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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Important Notes About The 3 Hour Rule

More about blood, fire, boots, gloves, shelters, hypothermia and frostbite.

Our bodies cannot withstand high winds and cool temperatures without being properly clothed or our need of taking shelter from the wind, or our building a needful warm fire.

This danger can occur quickly in even fair weather. For example a 40-degree F. day can turn nasty with a 20mph wind, which drops the wind-chill factor down to 30 degrees F. We are prone to hypothermia after not very long exposure (about 2-3 hours), in such weather without maintaining proper body hydration and warm clothing.

Remember stay warm, do not get hot or sweaty. Sweat can mean death in severe weather so do all you can to layer your clothes by adding or subtracting loose layers of clothes as needed to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Keep and maintain a small fire so you can sit close to it without being endangered (getting burned). Loose clothing traps warm air and is warmer than tight fitting clothes.

If the temperatures and wind are both extreme, our danger becomes extreme also, possibly adding frostnip-frostbite to the equation along with hypothermia.

For example:

At 40 degrees F. with a 20mph or greater wind, hypothermia can occur in 2-3 hours or less. In addition, the following temperatures will likely all involve hypothermia as well as frostbite.
At 10 degrees F. with a 55mph or greater wind, frostbite can occur in 30 minutes, or less.
At 0 degrees F. with a 55mph wind or greater, frostbite can occur in 10 minutes, or less.
At –10 degrees F. with a 60mph wind or greater, frostbite can occur in 5 minutes, or less.

The first parts of the body to suffer from frostbite are your facial extremities such as your nose, cheeks, lips and ears, your fingers (hands) and your toes (feet). In winter months or times when going up into the snow, wear properly fitting boots with wool socks and a sock liner to wick away moisture. Dry socks are a soldier’s lament. Soldiers are always changing socks to maintain warm dry feet. As your feet go, so goes the rest of your body. If you cease to be able to walk, you are doomed to a very nasty situation indeed. So do not let your feet sweat, or get too cold. Marino wool socks and mixtures of acrylic make up the newer dry warm socks.

Keep your fingers covered in good quality insulated gloves. Do not cut corners on costs when it comes to keeping your hands and feet warm and dry. You will pay more for better quality gear, but “saving your bacon” so to speak, never was a freebie.

The words are Survive and Thrive, not Endure and Suffer! NEVER try to save money on your important items that will save your life. This is not to say that you cannot luck out with some good pricing on some gear. I have found the average price for a good pair of boots around one hundred or more dollars. However, I found that a do-able pair of rubber farm boots runs about $15. I thought I would test them out this year and the results had me buying a second pair, this time for my wife to wear for our emergency gear. (It is a good idea to add these to your emergency gear list.)

When I bought my boots, I made sure that I bought a pair of these boots ½ size larger than my normal size boot. I then cut and placed a ½ inch thick wool sole in the bottom of the boots to act as additional insulation between the cold ground and my pinkies. When I climbed in with my liners and wool socks, my feet were comfortable, not pinched and remained warm, not hot. Make sure this is a fit for you too, otherwise exchange them for a larger size.

I was initially worried that the rubber boots would not allow proper breathing for my feet and they would cause my feet to sweat. I was wrong. The extra size actually allowed for proper ventilation and my feet stayed dry even after playing in two feet of snow for several hours one day.

When buying farm boots, make sure that they have a rugged lug sole pattern for walking on both ice and snow. I was also pleasantly surprised that almost no snow went down into my boots while playing around in the two foot of snow. The boots come up to the top of my calf of my leg and with my long johns and pant legs tucked into the boot, they acted as a seal to prevent snow, but allowed breathability, which I was surprised about.

How about all those dairymen and farmers in Washington? They have kept this a secret for a long time! This is probably reflected in the price as being only $15 on average. (If everyone gets them, the price might go up.) They are cheaper then mukluks and other snow boots and I feel they are stronger than the typical mukluks you can purchase locally. Give them a try and let me know what you think. Long term hiking in them? I am not sure yet, but I did wear them all day long while staying outdoors and staying busy and never did get sweaty socks.

So back to severe weather,…you need immediate shelter and proper clothing to block out the cold and to protect exposed flesh in these conditions. A warm fire built behind a windbreak provides great benefits toward reducing hypothermia and frostbite. Build the fire early on, do not wait until you are too cold to move. It is almost too late by then.

Also, consider the value of layered clothing and a good shelter in advance. Anticipate the needed possibilities of colder weather or changes in the weather while you are outdoors. And another very important thing, include plenty of water to drink with your cold weather gear.

Proper hydration allows the body to help the blood stay thin, meaning it moves better throughout your body, including into the little capillaries of your extremities such as your fingers, toes, nose and ears vs. its thickening up because of insufficient hydration and not being able to transfer out to the capillaries. More blood movement means more heat to the extremities. Less blood movement further increases your risk of hypothermia and of frostnip-frostbite. So when in doubt, drink lots of fluids. Warmed is preferable in cold weather, but any form of fluid has it’s value, including such items as soups, stews and warmed up cereals.

I am especially enthused about drinking warmed up juices of all types, including grapefruit, orange, apple, etc., and various cool aide, and Gatorade flavors. Every single one I have personally tasted warmed up I have been pleasantly surprised to find how much better the drinks tasted heated up. For a while, I tried a new one every time I went out, just to find out that so far, like I said, I found I now like all fluids warmed up.

In reading about climbers of Mount Everest and K2, I discovered they also recommend herbal teas, coffee without caffeine, and hot coco without caffeine. This is because climbers especially are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite at higher altitudes and these helped keep their capillaries functioning properly. Both caffeinated drinks and nicotine on the other hand interfere with the oxygen levels in the blood, which can cause a person to get colder quicker, because of poor circulation.

So back to the subject at hand! At a minimum, we need to be getting out of the wind in cold weather. This alone can save your life, thus the need to know how to layer your clothing and how to build shelters quickly, and in the snow, how to build snow caves or igloos. These are important skills to have, as important as being able to build a quick fire.

And how about building a fire on snow? Well look for exposed rock or dirt. Without these, build your fire on top of a pile of pine, fir or cedar boughs or other tree branches layered on top of the snow, or in the case where there are large pieces of old growth bark or downed trees, use what bark you have available as a base to build your fire. Do not put down a plastic base. Plastics when heated by the fire are toxic.

One more thing, please do not blow on your hands to warm them up. It does not work and can actually cause you more skin damage. When you blow on a mirror you can see the moisture in your breath form a fog on the mirror. When you blow on your hands in cold weather, this moisture turns to ice crystals imbedded into the surface of your skin and can increase the rapidity of your getting frostnip-frostbite. Likewise, do not pull your head down into your shirt or jacket and breathe only inside your jacket. The moisture will freeze and further lower your core body temperature. It is okay to zip up, but leave your nose outside to breathe. Do not breathe through your mouth as you lose more moisture that way and it increases your body’s dehydration.

When your body first gets chilled, the muscles receive a message from the brain to tighten and contract, (basically shivering). This is what causes the hair to stand on end and what we call the visible results - goosebumps. You only have to lower your body’s core temperature down to 95 degrees F. to get hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia are uncontrollable shaking, slowed breathing and heart rate, slurred speech, unsteadiness on your feet, sleepiness, pale and cold skin and slowed thinking. When you remain cold for too long, your body temperature may lower further. When your body core drops below 90 degrees F., you stop shaking and you become extremely sleepy and confused and are headed shortly into a comma and then possibly death. Between 80 and 90 degrees F., you need immediate medical attention. Before your temperature lowers to 90 degrees, if you are treated, you can likely recover fairly quickly.

Hypothermia treatment while a victim is conscious remains simple.

· Insulate the victim from the cold ground with anything that will provide insulation.
· Change them out of wet clothing into dry warm clothing if possible.
· Give them warm drinks and fluids, or warmed foods, and a piece of hard candy.
· Place them inside a pre-warmed up blanket or sleeping bag, not a cold sleeping.
· Until the bag is warmed up, bring the victim to a campfire or into a shelter out of the wind.
· Do not expose their hands or cold feet to the fire as it will warm up the extremities too fast and could cause them to go into shock.
· Do not rub any potentially frozen flesh.
· Do not place hands or feet into hot water. Warm water is okay if it is about 105 degrees.
· You must have a warm towel to pat dry the water off once feeling is restored. Do this gently, as frozen fingers and toes are numb when frozen but are extremely painful when touched after frostnip or frostbite limbs are warmed up.
· If the person is not yet inside a sleeping bag, encourage them to do some calisthenics and some slow exercising to increase their core body temperature.
· Have another person dress down to their long johns and warm up a sleeping bag.
· Then place the victim in the bag with the other person for added body heat.
· Place heated up water, not boiling water, into bottles and then place them next to, the victims wrists, armpits, groin and neck area. Warm but not too hot to the touch.
. Seek medical attention for follow-up as soon as possible.

Once a hypothermic victim becomes unconscious, you need to perform everything as far as contact, except give internal liquids. Place hands and feet between the partner’s thighs and/or armpits and warm them up inside the sleeping bag or add a second person with both people stripped down to the flesh with the victim between two. Add warm water in bottles to the sleeping bag. Seek medical attention immediately as death may be very near.

Always remember, the weather is your friend, not your enemy. If you work with it rather than fight it, you will fare well and enjoy a great story to tell about later. If you ignore the weather warnings and plunge on unprepared, you will be gambling with your own life and those around you. Always Be Prepared, ALWAYS carry with you what you need.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Letter From The Boss

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Cadillac outside. You’ve seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I’m sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don’t see is the back story.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment wasconverted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don’t. There is no “off” button for me.

When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathethis company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Cadillac, the vacations… you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people whodidn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.
Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business?
Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don’t understand … to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you?

Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it.Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It’s quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future.Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done.
I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will bedestroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through thiscountry, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….


Your boss

(Source: http://rightwingchicky.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/a-letter-from-the-boss/)

Just how much is $315 billion dollars and what would it look like?

$315 Billion dollars and what would it look like.

(The pictures did not display well when shared on this site, therefore I have pulled them.) I do however recommend going over to "ryanandsusie's" for a better look and view of their pictures of just how large a pile of money $315 billion dollars is.

Their site is at: http://www.ryanandsusie.com/images/money_stack/

After viewing "ryanandsusie's" immages, then try to imagine over $700 Billion Dollars in one stack! Worse yet, estimates are that the bailout could include over $2 Trillion dollars (or more), before our government is finished trying to solve our financial crisis by throwing money at the problem. This is why it is equally important to go to one more site for additional graphics.

This next site is well worth the visit. It is to Glenn Beck's website. Glenn has a short video clip that shows just how outrageous this current spending is, compared to the government's prior history of printing and spending since 1921. (Catch Glenn's video at the below listed website)
Below is a graph from Glenn's site, but trust me, it does not do it justice or give the accompanied explaination from Glenn's lips as he explains all the details in his short video.

Be prepared to be shocked, this is a real eye opener......


Terry listed some ways you can start a fire in the wilderness. I would like to expand on some of the uses of fire and add a few more methods for quickly starting fires when needed.

*To start with, you should Know & Memorize the Rule of Three’s – On average, we survive:
- 3 minutes without oxygen
- 3 hours without warmth or shelter
- 3 days without water, and
- 3 weeks without food.

In the wilderness or in a survival situation you may need a fire for several or all of the following:

Comfort – a warm fire does much to console one’s spirit
Cooking – who likes cold food anyways…even granola and Top Ramen taste better hot!
Light – when it gets dark, it is nice to be able to see your way around objects
Safety – to thwart some wild animals
Signaling – fires in three make a signal be
Time Consumption – it beats sitting in the dark doing nothing and gives you time to think
Warmth – it is necessary to avoid hypothermia *Remember the rule of three’s.

Fire-building is a learned skill. So,…Practice! Practice! Practice! Then when you need a fire, fire-building in a hurry…will not be a problem.

Also, it is always better to be prepared than to have to start a fire with essentials. Therefore be prepared with a few of the following tools and you will never be caught short on being able to start a fire when you need to in the rain, snow, cold or sunshine.

First Tools – Begin with an additive(s):
1 bag of pre-gathered dryer lint for tinder
1 bag of unraveled hemp rope
1 package of pre-made egg carton wax fire starters
1 bag pine cones soaked in wax
1 package of "0000" steel wool (advantage - ultra light)
1 package of tea candles
1 box of fatwood (pitchwood)
1 fire safe aluminum bottle filled with white gas, alcohol or regular gas (This stuffs dangerous!)
1 can of kerosene lamp fuel (Also dangerous!)
1 or more small cans of stove fuel such as butane, Isobutane or propane (Less dangerous!)
1 can calcium carbide miner’s Lamp rock fuel (Unique, it uses water and snow to start the fire)
1 plastic bag filled with pre-made aluminum packets filled with cotton soaked in petroleum jelly
1 package of WetFire tinder or a military (or civilian) cubed, jell or paste firestarter

Next Tools - Use Reliable Fire Starters (samples of some available are below):
Pre-dipped, store-bought (or home-made) wind and waterproofed matches (use wax; not too hot or you will get ignition, or use nail polish or varnish instead)
Swedish Fire Steel by Light My Fire
BlastMatch by Ultimate Survival Technologies
StrikeForce by Ultimate Survival Technologies
Aurora Fire Starter by Solo Scientific
Single-Triple Flame Fire Torch Lighters made by various companies

Monday, February 16, 2009

5-Day (120 hour) Emergency Kit Checklist

There are many types of disasters: floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and terrorist attacks just to name a few. Government and Relief Organizations estimate that after a major disaster, it could now take up to five days for Relief Organizations to be up and running and stocked with the adequate supplies to help people. In such cases, a 5 Day Emergency Kit for each individual in your family could mean the difference between a traumatic life and death experience and one that feels more like a family campout. The following checklist can help you and your families plan and prepare more effectively.
FOOD & WATER•Minimum of 1200 calories of food per person, per day•Minimum of 3 water pouches of water per person, per day•Method of water purification (such as potable aqua and/or a water filter)•Additional water (one gallon of water per person per day for proper hydration under stress and hygiene)
•Additional food (include carbohydrates and canned meats for sustained energy and chocolate candy, energy bars like Power Bars, M&M’s, almonds and hard candy for quick bursts of energy)
•A couple of edible plants identification books and wild game survival books
•Paper Plates, paper bowls, 12 oz Paper Cups and disposable silverware; 3 rolls of paper towels
•Lightweight Stove & extra Fuel; extra matches and butane lighters
•One quart pan with lid for boiling water and one 10-inch Teflon coated frying pan with lid for cooking
•Plastic Spatula and serving spoons
•Dish washcloths and antibacterial dish soap; 0000 spun wire wool for cleaning & fire starting
•Reflector oven for baking or toasting
COMMUNICATION•AM/FM Radio and a portable NOAA Emergency Alert radio, both with batteries or alternate power source•Plastic whistle with lanyard•Cell Phones, walkie-talkies, portable ham radios and mobile ham radios, all with vehicle and outlet recharge cords
•Matching bright colored family T-shirts, vests, sweatshirts or jackets
•One Emergency Photo Kit for each member to carry with them, containing current photos of all family members along with identification and contact information for all family members and out of state contacts
LIGHT SOURCES•Minimum of 2 Flashlights per person, with extra batteries and extra bulbs•Two 100 hour Candles, or similar, in cans or secure containers•Several 12-hour Light-sticks•Lantern, mantels and fuel, or portable crank and/or battery operated lanterns, with extra batteries
HYGIENE & SANITATION•Personal Hygiene Kit (Include soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, comb, sanitary napkins, diapers, razors, and other toiletry items)•1 roll of Toilet paper per person•Facial Tissue•Portable Toilet and accessories, extra bags, deodorizers, sanitizers, and alcohol hand wipes
•3 Rolls of Paper towels or emergency towels for each person
TOOLS•50 Feet of nylon parachute cord; and 50 foot of ½ inch or ¾ inch nylon rope (rated at 2500lbs minimum)•Large folding sharp Pocket Knife with sharpener or sharpening stone; one hatchet and or axe •3 Rolls of Duct Tape•Foldable Shovel; hand trowel; mixture of standard mechanics tools (screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, etc.)•Current state map and adjoining states maps; emergency routes; topographic maps; compass •Sewing Kit; super glue; and a good strong multipurpose (wood-metal-glass-plastic) glue
•A chain saw with a half-gallon red plastic gas can, filled with gas mix, and/or a 20-inch wood hand saw
•A crow bar; and a water shutoff tool and a gas shutoff tool
WARMTH & SHELTER•Waterproof matches•Alternate fire-starting methods•Tent/Shelter
•2 extra tarps minimum of 10 feet by 10 feet for shelter, cover and ground cloths if needed•Solar Emergency Blankets for each person
•One 32 degree Sleeping Bag for each person, (no solar emergency sleeping bags – dangerous)•4 Hand & 1 Body Warmer for each person for each of the five days•Waterproof Poncho for each person and/or waterproof rain suits•One Wool Blanket for each person.
FIRST AID•One Group First Aid Kit and supplies•First Aid Booklet/Manual
•Small personal First Aid Kit to be carried by each person, plus larger kit for entire family•Burn gel and dressings, including additional large Kotex type napkins for burns and serious injuries•Insect repellent (30% or more DEET); sting kill, calamine lotion, etc.& tweezers for bug bites and stings•Sun block 35spf or greater; one pair of sun glasses for each person; extra pair of prescription glasses
•Extra facemasks for each person for filtering out smoke and ash or protecting against pandemic flu•Special medications and prescriptions as needed
•Cough, cold, allergies, rash, sore throat, toothache, ear, nose, and eye drops or spray or oral medicine, lotions for dry skin, etc. over-the-counter type medicines for minor illnesses that arise
•Snake bite kit (only needed in areas where poisonous snakes are a problem)
•Reflector mirror for checking breathing, search and rescue, and for emergency signaling
MONEY•At least $100 in your kit -- be sure to include quarters for phone calls (banks without power don’t work)
•Emergency Instructions and emergency phone numbers for fire, medical, police, and hospital assistance, and a phone list for family and friends.
•Key to Bank Deposit box•Family photos, backup disks for computer files and programs
•Genealogy records•Copies of documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, homeowners and/or renters insurance, auto insurance, phone numbers, credit card information, etc.
•Current identification for each person including drivers license, State ID card, military ID, medical ID, etc.
•Proof of residence or home ownership and utilities contact list
•Current list of medicines taken and a listing of all health conditions and needs for each family member
•Current Prescription list with phone numbers and attending physicians and dentist phone numbers
STRESS RELIEVERS•Set of Scriptures, Emergency Preparedness manuals, Church magazines and/or Church news, games, books, other magazines, hard candy, desserts, inspirational reading, (include small toys, paper & pen, favorite security items for children and infants including favorite blanket, stuffed animal & extra pacifiers)
•3 complete outfits of appropriate clothing - including extra long pants (not shorts) and long-sleeved shirts, extra wool socks, extra underwear, one waterproof hat, 2 pair sturdy waterproof shoes or boots, minimum of 2 pair of gloves (one working pair of gloves, one water proof pair for cold weather), one warm wool sweater, and one warm waterproof or water resistant jacket (for inclement weather).
•3 Road Flare(s) for signaling or three highly reflective vehicle/road warning signs
•Tire jack, 4 way tire iron, a good spare tire, a flat tire repair kit and an emergency inflation bottle
•ABC rated fire extinguisher
•2 Extra Air filters and 2 nylon stockings to help filter out smoke and ash after a volcanic eruption
•One 20-foot long 2000lb minimum strength towrope, cable or chain
•One belt repair kit or extra set of belts and one radiator and heater hose repair kit or extra hoses•A one gallon red plastic gas container, with the pour spouts that securely close, filled with gas

Ten Must Do Items - To Be Prepared!

As a Prepper, there are a number of things that we can and should be doing right now, especially with our economy as fragile as it is. These are just a few ideas to help you get started or to add to your wish list. Remember, preparedness should be a way of life not just a flash in the pan experience. If you are just starting out, do not panic; just take it one month at a time to prepare. Preparedness is kind of like piano lessons. Practiced daily and regularly, preparedness just happens to you…..Enjoy! Remember also that if you fail to plan (and you procrastinate getting started), you are basically planning to fail (when disasters and emergencies occur). Think these things through carefully and add your own thoughts and needs to expand this list.

1. Consider a Balanced Budget at home. Without it, the runaway usage of a credit card can waste dollars and keep your family in the red instead of financially sound. Total all income and then tally all fixed expenses and all needed expenses such as food, medicine and required care. If you are in an overly serious debt situation, make a plan to reduce your debt monthly, by first cutting up your credit cards, then paying off the most expensive debt first, (and closing out the account), and then move on to the next debt and so on…Subtracting your monthly expenses should leave you with some spending money. If not, there is no other solution but to cut spending or start living within your means.
2. Consider the spiritual law of tithing, paying 10% back to the Lord. Christian families have been heeding this law since the days of Adam and Eve. This is an eternal principle, which always produces blessings, no matter what your faith is. God is always a good investment. Do not believe it? Put it to the test. I have done so and I promise you that you will be blessed. If the blessings had not come to my family, (which I assure you they have), the scriptural promise of not being burned in the last days are enough reason for me to follow this religiously.
3. Consider placing a minimum of 10% of your income into a savings plan. I am not a fan of investing in the stock market, especially looking at the short term of such a volatile market as we have. This is because everything we read warns us “buyer beware”. Is the market still good? Stock Brokers will tell you a big “yes” and they would likely say I am all wrong for trying to recommend someone to be wary of high risks. I would rather error on the side of caution right now however than on the risk of losing my shirt (and possibly your shirt also). There are other places we can invest within this economy. I highly recommend placing money in several different secure locations that are low risk such as federally insured locations, so we can hedge on the side of safety.
4. Consider another safety is to set aside some cash that is readily accessible, that does not have to be withdrawn in the event of a computer meltdown or electricity brownout. Use some of this cash in the purchase of physical items that appreciate in value such as precious metals including gold or silver, and/or your family food storage, and/or the purchase of several mainstream hunting rifles or standard handguns and ammunition.
5. Consider both a 3-month short-term food supply and a one year or more long-term food storage. The short-term foods would be a supply of dated items that you normally eat and your favorite foods, fruits, vegetables, meats, (a complete diet). Buy extra food items when they are on sale, including such things as toilet paper in bulk. (Doing this regularly will save you a ton of money.) Add a little bit every month to your storage until you are satisfied that you have enough. It is amazing how fast you can build up your supplies.
If you have extra money lying around, pick one of the items you are weak in and build up that part of your readiness. Do not forget to have at least two or more weeks of water stored up. Rotate all your storage, food, water, etc, regularly. (For long-term food Storage, there are many good websites to go to. I prefer to go to the LDS Provident Living website at: http://www.providentliving.org/ because it covers food storage in more detail, and has many other subjects regarding being independent and living providently.
There are certain dry goods foods that store for long-terms. These are especially the bulk items of basics such as wheat, rice, beans, quick oats, potato flakes, legumes, powdered milk, and others. These can now be stored for upwards of 30 years if properly kept by observing the acronym HALT (Minimizing humidity, exposure to air, exposure to light and exposure to extreme temperatures.) (Source on data about 30-year food storage.
6. Consider going further than Red Cross and FEMA’s recommendations, to have a ready to go 3-day (72 hour) emergency kit. These are lighter and easier to move about with, but more than likely you will find it inadequate. Instead, I recommend a 5-day (120-hour) “Go-kit” instead of the 3-day (72-hour kit, because history has shown that it normally takes longer than three days for help to arrive or to even respond during major catastrophes. (See post of: 5 Day Emergency Kit Checklist)
7. Consider obtaining an extra supply of everything you might need to “camp out or thrive” should you have to leave the comfort of your home. This would include larger items like sleeping bags, tent, tarps, tools, and other extras, such as copies of important documents and medical records. (List to follow for long-term items.)
8. Consider putting together or purchasing First Aid kits and Emergency Kits for everyone in the family including children and pets, and for your vehicles as well as your home. Do not forget to be fire safe and have Fire Extinguishers available. Of course these will be no good unless you know what to do in an emergency, so First Aid Training and Emergency Preparedness Training for the disasters we are likely to experience in our State are very important. We will cover emergencies we are likely to face in Washington State in later updates.
9. Consider that communications is the single most serious weakness within our state when a wide area disaster or emergency occurs. CB radios are line of sight, good for one-three miles; cell phones and telephones go down quickly within serious flooding and storm related disasters. Coordination with local help and the outside world takes a major jump backwards in disasters. The most reliable form of communication in a disaster is the ham radio mobile communication unit in your vehicle. Portable ham units are good for short distances, (less than five miles line of sight) but mobile units in autos can easily quadruple the distance. Plan on passing a radio license test and purchasing a ham unit for your emergency preparedness. Tests are administered often. Ham radios will cost you about $350 for a good 2-meter band radio, which should be more than adequate for emergencies.
10. Consider growing your own garden and add some fruit trees. I have had varying degrees of success in past years of my life including having one year I had lettuce and cabbage all year long. I am already gathering my seeds now and a few plant starts and have two box starter units that will start 72 plants each. Be a scavenger/gleaner; study wild edibles. (I will be posting plants as I find them; look for photos of edibles posted on this site in the future. Winters are always a little thinner than other seasons, thus the squirrel’s habit of storing up for rainy days and winters. Invest in your gardening techniques and learn how to can and put up your own food stores. Food never tasted better than fresh homemade!

Good luck in your prepper-ations………Bill

Friday, February 13, 2009

Losing your job not your hope

Here is some good advice I came across today in an article written by Eleanor Blayney, a Certified Financial Planner.

CFP Board Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP(R) Offers Consumers Ways to Stay Afloat During Job Loss
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. unemployment rate is at its worst level in decades, and likely to get worse before it gets better. The scale of the January layoffs has shown us that nobody is immune from sudden job loss. And with the unemployment rate now at 7.6 percent, a new job may not be easy to find.

"Everyone needs to be prepared," advises Eleanor Blayney, Consumer Advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board). "Assess your situation, and take inventory of your assets and debt before the need arises. If you lose your job, the situation will be much easier to handle if your finances are in order."

If you are one of the unfortunate recently unemployed, don't panic. Look clearly and realistically to outside sources of help, as well as to your own resources.

Talk to your ex-, or soon to be ex-employer about the company's severance policy, and make sure you understand exactly what benefits and assistance are available to you. Are you eligible for unpaid sick leave, continued health care coverage through COBRA, or programs for displaced workers or job searchers?

Next, consider following the following steps: -- Establish a budget; this will help you set guidelines and curb impulse spending. -- Apply for unemployment insurance as soon as possible. Waiting could reduce your benefits. -- Contact your creditors and request an arrangement that allows you to make reduced payments for a limited time. -- Organize your job search, and make it your full-time occupation to find your next job. -- Have a look at your expenses; which are nondiscretionary, and which are purely discretionary? -- Finally, seek professional advice, particularly if you are thinking of making any big changes - moving, selling assets, and dropping insurance coverage.

"Suddenly finding yourself unemployed can be a traumatic and disorienting experience," Ms. Blayney concludes. "But it doesn't have to be a disaster. With discipline, a focused search for a new job, and wise allocation of resources, it is possible to weather this period and begin the next phase of your life."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Are You a Patriot?

Are you a Patriot yet? If you are not sure, I have a treat for you today of two recordings from hero’s past, who spell out what it is to ‘Pledge our Sacred Duty’ and the sum of some ‘Whys we have always loved America.’

If you feel a burning in your bosom after listening to these two recordings, trust me, you are a Patriot. If you feel nothing, feel free to move on to another site, because we are not going to be able to help you if you are beyond feeling. Red Skelton and John Wayne always expressed a great love for their country while alive. I personally tend to agree with both of them and I burn with pride each time I hear their voices, even in these old recordings.

I was just a kid when I first saw Red Skelton give his famous “Pledge of Allegiance” performance. There was not much on television in those days, but what was there was wholesome and positive. Where I lived, we watched all three channels.

I was an adult just back from fighting in Vietnam when I heard John Wayne's, "America, Why I love Her." It has forever stayed with me on how grateful I am for what we are so blessed to enjoy here in America.

To all of our Active Duty Military and Veterans out there, "A Very BIG Thank You for your service to your country!" For those that were also sent overseas to fight in other lands, "Welcome Home Warriors!" For the very few and the proud, "Semper fi"

These two recordings are my all time favorites. I would love to have added General George S. Patton, but I am reminded that we have some young Patriots and others that do not need to hear both his cursing and his vivid descriptions of what he would have his troops do to the enemy. For those that have not heard George C. Scott's portrayal of Patton, the real recording is another stirring speech which touches at the corps of our spirits.

At some future time, we will attempt to embed these and other videos on our web page, so you do not have to go out from our site to view them at YouTube.

With so much negativism out there, I think we should play these types of videos every now and then, just to remind us of what is important in this country, and what some of our obligations and commitments should be. Thank you America for all you have given me and my family.....

Red Skelton:


John Wayne:


Monday, February 9, 2009

How To Start a Fire in the Wilderness

I was going through the army survival guide (FM 3-05.70) that Bill loaned to me and came across this section on lighting fires in the wilderness. The fire-plow system reminded me of the movie Castaway that Tom Hanks played in where he was a FedEx plane crash survivor on an island and had to create fire using a fire-plow. You never know when you will need to know, and apply, these survival skills.

Always light your fire from the upwind side. Make sure to lay your tinder, kindling, and fuel so that your fire will burn as long as you need it. Igniters provide the initial heat required to start the tinder burning. They fall into two categories: modern methods and primitive methods.
Modern Methods
Modem igniters use modem devices--items we normally think of to start a fire.

Make sure these matches are waterproof. Also, store them in a waterproof container along with a dependable striker pad.

Convex Lens
Use this method (Figure 7-6) only on bright, sunny days. The lens can come from binoculars, camera, telescopic sights, or magnifying glasses. Angle the lens to concentrate the sun's rays on the tinder. Hold the lens over the same spot until the tinder begins to smolder. Gently blow or fan the tinder into flame, and apply it to the fire lay.

Metal Match
Place a flat, dry leaf under your tinder with a portion exposed. Place the tip of the metal match on the dry leaf, holding the metal match in one hand and a knife in the other. Scrape your knife against the metal match to produce sparks. The sparks will hit the tinder. When the tinder starts to smolder, then gently low or fan the tinder into flame, and apply it to the fire lay.

Use a battery to generate a spark. Use of this method depends on the type of battery available. Attach a wire to each terminal. Touch the ends of the bare wires together next to the tinder so the sparks will ignite it.

Often, you will have ammunition with your equipment. If so, carefully extract the bullet from the shell casing, and use the gunpowder as tinder. A spark will ignite the powder. Be extremely careful when extracting the bullet from the case.

Flint and Steel
The direct spark method is the easiest of the primitive methods to use. The flint and steel method is the most reliable of the direct spark methods. Strike a flint or other hard, sharp-edged rock edge with a piece of carbon steel (stainless steel will not produce a good spark). This method requires a loose-jointed wrist and practice. When a spark has caught in the tinder, blow on it. The spark will spread and burst into flames.

The fire-plow (Figure 7-7) is a friction method of ignition. You rub a hardwood shaft against a softer wood base. To use this method, cut a straight groove in the base and plow the blunt tip of the shaft up and down the groove. The plowing action of the shaft pushes out small particles of wood fibers. Then, as you apply more pressure on each stroke, the friction ignites the wood particles.

Bow and Drill
The technique of starting a fire with a bow and drill (Figure 7-8) is simple, but you must exert much effort and be persistent to produce a fire. You need the following items to use this method:
· Socket. The socket is an easily grasped stone or piece of hardwood or bone with a slight depression in one side. Use it to hold the drill in place and to apply downward pressure.
· Drill. The drill should be a straight, seasoned hardwood stick about 2 centimeters in diameter and 25 centimeters long. The top end is round and the low end blunt (to produce more friction).
· Fire board. Its size is up to you. A seasoned softwood board about 2.5 centimeters thick and 10 centimeters wide is preferable. Cut a depression about 2 centimeters from the edge on one side of the board. On the underside, make a V-shaped cut from the edge of the board to the depression.
· Bow. The bow is a resilient, green stick about 2.5 centimeters in diameter and a string. The type of wood is not important. The bowstring can be any type of cordage. You tie the bowstring from one end of the bow to the other, without any slack.

To use the bow and drill, first prepare the fire lay. Then place a bundle of tinder under the V-shaped cut in the fire board. Place one foot on the fire board. Loop the bowstring over the drill and place the drill in the precut depression on the fire board. Place the socket, held in one hand, on the top of the drill to hold it in position. Press down on the drill and saw the bow back and forth to twirl the drill (Figure 7-8). Once you have established a smooth motion, apply more downward pressure and work the bow faster. This action will grind hot black powder into the tinder, causing a spark to catch. Blow on the tinder until it ignites.
Note: Primitive fire-building methods are exhaustive and require practice to ensure success.

Use nonaromatic seasoned hardwood for fuel, if possible.
Collect kindling and tinder along the trail.
Add insect repellent to the tinder.
Keep the firewood dry.
Dry damp firewood near the fire.
Bank the fire to keep the coals alive overnight.
Carry lighted punk, when possible.
Be sure the fire is out before leaving camp.
Do not select wood lying on the ground. It may appear to be dry but generally doesn't provide enough friction.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bill's Introduction

Today, I am going to let you know a little bit about one of the two moderators whom you are corresponding with on the Washington Prepers Network.

In one sentence – I am an American outdoorsman who loves God and country.

My name is Bill Allen. I am a resident of Washington State.

I want you to know that I have always loved our country with a great zeal, despite it weaknesses and faults, and I am a proud descendent of many generations of Patriots of our nation.

I have spent most of my life outdoors, experiencing first hand, the thrills of family camping, backpacking, hiking, climbing, spelunking, skiing, photography, hunting, fishing, tracking, bicycling, canoeing, running, swimming, survival, edible plants, dirt-biking, orienteering, gold panning, gardening and both disaster and emergency preparedness.

I have bicycled over 4000 miles and hiked and backpacked over 2500 miles through almost every terrain imaginable.

I spent many of my early years learning how to survive and thrive in the deserts of California and Arizona. I learned jungle survival by serving in the United States Marine Corps, and participating in 32 long-range patrols behind enemy lines, deep in the jungles of Vietnam. I was first introduced to cold weather survival in Fallen, Nevada; another courtesy of the Marine Corps. In Arizona and Southern Utah, I learned about the canyon lands and experienced the “rim-to-rim and end-to-end” experience of the Grand Canyon. In California, Oregon and Washington State, I have continued my learning of mountain and woods survival and cold weather, rainy weather and mountain thunderstorms. I have slept in snow caves on the side of Mount Rainier in January and I have crawled many miles deep into the abyss of several caves.

I have studied desert, woods, jungle, aquatic, snow and street survival first hand in my life. I have taught classes in Law Enforcement, in firearms use and safety, in special police weapons and tactics.

Over the last 35 plus years I have taught hundreds of classes in outdoor subjects. Part of this experience was as an instructor teaching year round classes at South Puget Sound Community College for three years on the subjects of Wilderness Skills and Backpacking. These were 200-hour hands-on courses including classroom time and outdoors training for four weekends every semester.

My opportunities to teach survival classes, first aid, camping and backpacking skills have all been supplemented by my attending numerous courses and the reading of hundreds of books on these subjects. I have a personal library of several thousand books. All of my experiences have taught me much.

Working within law enforcement, the Boy Scouts of America, other youth organizations, and hiking clubs have helped me especially to learn my own limits.

I can truly say that I have not lived a dull life. I have jumped at every single opportunity I could to learn more about our environment and this wonderful planet. I have constantly ‘pushed the envelope’ so to speak, in learning and trying out different methods and tools in differing environments.

My greatest achievements in my lifetime are my marriage to my beautiful wife and the raising of our six wonderful children; my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and my burning passion to experience life to it’s fullest.

I love to teach and share things I have learned and enjoy researching subjects on my computer and at the library to gain more knowledge.

Despite my extensive outdoors background, I claim to be knowledgeable,………..not an expert.

I am looking forward to posting, and to your future comments.

Is the economy going to get better?

If Peter Schiff is right the passage of the current so-called stimulas package is like "pouring gasoline on a fire" and we are heading towards a severe recession. Watch the recent Peter Schiff interview on Fox Business February 5th. According to Schiff ..."if we keep going Gold could reach $5,000 an ounce, or higher..."


Are you ready?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Am I a sheep?

This article came from www.washingtonpost.com . I saved it and have it pinned to my bulletin board in my office. It was filed by the Associated Press on Friday, July 8, 2005 at 9:30AM.

450 Sheep Jump to Their Deaths in Turkey

ISTANBUL, Turkey - First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish sheperds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported.

In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned, Askam reported.

"There's nothing we can do. They're all wasted," Nevzat Bayham, a member of one of 26 families whose sheep were gazing together in the herd, was quoted as saying by Aksam.

The estimated loss to families in the town of Gevas, located in Van province in eastern Turkey, tops $100,000, a significant amount of money in a country where average GDP per head is around $2,700.

"Every family had an average of 20 sheep," Aksam quoted another villager, Abdullah Hazar as saying. "But now only a few families have sheep left. It's going to be hard for us."

Folks, Bill and I encourage each of you to not act like a sheep and follow the herd mentality that the government or mainstream media would have us follow. Take this time, NOW, to seperate yourselves from the herd of sheep in this country that have no savings, that have less that 30 days food on hand, that have a huge amount of debt, that do not know how to spend a few days in the wilderness and survive, and start preparing for a potential economic hard time in your lives. We do not know what will happen to any of us in our day-to-day lives. But we do know that if we are prepared WE WILL NOT FEAR. Let those who are unprepared fear the famine, loss of home, broken family, loss of job, etc., that could sneak up on any of us. I will not fear because I am prepared!!!

My preparedness is continuous, as yours should be. It never stops and it never will. I store long-term food and short-term food. I look for and purchase self defense weapons. I put cash aside. I keep my debts as low as possible. I am constantly building my first aid and medical equipment supplies. I have a 72-hour bug out bag ready - just in case I have to bug out. I have a generator. I am constantly learning how I could survive in the woods, with nothing, if I have to. You get the idea!

It is hard telling if I will ever have to use any of the preparedness items I have put aside but if hard times come to me and my family I hope that I am prepared enough to survive through it and not have to wait in some unseemly line, like the rest of the sheep that did not prepare, for a handout from the government.

The Washington Preppers Network

The Washington Preppers Network is part of a larger network involving every state in the United States and Canada. It is designated and established as a safe place for like-minded people to share their stories, pictures, how-to’s, techniques, and tools on how to survive and thrive under various conditions, and/or the ‘TEOTWAWKI’ (The End Of The World As We Know It).

Washington Preppers will be moderated first by the National Network, for general compliance, and secondly, locally, by Washingtonians Terry Northcraft and Bill Allen. We come to you eager to please and excited to serve. We hope you will join us.You may wish to share experience (blog) or ask questions (make requests) on information of special happenings, calendar items, travels, experiments gone right (or wrong), personal trivia, and interesting news articles, related to survival and/or emergency preparedness. When you do so, we ask that you help us maintain the high standards previously established for this network by being respectful toward others beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, religions, social and societal differences and political preferences.

Kindness and wisdom will go a long ways toward bringing us closer together as communities and as a State. Little courtesies such as no swearing or cursing, no putting down or belittling, no personal attacks or hidden agendas should be observed. As moderators, we especially like the idea that our kids should be able to come to this site without any danger. Being clean and upbeat with no personal attacks we all will enjoy our visits here. Violations will not be tolerated and should be reported immediately to the moderators, if we have not already caught it previously. Our desire is to provide a positive and ongoing forum for people to come to. Washington State is unique and has special conditions, being divided environmentally by the Cascades.

We hope this site will provide you with a place where you can come to be able to receive straight and factual information on survival information, food storage, behavior, trends, intelligence, gardening, etc., that apply to the entire State of Washington. We expect that certain information is universal, no matter where you live in this beautiful nation. Bring us your questions. Bring us your resources and talents. All valid and applicable information will be welcome. We will present ideas here as we expand. Visit often and watch us grow. We want to be here as a ‘tool palace’ for you, so you can better provide for yourselves and your families, even under the worst and the best conditions. We have been mind mapping and brain storming ideas and desire to include tips on camping, hiking, backpacking, long term bicycling, food storage, self-protection, alternate methods of defense, first aid, cross country skiing safety, different forms of transportation, fuels, power, etc., gardening tips, harvesting, gleaning, emergency preparedness, known disasters to our State, resources, websites, photos, a library of articles, true survival stories, funny quips about survival, news, legislation, etc.

Should you desire to advertise with the site, contact us at our included emails. Do you have an area of expertise and desire to share your talents? Then please consider joining us for specific subjects. We desire to build a large volunteer survival ready team of instructors, advisors, and counselors. As you can tell, we have our work cut out for us. Today is day one, step one of our journey!
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