Heating Without Electricity
4 Ways to Heat Your Home When the Power Goes Out
The main reason we seek shelter and build homes is to have a comfortable, safe place for our families where we are protected from the elements. Especially the cold. Prolonged exposure to cold can cause a dangerous loss of body heat and bring on Hypothermia, which is one of nature's fastest killers.
We heat our homes to make them more comfortable when the temperatures drop. But most heating methods require electricity to provide heat, distribute it or control our systems. So when the power goes out we also lose our heating systems.
Even if our homes lose heat due to a power outage we're no doubt better of then being out in the elements. But it can be very uncomfortable, especially in colder climates and during the winter months. An alternative way to heat our home, and the supplies to fuel it, are an important part of survival preparedness.
Heating Without Electricity - Alternative Home Heating Methods
The main problem with standard fireplaces is that they just aren't very efficient. A lot of the heat they produce goes right up the chimney and out into the air. You can minimize this by adding an insert designed to keep more heat in the room. Do consider that some inserts use electricity to power internal fans but you can purchase a convection type of insert that draws in cold air, heats it, then returns it back into the room without the need for electricity.
You also need to consider the kind of wood you choose to burn in to heat your home. You may have a source for fire woods on your own property. But if you have to purchase fire wood keep in mind that hardwoods cost more than softwoods. However they do burn longer and give off more heat making them a better investment overall
Wood Burning Stoves. Wood burning stoves are designed to be more efficient versions of the home fireplace. Usually made of cast iron, the stoves themselves heat up and then radiate that heat into the room. Some heat is still lost through the chimney but much more of it is kept in the home.
Unlike a home fireplace, a wood burning stove can be retrofitted more easily into an existing home. You'll just need to locate a safe place for the chimney. Most modern chimney designs are triple walled to keep the external wall of the chimney cool. This type of chimney can be built to run up through nearly any space without the risk of causing a fire.
While not ideal, in an emergency a wood burning stove can be installed temporarily. The must be placed on a heat proof, inflammable surface such as brick, metal or stone with the chimney routed out a window. Simply remove an upper pane of glass and fill the remaining space with a piece of metal or plywood.
Kerosene Heaters. If you have a source of kerosene on hand this type of heater can be an excellent method of heating without electricity. They can put off a bit of an odor but they are clean burning. However, kerosene would be almost impossible to purchase once an emergency situation strikes so you will need to make sure you have an adequate stock on ahead of time.
Kerosene heaters also radiate heat from all sides, just like a wood burning stove, which increase their efficiency. But unlike fireplaces or wood burning stoves they don't require chimneys, just fresh air. So be sure to locate your kerosene heater in a room where there is adequate ventilation.
Propane Heaters. Also known as catalytic heaters, this method of heating without electricity is ideal if you already have a source of propane available at home. The propane fuel is jetted into a perforated ceramic element where it creates heat as it burns. As with kerosene heaters, the heating element is located behind a wire grate to prevent accidental burns.
The biggest benefit of of propane heaters is they are very efficient and keep providing heat as long there is fuel available in the tank. If you're going to rely on this alternative home heating method remember to keep your tank closer to filled than empty. You never know when an emergency situation will arise.
Obviously it isn't as convenient or comfortable to move your entire family into one or two rooms of your home for any length of time, short or long. But unless you have an abundance of fuel and/or more than one heater, or type of heater, it makes the most sense to heat just one room.
Any one of these four alternative home heating methods will work when you need to heat your home without electricity. The most important thing to remember when you're heating without electricity is make sure you keep an adequate supply of the alternative fuel. Consider the maximum number of days you may be without power and how much fuel your chosen method uses on a daily basis. This will help you calculate the amount of fuel you need to keep in your emergency stockpile.
Posted by Hunter Fields on Nov 09 2016
Survival First Aid Kit
22 Items Your Family Needs to Be Prepared
A well stocked survival first aid kit can be one of the most important resources on your emergency preparedness checklist. In a real emergency situation hospitals become quickly overwhelmed and you may have to wait a very long time to get the attention you need.
Most families keep some type of first aid kit in their home, especially if they have children.
They’re inexpensive and easy enough to pick up at the local drug store. But a ready made kit may not be of much use for anything more than a minor cut or scrape
Keeping the right items in your own survival first aid kit could make the difference between life and death in a crisis situation. Every family needs to be able to handle minor injuries in their home.
First Aid Kit Essentials
Common Adhesive Bandages: These are standard items in even the most basic first aid kits. These types of bandages are useful for most minor cuts and scrapes. Fabric bandages tend to be more expensive but are more flexible and adhere to the skin better. Also consider adding some water proof bandages to your supply.
Larger Bandages: In a crisis situation you may be dealing with injuries that require more than just a simple band aid. You’ll need gauze pads and wrapping for more severe wounds caused by such things as gun fire or power tools. If you don’t have these things in your kit a simple alternative is sanitary napkins. They are common in most households and can be less expensive as well.
Elastic Bandages: Elastic bandages are used to support sprained joints and can also be used to secure an aluminum splint. They come in various widths and sizes, from 2-6 inches, and are important part of your survival first aid kit.
First Aid Tape: Large gauze rolls and pads usually do not come with their own adhesive and will require first aid tape to keep them in place. But there are some medical tapes made of material that is stretchy and also sticks to itself without sticking to skin so it does not cause pain when removed.
A Blood Clotting Agent: Extensive bleeding from a serious injury can cause death. Celox, a common blood clotting agent, will help stop bleeding quickly and is even effective if the injured person is on prescription blood thinners. Most people don’t keep a blood clotting agent on hand so for small to medium wounds black pepper can be used. Most people have it in their kitchens and it is a natural antibacterial that helps blood coagulate more quickly. A generous amount of black pepper (finely ground) applied with pressure to the wound and covered with a bandage should help stop the bleeding more quickly. Keep in mind that medical attention may still be required.
Antiseptics: Wounds must be thoroughly cleaned out before bandaging to kill bacteria and prevent it entering through broken skin. Hydrogen peroxide and/or rubbing alcohol are commonly used for cleaning wounds. Then an antiseptic, such as iodine, should be applied to reduce the risk of infection.
Adhesive Sutures: Adhesive sutures, also referred to as adhesive tape closures, are a good alternative to stitches for larger cuts if you are unable to get to a hospital for proper medical attention. It’s important to be sure the skin is clean and dry where the adhesive will be applied.
CPR Masks: It is common for a person administering CPR to use a CPR mask to avoid direct contact with the bodily fluids of the person they are trying to revive. This helps reduce the risk of transmitting viruses from one person to another.
A Glucosameter: These devices are used by diabetics to help monitor their blood sugar levels. Most diabetics have issues with high blood sugar but low blood pressure can also cause problems such as weakness, dizziness, confusion and unconsciousness.
A Blood Pressure Cuff: Like blood sugar, high, as well as low, blood pressure can be problematic and a key indicator of a person’s overall condition.
An Ear Thermometer: A person’s temperature is another medical vital sign to monitor. Oral thermometers are common in most households and will certainly do if needed but ear thermometers are faster as well as more accurate.
Aluminum Splints: It’s important to quickly immobilize broken bones. Many common items can be utilized to improvise a splint. But aluminum splints, which are made of aluminum strips coated with a thin layer of foam rubber, are easily configured and formed making them convenient and easy to used.
Saline Solution and an Eye Cup: A saline filled eye cup is the best way to flush chemicals, dust etc. out of the eye without the risk of further injury.
Syrup of Ipecac: Most moms, especially if they have young children in the house, will have Syrup of Ipecac on hand. It is used to induce vomiting when someone swallows a substance that is potentially poisonous.
Cold Packs: Cold packs are used to relieve the pain and swelling associated with many injuries, such as sprained ankles or wrists. It’s best to apply them quickly and they come in handy when ice is not readily available. If you don’t have a cold pack or ice, a bag of frozen peas or corn make a really good substitute!
Hand Sanitizer: The best way to clean your hands to reduce microbes and germs is to wash them with soap and water. But in an emergency situation, where soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol based (60% alcohol or more) may be the best, if not only, option.
Antimicrobial Wipes: Like hand santizer antimicrobial wipes can be used in an emergency when soap and water are not available. They can also be purchased individually wrapped for easy storage and carry.
Rubber Gloves: Like a CPR mask, rubber gloves can help protect care givers from viruses and bacteria transmitted through person to person contact.
Magnifying Glass and Tweezers: These two items can be used to remove painful splinters which can easily become infected.
Over the Counter Pain Relievers: Once again, these are common in most households and are important and necessary in helping to help relieve pain, as well as swelling, when someone suffers from an injury.
Personal Prescription Medication: If you, or anyone in your family relies on prescription medication to maintain their health it's important to keep an emergency supply on hand. Don't wait until you're down to your last pill. You never know when an emergency could prevent you from getting your prescription refilled.
Potassium Iodide: Potassium Iodide is a salt that blocks the Thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine, which helps protect it from radiation poisoning. For more detailed information on why you should include Potassium Iodide in your survival first aid kit visit the CDC Website.
Most households will have at least some of these survival first aid kit items already on hand. But there may be some items you are unfamiliar with. Once you add those items to your kit it’s also important to take the time to learn how to use them properly. In an emergency situation seconds can count and knowing how to take quick action could make a big difference when caring for someone in a serious first aid situation.
Better prepare your family for an emergency situation by taking advantage of the many instructional videos available online.
Posted by Hunter Fields on Oct 30 2016
Emergency Food Supplies
How to Store Food Long Term
Most modern food processors and manufacturers don't bother to package food for long term storage because most people don't stockpile emergency food supplies. But preppers often store enough food to last for years.
Let's face it, the majority of food available in grocery stores isn't packaged to last more than a few months. Start checking out the expiration dates of the food you buy and you'll see what I'm talking about. The exception being canned goods which can possibly last for years as long as their seals aren't compromised.
When you purchase foods in bulk you will most likely need to repackage most of them. But when stored properly your emergency food supplies will last a long time, even up to 20 years. Proper storage will keep out pests like rodents and insects, damaging micro-organisms, as well as moisture and oxygen. This will help keep food fresh and help retain nutritional value.
What you'll need to get started...
Storage Supplies: First you'll want to gather the containers to properly store your food long term. These can include:
Mylar food storage bags (these come in a variety of sizes from 1 quart to 5 gallons)
Five gallon food grade buckets
The five gallon buckets are most likely available at your local home improvement center, but the Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are harder to find so you'll probably have to order the online. All three of these items are available on Amazon.
Equipment: You'll need a vacuum with a hose to remove extra air and a hair curler/straightener or hot iron to create a seal on the mylar bags. A rubber hammer comes in handy for closing the plastic buckets but it's not necessary.
Fill the bags: For the food to stay fresh in long term storage you'll need to make sure it is sealed to keep oxygen out. Mylar bags work well for this because you can melt them together by applying heat to form an air tight seal. First seal the top two inches of each bag leaving a two inch opening at the end.
Remove excess Oxygen: Removing the oxygen before sealing the bags is the most important step in the entire process. Add an oxygen absorber through the 2 inch opening at the end of each bag. Check the directions on the oxygen absorbers you've purchased to see what size is best for each bag. You'll want to work quickly. So once you've placed the oxygen absorber in the bag use the vacuum hose to remove as much air as possible.
Sealing the bags: Now that you've removed as much air as possible from the bag it's time to seal it up. Hold the bag closed while sealing the last two inches with your hot iron so no air can get in. Work fast to avoid having the oxygen absorber exposed to the air in the room, making it less effective.
Packing the food: Place your filled and sealed Mylar bags in the buckets. You can choose to store only one type of food in each bucket, or you can fill your buckets with foods that you tend to use together. Organize your buckets in the way that suits your lifestyle best. Check out this useful tip on how to store more than one type of food in your mylar bags on the web site Ed That Matters. To save money on supplies you'll want to get as much food in each bucket as you can.
Close the bucket: The Mylar bags, if properly sealed, will keep your food fresh but the five gallon buckets will protect your food from rodents. Fold the flaps of the bags down and place them in the buckets. Then secure the lid of the buckets on top. Force the lid down with your hands or, if you have one, use a rubber hammer to seal the bucket tight.
Label the contents: Be sure to label each bucket with its contents. If you've chosen to store more than one type of food in a bucket make note of the quantity of each item. With long term food storage you most likely cannot rely on your memory to determine the contents of multiple buckets.
Storing your food: Your emergency food supplies needs to be kept in a cool dry place. If properly packaged your stockpile is safe from moisture but you'll want to avoid having mold or mildew growing on your buckets. In addition to that, exposure to heat can have a negative effect on the nutritional value of food so storing it in a cool place can help keep it fresher, longer.
Most emergency food supplies, when stored properly, should remain usable for up to 20 years or even longer. The combination of the air tight Mylar bags and the 5 gallon buckets to keep insects and rodents at bay can help ensure the safety of your long term food supplies.
But again, the key to this storage system is using Oxygen Absorbers. They not only protect your food from oxidation, they protect it from insects and bacteria. Like most living things insects can't survive without oxygen so even if there were insects, or insect eggs, in your supplies when you sealed them up, they will not survive in the bags/buckets. Follow these tips and your emergency food supplies should be as fresh when you need to use them as they were when they were first packaged.
Posted by Hunter Fields on Sep 29 2016
8 Ways to Secure Your Home
The sad truth is that most homes are not nearly as secure as the homeowners think they are. On top of that, most advice on home security is pretty much useless. It mainly just keeps honest people out. But the people you really want to secure your home against can kick most front doors wide open, even with a deadbolt!
Most of the home security measures the average person takes will not stop an attack by determined, armed intruders. They're only designed to deter those who want to sneak into your home quietly. But if someone doesn't care how much noise they make a security system isn't going to stop them. Think about it, a locked window isn't going to stop someone who is more than ready to break it.
The best place to start to secure your home against attack is at the most common entry points for criminals, the first floor doors and windows.
How to Help Secure Your Home:
Replace Your Door Hinge Screws. Most screws that are used to hold front door hinges are only around 3/4 of an inch long. Just long enough to go into the wooden door frame. That doesn't provide much security. Start by replacing them with 3 inch case hardened screws that are long enough to go all the way into the stud behind the door's frame.
Use Security Door Strikers. Most door frames are made of wood, rather than metal. And your deadbolt is only as strong as the striker plate that holds it. If your door frame was made of metal it would be nearly impossible to kick open. But if it's made of wood and you only have a small metal striker plate mounted to the door frame, the deadbolt will break the door frame itself when kicked because that's the weakest point. By replacing the standard striker plate with a security striker plate, from 12-60 inches long, the force of a kick will be spread over a bigger area which will make it harder to break through the wood door. Again, install the new striker plate with 3 inch case hardened screws.
Install Door Clubs. Door clubs are placed inside at the bottom of the door and connect the door to the floor. Once in place a door club can resist over 2 tons of force, preventing intruders from kicking in the door. They do require drilling a hole in the floor and, when in place the door cannot be opened from outside.
Consider Replacing Your Sliding Glass Doors. Sliding glass doors are the hardest doors to secure. And they usually face the back of the house out of view from neighbors or passers by who might notice an intruder. While more up to date sliders are harder to remove from their tracks, all it takes is a determined attacker to break through the glass. The best option is to replace sliding glass doors with well secured entry doors.
Install Window Security Bars. Just like glass doors a determined intruder can simply break your windows to get into your house. One solution for this would be to install window security bars. These bars are attached the the house itself and
prevent entry into the home through the windows..
Use Window Security Film. Window security bars do tend to be unsightly so another solution to consider is security film. You'll probably need a professional to install the film but it will cover the inside of your windows making them much harder to break.
Secure Your Garage Door. Automatic garage doors are pretty easy to break into, especially if they're made of aluminum. The locks can be easy to break which allows the locking bars to be lifted by hand. But putting a simple bike lock through a hole in the tracks, directly above one of the wheels, you can prevent the door from being opened even without the lock.
Plant Thorny Hedges. Most of us can't surround our property with a moat or a 10 foot wall but a nice thick hedge of thorny bushes can be an attractive barrier as well as a painful deterrent. In the effort to avoid injury intruders would be forced though an opening in the hedge or to climb over a gate where you could more easily confront them.
In a survival situation you need to shift your focus from keeping burglars out of your house to taking the steps needed to keep a mob of hungry, potentially violent people out. People who are willing to do anything they have to in order to get what they want.
Your goal is to secure your home so that it's hard enough to break into that you'll have the time you need to react. Even one extra minute could be enough for you to gain access to your firearms so you can repel an attack.
Posted by Hunter Fields on Aug 24 2016