Power Needs When You Need It Bob Hawkins “The APN Report“ Audio in player below! April Showers bring May Flowers, as well as Thunderstorms. We had a doozy sweep by this week, which put a hurting’ on the local power grid. There were power outages in parts of the county which give inspiration for this … Continue reading Power Needs When You Need It
You may not think of it this way, but the vast majority of the food we eat is cooked. Oh, it may not actually be cooked in your kitchen, but it was cooked somewhere. Frozen foods, breakfast cereal, cookies, bread, potato chips, dry-roasted peanuts, candy, spaghetti sauce, lunchmeat and even some canned goods are all cooked somewhere — probably in a factory.
Of course, those factories save us from having to cook all of those things ourselves.
But what if you couldn’t get all of that food anymore? What would you do? Could you come up with enough food to eat if you had to bake your own bread and can your own vegetables? Even worse than that, what if you had to do it without electrical power?
The sad reality is that our infrastructure is very fragile. As long as it works, it’s great. But it doesn’t take a whole lot to take it down.
That’s why it’s important to have alternate ways of cooking your food. Fortunately, there are a wide range of options that we can choose from … if we take the time to be prepared to use them.
1. Wood fire
Mankind’s oldest means of cooking was over an open fire. For much of human history, this was the only way that people could cook. Even today, there are places in the world where cooking over wood is the norm.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Mexico. While the cities can be quite modern, once you get out in the sticks, it’s not surprising to find people doing things much as they have been done for centuries. The country is in transition and because of that, you’ll see the old ways and the new ways in use side by side, even within the same household.
When we talk about cooking with a wood fire, we’re actually talking about several different cooking methods. The common factor is the wood, but how that wood is used and how the food is cooked can vary extensively. Some possibilities include:
- A fireplace.
- A wood-burning stove.
- A fire pit.
- A clay oven.
- An open fire.
2. Dutch oven
The Dutch oven is often used in a wood fire, but it still deserves special mention. Originally, Dutch ovens were cast-iron affairs, with feet to hold them level in the coals. The lid looked inverted, with a lip, so that coals could be piled on top, too. This gave the ability to bake foods, long before our modern ovens were invented.
Most of what’s called Dutch ovens today wouldn’t survive use in this manner. They’re typically thin, stamped metal, with an enamel coating on the outside and Teflon on the inside. If you tried to set them down in the coals of a fire, the enamel would burn and the thin metal would probably be weakened.
3. Barbecue grill
One alternate means of cooking that almost everyone has is a barbecue grill. While we normally only use it for cooking steaks and hamburgers, you can cook just about anything on a grill, with a little practice. Pots and pans can be placed on the grill, although once again, you’d be better off with cast-iron ones.
If you have a gas grill, you should keep at least one spare tank of gas on hand at all times. That way, you’ll have a ready means of cooking, when and if the power goes out. For charcoal grills, you can use wood, although you’ll have to allow it to burn down to coals to get the best results.
Learn to start a fire in your charcoal grill without lighter fluid. That way, you can always have the ability to cook your food, as long as you have fuel for the grill.
4. Camping stove
Those who like to go camping probably already have a camping stove. This makes a good alternative when you can’t use your regular stove. However, most camping stoves today work off of those little bottles of propane gas. Unless you’re going to stockpile a whole lot of little bottles, you’re going to be somewhat limited.
One solution to this problem is getting an adapter which will allow you to refill those little propane bottles from a regular propane tank, such as the ones used for barbecue grilles. That’s also a great way to save money, as the little bottles are quite expensive.
If you can find it, Coleman still makes a camp stove that doesn’t use propane. Called their “dual-fuel stove,” it’s the same model that I remember using as a kid. You put the fuel in a tank and pump it up to pressurize it. They named it “dual-fuel” because you can use it with both the canned Coleman fuel and regular gasoline.
That adds a lot to the utility of the stove, as the one fuel which will be easiest to find during an emergency is gasoline. You might have to siphon it out of a car’s gas tank, but at least you’ll have fuel.
5. Solar oven
If you’ve never used a solar oven, you should try it. But unless you know what you’re doing, I’d really recommend buying one rather than making your own. The commercially manufactured ones are much better than just a box covered with aluminum foil.
The idea behind a solar oven is that the sunlight is converted to heat by striking a black surface inside the oven. Reflectors increase the amount of sunlight that comes into the solar oven, helping to augment the temperature. Most are covered with a glass or plastic cover, which helps to hold in the heat.
Cooking with a solar oven is much like cooking in a crockpot. It takes a little time. But beware: It is possible to overcook with a solar oven. I’ve burned roasts and potatoes in mine.
6. Solar Fresnel cooker
If you’ve ever used a magnifying lens to torture ants or light a leaf on fire as a kid, you already know how to use a Fresnel cooker. Fresnel lenses are the flat plastic magnifying glasses, which look like they have fine concentric circles molded into the backside. You can find them at dollar stores and other places, usually marketed for reading small type.
The old big screen televisions, prior to the flat screen TVs we now have, all had a Fresnel lens inside, just behind the screen. You can salvage one right out of one of those televisions, or if you can’t find one, try checking eBay. They usually have them.
Your Fresnel lens will need to be mounted in an adjustable frame, both to hold it and to adjust the angle. The food you want to cook is placed at the focal point of the lens, which is usually about two feet below it. So, you’ll need a stand of some sort to hold the frying pan or pot you’re going to put the food in.
I’ve seen Fresnel cookers generate enough heat to fry an egg in one minute or actually melt pennies. If you want to cook something quickly, this will do it. As long as you’ve got clear skies, you can cook just about anything you can think of. Just be careful not to burn your food.
What off-grid cooking methods would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
When you think of natural disasters that could interrupt the power grid, you probably think of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. However, it was a massive ice storm that left millions of Canadians and some Americans without electricity and heat for a period of days to weeks in 1998.
Known as the Great Ice Storm of 1998 or the North American Ice Storm of 1998, the huge January weather event was really a combination of five smaller ice storms that struck a narrow geographic band that stretched from eastern Ontario to southern Quebec and Nova Scotia and included a section of northern New York and central Maine. Upwards of three inches of ice fell in some places.
The storm’s wrath killed 35, injured 945 and displaced about 600,000 people. Additionally, the resulting widespread power outage affected 1.4 million people in Québec and nearly 240,000 people in eastern Ontario. The total financial cost of the storm is estimated in excess of $5 billion.
Story continues below video
People were without power for anywhere from several days to several weeks, and, in a few instances, several months, as Canadian workers scrambled to reconstruct the power grid in the wake of the damaging ice. More than 1,000 transmission towers collapsed.
The Weather Channel recently named it the worst ice storm in U.S. history – nearly 80 percent of Maine was without power — although its impact was felt mostly in Canada.
To handle the crisis, which included the closing of several main roads, more than 16,000 members of the Canadian military were deployed, the largest peacetime deployment in Canadian history.
Story continues below video
Ice storms are not unusual during the winter in the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence region, a location where warm low-pressure currents from the Gulf of Mexico encounter cold high-pressure currents from the Arctic. When the two currents collide, warm air tends to rise above the cold air. Then, the resulting precipitation often begins as rain but freezes as it reaches lower altitudes or hits the ground.
Between Jan. 4 and Jan. 10, 1998, however, parts of the St. Lawrence Valley in Quebec received more than twice the amount of icy precipitation they average in an entire year.
Although Kingston and Ottawa received the brunt of the storm, about 2.6 million people — nearly one fifth of all Canadian workers—were either impeded or prevented from getting to their place of employment. Businesses of all sizes in Quebec were severely impacted, and many small communities were completely shut down by the storm.
The storm hit a large location for the Canadian dairy industry. Many dairy cows became ill as the mechanical operations to feed and milk them shut down. To make matters worse, with power out at local milk processing plants, more than 10 million liters (2.6 gallons) of milk had to be thrown away.
Canada’s maple syrup industry also was devastated by the storm, as millions of tree branches were damaged. More than 20 percent of Canada’s syrup-producing tree taps also were disabled or destroyed in the storm, and Québec syrup makers lost most or all of their entire sugar bush. The damage was so severe that it took years for the industry to recover.
As one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history, the Great Ice Storm of 1998 was the cause of $5 to $7 billion in economic losses, with insured losses from the event reaching $1.6 billion.
Have you ever experienced an ice storm? Share your memories in the section below:
Distill Your Own Fuel, Ethanol to Alcohol! Host: Nick & Don “We Grow Ours” Can you make your own fuel – at home? “Make Your Own Fuel! Alcohol Fuel Basics What if there were a fuel that was affordable, renewable, and produced right in your own community? If you’d lived 100 years ago, you would … Continue reading Distill Your Own Fuel, Ethanol to Alcohol!
LuminAID Solar Inflatable Light, Semi-Transparent I have to say this piece of kit is awesome! It requires no batteries and can light up an area better than a flashlight! I know you can make a similar one of these yourself with a headlamp and a milk jug full of water but if you were bugging …
How To Hack A Wind Up Flashlight For Emergency Power This emergency power will allow you to power up your cell phone, PDA or other small electronics, this is a really easy and cheap way of producing emergency power when you need it. This hack is that good, the flashlight still works after you modify …
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Electrical Grid Down – No Power in a Canadian Winter What would happen in your area if the power went out in the dead of winter – not for minutes but for days? How would people behave if they didn’t have any idea when the electricity would come back on? What would happen to you …
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How To Build a Wood-Gasifier (Power for when SHTF) Whether you want to be off the grid or simply prepared in the event of a sustained power outage, you are going to need an alternate source of energy at some point. A generator would seem like the practical solution to the energy problem, but what …
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In the near future off-grid communities of ip to 20,000 population might be powered by a nuclear reactor the size of a container that is swapped out every 20 years.
Existing plants emit no emissions but overall are just too risky for some. There’s also competition now with low natural gas prices and wind and solar projects, which has allowed the small reactors to emerge. The Tennessee Valley Authority has become the first utility to apply for a permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a small reactor.
Others are following suit, there is a plan by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build one about 100 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park; it is said to produce electricity like no other.
Small nuclear reactors may be a safer and a cheaper alternative to nuclear power plants. They can be manufactured in a factory and hooked-up on-site, potentially avoiding the huge upfront capital costs and the overruns that have plagued many nuclear plants. They are theoretically safer, reducing the need for huge containment vessels and other expensive protections.
Unlike other nuclear reactors that usually produce about 1,000 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, the small modular reactors, are designed to be a fraction of the size at 50 to 300 megawatts. Rather than using electrically operated pumps and motors to circulate coolant and keep the core of the nuclear reactor at a low temperature, as happens in traditional plants, small reactors use no pumps and motors and instead rely on passive means such as gravity and conduction to cool the reactors. The size also means that it is cheaper to produce, as opposed to the $10bn and up to a decade in planning to secure permits and build of conventional nuclear.
The group wants to replace their old coal-fired plants and it won the approval from the US Department of Energy earlier this year to analyze the environmental and safety impacts of the small nuclear reactor. If it passes the test, the consortium plans to build a power plant there with 12 reactors totaling 600 megawatts in capacity.
The Utah consortium will hire Washington state-based Energy Northwest to operate and maintain its 12 reactors in Idaho if they are built. The Utah group expects the project to come online by 2024.
Gene Grecheck, a former president and the current co-chair of a policy advisory committee at the American Nuclear Society, which represents engineers and scientists. Grecheck says that scientists are studying other ways to improve nuclear technology. “There is also a lot of research going on for advanced reactor concepts to take used fuel and reprocess it to reduce [the spent fuel] even more dramatically,” he said.
Startup companies are working on using spent uranium fuel include the Bill Gates-backed TerraPoweras well as Transatomic and Terrestrial Energy. Another start-up, Oklo, seeks to create 2-megawatt reactors that fit inside shipping containers to provide electricity for remote off-grid locations. Toshiba has worked on a micro nuclear reactor that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbours who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.
A new report by the U.K.’s government-backed Energy Technologies Institute outlines what it considers to be a reasonable timeline for the country to also adopt the new smaller reactors. It has been estimated that they could be in use by 2030. For that to happen, talks between operators, developers, and the government would have to begin next year. But fears about the safety of nuclear plants have made them so costly as to discourage investors. “Creating the right environment for increasing investor confidence is critical if this schedule is to be met,” says Mike Middleton, the author of the report.
Even if it does happen in the U.K. they will still lag behind America. If all goes as planned, the facility in Tennessee could be up and running by the mid-2020s.
How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank
We have all seen videos around the internet on starting a fire with steel wool and a cell phone battery. That is a great way to start a fire in an emergency. The issue is that many phones now have sealed batteries. So I wondered Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank? With phones dying so fast many people carry these portable charging devices.
For this build, I bought the cheapest power bank I could get. It was $4.88 for a 2,000 mah battery bank. Which should, it states, provide you with one charge. For our needs, this will be plenty of juice. The usb battery pack came with a tiny usb cable. also we will need steel and tinder. I used some charcloth and a cotton ball. Note do not get the steel wool with soap in it. It was all I could find and it
Note do not get the steel wool with soap in it. It was all I could find and it doesn’t work well. I had to wash it off and let it dry all day.
We will need to cut the end that plugs into your phone all of the mobile battery pack. Mine only had to wires. Strip off a little of the wire to expose the bare wires.
Starting The Fire
I tried several times with just the cotton ball with no luck. I added a piece of charcloth under the steel wool and got it to work right away. Once the charcloth caught I started slowly blowing it to get it to burst into flames. It took just a few minutes to work.
Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank? The answer is yes. Save your phone and just
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DIY Scalable Vertical Axis Wind Turbine In this project, you will see how to build a small DIY VAWT, Vertical Axis Wind Turbine. The project I am sharing wont get you much over 50 watts of production, though it would be fairly simple to double the size of the blade area to increase power. Whats …
Much of America could face shortages of electricity as early as 2018, according to a new survey of utility and independent power producers.
The survey of electric providers throughout the Midwest indicates the shortage would be due to a series of coal and nuclear power plant closures throughout the region.
The amount of surplus electricity available to the region’s utilities in the 15 states will shrink by two-thirds between 2017 and 2018, the survey by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator or MISO revealed. Facilities are being closed even before it is know what, if anything, will replace them, MISO’s CEO said.
The new data means there will far less backup power available for utilities during times of peak demand, after the power plants are closed, raising the prospects of blackouts or rolling blackouts.
Specifically, there will be 2.7 surplus gigawatts of electricity available to Midwestern utilities in 2017, but only 900 megawatts available in 2018, the MISO reported. (One thousand megawatts equals 1 gigawatt, enough to power about 650,000 homes.)
“Retirements in excess of new generation are driving supply to tighten in the region,” said John Bear, MISO’s CEO. MISO monitors electricity usage in the Midwest.
Power Plant Closures Threaten Grid’s Sustainability
Coal-fired and nuclear power plants across the Midwest are closing. All total, Midwestern power plants that generate 4.3 gigawatts of electricity – enough to power more than 2.7 million homes — will shut down between now and May 31, 2017, Energy Wire reported. Southern Illinois alone will lose 1.2 gigawatts of electricity by then. An Exelon nuclear plant in Clinton, Iowa, that generates 1.2 gigawatts of electricity is closing, as are three DTE Energy coal plants in Michigan that comprise 900 megawatts of energy.
The Lower Peninsula of Michigan will face a 300 megawatt shortfall of electricity and the state of Missouri is looking at a 800 megawatt shortfall of electricity, MISO found. That means utilities might not be able to keep up with demand during hot summer days, when air conditioning puts a strain on the grid.
In Minnesota, a coal plant in Taconite Harbor will shut down by 2020.
“This is a crucial period given the number of generating plants that have retired recently and are expected to retire,” Sally Talberg, Michigan Public Service Commission chairwoman, told Energy Wire.
The Midwest is not alone. The last operating nuclear plant in California — Diablo Canyon, which powers 1.7 million homes — is scheduled to shut down by 2025. The Los Angeles Times reported the shutdown will cost $3.8 billion. Diablo Canyon’s operator, Pacific Gas & Electric, plans to switch to renewable energy such as solar and wind.
Do you trust the power companies and the power grid? Share your thoughts in the section below:
We are living in a vary exciting time, due to many factors, one large one being the internet, facebook and twitter the individual are competing with mass media. Mass media, due to its reduction in advertising revenue is in decline, not quite like a falling star, but faster than anyone could have envisaged five years ago. The Trump phenomena is still tied to big party Republicans politics, but the died in the wool Republicans hate him, as he is financially & morally independent of them all. They cannot control him and he has successfully used his ‘one liners’ to set up the main stream media to rail against him, knowing that his ‘one liners’ are irrefutable to the common man and woman, ‘the individuals’. We are the people who are fed up, with Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dummer politics, we will be the people who cause the revival of individual power. No longer are we going to be the meat in the sandwich with left wing buying votes for immigrants and right wing importing cheap labour, at the cost of higher GST to pay the ‘fly in’ welfare bill. Australia still needs a Nigel Farage UKIP, or a Trump to unify the middle ground, but as we go to the poll next Saturday we have for the first time lots of choices, Martin Turnbull (turncoat) who is very acceptable to all the major bankers like Goldman Sachs and Bill Shorten who is acceptable to left wing unions, both are smiling as they re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, just hours before it hits the iceberg. Both are glancing forwards to see the Independent imminent iceberg slowly but surely approaching. Look hard the smiles are only a façade to cover their fear.
Lots of readers, of this Bulletin have contacted me asking for advice on who to vote for, some have asked me to print a suggested ballot paper out, but they do not realise that this humble message goes to 10,000 shooters in ever State and electorate in Australia, even Tasmania, as there are so many variations it is impossible and would only confuse the issue.
So to simplify, just keep this loud and clear in your minds and please pass this on to all of your friends and families. All major parties, in all states are fully aware and concerned about the growing resentment against them by Australia’s middle ground, added to this is there concern that the 2 million licensed shooters in Australia which equated to 15 % of the voting public is a larger factor than the traditional middle ground swinging voters.
Twice this past year the Police Ministers from every State have met with the Commonwealth Justice Minister and they have adjourned the decision on a new altered NFA. The Commonwealth Government has refused FOI requests from Dr Samara McPhedran, (Senior Research Fellow at Griffith University’s Violence Research and Prevention Program,) submitted a FOI in March 2016 to access the documents mentioned in a News.com.au article that the government has been circulating since November 2015. The FOI request was denied by Stephen Bouwhuis, Assistant Secretary at the Attorney-General’s Department.
Mr Bouwhuis confirmed the document existed, however refused to disclose it. He said in a letter to McPhedran, “I do not consider that it would be in the public interest to disclose this document”.
“The information contained in the document was communicated to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department by or on behalf of state or territory governments on a confidential basis, for the purposes of discussions about the proposed agreement,” he said in the letter.
Many shooters have emailed in references to Section 44 of the Commonwealth Constitution and asked why we have Muslims in parliament who give their Allegiance and Adherence to a foreign power, the political orientation of Islam when section 44 states,
44. Any person who-
(i.) Is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power,
How can they honestly take the Oath of Allegiance?
I, A.B., do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law. SO HELP ME GOD!
“That the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons being the two Houses of Parlyament should continue to sitt and with their Majesties Royall Concurrence make effectuall Provision for the Setlement of the Religion Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome soe that the same for the future might not be in danger againe of being subverted. That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God.”
By causing severall good Subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when Papists were both Armed and Imployed contrary to Law.”
45. If a senator or member of the House of Representatives-
On Facebook every time we have a published massacre, ( I say that as there are many massacres that occur every day, forty or fifty dead in a third world country, but if they are not in a Gay Brothel, or a Gun Free zone we never hear about them) we are inundated by anti gunners full of Hoplophobia zeal. I have over the last forty years had to deal with them personally or in letters to the editor and I have found that best way is to ask them nicely to answer a few questions and then your will answer theirs. I have put the questions on this site so you can easily cut and paste them into a facebook post.
Three days’ worth of food and supplies is insufficient for your family’s survival, the federal government has finally acknowledged in what one expert is calling a landmark shift in emergency preparation.
The White House’s new plan was released last year as part of its Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan and then explained again in April at a workshop hosted by NOAA. The event included White House speakers.
Grid expert Chuck Manto attended the workshop and detailed the new plan in a June 15 article at DomesticPreparedness.com, which is a website for emergency planners and first-responders, such as firemen and police.
The new plan warns about a “long-term loss of electric power.”
(Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s interview with Manto here.)
“For the first time since the demise of the civil defense program of the Cold War, the federal government has made one of the most significant modifications to its emergency preparedness message,” wrote Manto, CEO of Instant Access Networks LLC, a firm that produces solutions for EMP-protected microgrids. “A three-day emergency kit is no longer sufficient to prepare for emerging threats, whether coming from Earth or from space.”
Manto added, “Instead of implying that U.S. communities can always count on being rescued from any disaster in four days – requiring three days of food and water to stay comfortable – the implication now is that local communities might not always receive assistance for a much longer period of time.”
The new federal government strategy contains several changes that Manto said are significant:
- “Complete an all-hazards power outage response and recovery plan: for extreme space weather events and the long-term loss of electric power and cascading effects on other critical infrastructure sectors;
- “Other low-frequency, high-impact events are also capable of causing long-term power outages on a regional or national scale.
- “The plan must include the Whole Communityand enable the prioritization of core capabilities.
- “Develop and conduct exercisesto improve and test Federal, State, regional, local and industry-related space weather response and recovery plans: Exercising plans and capturing lessons learned enables ongoing improvement in event response and recovery capabilities.”
Manto explained that the new strategy acknowledges that “unlike the cases of Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, where help could come within a week or so, help might not arrive in 40 days, or even 400 days.”
“Long-term national outages of power and other infrastructures that depend on them – including water, sewer, communications, and healthcare institutions – could mean that the entire country might undergo a catastrophe and might not be able to quickly mobilize resources to help many communities,” Manto wrote.
A long-term disaster is not simply theoretical, Manto asserted. Each decade brings anywhere from a 6-12 percent chance of an 1859 Carrington event, according to scientists. During that year, the sun experienced a solar storm of such magnitude that it would have shut down the power grid if it had existed.
“That is a significant likelihood for such a calamitous occurrence,” Manto wrote. “Including high-impact threats in overall disaster planning scenarios provides a sense of importance and immediacy that should compel the whole community to get involved, rather than simply hoping for someone to rescue them.”
Anyone who wants to survive an EMP-type event needs to take note of Manto’s warnings and act accordingly.
What is your reaction to the federal government’s new position? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Definition: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP): A burst of electromagnetic radiation that can damage electrical and electronic devices, observed as a byproduct of a nuclear explosion.
Could an atmospheric nuclear explosion in just the right place over the U.S. cause massive damage from the ensuing EMP pulse? Absolutely, the evidence is strong that potential EMP effects would be wide-ranging and would be very difficult from which to recover. When many people first learn of this potential, devastating disaster, they often wonder if there’s any use in protecting electronics from electromagnetic pulse — electronics that, if they remained undamaged — could provide an enormous survival advantage.
DIY PROJECT: Learn about making a homemade Faraday container with these instructions. These types of containers are known to protect electronic equipment.
A great read about these effects is the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack (2008), a report to the U.S. Congress. It’s more readable than you might think.
The EMP Commission, as it has come to be known, used historical and experimental data to analyze expected damage in all aspects of modern society. For the most part, the EMP causes damage by inducing strong, damaging electrical currents in wires and unprotected electronic components.
But as time goes on, I’m more and more convinced that doomsday scenarios of an EMP attack on the U.S. that totally destroys all electronics and takes down our whole electrical grid are popular because they’re easy. The scenarios are “easy” because if you assume all electronics are fried by the EMP, you don’t have to worry about reconstituting our electronics-dependent civilization. However, there are a lot of reasons to believe that while an EMP attack would cause significant damage, it is not an automatic “extinction-level event,” and we actually have some control over our destiny.
Let’s define our discussion: All of us have electronic devices upon which we save important information: phone numbers, addresses, business transactions, documents, photos, etc. Whether it’s a smartphone, a computer, ebook reader, a flash drive, or a digital camera, all of our devices have some level of vulnerability to damage from a strong electromagnetic pulse. Modern vehicles and appliances have all become electronics-dependent as well. But vulnerability does not automatically doom the device; your behavior can reduce the vulnerability.
The potential launch of a nuclear-tipped missile into the atmosphere above the U.S., which would be the most effective way to generate a damaging EMP, has been on the radar of our military for many years. In particular, after their embarrassing inability to make a significant impact on the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 our military services and Department of Homeland Security have paid greater attention to asymmetrical threats against the Homeland:
- Some military command, control, and communications systems have been “hardened” against EMP effects since the Cold War days.
- Our military services regularly plan for and practice supporting state and local governments in disasters, known as “DSCA,” or “Defense Support of Civil Authorities.”
- The Navy and Coast Guard actively watch for unusual cargo ship behavior, as this is one platform from which an EMP-causing ballistic missile could be fired close to the U.S. mainland.
- The Navy and Air Force routinely launch interceptors to investigate unusual aircraft approaching U.S. airspace.
- While not generally publicized, the U.S. has anti-missile defense systems fielded by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. National Missile Defense is alive and well in the U.S.
- The National Operations Center in Washington D.C. has near-instantaneous and simultaneous communications with the emergency management “Warning Points” in all 50 states. A missile warning can be transmitted in seconds, allowing critical infrastructure like power grids and communications networks to shut down and limit damage to EMP-vulnerable components.
- Federal, state, and local emergency management officials can now use the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to alert the public to take specific actions like shutting down communications devices, stopping industrial processes like water and fuel pipeline systems, and urging people to exit potentially hazardous areas like elevators. Warning messages can be customized based on the facts of the situation.
The strength of the EMP pulse of energy is dependent on distance, sort of like a flash from a fireworks display: close up, the flash can be powerful and almost blinding, but from several miles away the light is weaker, less bright. Similar to light, the pulse affects things within its’ line-of-sight, meaning that in many cases terrain and built-up urban areas will create “shadow” areas unaffected by the pulse. So some people will receive a strong pulse, which could damage their electronics; others will be in the shadow and their electronics will probably be OK.
So what’s the point of protecting electronics?
If such a disastrous event would occur, what would be the point of protecting our electronics? After all, so many of them are used in very trivial ways. Even so, there are several very important reasons to take the time and effort necessary to keep them safe from the effects of EMP. They can hold vast amounts of information, the equivalent of thousands of books. Although we all love our books for reference and entertainment, when my Kindle holds over 230 books (and each of my kids has their own Kindle with nearly the same number), it’s impossible to say that hard copies are always better.
Here are just a few more reasons why protecting electronics from EMP is rational:
- Survival information — If you haven’t yet downloaded and stored large quantities of information related to survival, do it now. Many of these resources are completely free. (Check out this list right here on Survival Mom.) Store medical and first aid information on an old laptop, old smartphones, and ebook readers, such as a Kindle. Download books about herbal remedies, food preservation, and off grid living.
- Educational resources — Once the dust has settled, and life may never return to “normal” again, it will be up to parents and others in the community to provide an education for children. Homeschooling will almost certainly be required. Download classic literature, non-fiction books related to science, nature, history, and government. Ambleside Online, a free homeschool curriculum, has excellent lists of books, many of which are completely free as ebooks.
- Entertainment — Your kids reliance on electronics, and even your own, may be a total waste of time, but in a worst case scenario in which your family’s lifestyle changes dramatically, overnight, sources of entertainment could prove to be life-saving. Anything with stored movies, TV shows, music, and recorded books will help relieve stress and provide an important distraction.
- Keep historical information intact — Family photos and videos, geneological records, local history, U.S. History, the U.S. Constitution — these will all provide a touchstone to the past. In the book A Canticle for Leibowitz, after a cataclysmic event that destroys virtually all civilization, only a very few written records survive. One is a single scrap of paper, a portion of an old grocery list! Those who survive in a post-EMP world, however long the grid failure lasts, will want and need more than that in order to preserve and continue civilization as well as their heritage.
- Provide resources for spiritual renewal — Whether or not one is a church goer, a world that suddenly becomes a very scary, and likely very violent, will require inner strength. Copies of the Bible and other books of inspiration can easily be stored on ebook readers, computers, and smartphones.
- Tactical advantages — Having information and the ability to communicate via ham radio or walkie-talkies will give survivors, whether an individual or a group, an advantage over those who do not have those abilities.
- Earn money — With a vast amount of information, the ability to communicate and relay messages, provide entertainment and spiritual support, you’ll have the tools to earn an income and/or barter for products and services you need most.
What’s the point in protecting electronics from EMP?
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Carefully building one or more Faraday containers and then taking pains to protect individual electronic items is hardly a fool’s errand with all these advantages those devices provide.
Actions you can take to protect your electronics from EMP
The safest place for your electronics during an EMP is inside a metal box, (steel is a better conductor than aluminum), commonly referred to as a “Faraday Cage.” Metal tool boxes, file cabinets, even aluminum foil can shield your device from EMP.
The important thing is to makes sure the container is sealed by closing all openings, and is free of wiring that protrudes through the side of the container. The container receives the EMP pulse and conducts it around the outside, protecting the contents of the container from the EMP pulse. A quick test to check that your container is doing its job is to put a cellular phone inside and close it up; then call the phone with another phone. If you hear it ring inside the container, the container isn’t effective as a Faraday Cage. If it doesn’t ring, you can have some confidence that it will afford some level of protection for electronics kept inside.
At home and around the office, the next best defense for your electronics is to connect all power supplies to quality surge protectors. If the EMP pulse isn’t strong enough to kill your connected electronics immediately, they still may be vulnerable to the expected electrical current surge. The surge suppressor may or may not help, but it is an inexpensive additional protection.
One last protective measure is to have a whole-house lightning arrestor installed in your electrical panel. The part is less than $100, but it should be installed by an electrician. It absorbs a current surge, such as that from a nearby lightning strike. Not a 100% solution, but every level of protection you add tips the scales in your favor.
Another reason to protect your electronics is that we have learned to back up and protect data outside of our devices. The ubiquitous “Cloud” backs up a great deal of our data, just in the course of life. I’ve noticed that my Windows 10 laptop steers me into using their “OneDrive” cloud-based storage by default, requiring me to consciously choose to store documents on my laptop if I disagree. Smartphones often use their data providers’ backup systems, another “Cloud” variant. So in addition to being able to restore your contact list when you drop your phone in the toilet, in many cases a good part of your data is backed up by your carrier.
READ MORE: The Cloud isn’t just for worst-case-scenario data storage but for dozens of other, everyday survival applications. Read more here.
Professional data centers are well-protected against electrical hazards, and backup protocols regularly create off-line copies for disaster recovery. Protect your devices so you can make use of the backups that probably will survive. Having your stored information on more than one device is an inexpensive way to provide this protection yourself.
A last thought
We are raising an entire generation that was brought up with home computers, tablet devices, and smartphones. In many cases, your teenager is much more tech-savvy as to these devices that you are. Can you imagine the loss and disorientation they are going to feel when their world of connectivity is heavily damaged by an EMP? If for no other reason, protect your devices for the next generation.
Read more about life after EMP
- 77 Days in September by Ray Gorham
- Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather
- Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change by S.M. Stirling
- Grid Down Reality Bites by Bruce Hemming
- Going Home by A. American
- Into the Darkness by Doug Kelly
- Land by Theresa Shaver — Watch my video review.
- The Last Layover by Steven Bird
- Last Light by Terri Blackstock — Christian fiction
- Lights Out by David Crawford — One of the first books to focus on EMP and still a very good read.
- Lights Out by Ted Koppel — non-fiction. Reviewed here.
- Outage by Ellisa Barr — We reviewed this book here.
- The Perseid Collapse by Steven Konkoly
- Post Grid: An Arizona EMP Adventure by Tony & Nancy Martineau
- The Wandering Highway by Ike W. Warren
More information here on this blog
- Another Look at Faraday Cages
- The Basics of EMP: What is it? How likely? How to Prepare?
- EMP Survival & The First 15 Things You Must Do Immediately After an EMP
- How to Make a Faraday Cage
- Post-EMP Survival: What if you can’t get home?
- What’s in Your Faraday Cage? A Common Sense Guide to Preparing For an EMP
- Why and How to Protect Your Gear From EMP
- Would a Long-Term Blackout Mean Nuclear Meltdown
Here’s What a National Electricity Shortage Looks Like Did you ever consider that the SHTF might not be a dramatic total blackout, like the kind caused by an EMP or a direct hit from the sun? What if the SHTF is actually an incremental electricity shortage that changes our very way of life? That’s exactly …
The post Here’s What a National Electricity Shortage Looks Like appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
Control projects created!
Brett Bauma “Makers on Acres”
This week on the Makers On Acres Tech, Build and Grow show we are going to be discussing Arduino!
It has been a while since we have visited the world of Arduino Micro controllers!
Many of you may or may not have listened to me as a guest on Highlanders Tech Show when we were discussing Arduino Micro Controllers. Arduino Micro controllers give us abilities to control and create so many different projects that the list is nearly limitless. An Arduino Micro Controller can control a greenhouse, watering system, robot, heating and cooling system, RC Car, drone and much more.
Arduino microcontrollers are a very interesting product as they allow us to create nearly anything we can think of with our creative minds. When coupled with some extra electro mechanical devices and digital devices, the possibilities of Arduino are endless!
So what is an Arduino? And why would any survivalist or Prepper or anyone else for that matter be interested? If you have ever had that moment in your life where you have said I wish I could make “____” or get this to do “____”, than this may be one place for the Arduino to enter your life and creative world. Last week I talked about how Technology can be a problem in life, and that I was not a fan of where some of Technology was headed, but the Arduino is simple technology that I love. The Arduino can make our lives simpler by adding it into a system to do the thinking and switch flipping for us. Think of the Arduino as a time saving little piece of technology that, once learned, can be implemented into all of your automation and control system projects.
On this show learn more about the Arduino and what it truly can do.
Visit Makers On Acres website HERE!
Join us for Makers On Acres “LIVE SHOW” every Saturday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Control projects created” in player below!
I’ve thought about converting a generator to electric start for years now. Actually, some years ago I bought a generator off of craigslist and decided that pull starting a temperamental 10 hp engine was not something I wanted to do, nor COULD my wife do it. Since most of the times a generator would come in handy (ice storms) I would be out of town for work, having an easy way to start the generator became a priority. When I bought the thing I did get a new flywheel installed so the engine would have the teeth needed to accept
Low Tech Prepping
Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps”
Electricity is a great thing, until it is no more. We get so used to having light at a flick of a switch. But what happens when those lights go out? On Survival and Tech Preps we have talked about high tech vs low tech in previous shows, now I want to talk about prepping for a low tech lifestyle.
Electricity is great to have and a lot of preppers are planning solar, wind, and other means. The fact is these other sources are temporary, it is not sustainable. Batteries die, the solar panels wear out, the chargers go bad. So what then? Well in my opinion the best thing to do is prepare for the ability to survive without electricity.
In this episode I will talk about key aspects we need to think about when going low tech. How do we cook? How do we prepare water, how do we communicate. All of this might sound simple to some and hard for others but I hope to bridge the gap between what is myth and what is realistic.
We all have heard those say they can survive for years by themselves, well lets back up there a second it isn’t that easy. Those that claim this will most likely fall very short. This is not a topic that will be summed up in one episode but I hope to get a little stepping stone for those of you that might want to plan on going off grid if shtf happens.
I will also talk about diet, weapons that are low tech, bug out items, food preps, and other things that we may need to start our journey on the low tech life. There are many aspects to this that you may or may not have thought of, but with a little knowledge and a little planning one can thrive if done right, so sit back and enjoy the show and hope you and I can learn something!
Join us for Survival & Tech Preps “LIVE SHOW” every Monday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Low Tech Prepping” in player below!
Could you stay warm if the power were knocked out?
DJ Cooper “Surviving Dystopia”
Although the Punxatawny Phil the groundhog predicts an early spring, it is as yet only February and a cold blast is on the way for much of the US. Blizzard conditions predicted for the midwestern north and with blizzards sometimes comes the dreaded power outage!
How would you fare? Do you have an alternative heat source for your home or work? Many people rely on a fire place or wood stove for their supplemental heat but there are many other ways to heat your home.
Some of these, however, are dependent on a resource that seems everlasting but only when it is out… that would be the sun. A wonderful and essentially underused form of unlimited energy and heat this resource is often under used and the ways it can be used unknown to many. It does have one downfall…it needs to be visible in order for it to be useful.
This week I also want to think about other ways we can generate heat for ourselves in an emergency. Some things can also help lower our monthly heating and cooling bills like geothermal. Making sure we have the means to stay warm if the power goes out is paramount to survival. Hypothermia is a deadly condition and should be taken seriously, heat, like water, shelter and food is one of the things on our most important for survival list.
There are many ways to be sure you can keep your family warm and hopefully comfortable as well.
Make sure to check out SurvivingDystopia.com for a full article and instructions for some of the alternative heating and cooling ideas found while lurking and researching, along with some great links.
Up next week: Book review… The “Wisdom and know how series” another excellent preparedness must have.
Surviving Dystopia Blog: www.survivingdystopia.com
Join us for Surviving Dystopia “LIVE SHOW” every Wednesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Staying warm with no power” in player below!
Electricity and backup power options.
Brett Bauma “Makers On Acres”
Living in today’s age we are almost completely reliant on electricity from the grid to power our homes and devices. Many people in today’s world are scared of electricity and don’t truly know the fundamentals of it, or how it works.
In order to be prepared for any situation, we need to know about backup power systems and even how to do an emergency electrical repair. Before we do repairs or set up systems, we first need to know the basics of how electricity works and its behaviors. We will be talking and teaching about many of the basics. Although I only recommend having an electrician do your electric work for you, there may come a time in this world where that is not a viable option and you may need to know some basics to keep you safe and get things powered back up.
What back up system is right for you? Should we add supplemental renewable energy to our home? We will run over solar, wind, and fuel powered generators as well.
Tune in with player below to learn about Electricity!
*All the information in this show is for informational purposes only and we recommend you always consult a licensed electrician for your electric work. Electricity can cause serious injury and/or death.
Makers On Acres: Website: http://makersonacres.com/
Join us for Makers On Acres “LIVE SHOW” every Saturday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Electricity & backup power options” in player below!
It’s wintertime and the power goes out. If you’re like most of us, you’re not all that worried – you trust that the power will come back on soon. But when 12 hours goes by and you still don’t have any electricity, you start getting concerned. It might be days before the power comes back on.
For many of us, the quick solution is to turn to wood. Heating with wood is historically the most common means of keeping your home warm. Throughout the centuries, people used wood to warm everything from tents to palaces. It has withstood the test of time quite effectively, providing warmth for millions of people. That makes it a survivalist’s number one choice for a backup heat source.
But it takes a lot of wood to keep your home warm. In a long-term crisis situation, you might run out of wood before the power comes back on. Or, perhaps your wood-burning stove is unusable. Whatever the case, you’re going to need another alternate heat source. Here’s a few to consider:
Many people living in rural areas already heat with propane. Unfortunately, their forced-air propane heater won’t work any better without electricity than anyone else’s does. However, there also are ceramic heaters, commonly referred to as “catalytic heaters,” that can be tied into the home’s propane. These allow you to burn the propane for heat without having any need for electricity. They are extremely safe for use indoors.
These catalytic heaters also are available for connection to a portable propane tank, such as the type used for a barbecue grill. I actually heated a motorhome through a couple of winters with these, as they were much more efficient than the furnace that the motorhome was equipped with.Kerosene
Kerosene heaters provide a considerable amount of heat, without needing electricity. I used to heat my office with a kerosene heater, back when my office was an uninsulated attic in upstate New York. If you live in a part of the country where people use kerosene for heating, then the price is quite reasonable. But if not, avoid this one, as buying kerosene at the paint store is just too expensive.
3. Passive solar
Anyone who builds a home without giving it at least some passive solar capability is missing out on a great opportunity for free heat. Even if passive solar can’t heat your whole home, you will still save money on heating costs. Passive solar is reliable, cheap and plentiful, especially if your home is designed for it.
If your home isn’t designed for passive solar heating, you can still take advantage of it. Open the curtains on all your south-facing windows during the day and put something dark colored on the floor to absorb the sunlight and convert it to heat. While not a perfect solution, it will help.
The big problem for most people is having a thermal mass. This is a mass of rock or concrete that becomes warmed by the sunlight striking its surface. The surface, which must be dark, is called the absorber because it absorbs light and converts it to heat. If your home has concrete floors and you cover them with dark-colored floor covering, then you’ve got a basic passive solar system, even if the concrete isn’t thick enough to absorb much heat.Solar convection
4. Solar convection
Another way you can take advantage of solar energy is to build a solar convection heater. The easiest and cheapest way to make one of these is to cut the tops and bottoms out of a bunch of aluminum soda or beer cans. Glue them together, forming tubes out of the cans that are the height of your windows and leave an opening at the top and bottom. Connect several of these together, side to side, to fill your window opening and paint the whole thing black.
Since warm air rises and cool air drops, the cooler air at the bottom of the window will enter into the bottom of the solar convection heater and exit out the top, warming as it passes through.
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There are still many homes in the northeast which have coal bins and coal chutes into the basements, even though they are no longer heated with coal furnaces. Coal burns hotter than charcoal and will burn a long time. Essentially, coal is petroleum-filled porous rock. So what is burning is the petroleum, leaving behind the rock, which is referred to as coke. The biggest problem with burning coal is keeping it lit. It needs a lot of oxygen to burn, so you’ll have to have good airflow to the fire. It burns slowly, making it perfect for heating, but does produce a lot of soot.
In order to use coal, you’re going to have to use it in a fireplace or a wood-burning stove that is lined with fire brick. Please note that this is only an emergency measure, as the coal will damage the fireplace or wood-burning stove. A coal insert in the fireplace is better and will allow the coal to burn more efficiently. Don’t use coal in a metal, wood-burning stove without fire brick since it can get hot enough to soften the metal, distorting it. You absolutely have to have some ventilation, or your home will fill with the coal smoke.
6. Animal dung
Dried animal dung has been used by a variety of cultures throughout history for heating and cooking. While not anyone’s favorite, it works well. If you have livestock, you have a regular source of this heating fuel. Just allow them to dry naturally in the field and collect them. Surprisingly, dried animal dung burns without stinking up your home.
7. Burning flammable fuels
Gasoline, diesel, oil and other liquid fuels can be burned for heat if you are careful. The problem is controlling the burn rate. This is fairly easily accomplished by pouring the fuel into a sand-filled container, such as a number 10 can. The sand will act as a wick, controlling the burn rate.
There also are oil heaters. Some of the simpler ones control the burn rate by dipping the oil from a tank into the burner. The Army used to use heaters of this sort, with gasoline, to provide hot water for field kitchens. So you might be able to find one of those heaters at your local army surplus store.
The big problem with this is that you’ll go through a lot of fuel quickly, so this should be considered only if no other option exists. Ventilation is essential.
The natural act of composting produces quite a bit of heat as the millions of bacteria eat the organic material, breaking it down into its basic elements. You can tap into this heat source by burying pipes in your compost pile. Those pipes can carry water to be heated or you can push air through them to be heated. As long as the compost pile has a continuous source of organic material and is kept moist, it will continue to produce heat.
What tips would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:
Off-grid Power: Electricity Generation Tips for You and Your Family
More and more families are beginning to generate their own electricity, whether to fully meet their home’s needs or supplement their regular on-grid consumption. Between the rising cost of electricity, concerns for the environment, and fear of power outages, there are plenty of factors that go into deciding to move to off-grid electricity generation. That said, there are a few tips homeowners should bear in mind when choosing the best electrical system for their needs.
Look at More Than a Home’s Electrical Consumption
Electricity generating strategies that work for one home may not work for another. While a home’s electricity consumption is often flexible, things like terrain, average local weather, and natural resource access aren’t. Which is more abundant in the area—sunlight or wind? Will trees block solar arrays? Photovoltaic panels generate roughly 8-10 watts per square foot. How many square feet of outdoor space can be devoted to generating electricity?
Consider a Standby Generator
One of the biggest things keeping renewable energy sources from achieving wider use is the fact that electricity isn’t easy to store or transport. For homes that require standby power for emergencies, a propane- or natural gas-powered automatic standby generator from places like Wade Sales and Service may be the best option. These rely on liquid fuel and only turn on when a home experiences a power outage, making them an excellent addition to a home’s electricity generation system.
Know Your Electric Company’s Net-Metering Policies
Who wouldn’t love to pay for their home electric system by selling power back to their utility company? For net-metered homes, homeowners are only billed for their net power consumption– their meters run backward while they are generating more power than they’re using. Unfortunately, having a net-metered home isn’t the case in every area and it pays to be familiar with the local utility company’s policies beforehand.
Skip Major Electric Appliances
Electric heating systems, stoves, water heaters, and other large appliances will consume the majority of a home’s electrical output. Consider outfitting homes with better insulation, double-glazed windows, wood stoves, and clotheslines to reduce your dependency on large electric appliances. It’ll free up more power for lights, computers, and other needs.
Setting up a home for off-grid electricity generation goes deeper than picking between solar panels or wind turbines. By choosing the best strategy (or combination of strategies) for the local area, investing in a standby generator, understanding net-metering, and outfitting homes with low-electricity upgrades, it’s possible to meet or exceed a home’s electricity needs.
About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.
At Expert Prepper we’re committed to bringing you the best survival posts and preparedness information. There was a lot of great stuff out there this week, from survival gear reviews to breaking news and the latest and greatest survival tips. Check out this weeks best survival posts below: VID: How to poo in the woods,Because […]
Back in the old days, a root cellar was not a luxury, but instead was just as essential as our refrigerators are to us today.
A well-constructed root cellar can be a real life-saver — especially if you live off the grid, in remote areas or in places where power outages can be problematic. If you lose power and your refrigerator goes out, then your root cellar becomes an amazing backup.
You also can cut power consumption with a root cellar. Depending upon the size of your cellar, you can store as much as a restaurant-style walk-in refrigerator. However, you’re not using any electricity to do it.
As you may well know, root cellars are also a great place to take shelter in case of wind storms like tornadoes. Your house may be gone or damaged, but at least you weren’t in it when it was hit.
What Is a Root Cellar?
A root cellar is any storage space that uses the natural cooling, humidifying and insulating properties of the earth to preserve foods.
For your root cellar to work, it needs to maintain temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of between 85 to 95 percent.
The reason you need both is that the temperature stops the growth of microorganisms and slows the release of ethylene gas, both of which work to decompose food faster.
The humidity stops your cold storage roots, tubers and vegetables from drying out and looking wilted.
What Type of Root Cellar Should I Build?
Many people will attempt to dig their root cellar right along the foundation of their home – the logic being they will have that nice cement wall for one side of the cellar if they have a basement. The problem with that is you’re undermining the foundation of your home. You’d be undermining a huge investment (your house) for something that you are likely going to build for free or at most a couple hundred dollars.
I’d recommend digging your cellar away from the house by at least 20 feet. The reasons are mostly for the security of your home and any possible groundwater issues.
Hillside root cellars work really well. You dig your cellar into the side of a hill and slope the inside floor down toward the opening for drainage. Yes, you can put in drain pipes and if you’d like to go that route, you should. You’ll end up with a dryer root cellar for sure. That being said, our forefathers didn’t have PVC and drain field pipes.
If you’re going with a pit style, then dig a square pit and then slope one end down to its floor, so you can lay in your steps over the top of that slope.
A word to the wise: There are those who recommend simply burying a garbage can for storing small amounts of food. This is a bad idea, as the garbage can can’t breathe. Your root cellar needs ventilation in order to get rid of ethylene gas.
8 Fundamental Tips
I won’t go into how to dig the hole and other such items. I’m sure you’re handy with a shovel. What I will cover here are eight fundamental tips that can really make or break your root cellar’s performance, long-term.
- In order to reach a nice stable temperature, you need to dig down at least 10 feet. In sandy, loamy soils you may need to go a little deeper than that to get the right temperature.
- Build your shelves and platforms out of wood, as it doesn’t conduct heat and cold nearly like metal does. This helps maintain steady temperatures.
- Don’t dig your root cellar near any big trees. You’ll have to chop the roots out while you dig, and they always grow back. Plus, if the tree falls over from wind or old age, it can rip your cellar up with it.
- To keep rot off your shelving and platforms, be sure to place them one to two inches away from the walls so they can stay dry.
- Packed earth floors work well and have been the standard flooring for hundreds of years. However, if you want to step it up just a bit, then pour a concrete floor. With such a floor, you won’t get dirt on your shoes to track back in the house. Plus, it keeps your wooden shelves and platforms off the ground so that they will last longer and not rot.
- Install an exhaust pipe so that you get air circulating and prevent the build-up of gases. Ventilation is critical to maintaining temperature and humidity, without which your food won’t preserve very well at all.
- Get a thermometer and a hygrometer to measure temperature and humidity, respectively. Maintaining the proper temperature and humidity levels are the pivotal points in constructing your root cellar.
- Follow all structural guidelines and best practices in your building process. Be sure to follow all applicable building and or construction codes. Also, ensure that you get any necessary permits before you begin.
That being said, building your root cellar can be a fun and relatively easy project, and you’ll enjoy the “fruits and roots” from it for many, many years.
What is your best advice on building and maintaining a root cellar? Share it in the section below:
Power to make change!
Host: James “I Am Liberty”
How weak and powerless are we? There is a phrase that is floating all around the internet on blogs, emails and social media. It’s one that goes usually something like this “Well (insert government program) sucks but I can’t do anything about it.” This is very interesting to me. Its clearly a statement following frustration but just how much time do we put towards ‘doing something about it.’
It takes time and work to change a nation. Work, that in my opinion has been tapering off for a long time. Partly because of the access to cheap and easy entertainment and partly because for the most part our nation has lost sight of the nobility in hard work.
I would like you to take the time over the weekend and budget your time. Take a detailed look at a week long time frame. Separate out your work life, love life, family life. Pull from the week your hobbies and those things that you enjoy doing with your down time. For all the bitching, myself included, you will be surprised at how much effort you put into fortifying this nation. I am just as guilty. I do a twice weekly radio show “I Am Liberty” and I would have to admit less >5 of my energy in a week is put towards bettering what I have spent a week crying about.
Could you imagine how people would look at you if you were exclaiming about your house being on fire, running around red face and screaming but you only dumped water on 5% of the fire. This is how the scenario looks to me.
So the question is what can we do? If we have the time what do we do with it? It will be a show about what we must do and how we can do it. I have a great article to consider as well as other methods to talk about. It’s very important that we understand how much power we do have and the things we can do to change the course of our struggling nation.
I Am Liberty website Go Here!
Join us for I Am Liberty “LIVE SHOW” every Friday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Power to make change” in player below!
Whether it is used to power a vehicle, run a generator, or fuel a lantern, few people escape the need to buy and store liquid fuels like gasoline, kerosene or diesel. In normal times, we have easy access to fuel at the gas station, and safety is taken for granted. But are you aware of the potential dangers of liquid fuels, and how to mitigate the hazards? If not, please read on!
Liquid Fuel vs. Pressurized Gas Fuel
The two most common fuels important to people preparing for emergencies are gasoline, which is liquid at room temperature, and propane, which is used as a gas at room temperature. Other liquid fuels include diesel fuel, a denser, oily fuel popular in trucks and generators, and “white gas,” a petroleum fuel related to gasoline but used in the popular Coleman and other brand camping stoves and lanterns. Unlike pressurized gas fuels, petroleum liquid fuels have a limited shelf life; they separate into their component chemicals over time and become unusable.
While natural gas has more widespread use in home heating and cooking, it is used less in rural areas because of the extensive piping needed to distribute it. Where it is available, it is cheaper and easier to use than propane. Natural gas is lighter than air, and thus disperses more easily than propane which is heavier than air.
Propane, also known as LPG (Liquefied Propane Gas) is used for heating and cooking in mostly rural areas where natural gas is not available and is stored in large tanks at the user’s home or business. Periodically, the propane tank is refilled by a mobile propane truck.
Propane has the advantage of portability, available in consumer-sized portable containers including the popular 20 lb. tank used for barbecue grills and a small 16 ounce tank used for lanterns and small barbecues.
Why are Liquid Fuels Special?
Gaseous fuels like natural gas and propane are kept under pressure, and require a closed system (tank-to-hose-to-tank) that prevents loss of fuel during transfer from one tank to another. Usually a trained technician is needed to refill a propane tank. In normal times, there’s no problem, but during a disaster, this characteristic can be problematic.
On the other hand, all of us have filled up our car’s tank at the gas station. No thought required, you pay for the fuel and put the nozzle in your tank. You don’t see the safety measures engineered into the dispensing system; accidents are few. If you follow a few basic safety principles, you can safely store significant amounts of gasoline as part of your preparedness strategy.
Convenience Can Have a Cost
Gasoline’s value as a fuel is its volatility, or its characteristic of rapidly changing from a liquid to a gas. Even in freezing temperatures, an open container of gasoline quickly produces vapor that is extremely flammable. In hot temperatures, gasoline vapor can create outward pressure on a container, and if the cap isn’t tight vapor can escape; in extreme cases, the pressure can rupture the container. In the worst case, a burst gasoline container can ignite, resulting in an explosion. I have seen estimates of the explosive power of a gallon of gasoline equivalent to 20-60 sticks of dynamite.
Gasoline vapor is heavier than air, and so like water settles to the lowest possible point. Accidental ignition of the vapor will flash back to the container and ignite the remaining gas. As a result, one should NEVER store gasoline in any amount in a dwelling or garage with a potential ignition source like a water heater pilot light. Static electricity is another hazard; containers should be on the ground when pouring to safely avoid static sparks.
Less volatile fuels like diesel are easier to store than gasoline. While gallon for gallon diesel has more energy than gasoline, it has a higher ignition temperature and isn’t as volatile.
Not surprisingly, the best container to store gasoline is called a “Safety Can.” These 5-gallon cans are built to prevent rupture, and have a spring-loaded seal instead of a screw-on cap. The seal keeps the gasoline vapors securely inside, and a spark arrestor screen prevents the contents from igniting from a flash back. In the event of a fire outside of the Safety Can, the seal will vent gasoline vapor that builds up inside, preventing a catastrophic explosion.
A Type I Safety Can (pictured) is just for storage, you’ll need a funnel to pour out the gasoline. It’s also the least expensive of the Safety Cans, available on ebay for about $40.00 each. Type II Safety Cans add a flexible spout to make refueling easier, and are about $60.00 each. Reputable brands include Justrite and Eagle.
While it seems like a lot of money to invest, the Safety Cans have a 10-year warranty and are well-constructed. In addition to their use in your plans, 5 gallons of gasoline or diesel would be a terrific barter item in an emergency for something else you need.
Liquid Fuels Have an Expiration Date
If you decide to store gasoline or diesel, you have to plan a rotation schedule, as they both will start to decompose within several months. Using old fuel in an engine will cause major problems in short order. You can extend their life with a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL, but ultimately if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.
Let’s say you store 8 five-gallon cans of gasoline, for a total of 40 gallons. Number the cans 1 through 8, and each week empty one of the cans into your car or other gasoline-powered equipment and refill the can. Mark this on a calendar and it becomes automatic; in two months, you’ve rotated your gasoline stock without too much trouble.
To sum up, you’d be crazy not to include some fuel storage in your preparedness plans. Just be sure you do it safely, and that you can rely on it when you need it.