Dec 26, 2010

House Fire

Well, it's been quite some time since I've been able to add anything here. The first reason is that I moved. It wasn't a long move, just across the street or so, but with no money to spare, I was the grunt labor. And for a week I was occupied moving, then a week without Internet waiting for it to be installed. Then the next challenge came along.

A fire broke out in a garage not directly next to our apartment, but directly next to our garage. it was net to apt A and we were just moved into apt C. I will get into lessons learned in a moment. Some how we all got lucky and no one was hurt, but the folks in apt A were almost completely burned out, some how my mothers car (which was in our garage at the time) went unscathed as well as my kids Christmas presents, although the flames were beginning to enter our side before the firemen got it under control. Let me take this moment to give props to the Modesto FD.

Now I didn't know originally until my mother called me at about 7:45 pm, as I was visiting friends in Merced at the time (which for those that don't know, is about an hour a way) so I jumped in my car an zipped home as fast as I could. I told my mother to grab my external hard drive, as that was the only thing from my bug out list (other than food) that had been moved into the new place that couldn't be replaced. Actually, looking at the grand scheme of things, of property, it was the ONLY thing that can't be replaced. Anyway, she told me that the firemen wouldn't let her back in to get anything. (see lessons below)

45 minutes later I arrived on scene to find the fire basically out, with firemen searching out hot spots, and tearing out chunks of ceiling in apt A where the fire had tried to spread. My mother was standing outside in her bathrobe and bare feet.

My brother and his wife showed up shortly after wards with a pair of slippers for my mother. The Red Cross also arrived and while I have misgivings about them, they did get us a motel room for three nights that we didn't have to pay for.

Anyway, by about 11 pm the firemen said everything was safe and that we could go back in to get anything we needed. I had been smart enough to bring my daily carry bag from my car, which turned out to be a smart move as we needed flashlights (I used my head lamp for the first time and highly recommend you get one for your kit as well if you don't already have one) Also one of the families was as bad off as my mother and the mom was carrying around her daughter trying to keep her warm. I reached in and gave her one of my girls undie/sock sets that I carry, unfortunately I didn't have any shoes for the little girl on me.

We learned that the power and gas lines had to be CUT so that the entire row of four apartments were no longer livable. And the roumer was that it could not be repaired for weeks if not months.

Some of what I grabbed was food. The Red Cross said we had food in the house, so were not going to provide us with any help there. Unfortunately my mother can't keep her mouth shut, and was talking nice and loud to everyone about all of the Canned food we had. Sadly we lost most everything in the fridge, and we had just gone grocery shopping a couple of days earlier.

Funny thing, motels frown on you cooking in the rooms. They did provide a microwave, so I could make top ramen and soup...
... Except for one small problem, we couldn't find a can opener. Fortunately in my daily carry kit I had a P38, which is a military can opener you can get at any surplus store.

For my my mother and I, we were given the opportunity to move to a new apt not too far away, and had began moving our things in last Thursday.

One last thing to note. My mothers other truck, a little beater, got broken into the next morning. Nothing was in it, so nothing was stolen, but her dash was ripped up when they tried to take the radio. Before we had left that night the property management company had a team on site to board up the garages and apt A, and everyone (neighbors and family included) said that her truck would be fine overnight on the street.

Lessons learned
1- having a Go Bag ready is all great and fine, but if EVERYONE in your home doesn't have one, or, if there is no evac plan in place, someone in your family is going to get screwed.

My mother panicked and left the apt in nothing but a bathrobe. No clothes or shoes and no documents, nothing.

2- now ordinarily I would say you should have a change of clothes in your vehicle at all times, but in this case that wouldn't do any good as her vehicle was in the garage next to the one on fire and by the time we could get to that vehicle we could also get into the apt. So, on top of everything else you should set up an off site cache of duplicate documents (paper, digital, photo, etc) and I guess you need a change of clothes for each family member in each vehicle.

3- being a refugee is not fun. The motel was a nice God send as we are broke from the initial move. But it is important to have a fallback plan in case of displacement. And everyone involve in the plan had better know about it. If we didn't get the motel room, my mother would have had to stay with my brother, I would have been SOL

4- vultures. After (or even during) a crisis the vultures start circling. While the firemen were there a guy showed up offering "free" help with sealing up our garage and routing power and gas back into the apartment in a day or two. Free meant that he would bill the renters insurance that we hadn't had time to get. His company, and presumably others listen to the emergency bands to swoop in like an ambulance chaser.

5- Insurance. Get it. That's why we are prepers/ survivalists, as insurance against bad things happening. If we had time to get some it would have covered a lot; motel cost, damage replacement, moving cost (Boy I wish I had that one) and damage repair costs.

6- food
We all understand the need for food storage, but if the fire had gotten to my apartment, I would have lost everything. Caching is something I discussed in another post, but situations like this make me appreciate the necessity with crystal clarity.

And even while we had food, we were limited in how we could prepare it while following the rules.

7- blabber mouths. As I said my mother couldn't stop talking, and was beginning to cause us problems with our getting help. If you have someone like that in your family (or if it's you) have someone responsible stay with them to keep them under control if necessary.

8- charity. After we got to the motel, I went back to our apartment and grabbed a couple of toys, coloring books crayons and reading books from my kids room to give to the little girl so that she would have some stuff to play with and keep her occupied. I discussed it with my girls to let them know what I had done, and they, with out any prompting from me want to giver some things from there moms house as well. They also made the ex go out of her way to deliver them, because they wanted to give them to the little girl in person.

Charity is important in times of need, even if you have little, if someone has nothing, you have more and if you can share, you should.

Dec 1, 2010


ICE- In Case of Emergency

I was listening to a podcast and something they recommended was to list a ICE- In Case of Emergency contact in your phone.

Emergency responders are apparently trained to look for this kind of number on your phone if you get into an accident and are unable to respond to questions.

It only took me about 3 minutes because I'm slow at txt-ing. Just pick the person you want contacted in case you are injured and list that number as "ICE" or "Emergency Contact" or something like that.

If anyone knows different or has additional information, please let me know.

Nov 25, 2010

Happy Thankgiving Everyone

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving this morning. And a simple reminder, follow the instructions on your turkey is you've never cooked one, otherwise only the hard core survivalists will be enjoying their turkey jerky this year. :-)

This may or may not be a good time to check your preps, as you can use your stored food for some of the items on the table, also if you turn out the lights you can use your candles and lanterns for a more ambient lighting.

Another thing you can try (If you are feeling adventurous) is to try an alternative method of cooking. Use your fireplace, outdoor fire pit or BBQ, or try your Colman propane camping stove (Good luck with that one)

As the turkey will take quite a while to cook, whatever the method used (except deep frying) you can try out your freeze dried or dehydrated foods to go with it as you will have ample time to soak them completely through.

Whatever you thoughts, enjoy you holiday!

Nov 20, 2010

Cold Weather is Coming

I've had a job for the last couple of weeks painting a building outside. (That's why I haven't posted anything in a while) Well the building is situated kinda funny. The West side gets absolutely no sunlight on the wall all day, where the East side is permanently in sunlight.

While working on the West side I had to wear thermals, street clothes, and a jacket. The wind chill on that side made it so bad that I lost all gross motor function in my hands after only about two hours of work. (I generally work 6 to 8 hours a day painting) And the rest of my body stopped working so well a couple of hours after that. My brain was also trying to shut down higher reasoning as well. And of course the worst part was, that combination makes for more accidents and every time I got a boo-boo it felt like I severed a limb.

Gloves don't help me much, as I suffered mild frost bite when I was a child, so am always susceptible to cold.

The other side of the building, in contrast, is so hot that by 10am I want to be in shorts and a tank top while working. I start the morning dressed like on the West side, but as the day grows hotter I begin to strip off layer after layer. By 11:30 or so I finish my coffee and switch to water to stay hydrated. The project should be done by the end of next week, so I can be done with these extremes, but I swear, it should be raining in the middle of the building at all times where the heat and cold meet.

Lessons learned:
Dress in layers
Don't over work, no mater how much you want to
Stay hydrated, especially in cold weather. You need it just as much, and don't realize it as well as in the heat.
Take breaks in a comfortable climate.
Watch you health. I think I'm coming down with a cold now because of working in these conditions improperly.

Nov 4, 2010

Halloween, Elections, TV show the Wlaking Dead

Sorry It's been a while, but this has been a busy couple of weeks for me.

Halloween was a big one for me as I get to take my kids trick or treating. I guess you already know the basics of this; Wear safety equipment, lights, glow sticks, safety vests, reflective tape, etc. Don't let your kids out of your sight. Check your kids haul, for anything tapered with, or homemade (unless you know and trust the source)

Elections; What can I say...Kalifornia is NUTS!

Warning- Spoilers Follow

The TV show Walking Dead is a new program on AMC about the Zombie Apocalypse. It takes place shortly after the worst has occurred, and the main character, a deputy sheriff, pre-apocalypse was shot and hospitalized. When he wakes up the Apocalypse has occurred and he makes his way home to find his wife and son are gone. Evidence shows that they packed and left so he decides to make his way to Atlanta where roomer has it that a safety zone exists.

It's only on the first episode, so I'll give them a chance to work things out, but, if it had been me waking up in a deserted hospital, the first thing I would have done is to find some clothes. Second, would be to gather water and food (In that order) Then, as he left the hospital, he found an abandoned army camp out front. Maybe him being Law Enforcement didn't think of it, but I would have ransacked the camp for everything useful. Admitably I may have run into my first zombie right then, but I would not have tried to walk home in hospital shorts and gown, and nothing else.

Oct 23, 2010

New Website Under Construction

I'm building my own website, so I haven't had a lot of time to write anything. My apologies to everyone for that. The new site will be:

It's still under construction as I want a good home page, this blog and a forum so that we can have more and better discussions about topics that perhaps I'm not thinking of but that you are.

If anyone knows anything about this feel free to give me a holler. I think I'm over my head right now, and may need to seek professional help.

Oct 12, 2010

My Daily Kit

Here are some pictures of the kit that I carry with me everyday. You can see what it looks like fully packed. The bag is a Maxpedition Versipack and it can carry far more than it should! I've also added a 5.11 First Aid Kit that I've custom stocked, and a dual mag pouch also 5.11.

I think I've over loaded mine a bit, as it is a bit heavy to carry around all day. I'm not sure how much it weighs but it feels like about 15-20lbs. The problem is all of the individual items are very light so I can't figure out what to eliminate.

Here is me carrying it, with my children. You will notice that they are not dressed as woodland commandos. We were just taking a day trip to a local zoo.

And here is what all fits in this beast.

I'm not sure if you can see all of the details, but I carry gear for myself and my two girls in this bag, as I must support them as well in an emergency.

I don't want to say that everyone should carry the same load that I do, in fact I need to lighten it up a bit. But you can see that in a fairly small bag, you can carry a huge amount of gear. I'm not sure what you would call this type of kit. It's definitely not going to get me through 72hrs all by it's self, but I can easily go 24hrs with a bit of work, supporting me and my kids, which is sufficient to get us home from any distance where I didn't include our BOB bags. I also carries everything that I need on a daily basis. Actually one thing that I forgot to include in this pic is my wallet. I used to carry around a butt pack with keys, wallet, pens, phone etc., but now with kids, I have a lot more that I need to have on hand, so I went for a bigger bag. I think women invented it and called it a purse, but Maxpedition managed to make it look manly-ish

If a few of you ask, I'll add closeup pics of some of this gear, and describe what you looking at.

Oct 11, 2010

Teaching Children

I have to fix my mothers sink. It's not a big fix, just cleaning out the spigot filter. But, I'm going to get my kids to help. I'll have them get the tools by naming and describing them, and have them watch what I do so they can learn to problem solve and hopefully learn how something in there world works. After they leave tonight i will add to this post to let you know how it goes.

'K, the sink went well, but something else happened. I got my kids some cheap $2 Chinese junk flashlights a while back from Harbor Freight and they stopped working after 3 days or so. My oldest daughter found one of them and wanted to play with it. So, I got some new AAA Batteries for it, but still couldn't get it to work. My daughter asked to see it and after a couple of minutes pointed out so corrosion on one of the connector pads for one of the batteries. A few minutes of cleaning got rid of most of that, then I instructed her on how to put the batteries in properly. (Always look for the teachable moments) When I had her put it back together it actually worked!!! For about 30 seconds.

It really was more than I expected for Chinese junk, but the best use was getting to teach my daughter the wy and how things work.

Oct 10, 2010

Taking Children ANYWHERE

Pack a complete change of clothes for each child. Shirt, pants, underwear, socks, shoes if you can afford them.

Saturday I took my kids out, and my youngest decided to pee her pants. Unfortunately their go bags were in my car and I was driving my mothers vehicle instead. We weren't going too far (20-30miniutes away) so I decided to forgo swapping the bags around. My mistake. We were forced to leave immediately because I had to strip everything off from the waist down of my little one as it was soaked. So endith the day.

I occurs to me that kids of any age could end up in a situation where clothes have to be changed. Falling in mud, getting in a fight, spill food at a party, potty accident, stepping in something nasty, whatever. And most of the entire outfit may need to be changed...You know, thinking about this while I write suggests that the same may be true for you and I as well.

Oct 5, 2010

Emergency Binder

I haven't discussed this yet but you should have an Emergency Binder in your home or car readily accessible. I have written one that I am going to give to you. The links are below for a RTF, PDF And DOC versions so get whichever one you can use best.

Look it over before you print anything, as not everything is suitable to you and some of it you may need two or three copies of. Please remember to keep a digital copy if you can on a flash drive or USB on your key ring,and DO NOT let this fall into anyone's hands who doesn't need to see it.

RTF Here

PDF Here

DOC Here

Oct 4, 2010

Earthquake Survival Kit

OK I was talking to a friend of mine on Facebook who lives in the DC area while the rainstorms and flooding was occurring. I think it's abating now, but it got me thinking. I've been putting this off for a while, but here is an overview of prepper supplies that you should have. This list is by no means complete, and you should build you own kits according to what you need. Don't but a pre-built kit made by someone else as you don't know what is in it, if everything works, or how to use some of it.

You should assemble you own stuff so that you know what you are putting in and it will be what you need. Also you will have a chance to try different things out to find out what works and what doesn't. Wind up flashlight for example; I've gone through three different kinds and haven't found one yet that works as advertised.

According to FEMA this is what they recommend for an Earthquake Kit. I use earthquakes because I'm in California (Sorry about our state) and that kinda the standard, but you will see that it's kind of universal, and will work for most disasters, but with everything, modify it to your needs.
4 Have Disaster Supplies on Hand

* Flashlight and extra batteries.
* Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
* First aid kit and manual.
* Emergency food and water.
* Nonelectric can opener.
* Essential medicines.
* Cash and credit cards.
* Sturdy shoes.

Below is also some lists of relevant equipment. One of these days I will go through ans write down everything that I personally use or carry, but for now, these general list should do to start. Please keep the BOB Bags in your car. They don't do any good in the closet.

BOB Bag (Individual Adult)
General list, please customize to you and your child’s needs

Food and Water:
6 Boxes of Aqua Blox Water Boxes
6 - 400 Calorie Food Bars (2400 Calories)
10 Water Purification Tablets - each tablet purifies 1 liter of water
Water Filter

Light and Communication:
Am/FM Radio with Headphones and Batteries
Rechargeable Squeeze Flashlight
36 Hour Emergency Candle
Green Emergency Glow Stick 12 hour
5-in-1 Survival Whistle - compass, signal mirror, flint starter, waterproof container, lanyard, and shrill whistle

Shelter and Warmth:
Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag - Recommended over common "space blankets"
16-20 Hour Body Warmer - heat up in minutes with an average temperature of 130 degrees.
2-Person Tube Tent with Rope
Emergency Poncho with Hood
Fire Making Kit include water proof matches, lighter, magnifying lens, tinder in small film can

Multi –Tool or Swiss Army Knife, Leather Palm Working Gloves, N95 Respirator Dust Mask - NIOSH approved or scarf, 50 Feet of 550 Cord

Hygiene and Sanitation:
toothbrush, toothpaste, wetnaps (Baby wipes), bar of soap, shampoo and conditioner, dental floss pick, deodorant, twin blade razor, comb or brush, 4 maxipads, and washcloth. 3 Tempo Pocket Tissue Packs

First Aid:
Portable First Aid Kit – Whatever you choose to put in here, double the amount of Band-Aids, and triple the number of 2 inch gauze pads.

Notepad Pencil Deck of Playing Cards for Entertainment, Infectious Waste Bag, Emergency Survival Kit Information

BOB Bag (Individual Child)
General list, please customize to you and your child’s needs

Food and Water:
6 Boxes of Aqua Blox Water Boxes
12 - 200 Calorie Food Bars (2400 calories)

Light and Communication:
Rechargeable Squeeze Flashlight
5-in-1 Survival Whistle
Signal mirror
Flint starter
Waterproof container
Lanyard and shrill whistle
3 Green Emergency Glow Sticks - lasts for 12 hours each

Shelter and Warmth:
Polar Fleece Blanket
Emergency Poncho for Children
16-20 Hour Body Warmer - heat up in minutes with an average temperature of 130 degrees.
Two changes of socks and underwear

Warm Winter Gloves
Large Scarf to replace Dust mask or scarf

Hygiene and Sanitation:
Hygiene Kit - Includes soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and 9 wet wipes. 3 Tempo Pocket Tissue Packs

First Aid:
(Sample-Please make your own) 42 Piece Pocket First Aid Kit - contains 42 pieces - 10 spot bandages, 10 sheer junior,5 sheer medium, 5 sheer strips, 2 antibacterial, 3 clear strips, 2 fabric strips, 1 extra-large, 2 alcohol pads, and 2 gauze pads

Activity Coloring Book with Crayons - contains pictures to color and activities to help keep a child's mind occupied
Children’s Toys - jump rope, ball, and a jax set

Blackout Kit In case of power outages
(Not including your Food and Water storage)

Same as Bug Out Bag plus:

20-60lbs of Charcoal
Propane cans or tanks plus stove attachment
Cords of wood

Tea Lights
Large Target store candles but not the ones with 3 wicks
Citronella candles
Head lamp (for walking around hands free) at least one per person
Storm Lanterns with fuel

Windup radio

Reading material
Board games


Sep 30, 2010

Keeping Up Your Spirits

It occurs to me that you of the most important thing you can do in an emergency or survival situation (or even in your day to day lives) is to keep your spirits up. I don't know about you, but I tend to accumulate a lot of bad or negative thoughts and when people start coming down on me, I sometimes just want to curl up in bed and sleep the day away.

Well, it's a good way to fall out of shape, ruin your diet, and all around ruin you physical health and well being. Ok, enough preachieness.

Some thing to do to get your spirits up:
Read a joke or two on line
Reward yourself for something small that you accomplish today.
Talk to a friend (Poor peoples therapy)
Pick a cardinal direction and drive until you see something you haven't seen before, then stop and explore the area for an hour or two.

Many of these ideas are basically to get you to STOP dwelling on what the negative situation or person is. Once you've done that, you can begin thinking of something useful to do in your situation. I know it's fun to fantasize about horrible things happening to someone you are having a problem with, but that really doesn't help. You need to DO something to change the situation you are in. Like the philosophy saying goes "A journey of a thousand mile begins with the first step" And if you can take the first step in improving where you are, you will (hopefully) feel a small sense of accomplishment which you can leverage into a second step and so on, and so on.

Many people in survival situations often talk about thinking of family that need them, or things they plan on doing once they are safe, but they never give up hope! Giving up is the surest way to die, because once you believe that you will, you stop trying.

Like the saying in Galaxy Quest "Never give up, never surrender".

I think this works for daily living, or any critical situation you find yourself in.

If you have other methods of keep up your spirits, or getting out of a funk, please let us know what they are, as we could all use a boost from time to time.

Sep 27, 2010

You Can Contrubute

If you would like to have something posted here as a full article as opposed to a comment to something I have written, then please email me at: and I will post it under your name. Provided it's relevant and not taken from some other website. You need to write it yourself and hopefully it is about something you have done or used yourself or have direct knowledge. But that's not absolute. If it's good I'll put it in anyway. :-)

Sep 26, 2010

Rasing Children and Other Adventures

I've been working with my oldest, working with her math. She seems to be enjoying it, but that's not what I want to talk about.

My youngest yesterday was having a bad moment and beginning to through a tantrum. Well, instead of letting her explode and me yelling at her (she's only 3) I did something that I learned in a Parenting Class. I put her in Time Out. I know what you're probably thinking "he's just punishing her". Well no. In my Parenting Class They taught, and I'm using it to "stop a behavior".

I didn't just tell her to go sit in the corner. She was already beginning to cry and flop on the ground, so I told her she needed to sit in Time Out for a couple of minutes. She didn't respond, except to cry more, so I gently picked her up and gave her a hug, which almost completely calmed her down right then, and then carried her to the hall where she was going to sit and placed her in the chair. I then spoke to her for a couple of minutes to let her know why she was sitting there.

Here is where I took another teaching moment. She kept looking at her feet to begin with, so I lifted her head with my finger and made sure that she looked me in the eye the whole time. I've been learning (And vaguely remember as a kid myself) that if you don't look at the parent talking, it doesn't really count.

Also, I am reminded of something that happened to me in the Army. I was in school working on getting promoted, and the next day I was required to lead the physical fitness training. Now, I had been leading things for years before this, but in school, you are graded on your performance, so I wanted to get it right. So, I practiced my commands by saying them to myself in the mirror. Let me tell you, that is the single most difficult task I have ever done. You try it. Look yourself right in the eye and say one full memorized sentence without blinking, turning away, glancing down, or anything else.

It's hard to maintain eye contact with yourself. But I figure, if I can teach my kids to do it now, so that it is a natural, normal thing for them, they will have a leg up in the world, where eye contact gives you credibility and stature.

As a survival technique I can only see it as a plus, when in an emergency, you are making constant eye contact with EMTs, Firemen or other emergency personnel, or claims adjusters for that matter. People tend to pay more attention, and take you more seriously when you look them in the eye.

Anyway, back to my daughter. After two minutes she had completely calmed down, so I looked her in the eye and told her it was OK to come back over to the rest of us. Then I gave her a big hug and reiterated why she was on time out to beginning with "because she was having a tantrum, and not co operating". That's something I do with both kids if they have to be corrected. I tell them why at the beginning, so that they should think about it while on time out, then after it's over, I review why they were there in case they forgot (they are only 3 and 5) Then I try to give them an alternate to the behavior I'm trying to stop.

Sep 16, 2010

Burning Man

I'm sure you've heard of it. I was surfing around and came across an app for it for free. After looking at the app for an hour or so, I went to the web site. Apparently it just happened.

This event while weird lasts 7 days on a desert plain in Nevada. You take in everything you need to survive, live, thrive, and party. There are some "first timers" notes and supply lists that read kinda odd, but make some sense for the environment. (don't agree with the fire arm one tho')

I'm thinking of going next year. That would give me a year to prepare mentally, physically, and financially for a week long, day and night party survival experience.

Anyone want to join me? Plenty of time to decide. [B-)]

Sep 15, 2010

Raising Kids

Monday I had my kids, and after our daily swim (the waters getting COLD) my oldest wanted to work in her workbook that I got her from a teachers supply store.

I immediately dropped what I was doing (I think I was just cleaning up around the living room) and got out the book, a pen, and found her a couple of pages she hadn’t done already. She was doing the project non-stop for about an hour straight. At one point my youngest was looking over our shoulders, watching what we were doing so I included her by asking questions and responding to her answers. I was tricky balancing time and resources between two children, but supremely worth it.

Whenever your children want to learn drop what you’re doing, pay attention, and devote as much time as necessary to them. You must be involved. I had to cook diner while this was going on, so I set the heat lower than normal so that I could go back and forth to help her out. She needed me to read the directions and explain what need to be done on each page. Diner took longer, but my daughters were getting the experience of learning to enjoy learning. I don’t think there is any prep more important than that.

Sep 13, 2010

Explosion in San Bruno

I've been watching the news about the gas explosion in San Bruno. Admitably it was a one in a million incident, but another similar story appeared in the news the day before in LA somewhere if I remember right. I don't believe that I know anyone who lives there, but it did get me thinking.

If you have all of your preps at home and something cataclysmic happens to your home, you are SOL. Even if you were in a house that survived the original blast yours is going up in minutes from the fire if you were next to it. That doesn't give you much time to get your gear out. So, it seems to me that an off-site storage point for your essentials may be prudent.

My thoughts: A safety deposit box, small storage space at a storage rental place, someones (Relative) house out of the area.

Things to store as back ups:
Hard Drive backup
Emergency Binder
Some Food
Clothing for each family member

Of course you can add more to these, and please post them here (I might learn something) but you get the idea. Off site storage of critical items that you will need immediately.

Sep 7, 2010

Vehicle Prep

Taken From

Even with careful planning, some Subaru drivers occasionally find themselves unable to continue driving due to extreme weather. Staying in your vehicle until help arrives needn’t be a life-threatening situation – a little preparation will help keep you safe and sound. Survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt outlines a straightforward plan for weathering an “unexpected night out.”
Anyone who drives faces the possibility of spending an unplanned night in a vehicle.

Bad weather, breakdowns, running out of fuel, and getting stuck are some of the more common reasons why a driver might have to bed down for the night (or perhaps for several nights) until the situation is resolved. A “night out” does not have to be a life-threatening experience, though. Drivers who accept the possibility that the unforeseen may happen are drivers that prepare for the experience. On the other hand, those drivers who deny the possibility of trouble may find themselves fighting for their lives until rescue arrives.

PREPARATION. Assembling a survival kit is the first step. As with any survival kit, the contents should be selected based on your personal needs, the season and the geographic location. (See the following list of recommended equipment.) If you become stranded, you’ll be glad you took the time to put together an emergency kit. In addition to the kit, you should also evaluate the effectiveness of the clothing you are wearing to keep you warm in a cold vehicle. Most people dress to arrive at a destination and not to survive a night out – the reverse would be more appropriate. Dress to survive, not just to arrive!

Don’t forget to provide sufficient supplies for other people you may be traveling with. Preparation also involves ensuring that your vehicle is ready for winter travel. Never set out in stormy conditions without a full tank of gas, a good battery, proper tires, a heater and exhaust system in good working condition, good antifreeze and “common sense.”

YOU’RE STUCK. If you do get trapped by a blizzard or severe snow storm, don’t panic! Stay with your vehicle and use your survival kit. Your vehicle makes a good shelter and an effective signal – don’t leave it. In your vehicle you are warm (warmer than being outside), dry and protected from the weather. Trying to dig the vehicle out or attempting to walk to help can be fatal. Sit tight – let the rescuers come to you! Move all of your equipment and other emergency gear into the passenger compartment.

SHELTERING IN YOUR VEHICLE. While sitting out a storm you must use your resources sparingly – you don’t know how long you’ll be there. While the vehicle will cut the wind and keep you dry, you will need to keep the interior warm. The heat your body produces is insufficient to heat the interior. Sitting in the vehicle, you will become cold quickly, especially your feet. Put on your warmest clothes (socks, hat, gloves, long underwear and additional insulation layers), wrap yourself in blankets or get into a sleeping bag. Sit sideways so you can place your feet on the seat where the foam cushioning will offer insulation from the cold. The foot wells will be the coldest part of the vehicle. Alternatively, place foam padding under your feet to insulate them. Place insulation behind your head so that it does not come in contact with the cold window.

Using a space blanket and duct tape, partition off the back of the vehicle from the front so you only have to warm the part of the vehicle you are occupying. Ways to warm the interior of your vehicle include running the engine for short periods of time. Run the engine about ten minutes each hour (or for shorter periods each half hour) but only after ensuring that the exhaust is not damaged and the tail pipe is clear of snow and other debris. Run the engine on the hour or half-hour – times that coincide with news and weather broadcasts on the radio. Ventilate the vehicle by opening a downwind window approximately 1/2 inch. Carbon monoxide is a real threat to your safety. Do not go to sleep with the engine running. Carbon monoxide poisoning can sneak up on you without warning. Almost 60 percent of the deaths caused by carbon monoxide result from motor vehicle exhaust. It is less risky to use your clothing and other sources of heat to keep yourself warm.

If you have to get out of the vehicle, put on additional windproof clothing, including snow goggles if you have them. Tie a lifeline between yourself and the door handle before moving away from the proximity of the vehicle. In a blizzard, visibility can be as low as 12 inches. The lifeline will guide you back to the vehicle.

Eat right while you wait, don’t drink alcohol and don’t smoke! Without enough energy stored in your body you will not have the ability to generate enough heat to keep your body warm. Your emergency kit should include quantities of high-calorie, non-perishable food such as carbohydrate food bars. Keep yourself hydrated. Dehydrated people have great difficulty maintaining their body temperature. Don’t eat snow! It takes body heat to convert snow to liquid. Use your heat sources to melt snow for your drinking water. Don’t smoke – the nicotine in cigarettes reduces blood flow to the skin and extremities and increases the possibilities of frostbite. Don’t drink alcohol, either – alcohol affects judgment. Bad judgment decreases the chances of survival.

GETTING RESCUED. The ability to communicate your distress is critical when calling for rescue. A cellular phone may be your best method of making contact with rescuers. Dial 911 or the number selected by your state to contact law enforcement officials. Citizens Band (CB) and VHF radios may be available. Lacking electronic communication equipment you will have to improvise – tie a flag to your vehicle’s antenna, or have a road flare prepared in the event that an aircraft flies over your area. If weather conditions permit, stamp “SOS” into the snow, and after the snow stops raise the vehicle’s hood. Keep the upper surfaces of your vehicle clear of snow. Remove the rearview mirror and use it to reflect a beam of sunlight to rescuers – either on the ground on in the air. Do whatever you can to draw attention to yourself.

Cellular phone with charger
Additional clothing
and winter footwear
Four quart bottles of water
Three dehydrated meals
Other carbohydrate-based foods
Two empty cans (one for melting snow and one for sanitary purposes)
Bag of cat litter
Toilet paper
Windshield scraper and brush
Spare personal medications
Tools (including jack and spare tire)
Flashlight and spare batteries
Portable radio
and spare batteries
Emergency candles
and/or small stove
Booster cables,
tow strap, road flares
Folding or
breakdown shovel
Multipurpose tool (Leatherman, etc.)
Blankets or sleeping bags
Ski goggles and gloves
Chemical hand
heater packets
Duct tape
Chemical light sticks
Space blankets
Waterproof and
windproof matches
Book to read
Metal cup
25-50 feet of nylon cord
Basic first-aid kit
Flagging tape

The first important thing is to have good strong front and rear tow points, ideally these should be of the combination ball / pin type. The minimum basic recovery kit should include

• Hi-Lift Jack: Essential when you get bogged down, most can also be used as winches you will also need to take a solid piece of wood so you can spread the load on soft ground.
• Recovery Rope: This should be longer than those sold in car shops, do to an off road specialist, you can get steel ropes which are stronger but less manageable.
• Strops & Padding: Strops or extra lengths of rope should be cared so that your winch can be attached to trees etc. with out causing excess damage.
• Winch: These can be electric, hydraulic or hand powered. Usually they are mounted on the front bumper. This is great as long as you can find something to winch you out in front of the vehicle. A better all round alternative is a turfer winch these work on a steel cable and are hand operated. The advantages are that they are not fixed to the vehicle so you can use them on the front, back, side (to roll the vehicle back over!) or with the aid of a tree as a crane (lifting engine, trees to form bridges etc), they don't need the engine running or flatten the battery. The only down side is that they are hand operated and slower to set up and use.
• Spade: Obvious!
• Sand Mats: Help you in the soft conditions. There are now some plastic mats available which apparently perform as well as the common metal type. If you opt for the metal type check out the ones that can be used for bridging before you make your choice.

Prepping for Infants

This is a difficult subject to write on. Small children grow so fast and change diets so often, it’s virtually impossible to stockpile anything for any length of time. Often people without kids will suggest cloth diapers, but I’ve used them, and I can guarantee I won’t use them again unless there is no other alternative. They stink, are extremely messy and require huge amounts of cleaning and disinfecting. You can buy large supplies of diapers for reasonable cost at most big box stores (CostCo) and if you track your child’s growth you can estimate how many of what sizes you will need for a couple of years out. And if you get too many of one size or another they do keep forever, so you can use them as barter or just give them to another parent that could use them.

Another issue is food. Mothers milk is really the only way to go for the first year, to year and a half. You can buy formula in powder form but you will have to work out logistics for hot water to mix it with, and trust me, when your baby is screaming her head off for food now, you really can’t wait for water to boil over a camp stove in an emergency scenario.

Later on they will shift to “solid” food, which means jar food. If you read the jars you will find that the most common fillers are banana and apple. So, if you want to save a few bucks now, a good blender will get you a long way to feeding the young’un and in case of emergency the babies will be used to eating “real” food if jar food can’t be obtained. BTW most of the all fruit jar foods are pretty tasty for adults as well. Just saying.

Sep 1, 2010

Bug out Bag (72hr bag)

Here’s a favorite topic of every survivalist blog list or anywhere we get together.

Also known as GOOD, GOD (Get Out Of Dodge) Go Bags, and any number of other things. What I would like to discuss, is, the primary purpose of this bag… To have enough guns and gear to run into the woods to be “Rambo”…Right?

Wrong! No, the purpose is to have enough supplies to last 3 days. Just long enough to get you to your back up location, or to your first of a series of caches that will get you to your back up location. (I will discuss caching later)

Now, if you do a search for this type of bag you will hit approximately 416,000 results. Most of these results trying to sell you a prepackaged kit of one sort or another. I am all in favor of looking at what they contain, but am adamantly against buying one. These prepackage kits are one size fits all, and we all know how well that works out. A prepackaged kit will not address your special need or concerns, is packed with the cheapest materials available and if you didn’t buy it and put it in the pack, you won’t know what you have or how to use it.

As I said, I am in favor of looking at what they contain; this gives you ideas about what you should have in yours. My recommendations are as follows, 1 bag per person:
3 Days of food
3 Days of Water (Sadly this is not possible, It takes around 1 gallon per person, per day, to survive) So you must come up with alternatives
A method of getting into your food (can opener, knife, scissors, etc.)
A method of cooking your food
Plates, cups, utensils for eating and drinking
2 changes of clothes
3 changes of socks and underwear
Communications/Signaling devices:
Fire making equipment
Navigation gear
Knives and Tools:
Swiss Army knife or Multi tool (Leatherman)
Folding saw
Large bladed sheath knife
Optional, a shovel, axe, or hatchet
Sewing kit
Duct tape
Bolt Cutters (Small)
Firearm with ammo
Hygiene Kit
First-Aid Kit (Triple however many Band-Aids and square cotton pads you put in there)
Fishing Kit

Now put all of that in a bag, pack, suitcase or something and start walking… Ok, you can stop now. Sucked didn’t it? Now go through and put the things in YOU need for three days of walking, to get you to your destination. If you have questions about particular items or ideas, feel free to ask, and I will give you all the advice that you are paying for here :-) and any personal experience about tools or equipment or whatever I may know about.

Aug 31, 2010

Gardening (on going)

I’ve begun a small herb garden with my kids. I got some of those cardboard starter cups and had my kids put in the seeds. When I get the kids, I have them doing the watering so that they can learn that what they are doing has consequences and makes a difference. After only a week everything was sprouting, and by two weeks I felt the need to get some larger pots to transplant everything. I got 6in pots from WalMart for $2.50 each. We already had some mulch but from past experience I know dirt would have done just as well. I cut up the cardboard cartons into individual containers and put each herb into its own pot. Also, my mother ate a persimmon, so I took the seed and plopped it into another pot and started watering it just to see what happens. Well, now I’ve got an 8in tall growth!

Growing is easy! Just water daily. In this heat I’ve been watering twice daily and that’s all I do. Now when everything is ready to harvest I will post more here or if I get bug problems I’ll let you know what I do, and what the results are.

Growing your own food has to be one of your top priorities. Mostly because it takes time to mature to harvest, but also it reduces your expenses as the more you grow, the less you buy.

Aug 27, 2010

Water Storage (on going)

Water Storage is much easier than food storage in that you only have one item that you are dealing with, but there are some concerns to be looked at. First what are you going to put the water in? Cases of water bottles, 2, 3 and 5 gallon store bought sealed bottles, 55 gallon drums, and hundreds to thousand gallon storage tanks. You decide on your need and ability. I’ve been advised to not reuse empty milk jugs as the plastic is too thin to survive for any length of time.

I personally carry a 5 gallon jerry can in my trunk that I change out every few years, plus several 24oz bottles in the passenger seat. I plan on getting a couple of 55 gallon drums which can be had for as little as $5 each if you know where to look. Plus I have 2 sealed, three gallon bottles in a storage site in town. I probably need to get more as soon as I can afford them.

Now, water for the most part can just sit there and be happy, but there are a couple of things you have to do to make sure it stays safe.

One- treat the water with bleach chlorine or some other disinfecting agent before storing.

Two- Have a filtration method available in case something gets into your storage.

Three- If you are still not sure, boil it.

Four- Don’t store the majority of your water supplies near your food supplies or near any type of sanitization concern i.e.; out houses, where you clean carcasses, water courses like rivers.

Food Storage (on going)

Again, many theories exist as well as hundreds of techniques. For collecting food, I recommend the Plus One method. That is, when you buy your groceries buy one (or more if you can afford it) additional can of something you are getting anyway. I am attempting large storage with 5 gallon buckets, but I won’t know if it works for about 20 years. Get back to me then, and I’ll let you know how it works.

But seriously, you are supposed to use what you store and use it from the oldest stored first.

What this means is you buy 4 cans of peas this month. Write the date on the cans and store. Next month you buy 4 more. Write that date on the cans and store them behind the first four. So as you use the peas you will use the oldest first and on to the next oldest and so on.

Depending on where you live, storing a well-organized pantry can be difficult. You may just not have enough space. If you do, there are some survival companies out there who sell metal racks that are perfect for this kind of storage. If not you may have to get creative. I’ve heard of bed lifts that will raise the frame of your bed a few inches so that you could store huge quantities there.

Do not store in your garage or anyplace that takes a huge amount of heat in the summer. This will destroy the life span of your food supply.

Actually when it comes to anything perishable or delicate the same rules apply: Store in a cool dark place out of direct sunlight and out of direct contact with the floor.

Lessons Learned - camping with little girls

Friday night I slept outside with the girls. My five year old wanted to go camping and came up with this around 5pm. I wasn’t about to get together our camping gear and rush out to a campground before sundown, so I came up with the idea of sleeping in the back yard. Unfortunately the backyard measures only about 12ft by 8ft not counting plants and lawn furniture and all of that solid concrete. So, no tent. It was OK as the weather was still warm (to start) so we slept under the stars. At first it was fun staring up at the stars looking for meteorites and airplanes. Eventually the kids passed out and I went to sleep myself.

Awww, you say? Well let me describe the sleeping arrangements; The kids had Colman inflatable mattresses to sleep on, and cheap Disney sleeping bags to sleep in. I had my sleeping bag that I decided to use as a sleeping pad and a blanket I brought out from the house. Oh, we all had pillows as well.

Mistake 1- I needed better padding under me. Concrete is hard.
Mistake 2- We all needed more blankets. It got cold, somewhere in the 50’s. My kids didn’t complain, but by 5 am I could tell that they weren’t any more comfortable than I was, so I called it a night and brought them back inside.

Aug 21, 2010

Get Debt Free

I can’t emphasize this enough. If I weren’t already debt free, then my lack of job and the cost of divorce would have me buried completely under.

Everything I ever heard, says do it this way:
Take your smallest debt, pay as much as you can over the minimum payment until it is paid off.
Then, take that same amount and apply it to the next largest debt.
And so on.
That’s it. Simple huh? Now, depending on how deeply you are in debt, it will take some time to be completely debt free, probably years. But start now, and when you are finished you can look back and say “why didn’t I do this sooner”? If you don’t do it, and something catastrophic happens, how do you expect to pay for your car, house, medical bills etc.?

A sub set of getting Debt Free is; Have multiple streams of revenue. There are many paths you can take, and not all may be for you. Decide for yourself what works best for your situation and review for time to time if your current path is working.

Some options for multiple revenue streams:
Stock and bonds
Investing in precious metals (Actually possessing this metal is the only method I would recommend)
Start an on-line business (E-bay/Craigslist)
Buy real-estate for rentals

Start your own home business or two. When I lived in an apartment in Sunnyvale, I started my own dog walking business. I would take my dog Elvis (And if you know me for any length of time you know Elvis. If I went somewhere he could go, he went with me. Walking him at a local park, I would talk to other dog owners from the apartment complex and many would complain about having to come home during lunch to walk their dog. So I began offering Elvis and I as dog walkers. We would go to our clients apartments and I would put there leashes on and walk the dogs for an hour a day. At the height, Elvis and I were going out three times a day and making about $300 a month. Not a lot but it was something I was doing for myself. All I had to do was post a couple of notes in the laundry rooms, and talk to dog owners in the park that I was talking to anyway.

Now, I’m trying to get back to Freelance Graphic Design, and Survival/Preparation consulting.Now, I’m trying to get back to Freelance Graphic Design, and Survival/Preparation consulting. But preferably you want to set up something that will generate income without your input or at least a minimal overview by you.

Aug 19, 2010

Evacuation Planning-or-When to Run

Evacuation plan
Set up conditions on when to activate your evacuation plan. You must have some “set in stone” benchmarks on when to Get Out of Dodge, as well as use of common sense. Below are some examples of disasters that can occur, some likely, some not so. I’ll let you decide which is which. I’ve included some of the signs (or benchmarks) of potential coming events and whether warnings from reliable agencies are available or not.

In most events, I would advise remaining in place. Unless your home is made unlivable, or about to become unlivable, it is the last option to become a refugee. Refugees are at the mercy and whims of anyone one in power. Whether it be Government or gangs, someone will hold power and unless that is you, you will have to do as they say, and get what mercy they give. This is why I recommend one Bug Out Location, Please keep in mind; A BOL does not have to be a spot in the woods with you going ”Rambo”. Families in another state are a perfectly reasonable first choice, provided that you have adequately stocked their location so that you do not become a burden to your family. And at least one fallback location if your BOL is not usable for some reason.


No warning given. Your home is no longer livable, power grid, gas and water down. Societal infrastructure collapse. Roads not usable and emergency services overwhelmed. Might be time to go.

On the other hand, if everything above were still in play, except, your home was still intact, you would have to consider carefully whether or not to evacuate. If you could hold in place for a week or a month would you be better or worse than if you bailed out immediately after the quake?

Inclement Weather (Snow storm, hurricane, tornado)
Warnings are available from weathers services, usually between 2 minutes for tornadoes to 7 days for coastal hurricanes. Evacuation orders are often given 24-48 hours prior to hurricane touchdowns. Ordinarily California doesn’t suffer these problems, but I remember a tornado touching down in Santa Clara a few years ago, and every April/May we get very powerful winds that can rip the roof off of buildings and knock trees into power lines or homes.

Sometimes you get warnings from news services, sometimes they are spontaneous events. Also riots may occur in conjunction with other events compounding the originating problems.

Economic Collapse
Again, review the Weimar Republic of Germany. A number of indicators are available if you can interpret them correctly. Evacuation may become necessary if you can no longer afford rent or make your house payment. The housing collapse is a prime example of this. I myself lost my home twice. Once because we couldn’t afford it any longer and a second time when my Ex-wife kicked me out, and changed the locks on the doors. Neither one was pleasant, and both cause incredible stress, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. In the second case I lost almost all of my preps and having to start over doing so without a job to support it. I’m sure I will have more to say on this later.

Meteor Impact
Unless we live in a movie, no warnings are generally available. The impact zone is the only affected area. Anything larger is world shaking if not world ending, so, not much point in talking about it.

Solar Storm
Warnings are generally available from NASA, but to date only one instance of any trouble has occurred historically.

Geomagnetic storm and Aurora

The geomagnetic storm causing this event was itself the result of a Coronal Mass Ejection on March 9, 1989.[1] 3.5 Days later, at 2:44 am on March 13, 1989, a severe geomagnetic storm struck Earth.[2][3] The storm began on Earth with extremely intense auroras at the poles. The aurora could be seen as far south as Texas.[4] As this occurred during the cold war, many worried that a nuclear first-strike might be in progress.[4] Others considered the intense auroras to be associated with the Space Shuttle mission STS-29, which had been launched on March 13 at 9:57:00 AM. The burst caused short-wave radio interference, including the jamming of radio signals from Radio Free Europe into Russia. It was thought that the signals had been jammed by the Soviet government.
As midnight came and went, invisible electromagnetic forces were staging their own pitched battle in a vast arena bounded by the sky above and the rocky subterranean reaches of the Earth. A river of charged particles and electrons in the ionosphere flowed from west to east, inducing powerful electrical currents in the ground that surged into many natural nooks and crannies.[4]
Some satellites in polar orbits lost control for several hours. GOES weather satellite communications were interrupted causing weather images to be lost. NASA's TDRS-1 communication satellite recorded over 250 anomalies caused by the increased particles flowing into its sensitive electronics.[4] The Space Shuttle Discovery was having its own mysterious problems. A sensor on one of the tanks supplying hydrogen to a fuel cell was showing unusually high pressure readings on March 13. The problem went away just as mysteriously after the solar storm subsided.

Quebec Blackout
The variations in the earth's magnetic field also tripped circuit breakers on Hydro-Qu├ębec's power grid. The utility's very long transmission lines and the fact that most of Quebec sits on a large rock shield prevented current flowing through the earth, finding a less resistant path along the 735 kV power lines[5].
The James Bay network went offline in less than 90 seconds, giving Quebec its second massive blackout in 11 months.[6] The power failure lasted 9 hours and forced the company to implement various mitigation strategies, including raising the trip level, installing series compensation on ultra high voltage lines and upgrading various monitoring and operational procedures. Other utilities in North America, the UK, Northern Europe and elsewhere implemented programs to reduce the risks associated with geomagnetically induced currents.[5]

In August 1989, another storm affected microchips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto's stock market.[7]

Since 1995, geomagnetic storms and solar flares have been monitored from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) joint-NASA-European Space Agency satellite..

WWIII (Go Wolverines) and Terrorist Attack
I wasn’t in NY during 9/11 and no one I know was either, but lots of people were in the air that day, and when they grounded all aircraft, all those passengers had, was what they packed. Forgot about them, didn’t you? If someone was going to a destination they were probably better off as they were fresher, had more cash on hand, their packed clothes were probably clean, etc. If they were coming back from somewhere, unless they were a survivalist/prepper, you can be sure most were in a world of hurt.

There is no warning of an impending attack, or loose rumors from DHS about "chatter". Bad guys are just suddenly there doing bad things.

Training part 6 Automotive Repair

I don’t know about you, but I own a 97 Toyota and there is no way I can do most repairs on my own. I used to have a 73 Camaro and about the only things I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do were Carburetor repair and Transmission work. But now days with everything being computer controlled, I simply have no idea what I’m doing. Even still I can still change tires, spark plugs, and change fluids as needed. My care wouldn’t start a few days ago, and with my experience working on my Camaro many years ago, I recognized that the battery was dying for some reason, so I managed to get a Jump Start form someone and my car cranked right up. If I didn’t know anything about cars, I would have been forced to call for a tow and been stranded very far from home.

Aug 18, 2010

Sorry it's been a while

Sorry Everyone, the computer went down, and I haven't been able to get on line for any length of time, plus I was writing everything in a beta version of MS Word, apparently I downloaded that during a golden window of opportunity. Now MS has the full software out for sale, so I can't seem to find the free beta version any longer. :-(

Anyway, give me a day or two, and I will begin posting more information along the lines of training and planning.

Aug 13, 2010

Are there any Question?

So far I see very few comments, and those from friends. Love you guys!

So I am asking: Are there any questions about anything survival/Preparedness related? Anything at all? Beuler? Beuler? But seriously, if there is something you want to know about post it here and I'll discuss you concerns, and anything I don't know I'll make up...Uh...Look up! Yeah Look up!

Aug 9, 2010

Probable Events

Probable events
People often ask me, “What are you preparing for”? Well, I’m not like most Survivalist/Preppers. I’m not looking for the apocalypse, ready to run out into the woods with a gun and a knife ready to play Rambo. Fun fantasy, but in reality 99% of everyone who runs out to do just that is going to end up dead. I look at day to day survival as challenge enough most days. I worry about finding a job, raising my kids, having a roof over our heads, etc. This is where I become a “prepper”. I need to know that everyone is safe, secure and healthy, so I look for ways to ensure that. Being out of debt, stocking up of food, being energy independent, all of these things are what I do to prepare. Day-to-day I try to have plans and equipment in place in case of emergency, much like everyone has auto insurance(If you have a car) I have “survival insurance”. Below I have some possible events that could happen that should be prepared for.

Job loss
Speaks for its self. I lost plenty of jobs in my lifetime, but in this economy and with children depending on me, the pressure is incredible. Having some stockpiles of food is helpful. Also having cash available would have been nice to get through a couple of months until a new job came along, but that has been used up and still no work. If you’re currently employed, I would advise you to save as much as you can, while paying off any debts.

Were you in or near Oakland? LA? Ever been down town when a major sports team wins a big contest? And I can only imagine what’s going to happen this November.


IF you live in California, you know earthquakes. I’m new to the Central Valley, and people have told me that there aren’t any fault lines here, but there are still small quakes from time to time. You must still be prepared. 1 you may be traveling to the Bay Area or LA. 2 A major quake may occur else ware causing your friends or family to become refugees that you may need to help support.

Economic collapse
Finances are not my forte, but watching the news has my skin crawling. Nothing the president and congress is doing, is doing us any good. In fact much of it is hinting at a Weimar Republic like move toward hyper inflation.

In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or "out of control", a condition in which prices increase rapidly as a currency loses its value.[1] Definitions used by the media vary from a cumulative inflation rate over three years approaching 100% to "inflation exceeding 50% a month." [2] In informal usage the term is often applied to much lower rates. As a rule of thumb, normal inflation is reported per year, but hyperinflation is often reported for much shorter intervals, often per month.

The definition used by most economists is "an inflationary cycle without any tendency toward equilibrium." A vicious circle is created in which more and more inflation is created with each iteration of the cycle. Although there is a great deal of debate about the root causes of hyperinflation, it becomes visible when there is an unchecked increase in the money supply (or drastic debasement of coinage) usually accompanied by a widespread unwillingness to hold the money for more than the time needed to trade it for something tangible to avoid further loss. Hyperinflation is often associated with wars (or their aftermath), economic depressions, and political or social upheavals.

By late 1923, the Weimar Republic of Germany was issuing two-trillion Mark banknotes and postage stamps with a face value of fifty billion Mark. The highest value banknote issued by the Weimar government's Reichsbank had a face value of 100 trillion Mark (100,000,000,000,000; 100 billion on the long scale). At the height of the inflation one U.S. dollar was worth 4 trillion German marks.

And just before you say it can’t happen here;

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress authorized the printing of paper currency called continental currency. The easily counterfeited notes depreciated rapidly, giving rise to the expression "not worth a continental."

Between January 1861 and April 1865, the Lerner Commodity Price Index of leading cities in the eastern Confederacy states increased from 100 to over 9000.[24] As the U.S. Civil War dragged on the Confederate States of America dollar had less and less value, until it was almost worthless by the last few months of the war.

Training part 5 Communications

Email yourself you entire contact list and important info such as bank accounts, insurance policy numbers, passwords and addresses to all of your on-line accounts, resume, etc. Just tuck them into a sub-folder somewhere under an innocuous name. Also keep a copy of this stuff on a USB drive that you carry on you at all times. I’m sure with all the smart phones out there you have (like me) most of this stuff in it, but there is an old saying that I first heard on “2 is 1, and 1 is none”. Which means if you drop your phone and it breaks you are SOL. I’ve lost 2 different phones in the last year, and had to manually replace all of my contacts because for some reason they do not backup easily.

Speaking of phones, did you know that in a disaster the phone system will be completely blocked up and virtually unusable? I remember in the Loma Prieta quake in ’89, I was in Georgia, and could not call home for three days because the phone lines were clogged up. Now days there are alternatives:
1 Text messaging uses a different bandwidth (I think) and you can text when the speaking portion of the phone won’t work.
2 If your smartphone is capable, Email and Facebook are excellent forms of communication so that everyone can either know you are safe, or where to send rescue personnel if you’re in trouble.
Please make sure that you have printouts of all of your contacts as well. If you should break your phone and not have computer access, you will need to have a paper backup.

On top of this, you should consider getting some form of power backup. Solar panels, power inverters, crank powered chargers etc. All work to one degree or another. You definitely need to have some sort of backup in case of blackout if your phone is your lifeline.

Part of Communications and Home prep is to put everything down in an easy to read binder. I’m going to be developing one soon in Excel for all of you, that should have checklists, contacts, maps (You’ll be able to paste your own in from Google Maps or MapQuest) evacuation plans, and anything else I can think of that need to be in there. Suggestions are welcomed, and I will continually update it as I learn better ways to do things.
Select two meeting places for your family or friend group. One near your home in case of fire and a second place outside of your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
Keep important papers, photos and records in a water and fireproof container. I have a removable drive with everything from my Ex’s computer including all of my kid’s pictures which I would be devastated to loose.

My friends at Stanislaus Preparedness Group are advocates of HAM radio communication. I agree with them, and plan on taking the necessary classes as soon as I can.

Aug 7, 2010

Training part 4 Construction

Just knowing how something goes together to hold up in a high wind and keep the rain out could be the difference in living at home or evacuating and becoming a refugee. Home Depot, Lowes, and many other Big Box stores often offer classes in different do-it-yourself projects that are usually free. Also, if you ever get work done on your home, or a friend is getting work done, stand around and ask questions. Most construction people I know are happy to tell you what they are doing and why.

Something I learned recently is that the Big Box stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc) have really low grade lumber. It’s often warped and has large numbers of knots, which makes it difficult to work with. So if you are going to get 2x4s and such, just be sure to look over each piece carefully to ensure that they are uniformly straight and clean.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m the last person to go to when it comes to electrical wiring. I’ve managed to shock myself every single time I’ve tried to do something with electricity. Fortunately for me, I have a brother that is an electrician, but this is no excuse for me to not learn more. There may come a time when he or I are out of the area when disaster strikes, and it will be up to me to solve my own problems.

Training part 3 Food (Part 2)

Food Storage
There are many, many ways to store food. You can grow and can your own. Buy from farmers market like sources. Dehydrate. Buy dehydrated or freeze dried foods. Buy “plus 1” at the grocery store. (that means: Buy one more can of X than you actually need) I don’t want to make recommendations here, because my choices may not fit your needs.

But what I would like to talk about is storage of what you do have. Much like what you will hear about storage of anything: Keep in a cool, dry, place, out of direct sunlight. Depending on method, food has a shelf life of between 2 years and 30 years. This is always calculated using optimal conditions. IE: Keep in a cool, dry, place, out of direct sunlight.

In the Central Valley, summer heat could conceivably re-cook food in a can if left in direct sunlight day after day. Storing food in your garage is not much of an improvement unless your garage is air conditioned. When I had an apartment I would stock pile canned food and water behind my futon in the living room, and no one knew it was there or if they did see it, I would just say it was stockpile in case of Earthquake. This was true. Gina may be able to shed light on visibility of my stores, as she had been to my place on a number of occasions. I have heard of(But not used) extenders for beds that raise them off the ground, this would allow large storage space underneath. Closets are also a popular choice. Something that just occurred to me; If you live in a house, what about that crawl space underneath? Admitably, you could lose everything placed there if an earthquake takes out your home, but I think that risk exists anywhere you put your food in your house. My question is, does it stay cool under there? I know it stays dry.

Does anyone else have any ideas that they have used for storing large volumes of stuff?

Aug 4, 2010

Training part 3 Food (Part 1)

My mother knows how to can (Funny thought; why is it called “canning” when you use glass “jars”?) As soon as I can get the money together for the basic supplies, I’m going to begin canning, which will go well with Cooking and Gardening. I know it’s a fairly simple process, but like many things in life, as simple as it is, if you don’t know what you are doing you could end up wasting a lot of supplies and time, and in this case quite possibly poisoning yourself and your family if you do it wrong. If you have knowledge or advice, please post something so that I and everyone reading this blog can learn from your experience.

What can I say; Learn to cook without it coming from a box or can. Learn to cook over an open fire or if you have a small propane camping stove, learn how to do more than boiling water with it. If you stock food in volume (rice, beans, wheat, etc) don’t learn to eat it. Eat it as a part of your normal diet. You do not want to change your family’s diet in the middle of a disaster when everything is already up in the air; keeping anything you can as sable as before goes a long way to keeping everyone’s spirits up.

I know Cast Iron is big in camping, but it does take a certain amount of maintenance to keep from rusting. I’ve never had one break, but cast iron is more fragile than forged metal. If you use your regular day to day pots and pans, just watch out for plastic handles leaning too far into the fire. And if they are non-stick surfaces, please be careful to not scrape to the coating off when cleaning.

Boiling water can literally be the difference between life and death. I am currently watching a news report about flooding in Pakistan and the fact that diseases and just now beginning. You must boil uncertain water to kill pathogens or you and your family will be facing sever sickness including diarrhea nausea, vomiting and death. I have heard that water needs to boil from between 0 minutes to 5 minutes. I don’t know the truth of this but I would tend to err on the side of caution. Please keep in mind that at higher elevations boiling doesn’t work the same.

I remember being in Denver at a friend’s house. He was boiling water in a pan for something, and for several minutes you could stick your hand in the water perfectly safely, as the temperature had not risen yet. And that is the important factor: The temperature of the water. 212deg. F at sea level is what it takes to boil water and the temperature is what is necessary to kill the ickies in the water.

High Altitudes:

Water will boil at high altitudes, but it isn't as hot as boiling water at sea level. This is because the air pressure is lower at high elevations. Boiling occurs when the water is hot enough to have the same pressure as the surrounding air, so that it can form bubbles. At high altitudes, air pressure is lower than at sea level, so the water doesn't have to get so hot to get to boiling. Because the temperature of the boiling water is lower at high elevations than at sea level, it takes longer to bring water to a boil at higher altitudes than at sea level.

Most cookbooks consider 3,000 feet above sea level to be high altitude, although at 2,000 feet above sea level, the boiling temperature of water is 208 °F instead of 212 °F.

Adding a little salt to the water will cause the water to boil at a slightly higher temperature which can be helpful while cooking especially at high altitudes.

1. Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
2. If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
3. If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
4. If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.


1. Allow people to drink according to their needs. Many people need even more than the average of one-half gallon, per day. The individual amount needed depends on age, physical activity, physical condition, and time of year.
2. Never ration water unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. Under no circumstances should a person drink less than one quart (four cups) of water each day. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
3. Drink water that you know is not contaminated first. If necessary, suspicious water, such as cloudy water from regular faucets or water from streams or ponds, can be used after it has been treated. If water treatment is not possible, put off drinking suspicious water as long as possible, but do not become dehydrated.
4. Do not drink carbonated beverages instead of drinking water. Carbonated beverages do not meet drinking-water requirements. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.
5. Turn off the main water valves. You will need to protect the water sources already in your home from contamination if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines, or if local officials advise you of a problem. To close the incoming water source, locate the incoming valve and turn it to the closed position. Be sure you and other family members know how to perform this important procedure.
5a. To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your home at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from the lowest faucet in the home.
5b. To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve at the tank and turning on the hot water faucet. Refill the tank before turning the gas or electricity back on. If the gas is turned off, a professional will be needed to turn it back on.

Included with this is learning how to start a fire. In my 24hr bag, I have flint and steel, a magnifying glass, tinder and a Bic lighter (oh and a P38 can opener). All of this fit in the palm of my hand. IF you can’t start a fire in winter, you-are-dead! I’m not (Unless you ask) going to describe all of the different ways to start a fire, there are 353,000 YouTube videos available for your perusal.


I don’t expect anyone to suddenly become farmer-bob, but having a few plants and trees around you that supplies fresh fruit, veggies, and roots and tubers (love that word). Like everything else in life, all good things in moderation. I like growing things from seeds, it lets me know that I did all the work, plus it’s cheap to get seeds when you’re eating the fruit anyway. Mostly in my opinion, gardening isn’t much more than watering regularly, pruning back the excess and harvesting before the birds and bugs get to everything. Below is a sample of some of the edibles I have grown in my life.

Asian Pear
Fiji Apple
Peppers (would get a harvest every couple of months)
Spice Garden Collection (this and that, and yes I cook with it)
Banana (never got fruit)

Some things that I would like to grow:
Mixed Fruit/Fruit cocktail
Blackberry (I’ve been warned that this is one you have to be extremely careful of as it grows out of control)
Jerusalem artichokes

Jul 31, 2010

Training part 2 First Aid

First aid
This is something I cannot stress enough. In case of disaster, medical facilities and personnel will be overwhelmed with casualties, accidents, and illnesses. You may not even be able to get to a hospital or get 911 to respond. If it’s your child or spouse who is sick or injured, it may be on you to be medical professional. Even if you band together with like-minded friends, and have a medical professional (EMT, Nurse, Doctor) that person may not be standing at your elbow when sudden disaster strikes, so you must cross train in everything.

A first aid/CPR class is invaluable and can be used for the rest of your life. I learned years ago in the Army, and while I haven’t kept up my Red Cross certification card, I still remember how it all works. So in case of emergency, I have the confidence and training to handle any simple problems that come up. Obviously I’m not going to attempt surgery or dentistry, but there are books and supplies available to study, so if worst came to worst, and no professional medical personnel were available, I might attempt to save someone’s life if I had to.

There is a group in this area that is called Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). You can look them up online. Normally I would give a link here, but, apparently it tends to move around so you will have to find them yourself. I would recommend the Modesto city web page to start as it is usually hosted by the local fire department. They train people for “Emergency Response” Duh! But this could include fires, floods, and earthquakes, all forms of natural and (presumably) manmade disasters. I plan on attending myself as soon as I’m able, so maybe I’ll see you there.

If nowhere else, you can try the local Junior College for classes.

Jul 26, 2010

Lessons Learned - Field Training

Camping (as a form of field training)

Well this weekend was a good training exercise. The original intent was to go rafting, and the rest of the group was to camp for the night. Well here in Modesto it was about 500deg. (Ok 95+) Heat was a SERIOUS problem, especially for my kids. My mother went along as well, and she wasn’t doing so well either. In the beginning of the day, we arrived at a beach portion of a local state park and I let my kids play in the river, looking at the little fish swimming around, and picking up freshwater clam shells. It must be rich there as the sand was littered with them. Anyway, I stayed in the water with my kids as there were a few deep places, and even if the water was not running fast, it was stronger that a 3 year old who can’t swim (yet). I took the opportunity to show them the different kinds of life living around the river, and to not fear the water, but respect the power of it.

After a couple of hours I scouted around and found where my group was meeting and packed up my kids to move to the campground areas. This was about 11:20am

This is where the real learning begins.

The camp area was maybe 100-150 yards from the parking lot. The first load (let me remind you, I was only staying there with my kids for about 6 hours at this point) I took my 24hr kit, my kids BOB Bags, an Ice chest (Full), and my mother carried a large beach bag full of kids clothes and a folding chair. I was pouring sweat with just that tiny little walk and still had to keep up my strength to assist my kids getting there shoes on instead of flip flops, and my mother to set up her stuff. In the 6hrs that we were there, we move the positions of chairs at least 5 times to stay in the shade. 2 more trips were made to our vehicle for various items, but not much more that a bag or two worth of “stuff”.

Lessons learned:

Hats are a must. I don’t wear them, and my kids don’t like them, but every time I had to walk in the sun I flipped on the boonie hat I had brought along, and I swear, it felt like the temperature dropped 15 deg.

You cannot have too much to drink, and Ice was Stupid. I brought a large jug (1 liter I think) of juice, a six pack of bottled tea, various pouches of Capri-Sun and LOTS of water. By the time we were done there were 2 bottles of tea and about 20oz of juice remaining. I had to keep calling my kids to the side and making them drink, as they are not old enough yet to be responsible for their own health. And something I was grateful for out there, but in hindsight writing this in air conditioning, was that as a survival situation, Ice is just stupid. I mean seriously! If we had to bug out of our homes so far out that we were living in the woods, there certainly would not be someplace where we could get ice. At least not for the first few days of a crisis. If anyone went through Katrina or Haiti, please let me know how long it was before fresh water and ice became available.

Too much Crap.
We were only there for a few hours, and yet it took three trips to the vehicle to get all of the comfort crap out. My friend who was camping overnight, with three kids (one being an infant) and his wife, had two tents, one or two folding chairs, and STILL managed to keep it down to (maybe) six trips to his vehicle. One the other hand, I was humping everything by hand, except for the Ice chest, which had wheels. He on the other had was using his baby’s stroller to maximize his carrying capacity. I know for a fact that if it were just me I could have had everything I needed for an overnight loaded into a single backpack (or pack-pack as my kids call them) so, add kids and elderly, and significantly increase the amount of crap you will need. No, you won’t need most of it, but like a teddy bear, some of it is just comfort items that make people happy that it’s there, whether useful or not, or used or not.

Cooking. To start our fire we used my little film can of tinder. This is a mulching of cotton balls, dryer lint and Vaseline. Several of us had heard of using petroleum jelly, but this was our first use of it. It took two(2) strikes with flint and steel, and WHOSH! we had fire. This works! What we didn't do properly was permit sufficient air flow in the kindling to get the fire burning properly. A little adjustment and it all worked fine. Also, having the basic BBQ tools are essential. The wire scrubby pad, tongs, and spatula are a minimum.

Bug/Sunscreen Spray. Something I learned the funny way. Spray on sunscreens and bug sprays are great for what they are, but, if you use them on kids in a dirt environment, you children will become mud monsters. The spray is like a dirt magnet, which of course increases the power of children’s natural dirt magnetism. I suppose as a parent, I should have been horrified by the amount of dirt suddenly coating every exposed surface of my 3 year old, but, as a survivalist, I figured that the dirt would probably act as a block for both sun and bugs, and she is always happiest covered in dirt anyway. If you all think I’m wrong, put a post in and please explain why, and as always, I prefer real world knowledge to something you read.

Jul 22, 2010

Training part 1 Transportation


Please keep in mind these are only items that I can think of while typing and going over my list of things to know. Your list may be different if you already know some of this, or are in an area that has specific needs. By all means please post a comment here to include anything you think is worthy of learning. Please keep in mind- this is the beginners list, so what I would like to include here are items that someone beginning to get into survivalism/preping should know first. Later as people begin joining I may break things up into different sections so that more advanced knowledge and techniques can be discussed.

Items to consider:

Learn to drive stick-shift and automatic Transmissions
Diesel trucks (semi’s)
Ride bicycles
Motor cycles
Drive boats of different sizes and the water safety involved
Learn to fly planes and helicopters
Riding and caring for horses would be a good choice
Land Navigation

Please keep in mind, I do not advocate getting licenses and paying outrageous fees to go to a bazzilion classes to learn all of this stuff. Instead, develop an outdoor life style and make friends, you will be amazed and what people around you know. Most people are happy to show off what they know, and if you show a genuine interest in it, your new friends will gladly teach you what you want to know. Yeah helicopters may be a little difficult, but there are surprising large numbers of people, who fly small planes, drive trucks and ride motorcycles. You can learn many of these skills (or at least the basic concepts) sitting around the BBQ at a campout.

Swimming I would recommend getting professional instruction from a certified training course. I usually look for Red Cross, but in this area it seems they are not available. I have been teaching my children myself, and it’s been a slow process, but it does seem to be working. I would still like to take them to someone else as children are more likely to listen to outside authorities than parents is they are unsure of what is going on. Plus you get the advantage (hopefully) of having someone who has worked with children previously and know how to get around some of their hesitations.

Jul 16, 2010

Lets Begin

Ok, this list is of course far from complete as everyone’s situation is different and many of these items overlap, but, this makes for a decent overview of what order in which things should be done to get your family and yourself prepared.

Training (on going)
Get debt free
Food/water storage (on going)
Bug out Bag (72hr bag)
Gardening (on going)
Vehicle prep
Home prep
Bug out location

Now, I know most of what I will be discussing involves buying of “stuff”. I hate to make it seem that survivalism/Prepping is all about hoarding, or armchair commando buying, but to properly prepare many things must be purchased or traded for to have on hand in case of need. Fortunately many things are items you would be getting anyway (food, home and vehicle repair) I will simply be discussing different ways of looking at these things so that your purchases may be more in line with a survivalist mentality.

Oh, and as far as I'm able I will try to only talk about things that I personally know, have used, or experienced. If I talk about something outside of my knowledge base I will let you know at the beginning of that particular post. And as you post comments I would ask that you state you knowledge level of something as well, whether you use it, have read about it, or if your second cousins-aunts-brother in laws-roommate heard about it on TV.


Hello everyone, I would like to welcome you to the first edition of CVSP. I am going to begin this blog as my way of helping everyone out there to help prepare for anything that my happen to you and your family in the future. I do not prescribe to tinfoil hat theories or conspiracies. I am more concerned with current events such as Hurricane Katrina, the earthquakes in Haiti, and the destruction of the economy in the US. Over time I will discuss different methods and techniques that you can use to improve your life, prepare for contingencies, and be better prepared for emergencies or tragedies that may occur in life.

I'm not sure how I will go about this, but I am generally a well organized person, so, I will attempt to lay out a plan for anyone beginning to prepare and go into each subject with my experience, knowledge and thoughts on how to improve on each subject.

As I'm new at this I am not entirely certain how to work this site, but I want to have your input here so that I may also learn from you as well. I just have to figure out HOW to do this :-)