All Posts by Lisa Bedford

5 Steps To Creating A Culture Of Self-Reliance In Your Family

We have all known people who save everything. My grandmother is one of them. If there are four green beans left in the pot, she puts them in the freezer. I remember one specific visit with her, 27 years ago, where she asked me to get her a bowl of ice cream. What I thought was the container of vanilla ice cream was actually a container of saved bacon grease.

Fast forward to today. She is now 96 years old, and still saving every last morsel and dollar. Grandma grew up during the Great Depression; those habits, ingrained in her when young, are still manifest today. The family snickers a little bit about it, but we know she will not outlive her money or her things. Isn’t there something reassuring about that? She has always worked hard at being self-reliant. Will our children be able to do the same?

As I watch the news and look around me, I wonder if another Depression wouldn’t do us some good. It wasn’t too long ago when life wasn’t so convenient. Many in our society have lost the mindset that our grandparents had. We have instant and immediate food, entertainment, communication, and information. Many feel that things will always be as good as they are now, but history does repeat itself. Perhaps one of the most important things we can do is prepare the next generation for whatever may arise.

Like those who have habits from the Great Depression, you can make self-reliance and preparedness a part of your family culture. One of the most effective ways to do this is to live it every day. Whether we have children of our own or are involved in an organization such as a church or school, we have the power to instill preparedness values. Now is the time for us to equip the younger generation with skills that will help them be confident and prepared for anything life may throw at them.

If you have children I recommend that you have a weekly family council. Along with normal family business, make goals on implementing these principles of preparedness into your family. If you are part of another organization, teach classes or organize projects that encourage preparedness. Set the example by your actions.

Five Preparedness Principles

There are five principles that can generate a preparedness mindset:

Thriftiness and frugality

The longstanding adage “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”, still holds true today. The importance of being thrifty and frugal is often forgotten. Clothes can be mended, altered and remade into other items. I have seen curtains reused to cover chairs, a table cloth became pillow covers and adult size clothes were remade into clothes for a younger child. Learn ways to take other household items and re-purpose them.

Another way to pinch pennies is to find out where all of your pennies are going. There are many forms online that can be used to assist in budgeting. Record your family’s expenses for one month and then gather together to review them. Are there any non-essentials that can be eliminated? Involve family members in creating a budget. Teach them to differentiate between wants and needs and set financial goals together. Save money for a vacation or purchase that the whole family can enjoy. Budget additional funds to be set aside for large purchases and for emergencies. Teach your kids now that it is not worth “keeping up with the Joneses”.

Strive for independence

This would include independence from anything that prevents us from living to our full potential. Avoid any habits or addictions that restrict your body and mind. Eat healthy, exercise, surround yourself with good friends, and strengthen yourself spiritually and mentally.

Look at your finances. What can you do to be financially independent? Do not get into the habit of using credit for purchases. Many people look at the monthly payment amount versus the real amount of an item. If you have debt, pay it down now. There are many websites available to help accomplish this.

Time is another area where you can be independent. Choose how to prioritize and use it wisely, which would include helping others. Teach this next generation the importance of being kind and charitable. Donate money and time to projects you feel are worthwhile. There are many opportunities available in your own community or help out with a need on the other side of the world. Either way, you will develop a deeper empathy towards others and an appreciation for what you have.

Become industrious

It sounds odd to tell someone to work at being industrious, but it does require energy to be creative and find balance in life. Look at your life and see what circumstances are around you. Search for ways to be resourceful. You may discover talents you did not know you had.

Are there any enterprising opportunities available that you could take advantage of? Another source of income could benefit you and those around you. Find ways to increase your marketability in the workplace. It may be finishing that degree, taking community classes or a free online classes (many are available). Look in your community. See if there is a need that could be filled by a skill that you possess. Teach those around you the importance of an honest work ethic.While industriousness is good, remember that wherever you are at in life, be there completely. When you are at work, work. When you are at home, leave work alone and enjoy your time with family and friends. If you need down time, take it.

Strive for self-reliance

I am sure you know people who seem to be able to do, make, or fix anything. Chances are, they had to work on those skills often before they mastered it. Like them, you need to continue to learn and put what you learn into practice. The internet is a great resource. We can learn how to do basic car maintenance, repairs on our home, first aid, and taking care of what we already own. Not only can you save money by doing these things yourself, you are free from depending on others to do them for you.

There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from doing and mastering new tasks. Planting a garden is another way of developing self-reliance. Not only will you save money on groceries and enjoy fresh produce, there are benefits much greater. Gardening, along with other tasks, allow you to spend time with those close to you. Working together as a group builds stronger relationships, whether it is between parent and child, as friends, or in a community setting. There is a sense of togetherness and learning that you cannot get anywhere else. If you do not teach those around you how to work, who will?

Aim towards having a year’s supply of clothing and food

Don’t let this overwhelm you. Take baby steps. Make a list of the amounts of food and commodities that your family normally consumes in one day. Take that list and multiply it by 7. That is your one week supply. When you have a one week supply stored, continue until you have three months supply. Use and rotate your 3 month supply. Then focus on long term storage.

Many foods, such as grains, beans, and pasta can have a shelf life of 30+ years. Clothing can be a bit of a challenge if you have growing kids. Looking at clearance racks and thrift stores can be an inexpensive way to work on storing clothes and shoes. If you sew, fabric is also be a great addition to your years supply. Do not forget to include any notions you may need.

As you begin to create a culture of self-reliance, you will feel more confident about your ability to withstand almost any hardship. We cannot depend on the government or charities to provide services and care for the millions of people across the nation when a disaster happens. It is essential that each individual and family do all they can to be responsible for themselves when needed. If we are wise and careful with our resources, we will be able to sustain ourselves through difficult times.

* How to Grow a Survival Garden (and what to do if it dies)

I love growing my own vegetables. I spend many fulfilling hours outside every summer, tending to my plants, nurturing my soil, and babying things along, with the birds for music and a basket full of delicious organic food to show for it each day.

Except this year. This year, my garden is a flop.

Eaten by deer, killed by the heat

It’s pretty embarrassing to admit on my own website that my garden is not doing diddly squat this year. I am normally pretty good at growing food (or just extraordinarily lucky) but this year, circumstances beyond my control have thrown up one challenge after another.  First of all, we moved July 1. I started my garden in containers, earlier in the summer, and then transplanted them into my lovely new fenced garden full of raised beds.

Only, the fences weren’t high enough, and unbeknownst to me, I had set up a deer buffet with a low hurdle. Garden #1, GONE. Decimated. Wiped out. And I didn’t even get venison in retribution.

So, I went and got some new plants and put them in. Better late than never. I deer-proofed and nurtured my soil and paid top dollar for plants that were a bit more advanced, since by now it was the first week of July.

And then a heatwave hit the day after I transplanted them. 107 degrees. Most of the plants withered immediately and no amount of TLC would bring them back.

I was determined that I would have at least SOME vegetables and bought even more plants. I added some shadecloth to protect them from the sun. I fed them some white sugar to help them recover from the transplant shock. They’re growing but not providing me with a whole lot of produce, for numerous reasons, including heat, a late timeline, and slightly low phosphorus in my soil.

Aggravating. I’m a wannabe farmer shopping at the farmer’s market to get my summer veggies. Not cool.

But, like everything in life, there’s a lesson here. It got me thinking about all of the folks whose master plan for survival is a big stockpile of seeds.  While this is a very important part of a long-term self-reliance plan, there are some years, no matter how many silver bells and cockleshells you put out, your contrary garden just won’t grow.

It’s going to happen. One year, your gardening season is not going to live up to your expectations. Have you thought about what you’ll eat when your garden flops?

Troubleshooting a garden that is dying

I’ve written a lot about adaptability as a survival mechanism and this holds true with your vegetable garden as well.  When a major part of your survival plan is growing your own food, being able to identify and overcome issues with your plan is vital.

Experience. The number one key to troubleshooting your iffy garden is experience. Many people make a survival plan without any practical skills to back it up. Have you gardened before? Have you gardened in the area in which you intend to survive? If you haven’t, you aren’t going to be able to predict the pitfalls, like deer fencing that isn’t high enough, too much direct afternoon sun, not enough direct afternoon sun, etc.  This is the major reason for my gardening failure this year. All of this stuff is learned by (often painful) experience. Keep a gardening journal to help avoid repeating those mistakes and to keep track of trends, like late frosts, etc. So get out there and get dirty. No excuses. If you don’t do it now, you can’t expect to survive doing it.

Soil testing:  A huge part of successful gardening happens before you ever plant a seed. You need to know all about your soil so that you can amend it and provide the right foundation for growing. It’s best if you amend before planting but you can still have some success after the fact.  Every bit as important as your seeds is a soil-testing kit. Get a kit that tests for soil pH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potash content.  I like this kit because it has 10 tests for each substance. The price is very reasonable (it’s geared towards classroom instruction) so get a few for your stockpile. This way, if the S hits the F, you can still have access to the science that you need to troubleshoot  successfully.

Soil Amendments:  Once you’ve done your testing, you will need the supplies to amend your soil to optimum nutrient levels.  Find some books on DIY soil amendments and stock up on supplies that you might need to adjust where your oil is lacking. If your goal is gardening for survival, it’s very important to learn to amend your soil without a trip to the garden store. For example, blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil. This can be improved by adding milk to the roots of your plants, then deeply watering them, or making a tea from crushed eggshells. Learn about the safe management of manure, composting, and the use of cover crops.

Access to information.  Right now, we have the luxury of the internet. With the help of Google and YouTube, we can find the answers to nearly any gardening question we might have. But in a long-term survival situation, it won’t be that easy. It’s almost a guarantee that if you are in a scenario during which your vegetable garden is all that stands between you and malnutrition, you aren’t going to have access to the internet.

gardening books1

My bookcase is loaded with reference books on topics like gardening, herbalism, and other old-fashioned skills. Join me by going old school. Get yourself some well-reviewed gardening books. These are some of my very favorites:

Also, check out the highlighted links in the soil amendment section above for more excellent books. (Some of them are available for free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, but I strongly recommend hard copies of books that you find useful.)

What to do when you can’t grow your own food

While my plan is to eventually be able to grow much of what we need for survival, I’m also prepared for a bad year. While the items above will help you through many gardening issues, there are some things that are completely beyond human control. Things like:

  • Bad weather, either too hot, too cold, to rainy, or too dry
  • Pests – who remembers that book in the Little House series where Pa’s fields were descended upon by a horde of hungry locusts?
  • Natural disasters – wildfires, terrible storms, tornadoes – all of those can wipe out a garden

There’s absolutely nothing you can do about certain events. And that’s why you must have a Plan B. A stockpile of long-term food is essential for surviving when the deck is stacked against you.

There are numerous different ways to go about building your food supply (which I go over in my book, The Pantry Primer), but the basics are:

For more information, check out this article: 12 Strategies for Creating the Perfect Pantry.

Have you ever had a bad garden season?

This year, I’m very thankful that I have lots of homesteader friends and an excellent farmer’s market, as I navigate my new gardening environment. (You can find a local farmer’s market HERE.) I still have some stuff left over from last year’s harvest, and of course, my stockpile, but this year’s harvest is looking like it’s going to be disappointing.

As with any preparedness scenario, thinking through it ahead of time can help us maneuver through the situation more easily if it happens in the midst of a crisis. Have you ever had a similar bad gardening year? What are some of the causes I may not have covered? Pests? Weather? An act of nature? Were you able to overcome it, and if so, how did you do it?

Please share your answers in the comments below. You just might be resolving someone else’s garden issues!

Speaker: Jim Cobb

About Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb is the owner and lead trainer for DisasterPrepConsultants.com. His articles on preparedness have been published in national magazines such as OFFGRID, American Survival Guide, Survivor’s Edge, and Boy’s Life. You can find him online at SurvivalWeekly.com. Jim lives in the Upper Midwest with his beautiful wife and their three adolescent weapons of mass destruction.

Books by Jim Cobb

Click on the title to learn more or to order:

Jim’s websites

Where to find Jim Cobb on Social Media

Speaker: Cat Ellis

About Cat Ellis

Cat Ellis writes:

I’m an herbalist, author, and urban homesteader. My love of herbs began in my teens when I was fascinated with making perfumes, incense, drawer sachets, other lovely aromatic things. But after herbs helped me recover from a serious respiratory infection in the late 1990’s, my focus shifted decidedly towards herbal medicine.

My husband and I threw ourselves into urban homesteading when we both lost our incomes in 2008. We knew there had to be a better, more frugal and sustainable way to live. We were already interested in camping, gardening, beekeeping, and other self-reliant hobbies. The failing economy, however, kicked our interests in preparedness, survivalism, and homesteading into high gear.

I am the author of two books, teach herbal and prepper courses, and homeschool my two children. Our family plans to ultimately relocate to our rural homestead site in Maine, where I can live out my dream of having a flock of sheep to support my knitting addiction.

Books by Cat Ellis

Click on the title to learn more or to order:

Cat’s websites

Cat’s Herbalism Courses

Cat is offering Preppers University students a discount on her Herbal Skills Intensive until Friday, June 23, 2017. Take $20 off with the code preppersu

Where to find Cat Ellis on Social Media

Cat’s Recommendations

Base oils at SoapersChoice.com

StrictlyMedicinalSeeds.com

Susan Weed’s pregnancy book: Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year

Sailboats, Survival, and SHTF

Originally published on Graywolf Survival

by Scott Kelley

I’ve always been a fan of being self-sufficient and learning skills. Sailing is one of the skills that I always wanted to acquire but until my sister married her husband, I never knew anyone who sailed. I love it so much now that I’m considering selling everything and living on a sailboat. As you’ll see below, learning how to sail will give you the opportunity to learn all sorts of self-sufficiency skills, emergency preparedness skills, and off-grid capabilities. As far as I’m concerned, the skills and knowledge required to sail a boat to a distant shore and live on the boat require almost exactly the same skills that preppers pursue.

Lemme throw some context at you for a sec and then tell you why you might want to consider learning how to leave dry land if you need to. I went out to Kalifornia in September to visit some friends and family and along the way, I spent a week in Monterey, where a good friend is learning Russian at the Defense Language Institute (DLI). Since I didn’t want to sit around his house all day while he was in school, I decided to take this opportunity and take sailing lessons. I’m glad I did.

I spent a week and got my ASA101, Basic Keelboat Sailing and ASA103, Basic Coastal Cruising certifications (those links are to the exact books they gave me for the courses but I’ll list the other books I’ve recently read at the end of this post. I then stopped in at Oxnard on the way back to Phoenix, and instead of getting a hotel, I decided to just rent a 32-foot sailboat for the day since it was almost the same and I’d have the boat for daytime (they let you sleep on the boat). I ended up staying all week on the boat and had a great time sailing and meeting people – and even sailed in a race that weekend. I still need to take one more class – ASA104, Bareboat Cruising, before I would feel comfortable heading out to an island for the weekend.

Why sailing is great for emergency preparedness

If you’re really into self-sufficiency as I am, you’ll love sailing. I’m not saying you should sell your stuff, get out of debt, and move onto a sailboat like I’m in the process of doing but just getting out there with friends and learning how to do it is really fun and very eye-opening. When you look at the awesome videos out there from people like La Vagabonde and S/V Delos, you can see that being out on a sailboat can be a great adventure that would be an awesome way to learn survival skills (check out these two videos, for example).


See what I mean? The more I’ve gotten into sailing (and watching hundreds of hours of these videos), the more I’ve seen that sailing provides the perfect opportunity to practice self-sufficiency as well as learning to become truly off-grid. You may have seen the nautical prepper guy on Doomsday Preppers. I tried to find a video of it for you but the only ones I found were pirated (see what I did there), but he did write this book, The Nautical Prepper: How to Equip and Survive on Your Bug Out Boat (Preppers).

If you’ve ever sailed a boat for any length of time, you know that there are constant reminders that shit happens, and if you’re out at sea or anchored at a deserted island, you have no one to rely on except yourself to deal with them. People who’ve logged any length of time on a sailboat are people who know how to deal with what life throws at them and fix things themselves with duct tape and rope. Sailing teaches you to deal with adversity and fix things yourself.

In order to live on a boat, you have to not only learn how to operate a sailboat and navigate, you have to be very particular about what you can take with you. This requires you to take a good look at what you need to survive (as comfortably as possible) and learn medical skills (and have the proper supplies), know how to fix your engine and other systems (and have the right tools), know how to gather food (usually by fishing but not always), have alternative sources of power, know how to process your food so it lasts (not all boats have refrigerators), be able to gather fresh water, know how to communicate through radio and other means, and so on. It takes a lot of prepping to be able to live on a boat.

Considering a bug out boat as part of your plans

So let’s look at this from a prepping/bug-out viewpoint. Obviously, you can see that in absolute worst-case scenarios where society collapses, getting away on a boat could be a great option, but I don’t really like looking at things from a TEOTWAWKI perspective – but let’s play with that thought for a moment. What happens if we get a big blast of sun gunk thrown at us from space that wipes out all our electronics for hundreds or even thousands of miles? (Read these three posts by my friend Frank if you want to know about EMP/CME). The nice thing about sailboats is they don’t need fuel or electricity to work. It is more convenient to use the motor to park the boat in a marina or to get moving when the wind dies (called being becalmed), but it’s not necessary.

Now keep in mind that sailing isn’t a skill you can ‘usually’ just pick up and do. You may be able to after a while but much like using a ham radio, it’s MUCH better if you learn how before you really need to do it.

So what that gives you is the ability to head out into the water when everyone else is scrambling around, not able to use their vehicles because they died or because of the ensuing traffic jams (provided your plans can get you to your boat. With enough training and practice, you could head out to the sea to get away from the mayhem and maybe find an island to stay (or other country) to get away. You can also now more easily fish for food, etc than you can from shore.

“How would I be able to find my way?” – Yeah, I hear ya. You can’t just hop in a boat and head out into the ocean and luck into an island. You’d have to know where you’re at and where you’re going. It is possible, however. You do it the way people did it for hundreds of years before GPS was invented – by sextant. Now, using a sextant isn’t something you can just pick up and start doing. This book can show you how to find your way using the stars, or you can take classes such as ASA107: Celestial Navigation. That’s one of those things you’ll understand once you start actually getting out there.

Now I’m not saying that you should be focusing a lot of your time and effort into bugging out in a sailboat, but if you’ve gotten your plans developed so you’re covered for the 99.99% of things that are much more likely to happen (losing your job, car breaking down, house fire, personal security, etc) then it doesn’t hurt to think bigger. Just don’t get the cart before the horse. Work on things like what to do if your power goes out for a few days or what you should put in a bag in case you have to leave home or get home. What I am saying though is that if you really want to practice what it would be like to have bugged out, with truly no one to rely on and nothing you can use but what you’ve packed in  small area, sailing is a great way to do that – and have a fantastic time doing it.

Heck, you might even be able to get your significant other onboard with being prepared if they’re not already.

Books I’m reading about sailing

Ok, so as you may have guess from the average length of my posts, I’m kind of anal about research. As promised above, here are the books I’ve personally ordered and have read or am currently reading that pertain to sailing (like I said, I read a lot):

I haven’t read this series yet but Scott Williams has a four-book series called The Pulse that relates to sailboats and an EMP causing a SHTF/apocalypse scenario with the main character on a sailboat. It looks really good.

So, you don’t have to go all out and buy yourself a sailboat but if you know anyone who has one and goes out for at least overnight trips (and better yet, someone who has cruised to distant shores), I’d suggest getting out there and start talking to them about how they plan their trips. I think you’ll be surprised just how ‘prepperish’ they are. As far as I’m concerned, sailors are preppers.

Speaker: Tammy Trayer

 

Tammy Trayer is an author, freelance writer, blogger at TrayerWilderness.com and a radio show host at Mountain Woman Radio. Tammy and her family live traditionally off-grid and have a passion to help educate others by sharing their experiences of living off the land, dealing with autism, gluten free and dairy free cooking, self reliance, wilderness survival, traditional and primitive skills, and much more.

Books by Tammy Trayer

Click on the title to learn more or to order:

Tammy’s websites

Where to find Tammy Trayer on Social Media

Tammy’s Recommendations

 

Get Prepped For a Quarantine

All too often, the world is shaken by a new flu bug or the resurgence of an old one. This article caught my eye, as it’s about a mutated version of avian flu H7N2 that was transmitted from a cat to a human, quite a rare occurrence. I also have a long enough memory to recall the Ebola panic just a couple of years ago and shaking my head at the incompetence and poor decision making by those in authority, including the CDC.

The history of Ebola, as detailed in this book, is helpful to know and understand how a deadly virus originates, mutates, and spreads.

With an eye on the future and knowing a little about how quickly certain viruses can spread, I have put into place a number of preps that would see my family through the duration of a widespread outbreak, similar to the ones described in Steve Konkoly’s The Jakarta Pandemic. I know Steve personally and the massive research he put into this book, although a novel, is spot on. Read it to learn even more strategies to keep your family safe.

So, if we can learn anything from past epidemics, we can fully expect to see many more viruses of every kind spread, to one degree or another. And, naturally, there will be even more cases of overwrought hysteria by the media and public officials. Another very concerning development where these viruses are concerned is the flood of immigrants from all parts of the earth whose health issues are unknown. Some carry highly contagious diseases, like tuberculosis, which have previously been very rare here in the U.S.

That said, imagine for just a moment that you and your family have been placed under an official quarantine lasting seven days, fourteen days, or even longer. No one goes to work, no one goes to school. You won’t be eating at restaurants, going to church, the bank, to the movies, or visiting friends. During a quarantine, you will be expected to be self-sufficient for everything except for your utilities.

How will you cope?

Prep now for a quarantine

Preparing for something like this is a good excuse to really get going with your prepping if you’ve slacked off or are pretty new to the idea. Basic prepping for anyone begins with food and water. If you haven’t yet started storing food, here’s a list of some basic foods to begin stocking up. One simple strategy is to begin buying extras of the groceries you use more often and do that each time you go grocery shopping.

If you’re the one who’s sick and possibly very contagious, you’ll need to have on hand a couple of week’s worth of things like canned soup, freeze dried meals, and other simple “open and serve” type meals. Make sure everyone in the family knows where this food is and how to prepare it.

Add essential non-edibles

In addition to food, you’ll need essential non-edibles that are a part of your daily life but also a few items more specific for dealing with a quarantine and pandemic. Those would include soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach, black trash bags (the really heavy duty contractors bags), rubber gloves, N-95 face masks, medical quality disinfecting wipes, and medical disinfectant spray.

An official looking quarantine warning sign would be a good idea. Keep in mind, in a true epidemic or pandemic, you will want to quarantine, even if no one in your household is sick. Hunker down at home and let the virus run its course, far from you and your loved ones. A quarantine sign will be a reminder to outsiders that you’re aware of the health scare and are taking necessary precautions within your 4 walls. At the same time, if any potential intruders are casing your home, that sign could possibly scare them away if they believe the virus is alive and well inside your house.

Now would also be a good time to make sure you have a working thermometer or two, extra bottles of pain reliever, at least one humidifier, diarrheal medicines, and electrolyte drinks or dry mix as detailed in this article. If the virus is affecting the upper respiratory system, the humidifier becomes even more important, along with decongestants, many boxes of tissues (be sure they are immediately disposed of in something like this), lots of water for rehydration, possibly natural remedies you have found helpful (we use Boswellia tablets for coughs). The CDC has a helpful article that details complications from the flu — good to review, take notes, and plan to have on hand supplies to deal with this type of common virus.

Once the quarantine is in place, you will probably not be able to go to a drugstore or pharamacy. In that case, you need to make sure you have an adquate supply of prescription drugs. I’m thinking, in particular, of asthma inhalers, since a number of flu viruses focus on the upper respiratory system. This could be particularly dangerous to an asthmatic.

Depending on how severe the illness, you may need contractor-grade bags to hold refuse, biohazard bags, barf buckets, even gauze (or maxipads) to absorb blood. (Remember pictures of people with tuberculosis coughing up blood in old movies?) In the case of Ebola, the virus was found in bodily secretions of all kinds. That’s where rubber gloves, goggles, disposable Tyvex suits (not as expensive as most people think) and a biohazard clean up kit should be added to your supplies.

Most people don’t give much thought to the pathogens that could be present in vomit, saliva, urine, and feces. They’ll probably grab some paper towels and maybe a bottle of Clorox spray, but an actual biohazard spill, or clean up, kit provides most everything you need to clean up and then dispose of potentially dangerous substances. Speaking of disposal, adding biohazard disposal bags provides you with a safer option for disposal of used medical supplies and even clothing worn by the sick person.

Clothing, towels, and sheets used by the sick person will have to be quarantined away from those used by everyone else. Launder them separately and once the patient has recovered, throw them away. This is true of everything else used by the patient: cups, plates, silverware, etc.

Lest you think it impossible to deal with a deadly virus like Ebola within your home, a young Liberian woman did just that by using low-tech supplies to keep family members alive during the worst of the outbreak:

Every day, several times a day for about two weeks, Fatu put trash bags over her socks and tied them in a knot over her calves. Then she put on a pair of rubber boots and then another set of trash bags over the boots.
She wrapped her hair in a pair of stockings and over that a trash bag. Next she donned a raincoat and four pairs of gloves on each hand, followed by a mask.
It was an arduous and time-consuming process, but Fatu was religious about it, never cutting corners.
You can read her entire story here. If a pandemic becomes so widespread that professional medical care is impossible to access, you can still do quite a lot with basic medical knowledge and the right supplies.

Maintaining sanity within your home

A quarantine will require that everyone stay home. If you have kids or grandkids, then you’ll want to make some plans now to keep them busy and entertained.

First, they should understand basic quarantine rules:

  1. Wash hands after every time they use the restroom.
  2. Immediately dispose of used tissues in a biohazard container.
  3. Stay away from the “sick room” without specific instructions from an adult.
  4. Know to wear protective clothing, including goggles and a face mask, around the sick person.

Very young children who tend to not always follow instructions may need to be kept behind a barricade, such as a kiddie gate.

Having the kids at home 24/7 may drive everyone batty, so it will be worth your while to tuck away a few books on CD, DVDs, books, and even school workbooks. Amazon carries the BrainQuest workbooks for various grades, and at over 300 pages each, surely they’ll keep kids busy for a long while. Also, have plenty of pencils and a good pencil sharpener handy. Puzzle books, board and card games, and indoor physical activity supplies (jump ropes, exercise videos, etc.) can help create a routine that, in turn, helps everyone stay sane. This article provides many more examples of how to set up a shelter-in-place routine.

Finally, if no one is working during the quarantine, it’s possible your income might suffer. Your mortgage company, landlord, and utilities must still be paid right on time, so do a little financial planning to be sure that money is set aside in case the worst does come to pass. As always, it pays to be prepared in more ways than one.

This 7 minute video from Dr. Bones gives more helpful tips for setting up a quarantined home:

How to Survive if You’re Caught in a Riot

What happens if you are stuck in a large riotous crowd?  Now this can be the result of an evacuation or bug out situation, a protest, food riot or any other mob-ruled violence.

Now, back in the early 70s, I was working undercover and got caught in a couple of the anti-war riots that occurred during this period. Once, I even ended up on the wrong side of a police line, not the right place to be.

Last night I was watching a movie and they showed people traveling in a large, panicky crowd. Our heroes made several dumb moves. First, they tried to drive through a crowd having the only running vehicle. This does not work, unless you are willing to kill people and even then, you most likely won’t get out of the crowd alive.

If you are on the road during a bug out and there is a large and desperate crowd in front of you, reverse course. Find another route, even if it means abandoning your vehicle. This is why I recommend having a detailed map, like these, as well as a GPS. Remember, crowds are something to be feared. A panicky crowd will have no conscience.

Going back to our movie, our hero made a second mistake: he pulled a firearm. All this did was result in the loss of the firearm and him almost being killed. If you have a firearm in a crowd, try to keep it out of sight, and for sure, don’t pull it out and threaten someone.

The best solution is to avoid being caught in crowds, but sometimes you have no choice. You may be attending a large public event like a ball game or simply have to work in a bad area.

 So, here are some ideas to help you stay safe in a riot or panicky crowd

  1. If you see people start to mass, don’t get curious and wait to see what is happening. Leave now.
  2. Be familiar with your area. Even if you’re just visiting a location, you should still get to know your surroundings as much as possible. Study a map and have a good idea of where you are, directionally.
  3. Think about your possible escape routes and safe havens before anything actually happens.
  4. If you work in a volatile environment, make sure you know several routes for getting home so that you have a number of methods of escape in the event of a riot.
  5. Carry small amounts of cash with you in case you need to quickly arrange transportation, pay off looters, or address your basic needs.
  6. Remain calm. Riots bring intense emotions boiling to the surface, but if you want to survive one you’d be better off keeping your own emotions in check. Your adrenaline and survival instincts will kick in, but strive to think rationally and pursue safety methodically. The book, Left of Bang, delves into this and is a good read as well.
  7. Avoid confrontation by keeping your head down. Think “gray man”. How could you blend in and not attract attention?
  8. Walk at all times at a casual pace. If you run or move too quickly, you might attract unwanted attention.
  9. Keep your loved ones close. If you’re not alone, then the first thing you should do is grip the hands or lock elbows with all of the people who are with you. If you’re with a child, hold them in your arms so they aren’t trampled. Sticking together with your loved ones should be your first priority
  10. Don’t get involved or take sides.
  11. Try to get out of the crowd, don’t try to move against it, but try to work your way to the sides at an angle and find a way out.
  12. When you get to the side, either leave the area or find a safe spot in a building. Just by moving inside a sturdy and controlled building, you may find protection. The first thing you should do if you enter a building is look for an escape route or back door.  Hopefully this will let you out onto another side or alley that is free of the crowd. Don’t hide in upper stories.
  13. If you find safety in a building, don’t watch the riot from the windows, this may attract attention and will increase your chances of getting hurt.
  14. Look out for fire. If the angry mob turns toward the building, it can be a target. Try to have an escape route.
  15. The best thing to do is to get as far away from the crowd as possible. But as you are leaving, watch to make sure no predators are following you. If you have a firearm this is when it will be most useful.
  16. Depending on the circumstances, the police and authorities may or may not be your friend. Avoid them if necessary as they may assume you are one of the rioters. If they are in limited strength and under attack, stay away from them.

Hopefully you never get caught in this situation. Planning ahead and living and working in good areas, can help keep you and your family safe. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done!

 

7 Ways to Survive a Nuclear Incident

Surviving a nuclear incident, for example a dirty bomb, nuclear reactor accident, or nuclear explosion, seems to many people to be impossible. They assume it’s impossible to survive such an event, so they decide they will just give up and die. I have had many people tell me that they would prefer to die in a nuclear war than survive. While any type of nuclear incident would be horrific, with a bit of knowledge it is possible to survive and go on with life.

The most important survival tool that you need is knowledge. The following points are information you should study and learn.

1. First, there are two types of radiation associated with a nuclear explosion that you should know about. The first is the initial nuclear radiation from the blast. If you are exposed to this, you are probably dead.

However, the second type of radiation, Residual Nuclear Radiation, is different. This radiation is mostly from the radioactive fallout. This radiation comes from the weapon debris, fission products, and, in the case of a ground burst, irradiated soil.  There are over 300 different fission products that may result from a fission reaction. Many of these are radioactive with widely differing half-lives.  Some are very short, i.e., fractions of a second, while a few are long enough that the materials can be a hazard for months or years.  Their principal mode of decay is by the emission of beta particles and gamma radiation. The bombs dropped on Japan were airbursts and caused very few deaths from radiation.  Cancer deaths that occurred much later are for another discussion.

2. A ground burst will produce much more fallout than an air burst.  In a nuclear war, most countries would use airbursts; they create damage over a larger area, but minimize radioactive fallout. Terrorists would probably use a ground burst because they would want to cause radiation damage and fallout.

Burns visible on a woman in Hiroshima during the blast. Darker colors of her kimono at the time of detonation correspond to clearly visible burns on the skin which touched parts of the garment exposed to thermal radiation. Since kimonos are not form-fitting attire, some parts not directly touching her skin are visible as breaks in the pattern, and the tighter-fitting areas approaching the waistline have a much more well-defined pattern.

3. Avoid looking at a distant nuclear blast. Flash blindness is caused by the initial brilliant flash of light. More light energy is received on the retina than can be tolerated, but less than is required for irreversible injury. This results in temporary damage to the visual pigments of the eye, and temporary blindness for up to 40 minutes.  If you have the fireball directly in your field of vision, it is possible to get a retina burn that can permanently damage your vision up to and including blindness.

4. This same flash that can damage your eyes can cause thermal burns. When thermal radiation strikes an object, part will be reflected, part transmitted, and the rest absorbed. The fraction that is absorbed depends on the nature and color of the material.  A thin material may transmit a lot. A light colored object may reflect much of the radiation and thus escape damage, like anti-flash white paint.  The absorbed thermal radiation raises the temperature of the surface and results in scorching, charring, and burning of wood, paper, fabrics, etc.  If the material is a poor thermal conductor, the heat is confined to the surface of the material. Depending on your distance from the blast, it is possible that the flash can ignite fires.

5. Duck and cover – This has been made fun of in the media on many occasions, but in reality it is a good idea. Depending on your distance from the blast, it can protect you from possible blast damage. It also protects you from flash burns and blindness.  This is something that can save your life.

6. Learn how to find cover and what shelter factors protect you from the effects of radiation. The book Nuclear Warfare Survival Skills is an excellent reference on this subject.  It teaches the 7:10 rule. Assume that a 1 megaton bomb blast occurs and you are sheltered or far enough away to survive the blast if fallout of 1000 Rads arrives at your location 1 hour after the blast.  A 450 Rad accumulative dose can kill you, so one-half hour of unsheltered exposure can be fatal.  If you have shelter and are using the 7:10 rule, you will know that after seven hours the outside rate will drop to 100 Rads per hour.  In another 7 times 7, or forty-nine hours, it will have decayed down to 10 Rads per hour. Then using the rule of seven times forty-nine hours which equals approximately two weeks it will be down to one Rad per hour. You need to stay sheltered until it drops to one-half Rad per hour, and that takes about twenty-five days total.

If you are lucky and the Rate is only 10 Rads per hour in your area, then seven hours after the blast it is down to one rad.  Forty-nine hours after the rate is down to one tenth of a Rad and you can leave the shelter.

7. You and dirty bombs.  As you know, there has been a lot of concern about terrorists getting their hands on nuclear materials and setting off a dirty bomb. Studies have shown that members of the public are more likely to be harmed by the impact of the conventional explosives than that of the radioactive materials.  A dirty bomb would spread radioactive materials, contaminating the local area and any individuals in the nearby vicinity.  However, this contamination would be mostly external in nature, and if the attack was promptly identified as being radioactive, decontamination of individuals would be a relatively straightforward process.  The exposure time of anyone affected would be limited and the negative health effects mitigated.  There would be no nuclear explosion and the radiation would only be scattered within the blast radius.

Hopefully this will provide you with some information that will help you understand some of the ways in which you can mitigate the effects of a nuclear incident.  Take the time to study this problem and Build a Nuclear Go Bag for Fallout or Radioactive Incidents.

Speaker: A. American

Angery American is the prolific author of some of the most popular prepper fiction around. He lives in Florida with his family.

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