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.