Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Free Dakota Stove - Preparedness Without Money

It is very good if you are reading this post and some or all of my others. It demonstrates that you are on the right track to taking care of yourself and your loved ones when we have a lot of record setting disasters and then keep setting new records for disasters. This is not enough. You must take action to  keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the future.

If you have absolutely no money available to invest in preparedness, there are still things you can do to make yourself and your loved ones safer. One of these is to learn how to make fire without matches or a lighter. Reading about how to make fire is not at all the same as doing it enough, so that you can do it later when you are under stress, because your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it.

Before you begin your Dakota stove cut out a circle of live plants from the top of the earth where you plan to dig. Carefully remove the live plants and set them aside so that you may replace them later when you are through with your fire.
You can also learn to make a Dakota stove, which is a hole in the ground. The above is a diagram of how you dig the Dakota stove. You may copy or print it out because it is my drawing and I want you to learn this. I believe it may save your life. Please give me credit if you pass it on to other people. It may save other lives if they know where to find more information.

Build your fire in the widened hole area. Be stingy with your fuel for the fire. This is a form of rocket stove and is very fuel efficient and therefore non-polluting. It will even burn the gases given off by your fuel. It also has the advantage of not making a lot of smoke which is good for hiding your fire and so is having the fire below ground. It is easy to put out your fire when your are through with it. 

Here is a picture of the fire in your Dakota stove. 
 - copyright 2012 all rights reserved Y.Begley

Do not do this where it may cause a fire. Peat comes to mind, for example. Clear a good area away from the fire of flammable stuff like dry grass and leaves. 

Be sure to put out your fire before you leave and replace the live plants you removed when you began your Dakota stove.

I have not done this myself because the ground is frozen solid outside and I don't have a jackhammer. I plan to do this when I have some dirt out there I can dig into. There is nothing like drawing with a mouse to engrave something into your mind. I expect I have the theory down pretty well now.

I already posted on fire, and how to make your own waterproof matches. I hope you will put something in your go bag that will help you to make a fire in your Dakota stove. 

Some people probably wonder why it is called a Dakota stove. It is named after an American Indian tribe that invented it hundreds of years ago. We have them to thank for this great idea. People already owe their lives to the Dakota tribe and a lot more will in the future, I am sure. If you learn this, maybe you will be one of them.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What Do You Do In An Epidemic Disaster?

You will have to deal with an Epidemic disaster. They are inevitable. Sooner or later they will end up in your neighborhood. Maybe you and your neighborhood will be lucky and only get a bad case of a flu outbreak and nothing more serious. Maybe not. There are fun things out there like Ebola and of course, Bird Flu, or in geek talk, "Avian Influenza". You need to know about these things to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

When we get a very large epidemic they call it a "pandemic". We needed this word because people travel quickly over very wide areas of the whole world now. That means diseases can travel quickly over very wide areas of the whole world now.

Some of the old diseases that were not a threat are coming back because of lack of inoculations for them, also things like antibiotic resistance in germs. 

We are getting new diseases as well. Some of the reasons given for these are interesting. One says that we are sending rockets, satellites and high altitude jets up into areas of the atmosphere that have never come into human contact before. There are bacteria and viruses floating up there that have never come into human contact before either. That means we have no resistance to them. Contact with germs we have no resistance to means we can be very sick.

Another idea is that when people clear cut jungle and forest areas in order to raise beef for cheap fast food burgers we come into contact with germs there that we have no resistance to either. Same story as the high altitude germs. No previous contact gets us very sick from those germs too.

My own favorite is that the thinning of the ozone layer has exposed germs to more ultraviolet light rays. Ultraviolet light rays are responsible for most mutations of species. Longer lived species with smaller numbers of offspring have a disadvantage in the helpful mutations category. That would include microscopic life forms in the advantageous mutations category and humans in the disadvantaged category. That would mean humans get sick from the mutated super bugs.

It doesn't matter a lot why we are getting super bug diseases that make epidemics. We are getting them. Nobody is doing anything to stop any of the causes. We are running out of new antibiotics faster than we get resistant strains of disease, and new diseases.  We don't have a very effective way to stop the spread of these diseases. 

Epidemic disease experts agree that it is only a matter of time before we get a worldwide pandemic disease. 

I am especially interested in pandemic disease because I live in an area where it is more likely to happen sooner than other areas. Avian Flu, or bird flu is very likely where I live. We have birds that migrate through here from all over the world. That gives us lots more chances to get Bird Flu.

I am trying to make these posts simpler and easier to understand so that also can mean shorter. I am going to write more, about what you can do if a pandemic happens where you live, in another post.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Center For Disease Control's - A Zombie Apocalypse

The CDC published a sort of tongue-in-cheek guide to preparedness for a Zombie Apocalypse. They mention that preparing for said Zombie Apocalypse will get you prepared for other more common emergencies like tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. 

It is a funny way to get people interested in the subject of preparedness. I wanted to share it with my blog readers. I hope you will use it to help get yourselves and your loved ones prepared for emergencies.

Zombie Apocalypse - Center for Disease Control Post

 - copyright 2012 all rights reserved Y.Begley
My own Illustration of A Zombie Apocalypse Disaster to prepare for. (Sorry you don't rate the Mona Lisa here.)

Once you are prepared for one emergency, you are prepared for most other types of disasters as well. The basic elements of preparedness are mostly the same. You always need food, water, shelter and a way to stay warm in most emergencies, for example. 

The basic emergency supplies and equipment will provide a good nucleus for you to add more specialized items for specific emergencies common to your area. Here is an example - if you live in area like mine with frequent volcanic ash falls, then you can get masks, respirators and lots of duct tape to get prepared for those emergencies.

When I was doing research for this post I found a great fake documentary movie about Zombie Americans and their lifestyle. "American Zombie" is the name of the film. Grace Lee, the documentary film maker, directs it along with John Solomon. 

Some of the zombies in the film were picketing for equal rights. They had a catchy little chant they used on the picket line, "We're here. We're dead. Get used to it." 

They interviewed a lawyer working for a Zombie rights group and filmed the people making the "documentary" arguing about the ethics of how they covered the Zombies. 

Anybody sick enough to like watching zombie movies should enjoy it. A lot of normal people might as well.

Who knows? Maybe it will get someone prepared before their next disaster hits, including a Zombie Apocalypse.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Your Evacuation Essentials - Medicine And Medical Items

You may wonder why I did not cover medicine and medical items first when writing about evacuation essentials. That is because you may not be able to get any medicine or medical care unless you have the right papers with you. If you have not yet read my post on "List of what to take if you have to run for your life", this post will make more sense if you read that one as well.

If you have to take medicine all the time, you should have copies of your prescription(s) with you. You need contact information for your medical providers, including your pharmacy. 

Over the counter and alternative medicine remedies  have a place in your go bag as well. If you know or strongly suspect you will need over the counter or alternative medicine remedies, it is good to decide whether they are important enough to you to keep in your go bag.

Comfort items, both emotional and physical, are an important part of well-being in stressful times. Small items that are not too heavy can be included in your go bag. Examples are chewing gum, copies of family photos, tea, knitting, or embroidery. Only you know what you need to calm and relax you.

A pillow may not fit in your go bag, but you will not get one at a shelter. If you must have one, take your own.

Blankets can be scarce at shelters as well, so if it is possible, you may want to bring your own.

Small containers of toiletries and other personal care items are a good idea to keep in your go bag. They may not be available at your shelter or they won't have the kind you like.

An extra set of clothes including underwear are necessary for a go bag. Time spent in a shelter can end up being much longer than you think and you will want clean clothes.

Some form of entertainment not involving electricity could be a good to have in a shelter. That could be a deck of cards, a board game or a jigsaw puzzle. A big puzzle might not have a place in the shelter large enough to leave it undisturbed while you work on it. You could bring a board for it and store it under your bed or bring a small jigsaw puzzle.

An emergency preparedness kit needs to include food and water for each member of your family for three days, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first aid kit, can opener, local maps, moist towelettes, toilet paper, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

Each family or individual's kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.

This is what FEMA recommends:

Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:
Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First Aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Dust mask or cotton t-shirt to help filter the air
Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Clothing and Bedding
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
a jacket or coat
Long pants
long sleeve shirt
sturdy shoes
a hat and gloves
a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Other items for your family to consider adding to its supply kit. Some of these items, especially those marked with a * can be dangerous, so please have an adult collect these supplies.
Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book or a print out of the information on www.ready.gov
Rain gear
Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
Cash or traveler's check, change
Paper towels
Fire Extinguisher
Matches in a waterproof container*
signal flare*
paper, pencil
personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
Household chlorine bleach* - you can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Medicine dropper
Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof portable container.

I think it is a good idea to have items in your go bag that will allow you to survive outdoors. The above suggested by FEMA will not do that. You can make a micro survival kit that is small enough to fit in a pocket or an altoids tin. The altoids survival kit comes in many varieties and you can pick what you put in it if you make it yourself. None of the versions of mini survival kits is any good unless you have practiced enough to know how to use it. 

In previous posts I included links to the pocket size survival kit and the above suggestions from FEMA as well as other sites with slight variations on them.

I hope you will take care of yourself and your loved ones by reading my previous posts and looking at the links and learning. That is how you can save your life and the lives of your loved ones for free. I am going to write a book, but it will cost money. It will have the advantage of being portable and you can put it in your go bag.

The best advantage is what you put in your mind. Nothing is as portable and handy as that.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Choose To Live

You and your loved ones will have a much better chance to survive, if you choose to learn the skills necessary to survive in rough conditions. You must  develop the thinking to help you adapt to changes. You must learn survival skills. You must pass them on to the generations after you if you want to have generations after you. If you do not do this, you might as well join the majority of people who choose to give up their lives to their televisions. 

Nothing I can say will make you learn what you need to know to keep yourself and your loved ones alive in the disasters that are now occurring all over the world. These disasters will increase in frequency, severity, and area affected for the rest of the lives of everyone alive now. The disasters will keep doing that for many generations. 

People who do not prepare themselves and their loved ones have very little chance to survive much longer. I wish readers of this blog to have that chance. You do not have to learn how to survive from my blog. Learn it any way you like to learn it, and any way you can learn it. 

If there is something that you would like to learn to  help make yourself and your loved ones safer, please make a comment on this blog and tell me. I will do my best to help you.

My blog is free. It is available right now. You can  use it if you wish. You have my best wishes for your learning and your safety and the safety of your loved ones.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Preparedness For Homesteads And Remote Cabins

 Why be prepared for a disaster in your homestead or remote cabin? I live in Alaska and am working on a remote homestead here. You might think that is about as prepared for disaster as one could get. Nope. I am keeping a go bag there too. 

Alaska is pretty remote and might be thought to be safe from disasters. Nope. The United States government has this delightful plan to save the country from enemy nuclear attacks. This consists of shooting down incoming missles over Alaska and Canada to save the lower 48 states. We can get a radiation disaster anywhere in the state. I believe it would be a better plan to shoot the incoming missles down over Washington DC to avoid damage to the important parts of the country. They did not pay a lot of attention to my input on the matter however.

I just mentioned that to illustrate that remoteness is not a guarantee that some kind of disaster may occur. Never mind that your homestead or cabin is your disaster plan. You still need to have a go bag for your homestead or cabin. You might have to evacuate from there in some kinds of disasters. You are more likely to need to have survival items in your go bag than an urbanite will.

There are all kinds of ready made cute little survival kits on the market. Some of them are not too expensive. You can read reviews of them before you buy one, or you can make your own. It doesn't matter how you do it, just do it. Get the go bag for your homestead or cabin and put it where you can easily find it and grab it on the way out the door.

You exercised enough forethought to have your homestead or cabin in the first place. Please exercise a little more and add a go bag to your homestead or cabin. It would not be a good irony to die in your safe place because you stopped short in your preparedness.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

List Of What To Take With You If You Have To Run For Your Life - Evacuate

 There are a lot of disasters where the only way to stay alive is to go away to a safer place. Examples of these are Tsunamis, fires, radioactive incidents, chemical spills and wars.There are others, so don't think you will never have to deal with an evacuation where you live. It could literally happen to anyone, anywhere.

Preparing for a disaster where you can stay put and take care of yourself at home, or a safe place is different than preparing for a disaster where you must evacuate. It is necessary for you to be prepared to face both a shelter-in-place (stay at home) disaster and one where you must evacuate.

This post is about an evacuation type of disaster. I am going to talk about what you need to pack and take with you when you have to evacuate. 

Every family and every person is different. That means your needs and likes and dislikes are different. That means you get to and must exercise choice in regard to what you need to take with you for an evacuation emergency.

I like to start with necessary papers. The modern world requires a lot of papers from individuals and severely penalizes us for not having them handy. If you are in the middle of a disaster the last thing you need is more trouble because you do not have the right piece of paper to keep someone happy. That someone who wants a particular piece of paper from you may not give you something you really need without that paper.

Pack the stupid papers in your bag of things that you take with you when you evacuate. The right papers can get you food, water, medical treatment, etc. and make the difference between life and death for you and your loved ones.

We are going to call that bag of things that you take with you when you evacuate, your "go bag". There are lots of other names for this bag, so feel free to pick your own name if it makes you happy. Just pick out the stuff that you want in it and get it ready and have it ready for the next disaster that comes your way.

Here are suggestions for good pieces of paper to have in your go bag: Driver's License, I.D., Passport, Bank book and/or checks. Transportation Pass or ID for transportation can be pretty handy. Proof of ownership of property is often necessary to receive assistance for repairs to a residence by government or insurance companies. Emergency contact numbers of friends and relatives is a good thing to have in your go bag. A previous post ha a link to a copy of a form for you and family members to fill out and keep in your go bags.

A contact outside the area where you live is a good idea. During a disaster local phone lines are often jammed. It can be much easier to use phone lines for calling outside your local area. That means if you and other family members are separated, it may be much easier for you to find each other by calling your out of area contact and leaving messages for each other than to try to call each other direct. If you are to be able to do this, all of your household members must have the same out of area contact phone numbers. It might also help to have a calling card with credit on it in each go bag in case there is no other way to call.

If you need any papers to do your work or go to school, copies of those should be in your go bag. If you have any people that you are responsible for and who will be evacuated with you, then you might want their papers to be in your go bag. If you or any of your loved ones have papers that are necessary to receive medical care, they should be in your go bag.

Birth certificate copies might be another kind of paper you would find useful to have a copy of in your go bag. In the USA your birth certificate copy must be a certified copy for many purposes. The way to do this is to contact your state where you were born and find out what you must do to get a certified copy of your birth certificate. Most states are using a private company to deal with birth certificate matters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

You will need to think whether there are any other papers that it will make life difficult for you to be without, and put copies of them in your go bag.

I am not suggesting you turn your go bag into a portable file cabinet, but you need copies of papers necessary for you to live a normal life, in your go bag.

Personal papers like birth certificates have a pretty good dollar value, so you must protect them. You never know who will be in an emergency shelter with you. Some of those people in there  with you may be in the business of stealing. It can be a real pain hauling a bag around with you everywhere you go. 

I believe an extra part of your preparedness  can be finding an easier way to keep close tabs on your important papers. I like a fanny pack for those, plus money and credit cards, etc.  You can wear them  and you don't have to hold onto them when you are distracted. Being distracted is an integral part of dealing with disasters. There will be certain to be lots of things going on that will compete for your attention. A fanny pack will make life easier for you during a disaster. 

You can pack your important papers and other small essentials in your fanny pack and put it into your go bag or hook the straps together, so you can easily grab both as you head out the door for an evacuation.

I think that this post is long enough and complex enough that it would not be good to continue. I will write more about go bag contents. I have already written three posts about general ideas for go bags, so if you are putting together your go bag it may be helpful to look at them as well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hurricanes Cost You No Matter Where You Live

If you never get hurricanes where you live how do they affect you? I will explain some of it in this blog post. Hurricanes affect just about everyone, no matter where you live.

I have been studying natural disasters for over twenty years. The first ones that I really paid attention to were hurricanes. I found a nice site on the internet that had statistics for all recorded hurricanes. 

I did not like the look of what I saw on that site about hurricanes, so I graphed them. My graph showed me that hurricanes will eventually increase in wind speed to 650 miles per hour. 

At the time that I graphed the hurricanes, there had never been a hurricane that got winds up to 200 miles per hour. Shortly after I did the graph, we got our first hurricane of 200 miles per hour. They have been increasing since then. In less than 20 years,  hurricanes have reached speeds over 300 miles per hour from below 200 miles per hour. 

My graph showed that we will get hurricanes that are over 400 miles per hour, much faster than we went from below 200 miles per hour to 300 miles per hour and above.

Most of the world's population lives close to an ocean. Faster hurricanes mean they do more damage and can go further inland than slower ones. That means more people will be affected by hurricanes than in the past or in the present. More people will die from hurricanes. More people will have their homes, businesses and towns and cities destroyed or damaged by hurricanes than have happened before.

Even if you live far, far inland away from any large bodies of water, you will still be affected by hurricanes. That is because most of the world will have to deal with hurricanes and more of the people in the world will have to deal with their devastation. That will cost you, inland though you be.

When all of those people living in hurricane territory have to rebuild their homes, businesses, towns and cities, they must pay for it. Many of them have something to do with shipping. Much of our cheaper shipping is done on the oceans of the world. Shipping costs will have to go up to pay for all the hurricane damage. "No man is an island," is more true in our modern world than it was in the past. 

We are all diminished by others losses. Sometimes this shows up in money.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Disaster Preparedness - Moving With The Flow Of The Universe

A friend just mentioned the concept of Wu Wei. I had not been thinking of that idea in my life lately and I needed that reminder.  I think of Wu Wei as moving with the flow of the universe. It wastes energy and other resources to fight against the flow of energy in the universe.

I think that most religions have some understanding of the idea of Wu Wei. Christians call it grace. Taoists and others call it chi. It is all the same stuff no matter what you call it.

Here is the definition my friend provided of Wu Wei:

"The 8th Verse of the Tao talks about Wu Wei. It states:
“The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying.
Live in accordance with the nature of things.
Be timely in choosing the right moment.
One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment, always knowing the truth of just what to do.”"

I think preparedness is very dependent on Wu Wei. If you go with the flow of the universe, you will have a lot better chance to survive in adverse circumstances. Being prepared for disasters allows you to flow effortlessly with the flow of the universe even in the middle of a disaster.

The idea of Wu Wei is not a bad idea to use in your life every day either. It is kind of like learning to swim. When you  first start you splash like a breaching whale, or worse. You waste a lot of energy moving water and yourself everywhere but where things need to go. As you learn how to swim better, you don't make as big of a splash. When you get good at swimming, you move cleanly and gracefully through the water without much splashing. 

The same holds true for learning other things. We make a big mess a first and waste energy "splashing", then we get good and move forward better without making such a mess. 

I not only want to move with the flow of the universe in a disaster, I wish to do this in my entire life. I used to keep notes about it on my mirror and computer, etc. to remind me of this. I think I will do that again.

I hope this post strikes a chord inside my readers and helps you to move with the flow of the universe. I think this will make you happy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Preparedness Elephant In The Living Room

I have not talked about something important about disaster preparedness yet. It is hard to talk about and I expect I will offend readers and some will probably quit reading because of it. I am going to post it anyway because it is very very important.

You may have been reading my posts about the disasters we are getting that are worse than humans have ever known. There are also more of these bad disasters. I have not really covered them at all completely. It is waaaay worse than you know yet. 

It is going to be so bad that it will probably be difficult to hold on to enough human science and other knowledge to maintain civilization. It is likely to be bad enough to make it difficult for the human race to survive on the earth. 

One reason why I am writing this blog is to help people learn what they need to know to survive. I do not want the human race to be wiped out. I want to help you and your loved ones to make the best go bags possible and learn to use them so you will have a much better chance to get through disasters alive and healthy.

There are going to be so many very bad disasters that people will try to get away from one disaster and run into another. I would like for you to be so well prepared for disasters that you can deal with whatever comes your way. I am working on becoming that well prepared myself and I wish to share this with anyone else who is willing to do the same. 

Most people do not have the internet research skills that I do. It took me a while to understand this because it is something that I am naturally good at. This makes it seem obvious and easy to me. Since I have this gift coupled with an ability to write fairly well and I wish to share survival/disaster preparedness skills, the idea for this blog gradually dawned on me. I don't know that I will keep doing it indefinitely, but for now it seems like a good idea. I hope you will learn this as fast and well as you can.

It might be a good idea to study my past posts a little extra to help you learn whatever else you need to know to be prepared for disasters. The short version of what I am saying now is, I will probably only keep this up for a few more months. After that, I may not be able to get to the internet to keep doing it.

Part of my personal preparedness journey includes getting off the electrical grid out in the wilderness. I plan to eventually have enough electrical power to run a computer, but it might take a while. I do not have a lot of money so may have to gradually add amenities like electricity as I get the money for them.

I believe that being out in the wilderness is safer for dealing successfully with the disasters that are coming. A lot of people think we are going to have a polar shift next December 21. I do not know whether they are right about the date. I came to the conclusion independently that we will soon experience a polar shift, but not exactly when. I think it will be soon, and don't feel certain that the proponents of the Dec. 21 date for it are wrong.

It seems better to be safe than sorry in regard to next December 21. I want to have a snug little cabin out in the wilderness before then. I would rather be ready and not need to be, than to not be ready and need to be.

You can take a look at some of the links in my earlier posts and see what you think about next December 21. If you reach the same conclusions that I did, you might want to find a way to move out to the wilderness and make a safe place to weather the storm. 

If it is any help to you to learn what you need to know for preparedness, I plan to write a book soon. Most of it will be covered in my blog posts, so if you can't afford the book, you can still learn enough from my blog.

The book will be more organized and easier to find stuff in, however, and you could put it in your go bag. I plan to do this soon. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How To Make Fire For Disaster Preparedness If You Are Not An Expert

There are lots of ways to make fire without matches and other modern conveniences. Quite a few of them are eliminated if you are not an expert survivalist. The worst one of these and the best known is rubbing two sticks together. It takes a long time to get fire this way. Your hands get sore and your arms get tired and if you are not good at it, you won't get a fire going anyway.

A fire drill is quite a bit easier, but you have to know how to make it and practice and skill are necessary for this one as well. I will put up a link for it for those readers who are interested.
Fire drills and fire bows
More fire drills and bows
video of fire drill in use

I wrote a post on how to make your own waterproof matches. That is great for a short-term disaster, but eventually you run out of matches. The same is true of cigarette lighters. They run out of fuel. You need to know how to make fire for the long haul disasters, too. 

There are videos on the internet on how to make fire using a battery. You get one with wires on the ends or hook some up and set fire with it to something. One video has you hook wires to a pencil and you set that on fire. Do not mess with this method unless you pay careful attention to the videos and have some idea what you are doing. Batteries can explode and are full of acid that is very dangerous.

Magnesium and flint and steel fire starters are pretty easy to find to put in your go bag. Magnesium will need to be replaced after a while. It is not something you could rely on for the rest of your life for fire.  Magnesium and flint and steel require a little practice to learn to start a fire fast. You would hate being cold and wet and starting out with your fire starting experience. 
Magnesium video

Fire pistons are a little pricey, but they do not require as much practice as other methods and don't  get used up like magnesium does. You can get the fire started with the fire piston easily, but keeping it going and transferring the spark to the tinder is the tricky part. This is a problem you will have with most fire starting methods, so practice could help a lot. 
video of fire piston demo and description of making one

Lots of these videos mention using something to really encourage the fire to start. Tree fungus, punky wood from a rotten tree interior, vaseline, and dryer lint are common suggestions. Some fire pistons have a place inside them to store some of these and get your fire going good enough to light your kindling.

Ferrocerium fire starting rods are a less common way to start fires more easily than the two sticks method. They are becoming more common and therefore easy to find. People are beginning to use them for their barbeques and stuff like that. They have a little magnesium in them and throw off sparks to help you light a fire. Not all ferrocerium fire rods are alike. Some have more magnesium in them so the sparks they make last a little longer. This gives you more time to get tinder burning before the sparks go out. ferrocerium fire rods

This is not a totally exhaustive list of ways to start fires without matches or a lighter, but it covers a lot of the more common ways. If you really get to be interested in this, you can find a lot more out there on the internet and elsewhere. It should be enough to give you some idea of what to look for when you decide what to put in your go bag and maybe pocket survival kit.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New And Improved Tornadoes - Disaster Preparedness

There had never been a tornado in a city I lived in. It was in the middle of California. When I first moved to Fresno, California, it was tornado free.  I liked that. A tornado did not sound like my idea of fun.

Not long after I moved to Fresno, a small filler article in the local newspaper mentioned that a little dust devil had taken the corrugated metal roof off of a shed at the airport.

I had watched very small dust devils swirl leaves and puffs of dust in Fresno and other places before one took the roof of the airport shed. I had kind of liked them because they were fun to watch.
Dust devils are formed differently than tornadoes, but they look like small tornadoes. I decided that since there were bigger and bigger dust devils in Fresno and then we got a tornado, that it must be a process.

The first tornado in Fresno's history happened when I lived there. The news people told us it might hit us way ahead of time. We could see the sky looking black off in the distance in broad daylight. It had never looked like that before in our part of the world.

Sure enough the tornado did hit Fresno. It destroyed the local public broadcasting tower. A commercial station generously loaned the use of a tower to allow the public station to continue broadcasts until their tower was replaced. The whole state of California got very excited about that happening, because it was so unusual.

I lived in another area that got its first tornado. They had dust devils growing there too. Maybe there is no connection. I don't like dust devils any more though.

A world record in tornadoes was set last year for number of them in one month and the month also broke the yearly record. There was more damage too.

Weather records for highs and lows have been set all over the world lately. This is not going to get better in our lifetimes. It is not going to get better in the lifetimes of children who are not born yet. We have to prepare to face worse weather records all over the world.

That means hotter weather records and cold weather records, wind weather records and rain weather records. This is climate change. Even if nothing really bad has happened where you live now, it is almost certain to happen eventually and probably soon. You can not prepare for everything, but you can do some general preparedness that will help in almost any kind of disaster.

Make yourself a go bag in case your disaster means you will have to leave to escape with your life. When you learn that you need to evacuate, grab your go bag, your babies and pets and get out as fast as you can. Do not wait. Waiting to evacuate can get you killed.

I already posted about go bags and will add more to it. Please read them and make your go bag.

I plan to keep writing about ways to make your own emergency preparedness items so that more people can afford to prepare. Please share this information so that other people can be safe as well. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Will We Tell Our Grandchildren?

I met some people from Tuvalu in New Zealand. The Tuvaluans lived in New Zealand because their island was underwater. Their island was a low coral atoll. The little bit of sea level rise that we already had at the time was enough to drown their island. The New Zealanders were on the nearest reasonably large body of land for the Tuvaluans, so they took them in.

That seemed like a nice generous thing for the Kiwis to do for the Tuvaluans. I think of that when I see something going on in Alaska in regard to the 180 + villages that are going to be underwater. 

The Tuvaluans were experiencing things that will happen to the Alaskan Natives from the soon-to-be drowned villages here. 

The Tuvaluans were having a feast and I somehow stumbled upon it. They invited me to join them. They were quite insistent about it, actually. I didn't have anything against joining them, but thought that  it was a sort of mourning of their loss and maybe they needed some privacy for it. They saw it otherwise.

They considered what they were doing to be a celebration that they had started a new, hopeful life. They were celebrating their culture and trying to keep it going in their new home. They were delighted to have a chance to share it with someone who was new to it (me). Once I understood that I enjoyed it.

They are lovely people. They are Polynesians and beautiful to look at and they do the graceful hula. Their type of hula is more like the Fiji style, kind of fast compared to the Hawaiian hula and they like to juggle flaming objects in the dark too. It is fun to watch. They make delicious food for days ahead of time for their feasts and especially like to do fire pits and roast a pig for days to get it flavorful and very tender.

They were a little worried during the feast because they were waiting to see if some of their young men were ok.

Their island comes back above the ocean for a short while during the summer. Just the highest parts stick up. There is not much room there, but some of the young men miss it and went back to fish and just be there, I guess. I think there were three or four of them that went. A couple had left earlier before it got too risky that a storm would cover the island entirely again. At least one had stayed just a little longer.

They had not heard from him and did not know whether he made it out alive in time. I never did get to know how that turned out. 

It is kind of like what is going on all over the world. We are going to have these sorts of things happening for all the rest of our lives. It will go on for at least ten generations. That would be if we were to immediately stop all the harmful things we are doing to make the climate change worse. We know that is not happening. That means more than ten generations will get this mess going on, and worse. A lot worse.

Ten generations is about two centuries. Have you ever tried to read something that was written two hundred years ago? They talk and seem to even think differently than we do now. It can be pretty hard work to figure out what they meant. 

How are we going to be able to explain to people two hundred and more years from now why they have to deal with horrible disasters because of what we are doing now? It might be pretty hard to explain that to children and grandchildren about that. We won't have to look those people in the eye two hundred years from now, but that will happen with the children and grandchildren. I expect some of them are beginning to wonder about it already. Maybe we had better get our stories straight now. They will probably have to be pretty good. It might be a tough audience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bringing Back The Dead

Once upon a time when I was very young I worked in a Convalescent hospital, or old folks home, as it is more often called. 

It was the best one in town, but it was a small town and that was before a lot of laws were passed about care standards, so that was not saying much. 

It was not required to have any training to work in such a place. The main requirement to work there was apparently being erect and breathing. Some of my coworkers seemed to have benefited from having those requirements waived.

I was the only worker in the place who had a CNA (Certified Nurse's Aide) certificate. I had applied for  acceptance into nursing school at the local college as well, so I was snookered into training my coworkers two weeks after I began working there. I was only 20 years old and I was training people who were all older than I was. They put up with me pretty well most of the time even though I was very earnest.

The nurse who trained me for my certificate warned us all not to get too emotionally attached to patients. Naturally I did anyway.

One of my favorites was an elderly man who was completely bonkers. I will call him Mr. Goldy. He spent much of his time sitting in a geriatrics chair shouting for someone to, "Take me to Hanford!" I think it was the booming, resonant voice emanating from that scrawny little body that did it for me.

He also displayed a sense of humor and quoted poetry at unexpected moments. How could I resist all that? 

I had discovered that if I spoke to my patients who were mentally gone, that they would have lucid moments or longer, if I could talk about something familiar to them.

I determined to try this with Mr. Goldy. There were rumors that he had been a financial whiz and generally good in business matters. I decided that business was the familiar thing to try with him. 

On my next break I sat down next to Mr. Goldy in his geriatrics chair and opened negotiations for his geriatrics chair. We haggled for a while until he lit on a price and said he wanted that and not a penny less. I pointed out a few dings and dents in the chair and said I wanted compensatory reduction in price for them. 

Mr. Goldy let out a booming laugh and said I was a very charming young lady. I thanked him and looked in his eyes. There was someone home for the first time. He knew what was going on. 

He asked me where he was. I told him that it was a convalescent hospital and described its function. He interrupted me to ask if I meant, "An old folks home?" I said, "Yes." He was silent for a minute. He asked if he could leave. I said I didn't know, but I doubted that he could take care of himself alone.

We talked for a little while before I had to go clock in from my break. I asked him if he would stay there until I got back. He looked sad and said he would try, but it was very hard. I asked him how it was hard. Was it because it hurt physically or it felt bad emotionally? He said it was the latter.

I hurried back, but he was already gone. I never saw him in there behind his eyes again. I wondered if I hurt him a lot by waking him up, but I was glad I got to meet him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Cheap Way To Make Waterproof Matches For Disaster Preparedness

Fire is Essential for many emergencies. Cigarette lighters and matches may not be available for some emergencies. Floods are a common disaster where you would want a fire to purify water, cook, and get warm. That is a disaster that will be likely to leave your matches too wet to start a fire and probably the same for your cigarette lighter.

You can easily make your own waterproof matches for your disaster preparedness. You will need a few things to make your waterproof matches:

Wooden strike anywhere matches.


A container to melt the paraffin in. (I like a tin can because it is almost impossible to get paraffin off of things.)

Heat source for melting and keeping the paraffin                         liquid while you work with it. (I like the tea light candle holder for this purpose.)

A waterproof container to store the waterproof matches (It needs to be a little deeper than your matches and corrugated cardboard.)

Strips of corrugated cardboard that the bottoms of the matches will fit into (optional)

Something to cover your clothing to protect it from paraffin, that does not need to be dried in the dryer

A stick or other item that can be disposable to stir the paraffin with
Assemble all of your items listed above. 

Put on your clothing protection. This is important because once you get paraffin on something, it is unsafe to put that item in the dryer ever again. It can catch fire or even explode.

Cut or shave the paraffin into the melting and warming container. The smaller the pieces of paraffin the faster and more evenly it will melt. You do not need much paraffin to cover a lot of match heads. You can always put out your fire and shave more paraffin into your melting container if you run out. 

Stir the paraffin until all of it is melted. Pick up a match and dip the head into the liquid paraffin. Place the match bottom into a segment of the corrugated cardboard strip. If you are not using the corrugated cardboard strip, you can place the matches along the edges of a table on pieces of paper to dry. Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the number of waterproof matches you have created.

I like the strips of corrugated cardboard because they not only make handy holders for the matches while they dry, but are good for storage. It is not as good for your go bag because it is extra weight. You can use it to start fires too, though.

I saved some face cream containers with screw-on lids to use for my waterproof matches. Coil the strips of corrugated cardboard with the matches and place them into the face cream container. Close the lid securely and you now have a waterproof container full of waterproof matches.

When you need to start a fire with your waterproof matches, scratch wax off the ignition tip of the matches. Save the wax to use to help start a fire going. It burns well. After you have your fire area cleared (preferably using some kind of rocket stove,) put your kindling, tinder and fuel nearby where you can reach them quickly and easily, but they will not ignite until you are ready for them. Strike your match on a hard, rough, dry surface. I have seen people strike a match on their bluejeans where they were stretched taut. I don't recommend this, however, if you have other choices. The bottom of a leather shoe, a rock, or cement, are possible choices.

Apply the burning match to your tinder, including the scratched off wax on top of it, until it lights. When enough of your tinder is lit, you can add kindling and once that is going well, at last you can put on regular fuel like larger wood pieces.

I will post more about fire starting including links to videos about it. There are other easy ways to start fires and you may prefer something other than the waterproof matches. Some of the simpler ones involve batteries and that can give off unpleasant and dangerous fumes, however. I like the waterproof matches better. The disadvantage of waterproof matches is that there is a finite number of fires they can create. Some other fire starting methods do not have that limitation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Radiation Emergencies, How Do You Prepare?

The world has a new sort of emergency that ancient Egyptian or Victorians did not have to deal with. It is radiation emergencies. We must all be prepared to deal with them. They can happen anywhere because of the nature of terrorism and war.

Preparedness for radiation emergencies is mostly like other emergencies. The biggest difference is in what you do if you must shelter in place. Here is a quote from AMOA (Amusement and Music Operators Association,) about what to do to shelter in place:

“If you are advised to shelter in place, you should do the following:

Close and lock all doors and windows.

Turn off fans, air conditioners, and forced-air heating units that bring in fresh air from the outside. Only use units to recirculate air that is already in the building.

Close fireplace dampers.

If possible, bring pets inside.

Move to an inner room or basement.

Keep your radio tuned to the emergency response network or local news to find out what else you need to do."

You will have noticed that you do not want any air to get in your residence from outside. That is to stop the radiation from coming in with the air. 

These directions are much like those for volcanic ash. I have to know about volcanic ash because I live within ash spitting distance of five active volcanoes. Because of needing to know about volcanic ash, I am automatically pretty well prepared for radiation emergencies as well. Any preparedness you manage will help out in other types of emergencies.

You do not want to go outside during a radiation emergency. That means you need to have your food  and water and other basic preparedness supplies on hand. I have posts already published on basic preparedness, especially  water and food. I will repeat, however. 

You need to figure on a minimum of 1-3 gallons of water per day per person. That is just for drinking. You will probably want to wash your hands, dishes, and maybe flush the toilet. Any cleanup that you do requires more water. Please plan accordingly and do not wait. No one can predict when someone will cause a radiation disaster in your area. 

You need to figure out food that requires little preparation. If the power plant operators decide to take care of themselves by staying home, guess what? No power for you. The same could apply to other utilities such as water, and sewage and gas.

If you don't get any power it would be highly awkward to have a lot of uncooked microwave dinners as your food supply. Peanut butter and crackers could get old, but it would be preferable to raw microwave dinners. 

Do your best to pick foods that you and your family normally eat and like. Have a way of cooking them safely, if they require cooking. 

I prefer to use my normal foods for preparedness and eat them and replace them. That way my preparedness items are always fresh. I am also certain that I will like to eat them. There is probably a way for you to plan to take care of yourself and your loved ones by doing the same. I hope you will do so soon.

There is a sort of medicine that you can take to protect your thyroid gland from radiation. It is a form of iodine. Some people are allergic to it so cannot take it. It will not protect your whole body from radiation, only your thyroid. I don't see a problem with taking it, but the thinking that comes with that is a problem.

People often have the idea that once they take that medicine that they are safe. This not at all true. You need to be as careful as ever even after you take it. The rest of your body can still get cancer from radiation.

It is not preventive medicine. You will not be invulnerable once you take it. Read the directions if you decide to take it and follow them carefully. There is an optimum time to take it in regard to when you are exposed to the radiation. The directions take that into account. That is why you must follow the directions carefully. (Potassium iodide must be given before or within 4 hours of exposure to be effective.)

You can also get potassium iodide for your pets. It

is not useful if your pets are not dosed within the 4 

hour time span. It is over the counter if you can 

find it. Your pet should not be dosed with it if 

allergic to iodine. Neither should you. 

You can ask your veterinarian about potassium

iodide for your pets. It is also called KI. There are

not very good guidelines for dosing animals with it,  

so I believe you should consult a vet about it.

You will need to decide whether to make

potassium iodide a part of your emergency

preparedness supplies.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Importance Of Practice In Emergency Preparedness

I have tried to stress repeatedly that none of your emergency preparedness items are of any use unless you and your loved ones are able to use them. Some things I have read about people not knowing such things make me wish to devote an entire post to the importance of practice for emergency preparedness.

The most common disaster, fire, is a fine example of this. What good will it do you to have the best go bag and emergency supplies in the world if you do not know how to use them? What good will all that do if you do not manage to safely evacuate your home? You must practice to be truly safe.

You need a plan for yourself and your family to deal with emergencies and you need to practice carrying out your plan. This includes actually having your own fire drill and actually exiting your home as if a real fire was in progress.

You must meet in your nearby safe meeting place and try out your further away safe meeting place. You would do well to give a practice call to your out of the area contact person. Local phone lines in disaster areas are often jammed and impossible to get through. Out of the area phone lines are usually much easier to get through on.

It would be helpful for you to check to see that each family member has their emergency contact information sheet filled on and with them. You could ask each one if they know what to do in the particular type of emergency that you are practicing for.

You and your family will be much safer if at least one family member is currently certified for First Aid, CPR and AED. It might also be good to have someone in the family with a ham radio operator's license. Ham radio is often the only form of communication available in a disaster area. 

Cell phones are commonly thought of as an emergency communication device. People are often unaware that cell phones stop working in many disasters. That is why an emergency radio is recommended for disaster preparedness. Information is vital in a disaster. If evacuation is required you need to know about it immediately. The same is true for shelter locations.

If you have your ham radio operator's license, you will be in practice enough for your ham radio to be of use to you in an emergency. You will be truly prepared for emergencies.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rising Ocean Disasters - Shishmaref and Kivalina

I live in a part of the world that is more affected by climate change than any part of the globe. That is the Arctic. I live in Alaska. My state has over 180 villages that will be inundated by rising ocean waters. It costs several million dollars to move one village. The price for moving all 180 plus villages would be greater than the entire budget of the government disaster relief agency, FEMA. 

There are two villages that were scheduled to have already been evacuated. One is called Shishmaref or Shismaref and the other is Kivalina. 

I have a friend who is from Shishmaref and her parents still live there. For this reason, I know more about what is going on in Shishmaref than in the other 180+ villages. 

Shishmaref is a low island, largely composed of ice. Much of the soil in Shishmaref is laced with ice. As the ocean rises around Shishmaref, it undercuts the soil, melting the ice and rapidly eroding it. Large chunks of the island fall off in every little storm. Smaller pieces are constantly going into the ocean. People's houses often fall into the ocean. The village is disappearing bit by bit.

Since the island of Shishmaref is small and pretty flat, there is no place for the villagers to go to avoid the rising waters. Eventually it is expected that Shishmaref will be entirely under water. The only solution is for the villagers to move to the mainland. 

Not all of the villagers believe that their island has to go under water. They have started a fund to save their village and have a web site about it. 
Shishmaref Relocation Committee
They managed to get the Army Corps of Engineers to build a breakwater to protect their village. The breakwater has slowed down the rate of destruction of their village. It can do nothing about the rise of the ocean. 

The United States government wants to move all of the villagers of the 180+ villages to the mainland. The government wants to move most of the villagers to Fairbanks. A lot of the villagers already have relatives in Fairbanks. The government wants to move the rest of them to Anchorage. 

There are many social and cultural problems with moving the villagers to Fairbanks and Anchorage. Some of these problems are because most of the villagers are Alaskan Natives. The villages allow the Alaskan Natives living in them to retain more of their culture and traditional skills than Alaskan Natives living in cities can usually manage.

Many villagers still live a subsistence or mostly subsistence lifestyle. Many of them still depend on what they get from the land for their survival. If they don't catch enough fish and dry them, or hunt or gather berries, they can go hungry. This forces them to keep their traditional skills active. 

Villagers also speak their native languages more often than Alaskan Natives who live in less remote areas. Bringing 180 villages worth of Alaskan Natives to larger urban areas will inevitably dilute the pool of native language speakers and of people who retain native culture and skills.

Among the villagers who are going to lose their villages to the rising ocean waters, there is no universal solution to their problems. Even if funding for solving their problems was unlimited, it would not be easy to fix everything and make everyone happy.

The problems faced by the people of Shishmaref and Kivalina and the other 180+ villages that will be flooded by rising ocean waters are happening all over the world. The problems will keep happening. More and more people will be affected.

Even if you belong to the minority of humans who live far enough inland to not be directly affected by  rising oceans, you will be affected. Some of the studies of this problem that I have read say that about 75% of the human race will be flooded out by rising oceans. 
Article on people likely to be affected by rising oceans
Estimates of amount of sea level rise
Interactive Variable Map of Global flooding
If you are in the 25% you are going to have a lot of new neighbors. The economy of your country will be affected by having 75% of homes flooded out, and the people in them, of course. Your food supply is also very likely to be affected. The availability of fuel is also likely to be affected. There is a lot more, but that will do for starters.