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Are you prepared for for Natural/Man made disaster, or job layoff or a EMP? Are you prepared for for Natural/Man made disaster, or job layoff or a EMP? Do you have the skills to grow a garden? Would you like to learn about prepping? Do you know how to build a Faraday cage? Learn …
by: firemkady Preparedness Beginning Part Two So in Part One, we talked about the need to just get friends and family to start thinking about the need to prepare. I have a friend who lives in Portland (Oregon) on an island. I have been trying to get him to prepare for years! Just to have …
by: firemkady Hi there! I have been reading this site for a while now and I have recommended it to several dozen people. A few of them have said there is way too much information about the TEOTWAWKI. I thought about that and realized most people start out small and when they realize just what …
I don’t rep for Camp Chef, and I won’t help sell equipment I wouldn’t use myself. This is a good, solid piece of off grid cooking gear. When I bought my Camp Chef double burner propane stove nearly 20 years ago, I never dreamed it would be so useful, get such hard use or …
So in Part One, we talked about the need to just get friends and family to start thinking about the need to prepare. I have a friend who lives in Portland (Oregon) on an island. I have been trying to get him to prepare for years! Just to have just a three day supply of food. He and his family are very health conscious so they go to the store and buy fresh vegetables and fruits and meats every two or three days. Will he ever change? Probably not! Some people need to have a teachable moment to learn from! A small earthquake, flood or winter storm, something small that discomforts them enough to start thinking about the what ifs!
Hopefully some of the people you talk to about preparedness will start to do the basics. They may ask for additional information! So in Part Two I will be talking about basic preparedness.
First off we need to talk about planning! There are as many ideas out there as people. I think if you are talking with friends and family who are just starting out….. use the basic and proven methods. I have used Red Cross and yes FEMA material for a long time and people will look at and read it because they have a track record. Remember we are trying to get new people into prepping, not try to have them become monster preppers. Besides the fact that there is a huge backlash against Read the rest of this entry »
Hi there! I have been reading this site for a while now and I have recommended it to several dozen people. A few of them have said there is way too much information about the TEOTWAWKI. I thought about that and realized most people start out small and when they realize just what is going to happen as far as supplies and people in a disaster then they understand this site better and they go back to reading it.
I have been thinking about this for a while and have decided it might not be a bad idea to merge multiple ideas. I have a background starting from the Boy Scouts from wayyyyyy back when! I then became a firefighter and started helping Red Cross and the departments teach all about prevention and preparedness. I have taught it to adults as well as middle schoolers. It was a very satisfying feeling when you could see the light bulb go on and you realize ahhhh they got it!
Soooo There is no better place to start than at the beginning. Let’s start with basic planning, because as my old SAR coordinator said “If you don’t have a plan, then you are planning to fail!” I will separate this article into multiple parts…..hmmm unless people tell me to not bother! I will then add more detailed information as time goes on.
The first thing I tell people is to look around where you live. Then they need to look at the three aspects of Emergency Preparedness
What are some of the possible disasters in my area? (keeping in mind that disasters mean different thing to different people) Floods, Earthquakes, Wildfires, House Fire, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Snow and Ice Storms, and just plain old Power Outages. I always bring these up; emergencies in the home, and on the road. Not Solar flares, melt down of the economy, martial law, nuclear war, or EMP. I always start with the basics.
Am I ready to protect myself and my family if any of these happens?
What can I do to make my home safer? Do I need to clean my stove or fireplace because I haven’t used it in years? If there are earthquakes how do I strap my water heater in or keep the books and mirrors on the wall?
How can I minimize the damage to both the building as well as my family?
What do I need to do to help us in the event of a disaster? First Aid kits, food, water, extra blankets, etc.
What training do I need to have? First aid? CPR? How to cook on a wood stove or camp stove? Where do I go and who do I talk to get this information?
How do I react after the crisis? Who do I call? Will the neighbors need help?
Let’s cover 3 basic examples of possible emergencies.
You are at home and the kids were outside playing in the yard and the nine year old fell out of the tree. They come inside and crying and looking scared. The nine year old is holding his arm but you can see it is bent in a strange angle. What to do????
You are at a local pizza parlor with some friends. Suddenly the man sitting next to you starts choking and turning blue. What to do?????
The reason I bring these up is because to some people this may be the biggest crisis they will ever have. (hopefully) But if they know what to do they will be less inclined to panic. They realize that they can help someone have a favorable outcome just by spending 1 weekend learning the basics of First Aid and CPR. Not even necessarily getting certified, just learning this will help a situation. If you have the training you will be more inclined to either gather or buy a first aid kit, and know how to use it! A basic first aid can have just the following items in it
Example 2) Home Emergencies
You are at home and the fire alarm starts beeping. What do you do? Do get out? Or do you go see if somebody might be cooking? It all depends on how comfortable you feel looking for a fire. Will your comfort level change if there is smoke? What does the rest of your family do?
Every family can prepare with a plan for how to escape a house fire. This plan is a plan that can be expanded on in case of an earthquake or tornado. You always pick a spot that you can go to meet the rest of the family. Sounds like a good plan huh? I also always advocate going to the nearest door or window to get out instead of trying to crawl thru smoke! Remember that roll-up ladders may be needed for 2nd story windows. Are you planning on fighting the fires? You will need fire extinguishers. And always ALWAYS test your smoke detectors with some type of smoke. Just because they go beep when you press the test button doesn’t always mean they are actually detecting smoke!
Example 3) Car Emergencies
I know! I know! Kind of a silly premise huh? I have my car with all my gear. But a lot of people don’t carry that equipment. When I bring up the potential of a motor vehicle accident and ask what do you do? They say call 911. Well where I used to live the cell phones didn’t have real great reception. I asked them what about until the ambulance gets there? They just stared at me! How about basic first aid? Should you move people injured in a car wreck?
Other potential problems are weather related. What about being trapped in a blizzard? Or stuck in a desert? Should some basic supplies be kept in the car? I then tell them make sure the car is at least half full. Know your route and not just on the GPS! Pack food, water, medications and extra clothing(appropriate for the seasons and weather) Keep a first aid kit, and flares in the car (although be careful with flares in the summer time in regards to starting a wildfire)
In those 3 examples I showed how to Recognize, Prevent and React to different emergencies. Now remember these are for lay people that do not deal with nor have worried or studied about major emergencies and disasters! Until next time have a great day! And keep preparing!
This Camp Chef double burner propane stove has served me well through nearly 20 years of hard use.
My brother, Mike Pantenburg, is also my hunting partner, and he moved west shortly after my family did. During elk season, Mike and I hunted Central Idaho.
Our camps were spartan and were set up out of the back of my half-ton Chevy pickup. Frequently, we’d get off work on Friday, drive up to the mountains, set up a tarp to sleep under, then get up at dawn to hunt deer or elk all day. We’d come back to camp after dark, tired, hungry and ready for something to eat.
Every piece of of our hunting equipment had to earn its place. Gear that didn’t meet expectations never made a second trip!
So when I went shopping for a hunting camp stove replacement , it was with specific requirements and expectations.
A camp stove has a tough job.
It has to function under extreme conditions: The camp stove has to work wherever it is set up, and any stove that is temperamental in wind or cold won’t be considered. The camp stove may be set up under a tarp, or on a pickup tailgate, and it better crank out some heat when called upon!
The stove must be easy to light: I hate using the pressure pump on some of those suitcase-sized stoves, (You know, the ones where you have to put your thumb over the hole at the end and pump!) In those pre-dawn hours before heading out on a hunt. I always manage to get gasoline on my hands, or to tear a fingernail while using that pump! The first hunter up generally starts the coffee, and no delays will be tolerated!
It must be reliable: If you are miles from town and a piece of equipment breaks, you could be in trouble. It could end up just being inconvenient. But in an extreme situation, you might desperately need to heat water to make a warm drink for a hypothermic hunter. That is not the time to be tinkering with a stove!
My camp stove needs to be sturdy: I routinely cook for groups, and put heavy cast iron Dutch ovens on the stove, or large containers of water to boil. (My 14-inch deep camp oven weighs 28 pounds before any food is put in it, and water weighs about eight pounds a gallon!) I commonly have a deep 14, full of food, and three or four gallons of water heating at the same time on the stove!
The stove must use a common fuel source: Generally you can find propane just about anywhere there is a gas station. You might not be able to find fuel cylinders, or some of the more specialized fuel sources. My Camp Chef uses a common propane tank that can be refilled virtually anywhere. In a pinch, you can borrow the tank off a barbecue grill!
There is a place in your camping/survival gear for a smaller camp stove. The Boy Scout Troop I’m associated with relies on propane cylinder suitcase-style Colemans at every campout. We’ve used those stoves under extreme conditions, and within their limitations, these stoves do very well.
But after shopping around with my elk camp stove criteria in mind, I bought a Camp Chef double burner. I have never regretted the purchase, and the stove has never let me down.
Reliability is paramount in any piece of equipment that might be included in your survival gear! My double-burner has had a hard life. During hunting and camping season, it is banged around in the back of a pickup or trailer. Once in camp, it is set up and used constantly for every cooking task.
At one Boy Scout winter campout in the Cascades of Central Oregon, the scoutmasters rigged up a tarp shelter around the back of a pickup tailgate. A Camp Chef double burner, without legs was set up on the tailgate. While the wind blew, and a blizzard raged, the Troop 18 adults volunteers used a Dutch oven and the double burner to create the chili that won the Scoutmaster Chili Cookoff.
The double burner is just to the left of the BBQ. It has stayed outside, uncovered, for years!
In the off-season, the double-burner stays set up as a permanent fixture in my patio off-grid cooking setup. We never fry bacon, French fries or chicken inside; the camp stove works quickly and efficiently, and all the cooking smells and heat stay outside.
There is no better setup for frying fish for a crowd than a deep cast iron Dutch oven on the double burner. I frequently will have two ovens on top going at once so I can fry fish in one, and cook hush puppies or French fries in the other.
No effort is made to protect my stove from the elements. Generally, all I ever do in the winter is brush off the snow, turn on the propane and light it.
Even though my double-burner has had excessive hard use, it still lights every time, and continues to perform with monotonous regularity. While some of my hunting/survival gear may need updating, when it come to my double-burner, there is no replacement plan in sight!
I was in an overgrown clear cut, deep in Idaho’s backcountry. The elk , as usual, had lead me into this Gawd-awful tangle of vines, fallen trees and brush. But these things get ignored when you can hear large animals moving up ahead, see steaming elk poop and smell a barnyard odor.
Click Here to Buy Survival Kits: All these items, including a piece of aluminum foil, will fit inside this small tin. When fully loaded, the kit will weigh about four ounces, the same as an iPod
by Leon Pantenburg
Then the herd vanishes, and you’re still in the middle of the thicket, and it’s time to regroup.
I took another route back, and came across a muddy area, which indicated a spring was nearby. Needing to replenish my water bottle, I followed the moisture uphill until I found where it flowed out of the ground. The challenge was, the spring was under a couple of downed logs. I had to reach up underneath with my tin cup to dip the water out, but soon filled my canteen.
The finished product (Pantenburg Photos)
One reason a piece of aluminum foil is included in my Altoids tin survival kit is that the foil can make a very effective cup.
A piece of aluminum foil the size of a piece of typing paper can be fashioned into several survival tools, including a water container that can hold several ounces. (To see the video about how foil can be used as part of a fire ignition method, click on survival firemaking.)
While I haven’t tried it, I would imagine a larger water container could be made if there was some way to contain it inside some sort of framework. (Hmmm… when the weather gets nicer here in Central Oregon, I’ll try this technique with a milk crate, or some sort of wooden box…)
But, anyway, this folding method is also a survival technique that can be used with many items salvaged from a trash can, such as a common sheet of paper, newspaper, or a MacDonalds paper sack. If you follow this basic pattern, friction will hold the container together, and you might be able to improvise all sorts of survival containers. (To view the how-to video, go to the bottom of the page)
Here is how to use a square of aluminum to make a serviceable water container:
Fold the foil or paper into a square:
First a square.
Then make an Isosceles triangle: Mark the bottom edge in thirds; divide the shorter sides into halves.
Start at the bottom. Put your left index finger on the right third marker, and using your right hand, point the right tip of the triangle at the halfway mark on the left side. Fold from right to left.
Fold right to left
Then, from the bottom, fold from left to right.
Fold the top triangles down.
At this point, the container is finished and ready to be used. (See top photo)
This technique is the opposite of rocket science. In fact, many people probably already know how to do the folding.
But one point of survival common sense is to apply knowledge you already have, to what may be a chaotic and stress-filled situation. And this is one simple, easy technique to remember.
The hikers had planned well for the trip. They had purchased their maps and trail guide. Late night internet searches produced tips, pictures and camp site suggestions. They were ready to go. But were they ready for the unexpected?
Click Here to Buy Survival Kits: All these items, will fit inside this small tin. When fully loaded, the kit will weigh about four ounces, the same as an iPod
by Blake Miller
The unexpected happens even for the best prepared. Accidents just happen. I’d like to cover three topics that we might not think of or practice as we should.
Blake Miller and his son on a backpacking trip.
First, always let a responsible person know of your plans. Pick a person whom you know can be decisive and make a judgment call. If you tell the responsible person that if you aren’t home to call 911 for Search and Rescue (SAR) at 9:00, you know that at 9:01 that person is on the phone making a very difficult call.
But help that responsible person out. Give them and the searchers something to go by. The Boreal Wilderness Institute (BWI) of Alberta, Canada offers a fine trip card on their site at www.boreal.net.
On my web site I provide what I call the Hiker’s Trip Plan at www.outdoorquest.biz. Remember that rescuers would like know about the number of hikers in the party, medical conditions, and what animals are accompanying the group.
Second, have a back-up plan should your GPS break or become lost. That doesn’t mean that the trip has to end, but the backcountry navigator certainly needs to understand what the options are.
For a deep wilderness trip where the hiker is bushwhacking off trail this becomes more important. Better still; a backup plan begins before leaving home. The BWI Route Card includes a section for route planning notes and an escape route. The Outdoor Quest plan has a section for an alternate route. This data will help a SAR team focus and provide containment for the search.
Certainly a second GPS in the party will make a difference for the better. That said, having a sound knowledge of map and compass procedures is absolutely essential.
Blake Miller's sons pose at a waterfall in the backcountry.
All deep wilderness hikers need to have a solid navigation foundation. I always recommend to my land navigation students to start practicing two weeks before the big trip. Take the GPS and compass everywhere. Mark waypoints, edit waypoints, sight on distant objects with the compass and run a bearing. The hiker needs to develop the muscle memory for the GPS and recall the logic of placing the magnetic needle over the orienting arrow (e.g., red in the shed, mouse in the house.)
The web site www.landnavigation.org offers a very good review of the fundamentals to navigation.
Third, BWI web site offers a short discussion about an “escape route.” The hiking group should reflect on the many contingencies that can come into play during a backcountry trip. Weather, terrain, injury and wild land fires come immediately to mind.
For example, in the Central Oregon Cascade range, the mountainous slopes have vast expanses of beetle killed trees. Dry summers produce large fires that grow quickly, becoming an obvious hazard. Develop options, so that if the
need arises, evacuation is a matter of choice and planning. BWI comments that: “An escape route is a simple bearing toward a major highway, road or other linear feature.”
Everyone in the party must have an understanding of the geography and terrain. Should the group need to “bug out,” terrain needs to be used to the groups advantage rather than being channeled in the wrong direction and away from safety.
Blake Millerhas made a career out of staying found and knowing where he is at all times. His formal navigation training began when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1973. He served as an officer aboard several Navy ships over his
twenty-year career; many of those tours included the duty of Navigator. Blake began working with satellite navigation systems at sea in 1976, culminating with the then-new satellite positioning systems aboard the Battleship WISCONSIN in early 1990.
In 1998 Blake started Outdoor Quest, a business dedicated to backcountry navigation and wilderness survival. Blake has taught classes to wild land firefighters, state agency staffs, Search and Rescue team members, hunters, hikers, skiers, fishermen and equestrians. He regularly teaches classes through the Community Education programs at Central Oregon (Bend) and Chemeketa (Salem, OR) Community Colleges.
As a volunteer, Blake teaches navigation and survival classes to students in the local school districts, and conservation groups. He is a member of a Search and Rescue team.
If you have any questions about land navigation or wilderness survival, you can contact Blake through SurvivalCommonSense.firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to his website.
Here is my go-to firemaking method for survival situations and how to use it.
A magnesium stick is an important tool in this keyring survival kit. (Pantenburg photos)
by Leon Pantenburg
It has been over 10 years since I started any wilderness campfire using any ignition method other than flint and steel.
Part of the reason is that I like to keep my survival skills polished, and the other is that flint and steel is just so effective. I’ve used the method successfully in driving rain and snow, wind and zero degree temperatures. But the old time method would not be my first choice as a survival firemaking tool during an emergency.
My number one choice is a combination of cotton balls infused with petroleum jelly and ignited with a magnesium stick.
The method has a lot going for it as a survival fire starter: the small, one-handed-opening container I use holds three infused cotton balls, weighs virtually nothing, and doesn’t take much space. The infused cotton balls can be lit with virtually anything that produces a spark or flame. Properly infused cotton will burn for several minutes, and that alone will help coax a campfire out of damp tinder and wood.
Here is how to use the system:
Cotton balls infused with petroleum jelly make reliable and effective firestarters.
Before you go: Get some extra-large 100-percent cotton balls and petroleum jelly. Pack as much jelly as you can into the cotton. Carry these in an easy-to-open, but secure container. Make sure these are close to your magnesium stick for easy and quick access. While not crucial, I like to take along an aluminum foil yogurt container top, too. (Survival Expert Peter Kummerfeldt taught me this trick, and I steal it frequently and promote it shamelessly.)
Remove a pinch of the fire starter from the container, and fluff it up as much as possible. The size of the pinch depends on a variety of circumstances, including dampness of the materials, weather, and the severity of the situation. If you desperately need to start a fire to prevent hypothermia, use a lot. If the emergency in not particularly severe, take some extra time to gather more tinder and small sticks and use a tiny pinch.
Place the cotton on the aluminum foil. The infused fluffed-up cotton will be gooey, so you can stick it to a flat log or rock, too. I like the aluminum foil trick because the concave foil makes the melted jelly pool, and it acts much like a lamp. It will add significant burning time.
Point the end of the magnesium stick at the base of the cotton. Get the stick as close a possible.
Place the striker on top of the mag stick at a 90 degree angle. Position the edge at about a 45-degree angle, as if you want to whittle off some magnesium.
Draw the mag stick back sharply, while holding the striker in place. There is tendency for people to want to “whittle” the mag stick with the striker. This works just fine. For beginners, though, I recommend drawing the mag stick back, so you don’t scatter the firestarter if your hand slips.
The shower of sparks should ignite the cotton ball. The cotton ball can also be used as fire starter with any other flame or spark source.
If you’ve done everything right, this process should take hardly any time. The initial fire ignition should burn for several minutes. All you need to do is add, in this order, small twigs, larger branches and finally logs. Gather all these, and have them ready before you ignite the cotton ball.
Then, congratulations – you have a warm fire, and can think about the next step in your survival plan.
I have helped build snow caves as emergency shelters in the past, and didn’t think they were particularly effective. But that was before I read “Snow Caves For Fun and Survival” and tried out the book’s techniques.
by Leon Pantenburg
A group of Boy Scouts and volunteers were on our annual winter survival skills training day in the foothills of the Cascades in Central Oregon. When it comes to snow caves, the conventional wisdom from most survival manuals, is that the builder tunnels sideways and up into a snow bank, shoveling the snow out through the entrance hole.
Naturally skeptical (because of my newspaper training) I asked my 17-year-old son, Dan, to construct one such shelter by himself, using a small shovel and trowel. More than two hours later, his cave was finished, but Dan was wet, tired and cold. Despite working hard, his cave was not a particularly effective survival shelter. Dan would have had a rough night ahead of him if he had to stay in that cave.
Taking a break from making a snow cave. I had to try out Wilkinson's techniques!
Based on that and other experiences, my opinion of snow caves as emergency shelters was lukewarm at best. Then a friend recommended “Snow Caves For Fun and Survival” by Ernest Wilkinson, and I’ve changed my mind. (Read my story on building a snow cave using Wilkinson’s techniques by clicking here.)
Most people with some basic tools, and using the techniques Wilkinson writes about, could successfully make a snow cave survival shelter.
Author Wilkinson is a former Search and Rescue member, and an experienced Colorado mountain guide, specializing in snowshoe treks and winter camping, according to the book liner notes. This backcountry experience lead Wilkinson to develop his own shelter-making techniques that save time and energy and increase comfort and safety.
Wilkinson’s snow cave technique is simple: cut out blocks from the front of the drift to the width of the cave. Excavate. Dig a cold well, and carve out benches on the sides for sleeping. When all this work is done, use the removed snow blocks to create a front wall.
There is plenty of room for two people to work simultaneously, and you don’t need to get wet during construction. Best of all, the cave is quick to make, which places it in the effective survival shelter category.
This simple technique is just one of the practical winter camping/survival tips you’ll get from reading “Snow Caves.” Igloo and lean-to construction are also discussed, as well as avalanche danger and how to avoid it.
While the book’s main focus is shelters, there is a wealth of information on all aspects of winter camping in deep snow. Other sections deal with the proper clothing to wear, what kind of insulation a winter sleeping bag should have; firestarting tips; and equipment to take along for added comfort.
If you recreate in areas that have deep snow, or are looking for a winter camping reference book, “Snow Caves” would be a top choice. If you don’t know anything about deep snow survival techniques, reading this book would be a great place to start. Then, check out your local community college, or parks and recreation district, and see if someone offers classes in winter survival.
Ready, study, and then, practice what you’ve learned.
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If you take youngsters into the wilderness, they should be trained in basic survival skills so if they get lost, they can be found quickly. This book can be a very useful tool for that.