What to Do if You Are Stranded in Snowstorm on Highway

Snowstorms are typically not a surprise, but their intensity can take weather forecasters by surprise, which means you are also going to be caught off-guard. When you are traveling across a state or even just trying to commute home from work and a snowstorm wreaks havoc, you could find yourself stuck. Not stuck in a snowbank, but stuck on the freeway. Highway closures are very common when the state patrol determines the roadways are just too unsafe for people to use. If there have been a number of wrecks, slide-offs or a single serious accident, the road can be shut down for hours or even overnight.

This is why you must always be prepared to hang out in your car for hours. You never know when the road may close in front of you. There is no turning around or finding another way. You are stuck along with hundreds of others. The freeway because a giant parking lot.

Before you ever leave the house this winter, you should always be prepared. Even if you are just going to work the next town over. Rural highways are often the least maintained, which means you are at an increased risk of finding yourself stranded.

*Pack along a gallon of water. Avoid using milk jugs and either buy a few water bottles to keep in the car or one of the heavy-duty plastic containers.

*Carry energy bars and other snacks like beef jerky, trailmix and so on. If you are traveling with kids, make sure you have their favorite snacks to keep them entertained.

*Toilet paper. Yep, you are going to be using the bathroom along the highway. A little toilet paper will go a long way to making it a little better.

*Books or other entertainment items will be helpful to pass the time. You don’t want to drain the battery on your phone.

*A car charger for your cell phone or tablet. A portable charger is even better so you don’t have to use the car battery.

*A couple of wool blankets will help keep you warm. You won’t be able to have the car idling for hours—you will run out of gas.

*A flashlight will be needed if you need to go to the bathroom or you want to read. Again, you don’t want to run the car battery down by relying on the interior lights.

Starting a Fire in the Snow

You are freezing and the thought of a fire isn’t just a good idea, it is an absolute necessity. You need a fire to get warm, dry out wet clothing and purify water. A fire is one of the top priorities in any survival situation. When you think about starting a fire, you probably envision a nice dry spot on the ground, with dry tinder and dry wood. If you are in the wilderness and there is snow all around, those things are going to be very hard to come by. You need to know how to start a fire in the snow.

Clear an area for your fire with a branch. Ideally, you will want to place the fire under some cover if possible. A tree canopy is perfect if you don’t have a tarp or blanket. Pick dry tinder that hasn’t been lying on the ground. Look under trees, close to the trunk where pine needles and grass will have the best chance at being dry.

If you can, put your fire on top of some twigs to help keep it off the wet ground. The twigs will burn eventually, but any extra help you can give your fire is a good thing. If your tinder is nice and dry, you won’t have a problem getting the spark to land and start a flame. If the tinder is wet or damp, it is going to take a lot more effort.

Use small twigs or kindling to coax the new fire along if your wood is damp. Smaller pieces of wood are much easier to ignite. Keep building the fire until it is nice and hot before you add a medium-sized piece of wood. Watch the fire closely. You may need to add more kindling to help dry out the damp wood and allow the fire to take off.

It is possible to get a fire going, even if there is snow on the ground. If you can’t clear a place in the snow, you can build your fire on top of ice or lay down some larger logs to act as a platform. Do yourself a favor and carry dry tinder in your bug out bag to make life a little easier.

4 Tips to Choosing the Right Pack for Your Bug Out Bag

We all have a bug out bag. If you don’t, you need to get one. Not all backpacks are created equal and not all backpacks will make good bug out bags. Buying the cheapest backpack at Wal-Mart is not a good use of your money. You can certainly buy used, but you need a quality pack that is going to hold up. Quality counts.

There are some key traits your bug out bag should have.

*Durable. You don’t want flimsy material that will shred with the first snag of a tree limb. While many backpacks are made with some kind of nylon material. Check reviews online to see what others have said about the pack—believe them and not the sales copy.

*Affordable—more expensive does not always mean better. Decide what you can afford and then start looking for packs that fit into your price range. You can buy a used pack for half the price and it will still have plenty of life left.

*Size matters. Decide what you will be carrying. Are you going to be carrying enough gear for the whole family or just yourself? Are you planning on using the bag to live out of for a day or a week? If you need to pack a lot of gear, consider getting an internal frame pack.

*Comfort—if possible, try the packs on before buying. You want it to sit comfortably on your hips and not rest in the small of your back. Spring for the hip belts and extra padding in the shoulders. A breathable material on the back side is another perk that can make warm weather bug outs a little more comfortable.

No matter what you decide, make sure the pack suits you and your needs. Everyone has their own idea about what they need to carry. If you are someone who wants lots of pockets, make sure that is a quality you keep in mind when shopping around. The pack is for you and it is all about what you like and what you don’t.

Winter Weather Tips by Those that Know

There are plenty of areas that are getting hit with snowstorms that are breaking records. Anytime you have records being broken when it comes to the weather, people are going to have a tough time adjusting. Sometimes, you can’t just ride it out. You have to be prepared to be stuck at home for days on end, with the kids stuck home from school.

Areas that are not used to or prepared for snow are going to suffer the worst. Learn from the folks who live in areas that get plenty of snow. Those are the people who know how to ride out a storm in relative comfort without any major damage to their home.

Here are some tips from those that have been there, done that.

Roof Rakes

If your home is in an area that isn’t accustom to heavy snowfall, you are going to need this. Snow is heavy. You need to pull it off the roof before it causes major structural damage or collapses altogether. If you missed the boat and didn’t get one before they all sold out (which they will) a metal leaf rake will work. Scrape the snow as soon as you can.

Snow Shovel

Again, these are going to go fast. Shovels that are metal are going to be a little more durable. If you are dealing with heavy, wet snow, a metal shovel is best. Keep your walkways clear—stay on top of this. Once things start to melt, the slush hits and then it freezes and then you have a big, dangerous mess.

Supplies

Keep supplies like flashlights, candles and portable cell phone chargers on hand. Heavy snow can knock down powerlines or cause tree limbs to fall, taking down a line. You will also need to keep some non-perishable food on hand. Don’t break into the non-perishables first. Eat the leftovers out of the fridge first.

Heat

If you don’t have a second source of heat, you need to get one. A space heater can keep one room warm should your furnace break down. You are not going to be the only one having furnace trouble. You could end up on a waiting list for days. During that time, you need to be able to stay warm. If you are dealing with a power outage, a space heater isn’t going to help. A woodstove is ideal, but if it isn’t possible, know how to keep warm without power.

Time

Give yourself plenty of time if you have to drive in the snow. You can’t expect to jump on the freeway and do the posted speed limit. Take it easy. Have supplies in your vehicle, just in case you get stranded or find yourself stuck in traffic because of an accident. Take along things like kitty litter and a snow shovel. If you do slide off the road, kitty litter thrown under the tires can give you some traction. If you have went into a snowbank, you will need the shovel.

Dress for the Weather

Even if you are just running to the store or dropping the kids off at school, dress like you will be walking through the snow. Wear boots and take along a coat, hat and gloves. If you do happen to get stranded, you don’t want to be walking for help wearing your tennis shoes and without a coat.

Snowy weather can be fun and it will provide plenty of entertainment for the kids. Be ready to hang out and enjoy the time together. It is only temporary.

10 Things Your Doomsday Survival First Aid Kit Doesn’t Have

suture-259662_1280Putting together a first aid kit to use in the middle or aftermath of a disaster may seem fairly straightforward. You add the gauze and band-aids and what not and call it good. But, think about that. How far are a few bandages and a sample pack of ibuprofen going to get you? Exactly. You need to be realistic and accept the likelihood there will be more serious injuries that can’t be fixed with a band-aid.

Along with having the proper supplies, you need to get some training or at the very least, have some manuals on hand. Your first aid set up needs to resemble a mini clinic. You must be prepared to treat serious injuries the best you can with the right equipment. Sometimes, a serious injury only looks bad. It can be fixed with a little knowledge and the right gear.

Considering adding these items to your prepping stockpile and learn how to use them.

1. Suture kits are great to have. Many of them include needles that are already threaded with thread. It is all sterile, cutting down on the risk of infection.
2. Israeli bandages are good to have in your bug out kit. The bandages are designed to apply pressure to a wound while covering it and soaking up any blood. This is ideal if you have to tend to other injuries or if you are alone and need to stop bleeding.
3. Burn sheets. In almost every scenario, the possibility of a burn injury is very high. Bandages that are already treated with a collodial silver application that promotes healing and fights infection.
4. Manual resuscitators. These are the bags you can attach to a tube that has been placed down a patient’s throat and manually inflate to breathe for a patient.
5. Laryngoscope takes some training, but it is used to slide a tube down a person’s airway to allow you to help them breathe.first aid
6. A tactical cric kit isn’t something anyone wants to think about using, but in an emergency when the airway is blocked, a cric (incision through the throat) allows you to get the patient oxygen.
7. Bolin Seal or a penetrating wound chest kit can be a life-saving tool. It is easy to use. A sucking chest wound is life-threatening if not immediately treated.
8. A tactical chest tube kit is another useful tool that military personnel often have to use in the field. The chest tube can drain blood from around the lungs, keeping a person alive.
9. Lateral Canthotomy kits are used to prevent compartment syndrome that may result after a crush injury or a severe burn. These kits provide all the equipment you need to keep the area sterile while you perform the incisions to relieve pressure.
10. QuikClot or a similar hemostatic agent to help stop bleeding in serious injuries.

Each of these items requires some knowledge to use. Most of these kits can be found online and sold under military tactical items. Learn what they are and how to use them. These are the things that can help a person live through an injury that would be fatal without any intervention.

10 Tips to Save Money to Buy Prepping Supplies

baby steps week 2 priceMost preppers are not people with loads of cash in the bank. Preppers tend to be a frugal group of people who are doing what they can to prepare to survive an apocalypse of some sort. These are the people who won’t have the luxury of jetting off to some safe place or building an elaborate bunker system. Preppers are the folks like you and me who live simple lives and are just doing the best we can in this often unstable, crazy world.

If you want to get more serious about prepping, but are not quite sure how you can budget the money to buy what you need, these tips will help you make it work. Stocking up a year’s worth of food, water and other important gear doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that is done over a period of time. It may take years to get what you need. The idea is to keep adding—never stop.

1. Cut out at least one coffee trip to Starbucks or Dutch Brothers. If you can, skip the coffee shops all week and make your own at home. Invest in a $100 machine so you can make delicious coffee in seconds. You will save time and money.
2. Skip the freezer meals and spend a few hours each week preparing meals from scratch. You can make casseroles and other meals on a Sunday, pop them in the freezer and heat during the week. This will save you money on your grocery bill.
3. Shop at thrift stores or buy second hand things like clothing, shoes and other necessities. You can find name brand, high quality items if you are willing to put in the time and effort to look.
4. Buy in the off season. Be ready to shop the clearance shelves after holidays. You can get winter gear in April for a fraction of the cost and use it the following year.
5. Cut out the cable or other television service. Really, TV is garbage anyways and you could be doing so much more with your time. If you need something, spend $15 a month and buy a Netflix or Hulu subscription.money challenge jar
6. Make a serious effort to cut your utility bills. Turn off lights, shorten showers, air dry your laundry and so on. Every $10 you save on your electric bill can go to prepping.
7. Make an effort to grow a garden. It can be container gardening. This gets you in the practice of growing your own food and can help save money on your grocery bill.
8. Pack your lunches. This is going to save you a small fortune every week. If you must, treat yourself to one lunch out per week.
9. Carpool or consider riding a bike to work or to run errands. Public transportation is another option. No, it isn’t always convenient, but if you can save $25 a week on gas, just think of how much food you could put on your shelves.
10. Use coupons. Most stores are moving to digital coupons, which makes it so much easier to use at checkout. You don’t have to worry about clipping coupons, printing or forgetting them at home. Before you make any purchase, do a quick Google search to see if there are any coupon codes available.

Every penny you save counts. Just remember, the extra money you have at the end of the week should go to your prepping. Don’t splurge and go shopping!

10 Skills to Learn in 2017 to Survive SHTF

farmer-1367104_1280Preparing to live after a major economic collapse or some horrible disaster isn’t just about putting food and water on the shelves. You need to be prepared to live without machinery and tools that are a daily part of life right now. You need to be ready to live like the pioneers did. You will be getting your hands dirty and you will be forced to do a lot of manual labor. Life will be a little more physical and hands on. It is important you learn some of the skills our grandparents and their parents used on a daily basis. The following skills will ensure you will thrive after SHTF.

      1. Learn how to work with leather. You will be making your own shoes and clothing once yours are ruined or fall apart.
      2. Learn how to cook from scratch. You won’t have any microwave meals or boxes that only require you to add water.
      3. Learn how to sew. Repairing the clothing you have and making other necessities will be the norm.tandoor-1532331_1280
      4. Learn how to raise animals. You will want to know how to take care of any livestock you will be relying on to feed your family. Know what it takes to keep them alive and healthy. You will also need to know about breeding animals to keep up a continual supply of food.
      5. Know the ins and outs of organic gardening. You won’t get to use pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides when they are all gone.
      6. Read up on herbal medicine. When there are no doctors or Western medicine you will have to treat yourself with homemade concoctions.
      7. Know the basics of construction. You will need to make repairs to your own house or build a new one from the ground up. You may need to build fences, barns and other outbuildings.
      8. You will need to know the basics of home food preservation. It is best if you learn some ways to preserve food that do not require electricity.
      9. Self-defense is going to be a big deal. Learn how to use a weapon and feel comfortable using it.
      10. Hunting is going to be one way you put food on the table. Learn how the basics now so you have a clue as to what you are doing when you have no other food options.

These skills will ensure you can live off the land without the benefits of technology and machinery. Life is going to be different, but it is manageable. Many of these skills have been lost over the years in favor of the easy way. Do what you can to learn them and teach them to your children. In a hands-on world, it will be knowledge that saves you, not a shelf full of food.

Preparing to Bug In

food pantry-1Survivalists and preppers like to talk a lot about bugging out. It is exciting to think about running away and leaving everything behind, including whatever trouble forced you to flee in the first place. Exciting and scary at the same time can be invigorating. It gets your blood pumping and you get a little bit of an adrenaline high just thinking about it. Unfortunately, bugging out isn’t quite as glamorous as you would hope it to be.

If you had the choice to stay home, with your own bed, blankets and all of your stockpiles of food, water and other basic supplies or flee with whatever you can carry on your back, which would you choose? Sleeping under the stars is great in peaceful times and warm weather. Sleeping under the stars when it is raining or snowing—not so fun.

While it makes sense to have a bug out plan in place, it also makes sense to plan to bug in if at all possible. In fact, it is often better to shelter in place while you wait for the immediate danger to pass and then move. There are things you can do that will allow you to hide without anybody suspecting you are there.bug out bag

Bugging in will give you time to plan your escape a little better and avoid the mass exodus that is sure to happen when everyone else runs for the hills. If you have small children or are physically incapable of walking more than 10 miles, bugging in may be your only option. Don’t simply roll over and accept defeat. Prepare and plan and then move when you can secure transportation whether that is a bike, a vehicle or even a wagon.

Don’t automatically assume you have to grab your bug out bags and go when SHTF. It doesn’t make sense to have a year’s worth of food in the basement if you are going to leave it all behind. You certainly can’t carry it all.

Run drills with the family about what they will do to bug in when it is time. Practice what each family member is responsible for when it is time to shelter in place. Cover the windows, lock the doors and put heavy furniture in front and prepare to go dark while you hideout in your home. Be prepared and you can help lessen the fear.

9 Tips for Riding Out a Winter Storm

snowFor many parts of the country, the heavy snowfall has started. Snow is beautiful, when it isn’t 2 feet deep and making life difficult or dangerous. A little snow on the ground is gorgeous and really helps to get you in the holiday spirit. If you live in an area where heavy snow is common, you are probably prepared to deal with the side effects. For those that are not used to dealing with the aftermath of a winter storm, these tips will help you prepare for some of the chaos that ensues and help you get through without any real trouble.

1. Go shopping before the snow starts to fall. In fact, go shopping in August if you can. You don’t want to be one of the last people to the store to get what you need to ride out winter. Things to add to your shopping list include; snow shovel (metal are best, flimsy plastic will snap), roof rake, ice scrapers, rock salt and sandbags.
2. If you have the cash and you live in an area where snow is going to be a part of your life, invest in a snow thrower (snow blower). People never realize how brutal snow shoveling is until they have to get out and do it several times a day, every day for a month.
3. If you have livestock, chickens, goats or whatever, you have twice as much work. You will want a path cleared for you to get to their food and shelters and maybe a little area for them to walk around in. They need exercise to stay healthy.
4. Use your roof rake everyday if you are in one of those storm patterns that brings snow daily. You will need to pull the snow off your home’s roof, the barn, garage and any outbuildings. Don’t wait until it is a foot deep.
5. Shovel the areas you need before the snow is too deep. Snow is very heavy and it gets tough to push after just a few inches on the ground.snow WV
6. Most importantly, be prepared to go without power. This is almost a given anytime there is a snowstorm. You need to have a back up heat source. If you don’t have a fireplace or a woodstove, you need to have a generator that can either run your furnace or a space heater. Your life depends on it. You may not be able to get out to get to a friend’s house or a hotel.
7. Have chains for your vehicle. Ideally 4wd rigs are best if you live in areas where snow is common, but front wheel drive vehicles are often just as good. Chains will help you get up hills or out of your driveway if needed.
8. Have plenty of food, water, flashlights and toilet paper on hand. If you can’t get out to get to the store, you are going to be sheltering in place. Always be prepared.
9. Have winter gear. Again, buy this stuff in August. Shop the thrift stores and have extras on hand. You absolutely need boots, coats and gloves to take care of all your outside snow duties.

These are just some of the things you can expect to deal with. Snow can be a great thing if you are prepared to deal with. Enjoy the beauty of it and stay warm and safe.

Revisiting Winter Weather Preparedness

snowWith much of the country gearing up for a wild winter, it is a good time to talk about winter preparedness. A heavy snowfall or severe weather that results in icy roads or widespread power outages can put people’s lives at risk. If you are prepared for such nasty weather, you don’t have to worry about much more than how you will pass the time.

Winter weather preparedness means you need to be prepared to get stuck at home for days on end. You will have to eat what you have in the pantry and fridge. There is also a good chance you will have to be prepared to stay warm without the luxury of your electric furnace. You will likely need a supply of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking if you don’t have a woodstove to cook on.

There are many elements to winter preparedness. You want to get prepared now, even if you don’t think you will ever need your preps. The old saying, “to have it and not need it is better than to need it and not have it.”

This list will cover the things you need to think about and prepare for.

*A backup source of heat i.e. woodstove or fireplace, if this isn’t possible, you will need to be prepared to seal off a room in the house to try and keep warm with candles, blankets and body heat

*Have a supply of non-perishable foods, you have to assume the power will go out and food in the fridge and freezer will be difficult to cook and may spoil

*Have a supply of rock salt to make the areas you need to walk on outside a little safer

*Have plenty of board games, books and your favorite nonelectrical hobby to keep entertained

*If you do have a woodstove, load up on dry wood nowwood-1767521_1280

*If possible, invest in a portable generator

*Have an emergency kit that includes candles, matches, flashlights and spare batteries

*A snow shovel will be a must, if you can get your hands on a snowblower it will save you some manual labor, don’t forget a roof rake to pull the snow off the roof to prevent a roof collapse

*Plenty of winter gear i.e. wool socks, coats, hats, gloves and waterproof boots, have backups in case the first set gets wet or tears

Usually, in the event of severe winter weather, life gets back to normal within a few days. During that time, you must be prepared to do with what you have at home. You may not be able to go to work, schools will typically be canceled and the whole family will be home. Prepare to feed, entertain and keep everyone warm. Look at it as some time to bond with the family.

Your vehicle needs to be prepared as well. We will cover that in next week’s post.