Really, the FIRST Day, Really?

21 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

June 21st – The beginning of Summer north of the equator, the longest day of the year (daylight vs. night) and the Summer Solstice, the opposite for those south of the equator. Really? REALLY?

Well it was 111 degrees in Phoenix last Wednesday and Thursday and 112 degrees last Friday. One can understand my skepticism about today being the beginning of summer, but then it did cool to a bone-chilling 104 degrees over last weekend.

Like living on the surface of the sun. What better time than talk about water and hydration and how they sustain all life on earth.

Water

We have spoken of this often in other posts such as:

Bug-Out Bags – Water on the Move and Lessons From History, the Importance of Water by R. Ann Parris

Building Your Water Storage and Safe Water In Case the Grid Goes Down, Pt. 2 by John Hertig

Hydration

Good to know, good to review and understand, but hydration is something we should always have on our minds.

As Pat Henry wrote in 2015 – “A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would carry all of the water they needed in their bug out bags. If you figure 3 gallons (1 gallon per person per day), that would simply not be wise or possible for most people for very long. Then I started seeing people say they would pack 3 liters of water. That’s better, but 3 big plastic bottles is almost 7 pounds, not to mention you must have space for them. Not the end of the world, but not insignificant either.”

And as John Hertig pointed out – Water is water, but not all water is the same.  There is pure water, just combinations of two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom (H2O).  Generally the closest you can get to this is distilled water.  This is useful and fairly harmless, although it is hypotonic (has a lower solute concentration than do human cells) and can cause hemolysis (rupturing of red blood cells); this is usually not a major concern even if this is all that is available to drink.  Using it on wounds may delay healing a bit; and it might be a problem for people with ulcers (bleeding in the stomach).  But this is still way better than no water.  On the other end of the scale are various degrees of contaminated water, polluted with chemicals and/or biological organisms, which can make you very sick and even kill you.  Salt water can be considered in this latter class as well, even if there is nothing else in it besides the salt.  In between are various types of water, all of which are potable (suitable for drinking without major harmful effects).

Look, we all know keeping hydrated is crucial for our health and well-being, yet many people do not consume enough fluids each day. Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water, and around 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by water, though only 2 percent of that is fresh water.

Are salt-laced energy drinks really good for you?

We know Gatorade has been around forever, developed by the University of Florida. It was developed to replenish electrolytes, a set of minerals that your body needs to maintain healthy fluid levels and regulate its muscle function. There is science in this one. On the other hand the rash of new energy drinks has been a double edged sword. While they do give you a sugar or caffeine rush, it is at a price.

Bottom line – a growing body of scientific evidence shows that energy drinks can have serious health effects, particularly in children, teenagers, and young adults. In several studies, energy drinks have been found to improve physical endurance, but there’s less evidence of any effect on muscle strength or power, and in one case a woman who had six-to eight energy drinks a day for several years ended up having to have a pacemaker attached to her 32 year old heart.

So follow R. Ann Parris’s advice and if you must have something other than water consider these drink mixes.

Be smart, stay hydrated, always carry water with you and stay away from the energy drinks that do as much to dehydrate you as they do to quench your immediate thirst. First day of Summer, yeah, right.

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Judging People By Their States Politics

19 Mar

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: I have to admit that I sometimes (often) cringe when I find out people are from places that poison everything they touch with their politics and I am often lumped in with those people as California is my home state, the state where my two (2) children were born and raised, the state where my wife’s ashes were scattered and where mine will be as well (even if they come up with a law against that as well.)

I speak of New York where, outside of the City and Albany, live some very decent, solid Americans. While at Shot Show 2017 in Las Vegas I had two New York State Troupers in uniform introduce themselves to me with “Hi, we are from behind the liberal curtain.” They were two bright, well-spoken and professionally focused individuals who asked smart questions.

I also had the opportunity in my past to work in Florida, at the Cape and Florida is a place where the retirees from the liberal Northeast escape their terrible winters while importing their terrible politics. 

My point here is I want to brag about something from California outside its politics and its out-of-control government at all levels.

As you know if you have been on the The Prepper Journal over the past 18 months, I still sail off the Southern California coast with a couple of sailing clubs (they own the boats I just have to pay for the rides 😉 ) and one of them is being featured for its charitable work. 

Sailing Fascination Provides Much-needed Tranquility to Veterans in Need

I became involved with Sailing Fascination through the Oasis Sailing Club. I was fortunate to meet the founder Tom Tolbert, one of those people who everyone instantly likes, a true gentlemen and a patriot. I now consider him a friend. At that time our sailing was in support of a couple of mental health facilities where we would take a patient and the facilities representative for cruises within Newport Harbor and they were taught how to handle the boat and were given the tiller. We worked the sails.

The boat is a J-24, and I personally did an upgrade on her about 8 years ago, with Tom’s permission, and she has recently been upgraded again. The City of Newport Beach, California provides the slip for free (a big deal) and yes, she has a handicap sticker on her bow and keel and is the little blue boat the red arrow is pointing out. 

One of the things that drives me to make the trek from Phoenix, besides the amazing people I get to interact with, both other crew and our guests, is that doing so always calms me from the constant bombardment of the Media we all have to make efforts to escape. There is solace out on the water, a calming that can be found in the mountains as well. 

IAC the article above, from the Daily Pilot, also ran in the Los Angeles Times this past Sunday.  

Be safe out there and giving really is better than receiving.

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Last Minute Hurricane Preperations

13 Sep

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

September seldom fails in producing a named storm in the Atlantic and the Carolina’s appear to be the target this September for Hurricane Florence, coming later TODAY or early Friday morning along the coastal impact zone. Only two years in the past 50 years have NOT produced a named storm in the Atlantic, 1968 and 1994.

We at The Prepper Journal hope everyone is as prepared as possible. The Outer Banks, and the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, an area where this isn’t their first rodeo, should have experience to draw from, however we want everyone to be safe and not be fooled into being foolish. We hope these links provide you all with some useful information that can make a difference in your life right now.

Hurricane Survival Guide

Crisis at Work – Hurricane Emergency Preparedness for Small Businesses

Survival Skills Every Prepper Should Master ASAP

How to Effectively Use Sandbags

Safe Water If the Grid Goes Down

Safe Drinking Water for Preppers

Ensure Your Family Has Safe Water

Life After a Disaster – Lessons from a Hurricane and a Tornado

The reality, as the people of the area know from past experience, is the grid will go down, power will be lost, and significant rains will pollute a lot of the existing water supplies with chemicals, and worst, from ground run off. There will also be wide-spread tornadoes as the storm begins to disorganize and the computer models, some of the most sophisticated in the world, can only approximate the amount of rain that will be dumped in the storms wake and where severe weather can be expected. Stay alert, stay connected with an emergency radio if you have one. If you don’t, plan on buying one next week!

The Calvary is Coming

On Tuesday Arizona shipped its Phoenix Urban Rescue Crews to stage in the area as I am sure many other states did as well. FEMA, I never believed I would say this, has improved and will help. Then again, I never though FEMA would be run by anything other than a political bureaucrat until some months ago. While help is on the way, while the rest of the country marshals our resources, remember YOU are your best first responder, YOU are your first line of defense.

Urgent Care Appears to be Closed

Remember also that you will most likely be cut off from access to not only your doctor but to most medical help as well as to needed medical supplies, fix that now if possible, stock up if you can.

Making Medical Preparations

SHTF Medical Alternatives

Medical Planning for Disaster Scenarios

Medical Supplies to Store

Medical Things Expire

Get your first aid kit fully stocked. Even a small cut can become a major problem when exposed to brackish water, contaminated fresh water, raw sewage and the like with no professional medical help available. While Amazon Prime won’t be making deliveries along the coast today, they might inland and you may still have time to get your kit solid and ready for the days ahead.

First Aid Kits

One Last Thing to Consider – the Waiting

There are going to be hours and hours of more hours and hours of waiting and that means boredom is going to set in. One way to combat this is to get everyone involved in the chores of getting through the time, just setting the table for a family meal can help. Planning family meals by saying “these are our options” and then getting help making the choices and the meal are a temporary distraction from the boredom. There are other activities as well, see the article below:

Easy Ways to Entertain Your Family When the Power Goes Down

For everyone affected this will be a pivotal life moment, be smart and safe, be a survivor  and live to talk about it. It may live up to the media hype and it may not but do the best for you and yours by planning for the worse. Our prayers are with you and our help is right behind them.

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Outdoor Skills for All to Master

1 May

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest contribution from Gemma to The Prepper Journal.  As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, then enter today!

Hopefully, you never end up stranded in the wilderness, but it does happen, and if it does you need to know how to survive even in the harshest and cruelest conditions. There are a few basics that you need to live, and those are water, shelter, and food.

With these three things, you should be fine until help comes (or you find it), but a surprisingly large number of people don’t actually know how to live if they end up in a tricky situation. There are five key skills that every man and woman who is off hiking or camping should know, and this guide will take you through each of them.

Build a Fire

You need to be warm, especially when the cold nights hit, but fire also helps keep unwanted campsite guests away, so it can help to keep you safe too. Hypothermia is a real risk in the wild, and if your clothes are wet, then it is even more dangerous. Being able to build and light a fire (without a lighter) is a skill that you desperately need.

Make sure that the wood you collect is dry and thin to start with, as this will help the fire to grow. You can add thicker dry wood on later, but the kindling needs to be nice and slim. You can also use some dry grass and other soft material, as this is what is called a kindling nest.

Next, you can grab two sticks that are fairly strong. Create a notch in one of the sticks, place them together in the kindling nest, and rub them. The friction causes heat, which will the cause sparks. You can also use two sharp rocks and hit them together to create sparks if they are available.

Foraging

While it is true that people can live for weeks without food, it is still important to know how to gather your own out in the wild. You should spend some time learning about various berries and mushrooms so that you are able to determine which are safe to eat and which are poisonous in the wild as this is a great way to get prepared in advance.

Berries and green plants have very few calories in them, whereas fish and game have much more. Trapmaking for things like small animals might become necessary if you are stuck for some time, and it is possible to fish successfully by fashioning a spear from a long stick. If you are stranded in the wild, you will likely need more calories than normal to sustain your weight, and so berries and greens may not be enough.

You need to make sure you know what you are doing, so before you head out on any camping or hiking trip, you should do your homework and make sure that you have thoroughly researched everything. After all, you don’t want to end up stuck, starving, or possibly poisoned.

Finding and Purifying Water

Unlike food, you need water, and you can only survive for three days without it. Your body is 70% water, and it is the key component when it comes to how your body works. Without it, you cannot function. If your body’s water percentage becomes less than it should be, you will start to become dehydrated, and this is a process that can happen very quickly. Here are the symptoms of dehydration for you to keep behind your ear when you are out in the wild:

  • feeling thirsty (the first and most commonly ignored symptom)
  • mild headache
  • reduced urinary output
  • lethargy
  • the inability to perspire or produce tears
  • nausea
  • rapid heart rate
  • tingling of the skin
  • high body temperatures
  • hallucinations
  • heat exhaustion
  • and eventually death

Finding and purifying water literally is the difference between life and death, and this is how you get it done. If you find a spring or stream that is away from mankind and pollution, take the opportunity to fill up your water bottles while you can, and if you are concerned, you can boil the water before drinking to purify it.

In cold weather, you can collect snow, but should never eat the snow as it will lower your body temperature. Instead, collect and boil it for later consumption. You can sometimes find clean water underground as well, especially in dry riverbeds. If you are able to dig down, you can hit underground streams that provide you with clean, fresh, and untouched water to drink.

Never drink sea water or salt water of any kind as this will severely dehydrate you due to the amount of salt in it, and this also goes for sea snow and ice as well. You can boil it to remove the salt, but this should only be used as a last resort.

Navigation

Being lost can be a pretty terrifying experience, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Electronic GPS can fail, and so you should learn how to use a compass before you head out on any kind of adventure. Map reading is good too, but the compass is more robust and not damaged by adverse weather conditions. It’s an underrated survival skill that many seem to have forgotten about, and it is something we certainly take for granted. Learn the skill, you won’t regret it.

Building Shelter

You need to know how to keep out of the elements when you are stuck in the wild, and building shelter is the best way to achieve this. After all, there are plenty of weather conditions that we were not built to survive outside in such as:

  • freezing temperatures
  • sweltering heat
  • high winds
  • deep snow
  • driving sleet
  • heavy rains

Before you leave on your trip, you must learn about the area you are visiting and the kind of plant life that lives there. That way, you know the kind of debris that is going to be available for you to use. The most classic form of shelter is the spider shelter, and this is made by placing rows of thick sticks in an upright triangle and placing foliage all over it to create a seal.

Through this, you keep out of the wind and rain, and are also able to retain some warmth. It is also advisable to use foliage to keep yourself warm at night in cold conditions. Shelter is the thing you need to build first, and it is important that you learn how to build it effectively.

In Conclusion: There are plenty of survival skills that can benefit you in the wild, but these are the best and most important ones for your next trip. Hopefully, it has given you some insight and a better understanding of what you need to know in order to live. Always remember that shelter, food, and water come before anything else, read up on your survival knowledge, and you should be fine until help comes.

About the Author: Gemma Tyler is a freelance writer and blogger. You can keep up to date by following Gemma on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest.

If you are interested in more information on outdoor clothing, footwear and accessories, then check out her ultimate welly boot guides for more details

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Building your Water Storage

25 Nov

Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

There are many things which you may need to have if there is an emergency or disaster or social upheaval which shuts down the normal supply chain or results in chaos in the streets.  But one thing which rises near to the top is water.  You need safe water to drink, and if you don’t have any for three days, you are likely to be dead or near death.  No plan for survival is likely to be successful if you don’t arrange for an adequate supply of water.

Water has a lot of uses besides drinking and cooking.  Second most important is cleaning for hygiene and medical procedures.

 

It would be nice if you could arrange to have a 100,000 gallon tank of water, but even if you could physically manage that, it likely would not turn out to be practical for your survival.  Keeping that much water safe from contamination and those who are desperate to poach it for their own use is likely to prove an impractical task.

A practical water “storage” plan has four parts to be considered.

Long term water storage

Short term water storage

Non-potable water storage

Water replenishment

Long Term Water Storage

This is the most important, because it is the one which guarantees you drinkable water no matter how unexpected the situation.  It is also the most problematic because it is big and heavy and can have a fairly short lifespan.  The bigger the supply (the more gallons) the better, but the more problematic it becomes.  In deciding, balance the amount of water you need against the amount you can practically store.  Generally, one gallon per person per day is considered the “normal” requirement for drinking, cooking, and basic hygiene including brushing teeth.  In a hot climate or for people with extra needs, more may be required.  The sum of the amount for each person per day is the amount you need to plan for.  Then figure out how many days you need or can store, whichever is smaller (if you need more, think of ways you could expand your storage).  I would say two weeks would be a “minimum” if at all possible, and much more than two months will likely be a challenge.

There are a number of ways which people store water long term; the most common are pre-packaged individual serving bottles, jugs of five gallons plus or minus, or fifty gallon drums.  The individual bottles are convenient but I recommend against them.  Every bottle I’ve ever had long term eventually distorts inward.  I don’t know why this is, but I suspect that since water does not “get smaller” there is a chemical reaction going on, which I can’t imagine is good.  Or the water is “leaving” the bottle somehow.  Furthermore, you generally don’t know the quality of water they put in there to begin with.  The fifty gallon drums are a pretty good solution, except forget about moving them (they weigh over four hundred pounds each when full).  And you need some kind of pump to get the water out.  My preference is jugs of five to seven gallons, which will weigh about forty to sixty pounds each, just barely manageable for a relatively healthy person.  Smaller jugs (4 gallon, 3 gallon, 2.5 gallon and smaller) are available if you need them for non-standard handling or storage issues, but since each container costs, generally it costs “more” for a lot of small containers than a smaller number of bigger ones.  I like rectangular jugs better than round ones because they store more compactly, and often have faucets available which is so much more convenient (and less likely to spill) than trying to pour from a large jug.  Note that reusing containers which originally were used for some other material should be avoided, or at least cleaned VERY well first.  For that matter, used water containers need a thorough cleaning first as well.

Once you figure out your storage methodology, you need to actually get water into it.  The better the quality of water you start with, the longer it will last.  I prefer to use water from a professional water treatment company, so I know I am starting with the best water possible, but the price of this has skyrocketed to a dollar a gallon at the place I used to use, and they wouldn’t do a quantity discount this time.  About the least quality you want to go with is “decent” tap water if you drink it normally.  It would be a bit odd to store water for bad times you won’t drink in good times.  If you have any question at all about the biological purity of the water you are storing, putting in one teaspoon per five gallons of fresh, standard (no dye or scent or additives) household bleach can help keep biological contamination under control.

It is best to rotate “normal” (tap) water each 6 months; that may not be financially practical (or necessary) if you use the purified water.  I tried some purified water I put away eighteen years ago and it didn’t seem to bother me; although in an emergency situation I’d run it through a good water treatment before drinking it in case any of it has problems.  This is because access to medical care is likely to be limited if it turns out the water became biologically active or contaminated from reaction with the container.

Short Term Water Storage

Water bottles

This name is somewhat misleading.  It does include any non-tap water you use daily, whether bottles or purified.  But more importantly, it is water you acquire “just before” an emergency because the emergency is predicted or you think it will happen, or immediately after the emergency occurs while water is still available.  One really good option for this is an Aquapod or equivalent.  This is a bladder which you put into your tub and fill with water; it usually comes with a pump to get the water out.  Each one can hold on the order of sixty gallons; having one for each tub is a really good idea.

This also includes water you rush out to get from the store in gallon or even individual bottles, where you’ll be using the water quickly enough that any problems with the bottles undergoing chemical reactions are not significant. Use this water first, whether or not the emergency happens or is quickly resolved, because it is not stored effectively and probably will be in your way long term.

Before the event happens, water from the tap should be as good as it usually is (which may not be very good as we saw in Flint).  During and after the event, the water quality can deteriorate into non potability and you may not be informed of this.  This does not mean not to get any which you can, just don’t use it for drinking or critical cleaning without purifying it first.

 Non-Potable Water Storage

It may seem odd to store non-potable water; if you can store non-potable water, why not store potable water there instead?  But you are already storing water which is of questionable potability.  Do you have a standard (tank) water heater?  It is full of water; turn off the input valve as soon as you are aware of a problem, to avoid contaminated water getting in or any water escaping backwards.  Of course, turn off the gas or flip off the circuit breaker.  You can access this water from the cleanout valve at the bottom.  It is wise to flush out the particulates which accumulate at the bottom on a yearly basis; not only will it improve the condition of this source of water, but it will help the water heater to work better and last longer.  And of course there is the water in the tank on the back of every toilet.

In the “good old days”, a waterbed was a good way to store a bunch of water.  In order to prevent problems, you needed to keep it dosed with some blue stuff, which made it a bad idea to drink it.  For this, as for any source of non-potable or even questionable water, having water purification capability (>>> see series on water purification here <<<) is important.

Storing rain water is a good idea, unless you live in one of those places which thinks the rain on your property belongs to the government and makes “harvesting” it illegal.

A swimming pool is an ok way to store a whole bunch of water, but you need to take steps now (installing some kind of cover) to minimize contamination and evaporation after a crisis; it should also improve the pool experience under normal conditions.  Be aware that it will attract people desperate for water since it is hard to hide.  Make sure you restrict access to the degree practical, not only to protect the water, but to keep uninvited people and unsupervised kids out to comply with laws and keep lawsuits and drowning to a minimum.  A pool alarm might be a good idea, although I’ve heard that many are not reliable, either having lots of false alarms or failing to sense all intrusions.

 

 Water Replenishment

This hardly qualifies as “storage”, but it recognizes that storing more than a few months of water is a real challenge.  If you have a well, make sure you have a manual pump or other way to get water out of the well if there is no power available.  A stream or river, or a lake which is replenished is good to have access to; although other people can contaminate it, deliberately or accidentally, or possibly “use it up” or use it as “bait” to lure people in to be robbed or worse.  If this is part of your plans, make sure you have effective containers to transport the water from the source to where you need it.  If it is on your land, consider running piping from the water source to your house for convenience; best would be if it were buried to protect it from vandalism and freezing.

Whenever you use water, you may end up with “used” water.  This is often classified as “grey water” or “black water”.  Grey water from sinks and showers is usually not dangerous and can be used for irrigation and non-critical cleaning and can be relatively easily purified to potability.  Black water is typically from toilets or other sources of extensive contamination and generally is not practical to use for anything.  Grey water should be collected or used appropriately.

Water harvesting is a good source of water in places with a lot of rainfall.  This involves having gutters all the way around your roof, leading down into barrels or other storage tanks.  Of course, gutters are a pain to maintain, but you can keep this to a minimum by having a good gutter guard installed to keep much of the solids out of the gutter.  Of course, there are some communities which are so autocratic that they make it illegal to harvest rain water.  I probably would not live in such a place because it is unlikely that is their only problem, but if I were there, I suspect I would have gutters which just output to the ground, but with all the parts necessary to harvest that water “in storage”.  In a crisis, I’d hook it up.  If possible, I would have the storage containers buried or hidden so that not only would the chances of legal harassment be minimized, but theft of the water as well.

In a crisis, the government may “hand out” water.  This is a risky option, as governments usually don’t have your (the individual’s) best interests at heart.  If you have to leave your place where everything you have is located unprotected, go a significant distance, wait in line, and register to get some water, it seems the risk/reward ratio is not favorable to you.  Unless the distribution point is close by and there is no “tracking” of the water provided, it would be better to provide for your own water to the degree possible, and keep out of sight and under the radar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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