5 Emergency Light Solutions You Didn’t Know About

flashlightYou have prepped and planned and added flashlights to your emergency stash. You probably even have a lantern in there too. Unfortunately, life never goes as planned and disasters can certainly throw you for twists and turns no matter how prepared you are. Here are some backup light systems you can use should you find yourself without your trusty flashlight or lantern. Now, some of these are really only viable if you are in a power outage or are still in your home and have these items on hand. If you were in a survival situation that puts you out in the boonies, these solutions are not going to apply.

For most of these to work, you will need wicks. You can buy wicks in bulk and keep on hand. If you don’t have wicks, a strand from a cotton mophead will also do the trick.

1-A can of Crisco or vegetable shortening will burn for days. Stick a wick down the center, light it and you have an emergency candle.

2-A cube of butter can be used the same was as a can of vegetable shortening. Put a wick in the center and allow it to burn.KODAK Digital Still Camera

3-Poke a hole in a can of tuna or other canned meat in oil and you have yet another quick candle.

4-Gather up 3 or 4 crayons and tape them or use a rubberband to hold them together. Peel back a piece of the paper and light it with a match. The wax from the crayons will provide fuel and the paper will act as the wick.

5-For a lantern, you can use a headlamp wrapped around a jug of water to illuminate a larger space. This is great for setting on the table so you can play a hand of cards or set on the counter so you can prepare a meal.

These are quick and easy ways you can create candles with things you probably already have in your pantry. Be ready and store extra batteries and several flashlights, but be prepared to come up with some unique ways to light up your space.

What’s Your Bug Out Bag Missing?

travel-641635_640You have probably packed and repacked your bug out bag several times since you first put it together. The more research you do and the more you practice with your bug out bag, the more knowledge you will gain about what you really need in there. Following a list off the internet is great and most bug out bag lists look the same. However, there are some things you can add to your bug out bag that will make your life much easier and you won’t typically find the items on the standard list of things to pack.

Check out the list below and see if you should be adding a few more things to your bug out bag.

*Chapstick—When you are out in the wind and sun for hours, your lips become very dry. You will want to drink more water to help ease the discomfort. If water is in short supply, that could be a problem. Keep some chapstick in your bag to make you a little more comfortable.

*Duct tape—Some folks are avid duct tape users, while others haven’t experienced the joy of the durable tape. Pack a roll and be prepared to be amazed.

*Kitchen trash bags—These can be used for a number of different things and are extremely lightweight and take up no space in your bag. Toss in a few for water carrying, water proofing and even making a shelter.

floss-668215_640*Ziploc bags—Quart and gallon size bags can be used to keep your stuff organized and dry. Use the bags to carry water or put over your shoes to keep them dry.

*Dental floss—While good oral hygiene is important and dental floss will be handy for those needs, it can also be used for so many other things like fishing line, snares, shoestrings and so on. Pack a box or two in your bug out bag.

These five things may seem rather small and inconsequential, but they can be extremely useful. When you are thinking about your bug out bag and the gear you put in it, you want items that serve many purposes and are not limited to just one function. Think out of the box a bit and see what you can come up with.

Prepping for Wildfire Season

fireMany preppers are getting a jumpstart on preparing for a collapse by doing what they can to homestead now. Homesteading is typically done in rural areas either on a prairie where there is lots of land to farm and raise animals or high up in the mountains away from society. While this is great for some nice quiet living and plenty of hands-on practice, there is one risk many don’t consider—wildfires.

Fire can wipe out everything you have worked for within a matter of minutes. It can also threaten your life. Fire is one of those things you cannot predict or even fight without the right tools. Calling the fire department may help, but you also need to be prepared to take care of yourself should a wildfire come knocking on your door.

As with anything, prevention is your best treatment.

*Defensible space is a term you will hear firefighters use quite a bit. Basically, you need to protect your home (with you in it) by creating a space between the trees and prairie grass and your home. While it is great to live and be surrounded by trees, when those trees are up against your house, it is like living in a box of matches.
*Keep things wet. While water is a coveted resource, you can’t be too stingy with it. You want to keep the area around your house green.
*If you don’t want to deal with a lot of plant life or you don’t have enough water to keep a big, green lawn, make it dirt. Dirt doesn’t burn. Get the tiller out and till the ground regularly. Don’t let the weeds grow out of control. firefighters

*Be vigilant and take regular trips around your property. If you see a small bit of smoke, investigate immediately. Don’t wait and see if it is anything, that will be too late. Pay attention to your nose. If you smell smoke or fire, act quickly.

*Avoid running your chainsaw, smoking or having campfires when things are really dry. A single spark or ember could destroy everything you have worked for.

If a fire does threaten your home, be smart and weigh the risks. Staying and fighting is often our first instinct, but waiting until it is too big could end up costing you your life. Always have one foot out the door during fire season. Keep a tote filled with personal paper, precious family artifacts and anything else you can’t live without at the ready.

Be prepared, be vigilant and be ready to bug out should it become apparent that is your only option.

Prepping for Summer Vacation Season

family-591579_640With summer weather, families everywhere are hopping in the car and heading out for a nice family vacation. Preppers are leaving behind the bulk of their supplies and enjoying everything life has to offer today. That is a good idea. There is no point in dwelling on all the what if possibilities and disaster scenarios. You need to get out there and enjoy everything we have available to us today. Before you head for the car, you do need to have a bug out bag in the car, just in case disaster strikes while you are on the road.

You can store these items in a back pack stowed in the trunk of the car or in the back of an SUV.

Emergency blanket—1 for each person
A portable camp shovel
Energy/protein bars
Water
Headlamp/flashlight
Waterproof matches and flint rod or magnesium stick
Orange cones for signaling and/or repairs
Cell phone charger for the car
Compass
First aid kit
Basic tools i.e. screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers
Duct tape
Canteen or bucket for carrying water
Spare tire and the equipment to change it
Extra bottle of car fluids; antifreeze, oil, brake fluidstreet-238458_640

These few items can mean the difference between surviving being stranded on the road for hours after an accident or breakdown and not making it. If a major disaster strikes while you are on the road, you need gear to get back home or to somewhere safe. Keep enough supplies in the car to hold your entire family over for at least a day. You never know when disaster will strike. Prepping isn’t just for home.

Are You Prepared to Hunker Down at Home?

riotingIf you were given an order by the military to stay in your home or neighborhood right this very minute, could you survive? Do you have enough supplies to keep your family alive and well for at least three days? What if the lockdown persists and you are essentially forced to be under house arrest for days or weeks. Very few people have what they need to live through such an ordeal.

You may be thinking that would never happen, but it could happen. You never know if or when our own military may enforce martial law or if we are invaded by a foreign army. While the probability is somewhat slim, it is out there. A terrorist attack or a riot that erupts in your neighborhood will drive you indoors in an attempt to find safety. Events can quickly spin out of control within a matter of hours and you could very well find yourself in this particular scenario.

The following list are some of the very basic essentials you should always have on hand just in case you are forced to shelter in place with no real warning.

*Canned food. You need to have a variety of canned foods, not just a bunch of veggies or a few cans of fruit cocktail. You need soups, fruits, veggies and canned meat if you like it.

*Freeze-dried foods are great, but you will need to store extra water to make the food into edible meals.food pantry-1

*Water is one of the most important things you will store. Some scenarios will allow you to still get water from the tap. Other scenarios will mean you don’t have water from the tap or the water available is contaminated.

*Soap for washing hands and dishes will be necessary. You can’t afford to get sick by using dirty hands.

*Personal hygiene items. Toilet paper, feminine hygiene and toothpaste are all easy to store. They will be very appreciated should you find yourself stuck in your house for days on end.

*Light sources, like a flashlight, candles or a lantern. Sitting in the dark when you know there is chaos outside is intense. You can help dispel some of the fear by having some light.

*Safety and security. It is really personal choice if you want to have a gun in the home, but it is a good idea to have some way to defend yourself and your supplies whether that be a taser, knife, gun or whatever.

*Blankets and winter gear are important to have on hand. If you are forced to hunker down in cold temperatures, there is a chance the power will be out. You need to be able to stay warm. If you have a woodstove or fireplace, make sure you have a supply of dry wood ready to burn.

*First aid kit and any necessary medicines. If you require certain medicines, it is important you keep extra on hand at all times, just in case.

These basic supplies will help you ride out any disaster scenario or even something like a severe storm that keeps you homebound. If you find yourself extremely ill or are stuck at home taking care of a family member who is ill, you can rest assured you don’t have to worry about making it to the store. You have the supplies necessary to survive for a few days or weeks without leaving your house.

Droughts Increase Risk of Wildfires–Are You Prepared?

fireWith the very real possibility of drought in areas all across the country, it is important you prepare to deal with a wildfire that has spun out of control. With a lack of snow and rain, the open country is going to be akin to a giant tinder bundle. A spark from a passing car or a strike of lightning could set off a devastating wildfire that threatens homes and lives. Fire is incredibly unpredictable and can change directions at anytime. You need to be prepared and ready to flee should a wildfire threaten your home.

When you hear about or see a fire in your area, you need to pay attention. Listen to the radio and check in with the news every hour or so to check the progress of the fight. Firefighters will give containment numbers. This means they have the fire a certain percent contained. Fires that are burning out of control and have a 0 percent containment are the most dangerous.

If an evacuation advisory is issued, it would be best to listen and get out before it becomes a mandatory evacuation. If there is not an order to leave the area, you still may want to consider doing so anyways, especially if you have anybody in the home that has any kind of respiratory problems. Wild fires contain toxins in the smoke that can make it difficult to breathe and may cause adverse reactions. It is best to get away from the area and let the firefighters do their thing while you watch from a safe distance.firefighters

Keep a bug out bag ready to go at all times. It is a good idea to keep family keepsakes in a single bin that can be grabbed and tossed into the car on a moment’s notice. You don’t want to waste time trying to hunt down grandma’s wedding ring. Have a credit card available to use to rent a room in a nearby town. Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas in the car to get you far enough away from the fire as well.

Don’t assume a wildfire will never happen in your area. They can happen anywhere at anytime. Be prepared to deal with one.

New Report Reveals Power Grid Vulnerability

power-supply-493209_640There are rising concerns that the electrical grids in developed nations could be the target of a coordinated terrorist attack. Recently, a report revealed just how often attacks were lodged against power grids. We typically don’t hear about these attacks because they are fairly small and the government doesn’t want to panic the citizens. However, it is becoming more obvious than ever that a widespread, massive attack against the power grid is going to happen in the near future. While government agencies work to prevent the attack and hope to develop a system that is not vulnerable to computer viruses and physical attacks, you also need to prepare for the inevitable.

These are some things you will want to start doing today to prepare for a downed power grid that could be out of commission for days or possibly weeks or more.

*Have a supply of canned, freeze-dried and dried food on hand. Grocery stores are going to be closed during power outages and will likely be looted.

*Have emergency lighting on hand. Grab some of the solar lights from the home improvement store to use indoors at night.

*Have enough drinking water on hand to last at least 30 days. Sanitation systems will be down without electricity. Those on their own well who rely on an electric pump will need hand pumps or will need to store water.well-318609_640

*Have a supply of medicine and first aid supplies on hand. Clinics and doctor’s offices will be closed. Hospitals are going to be overwhelmed. Do your best to learn basic first aid to take care of any minor injuries that do not technically need medical attention.

*Have a battery or crank radio so you can stay informed about what is happening and how long you can expect to be without power.

*Be prepared to defend your property against those who want the supplies you have stored. If the outage is extended, people are going to become desperate and will do things they normally wouldn’t. Do not advertise what you have and do your best to keep a low profile.

Power outages are fairly common, but we always expect the power to be restored within a matter of hours. You must be prepared to ride out a major event. The possibility of such an event happening is extremely high.

Surviving a Riot in Your Neighborhood

It only takes a second for a bad decision to result in far-reaching consequences. We have seen more and more riots and violent protests erupt in cities all around the world for one reason or another. These riots end up shutting down neighborhoods and city streets, trapping anybody who happens to be in the area. The people holed up in their homes risk life and limb if they try to leave the area. They may not even be safe inside their homes or businesses if the rioting mob decides to loot and burglarize as part of their protesting.police-275875_640

You must be prepared to deal with a riot at any time. Because police and emergency services are going to be focused on keeping the streets safe and the rioters in check, you are not going to get a lot of help from them should something happen. This is especially true if the riot is large and encompasses a wide area.

It could become unsafe for you to leave your home to go to work, school or even to the store for groceries. You may very well need to shelter-in-place to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. These are some of the things you can do to prepare for a riot and steps you can take to get through one if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

1-Your best bet is avoiding the mess altogether. If you hear rumblings in the neighborhood that a protest or riot is being organized, consider going to a friend or relative’s house in another town until it is over.

2-If a riot erupts and you are smack dab in the middle of it, do your best to blend in. Don’t participate in illegal activities, but don’t take off running in the opposite direction. Casually move away from the area and do your best not to draw attention to yourself.

3-Take steps to make your home as secure as possible. Add a deadbolt to the front door. Having sheets of wood on hand to put over the windows is also helpful. Window locks may help, but unruly rioters will not be deterred by glass.

4-Have at least a 3-day supply of food and water on hand along with any medicines the family may need. Prepare to hole up in your house for at least 3 days while police or the National Guard get things under control.

5-Don’t open the door to anybody unless you know for sure who it is. Only do so if it is safe.rioting

6-Plan evacuation routes should you have to flee your home. Arrange a meeting place outside of the neighborhood for your family members to gather in case you are separated.

7-Consider making your home look uninviting by tossing trash in the front yard. You want potential looters to think your home has already been hit.

8-Avoid using light at night that will advertise you are in the home.

Rioters can quickly spin out of control in a matter of seconds. Do your best to avoid the area and get out as soon as you see things escalating. Don’t be a looky-loo and hang out to see what happens. Your home can be replaced, your life cannot.

3 Ways to Dry Food without Electricity

Part of prepping is learning skills that you will need after SHTF. There is a very strong possibility electricity will be extremely limited or completely non-existent following a major disaster. It could take months or years for the world to be righted again. You have to be able to preserve the food you grow and hunt in order to carry you through the months where it is difficult to garden or find game to hunt.chili

These are 3 ways you can dry food to store for long periods. Drying food will be one of your only options of food preservation as the world relearns the old way of our ancestors.

1-Hanging your fruits, veggies and meat out in an the open sunlight is one way to dry food enough to put it in storage. It is important you string your rope in an area that gets direct sunlight. It cannot be somewhere that is shaded half of the day by a building or trees. It can take a full day, possibly 2 days to get the food completely dry. You can help ensure the drying process is successful by cutting the food thin enough to help speed drying. At night, put the food in a cool, dry place to keep it from spoiling and put it out again the next day as soon as the sun rises. This will keep the food from developing moisture from condensation.

2-A solar dryer is something you will want to build today. There are plenty of designs available on the internet. Use an old window from a junkyard or second hand store. You can use the screen from the window or buy some screening material at your local hardware store. Stretch the screening material over a frame so that it is tight and will hold your food slices. The glass window should mount over the top of the screen. It is a good idea to build your solar dryer on legs so that is off the ground. This is a preferred method as it will keep your food from being littered with debris in the environment as well as protect it from birds and other animals.

car3-It is easy to imagine there will be a lot of broken down cars following a disaster. If those cars have all their windows intact, they will make excellent dehydrators. Push the car into a sunny place and roll up all the windows. Place your sliced food on window screens or cookie sheets. Place the sheets in the front and back windows of the car. The car will become hot as an oven—literally, which is perfect for dehydrating your food. The car will also protect your food from animals and stuff in the environment falling into it.

Is that Plant Safe to Eat? The Edibility Test

chickweedIf you ever find yourself stranded or out in the wilderness with no food to speak of, you need to know what you can eat that you find growing in the wild. There are hundreds and hundreds of plants that are edible. It is extremely difficult to try and remember what every one of those plants are. If you are traveling, you will notice that the terrains vary and so do the plants that naturally grow in the various environments. It would be tough to memorize every edible plant in every terrain. You need to know how to test a plant to determine if it is safe to eat.

These quick steps will help you determine what is edible and what should be avoided.

1-When you have identified a plant that looks like something you could eat, separate it into three main parts. Put the flowers, stem and leaves in separate piles. You could also set the roots aside.

2-Rub the portion of the plant you are planning on eating on the inside of your arm. Wait 15 to 30 minutes to see if there is a negative reaction. Itchiness, redness or burning would all be negative reactions. If no reaction, go to step 3.weeds

3-Rub a portion from the same pile on your lips. Wait another 15 minutes to see if there are any signs you are having a bad reaction. If no reaction, go on to step 4.

4-Put a portion from the same pile under your tongue. If you notice any burning, bitter taste or swelling, spit it out and avoid the plant. If no reaction, go on to step 5.

5-Eat a portion of the plant and nothing else. Do not eat anything for at least 8 hours. Wait to see if you have a bad reaction. Vomiting, diarrhea or cramps are all signs you don’t want to eat the plant.

If you do not have any negative reactions, you can eat the plant in moderation. Do not test more than one plant in a 24 hour period.