East coast hurricane prep.

What a wacky week. First we get the biggest earthquake this area has gotten in effectively 100 years, now we have to worry about Hurricane Irene coming up the coast. For reference, my place of work is about 20 miles from my home. I live and work in and about York, PA.

Driving down the road, I can see where a vast majority of problems will lie. The first thing is the design of the homes for this area is that they are not built to provide protection against hurricane or severe storm winds. Most houses have a preponderance of glass which can readily be shattered by flying objects. This represents the most clear and present danger which can easily be remedied by simply covering the windows with something to protect them. This is usually accomplished by using plywood.

Then there is the relevance of storm surge. There are a great deal of flood plains in the central PA area. Thankfully, despite living within 1/10th of a mile of the susquehanna river, I am not on one. This is by design – I deliberately chose a house ~450 feet above river level in case of the errant comet causing a super-tsunami or something. If you’re in a storm surge area, you have your work cut out for you. Get to high ground, pack your bags, secure your home as best you can and pray.

What REALLY becomes a problem, that I can see going on for at least a few days, possibly longer – are power outages. A simple assessment is all that it takes for even a casual observer to recognize that Pennsylvania (Penn’s woods) is *gasp* shockingly covered in… TREES. These large, old trees do not bend well in powerful storms and frequently break. More importantly, with cost cutting across the board most power companies are treating this as a reactionary event. As such, their usual MO is to simply “wait for someone to call about a broken line due to a tree” and fix it. This works on a small scale but when anticipating a large scale event like this to see them sitting on their haunches so they can simply claim it was an act of god that they had no way to prevent (mark my words, they will) makes me ill.

So ultimately who is responsible for me? Who takes care of me and my family? I do. This means I must be prepared with emergency electric power (which I am), a means to cook, food on hand, fresh water, etc. So let’s address each of these.

1) Emergency electric power. Right now things are a bad time for me to pick up a genny. I might be able to buy one if I’m really REALLY lucky, but the cost is out of the question in most of my scenarios. Thankfully I do have a portable 600w power pack at home which will suffice and worst case I can charge it somewhere where there IS power. I will, however, be without my well pump which means access to fresh water is a priority.

2) A means to cook. I have two grills (not by choice, but hey it is what it is) one gas, one charcoal. I have charcoal, and will be picking up gas tonight. That will last me at least 14 days. I also have innumerable survival gear/stoves which can suffice.

3) Food on hand – honestly if you don’t have food on hand for at least 14 days, you’re doing something wrong. VERY WRONG. I have food on hand for at least a year by my count. So I think I’m good there. Worst case, people should have a emergency food bucket on hand for … well emergencies 😛

4) Which brings me to my final and most important consideration – fresh water. I expect that supplies of water will be contaminated due to extreme flooding. My well pump will be DOA until I can get electric restored. This means I must have access to considerable stores of water; preferably of the fresh and clean varieties. I keep two 25 gallon drums of water on hand – this is grey water for a number of reasons. I have several 2.5 gallon water containers for my animals and some bottled water/emergency water should I need it. Lastly, I have my ace in the hole – a 30 dollar water BOB.

This device is excellent for emergency freshwater storage. I will be setting it up on friday night and hoping it won’t be needed. Realistically my tub probably only holds about 60 gallons of water, but I’ll push the limit as best I can and ensure that I have enough water for 2+ weeks. If you don’t have one of these devices and can’t get one – you can still use your bathtub for water. Simply rinse it as best you can, clean it with DISHWASHING SOAP – nothing else for safety’s sake. Then filter/purify the water after you fill your tub.

Good luck to your and yours. What preps have you made?

Posted in disaster, earthquake, hurricane, power outage, preparation | 1 Comment

A doomers guide to bulletproofing

It’s too long to post as a blog article.

The full document can be found here:
http://www.flsgear.com/baessay.doc

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Scam searches

I checked my web traffic and it looks like I’ve been getting an influx of two major sets of searches.

1) Dorkwebsites scam. Please note – I am a customer of theirs in that I bought my website template/AOM site from them. That’s really the furthest my association with them extends. Regardless I wrote a post previously detailing my excellent experience with them thus far. I’ve been running my site effectively maintenance free for over two months. It’s idiotproof and cheap. I know that it’s hard to believe a good deal exists in this day and age – yet it does. 🙂 Check it out for yourself at http://www.flsgear.com – this site literally took me all of but two hours to setup and cost me one dollar. Best dollar I ever spent.

2) CWR electronics scam. When I was first setting up my website I attempted back in NOV 2010 to get a CWR electronics account. I had my site setup, my zencart established, everything was rocking and rolling and then they sent me a letter saying they could no longer offer me an account due to policy changes from THEIR vendors. So I won’t say it’s a scam but I will say you’re unlikely to get/keep an account with them if you’re not a big-box store.

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Interesting article on another blog/ezine

http://www.parentdish.com/2011/04/26/brianna-karp-girls-guide-to-homelessness/

Some excerpts of this some may find useful in an emergency situation:
“I ended up living in my deceased biological father’s camper in the middle of a Walmart parking lot — taking advantage of their policy allowing travelers and campers to stay overnight on their lots for free.”

“I showered at a nearby mom-and-pop gym where I purchased a membership for $9.99 a month. If I needed to use a restroom in the middle of the night, there was a 24-hour gas station on the same block. I’d learned from a book I’d read years before that you can boil water on a car radiator to cook food. I purchased a large high-powered flashlight that I shone at the ceiling of the trailer at night, and it would give me enough light to read by.”

I knew a girl who looked surprisingly like this one that lived out of her car in california for a few years. The techniques listed above are VERY similar to ones I’ve heard though I can think of far more efficient ways of cooking my food before consuming all that gas to heat up a radiator. One of my favorites is out of the nuclear war survival skills ebook (which is free and found here: http://www.oism.org/nwss/ ). It’s a flameless cooker which basically consists of a slow cooker made out of some old rags/newspaper and some buckets. Nonetheless we can all armchair it to our heart’s content; she lived it so she I’m sure had reasons for doing what she did.

Another great quote: As “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” would put it, don’t panic. Be as savvy as you can with the resources you have available to you.

Amen to that. That right there sums up about any survival mentality you would ever read about or need.

Where I’ve grown up, I as many others have had a significant amount of exposure to the homeless. Ironically, I don’t think they’re a blight on society. Rather, they fill a gap which is actually very important in the sense that they are reusers and low impact. Cultural carrion eaters, as it were. Now I’m not advocating we all ‘get homeless’ and live on a corner in a box somewhere. What I am saying however is we should treat our fellows with a bit of dignity and respect – after all they’re being more environmentally friendly than 99% of the people in the green movement. They also live in concert with society, filling the niches which naturally evolve as we as a culture grow. Worst case, they’ve hit some hard times and don’t know what to do about it. I don’t look at them as particularly violent or offensive though that may be something specific to my own region (Harrisburg, PA).

I try to look to them FIRST for a source of inspiration on how to make something out of nothing. Between the homeless and 3rd world nations you can find some interesting ways of trying to eake out an existence. On that note if you’ve never been to www.afrigadget.com, you should check it out. See some of that ingenuity that I’m referring to.

🙂

Bettering your existence, regardless of station is done by exerting your ingenuity upon the resources you have available to you at that time. Maybe I should print off some copies of the NWSS and hand it out to the local homeless. After all why buy him a meal when I can just teach him how to scavenge his own from edible wildflowers?

What do you think – homeless: friend, foe, or inspiration?

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New project: Zombie trail: oregon trail w/ zombies

It’s been a passion of mine for many years now; video game programming for fun. I’ve looked around and not found any clones/modifications of oregon trail. This will be my ode to a classic, with a series of variations. So while the essence of the game will remain the same, the game itself will be changed. Stay tuned 🙂

http://groups.google.com/group/zombie-trail-dev?lnk=gcimh

It’s invite only but if you’re interested in helping, let me know. This will NOT be a for profit venture (at least in any future I can foresee).

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Last minute shopping for the soon to be furloughed

If you’re one of the estimated 800,000 federal employees temporarily on the chopping block, you’ve got some last minute shopping to do. I think everyone at this point can see that the old guard and new guard are spoiling for a fight. And by old guard I mean old dems and repubs. The new guard is primarily comprised of tea-party backed representatives.

It appears neither side is willing to back down (I’d be surprised if the hardball playing old guard ever backed down), so you’ve essentially got a few hours to get your stuff ready for the next few months. What should you buy with your presumably meager checkbook?

This is a great survival exercise for those who are not on the chopping block as well. Let’s assume a total budget of approximately 400 dollars.

The first thing I’d buy: a very cheap tent and sleeping bag(s). As sad as it is, you never know if you’re going to be out of a home.

The second thing I’d buy: I’d look at seeing if you can squeak in some last minute job-loss mortgage insurance.

Now for the big one: Food. I personally keep over a years worth of food on hand at all times; regular food – stuff that’s not too hard to cook and pretty cheap to obtain. This is a basic list of things you’ll want (assuming a family of 2-4, no kids under 6 months old).

1) at least 80-150 lbs of rice. This sounds like a great deal, but truth be told it won’t cost you very much at all. Rice is ubiquitous. It can taste like anything, is nutritious, and is filling. I have used it for desert (mix marmalade or jam w/ it, you’d be surprised), main courses, and you can even make breakfast cakes out of it. There’s a fantastic amount you can do with rice, and it quite literally will take on the taste of anything.

2) 1-2 gallons (yes, gallons) of canola/veggie oil. Use sparingly.

3) 2 64oz bottles of ketchup (cheap, easy, with a small amount of vitamin c – says 0% but that’s when measured in teaspoons/tablespoons).

4) Butter. I’d recommend several pounds.

5) Dry milk – for when you run out of regular milk and need to fill the gaps between buying more and being able to afford to buy more. I generally will use the remaining 1 cup of regular milk at the very bottom of a gallon with enough dry milk/water to make up for it. Comes out tasting tolerable.

6) Potatoes and dry potatoes. When you buy your potatoes, take one of them and cut it up into small chunks. Use these to plant your own potatoes. Do one of these for every bag you buy and you can keep a small offset of potatoes going to help you through.

7) Dried beans. These things are dirt cheap, typically available for pennies on the pound and will keep veritably forever. For every 2-3lbs of rice, you want 1 lb of beans/legumes. So 80 lbs, you want at least 25-30lbs of beans/legumes.

8) VISIT ALDI’s. I’m not associated with them as a business, but I do shop there. And I’ll tell you straight out there is NO PLACE CHEAPER for canned goods, period. Spend about one hundred dollars there. You’ll be astonished at what you walk out with. I think their canned hams cost about 2 dollars each.

9) Some vitamin c chewables. They’re cheap, make a good ‘candy’, and will help keep you healthy. Plan on 250 or so per adult per six months. So basically a big bottle for each person. Helps fend off scurvy from malnutrition (just in case) and supports your immune system to keep you from having to worry about spending money on unnecessary medical bills.

10) Hot sauce. You might ask why, but let me tell you something. Some buddies of mine who have toured around the world for the military told me once “anything is edible with hot sauce.” .. this is absolutely true. I’ve eaten some absolutely DISGUSTING food, which when you put hotsauce on it, totally masks the smell and taste (Which for me, is the worst part).

11) dawned on me I totally forgot salt/sugar/flour. Buy big bags of them. I generally keep about 40-50lbs of flour around for a 3 person household for 6 months. Sugar a 25 lb bag works and depending on how you use your salt about 10 lbs or more to start.

Now this is by no means a complete list. It’s going to run you about 200 dollars to spend all this. You’re going to have extra to spend, so do so, but be intelligent about it. Think of things you can use over the long term – rechargable batteries, a battery/hand crank powered lantern, etc. Take the time to stock up on things that are essential, such as medicines that you need and pet food/etc.

Now might be a good time to try some new things too, maybe buy a few pullets and setup a garage stable for some egg-laying hens. Or meat hens, if you want. Plan on a 6 month lead time before they begin laying, though butchering can be done much earlier. A 50 pound bag of layers feed will cost you 12-15 dollars and last quite a while on 5 chickens (which will net you 2-4 eggs a day). I personally vary between 5 to 9 chickens at any given time. I’ll write a survival chicken-keeping article sometime.

Or you could try planting a small veggie garden. I recommend the square foot method, but really if you can buy the seed and plant it, you can grow it. For first year planters who have never done it before I recommend tomatoes, peppers, potatoes (read up on it first, they’re strange), zucchini, carrots and lettuces. Do not grow corn your first year without research, broccoli, celery, or melons. These can all be very tricky and discouraging, which you don’t need. 4 tomato plants will keep you awash in tomatoes all summer/fall long. 8 pepper plants will do the same. Total cost will be between 20 and 50 dollars, depending on where/how many you buy.

Good luck and stay safe 🙂

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Lately .. no updates

I’ve been working hard on promoting/publishing my fiction book (unrelated to survival) on kindle and smashwords so I apologize for the lack of updates.

🙂
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/48547

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