Preparing to Fight Your Own Fires After a Disaster

fire-175966_1280One thing many of us takes for granted today is the ability to call 9-1-1 and get help with whatever serious problem we are dealing with. One of the services we rarely think about is the fire department. Hopefully, you haven’t had to call them at any point, but if you have, you are probably very grateful for their quick response in saving your home or putting out a fire that threatens your property or life.

Now, think about what would happen after a major disaster. If the fire department is still functioning, they are going to be stretched thin. You may call for help, but they may simply not have the resources to get there. They have to decide what is more important; your home or whatever it is they are focusing their efforts on at the moment. You are on your own.

As with anything, the best defense is a good offense, especially in fire fighting. Do what you can to eliminate fire hazards around your home. Make sure you have plenty of working smoke detectors that will give you early warning of a fire. A fire that has spread to several rooms or even consumed a single room is going to be a huge problem and very difficult to stop with your limited means.fire-717504_1280

If you are in a rural area, create defensible space around your home, just in case of a wildfire. Cut back tree limbs and keep the area directly around your home green or make it rocks. If you are surrounded by fields, it will be especially important you have defensible space. Having a metal roof will certainly improve the odds of you saving your home in a wildfire if it is embers that are the issue.

Have plenty of fire extinguishers at the ready and know how to use them. Have them in the house, the garage, the car and in your barn. You won’t have time to run here or there to track down a fire extinguisher. It is also a good idea to have a manual hand pump for your well, just in case the power is out and your well pump is out.

Learn how to extinguish small grease fires in the kitchen before they become raging infernos. Keep flour on hand in the kitchen or near your outdoor grill to quickly put out a grease fire. Make sure everyone in the house knows your evacuation plan in case of a fire.

Remember, nothing in your home is more valuable than your life, not even your stockpile. Get out if you can’t put the fire out. Don’t try to tackle a fire that is already roaring. Be vigilant and do what you can to prevent fires in the first place.

Is La Nina a Legit Threat?

hurricane-67581_640If you live anywhere on the west side of the United States, you have probably heard a lot about La Nina. La Nina is a mean witch who is threatening to dump boat loads of snow on parts of the country. If you live on the east coast, you have also heard about La Nina. The southeast may get more violent hurricanes with this change in weather patterns. Basically, it is a real threat that everyone needs to prepare for. The entire world will experience some extreme weather, good and bad.

People who live in the northern parts of the country expect snow, but extreme snow is rare. Snow in the north is a part of life. However, no matter how much you expect it, when Mother Nature dumps more than 96 inches of snow in a matter of weeks, it is going to cause some problems. It has been almost 10 years since the last La Nina. For those that remember, it was an excellent year for the ski resorts in the northwest and parts of Utah and Colorado. This winter seems to be shaping up that way as well.snow WV

Are you ready?

If you live in an area that is likely to get a great deal of snow, you need to start preparing for the worst now. Don’t wait until it happens. That will leave you scrambling to get your hands on what you need because all of the other procrastinators took it all. Do what you can to start getting what you need now. The following list includes some of the things you will likely need.

  • Snow shovels—the metal ones will hold up longer than the cheap plastic ones
  • Tire chains
  • Rock salt or bulk bags of salt to deice your walkways
  • A roof rake
  • Stockpile of food and water just in case you can’t get to the store
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Emergency radio—the crank style works great
  • Snow blower—heck of a lot easier than shoveling
  • Load up on winter gear i.e. boots, gloves, hats
  • Feed for the animals if you have them
  • Generator—if you can afford it, you will appreciate being able to have electricity

This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it will get you off to a good start. If you have the ability to budget a new generator, snow blower or even a plow, go for it. You can never be too prepared. Don’t wait until you are buried under several feet of snow to figure out you need something like a good, sturdy snow shovel.

Stepping Up Your Medical Prepping Supplies

first aidEvery prepper has a basic first aid kit at the very minimum stashed away somewhere. Then there are those who have upped their stockpiles to include several sizes and boxes of bandages and what not. They realize that a single injury is not likely. After a major disaster, there are going to be numerous injuries and a wound will require daily bandage changes for weeks. One injury will deplete the basic first aid supplies the average prepper keeps on hand.

You need to up your game if you are truly serious about taking care of your family for the long term. Injuries can be minor or severe. A serious injury doesn’t necessarily mean death. You just need to learn some basic medical procedures like suturing, setting broken bones and reducing dislocations. Having the appropriate medical equipment will be the key to taking care of those serious, but not necessarily life-threatening injuries.

Along with really upping your supply of standard bandages, medical tape and gloves, considering adding the following items to your medical supplies.first-aid-kit-59645_640

  • Skin stapler—much quicker and easier than suturing
  • Suture kits—have a variety of needle sizes that are already threaded and ready for use
  • Tactical Cric Kit—if you need to make an emergency airway for someone, you will want this
  • QuikClot or hemostatic gauze
  • Scalpels in varying sizes
  • Israeli bandage—this is an excellent tool to use if you have a wound that needs direct pressure and you are all alone
  • Surgical drapes–needed to create a sterile field

While these things may seem a little scary, you can learn how to use them. When you are in a dire situation where a person will die if you don’t do something, these tools will give you the best shot at saving lives.

Bug Out Vehicles? Necessity or a Waste of Time?

all-terrain-vehicle-1351034_960_720Preppers are all about bugging out when it hits the fan. Nobody wants to stick around and see what kind of mess a major natural disaster, terrorist attack or the effects of a power grid failure will have. Getting out of dodge is the goal. It gives you the best advantage in the survival game. Sticking around in the middle of a city or busy suburb puts you at risk of encountering other survivors. Sadly, the majority of survivors will not be all that friendly. Those that managed to live through the initial disaster are going to be desperate. They want what you, the smart, savvy prepper, has.

When you think about bugging out, you assume it is you and the family carrying backpacks and hoofing it for 20 or 30 miles out of town. Have you ever actually walked 20 miles? What about 5 miles? It is tough. It is even tougher if the terrain is rough and you are carrying a heavy pack. For some folks, they may need to go at least 60 miles to get out of the city and into the forest where they will seek shelter.

That is a hard day’s work. There is also the issue that walking takes time. You are at an increased risk of being seen. You could be captured, injured or forced to fight. You will be outside in the elements for several days. If there isn’t a source of water on your journey, you risk dehydration. This is why many preppers are investing in a bug out vehicle.jeep-1318706_960_720

A bug out vehicle is one that is tough enough to go off road. It is big enough to carry you and your family and the supplies you need to survive. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it should be reliable. Check out some of the other things you should look for in a bug out vehicle.

  • Four-wheel drive
  • Slightly raised to give you better clearance
  • Durable
  • Bully bars will protect the radiator when you need to push through objects
  • Light rack for additional lighting
  • Winch—just in case you get stuck

You don’t have to have a new truck or jeep. It can be one that is old and beat up that you can customize. In fact, older vehicles that don’t rely on computers are ideal because they will not be disabled should the disaster you are dealing with is an EMP from a nuclear detonation or a solar flare. A bug out vehicle is one of those things you should consider budgeting for. It will make things easier when it is time to bug out.

Prepping in a Tiny Home

garden-shed-931508_960_720The tiny home movement continues to gain attention as more and more people give up on the big American dream of owning a big house with a white picket fence. The mortgage and upkeep that goes along with that dream is more of a nightmare for most. The fear of losing your job, getting ill and being unable to pay the bills or having some kind of tragedy strike that makes it difficult to pay the bills is on the minds of people all around the world.

Too many people end up with nothing after having it all, including the immense stress. This is why a lot of people are abandoning the big house and the big mortgages and going tiny. They are doing more with less. They are giving up the worldly treasures that are more like a ball and chain. You can’t take your big flat screen to the grave. Life is about living for the moment and treasuring the memories you made, not the things you bought.

Many tiny home dwellers are also preppers. They have a unique situation. They can’t stockpile a year’s worth of food and water in their pantry. That doesn’t mean people who live in tiny homes or even small apartments can’t stockpile and prep. It is about getting creative. Thinking outside of the box and making the most of every inch available.carriacou-1567544_960_720

Most tiny homes are set up on a rural tract of land, which is perfect for a prepper. This gives you plenty of space to garden and even raise livestock. You can put up a security fence that will keep people off your land. Your safety and the protection of your supplies is going to be a bit more difficult in a tiny home, so your perimeter must be extra secure.

You will need to have a root cellar or some kind of additional storage on the property. It is simply not feasible to stockpile more than 30 days worth of food in a tiny home. You can of course utilize the space under the furniture you have in the home. Most tiny homes have very high ceilings. Adding shelving to the upper 7 or 8 feet of the ceiling will use the open space without taking up any room below. The space under the tiny home can also be utilized for storage. It would be a good idea to use rubber totes or 5-gallon buckets for this area.

Never assume you can’t be a prepper because you don’t live in the ideal environment or home. Look for alternatives. Every little can of food you put on the shelf is one more day of survival. If stockpiling is going to be next to impossible, hone your gardening, foraging and hunting skills.

Getting Ready for Winter in the Middle of Summer

firewoodIf you live in mountain country or an area where wood heat is a staple, you have probably already started collecting the wood you will burn through winter. Relying on a woodstove to heat a home is a common practice for many in cold areas because it tends to be cheaper and more reliable. A winter storm that knocks out the power can leave those who rely on a furnace for heat in the cold. No power and no heat can be life-threatening. As a prepper, you need to have a backup heat source, like a woodstove or a fireplace. It is common sense and often one of the first things on the list for a prepper.

The investment into a woodstove will run you anywhere from $500 to $2000 depending on the size of the stove and how much work needs to be done to install a chimney. If you can swing it, this is the summer to get it done. Buying a woodstove out of season is going to get you the best deals. You can get the clearance models that need to go before the new stock comes in for the upcoming winter.snow WV

Once you get your fireplace or woodstove in, it is time to start stockpiling wood. Depending on the size of your house and the average winter temperature, you could burn anywhere from 2 to 10 cords of wood. You have a couple of options for getting wood.

You can have it delivered already cut and ready to be stacked in a shed or somewhere you can keep it relatively out of the weather. You can save a little money by having rounds delivered, but you better be ready to do a lot of work. You will need to split the giant rounds in order to get the right size logs for your stove.

Another option is going to cut the wood yourself. You can buy a permit from the forest service that allows you a certain amount of wood. You will only want to take downed trees. In many cases, you will need a chain or some way to drag the log down a hillside. From there, you will need to use a chainsaw to cut the wood small enough to load into your truck or trailer. Once you get home, it is more cutting, splitting and stacking.

If you have your own property, you can use downed trees as a source of wood. You are also free to chop down any trees on your property and use those for wood. You will of course want them to dry out for several months to a year before you try burning.

Now is the time to think about winter readiness. You never know when the first winter blast is going to hit and getting caught unprepared could be disastrous.

5 Secret Places to Hide Your Prepping Stockpile

clothes-basket-349709_960_720As we head towards what will likely be a game changer in the history of the United States, people all around the world are on edge. Preparing for things to take a major shift seems like a smart move. Building up a stockpile of food, water, weapons and basic emergency supplies is becoming a priority for many as they wait and watch the state of the economy. We like to protect what we have. Sometimes, out of sight and out of mind is the best way to do that. If it doesn’t look like you have any supplies to take, you don’t have to worry too much about somebody stealing the food you saved for a rainy day.

The following tips will help you hide your food and supplies to keep it out of the hands of would-be robbers.

Plain Sight

Stash your goods in those big rubber totes and label them with things like, “winter clothes” or “Christmas decorations,” and put them in the closet, garage or shed. Thieve who are looting your home are going to be in a hurry. They will pass right over the stuff they don’t want.

Under the Bed

You can hide a lot of food and supplies under your bed. Place the goods in the center and pile some shoes or scattered clothing around the edges. When the thieves pop their heads under the bed, they will see the typical mess pushed out of sight. You could also use those totes designed to slide under the bed. Put your goods in and then add a jacket or blanket to cover the items.

Bottom Drawer

Thieves will always go for the top drawer in a dresser. Stash your goods in the bottom drawer and put a few pairs of jeans or a few shirts over the top of the supplies to hide them from a thief rummaging through the drawers.

Linen Closetslinen-542866_960_720

Linen closets filled with towels and sheets are excellent camouflage for your goods. Hide the good stuff behind stacks of towels or in between the layers. Don’t forget the very top shelf that can typically only be reached with a step stool.

Laundry Hamper

Thieves are not going to dig through your dirty laundry. Create a false bottom in the bottom half of your dirty clothes hamper and stash your goods. You will want to keep something in the hamper at all time to hide the fact it isn’t truly empty. This isn’t going to be a problem for most households.

Glow Sticks: 10 Reasons You Want Them in Your Bug Out Bag

When you are putting together your bug out bag, there is a long list of gear you will want to add. Things like a knife, water purification tablets and a flashlight are all at the top of the list of essential gear. As you get to packing your bag, you will likely discover you have a little extra room. You can always squeeze in a little extra something that gives you an edge in a survival situation. One of the things you should add are glow sticks.

Glow sticks are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk for even more cost savings. Some people will assume they don’t need the glow sticks because they already have a flashlight and a way to start a fire. However, there are some other reasons you should add the glow sticks to your bug out bag or stash a pack or two in your emergency supplies.

1-Glow sticks are perfect for adding just enough light to a camp spot without being overly bright. They make perfect night lights for those nights you won’t have a fire.

2-Glow sticks can be used to mark a trail or set near something like an outhouse or the car to act as a beacon.

3-The sticks are waterproof and will stay lit, even in the rain and snow.

4-They can be used to indicate your location if you are trying to be rescued.

5-Kids or members of your group can wear a stick on their shirt or around their wrist so you can see them in the dark.

6-Glow sticks can be left at your camp while you go off looking for firewood, food or water without fear they will start a fire.wilderness survival kit

7-They can be easily hidden should you need to hide in the darkness.

8-The sticks can amuse children for hours.

9-The sticks are much safer to use than a candle and do not require any batteries.

10-You can use a glow stick at any time, even if you suspect there may be flammable gas in the area. If you are in the house after an earthquake and natural gas is present, a glow stick will not ignite.

The glow sticks are inexpensive and most will last for about 12 hours. You can pick up smaller glow sticks at the dollar store or order the larger sticks that are meant to be used in a survival situation online.

Civil Unrest: Are You Prepared?

riotingIt seems like things are getting more out of control every single day. Police are being shot. Police are shooting people. Politicians are getting busted for shady dealings. Terrorists threaten the world as we know it so much so that people across the country are afraid of their own neighbors. Society in general is falling apart and riots seem to be the way people respond to things they don’t like. Riots bring out the worst in people. It is scary business and you never know when people are going to get mad and take matters into their own hands.

Civil unrest seems to be looming. You don’t know what may trigger it, but you can prepare to live through it. It doesn’t matter if you are one of the ones who is encouraging it or if you just want to keep your head down and get through it all. Preparing for the worst is your best chance of making it through the ugliness of civil unrest and the devastation it brings.

Food and Water

You may be forced to hunker down at home for several days, weeks or months. You will want to have a good supply of food, water and other basic necessities. Grocery stores will likely be closed. You won’t have anyway to buy new supplies and leaving your house to do so could be dangerous.

Home Defense

Whether you are part of the revolt or not, your home and the lives of your family will be at risk. Civil unrest means there will be no law readily available. You won’t be able to call for help when rioters and looters take advantage of the chaos. You will have to defend yourself and your supplies on your own.solar

Preparing for No Power

Depending on how widespread and how severe the unrest is, you may have to go without electricity. It may be cut by authorities trying to regain control or taken down by rebels intent on destruction. Employees may not show up to work at the power company. You may not be able to work, which means you won’t have money to pay the power company anyways. Be ready to take care of cooking and heating without the luxury of electricity.

Bug Out Plan

If you live in the city or suburbs, things may get extremely dangerous. Heading for the hills may be your safest bet, but you don’t want to set out without some kind of plan. Come up with a bug out plan and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

We have seen plenty of rioting and rebellion in the past couple of years and preppers are constantly monitoring hot topics in the news. It only makes sense to be prepared for something bigger and for a much stronger response. Be ready and you can ride it out.

5 Things to Do Today to Prepare for an Apocalypse

food pantry-1When you think about prepping for a future apocalypse or something on a similar scale, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There is so much to do and so little time (possibly) and you don’t know where to start. Do you run out, max out the credit card at Costco and call it a day? No. Don’t do anything rash. You don’t know when the end of the world as we know it is going to come. It could be tomorrow, it could be next year or it could be 10 years down the road. It is all about prioritizing and taking small steps forward. Every little or big thing you do is going to make a difference.

You need a starting point. The following things you can do right now to help prepare you for an apocalypse on either a small scale or an all out world-changing event.

1-Take inventory. Yep, go dig out your supplies and write down exactly what you have. You can make your own spreadsheet or download one of the hundreds of different lists from preppers that are available on the internet.

2-Organize your space. If you don’t have a dedicated shelf or pantry for your prepping supplies, consider cleaning out a hall closet or making some space in the laundry room. If you can get to the supplies fairly easily, it will make it easier to see what you have and load more supplies on the shelf.emergency supply list

3-Make a list of things you still need. If there is something really important that is missing, like a water purification method or basic kitchen tools like a can opener, those need to be at the top of the list. Keep the list handy so it stays fresh in your mind. When you get an item, mark it off and the next item on the list takes priority.

4-Come up with a disaster plan. If you know disaster is coming your way, you need to spring into action and don’t have time to think about what to do and who is going to do it. Have a backup plan as well. If your goal is to bug in, go with that, but also have a plan to evacuate in place, just in case. Your plans should include tasks for each member of the family. If you are bugging in, someone needs to lock the doors, cover the windows, fill water containers and so on. If you are bugging out, have bug out bags at the ready and your route already planned.

5-Put together a binder. This binder will include copies of your inventory lists, things you want or need, ideas you gather from surfing the internet or talking with other preppers and your disaster plan. This is also a good place to store copies of your insurance policies, birth certificates, deeds, emergency phone numbers and other important information you will need.

These few things will help get you organized and on a path to prepping for the future. It doesn’t cost any money to get organized. Plan a few hours or make it a project for the day.