Happy Easter to All

Bluebonnets

For God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

I wish you and your families all the joys and blessings of Easter.

 

Emergency Essentials Baking Mix Issue

 

Emergency Essentials baking mix We were moving our food storage around to make room for supplies when we noticed these two cans of Emergency Essentials Provident Pantry Honey Cornbread Muffin Mix were looking odd.  The top and bottom of the cans had lifted and were puffy.  There are no dents in the cans.

I immediately called the 800 number posted on the Emergency Essentials website to find out what could cause this.  I have bought a lot of their products over the years and every one of them turned out great.  Before signing on as an affiliate, I taste tested their products and found them to be of great quality.  According to their website, they provide some guarantees:

30-Day Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee

We want you to be happy with our products. If within 30 days anything in your purchase from us fails to meet your expectations, please call us. We will make it right with you!

One Year Warranty

All of our products carry a one-year warranty from the day of delivery on defects in material and workmanship. Many products have a manufacturer’s warranty to cover them; please call us to determine how to take advantage of these warranties when needed. If you need to return a product, please call us for a return authorization number.

Return Policy

You can return any product for any reason within 30 days. An RMA (Return Authorization Number) is required before you ship product back to us. Please call us at 1-800-999-1863.

In this case, I had bought these cans about 12-16 months ago, and therefore they are no longer covered by their posted guarantees.

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What caused the puffiness?

I described the appearance of the cans to the customer service rep.  I told her they were stored indoors at 73 degrees.

She said the cans puff up on some baking mixes if the can is exposed to a temperature change.  A change in temperature will cause the leavening agent to be activated, causing the cans to puff up.

She said the product is still edible but must be used within 12 months of the product puffing up.

The issue I have about this is, I do not know exactly when the cans puffed up.  Even though I rotate through my storage, I do not check these cans on a regular basis, so I have no way of knowing if they have been like that for 12 months or more.

I told her that puffy cans make me worry about botulism.  She said the mixes do not have any moisture and therefore have no risk of botulism.

But she did mention that you must be careful when you open the can, as it can potentially explode.  She said the cans they tested did spill all over the floor, but the cooked product tasted fine.  (I think it’s a good thing they test these products, however it does not give me confidence about opening these cans.  My family has indicated they will not eat these.)

What the company offered

I asked her if I can return these cans for a free replacement.  I was not asking for a refund, as I still wanted to have these for long term storage and had not intended to open them anytime soon.  She said I should use these up, and the only thing the company does to remedy this is to give a 50% off discount the next time I place an order for a baking mix.  FYI, each can is currently priced at $12.75.

While we continued to have a cordial chat, I told her I was not satisfied with their resolution of this issue.  I also mentioned I am obligated to share this with my readers, as I write about food storage issues.  To be fair, the items are beyond the guarantee period.  However, these products are intended for long term storage and something like cans lifting up will make people wonder whether they are still safe to eat.  The label indicates “Store in a cool, dry place” which I have done.  If the leavening agent could potentially activate causing the cans to lift, perhaps the label should have mentioned it.

I will follow up with Emergency Essentials again and see if they might improve their response to this issue.

Editor’s Note:  This issue has been resolved to our satisfaction — see the story here.

 

 

How to Make a Bacon Grease Emergency Lamp

BaconI couldn’t resist making this Bacon Grease Candle after I saw it on Willow Haven Outdoor.  

After all, bacon is my favorite breakfast food.  I wanted to find a use for all that bacon grease, and as tasty as it is, I never use much of it.  I’ve made other lamps before, and I wanted to see how if this one would work.  Though the original instructions are in Creek Stewart’s article, I made some variations.

Here’s what I did:

1.  Cook bacon as normal, either by frying or placing in the oven.  Remove the bacon and leave the grease alone for an hour or so.

2.  Wait until the bacon grease cools, and collect it in a container.  I kept collecting the grease over a few days until I had about half a cup (about 3 batches).  Refrigerate so it doesn’t smell rancid.  I did not strain the grease; the bacon bits do not interfere with the lamp.

Bacon Grease3.  Pour the grease into a candle holder or other heat resistant container.

Collect the grease4.  Clean around the edges.

5.  Make your wick.  The original article suggested using cotton twine, mop fibers or tampon string.  There are multiple ways to make a wick and I used the method I learned from making the emergency lamp from common household items:  I wrapped cotton around a wooden toothpick.

6.  Stick the toothpick upright in the solid bacon grease.  Moisten the tip of the cotton wrapped toothpick with a some nail polish remover, OR even bit of bacon grease.

7.  Light the lamp and enjoy the aroma.

Bacon Grease Lamp8.  Because the weather was cool, the grease stayed solid for a long time, allowing the toothpick to stay upright.  I did not see the grease melt all the way through-it stayed solid.  (Warning:  Your results may vary-do not leave this lamp or any other homemade lamp unattended; keep out of reach of children and pets etc..)

This was a really easy project.  If you don’t have bacon grease, lard, tallow or Crisco should work just as well.

 

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DebtProof Living

In an Emergency, Your Life Could Depend on It: Check your Water Filter

Berkey Water Filter

Our tap water has a heavily chlorinated taste.  Instead of buying bottled water, we use our Berkey Light Water Purifier on a daily basis.   Now that we use it all the time, I realized there is some maintenance that goes will using a water purifier, no matter what brand you use.

After using the filter for about three months, I noticed a reddish coating on the water filter elements, so we disassembled the unit.  I started reading about cleaning your water filter.  I also spoke to the “Berkey Guy” to get some information.  The reddish tinge around the water filter elements might be caused by iron in the water, and should be cleaned off.

How to Clean your Water Filter

  1. Take apart the unit and clean the black filter elements under running water will a scrub sponge such as Scotch Brite.  A stiff brush would work as well.  If it seems clogged, follow instructions that came with your individual unit to “prime” the filter.  (As a quick explanation, priming involves holding the filter against a faucet and allowing the water to flow through the filter.  Not all water filters require this-follow your own manufacturer’s instructions)
  2. Do not use very hot or very cold water as this may damage the filters.
  3. Clean the containers with soap and water.  Rinse thoroughly.

How to Tell if the Filter is No Longer Working

The best way to test the water filter is to add red food coloring to the water and allow it to run through the unit.

Berkey Water Filter test

If working properly, the filtered water will be completely clear.  If the red food coloring is not removed, then it is time to replace the filter.

Sport-Berkey-Water-Bottle

Portable Water Filters

The same thing applies to individual filters such as the Berkey Sport Bottle.  I’ve also used the Lifesaver filtration bottle., as well.   The parts should be cleaned and left to air dry completely between uses.  Reassemble only after it has dried thoroughly.  I’ve made the mistake of storing a portable water bottle and it developed mold.

The Berkey Guy also reminded me that the sport bottle filter should not be left out in an overheated car or allowed to freeze.  Extreme temperatures will warp the filter.

Whether you use your water filter on a daily basis or only on emergencies, taking proper care of it will help ensure it functions properly when you need it, for as long as possible.

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Monday Musings: 3/25/2013 Gardening Time Edition

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings, where we cover updates, pass along information and any interesting links.

First my update.  I started my apartment garden this past weekend.  March begins the growing season here in Texas.  Regular readers know I’ve had some ups and downs with the garden.  But spring brings fresh hope, and I am determined we will make some progress this year.  I will write a separate post about this very soon.

Now passing along some information…

Free shipping on the LifeStraw.  If you are in the market for the LifeStraw, please visit  Camping Survival  http://www.campingsurvival.com/lifestraw.html   They are selling it at the lowest price the manufacturer allows.  For a limited time, they will be offering free shipping on the LifeStraw, so now is a good time to pick it up.  Please visit   http://www.campingsurvival.com/lifestraw.html

Body armor giveaway  The Prepper Project will be giving away a level III body armor on Monday 4/1.  The body armor was donated to them by InfidelBodyArmor.com   It comes with a full front and back plate as well as a vest to hold it.  We are not affiliated with them just passing this along.  I am sure a few readers would be interested in a chance to win.  http://theprepperproject.com/win-infidel-level-iii-body-armor/

Free info for as long as he can maintain it   I received an email from Keith P. who runs the OneCancerCure.com website.  He has been ill of late and indicates:

“I would appreciate your help in continuing to share the www.OneCancerCure.com website with everyone you know. I will see to it that the website is paid for for at least another 3 years. However, if I am not around any more, you may be the only source of the information and protocol that may save somebody’s life. Remember that everything on the website is free for everybody.  In addition, I have been able to post a few more podcasts on www.FamilySurvivalRadio.com. Please make sure you listen to any of the podcasts that may be of interest to you and share the link with your family and friends as well. My sincere apology that I haven’t put up more. There have been a great many challenges in the past 2 months that I had not figured I would face.”

 Our prayers are with Keith for a good outcome to his condition.

Ebooks on sale.  Archer Garrett has just released his latest book, the Nine of the North (NotN).  It is the fourth book in the Western Front universe and picks up where Kratocracy left off.   Free chapters are available on his Blog.   In celebration of the release, he has dropped the prices on the following books to 99 cents for several days and extended the sale for Apartment Prepper readers until Tuesday night, 3/26:

The Western Front

Phases

Flashback

the Blighted

And now for the links…

Not a bad idea to stock up on a few bottles  From the Natural News website, 10 Reasons You Should Drink Beer  

Anyone who stores food should know about this  Read  A Killer Lurking in your Pantry  and take proper precautions.

Emails are not private   From Off-Grid Survival, see DHS to Scan Private Sector Business Emails   

Seed starting with recycled materials    Grow your seeds as cheaply and easily as possible as possible with this two part article from The Harried Homemaker Preps:

Indoor Seed Starting 101, Part One

Indoor Seed Starting 101, Part Two

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

In case of shortages:

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Don’t Become a Boiled Frog – The Need to Respond Appropriately to Problems

 

Boiling water

   It is said that if you slowly increase the water temperature, a frog won’t notice and will eventually and passively die in the pot.

 

The following is a guest post from David Spero at Code Green Prep.

Yesterday, Bernie wrote about Five Reasons Why You May Have to Bug Out Even Though You Don’t Want To.  It is very important to realize that sometimes we need to bug out, but our inertia, our fear of change, and our positive hope that problems will quickly abate – all these things prevent us from responding as quickly as we should.

Much of what we think about and prepare for involves a sudden massive disaster that occurs with little or no warning.  We consider the effects of a sudden EMP or power grid failure that almost literally switches our lives and lifestyles from normal to nothing as quickly as flicking a light switch.  Not only is the event sudden, but it is also ‘in your face’ obvious, and we know we have to respond urgently quickly.

But we sometimes overlook the slower sorts of disasters that might also overwhelm society as we know it, and end up, not immediately, but gradually over time, with a Level 2 or 3 scenario [ed: see David's definitions of Level 1/2/3 scenarios here] just as seriously as a sudden unexpected disaster.

The real danger of the slower unfolding disasters is that by the time we even realize they are enveloping us, we might find our options have become constrained and reduced.  This is akin to the story of how to kill and cook a frog – you place it in warm water, then very slowly increase the temperature.  The frog won’t even realize it is being cooked, and by the time the water has reached boiling point, the frog has succumbed.

Examples of Boiled Frogs

Although there is some debate as to the truth of being able to truly boil a frog this way, there is no debate that society as a whole has experienced some amazing 180 degree turns on issues.  Activists seeking to bring social change have learned that the best way to make a major change is not to attempt a sudden revolution in public thought, but rather to make a series of gradual changes.  There are many examples of this.  To offer up several – and without expressing any moral judgment, but merely observing the huge change in social values that have occurred, we point to :

(a)  Drunk driving.  Two or three decades ago it was normal and acceptable for people to drink as much as they wished and then to drive home, somehow.  People would boast about their crazy/dangerous driving the next day; and if they were pulled over, they’d usually be let off with little more than a warning.  As you surely know, today people are ashamed to admit to driving drunk; the fines and penalties (including imprisonment and alcoholism treatments) have gone up and up, and the permissible levels of blood/alcohol have gone down and down.

(b)  Gay marriage.  It is not all that long ago that people could be sent to prison in some western nations if they admitted being homosexual, and it was widely ridiculed and decried by most people in general.  Now the opposite applies – people can be sent to prison for ‘hate crimes’ if they express a dislike for gay people, and society is inexorably tilting towards allowing not just gay relationships but also passing to such people all the rights and privileges of marriage and allowing gay people to be married.  One advocacy method used by gay rights advocates is to ‘name and shame’ people who oppose them – people are now embarrassed and ashamed to admit they dislike the thought of gay sex.

(c)  Guns.  A couple of generations ago, gun ranges were to be found in the basements of many schools.  Guns were common in schools and in society as a whole.  Nowadays, if a child even draws a picture of a gun in a schoolroom, they are liable to be expelled under a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards guns in schools, and anyone bringing guns into a school is likely committing both a federal and state crime.

Okay, enough on that – point well taken, we hope.  In all these cases, the changes did not occur overnight, but have instead evolved, little by little, over years and even decades and common social custom now is pretty much the complete opposite of what it was a generation or so back.

It can be the same thing with negative situations – they start off subtly and slowly, and at first seem temporary, but as time passes, what was temporary becomes permanent, what was a problem becomes the new normal, and so it goes.  By the time we realize we’re in a severe situation, our options and ability to respond positively have diminished.

We’re not saying that an EOTW disaster would happen quite that slowly (although it might), but we are pointing out that things have a habit of ‘catching us unawares’ if we’re not closely monitoring whatever the process is that is evolving and thinking through its implications.

Furthermore, the reality is that no matter how keen a prepper we are, few of us really want to activate our prepping plans, possibly prematurely, and there’s also a subconscious inertia and resistance to change that will unduly delay our responding to events that need a timely response.  We need to be alert to changes and ready/willing/able to respond to them at the appropriate point – a point which of course should be before rather than after the time at which it becomes too late!

Some Slow Disasters

Let’s now think about some types of slowly evolving ‘disasters’ that might occur.  These tend to be more economic in nature than anything else – the first two examples are country-wide in nature, the third is regional, and the last two are more personal.

Electricity cost/shortages

We have seen electricity shortages come and go over the years, particularly in California in 2000 – 2001.  With the continued restrictions on building just about any type of new power station these days, it is far from inconceivable that electricity may not become in short supply again – a situation initially masked by it simply becoming more and more expensive, and then perhaps becoming rationed.

The ugly flip-side of the moves towards ‘smart energy management’ is a shift away from our universal expectation that electricity should always be available to us, whenever we want it, and for whatever purpose we need it for.  As we know from our planning for ‘grid-down’ futures, at present electricity truly is one of society’s greatest blessings, and whether we pay 5c or 50c per kWhr, it is a great value.

At what point would you decide that electricity had become too expensive and too short in supply, and in effect respond by going ‘off-grid’ and ‘growing your own’?  For an apartment dweller, this is of course more difficult because you don’t have vast expanses of roof to line with solar cells, or much control over the energy efficiency of your dwelling.

Petrol cost/shortages

Some parts of the country have seen gas prices brush and even break through $5/gallon on occasion in the past, sometimes for months at a time.  How long will it be before gas prices reach $5/gallon, all the time, everywhere?  And then $6?  And $7?  Even $10 and $15?

If that sounds unlikely, think of this.  Less than 25 years ago, gas was under $1/gallon.  It has gone up in price almost five-fold in 25 years.  For decades, petrol and other oil products were steadily reducing in price each year (in real terms after adjusting for inflation), and then they sort of flattened out, and now they are increasing at rates greater than inflation.  Here’s a useful graph showing prices from 1896 forwards in the UK, and here’s a spreadsheet of prices in the US from 1949.

Proponents of the ‘peak oil’ theory predict that gas prices will skyrocket in the next decade or less.  At the same time, it will become in shorter and shorter supply.  The latest move towards shale recovery has bought us some more time, and some more oil, but the ‘greenies’ are objecting and fighting this as furiously as they can.  A large – and growing – sector in our society doesn’t wish us to have access to cheap oil products.  They wish us to become oil-poor, as a way of – they believe – ‘saving the planet’.  In any case, as we’ve seen, even our domestic oil is going up in price, simply to match the market increases in oil prices worldwide.

At what point, at what price, will you say ‘enough already’ and give up on your present gas-based lifestyle?  What will you have/use/do as an alternative?  If your apartment isn’t centrally located, or at least close to good public transport, how will you respond?

Water cost/shortages

One of the biggest constraints on growth in much of the country is the availability of fresh pure water.  It is hard to know which is the bigger blessing in our modern lives – abundant affordable electricity, or abundant affordable water.  Happily, we presently have both, with the worst form of water shortages typically being nothing more severe than some restrictions on washing our cars during some of the summer months.

But the cost of water is steadily increasing, while its availability is becoming more and more constrained.  Last year (2013) we saw some of the worst droughts in decades affect crop production in much of the mid-west; all that means to us as consumers currently is little more than increased prices for meat, wheat and corn based products.  But with a decent steak now costing $15/lb or more – three times what it cost a decade or so back – how much further will we allow the costs of the basic essentials of our diet rise?

Even if water (and sewage) costs are built in to the rent you pay, you know that if the landlord has to pay more, then your rent is going to go up too.  At what point do these costs (and possible use restrictions) cause you either to move to a new region, or to retreat from normal society and to set up an alternate lifestyle, independent of your increasingly problematic and expensive city water and sewer services?

Unemployment

Maybe you lose your job.  Maybe you don’t get another job.  Month after month, you see your savings dwindle, and also, month by month, as time passes you become less and less appealing to potential employers.  All employers prefer to hire someone who is already employed, and all employers feel uncomfortable and worried if they see a person who has been out of work for many months.

As each month passes, you have less and less remaining capital.  At what point do you switch gears and change objectives and either move to another city to find work there, or instead ‘bug out’ for economic reasons, and switch to building a self-sustainable low-cost life elsewhere?

Neighborhood Decay

This is an interesting one (it has happened to me).  What happens if the area you live in starts to suffer from evolving urban demographics and becomes increasingly down-market?  The good news is your rent might stay the same or drop.  The bad news though – the nice middle class people who used to be your neighbors are leaving, and are being replaced by people you’re less comfortable living alongside.  Crime rates start to increase, and so on and so on.

At what point do you bail out yourself?  Do you simply move across town, or to a different city entirely, or is that the point where you move to your retreat?

Faster Evolving Disasters Can Catch You Unawares Too

Although we’re talking primarily about how a slow change in something can catch you unawares, by gradually evolving from insignificant to significant without you realizing or anticipating it, similar affects can come from faster developing problems too.

For example, and as Bernie mentioned yesterday, a forest fire heading your way.  At what point do you respond to the potential of being trapped?  Sure, you could rely on waiting for the authorities to officially notify you and command you to evacuate, but you might then find yourself with too little time to do a well planned well prepared bug-out.

The Longer You Wait, the Fewer Your Choices

The longer you wait to respond to a negative event, the less well able you can do so.  As you burn through your cash, it becomes harder and harder for you to consider options that don’t immediately start to bring in a cash flow again; and as you get closer to certain doom, your alternative options become fewer in number and less desirable in nature.

Furthermore, when it comes to an actual bug out situation, there is a world of difference between getting out of Dodge a day before the hordes all start to mass-migrate, or being part of the throng of evacuees because you dithered and delayed.  The day before, you can drive out of town on relatively uncongested roads and with the rule of law still more or less in place.  The day after, the freeways will become parking lots, the mobs will be rioting, and the rule of law will be disintegrating.  Any successful bug-out plan must have, at its core, the ability to act quickly and before the main mass of people slowly sluggishly start to respond.

We’re not saying you should panic the first time things turn sour on you in any part of life and living.  But we are saying to be careful about slow creeping problems that take away your independence and freedom, little by little.

The biggest problem people face is knowing when to say ‘enough, already’ and to activate some sort of formal response to a problem that has been gradually worsening.  Let’s look at one more example before considering a solution.

Don’t Lose ‘The Auction of Life’

If you’ve ever attended an auction, or browsed eBay, you’ve probably ended up buying something you didn’t want to buy.  I’ve bought a ridiculous car that I could barely drive off the lot, and I’ve paid way more than I told myself I would for things that I didn’t need.

Even when not being foolish yourself, you’ve surely seen countless examples of other people getting caught with the ‘auction fever’ which is the reason why auctions can work so well (for the auction house and seller).  We get caught into the excitement of the event, and we are also influenced by the people around us.

How many times have you told yourself ‘I won’t bid on this because I have no interest in it, nowhere to put it, and no need for it’ and ended up leaving the auction with the item under your arm?  How many times have you told yourself ‘I’ll bid up to $xx and then stop’ and ended up bidding way over that amount?

We all know how and why this happens.  But somehow, that knowledge doesn’t stop it from continuing to happen into the future.  Now for the ‘Auction of Life’.  This is one auction you can’t afford to mishandle.

The real trap in the ‘Auction of Life’ is that we keep revising the ‘trigger events’ we set ourselves.  We run the risk of recalibrating them and pushing out further and further the scenario which triggers our response.  We keep ‘bidding’ more and more in the ‘Auction of Life’ long after we reached the point where we’d dispassionately and originally told ourselves we’d stop.

How can you prevent this from continuing into your future?  That brings us to :

The Need to Create Lines in the Sand

Enough of auctions.  Let’s look now not at an example of the problem, but an example of the solution.

If you’ve ever attended a good self-defense class, you’ve been taught about the need to create clear ‘lines in the sand’ – events that clearly signal that the person who you are concerned about has evil intent, and events which cause you to confidently respond appropriately.

For example, you don’t like the look of the people walking towards you, so you cross the road.  If they cross the road to intersect with your path, that’s a clear ‘line in the sand’ that has been crossed.  You then might choose to turn the corner or cross the road back again – if they cross the road again too or follow you around the corner, then you know, for sure, this is not random circumstance.  Two lines in the sand have been crossed.  You might then call out – ‘Stop, Back Off, Go Away’.  If they continue towards you, you then present your pistol and say ‘Stop or I shoot!  Back Off!  Go Away!’

If the person still moves towards you, you then know ‘Okay, so he crossed the road to follow me when I did, then he crossed the road back to keep following me when I did, he ignored my warning, and now, with my gun pointed at him, he is still ignoring me’ and that gives you the confidence to know that your next action – an extreme one, but now an essential one, is justified and appropriate.

The key thing is having the confidence to act decisively on a major life-changing event.  In the example above, if you don’t have the confidence to act decisively, you risk becoming a victim rather than a victor, and if you don’t have the clear decision making process in your mind, you’ll be dithering for too long and suffer the consequences.  If you keep ‘raising the stakes’ in this ‘Auction of Life’ you’ll find that you’ll be the loser.

It is the same with anything else.  You need to set lines in the sand so that when they are crossed, you are aware of the event and ready with an appropriate response.

For example, you might decide ‘If gas prices reach $x, I will get an ultra-fuel efficient car’ and you might further decide ‘if gas prices reach $(x+y) then I will move from my current suburban lifestyle in which I need a car to an alternate lifestyle where the essential things are either within walking distance or conveniently served by public transport, or reachable by bicycle’.

There are other things, too.  You might decide ‘When the taxes in this state exceed the taxes in (another state you’d like to live in) then I’m going to make the move’.  You might decide ‘If this state restricts firearms and my right to self-defense, then I’ll move to a state with a more enlightened social policy on such things’.

Summary

Don’t risk becoming a boiled frog.

Create ‘lines in the sand’ that will sound alarms in your life when events cross over them, so that you realize ‘Hey, this is very different to what it used to be and what I want it to be’ and to allow you the freedom and flexibility to respond to changes in your life and lifestyle and life standards before it becomes too late to do so.

In particular, monitor the changes in your local environment and compare/contrast them to the changes in possible bug-out locations.  Maybe things truly are better somewhere else in the US, and maybe you should act positively to respond to the chance of a life-style improvement in such a better location.

David Spero publishes the Code Green Prep website.  He has a masters degree in business, has lived and worked internationally, speaks several languages, is a nationally accredited firearms instructor, a licensed ham radio operator, and a respected voice in the Prepper community.

 

 

Get the real deal. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

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Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

 

5 Reasons Why You May have to Bug Out Even Though You Don’t Want to

One of the most hotly argued points in the prepping community is whether it is advisable to “shelter in place” or stay in your home or bug out when there is an emergency.  Many preppers would readily choose to shelter in place to be close to their emergency supplies.   Staying put would also be easier if you have no bug out retreat or destination.  I say it really depends on the type of disaster you are facing, so there is no definite answer to the shelter in place versus bugging out question.  Even though we would all rather stay at home, there are five reasons you may have to bug out:

1.  Natural disaster in your immediate region.   When hurricanes approach, people are asked to evacuate if they are in the direct path of the storm.  We’ve seen from previous disasters that in some cases, people in the worst hit areas who decided to stay put and become stranded and drowned.

2.  Fire approaching.  If you live in an area prone to wildfires, and one is headed in your direction, you will be asked to evacuate.  Authorities go around the neighborhood announcing the threat and give residents about 15 minutes to pack up belongings and head out.

3.  Industrial accident causing chemical spills, poisonous emissions or nuclear disaster.  We’ve all heard about the recent anniversary of the Fukushima, Japan earthquake and many of the areas affected have still not recovered.

In Houston, certain neighborhoods that are close to industrial sites have been affected by chemical spills and noxious gases.  In some cases, these neighborhoods have been evacuated.  Residents are able to return only after the “all clear” has been issued.  If you live in an area that can potentially be affected by these short term emergencies, have your go-bag ready and in a handy place at all times.

4.  Infrastructure has widespread damage.  If you live in an area that was hit by a disaster and has no electricity or water, with no estimate on when the fix will be made, you may want to get out and stay with relatives or friends for a while if you can.  If there is no water for a long period of time, sanitation will become compromised.  Similarly, if you live in an area where it gets hot or cold enough to endanger your health, and there is no power to make the house liveable, then you will be forced to leave the area.

5.  Post disaster, widespread looting/crime with no law enforcement available.  If you decided to stay put during a disaster but later find that there is no longer any “rule of law” being enforced in the area, then it will become too dangerous to stick around.  You may want to stay and defend what’s yours but if there is a risk you become overrun by a greater number, then you must consider bugging out.

No one wishes for any of these situations to happen, but the possibility exists.  The choice whether to stay put or bug out is entirely personal and will change according to circumstances.   Picturing various scenarios and what you would do in each one will help you make your own decision when the time comes.

 

 

ReadyMade Resources is a trusted source for your preparedness supplies:

 

Find products that are equally functional for wilderness survival as well as urban preparedness:

 

 

 

 

Bartering For Preppers

Bartering for Preppers is a Guest Post by Robert Creech

As everyone who engages in some form of prepping knows, it’s expensive. Most of us will never have all of the gear and resources we want, instead we prioritize and get by with what we can. However I’ve found that many people are leaving money on the table, so to speak, because they have skills (and maybe resources) that they aren’t fully utilizing. Yes, I’m talking about bartering.

You have to remember that every other prepper is like you; they’re trying to acquire skills and resources on a limited budget, to learn everything they can about self-sufficiency. They’re also people trying to make a living and get by, so any opportunity they have to barter, to gain something, is almost always welcome. How about you? Are you willing to teach someone a skill, or trade a service or resource you have?

Do you have a particular skill set that others might be interested in? Maybe you’ve become quite adept at apartment gardening and have perfected ways to grow essential plants in a terrace garden or from balcony planters. You would be surprised at the number of people in your area who would be willing to trade something they have for you to teach them how to start gardening, one of the fastest growing areas of interest among city dwellers.

Maybe you know how to can or preserve foods, how to reload ammunition, how to set snares for trapping, how to secure an apartment from intruders, how to make primitive weapons… almost everyone has skills or knowledge that others would like to have. If yours is academic knowledge, then you can put it in a guidebook or e-book, and offer it that way. And it may not even be prepping related, the skills or resources you have to barter. If you’re a mechanic or plumber you’ll almost certainly find people willing to barter their resources for your time or guidance on a project.

So how do you set it up? Craigslist is perhaps one of the greatest resources people have… the Barter Kings use it for a reason. You can list your skills or resources in two different sections… the first is the For SaleBarter section, and the other is under Services. Simply write in what it is that you have to offer (or what you will do for them), and what it is you’re looking for. If you want someone to help you set up a solar oven, then say so. Perhaps you are looking for a new backpack because yours is too small, simply tell the reader what you can offer and what you’re looking to get.

More times than not people will contact you offering something other than what you asked for, but that is fine. Bartering is always good and maybe they have something else you can use, or that you can trade further. In fact you might be surprised to find that you like the art of bartering and meeting new people, and at how much you are able to learn along the way. Since you live in an apartment, maybe you’ll be fortunate and meet someone out of town who has property that you can use… for gardening or target practice.

And the final point to this whole bartering activity is perhaps the most important… you will be actively engaging in networking, building contacts and resources along the way, many of whom will be like-minded preppers. Before you know it you’ll be amazed at how much you can acquire and learn through bartering.

About the Author   Robert Creech began a career in law enforcement in the early 1990’s, culminating in serving as the elected Sheriff of his county for two terms. He’s a graduate of two state law enforcement academies as well as many executive level training programs for law enforcement administrators. Robert writes almost exclusively on Squidoo; check out his latest article about Prepping.   http://www.squidoo.com/prepping-preparedness

 

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Monday Musings 3/18/2013 You Need to Keep Emergency Cash at Home Edition

Welcome to another Monday Musings where we share blog updates and interesting links.

First our blog updates…

If you read Apartment Prepper via Google Reader   Please note Google has announced that as of on July 1, 2013, they will be retiring Google Reader. 

I read my favorite sites via Google Reader as well, and usually click from there.  We will have to find another reader to get our latest postings, or subscribe via email.  I will let you know if I find a new one.

Spring reading and review list.  I’ve got several lined up, in no particular order:

 Meals in a Jar by Julie Languille

The Home Distiller’s Workbook by Jeff King

The Mini Farming Guide to Composting by Brett L. Markham

SAS Guide to Desert Survival by Barry Davies

On the item review list are is the Mobile Washer which I will soon be testing, and a new Chicken Fajita MRE from mealkitsupply.com

Giveaway at LPC Survival.  Our sponsor, LPC Survival is having a great giveaway, with 3 days left to enter, so join now  Hum-less 5 watt portable solar panel giveaway  

I’ve only got a few links this week so here goes.

You’ll be on your own  It’s Official – L.A. Officials Say : Prep For Two Weeks On Your Own

They need to stop this.  Proposed Texas law calls for allowing vaccination of children without parental consent

This is what happens during a bank panic.  Osborne vows to protect Britain’s armed forces in Cyprus as cash machines are EMPTIED and 60,000 British savers face losing millions in 10% bank account tax

Could The “Cyprus Fiasco” Occur In The United States?

Cyprus seems so far away, but you never know.  It may not happen here, but it is prudent to have enough cash at home for your short term needs such as food, gasoline, medicines just in case.

Lights Out will soon be a movie.  I got an email announcing plans to make Lights Out into a movie.  From the press release:

DAVID CRAWFORD’S REVOLUTIONARY INTERNET BEST-SELLER “LIGHTS OUT” TO BECOME A FEATURE FILM
PRODUCED BY REEL EQUITY FUNDING & ATLANTA’S BUG-OUT BAG PRODUCTIONS,

DIRECTED BY THE BROTHERS YOUNG

 Action-Packed, Post- Apocalyptic Prepper Novel Has Been
Downloaded Over Three Million Times 

Indiegogo.com Crowdfunding Campaign Launches Today at
www.indiegogo.com/projects/lights-out-saga / www.lightsoutsaga.com

 March 18, 2013 – ATLANTA – David Crawford’s wildly-successful, action-packed, post-apocalyptic novel LIGHTS OUT (lightsoutthebook.com) will soon become a feature film executive produced by Reel Equity Funding, Inc. (REF) and Atlanta-based Bug-Out Bag Productions (bugoutbagproductions.com).  Downloaded over three million times, the novel has been championed by America’s growing “prepper” and 2nd Amendment Rights communities.  The Brothers Young will direct the film, with pre-production and casting to start immediately in Atlanta. REF and Bug-Out Bag Productions recently wrapped production on feature film “Remnants,” with Tom Sizemore.

LIGHTS OUT’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign (indiegogo.com/projects/lights-out-saga) launches today, with a set goal of $175,000 for production costs.  In exchange for contributions, the filmmakers and supporters 5.11 Tactical, Noveske Shooting Team, AR15.com, Airsoft Extreme, and Mystery Ranch are providing perks such as personal thank you’s; Limited Edition DVDs; 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Backpacks; and special mentions in the film credits just to name a few.  In addition, for the first 48 hours of the campaign, all contributors who donate $50 or more will receive a limited edition Challenge Coin (after that, the Coin is only reserved for Legend Level donors).  The campaign runs through April 21.

In the tradition of “The Walking Dead,” the film LIGHTS OUT examines how a group of everyday middle-class Americans copes with a worldwide disaster that takes down the nation’s electrical grid, flips all technology off, and throws the country into a harrowing, fend-for-yourself downward spiral – as currently anticipated by preppers and planned for by the CDC, FEMA, and others.  The story focuses on suburban accountant, karate instructor, and hunting enthusiast Mark Turner, who must find the strength within to unite his family, friends, and neighbors if any of them are to survive the harsh reality of life as the veneer of civilization strips away.

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

 

What You Should Know about Pepper Spray

Pepper SprayI have a couple of pepper sprays in key chains that are getting old so I started looking into replacing them.   There are actually several types to choose from, and the more I read up on the topic, the more I learned.

Mace versus Pepper Spray

  •  Mace is a chemical irritant that is similar to tear gas.  Pepper spray’s main ingredient is the pepper derivative oleorsein capiscum (OC)  Pepper spray will cause inflammation and a severe burning sensation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin.
  • Pepper spray works quicker than Mace.
  • Mace does not work on persons who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but pepper spray works.
  • I also found out that “Mace” is now also a brand name that makes pepper spray products which confused me at first, but now I know.

Now that we have cleared that up, we can take a look at the various types of pepper sprays.

  1. Foam – a heavy, thick liquid, similar to a shaving cream consistency.   This is the type I am considering, as it is less likely to be affected by wind.  Also, if your attacker tries to wipe it off, he will end up rubbing it deeper into the skin causing even more irritation and pain.
  2. Stream or broken stream – Much like getting squirted by a water gun, the stream or broken stream will deliver a large amount of pepper spray with a longer range.  The downside is, the canister will get used up faster.
  3. Forced cone – This is the most common type that key chain type pepper sprays emit.  The range is about six to 12 feet, covering an area roughly the size of a human head.  The mist is finer than the stream type, but there is some risk of blowback if you are outside on a windy day.
  4. Fogger - this covers a larger area and delivers an even finer mist than forced cone.  It is good for crowd control and protection from bears.  Because it is like a mini fire extinguisher releasing a large amount of spray, there is some risk of blow-back but the attacker will go down even in windy conditions.

What if You Accidentally Spray Yourself?

In spite of careful precautions, sometimes accidents happen.  Here’s what you need to do:

  • Do not touch or rub the affected area as this will spread it and make it worse
  • Remove clothing that has come into contact with pepper spray, and bag it up to keep it separate from other clothes
  • Wash the area with lots of cool water
  • Do not use anything oily or greasy on the area.
  • If the discomfort persists, get checked out by a doctor.

 How Long Does Pepper Spray Last?

Pepper spray comes with an expiration date, usually a year from purchase.  The pepper spray itself does not become ineffective over time, but the spraying ability may be compromised.  The nozzle may be blocked, or the propellent may no longer work.  You don’t want to be carrying something to protect yourself and find out that it doesn’t work at the time you most need it.

Some manufacturers recommend testing the spray periodically.  To do this, you go outside and note which way the wind is blowing.  Spray away from yourself, making sure the wind is blowing AWAY from you.  However, testing it does cause the product to get used up.  To be on the safe side and avoid the risk of accidentally spraying yourself, use your best judgement and replace the sprays every 12-18 months.

 Legal Stuff

Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, but some states have certain restrictions in size, strength, age of carrier (must be over 18 in some states).  Check on your own state’s regulations or the local police department for rules about carrying pepper spray.  It is illegal to carry it anywhere on a plane (whether on your person or luggage) and is prohibited in Federal and State buildings.

 The Proper Mindset

You need to have the right mindset to be able to use your pepper spray should the need arise.

  • It should be within easy reach.  If you are walking or jogging alone, you should have it either in your hand or front pocket.  There is no point having it in your purse or your car’s glove box if you are attacked.
  • Be aware of where the nozzle location and where you are about to spray.   If you are outside, be aware of where the wind is blowing.
  • Take a moment to envision various scenarios and plan ahead.
  • Aim for the eyes and face.
  • Always have an exit strategy.

Just having pepper spray does not mean you are assured of fending off an attacker.   As with many aspects of preparedness, having the right mindset will help push the outcome in your favor.

 

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