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Because prepping and community go hand in hand

UK only. Martin Lewis warns of likely Civil Unrest

OT Martin Lewis fears “civil unrest” due to the ongoing cost of living crisis and spoke of feeling “sick” about having to advise households on how to keep warm without heating. 

The MoneySavingExpert founder told the Sunday Telegraph he is “scared for people” as inflation rises. He said: “We need to keep people fed. We need to keep them warm.

I actually 100% agree with this chaps warnings.

Martin Lewis is a very popular British financial adviser who appears on most UK media channels and has his own money saving blog. If folks like him are picking up on rising dissent and tension as are many preppers  then I think its time to revisit our (UK) Opsec.

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Another article on UK preppers

In the “prepping goes mainstream” series… 

Everyone should prep’: the Britons stocking up for hard times

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How to get rid of noxious weeds

Help!I am overwhelmed by plantains and Queen Anne’s lace following a compost delivery last spring.

None of the weeds went to seed. I don’t know how to get rid of these pests, and would be grateful for any advice.

Thank you

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Chicken Pot Pie

On a lighter note, does anyone here love chicken pot pie too?  I grew up eating the ones we bought in the frozen section.   Lately, I make my own, mostly following a recipe I got online.

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How can I extend the shelf life of the yeast in my food storage?

During covid, yeast for baking bread was non-existent for months and months. When it finally came back in stock, I bought a couple small jars not knowing if I would ever see it on the shelf again.

I am nearing the expiration date on them and don’t want to have them go to waste. I’ll try and bake more bread and use it how I can, but is there anything I can do to make them last longer? They are in a sealed glass jar in a dark and cool cupboard, maybe moving them to the fridge or freezer would help?

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Can we as a forum bust a survival TV show myth? – Cooking an egg in toilet paper

On the Bear Grylls TV show Running Wild, actor Terry Crews tags along with Bear in the Icelandic Highlands of Season 6 Episode 2 (available on Disney+ for streaming). One of the main points of this episode is that Terry has to carry an egg around with him and on the second day of their adventure they eat it. Bear introduces Terry to a cooking technique where they wrap the egg in toilet paper and light it on fire. With magic of editing, the egg is perfectly hardboiled in 2 minutes. 

Ever since seeing this scene, I wanted to test that out for myself. I tried to look online for anybody else attempting this and could not see a single mention of this technique. So going back to the original episode, I analyzed it to see if I could pick up on any tips or tricks. 

Terry rolls up the egg in toilet paper and seems to do it moderately tight Bear says that to prevent the egg from exploding, you need to poke a small hole in it. It seems like they may have used another tinder source behind the wad of toilet paper because it takes off very forcefully, there is a loud hissing sound from the flame, the toilet paper doesn’t seem to be on fire and charring enough to equal the amount of flames coming off of the wad, the flames look an unnatural red color, and personally I haven’t been able to easily light toilet paper like that with a ferro rod before. They do cook a gull egg, but it doesn’t look to be too different in size than a medium chicken egg.

Here’s the clip in case you want to look at it as well. 

On my first attempt, I took a free range chicken egg from my neighbor’s chickens and wrapped it tightly in over six feet of toilet paper.

Taking it outside, I doused it with lighter fluid (for extra help) and set it on fire. The lighter fluid gives off big orange flames for a few seconds and then the wad of toilet paper is extinguished and it smolders. I let it do that for a few minutes thinking that it would still give off heat and cook the egg. But when even the smoldering started to die down, I drenched it in lighter fluid twice more and waited for it to die down again.

All of the toilet paper didn’t burn off because I wrapped the egg tightly and the toilet paper wasn’t able to get enough oxygen.

When I cracked the egg open after 13 minutes, only a very small sliver of the egg white was cooked.

I attempted the experiment again with a very small chicken egg that is much smaller than the gull egg used in the episode. I wrapped it in the same six feet of toilet paper, but very loosely and lightly this time to have it burn more completely. I also stayed away from using lighter fluid this time to see if that was causing it to burn too quickly last time. After 13 minutes, the toilet paper was more thoroughly consumed, but the egg wasn’t any more cooked.

My guess is that the egg used in the TV show had been hardboiled the entire time and this toilet paper technique was just to show off for the audience.

I know that many survival shows are staged and edited to show various techniques, but if this is a hoax and you can’t actually cook an egg from raw to hardboiled with toilet paper like is shown, then it needs to be known that this is not a real survival technique. I am not dogging Bear at all, he is a great and genuine guy and I look up to him as a person in many ways.

So here’s where the challenge comes in. Can we as a community prove or disprove that this works? Try it on your own with your family and see if you can figure out what steps need to be taken to hardboil an egg using toilet paper. 

Want more Bear Grylls? Drinking your own pee for survival: does the science bear it out? 

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How to balance community and independence (City vs Rural living)

Let me ask my “simple” question first and provide more context afterwards:

How do you balance the need/desire for community with the space/cost restrictions required for higher independence with regards to long term prepping and where you choose to live?

The general consensus is that urban centers are not ideal or potentially even sustainable/viable in a long term or extreme crisis (i.e food, water, and security scarcity during an infrastructure breakdown).  The converse is that (up until recently, at least) urban centers are/were also educational, cultural, economic, and sometimes technological hubs enabling increased wealth generation and oppertunity.  Basically the very thing that makes urban areas desireable (dense populations of individuals enabling proximity based network effects to propagate) also puts them at risk of collapse under conditions of scarcity (a lack of carrying capacity when economic or infrastructure links degrade).  Modern telework enables a broader range of “commute” options/ranges but good old fashioned human connection requires proximity to other humans.

Obviously you can (try to) integrate into new, smaller communities in less densely populated areas.  Church, family, or cultural connections might help with such integration if these options are open to you.  When you lack these built-in connections (lower friction network effects) – are there other options?

The closest I can think of is something along the lines of scouting out retirement communities or searching for enclaves of whatever [tribe(s)?] you are already a part of that happen to have already ‘colonized’ a less densely populated area.  Part of my mental struggle is the somewhat modern day norm where your ability to connect with [like minded] people implies that you might not know most of your neighbors but might have dozens if not hundreds of friends within a 45 minute commute range.

I suspect there aren’t easy/cost effective answers but I’m really curious to hear the opinions of others, especially if built in connections to “community” in more rural areas were not already present.  If money were not a factor the answer would be a vacation home that was well stocked, alas money is a consideration for most so owning more than one home seems unlikely.

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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act News

I migrated this from the news blog discussion because I thought it was a little tangential.

I thought the following news could potentially be of interest to preppers, especially if you take OpSec very seriously and don’t always like saying who you are.

The Department of Justice made revisions to its Computer Fraud and Abuse Act policy (see also here, though I want to clarify that I don’t consider myself a libertarian and I don’t necessarily agree with everything on the Reason Magazine Web site):

The DOJ will not prosecute “good faith security research” or “White Hat hacking.” In most circumstances, companies won’t be able to arbitrarily make it a felony to violate terms of service. In severe cases (maybe “stalking-like” behavior that doesn’t rise to the level of being illegal, like a guy writes about a woman without directly harassing her) the violator must discontinue the behavior after receiving and reading a cease and desist letter.

Of course, social media companies will know who you are if we end up with a left-wing dictatorship, right-wing dictatorship, or some other form of authoritarian government. Prep accordingly.

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How to make a “well bucket” in case electricity goes down and you’re on well water

I have a 500 foot deep well. The pump is normally powered by solar, and if needed, a generator. But in case those power methods fail or SHTF and we run out of fuel, how would I get water?

I made this manual “well bucket” backup out of scrap pieces of PVC pipe, wood, cordage, a pulley and crank, some nuts and bolts, and a foot valve. It’s all available from a local hardware store or Amazon. I only needed simple hand tools and a power drill. Depending on how you put it together, it might be $25-$100.

It’s essentially like any bucket you’d drop into well for water, but this one is designed for modern, narrow, and deep wells. (This picture shows everything except for the foot valve on the bottom of the bucket/pipe:)

Although you can piece this together with random stuff, here’s a kit of essentially what I used and prices:

Step 1: Build a tripod or similar foundation that can hold a pulley directly over the wellhead. There’s no magic to the design, it just needs to be strong enough to handle 50-100 pounds of hanging force. In my case, the tripod is about 9 feet high and I can fold in the legs to make it easier to store.

But that might be overkill for your needs. If you’re really tight on storage space, you technically could skip the tripod and pulley/crank parts altogether and just have the PVC bucket and line.

Step 2: Attach a simple pulley wheel so it hangs down in the center.

Step 3: You can attach a hand crank to make drawing the bucket up easier. Or you can decide to skip this and just use your hands to pull the rope up. Keep in mind, though, that you might be pulling 20+ pounds up over hundreds of feet. It’s also possible to use an ATV, vehicle, or animal to pull the load up.

If you don’t attach the loose / non-bucket end of your line to a crank, as added safety against the whole thing dropping into your well, you can tie a big knot, attach some random nuts and washers, or some other idea to the end of the line. Whatever works so that if, while raising water by hand you accidentally let go, the whole thing won’t go down and you can’t reach the line anymore.

Step 4: Build the PVC bucket body. You need to know what the diameter of your well pipe is so that you can buy/use a PVC pipe that will fit inside but isn’t too narrow to require lots of round trips. It’s okay to leave a little bit of wiggle room between the PVC bucket and the well wall.

In my case, I used a 4 inch wide pipe that’s 4 feet long. If I did my math right, that pipe/bucket will carry about 2.5 gallons of water.

Step 5: Create the attachment point between the top of the bucket and your pulley line. The simplest way is to drill two holes directly across from each other, 1-2 inches below the top of the pipe, and then just thread your line through.

You can see how I used metal hardware in the picture above to create more of a pivot point that will let the bucket move and spare abrasion on the line. You could do something in between where you run one bolt through the two drilled holes, put a nut on one end to keep the bolt in place, and tie the line to the cross bolt.

Step 6: Making the bottom of the bucket. You have multiple options here, but in any case, you’ll need to put a PVC end cap on the bottom of the main bucket pipe to create the “floor” of the bucket. The end cap will be in the hardware store next to the PVC pipes, as will the glue you might need to secure it to the main body (remember, this bottom cap will hold all of the water weight). Just ask for help.

The simplest version is just a plain ‘ol bucket – the PVC pipe is the body, the bottom end cap is the floor, and there’s no top cap. So you dip the bucket fully underwater until it fills from the top, then pull it up.

There’s a potential problem with filling the bucket from the top, though. Your well might not have enough water in it for the whole bucket to submerge to the point water fills from the top. Or the bucket might be too light to naturally sink below the water line. If that happens, add some weight to the bottom of the bucket to help it sink.

I took an extra step to avoid those problems and have the water fill the bucket from the bottom, using a special (but only ~$20) device called a foot valve. The foot valve lets water come in from the bottom, but not back out as you pull up the bucket.

The white is the bottom PVC end cap. I drilled a hole in the center of that cap to match the foot valve and threaded it together. How you attach the foot valve (such as using washers/gaskets and a threaded nut) will depend on the foot valve, but again, your hardware store can help.

Another option is to buy or build a “check valve.” Some of the links below show this.

Practice: You’ll need to know how to remove the daily-life cap from your wellhead, or whatever else you’ll need to do in case power goes out and you need to swap in this manual method. Don’t wait until you actually need water to try this out!

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My second hand experience with the Ontario / Quebec Derecho storm on May 21, 2022

Hello everybody, I wanted to share my (second hand) experience with what happened on Saturday afternoon in my part of the world.

For context here is a news article about it, as well as a video from Ottawa

It’s a little bit passed Hurricane week for our friends in the States, but this sort of event is new for me. There are sometimes tornado.s about an hour north of Toronto, but that’s like 6.5 hours from Montreal, an island, which ends up having much different weather patterns.

I was home in Montreal, my partner was at a LARP game in a campground in eastern Ontario (1.5 hours away). They play in an unused area of the campground which is forested. The parking lot is on a road cut through the forest for power lines to pass through.

This is her story.

They got a Weather Alert on their phones that a storm was coming, and to seek shelter. So they did, mostly in their tents, or somewhat sturdier car canopies. It was less than a minute before trees started falling and they ran out to the road (a highway) and hid on a side of a truck to block some of the wind. The rain started after the dust. The person across the street allowed them into their garage to take shelter.

No one got really hurt, there were a few cuts and bruises, but no concussions. But people had dirt all over their faces and clothes and in their mouth. My partner said, it didn’t really rain, it felt like dust and dirt was going through the air before the hail came. She’s glad she wears glasses and many people complained of having stuff in their eyes after.

The aftermath was that trees had been totally uprooted, branches flew around. Tents were destroyed, cars totalled, branches were sticking out of the ground from having been propelled so hard into it. Trees fell on the road and took down the powerlines, which created a fire where they touched the ground. My partner couldn’t leave as the road was blocked, and couldn’t get to the car because of the live wires near by. She only made it back on Sunday night (more than 24 hours after the event) once the road was cleared by the work crews, and the electrical wired were moved.

I also got a weather warning on my phone later in the evening, but in the end I saw and heard nothing, even if I could be considered to be in a windy street.

81 panicked LARPers 12 tents damaged (flipped / crushed) 4 people hit by trees 3 electrical fires 2 sprained ankles 1 totalled car (other cars got minor damage)

They were lucky to have been a big group. They had plenty of water, and kept a fire going. They have generators, and someone had a fire extinguisher and chainsaw is his truck, which helped to put out the fires and clear some paths. In the end my partner was lucky. Our car is unscathed, our tent is unscathed, and she remained in good spirits throughout.

Here’s some pictures.

You can see the wires touching the ground here and it’s the cross pole that’s on the ground.

What I learned. * Put a fire Extinguisher in the car * Put a saw of some sort in the car * Have something to wash yourself with in the car.

I’m adding Derecho to my risk assessment. It’s the first one I or someone close to me has lived through but with climate change, maybe there will be more.

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The Big Bubba of BOBs – I made a level 3 bag based off The Prepared’s recommendations

Living in earthquake country and not liking recent nuclear saber rattling I finally organized a “Level 3” BOB based on The Prepared’s well-researched guidelines.

I went through two other packs (Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical and the 5.11 Rush 72) before settling on the Mystery Ranch Terraframe 65 pack that could fit all this stuff AND be comfortable hauling it long distances. I do miss the many compartments of the Rush 72 but the MR pack is just so much more ergonomic, plus it’s less conspicuous (gray man). The BOB is currently 52 lbs. so I have some trimming to do and am considering switching to a mylar sleeping bag and lightweight bivy. In spite of the guidelines I opted for an inflatable sleeping pad for both comfort and reduced volume. I would have preferred to color code all my stuff sacks but getting individual bags of the right size and color was a PITA, plus I already know where everything is.

Anyway, I’d like to say “Thank You” to The Prepared staff for providing this invaluable and comprehensive resource. Although this project was more expensive than I’d anticipated, I’m glad I’ve completed it and have this tool available in case it’s needed. I hope the following pics are helpful for anyone that’s just now starting down this BOB rabbit hole 😉

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80/20 Rule for Emergency Radios

Just wondering how others apply the 80/20 rule to emergency radios (both hardware and skills), keeping in mind that what constitutes 20% preparation for 80% of scenarios can and will vary from person to person.

I would breakdown the levels of preparation as follows:

Owning a good quality one-way radio:  AM/FM/NOAA and, maybe shortwave Owning an inexpensive VHF/UHF/FM/NOAA Ham radio for purposes of receiving and monitoring emergency broadcasts but only transmitting in the case of a bona-fide emergency, meaning no ham license. All of the above + a Ham technician license.  Financially inexpensive but definitely a time commitment to study for and pass the licensing test.  Perhaps additional time invested in honing the skillset via involvement in CERT, ARES, etc. Ham general license or above + necessary equipment to use that level of licensing — sky is the limit in terms of expense, acquiring equipment, and practicing and honing the skillset.

Depending on a variety of factors, the 20% threshold could be as low as #1 for some and as high as #3 for others.  For me, personally #2 probably meets or exceeds the 20% threshold and #3 (which I’m currently working towards) definitely exceeds the 20% threshold, perhaps bringing me closer to 95/25.  Honestly, the bar for moving from #2 to #3 is pretty low for all except the most technically challenged so, I think, definitely worth pursuing.  #4 is a much bigger commitment, mainly on the financial side so clearly in the realm of advanced prepping, perhaps the inverse of 80/20.

Just my initial thoughts. 

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Need recommendations on buying an RV system sized solar setup

I’m looking into buying some solar panels, a battery, inverter, etc. that could be used to power some small appliances (not a whole house or even air conditioning or a furnace blower—basically something about the size of an RV system) in the event of a power outage.

At the very least, setting up and using a small system will give me some idea of whether we want to install a larger system down the road.

Does anyone have recommendations as to a retailer where I could buy the solar panels and other items? It would be helpful if the retailer has actual technical support available. I know some about electrical systems but am definitely not an electrician or an engineer. Of course, I have found some retailers online, but I’m very hesitant to spend that sort of money with a retailer online without knowing much about them.

In addition, if anyone has suggestions on the brands of the panels or batteries, feel free to mention those as well.

Thanks in advance!

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Recognizing when it’s time to change how you prep

Yesterday, my prepping evolved. I made a hard choice and packed up all my canning gear for donation.

Over fifteen years ago, I purchased all of it when I ramped up my preps. It was a natural choice to return to the lifestyle I knew so well. Canning was part of self-sufficiency.

The problem was I never used any of it. The canning gear sat in unopened boxes for the someday promise of a garden.

The canning supplies also sat in boxes because there was no room on my prep shelves for any of those lovely unfilled jars. That was because I had already stocked my shelves with store bought cans, regularly rotated and neatly stamped with expiry dates.

There was no way to carve out more room in my prep storage. The space just wasn’t there and yesterday, I finally accepted that fact.

I also accepted that jarred foods as preps don’t make sense for me anymore. My husband and I avoid high sugar foods and rarely eat jam. 

Arthritic hands mean an unpredictable grip. If I drop a jar, it breaks. If I drop a can, it dents.

If we ever had to bug out or set up an alternate location for bug out, it will be easier to load tin cans than glass jars.

I was also concerned about the sustain ability of long term canning without replenishment of canning supplies, like lids or even fuel to properly sterilize jars and keep the process clean under what might be adverse conditions.

The risk of a bad batch of canning had always bothered me in the back of my mind. My Mom was an expert canner, and yet, I remember a time when she culled a batch of canned beans because she didn’t like the look of them that winter.

A friend made us lunch one day and proudly brought out her jar of jam. There was mould under the paraffin seal. I expressed regret that her jam was spoiled. She didn’t believe that it was “spoiled” and scooped the upper layer of jam out of the jar. I refused to eat any of it. Mould on the surface is also below the surface and should never be consumed.

No matter how careful a person is, home canning does carry the risk of botulism. A pressure canner is safest for low acidic foods, but it always goes back to operator error as a possible source of food borne illness.

Food borne illness is not something anyone wants to encounter in the best of times and definitely not during a crisis where medical care may be unavailable. Spoiled and inedible food is not a prep.

The last factor in my choice to relinquish my canning gear and preserve food using different methods was because of what happened last summer.

My someday promise of a garden finally arrived. I promptly blanched and froze everything that I grew. The thought of canning in that heat never crossed my mind. Not once.

I realized that it was time to evolve again. 

The word evolution comes from the Latin “evolvere” meaning “unrolling.” One of it’s meanings is “gradual development” and that is exactly what prepping has been for me.

Prepping is not a static, “do it this way forever” practice. It is a part of a life that undergoes growth, change, and gradual development.

If anything prepping has taught me to face reality and find solutions.

So, it is out with the canning and hello freeze drying. I have my home sized freeze dryer picked out. Until the budget allows it, I will be deep freezing my produce instead. What I grow this year will also be harvest as part of daily meals and if there is surplus, it will go for donation to the food bank.

I believe the freeze dryer will be a good prepping investment. Freeze dried foods have a longer shelf life than dehydrated foods. I can seal the freeze dried food into mylar bags and put them into pails for storage. The pails work well on my storage shelves and I don’t have to worry about breakage.

These are the moments in prepping when we can practice courage by letting go of an idea of how to prep that no longer works for us.

I was holding onto the tradition of canning and the memories it held for me. Now, I am forging new methods that hold the promise of new lessons and more to learn.

I think sometimes in prepping, there is a tendency for people to embrace ideas or methods of survival, because that is what everyone else is doing. However, that doesn’t always make it right for you. No matter how you prep, do what works for you. Don’t be afraid to evolve.

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Cook your food in water instead of over a fire during a survival situation for the most nutrition

When you need to cook something you have caught, hunted, or foraged, cooking it as a soup in a pot of boiling water is much more nutritionally efficient versus grilling it over an open flame.

By containing the food in the pot, all of the nutrients are infused into the surrounding water which can later be drank as broth. That’s why chicken noodle soup was a common “cure” to being sick, because back in the day the whole chicken was cooked into the soup and the bones, joints, and skin would be broken down into a very nutritionally dense broth. The can of Campbells chicken noodle soup from the store in 2022 does not provide the same benefit.

It’s also easier to make sure that the food is cooked thoroughly if it has been boiling in a pot of water for some time. You can’t burn and char it in water but that can happen over an open flame.

A grilled piece of meat will always taste so much better, but in a survival situation you want the most nutrition as possible in soup form.

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How to enable FEMA test alerts on your phone

There was a lot of coverage in the media about FEMA testing emergency alerts on 11 August 2021. I warned friends, family, and The Prepared community members so they wouldn’t be unduly alarmed. The time came and went and… nothing.

As it turns out, you have to opt into these alerts, and the way you do so isn’t obvious.

Android: The location of this setting depends on your version of Android. Your best bet is to open Settings and search for “Emergency Alerts” or “Public Safety Messages.” There are two settings you want to turn on: Public Safety Messages and State and Local Tests.

iPhone: Open the Phone app, enter *5005*25371# and tap the green call button. You should receive a confirmation message.

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What is the best disaster-proof pouch for important documents in my BOB?

I’m looking for a somewhat budget-friendly disaster proof pouch for my important documents but I don’t know where to start. Is there a brand I should begin with? 

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Is bamboo the super prepper plant it is made out to be or a nightmarish menace?

At first glance many preppers may be drawn to bamboo for it’s multitude of uses and extremely quick grow time. But for those who have dealt with it know that it is an invasive plant that will quickly overgrow the area in which it was originally planted and can cause more of a headache than anything. 

If you do choose to grow it, make sure to install a barrier like is pictured below. You dig a 3+ foot trench around the bamboo and place this strong and thick plastic around it to keep the roots from spreading out. Growing in a raised planter is another option.

If you have acres for it to run loose in, then go ahead and plant it. But for the average suburban backyard, avoid it unless you know what you are getting yourself into.

Benefits of bamboo:

Some varieties can grow a foot a day and can be harvested as it grows.  Extremely strong and entire civilizations have survived off of building bamboo houses. They even make motorcycle helmets out of this material and it passes safety guidelines. Bamboo can be eaten and is rich in nutrients. It can be made into fabrics and clothing. I even have a set of bamboo socks and bed sheets. Can be turned into weapons, hunting tools, or fishing poles. In a grid-down situation you may not be able to buy lumber and need to cut down trees for firewood or construction. A standard tree might take forty years before it’s ready to be chopped down, but bamboo could replenish itself in a matter of weeks. Bamboo can be made into roofing, furniture, flooring, musical instruments, fences, utensils, paper, and more. Read More

Filling a 55 gallon water drum

Question: I live alone with two dogs just outside of a large US city. I have about 30 gallons of store bought water for my dogs (stored in the basement where it’s dark and cool ) and 30 gallons in 5 gallon containers for me. I also have family living nearby (including a daughter with young baby), so I could see her coming to stay with me in an emergency situation. For that reason, I’m considering a 55 gallon drum in my basement. When it’s time to replace the water with fresh water I should be fine since I have a drain in my basement floor. My question is about filling! I have a hose that would reach to my basement for filling, but it’s not a potable hose. Will treating the water before sealing the barrel take care of that? 

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The dangers of leaving people and pets in hot cars

The above graph is from San Jose State University and shows the amount of children who die each year from being in a hot car. See the dip in 2020-2021 during the pandemic and when people were not driving as much? 

Newborns, children, those with disabilities, the elderly, those with a chronic illness, or pregnant women are especially vulnerable and sensitive to extreme heat. To be safe, don’t leave anyone in a hot car.

Animals can die of heatstroke within 15 minutes in a hot car. Cracking the window does not help. Plan your trips and know where you are going  during the day. If you are going somewhere that involves leaving your pet or child in the car at any time, leave them at home with a care giver.

If you ever see a pet or child left unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately and do not leave their side until the issue has been resolved. Signal for someone else to note the license plate number and go into nearby stores to try and locate the owner of the vehicle. Talk to dispatch and monitor the trapped victim’s status. If they get worse or even faint, then break in and save them. What are your thoughts on smashing out a window to save a pet in a car?

Some additional facts: 

The temperature inside a car can get 50 degrees hotter than on the outside. After 10 minutes, and car will reach 94 degrees inside when the outside temp is 75. Heatstroke can occur when outside temps are as low as 57 degrees. A child’s body heats up 3-5 times faster than an adult, so you may be fine inside the hot car but your child may be in the back seat really struggling. Keep an eye on them even if you are there with them. Lock you vehicle at home not only to prevent theft, but to keep children from playing in them and accidentally being locked in. Only 21 states have laws addressing leaving a child in an unattended vehicle. But even if you are in a state that doesn’t have a specific law, you can still be charged with child endangerment or even manslaughter.

What are your thoughts about leaving a kid or pet in a car with the AC on full blast while you run into the post office?

Leaving children or pets in a hot car might not even be intentional and could just be a result of being distracted and on “auto-pilot mode”. Avoid being rushed or on your phone that can leave you more frazzled and absent minded,. Build up the habit of “Look Before You Lock“. Even if you don’t have children, get in the habit for when you may help transport a neighbor’s kid, niece/nephew, or grandchild. An additional benefit of this habit is that while doing the sweep of the vehicle, you can be aware of any objects left in plain view that might be attractive to thieves. 

Don’t assume that every family member or care giver you place in trust of your loved ones knows as much as you do about hot vehicles Educate them. Here is a 10 minute free online interactive course about leaving children in hot cars. 

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100 things to disappear first

I was going through some prep info today and found this article originally published in 2007 on Fluwiki. It is a very interesting list of items and has been helpful in planning some of my preps, so I thought I would share it with you. Some of you may have already read this, but it is worth looking at from time to time. I keep tinned gravy in my preps because of this list.

(I have added spaces between the lines for ease of reading)

Quote begins:

Tips From Sarajevo: 100 Items to Disappear First

Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy…target of thieves, invites marauders; maintenance etc.)

Water Filters/Purifiers

Portable Toilets

Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home uses.

Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)

Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.

Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.

Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.

Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar

Rice – Beans – Wheat

Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.)

Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)

Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY – note – food grade if for drinking.

Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.)

Survival Guide Book.

Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)

Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.

Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)

Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)


Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)

Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.

Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)

Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)

Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)

Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)

Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many)

Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels

Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)

Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)

Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)

Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit

Tuna Fish (in oil)

Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)

First aid kits

Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)

Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies

Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)

Flour, yeast & salt

Matches. (“Strike Anywhere” preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first

Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators

Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)

Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts

Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns

Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)

Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)

Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc

Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)

Fishing supplies/tools

Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams

Duct Tape



Laundry Detergent (liquid)

Backpacks, Duffle Bags

Garden tools & supplies

Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies

Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.

Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)

Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)

Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel

Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc

Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats

Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)

Board Games, Cards, Dice

d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer

Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets

Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)

Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)

Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc

Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)

Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)

Soysauce, vinegar, boullions/gravy/soupbase

Reading glasses

Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)


Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens

Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog

Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)

Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky

Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts

Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)

Lumber (all types)

Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)

Cots & Inflatable mattresses

Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.

Lantern Hangers

Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts




Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal etc)

Paraffin wax

Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.

Chewing gum/candies

Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)

Hats & cotton neckerchiefs


From a Sarajevo War Survivor:Stockpiling helps, but you never no how long trouble will last, so locate near renewable food sources.

Living near a well with a manual pump is like being in Eden.

After awhile, even gold can lose its luster. But there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper. Its surplus value is greater than gold’s.

If you had to go without one utility, lose electricity – it’s the easiest to do without (unless you’re in a very nice climate with no need for heat.)

Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without heating. One of the best things to stockpile is canned gravy – it makes a lot of the dry unappetizing things you find to eat in war somewhat edible. Only needs enough heat to “warm”, not to cook. It’s cheap too, especially if you buy it in bulk.

Bring some books – escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more valuable as the war continues. Sure, it’s great to have a lot of survival guides, but you’ll figure most of that out on your own anyway – trust me, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands.

The feeling that you’re human can fade pretty fast. I can’t tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne. Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity. These things are morale-builders like nothing else.

Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches.

More matches

End Quote

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The Gottman Island Survival Game

While reading a marriage book, I came across an exercise about communication and being able to influence your spouse. Thought it would be interesting for people here to think about and maybe do with each other here or privately with their own spouse.

The Gottman Island Survival Game

Imagine yourself shipwrecked with your partner/the members of this forum on a tropical desert island. Gilligan and Ginger are nowhere in sight – the two of you/the members of this forum are the only survivors. You have no idea where you are. A storm appears to be on the way. You decide that you need to prepare to survive on this island for some time, and to find some way to ensure you can be spotted by a rescue party. There are a lot of items from the ship on the beach that could help you, but you can only carry ten items.

Step 1: Each of you writes down on a separate piece of paper what you consider to be the ten most important items to keep from the inventory list below. Then rank-order these items based on their importance to you. Give the most crucial item a 1, the next most important item a 2, and so on.

Ship’s Inventory:

Two changes of clothing AM-FM and short-wave radio receiver Ten gallons of water Pots and pans Matches Shovel Backpack Toilet paper Two tents Two sleeping bags Knife Small life raft, with sail Sunblock lotion Cookstove and lantern Long rope Two walkie-talkie sender-receiver units Freeze-dried food for seven days One change of clothing Bottle of whiskey Flares Compass Regional aerial maps Gun with six bullets Fifty packages of condoms First-aid kit with penicillin Oxygen tanks

Step 2: Share your list with your partner/people here on the forum. Together come up with a consensus list of ten items. This means talking it over and working as a team to solve the problem. Both of you need to be influential in discussing your viewpoint and in making the final decisions.

Let’s all do this exercise. Pick your 10 items, list them down in the comments, and then discuss/convince/argue on why we should pick the various items. Let’s see if we can get down and agree with at least 7/10 items as a community if we all were together in this situation of being stuck on an island together.

(Ignore Step 3 if doing it here on the forum, but I’m leaving it in case you want to work with your spouse on your communication)

Step 3: Once you have compromised on a third list, it’s time to evaluate how the game went. Think about how effective you were at influencing your partner and how effective they were at influencing you. Did either of you try to dominate? Were you competitive? Ask yourself if you had fun. Did both of you work well as a team and feel included, or did you sulk, withdraw, express irritability/anger?

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Get Home Bag vs Bug Out Bag – duplicate items?

I’ve been working on rounding out our bug out bags and I’m finding that a lot of items would be duplicates from those in our get home bags. For instance, I have compasses in the get home bags stored in the cars. What is everyone’s opinion on getting additional compasses (or other replicated items) for my bug out bag?

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Hurricane Preparedness Week May 1-7, 2022

Hurricanes are powerful and very destructive forces of nature that affect millions of people each year. Luckily they are not spur of the moment disasters like a car accident or earthquake and some warning and preparation can be made beforehand to either ride out and withstand the devastation or get to a safer location in time. 

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) will be releasing a daily tip on social media platforms this next week with advice on how to be better prepared for the upcoming hurricane season. The Prepared will be sharing those tips on our Facebook and Twitter pages as well, along with some additional guidance.

For additional preparation, check out: How to prepare for and survive hurricanes

Feel free to also share your hurricane preparedness tips, stories, and experiences down below.

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Which lighter is best for use in cold weather?

Many people (including The Prepared) say to carry a butane powered BIC lighter.

While I do agree that they are great because they are cheap ($1-1.50/each), pretty dumbyproof, don’t evaporate fluid, and just work, they do not work the best in cold weather. To test this I placed five lighters in my freezer for 30 minutes and noted the results.

The two lighters on the left in the picture above are regular Zippos that run off of lighter fluid. The three lighters on the right are two standard butane BIC lighters and a Zippo lighter with a butane torch insert.

The two lighter fluid Zippos work off of having a liquid fuel suspended in cotton that evaporates up the wick. When pulling these straight from the freezer they did not light on the first strike but required about 5 seconds to warm up just that little bit to start evaporating the fluid. It lit to a full strength flame and worked every strike there after.

The two BIC lighters had to be warmed up in my hand for about 20 seconds before the smallest of flames would be released. Even a couple minutes after being removed from the freezer they still had very small and weak flames. The Zippo with the butane torch insert was the worst of them all. It was very very cold and required many minutes in my hand to be able to light.

Summary – Butane does not function well in cold temperatures. If a butane lighter is part of your EDC or emergency bag these will need to be placed in a pocket close to your skin and warmed up before use. 

The trouble with the lighter fluid fueled lighters are that they do evaporate unless they are sealed with an O ring like a peanut lighter. If you don’t EDC one of these and fuel them up weekly, then storing them dry in your bag and having a small 4oz bottle of fluid ($3 at Walmart) or storing fluid in a fluid canister are options in an emergency bag.

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Frozen lighters