When layering your garments, choose materials that wick moisture away from your body for the innermost layers.  This will enable moisture to be pulled away from your skin, which will reduce the amount of cooling caused by sweat and evaporation from your skin.

Materials in the outer layers should focus more on acting as wind breakers and moisture blocks. Plastics, vinyl, or other non-permeable materials will work well for the outermost layer.

Make sure the outermost layers are large enough to leave some air space between each garment. Remember, you are aiming to keep warm trapped near your body, not simply press a bunch of garments together in order to mimic thicker fabric.

Wear Black or Dark Colors

No matter what you are doing, black, or dark materials will absorb heat and radiation while white or shiny ones will deflect it. Typically, when it is cold, wearing dark colors will enable the fabrics to absorb heat from the sun or any other source of heat that reaches you.

Wear Extra Socks and Large Shoes

As with layering your garments, the best way to keep your feet warm is to wear layers of socks.

Once again, you will need to choose socks that wick better for the inner layers. This will reduce the risk of foot infections from excess moisture as well as help keep your feet warm and comfortable.

Until you’ve walked several miles on a daily basis, you may not realize that bigger shoes truly are more comfortable than ones that seem to “fit just right”. Always look for shoes that have a little extra room in the toes and around the widest part of your foot.

Larger shoes give you more room to layer socks, and they will also reduce problems associated with callouses and foot cramps. If you find that you have too much room around your ankles, just go ahead and wrap them in some fabric and put a brace behind your heels.

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

Pay Attention to Your Extremities

No matter how warm you manage to keep the core of your body, your arms, legs, hands, feet, and head are going to feel cold a lot faster. These are also the parts of your body that will develop frost bite fastest, so keep them as warm as possible.

To keep temperatures more, slip something thin and flexible into your gloves and shoes that will retain heat. This may be as simple as tin foil or anything else that warms up quickly and can be reused with little effort.

You can also use layers of fabric, plastic, or vinyl to keep heat in as much as possible. Just remember, though for hands and feet, you may need to loosen the plastic from time to time in order to let moisture escape.

Keep Your Head Well Covered

Fur and hair are both excellent insulators, but on the other hand, as an extremity, your head is also an area of your body where you will lose a lot of heat.

Here are some inexpensive things you can do to prevent heat from escaping from your head and neck area in cold weather:

  • Wear a hat with a face mask that you can tuck into the neck area of your innermost garments, to keep the heat close to your body and also help redistribute it if needed. You can easily knit or crochet a hat like this and make it custom fit for your needs.
  • The outermost shell of your garments should have a hood that can be used as a wind breaker and water barrier.
  • Make sure you can cover your nose and mouth to keep them as warm as possible. A black towel or anything else that will keep the cold out can be used for this purpose. You’ll need to leave some openings for ventilation, but you can still reduce heat loss by arranging the garment folds to keep most of the heat near your face.

Use Plastic as an Insulator

Anything from plastic grocery bags to trash bags, and even plastic table cloths can all be used as insulators.  When using plastic as an insulator against the cold remember to:

  • Choose plastics that are as durable as possible. Even though smaller sized trash bags may be cheaper, the larger construction strength bags are almost as heavy as black plastic commonly used for killing weeds. Heavier plastic will last longer and develop fewer weak points created as you move around.
  • Use black or other dark colored plastic as it will help retain heat from the sun or any other external source that you can find.
  • Make sure that you can vent moisture easily from the plastic on a routine basis without losing heat.  For example, if you have a flat sheet of plastic, arrange the layers so you can loosen different areas easily and let the moisture out from them without losing heat in other areas.
  • Avoid using tape or anything else that will pull on the plastic or create holes when you have to loosen the plastic. If you do need to secure the plastic, use light weight rope or even yarn to  form a seal between the plastic and your inner garments.
  • Avoid using plastic right next to your body because water evaporation from your skin can spell disaster and lead to both skin infections and increased risk of frost bite.

Control Moisture

Even though wearing layers of garments can help with moisture control, you should also know what parts of your body are going to sweat the most and cause problems.

For example, if you sweat a lot between your shoulder blades or tend to have sweaty feet, you must always pay extra attention to these areas. Among other things, you can try using an extra towel in these areas, and then change it out every few hours for a dry one.

Avoid using chemical antiperspirants as they can easily irritate your skin even more.  They also may not be easily replaced, which will leave you with another problem on your hands. If you are dealing with a social collapse or a scenario where you cannot buy something to replace what was used, chemicals like this will be a waste of time.

Hot Water Bottles or Other Devices

When it comes to retaining heat, few materials absorb it or hold it as well as water.  Therefore, hot water bottles offer a good way to retain heat near your body and also store any heat you can get from an external source.

A hot water bottle can serve to keep you warm and also meet other needs. In particular, today, you can buy a batch of collapsible, clear plastic, flexible water bottles that can be used to store water and also purify it. All you have to do is leave the bottles in the sun and let them heat up.

If the weather is especially cold, use a cardboard solar oven to increase heat capture.  Once they are warm enough, simply insert them into different layers of clothes. Since you can buy different sized bottles, it is possible to find ones that will suit your needs.

Balloons will also work in a pinch, however you may not be able to get more than one or two uses from them.  They also cannot be used for killing off bacteria in water because UV rays from the sun may not be able to get through the material as easily as they can through clear plastic.

Eat High Calorie or Fatty Foods

If you have ever been on an extended hike, or had to do a lot of physical work in one day, you also increased your caloric intake to meet those needs. Your body uses a tremendous amount of energy when you are out in cold temperatures. Choose foods that your body can turn into energy very quickly, as well ones that will help you stay warm.

This includes fatty foods as well as ones that are fried. If you are looking for the perfect excuse to eat some bacon, fried chicken, or anything else that is usually off the menu because of caloric concerns, being out in the cold with no shelter is a good excuse!

Insofar as food stores, you can also store away foods high in carbohydrates and consume them at regular intervals.

Along with high calorie foods, drink plenty of water. Even if you are feeling cold or chilly, your body is still doing a lot of work to try and maintain a safe temperature, which means you will be using a lot of water, and also sweating more than you might expect.

Keeping hydrated will prevent you from getting sick and also help you stay warmer as your body will be able to carry out necessary tasks as efficiently as possible.

Travel During Night Hours

As simple as it may sound, traveling during night hours is a simple, cost effective way to stay warm.  Since temperatures are warmer during the day hours, you can use this time to sleep or rest, as the sun and other resources will give you some extra heat.

This is also a good time to stay stationary and heat up water bottles or harness other heat sources that you happen to have come across in your travels.

Chances are you already know that your body temperature drops when you are sleeping.  If you are already out in the cold, this can spell disaster. On the other hand, when you are awake and moving around, your body produces more heat. Therefore, when you travel at night, you are producing more heat at time when less is available from the sun.

Build a Portable Solar Heater and Solar Cooker

No matter how cold it may be, the sun will still rise and provide heat for a few hours each day.  Here are two things you can adapt for your needs even if you do not have shelter:

  • You can make a solar heater from tin cans and a few scraps of wood and glass. Simply substitute the wood and glass for lighter weight metal and clear plastic, and you will have a portable solar heater. Count on using about 15 – 20 empty cans. You can pipe warm water or warm air in as close to your body as possible. You can use flexible plastic airline tubing (½ inch will work) in the layers of your clothes to transport both water and air, and a battery operated pump for more efficient circulation. If you are in one location during the day, this can truly be one of the most important pieces of equipment you have on hand.
  • A cardboard box solar cooker.  You can use this device to heat up everything from your dinner and water bottles to bricks and rocks that can be used to retain heat.

When you cannot start a fire and have no shelter, it can be very dangerous for you to be out in the cold weather. While you may not want to think about being homeless or what will drive you to this situation, it is still very important to know how to stay warm without shelter and a fire.

You can devote some of your survival budget to a set of garments and gear that can be used to keep you as warm and comfortable as possible even when the temperatures are freezing and you have nothing else to work with.

You’ll always find a way to survive if you have the will to practice your skills and prepare for survival!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia

Prep Blog Review: 5 Survival Lists To Keep On Hand

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Everybody uses lists, it’s a fact. Whether we like it or not, we need them to keep things organized, or to remember and prioritize activities. You can’t skip them while prepping, so let’s make use of them here too.

I’ve gathered a few tops and lists to remember about different aspects of prepping, after stumbling upon other survival websites this week. And what do you think I’ve came up with in the end? You guessed: another list. Here it is!

3 Incredible Stories of Survival: What We Can Learn From 3 Men Who Beat All the Odds

“Hello, my friend and welcome back!  Today I have a great post for you from Chris Browning and it’s a good one.  He is the editor of Gun News Daily – www.gunnewsdaily.com.  It’s longer than what I usally post,  but well worth the effort.  The best way to learn to survive is to learn from those who have had to fight to survive already. Their stories and insights provide the best training you can get.  Grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

23 Herbs and Veggies You Can Grow on Your Porch

“Urban gardening is all about making the most out of the space you’ve got. All it takes to turn your outdoor balcony or back porch into a full-on garden is a pinch of creativity and a dash of strategy.

Rather than planting one crop in one small pot, we are going to focus on planting multiple crops in one sizeable pot. This method makes the most of your space and gives you the most variety of veggies and herbs possible.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

19 Survival Uses for Plastic Bottles

“I must say that it saddens me seeing what humans have done to our planet.  Any time you find a water source, you will likely find trash scattered along the shore.

Often times this trash is going to be plastic bottles.  It seems to be the most common item to be tossed aside, especially in water.  This littler is absolutely destroying our planet.

However, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  I cannot tell you how many times I have used garbage in the wild to get through survival situations.  Plastic bottles are one of the most common and most useful pieces of trash you will ever find for survival. I can assure you that we will show you enough uses for plastic bottles that you will think twice about walking past one in the wild.”

Read more on Modern Survival Online.

16 Things to Stockpile for the Next Blackout

Major blackouts are more common now than ever before. Most of us have experienced a blackout for a few hours. A blackout is a power outage that can range from a few hours to months. They might happen because of a major storm, a hurricane, a transformer blowing, or other issues. It is a good idea for everyone to stockpile things for the next blackout.

You might be new on your preparedness journey or find it strange to prepare for an entire year without power. No matter where you are on your journey, I encourage you to prepare for at least a two-week period without electricity. Why? There are dozens of examples of this happening. If you live along the coast, a major hurricane can wipe out the power grid for multiple weeks. Earthquakes, major storms, and blizzards all frequently cause blackouts. Everyone is at risk.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

6 Principles of Survival – Maintain Core Body Temperature

“Shelter and Fire are ONE.  Long term survival requires the proficiency of both.  Maintaining Core Body Temperature is vital, and without shelter and fire the body is highly susceptible to hypothermia.

In this two part series we will look at the concept and application of Shelter and Fire. Maintaining a solid 98.6o will ensure your body does not become susceptible to hypothermia or hyperthermia.”

Read more on Survival School.

This article has been written by Gabrielle Ray for Survivopedia.

Solar Storms and Earthquakes – Science or Pseudoscience?

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Solar activity probably has more to do with life here on Earth than we give it credit for. We know that life, as we know it, couldn’t exist without the light and warmth we receive from the sun.

Yet the sun causes us lots of problems too, between the ultraviolet light it emits and the frequent solar storms. The latest warnings issued these days confirm it.

Keep reading to find out more!

The Carrington Event of 1859 caused one of the largest geomagnetic storms of history. Just last year NASA was warning us of a repeat performance, which we narrowly escaped. The difference is, if a coronal mass ejection hit the Earth’s magnetosphere today, the EMP would most likely destroy the electrical grid and most electronics.

But even on a smaller scale, the activity of the sun affects us. The CB radio craze of the 1970s was killed by electromagnetic interference, which was caused by sunspots. Radio interference of all kinds is linked to such sunspot activity.

Even the constant change of our world’s climate has been proven to be linked to solar activity, not CO2, like the global warming alarmists would have us believe. So, our sun has the ability to do great good, but also the ability to do great harm and it has no conscience to guide it.

While concerns about a coronal mass ejection and the potential EMP it would cause are with us at all times, there are other things the sun is blamed for, which are one time, or at least very infrequent events.

One such is the recent concern of the current sunstorm causing a massive increase in earthquake activity.

Earthquakes exist all the time, proving that there are massive forces at work inside the Earth. But most of those earthquakes are small enough that they are not noticed by anyone except the sensitive seismic equipment that records them.

However, earthquake activity has been on the upswing here in the United States.

Part of that is due to fracking, which requires splitting underground shale deposits by pumping pressurized water into the ground. But those are extremely localized, mild earthquakes, most of which fall into the category of not being recognizable by people on the ground above them.

There has also been an increase in earthquake activity in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park and the supervolcano it enshrines.

Between Science and Pseudoscience

In some circles, this is raising concerns about a possible eruption, an even that could have dire consequences for a large part of the United States. While scientists still say that we are safe from such an event, an increase in seismic activity in the area around an earthquake is one of the signs that the Earth gives us of a pending eruption .

But now we’re hearing warnings about this solar storm causing a potential increase in earthquake activity, with the potential of earthquakes having a magnitude of as much as six to seven. But there is no real historic scientific evidence to point to a connection between solar activity and earthquakes.

I suppose if the sun’s activity were to produce enough geomagnetic force, it could have an effect on the Earth, even to the point of causing enough pressure to be responsible for the movement of the plates which make up our planet’s surface.

Were that to happen, we would have earthquakes caused by the sun. But the amount of magnetic force required to cause such an event would probably be much more severe than what we see from current solar activity. I propose that it would be strong enough to also trigger an EMP.

Studies have been undertaken, looking at the possibility of a correlation between solar flares (solar storms) and earthquake activity from January 1991 to January 2007.

While it has been shown that all 682 earthquakes of a magnitude of 4.0 or larger were preceded by a solar flare, not all solar flares were followed by earthquakes. So, while solar flares might still have some relation to earthquakes, there is no conclusive evidence that they do.

This indicates that belief that solar flares cause earthquakes is actually pseudoscience, defined as “a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method”, according to dictionaries.

Our modern world is filled with pseudoscience. Most conservatives regard global warming (by whatever name) as pseudoscience. Christians who accept the biblical account of creation see the theory of evolution, which is universally taught as science, as nothing more than pseudoscience. The favor is returned by those who believe in evolution, calling creationism pseudoscience based upon ancient myths.

Likewise, there are many forms of pseudoscience that you can find cropping up within the prepping community.

The idea of the Earth’s magnetic field shifting, supposedly demonstrated by places in the Atlantic Ocean where the magnetic field is reversed, is a pure case of pseudoscience. In this particular case, it demonstrates an important thing we must realize in regard to any pseudoscience.

That is, it is theories, usually based on incomplete and untrue information, which are presented as if they were the TRUTH.

In the case of the supposedly reversed magnetic fields, the conclusion is based upon a false presentation of data.

Oceanographic studies of the Earth’s magnetic field have shown that there are places in the deep ocean where the level of magnetic force vary. The graph I saw shows a variance in almost a sine wave pattern.

But here’s where the problem comes in. Someone arbitrarily drew a line through the middle of that wave, just as would be done with alternating current. In AC, such a line designates a point of zero voltage. So it’s natural to read the graph of the magnetic variance in the same way, giving an interpretation of a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Could the Earth’s magnetic field actually shift? Yes, it can.

The earthquake and tsunami of 2011, which destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plant was severe enough to shift the Japanese coastline eight feet and cause a slight realignment of the Earth’s magnetic poles by four inches.

But that was an earthquake measured 8.9, the fourth largest earthquake in recorded history. If you’re doing the math yourself, you see that to actually cause the Earth’s poles to reverse would require 262,954,560 times that amount of force.

This is the type of thing that makes something pseudoscience. While I have just demonstrated that it is theoretically possible for the Earth’s poles to reverse, I have also shown that it would take an astronomical amount of force to make it happen; a force great enough that there’s just as much a possibility of it tearing the Earth apart.

Pseudoscience with a Goal

So why should we care? The fact is, pseudoscience is most often used to generate fear, causing people who hear about it to react in the way that the person presenting it wants them to.

That’s why global warming is always presented as something that can and will end life as we know it.

If they were to tell us the truth about their own data and their own computer models, most people would simply shrug and say, “So what?”

It’s hard to get scared about a potential rise of two degrees in temperature over the next 100 years, especially when you take into consideration that the Earth has already survived periods which were considerably warmer than that. But then, you can’t make money off of saying “Don’t worry folks, it’s just going to get a touch warmer.”

It is easy to sell pseudoscience to uninformed, uneducated people. That’s why low information voters are willing to go along with the whole global warming scam.

But we, those of us who are concerned about the future and about protecting our families from it, must watch out that we don’t fall into the same trap.

Yes, the world is full of risks and danger. Yes, much of the fear mongering that is spread around the internet has some basis in fact, but that doesn’t make it true. In many cases, the potential effects of such an event happening are so low, as to be negligible.

On the other hand, don’t let the true dangers get lost in the midst of the hue and cry of false risks. North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are a real risk, as are those of Iran.

A coronal mass ejection is a real risk too. So is the possibility of an economic collapse. For that matter, the lowering of our aquifers and the potential lack of water that may cause is a real problem too, albeit one that will take some time to realize.

So was the Ebola outbreak that happened a couple of years ago.

You are the only one who can decide what you should believe and what you should prepare for. That means you must take the time to educate yourself, sifting through the mass of false information and fake news on the internet, and finding the gems of truth, which will tell you what the real risks out there are.

Take action on those, and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way! Being ready to survive a blackout is one big step to take!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/alerts-watches-and-warnings 

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUSMIN33A..03J

 

North Korea’s Nuclear War Machine Ramping Up

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North Korea’s antics and activities have filled the news for months now, having accelerated since Donald Trump was sworn in as president.

While their pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile technology is nothing new, the hermit kingdom of Kin Jong-un seems to be making strides in that direction.

Their latest missile test is a prime example of this. Scheduled on our Independence Day, this missile was a “present” to the United States, according to North Korea’s dictator.

This missile, the Hwasong-14, was the first truly intercontinental missile that the North Korean’s have developed, and its maiden flight went off flawlessly. After the failures of their most recent missile tests, the success of this new model has suddenly made the threat from North Korea much more real.

According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Hwasong-14 missile flew over 900 miles, all of it under power. It splashed into the ocean within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, making it a real threat to the Japanese as well, another country that the North Korean government hates almost as much as it hates the United States.

But Japan is a long way from the United States, isn’t it? Yes it is, but the missile didn’t fly its full designed range, probably so that North Korea’s engineers could watch the descent and splashdown as well.

According to experts, the 37 minute flight time of the missile would have given it the ability to reach a maximum altitude of 2,800 km. That would give it a total range of 8,000 km or more, exactly what the government in Pyongyang has stated it would do.

What this means is that the North Koreans finally have a missile that has the potential of reaching the United States. Alaska, Seattle, Washington and Hawaii are all within its range, making Kim Jong-un’s oft-repeated threat of unleashing nuclear hell on the United States a real possibility for the first time.

The fact that this missile, the first of its type, performed so well on its maiden voyage is especially troubling, as it shows how much North Korea’s engineers have been learning from the failures of their recent launches. While those were not of the Hwasong-14, the lessons learned from those less-capable missile launches were obviously applied to the design and manufacture of this new one.

Essentially, this missile is an improvement on the Hwasong-12, with a second stage added. While the first three launches of the Hwasong-12 were failures, the fourth attempt, in May of this year, was a success, with the missile’s apogee 2,111.5 km above the ground and landing 787 km away in the Sea of Japan.

This leads me to think that the Hwasong-14 may actually be able to surpass the 2,800 hm altitude necessary to reach the West Coast of the United States.

What’s Next on the Battlefield?

Does this mean that thermonuclear war is going to come in the next few weeks? Probably not. But it does clearly show us that we are one step closer.

How many of these new missiles they have in production right now is a big question that remains unanswered, as well as whether their nuclear program has reached the point where their bombs are small enough to be installed on top of one of these missiles.

But it is clear that at the rate in which North Korea is improving their missile technology that it won’t be long before they are a true threat to the mainland United States. This new missile, if launched close enough to the United States, could easily carry a nuclear bomb high enough to generate an EMP that would blanket all 48 contiguous states.

Since the missile launches off a mobile launcher, rather than from a silo, this is a very real possibility. It is too large to fit into North Korea’s ballistic missile subs, but it is not too large to be ship-launched.

While too long to fit into a standard shipping container, a special container could be manufactured for it, with the launcher built in. Shipped on a North Korean freighter, this would not be noticeable by the international community.

Such a ship, armed with the Hwasong-14 and a team of technicians, could launch from the middle of the ocean, conducting an effective EMP strike. Being in the middle of the ocean would make detection and interdiction of the responsible ship difficult, but not impossible.

Even so, I am sure that Kim Jong-un would be happy to trade the lives of that crew for the destruction of the United States’ electrical grid.

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

In addition, North Korea has as many as six ballistic missile submarines. While they are actually obsolete technology, their existence can’t be ignored. Each of those subs can carry up to two Pukkuksong-1 nuclear missiles.

While the range of that missile is limited to 500 km, the submarine could sneak in close to the shore, launching their missiles to take the heart out of any city within about 300 miles of the coast. Used in conjunction with the Hwasong-14, in a coordinated attack, these could add a considerable amount of punch to the attack.

Recently, I was discussing this with a friend in the military, who dismissed the North Korean’s submarine fleet as obsolete. While I have to agree with him to some extent, there is one glaring statistic which is of supreme importance in any discussion of North Korea’s submarine capabilities. That is, they have a lot of them.

Current estimates put their submarine fleet near 70, which means it would take every submarine the United States Navy owns, including our ballistic submarines to shadow them all.

What this means is that the North Koreans could swarm their submarines to sea and we would not be able to follow them all. Properly executed, there is a chance that their ballistic submarines would escape detection and therefore would not be shadowed. Should that happen, they would have a potent weapon pointed at our country.

Of course, a lot depends on what sort of attack the North Korean military would choose to hurl at the United States. While Kim Jong-un has made it clear that his intent is to attack us with nuclear arms, there are many forms that attack could take. Most specifically, it could be an EMP or a more conventional nuclear attack.

Video first seen on PBS NewsHour .

Our best chances would be if he launched a conventional nuclear attack against us. While that would probably mean the destruction of a number of our most important cities, as a nation we would survive.

But an EMP attack would take out our electrical grid, our communications and just about everything else in the country. Chances are, 90 percent of our population would die.

Currently, we have three aircraft carriers and their battle groups steaming off the Korean Peninsula, ready for anything that North Korea might do. While this constitutes a major naval force, projecting more power than any other nation’s military can project.

But it is of little use against a nuclear threat, except in the case of a disarming first strike. Should the president decide that such a strike was necessary, the combined air power of the three aircraft carriers doesn’t come close to the number of fighters available to North Korea.

Of course, our Navy’s F-16s are more advanced than the North Korean’s fighter jets, even their F-21s, of which they have about 200. Nevertheless, sheer numbers are on the side of the North Koreans, if it is decided that it is necessary to do a preemptive strike against them. Between 458 fighter aircraft and 572 attack aircraft, our 180 Navy aircraft will have a busy time of it.

Then there’s the risk of North Korea attacking our aircraft carriers with their submarine fleet, if we launch a preemptive strike. While our naval fleets always work with submarines in attendance and our nuclear-powered fast-attack boats are technologically far superior to their diesel-electric ones, the sheer numbers of submarines that the North Korean’s have available to them would make things interesting for the submarines working to defend our carrier fleets.

But the real trump card that the North Koreans hold, is the fact that their missiles are mobile. Unlike fixed locations, the missile carriers themselves would have to be located, before any attack could be made. While I’m sure that the NRO is hard at work at this task, hunting for something as small as a missile launcher, in the vastness of any country, even one as small as North Korea, is not easy.

Looking at all this together, it is clear that the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea is a real threat. It is clear that we would win any exchange with the North Koreans. If they chose to use a nuclear-tipped missile against us, our long-standing policy would be to retaliate in kind.

While I would hate to have the responsibility to give that order, someone in the Pentagon has to be thinking about it.

Who’s Paying the Price?

Turning North Korea into a parking lot, in retaliation for destroying our country or even one of our major cities, is not an equitable bargain. We might win the war, but it would be at a terrible price in both military and civilian lives. That’s a price that we as a nation, can’t afford to pay.

So, while chances of a non-military solution are looking thinner and thinner by the day, we need to be praying and hoping for just that. The last Korean war cost approximately 1.9 million total casualties, this next one could cost many times more.

You and I need to be prepared for such an eventuality, regardless of whether it means a conventional nuclear exchange or suffering an EMP attack.

If you live in or near a major city, especially on the West Coast, I would recommend that it’s time to move. Find yourself some greener pastures elsewhere, where you would not be living in the midst of a target. If you can make that move be to a small town, where you wouldn’t have to content with the massive number of people trying to survive after an EMP, so much the better.

Either way, we have apparently just entered another Cold War, and this one seems like we are facing off against an enemy who is much less stable than the old Soviet Union was.

Chances of an actual nuclear attack are clearly much greater than they have ever been. Take the right steps to survival and prepare to face the blackout with your own energy bank! Click the banner for more!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

References:

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/north-koreas-submarine-fleet-big-threat-or-big-joke-20300

EMP Survival Q&A: Would Nuclear HEMP Cause Fallout?

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Can you imagine something worse than an EMP, a disaster that would take us 100 years back?

It doesn’t takes lives in seconds, but rather takes away much of the means of supporting life in a modern culture.

But what if you add a nuclear blast to this scenario?

Mix in the radiation and it gets even worse. right? The world itself would be a radioactive hell, how could anyone survive it? Keep reading to find out the truth!

HEMP (High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse) is produced when a nuclear weapon is detonated above approximately 20 km (66,000’) altitude, but optimal altitude to affect the greatest area possible of the lower 48 states would be 350-450 km.

While the high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon used to create HEMP would not likely produce enough fallout to harm people on the ground, it would still be prudent to ready your radiation detection and protection gear.

The Fallout Danger

The real risk of fallout out in this situation would not come from the HEMP or the detonation of the weapon used to generate it, but from escalation of force or the possibility that the HEMP is used to blind radar preceding a nuclear attack.

The fact of the matter is that if nuclear weapons are used in an HEMP attack against any major nuclear power, there is a very real possibility that it could provoke a retaliatory nuclear response.

In 1995, the world was nearly plunged into global thermonuclear war because Russian radar technicians were not properly notified of the launch of a Norwegian sounding rocket, which was mistaken for a US submarine-launched Trident missile. A principle attack scenario Russia plans for is an EMP first strike by the USA from the Barents Sea to take down their radar in preparation for a nuclear first strike.

The missile would only be in the air for about 10 minutes. That is all the time Russia had to decide and it took 8 of those 10 minutes to determine that the missile was headed away from instead of toward Moscow. The US plans for Russia to attack using essentially a mirror of the same tactic.

Because this tactic is so basic to nuclear warfare strategy, it boggles my mind that analysts (though typically scientists as opposed to soldiers) regularly predict that this country or that would somehow see clearly through the fog of war in the wake of a nuclear HEMP attack and respond to it differently than any other nuclear attack.

Add on top of this, the fact that the HEMP would take their radar off-line it becomes doubly unlikely. Then add that some countries have plainly stated that they would not differentiate between high altitude nuclear attacks and ground or air bursts and it becomes triply so.

The fact of the matter is that it is entirely possible that a HEMP strike against any major nuclear power could trigger a broader nuclear exchange. I get that this outcome is very uncomfortable to consider and that even otherwise rational folks tend to project what they imagine they would do in a theoretical situation if they were the individual with their finger on the nuclear trigger.

They opine that cooler, more rational heads would somehow prevail despite the fact that a nuclear power just got nuked and most communications and radar are down because they cannot imagine any rational person taking a course of action that would condemn millions of Americans to death.

While I would agree that a lesser retaliatory response is likely in response to a lower altitude attack against a single city or localized region, I am not so optimistic that the fog of war in the wake of a high-altitude EMP attack would be easily penetrated.

Since uncertainty about a rocket launch years after the end of the cold war brought us to the brink of nuclear war, I cannot reasonably conclude that an actual nuclear first strike most likely would not result in a response, especially at a time when nuclear threats have already been issued.

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About the Fallout

Nuclear weapons detonate so energetically that a tremendous vacuum is created in the wake of the blast. A shockwave, blinding light and intense heat are produced, so much heat, that matter inside or sucked into the fireball is vaporized.

When detonated at or near ground level, the vacuum lofts enormous volumes of vaporized dirt and debris up into the stratosphere, forming the characteristic mushroom cloud commonly associated with the use of nuclear weapons.

As the mushroom cloud forms, the vaporized material cools and condenses, forming solid particles. The mushroom cloud of cooling radioactive dust and ash is then dispersed and carried by the wind until it falls back to earth as “fallout.”

While the alpha particles emitted by the radioactive decay of fallout do not penetrate deeply (they can be blocked by a sheet of paper, your skin or a few centimeters of air) they are extremely damaging when concentrated and orders of magnitude more damaging when inhaled or ingested.

Fallout can be inhaled into your lungs and stick to anywhere you sweat, particularly the insides of elbows, backs of knees, neck, arm pits, etc. If exposed to fallout, there are a few things you can do:

  • Seek professional decontamination from trained first responders, if available.
  • Remove clothing and shoes. This alone can remove 90% of contamination. Bag and label for disposal. If this is not expedient due to cold or heat exposure risk, at least remove outer layers and shoes.
  • Use a radiation survey meter to do a full body survey, if available.
  • Remember that external contamination is far less harmful than internal contamination. Angle water so that it carries contamination away from skin, not over more skin or into eyes, ears, nose or mouth.
  • Gently clean skin with tepid water and mild soap with neutral ph. Cold water closes pores trapping contamination and can cause hypothermia. Hot water opens pores enabling particles to penetrate the skin, aggravates thermal burns and you should not breath the water vapor (steam) as it will carry isotopes cleaned off skin. Do not scrub or rub the skin excessively. Excessive scrubbing will do more harm than good. If running water is not available, use a damp cloth. If water is not available use Fuller’s Earth clay, clay or clayey soil.
  • Rise and gently shampoo hair. Do not use conditioner since it bonds particles to hair. Do not shave hair or skin. Knicks compromise the barrier skin naturally provides. Contaminated hair can be clipped if shampooing is ineffective.
  • Wipe eye lids and ears with damp sterile swabs, if available. If not available, use a clean, damp cloth. Gently blow nose and swab nostrils with sterile swabs, if available. If swabs are tested with survey meter, the swabs must be allowed to dry before surveying for alpha-emitting radioisotopes.
  • Brush teeth and rinse frequently.
  • Rise with 3% hydrogen peroxide for pharyngeal contamination.
  • Use a maximum of 2 decontamination cycles per patient.
  • Use a radiation survey meter to do another full body survey, if available.
  • Cover any areas of residual radiation with waterproof dressings to prevent contamination of clean areas.

How to Protect Against Fallout Exposure

A basic understanding of how to protect yourself from fallout can greatly reduce exposure. Time, shielding and distance are your allies.

  • Time – intensity of radiation produced by fallout diminishes over time. The mix of isotopes resulting is complex with some persisting longer than others, so rate of decay can only be estimated, but between two days and two weeks, radiation levels will be less than 1% of their initial intensity. The longer you can stay sheltered, the lower radiation levels will be outside.
  • Shielding – the greater the density of materials between you and the radiation, the less radiation will reach you. Earth surrounding a basement, concrete or masonry walls or sandbags provide a measure of shielding from radiation.
  • Distance – taking shelter in the center of large, multistory building is more effective than in a room nearer and outer wall or the roof. The center of the deepest floor underground would be safest. The same reasoning applies in your own home.

How Situational Awareness Works in case of HEMP

Many preppers invest a great deal of resources in bug out bags, vehicles and locations but would likely sleep through any warning of an HEMP or nuclear strike for lack of a Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio to receive an alert and automatically warn them in time to get to a shelter. They run $30-$70 and are an oft-overlooked must have that saves many lives every year from a broad range of threats.

After a nuclear attack, there will be many potentially life and death questions and a shortage of information. Is there fallout outside the shelter? Are we being exposed to radiation? How much? Is it safe to go outside and for how long?

Communication infrastructure will likely be severely damaged, especially if the nuclear ground attack is preceded by an HEMP attack. Radiation detection equipment will likely be the only reliable way to answer these questions. An accurate radiation detection instrument can be built using materials you probably have around the house.

If you choose to purchase equipment, research the instrument you purchase carefully because many civil defense meters are not accurate at some exposure levels and some dosimeters detect ranges of exposure to low to be of much use in nuclear war. After you make your purchases, have your equipment tested and calibrated.

Video first seen on CrypticCRICKET

Even though high altitude nuclear detonations don’t pose a significant fallout risk, any time nukes are popping off, you might consider breaking out the radiation detection equipment and take precautions as opposed to placing your trust in the powers that be.

You are responsible for the safety of your family, not the government, so do not sit around and wait for them to inform you of when it is time to “get off the X” or not. Blind trust did not work out so well for residents of Utah and Nevada after US nuclear testing and they paid a truly terrible price.

Charging and wearing a radiation dosimeter is no big deal. They are about the size of pen, clip to your clothing and measure your exposure to radiation over time.

About High Altitude Burst

When a burst occurs high in the atmosphere, as it would in an HEMP attack, the vacuum it creates cannot loft tons of dirt from the soil which would become fallout in a ground burst, so there would not be a mushroom cloud.

There are still atoms and molecules up there, but the higher up the weapon is detonated, the less matter there is for the leftover fission product to activate and the less fallout is produced. While too little is produced to be a concern at ground level, past high altitude nuclear tests did create bands of radiation in the atmosphere that damaged low earth orbiting satellites as they passed through them.

Up to one-third of low earth orbit satellites in orbit at the time were damaged in some way, and some were rendered useless, so even though fallout would not be a direct danger to folks on the ground, it could still end up affecting us to the degree we are dependent on satellites.

Nuclear Weapon Type & Yield

Creating a high EMP field strength does not require a very powerful nuclear weapon, certainly not a large warhead capable of destroying a city in a nuclear blast near ground level.

Fission weapons in the 2-10 kiloton range (small as nukes go) area far more efficient use of fissile material than thermonuclear (fission-fusion-fission) weapons, making them a very attractive option for nations with small nuclear programs or even a determined terrorist organization, should they succeed in procuring a suitable weapon. A relatively small weapon such as a nuclear artillery shell, could result in tremendous disruption and loss of life if detonated at sufficient altitude.

An ERW (Enhanced Radiation Weapon), similar in design to a neutron bomb, is a class of low yield tactical thermonuclear (fission-fusion) weapons. Neutron bombs minimize blast and heat to maximize dangerous ionizing radiation and gamma yield which is what causes the E1 component of EMP.

The idea behind the neutron bomb was that it could kill enemy soldiers while minimizing civilian casualties and damage to the infrastructure that sustains them. Although it may sound like a contradiction in terms, the neutron bomb was intended to be a more humane nuclear weapon. While the blast radius of a neutron bomb may be as small as a few hundred meters, the highly lethal ionizing radiation produced can penetrate several feet of soil or the armor of a tank disabling exposed troops within a few minutes and killing them within a couple of days.

ERW’s are more effective at producing HEMP than nuclear weapons designed to destroy cities and military bases. Like neutron bombs, trading blast and heat for higher gamma and neutron yield means that they punch far above their weight class when it comes to create HEMP. Creating an ERW is probably what North Korea’s last test was. Such a weapon, detonated at altitude, could potentially create field strengths far more intense than 50Kv/m.

This is important because that number is used as a standard for shielding against EMP and was derived by analysis of the Starfish Prime nuclear test data from 1962 which is not classified. That test used a regular thermonuclear warhead which was not designed for optimal EMP yield.

High altitude EMP only really began to be understood after that test produced 1000x the EMP of tests at ground level. Since then, military scientists have had many decades to develop ERW weapons and in 2004, Russian generals testified that their ERW designs were “accidentally leaked” to North Korea. Because of the development of ERWs, the shielding protecting many of our critical systems may be insufficient.

No matter what, you have to be prepared, able to help yourself and your family in case of a total blackout! Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

Resources:
http://www.abomb1.org/pdf/kfm_inst.pdf

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

How To Generate Energy In The Desert

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When people think of deserts, they picture extremely dry terrains with intolerable heat in the day that is quickly changed to extremely cold temperatures at night.

Despite this harsh environment, some energy generating methods may work better than others. Actually, electricity can be generated in these areas regardless of whether there is a crisis or not.

Bear in mind, however, that along with any given crisis situation, you will also have to account for characteristics of the land and its inhabitants.

Be Aware About the Risks!

Large scale solar power is a key to energy independence here in the United States, and desert areas seem to be the best place for solar panels and equipment. But those with an interest in off gridding and survival also get led the wrong way.

There are many problems you might go into when trying to generate power in the desert:

High Temperatures Increase Risk of Fire

Motors, gears, engines, and other machines all generate heat as one surface moves against another one, in locations where temperatures are already high, which means they will catch fire much faster. Solar panels in the desert lead to endless numbers of massive fires that kill off habitats and spell immense levels of danger to anyone living near them.

Military bases located near the panels have also complained about how excess heat from large scale solar interferes with planes landing and taking off. At the personal, survivor level, a solar cooker may work really well, but you will also have to keep the temperature from going too high.

Small scale, home based solar panels are also known to come with an increased fire risk, which means more water may be required than you will be able to obtain in a desert setting.

Not Enough Water

To generate electricity using heat from solar installations will take large amounts of water. In fact, it is estimated that large scale solar installations use almost as much water as refining crude and fracking. Cattle, horses, and all kinds of wild animals die because there is not enough water in the desert for both the use of solar power and sustaining living organisms.

Poisonous snakes are plentiful in desert. No matter whether you use a wind turbine, solar panels, or other devices, rest assured that rattlers and other poisonous snakes will be drawn to your home and power generating facilities. Never forget that many snakes can also burrow underground and pose other hazards as you try to build or maintain both large and small scale power generating equipment.

Sand and Sandstorms May Ruin Equipment

Sand is a highly abrasive and can easily damage wind turbine blades and just about anything else. In addition, sand particles can easily clog up motors and just about anything else that works best when free of dust and debris. All kinds of equipment (including battery systems and generators) need special protection to work properly in a desert environment.

High Variance in Temperatures

High variance in temperatures will make it difficult to use body power generation systems. No matter whether it is too hot to move around during the day hours or too cold at night, even a lightweight system will prove virtually useless in a desert setting.

The Hidden Advantages

As with any other terrain and situation, there are things that can make the desert a kind of place where you may feel that challenges are outweighed by the problems you will encounter. Here are some of them:

  • Contrary to popular belief, desert areas do not get more sun than other areas. The terrain and temperatures are so inhospitable, the human population is very low. If you can manage to live comfortably there, you won’t be as concerned about defending your power generating equipment from thieves.
  • In most scenarios, your first instincts include trying to harness solar or wind power, and unlike other areas, you’ll have very few tall objects to compete with. Even though the amount of sun and wind reaching the desert is the same as everywhere else, you will actually have a much easier time accessing it.
  • Passive heating and cooling systems can be turned into power generators with less effort. Since temperatures vary extensively in a 24 hour period, you can use the transition points for a number of applications that would not work as well in other settings.
  • Overall, you’ll need to generate less energy than in other settings. Cooking can easily be accomplished without using electricity or conventional fuels, and you may not need conventional fuel, electricity to heat for cooling the buildings. Outside of medical, communication devices, and refrigeration for foods, there will be very little need for large amounts of electricity in a desert setting, which means that smaller scale DIY based electricity generating systems may work perfectly in this setting.
  • Minimal corrosion and rust. When you have motors and other metallic objects, one of your greatest problems will be the development of rust and other forms of corrosion. In a desert setting, motors and other objects of metal will rarely, if ever rust out. Just remember that flying bits of sand can still damage equipment, and that you’ll still have maintain your system from being ruined.

5 Small Scale Power Systems

Solar panels and wind turbines are primitive at best, cost a lot of money, and may not withstand the test of time let alone be capable of producing electricity after a major crisis. On the other hand, newer devices with fewer moving parts and degradable materials may well work in desert.

While some of these technologies may not yet be available to consumers, keep them in mind and see what becomes available as time goes by.

Thermocoupling or Heat Junction Systems

Basically, these systems generate electricity when heat moves from a warmer substance to a cooler one. In this case, as the energy moves from one substance to another, it also generates an electrical charge. For example, you can take copper and iron wires and generate electricity when heat transfers from one metal to the other.

Steam Generators

Since deserts offer higher temperatures, generating steam can be done on small scale levels and be successful. You can use something as simple as a modified solar oven to heat up water, or use more complex systems based on large scale technologies. Your next step will be to use the steam blasts to turn a turbine, which will have magnets attached to it.

As the turbine spins, the magnets will also spin and cause electricity to flow in a nearby coil. Just remember that water is limited in the desert, so you will have to make sure that you can conserve and reuse what you have in the system as much as possible.

Air Based Generators

Simply heating up air will not work the same way as converting from water to steam. Even though heating up air causes it to expand, the force generated is not as much as you can get with steam because vaporized water is still denser than air.

To take advantage of air pressure, it is much easier to simply take air at lower temperatures, compress it, and then release it through a nozzle. If you are interested in using a pneumatic type of system, combine gravity operated motors to compress the air, and then release it onto a lightweight turbine.

Aerogels

This is a fairly new technology that relies on nano particles and strands to create ultrathin pieces of matter.

For example, zinc dioxide, can be shaped into very thin hairs that will behave differently than large quantities of the same material. Zinc Oxide at the nano level will push electrons along a nano wire instead of releasing heat when the wires are placed in a silicon aerogel.

While this research is very much in its infancy, there are many other materials, including low viscosity liquids that might be made into sandwich layers that might function like zinc oxide and silicon. Unfortunately, we actually know very little about all of the materials that are available in a desert environment as well as how they may be used in a similar fashion.

Rubber Band Heat Engine

One of the most fascinating things in a desert terrain is just how much of a temperature difference there is between areas exposed to the sun and those in the shade. With a minimal amount of effort, you can use that temperature difference to drive a rubber band heat engine.

You can generate a bit of extra heat using a solar cooker, or keeping some other heat retainer near the end of the wheel where the rubber band is supposed to contract. As with other power generation methods, you will always seek to convert this spinning energy into electricity using magnets and coils.

Video first seen on Dan Bruton.

Large Scale Systems You Can Build

Solar Power

Unless you have a fairly large group of people that require electricity, large scale solar systems would cost more than they are worth in a desert setting. For example, if you choose to try and build or maintain solar panels, the glare from them will easily capture attention for miles around.

This can spell disaster in the post crisis world, as well in the pre-crisis world where there is a constant push to prevent people from living off the grid.

Wind Power

Aside from wind turbines that require towers, there are some new turbines that can sit close to the ground. You could learn more about wind turbines that produce power when a pole is shaken. No matter whether sand or wind hits the pole, it will still generate electricity from the motion.

Hydroelectric Power

If you live in an area where you can get water from the ocean or another large body of water, it may be possible to generate power by transporting that water through underground pipes that house turbines at certain intervals.

This particular system is already being used in Israel, and even at low flow levels, produces about half the power of a hydroelectric dam. Just search for the Leviathan Hydroelectric project and give some thought to how it might work in a desert region closer to home.

If you are planning on building a bug out location in desert terrain, this may be even more incentive to establish yourself near a body of water.

Some desert regions have as much, if not more water flowing beneath the surface than you would find in other areas. Before purchasing land or deciding on any given area, be sure to study the water tables so that you know how deep you would have to drill for water.

If you happen to find a place with plenty of water, it may just be possible to create a pipe system that will generate more power with less problems than you would encounter with wind or solar generation methods.

Alternatives to Electricity

While generating electricity may be more of a challenge than expected in a desert environment, there are still many alternatives that will not work as well in other regions. For example, passive heating and cooling systems in a desert setting work well because of the rapid change in temperature between shade and full sun as well as between day and night.

Here are some other things you can use in a desert that may work better here than in other climates:

Solar Cooking and Cooling Devices

In most areas, your ability to use solar cookers during the day and solar coolers at night will depend on clear skies. Since it rarely rains in the desert, there are also very few cloudy days to worry about. As such, you can build both smaller and larger scale solar cookers to meet your food preparation needs.

You can also achieve good temperature reduction at night by simply aiming the solar collector at a clear area of sky.

Water Purification

In most settings, you will always be looking for enough fuel to purify water. On the other hand, in a desert setting, full sunlight can easily kill off any bacteria in the water in a minimal amount of time. If you need to distill the water in order to remove heavy metals or other chemical contaminants, you will also have plenty of heat available for this task.

Evaporative Refrigeration

The ability of Zeer pots to cool off materials in the inner chamber depends on how much water can be moved from the inner area to the outer one. Since desert air is very hot and dry, you will actually achieve a greater cooling effect than you would in cooler, moister climates.

You can also expand on this design to take advantage of other materials that wick water easily in order to build larger refrigerator units.

Solar Lenses

When you need to concentrate heat for cooking, purifying water, or some other task, you may not be willing to wait an hour or more for the appropriate temperature to be reached. There are many lenses on the market that are designed to harness sunlight to produce several hundred degrees of heat in a matter of minutes.

Just be sure to operate these lenses in areas where they will not create fires. Even a low-grade magnifying glass can start fires in much cooler temperatures.

Food Storage Alternatives

The heat of a desert setting is more than enough to cause many different kinds of foods to spoil. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like hot, dry desert air for drying foods. No matter whether you grow fruits and vegetables indoors or hunt the for meat, all of these foods can be easily preserved by simply laying them out to dry.

Individuals that use electric food driers and other gadgets are sure to be surprised at how much better the foods taste, as well as how much easier the process is.

Obtaining Water

You will more than likely need an electric water pump if you have a well in the desert. Since these wells may go down several hundred to several thousands feet, a hand pump may not be a viable option. You could also have a pond or other nearby source of surface level water to draw water from with a ram pump or Archimedes Screw.

Or you could have a system that can draw water from the air, but it’s not likely to draw enough to meet your needs.

Under the circumstances, keep in mind a few things when obtaining water without using electricity:

  • making sure that any and all water is used and reused as much as possible, including taking waste water and dumping it into a sand pit during the early morning hours. Next place plastic over the pit with a rock in the center of the plastic. You can capture clean water in a pot or bucket as the moisture evaporates and hits the plastic instead of escaping into the air.
  • Setting up rain barrels and cisterns that can be used to capture any rain that does happen to fall. You can also set up large tarps so that you cover as much area as possible. Rains in the desert tend to be very intense, and they will also depart as quickly as they arrive. As such, you will need to capture the water quickly, and then store it in a location where it will not evaporate before you have a chance to use it. You will still need to purify the water before you use it in order to make sure it is as clean as possible.

Generating power in a desert setting will come with many challenges. If you find yourself in the desert and know that you must survive there for some time, there is no reason for your life and well-being to be threatened by lack of electricity.

You can take advantage of many alternatives to using power that may be impractical or far less feasible in other settings.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References

phys.org/news/2014-03-electricity.html

instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Rubber-Band-Heat-Engine/

EMP Q&A: North Korea’s EMP Threat Explained

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The world we live in relies on electricity totally. The heating and cooling, the hospitals, and banks, the communications and transportation and even working land for food would go into chaos with only one killing EMP shot.

Humankind is working hard to make it possible, just take a look at North Korea. And before asking about Koreans’ capability to drop an EMP on US, remember the critics who mocked the Japanese before WW2.

History is prone to repeat itself. Prepare yourself in time to survive its lessons. Keep reading to discover how the North Korea’s EMP threat is explained.

This guide will help you survive more than an EMP!

A Threat Like No Other

Once people become aware of the threat posed by EMP, they naturally have questions about EMP preparedness. Actually, EMP is one of those subjects where the more you learn about it, the more questions you tend to have.

I was pleased to be invited back to PrepperCon 2017 to host EMP Survival Question & Answer Sessions again this year, on behalf of Survivopedia, and address some of these questions. Feel free to ask your own questions on EMP survival in a comment, and I’ll do my best to find the proper answer for each of them!

The types of EMP that present a threat to mankind are incredibly powerful pulses of energetic radio waves that can pass through the human body undetected, yet wreak devastation upon the systems mankind depends on to sustain life.

The electrical grid, fossil fuels, water, food, healthcare, banking, communications, internet and transportation are critical to our way of life. Even a temporary loss of any of these system is catastrophic.

When we consider how much these systems are interdependent, the loss of all of them at once would paralyze the nation to a degree which is difficult for most people to comprehend.

Why & How North Korea Can Drop an EMP On The US

Question: Is it possible that North Korea could pose a threat to the US?

I heard that they would need thermonuclear weapons, better missiles, bigger nukes or the ability to miniaturize them in order to be able to harm the USA.

Answer: Any country that has nuclear weapons and can orbit satellites has the technology and ability to carry out an EMP attack on the USA. I have noticed a great deal of ignorance on this subject in social media posts and blogs.

It does not take thermonuclear weapons, ICBMs or miniaturization to create a Nuclear High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). The USA created the first HEMP I am aware of with the Hardtack Yucca nuclear test. In that test, a small warhead was carried high enough to make use of the Compton Effect, resulting in a 1000-fold increase in EM field strength. The weapon does not have to be large, at most 10 kilotons, which is the size of tests North Korea has been carrying out.

To affect nearly the entire Lower 48 states with a single weapon, optimal height of burst would have to be 300-400 km, but still lower than the orbit of North Korean Satellites, which overfly the US. Dropping a nuclear weapon that would detonate lower in the atmosphere is certainly within the country’s capabilities.

The last two satellites have payloads sufficient to house a nuclear weapon. North Korea has committed a lot of resources to both satellite and nuclear programs. North Korea has also practiced launching missiles of cargo vessels just like Iran.

The US has few defenses to shoot down such an attack launched from international waters in the gulf coast unless we specifically station a carrier battlegroup there. Even a detonation at much lower altitude could affect a city or even an entire state.

North Korea’s latest test may have been a nearly 10 kiloton neutron bomb optimized for maximum gamma yield. This what we would refer to as a superEMP or enhanced radiation weapon. These points, taken together amount to quite a body of evidence that North Korea has been planning an EMP attack or to create the appearance of the ability of such an attack for over a decade.

Critics point to past failed launches, overlooking the fact that we also had failed launches early on and our first attempt to orbit a satellite also failed. They only need one to succeed. They also point to the fact that putting weapons in space is a breach of international law.

North Korea has a history of violating international law with abandon even when it has meant harsh sanctions so it puzzles me why anyone would see this as an obstacle. Miniaturization of nuclear weapons was not a serious obstacle to the US and was achieved within a couple of years even before we had microcomputers.

Critics mocking North Korea’s military capability sound very much like critics who mocked the Japanese before we engaged them in combat in WW2. History seems to be repeating itself.

Why Fixing the Grid Would Take Years of Survival

Questions: I heard it could take 3.5 years or longer to fix the grid. Don’t we have stockpiles of Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) that we could just swap out if they were damaged by an EMP? Why would it take so long to fix the grid?

Find out how to survive when the lights go out!

Answer: The 3.5 year number assumed that only the USA was affected, that the rest of the world was undamaged by cascading failure and that other nations would help us. In senate hearings, committees have the luxury of examining the question in a bubble.

In the real world, nations are highly interdependent and growing more so every year.  e.g. the loss of the US economy could bring down the world economy with it since the EU economy is closely tied to the US economy and without the US and EU, China would lose its consumer base.

Let’s say an EMP has knocked out the electrical grid and it is our job to fix our little part of it. We need a LPT (Large Power Transformer) to replace the one that was damaged by the EMP. An LPT at a power generating plant steps up voltage for transmission over long distances through transmission lines.

At the destination where the electrical energy will be consumed, another LPT then steps the voltage back down to a voltage that is useful to the destination city’s electrical grid, so we will suppose that our hometown needs a step-down LPT.

LPT’s are custom built, can weigh between 100 and 410 tons, can cost up to $10M each and take up to 2 years to build even in a fully functioning world. Considering the obstacles to obtaining a LPT in a post-EMP world demonstrates the difficulty of estimating how long it would take to get an EMP-ravaged grid running again with any degree of accuracy.

Ordering a New LPT After an EMP? Prepare to Wait!

Normally, we would create a request for proposals, evaluate the bids and award the contract to build our LPT. This will take longer with the phone system and computers down. The red tape would need to be sorted out somehow, and we would need to establish limited communications through radio operators.

The factory that would build our LPT would not be able to start production because they lack electric power to the run the factory, but we will imagine top priority is given to LPT factories and we are able to get power to build. Our order would normally sit in a queue, the factory would need incentive to rush our order past other orders just as urgent as ours.

The plant would want their $10M, but the world banking system could be paralyzed or even collapse. We might have to pay in gold or leaders might attempt to coerce cooperation.

The factory would have to get workers to leave their families in the middle of a protracted grid-down emergency. Even if it could, they wouldn’t work for funny money.

The workers would not be able to work without food, which could be a real problem because just-in-time inventory management virtually guarantees a food crisis. The world food system could collapse. But farmers would have no fuel to run giant tractors guided by GPS that also would not work.

Companies would likely have to pay workers in food.

A solar storm of this magnitude would also knock out satellites, meaning no satellite phones, communications satellites or GPS.

To build the needed LPTs, we would need vast stores of high grade electrical steel and copper which can account for more than half the cost of an LPT. The US produces no more than 20% of these raw materials annually.

Most LPT’s were built between 1954 and 1978. We would need to get the manufacturer copies of the schematics. While this might seem trivial with the aid of computers and telecom equipment, it would likely further delay replacement LPT’s.

Our LPT would probably be ready to ship between 6 months and 5 years after the order was placed. But even before the MHD EMP, special transport had to be arranged to ship a 410-ton After the MHD EMP there would not be enough fuel or functioning refineries. DoD would probably have to handle transport of the LPT, but most military bases are dependent on civilian power infrastructure.

The naval vessel transporting the LPT could run into bad weather or navigation problems because weather satellites would be down and GPS navigation inoperable.

With around 2,000 LPTs in service, the USA has more LPTs in service than any other nation, which also means the US grid has more major points of vulnerability than any other nation. The combined production capability of the entire world has never exceeded 600 units/year, even at its peak over 44 years ago.

The total combined LPT production of the whole planet has not exceeded 400 LPTs/year since 1973. It would take time to ramp that production back up.

Why to Fear the Power of Solar Storms Too

Question: How long could it take to recover from EMP caused by the sun?

Answer: The type of EMP that occurs due to solar activity can cause power surges in the electrical grid, overloading it and causing physical damage. This type of EMP is known as magnetohydrodynamic EMP (MHD EMP). Magnetohydrodynamics is the study of magnetic properties in electrically conductive fluids, like the hot, electrically conducting plasma the sun is comprised of.

Solar activity such as Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) can send a mass of solar energized particles toward the earth that can arrive in as little as a day, interacting with the earth’s magnetosphere and causing a geomagnetic storm. The result can be brilliant aurorae (Northern or Southern Lights), damaged satellites, disruption of radio communications and damage to the electrical grid.

Depending on the intensity and duration of the event, a MHD EMP event could affect an area as small as an Eastern state and the grid could be back up the same day. It is also possible that a severe MHD EMP could affect the entire planet.

Studies presented to the congressional EMP Commission estimated that the USA could have its grid back up in 1.5 – 3.5 years, but I am doubtful of this number. For starters, there is no manual on how to restart the grid. It has simply never been done. The electrical grid was slowly pieced together over more than 100 years. Fixing the grid will be delayed by a bit of a chicken – egg problem.

You can’t get the grid back up without Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) and you can’t build LPT’s without electricity, transportation, food, safe drinking water, security for the workers and their families and everyone who supports each of those systems, their families and so on.

Any way you look at it, recovery from a server MHD EMP event would be a process, not an event, and a long, non-linear process full of obstacles that we could not possibly predict, at that.

To Ground or not to Ground the Faraday Cage?

Question: I have heard conflicting answers. Should I ground my Faraday cage or not?

Answer: Yes … and no.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a refrigerator or smaller and is not wired with electric outlets and a breaker box like you have in your home, then, no, do not ground it. Grounding a small Faraday cage can do more harm than good.

You could think of it in terms that the ground could act like an EMP antenna, receiving the electromagnetic energy (radio waves) of the EMP, converting into power and possibly radiating into the space you are trying to shield.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a room or building or is wired for mains electricity (AC power), then yes, it should be properly grounded.

If You Still Have Questions About EMP Survival

EMP is one of the greatest threats mankind faces and I do not want you to leave your preparations on hold for lack of information. Please ask questions in the comments below or email them to us. Speak up, reach out and remember that imperfect preparations are better than none.

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

Is There Life After A Nuclear Blast?

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The world is far less stable insofar as mass numbers of people are exposed to the risk of a nuclear event.

While Russia and North Korea have the bulk of people’s attention, every single nuclear reactor and other nuclear locations can be the source of disaster. That’s why it a bomb based nuclear war is a small problem compared to our electric grid being hacked/infiltrated and other situations that can be far more dangerous.

As for the nuclear event, if you survive the initial attack, you’ll face a different world in the aftermath.

But how are you going to survive? Here are 10 questions answered about how life is going to be after a nuclear blast.

Make sure that you can do as well as possible in a medium where the following changes are expected to occur.

1. Look for Safe Areas when Traveling

While explosions can easily take out roads and bridges, there are invisible threats that come with a nuclear disaster. Even if you won’t meet the heat found inside the Fukushima reactors, you’ll pass through areas where elevated levels of ionic radiation will pose a risk to your health. If you eat or drink contaminated in these areas, you’ll get very sick.

Traveling in the post nuclear world will not be as simple as trying to get across blocked roads or other common navigation issues. Instead, you will need to read the more subtle cues that radiation is present and needs to be avoided.

You’ll need the very best in mapping skills and the ability to read wind and air currents so that you know which places are most likely to be downwind of the radiation source. While avoiding these areas, take them into account within the larger context of other areas where nuclear radiation may be higher.

For example, if you are approaching an area with elevated radiation from a nuclear reactor, think what will happen if you head towards another reactor located within 100 miles.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down!

To understand the level of radiation in the areas you travel, lookout for people or animals with unusual sores, animals and plants with unusual sizing, or deformed plants and animals. Also, take into account the elevated readings on a Kierny fallout meter (KFM) or Geiger counter.

2. Sheltering Underground Can Save You

In the direct aftermath of a nuclear event, you may have to stay underground for days to months. When your return to the surface, do not make the mistake of believing that buildings and other forms of shelter are safe to occupy.

Dust filled with radiation may still be all over the place as well as contaminated soot from fires. If you are in a more “silent” area such as one produced by a nuclear reactor melt down without an explosion, you will need to rely on Geiger counters or other radiation meters to find out if the area is safe to live in.

Overall, I would say your best bet for survival is to stay underground for as long as possible. It will be to your advantage to have a comfortable shelter and storage area beneath the ground. Today, there are all kinds of specialized LED lighting strips and other resources that can enable you to grow plants and have a good degree of lighting even if located underground.

If you can live underground and sustain that, you will be well ahead of the curve for nuclear disasters as well as many other kinds that may come to pass.

3. Survive Growing Food Underground

If you stored your food above ground, it will be contaminated by nuclear radiation, and your stockpile and all the hard work you put into it will be useless. By the same token, animals and plants in the area will not be a viable option for food consumption.

When it comes to obtaining and preparing food, here’s what to do:

  • Store your food and ammo for hunting far enough underground so that they will be safe from nuclear radiation.
  • Make sure that you can farm and garden in an underground cave or some type of bunker that you build for this purpose. This includes sufficient underground ventilation and air recycling systems in place.
  • Keep radiation shielded jars for micro gardening and insect farms, and make sure that all seeds are either stored underground or in a radiation shielded storage container. Water and other materials used for this purpose have to be kept free of contamination too.
  • If you are going to live underground, make sure that you have the right lighting for the plants you plan to grow. While hydroponic and aeroponic gardening require fewer resources, the plants still need plenty of light for optimal growth and disease prevention.
  • In the post nuclear world, bees may very well be driven into extinction. If there is one skill you should try to learn, it is making and caring for a small beehive. Even just a few dozen bees can pollinate crops growing underground or other radiation safe locations.

In the outer world, the safe game and fish will not be safe anymore, as radiation travels from the source of the event, it will contaminate everything in its path.

Even if you are a few years to decades past the initial nuclear event, you will always need to be on the lookout for signs of radiation related diseases and problems. This includes everything from genetic mutations to increased rates of cancer (including tumors found in plants), leukemias, and other disorders that aren’t commonly found in animal and fish populations.

Since you never know when the food supply will become unsafe to harvest or eat, store food away underground as well as the means to produce it.  From there, it will be up to you to decide if you want to evacuate once again or simply stay where you are and live underground.

4. Filter, Filter and Filter Your Water to Stay Clean

As with food, you won’t always find sources of clean water in the usual locations. Your stockpile of water will also be worse than useless if stored above ground. Large scale storms and other systems can carry all kinds of contamination and spread them for hundreds of miles. Once this water leaches into the water table, well water and other sources will not be safe to drink.

In fact, even if you are getting water from a flowing underground source, you need to test it on a regular basis for nuclear contamination even years or decades after the nuclear event. Depending on the source of the radiation, you’ll need different filtration systems.

Most forms of radioactive material can be filtered out by distilling the water because the contaminated particles will be left behind in the original vessel. Since Tritium is an isotope of Hydrogen, it won’t be removed by distillation. While Tritium cannot be removed by using this method, don’t worry unless the incident involves a nuclear reactor. Tritium is also very hard to detect, yet it is very dangerous if it gets into your lungs or other internal organs.

Boron, borax, activated carbon, and bone char can also be used to filter out radioactive materials. Remember, unless you are dealing with Tritium, it is not the water molecules that will be radioactive. Rather, it is the dust, microscopic debris, and other molecules that will carry the radioactive signature, and therefore pose a threat to your health. If you have a reverse osmosis system on hand, run the water through an activated carbon filter.

5. Switch to Light Colors in What You Wear

Anything that you were wearing during the nuclear event will have to be discarded. To be on the safe side, anything that comes into contact with any kind of dust may be harboring radioactive materials. As with everything else, the garments that will be the safest are the ones stored and worn underground.

Other than that, the way you dress will change in order to stay protected:

  • Even in hot weather, you’ll be covered from head to toe because most fabrics will prevent Alpha and Beta particles from reaching your skin.
  • You will be saturating your garments with perfumes or baby powder, both of which can prevent x-rays from getting to the body. Make sure these chemicals do not touch your skin since they can be as dangerous to your health long term as nuclear radiation. Ask a medical x-ray technician which perfumes cause the most problems insofar as preventing x-rays from passing through the body. Some herbal perfumes will do the same job without putting as much of a toxic burden on your body.
  • You’ll be wearing a mask / respirator capable of filtering out dust and other radioactive particles. Today, there are activated carbon masks that are no bigger than a surgical scrub mask. These are better than nothing, but without a better sealing wrap around the mask, they will only filter out about 50% of the particles in the air. Full respirator masks work too, but they can be expensive to maintain and they are very hard to breathe through.

Video first seen on BlackScoutSurvival.

  • You’ll need garments in light colors or white to reduce the amount of heat that reaches your skin. In fact, wearing white or light colors it may literally save your skin from being burned in the first critical moments of a nuclear event. If you wear a head or face covering, choose white, and wear an appropriate eye shield as well.
  • Learn about disposable paper garments that are sturdy enough to be worn and then disposed off on a daily basis. A full body suit capable of blocking nuclear radiation also helps, but remember you’ll have to decontaminate the suit and yourself before you go into any area that you want to keep clean.
  • Bone based gowns or other garments – as with perfumes and baby powder, X-rays also cannot penetrate through bone. If you can create some kind of exoskeleton from animal bones, focus first on protecting your vital organs and any access points to your brain.

6. Rely on Lye Soaps to Maintain Your Hygiene

What you need after a nuclear disaster, is cleaning agents that will remove as much dust and debris from your skin as possible. Typically, lye based soaps will do the best job. Learn how to make these kinds of soaps from animal and plant based sources. I do not recommend adding herbs to all of your lye soap batches as the herbs and oils may prevent the soap from doing its job.

Once you are sure that your skin and hair are clean, you can always go back and add herbal oils and skin conditioners. Just remember, however, that these products can still allow any remaining radioactive dust or debris to remain trapped next to your skin. While you will be rinsing and scrubbing vigorously to avoid these problems, they can still happen.

7. You’ll Have to Deal with Personal Illnesses

Of all the areas where you can expect major changes after a nuclear blast, medical care and personal illness may be the hardest to deal with. While modern medicine is filled with dangerous drugs, it does have some saving graces in the face of a nuclear crisis. Surgical procedures, dental care, treatment of sores, therapy for burns, and a source of knowledge on how to treat radiation sickness are all very important. Medical providers will become very limited or unavailable at this critical time.

Search for alternatives, since vital resources can be found in herbal remedies and vitamin related research. From potassium iodine tablets for your thyroid to Vitamin C, E and other antioxidant cellular shields, you never know what new studies will come out and help you figure out what to stockpile.

Make sure that you have a viable source of medicinal herb seeds as well as the means to grow them. Develop a complete and comprehensive library of binaural music to help you manage a range of medical and mental conditions. Learn more about acupressure and other forms of alternative healing.

It never hurts to store these things away to use in time of need. From Bible verse healing to crystals, reiki, and prayer systems, you never truly know what will work for you within the paradigm of your personal belief systems. In essence, what modern medicine calls a “placebo” effect, may, in fact, be a true cure for the disease under consideration by virtue of the fact that your particular belief system allows it to happen.

What modern medicine considers quackery today may actually be proven more effective and safer tomorrow. Consider that very recently researchers found a connection between the brain and the immune system by way of the lymph system. Up until now, it was believed the immune system had very little, if any access to the brain. This discovery alone may undo decades of dogma on how to treat  “immune disorders” and shift the treatments towards the kind of “mind-body” dogma associated with alternative methods.

8. Money and Exchanging Goods: How Safe Are They?

Depending on where you and others are in relation to the nuclear event, less or more people will survive. On the other side of the equation, government, and currency collapse might occur, and any form of paper or plastic money will be useless. An occupying force may also prevent you from using gold or other metallic money as a trade medium unless it is stamped from their mint.

Trade and barter won’t be easy, regardless of the number of people and resources available:

  • You will be as concerned with preventing theft of your goods and trading mediums as you are actually exchanging them with others.
  • It may be harder than usual to trade or barter without external interference from people seeking to control the flow of goods in order to make a profit for themselves.
  • Securing items that haven’t been contaminated by nuclear debris can be very difficult. You will need to know how to test all different kinds of materials so that you do not come into contact with goods that will endanger your health.

9. Social Changes: God, Bad, and New

In the modern world, people will shun each other over things that will not matter in the post nuclear world. While this may seem like something of a positive social change, other problems will come up.

For example, as people realize that there’s no fast solution to the nuclear problem, they’ll turn to rioting and looting. When important supplies become unavailable, stealing, and other related crimes are likely to increase beyond expectation. These problems can happen in any crisis, but a nuclear one can be even worse because there are few, if any ways to remove radioactive contamination once it occurs.

More than a few preppers today work with a small family group, or several families as they work towards being ready for any kind of disaster. When disaster strikes, people you from your survival group may be dead, while total strangers might contribute something to the groups overall odds of success.

Being able to gauge what other people’s social intentions are will be more important than ever in the post nuclear world. No matter how tempted you may be to veer towards suspicion, it may be not always be to your advantage. Things can also change very quickly in a survival situation, and  you may come to realize that both old and new acquaintances aren’t who or what you thought they were

10. Political Changes: Same Fight, Different Actors

When governing bodies collapse, a struggle starts to see which individuals will emerge as dominant political forces. The laws and values that we hold today may no longer exist, or change radically in order to meet many different needs. To make matters worse, if there is any usable and clean land left, foreign adversaries might occupy the area and use it for their own purposes.

Over the years, I have taken a long, and hard look at the words and facial expressions used by certain world leaders. What I found can be best described as chilling. While some are mainly concerned with being the biggest nuclear brat on the block, others seem to be driving our world into a nuclear crisis for the express purpose of selective reduction of the human population.

There is a much bigger picture than a simple demand for weapons, energy, and medical diagnostics that drives the usage of nuclear materials. Rather, a leader that wants to occupy a foreign land will limit the damage to the land itself, while taking the maximum toll on the resident population. This hidden agenda has vast implications for every area of modern politics. From trade to preventing a new world war, the politics of global nuclear materials is more dangerous than we may realize.

The Next Generation Is Born Underground

One of the most heartbreaking things is to see a child sick or in pain, and the children will suffer the most from any kind of nuclear incident, for sure. No matter how much you prepare the younger ones for surviving on their own, there are limits to what they can do in a time of need.

Once adults or children are exposed to nuclear radiation, they might not be unable to conceive, or future children will be born with all kinds of birth defects. While surviving children may still reach adulthood and contribute in other ways to the society, the problem of producing the next generation is a very serious one.

There is really only one way to deal with this problem, and it entails being part of a survival group that already lives independently underground. Children that are born in this setting and kept away from radiation have the best chance of bringing forward a new generation. Studying genetics and making sure that the gene pool remains diverse and strong will be a top priority.

As you may be aware, there are also different methods for preserving sperm and egg, as well as transplanting embryos into a viable uterus. Not only are these methods expensive, they are not likely to be available to people after a nuclear crisis. Therefore, your best bet remains using the earth itself as a shield from nuclear radiation so that the next generation will be as healthy and viable as possible.

Just about any kind of large scale disaster will cause serious disruptions in society. In most cases, however, the devastating effects disappear in as little as a few years. From there, people will be able to rebuild society, perhaps faster than expected.

But nuclear radiation continue to poison and kill for centuries on end, and recovery from a nuclear incident will not be as fast or as easy as other types. Think carefully about how the world around you will change and prepare to be a part of it .

And remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

How To Turn Your Bike Into A Bug Out Vehicle

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The first thing that people do in the movies when there’s a catastrophic event is try to get out of town. They end up in gridlocked traffic and end up surrounded by panicking people abandoning vehicles that can’t go any further. Obviously, there was a lack of planning.

As preppers, we’re prepared to avoid these types of situations either by bugging in, or by having bug out vehicles that can navigate terrain, and will allow us to avoid major roads so that we have a better chance of getting safely away.

Though many people don’t consider a motorcycle a good choice for a bug out vehicle, don’t discount the advantages out of hand. After all, while all of those cars are gridlocked, you can ride the berm or split the lanes to continue traveling. This would, of course, come with the risk of somebody knocking you off your bike, so you’d have to be extremely cautious while also traveling quickly.

You can also travel off-road if you have the right bike and it’s properly equipped. Oh, and if you have an EMP room that’s at least 5 or 6 feet square, you can keep the bike right in there along with an extra motor and parts and still have plenty of room left for your other stuff.

Also, a motorcycle gets anywhere from 30-70 mpg. The average dual sport bike has anywhere from a 3-6 gallon tank, which means that you can make it 150-300 miles on one tank. They’re also versatile and do well both on the street and off-road assuming you choose a good bike and put knobby tires on it.

Many people like to use a 250cc for a bug out vehicle, but I like a little more speed and power – I’d recommend a 600 – it doesn’t weight that much more than a 250, though you will lose a little mpg. That’s negligible, though – 10mpg maybe. Chances are good that your bug out place is still going to be well within your tank range.

There are downsides. You can’t realistically take more than two people and will only be able to take the bare essentials with you. Ideally, you should probably use a bike to get you to a pre-stocked bug out location. Most sport bikes, enduros, motocross bikes and duel sports are light enough that 2 people can lift them up into the back of a truck.

However, there are a few modifications that you should probably make in order to optimize it for bugging out. These are just general suggestions – you’ll have to account for your individual terrain and bug out plans.

Put Headlights on Toggle Switch

Motorcycles typically have headlights that turn on as soon as you turn the key as a standard safety feature. Since you may need to hide, it’s probably a good idea to put the headlight on a toggle switch. Fortunately, the wiring on a motorcycle is fairly simple, so this is easy to do.

Paint to Match Your Terrain

I absolutely love the electric blue and neon green paintjob on my GSXR, but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to hiding.

Not only do you want to keep from being seen on it if possible, but you don’t want it to stand out for somebody to target as a potential getaway vehicle for themselves should you need to stop and be away from it. (i.e., bathroom breaks, etc.)

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much paint to cover an entire motorcycle. Choose a paint that will help you blend into your terrain. Whether it’s green or tan, or somewhere in between, camouflage that ride.

Cargo Racks

You can buy a cargo rack for behind the seat, or you can do what I did for my last bike and build it yourself. This allows you quite a bit of customization because you can add a little bit of storage here and there.

For instance, you can potentially add a rifle carrier that would ride under your thigh, or a storage rack in front of it. You can also buy or build saddle bags. We are, after all, the kings and queens of DIY.

Use Quiet Exhaust

On a standard day, I’ll preach that loud pipes save lives all day long, but not in this case. Your goal is to fly under the radar, so you want the bike to be as quiet as possible. Because of the way a motorcycle motor works, you’re not going to be able to get it whisper-quiet like a car is, but you can muffle it significantly by modifying the pipes.

Especially if you’ve opted to use a small-cc bike, don’t do too much in the way of modifying the heads to muffle the sound because you don’t want to restrict the airflow.

Have an Extra Motor and Parts in Your EMP Room

If you have an EMP room, you have room for a motorcycle motor. They’re small and fairly light – less than 150 pounds in many cases.

Discover how to assemble a simple device that will shield your electronics from the EMP!

Magnetic and Handlebar Bags

Once you start looking, you’re going to be surprised by how many places you can put a storage bag on your bike. There are handlebar bags made to sit in the triple tree. I put mine on the front between the forks when I carry it.

You can also get magnetic tank bags that will carry a surprising amount of gear and supplies.

Magnetic Holsters

These are great. The magnets are seriously strong enough to hold onto the tank even if things get rough. I had one on my last bike that I used when we went camping and I kept it on the front of my tank up by my gauges. You can, of course, always customize them or have them custom made.

Backpack

This is probably my most important piece of survival gear because it stays right with me all the time. I don’t have to worry about it falling off or catching on things, or slowing me down as long as I’m on my bike. Put what you can’t live without in here, in case somebody steals your bike.

I always keep, at a minimum:

Sounds like a lot, but actually if you think about it, the only big item is water. It all fits in the bottom of one of my pouches, and I have a nice little “just in case” kit.

I also keep a toolkit underneath my seat that holds the main 3 sockets and small wrenches that work on my bike, a pair of pliers, and zip ties.

Suspension

Depending on the bike that you have, you may need to adjust the suspension so that it’s fit to ride off-road. This is a topic best researched before you decide on a bike. I can’t really offer much advice that would be any good because everything depends on what you have to work with.

Tires

If you’re going to take your bike off-road, you need to have knobby tires on it. If you’re not, you need to keep your street tires in excellent condition because in the middle of an emergency is the worst time possible for you to have a blowout.

These are just a few tips to help you get your motorcycle ready to use as a bugout vehicle. I considered recommending armoring the tank and you can do that if you want, but truthfully, you’re using it as a vehicle that is light, nimble, and maneuverable. You want to avoid weight where you can.

Do you have any other tips to help prepare a motorcycle so that it will serve as a good bug out vehicle?

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Surviving Off-grid: Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

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Survivopedia_Hot_Water_From_Your_Wood_Stove

Whether we’re talking about off-grid survival or just having the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of living in the 21st century in our cabin in the woods, having hot water for taking a shower, shaving, or taking a nice long bath is one of the yardsticks of well-being.

What can be nicer than enjoying a hot shower after working all day outside in the cold? And even better, if that hot water is completely free of charge? It doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Moreover, it would be pretty nice to have hot water at your disposal without being dependent upon a utilities company, whether we’re talking about electricity or gas.

We’re Reviving Ancient Techniques

What I am trying to tell you is that nowadays, heating water is one of the most overlooked functions when it comes to the archaic wood stove.

Just a few decades ago, many wood stoves were built with a water tank (it was called a range boiler) behind/beside the respective wood stove, for producing free and virtually limitless amounts of hot water. A two for the price of one kind of a deal.

Basically, whether you’re looking to save some dollars on your utility bills or get hot water in some place remote without breaking the piggy bank, the main idea is that you can use your wood stove for more than warming your homestead, cooking and whatever else wood stoves are usually good for.

Truth be told, domestic wood stove-based water heating systems are not new; they were invented centuries ago.

The Romans constructed incredibly clever central heating systems for public buildings (and the rich also had them, because they were too expensive for plebes) in an era sans electricity, and we’re talking 2000+ years ago. I know it sounds incredible, but yes, they actually had central heating through the floors 2 millennia ago; that’s how smart Romans were.

The Roman system was called Hypocaust and it worked by producing and circulating hot air below the floors (even walls in some cases) using a network of pipes. Hot air passed through those pipes and heated the floors/walls and obviously, the air was heated via furnaces burning wood and/or coal, because there was no electricity or piped gas back in the day.

In the event of a grid-down situation, how many of you are planning on heating their home with wood?

Learn from our forefathers how to install an emergency wood-burning stove!

How the Heater Works

Hence, getting hot water using a wood stove uses the same basic principle as a Hypocaust, but with a twist: water is used in our case instead of air, because it’s difficult to take a shower without water, right? I know – there’s an invention called dry cleaning, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joking aside, to keep it simple: a regular water heater is nothing more than a tank of sorts, sitting on top or next to your wooden stove. As water rises when heated, hot water is drawn from the top and cold water is piped at the bottom via a piping system, obviously.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses heat exchangers for transferring heat from the stove to the water. Depending on the design, the heat exchangers can be mounted inside of the stove, on the outside of the stove, or in the stovepipe.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when a fire is burning in two ways: naturally, via the thermosiphon principle which relies on water rising when heated or by using a pump.

The heat exchanger device is available in 3 main varieties:

  • a serpentine coil made of, in most cases, copper pipe
  • a small absorber, like a solar-collector
  • a box-like mini-tank. Most heat exchangers are mini-tanks or coils mounted inside the stove.

The heat exchanger can be built using copper, stainless steel, or galvanized iron, and they’re commercially available or they can be built in local shops or DIY-ed depending on your skills. For our intents and purposes, we’ll have to rely on the thermosiphon system, because this system works wonderfully off the grid and it doesn’t require fancy stuff like pumps and all that jazz.

The Tips that Lead to Success

“Keep it simple stupid” is the name of the game in a survival situation. As things get complicated, the probability of something failing rises exponentially.

Whenever the stove is used, water must circulate through the heat exchanger in order to prevent it from boiling. The storage tank must always be located higher than the heat exchanger and as close as possible to the stove.

Thermosiphoning-based systems are better than electrical-pumped ones not only because of their simplicity and availability, but also because in the eventuality of a power outage, the pump will stop working, leading to overheating the water in the heat exchanger.

This is a DIY project that can provide you with endless hot water without requiring electricity, as it’s based on the thermosiphoning process. This one uses a therma coil – a homemade unit – which consists of a serpentine made of copper, which is put inside the wood stove and connected via plumbing to a water tank.

This is a hot water-on-demand heater which can help you in a variety of situations. And best of all, everything is made using scrap materials, more or less (except for the copper piping, I guess).

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

As a general rule of thumb, for best results, you should isolate all your hot water lines more than 3 feet away from the wood stove using slip-on foam insulation, which is designed for temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t forget to spend 10 bucks on a thermometer; it’s well worth the investment and it will help you with eliminating all guesswork with regard to determining water temperature.

Copper is one of the best piping materials out there, as it’s very easy to work with when building coils (the heat exchanger gizmo), but remember that when used with iron, the latter will corrode.

The second DIY job is made by the same guy but this time, instead of a copper serpentine placed inside the wood stove, he uses a simpler water coil made of stainless steel. The rest is basically the same, check out the video.

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

The third project also uses the thermosiphoning principle (hot water rises) and copper tubing for making the serpentines, but this is a “larger scale job” compared to the previous two, and more complex.

Video first seen on convectioncoil.com.

The fourth and last DIY project uses an interesting design, i.e. a double-walled water heater (a double-walled 6-inch pipe, basically) and between the walls there’s copper water pipe circling the inner wall, thus transferring the heat from the wood stove to the water circulating through the piping.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

That about sums it up for today folks. There are still many lessons to be learned.

Remember that knowledge is everything in a survival situation and take our ancestors’ example – they survived when there was no electricity.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Are You Prepared For An EMP Attack?

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As we all know, the U.S. power grid is in danger and one thing is for sure: when the power will go out, the economy, the defense infrastructure and more than that, our own safety and health will go down. The U.S. Government

In this situation, the only thing we can do is to prepare for that moment when the lights go down rather than wait and see what happens in the aftermath.

That’s why, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 5 useful articles for some off-grid scenarios.

  1. Gov’t Reports Warns: Power Grid In ‘Imminent Danger’

blackout-doe-report

“ The U.S. power grid is in constant danger of a cyberattack that could cause widespread blackouts and impact millions of citizens, according to a new 492-page report from the Department of Energy that warns if nothing is done to protect the system, the nation likely will suffer.

“The U.S. grid faces imminent danger from cyberattacks,” the report, released Jan. 6, states. “Widespread disruption of electric service because of a transmission failure initiated by a cyberattack at various points of entry could undermine U.S. lifeline networks, critical defense infrastructure, and much of the economy; it could also endanger the health and safety of millions of citizens.”

The report, titled “Transforming the Nation’s Energy System,” notes that the electric grid in the 48 contiguous states is comprised of 21,500 substations and about 700,000 miles of power lines.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How to Protect Your Power System Against an EMP

electromagnetic-pulse“Hello my friend and welcome back! I received a letter from one of my readers who goes by the name of Dan.  What he wants to know is how he can protect his wind turbine and solar panels, as well as his electronics, from an EMP or another Carrington Event CME.  He also wants to know how deep his underground shelter needs to be to protect what he has there.  WOW!  That was a mouth full.  This is the subject of today’s post, so grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

  1. Living Off the Grid with Solar

“The moment you go off-grid, you rely entirely on a system that generates electrical energy and utilizes the same to support all your electrical solarappliances, either at home or on a business premise. For your system to be exclusively off-grid, it must have absolutely no link to the utility grid.

Going off-grid is possible, practical and beneficial to you in many ways. You will not have to pay utility bills and in the long run, you will save money! Other motivations include: environmental concerns and endeavoring to only use renewable energy; energy independence, you won’t have to rely on the blackout-prone utility; social values, which mean taking responsibility for your energy consumption effects; costs, when the distance to the grid is too big, your decision to go off grid becomes a lot cheaper.”

Read more on Ed That Matters.

  1. 7 Ways to Generate Power After a Disaster

7-ways-you-can-generate-power-after-a-disaster-wide-2

“Whether it’s a nuclear holocaust, a deadly plague, the perfect storm, or a large-scale terrorist attack, when a cataclysmic event goes down you can guarantee one thing: the power will go out. And while you don’t need electricity to be a hunter-gatherer for the rest of your life, if you want to help return human society to its former greatness—or just be able to have a James Bond movie marathon again—you’ll have to figure out how to generate your own power.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. 15 Things You Think You Know About Faraday Cages But You Don’t

EMP

“This article takes into consideration only the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar flare. A solar flare would only affect any electronics connected to the grid.

Will a microwave work as a Faraday cage?

No. If an EMP strikes, you will notice that all your electronic devices that you stored in a microwave oven will be rendered useless. The microwave is not a Faraday cage.

Will a refrigerator work as a Faraday cage?

No, most refrigerators do not work as a Faraday cage. I tested mine, and it’s definitely not a Faraday cage.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Surviving Off-Grid: 4 Recipes To Cook In A Haybox

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Haybox cooking

I have to admit, this was a new one for me, and I thought that I’d tried every method of outdoor cooking invented since cavemen sporked frogs and roasted them over an open fire. As it turns out, haybox cooking is a combination of two of my favorite cooking vessels – a Dutch oven and a slow cooker.

This method came about during WWII when cooking oil was rationed for the war effort. The air spaces in the hay trap the heat, as will anything similar, such as shredded newspaper or corn husks. You want the hay to be fine, though, so that you can pack it tightly. You don’t want stems and brambles.

The basic premise is that you heat the food in its own juices, or water, and then once you bring it to a boil, you put it in the haybox, which insulates it, and let it finish cooking all on its own. Of course, this is a method that requires food that is in a broth, but that’s about the only limitation that I can think of.

You can use it for roasting, boiling, simmering, or steaming; as long as there’s liquid to hold the heat.

This would serve you well if you were traveling and couldn’t cook along the way, or if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel by cooking it over heat all day. For that matter, it’s great just to help you save on your electric bill! All in all, it’s an extremely efficient way of cooking.

Learn the secrets that helped our grandparents survive the Great Depression! 

What Is a Haybox Cooker and How to Build One

HayboxA haybox cooker is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a box full of hay that you cook in.

The idea is that the hay is packed around a Dutch oven that has food in it that’s already cooked to boiling. You transfer it from the heat source immediately to the haybox, pack the hay around it, close it up as tightly as you can, and go about your business.

It’s a natural slow cooker, and just like cooking with its electric-dependent sisters, it takes several hours for food to cook. How long exactly, depends on the initial cook time of the dish, how long it’s already cooked, how tightly the hay is packed, and how air-tight the box is.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an exact time, but a good haybox will hold usable heat for up to 8 hours.

If you already have a trunk or old military locker/box that’s about 30 inches cubed, then you’re already good to go. If not, build one.

Start by building a sturdy wooden box that’s as airtight as you can get it – try to score some scrap tongue and groove from your local mill or home-improvement store.

Build a box with a sturdy, tight-fitting lid. Line the box with sturdy paper or cardboard to seal any cracks that remain so that the heat can’t escape.

To cook in your box, pack it with about 3/4 of the way full of hay, then form a little nest in the center for your Dutch oven and pack it as tightly as you can get it.

How to Cook With a Haybox Cooker

Bring your food to a boil or simmer, then transfer immediately to the hay box. Pack the top and remaining sides with more hay as tightly as you can pack it and shut the lid. Let it cook, and you’re good to go.

Note: You can even make you haybox in a hole in the ground – how handy is THAT for living in the woods in a survival situation? In that case, you could use dried grass and leaves, or whatever you could find lying around as insulation.

Oh, and did I mention that you can also use the haybox to make frozen treats such as ice cream?

Just make your favorite ice cream recipe and pour it into a coffee can with a lid. Find a bucket that’s 4 inches deeper and 8 inches (total) wider than your can. Put 4 inches of ice and coarse salt in the bottom of the bucket, put the can on top of the ice, and pace more ice and salt around the can. Put it in the haybox and seal it up. You’ll have ice cream in about 4 hours! 

Video first seen on Organikmechanic. 

4 Delicious Haybox Recipes

1. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Soup

This soup is especially filling and comforting. It’s a great meal-in-a-bowl for busy weeknights – just turn it on in the morning and come home to a wonderful-smelling pot of soup.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat, just until browned, breaking up with a spatula periodically until meat is crumbly. Drain all but 1 teaspoon or so of oil/drippings and return to heat.

Add the cabbages, onion, carrots, garlic, celery seed, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add all to the Dutch oven and add bay leaf and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to hay box for 8 hours.

2. Steak Chili

Sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a good chili!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 12-oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth or 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and then brown the steak (in batches if necessary) on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables to the Dutch oven, pour in the broth and add the seasonings. Stir well to mix. Add the steak, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Transfer to haybox and leave there for 8 hours.

3. Slow Cooker Beef or Venison Stew

There are few things that say “comfort food” better than a hearty beef stew. Slow cooking means the meat is always succulent and tender and you’re welcomed home with wonderful aromas.

  • 1 ½ pounds beef or venison stew meat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock, with ¼ cup reserved

Trim the stew meat of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the stew meat, in batches if necessary, about 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides.

Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley to Dutch oven, then add meat. Pour 2 3/4 cups broth over all. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to haybox for 8 hours.

4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Delight your loved ones with this classic and delicious frozen treat you can make in a haybox.

You will need:

  • 1 can sweetened milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Add fruits or nuts after it’s frozen.

Have you tried haybox cooking? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To Prepare Your Tractor For An EMP

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Tractor EMP Survival

If you are living on a homestead or farm, then I bet that a tractor will form a central part of your plans. As with other types of motor vehicles, tractors can also be destroyed by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

Invariably, if you have a newer tractor, or plan to buy one, you need to know which parts are most vulnerable, how to make repairs, and how to keep the tractor as safe as possible from EMP related damage.

Keep reading to get this knowledge. You will need it, for sure!

What About Buying an Older Model Tractor?

Many people concerned about EMPs ruining their automobile have decided to buy older cars that do not have computers in them. If you happen to be a fan of older cars and know their value and durability, then you may be led to believe that you can do the same thing with a tractor.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages you might encounter if you try to buy, and then fix up an older tractor.

  • Even though a tractor may not be used every day, the time that it is in operation puts a lot of wear and tear on the engine, transmission, and drive train. While some old tractors, may, in fact, run for several more decades without trouble, others may break down and require extensive repair at the worst possible moment. You may even find that restoring an older model tractor may cost as much as trying to convert a newer one for the sake of EMP proofing.
  • You will find it much harder to get spare or replacement parts. This problem may be offset if you have metal working tools and parts from compatible tractors built around the same time.
  • It will be very hard to obtain shop manuals and schematics that could be used to help you rebuild or maintain the tractor. Before a major crisis happens, you may need to do patent searches for individual parts and also see what kind of information the manufacturer is willing to give you.
  • On the positive side, if you find a tractor that runs well and has no computers or electronic parts in it, then you will have to do a lot less work to prepare it for an EMP. As long as you take the extra step of storing it safely, then it should run when most other motorized vehicles fail.

Video first seen on ACES – Fresh from the Field.

Get the Right Information, Skills, and Tools

Even though tractors are more rugged than most vehicles, they can still be ruined by improper maintenance or shoddy mechanical repair efforts. On the other side of the equation, if you are going to be truly self-sufficient, then being able to repair any tractor you own will be very important.

If you do not have the right skills, tools, or information, it is very likely that you won’t be able to use your tractor for very long after a major disaster let alone get restore it to working condition after an EMP.

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2 Vital Sources of Tractor Repair Information

  • The best source of information for making tractor repairs is the shop manual that should be available through the manufacturer of the tractor. The shop manual will list all the parts found in the tractor, as well as how to remove and replace them. It will also give you plenty of detailed diagrams so that you know how all the parts fit together. You may have to pay a bit extra for this manual, however it is well worth the cost.
  • Your next most important source of information is a notebook that you will keep that gives details about all maintenance, repairs, and changes you have made to the tractor. For example, if you decide to remove a particular computer system for the sake of EMP proofing, that information should be listed in the notebook.

You should also have detailed schematics and other notes so that you can make repairs to the revised system without causing problems. Never leave these details to memory. Even if you are a skilled mechanic, years, grease, time, and mechanical wear can change things to the point where you may no longer recognize what was done.

At the very least, detailed diagrams and notes about each changed system can help you retrace your steps and restore the tractor to working order.

Essential Tractor Repair and Maintenance Skills

Tractor engine Aside from being able to manage every system in the tractor, you will also need some additional skills if you are going to EMP proof the tractor and continue to use it in the revised form.

You will need the ability to search through patents in order to find older technologies that can be used to replace computer modules. You should also be able to look at different alternative designs and choose one that will meet your needs and still offer the best in terms of safety and efficiency.

Given the number of variations on tractor and automotive systems, you are sure to find dozens of designs that may work. Picking the best one, however, can take a good bit of skill.

Some computer systems may be difficult, if not impossible to replace with alternative technologies. As a result, you will need to have a good understanding of computerized automotive systems and how best to manage them. This includes knowing how to get to various sensors as well as how to replace any module that may require it.

Important Tools

Depending on the size of the tractor, you may be able to do some or all of the work using basic hand tools. This includes engine hoists and other equipment that will make it easier and safer to dismantle every part of the tractor.

There may also be some specialized tools that will be of immense use to you. Since many of these tools can be affected by an EMP, you should either focus on possible alternatives that run on water, or try to store them away in a Faraday Cage for later use.

  • Air driven tools. If you are working with an especially large tractor, these tools can make mechanical repair easier, safer, and faster. The air tank and hoses should all remain usable after an EMP attack. The compressor and associated gauges may not survive an EMP. You can try looking into trip hammer technologies as they were first invented in China to see if you can modify them to provide compressed air; and then use spring loaded levers and weights to help with determining air pressure within the tank.
  • Computer diagnostic systems. If you do not have the time or skills to convert key computer modules in the tractor to alternative forms, then you will need to make sure you can diagnose and replace computer parts that may be damaged by an EMP. Even if you can purchase a low cost hand held diagnostic unit, that may not be enough.

Consult the shop manual for your tractor to find out if any computer systems need to be reset by an external computer. If you find that an external computer is needed, see if you can find some way to obtain the necessary computer, or build something on your own that will do the job.

In this case, you can try Arduino controllers, and then make sure that you have the proper connectors and software languages required to communicate with the computers and sensors in the tractor.

Video first seen on Matthew Reimer

Know Which Parts are Most Vulnerable

Basically, anything on or in your tractor that conducts electricity can be damaged by an EMP. The amount of damage depends on:

  • the intensity of the pulse
  • how well or poorly the items conduct electricity
  • the ease of transmission from one point to another.

Even though your tractor may be located several miles away from an EMP strike site, power lines and other conductors may deliver the pulse to an area close enough to the tractor to do more damage than expected. Oddly enough, if the tractor is located further away from the power lines, it may be far less damaged.

That being said, the most vulnerable parts of the tractor are similar to the ones at most risk in any other automobile. The computers, wire harnesses, the alternator, motors, lights, and computer sensors can be ruined by even a relatively weak EMP.

Convert From Computers to Older Technologies

The ECU (Engine Control Unit) is one of the most important computers you will find in modern tractors and other automobiles. Basically, this computer alone controls:

  • the amount of air and fuel delivered to each cylinder
  • the speed at which the engine will idle while standing still. This part of the unit monitors the crankshaft position sensor, which plays a key role in setting other aspects of the engine’s timing.
  • spark timing
  • valve timing
  • adjustments to water flow through the engine based on whether it is cold or warm (this helps with fuel efficiency).

There are also other computer modules for controlling the transmission, braking systems, lights, and any safety features that the tractor might have. To some extent, all of these computers require at least some input from other computers in the system.

They are all connected by the CAN (Controller Area Network). Usually, this module does not have its own microprocessor. Rather, it simply allows all of the other processors and controllers to communicate with each other.

That being said, depending on the tractor model and computers involved, you may also need to do some additional work to modify the CAN before the tractor will work properly. If you start modifying one system, you can expect to have to bypass other systems or adjust the other computer so that it does not prevent the tractor from running.

Modern tractor computers come with programming that is very difficult to hack and alter. To add insult to injury, many of these programs are protected by copyright law. While these laws may not concern you much in the post crisis world, breaking them now can lead to criminal prosecution.

The whole issue of computerized control modules in modern tractors is a serious problem for people now, and will be an even bigger problem in the post crisis world.

Rather than focus on changing or adjusting the computers that come with the tractor, you can look for open source programs that will do the same job. At the very least, if there are some computer modules and sensors that you cannot do away with, you will still be able to use any spares you have after an EMP occurs.

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Is it Possible to Turn the Tractor into a Faraday Cage?

The answer to this question depends largely on:

  • how many electrically conducting attachments you have on the main body of the tractor
  • whether or not you can put a viable and sufficient insulator between these parts and the rest of the tractor. For example, if you have a grapple rake attached to the tractor, the connection points would have to be shielded in such a way that electricity cannot travel between the accessory and the rest of the tractor.

If the attachment is controlled in part by the tractor’s computer, you would also have to convert that system to a fully manual one. Preferably, these manual linkages would also need some kind of non-conductive spacer so that the EMP pulse does not travel into the rest of the tractor.

For the most part, it won’t be practical or possible to put the entire tractor in a Faraday Cage. On the other hand, you might be able to reduce the amount of modification needed by localizing all vulnerable parts to a shielded area of the tractor.

The most difficult parts will be the fuel line that extends from the engine to the fuel tank, and also the brake lines for each of the wheels. It may be possible to locate polymers that can be used as insulators, as well as other materials that can replace metal parts that would compromise the rest of the tractor.

Keep Spare Parts You Cannot Convert in a Faraday Cage

It is fair to say that if you have the time, money, and skills, you can more than likely convert any tractor so that it no longer uses any kind of computerized system. If you are on a budget or don’t have much time to complete so many tasks, this process can take months or even years to complete.

In the meantime, if society collapses or an EMP occurs, you will still need a functional tractor. At the very least, until you have fully EMP proofed the tractor, it makes sense to keep spare computer systems and diagnostic tools in a Faraday Cage. You should also keep extra wires, fuses, motors, and anything else that might be ruined easily by an EMP.

Video first seen on Big Family Homestead

These days, when people think of computers, lightweight tablets, cell phones, and other portable devices come to mind. By contrast, a combination of tractor computers, motors, wiring, tools, and other devices can easily weight several hundred pounds and take up quite a lot of space. This is actually one of the few places where I would recommend building a separate, building sized Faraday Cage to house all of the spare parts.

This building should be located underground and easy enough to get to from any underground bunker that you might decide to build. If you build the shelter more than 10 feet underground, there will also be some natural protection from the effects of an EMP.

As an added bonus, even a shallower depth will also protect you and the equipment from additional ground nuclear blasts that might follow a nuclear explosion that set off the EMP.

Use Cutting Edge Technology to Make Your Own Tractor Parts

Did you know that 3D printers are rapidly becoming very popular with people that want to build all kinds of devices? This includes motor housings, engine parts, and many other devices that would normally take complicated and expensive equipment.

If you do some research, you may be able to find a number of polymers and other compounds that can be turned into spare tractor parts using a 3D printer. If you are going to put other equipment in a Faraday Cage, this kind of printer and a computer to run it may be worth it.

Aside from making tractor parts, you may also be able to develop or purchase templates that can be used for other parts of your homestead.

Keep the Tractor in a Safe Location

Depending on where your farm or homestead is located, there is a good chance that you will not be using the tractor every single day. If you have winter seasons or other times when a tractor is not needed, the best thing to do is store it in a Faraday Cage.

An underground location would be ideal, however above ground shelters will also work as long as they are built correctly. Similar to other automobiles, it does not make much sense to keep a tractor if you can’t bring it out to the fields and use it for its intended purpose.

The best thing you can do is return the tractor to a safe location after you are done with it, and then hope that an EMP does not strike while you are using the tractor.

Simple Things that Might Minimize EMP Effects

In these difficult times, having a working tractor does not mean you have enough money or other resources to do everything needed for EMP proofing. If you cannot afford major modifications or a dedicated Faraday Cage for storage, here are some inexpensive things that might be of use:

  • Antennas tend to be some of the best and most overlooked conductors of an EMP pulse. Radios, remote control systems that feed into cell phone apps, and many other devices in the tractor may have antennas that will spell disaster during an EMP. Even if these antennas are tied to computer modules, it may be possible to remove the antennas without losing the basic functionality of the tractor. Without these devices, you may need to do more work manually, however it will be worth it if you can reduce the risk of the entire tractor being ruined by an EMP.
  • If you are near a power transmission substation, or very close to where the EMP struck, there isn’t much you can do to prevent damage to a tractor running in the field. That being said, if you are further away from the EMP, staying away from power lines or other large sized conductors might just reduce the amount of energy that gets to the tractor. In this scenario, it can mean the difference between computer parts being destroyed only, or those parts plus vital motors and wiring harnesses.
  • Always remove the battery and other sources of free flowing electricity from the tractor when you are done using it for the day. Do not just rely on shutting the engine because there may be any number of computer parts or systems that draw tiny amounts of current even when the tractor is off. Anything that draws power can also increase the risk of damage from an EMP.
  • If at all possible, it will also help to find out if any of the computers or sensors have power supplies that are independent of the main battery. These parts truly should be replaced at all cost because they present the most overlooked, and therefore greatest danger when it comes to prepping tractors for an EMP.
  • Pay attention to world news and global terror forecasts. When it comes right down to it, figuring out when or if a hostile group is going to launch an EMP attack is not an easy task. If you make a good guess and take the time to shield your tractor, then you will be ahead of the game.
  • Find, and follow a reliable space weather forecasting service. In all probability, an EMP may still more likely come from a solar flare or some other space related event. As such, a space weather forecasting service can be very valuable to you. If you hear that a large scale solar flare is expected to pass close to the Earth, this might be a good time to avoid running the tractor. Needless to say, if you want to minimize the number of times you disconnect the battery, these times might be suitable occasions.

Some New Technologies to Consider

Preppers aren’t the only people interested in finding as many useful and inexpensive ways as possible to reduce the effects of an EMP.

Here are some new technologies that may be of use at some point in the future.

Even if these specific materials cannot be used in a tractor application at this time, it may be possible for you and others to develop something that will shield tractors from EMPs.

  • Conductive Paints – Right now, these paints can be used in buildings to shield from all kinds of radio, microwave, and related electromagnetic frequencies. Work with an electrician that specializes in tractors or automobile electronics so that you can ground any kind of conductive paint safely. It is very important to realize that tractors and other vehicles are something like a huge circuit board. If you disrupt grounding points, it can cause shorts and other problems. At best, you may be lucky to come out of it with little more than some ruined parts. At worst, it can cost your life.
  • EMP Proof Concrete – If there is one innovation that promises to reduce or eliminate the risks posed by EMPs, a spray on form of concrete might just do the job. Although EMP Proof Concrete is not yet available to consumers, it is at the manufacturing stage and may become available in a few years.
  • Flexible Conductive Composites – these compounds are similar to the carbon and nickel layers used in paints and concretes. At some point in the near future, any one of these may make a viable spray coating that can be used to protect your tractor from an EMP blast.

No matter whether you purchase a new or used tractor, it is likely to be a large monetary investment.

If you are concerned about an EMP ruining your tractor, there are some things you can do to reduce the damage or prevent it. As with other automobiles, you will find that the best answers will also cost a bit of money and time.

At the very least, if you are determined to modify a newer tractor so that it does not have computer modules, take the time to learn everything you can about maintaining the tractor. This will help you to keep the tractor in good working order regardless of whether an EMP hits or society collapses for some other reason.

Slash your energy bills with this DIY Home Energy System!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References: 

https://www.wired.com/2015/02/new-high-tech-farm-equipment-nightmare-farmers/

http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/protecting-technological-infrastructure-with-emp-proof-conductive-concrete/ 

http://readynutrition.com/resources/company-creates-emp-proof-wallpaper_29102015/

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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.

Canning

As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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11 Tips On How To Survive A Polar Vortex

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The term “polar vortex” isn’t one that most people became familiar with until just recently. We had to face it last winter, and we have to face it again these days.

Now, however, it’s a serious concern and needs to be figured into your potential disaster events if you live in areas that may be affected.

Read the following article to find out what a polar vortex is, what it isn’t (if you haven’t been affected by one), and what you need to do to prepare!

What is a Polar Vortex?

We have two polar vortexes – one around each pole. It’s an area of low pressure that circulates counterclockwise in the stratosphere around the pole all the time, but weakens in the winter time.

Sometimes it wobbles a bit and throws a surge of bitter cold south into the US, and other countries in equivalent latitudes around the world.

When this happens, it can drop temperatures below zero. It’s a phenomenon that is always around, but we just don’t notice it until it puffs a blast of freezing air toward us.

scientific-american

It actually plays a big part in the weather worldwide throughout the year. Think about it – how often do you ever hear of cold fronts coming from the south?

Usually, polar vortexes force temperatures down into the single digits in areas of higher latitude such as the Dakotas and Michigan, but the temperatures go up farther down the map.

Still, even if temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, even a light wind will make that temperature seem exponentially colder.

What a Polar Vortex Isn’t

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about polar vortexes, so let’s clear some of them up. First, they’re not a sign or result of global warming. Though many weather anomalies of recent years are linked to the warming of the Earth, polar vortices aren’t. They’ve existed exactly as they are since we started tracking them and the frequency or intensity hasn’t changed.

Next, a polar vortex doesn’t bring snow with it. Weather events such as rain and snow occur in the lower level of the atmosphere and polar vortices occur right above that. They bring bitter cold that can make snowstorms much worse, but they don’t actually bring snow or freezing rain with them.

What you need to Know about a Polar Vortex

The first and most important thing that you need to know about a polar vortex is that it can be lethal.

Even if you’re in a warmer part of the area that’s affected by the vortex, temperatures combined with wind chill can easily drop to temperatures that can cause frostbite and hypothermia quickly if you’re not bundled up.

Polar vortexes also tend to set in fairly quickly and hang around for at least a few days. If you don’t have to go outside during one, don’t. Avoid driving anywhere if you can, because it’s a guarantee that the roads are going to be icy even if it does snow.

If snow or freezing rain is going to happen right before or during a polar vortex, that danger is going to be amplified because temperatures that low can cause several disasters including car crashes, hypothermia, collapsed rooves, limbs, and powerlines, and burst water pipes.

Obviously, even one of those can be horrible, but they may also occur in tandem. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your roof can collapse while your power is out. That’s why you need to take precautions and be prepared.

How to Prepare for a Polar Vortex

There are relatively small steps that you can take in advance that will help keep you safe. Other steps will need to be taken during/after the snow, but they’re relatively minor.

Technically, to prepare for just a polar vortex, you only need to worry about the cold, but since it often coincides with a snow storm, we’re going to assume that the worst case scenario and prepare for both a polar vortex and a snow storm.

1. Stockpile Food and Water

You may have a tough time getting to the store because of ice or snow, so make sure that you have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored back.

Yes, you’ll have access to plenty of snow, but if you want to drink that, you’ll have to filter and purify it. Stockpile at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. You’ll need to drink more because, oddly enough, water needs increase with extremes in temperature.

Regarding food, figure on at around 2000 calories if you’re going to be outside for more than just a few minutes at a time because your body burns a lot of fuel just to keep warm when temperatures drop that low.

You typically have several days of warning, so there’s no excuse not to be prepared.

2. Stay Inside

Seriously. If you don’t have to be outside, don’t be. In temperatures in the single digits, it only takes 15 minutes or so for frostbite to become a possibility, and when the temperatures are below zero, that time decreases even more.

Hypothermia is also a problem and, like frostbite, increases the colder it gets. Wind plays a big factor in the onset of both conditions.

Also, it’s a guarantee that there’s ice on the road, so there’s no reason to risk it if you don’t have to. Be prepared in advance, because crashing your car for a gallon of milk is bad, but dying for it just isn’t worth it.

3. Wrap Your Pipes

If you can access them, wrap your pipes to protect them from freezing. This tape keeps your pipes warm enough that the water in your pipes won’t freeze. If you don’t know how to do it, read our article about how to insulate your heating system.

This not only saves you a ton of money if your pipes burst, but also ensures that you have access to your water and heat as long as you have city water or a generator for your pump.

4. Trim your Trees

There’s nothing cozier than sitting around a tree limb that’s fallen through your roof and into your living room. Oh wait – yes there is.

This is a relatively easy disaster to avoid – simply keep your trees trimmed back from your house. Here’s a short guide on how to prepare your garden for winter.

5. Bundle Up

If you absolutely must go outside, bundle up. Make sure that your fingers, ears, nose, and toes are particularly protected because when you get cold, your body automatically pulls the blood flow to the center of your body to preserve heat. This leaves your extremities vulnerable to frostbite.

You also naturally lose more heat through the top of your head, the bottom of your feet, and your palms, so make sure they’re covered well to preserve that heat.

Mittens are actually better than gloves because they keep your fingers together and allow the heat that emanates from your palms to warm your entire hand.

mittens

6. Your Animals

Your animals are going to need some special attention depending upon what kind they are. Regardless of their species, they’re going to need to stay warm and they’re likely going to need extra food and water to meet the caloric needs required to stay warm.

Extremes in temperature can also cause animals such as milk cows and chickens to stop producing milk and eggs, so it’s especially important to keep them comfortable.

Winterize your barn and coop by sealing it up, but leave ventilation going through in order to keep the air fresh. Know your animals and adjust to meet their needs.

7. Check your Roof

Before winter even sets in, check your roof and rafters for damage and stability. This is one of the biggest risks you have in the case of a polar vortex and snow storm clashing.

If temperatures drop enough to make building materials brittle, then heavy snow is piled on top, the odds of your roof collapsing increases quite a bit.

8. Seal Windows and Doors

Your heating system is working hard enough to keep you warm even if your house is well insulated and sealed.

Cracks around windows and doors can really dampen that effort and make it nearly impossible to keep your house warm, so take care of that before winter sets in. It will also help save you money in the summer by keeping cold air in.

Read this Survivopedia article to find out how to build your own frames for insulating windows.

9. Winterize Your Car

This may not seem like a big deal, but it can save your life. You need good tires, but not as much for traction (nothing really sticks to ice though good tread does do much better in snow and mud) as to make sure that you don’t get a flat.

Chains for your tires, adequate anti-freeze, winter-grade thinner-viscosity oil, and just a general winterizing is important. Getting stranded in freezing weather is extremely dangerous.

On that note, make sure that you have a get-home bag in your car. You need a full change of clothes, extra socks and gloves, and even extra shoes. Also, have several bottles of water, hand warmers, several protein bars or MREs, and flares.

Blankets, at least emergency blankets, should be in there, too, and a fire-starter wouldn’t hurt. Besides these essentials, you just need to know your circumstances and build the rest of the bag around your needs.

10. Have Alternate Heat

If you rely on electricity for heat, you REALLY need to have an alternative heat source. Installing a wood burner is probably your best option, but a generator or wood for your fireplace (if you have one) are good, too.

Whatever you decide on, have plenty of fuel and the equipment to start it. Be realistic and base your heating needs on your house and your family, not some ideal version of them.

newEMP_2

11. Include Games and Activities in your Stockpile

You’re going to get bored pretty quickly, especially if you lose cable and power. Make sure that you have several different games, books, or hobby supplies on hand to alleviate stress and boredom.

Being prepared for a polar vortex is extremely similar to preparing for a blizzard, except you need to make some modifications for the extreme temperatures that you may have to deal with.

If you have any suggestions or ideas that I’ve missed here, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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EMP Survival: 3 Ways To Build A Faraday Cage

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DIY Faraday Cage

Storing a few key electronics that would be of use in a protracted power grid failure will ensure that you’ll still receive information, communicate and carry out other critical functions in the event of an HEMP. It’s common knowledge that a Faraday cage is the safest way to protect them.

Faraday cages shield their contents from electromagnetic energy. If you have ever had a magnetic resonance imaging or you have been inside one, though you may not have even noticed.

How hard is it to build this device by yourself? Read this article to see three simple Faraday cage designs you can build at home!

A HEMP is a multi-pulse of strong electromagnetic fields generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated high in the atmosphere which could cripple the power grid of a city, or even the entire lower 48 states if more than one weapon is used, or a weapon is detonated at sufficient altitude.

Faraday cages are not necessary to protect most electronics from the type of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) caused by solar storms (magnetohydrodynamic EMP.) To protect most electronics from that EMP, you just need to make sure that your equipment is not connected to the grid and then have a renewable energy source to power it without the electrical grid.

I hosted a series of EMP Q&A sessions at PrepperCon 2016 for Survivopedia and a lot of people asked questions this subject there too. Given the importance of EMP preparedness, I would like to get as many questions answered as possible.

Faraday Cage Construction

One common thread throughout many readers’ questions is that there is conflicting information online about Faraday cages. While building a Faraday cage does not have to be a complicated endeavor (if you keep it small and simple with no penetrations in the shielded envelope), there are some gaps in the public sector knowledge on the subject and quite a bit of conflicting information online.

Faraday cages are EM (electromagnetic) shielding and must be properly designed and implemented or they can cause more harm than good by acting like an EMP antenna instead of an EMP shield.

How to Build a Faraday Cage

Building a Faraday cage can be very simple. Here are a couple of designs to build by yourself:

1. Aluminum Pressure Cooker Faraday Cage

Line an aluminum pressure cooker with a large heavy duty freezer bag. You’re done! Equipment goes in the bag. Secure the lid and you are good to go.

This cage is compact and an aluminum pressure cooker provides more shielding than any other object you are likely to have in your home that I can think of.

I like this cage because it is very simple and provides so much shielding that it should protect the contents against even a super EMP weapon even if sky zero was close by. Second hand stores such as Good Will, Salvation Army or Deseret Industries are great places to find an aluminum pressure cooker cheap.

Pressure cookers are also very useful multipurpose survival items long after a nuclear HEMP or should you experience some other catastrophe as opposed to HEMP:

  • Pressure canning: Pressure can food to store until the next growing season or future years.
  • Sterilization: Sterilize bandages, sutures and instruments for medical procedures.
  • Cooking: Loosen the lid and use a pressure cooker as a stock pot to create stews. Stews preserve more nutrients and caloric content than grilling foods and having fats and oils that are difficult to replace under survival conditions drip into your cooking fire.
  • Distillation of water: You can make a number still designs with a pressure cooker and some designs using pressure cookers are more efficient than with a simple stock pot if you store a little copper tubing and a collection vessel will be cooled.

2. Locking Lid Trash Can/Faraday Bag Faraday Cage

I like this build and use it often. Faraday Cage

It is easy to access the contents and they can store quite a bit depending on the size of trash you can get.

Step 1: Line a new locking lid, galvanized steel trash can with a tight-fitting lid, like the rodent-resistant cans made by Behren’s (often used to store feed or protect the contents form animals) lined with a rubberized, waterproof pack liner or dry bag.

Step 2:  Line the pack liner or dry bag with a large Faraday Bag. The pack liner or dry bag is a non-conductive layer which will insulate the Faraday bag from the conductive trash can and provide an added measure of waterproofing and dustproofing in case this is an outdoor Faraday cage or in case indoors becomes outdoors in the course of a catastrophe.

General preparedness will serve you better than the reality TV negative stereotype of preparing for a single calamity to the exclusion of all others. You should be able to find waterproof pack liners or dry bags any place that sells military surplus or sporting goods.

Step 3: Line the pack liner or dry bag with an XL Faraday Bag and place the gear you want to protect inside the Faraday Bag. The Faraday bag provides about 45 dB of shielding by itself, protects the contents from water and provides a non-conductive layer to insulate the contents of the bag from the conductive layers so lining it with another layer of non-conductor is not necessary.

Alternating layers of conductor/non-conductor is more effective than a single layer of the same thickness. Alternating conductive and non-conductive layers prevents the Faraday cage from re-radiating EM energy into the space you are trying to protect. Good Faraday bags such as the one I recommended incorporate alternating conductive and non-conductive layers.

Step 4: Button everything up tight. Zip up the Faraday Bag. Tie a goose neck in the pack liner or fold and buckle it, depending on the type of bag. Place the lid on the trash can, making sure that it seals tightly all the way around and raise the locking bail/handle. You’re done!

3. Ammo Can/Static Bag Faraday Cage

People use ammo cans every day and most survivalists have plenty of them knocking around. They are also frequently used to house battery systems and radios, so it sure would be handy if they could count on them to protect their radio equipment from EMP.

This would add a whole new dimension to some popular product lines so I’ll give them a few pointers. This is a slightly more involved, but still relatively simple build, if you have a few tools on hand.

tools-and-supplies

Step 1: Remove the rubber gasket from the lid of the ammo can. It is held in place by 4 metal tabs. Use a hooked tool (like the one you see in the picture above) to remove it.

If you do not remove it, the rubber gasket is not conductive and will impede the free flow of electrons through the shielded envelope, re-radiating EMP into the interior you are trying to protect.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket

Step 2: Remove paint along all surfaces of both the lid and body of the ammo can where the lid will mate to the body of the ammo can and where you will install a conductive gasket to replace the non-conductive rubber gasket.

I used a rotary tool, some diamond coated bits and a small sanding drum. The corners are the most time consuming but it didn’t take long.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket-pulled-from-ammo-can-lid-paint-removed-from-now-conductive-mating-surfaces

Step 3: Repaint mating surfaces with conductive paint if desired. If you don’t want to go to the expense, don’t. Government agencies and police departments pay big money for rugged Faraday cages installed in vehicles and the mating surfaces are unpainted and have no conductive paint or coatings so I am going to skip this step in my build.

Step 4: Install a conductive gasket. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying conductive gasket material, you can just layer aluminum foil or sheeting and cut it to the shape you desire.

making-a-conductive-gasket

conductive-tinfoil-gasket-cut-to-size

installing-the-conductive-tinfoil-gasket

While a little harder to procure and more costly, a conductive metal gasket would be more durable and a nice touch.

conductive-gasket-installed-under-gasket-retention-tabs

Maybe I’ll build some ammo can Faraday cages for radio and battery kits with conductive gaskets but since most of you will use tin foil, I will demonstrate the technique in this build.

I used about 24 layers of heavy duty tin foil. If you use thicker foil sheeting, you will use fewer layers. I used a box cutter and a ruler the first time, but a pair of tin snips or multipurpose shears made future jobs a lot easier.

If you cut or bend the gasket and it doesn’t go in beautifully, you can either redo it or just patch it with some tin foil. The electrons won’t care, but you might. It may not hold up for as many opening/closing cycles of you patch it and you should check the gasket every time you close it.

The cage will be just fine as long as there are not any gaps greater than ¼” in any direction. If you use an adhesive, be sure that the adhesive is a conductive adhesive, or just don’t use adhesive if you use tinfoil. A tinfoil gasket will stay in place without adhesive thanks to the tabs that held the rubber gasket in place.

Step 5: Line the ammo can with a non-conductive layer such as a small pack liner or a 2-ply zippered-seal freezer bag to protect your gear from the conductive shielded layer.

If you have the space, this could in turn be lined with a Faraday bag, but for tight builds like radio kits, you may have to shave down some pieces a millimeter or so in order to nest the kit inside the non-conductive layer and still fit the assembly inside the ammo can, so you may not have enough extra room to line it with a Faraday bag.

now-conductive-mating-surfaces-tools-used

Step 6: Seal it up tight. Close up the lining and lock the lid down, making sure that there are no gaps greater than ¼”. Pay special attention to the tinfoil gasket.

finished-ammo-can-faraday-cage

There you go!

Three easy Faraday cage builds are available at once!

A Note on Grounding

You may have noticed that these small, simple cages are not grounded. That is intentional. For a simple cage like this, built by a novice, grounding would cause more problems that it would solve. There is no need to ground a simple cage like this and it will do its job without being grounded.

There are some applications where Faraday cages should be grounded, so I am not saying never ground.

Large cages that could have their integrity damaged by lightning, and cages that have penetrations in the shielded envelope or which run mains power inside may indeed benefit from grounding, but those are more complicated builds well beyond the scope of this article.

After studying what our enemies, leaders and strategists have said on the subject and exactly what it would take to get the job done, for many years now, it is a wonder and blessing that we haven’t had an HEMP attack occur already.

Please do not waste the opportunity to protect yourself against this threat!

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Be aware that protecting some basic electronics will make a huge difference for you after a nuclear HEMP attack. If you still have questions about your specific situation, please ask in the comments below!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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8 Things To Keep Under The Radar During A Blackout

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Things To Keep Under The Radar

Major blackouts are becoming more and more common, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

Our aging power grid, along with ever-increasing demands for electric power are taking their toll on the electrical industry’s ability to keep us all supplied with power.

Currently, the number of major blackouts per year doubles every five years. At that rate, we will soon find ourselves catching up with some third-world countries. We have an answer to help you out with this challenge.

While the major reason for this is our aging power grid, the problem is much more complex than that. Replacement of aging equipment is extremely expensive and the process filled with red tape. Energy companies find themselves bogged down for years in the quagmire of conflicting government requirements, on both a state and national level.

This problem is becoming worse, with the massive amount of regulations that the Obama Administration has promulgated through his presidency.

The EPA especially, has attacked the energy sector ruthlessly, especially the coal industry and coal power plants.

But even this isn’t really our biggest issue with the grid, although it is an important issue. The biggest issue is that the grid is highly vulnerable.

As a large, decentralized network, spanning the country, it is virtually impossible to protect. Even the minimal protections that are in place, have been proven to be ineffective.

The fact is, our electrical grid is highly susceptible to damage, and it’s common knowledge that it is.

Any number of enemies could take out the grid, or larger portions of it, either through direct, kinetic terrorist attacks, cyber-warfare or a high-altitude EMP. Even the sun could take it out, with a Coronal Mass Ejection. We had a near miss on that as recently as last year.

With so much risk to our aging power grid, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to be faced by a major blackout or even a semi-permanent one, but when we will be faced with it. Odds are catching up with us, bringing us to a place where we can all count on that happening to us sometime in our lives.

Clearly, preparing for such an event, regardless of how it happens, has to be part and parcel of our disaster preparation.

Anyone who chooses to ignore this possibility is merely putting themselves and their families in the massive group of people who don’t prepare, because they expect the government to take care of them. In other words, they are planning on becoming victims of the blackout, rather than becoming ones who overcome the blackout.

Blackout

Blackouts instill fear in people, as we all have a little bit of natural fear of the dark. Mankind was created to live and function in the daylight, not the night.

While we have learned and adapted to doing many things in the dark, a lot of that has been by overcoming the dark with artificial light. We simply function best, when we can see what we are doing.

But what if you’re the only one in your neighborhood who can see what you’re doing? What if the lights go out, in a major blackout, and they stay out long enough that batteries in your neighbors’ flashlights go dead?

When they are sitting in the dark, cold and hungry, how are you going to protect yourself?

When the lights go out, so does everything else too. We depend on electricity for so many different things, that without it, society comes grinding to a standstill.

Not only do we lose the ability to do things at night, but we also lose our entire supply chain, because it depends on electricity for the flow of information, control, and even pumping the gas into the trucks and airplanes that make the deliveries.

So losing power means losing pretty much everything we depend on in our modern, technology-based lives.

We must always keep in the back of our minds that desperate people do desperate things. When the lights go out and the heat goes off, that feeling of desperation will begin to take root in their hearts. Bit by bit it will grow, fed by each and every thing that they find missing from their lives.

When they can’t get gas for their car, the desperation will grow a bit more. When they can’t buy food, because the grocery store shelves are empty, the desperation will increase. And when they turn on the faucet and nothing comes out, because there isn’t any electricity for the pumps, their cups of desperation may very well overflow.

The best thing that any of us can do in such a situation is ensure that we don’t let anyone around us know that we’re better off than they are.

OPSEC will have to become our byword, as we quietly try to survive in the midst of them. Specifically, there are a number of things we will want to hide from those around us.

1. The Means to Create Light

The first thing that people will notice is also one of the hardest to hide… light. That’s the first thing that anyone is going to turn on, when the power goes out. Whether it is flashlights, candles or oil-burning lamps, they’re all going to turn on some light.

The problem is, their light will go out after a short time, perhaps a day or two. After that, any light you have will be extremely conspicuous.

If the windows of every house on your street are dark and even a little light is coming out of yours, your house will seem like a lighthouse to those around. Their lack of light will make yours seem even greater.

Extreme light discipline will have to be the order of the day. You’re going to have to hide your light, and avoid using it in places where they can see. One key component of this will have to be blackout curtains on over all your windows.

Regular curtains won’t be enough, because they will look like they are lit up to people on the outside. You need curtains that are dark enough and heavy enough to block the light, so that your windows appear  dark, like theirs.

2. Power Generation

Power Whisperer

Many of us have invested in either solar power or wind power, both to augment the electrical power we buy from our local utility company and as a means of producing power in a blackout.

But a roof full of solar panels or a wind turbine sticking 30 feet up in the air in your backyard are easy to see, letting everyone know that you have power, when they don’t.

That’s going to attract people like moths to an open flame. About the only thing that could be worse is a gas powered generator.

Even those who aren’t looking for your solar panels will hear that, especially considering how quiet it will be without cars running down the roads and entertainment systems blaring out music.

While I wouldn’t want to dissuade you from investing in solar or wind power, in the midst of a blackout you’ll actually be better off with something stealthy. A portable system, with the solar panels at ground level would fit that bill, as a fenced backyard would hide it pretty well.

You can quietly provide power and keep your family safe during an outage with the right power generator. Hurry up and grab this offer right now to pay in monthly installments!

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3. Solar Powered Anything

Speaking of solar power, pretty much anything that is solar powered is going to be in high demand. Even if all you have is a solar charger for your phone, you can count on everyone around you wanting to use it. More major solar powered devices, such as a solar oven, will become very high on the list of things that people will want to steal.

Of course, the longer the blackout lasts, the more people there will be who will be willing to turn to stealing. So the threat for your solar oven being stolen will actually increase as time goes on, requiring more and more diligence to protect it.

4. Food and the Ability to Cook that Food

FoodAs I already mentioned, the supermarket shelves will be bare, which will force people to use up whatever food they have stored within their homes. But what will they do when they’ve eaten the last of the popcorn and scraped the peanut butter jar dry?

Most preppers believe that people will turn to attacking one another and raiding other’s homes in search of food at this time. Small gangs will form, either neighbors working together or people who are friends who decide they can help one another.

In either case, these gangs will be looking for food, more than anything else, and they won’t be reluctant to break into homes and hit the residents over the head to get it.

Not only will they be searching for food, but for the ability to cook that food. A large portion of the things we eat need to be cooked in order to be edible.

But cooking in modern times is done with electricity or natural gas, both of which will be conspicuous by their absence. Barbecue grills will become the number one means of cooking… at least until people run out of propane or charcoal.

That’s when the solar oven is going to become popular. Even without knowing how to use one, people will be quick to steal an unattended solar oven, thinking that they can figure it out.

One of the problems with hiding your food is that cooking creates odors which will attract attention.

You’ll need to be careful about this, avoiding cooking in ways that create odors. Meats are the worst for this, as they produce the most odor when cooking. But by cooking them in soups, you reduce the odor that passes through the air.

5. Water and the Means to Pump it Out of the Ground

We really can’t talk about food, without talking about water as well. Water is a higher survival priority than food is, so people will be desperate for it much quicker.

If you’ve got a river, lake or canal near enough to draw water out of, you’ll probably be safe. But if not, and people find out you have a well, they’ll be knocking on your door.

At that time, you’ll have to make a decision. Will you provide water to your neighbors or not. A lot of that will depend on how good your well is and how effective a pump you have.

Sharing water might be great for public relations, but there’s a danger there too. Some will thank you, while others might see it as an opportunity to take over your well.

6. Heat for Your Home

One of the worst times to have the lights go out is in the wintertime. Then, light isn’t people’s biggest concern, heat is.

Every year people die during the cold northern winters, either because there is no power to heat their homes or because they can’t afford to pay for heat. Sadly, this mostly happens to the elderly, who are the most vulnerable people in society.

When the power is out and people get cold, there’s a natural tendency to gather together, seeking to share whatever heat they have, even if it’s only body heat. That means that they’ll come knocking on your door, if they think you have heat.

Depending on how you are heating your home, doing so might be difficult to hide.

Burning wood, which is what most of us are planning to do, produces smoke, as well as the smell of burning wood. Just like the steak cooking on the barbecue grill, that smell will attract attention.

One thing you can do to help alleviate this is to buy firewood that produces little smoke and odor. Different woods burn differently, producing different amounts of heat, as well as smelling differently.

You’ll need to experiment a bit, but if you can find a low-odor wood, it will help.

7. Fuel for Your Car

As the blackout progresses, one thing you can be sure of is that people will begin to migrate. The lack of news about what is happening elsewhere will cause people to wonder if things would be better, if they could just get out of the area where the blackout is. So, some will leave, trying to find a better place.

Of course, that means leaving in their cars and trucks. But without the gas pumps working, that’s going to be hard to do. Even so, they’ll try… mostly by stealing gas from others.

Some will siphon it out of gas tanks and others will try to pump it out of the gas station’s tanks with a manual pump.

The best thing you can do to keep from losing your gas and even your car is to hide them. If you don’t have room in your garage, then put them in the backyard.

If you can’t do that, then drain out the gas yourself and disable the car. Removing a tire and the battery, as well as allowing the car to get covered with a layer of dust, will go a long way towards making it look unusable.

8. Guns & Ammo

Finally, it would be a good idea to keep your guns and ammo out of sight. Some might think that being obviously armed would be a deterrent to attack.

While that might be true for the more timid in society, it would be just as likely to make others think that you must have something in your home worth protecting. For those people, your guns would be an advertisement, not a deterrent.

That doesn’t mean that you should be unarmed, merely that you shouldn’t advertise the fact. Those will be dangerous times and you may very well need your guns to protect yourself. So, keep them close at hand, but keep them hidden at the same time.

Most people who carry concealed are actually against open carry of firearms. That’s not because they don’t agree with the implied right under the Second Amendment, but rather that they want the element of surprise.

If someone doesn’t know what you’re carrying, they can’t prepare effectively to counter it. That gives you a huge tactical advantage, when the time comes and you bring your guns out of hiding.

 

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: About Living Off-grid

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Living Off grid

People today have become overly dependent on energy and this is the main reason why starting living off-grid seems difficult. But it is not. Think about the fact that people lived before the grid even existed.

As we all know, an EMP attack is a disaster most of us are preparing for. When our electricity driven society will suddenly fall, how long will you survive?

From today’s Prep Blog Review you will find out how it is like to live off-grid for 37 years, how to build a faraday cage or how to build your off-grid cooking stove.

  1. Confessions Off A Man Who Lived 37 Years Off-grid

Living Off Grid

“Imagine if you can, a homestead nestled deep in the forest, fronting a beautiful lake. Oh sure… that sounds dreamy and might be reality for a lucky few.

But now let’s take it a step further. The homestead sits on the shore of a remote, pristine lake which is located 100 miles in the wilderness.

No roads, no trails, no neighbors. Only forest, water, animals and silence. Float plane is the only way in and out. When the float plane drops you off, accelerates down the lake, lifts off the surface and becomes a speck on the horizon, you then realize your last physical connection with humanity just left.

Standing on the dock, you have the overwhelming sense you are the only person left on the planet. Exciting!”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. The Smokeless & Easy-To-Build Off-Grid Cooking Stove

Off grid stove

“Outdoor cooking is a major part of my off-grid experience, and so a reliable outdoor stove was a must-have. And with many options of wood-burning stoves out there, fuel-efficiency and minimal smoke were at the top of my list.

After much research, the rocket stove because our outdoor stove of choice. In this article, I will share with you the concept of the rocket stove, how we built two of them, and its advantages and disadvantages.

A wood-burning smokeless stove sounds impossible, right? Let me explain it this way. Smoke is un-burned fuel. The rocket stove makes use of all the fuel. Everything gets burned in the combustion chamber before leaving the chimney. This concept is also seen in the Dakota fire pit.

The rocket stove, when fired up, sounds similar to that of a rocket taking off – hence, its name.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How To Build A Faraday Cage To Protect Your Electronics

Faraday cage “One of the things that gives us the most troubled sleep of all is the risk of, and outcomes from, an EMP attack on the US.  In case you’re not fully up to speed on this draconian danger, we discuss EMP attacks – what they are, how fearsome their impacts would be, and how easy they are to stage – in several articles here.

Our sense is that the danger of an EMP event is steadily increasing.  To be blunt, the world is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place, and with growing sophistication of both nuclear weapons and their associated delivery systems (ie missiles) by both North Korea and Iran (as well as other countries that aren’t being quite so public about their actions) and some threats that translate quite clearly to ‘if we need to, we’ll use an EMP device to bring your country to its knees’, the thought of an EMP attack is far from impossible to countenance.

At the same time, our lives continue to become more and more dependent on electronics for everything we do.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 10 Widespread Disaster That Could Happen At Any Time

Disasters

“When preparing for a widespread disaster, it’s helpful to have a specific type of disaster in mind. Envisioning a particular survival scenario helps you to be more focused and think of preparations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.

How would a pandemic play out in your town? Or a terrorist attack? Or an economic collapse? What specifically would happen to your community, and how would it affect you and your family? And based on that, are there any other preparations you could make to ensure your family’s safety?

As you can see, mentally walking yourself through various types of disasters will help you to be more prepared. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 most likely widespread disasters. You should seriously consider the possibility of experiencing these events. I’m not saying you should obsess over them–don’t spend your life in fear–but you should do your best to be ready for them.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. Starting Your Off-grid Living With Solar Power

starting-your-off-grid-living-with-solar-power

“Harnessing the sun’s power has become a popular trend in the last ten years and we now have a large array of options for powering our homes using solar power.

Living off the grid requires a lot of work and innovation in order to reach a certain level of self-sufficiency. Things get easier if you are able to harness the power of the sun and use it for all your needs.

From passive cooling to batch solar water heaters, everything is now available when it comes to DIY solar power projects.

People are beginning to understand that solar power is not as complicated as certain individuals would want you to believe.

This is a technology that has become extremely accessible in our modern times and you just need a few basic skills in order to make your own project.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

You can generate power and keep your loved ones safe with the right power generator. You can choose your right now.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order: What Does It Mean?

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order

Does the government know something that we don’t about what is going to happen to our power grid?

The latest executive order on cosmic weather certainly has some folks in the survival community scratching their heads. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t help you much, but leaves you survive on your own.

President Obama says he recognizes that naturally occurring EMP’s “could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation.

First off, understand that the type of EMP caused by cosmic weather would only affect equipment connected to the power grid, land lines or other very long conductors, so it would not affect your car … until you need to buy gasoline or you phone … until you need to connect to the internet or a cell tower.

What we are most concerned about with this type of EMP is damage to the infrastructure that we all depend on, specifically the large transformers in the power grid which are custom built (mostly overseas) and have lead times measured in years.

Why only address naturally-occurring EMP and not nuclear high-altitude EMP?

I think the answer to that is simply that existing executive orders, COG (Continuity of Government) and NIPP (National Infrastructure Protection Plan) already cover protection of key infrastructure in the event of acts of war or terror attacks, so that train has already left the station – no power or budget to grab or rights to infringe upon there.

Why is important, other than that your internet will be down and credit and bank cards won’t work, is that a severe space weather event could knock out the US power grid and reshape the balance of power in the world.

Russia claims its grid is hardened against EMP and China runs major EMP-response exercises. Every former superpower is making preparations in case of EMP attack and virtually all substantial enemies of the US either are in the process of developing or already have EMP weapons.

The US has EMP weapons programs and we have upgraded a few key segments of our communications infrastructure, so it is clear that our leadership is aware of the threat EMP poses, but we haven’t funded any significant national preparation.

Scientists have been beating politicians over the heads with EMP scenarios for decades now, but they don’t seem to care much about it.

Why hasn’t the US already made preparations in case of EMP?

According to Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, the power industry is afraid of over-regulation.

That is why it is using its considerable power to lobby against any EMP preparation and crank out junk science a la “lead is good for you because it occurs naturally,” “smoking is not harmful to your health,” and “we would starve without GMO foods and high fructose corn syrup” only this time it’s “EMP only affects the power grid in movies.”

Don’t let the fact that the rest of the world is united on the matter that the EMP is a threat fool you. Here in the USA, we reserve the right to be ignorant and listen to K Street lobbyists and the best scientists they can buy instead of our best scientific minds.

Warning have yielded both grassroots and congressional efforts, such as the Shield Act, which have been blocked at every turn by the power lobby for well over a decade now. This opened the door for Barrack Obama, who claims not to need congress because he has a phone and a pen, to step in an issue the executive order.

In October of last year, the White House published the 2015 National Space Weather Plan, which sets two goals: to improve our detection capabilities (warn us a few hours before the EMP), and to strengthen our capability to respond to the needs of the people after an EMP has damaged the grid.

Why not a comprehensive EMP plan to harden the grid against both types of EMP?

Because existing executive orders already cover EMP of the nuclear high-altitude variety under war and terrorism, so there wasn’t any additional power or funding to grab.

At a glance, the plan seems like perhaps a step in the right direction, but dig deeper and its more social programs and less privacy, thinly disguised as a preparedness plan. About the only thing that could make this plan worse is if it was truly this president’s best effort to protect the nation from EMP.

Cosmic weather

Why am I not excited about the government finally creating a plan to deal with EMP, even if it is only naturally-occurring EMP?

  • The Obama regime used this as pretext to violate privacy rights by making GPS constellation data publicly available.
  • Obama’s plans for EMP preparedness don’t mean boo unless they are funded and they will not be funded without congress. Simply passing an executive order does not change that. Most of page 2 of the White House plan is basically a disclaimer that the plan is not a budget document and that funds to carry out the plan would granted through the budget process. An effective POTUS does not simply throw out an idea and then blame congress for not approving funds that don’t exist to implement a plan when there was already another, better plan on the table.
  • Instead of the one-time investment of $2 billion to fix the problem and harden the US electrical again against BOTH kinds of EMP that the Shield Act asks for, it would invest in capability to warn us a few hours ahead of an EMP and then attempt to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after our large transformers have melted. This is a reactive, “social aspirin and Band-aid” patch job that invests in social programs instead of a proactive permanent fix for the chronic problem.
  • No funding for joint DOD – FEMA Training Exercises. Instead he directs the heads of agencies to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities” referring to the 2015 National Space Weather Action Plan.

Somebody needs to tell the White House that it won’t matter if people have health insurance if they are going to be without electricity for up to 4 years. Maybe that is a length of time they can get their heads around.

The US has been operating in an utter leadership vacuum for nearly two terms now, arguably much, much longer. We could permanently fix the EMP threat to our grid for about what we spend on climate change research in a year.

The US could have long ago joined the growing list of nations making earnest preparations against EMP, but is not course our benevolent leader has chosen.

The FEMA – DOD turf war is going to cost untold millions of lives in a severely damaging EMP

Hurricane Katrina was a minor event when compared to losing the US electrical grid for years, but it serves as an example of the consequences of the FEMA – DOD turf war. The states tried to handle the disaster themselves to capture Federal funding and everyone had to sit on their hands until they asked for help.

But by then, they had trouble even contacting the Federal Government to ask for help, so precious time was lost, which translated to lives lost. Then the Federal government sends in FEMA, who sealed off the disaster area and takes its shot at the prize budget money.

The military still couldn’t do anything until they were asked. FEMA ended up running around like a chicken with its head cut off because it was also outclassed by the scope of the event, losing more time and lives until FEMA finally asks for DOD.

Why did the DOD need to be involved in Katrina and will they inevitably need to be involved in a large-scale EMP?

Because FEMA has thousands of employees where DOD has millions. FEMA can call subcontractors and pay them to deliver trailers or loads of supplies. DOD can coordinate colossal airlifts and entire fleets of ships. We cannot handle an emergency of this magnitude without the DOD, so FEMA needs to get let that sink in now, BEFORE an EMP.

The FEMA budget is not going to matter. FEMA is going to go down in history as crewing the Titanic in this scenario and the post-EMP agency that replaces FEMA will not resemble the pre-EMP FEMA, that is, if the USA even still exists as such after China lays down the terms for the replacement of our large transformers.

What would a competent leader would have done

  • Fund NASA and the National Foundation of Sciences Studies that would debunk the junk science funded by the power industry lobby.
  • Educate the public about the threat.
  • Pass the Shield Act and harden the grid against space weather and nuclear EMP alike instead of an unfunded plan followed by an executive order.
  • Get the DOD and FEMA working and training together before the catastrophe and give them funding to do it instead of just telling the directors to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities.”

So what does Obama’s executive order on cosmic weather mean for you?

It means that, as usual, you are largely on your own. The only preparations that you can count on are ones you have made yourself and with those you trust in your local community. This may actually be better for you than being lied to that your government has everything under control.

You are better off preparing independently as opposed to believing that Uncle Sam, or someone else, is going to bail you out.

Be prepared! Get your power generator. Click the banner below to grab this offer and pay in installments for the right power generator for your EMP survival!

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

References:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/13/executive-order-coordinating-efforts-prepare-nation-space-weather-events

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Product Review: Power Whisperer Pro Version

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survivopedia-power-whisperer-pro

The folks at Independent Living have done it again. They’ve taken their popular Power Whisperer emergency power generator and done a second upgrade, making it even better than before.

This new upgrade essentially doubles the capacity of the original unit, meaning that it will provide power to meet even more of a family’s needs, for an even longer period of time.

I’ll tell you more about this update so keep reading the article below!

One of the biggest risks we face today is that of an EMP attack. As a nation, we have enemies who are working hard to develop the technology necessary to allow them to hit the United States with such an attack. If they ever get to that point, a successful attack will set this country back over 100 years. Most electronic devices will be destroyed, but worse than that, the electrical power grid that we all depend on will be out of commission; probably for the rest of our lives.

The only electronics which will survive such an attack are those which are shielded from EMP. Outside of the military, there is little that is made, which is shielded in such a manner. Yet the Power Whisperer has been designed with this possibility in mind, and is encased in 5052 aluminum. That’s more than enough to stop the EMP from touching the unit, ensuring that you’ll have electrical power, when everyone else’s lights are out.

I was impressed with the quality of the original Power Whisperer and the M model. These are well-built, rugged units, designed to, as Timex says, “Take a licking and keep on ticking.” But I don’t think even the designer of the Power Whisperer realized how rugged a unit he built.

See below a video of a Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) that had a disagreement with a truck. Apparently the unit was being shipped when this happened. I don’t know if the truck was trying to take the unit to the wrong address and it refused to be shipped there or the two of them got into a political argument.

All I know is that the truck and the Power Whisperer tried to break a law of physics and occupy the same place at the same time. To be fair, the Power Whisperer was there first, and I really can’t say that the truck had any excuse, like not seeing the unit, after all, it hit it head on.

Well, the results of that altercation left the Power Whisperer looking like a pile of scrap. In the video, someone in the Independent Living warehouse decided to unwrap the pile of scrap and test it out. Amazingly enough, it still provided power. That’s after being hit by a truck, all but torn limb from limb and then sitting in the warehouse, being ignored for a couple of months.

I hope my Power Whisperer never has to be tried by fire like that, but it’s nice to know that the one that was survived its trial. Granted, it doesn’t look too good now, but at least it works. In an emergency situation, that’s what’s important.

So now they’ve decided to go ahead and upgrade this rugged beast. That intrigued me when I heard about it, because I really wasn’t sure what they’d upgrade. But I’ll have to say, they did it right. They didn’t add whistles and bells that you don’t need, they increased the capacity.

Let’s Upgrade!

As far as I’m concerned, electrical power in a grid-down situation is like memory in a computer… you’ve never got enough. While the Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) had enough power to make it through an emergency caused by a power outage, the new one – PowerWhisperer PRO, has double that capacity but also some other features that I’m going to address in seconds.

The Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) comes with a 100 amp-hour capacity. That means that it can run an electronic device that requires 100 amps of 12 volt power for 1 hour or that it can run a device that requires 1 amp of 12 volt power for 100 hours, or anything in between. There’s also a Power Whisperer M-Plus model that comes with an extra solar panel and battery that literally double your power, while all the specifications are the same.

The Power Whisperer PRO model comes with the same voltage inverter, so you still have 2000 watts of 120 volt power available at any one time. In addition, there is a 12 volt outlet, so that you can power devices which are intended to run off of 12 volts.

pwpro

Do you have any camping equipment, tools or electronics which are intended for running off your car’s cigarette lighter/accessory connector? They’ll all plug into either the M model or the new Pro model as well.

To help with recharging the larger storage capacity, Lee Bellinger, the designer of the Power Whisperer has also added a second, 100 watt solar panel, increasing the charge capacity as well. You can either recharge the Model M in half the time or recharge both the M model and the extra power pack at the same time. With this extra solar panel, you can charge both in the time that it used to take to charge the Model M alone.

And the unit is expandable beyond that as well. The M model generator has enough connectors to attach up to four solar panels, increasing the recharge rate and total power available from the unit. You can also add another auxiliary power pack if you desire, increasing the overall power you have available in an emergency situation even more.

These units are totally safe, using proven battery and battery charging technology which avoids “thermal runaway.” I’m sure you’ve heard of the problems that people have been having with the Samsung phones, well the charge technology used in the Power Whisperer prevent the possibility of that happening. The unit is not only safe from being hit by a truck, but from exploding as well.

Seeing as the Power Whisperer was inspired by military technology and intended for survival use, it even comes complete with a camouflage net system, so that you can keep your unit away from prying eyes, whether you are using it for a bug in or you’re providing power to your survival retreat in a bug out.

This is a well thought out unit, which will provide the electrical power your family needs, when you are faced by the next disaster. Built in America and built to withstand whatever is thrown at it, the Power Whisperer Pro gives your family a level of security you won’t find just anywhere.

Now is the moment to get your power generator and solve your energy problem for years. You’ll also get 3 exclusive Survivopedia bonuses worth $150 when you invest in your Power Whisperer.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Surviving Off-grid: 5 Ways to Manage Chimney Creosote

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Manage Chimney Creosote

The government is doing everything it can to deter people from burning wood, it still remains popular with home owners that don’t want to use oil or other more expensive fuels. Wood is also very popular with off gridders, preppers, and homesteaders because it can be harvested from natural resources or grown for this purpose.

Many people that burn wood are plagued by creosote that builds up in chimneys. As dangerous as this problem can become, preventing or reducing creosote buildup is not as hard as it seems to be.

Here are five ways you can reduce or prevent creosote buildup in your chimneys.

Do not forget to inspect your chimneys on a regular basis and clean them even if the creosote only looks like it is in the early stages of buildup.

How Does Creosote Form?

Have you ever blown on a mirror or piece of glass so that some of the water vapor from your lungs condenses on the glass? If so, then you may also know that condensation occurs because the glass is cooler than the air exiting your mouth.

In a similar way, when hot gas and smoke enter the chimney, they are hotter than the stove pipe. If the pipe is not hot enough, then creosote will condense out of the smoke and be deposited in the chimney.

Video first seen on Corey Binford.

The Three Degrees of Creosote Buildup

As with many other situations in life, creosote build up may not be especially dangerous at first. However, if it is left unchecked, or not taken care of soon enough, it can become a very expensive problem. As you review the three degrees of creosote buildup, bear in mind that simply cleaning up the mess is only part of the problem. You will still need to take active steps to prevent or at least slow down further creosote buildup.

1st Degree

Just about every chimney will build up layers of soft black material known as soot. If you can easily brush the black layer of material out of the chimney, chances are there is actually very little creosote in it.

Many people consider this a good sign because it means the fire is burning hot enough to reduce the amount of temperature difference between the smoke and the chimney. While this stage isn’t especially dangerous, you will still need to clean out the chimney on a routine basis in order to keep good air flow.

2nd Degree

At this level, you will start to see more creosote in the soot. There will be quite a few shiny black flakes of material that can still be removed if you put some effort into it. If you see this kind of soot, it is very important to increase the air flow in the burning area.

3rd Degree

This type of creosote buildup forms layers of a tar like coating on inner surfaces of the chimney. If you think about how cholesterol builds up in arteries, then you have a pretty good picture of what I mean.

3rd Degree creosote also contains a good bit of unburned fuel. As a result, when it does catch fire, it can be quite dangerous. The third degree of creosote buildup is caused by cool burning fires with inadequate ventilation, or by a flue that is too large.

Here are five ways to resolve this type of buildup. You may need a combination of answers in order to reduce the level of creosote buildup as much as possible.

1. Keep a Robust Airflow

Have you ever lit a candle, and then put it in a glass cup? If so, then you have also probably seen soot build up on the sides of the glass.

When a fire burns under any kind of restricted air flow, the soot from the fire will also concentrate and condense into smaller areas. Typically, fireplaces that have glass doors, or are otherwise closed off will have the most problems with airflow.

Here’s what you can do to remedy this problem:

  • Keep the ash bin and grate area as clean as possible. Open the damper so that more air gets into the fireplace.
  • If you cannot get enough air moving in the fireplace, try using a fan or blower to push more air in through the damper. Make sure that the fan is made of metal or some other non-flammable material. Aside from purchasing a new model, you may also find some old, or vintage blowers at a flea market for a much lower price. Never underestimate the power or durability of these old, but incredibly durable blowers and fans!
  • In some cases, downdrafts from the outside can also cause poor air circulation inside the stove. You can try adding a partial cover to the top of outer pipe. Alternatively, add an insert with an inward curve that will also reduce the amount of downdraft that can get down the chimney.

2. Keep the Fire Hot

Even though you may think of a piece of wood as a single object, it is actually made up of all kinds of molecules. This, in turn, means that some molecules will have a higher kindling point than others.

If the fire is not hot enough, some of the molecules that require a hotter temperature will escape into the chimney and form a layer of creosote if the conditions are right. Later on, if the temperature inside the chimney gets hot enough, these particles will catch fire and burn.

The hotter the fire is, the better chance there is of these molecules being reduced to heat and ash in the fireplace. In addition, the hotter the fire is, the hotter the chimney will be. When the chimney is hot enough, all the gunk that forms creosote cannot collect.

Here are some ways to increase the heat output from a wood fire:

  • add a few handfuls of coal to the wood fire. Coal burns at a higher temperature and will also last longer. Without a question, anyone that has used a coal fire on a freezing winter night can tell you just how delightful they are!
  • install heat retaining bricks in the fireplace. This will increase the temperature inside the burn area and help keep the temperature steadier.
  • insulate the chimney pipe with bricks. This is especially important if you are using a metal chimney, as they will always be cooler on the inner surface. The insulation will help, however it will not entirely solve the problem if it is caused by using a metal chimney.

3. Check the Size of the Flue

Consider a situation where you want to heat up a cup of coffee over a campfire. Chances are it will only take a few minutes to achieve this goal. Now let’s say you want to heat up a gallon of water over the exact same campfire.

Heating up a gallon of water will take longer than a cup because there are more atoms to deal with. In a similar way, when the flue is too large, there is simply too much material for the fire to contend with. A wood stove should not have a flue larger than six inches.

When you reduce the size of the flue, it allows less heat to escape. Some people have noticed a 20% or better increase in heat produced by fireplaces that have an optimally sized flue. Therefore, you will be reducing creosote problems and get more heat at the same time.

Depending on the construction of the stove and chimney system, you may not be able to simply rip the whole thing out and start over again. Your best option will be to insert a sleeve into the chimney so that it has a smaller internal diameter. Even though these sleeves are usually made of metal, the surrounding brick in the chimney should keep it warm enough to reduce the risk of creosote build up. If you still get too much creosote, focus on increasing the heat produced by the fire and the amount of air flow going up into the chimney.

  • Remember, the more air flow you have going up the chimney, the harder it will be for particles to stay still long enough to attach to inner surfaces.
  • You may also want to let the wood season longer than a few months, and choose some type of wood other than pine. Look for wood that has less resin or sap in it.
  • It is also very important to stay away from pellets or other types of pre-manufactured wood because they may be designed to burn at lower temperatures than what you will need to heat up an over sized chimney.

4. Make Sure the Wood is Fully Seasoned and Dry

Wood

Have you ever tried to start a fire during or after it rains? If you are camping, chances are you use a number of methods to dry the wood out as much as possible so that it produces more heat than smoke.

In a similar way, when wood is not fully seasoned and dried out, it will produce more creosote. Fires that produce a lot of smoke also have the following problems:

  • there is less airflow, which reduces the amount of oxygen available to the fire
  • the fire will burn cooler because water impedes combustion
  • smoke is also a sign that more fuel is escaping into the air than you would get from a cleaner burning fire.

There is no substitute for time when it comes to seasoning wood. You can try keeping logs closer to the fire place for a few days before you actually burn them. Just remember to rotate them often so that the log dries out more evenly.

Chopping the log into smaller pieces might help too. This will increase surface area, which in turn will speed up water evaporation. You will still need to rotate the wood around to ensure the fastest possible drying.

When it comes to seasoning wood, many people make the mistake of covering the wood with a waterproof, air tight tarp. The wood will release water vapor, however it will fall right back onto the wood and be absorbed all over again.

You will be better served by keeping the wood loosely covered and in a warm, sunny spot while it is drying. As with drying the wood out indoors, do not forget to rotate the woodpile every few days so that the pieces dry out as much and as evenly as possible.

If the weather is especially damp, humid, or rainy, it may be of some help to cut the wood into smaller pieces. No matter how you look at it, increasing surface area always speeds up evaporation. It may seem like a lot of extra work, however it will pay off when you have hotter fires during the winter months and fewer problems with creosote.

5. Do Not Overload the Stove With Wood

When you have had a long, hard day, it is tempting to load the stove with as much wood as possible so you won’t have to add more through the night. On the other side of the equation, when you put too much wood in the stove, it reduces air flow.

Aside from this, when fires burn, they also release some water vapor. When there is too much wood in the stove, some of that vapor may just land on the wood and increase its moisture level. No matter how well seasoned the wood is, that increased moisture will cause the fire to burn poorly.

Here are some ways to resolve this problem:

  • start off by adding just one piece at a time to the fire. If the fire burns well, try adding a second piece. Keep adding more pieces as long as the fire burns cleanly. Do not forget that you may not be able to add as many pieces at one time on rainy days or ones where it is impossible to prevent a downdraft from the chimney.
  • install an automatic wood feeder. Even thought a wood feeder can take up a good bit of space, it may be a better solution than trying to manually feed the stove.
  • Use coal and other materials that might burn longer during times when you won’t be available to feed the stove more wood.

Wherever you live in (an apartment or a house), chances are the building will have a chimney, and there will also be a stove available for burning wood. Getting started with wood burning is not especially difficult, but avoiding creosote buildup in the chimney can be challenge.

Be careful about the condition of the fire, the wood, and ventilation issues that may lead to creosote buildup. Once you find a way to reduce the speed of creosote buildup, do not forget to inspect the chimney on a regular basis.

A clean chimney is not just a safe one, it is a valuable asset that will help you burn wood efficiently and get the most from it.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Moving Your Computer Off Grid

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Moving Your Computer Off-Grid

More than a few preppers feel that as long as they can provide food, shelter, water, and basic medical needs for themselves and their families, nothing more is required. Other preppers may feel that self defense, power generation, education, and machine repair are skills that will be required in the post crisis world.

Sadly, many preppers and also off-gridders tend to ignore or underestimate the need to have a computer that can be used to help make it easier to survive.

In all likelihood, these are also the people most likely to have serious problems in the post crisis world because they do not have a computer available to help meet a range of goals.

Computers and Prepping Can Get Along

A computer cannot hunt a deer for you, boil water, or make a pair of shoes, obviously. On the other hand, any computer with a connection to the internet can help you find out how to do these things and much more. When you find good information, it is also very easy to store those files on your computer so that you can read them and work with them whenever you want.

And if you are in a situation where internet access is still available, you can use your computer to contact friends and loved ones as well as people that might be able to help you get through a crisis. Then you can certainly relate to the quandary of many preppers that are finding out it is becoming impossible to make or obtain raw materials that would be needed in a major crisis scenario.

On the other side of the equation, many of the items you need for basic prepping can still be purchased online. All you really need is a prepaid debit card and an internet connection so that you can find websites where you can place your orders. Not only will you be able to get the supplies you need, you will also have a much wider selection of other goods to choose from.

Regardless of whether you are interested in the best quality gun cleaning kits, need a certain type of fishing reel, or need good quality vintage hand tools, you can find them all online. In fact, even if you are disabled, you may be able to find customized materials and tools that have been modified to meet your needs.

Most people don’t realize just how important it is to network with preppers from diverse geographic regions and make plans for bugging out that include those friends and connections. Consider what would happen if an earthquake or hurricane strikes your area.

If you only have friends and family in a local, or small area, chances are everyone will be affected. If you have friends in other states that might be able to offer temporary shelter or help you make a new start, then you will be well ahead of the game.

In these times and beyond, both money and barter systems are vital for exchanging needed goods and services. A computer is very important for expanding your trade and marketing options. It is also very important for securing alternative currencies that may play a vital role in remaining solvent in the face of currency collapse.

Most people would be truly amazed at how easy it is for the average consumer to secure foreign currencies, keep a good supply of them, and even use them as down and dirty form of currency trading or flipping.

The Tough Choice on the Best Device(s)

Off grid devices

Obsolete devices may still be very useful because certain older technologies are easier to work with and may be safer than newer devices that are routinely overclocked or are based on unstable hardware platforms.

If you are interested in newer devices, here are some categories, brands, and models that you can start off with for each category of device:

Desktops

If you are primarily interested in a conventional desktop computer, my own experience leads me to believe the best option is to build the computer yourself so that you know exactly what parts are being used and how best to optimize the BIOS (this is where you can determine how fast the computer will run, whether or not the system can boot from a USB drive, and other aspects of basic operation) settings.

Since modern computer chips tend to run hot, it is very important to provide plenty of ventilation and cooling options inside the case. If your CPU and motherboard kit come with sub-par heat conducting gel, do not hesitate to find the best on the market.  It is also very useful to add extra fans and other cooling devices right inside the case.

Always remember, the cooler you can keep the chips during operation, the lower your chances of erratic freeze-ups or even ruining the chips.

Insofar as other vital parts such as hard drives, CD/DVD drives, and video cards, it truly depends on your personal tastes.

You will need a dedicated video card to gain access to these specialized chips that will reduce wear on the CPU and enhance computer performance at the same time. Be sure to study gamer forums and video editing forums to find out which video cards work best with specific CPU and motherboard combinations. A bad fit between these parts can truly be a disaster.

Memory cards (RAM) are yet another tricky, yet vital area of the computer that you will need to think about. This is also one area where only the best will do. It is better to go with the fastest cards that the motherboard will take, and also from the best rated vendor.

Laptops

Unlike desktop computers, you will have far less control over what parts are found inside the case. Before purchasing a laptop, be sure to find out the model number of the CPU and motherboard. From there, you will need to look up the chipsets to find out what the optimal clock speeds are.

I have seen more than one laptop burn up at around the 1 year mark because a sub-part mother board with a slower timing chip was paired with a faster CPU. Since most buyers do not ask about the motherboard model, there was no way for them to find out that they basically had an overclocked system that was going to fail very quickly.

Overall, I can safely say that I don’t recommend spending 3 – 4 times as much money on a laptop when I can choose a much cheaper tablet and optimize it with less intensive apps. The only advantage a laptop might have over an off grid tablet is that it is easier to customize the programs.

Tablets

An unlocked tablet will give you just about everything you need for basic document access and communicating with others. You can also choose apps that will enable you to create your own apps and carry out other more complex tasks.

Tablets also have the advantage of taking far less  power than a desktop or laptop computer. They can easily be recharged on a portable solar pack, and it is also fairly easy to bypass the battery.

Insofar as brand names, I tend to favor Lenovo, but have also found Alldaymall tablets to work well. The Alldaymall tablets are also a good bit cheaper, so you can purchase more of them and put them in your bug out bag as well as other locations.

Smart Phones

When it comes to a comfortable viewing experience combined with relatively low power usage, larger tablets will work much better than smart phones. That being said, in a “something is better than nothing” or a vital tool for your EDC, few things can rival a good quality unlocked smart phone.

While I recommend a 10” tablet for bug out gear, a 5” smart phone is truly  more than enough for EDC. Not only a phone this size fit easily into a purse or backpack, it is even easier to power than a larger tablet.

They also work well for reading a range of documents and will give you a good sized window for viewing videos. You can also hook up a folding keyboard and be able to carry out a number of tasks that would be difficult using the screen keyboard.

The Challenge on Providing a Steady Source of Power

Today, the vast majority of computers have sub par power supplies that make them more susceptible than ever to fluctuations in power coming into the system.

As our electric grid continues to crumble, rolling blackouts, brownouts, and line voltage fluctuations caused by excess usage during peak hours will shorten the life cycle of many computers. If you are generating your own power, it is just as important to make sure you know how to keep the current going into your computer as steady as possible.

There are some things you can do now, as well as consider when building a power system that will help you get the most out of every computer that you own. CLICK HERE to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get the free report on how to take your computer off grid.

Understanding the Impact of Utilization

No discussion about preparing your computer hardware for off gridding would be complete without at least touching on the resource cost involved in each program that you run on the system. For example, if you have a simple word processor program with no fancy graphics, it will take up far less processor and memory resources than one that has funny critters dancing around all over the place.

Apps that automatically play videos or programs that automatically play music also shorten the hardware life of your computer. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the best computer for your off grid or prepping needs, it is always important to study benchmark tests and hardware longevity tests under certain loads.

Once again, you will find some of the best and most accurate information in the gaming forums.

Important Parts to Keep On hand

For each device in your EDC, bug out bag, or other location, there are some important parts that can help double or even triple the useful lifespan of your computer. Even if you lose some functionality, the main parts should still work for 2 – 3 decades on desktop units, and up to 10 years on laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

  • Start off by buying all of your devices brand new and with the maximum warranty available. If something breaks down during the warranty period, let the manufacturer or repair center take care of the problem.
  • Buy at least 3 to 5 non-functioning devices that are compatible with the make and model of each device. Usually, you can pick these units up for around 10 to 20% of the cost of a brand new device. You can choose different manufacturers as long as the parts are fully interchangeable with your device. You will use these devices to learn how to make repairs, and also for spare parts if something breaks down on your main device.
  • Since RAM chips take the most abuse on any computer system, keep a few spare ones on hand.
  • Have at least one extra power supply for desktop units. Unlike other parts of the system, you should never open up the case on the power supply unless you have a good bit of experience working with electronic devices. Never forget that the capacitors inside these power supplies may not be fully discharged, and that touching them or a live circuit can cause death or severe injury.
  • Keep at least 2 USB hubs handy that also have the capacity to power any device you hook up to them. When connecting devices to the USB ports on your computer, try to never at least one pair of ports.

What Happens When the Battery Dies?

If you have been thinking about using a smart phone or tablet as a place to store important survival information, you may hesitate because you know that the battery can easily be ruined by over charging, or that it will wear out sooner rather than later.

While some devices will continue to work while the battery is “charging”, others will not. If you have a device that will not work while charging, you will need to remove the battery and apply current directly to the device.

In this scenario, you must know how to keep the voltage and amperage as stable as possible before they reach the device. You can make your own controllers for this purpose then hook them up to solar panels or anything else that you will be using as a power source.

Just remember that you power controller may also need to go safely from AC to DC current as well as match the voltage and amperage needs of the device. If you aren’t sure how much power to provide for laptops, tablets, or smart phones, just go by what the battery is rated for.

Video first seen on PrepareForTheUnexpected.

Basic Toolkit

It will not be of much use to have plenty of parts on hand, and then no way to install them or make good use of them. Here are the most essential tools you will need for building computers or making repairs:

  • chip extractors for chips that are installed in sockets
  • high heat conducting gel
  • anti static grounding strap
  • precision and larger size screwdriver kit
  • magnifying glass
  • low wattage solder iron, solder, and flux suitable for computer parts
  • desoldering bulb
  • pliers and wrenches
  • wire cutters
  • anti-static bags and mats for placing boards on while you are working
  • multi meter, port testers, and digital logic probe

If you become especially proficient at scavenging and rebuilding electronics parts, it may be to your advantage to include a copper board etching kit. You can use these to make new circuit boards in a time of need.

Scavenging and Repair Skills

If you take good care of your devices, they may last for several years without need for repair. Once they break down, however, you will need to put your toolkit and stored parts to use. Here are some basic scavenging and repair skills that you can use to fix your own devices, or trade as service with others:

  • understand hardware part numbers so that you know which parts are compatible across different manufacturers
  • be able to solder and desolder chips or other parts without damaging the parts
  • know how to diagnose problems and figure out the best way to solve them
  • how to recognize which parts (example what a melted down chip looks like) need to be replaced or repaired
  • how to use software diagnostics, driver programs,  and BIOS programs to resolve problems
  • how to find viable parts in a junk yard or other locations where discarded electronics may be found.

Video first seen on The Off Grid Family.

Where to Get More Information and Training

Overall, you will find it easiest and cheapest to build and test your skills on desktop computers. If you go to a flea market or do some research online, you can easily pick up dozens of obsolete motherboards, CPUs, power supplies, and just about anything else for a few dollars.

Start off by trying to build a complete and functioning system. This will give you plenty of practice with identifying basic parts and help you overcome any hesitance you may have in working with computer parts.

While you are exploring these parts, take a course on basic electronics and then one on computer hardware. You can also find plenty of good books on this subject. In total, you should spend about 4 months on this part of your skill development.

Once you master desktop computers, you can go ahead and choose the parts for, and build your own system. If you do not want to build a desktop unit, then go ahead and start working on building your stockpile of laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

You can always practice your skills on non-working units as well as get to know more about working with smaller devices that require a good bit more patience and care.  If you develop a particular interest in these smaller devices, it will be to your advantage to take courses on how to repair them.

Without a question, the first time you bypass a battery during a major crisis or repair a failing laptop monitor you will see why these skills are every bit as important as anything else you may be learning and practicing for a time of need.

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This Article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: How To Generate Power Off-Grid

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Generate Power Off-grid

America’s power grid is ancient and in an advanced state of decay. The modern technology allows us to adopt a more eco-friendly attitude regarding energy and also to save money and become more independent and self-sustained.

After an EMP, you will have to know how to use natural resources – sun, wind, water, wood – to produce your own electricity. So, why not starting preparing right now?

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered some useful posts on this topic.

  1. How Future Technology Impacts Energy Saving

“The technology of the future that will allow for a more eco-friendly relationship with our environment is rapidly approaching. In order to better understand the impact of these technologies, we have outlined them into two distinct areas: saving at home, and saving on the road.

It was reported that there has been a 44% increase in primary energy consumption across the globe over the past 16 years (statista.com). As such, we are not likely going to make a drastic departure from our behavior of having high-powered homes and frequent use of transportation.

These technologies will allow us to curb energy usage without having to alter our accustomed style of living.”

Energy Technology

Read more on Save On Energy.

  1. Reasons Why Every Household Must Have A Backup Generator

black-out-300x200“In the recent past, we’ve witnessed extreme weather-related calamities that have caused immense destruction regarding property damage and loss of human lives.

Scientists are warning that massive disasters are not only currently occurring at an increased rate but also increasing in magnitude. To ensure your family stays safe all the time, you must invest in a good electric generator.

An electric generator, other than supporting your lighting systems, will support important appliances in your home, among very many other functions. Loss of electric power brings about many difficulties to homes, more so, households with persons with disabilities.

A generator provides an exceptional way of cautioning your family members against sudden lose electricity.”

Read more on Dave’s Homestead.

  1. Do You Know Why Your Emergency Generator Won’t Start in the Winter?Power Generator

“So, you’ve been diligent about starting your generator on a regular basis, you’ve kept fuel stabilizer in the tank, and then one cold winter day you go out to fire up your generator and it just won’t start.

You might be wondering what you did wrong so let me take a minute and explain what might be going on.

During the 8 plus years that our family lived off the grid our only source of electricity was a generator. Starting certain types of generators in the winter can be a real bear at times.”

Read more on Preppers Illustrated.

  1. Which Batteries Are Best for Survival Situation?

“When it comes to most survival situations, batteries are often overlooked. Too many people assume that all they need to do is make sure their battery operated survival gear is ready to go with new alkaline batteries and that they have a fresh pack of spares. This is an unfortunate assumption!

There are five primary battery sizes in the United States: D, C, AA, AAA and 9 volt. Most batteries fall into three categories: alkaline, lithium and nickel.”

Batteries

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

  1. Relax and Enjoy the Next Power Outage

power-outage“For the past few years, Survival Life has shared valuable information with readers on how to prepare for and survive a major power grid collapse.

The number of power outages continues to grow, and people shake their fingers at the government and say, “Shame, shame”—blaming elected or appointed government officials—for not fixing the shaky electrical grid.

Those experiencing loss of electrical power are quick to condemn utility companies for not preventing these outages, but this may not be warranted.

The federal and state governments have known about these risks for decades, but they are slow to act. Utility companies can’t afford to rip out and replace expensive power lines, substations, and power generation plants.”

Read more on Survival Life.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Help – It’s Illegal to Live Off-Grid!

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Living Off-grid illegal

It seems like every politician spouts rhetoric about how they support sustainability and promote the use of clean energy, but it’s mostly bunk. In fact, it’s illegal in some states, such as Florida, to live off the power grid.

Even if you have enough solar or wind juice to run indefinitely, you are still required by law to be connected to the power grid and to pay your electric bill, even if you don’t use a single iota of power from the utilities company.

Your home must also be attached to an approved sewer and a clean supply of water, but this is often fairly easy to work around. It’s the power that gets you.

Now, just to be clear, it’s not illegal to power your house with solar panels or use your own water filtration system or composting toilets; it’s just that you still have to pay the money to Big Utilities, too. Any way that you look at it, it rubs. At best, you’re paying money you don’t need to spend. At worst, you’re chained to the electricity grid whether you want to be or not.

We’ve recently had a question asked of us by one of you, dear readers:

How can you live off the grid if it’s illegal in Florida? Can you homestead and still go unnoticed? How can you do it and still stay safe?

I have an answer to these questions, but they’re not exactly ideal. First, do your thing. If you want to run your house off of solar panels, then by all means, do so!

If you want to use rainwater and a filtration system to meet your water needs? OK, what are you waiting for?

Just Because You Are Connected, Doesn’t Mean You Have to Use It

The laws only say that you have to be connected; not that you have to use it. For the most part, there’s no reason that you can’t homestead if you live in a state that requires this. Yes, it’s true that you’re not allowed to have a permanent dwelling that isn’t attached to the grid, and many city regulations disallow the ownership of livestock in city limits.

Right now, unless you’re willing to buck the system (I believe somebody should), you’re just going to have to suck it up and do it, as long as you want to live on the right side of the law. You can always have the electricity connected, then not pay the bill, but if you do, it’s legal for them to revoke your certificate of occupancy.

In essence, these regulations are simply devices used to protect Big Utilities under the guise of consumer protection. As usual, they know better than you what’s best for you.

Unfortunately, there was a case a few years ago that was used over and over again to support this fact, but the bottom line is that I lived in that city at that exact time, and it wasn’t her right to live off-grid that was what got her shut down.

You have to live in a manner that promotes health and well-being. In other words, you have to have clean water and you can’t just dump your sewer down the drain, which is what was going on in that situation.

But some misguided, misinformed people got ahold of pieces of information and ran with it before they had the whole story. It didn’t do anything to help the cause other than just make people look dumb by those who know what really went down.

Still, it’s true that, by law, you have to be hooked to power and have a clean supply of water and a sanitary waste disposal method if you follow the rules in Florida.

Now that you know that you basically have no legal rights when it comes to refusing public utilities, let’s look at what you can do within the scope of the law. You always have the option of saying the hell with the laws, but do that at your risk.

Living off the grid

Trust me – if you do decide to go off-grid in Florida, or anywhere else you aren’t allowed to free yourself of the strong-arming, you won’t be alone. Many people in Florida live successfully off the grid – they just do it right so that they don’t get caught. They don’t go pouring their waste down public sewers.

My advice? Keep your house hooked up, but have your off-grid methods in use. Don’t let them tell you that you can’t use them because you can. Unfortunately, you’ll still have a nominal bill for the pleasure of looking at the wiring at the end of the month, but you won’t have the same expense as if you’d use it.

I’m not going to say “living off-grid” because that’s not legal, but you can certainly live independently and sustainably.

If you have property that’s out of the way and you’ve decided to say to hell with the law and do as you please, you may want to build an outhouse, collect rainwater and filter it properly to meet your drinking, cooking, and hygiene needs, and find a way to stay cool or warm. Many choose solar panels to meet that need.

One Step Further

The next thing that you need to do in order to successfully live off-grid is to fight the laws that restrict you.

For example, there’s a proposed Amendment to our constitution that supposedly advances the use of solar power, but in reality, it’s setting the Big Utilities up to continue their monopoly on power in our state. Start by voting NO on 1, and on any other proposed law changes that take more of our rights and give more power to the government or Big Utilities/Pharma.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you own your life. If you want to live off the grid completely and risk getting caught, then do so. If you want to work within the parameters of the law and pay a few bucks per month for utilities that you don’t use, then go for it.

Regardless of what decision you make, make it for the best interest of yourself and those you love, because it’s a sure bet that you’re the only one who will.

There will come a time when you will face severe environments without power, water, fuel or means to buy food. The only way to survive is to learn how to live independently and sustainably.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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EMP Survival: Is Your Home Ready For The Blackout?

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EMP Survival

Any prepper knows “the rule of three”, but I bet most of them think about applying it only in a bug out situation. Well, let me tell you what I think: in case of an EMP, you need a safe and warm shelter, clean water to drink, and also proper meals to preserve your energy and temper for the hard times to come.

Now that you know that, think about how your home would resist to an EMP blast. Would you have enough heat and food, and would your OPSEC be the same when left in the dark?

Let’s address these questions below, and find that answers that might save you and your family in case of an EMP!

How Do You Know it Was an EMP Strike?

There is at least one way to get an easy answer. All you need to determine whether you are experiencing a regular power outage or an EMP are only three transistor AM/FM/ Shortwave radios.

Using three transistor AM/FM/Shortwave radios, an improvised Faraday cage and a simple SOP, you can determine whether you are experiencing a simple blackout or an EMP and if it is an EMP, whether it is geomagnetic or nuclear in nature.

There are a few steps to take in order to find out the answer, and you’ll find them detailed in our article Total Blackout: How To Tell If An EMP Has Happened.

Can I have a Faraday Home, Please? And a Garage, Too!

Most preppers already know that the basic EMP proof tool to protect your electric and electronic devices is a Faraday cage. They’ll definitely use it

Since a box is still not enough to protect everything that might get broken by an EMP (solar panels included), here comes the question about EMP-proofing bigger spaces and even a whole building.

Yes, it’s doable, but there is much more to take into account than having proper materials for the job.

“Quonset Huts have a steel skin, and steel is a conductor, so they must provide some shielding against EMP. Almost 200,000 of the buildings were manufactured for WWII, some are still in use by the military to this day and many others are still knocking around as surplus, so maybe this could be an inexpensive way to build a shielded home or retreat or some sort. But the subject of EMP is complex, and a building is a major investment. For most people, it would be a considerable waste of resources to erect a building that did not serve its intended purpose.”

Some people would think about turning a Quonset Hut into an EMP-shielded house, like the reader whose question was posted above, but, as our writer Cache Valley Prepper thinks, with this question the devil is in the details.

If you decide to give it a try, read his article about how to turn your Quonset Hut into an EMP-shielded home before renting a crane.

EMP Proof CarAs for your car, there is such thing as EMP proofing. If you decide to create a viable EMP proof car and you have the time, money, and patience to make the car roadworthy, then you can truly start your search for pre-’80’s cars in the local scrap and junk yards. You’ll find the hints to follow in our article EMP Survival: The Essential List For Your Car’s Top Systems.

Think twice when buying a new vehicle, as most of the new cars are vulnerable to an EMP strike. We have a list that might help you, if you read our article about Top 10 Vehicles For Your EMP Survival.

The last but not the least – your energy stockpile. Start small to build big: get pocket-sized solar power solutions first, then man-portable solar energy means, and finally, think about larger alternative energy solutions. Find a guide to help you out through the process in this article about building your energy stockpile.

Heating & Cooling

When talking about alternative sources of heating, there is much more to explain than one single article might cover. You could start your research reading this Survivopedia article on heating without electricity and follow the links within, then build small heating devices like this candle heater that our writer Carmela Tyrell has made.

Don’t give up cooking just because the power grid is down! Read our article about how to cook without electricity for the basics about cooking off-grid, and you can switch to unconventional methods like cooking on your car’s engine. Theresa Crouse wrote an article that you shouldn’t miss about how to use your car for cooking, which also includes a few recipes to try on the road. Literally.

We almost have winter at the door, so the first thought about in case of a blackout is losing the primary source of heat. This is common sense in October, but you would think the other way in July: you need cooling for you, and at least a part of your food too.

As EMP-proofing your air-conditioner might not be an easy project, you will probably turn to other cooling devices, as these low cost 5 projects you can DIY.

Water

You think your running water won’t be affected in case of an EMP, but you might be deadly wrong. Tall buildings reliant on most types of booster pumps will lose water pressure past the bottom floors. Buildings with rooftop tanks have water until the tanks run dry.

Entire cities will lose water pressure forcing boil-water advisories into effect for any water that does make to you or that you manage to scrounge up. But without electricity, most households will be unable to boil water. Remember that the NE US blackout of 2003 left millions of Michigan residents without any water.

This is the moment you turn to your water reserves. Reusing grey water is a back-up, but remember that most of the systems require a power source to work properly. This is one of the aspects to take into account sooner than that, when you start building your energy stockpile.

Defense

Considering the current trend of integrating microelectronics technology into everything that we have in our home, including security devices and firearms (especially those integrating lasers), an EMP will likely change the elements of your defense. Then what should you do? The answer is also a two-parter.

Part 1: Train without technology before you train with technology, which means among others:

  • Learn to use a map and compass first, and then a GPS.
  • Learn to shoot with open sights first, then with a red dot.
  • Learn to shoot in low light with tritium night sights first, then with night vision.

Part 2: Go through your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) from a post-HEMP paradigm. Walk through them step by step from imagining what would go wrong if a HEMP had occurred. It might mean

  • swapping a battery powered keypad lock for a mechanical one,
  • “down-grading” from an LED lamp assembly in your Surefire tactical flashlight to an incandescent lamp,
  • selecting an ASP baton over a Taser or practicing using a secondary technique after your primary fails, just like you practice failure-to-fire drills when you learn to defend yourself with a side arm.

Turn to off-grid home defense methods, like traps, defensive bushes or spooky pets that will keep the intruders out.

Our power grid is old and vulnerable, and a long term blackout – whatever its cause would be – could easily change our world in the worst possible way one can imagine. Prepare yourself and prepare your home for an EMP, and then you could survive any type of disaster!

EMPCover2This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia.

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10 Ways To Harness Wind Power

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10 Ways To Harness Wind Power

Even though our society may be on the verge of collapse, the increased interest in wind power has resulted in some amazing new designs. Rather than build a wind turbine using conventional blade patterns, you can take advantage of these designs and generate more electricity with less effort.

No matter whether you are going to remain in your current location, build a homestead, or bug out to a prepper community, each of these designs can be built by individuals and small groups.

Modify the Blade Shape to Reduce Drag

Many people choose wind power over solar because it is easier to build a functional wind turbine from junk materials. It is also easier to maintain wind turbines and replace parts as needed. As you may be aware, solar panels require rare earth metals, and have electronic circuitry that can wear and be ruined easily.

A number of studies also reveal that generating power from the wind is more efficient at both the consumer and commercial power generation levels.

On the other hand, if you use a conventional blade system, you may run into several problems that reduce efficiency and create a situation where you may not be able to generate enough electricity to meet your needs.

Just because the blades on a conventional turbine move when the wind blows, that does not mean they are working as efficiently as possible. Depending on the shape of the blade, one of three things can happen:

  • If the blade is shaped just right for the wind speed and direction, there will be minimal drag on the blades, and no wind will get past without being converted into lift. As a general rule of thumb, thin, curved blades work better than wider ones.
  • If the wind speed is too fast for the blade shape, too much drag will be created. The faster the blade spins, the more disruption in air current there will be around the blade. Essentially, a blade that may only be 2 feet across and 10 feet long will repel the wind as if the blade were 4 or 5 feet across and 15 – 20 feet longer.

By changing the curve of the blade to match faster wind speeds, the drag will be reduced so that more wind moves towards the blades.

  • If the wind speed is too slow, wind that could be used to turn the blades will simply pass through instead of being used. Typically, blades that are curved for high speed winds will not work well in lower speed winds because there are no disrupted wind currents or a blade to capture the wind and harness it to lift the blades.

Some of these problems can be reduced by making changes to the blade shape. For example, the “Whale Power” blade design was developed after observing that Humpback Whales also have a problem with managing drag and stalling depending on the angle they move their fins at.

In order to get better lift at more severe fin angles, humpback whales have small, rounded nodules, or tubercles on their fins that help reduce drag while providing more surface area at the same time.

The “Whale Power” blade design basically has a wavy edge on the blade that does the same thing. Wind tunnel tests reveal that these blades can be used at wind speeds up to 40% lower than conventional blades.

Considering the number of polymers and other lightweight materials on the market these days, it is entirely possible for preppers to make their own wavy blade systems rather than wait for them to become available for sale to consumers.

Needless to say, if you already have a wind turbine and can gain access to the blades. Cutting a few waves into the edge might make it more efficient. In the video bellow you will find an interesting comparison between a humpback whale and a wind turbine.

Video first seen on WIRED.

Wind Lenses Redirect Wind Back to Conventional Blade Designs

Of all the innovations in wind turbines, the Wind Lens from Japan is one of my favorites. Basically, the lens uses 3 to 5 narrow blades with a circular band that goes all the way around the blades. The band, or “lens” is oriented so that wind escaping from the blades gets directed back to them. It is estimated that this simple innovation leads to 3 times the power output.

Here are some other advantages to building a Wind Lens:

  • Smaller blade systems will produce power from lower wind speeds.
  • Conventional wind turbines can be very noisy. If you live near one, the noise can make you feel very sick. The Wind Lens produces much less sound, and therefore can be installed in cities or other areas where you may not be able to put up a conventional wind turbine.
  • Unlike conventional wind turbines, it is very easy to keep birds from flying into the blades. Just put a net or cage around the lens and the birds will not be able to reach it. Even if you are only building a small wind turbine for personal use on a homestead, protecting birds that are part of the food chain you rely on will be very important.
  • Since the wind lens is more efficient than conventional systems, you may be able to mount them on a smaller tower, or even a rooftop. While the wind lens may not work as well as some other systems at ground level, you can still utilize smaller lenses to capture weaker air flow at lower levels.

This is especially important to consider if you cannot climb extensively, or have concerns about maintaining wind turbines mounted on taller towers.

If you have a wind turbine in operation right now, or plan on building one, you may want to see about putting a lens around it to see if you also notice an improvement in efficiency. Here is an example.

Video first seen on metal01234567890.

Capture Wind From All Directions

Another problem with conventional wind turbines is that they only work at optimal levels when the wind hits them from a specific direction. If the wind turbine is caught in a downdraft, or the wind comes in gusts, the blades may turn slower, or not at all.

The QR5, or Quiet Revolution 5, makes use of helical blades that are mounted on a vertical axis. No matter what direction the wind is coming form, these ultra curved blades will capture it and cause the turbine to spin.

Even though the helical wind turbines have been around for some time, they are mostly still used for generating commercial electricity in the UK.

You can still study the basic shape and see about building the basic blade shape for home use. As with many new designs, you will probably find that polymers or light metals will be the most useful.

Video first seen on Rubén Gutiérrez

2 Vertical Turbine Designs

When you feel a breeze or wind moving through, you may be led to think that horizontal wind capture systems will work best. Unfortunately, the vast majority of horizontal systems present an “obstacle” to the wind instead of working with it to produce the greatest amount of power.

Even though vertical wind turbines still have some drag, they are far more efficient at capturing the wind and also making the most use of it. Here are 2 designs that you may want to consider for your power generating needs:

Windspire – unlike several other wind turbines discussed in this article, the Windspire is available for home use in the United States. It is an industry leader that is capturing attention because of it’s small size and capacity to generate electricity with wind speeds as low as 12 mph.

Aside from that, the Windspire is so quiet, it can be installed just about anywhere. No matter whether you live in a city, town, or miles away from other people, this wind turbine is quiet enough to put right next to buildings without causing health problems associated with excess sound.

The Windspire is basically a cylinder shaped turbine with two vertical rails connected to a central axis. Aerofoils connect from the axis to the two vertical rails, plus two circles at the top and bottom. If you purchase one directly from the manufacturer, it will be made of metal alloys and special coated surfaces.

Surprisingly, these turbines are must sturdier than they look. They can withstand wind speeds up to 105 miles per hour. Since they have already been installed in many different climates across the nation and around the world, it is also safe to say they can easily tolerate a wide range of temperature and moisture conditions.

If you are going to spend money on a pre-manufactured turbine, or get financing for one, you will find that the Windspire is efficient enough and tested enough to be worth the extra expense.

Video first seen on www.windspireenergy.com

WePower – This wind turbine looks a little like the Windspire in the sense that the system is mounted on a vertical axis. The main difference is that instead of narrow vertical bars and aerofoils extending from the axis, WePower has curved blades mounted between two disks. It is well suited to city and town settings, and can also be used in less populated settings.

WePower is quieter than many other wind turbines on the market, and it is also safe for birds and other flying creatures. As an added bonus, if you purchase a unit from the manufacturer, it comes set up with everything you need to connect it to the commercial energy grid.

If you are interested in making money on wind power by producing your own electricity, this system may be one of the best on the market for your needs.

Even though WePower is also growing in popularity with off gridders, do not forget that it is only guaranteed to last for 20 years (according to the manufacturer). If you are interested in long term disaster prepping, this system may work for some time, but you may have to replace it sooner than later.

That being said, if you take the time to learn how it works, then you may also find ways to make your own models or repair existing equipment.

Video first seen on WePOWER

Tesla Turbines

When I made my first Tesla Turbine, I found that it worked best with running water. With improvements in materials and inlet design, the Tesla Turbine also works very well with air. Here are a few advantages to using a Tesla Turbine as a wind turbine:

  • Virtually indestructible – unlike other turbines, the Tesla Turbine has very little internal friction that would wear out bearings and other parts.
  • You can build Tesla Turbines of all sizes from many different materials.
  • You will not need a motor for generating electricity. Just add some magnets to one disk and then put a coil of wire nearby. Aside from being cheaper, you will never need to worry about replacing a motor.
  • Depending on how you build the air inlet, the Tesla Turbine can be used in both high and low speed winds. Just remember that the inlet system will look something like a funnel in the sense that it will be larger in the capture area, and then get to a smaller size near the turbine in order to concentrate the wind as much as possible.
  • Of all the wind turbines listed in this article, the Tesla Turbine is one of two that can be used in an indoor setting. These turbines are very quiet and do not require poles for mounting. You can run them from drafts coming in from a window, or mount them on the roof much as you would an antenna. Because of their small size, capacity to be used at near ground level, and lack of noise, it should be possible to use them in cities as well as other areas where conventional wind turbines are not allowed.

Since the moving parts of the Tesla Turbine are housed in a casing, you will also never have to worry about birds or other animals getting sucked into the blades. Just be sure to put a screen over the wind collector so that animals don’t get sucked into it.

  • As you may recall, Tesla Turbines also release “exhaust” in the form of whatever propelled them (air or water) exiting the center region. You can easily build a tube to catch this exhaust and then feed it right back into the turbine intake for greater efficiency.
  • In most cases, people working with Tesla Turbines have too much spinning to deal with as opposed to too little!

Oscillating Membranes

It is fair to say that if you are going to generate enough electricity for a homestead, or even a conventional household, it will take some time and money to build or purchase large enough devices. Even if you decide to build Tesla Turbine units, it can take some time to get all the modules built.

That all being said, if you are in an emergency situation and need to scavenge in order to generate small amounts of power, a device that uses oscillating membranes, or Wind Belt may be of use.

Basically, the Wind Belt makes use of a thin strip of material mounted in such a way that the material will vibrate if a breeze passes it. As the material vibrates or “oscillates”, it pushes magnets up and down located on each side of the belt. These magnets pass through coils of magnets as they move, which generates electricity.

Systems like this are being used in third world countries to provide lighting and other basic needs in rural areas where other systems are not available. The Wind Belt will power LED lights, and can also be used to charge small batteries. They cost as little as $5.00 to build and will work with wind speeds as low as 10 mph.

You can build your own Wind Belt to see how they work, and then store away the materials to make more devices as needed.

If you have little more than a magnet, a few coils of wire, and an old VCR tape, you can make a Wind Belt. Thus, they are ideal for both short term and long term crisis situations for powering low drain devices. Since they can run on breezes from a window, and will not harm birds or other animals, they can be used just about anywhere. Unfortunately, larger sized devices may be a bit noisy.

You can easily build a Wind Belt, and also innovate on the design to produce more electricity. For example, you can try using a frame that will accommodate multiple strips, or membranes. From there, simply connect more magnets and coils, then combine their power.

You can also experiment with different membrane lengths to come up with more optimal sizes. Something that would be about the size of a small car radiator may just give you enough power to run small camping equipment gear.

Video first seen on Vic Aguilar aka UpBeatnik

Nautilus Shell Wind Turbines

There is no such thing as a device that generates absolutely no noise while it is running. Unfortunately, advancements in wind power have often been halted because conventional wind turbines make so much noise.

Even though there have been many innovations that reduce sound to a level where wind turbines can be used in cities and towns, few match the quietness of nautilus style shell turbines. These designs are also far more efficient than conventional turbines and easily match or exceed other designs listed in this article.

Nautilus style wind turbines were invented in Holland by a company called The Archimedes. As you may be aware, the common Nautilus shell creates a perfect spiral that is found in just about every part of nature.

When it comes to capturing wind power, this design has very little drag and will spin in even slight breezes. Regardless of where the wind is coming from, it moves easily along the curved blades and causes them to spin. The shell system can also be mounted in such a way that it will turn and bend in order to capture wind from every direction with ease.

Unlike other systems, this design does not require motors or computers to find the optimal direction. It moves much like a wind vane and easily finds the optimal direction for generating power.

 

Video first seen on Windvoordeel

Vortex Bladeless Wind Turbine

If you understand how a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner with a wind tunnel works, then you have the basics of how the Vortex Bladeless Wind Turbine works. Basically, this is a vertical wind turbine that captures wind that moves along a spiral path, or vortex until it reaches the bottom.

No matter what direction the wind comes in from, it is optimized by the spiral so that it is just right for spinning the motor at the bottom. Since the vortex column also tilts with the wind, the shaking motion helps optimize the wind power.

Even though this wind turbine works well as designed, you might want to try using it to drive a Tesla Turbine instead. This will give you all the advantages of concentrating and optimizing the wind flow and also the benefits of not needing a motor to generate electricity.

You may also want to use the vortex wind turbine with oscillating membranes or other devices that can replace the motor assembly.

Video first seen on Vortex Bladeless

Nano or Tiny Wind Turbine

Consider that tiny drops of rain in enough quantity can create a flood, while snowflakes can create blizzard and piles of snow that reach several feet in height. No matter how small some things may be, they can amount to huge things if assembled correctly. Nano Wind Turbines take that basic idea and apply it to capturing wind.

Basically the “Nano Vent Skin” is a fabric made up of tiny turbines that look similar to the QR 5. As these tiny turbines spin, they generate small amounts of electricity that can be pooled together to run all kinds of devices.

Perhaps best of all, a breeze from cars passing by, or just about anything else will set these tiny turbines in motion. The fabric can be mounted on window shades, building walls, or even to your own clothes. If you are interested in wind turbines that operate primarily at ground level, this design or modifications of it may be the ones you will be best served by focusing on.

As innovative as this design is, you will not find it available for sale to consumers. In addition, nano technologies are still very much in their infancy. That being said, if you study the orientation of the wind turbines and their axis carefully, you may be able to build a grid of 1” turbines that will generate electricity with ease.

Instead of using a QR5 helical design, you may also want to try the Nautilus shell design to see if it improves efficiency.

Video first seen on aotegui

A Note About Power Storage

It should be noted that no power generation system is truly complete unless you can store the power and produce an even flow of current. While these topics are beyond the scope of this article, do not forget to keep up to date on innovations such as the cotton battery and other systems that may work better and last longer than rechargeable batteries currently on the market.

If you can find a battery system that you can build for yourself from scavenged parts, or with a minimal amount of effort, you should also know how to integrate those batteries into a more conventional system.

If you have been thinking for using wind power for emergency and long term survival needs, you may also be spending most of your time learning how to optimize, build, and maintain conventional wind turbine systems.

As you can see, focusing on these old, outdated systems will more than likely require building systems that are at least twice the size, break down easier, and will not last as long as some of the newer innovations emerging in this field.

Take some time now to look at some of the vertical, helical, and shell designs to see which ones will best suit your needs. At the very least, you can try building small models to see if they offer an advantage to something you may have been planning to build or buy.

In an upcoming EMP disaster, knowledge is power. Click the banner bellow to find out more about how to build your own survival sources of electricity and much more!

EMPCover1

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.alternative-energy-tutorials.com/energy-articles/wind-turbine-blade-design.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQexzNg_e9A

http://www.windspireenergy.com/

http://sierrasolarsystems.com/WePower.html

https://www.freeonplate.com/how-to-build-cheap-windbelt-generator-using-vhs-tape/

http://www.iflscience.com/technology/new-bladeless-wind-turbine-looks-asparagus/

http://nanoventskin.blogspot.ro/

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Surviving Blackout: 12 Survival Alternatives To Candles

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Survival Candles Alternatives

The electric is out and you’re digging frantically through the drawer trying to find the candles. Or maybe you’ve already used all of your candles and still need alternative light.

Well, the good news is that you have plenty of options and most of these are readily available in most homes.

Before we talk about makeshift candles, we need to talk about wicks and containers for a minute.

If you don’t have any candle wicks at home, you can make one using:

  • A shoestring with the plastic end cut off (which, by the way, is called an aglet!)
  • A strip of cotton cloth from a shirt, towel, sock, etc.
  • A piece of rope from a mop
  • Para cord
  • Candle wicks, which can be bought online individually or by the roll or at craft store.

Unless you’re using actual candle wicks that aren’t coated in wax, prime the wick by dipping it into whatever you’re using as a candle. Good containers include:

  • Mason jars
  • Sturdy used food jars
  • Tin vegetable/fruit cans
  • Sea shells
  • Empty tuna cans
  • Altoids tins
  • Teacups/coffee cups
  • Metal lids
  • Aluminum foil shaped into a cup/bowl
  • Beer/soda cans
  • Birch bark

Crayons

Crayons: those magical wax sticks that allow your 4-year-old to express his artistic side on your wall. Well guess what? They’re flammable and can serve as a candle in a pinch. Granted, you won’t get much light from a single crayon, but it’s better than nothing and one crayon will burn up to 30 minutes.

Before you light the tip, heat the bottom a little bit, then stick it to a solid surface. Put it on something that you don’t mind getting wax on. Then all you need to do is light the tip.

You can also create a longer-burning candle by taping 3 crayons together around a wick, then lighting a wick, or go big and make a pillar candle in the same manner using as many crayons as you want, along with a couple extra wicks.

Video first seen on DaveHax.

Crisco

A single can of Crisco can light your nights for a month. That’s right – just one can will burn for 8 hours a day for a month. Just stick a wick down the center of it, push the Crisco back around it, and light it.

If you’d like more light, put more than one wick in it. If you want to spread the light around into different rooms, put some Crisco and a wick in a few smaller containers such as jars or cans.

Bacon Grease

Do you keep a cup of bacon grease in the fridge? I still do! If the lights go out and you don’t have candles, stick a wick down the center of your bacon grease just like you would with Crisco. If you don’t have bacon grease, don’t worry!

If you have bacon in the fridge, you need to use it before it goes bad anyway. Pull off the fatty pieces and wrap it around a wick, put it in a container, and you have a candle. Plus … it smells like bacon!

Canned Fish

Cans of tuna, salmon and sardines, which we’ve already suggested that you stockpile, are some of the canned foods that are packed in oil. Now remember: some are packed in water, which is what many people prefer, so this idea won’t work – the meat has to be packed in oil.

Either drain the oil out of the meat into another container, or just poke a hole in the top of the can, push the wick in, and burn off the oil. Don’t forget to prime the wick. The meat is still edible after you burn the oil out of it. With sardines that you eat right out of the can, you can just eat them and then put a wick in the oil.

Cooking Oil

Just about any cooking oil – vegetable, corn, olive, coconut – will work as fuel for a candle. Pour it into a jar or can (a jar works better because you can put a lid on it and poke a hole in it for the wick. If you use a can, just hold the wick up with a clothes pin or something. It’s doubly important that you prime the wick.

Butter

Yup, you heard it. Cut a wedge of butter in half, stand it on end on a plate, and stick a wick in it. You’ll get about an hour per tablespoon, which means 8 hours per stick. If you’ve canned butter as we’ve discussed here, you have an instant candle just by adding a wick.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Lard

Lard was actually what was originally used to make lamp oil and candles, so it’s tried and tested. The reason that I mention it separately from Crisco is because this is something that you can make at home. If you’ve already canned it, just pop the top, stick a wick in it, and you have a candle. You can also divide it into smaller containers to divide between rooms.

Cheese Wax

If you’ve turned some of your extra milk into stored cheese, or bought waxed-cheese, then use the wax off your cheese – or any extra wax that you have stored back – to make a candle. Shape the wax around the wick and you have an instant candle. The more wax you use, the bigger the candle.

Petroleum Jelly

We all know that cotton swabs dipped in petroleum jelly make great fire starters. It makes an excellent candle replacement, too. It’s not a good idea to use the plastic container that it comes in, so dip it out into another container, add a wick, and you’ve got a candle.

You can also dip a cotton ball into the Vaseline, then fold it up into foil. Cut a small x in the foil, pull a bit of the cotton swab through, and light it. It will burn for about 30 minutes.

Old Candles

Chances are good that you have candles that you’ve burned down, but didn’t use all the wax. Get that out of the jars by warming up the jar or gently using a butter knife to crack it into pieces to get it out of the old containers.

Melt the wax together. Place a wick with a weight on it, either the little piece of metal if it came with it, or even a little rock so that it stays in the bottom, then carefully pour the wax in. Let it set and you’ve got a brand new candle.

Lip Balm

These are nearly always made from either petroleum or from natural oils such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, all of which are flammable. Especially if you buy the little tins of lip balm, you’ve already got your own little candle, just add wick. If it’s in a plastic tube, just roll it clear up and squish it into a container that you can burn it in and add a wick.

Bonus Cooking Candles

This is a great way to warm up a can of soup or even cook something. It’s like a home-made Sterno, sort of. Use a tuna can, a sardine can, or some other short metal container. Cut a strip of cardboard that is as wide as the can is high. Wrap or fold it so that it fits tightly into the container. Pour wax or enough oil to saturate the cardboard over the cardboard and light it. You have a mini-stove!

Make a Candle Out of an Orange

You don’t even need a wick for this one! Cut the orange in half and clean out the pulp, leaving the center pith. Fill the peel with wax or oil and you have a candle!

So what’s the lesson of the day? Be creative and keep multipurpose items in your stockpile! Can you think of anything else that will work as a makeshift candle? If so, please share it with us in the comments section below.

And be prepared to survive an EMP! Click the banner bellow and prepare yourself for this disaster scenario before it happens.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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The Basic Study Guide For Your EMP Survival

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EMP is an important hazard to prepare for. It has the potential to disrupt critical infrastructure we depend on to sustain life, causing cascading effects of long duration over great areas.

EMP is not the only emergency that mankind should prepare for, but it is one of a handful of hazards that virtually everyone is enormously exposed to.

There is so much to do, and so little time. It’s easy to see why some of our readers ask themselves where to start from. 

“I am very overwhelmed with trying to start prepping, especially for an EMP. I have studies what kind of food and seed to stock up on. I’ve read all the different scenarios that could cause an EMP survival situation. I just do not know how or where to start.”

David, from Ohio

Here’s where I’ll point you in the right direction!

Why Most Preppers Fail to Adequately Prepare for EMP

Most preppers do not make emergency preparations out of fear for some singular threat to the exclusion of all others as the negative “Doomsday Prepper” Hollywood-media stereotype would suggest, so there is no need to point out to most of you that EMP survival should be one aspect of a more comprehensive emergency plan.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that many otherwise responsible preppers are deficient in their EMP preparedness. I was curious as to why people would procrastinate EMP survival preparations in favor of preparing for smaller threats that they were less exposed to. Reasons varied, but here are some of the most common that I found:

  • Do not understand EMP well enough to get started.
  • Don’t know what to do.
  • Are unsure if EMP is really a threat at all.
  • Have read conflicting information and are not sure which to believe.
  • Don’t know how much it will cost.
  • Seems daunting.
  • Not convenient. There are easier things that can be done in other areas.

The trend was easy to spot. A general lack of understanding of EMP caused people move on to other tasks. I understand. EMP is a technical topic and the prospect of studying it is not appealing to everyone. The cure for this deficiency is also readily apparent.

If these people truly understood the magnitude of their exposure to EMP and what to do to fix it, I suspect that they would have chosen to prepare. People tend to think they fail because they lack willpower, when they usually really fail before they get to a test of will.

Where these survivalists actually failed was in their failure to sufficiently dedicate themselves to their cause. In this case, they failed to understand the risk (EMP) and their exposure to that risk. Had they really understood, EMP preparedness would been the natural thing to do. Preparing would be a mere function of their vision as opposed to a test of willpower.

As the issue of being unsure which information on EMP is correct and which is incorrect, sufficient study would eventually sort that out, but I’ll point you in the right direction so you don’t waste your time.

Basic Overview of EMP

If EMP is a new topic for you or you just want to start over at the beginning, this section will help you get your head around the subject. So here are a few sources you should start your study from.

National Geographic Video: Electronic Armageddon

You can watch it on YouTube or buy the DVD. If you are a visual learner, this video is a start.

Video first seen on High Frontier.

FutureScience, LLC has a page called A Basic Introduction to Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse which is a great article on the type of EMP that is caused by a high-altitude nuclear detonation.

The Need to Prepare for EMP

This section will help you commit yourself to the cause of preparing for EMP a little like the films in an old-school driver’s education class that showed you brains on the highway. If they watch enough of those, even teenagers will drive more carefully … at least for a while. So don’t forget to periodically re-commit yourself if you begin to lose motivation.

“One Second After” and “One Year After”

one-afterWilliam H. Forstchen wrote the NY Times Best Seller “One Second After”, which is a fictional one.

Forstchen wrote this novel to help ordinary people better understand the threat of EMP and what it would be like to experience a nuclear HEMP.

The book is a fictional account of a town’s struggles in the wake of a nuclear HEMP, and how the community overcomes many of the obstacle we might face in such a scenario.

The book was very well received and “One Year After” is the next book in the series. These books are help readers put EMP in context and demonstrate what could happen if we do nothing.

EMPact America Website and Newsletter

EMPact America is an organization attempting to enact legislation to harden USA’s critical infrastructure against EMP. EMPact America’s website has an article titled, “What Is Electromagnetic Pulse?” that gives a good overview of EMP. The EMPact America website and newsletter also have a great deal of information on the need to prepare for EMP.

Apocalypse Unknown and Electric Armageddon

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry has led the fight to strengthen critical US infrastructure after being handed the torch from Dr. William R. Graham, the USA’s foremost expert on the subject of EMP.

“Apocalypse Unknown” details this fight against government bureaucracy and the powerful energy lobby, which is afraid of additional regulation and resisting any attempt to harden the electrical grid. This is every bit as big a battle against junk science as oil companies’ argument that lead is good for you and big tobacco arguing that smoking is not harmful to health.

For a  deeper understanding of EMP, there is another book of the same author – Electric Armageddon

EMP Commission Reports

Congress created two EMP commissions to assess the threat of EMP to the nation’s critical infrastructure. The reports of these commissions are helpful in understanding this threat. Here’s the link to EMP Commission Reports on EMPact America Website, in case you want to read it.

US Government Accountability Office Critical Infrastructure Protection Report

This report from GAO on US critical infrastructure highlights the fact that only certain portions of government have any protection from EMP. Your elected officials feel that government communications infrastructure is critical, but it is not critical to keep the infrastructure running that keeps you alive.

MIL-STD-188-125-2

HEMP Protection for Ground-Based C41 Facilities Performing Critical, Time-Urgent Missions Part 1 Fixed Facilities. This spec is useful in understanding and constructing Electromagnetic shielding.

Don White’s Books on EMP

Don White is writing a detailed series on EMP preparedness and is three books in so far. Some readers may find them a little dry, but if you are interested in good information on how to protect homes or solar installations, they are full of important information.

don-white

EMP Articles at Survivopedia by Cache Valley Prepper

I have written a number of useful articles for Survivopedia spanning a number of EMP-related topics, such as: how to tell if an EMP has happened and what type of EMP it is, vehicles, buildings, solar installations, weapons, and more.

The search brought of a couple of article on other topics that you can skip past, but the average prepper should find them useful and technically accurate. CLICK HERE to find the EMP articles by Cache Valley Prepper on Survivopedia website.

The Darkest Days – How to Survive an EMP Attack to the Grid

The last but not the least, there is “The Darkest Days” – Survivopedia’s EMP survival guide that packs secrets few preppers know, borrowed from the resilient Amish, to survive in the coming days.

Here’s one of the reviews that you could easily find about our EMP survival guide:

Video first seen on Survival Guide.

Is there any other good source of information about EMP preparedness that we missed? Do you have any tricks to share about surviving a blackout? Are you still looking for a better way to prepare for this disaster scenario?

EMPCover2This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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Product Review: Solavore Sport Solar Oven

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As the popularity of solar power has increased, so have its alternative uses. One of these, is the solar oven. Designed to cook food, the solar oven works something like a crock-pot, slow cooking the food at low temperatures. This makes for tasty, tender meals, with plenty of time for the flavors of the food to combine.

I haven’t been all that impressed with most of the solar ovens that I’ve looked at. They are little better than what I can build myself. Believe me, if I’m going to buy something, it should be better than what I can do in my garage.

That’s where the Solavore Sport Solar Oven comes in. After reading about my experience with this oven you will want one for yourself, and the best news is that you can still grab it on a discount.

Are you ready?

Solavore Sport Solar Oven is the first solar oven I’ve used, which I can honestly say works better than what I’ve done myself. In fact, it works so much better, that it made me throw away my homemade oven and rethink how a solar oven should be made.

One of the biggest errors I’ve seen made in solar ovens, and yes, I’ve made it myself, is to make the entire thing reflective.

Solar ovens can be broken down into two separate parts, the oven itself and the reflectors. The reflectors obviously need to be reflective, but the oven doesn’t. Rather than try to reflect the sunlight onto the pot, the oven should convert that sunlight to heat, so that it can surround the pot with heat.

This is such a basic design concept that it surprises me more people don’t get it. But then, I didn’t get it myself before Solavore came around. Ovens are supposed to surround the food being cooked with heat, so it only make sense to have the oven box convert the light to heat. Besides, if the box reflects the light, it’s probably not going to reflect it onto the cooking pot anyway.

More than anything, the Solavore Sport is designed to convert sunlight to heat and it does that very well. The oven box itself is lined with flat black-painted aluminum, so that it can convert as much light to heat as possible. But then, it works to hold that heat in. The oven box is insulated (an R-value of 6.5, they say), ensuring that the heat isn’t just lost. The clear lid that the light comes in is double-paned as well, helping to hold heat in from that direction as well.

A key design element, which I’ve never seen in any other solar oven, is that the lid, which appears to be vacuum formed from Plexiglas, has a wide mating area that makes contact with the oven box, all the way around. This eliminates one of the biggest heat loss areas found on most solar ovens, around the edges of the lid.

In fact, the Solavore Sport is so good at generating and holding in heat, that you only need to use the reflectors during the early morning and evening hours, or when the sky is somewhat overcast. The oven itself generate enough heat to cook the food without the reflectors, when it is exposed to direct sunlight.

Do you wonder if Solavore Sport Solar Oven would work during winter days? I did. Since it’s September, and winter is still far away, I can’t test it by myself yet, but here’s a video that I found and I have to share with you:

Video first seen on Solavore Solar Ovens.

The people at Solavore have gone all out in this model, using high-quality materials that seem to last. Like the aluminum oven lining, each part and each material seems to be carefully selected to ensure the best possible cooking experience. Everything I’ve tried cooking in the oven has turned out well, no muss, no fuss, just good food.

To ensure that the oven is able to cook the food you want, it comes with two four quart baked enamel dutch ovens for cooking in. The oven is large enough to accommodate both of these at the same time, allowing you to cook two dishes together. It also comes with an oven thermometer, allowing you to know the exact temperature inside your oven at all times. The manufacturers recommend removing the reflectors once the internal temperature reaches 270 – 280 degrees.

They’ve also included a WAPI in the kit, allowing you to use your solar oven for purifying water. The WAPI or “Water Pasteurization Indicator” is a small device which was originally developed for use in third-world countries. With it, one can purify water anywhere they have heat.

Rather than boiling water to purify it, a WAPI allows you to pasteurize it. This means raising the temperature high enough to kill of the microscopic pathogens in the water; the whole purpose of purifying water. By pasteurizing, instead of boiling, a lot of energy can be saved, as the temperature for pasteurization is well below the boiling point of water.

The WAPI consists of a plastic capsule with a wax bead inside. It is floated in the water, with the wax bead up, while it is being heated. When the water reaches a temperature hot enough to melt the wax, the pellet will drop to the bottom of the capsule, indicating that the water is now purified. Once removed from the water, the wax will solidify once again, allowing the WAPI to be used over and over again.

Between the excellent quality and the attention to detail shown by supplying everything you need but the sun, Solavore has created a superior product which will provide anyone with well cooked food, even when the power goes out. Whether you want to save energy or you want a means to cook off-the-grid, the Solavore Sport Solar Oven gives you the option of baking everything from cakes to roasts, with veggies and eggs in between.

As for the price, you’re getting what you’re paying for, and this solar oven appears to be better than other products on the market as well. That’s why our 20% discount turns it into the best solar oven money can buy.

Take your off-grid cooking experience to the next level with Solavore Sport Solar Oven and enjoy the last days of our promotional offer! Hurry up and click the banner below to grab the offer!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

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4 Ways To Preserve Food In A Solar Oven

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There are many ways to preserve food, but how many of those methods transfer to your solar cooker? I decided to check things out and see whether or not you can even use it for food preservation; after all, the temperatures can be a bit erratic and heat is dependent on the sun.

It turns out that you can use your solar oven for more than just one way to preserve your food. It’s possible to can your food and dehydrate it using your solar oven. If you don’t have one, we can take care of it, just read this article to the end to find an offer you can’t miss!

Before we get into that, I’m going to quickly explain how a solar oven works. There are a variety of different ways to trap the heat, but the general idea is that you trap the heat of the sun in order to heat up your “oven” enough to cook foods.

Most solar ovens only reach 325 degrees F, maximum, on a sunny day so you do have some limitations. Also, since it’s tough to maintain a consistently high temperature, you can’t really pressure can in your solar oven.

You can cook in it, you can roast in it, you can dehydrate in it, you can even can high-acid foods in your solar oven, but it’s not safe to can low-acid foods in it. There’s no way to guarantee that the temperature will stay high enough long enough to kill the botulinum toxin that causes botulism.

Canning High-Acid Foods in a Solar Oven

Now that we’ve established that you can’t pressure can, that narrows down the list of foods that you can preserve in your solar oven. High-acid foods such as most fruits and tomatoes are safe to can in your solar oven, but you can’t can most vegetables or any meats. Unless of course you’re willing to die for it! Trust me, botulism is no fun.

If you’re canning tomatoes, it’s still a good idea to add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice just to boost the acid content. Fruits that are low-acid include:

  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Papaya
  • Ripe pineapple (I know – this one surprised me, too!)
  • Persimmons

These fruits shouldn’t be canned in your solar cooker because there’s not enough acid in them to kill the bad bacteria.

acid-foods

To use your solar oven to can, it’s important that you start in the morning on a clear day so that you have plenty of time to get it warmed up and give your cans plenty of time to process.

Start by sterilizing your jars and equipment so that you reduce the risk of contaminating your canned goods with bacteria. Prepare your fruit just as you would for regular canning.

Just as you do when canning in a water bath, fill your jars with fruit, sugar (if you want) and water or juice. Slide your spatula down the sides to get as much air as possible out. Leave the head room at the top of the jar as recommended by the instructions for your particular fruit. You may want to leave a quarter of an inch or so more than recommended.

Place your jars in your solar oven and close the lid. Once the proper temperature has been reached, the fruits will begin to boil in the jars. Process according to the recommended time for what you’re canning, starting at the time that it boils.

Remove your jars carefully as they will be hot. Not only are you in danger of burning yourself, but the jars are also more fragile because they’re hot and pressurized. Set them somewhere where there won’t be a draft, cover them with a towel, and let them cool naturally.

To test if they sealed after the jars are cool, gently press down on the center of the seal. If it pops back up, your jars didn’t seal. You need to re-can them, or eat that jar within the next few days. I hate re-canning fruit because it gets soggy, so unless I’m making jam or jelly, I usually just eat it or give it to family or friends.

Personally, I would recommend starting with a small batch so that if things go wrong, you don’t lose a whole batch of fruit. I do this any time I try something new with canning because, even if I grow my own, it’s still labor-intensive and I don’t want to waste all my hard work. In this case, the heat source isn’t costing you anything, so what do you have to lose.

Note: I’ve seen some instructions on the internet that say it’s OK to allow your food to boil out of the jars, but as a long-time canner, that goes against what I’ve always been taught. Follow that advice at your own discretion, but I wouldn’t do it.

Dry Canning

I haven’t seen anything yet about dry canning in a solar oven, but it seems to me as if it would work, if you’re a person that dry cans in the oven.

Personally, I’ve used the oven method and it worked just fine, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a solar oven. Just keep the temp low – below 250 degrees or so.

Dehydrating Food in a Solar Oven

A solar oven is excellent for dehydrating food – the only trick is to keep the temperature low enough that you don’t cook it instead of dehydrating it. Prepare your meat, fruits, or vegetables just as you would for the dehydrator and place them on a sheet or, even better, on a drying wrack.

Put the pan or drying rack in the solar oven and leave it in there at a low temp of no more than 150 degrees until it reaches the crisp phase. Remember that your meat or produce needs to be sliced thinly before dehydrating. Flip your product from side to side every couple of hours so that it dehydrates evenly. Turn your dehydrator accordingly, too.

After you dehydrate your food, you could also dry can them in order to extend the shelf life.

Fruit Leather

Your solar oven would be a good way to make fruit leather, too. Prepare your fruit by creating a smooth paste. Add sugar to the mix if you’d like, but if you’re using super-ripe fruit, which is the best type to use for fruit leather, you probably won’t need any.

Again, you don’t want to cook the fruit; you want to dehydrate it, so you don’t want to let your solar cooker get too hot. Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or whatever type of pan will fit in your cooker, then spread the fruit puree in a thin layer on the paper. Dry as long as needed to make it like leather. It will still be flexible and slightly sticky, but should stay together in a sheet.

The only downside to making fruit leather in a solar oven is that you can only make a small amount at a time unless you have a way to stack the racks. Since we’re preppers and homesteaders, that shouldn’t be a problem, though!

You can only use your solar oven for a couple of food preservation methods, but even if you only can your jellies in it, you’ll be saving a ton of wood if you’re canning openly in a SHTF situation.

All you need now to get started is your solar oven, so we have for you this incredible offer that you shouldn’t miss! Click the banner below to grab this opportunity!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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The War On Coal: Going Green On Energy

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One of the left’s holy grails is clean energy; the idea of using 100% renewable energy sources, which don’t cause any pollution whatsoever. That’s a nice dream, if you can accomplish it, but the technology just isn’t there, no matter what environmentalists say.

The thing is, there are only two energy sources which are considered by the left to qualify as green or environmentally friendly; solar and wind. As a former engineer and consummate tinkerer, I happen to know a fair amount about those two. I’ve built both solar panels and a wind turbine for my home, so I have a fair idea of what they can do and what they can’t.

But as we all know, the left isn’t interested in facts, they’re too focused on their ideology. As far as they’re concerned, all they have to do is legislate it and POOF! It will appear. It must be nice to life in such a fantasy world, but I’ve never found how to move there.

Does Nature Have a Back  Up Plan?

Both wind and solar power have the same failings. First of all, they are extremely inefficient. I’ve watched solar power for over 40 years now, hoping that there would be a breakthrough in power production, allowing solar to truly become a viable energy source.

But the only breakthroughs that have been made in that area are to build flexible panels and make some very minor improvements in efficiency. For over 40 years of research, what they’ve come up with is not worth mentioning.

Wind power seems to be doing somewhat better, at least in efficiency. Today, 4.7% of our nation’s electrical power is produced by wind, compared to a paltry 0.6% which comes from solar. While that doesn’t hold a candle to nuclear power at 20% or coal and natural gas, both of which account for 33%, it’s fast approaching the power production from hydroelectric power plants, which account for 6% of our nation’s power production.

In the last 20 years, we’ve seen wind power grow from 6.1 gigawatts to 283 gigawatts globally. That’s an increase of over 46 times. In the same time frame, solar power has risen from 0.6 gigawatts to 100 gigawatts. That’s an amazing 166 times what it was 20 years ago! But it will be a long time until either of these power sources can be taken seriously as a replacement for fossil fuels.

The big problem with both wind and solar is that they are unreliable. Solar power only works during daylight hours and only produces its peak production when the panels are pointed directly at the sun.  Few solar farms have solar trackers installed, so they are rarely running at peak production. Then there’s the problem of clouds, rain and snow, all of which reduce the potential output of any solar power facility.

Wind is actually more reliable than solar, as it can work 24 hours a day. But even then, it depends on constant wind, something that exists in only a very few places. While meteorologists can predict to some degree when there will be wind, they really can’t do a thing to guarantee it.

What this means is that for both of these power sources it’s necessary to have backup. Something has to be ready to provide power to the customers, when the wind and solar power plants aren’t producing. That something is the environmentalists’ enemy, fossil fuels.

In other words, for every solar farm or wind farm that’s out there, producing electricity, there is a coal, natural gas or nuclear power plant running at less than its full potential, waiting to step in and produce the electrical power people and businesses need, when green energy falls short. So maybe those green options aren’t really as green as the left would like us to believe. Maybe they’re nothing more than a chimera being chased by little children.

As long as these green energy sources can’t be relied upon, something else will be needed. Oh, they might build more wind and solar farms, but they won’t be able to eliminate other energy sources, regardless of what laws are passed and what decrees some from on high.

The big problem is one of storage. Energy production has to match energy consumption more or less exactly. Otherwise, we end up with brownouts and blackouts. Under the current system, the power companies, in cooperation, regulate the amount of power produced, so that it matches that which is consumed. That means there is a never-ending dance to increase and decrease power output from the nation’s power plants, in an effort to match what over 300 million people, their electronics, their homes, and their businesses consume.

You see, there’s no efficient means of storing electricity in large amounts. Can you imagine a battery that is big enough to store the electricity that a city consumes in a day?

Tesla’s Powerwall, the biggest, most efficient battery for home energy storage holds 6.4 kWh, for a price of about $3,000. Considering that the average home energy usage in the United States is over 30 kWh per day, it would take 5 of those per household, and that doesn’t take into consideration business, government or industrial use of electricity, all of which are much higher.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

Clearly, it leaves us needing to rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy for the majority of our energy production; at least for now. There are many people researching energy production and storage, hoping to come up with something better than we have now; but they haven’t grabbed the gold ring just yet.

Nevertheless, liberals are hot on the tail of eliminating the dirty energy created by fossil fuels.

We’ve been hearing for some time about Obama’s war on coal, which is being echoed by his protégé, Hillary Clinton. Apparently the two of them are convinced that all they have to do is regulate coal energy out of existence and by some magical means, green energy will appear to replace it.

It would be bad enough if this fantasy was limited to those two, but it’s a common fantasy shared by liberals around the world. I keep seeing articles about European countries that are going green, eliminating dirty coal and converting totally to wind and solar power.

Yet in the midst of all that, Germany, one of the world’s leaders in pushing for green energy, has finally woke up to the realization that they can’t afford to go green. That’s right, after pouring billions of dollars into green energy, they’ve finally woken up to the fact that they just don’t have enough money to totally convert their country to renewable energy sources.

Believe it or not, there are countries out there who are 90% or more green. But there are two things that stand out about those countries. The first is that their overall energy usage is rather low, as most of them are not really industrialized nations. The second is that the vast majority of the green power production in those countries is not from solar or wind, but from hydroelectric dams. That’s where the world’s real green energy is.

Of the 17 countries in the world who produce over 90% of their electrical energy via renewable resources, only one, Norway, can actually be considered an industrialized nation. Yet the U.S. solar power production (which is our lowest contributor) is 127 times greater than their total renewable power production. Oh, and, 98.6% of Norway’s renewable power is hydroelectric, not solar or wind.

So the next time you hear someone on the left bellyaching about how our electric power production is so dirty, and how horrible we are as a country, let them complain.

If you can, get them to talk about Norway, stepping into your trap. You can then tell them that the only reason that Norway is doing so good at green energy is that 98.6% of their electrical energy is produced by big ugly electric power dams. Let them chew on that for a while.

energy consumption

Facts and Figures

Actually, the country which produces the most green energy in the world is China, beating out the United States by 2.4 to 1. But they are also the worst country in the world for air pollution produced by power plants. So, even though they produce a lot of renewable energy, they are contributing more to greenhouse gases than anyone else.

The United States is number one in the world for wind power production. We’re number eight for solar. We’re number four for hydroelectric. So maybe we’re not doing all that bad. Granted, we use more electricity than any other country in the world, except China, but we’re working on producing more green energy.

The other point to make to leftists about green energy is that the advances we’ve made in green energy haven’t been caused by government regulation or by Obama’s war on coal, but rather by the same power companies they complain about. Because, you see, the government really doesn’t produce anything but red tape and heartburn.

So, when states like Oregon create laws that outlaw coal power, they’re not accomplishing much of anything. All they are really doing is raising the energy costs for their citizens and setting themselves up for energy shortages.

Outlawing coal power isn’t going to make wind more efficient. It’s not going to make solar more efficient. Nor is it going to make wave power generators suddenly become a major player in the electrical power generation game. All it’s going to do, is cause people trouble.

As with many other things, the real way to get progress is to encourage innovation. If they want to do something, then they should invest some of that money they’re wasting on fighting global warming in research aimed at alternative energy sources. Maybe then, that money will do some good.

EMPCover2

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601514/germany-runs-up-against-the-limits-of-renewables/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Norway

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5 DIY Cooling Devices For Your Off-grid Survival

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Survivopedia DIY cooling devices

I’m not sure how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but here in Survivopedia-land I’m dealing with 93-94 F on a daily basis for the last couple of months.

Being hot as hell, the air-conditioner works full time during the day. Now, the question is, how can you deal with a heatwave when it comes to off-grid survival? I mean, our ancestors managed to get through it, but what would happen to you, dear reader, in a survival scenario?

The idea is that there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve your quality of life even when it comes to life in the wilderness.

Now, off grid survival means that you’re basically out there somewhere on your own, without a hardware store nearby and likely without power, right? Can you improvise something to mitigate a bad case of scorching heat, at least temporarily?

Well, let’s talk about a few ideas about how to DIY your own air conditioner in case you need it, shall we? Let’s begin with the basics.

Since we’re talking about off-grid scenarios, the point is to build an air conditioner which doesn’t eat a lot of power, like the regular ones do, i.e. we want to manufacture a cooling device that can work well on solar power or using a car battery.

Project 1: The Dirt Cheap Cooler

Our first DIY project is about an air cooling gizmo that is manufactured from readily available, dirt cheap materials. It’s fun and easy to build, yet strong enough to cool you off some on a day like this (today was a real scorcher).

The materials required for this baby are an ice-chest (a hard-sided/plastic one), PVC pipe, a small fan, and ice. Easy as pie, right? The trick is how to get the ice, but if you can sort that one out, well, the world will be your (cool) oyster.

To power this device, you’ll have three choices: solar power (you’ll have to put a solar-panel on the bucket-list), a battery, or your own automobile using the car’s 12 volt cigarette lighter plug.

The specs of the fan are 12 VDC 10 watt 0.8 amperes. If you’re going for solar power, you’ll need a 15 watt/1 ampere system. Also, this DIY project works best in dry climates, as dry air cools faster than humid air.

A block of ice will last for five hours (empirical evidence) while larger blocks will last you twice as that, up to ten hours. The DIY job is very straight forward and here’s a video tutorial with easy to follow instructions.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Basically, you’ll have to cut 2 holes in the ice box. At one end you’ll install the fan, which will suck air into the ice-box (you must put a chunk of ice inside). At the other end, you’ll have to install a PVC pipe that will blow the cooled air into the room.

You’ll need a cutting tool to make the cuts in the plastic ice-box but, truth be told, this is a 15 minutes job tops if you’re good with your hands and you own the proper tools. This improvised AC is able to deliver very cold air – 42F more precisely – but when the ice runs out (as in melts away), you’ll start sweating again.

Project 2: Another Ice Cooler

This is a variant of the first DIY project, as it uses basically the same principle and materials as the first one, sans the plastic ice chest.

Instead, you’ll be using a Styrofoam ice-box, which is way cheaper and easier to cut for installing the fan and the PVC pipe. The rest is basically the same, i.e. a solar panel/battery for powering the fan and some ice.

As I already told you, in these 2 DIY jobs, which are massive fun if you’ll be involving your kids, the essential ingredient is the ice. If you can’t get the ice, you’ll be doomed. Here’s the video tutorial with detailed and easy-to-follow instructions.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Project 3: The Bucket Air Cooler

This home-made air conditioner is an internet classic known as the five gallon bucket air cooler. Also, a variant of the previous two, using the famous five gallon bucket instead of the plastic/Styrofoam ice-box. The materials and tools required are the same: the fan, the PVC pipe, etc.

Remember folks, all three of these projects are non-compressor based, hence getting the ice is the catch 22.

However, one frozen jug of water put in the five gallon bucket air conditioner lasted for six hours, so we can describe these DIY “sans compressor” air-conditioners as the “redneck’s cooler”, provided you have power (via solar, generator, etc.) and a refrigerator available to make ice.

It’s also good if you can’t afford or don’t want to buy a regular AC unit for various reasons. I almost forgot the most important part: here’s the video tutorial.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Project 4: The Geo-thermal Air Cooler

The next project doesn’t require buckets or ice chests and it has a fancy name too: the DIY geothermal cooling system. This is a rather complicated project which requires some skills and some tools and materials. The general idea is pretty simple, though.

Video first seen on luke Fugate.

This guy is using the water from a deep well and a small electric pump to recirculate it via hoses. There is a copper-hose section and also a bunch of recycled parts from an old AC unit used to build a very interesting air cooling device. It basically recirculates the cold water from the well to cool the air via a copper radiator mounted inside the house.

This is a low-energy-sans-compressor air conditioning unit, but it doesn’t require ice for doing the cooling job, hence it’s a true off-grid air conditioner, provided you have the gear and the well.

Truth be told, the geo-thermal cooling device makes for a very interesting idea to say the least, as this DIY air conditioner can be powered using a solar-panel installation or a car battery for extended periods of time (it’s not power-hungry).

Project 5: The Vortex Cooling Gizmo

Last but not least, enter the pompously named DIY Homemade Vortex Cooling Gizmo. Keep in mind that you’ll need a source of compressed air for running this DIY air cooling project, so there’s a catch 22 built into it from the beginning. As long as you have compressed air available, (as in a compressor which requires power), here’s the video-tutorial depicting all the stages of the project (there’s a part deux too).

Video first seen on Otto Belden.

Provided you have all the tools, materials, and skills required, you can build a very efficient air conditioner that can decrease the temperature anywhere between 10-15 degrees F when it comes to cooling. The idea is to build a vortex cooling tube (it has no moving parts) which separates hot and cold air using a compressor.

Thus, going from high pressure to low pressure, you’ll create a temperature drop, i.e. air conditioning. The same basic principle is used in commercial refrigeration systems like your AC unit or your fridge.

To make things simpler (less DIY that is), you can buy an expansion valve or an orifice-tube setup from an auto parts store (20 bucks or less) and save a lot of assembly work.

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or comments, just use the dedicated section below. Good luck and have fun folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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How To Make A Potter’s Wheel For Off-grid Survival

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Survivopedia make pottery wheel

Pottery has been an on-and-off passion of mine since I was in high school. I’m a fair hand at it and have made some pieces that I’m pretty proud of. I’ve explained in another article how to make pots using other methods but today we’re going to talk about how to make and use a potter’s wheel.

The benefit of using a potter’s wheel is that you can create more refined, beautiful, functional pieces that you can use for yourself or for trade. The other methods are perfectly acceptable for creating functional and even beautiful pottery but there’s just something about using a wheel.

Throwing pottery (what it’s called when you use a wheel), is an art that allows you to make virtually any size or shape of pottery once you get the hang of it. It’s also extremely therapeutic. It takes all of your concentration to throw pottery, so your concerns tend to melt away, and the end result gives you a real sense of accomplishment.

There are two basic types of potter’s wheels: electric and manual wheels. In this article, the focus will be on the manual types because you can use them even if you don’t have power. Plus, I prefer a manual wheel because, at least for me, an electric wheel tends to be more jerky when starting and stopping, and the speed isn’t as easy to control.

There are two primary types of manual potter’s wheels: kick wheels and treadle wheels.

How to Build a Kick Wheel Potter’s Wheel

There are several different ways that you can build a kick wheel but the primary components are a flat plate (bat) to actually work on, and a weighted flywheel attached to the plate so that you can turn it and control the speed. To speed it up, you just kick faster. To slow it down, you just drag your foot on the wheel.

I also highly recommend using a splash pan around the throwing wheel to avoid a tremendous mess on you, the floor, and the walls. This will also save clay waste because you can catch it in the pan and throw the excess back in with your clay or slip.

You can get fancy and build a potter’s wheel with an attached bench, such as the one shown in this instructable, but you can pull up a chair just as easily. The advantage of building one without a bench is that people of different heights can comfortably use it. Of course, if you’re going to be the only one using it, feel free to add a bench!

Another feature that some potters like to have is an arm rest. This helps keep your hands steady as you throw. I found a fabulous, detailed, step-by-step design for a kick wheel that has no bench and an adjustable-height, removable arm rest here. It lists exactly what you’ll need, then it explains with both text and pictures, how to build it.

If you decide to build an arm rest into your potter’s wheel, it should be nearly level with the throwing wheel (called the bat). This is critical because you need to ensure that the clay is perfectly centered on the bat and if your arms aren’t level, it will put unnecessary strain on your shoulders, wrists, and elbows. It will also make it difficult to work the clay properly and get it centered. If it’s not, your piece will end up collapsing on you as you build it up.

I’m currently  without a wheel and think that I’m going to build this one myself because the instructions are great and it only costs about $60 total. Just a suggestion though – it’s best to keep this in a garage or a separate craft room because pottery is a super messy endeavor, just like most good projects!

Building a Treadle Wheel

The other type of wheel, a treadle wheel, is still more stable than an electric wheel because you have more control of the speed, stopping, and starting; it’s less jerky. That being said, it’s much more complicated, and probably more expensive, to build that a kick wheel.

You may often see a treadle wheel referred to as a Leach treadle wheel. This is because the most popular treadle design was created by the sons of Bernard Leach, a famous British potter. His grandson, Simon Leach, has posted a series of detailed pictures of each part of the Leach treadle wheel.

I’ve never thrown on one, so I can’t offer an opinion one way or the other on functionality but the design is interesting. I have read that many potters prefer a kick wheel because the bottom wheel is weighted and thus easier to manage because the weight builds momentum and doesn’t need as much energy to keep it going.

Instead of using a pole that directly attaches to the bat, a treadle potter’s wheel operates by adding a reciprocating pedal and a crank for greater control. The bottom isn’t weighted as much as a kick wheel, though potters who use them seem to love them.

The one site that I found with both pictures and plans is great. It actually looks pretty amazing, and the picture is close-up, so those of you who are handy can probably look at it and duplicate it. There’s also a picture of an old set of blueprints that may help. If any of you try this, I’d love to see some pics and a review of how it works.

Video first seen on Nate Cummings.

Regardless of which type of pottery wheel you decide to use, be aware that there’s a learning curve. The first few times that you attempt a pot or a mug, or even a plate, it’s probably going to look like something a kid may bring home from grade school, assuming you actually accomplish and end product.

Don’t worry, though. It doesn’t take long to become proficient using a pottery wheel and I’d honestly recommend learning on a manual wheel instead of an electric one because it doesn’t require the coordination that an electric one does. I’m not saying that you’re going to be a master potter in a week, but you should certainly be able to manage a coffee cup or small pot in that amount of time.

If you do some searching on the internet, you’ll find several different ways to make potter’s wheels from simple household items such as mop buckets. There are also a wide array of instructions for making simple electric pottery wheels out there too, but like I said, I prefer to use the manual wheels. Call me old school, I guess.

Manual devices won’t ever let you down in a case of an EMP, so be prepared and get all the knowledge you can get on off-grid survival. Click on the picture below to find our more about surviving this type of disaster!

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If you have any suggestions about how to build a potter’s wheel, please share your thoughts with us in the suggestions box below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Refrences:

http://thepottersplaceblogger.blogspot.ro/2009/08/how-to-build-home-made-pottery-potters.html

http://www.pottery-magic.com/pottery/tools/kick-wheel.htm

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15 Things To Do When The Power Goes Out

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When the weather is bad–rain pounding the roof, wind shaking the windows, thunder rumbling through the air, lights flickering off and on–you know the power could go out any minute. Other times the power goes out with no warning, and there’s no telling how long it will last. Most people have a mini panic attack […]

The post 15 Things To Do When The Power Goes Out appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

10 Ways Preppers Can Reuse Old Light Bulbs

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Survivopedia repurpose light bulbs

Even though many countries are looking to end production of incandescent light bulbs, they are very useful to preppers. They act as ideal sources of heat, light, and can even function as resistors in an electronic circuit.

If you have light bulbs in your stockpile, or still use them around the house, you may be wondering if they are of any value when they burn out. Here are easy ways to repurpose light bulbs and advance your prepping goals at the same time.

Preparing the Light Bulb for Reuse

Most of the things you can make with light bulbs require getting into the bulb itself and pulling out the parts that used to glow. If you have frosted or white light bulbs, you will also have to remove the coating in order to get the most from some of these ideas.

In order to take out the insides of a light bulb, follow these steps. Be sure to wear heavy work gloves and goggles. Cover your work area with newspaper or something else that can be easily discarded once you are done.

Never forget that light bulbs are made of thin glass, and as such can be very fragile. The last thing you will need now or in a survival situation is to wind up with slivers of glass in your hands, or worse yet your eyes. While these steps are very easy to follow, never underestimate the need for safety precautions.

  • Use a pair of pliers to twist the solder contact in the bottom center of the bulb. Once the contact is loose enough, pull it out of the bulb. While you are pulling and twisting on the contacts, do not put pressure on the glass parts of the bulb. You can grip the metal part of the bulb, or better yet, put it in a vice. Just don’t clamp the vice too hard or you might break the glass part of the bulb that seals to them metal.
  • Use a screwdriver to break the glass insulator and other parts inside the bulb. You will have to remove them in small pieces. Everything should come out of the bulb, including the tungsten element.
  • Fill the bulb with water and empty it several times in order to remove any white powder from inside the bulb.
  • Either let the inside of the bulb air dry, or use a screwdriver covered with a paper towel to dry it out.

bulbs

Light Diffuser

Aside from housing gas that keeps the tungsten element from burning up, light bulbs are also designed to diffuse light so that larger areas can be illuminated. You can use old, hollowed out light bulbs as light diffusers in chandeliers, or even as a means to increase illumination from LED arrays.

No matter how you arrange the light bulbs, they will provide a steady glow that works better than just the original light source by itself. For example, you can take one bulb that actually works, and then surround it with five or six bulbs that are burned out and cleaned.

You can also use the light diffuser properties of burned out bulbs to increase illumination from candles, oil lamps, and many other sources. Just make sure that when you join the light bulbs together, you do not use flammable materials. Stick to metal wire or anything else that will not start an unwanted fire.

Candles, oil lamps, and any other flame will always carry with it the risk of making sparks. It is not worth the risk to use rope or other more “visually attractive” accents for the diffuser.

Build an Electroscope

An electroscope is used to detect static electricity, and can also be used to detect the presence of nuclear, or ionized radiation. Even though the most optimized Kearny Fallout Meters are made from other simple materials, you can still use a light bulb in an emergency.

There are two ways to construct the inner part of the electroscope:

  • You can use the traditional design which calls for two gold foil (or aluminum) attached to an electrical conductor. The insulative properties of the glass will help maintain the static charge, which serves to keep the thin metal leaves separated. (If ionizing radiation is present, the leaves will droop or come closer together.) Since UV light can also act as ionizing radiation, you may want to keep the meter in a dark place, or put a black coating on the bulb. Just make sure you leave a peek hole so that you can see in and observe the metal leaves.

Video first seen on RimstarOrg.

  • A spinning electroscope tends to be more sensitive than a metal leaf design. This type of electroscope may not need charging as often, and it may also detect more subtle levels of radiation.

When operating a nuclear fallout electroscope, remember that you will have to “charge up” the device periodically with static electricity. This does not necessarily mean that ionizing radiation is, or was present. That being said, if you charge the device up and the leaves droop very quickly in a darkened room, then you may tentatively conclude that high levels of ionic radiation are present

Spice Dispensers

Salt, pepper, sugar, flour, and other spice shakers may seem to last forever. On the other hand if you are bugging out, must evacuate, or these dispensers get broken, you may have a harder time than expected replacing them. Simply make a new cap with holes in it for the light bulb, and you will have an ideal spice shaker. If you want the shaker to stand upright, just put it on a platform or suspend from a wire hanger system.

You can also use light bulbs to store herbs on a longer term basis. They can also be easily assembled to sit on spice racks or even on counter stands. If you do decide to use light bulbs to store herbs, remember that they will not be completely air tight, and that you should always make sure the spices are stored in a cool, dry location for optimal shelf life.

Video first seen on HomesGuides.

Housing for Edible Insects

If you are successful in surviving a major crisis, there is every chance that one of your primary food sources will wind up being edible insects. You may also wind up in in a situation where you have to evacuate quickly, and there will neither be time nor room to move larger insect farms.

Rather than lose all of your hard work, you can keep a miniature bug farm for each insect stocked with enough reproducing insects so that you can start over again in a new location. Light bulbs are ideal because they are easy to keep clean and you can put several of them in a small box for transport.

Molds for Cement

Light bulbs that fit in a conventional lamp tend to be very easy to grip and hold onto. As such, the bulb itself makes an excellent mold for cement and other materials that can be used to make a number of useful objects. This includes:

  • Nail and screw type wall hooks. While the cement is wet, just leave some of the sharp end of the nail or screw sticking out of the cement. Once the cement is dry, you can leave the glass in place or break it away from the cement. These hooks can be used as clothes pegs, hanging container gardens, and many other purposes. Just make sure that they are nailed or screwed into wall studs so that there is enough support for the hook and anything you may decide to suspend from it.

Video first seen on American Hacker.

  • Doorknobs and other items can also be made from cement or other materials that can be poured into molds. Just make sure that you add the appropriate hardware before the item dries out.
  • Try filling two empty light bulbs with cement, and then stick the ends of rope or chain into the cement while it is still wet. You can create everything from hobbles to weapons using this construction method.
  • For simple, lightweight anchors, you can use one or many cement filled bulbs to anchor rope or other items into the water or into the ground.

Decoys

When it comes to hunting gear, there are more than a few places where decoys can be used to draw a predatory animal to a desired location, or even encourage it to move into a waiting trap. There may also be times when you want to ensure that an animal will avoid a predator and move into your territory instead.

Even though it may take some work to add feathers and other materials to light bulbs, they cans still act as excellent decoys. If you look into crafty ways to decorate light bulbs, you are sure to find many useful ideas.

Fishing Flotation Devices

If you do not have plastic bobs or other flotation devices, a sealed up light bulb may suit your needs. You can use light bulbs on individual fishing lines, fish nets, and any other area where buoyance is needed. Just remember that a glass bulb is not as sturdy as a plastic bottle, so try to limit the weight load as much as possible.

Infusora Hatchery

Well prepared survivors will more than likely look to cultivate animal, plant, and fish resources. No matter whether you grow your own fish in an aquaponics system or start with pairs captured in the wild, it is very important to make sure that you can raise successive generations of fish. In most cases, egg laying fish will eat their own eggs after fertilization, or they will do nothing whatsoever to take care of the fry after they hatch.

Typically, newly hatched fry feed on infusora (tiny micro organisms that grow on rotting organic matter suspended in water). A light bulb can be used in an emergency to house infusorans and also get them to propagate. If you must use a larger container to get them started, the smaller light bulb can still be used as an emergency vessel that can be transported from one location to another.

Video first seen on Kailey Francis.

Fish Egg Hatchery

Contrary to popular belief, a light bulb will never meet the water quality and space needs of a fish. Even if you have to transport fish during a bug out or evacuation proceeding, use some other container that has a wide mouth and will also allow for the operation of an air stone.

Remember that when fish are stressed, they will release huge amounts of ammonia. Even a single fish will be dead in a matter of hours if you try to house or transport it in a clean, hollowed out light bulb.

Light bulbs can, however, can be used as temporary nurseries for newly fertilize fish eggs. If you happen to be dealing with a species of fish that consume the eggs after spawning, simply remove the eggs and let them hatch in a light bulb nursery. Just remember that the fry will need to stay in the nursery for at least 2 or 3 days while they consume the yolk sack after hatching. Once they are ready to eat infusora, you can move them into a bigger container and start feeding them.

A light bulb makes in ideal hatching container because it is much easier to keep track of the eggs and watch them hatch. If you are not sure if the fry are alive, do not tap the bulb or make loud noises. Even newly hatched fry will respond to light from a flashlight and will move around immediately if they can.

Vases and Micro Planters

light planterDuring the process of expanding on your survival skills, it is likely that you will develop an interest in wild herbs and their cultivation.

Empty light bulbs can be used for cutting vases, and also as covers that will increase humidity for small plants.

This is especially important if you need to root cuttings in soil, and need to preserve a good bit of moisture so that the plant can take it in through the leaves.

Light bulbs offer a perfect reusable solution that will last for years on end.

If you have very limited amounts of space to work with, light bulb vases can easily be suspended from wire tree frames, from walls, and even overhead ceiling hangers.

While you can also use simple stands to keep the bulbs from tipping over, the hanging options can help you take advantage of window lighting with ease.

Many people view burned out light bulbs as completely useless. It should come as no surprise that they make up a significant portion of landfill waste, and are often viewed as useless even in those industries. On the other hand, as a prepper, there are many ways that you can use burned out light bulbs to your advantage in an emergency situation.

Learn how to hollow them out, clean them, and work with them safely. No doubt, once you start using burned out light bulbs in prepper applications, you will come up with all kinds of useful and creative options.

 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: 5 New Items On The EMP Agenda

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PBR28may2016

Do you know what the Government and Big Corporations say about the danger of an EMP? When was the last time you researched blackout survival? Do you think we should keep a lookout on solar flares or man made nukes?

Most of us preppers have surpassed the newbies status when it comes to EMP. We know about the threats to the grid, have some pretty detailed scenarios about what might happen after a strike, and some guidelines on how to act.

But how prepared are we, really? All these and more in this week’s prep blog review.

1. Government, Industry Studying Threat of Nuclear EMP Attack on Electric Grid

emp threat

“American power companies are studying ways to protect electric grids against a high-altitude nuclear blast and other directed energy attacks that could severely disrupt electricity transmission, an industry representative told a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Scott Aaronson, managing director for cyber and infrastructure security at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), stated in testimony that a consortium of U.S. electric companies is working with the Energy Department to study how to protect power grids from a nuclear blast-produced electromagnetic pulse attack or solar flares that could damage transformers and other electric components and shut down power for millions of Americans.”

Read more on Free Beacon.

2. You Will Not Survive an EMP Strike Without This

emp threat

 “More than 180 Americans have left America for Syria to join ISIS. These are born and raised American citizens. And at some point, they will come back! But don’t worry. These peace-loving American patriots will settle back into their homes and mind their own business. Right!

During the international Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, even Barack Hussein Obama warned that the prospect of ISIS getting a hold of a nuclear bomb is one of the most serious threats faced by the world. He said it was clear that “these mad men” would use such a device to kill as many people as they could.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

3. Officials Worry US ‘Falling Behind’ In Race to Prepare for Electromagnetic Pulse Attacks

emp threat

“Electromagnetic pulses and violent space weather outbursts might seem like national security threats straight out of science fiction. But the House Homeland Security Committee wants to ensure federal agencies are doing their best to prepare for them.

During an Oversight and Management Efficiency subcommittee hearing Tuesday, legislators reviewed the possible ramifications that a man-made EMP weapon, detonated nuclear device or even space weather phenomena could have on the nation’s power grid. While seemingly remote, the threats drew comparisons to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

While unlikely, being unprepared could mean loss of life and could be devastating to the nation’s telecommunications and power grid, lawmakers said. One report estimates the potential cost of a large-scale solar storm, emanating from a large release of energy by the sun, could exceed $2 trillion and leave large portions of the population without power for months or longer.

“Investigations determined the attack on Pearl Harbor was possible, not probable,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. “Same thing for 9/11.”

Read more on Next Gov.

4. The Question Is Not ”IF” But ”WHEN”: How The World Would Look Like When The Grid Goes Down  

grid down

“Have you ever thought about how fragile the US power grid is? And how would you survive if the power grid went down? What would be like in the dark? Have you ever wondered ’’what would we do if the lights went out’’? Who could have foreseen the 9/11 come? The difference between 9/11 and what I am about to tell you is that we know that this is going to happen; the question is not ’’would it happen?” but ”when is going to happen’’? If this happens the consequences would be a million times worse than 9/11.”

Read more on Bio Prepper.

5. EMP Prepping: What To Do After Blackout

emp

“We’ve already discussed how you can prepare yourself for an EMP before it happens, so now we’re going to cover what happens after the lights go out.

An electromagnetic pulse is different than the aftermath of a tornado, hurricane, tsunami or wild fire because in those disasters, the lights will come back on and eventually an emergency crew will help the people who weren’t prepared.”

Read more and on Survival Hax.

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This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia

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Off-Grid Mechanics: 8 Steps That You Need To Know

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Survivopedia Off-grid Mechanics

What kind of vehicles and equipment do you use every day? What would you use instead in a SHTF world without the power grid?

When modern equipment won’t work anymore, the prepared have a plan in place. They know that with a little ingenuity and some elbow grease, they can get the job done. But a willingness to work won’t get you very far if you don’t have a pile of materials to work with.

Using What You Have

Modern-day preppers can learn a lot from the Depression era mentality of saving. I know that I have!

My Grandpa never threw anything away. When we first moved back to the family property, I thought his old junk pile was an eyesore. Tires. Old tractors. Tons of screws, bolts, and who knows what else. It was a huge pile of junk.

In today’s use it and toss it society, I simply couldn’t fathom why in the world my Grandpa kept this junk. I was embarrassed by it. I wanted to scoop it all up and take it to the dump. Thankfully, we couldn’t afford to do that.

Because over the years since we’ve been back, I’ve realized the true value of that junk pile. We’ve taken parts from equipment of old to fix what is broken. We’ve used scrap metal and junk to fill a need and solve problems around the homestead. And we’ve saved a lot of money.

That junk pile? I no longer view it as junk. I think of it as our insurance. You see—when the day comes that we can’t just go buy something, we’ll have a leg-up. We’ll have stuff to work with.

So if you don’t have a junk pile of your own, I’d recommend you start one. If you have property, just gather your junk in a remote corner. If you don’t, you’ll have to think creatively.

Can you save extra nuts and bolts in a drawer in the garage? Can you partner with a country friend to create a joint pile? Can you devote a closet to accumulating odds and ends?

As odd as it may seem to save junk, recycling and reusing becomes crucial when the modern economy is gone. You simply won’t be able to go buy what you need. You’ll have to use what you have.

1. Make a List!

What kind of automated systems are you running right now? Since each of us have a different lifestyle and processes, we won’t all need the exact same things.

To figure out what you need, you have to make a list. Grab a piece of paper and write down all of the systems you’re currently using that run on electricity and modern machinery. Here’s some common ones to get you thinking:

  • Milking machines
  • Automated sprinklers for the garden
  • Tractor for plowing the field
  • Rototillers for the garden
  • Irrigation systems
  • Lights
  • Food storage (fridge and freezer)
  • Laundry care
  • Cooking
  • Personal vehicles to get from place to place
  • Heating a greenhouse to grow food year round

You’ll probably have more to add. Most of us are very dependent on modern innovations in today’s life. Now that you have your list, it’s time to start thinking through SHTF scenarios. Let’s work through a couple together:

Milking the Animals

How would you milk your cows if you had no power?

If you only have a couple of cows, you’ll probably be able to switch to hand milking. You might even get away with switching to once a day milking depending on how much milk your ladies are giving.

milking

But, what if you have a whole herd and depended on a milker? What powers your machine milker? Do you know how your vacuum pump works? How will you clean the pieces if you don’t have running water?

Learn everything you can about the mechanics behind the automated systems you use every day. Read the manual. Study how the pieces work together. The more familiar you are with the parts and pieces, the more likely you’ll be able to repair it when the time comes. You’ll also know what sorts of extra parts to start stock piling.

Vehicles

When vehicles first came out, they were fairly simple machines. Most people could handle their own repairs. With today’s chips, computers, and complexity, that’s no longer the case.

These detailed systems often require specialized tools and scanning software to repair. There isn’t much you can do yourself without a large amount of mechanical knowledge. You might want to consider having an older vehicle around, just because it’s easier to work on.

They’re also more likely to run after an EMP. Here’s a great Survivopedia post on the best vehicles for an EMP event.

No matter what you’re driving, it’s essential that you start learning to repair it. If your car is broken, do some basic troubleshooting yourself. Every time you do this, you’re improving your mechanical ability.

If you take your car to the mechanic, learn all you can. Ask to see the broken part and where it was in your vehicle. You’ll learn more about your car, and start building a relationship with someone local with a mechanically minded skill-set. Or you can chose to grow animals for transportation.

Growing Food

You can’t just plop a variety of seeds in the ground and expect to magically grow enough food to feed yourself and your family for the entire year.  There’s a lot of work between planting and harvesting. Many people rely on automated systems to do a portion of this work. From tractors to electricity or automatic watering systems, food production hasn’t escaped modern marvels.

Take a look at what you’re currently doing for food production. Do you run a rototiller over the ground each year? If so, it’s time to think about switching to a no-till method of gardening.

In this method, you prepare your soil initially before planting. Then you cover it with a thick layer of mulch.  When it’s time to plant, you gently remove some of the mulch, and bury your seeds.

As your plants grow, the mulch holds in water, which is essential in a crisis situation. You continue to add compost and mulch to your garden. But, instead of digging the new stuff in, you just top-dress it by adding layer upon layer up on top.

This same method works in the field as well, though on a larger scale. Instead of a plow to prep the field for planting, you’d use a harrow. The impact on the land is a lot less, as harrows pierce the ground instead of turning it over.

Harrows are also more energy efficient since you can plant at the same time. That means only one trip around the field is needed instead of multiple.

Large Equipment

If your farm equipment fails, do you have a backup plan? Some people keep horses around, but horses aren’t the only animal that can work a field. Dexter cattle have been called a tri-purpose cow because they’re good for meat, milk, and work.

You’ll probably need to do some innovating to get your equipment to pull by animal instead of machine. Harnesses will be essential to keep your animal safe while working.

You can look for older equipment now, while you still have the benefit of used marketplaces. Horse drawn machinery are often cheaper than their modern counterparts, and  they’re also easier to work on.

Video first seen on jamminjamy.

Watering

It’s not only the planting of the field that you should think about, it’s also the watering. Water typically runs on a pump. If you don’t have power, you’ll lose the accessibility of water. Gravity fed systems are one solution.

Look for an elevated area on your property where you can collect rainwater.

If you prepare a large container with a hose connector and a plug down low, you’ll be set to use the water. When it’s time to water, hook a hose up to the container. Gravity will force the water through the hose to where you need it. Just be sure to put the plug back on your system when you’re finished.

You can also build a series of wooden troughs to carry water from a waterfall or creek if you have one on your property. This one requires a little more mechanical know-how, as you’ll have to ensure your angles are correct. Otherwise the water won’t flow.

Harvest Time

To harvest your plants without machinery, you’ll need to learn how it was done in the past. If you’re growing your own wheat, instead of a combine you’ll need a scythe to cut it. You’ll also need to think through the threshing.

Only you know exactly what you’ll need to switch your automated systems over to manual ones. You’ll definitely need to have raw materials and tools on hand to keep your systems in good repair. But what can you do right now to start this process?

2. Stock Up on Printed Resources

There are plenty of books and details online that walk you through the systems you need. Now is the perfect time to stock up on printed research materials. After all, you won’t be able to do a whole lot of surfing the internet after the SHTF.

You won’t be able to learn everything in one sitting. That’s why having printed material is so beneficial. When you need it, you’ll be able to pull it out and learn on the go.

3. Develop a Repair or Reuse Mindset

When something breaks, it’s so easy to throw it away and buy another one. But, that attitude won’t get you very far in a crisis. Starting today, take time to learn about what’s broken.

If it’s something you were going to throw away anyways, you have nothing to lose. Examine the parts. See if you can pinpoint what failed. Then take it apart and see how everything fits together.

You might discover it was something simple that you can fix. If not, you gained valuable experience in troubleshooting and disassembly. Those skills will be crucial in the future.

Instead of throwing away things that break, see if you can come up with a more innovative solution. Can you pull the components and save them for an upcoming project? Can you hang onto the gears?

You might not have the space to save everything. That’s why it’s essential to have your list. What items will you use the most to keep your needed systems up and running?

4. Develop Your Creativity and Innovation

Instead of going out and buying something new, think creatively. Is there any other way to do what you need to do? Can you reuse something, or build a DIY model?

This will put your creative thinking skills to work. You’ll start thinking outside of the box. But just coming up with ideas isn’t enough. Innovation is the ability to put those skills to use to solve a problem.

5. Improve Your Mechanical Mind

Some people are naturally gifted in the area of mechanics. They’re tinkerers, always working on something. Others don’t have this natural ability.  But, everyone can learn. If you’re not mechanically inclined, start asking questions. Watch what others do. Learn from them.

6. Carry Tools

You never know when you might need a screwdriver or a knife. If you aren’t currently carrying a multi-tool, start.

Put a basic repair kit in your car, and know how to use the tools in it. If you leave your vehicle in an emergency, you’ll be able to grab a couple of tools. Those may make the difference between you making it home or not.

saws

7. Invest in Hand Tools

You’ll also want to build a solid supply of hand tools around your homestead. Think beyond the screwdriver and hammer. How would you cut firewood without a chainsaw? Pick up a hand saw that you can use if you need to.

8. Learn the Basics

While you can’t learn everything there is to know, you can learn a little about a lot of things. Here are some things to study that’ll help you be better prepared:

Every bit of knowledge and hands on mechanical experience you gain will help make you stronger in the future.

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to off-grid mechanics? What systems would you have to replace? Could you survive off-grid, living the life our ancestors lived? Click on the banner below to find out more about their way of living and use their secrets for your survival.

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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Prepper Project: 5 Ways To Build An Oven

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SVP big ovenI remember that when I was a kid, I used to play cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians and stuff like that, but the girls were busy baking mud pies like crazy. You know what I’m talking about, right? Mud pies and earth ovens, these are the memories of my childhood; well, among many others I can’t write about here, because we have a family audience.

Mud pies are just a childhood memory, but wood-fired ovens are maybe the best things invented by humans, since…I don’t know, the biped posture? I mean, the best pizza in the world is made in wood-fired ovens, and so are many other foods.

Cooking in wood-fired ovens definitely improves the flavor of almost any type of food, not to mention that, if properly insulated, an earth oven will maintain its internal heat for days, making it quite efficient at cooking lots of food with minimal fuel spent.

So, today’s article is about how to build your own wood-fired, or earth oven, a skill which has the potential to save your life in a survival situation. And since we’re talking about SHTF scenarios, we will focus on oven designs that are dirt-cheap and easy to build using simple and readily available materials and tools.

1. The DIY Barrel Stove

Let’s begin today’s journey with the DIY barrel stove, also known as a wood-heater oven, which is any hobo’s dream.

In case you did not know because of today’s political correctness, the hobo stove is actually a specific design, representing a model of an improvised cooking/heat producing device, which is often used in various survival scenarios. After all, who knows more about how to survive a crisis than homeless people?

Why a barrel stove/hobo stove, you may ask? To put it bluntly, because the design is pure genius, due to its simplicity and efficiency. You can use a barrel stove for various purposes, ranging from outdoor cooking to boiling water for purification during power outages or what not. This type of stove can be improvised using readily available materials, such as basically any type of tin can or barrel, regardless of the size.

In the following video tutorial, the “hero” uses a recycled steel barrel for building a hobo stove, but you can also use a trash can, an old oil drum (make sure it’s clean or else you’ll have a bigger fire than you bargained for!), a gas canister or something similar; even a large can of ravioli/veggies will allow you to build a small stove and cook your diner.

Video first seen on RealWorldReport.

The advantages of the barrel stove/hobo stove are that it’s very easy to manufacture and it’s incredibly light, versatile and efficient. You can also transport it easily if required, and you don’t need high tech tools, nor skills, for manufacturing it.

Another advantage is the price tag, because there are many places where you can acquire an old oil drum basically free of charge; for example just pay a visit to your local garage and ask your mechanic. Demolition yards and scrap yards are also viable options.

The DIY job is very straight-forward and it consists of removing the top of the barrel first, and then punching a dozen or so small holes near the upper edge. You’ll also have to cut a larger opening on the side of the barrel near the bottom for air and fuel, and that’s basically it.

The wood is placed inside the barrel and ignited, while the bottom and the side orifices draw air inside through convection, keeping the fire alive as heat gets out through the top. You can use anything for combustion; not only wood, but even animal dung or wax. If it burns and isn’t toxic, you can use it.

2. The Ground / Earth Oven

Moving on with the article, let’s see about the ground/earth oven, your best friend when it comes to outdoor cooking, survival or just plain fun. You will find below a clip featuring a dude (pun intended) who builds his own ground oven while out in the woods, doing who knows what. He looks like he’s up to no good; however, don’t judge the guy from his looks, because he does an excellent job in the end with that roast (just kidding, here.)

Earth ovens, also known as cooking pits or ground ovens, are the simplest and oldest methods of cooking, and they’ve been around for thousands of years. They’ve been used all over the world, by almost all cultures and peoples. Earth ovens are an excellent choice in a survival scenario, being the best tool for cooking your food when you’re out there in the wild with next to zero equipment available.

This primitive yet highly efficient cooking method consists of digging a hole/pit in the ground, which is then cobbled with rocks. You’ll have to go find fairly flat rocks for lining both the pit’s sides and the bottom; that’s the hardest part of the job. Stay away from stream bed stones, as they tend to explode when exposed to heat due to the water which is trapped inside.

Just enjoy the video for getting the fine details (you’ll have to build a fire presumably) and remember, practice makes perfect folks!

Video first seen on NativeSurvival.

3. The Clay Cob Oven

Here’s a video tutorial which depicts the DIYing of the ultimate clay cob oven. Be aware that this is a complex job that requires medium to high skill levels and some elbow grease in the process.

But the end result is absolutely outstanding, as you can see from the YouTube video. Owning a backyard clay cob oven is a delight, especially when it comes to making your own wood fired pizza, garlic bread or jacket potatoes. Remember, nothing tastes better than food cooked in a wood fire, thanks to its wonderful smoky flavor.

Video first seen on Gavin Webber.

For building a cheaper/more basic cob oven, you can use recycled materials and cheap local resources (let your kids for help you with making the cob, which is a simple mixture of sand, clay, water and straw).

The materials for DIYing a clay cob oven are pretty basic: clay, sand, straw, gravel, rocks, tarp and water, together with a little bit of hard work and skill, but I bet in the end you’ll find that it was worth the stretch!

4. The Earthen Oven

The earthen oven, another great and relatively straight-forward DIY job for making your own food using wood fire and dirt-cheap materials. Earthen ovens are thoroughly documented way back to the ancient Romans and they were widely used in the US until the 18th century.

You can find them even today in various places, due to their excellent characteristics, the ease of use and the simplistic build. The design is relatively rudimentary; hence building your own earthen oven is by no means complicated, meaning that you don’t need previous building experience.

Needless to say, this project is a great confidence booster upon completion! You’ll require dry clay, sand, straw/dry grass, fire bricks, canvas tarp and plenty of water. The work itself is a child’s play, literally, as it resembles playing with sand, like on the beach when you were a kid.

You just follow the instructions in the video tutorial and later on, you’ll enjoy baking your own bread and pies using your own earthen oven!

Video first seen on Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. 

5. The 24 Hours DIY Earth Oven

Our last project is another version of the earthen oven, made even simpler than the previous design. It’s a project that it can be finished in just under 24 hours.

Based on an 18th century design, this earthen oven will require minimal quantities of dirt-cheap materials and the least amount of time, going from bare ground to a baked pie in under 24 hours. Basically, the previous idea has been taken to its simplest and most primitive form.

Video first seen on Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. 

As for materials required, it doesn’t get any simpler and cheaper than this: 2 bags of cat litter, play sand (from the hardware store, about 4 bags), water, straw/dried grass, sticks, bending sticks, a shovel, scrap fabric (not synthetic), a mixing tarp, firewood and a sacrificial board (a plank of wood basically).

That about sums it up for today. Think about your DIY oven project, and if you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, have fun folks!

usf1newThis article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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What You Need To Know About Building A Grain Mill

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survivopedia grain mill

You are well prepared for a major disaster, and you think that stockpiling will guarantee that you have everything possible for your new life. But even if you have been off gridding for years, you will soon find that a few things that you took for granted are no longer available. A grain mill for making flour is one of them.

If you have been conditioning yourself to live on a lot of breads, and other flour based foods, lack of at least one grain mill will present a problem.

What is a Grain Mill and Why You Need At Least One

Basically, a grain mill takes grain or corn and mashes it up in order to produce flour. Even though you can use something as simple as grinding grain and corn between rocks, a grain mill makes it much easier to produce a useful and uniform flour. That being said, it may not be enough to have just one kind of grain mill on hand. Here are a few reasons why stockpiling just one grain mill may not meet all your needs in the post crisis world.

If you have ever made bread, then you already know that you will need at least 5 – 6 cups of flour. Today, most hand sized grain mills will only produce on cup of flour at a time.

Even among bread recipes, you will find that some work better with coarse flour, while others require a smoother, lighter flour. If you want to make cakes, gravies, and other foods, the weight and texture of the flour can make the difference between a flop and a success. In most cases, a grain mill will only grind one or two texture types. If you want smoother flour or lighter weight flour, you will need to use different grinding agents, or even a different mill altogether. Can you stockpile so many types of grain mills?

Also, maybe you have been making your own baked goods for years or even decades. While you may have stocked away all kinds of flour, and even have a hand based flour mill, you don’t know how much flour you will actually need in the post crisis world on a daily basis. Even if you know how much flour you need now, that amount may double or even triple when other foods are not available.

DIY or Pre-fabricated Grain Mills?

If you do some research, you will find that hand sized grain mills are some of the most popular new kitchen gadgets. As a prepper, you might be tempted to buy one or more of these grain mills and simply put them away until they are needed. Since even a hand powered grain mill can cost almost $100.00, it will be to your advantage to make your own, but here’s what you need to consider.

No matter whether you buy a hand powered or electronic grain mill, it is likely to come with several flour texture settings. As such, one or two mills with an appropriate batch of texture settings can easily meet your needs.

Even though you can get a number of textures in a single pre-fabricated grain mill, that does not mean they will process enough grain for your daily needs. In fact, most grain mills on the market will only process one or two cups of flour at a time. If you need to make at least one batch of bread on a daily basis, these mills will not suit your needs. On the other hand, if you decide to make your own grain mill, there is nothing to stop you from building a mid-sized mill that will process enough flour for specific tasks.

When you build your own mill, you will also know exactly how to maintain and repair it. On the other hand, even if you purchase a very basic manual hand sized grain mill, it may have specially shaped rollers and other internal elements. In the post crisis world, you may find it difficult or impossible to replace these parts or fabricate them from materials on hand.

While prepping, there are bound to be areas where you need to develop your skills. If designing and building devices is one of those areas, then it might be hard to try building a viable grain mill and develop your cooking and gardening skills all at the same time.

Start off now with a pre-fabricated grain mill and learn how they work as you develop your other skills. After you’ll see what your daily needs are, adapt existing grain mill designs to your situation. The whole process that starts with growing corn and grains, grinding them, and turning them into breads and other foods might seem easier this way.

A pre-fabricated grain mill can get you started very quickly on developing an often forgotten homesteading skill. On the other hand, if you are on a very tight budget, it’s cheaper to take some extra time and effort to build a grain mill from scraps.

Typically, if you focus on smaller hand powered mills, you can build a viable mill that will last for years. If you decide to build something larger later on, you will already know the basics and have a better chance of adapting the mill to other power sources.

How to Choose the Best DIY Grain Mill Design

small millAs with many other prepping decisions, you will find that a grain mill that is best for you may not be the best for others. Here are a few tips to help you pick the best grain mill design(s).

If you are going to bug out or live in a larger survival community, there should already be a community based grain mill that everyone can use to process larger amounts of flour.

Even if this mill is only used on a weekly schedule, it should be able to process several pounds of flour or more at a time.

Aside from survival communities, homesteads should also have a larger grain mill so that processing can be done at the best possible time.

Individuals that are bugging in or have very little space should still try to have a large enough grain mill to meet daily needs, and process at least 6 – 7 cups of flour at a time.

If you are using micro-harvest plants or other small scale growing systems, then this grain mill will optimize both your time and processing capacity.

When choosing a grain mill design, think about how you will adapt it to produce different textures and flour weights. If you are building a large sized grain mill, you should focus on a creating a coarse flour, and then use smaller mills for progressively lighter flours. Alternatively, if you need mid-weight and light weight flour, build the grain mill in such a way that you can change the grinding mechanism without having to make extensive changes to the way the mill is powered.

Remember that the bigger the mill, the more power it will take to operate it, and even a slight increase in the size of the internal grinder can make a hand powered mill impossible to use. That’s why you have to think about how you will adjust the grain mill to run on other power sources.

For example, if you think that an animal powered mill suits your needs, do not overlook powering the mill by finding ways to place it in a nearby stream. While keeping different sized mills on hand can help with power associated problems, yow will also need to consider how to make your designs as adaptive as possible. This is especially important if you decide to use electric powered grain mills that will eventually require new motors or sources of electricity in order to use them.

Basic Parts of a Grain Mill

Before building a grain mill, it is important to know what parts every mill has in common as well as the best materials. Fortunately, grain mills are not especially complex, however choosing the best materials can be more time consuming than expected.

Grain Hopper 

This is where the grain will be held while the grain mill is in operation. The hopper can be made of canvas or just about anything else that will hold grain. In order to make your design as compact as possible, try to make detbrewachable and foldable hoppers.

If you are going to make a larger grain mill, then it may also be a good idea to make the hopper in such a way that it will act as a cover for the internal mechanism when not in use. The last thing you will want to do is invest in building a larger grain mill with metal rollers only to have the rollers develop rust or some other form of corrosion. By the same token, you will not want wooden rollers to rot or stone ones to develop moss or algae buildups.

Grain Mill Body

The body of the grain mill should be durable enough to withstand the weight of the hopper and grain. It should also be able to take the friction created by the rollers without falling apart.

Hand sized grain mills can be made of wood or even plastic. Larger mills can be made with cement frames, wood, metal, or stone. You may also want to explore some of the more durable polymer products that will enable you to make different body shapes that will accommodate different power sources or roller sizes with less difficulty.

mill2Rollers

As the heart of the grain mill, the rollers are the most important. Some people have used PVC plastic, while others prefer metal, wood, stone, ceramic, or even polymer rollers.

Regardless of the material, you will need to experiment with the distance between the rollers as well as the best surface. It may be to your advantage to have several different rollers with differing degrees of smoothness as well as a means to set the rollers closer and further apart.

Power Source

The simplest grain mills rely on a crank that can be turned either by a human or animal. More complex grain mills can be turned by a series of gears and water power. You should also consider designs that are based on the ancient revolving hammers in China. Not only are these fascinating hammers the basis for modern pneumatic hammers, they can also be used for metal shaping as well as making good quality grain.

Study the shaft assemblies carefully for these devices and you will see that they can as easily be driven by a water wheel as they can a wind turbine or other non-electric based power sources.

Flour Hopper 

Once the grain passes through the rollers, you will need a place to store it. The flour hopper should be easy to remove and clean. You can use anything from a ceramic bowl to larger plastic vessels. Just make sure that the flour hopper can remain covered at all times, and that the seal between the hopper and the bottom of the grain mill does not allow dust to escape.

Dust Control

Many people are surprised to find out that grinding grains and corn can produce quite a bit of dust. To reduce this problem as much as possible, make sure that the body of the mill, grain, and flour hoppers all fit together tightly. You can use caulk and sealing agents to help with cracks and other areas where dust can get through.

Small Grain Mill Designs

Small sized grain mills can be powered by hand. They should be able to process 1 – 6 cups of flour at a time. In most cases,it will take from 1 to 5 minutes to grind a single cup of flour. Small grain mills are best suited for refining flour that has already gone through a larger mill as well as for processing grain directly.

Crank Mills

You can make any number of simple designs. This includes ones that have two rollers as well as sifters that utilize a screen on the bottom and a wire loop (or downward angled blades) inside the body. Simply turn the crank in order to turn the rollers, blades, or wire loop. As the grinding unit moves, grain will be fall into the path of the crushing elements and then fall into the hopper waiting below.

Gear Mills

As you may be aware, gears can be attached to a crank in such a way that one turn of the crank produces 2 or more revolutions in the rollers or wire loop attached to it. A gear system will process flour faster, however the gears can also wear out or break. For best results, use metal gears instead of plastic ones.

Gravity Motor Mills

These mills are similar to power generation motors in the sense that they use gravity to turn an object. In this case, you would need several feet of space so that the rollers can be turned as a counterweight falls to the ground. This design will require a gear assembly to optimize rotation as well as to get as much power as possible for turning the rollers.

Electric Powered Mills

If you happen to have a motor on hand and some electricity, these mills can be created in any number of designs. This includes using food processor blades as well as other designs that can be used to crush or cut grains apart.

Midsized Grain Mill Designs

These grain mills should process at least 10 pounds of flour at a time. You can still use crank, gear, gravity, and electric motors to power these mills. On the other hand, you might find that cement, metal, or more durable materials will be needed for these mills.

Large Grain Mill Designs

Trip and Pneumatic Hammer Mills

Trip hammer based mills basically use a central axis that turns several hammers, each in their own turn. Here is a basic design that has been used in China for centuries. It can process several pounds of grain at a time, or if built correctly, can also be used to pound metal into any number of shapes.

You can also study more modern designs that feature smaller hammers that can be driven by an electric motor. If you give it some thought, you will also see how to upscale these smaller designs so that they can be used with stones or other materials.

Animal Driven Mills

Historically speaking, these mills can be driven by both humans and animals that walk around in circles to turn large stones that grind the flour. In order to optimize these designs, consider adding a gear assembly, or better yet, take a hammer mill design and shift it to a horizontal axis instead of a vertically driven one.

Water Wheel Driven Mills

The size of these mills will be determined by the speed and amount of water flowing in the area. Smaller mills can be operated in streams, however you will need a fast moving river if you plan to process larger amounts. Together with above ground versions, you may also want to try and create designs that utilize water pressure built up in underground pipes.

watermillJust remember that when you try to generate power underground, you can get away with light weight fan blades and other materials. Grain mills require considerably heavier rollers that will be difficult to turn unless you add gears or other assemblies to compensate for the weight of the grain.

Motorized Mills

The best motorized mills for a homestead will most likely be driven by wind turbines. You can study windmills from Holland as well as the United States that were built for this purpose.

Video first seen on 32bituser.

Typically, these mills can easily last for centuries. If you want to optimize these mills using modern technologies, consider making the blades from polymers that will combine lighter weight with enough durability to withstand the physical force required to mill grain.

When it comes to grain and flour mills for survivors, more than a few people think that they can get away with a small mill, or even none at all. If you already have a hand mill, simply stop and think about whether or not you have 2 – 3 hours a day to sit around and grind grain. In the post crisis world, where you will have to perform many other tasks, you may have even less time to devote to grinding grain.

Study larger mills and also smaller ones that do not rely completely on hand power. For example, if you are going to build a hand power mill, at least consider gravity motors if you do not want to have all the worries associated with electric motors. If there is more than one person in your survival group, you are also going to find a mid to large sized grain mill absolutely essential.

Knowing how a grain mill is built is one trick that helps your prepping purposes. More valuable secrets from our ancestors are still to be discovered and developed for survival. CLICK on the banner below to find out more about the undisclosed tricks that helped our parents survive!

the lost ways coverReferences

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trip_hammer

web.hammermills.com/blog/bid/80081/Hammer-Mills-5-Key-Styles-You-Need-to-Know-About

homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=119521

homebrewersassociation.org/pimp-my-system/build-your-own-grain-mill/

instructables.com/id/Build-a-Quiet-Home-Brewing-Grain-Mill/

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How To Start Building A Flashlight From Scrap

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SVP big flashlight

In the modern world, flashlights are very common, and therefore some of the most overlooked when it comes to a complete prepping plan. Let’s say you have stored away plenty of flashlights and rechargeable batteries, but what would you do if you won’t be able to use it?

Do you know how to build a flashlight from scavenged parts, or develop something new once the most important parts become unavailable?

No matter where you wind up living in the post-crisis world, there will come a time when you can no longer rely on supplies and tools that you were able to stockpile. Even before that time happens, you and others are bound to wind up scavenging for items that can no longer be manufactured or are not available for other reasons. Once these “waste” materials are gone, you will wind up having to improvise.

That’s why you need to know a few basic things before building a flashlight from scrap. Read this article to find out!

7 Basics for Your DIY Flashlight Project

There are many light sources that would never qualify as “flashlights” even though they may provide needed lighting. Therefore, before you start storing away parts that might be used to build a DIY flashlight, think about the following elements and how they contribute to the success or failure of a flashlight design:

  1. It must be portable

Even though you can turn on a lamp, or use some other means to light up an area, flashlights are novel in the sense that they can be easily transported from one place to another.

If you cannot take a DIY flashlight into a basement or other area without wires dragging behind you, or other inconveniences, then your design will not be successful.

  1. Must be lightweight and compact

Even though there are huge 9 volt lanterns on the market, most people still prefer the smallest design that produces the most light.

For example, even though LED flashlights are still on the expensive side, they are very popular because a tiny USB flashlight takes up less space and weighs less than other flashlights that put out the same amount of light.

  1. Must be energy efficient

Today, many people are converting to small rechargeable batteries and solar chargers in order to save money on batteries for flashlights and many other devices. That being said, there are still many different flashlight bulbs on the market, and some require much more power than others.

  1. Must be easy to power or recharge

There is nothing worse than turning on a flashlight, and then find out that the batteries are dead or very weak. While you may not be able to completely overcome this problem in a DIY survival flashlight, you should still be able to either recharge the batteries or find an alternative means of power.

  1. Design must be scalable

A tiny key chain flashlight may work just fine if you are trying to find the door lock, but it won’t be of much use if your car breaks down and you have to look deep into the engine compartment.

As you develop your flashlight design, always make sure that you have a way to add more bulbs and more power so that you can always have as much light as you need.

  1. DIY flashlights should have a hands free option

When you are trying to climb a fence, need to use your hands to hit, shoot a gun, or carry out some other task, trying to hold onto a flashlight can cause a lot of problems. While most modern flashlights do not have a practical means to make them wearable, your design should give the optimal amount of light when the unit is not in your hand.

For example, you can aim the reflector and bulb so that light is where you need it most while wearing a headband, or even on a cord hanging from your neck or around your waist.

  1. Parts, especially bulbs, must be interchangeable

No matter whether you decide to bug in or bug out, the passing of time after a social crisis will lead to fewer and fewer supplies being available. If your scavenged flashlight only works with incandescent bulbs or even LEDs, you will be at a disadvantage sooner than expected.

Always make sure that you can change the most common parts of the flashlight and still have a working unit regardless of the situation.

The Basic Parts of a Flashlight

Bulb

Of all the parts of a flashlight, the part that actually produces the light will be the hardest to replace. Unlike bulbs in other devices, one sitting in a discarded incandescent bulb flashlight may still work even if other parts of the system have failed.

Even if you find hundreds of bulbs in a pile of trash or laying around in an abandoned factory, there is a very good chance that the filament inside will be broken, or something else will be wrong with them. By the same token, if you find discarded LEDs, they may have been damaged by an EMP or they may have burned out for some other reason.

I have personally seen LED arrays that were supposed to last for 10 years and up burn out in a matter of days. This technology is quite fascinating, however it is still relatively new and there are a lot of bad (yet cheap) knock offs on the market that can lead to problems.

Battery Case

Aside from holding the battery, the battery case may be integrated with the body of the flashlight. These should be available for some time after a major collapse occurs. They will not always be easy to make from scratch if you have to find substitutes for wire, solder, contacts, or anything that controls the amount of power actually flowing to the bulb.

Reflector

Just about anything that is shiny and can be shaped into a cone can be used as a reflector. You will also find plenty of reflectors in discarded flashlights that may have been thrown away because the prior owner did not have batteries, the bulb burned out, or something else went wrong with the flashlight. This is one of the easiest parts to scavenge and upgrade as needed.

Carrying Handle/Shell

There are literally hundreds of shapes and sizes for flashlight carry handles and shells. Some may or may not be salvageable based on whether or not you can get to the internal parts without ruining the case.

For example, a sealed key chain flashlight may actually have a good built-in it if the battery died and could not be replaced. There may also be a usable switch and some usable parts inside, but it is likely that the case will be ruined in trying to access them.

On/Off Switch

When it comes to evaluating a material on-site, the switch can be a culprit that causes you to throw away all sorts of good materials, including a rechargeable battery that has been drained. Regardless of the style, on/off switches may even wear out before the bulb. Before you put a salvaged switch on a new flashlight, make sure that it works first.

Power Source

Batteries can also be very difficult to evaluate at first glance. Always look for rechargeable batteries as they can sometimes be rehabilitated with slow charging or partial charge and usage cycles.

I do not recommend trying to recharge disposable batteries, although some people claim they can do so easily enough without causing the battery to explode. Personally, I’d rather use battery alternatives and save my explosion/fire experiment risks for something with a more tangible benefit.

Unusual Parts

In modern flashlights, you might find resistors or small electronic circuits that either step down or increase the power from the battery going into the bulb.

Pay careful attention to the color bands or numbers on resistors and also any other markings. Aside from their use in flashlights, older basics, usable diodes, resistors, capacitors, crystals, transistors, and coils are worth their weight in gold.

Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.

Alternatives to Consider

Even if you do not need to look to alternatives to the basics listed above for many years, it never hurts to know about some options that will enable you to make better use of materials that may already be on-hand.

Aside from the methods listed here, there are also many other alternatives that may produce the same effects, however they may not lend themselves well to a flashlight because of portability or other issues.

Battery Substitutes

When it comes to battery substitutes, your options are limitless in the sense that many materials can be paired together in order to store electrons and then discharge them at a fixed rate.

For example, something as simple as a potato or a copper penny can act as a battery for a single LED, a Christmas tree light bulb, or other small, low wattage bulbs. That being said, liquid batteries made from acids or even earth batteries may not be practical for a flashlight because they are not portable or may cause other problems.

The best and most viable battery alternatives for flashlights may well be some form of DIY capacitor based “battery”. Just remember that these batteries will still have to be charged, and it may take some effort to find a good set of materials for the capacitor.

For example, there are many sites online that claim you can make a regular capacitor from aluminum foil and wax paper. Even though this may be true, it will take more material than expected. You are better served by looking for other materials that will require less space. You can learn about capacitor “batteries”, and then consider how you can overcome the challenges of making as a DIY project.

Nanotechnologies are moving along rapidly. Even though you may not find many devices on the market that can scavenged yet, they may become available in the next 5 years. Keep track of DIY sites and always be on the lookout to see if any consumer based experimenters have taken any kind of nanotechnology based device and found a way to turn it into a battery substitute.

Magnet Fans

This is another fascinating system that can be used in place of a battery, and you might need to read our article about magnets to find out more about using them for different prepper applications. You may also want to experiment with vertical or shell style blade designs.

Also remember not to overlook some battery alternatives that might utilize a twisting rope to store energy, or anything else that can produce rotation. Never forget that once you have motion, you can use a magnet to induce electricity in a coil of wire.

Shake flashlights may also be of interest. These are especially fascinating and useful because you will never need to replace the batteries.

I would recommend making a coil winder so that the wire wraps in the smallest, and most compact form. Depending on how you construct the coil winder, you can also use it for larger coils that can be used in many devices including wind turbines and gravity fans. Just remember that a simple coil winder is not going to be of much use if you want to make torroid coils or other shapes that might be more useful for other purposes.

Also a DIY coil winder is still not going to be of use if you want to create complex windings for more powerful motors. Still, you can get the 300 and up windings easily enough for this flashlight and other low power applications. Needless to say, if you can get this device to work, then consider using the coils and shaking as a means to power other devices such as radios or other DC powered devices. When combined with a stationary bike or another source of motion, you may also be able to generate larger amounts of power.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Bulb Substitutes

In most cases, you are not going to find something as compact as a light bulb that will be able to produce as much light.

Here are some options that you can consider:

  • Glow stick technologies – even though many of these require complicated chemicals, you may still be able to make them on your own. If at all possible, aim for ones that can be recharged, or be on the lookout for new technologies that make them easier to make or allow them to last longer. instructables.com/id/DIY-Glow-Sticks/
  • Phosphorescent materials – even though these “glow in the dark” materials do not provide much light, they can still be of use in time of need. Aside from storing away “glow in the dark” paint and other materials, you should also do some research on how to make urine glow in the dark.
  • You can also try to use glowing wires, however they will not last very long and will burn up quickly.

Wiring Substitutes

Just about anything that conducts electricity can be used as a wire substitute, including necklaces or metal chains and aluminum foil. But even if you have a material that conducts electricity, it may not work very well because there is not enough power being provided by the battery to overcome the resistance in the wire replacement.

Since every “wire” and substitute has some degree of resistance, you can try to mitigate the problem in the following ways:

  • Use as little connecting material as possible. For example, if you are going to use tin foil, use the shortest length and the least amount of material. Do some research on how much current can be transmitted by specific materials so that you will know best how to shape the wire alternative to meet the power constraints of the system.
  • Make sure the material is insulated with a non-conductor.
  • Before you begin searching for suitable wire replacements, do some research on wire free systems that use metal tabs. This includes systems where a metal tab is pushed in order to allow current to flow through the circuit. Aside from solving your wire problem, these methods can also make it easy to replace switches that have worn out or otherwise useless.
  • Always make sure that bare conductors do not touch and create a short circuit. For example, if you are using metal from a chain, make sure that the positive and negative “wires” do not touch each other at the required contact points on the bulb or the switch. This includes making sure that solder contact points are clean and not so close together that they can generate shorts.
  • If you do some research, you might be very tempted to see if there are ways to utilize liquid batteries or even gels in such a way that you can further limit the use of wires. While I am more than supportive of stationary lights utilizing these power forms, I don’t think they will ever be portable enough for a flashlight system. It would be better to remain focused on metals, or even newly emerging nanotechnologies that may make metal wires obsolete.
  • A few decades ago, it is believed that Tesla was able to transmit electricity through the air. At the current time, scientists can transmit small amounts of electricity over very short distances. You can try looking through Tesla’s patents and other information to see if you can come up with ways to transmit electricity in much the same way that radio signals are sent. Since electricity can actually be pulled from the air, research on these methods may also be of interest.

Parts to Look For on Scavenger Expeditions

When searching for parts on scavenger expeditions, it is your choice in terms of how limited or broad your scope is. For example, if you are looking for batteries, you may decide that you only want rechargeable that perfectly fit the flashlight you have on hand.

In this scenario, you will miss out on a number of short term and long term viable places to search. This includes looking in old radios or other portable devices that may have weak batteries that will still work in a flashlight.

You will also overlook very important alternative sized batteries that can still meet your needs. Before limiting your search to pre-existing flashlights, take a look at some videos and instructables on how to convert from one battery type to another. Chances are you will be very surprised at just how many different variations you can use in one flashlight with a minimum of modification. HERE is one simple guide to get you started.

flashlight

If you decide to use a more expanded parts list that includes capacitors, resistors and metal strips, viable materials can be found in just about anything that uses electricity.

When searching for electrical components, however, make sure that you know the difference between high voltage and low voltage circuits. This is especially important if you decide to remove capacitors from a board or if you find them laying around. Even a relatively small capacitor used in a high voltage circuit can deliver quite a jolt.

Never remove parts from a circuit board until you have used a multi-purpose meter to test them out. If you find a charged capacitor on a board, make sure that you know how to discharge it safely before removing the components.

When you read about different ways to scavenge flashlights, most of them will tell you how to interchange bulbs or do simple things that are little more than a matter of common sense. After the initial phases of a social collapse, and even during a short term crisis, these methods may be very useful. When there are no parts to exchange, or no materials that you might recognize as suitable for a flashlight, you must know how to improvise. Never limit your explorations on this topic, as there are new technologies emerging as well as older, simpler ones that can be used to meet your portable lighting needs.

Just take your time and think about each part of the flashlight to see how you can optimize it, and then fit it into a whole system that meets the best features of the flashlights you may be taking for granted right now.

new EMP01

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia

Resources:

mpoweruk.com/alternatives.htm

researchgate.net/post/Is_there_any_alternative_method_except_batteries_to_store_solar_energy

web.mit.edu/erc/spotlights/ultracapacitor.html

http://gas2.org/2008/09/26/new-battery-alternative-stores-huge-amounts-of-energy/

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15 Questions To Ask Before The Power Goes Out

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15 Questions To Ask Before The Power Goes Out It’s hard to overstate most people’s reliance on the power grid. They need it literally every second of every day–to do their jobs, to make their food, to keep them warm (or cool) while they sleep. But this increasing reliance on power is making people more …

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EMP Survival: Power For Your Oxygen Concentrator

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Oxygen concentrator

Unless you actually rely on medical devices, you might not realize how important for your survival some of them are. In particular, if you don’t have any major breathing problems, or they are largely under control, you may not give much thought at all to oxygen concentrators.

Until you need them… That’s the moment you realize you should have read and learned more about them. Including how to supply power to them in case of a major emergency in which conventional electricity may not be available for days or longer.

That’s the article you need to read to get this knowledge!

How Much Power Do Concentrators Take?

The amount of electricity required for each unit depends largely on the size of the compressor and the manufacturer ratings. In most cases, the devices will run on batteries, however there is also considerable variance on how efficient the unit is and how much oxygen it can actually produce.

As a general guide, older, home oxygen concentrator units required about as much electricity as refrigerator. Modern devices might take as little as a low wattage microwave, while others may still require quite a bit more.

There a few things to be aware of before buying a concentrator for survival needs, and here are some of them:

  • Amperage required by the device
  • Voltage output from the emergency battery pack
  • How long the concentrator will run on the battery pack at different oxygen output amounts
  • How long the batteries are expected to last and what they are made from

How Many Batteries You Need to Buy

When it comes to buying batteries, most people will buy one for charging and another for using any given device, but this is not always the best route to take, because not having enough batteries for charging and powering can spell disaster.

Buying more batteries than needed can take up excess space and also create a situation where rechargeable batteries are not used at optimal loads and rotations. At the very least, consider the following:

  • Find out how long a fully charged battery will power the concentrator at its highest setting. Take that number of hours and divide by 2 (just in case you cannot fully charge a battery up before it has to be rotated back into service.) In this example, let us say that a fully charged battery will last 12 hours at full charge. Instead of buying just 2 batteries, you would purchase four for use during a single day.
  • Next, determine how much power you can generate each day, and how much of it can be used for charging up the concentrator batteries. If it takes 8 hours to fully charge a single battery, then you should be able to charge 1 – 3 batteries per day. Add that number of batteries to the ones that you expect to use in a day. In this example, you would need 3 batteries for charging plus 4 for regular use; meaning that you would need 7 batteries.
  • Finally, it is also very important to consider long term wear and tear on the batteries. Even if you purchase batteries that can be deep cycled 1000 times, they may become useless in 3 – 5 years. In this particular example, add at least 3 batteries in case some of them go bad. Just be sure that you also plan on rotating them into the system so that the internal parts remain active and do not corrode or become destroyed by lack of use.

What Is the Best Way to Power an Oxygen Concentrator Off Grid?

Many people wrongfully assume that power for critical medical devices such as concentrators can come from any source, and think they can just put up a few windmills and solar panels, and then expect that combination to produce enough power.

When must run a concentrator around the clock or charge up batteries to run that concentrator, there is no such thing as waiting for the sun to come back out or for a wind to kick up. What you need is a reliable system of renewable energy that will never run out, and will not be dependent on the vagaries of the weather.

Here are a few systems that might work, but remember that you will need access to a number of resource that may take some time and effort to develop. While you can still get started with solar and wind power, do not overlook these systems.

Above Ground and Underground Water Wheels

If you are fortunate enough to live near a stream or river, there is no reason why you cannot set up a water wheel and generating motor. Take the time now to calculate the rate of flow of water and also the size of the wheel that you will need to generate the necessary amount of current.

As may be expected, if you live in colder climates where rivers and streams routinely freeze, you will need to see if the lower levels of water will remain fluid enough to push the wheel.

Today, far too many people place water wheels where they can be partially seen above the water level instead of taking the time to immerse them near the center of the water flow. While it takes considerably more work to build a fully immersed wheel that will still turn, it is well worth the effort in colder climates.

If water never freezes in your local area, then it may still be safe to build a more conventional water wheel.

Underground Water Pipe Systems

When it comes to new innovations in using water for generating electricity, underground water pipes are truly some of the best and most innovative. As long as you have a constant source of water flowing through these pipes, water wheels placed within the pipes can be used to generate electricity.

Many people do not think about this option because they do not live near a pond, stream, or other source of water that can be used for underground irrigation. That being said, even extremely dry or cold regions have all kinds of underground streams and rivers that can be tapped for this purpose.

As long as you know where they run through your land, you might drill down to their level and install both pipes and suitable equipment for generating electricity: you won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures, there will be very few, if any ways for the equipment to be stolen.

This system does have some drawbacks if you are in an earthquake zone or any other area where shifting underground geographies can crush the pipes.

Sink Drain Power Generation

As long as you have water, you will also have electricity with this system. Basically, all you need to do is install mini water wheels in the outgoing pipe drains of your home. They can be cleanable as garbage disposals, and other drain systems.

Even though there are no devices of this type on the market, you should be able to make your own. Unlike a number of other power generation systems, this one can work for you in a city setting as long as municipal water continues to flow through the tap.

Just remember that if you have to rely on this system for generating electricity, the source of the water must be energy neutral. For example, you will need either a ram pump to draw water from a pond, or even an Archimedes screw from some other surface body of water. If you are fortunate enough to have an artesian well, then you will be one step ahead.

How Reliable Are Oxygen Concentrators and Can They Be Repaired?

The most vulnerable part of the concentrator is the compressor that draws air into the unit and then packs it into a smaller amount of space before pushing it into the chamber housing the zeolite crystals. As with many other things, modern compressors are not as well built as older ones.

If you can, carefully study the compressor systems in different concentrators, and then find out if there are working vintage models that can be substituted into the system. Even though you may have to adapt some of the fittings, it is well worth the effort. Being able to replace the compressor can easily extend the life of the concentrator from just a year or two to well over a decade without much need for other kinds of repair.

It can be said that concentrator reliability also comes down to good maintenance and being aware of the kinds of problems that can occur. When it comes to survival scenarios, fuses and IC circuits will always be a problem if an EMP occurs. Since many of these circuits control the opening and closing of purely mechanical valves, it may be possible to use gravity based levers or pulley systems to manually open an close the valves at proper intervals.

In Classical Greece, there was a “robot” that was able to mix proper concentrations of wine and water without using any kind of electricity, and if you do some experimenting, you can find a way to achieve this goal.

If you do not want to ruin a perfectly good concentrator, buy an old one that is no longer functional. You will learn plenty about how the system works, as well as how to improvise and develop work arounds for areas that might be weak points during a survival scenario.

What to Do When the Concentrator Stops Working

If you already have concentrator or have seen one in use for any length of time, then you already know that there are times when they will fail. As with any other machine, there are simple causes for these failures as well as more complex ones. Here are a range of problems that you may encounter as well as how to deal with them:

  • If the concentrator is running, but you do not feel air coming out, one or more airline tubes may be kinked. Depending on how the air tubing leaves the unit, there may also be a kink behind the unit where you won’t always see it right away. Make sure that you can easily get around every part of the concentrator so that you can locate any loose or crimped tubes.
  • The concentrator goes offline and refuses to start. Any number of problems may cause the unit to stop or refuse to start at all. If you are running the unit on batteries, you can start off by making sure that the battery has enough power and that it is hooked up properly. Some manufacturers also provide trouble shooting guides that will help you determine other simple things that may be causing the fault.
  • If the unit fails after all of the simple things have been eliminated, there may be a blown fuse inside the unit, or the compressor may have failed. This type of repair can be complicated. Unless you actually know how to repair a concentrator, or have enough background in electronics, you should not try to do this during a crisis situation. That being said, there is no harm in getting the schematics for the model concentrator that you own and making sure that you know how to handle a range of problems. While this process will take time and effort to learn, it will be worth your while. In a crisis, there may be no such thing as a qualified repair person to help put your concentrator back into service. If you do not feel confident about delving into repairing these devices, then make it a point to find friends among your neighbors that might be able to help you in time of need. If you are in a survivor community, there is sure to be at least one or two people that can do this job on your behalf.

Do you know enough now to make an oxygen concentrator work for you? Use the comment form below to share you thoughts and ask your question about these lifesaving devices!

CLICK HERE to read more on surviving an EMP with a disability!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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5 DIY Ways to Power Your Home During Floods

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FLood

As weather patterns continue to shift, there is no escaping the fact that massive floods are becoming more common. Especially now, in the spring, when snow begins to melt and they are likely to happen even more than in any other time of the year.

While flooding may be a common event in some parts of the world, other areas are now becoming aware of several problems related to generating electricity during and after a flood occurs.

Living in a relatively dry place, or one that is not known for floods, won’t keep you away of trouble. Just take a look at the weather reports in 2015 alone for Texas, Kansas, and other areas that have no major history of the kinds of flooding they have had to deal with.

If you know how to generate electricity in a flood you are not stuck trying to use devices and methods that will fail, nor electrocute you because the devices cannot be safely used in this type of situation.

What to Beware Of

After the floods, some problems will impact how you generate electricity and the kind of materials you can use for this purpose: remember that it is not safe to mix electricity and water. No matter whether you are facing downed power lines or simply trying to make electricity using magnets and coils, failure to manage electricity safely around any kind of water can cause severe injuries, or even death.

Here’s what to expect while trying to generate electricity during and after a flood:

  • Vehicle alternators and wires may not be salvageable because of damage caused by flood waters. Motors that have been exposed to excess moisture can spark, catch fire, and cause all kinds of other problems, but it might be difficult to determine if an abandoned car was actually flooded out or not. Aside from checking in the wheel wells and under the hood, take a look in the trunk of the car. If you see mud, wet carpets, or upholstery with signs of water damage, do not try to salvage wires or motors that might otherwise be useful for generating electricity.
  • If you do not bug out before a flood, you will either be stuck in the upper floors of your home or waiting for rescue up on the roof. While you may have some room for generating electricity in a home setting, your options will be extremely limited while you are sitting on a roof. At ground level, you will still have problems with limited space because of the water around you. Even though this water will recede with time, there is a critical window of days and weeks where you will need very simple systems that require as little space as possible.
  • Soggy ground makes it very difficult to support frames for windmills and solar panels that are housed on the ground. Not only will support structures collapse, but solar panels, connecting wires, and other parts can be ruined as flood waters pass through. You may also find it very hard to build and operate earth batteries because of the excessive moisture and difficulty with digging into mud in order to place metal parts.
  • You probably won’t be able to move across large enough distances to operate piezoelectric shoes and backpacks that generate electricity as you walk or run. No matter where you live during a flood, the air is bound to be very humid, and can make it difficult, if not deadly to carry out strenuous activities. Before you try to generate power using a bicycle or something else that utilizes body power, make sure that you know how to stay properly hydrated and how to control your body temperature.

What to Make Use Of

When it comes to “green power”, hydroelectric dams and other water based electric generating systems are often viewed as some of the most efficient and powerful in the world. In fact, if you have even some moving water, you also have one of the most important natural elements for generating electricity. Even though flood waters may lose their power in just a few days, knowing how to harness this water can be of immense benefit.

But this is only one of the advantages you have to be aware of, others are still to come below:

  • Looters, rioters, and others that might be inclined to steal your electricity generating systems may have a harder time. Consider that when streets are flooded, or you are sitting up on a roof, it will be very hard for these people to get to you. Not only will you have a high vantage point to work from, people that are stuck in the flood zone will probably be more interested in getting out or being rescued. That being said, as the water recedes, you can expect crime oriented problems to develop.
  • It may be slightly easier to access local news and other communication systems. If you happen to have a traditional broadcasting station in your local area, the transmitter and backup systems are likely to be located on high ground. As such, they may well be broadcasting right along with ham radio operators and others that have equipment that is still working. Just keep an appropriate receiver in a water proof bag and make sure that it goes with you to the roof or any other place that you need to go in order to stay out of the flood waters. This information can help you find out the extent of the damage to power generating systems as well as help you gauge what you need to do in the meantime. Individuals with smart phones should also be able to access mobile internet signals that can be used to download schematics for power generating systems or gain access to advice if problems occur. While this is no substitute for actually building systems, at least you may be able to get some help when it is needed most.

Small Scale Systems

Overall, you will find that small, low power generating systems will be safer and easier to build, use, and maintain during and after a flood.

As with many other systems, you are sure to be surprised by the number of ideas you can get by studying the works of the ancient Greeks and Chinese. They have some of the most fascinating gear and lever systems in the world that readily integrate moving water and can also accommodate both magnets and coils for generating electricity.

Gravity Driven Motor Assemblies

If you have ever been stuck without an air conditioner, then you may already know that it is possible to build a fan that essentially runs on gravity. During a flood, it is very likely that you will be up in the attic or sitting on a roof, and these locations are perfect for using a gravity fan to generate power.

As with many other small scale systems, as long as you add magnets to the fan blade and coils of wire to generate current in, they you should be able to make this system work. More, the items required are very easy to store in your attic: a box fan, several feet of rope, a weight, some magnets, and coils of wire.

You can also practice with this system before a flood occurs so that you can fine tune the system and also find out how much electricity you can generate with it. To get started, you can study this video to see who best to start with making the gravity fan, and then do some additional research on magnets and coils:

Video first seen on Attila Blade.

You can also use a bicycle wheel to run a generator which in turn powers a light bulb using a gravity to turn the wheels.

Video first seen on RimstarOrg.

Gear Driven Motor Assemblies

Did you know that the Greeks were able to create “robots” that could automatically open doors, and even operate on pre-set stages in order to act out a complete play? Research on Hero of Alexandria and also ancient Greek robot technologies, and you’ll understand now how much can be done with gears and the power of gravity and motion.

As you look at the different devices (including ones that could mix wine and water), think about how you can adapt them to generate power. You will still need to add coils and magnets to the assembly, and then figure out how large the device will need to be in order to meet your power needs.

Because of the kinds of damage and instability caused by floods, you are better off building a few lightweight systems and hooking them up instead of building just one larger system. At the very least, if one or two units are knocked out, you may still be able to move the rest to higher ground and have some electricity to work with.

Container Based Earth Batteries

Ice trays, planters, and just about anything else filled with dirt can be used to generate small amounts of electricity, you just need two types of metal and some water to make these earth batteries work. You can also add table salt and other electrolytes to the water in order to increase the output of each battery.

If you choose to use electrolytes, you will also have to replace it often, as the solution will break down as electrons are released.

Small Waterwheels

During a flood, you might expect that heavy rainfalls will occur. Contrary to popular belief, this is a perfect time to start generating your own power using a small scale waterwheel.

If you have a rain barrel set up in order to increase the amount of potable water on hand, you can use it as a mounting point for the waterwheel. To make this work, try the following:

  • Start off with a 50-gallon drum or something else that will capture a fairly large amount of water.
  • Make a small waterwheel and make sure that each end of the central shaft extends beyond the barrel. Make sure that the central shaft turns freely.
  • Make a plastic tent with the point aimed downward above the waterwheel. The lowest point should hit the paddles on one side of the wheel so that it spins easily.
  • Cut a hole in the plastic tent where the water will come out. The plastic will collect the raindrops, and, as they move to the bottom, create a strong enough stream of water to drive the waterwheel.
  • From there, you can either attach magnets and gears to the shafts, or any other motorized system that will enable the magnets to induce currents in coils of wire. Alternatively, you can also power car alternators or other types of generators that have not been damaged by a flood. Just make sure that you also protect motors and other parts of the generator from both the rain and flood waters that will follow.

There are also some ways that you can use waterwheels to generate power after the floods, if you will be looking for areas where the water is deep enough and flowing fast enough to turn the water wheel. Anything from flooded streets to parking lots with moving can be used for this purpose.

Just remember not to get swept up in the floods when you are trying to set up the water wheels. It is also very important to keep an eye on the flood waters and rescue operations so that you know when to pull the wheels out of the water so as to avoid losing them or causing more problems.

Large Scale Systems

When the power first goes out during a flood, there may be a period of time where you may sit and wait, hoping that the problem is minor, and that emergency crews will restore power sooner rather than later.

This tactic is about as useful as trying to use some of the more common systems touted for use in short to longer term survival situations. For example, if you think that solar panels on the roof, windmills, or others that use battery storage systems will survive a flood, you may be in for a nasty surprise. From cloudy days to muddy ground causing buildings to collapse, in the end large scale power generating systems will need to make use of flood waters instead of try to work around their presence.

Archimedes Screw

The Archimedes Screw is actually a fairly simple device that has been around for thousands of years. Basically, a form similar to a screw is mounted in a tube. As the screw turns in the tube, water is raised from a lower level to a higher one. Moving water flowing through the system can then be harnessed to generate electricity.

In fact, Windsor Castle is one of the most notable places on Earth that derives most of its power from a pair of Archimedes Screws that rely on the flow of water from the Thames River.

Archscrew

To generate power using an Archimedes Screw after a flood, you will need to find a place where water is flowing freely. Flooded streets, river beds, and even backyards with drainage into the street can all be used for this purpose. Depending on the flow of the water, you’ll need to make smaller screws and then harness the power generating coils together in order to obtain enough current for your needs.

As with any other power generating method, it will always be to your advantage to have something built and plans for using it before a crisis happens. Consider a situation where you have a front yard or a back yard that you can build up or change the height of.

Research on Archimedes Screw systems, then you will realize that the change in height the water must travel will have a bearing on the amount of power that can be generated. Depending on the way the land is structured, it may be possible to cut paths that will direct the flow of water, and thus make it much easier to install an Archimedes Screw before the flood actually occurs.

Electricity Alternatives

When preparing for floods, most people rush out and stock up on flashlight batteries, propane stoves, and propane bottles, but these very same people will never have enough alternative fuel on hand to survive a disaster like Hurricane Katrina.

In a flood situation, you may only have to wait a few days, or the situation can last for weeks, months, or years, while wood, and many other burnable materials may not be available because everything will be soaked.

When it comes to electricity alternatives during and after a flood, your best options will include smaller devices and saving energy as much as possible. Here’s what you can do to replace the fridge or your electricity based cooker:

  • If you are fortunate enough to have sunny days soon after the rains leave, you can use solar cookers made from cardboard boxes and tin foil.
  • Use table salt mixed with ice to keep foods frozen.
  • Use zeer pots for refrigeration, however they may not work well if the air is humid, and thus prevents the flow of water out from the central chamber.
  • If you can get enough dry materials together, rocket stoves can be used for cooking and keeping warm. Dakota fire pits and other holes dug in the ground may not work because of mud and water seepage. As the area dries out, keep track of how the water is receding on higher ground. It may just be possible to use these areas within a few days of the rain stopping.

Make sure you have plenty of plastic rain gear and waterproof clothes on hand. These materials may not be comfortable to wear, but they can keep most of the moisture away from you as well as prevent vital body heat from escaping. Just remember that your body will continue to sweat and cause a buildup of moisture.

Be sure to unzip or unbutton plastic coverings so that the moisture can escape, or it can easily result in skin infections and other problems. Never forget that bacteria, mold, and mildew thrive in wet, warm environments. While you may need to reduce air flow to your skin for the sake of keeping warm, it can also spell disaster from a health point of view.

Today, many people that pin their hopes on solar or wind power fail to realize that these systems are just as vulnerable to floods as larger scale commercial power grids. No matter whether you live in a survival based gated community, have a homestead, or live in an inner city, you can come up with at least one or two inexpensive options to generate electricity.

They can be assembled from old junk laying around your home, or items that may be very cheap or free to acquire at the local dump or some other place where items may be offered to the community for free as part of a recycling program.

You may even want to connect to the Freecycle boards for your local area to obtain free fans or other items that can be used for flood based power generating needs.

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10 Things You’ll Need When The Power Grid Fails

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Most of us rely on the power grid almost every minute of every day. Without power, we usually just sit around waiting for it to come back on. But what if it doesn’t? Due to an aging infrastructure, the power grid is becoming less and less reliable every […]

The post 10 Things You’ll Need When The Power Grid Fails appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

12 Ways To Protect Your Heat Sources From Freezing

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Heat sourcesWhen winter comes, keeping your heating system operational is more important than ever. Unfortunately, even if you have done most routine maintenance, you may not have prepared for temperatures reaching into the double digits below zero.

Given all of the erratic and wide scale changes in temperature across this planet, it is entirely possible that areas not usually accustomed to freezing temperatures will experience them before temperatures climb out of control.

Under these circumstances, you should take some extra care when winterizing your heating systems so that you can reduce the risk of them failing when you need them most.

1. Know How to Reset or Make the System Recycle

No matter where or why a fault occurs in the heating system, it may cause the entire unit to shut down even though you may have solved the problem. In some cases you may need to shut power to the unit or take some other steps to get the heating system’s computer to reboot and recognize that the problem has been solved.

Make sure that you know how to reset the system so that you do not waste all of your efforts on solving a problem only to have the system refuse to start up again.

2. Use Good Quality Surge Protectors on All Devices

Overall, there is no way for consumers to protect electric power lines from major freeze ups. If you have your own power generating system, you can try buying cables beneath the frost line, however that may not help with connections coming into a building. Regardless of where you get electricity from, you should make it a point to have all electrical equipment plugged into a good quality surge protector.

For computers and other sensitive devices, you should choose a surge system that also includes a UPS or “Uninterrupted Power Supply”. Essentially, these devices can smooth out brown outs and surges, and also use a battery to provide steady power to your devices. Perhaps even better, if you do wind up with a major power failure, the battery pack can give you anywhere from 2 – 4 additional hours of run time.

When choosing a UPS system, always pay attention to the warranty and coverage limits in case the unit fails. Over the years, many people have bought UPS systems that were only supposed to last 2 – 3 years, and then did not understand why their devices were ruined 5 years later, when an actual brown out or surge occurred. It is important to realize that UPS systems utilize rechargeable batteries. Since they are under constant wear, they must be replaced on a regular basis.

If devices on the UPS system are ruined during the warranty period, the additional insurance should cover replacing those devices. Just make sure that all devices hooked into the computer are also plugged into the UPS.

For example, a surge can come through a printer, and then transfer through the data cable and ruin a computer and any other device wired up to it. In these situations, the UPS system manufacturer will not reimburse you for damages because the surge did not come through their product.

3. Make Sure Air Inlets Remain Clear

Most heating systems require air circulation courtesy of vents that lead from the system to the outdoors. While these vents may not be easily visible to you, snow can melt on them and form ice.

Once the vent clogs up, the heating system will generate a fault and stop working. Make it a point to know where these vents are. If your system stops working and the temperatures are below freezing, check these vents out first to see if they are obstructed. In many cases, clearing this obstruction will clear the fault problem and make it possible to restart your heating system.

4. Use Insulated Stove Pipe and Keep Exhaust Vents Clear

Just about any heating system will release water vapor as part of the exhaust. Once this vapor hits cold air, it will turn to ice. This ice, in turn, will collect on the inside of a chimney or exhaust vent and eventually block all flow of exhaust out of the system. As with a clogged air inlet, this problem will also cause a fault that causes the system to shut down. If this happens, you will have to clear the exhaust pipe and then restart the system.

Because this is such a common problem, you can, and should look for ways to avoid it. There are insulated stove pipes that will not freeze up, as well as other items you can purchase to keep exhaust vents clear. Even though it may cost a bit to replace external stove pipe or refit a chimney, it will be well worth it in the long run.

5. Install Filters on the Fuel Line and Keep Them Clean

If you have ever worked on a car, then you also know that gasoline is not entirely free of debris and other particles that would cause damage to the valves and other delicate parts of the engine. Various particles found in fuel oil, and water vapor in propane gas can also foul up the system or cause it to stop working.

Surprisingly enough, more water vapor will be released during freezing temperatures, which means that there is a greater chance of fouling the system. As such, you are best served by installing fuel filters. At the very least, if the system does fail, you will have an easier time cleaning the filter than you will trying to clean the burner and other elements of the heating system.

It should also be noted that fuel filters are more prone to clog up when they are in a freezing cold environment. You can avoid this problem by putting the fuel in a sheltered area of the fuel line and still get all the benefits from it. Just remember that the fuel filter can still be a main culprit for system failure, and it will be one of the first things you will need to check.

6. Keep Your Fuel Storage Tank in a Sheltered Area

Even though fuel storage tanks are designed to last for decades, that does not mean the contents inside of them can withstand freezing temperatures. In fact, even diesel blends designed for ultra-cold temperatures will thicken in a tank that is exposed to freezing cold temperatures. Also, once propane liquefies, it cannot be used until returns to the gas phase.

All of these problems can be avoided by keeping your fuel tanks in some type of well-ventilated shed or other type of shelter. If the temperatures still get too cold, there are special, non-explosive heating bulbs that you can use to keep the fuel shed warm.

When you have a whole tank of fuel that cannot be used because of the cold weather, it can be very tempting to use blow torches, candles, or other flame based heating devices to thaw the fuel out. On the other hand, fuels also heat up very quickly, and flames can still cause the fuel to ignite very quickly. Always be on the safe side and use only devices and methods that are safe for the fuel under consideration. There are no safe shortcuts to bring fuel up to an appropriate temperature.

7. Make Sure Fuel Tanks are Full Before a Freeze Occurs

No matter how hard fuel manufacturers try, water is always going to get into the final product. In addition, as time goes by, water vapor and condensation will also build up in tanks and fuel lines. When temperatures drop below zero, even more water vapor will be released by the fuel.

Under these circumstances, the fuel going into the heating system will either have so much water it clogs the filter, or it will cause the system to misfire. In both cases, the system will shut down until the fouled parts are cleaned up and restored. While this may seem like a simplistic answer, one way to avoid condensation problems is to keep the fuel tank as full as possible before freezing temperatures occur. In this case, you can try topping off the day before, or even within hours of a major cold snap.

8. Keep a Smaller Container of Fuel Indoors for Emergency Needs

Depending on where you live, fuel delivery companies may not be willing to supply more fuel unless you order a minimum of 100 gallons.

In these situations, they are not likely to be willing to deliver anything less just so that you do not have system failure because of condensation building up in the fuel tank. So you might be best served by removing some fuel from the external storage tank and bringing it indoors. From there, you can feed the fuel system directly from the container.

Here are some tips for doing this as safely as possible:

  • Make sure that the container is rated for safely storing the fuel in question.
  • Do not allow the fuel to be stored in areas where sparks can reach it.
  • Keep the fuel container fully covered so that pets and children cannot get into it.
  • Make sure the container is stored in a location where it will not tip over.
  • The fuel container should be kept in an area where it is warm enough for the fuel to flow properly, but not so warm that it can be ignited.
  • The area should be well ventilated so that hazardous fumes do not build up.
  • If you must cut into the fuel line, make sure that it is sealed properly. It is also important to use pipe, valves, and other items that are safe to use with the fuel in question. This includes making sure that metal used in the line will not be corroded by the fuel.

9. Use Larger Diameter Pipes or Tubing for Outdoor or Unprotected Pipes

Chances are, you already realize that liquids will flow faster and more easily through larger pipes than small ones. As such, you might find it of some use to install larger pipes from the fuel tank and through any areas that tend to be harder to insulate.

Even if the fuel is thicker and moves slower than usual, the larger pipes can help offset that problem. This is especially important to consider if you cannot afford large quantities of heating tape or other forms of insulation.

At the very least, you can use these items on fittings that cannot be changed for larger sizes, and then rely on the larger pipes to keep the fuel moving. Once the fuel reaches warmer locations, you can always scale the pipe size back down so that it matches the fittings on the heating system. Today, there are all kinds of adjustment couplers that you can use to achieve this goal.

Video first seen on This Old House

10. Use Snow and other Materials as an Insulator

No matter how cold temperatures get, insulating pipes, regulators, filters, and tanks remains one of the best things you can do. In most cases, even if temperatures reach 20 degrees or more below zero, the cold will not be able to reach the lines. As long as they were warm enough before the cold snap hit, they will remain warm enough for some time. When choosing insulation for fuel tanks and lines:

  • Make sure that the insulation is non-flammable.
  • Choose insulation that is specified as safe for the fuel type stored or being transported through the lines.
  • Try to choose insulation that is as flexible as possible so that it is easier to cover bends in the fuel line or other complex areas.
  • Make sure that you observe all ventilation instructions that come with the insulation. Failure to take these precautions can cause an explosion that will do far worse than the cold temperatures.

When temperatures reach the double digits below zero, snow can actually be warmer than the surrounding air. As such, it can also act as an insulator if you have nothing else available. In this case, if you have a propane tank, or even a tank of diesel that is too cold to use, the snow may help raise the temperature in the tank without posing a fire risk. If you decide to use snow as an insulator remember that:

  • Any warmth will cause the snow to melt, and then form ice as the temperatures drop again. As such, you may wind up with a fuel tank encased in ice if you leave the snow in place for too long.
  • As snow melts into water, and then refreezes back into ice, it will expand. If you have the snow tightly packed around a tank or fuel lines, it is possible for the external ice to damage or even crush the lines. Always monitor the snow carefully to make sure that it is not turning to ice and leading into an even bigger problem.

11. Use Heat Tapes and Bulbs Appropriate for the Fuel Being Used

If you have ever owned your own well in a cold climate, then you already know that electric heating tapes are indispensable during the winter months. Today, you can buy specially made electric tapes that are safe for propane and other fuel lines. As long as you have electricity, you should be able to run these tapes without any problems.

When you are optimally prepared for freezing temperatures, your fuel tank should already be in some kind of shelter. Depending on the fuel type, you may also need special heating bulbs that will keep the enclosure warm without causing an explosion. Even though these bulbs may be a bit more expensive, they are well worth it in the long run.

Overall, you will find that heat tapes can last for decades once installed. On the other hand, the last thing you will want is to have heat tapes fail during a cold snap and not have any spares on hand. You should have double the number of tapes needed on hand just in case you need them.

While it may be a bit time consuming to retape fuel lines, at least you won’t have to worry about trying to acquire new heat tapes during the crisis period. Needless to say, you should also store away plenty of heating bulbs so that you have them onhand. Just store these items in a dry, cool place so that they do not become corroded or damaged by moisture or other environmental factors.

It is important to realize that during a cold spell, you may also lose power. No matter whether ice forms on power lines, trees fall on them, or other problems occur, heat tapes and bulbs will not work without electricity.

Under these circumstances, it is very important to know how much power the heat tapes require. You should always keep at least some kind of rechargeable battery onhand and in a safe location so that you can generate electricity to run the heat tapes and bulbs.

12. Using Hair Dryers and Hot Water to Unfreeze Lines

As with water pipes, it may be a bit difficult to find out just how large a stopped up area of fuel line actually is. It can truly be frustrating to discover that you can’t use propane torches, candles, kerosene space heaters, or other flame based devices to warm the lines up.

Depending on the fuel type, you may also have to avoid using hair dryers. Typically, hot water will be the safest option you will have for warming up frozen fuel lines, regulators, and fuel filters. If you cannot get the fuel lines to thaw out, then you will more than likely need to do the following:

  • Burn wood, paper logs, or other materials in a store that is safe for this purpose. If your home does not have a backup heating system, then it may be a good idea to install one.
  • Use multi-fuel heaters. If you do some research, you may be able to find heaters that will take diesel as well as kerosene. Just be aware that different fuels produce different amounts of heat. You should store enough fuel away to last several weeks.
  • Close off rooms and use candle heaters to heat up small areas of space.
  • Don’t forget that sunlight on even the coldest day can bring heat in through the windows. Open up curtains to let the sunlight in, and then close them back up at dusk to keep as much heat as possible in the room.
  • Use extra layers of thin clothing to help retain body heat
  • Make sure that your windows, doors, walls, ceilings, and floors are properly insulated. There is truly nothing worse than “efficient windows” that let heat out when a simple sheet of plastic over the window can solve the problem. At the very least, if you don’t want to put plastics over your windows, keep some material on hand for a time of need. No doubt, you will be amazed when you see just how much cold air was getting through those energy efficient windows and robbing your home of vital heat during the winter months.

Most people that have lived in cold climates already know that preparing for the winter months goes well beyond storing up some extra fuel and having the burner serviced. In many cases, being prepared for a cold snap can involve a number of maintenance items that must be carried on during episodes of freezing temperatures.

No matter whether you need to drain fuel filters, clear exhaust and intake vents, or ensure heat tapes remain functional, they are all very important elements of keeping the heating system functional during freezing temperatures.

That being said, no matter how much you prepare for freezing cold temperatures and blizzards, there are times when your best efforts will fail. Do not hesitate to keep wood, coal, kerosene, and candles on hand so that you can generate as much heat as possible.

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10 Things To Replace Power During A Blizzard

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off grid blizzardBlizzard can be annoying when you want to go out or attend to any number of matters. But seems like snow storms still have something to say, if you take a look at the weather forecast for the Midwest.

If the power goes out during a blizzard it can also be very dangerous. Even if you have an alternative power system such as solar panels or windmills, the odds are very high they will not work in these conditions.

Here are some things you can do to obtain water, heat up food, preserve refrigerated foods, and manage other needs without electricity.

1. Candle Heaters

Candle heaters are very simple devices that make use of three clay pots, a bolt, some metal washers and a fireproof stand. Add 1 to 4 tea lights or votive candles to begin generating heat. You can purchase premade “Kandle Heaters” or make your own.

Make sure that the ceramic flower pots are not glazed, and that you choose zinc free bolts and washers. Candle heaters can easily be assembled in under 10 minutes and will begin heating up a room in a matter of moments. Since the outer pot will get fairly hot, you can do the following:

  • Warm up foods such as canned soup or anything that has not been frozen
  • If the outermost pot is large enough, you can warm up a cup of water.

If you are going to use the candle heater as a cooker, make sure that you use a ceramic saucer on top. You will also need to make sure that the heater base will not collapse under the added weight. Also be sure that the saucer is resting on 3 or 4 supports that will keep it in place, as the center bolt can cause the saucer to disbalance.

Before using a candle heater, check that the clay pots are as dry as possible since any moisture will impede heat flow. To achieve this, put the clay pots in a conventional oven and let them heat up until they dry out. It is best to do this as close to the time when you will use the candle heater so that moisture does not build back up in the walls of the pots.

2. Rocket Stoves

All different kinds of rocket stoves rely on a small inner chamber that optimizes burning of flammable materials and an outer shell that radiates heat. The smallest and simplest rocket stoves can be made from tin cans, while larger and more complex ones might include chimneys and space for a cooking oven.

If you have not built a suitable rocket stove, you can still use the tin can version in a blizzard. Here are some basic instructions for building a tin can rocket stove:

Video first seen on Desert Sun 02

If you have plenty of rubbing alcohol on hand, you can also use tin cans or other metal tins to build a very simple alcohol stove.

Video first seen on LlegaWeapon And DIY

You can also find a lot of resources online, about building more complex stoves.

From a DIY perspective, never forget that “fins” or thin strips of metal diffuse heat more efficiently than a solid shape. If you have an extra can, or even some tinfoil, you can make fins and then fit them around the can to see if they will improve heat disbursement.

Regardless of the rocket stove design that you choose, it can accommodate paper logs, wood, coal, and just about anything else that will burn. Just remember that you will have to remove the ashes on a regular basis.

Small tin can rocket stoves reach a higher temperature than candle heaters, so they can be used to boil water and fry foods more easily. They can also be used for heating up a room, however all of these actions will also generate a lot more smoke than you would get from candles. Therefore, your activities will be limited by your ability to vent the smoke out and get fresh air in.

Some ways to get around this problem include:

  • Make a large enough stove, or outer shell so that you can create a fully functional chimney or vent. You can also look for ways to create a portable chimney or vent system to use in blizzard or crisis situations where you cannot keep a permanent chimney in place. Be sure that you know how to build the chimney safely, and also set the stove pipe up so that it does not create unintended fires or other hazards.
  • Use the rocket stove outdoors and in a safe location where it will not set anything flammable on fire. Next, build a water pipe system that will be used to run cold water out to the stove where it can be heated up, and then pumped back in to heat up the house when the water is hot. You will need to insulate the pipes so that as much heat comes into the house as possible, and also make sure that the pumps do not require electricity to operate. This may involve figuring out how to make gravity powered pumps and motors that will work in this situation.

3. Cinder Block Stoves

Overall, cinder blocks stoves are often considered in the same category as rocket stoves. They are very easy to build, and can be expanded into multiple burners or large enough sizes to accommodate just about any task. You can also add an inner metal chamber so that you get the benefits of a rocket stove in this design.

As with other stoves, cinder block variants require adequate ventilation for safe usage. Because of their size, cinder block stoves lend themselves better outdoor use and providing more heat than other designs. Here are some things you can do with basic cine

4. Conventional Propane Stoves

If you are looking for a solution that doesn’t require any building or prep work, propane stoves may be your best option in a blizzard. These stoves are safe, easy to manage, and can be used to cook just about any kind of food.

As with other stoves, you will still need adequate ventilation, as the fumes from these stoves can be as deadly as from any other fire. Even if a stove is rated for indoor use, do not assume that a room with winterized windows and/or doors will let enough air in to keep you safe.

Unlike other stove types, you will need propane cylinders to run these stoves. You should have enough propane on hand to cook for at least 4 weeks. Depending on where you live, a power outage caused by a blizzard may only last a few hours, while in other areas, the outage may last for weeks on end.

5. Kerosene Stoves

When it comes to heating up a room without using electricity, few methods can rival a kerosene heater. As long as you have plenty of ventilation, you will also be safe from the fumes. You can rely on this type of heater to provide a warm place in the room as well as a place where you can cook and heat up water. Overall, you will also find that kerosene is a good bit cheaper than propane.

If you have never used a kerosene stove before, make sure that you start off with a properly mounted wick. You may also have to trim the wick back a bit so that it is as even as possible. When the wick is at the right height and even, the stove will not produce any visible smoke and very little smell.

However, it will still be making fumes that include carbon monoxide. If you see smoke or smell a lot of kerosene, do the following:

  • Look down from the top grates of the stove so that you can see the top of the burner. The flames should be evenly disbursed all the way around without any breaks. You should be able to see the center metal portion of the burner. If the flames are obstructing the view, then they are too high. Lower the wick to bring them back under control.
  • If some of the wick is lit, but other parts aren’t, then shut the stove down and open up the cage. Look carefully at the wick to see if it is even all the way around. In some cases, you can get away with opening up the burner (after it cools) and pulling the wick to make it even. In other cases, you may have to trim the wick to make it even. Always refer to the owner’s manual to find out how to carry out these operations for your specific heater.
  • If the wick is even but the flame is too low or not all the way around, you can turn the wick up a little bit to see if that helps.

6. Compost Pile Heaters

If you have ever created a viable compost pile, then you also know it generates a good bit of heat. As long as the pile is sheltered and has plenty of materials to transform, you should get enough heat from the core of the pile to heat up water and your home. Just keep pipes filled with water in the core of the pile. As with other water heat systems, you will also need gravity powered pump motors or some other mechanism to keep the water moving into your home.

Unlike many other systems, this is one of the few that will enable you to continue getting hot water from the tap as long as you have the system set up to cut into the hot water line.

Even though compost pile heaters take a bit more work than others they have many advantages that will make them work well in a blizzard:

  • You will never need to worry about toxic fumes in the home
  • If they have been providing heat and hot water in colder temperatures already, they will also work perfectly in a blizzard
  • You will always have plenty of compost to fertilize container gardens as well as outdoor ones.

7. Paper Logs and Burning Wood

If you have a wood stove with a working chimney, most of your heating and cooking problems during a blizzard will already be solved. Even if you do not have enough wood on hand, you can roll up newspapers and other types of scrap paper to make paper logs.

Without a proper fireplace,