Archive for the ‘prepping’ Tag

Chaos is Coming   1 comment

My mind is certainly filled with apocalyptic visions these days as the characters in Objects in View start to feel the long-term consequences of their situation. You’ll get to read those soon.

It’Image result for image of preppings coincidental that this summer is somewhat paralleling my fictional world. I alluded to it in Life As We Knew It – riots, food shortages, signs of economic collapse, and general chaos, all bubbling under a veneer of civility.

In the real world, the rose-colored glasses have been ripped away from large swaths of the population all at once. Cops are shooting people for traffic violations and exercising their Constitutional rights. The politicians and media have jumped on the false flag of “race war” in hopes that the newly awakened will be distracted from the blatant corruption in our government.

I think they may be reacting too late. The country has already become a battle zone after decades of abuses of power. The actions of individual cops in certain police departments have made all cops targets for violent retaliation. I know some people will claim that above statement misreads the situations and makes it worse. I don’t think so. If cops weren’t abusing and killing citizens in an abuse of their power, citizens would not be responding with violence.


Regardless of what you think about how or why the events of last week occurred, it seems that the potential for violence is spreading across our nation in a pandemic fashion. I think the situation is being manipulated for power and political gain and I believe it’s going to get worse. Last weekend, communication between one of the leaders of Black Lives Matters and some followers suggested a “day of rage” what being scheduled that would have caused widespread disruption in major cities across the country.

Pretending that it isn’t happening or planning kumbya gatherings is not a rational response to the chaos that is building. We need to face reality, accept it and prepare for it.

So, how prepared are you? No, really? How long could you last with the supplies you have on hand? Do you plan to bug out or, like me, shelter in place? Do you have a plan for defending wherever you end up?

My view on this has evolved over the years, so we only did this with our son and our disaster plan is mostly for natural disasters because we live in Alaska, where societal unrest is less likely to happen. If I lived in a city in the Lower 48, I’d really be thinking more about how to survive widepread societal breakdown.

By planning ahead, we avoid the fear, panic, and confusion that leads people to rush to the store and clear the shelves like a horde of hungry locusts. We don’t have to venture out into the angry mobs, the rioters who will use any excuse to steal, and the hungry people who are only thinking about feeding their own kids. A prepared mindset, a defense plan, and a well-stocked home can help to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.

This may not be entirely your choice. Martial law often involves the authorities forcing people to stay in their homes, as we saw in Boston following the bombing at the marathon. Although the directive was supposedly voluntary, but if you ventured outside, you would have SWAT teams pointing guns in your face. Staying home during this martial law was the only option. Some people ran out of supplies the same day. Don’t be one of those people.

When you take out the government factor and consider just civil unrest, your lockdown area may be greater than your own home. In a small town (like Emmaus), far away from riots and protests, your lockdown area could encompass your immediate community. Life might go on as it always has for you, aside from the need to stay just a little closer to home than before.

In a city or suburb, it may become essential to make a decision quickly. Do you lock your doors and stay home or do you bug out?  Only you can answer that question, but don’t contemplate it too long because there’s a rapidly closing window of opportunity. If all your neighbors get the same idea, you’ll most likely be stuck in traffic and trapped in your car. Protesters shut down highways more than once in the last six month just in protest of Trump rallies. Think about what people in a food riot could do? That’s why my plan is to stay home. I can’t think of any place less safe than a car stuck in traffic.


Front Cover LAWKI no windowIn Life As We Knew It, I showed what could happen if you’re not home when terrorism occurs. I’m going to expand that in Objects in View. In a perfect world, we’d all be home, watching the chaos erupt on TV from the safety of our living rooms, but the fact is that some of us will be at work, school, or in the car when unrest starts.  That’s where a “get-home” plan for all of the members of your family is very important.

I’m going to focus on my son’s “get-home” plan from when he was in elementary school. We were honest with him and said “There may be a time when Mom and Dad can’t get to your school. What do you think you would need to get home in a crisis?”

Kyle asked us to walk him home from the school several times so he would know the way on foot. One of those times, we started out in on a lovely day and then got rained on and then the temperature dropped. The Alaska weather taught lessons I had never considered. When he went back to school that fall, he carried a thick pair of socks, gloves, a hat, a flashlight, some Powerbars, and a cell phone charger with him. He also chose to stash 20 1-dollar bills. At 10, he understood the value of being able to give people money. He also had a taxi cab company programmed into his phone. I had pre-paid a trip home from school. But just in case he had to walk, he knew the route that avoided major thoroughfares and he had a laminated map that would allow him to stay oriented should he have to deviate.  We planned ahead for extreme cold weather by identifying places where he could stop to warm up, but he also had a couple of chemical hand warmers in case he had to make the walk without shelter. He knew where the back-up to the back-up key was, could build a fire in the woodstove and had controlled access to the firearms … just in case.

By the way, when his bus broke down that winter and the back-up was slow in coming, he had already calculated his route home when rescue arrived. He planned to just tell the bus driver that he was going and walking in the direction he needed to go. “How could she stop me, Mom? She’s not armed and I’m strong.”

Yeah, okay. Good plan. At 10 years of age, he understood that sticking around in a situation where the authorities thought they were in control was a dumb idea.

Once everyone is safely home, you need to commit to your decision to lockdown. This could last a day, a week, or longer. There’s really no way to predict it. Maybe you’ll have electrical power throughout the crisis, but what if the grid goes down due to rioting or government attempts to gain control of the situation? Yes, in foreign countries, the United States Army has shut off the power to cities to pacify the locals. In a martial law situation, you are the locals. Are you prepared?

What do you need?

  • Water sufficient for your family for a month or a supply you don’t need to leave home for. If the second one is your choice, consider how you will filter it. We have a well under our house that is our back-up plan. We live in a suburban area. The water isn’t contaminated, but we don’t trust that it won’t be, so we have filter material ready. It’s just a bucket, some screening, a bag of activated charcoal, a bag of zeolyte, a supply of iodine tablets, and a jug of bleach.
  • Food for at least one month sufficient for the entire family including pets.
  • An off-grid cooking method. We have the woodstove, a barbecue and the ability to build campfires. Alternatively, we have food that doesn’t require cooking.
  • A GOOD first aid kit. Research what I mean by that.
  • Lighting in case there’s a power outage. We have lanterns and flashlights.
  • Santitation supplies. Trust me, you don’t want to get sick.
  • A way to stay warm. I live in Alaska. This is more of a concern for me than it is if you live in Florida, but staying warm is important. Woodstoves work without electricity. Pellet stoves do not.
  • Means of communcation that allow you to get updates about the outside world. How many of us actually own a radio with an AM receiver anymore? We should.

If you are completely unprepared for this type of thing, you can pick up buckets of emergency food at Walmart. Stick them in a closet where they will last for 25 years. This is absolutely the fastest way to create an emergency supply. It’s an expensive way to do this, but it’s better than starving in a crisis. We have accumulated about a six-months supply of rice in addition to a lot of canned goods and dried fruit. Don’t forget the toilet paper and laundry soap.

Your best defense is avoiding the chaos. You want to stay under the radar and not draw attention to yourself. Invest in good security before the crisis. I don’t mean a security system — I mean locks and barriers to entry. Remember that a well-lit house becomes a beacon for people looking for shelter or an easy mark. Cover your windows. Don’t answer the door. It’s harder for people to play on your feelings when you don’t talk to them and many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house. We all gather in the living room during a power outage to save on lights, but this is a good idea in a crisis. If someone does try to breach your door, you know where everyone is who is supposed to be there.

Recognize and accept that first responders may be tied up. When my mother held off three soon-to-be rapists when I was a kid, the police were dealing with a huge bar fight in downtown, so the only one protecting me was Mom. In a civil unrest situation, it may be entirely possible that the cops won’t be your friends anyway. There is a federal law that says they can confiscate any food stores you have.

If your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family. Sometimes despite our best intentions, the fight comes to us. Many preppers stockpile weapons and ammunition for just such an event.  Firearms are an equalizer. My tiny little mother defended us against three large intruders because she had a firearm and knew how to use it. Had she only had a kitchen knife, things would have turned out much differently.

When people breach the door of your home, you can be pretty sure they’re not coming in to borrow a cup of sugar. Don’t rely on 911, which may be overwhelmed by the ongoing crisis or may use it as a means to stomp all over your liberty. Be prepared to protect your family because nobody else can do that for you.

Above all, stay home. I love my neighbors and we might coordinate with them to defend the whole neighborhood, but Fairbanks is an odd situation where people are armed any way and the circumstances of severe weather makes us more cooperative in practice. If you don’t know your neighbors, the best way to protect yourself is with strong walls and narrow entry points. Every single time you leave the house, you increase your chances of an unpleasant encounter. Nothing good will be accomplished by going out during a chaotic situation, something I show in Objects in View. Keep an eye out for the publication. If might be worth reading while you wait out the crisis.

Urban Survival: When the Cities Fall Apart, These Strategies Will Keep You Alive   4 comments

Although the recent primary focus on the blog has been on Daermad Cycle with the publication Mirklin Wood, you shouldn’t forget that I have another series – Transformation Project. You can find book 1 – Life As We Knew It on Amazon.

An apocalyptic series requires a fair bit of research and this is one article that caught my attention.



Collectively speaking, there are many of us who have been preparing for emergencies and have read our fair share of prepper fiction and watched enough apocalyptic thrillers to know that the higher the population density, the more dangerous it can be in a disaster. As well, when resources like food and fuel have to be transported from outside the city limits, then your survivability rate lessens. So what about those who have to live in the city? Should they just stop prepping all together? Would they stand a fighting chance at surviving?

Source: Urban Survival: When the Cities Fall Apart, These Strategies Will Keep You Alive

How to Get What You Need   Leave a comment

Now that you’ve established that the stuff you own is yours by right and by might (if necessary), you may discover you need other things. For example — I can definitely see wanting a supply of chocolate and, if a crisis lasted more than a couple of months, wanting to replenish it. Chocolate is my big vice.

So, how do you get what you want without sticking a gun in the faces of passing strangers or storming the neighboring community?


Barter is a lost art in much of the United States. We’re so conditioned to exchange plastic money for goods in stores or on line these days that most of us have never considered what might be of value during a time of disaster.

This is where it pays to know a little bit about history. What items did the settlers of the North American West take with them and go back for when they ran out?

Beans, flour, sugar, salt and coffee were musts. Alcohol was high on the list too. Those that had these items held an important sort of wealth. Trading posts, such as the one operated by my great-grandfather, were revered and made their owners rich by the standards of the day.

Let’s talk about just one of those staples and its importance in history. Salt has a powerful history. We eat too much of it in the 21st century, mainly in processed foods, so we’ve been conditioned to fear salt, but it’s actually essential to life. It helps fight depression,  anxiety, cancer, osteoporosis, muscle spasms and many other health problems. It also contains many essential trace minerals such as calcium,  iron, iodine, potassium, sulfur and zinc. The daily intake requirement ranges between 1500 to 2400 mg a day, which is about 1 teaspoon.

As I said, we use too much of it in our era, but salt used to be hard to obtain and so valuable that the Romans used it as currency and actually paid soldiers a “salary” in salt. Salt is a preservative, but it’s also a disinfectant. It can be used to clean water, though you have to be careful not to overdose on sodium. In a pinch (yeah, a pun!), you can use it to brush your teeth and wash your body and clothes.

So, if you had a supply of salt and you wanted, say, firewood, you’d could find someone who was willing to trade.

Do you have any idea where salt comes from?

Yeah, I didn’t either.

Apocalyptic Gear Heads 2   Leave a comment

My brother (AKA the Car Guru) says there are other, more practical reasons, to want an older car in the event of a long-term emergency. He doesn’t expect an EMP to take out electronics. He’s not done the research that I have that shows we’re in serious jeopardy with our current infrastructure and the gadgets we all rely on. That’s his choice. He still prefers older cars in a disaster. Why?

Many people in our generation have never worked on a car. The reasons for this are many, but the strongest argument is that you really can’t access much on a newer car without specialized equipment. When I looked under the hood of my sedan, I see the oil fill spout, the oil dip stick, the radiator cap, the battery, the brake fluid cap, the windshield wiper fluid cap and a plastic cover that hides everything else. If I get under the car – yes, I have been under my car – there isn’t much room to move, but there’s a plug in the oil pan and a couple of zerk fittings on the transmission and I can just barely get my hand and an oil filter wrench up to the oil filter. I’m a small woman with small hands and I barely have room in the engine and only from below. Brad scrapes his knuckles when he tries to change the oil.

There’s also an onboard computer that tells the car when it can and cannot operate. It lies. Last winter during a -45 degree cold snap, the car refused to work because the computer believed it was overheating. CHECK COOLING SYSTEM! CHECK ENGINE lights come on when I drive down many of the unpaved roads in Alaska. In an emergency situation, I suspect this car will be more trouble than it’s worth.

Now I lift the hood to the Jeep. Modern Jeeps (since the mid-1980s sale to Chrysler) have much more compact engine compartments than they used to, but compared to the late-model sedan, there is a lot of room and you can tell what most things are at a glance. There’s also enough clearance when you get under the car to move around and reach things. This makes a huge difference when it comes to repairs by anyone other than a professional mechanic with a full-service shop. Brad and I can take the tear-down manual and figure it out. Although it is a fuel-injected system with sensors, there is no computer that makes arbitrary decisions based on erroneous data. Generally, when the CHECK ENGINE light comes on, there is legitimately something wrong with the car.

A final consideration is … if our supply chain breaks, there are dozens of similar-era Jeeps in the junk yards here locally to mine for parts. Jeep Cherokees circa 1990s survive accidents with their engines intact. Not so much our Ford sedan. When those cars are in a totaling accident, the engines are usually hopeless damaged.

If you’re planning for an emergency, it pays to think about the vehicles you own and whether they will be useful in the event the roads are tore up or your supply of parts and expertise is compromised.

How To Keep What You’ve Got   Leave a comment

In a situation where the world has spun out of control, it is pretty to believe that everybody would just get alone.

Anyone thinking that’s going to happen is delusional. The human race has an unremitting history of not getting along. We always want what the other guy has. We always think that our needs are more important than someone else’s needs. It’s not abnormal that people think that way. It’s human nature.

In an apocalyptic situation, human beings are not going to improve who we are at root. Some of us might cooperate for mutual benefit, but there will be others who will not. Cooperation requires social skills and following societal rules. Do we learn these with our noses in our smart phones? I doubt it. Human nature dictates that we will divide into factions and factions lead to fights and attempts by some groups to tyrannize other groups.

I don’t advertise that I have food stores, but I’ve got 10 cords of wood in my yard. It’s really hard to hide that much fire wood, so in some ways, I’m advertising that I’m prepared for a disaster. Naturally, I expect folks who didn’t plan ahead to want that fire wood.

I shouldn’t have to share it unless I want to share it. I (Brad, the kids and I) harvested it, split it, stacked it. It is OUR wood. If I like you, you can come stay at my house and share the heat, but anyone else laying claim to MY firewood is claiming it falsely. So, when we disagree about the fire wood, what should my response be?

I try to live a non-aggressive life, to focus on my own needs and not ask from other people. When I give charity, it is because I want to give. Well, except for taxes, but that’s another topic. I don’t believe I should force others to help me and I don’t believe I should be forced to help others. We can choose to cooperate with one another, but nobody should be forced to give up something they worked for to help someone who didn’t work for it.

How do you protect what you have from others who would take it?

We don’t have a “huge” arsenal, but we have the means to protect ourselves and what belongs to us. We don’t intend to turn our yard into an armed camp, but it’s fenced so there should be no argument about what is public and what is private. We don’t want to fight, but yes, we can protect what we have and will. I hope we don’t have to. I hope our neighbors and others will recognize our right of ownership to what is ours and we will respect their right of ownership over what is theirs. We’re prepared if they don’t have the same attitude.

You should be too, because the human race … not so lovely.

Neighbors   4 comments

How well do you know your neighbors?

I am not an outgoing person. I have lived in my house more than a decade and I know my neighbors only casually. A few of them I would like to know better and a few of them could fall through a crack in the earth and I wouldn’t care. Far more of them could fall through that same crack and I wouldn’t probably notice. I suspect the feeling is mutual.

This is not, I should mention, uncommon in Alaska. Most people come here because they want a little breathing room and that includes not being in the hip pocket of your neighbors and expecting them to respect your privacy in turn. When a neighbor is too friendly, it turns me off.

But I have assessed my neighborhood for “the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it”.

The lady next door and the family at the end of the block are gardeners and long-time Alaskans who know how to take care of themselves. The guy kitty-corner from us is a “professional” wood burner who can harvest a fallen tree in an hour and owns his own hydraulic splitter. The people behind us are Oriental, know how to smoke fish and meat, and grow a great garden. The electrician midblock is a handy and helpful guy. They can all stay and I doubt we’ll have any trouble cooperating with them.

The city cop and the state trooper are leeches on society who have control issues. Ditto the jail guard. I don’t know what’s with the new guy across the alley, but he’s pushy and opinionated and, within weeks of moving in, he cut down all of his trees and sent the wood to the landfill (wouldn’t even let the woodburner harvest it). He’s got some cool toys, though, that might be useful in a survival situation … if he’s willing to share, which I doubt.

The couple two houses down will need to be rescued, as will the new military family that just moved in last week. The family three houses down, I suspect, owns a small arsenal of weapons. What they lack in survival skills, they may make up for in supplies and protection. He’s ex-military, but has a live-and-let-live-but-don’t-screw-with-me mentality and doesn’t like the LEOs any more than we do. The new family that is remodeling a house is an unknown to me, but they have sheet rock and a microwave, so I think they’re currently ill equipped for a sudden life change. How do I know these folks will need some degree of rescue? I’ve talked to them, casually, and I know because … well, I’ve made a judgment based upon my own experience and their attitudes on a variety of topics. If they are currently whining about the power outage due to the ice storm, I don’t think they’re ready for the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it.

One reason I plan to shelter in place is that I’ve assessed my neighbors and come to the conclusion that most of them have skills that could be useful to a group of households in a disaster situation. Except for the wood burner, none of them seems perfectly able to take care of themselves, but that’s not such a big deal if we can all agree to cooperate with one another. I’ve also weighed the character of our bossy-boss LEOs. They’re going to be a problem that may need dealing with, but they’re already aware that some of us don’t think they walk on water. What happens if they want to rule instead of cooperate is something we’d have to deal with when/if the circumstances ever require it. Just because they believe they should be in charge in a dire situation doesn’t mean others have to allow them to be in charge.

I don’t want to be in charge of the neighborhood, but I also don’t want to be dictated to by people who think they know better because their former jobs involved controlling people. Brad (what I call my husband on here) has doubts as to whether the neighborhood can find cohesion if these men are here, but I think they’re outnumbered and, because of an erroneous belief in government, will need those of us who have fire wood, gardens and food stocks to help them out, which will mellow their bossiness in pretty quick order. Then hopefully, they’ll be on our side, because its the world outside of my neighborhood that worries me more than my neighbors.

Big City, No Lights   Leave a comment

I live in a medium-sized city on the edge of a vast wilderness. Therefore, sheltering in place during almost any disaster makes sense to me. My strategy would be completely different if I lived in a big city.

I don’t want to pick on big cities. They have great attractions during times of civilization. But ….

Have you given any thought to how you’ll manage if the power goes out and doesn’t come back on? I have some good friends who live in a high rise in Manhattan. They’re both in their 70s. They moved there last year from Alaska. They’ve thought about this already. They don’t plan to survive long-term in that setting if some disaster happens. They’ll go to their daughter’s place in Brooklyn. Good!

The reasons they’re not going to stay in their place are many. Their place is too small to stock large amount of supplies in. The hike to the ground floor is more than 20 stories. They know from Super Storm Sandy that water will not make it to their faucets if the power is off. Their neighbors will all be in the same boat and won’t be able to share what they don’t have. They recognize that they are not that far from some neighborhoods where people might have less caring about peace and order and might be willing to take what they can and not care if the owners object.

Cities are also population dense, which means resources will be depleted very quickly. Disease spreads more rapidly in close confines. Psychological studies have also known that population density appears to drive anti-social behavior during times of crisis.

Think about Manhattan with no electricity surrounded by multiple cities without electricity. Think about food coming from the Midwest through the population centers to the west. As people become more desperate, how likely are those shipments to get through all the way to NYC?

Think about the water coming out of your tap. Do you have any idea how it gets to you? Do you know what magic is employed to make it run uphill to get to your 5th floor apartment? Do you know why it’s safe to drink and how long it will remain safe after the water treatment plant quits working?

What about sewage? You flush and it goes away, but where does it go? Or will it go anywhere if the sewage treatment can’t operate without electricity?

Right now, we have the means to treat the flu, so it’s a minor illness, but if your doctor can’t treat you because he’s bugged out for the hinterlands and the hospital is overrun with sick people or shut down because there’s no electricity, what happens to you if you catch the flu? What happens when you give it to your spouse, your children, your neighbors …?

Big cities are lovely in times of civilization, but deadly when modern conveniences like running water, sewage treatment and medical care are no longer readily available.

I’m planning to shelter in place, but if you live in a big city, you might want to come up with a Plan B.

Staying Healthy   Leave a comment

My family is pretty healthy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared to treat ourselves during a disaster.

None of us use medications. We simply haven’t needed them except for the occasional antibiotic, which you can’t stock up. For us, planning to stay healthy is about first aid and multivitamins. For you, it may be about acquiring a stock of some medication you use regularly.

Let me suggest that a healthy lifestyle that avoids the need to take medications is a good move. Exercise, little or no drinking or smoking, a healthy diet …. But I digress.

Vitamins have shelf lives, but a pharmacist taught me long ago that the expiration date is not something to panic over. He explained that his multivitamins in his medicine chest were past their expiration date because that’s when he’d throw away the pharmacy’s stock. He wasn’t worried about being poisoned, so neither am I. Our goal is a one-year supply of multivitamins that is no more than a year past its expiration day at the start of the disaster. Like food, we rotate our stock and keep adding to it incrementally.

In 21st century modern America, we probably don’t need multi-vitamins, but in a survival situation, I’m thinking we could.

Our first aid kit is a fairly standard kit available at any store that sells first aid kits. There are some items that we tossed because we’ll never need them, which left room in the kit for other items we think we’ll need or already know we use a lot. Consequently, you might not think my first aid kit would meet your needs. That’s fine. Yours might not meet mine. The point is to have one and not the little one that fits in your car’s glove box. Ours is more akin to the one that is screwed to the wall in the breakroom of a construction company — except ours occupies an action packer because they’re a lot easier to transport.

Periodically, we take out the alcohol pads and burn cream, etc., put those items in our regular home first aid kit and replenish our emergency stores.

There’s also a plastic peanut butter jar of rock salt in our kit on the assumption that we might not be able to replenish supplies and might have to disinfect wounds the old fashioned way.

That’s another reason to use something other than the standard first aid kit box. We have room in the action packer for a large bottle of hydrogen peroxide and one of alcohol, in addition to the rock salt. I recently learned that honey makes a really good antibiotic ointment, so I’m planning to lay in a jar of that as well.

Give some thought not only of what modern items you want in your kit, but also what items you might need long-term after those modern supplies are exhausted, because those old-fashioned first aid items will likely be much more available than what you pick up at the store today.

Yeah, maybe the government will come tomorrow, but maybe they won’t. Better to be pleasantly surprised than tragically unprepared.

Posted November 18, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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Look at the Pretty Rainbows   Leave a comment

When the Chena River here in Fairbanks left its banks in August 1967, it did more than turn our streets into canals suitable for riverboat excursions. It flooded our basements, filled our septic systems, and caused our home heating fuel tanks to float right out of the ground.

We were surrounded by a lot of water, all aswirl with rainbow colors. The whole town stank of diesel. Worse than the petrochemical poison, however, was the fecal material we couldn’t see.

I’ve talked about drinking water, but in reality, in a flood, bathing and cleaning your home — temporary or long-term — with that rainbowish stuff is probably not a good idea. You can go a few days, maybe a week without cleaning, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to do it or risk getting sick from not cleaning up.

So, waxed if you do, waxed if you don’t … or ….

Part of my emergency supplies is four 1-gallon jugs of bleach that have never been opened. Bleach will maintain its potency a long time if kept in a dark cool place in a tightly sealed bottle. We’ll add it to our drinking water, our washing water, and our cleaning water in different strengths.

Also in that emergency stock is a bag of rock salt. All bleach really is hyper-concentrated salt. When the bleach runs out, hopefully we’ll be adapted enough to our new environment to start disinfecting with salt water.

Both are good disinfectants against germs, but those rainbows were caused by heating oil.

Also in the emergency stocks are a couple of bags of charcoal briquettes. I have some activated charcoal too, but briquettes are more affordable and they come in larger quantities. I can also carry the bags into my house and my neighbors don’t think I’m preparing for disaster. Charcoal of any kind makes a great filter medium for polluted water — such as that diesel I was talking about.

I’m planning for a flood because I live in a flood plain and I’ve lived through a flood on this flood plain. I also have plans for an earthquake because I’ve lived through two big earthquakes, a dozen medium-sized quakes and probably several thousand small quakes. Earthquakes are something Alaskans expect to happen. We get itchy if we go too long without a small one because that means tension is building toward a big one and we don’t like that. So we plan for what we know is most likely to happen. Maybe a flood or quake is unlikely to ever happen where you live. Something else might happen instead. What is that something else and what supplies might you need if the government doesn’t show up to help you out?

This isn’t theoretical, of course. Katrina wasn’t so long ago and the governments of Louisiana and Mississippi didn’t do a very good job of responding to the disaster. There were a lot of private citizens who also did a very poor job of responding, mainly because they believed (erroneously) that the government was coming to take care of them. It was days before help arrived in the form of mercenaries hired by FEMA to forcibly remove people from their homes, whether they needed rescue or not, but that’s a rant for a different post.

My assumption is that the government is NOT planning on helping me in a disaster and probably won’t be able to find its own emergency supply kit for at least a few days. I am on my own in an emergency. What do I need to be prepared for the disaster most likely to befall me where I am? What do I need for a few days and what might I need if relief doesn’t show up for weeks or months … or ever?

Posted November 17, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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Stocking Up   1 comment

My personal journey on the preparedness train started after a long shoreman’s strike in Long Beach saw Alaska’s grocery store shelves bare. That was seven or eight years ago.

Remember, I said my parents always kept about two cases of assorted can goods on hand. I probably learned from that, but not in a good way. I HATE most canned food. I avoid them like the plague. My reasons are simple. Mushy, tasteless, full of salt, exposed to chemicals I don’t necessarily want to ingest, most of the vitamins removed by the canning process. What’s to like?

So when that truckers strike happened, I had frozen vegetables, salmon and moose or caribou. I still do. But I began to give serious thought about what would happen if the Port of Long Beach didn’t reopen for weeks or months.

We are not independently wealthy, so ordering a year’s worth of food from the Internet is not in the family budget. When I learned the NSA was actually listen to us, I considered myself fortunate to not have had that sort of budget. I began probably the same way my parents began — small.

We buy our rice in big bags from Sam’s. Back then, we’d buy a bag, dump it into the bin and use it. When the bin was more empty than not, we’d buy another big bag of rice and repeat the process. Do you see the problem?

Right, we always have rice on hand, but if we couldn’t replenish, we’d soon want for rice. I couldn’t afford to buy an extra bag of rice when I started this journey. So, I went to the regular grocery store and bought a 5-pound bag of rice, put it in the action packer I’d designated for this purpose. The next shopping day, I did the same thing.

The following shopping day, I didn’t buy rice, but I bought some extra cans of tomatoes — which is pretty much the only canned food I used regularly. I did that until I had a case of tomatoes in the action packer.

Then I moved onto bags of AP flour.

Notice that I don’t mention any techniques for food storage. I didn’t have any techniques, but remember, I live in Alaska. My crawl space is a nice steady 35-50 degrees all year-round. I kept the bags of rice, flour (AP and wheat), powder milk, etc. in their original packaging. I eventually learned about silica packets and started bundling these packages together with shrink wrap. We date those bundles and rotate our stores, always with the idea of increasing the size of our stock.

Our extra cost per month comes to maybe $50. That’s quite a bit less than we pay for our home owners insurance.

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