Share your knowledge & learn from experts

Because prepping and community go hand in hand

Help if possible please, home made bread preservation

Do any of you good people know of ways of extending the shelf life of home made bread made in a free standing bread maker??   We have one and we like the bread it makes but it goes off or stale within 24 hours.    Any suggestions on extending its shelf life.

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No empty roller bags / suitcases

I’ve been thinking about how best to be prepared to bug in or bug out efficiently. It seems to me that there’s no point in having empty roller bags or empty suitcases inside my house. Why not have them packed and ready to take if I needed to leave? Storage is an issue, but they don’t take up more room packed than they do empty. I’m interested in other ideas people have to be able to pivot quickly from staying at home vs. leaving.

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Double dipping: camping and prepping

Most of the prepping stuff I’ve read strongly discourages double-dipping, advocating in favor of fully-equipped bug out bags whose contents never get used for regular hiking/camping trips.  But realistically, who can afford to own (or has space to store) duplicate sets of camping gear?

The blog below actually has a pretty good method for keeping one’s camping gear pre-staged and ready to go on a moment’s notice, either for last minute trips or, of course, actual emergencies whether they require bugging in or bugging out.

I’ve linked the articles here, beginning with the most relevant:

https://pmags.com/outdoor-gear-and-disaster-preparedness https://pmags.com/perma-camping-kit-what-the-heck-is-it https://pmags.com/getting-organized-some-light-construction-and-a-sewing-room

Of course, the writer is mostly concerned about quickly and efficiently getting out of the house and up to woods after work on Friday afternoon or when an occasional random day-off presents itself.  However, this system is clearly useful for prepping, especially sheltering in-place but, with appropriate tweaks, for bugging out as well.

What I like best is that even if an emergency never ever happens, the work put into this system pays off immediately by facilitating quicker, easier, less hassle departures for recreational camping.  And, of course, there’s something to be said about practicing regularly with all your gear.

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What if history really isn’t any guide?

In a past life, I used to be a historian. Or at least, a historian-in-training (I bailed on a PhD). I spent ten years at two good schools reading dead languages and writing papers, and in one of my seminars a professor said something that has stuck with me ever since (I’m paraphrasing): “there are two types of thinkers: lumpers and dividers.”

What she meant was, some people (lumpers) spend most of their time arguing that two seemingly disparate things are actually alike, while others (dividers) tend to argue that these two things that look alike are actually very different.

This insight isn’t all that novel — in Plato’s Timaeus, the universe is laid out on the axes of “same” and “different.” But it is useful, and I recall it every time I get into a lumper vs. divider fight with a practicing historian over a current political issue — the historian is usually trying to win an argument by analogy with the past (lumping), while I’m on the other side of the table pounding my fist that this new thing is very different from that old thing and the attempted historical analogy is just plain wrong.

I’m now having more and more of these arguments around the topic of the pandemic, as different kinds of thinkers begin to tackle it with the tools they have at hand. For historians, the main tool is the historical analogy. And the results are a kind of master class in how to royally screw this up.

Here’s an example of an historian-in-training (at an institution I spent five years at, no less!) doing some misguided lumping:

people are losing sight of the distinction between "things are going to be weird for a year or two" and "things are going to be weird for a year or two, therefore they will stay that way forever" pic.twitter.com/9KMySqMEKs

— Jake Anbinder (@JakeAnbinder) May 13, 2020

I did a short Twitter thread (https://twitter.com/jonst0kes/status/1260961277033185281) in response to the above, but I’d like to come at it from a different angle, here.

There’s a trap that historical lumpers so often fall into, not just with the pandemic, but whenever they try to bigfoot everyone in a current events debate by jumping in with their 10,000-foot historical perspective.

Lumping together two historical events/groups/trends that are both in the past can work because there are agreed-upon boundaries for the two historical things. In other words, because in the process of writing a “history” of things X and Y, historians have drawn some temporal and social boundaries around X and Y in order to “construct” (*gag*) them as objects of historical inquiry. (I can’t believe I just wrote that but whatever.)

Where historians get into trouble is when they try to lump together an historical event with an event that’s still unfolding and is open-ended, where it’s impossible to draw the necessary hindsight boundaries needed to make the analogy truly work. This is especially treacherous when historians undertake to make predictions about the future based on a historical analogy.

But as fraught as the practice of predicting the future based on analogy with the past is, the whole thing comes completely and hopelessly unglued when you’re trying to do the historical analogy thing with a pandemic.

————————————————————————-

The act of constructing an object of historical study out of events of the past — of drawing a circle around a collection of things that happened, and saying “this is all connected, and I’m giving it a name and telling you how it worked” (i.e. “lumping”) is what the kids these days would call a powermove (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Powermove).

And the act of taking someone else’s historical object and whacking it until it cracks apart and then reassembling the pieces into two or more different historical objects (i.e. “dividing”) is also a powermove.

The sport of making an historical object, and then rallying your camp to defend it, king-of-the-hill-style, while some other faction within your guild tries to smash it to pieces in order to create their own object out of the same material, is “history.”

When historians bring these powermoves into the area of a live political debate, they’re deliberately trying to shape the debate and the eventual historical outcome. It’s an overt attempt to intervene and steer the unfolding of events by means of analogy. In this respect, they’re taking a strategy that works for the status game they’re playing inside their guild, and trying to juke current events with it. Sometimes that works really effectively, and sometimes it doesn’t.

But a pandemic is not a purely political issue that you can intervene in and steer. Sure, it has massive political ramifications, and politics definitely affect how it unfolds in a particular geography. But in between the forces of political cause and political effect is a novel pathogen with a mind of its own, and that novel pathogen gets the final say in how the pandemic unfolds.

So while the pandemic comes wrapped in a thick cloud of politics, the novel pathogen at its heart is a force of nature, and that force of nature does not even see any of the human social constructions that are so real to you and I, much less respect them. It just burns through every clan and faction and border and popular movement and historical moment, with zero regard for what came before or what will come after. Your rhetorical powermoves have no effect on it. It doesn’t know they’re there.

It’s also important to remember that the novel pathogen is novel. We have never faced this particular threat before, which means that “long-lasting changes to important aspects of the human condition” are very much out there in the unmapped space of possible futures that will unfold from what’s happening right now.

————————————————————————-

There is actually a family of useful historical analogies that can help guide our response to the novel pathogen. That family of analogies is the very epidemiological models that are the subject of so much present debate.

But these models-as-analogies don’t function quite the same way as the analogies that even politically engaged historians make. They aren’t powermoves in either an intra-guild status contest or a current political fight — or at least, they’re not supposed to be such.

When used properly, epidemiological models are tools for exploring and reasoning about the space of possibilities by testing different input parameters. Like all good historical analogies the best ones are deeply rooted in a high-quality grasp of the details and minutia of historical precedent — in this case, R values, fatality rates of various flavors, test positivity rates, curves, and all the other parameters underlie each model.

But to take these models as straight-forward predictions, or even worse to mistake them for political interventions or to make them stakes in a tribal political fight, to abuse and misuse them.

It’s also wrong to do the opposite — to take your facility with creating forward-looking historical analogies that only really work as powermoves in a present political debate, and turn it to the task of actually modeling out the space of possibilities for the epidemic.

Let me put all this a different way:

The point of an epidemiological model is to act as a sandbox where we can test different input parameters and visuals what their effects might be on the next few weeks’ development of the pandemic. The point of a historical analogy is that it’s a powermove that’s meant to influence a present social dynamic.

So if you are trying to predict what will happen with the SARS-COV-2 pandemic based on a historical analogy with the 1918 Spanish Flu, or the Great Depression, or the Great Recession of 2008, you’ve gotten the above all twisted and are just going to end up playing yourself. This is not that, and your attempt to lump this with that is far more likely to confuse more than it is to clarify.

First, just look around at the vastly different outcomes that different countries are seeing with this pandemic, and then think about that the US of 1918 is a different country than the US of 2020. “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there,” goes the quote.

Second, and more importantly, SARS-COV-2 is a brand new virus from a totally different family than the 1918 influenza. Again, the qualities of this novel pathogen — both the qualties it has right now and the qualities it will develop as it moves in and sets up shop in the human population — will govern the course of this event. The virus gets a vote in all this, and we have no idea what it will do next.

A properly used epidemiological model takes full account of the virus’s agency — to plug in different parameters for R0 and IFR and see what happens is to account for the fact that the virus can behave in different ways in different places. The strength of modeling as an exercise is that it gives you a framework for exploring the question of “what if the virus does, or what if it does that?”. It does not predict what the virus will do next, because that is impossible.

I think historians, investors, and everyone else who’s trying to answer the question of “what’s next” in a systematic way can learn from epidemiologists: don’t predict, just model.

Predicting is saying what’s about to happen. Modeling is constructing a little device that lets you play with different inputs and explore what might happen if the virus + human system does this or that thing.

So don’t get honeypotted into lumping a past even with the present outbreak in order to make a prediction. Just stick to a plain old model, where you can fiddle with the inputs and watch the outputs change.

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Virginia’s snowy I-95 traffic jam invites call for better preparedness for the unexpected – I love Fox’s headlines

https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/virginia-i-95-traffic-jam-better-preparedness-unexpected

Virginia’s snowy I-95 traffic jam invites call for better preparedness for the unexpected Some drivers were trapped in traffic for more than 24 hours on Interstate 95

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Camper or trailer option for dodging disasters

Hello,

I’ve been thinking about natural disasters and how mobility could mitigate the impact. Specifically, I like the idea of converting a worn in box truck into a stealth camper. Besides the recreational aspect, having an affordable house on wheels to relocate for a week or month might come in handy.

Any existing threads on this topic or has anyone built something like this?

Here’s a link to one I like. It’s not prepper outfitted, but shows the general idea:

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Has anyone used a DD tarp?

What is opinion on a DD tarp ( 3m x 3m)? They are expensive but they have good reviews on Amazon and YouTube.

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Should I stay in the military to be more stable against an economic collapse?

Hello everyone.

Before I get to my question, a little bit about me for context.

I’m currently serving in the military, stationed in Colorado, and will separate from the Army pretty soon. I am a single soldier with no dependents living on base in the barracks.

I’m also a new prepper. I’ve been purchasing survival gear, 6 month supply of food, and a few tools for self defense. I’ve also been investing in gold, silver and bitcoin. What I’m prepping for is an economic collapse. I’m not very knowledgeable in the area of economics but for the past year I have been doing some research and consuming content of a few economic experts who have been watching the US economy’s path. Digesting all this information I’ve come to believe this crisis will happen some time this year or next year at the latest.

Which brings me to my question. Should I reenlist in the Army? I do want to go back to civilian life but I wonder if now would be a bad time to do so. Would it be easier to endure a crisis like this as a service member rather than a civilian? There are supposed to be systems in place for this kind of event and its seems there is a widespread belief is that things would start to get back to normal after 6 months of hardship. I have my doubts about it being so short and obviously “normal” is relative. Things wouldn’t be exactly as they were before. The Army always says it takes care of its soldiers and their families. I believe it, along with the government, would try but I have my doubts about that too. The coming crash is supposed to be REALLY bad. Will the government/military actually be able to pay/care for its service members during this time? I think back to what I know about the great depression. Before WW2 it had been going on for 10 years and had no end in sight due in large part the government trying to manage it but doing so poorly. I understand this isn’t the same country it was back them but it reminds of the saying “never underestimate how badly politicians can screw things up”.

So which would be better? Reenlist in the Army and rely on it to help me through or should I become a civilian and link up with the local prepper community for assistance? Thoughts?

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Dear Moderators, Thanks

Thanks to the mod team for keeping this current wave of spammers from posting, its much appreciated.

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Relearned two important lessons… and learned a new one

This past Saturday, we had some storms come thru the area.  Didn’t appear to be anything unusual for this area.  However a microburst hit a section of Memphis… a section of Memphis where my 100 year old mother-in-law lives.  That microburst snapped & uprooted huge trees in a several block area, taking down power lines with them.  Her power lines to the house snapped & were laying in the yard.  The tree that took them down hit another house.  To make it even worse, the temps were going to drop to around 20 on Sunday night.

So I loaded up my truck with all sorts of extension cords, tools, saws, portable rechargeable lighting, solar generator, 3 forty pound LP tanks and my dual fuel generator.  This prepper was off to rescue the needy.  🙂    Now my generator, as discussed in another thread, is setup where a thick cable runs between the generator and a receptacle on the outside of my house.  Obviously that would not help me here, as I was taking the generator elsewhere.  But I was smart enough to have purchased another long, thick cable that connects to the same port on the generator but has a 4 receptacle box at the end.  I thought such a cable would be a great way to bring electricity into another structure & then branch off of that with extension cords.  And it was.  Here is a pic.

So I get to her house, hook the generator to an LP tank, run the above cable into the house & then branch off of that to run some lights, the refrigerator/freezer, coffee pot, microwave, TV. and 3 portable electric heaters.  The generator starts perfectly (electric start) and runs all Saturday evening and Sunday morning.  Once I felt that that LP tank was getting pretty low, I switched to another LP tank and got the generator back up and running.  All is good… until the generator starts sputtering and shuts off.  What the heck?  Hit the start switch and we are back in business, until this happens again in around 10-15 minutes.  Damn.  I do this a few more times & decide to switch to the other full tank.  Starts beautifully and within a few minutes… same problem.

I’m beginning to wonder if I got some bad LP gas.  These 3 tanks were filled at different times.  One was filled by itself and then a couple of weeks later, I filled the other two.  So to verify my assumption, I put the first tank back on & the generator ran perfectly.  Two tanks have bad LP gas.  I didn’t know you could get bad LP gas but sure looks like I did.  So the plan was to take the now empty tank & one of the full to get refilled… in Memphis on a Sunday, the day after a holiday.  U-Haul fills LP tanks, they are open on Sunday, & there is a store a few miles away.  Yep, they are open but they don’t have LP gas for some reason… but they tell us another U-Haul store a few miles away has LP gas.  So we drive there… and they don’t have LP gas either but another store further away does.  OK, we learned our lesson and told them to call that store to verify they had the gas.  Nope… no gas there.  And we couldn’t find any other location open on a Sunday.

First lesson relearned.  Crap happens!  Sometimes your best laid plans often go awry.

Second lesson relearned.  Be flexible and adapt.  So how was I flexible & how did I adapt?  If you remember, my generator is a dual fuel model.  It can operate on LP gas or gasoline.  My best laid plans were to use LP gas only, as it burns very clean & won’t foul up the ignition system like gasoline will.  It is also safer to transport.  It also stores long term with any problem.  Thankfully I’m a prepper & understand we have to be flexible in a crisis… so I spent the extra money on a dual fuel generator.  So now I ran up to an auto parts store, picked up a few 5 gallon gasoline containers, filled them up, filled the tank on the generator, flipped the generator switch from LP gas to gasoline, hit the start button… and we were back in business.   The generator ran perfectly all night with the low at 20 and ran perfectly today until the power came back on at noon.

It never occurred to me LP gas could be bad.  Lesson learned.

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4 recep

Book giveaway: “Move” by Parag Khanna

Giving away 3 copies of the new book Move. The author worked directly for General McChrystal at JSOC in Iraq / Afghanistan (who was portrayed by Brad Pitt in the recent Netflix film War Machine.)

The book talks about the movement of people, under the context of the expected upcoming (or already starting?) mass migrations due to climate change, political and economic instability, etc. 

Just reply if you’d like us to mail you one (and we’ll reach out to get mailing info). We do expect you to follow through with sharing your thoughts here, but you don’t have to finish the whole book if it’s lame.

I’d like to do more of this, where we coordinate giving away review sample products to great people in this community, so you can get some free stuff in exchange for sharing a review in this forum 🙂

Edit: Copies going out to brekke, NazSMD, and Seasons4. We’ll email you for info.

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Best ways to store #10 cans

I’ve been building up my supply of #10 dehydrated food cans & am just getting around to organizing them. Anyone have suggestions for tall shelving that fits these specific cans? I live in earthquake country so something with a bar holding them in would be great too. I’d love to build some custom wood shelving but that’s way beyond my skill set. I’m also wondering about rodents. Should I be concerned about the metal cans attracting mice/rats & putting them in totes on the shelves (they’re going in my garage) or are the metal cans safe on their own? Thanks guys!

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EDC FAK for classroom/school use

Good afternoon!

I teach at a commuter college in a major metropolitan area that in recent years has experienced a disproportionate number of school shootings (mass shootings, drive-bys, and the occasional random disgruntled student shooting at a classmate).  In at least one instance, a couple of students lives were saved by quick-thinking campus security guards who applied tourniquets while waiting for EMS to arrive.  Fortunately, none of these incidents have affected my school yet BUT it does seem like a reasonable situation to be prepared for.

While I do keep FAKs in my truck and office, I’m thinking about putting together a small EDC (sub-Level I) that I could stash in my book bag or briefcase while in meetings or classes where, in certain types of emergencies, it wouldn’t be practical or possible to retrieve a larger FAK from my office or truck.

Another variable that I’d like to consider is tornadoes, since we live in tornado country, which would likely be the other main scenario where I might find a need for a FAK but am unable to retrieve my main kit from my truck or office.

For most other likely scenarios, if the smaller EDC classroom kit was insufficient, I’d most likely be in a position to retrieve my main kit or, at least, hold things together until campus security and/or EMS showed up.  Another piece that’s helpful is our school now has AEDs on every floor of every building.  I’ve heard that some schools now stock basic “trauma kits” in each and every classroom so, if that’s a things, perhaps I could suggest that our school consider doing that as well.

With this background in mind, here’s my question:  Based on this prioritized FAK list, how far down the list would you recommend that I go in assembling an EDC FAK for the purposes described above AND would you recommend changing adding or deleting anything from the topi-tier Level I list?

Thanks for your input!

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BOB plus Get Home Bag?

First, I would like to say what an impressive site this is. I have never joined any forums; but wanted to, in part, to thank you for the very clear, factual and thorough information!

My question is about the Get Home Bag. Is it best to create a duplicate of your main BOB? I am taking an inventory of my BOB, and with the help of this site, working on upgrading it. Should I create two bags exactly the same–one for home and one for away? Or, is the Get Home Bag typically a smaller kit?

Thank you for any advice!

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Thoughts on Quick Dam flood bags?

Does anyone have experience with the Quick Dam products? Specifically the flood bags?

I’m in the southwest and we’ve had a couple of nasty flash floods this past spring / summer where the water was just about to flood our garage. I’ve had sand bags in the past but the sun just eats the fabric up in a season or two – looking for something a bit more user friendly / portable. 

Thanks! 

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Annual, periodic, seasonal maintenance checklists?

I searched for this topic & didn’t see it addressed yet. Being the start of a new year, it occurred to me that I don’t really have a workable (read: simple) timeframe checklist for some basic preps. For example, I change out the water in our extra storage tank annually (when I think of it.) So I thought I’d ask you organized people to share yours!

Odd things like: how often should you charge rarely used rechargeable battery powered electronics that you have in your preps so they last a long time? Rechargeable batteries? How often do you rotate the really long term foodstuffs? Beans will last many years but become resistant to cooking/softening after a while. Start up that generator how often?….Please share!

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Should I start with a bug out bag or preparing my home first? – New and need advice

Hi all,  I am very very new to the prepping community. I am a young mom with a son, Husband, and a dog. We live in Canada, my biggest concern is winter, and I am unsure of where to begin.

I have lots of questions, but I will start with the basics. Do I begin with a bug out bag or prepping my home first? This is tricky because we are currently renting till March 2022 and have a limited space for storage. My budget is also minimal as my husband doesn’t totally see the value of prepping at this moment in time. I’m also unsure of what should be my first buys for our climate. Thanks! 

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My portable generator setup

Thought I might show how I use my portable generator during outages… which can be rather common here in rural America.  My generator is about as big as I can handle by myself and provides enough electric to power two electric refrigerator freezers, well pump, about half our lights and around half the receptacles.  AC is out of the question using such a generator but since we have natural gas, it will power the blowers on our heaters.

You first will need an electrician to move the electric circuits you wish the generator to power into their own electric panel.  You then have to ensure your generator electric can’t feed back into your electric feed coming from the electric company.  In my case, there is a bar that connects the breaker with the power company feed to the breaker for the generator feed.  With this setup, that electric panel can receive power from either… but not both.   So power from the generator can never run back into my main electric panels.

I had an electrician put an outdoor receptacle out on the back of the garage.  I have a 30 foot extension which connects from the generator to this receptacle.  So when needed you simply start the generator, throw the breaker panel switch… and those circuits now run off the generator.  When the electric feed comes back on, you just throw the breaker in the opposite direction… killing the generator feed and turning on the feed from the power company.

My generator is a dual fuel model, meaning it can run off of bottled LP gas or gasoline.  My intent is to use just LP gas as it runs cleaner & won’t foul up the ignition system like gasoline can.  However, if running for extended time, I have the option of running off of gasoline too.

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generator panels

FYI – Notice of Non-Conforming NIOSH Approved N95 Masks from ALG Health

Hello!  I was on the ALG Health website earlier today to purchase more foldable surgical N95 masks, and I saw a notice posted on the ALG Health website that several lots of their 100,000 PT-N95F-01S respirators were produced using materials and processes that were not conforming to the NIOSH approval issued. The following finished good lots affected are as follows: Manufacture dates were: Last week of Feb 2021 – March 2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-204-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-301-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-302-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-303-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-304-2021 

I have three boxes of these masks on hand – I checked the lots and found one of the boxes was affected by this notice.  I threw the bad box of masks away and will be reaching out for a refund.  

I received no proactive notice from the website where I purchased these masks, therefore I could have been using defective N95 masks without knowing it!  In the event anybody here happens to have any of these masks from the affected lots / production dates, I wanted to let everybody know.

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European Natural Gas supplies

All records for the price of natural gas (NG) have just been smashed, Its just passed $2000 per 1000 unit suply. The normal price in in the low hundreds of dollars.  It is causing energy companies across europe to go bust in growing numbers and the price of NG to retail customers is going up very vast.   its caused by a mixture of geopolitics, logistics, greed and high demand and its damaging many economies and financial markets.

It has a knock on effect as those who have coal or log burning stoves are buying much more than normal and this is also driving up prices  of coal based products and kiln dried fire wood.

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I thought I knew how to perform CPR until I needed to.

Being prepared for any unexpected emergency was what I took pride in. I worked in a hospital and was BLS/CPR certified every year during 2000 and knew my stuff but all of my training went out the door when my 2-year-old son experienced a near-death choking incident. 

This happened while my husband, myself, and our children were in the car going for a drive. My husband managed to pull over to the side of the street and we both jump out of the car and released our baby from his car seat. My husband, who is also an Army Veteran, gave our son to me to help dislodge the candy that was stuck in his throat. My son at this time became unresponsive and required CPR. Instead of performing chest compressions(pressure from chest compression can push objects back up the airway), I froze, and I couldn’t recall ANYTHING I was taught! My husband noticed me panicking, took our son, and saved his life. 

This messed with my head for several years because my flight or fight response was the exact opposite of what I thought I would do. I knew I had to do something so I invented an improved CPR mask(CPRWrap) that not only protected the responder from fluid contamination during rescue breathing but had the entire steps of CPR with hand placements embossed on the template. 

I want to be part of the solution of making sure every man, woman, and child is prepared and able to step up and execute safety measures when they are needed. It’s not a matter of if it will happen but when.  I would love to send out some samples to get your thoughts and feedback on CPRWrap. Just reach out to me at [email protected] CPRWrap video

Stay safe and Happy New Year.

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Interesting non-lethal self-defense tool – Self-Defense Whip

I was looking for a non-lethal self defense tool to put in the bug out bags for family members.  Although some are trained in martial arts, they were more about learning the katas than the actual fighting.  I was looking for a self-defense tool that wouldn’t require a lot of training.  I settled on of all things a self-defense whip based on the following criteria:

Simple to use/minimum training required. Doesn’t require physical contact (like a knife or stun gun) Not as easily grabbed (like a baton or stick) Compact  

I know that no weapon checks all the boxes, but this one peaked my interest.  Not sure why there isn’t more discussion on these types of weapons.  I also watched a video of some martial arts experts trying it out on each other (https://youtu.be/zWvEuK9DDtY).  I’ll be packing this along with the pepper spray.

I am not affiliated with any companies who make these products.

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Fireproof safes

I’ve been thinking about a simple prep that strikes me as essential: Fireproof safes or lockboxes to save documents, cash/jewelry and hard drives even when everything else is lost.

I also wonder how useful it would be to bolt such a safe to my car’s trunk and store my GHB/precious car supplies to avoid losing them to theft or fires. Cars being randomly burnt isn’t too uncommon an occurence in my country’s suburban areas…

Do you have any experience with fireproof safes, or even products you’d recommend ?

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Test your preps!

I know you’ve all heard this before, but I thought I would share a few recent events that brought ‘testing your preps’ to the front of my thoughts.

I have a 4AA battery headlamp that I use often.  I had some issues with past ones and was really impressed with the company’s customer service, so I bought a couple more which i’ve never used.  I decided to break them open and try them out.  The modes are high, low, and strobe.  While I was using one of them, suddenly the strobe mode came on without me touching the switch.  I tried to change the mode but the switch didn’t work.  I touched the front of the light and it was hot.  I touched the battery pack and it was really hot.  I hurriedly took out the batteries (which were also hot) and noticed that they were starting to melt.  These were lithium batteries, so you can imagine what could have happened.

I decided to test out the other one as well.  After 10 minutes, both the front light and battery pack were hot and again the 4 batteries were starting to melt.  I double-checked the polarity and they were correct.  The headlamp that I use often has 4AA lithium batteries.  The newer ones are slightly different as they have a different color battery cover, so I suspect there was a design change.  I’m down 8 lithium batteries but at least I wasn’t injured and it didn’t happen during a crisis.  The company has been out of business for several years, so no possibility of a return.

In another situation, I generally drain the batteries of my rechargeable radios and then fully recharge them twice a year.  I’m having a problem charging one of my radios.  The rechargeable battery was just replaced last year and I did some ‘conditioning’ to ensure a longer life.  What is really strange is it seems to hold a charge using the crank but not using either of my two AC chargers.  I’m still trying to figure it out but the radio can be operated with AAA batteries and I have a spare rechargeable battery pack. 

I’d like to hear from others about issues they have encountered because of not checking preps.  

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