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What media sources do you consult?

Besides this website, what media sources do you consult for preparedness? Looking to cast a wide net.

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How Soap Works / Soap > Sanitizer

I listen to a lot of podcasts. I find it frees my hands and eyes, especially when I’m busy with my prepping projects and I can actually learn a thing or two other than the latest deathtoll numbers.

One area of interest (especially given the importance of hygeine amidst the current pandemic) is how I’ve seemed anxious about the shortage of sanitizer and disinfectant (and their skyrocketing prices).

Turns out, according to a July 30th episode of How Stuff Works, soap is better. And it has everything to do with soap’s structure. Spoiler! Soap physically tears apart the cells of germs, viruses and microorganisms!

This episode covers (in 54 minutes), the origins of soap, how to make soap, how soap works, and how using soap compares to sanitizers and disinfectents.

How Stuff Works: How Soap Works: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/105-stuff-you-should-know-26940277/episode/how-soap-works-69248640

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Prepping strategies for larger families

Alot of prepping advice is based on the number of people you are prepping for…”save X amount of rice/water/supplies for each person in the family.” This is pretty manageable if you have a small household, but what do you do when you have a bigger family, with constantly shifting nutritional needs and preferences?

Right now I have 3 kids under 5, which means they don’t eat all that much now, but they will in a few years. Their preferences also bounce around like crazy – one week they LOVE a certain food or snack, and the next week they won’t touch it. We are also considering adding a 4th child at some point, so it is possible we will end up with a family of 6 to prep for. Right now I don’t have the space, mental bandwidth, or finances to stock up on a full supply of food for 5-6 people that will last a year, especially when half my family is guaranteed to refuse a bunch of it at some point.

To date, my strategy is to simply stock up on the items I know I’ll definitely use, and to prioritize items that have longer shelf lives: rice, pasta, sauces, canned tomatoes, baking supplies, specific snack items, peanut butter and jelly. I’m less about aiming for a certain amount on hand per person, and more about making sure I have enough to get us through the next 3-6 months if these items disappeared from the stores tomorrow. Any other tips on how to approach prepping for bigger families?

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What can I plant now in a 36 x 24 x 10″ wooden box?

I recently moved into a new house and the previous owners left a 36 x 24 x 10″ wooden raised box in the backyard. So I want to know if it’s worth it for me to keep it and plant something edible in it, or not. 

I don’t care much about what I plant. That is, I’m thinking about stuff I can eat – not flowers. I’m fine even if it’s just herbs.

FYI the box faces South. The soil in it was already there so I have no clue if I need to do something with it or not. I’m a total newbie, in case that wasn’t clear! Thanks!

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Where is the hurricane/fire coverage?

I’ve been kind of surprised to not see even mentions of recent natural disasters on the blog or the forum. There are millions without power due to Tropical Storm Isaias right now and  thousands were evacuated from the Apple Fire this weekend, and both of those seasons are just starting. Would love to see some new content geared towards preparing for hurricanes & wildfires, particularly with COVID potentially complicating evacuation plans. Thoughts?

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Thoughts on mens’ “Dress shoes” that are also practical?

I subscribe to the belief that the “best” piece of equipment is the one that you have, when you need it. Not the one sitting in a closet at home or on a store shelf.
With that in mind, in regards to every day carry, my employer requires business casual, dress shoes required.
Dress shoes usually fall under a category of Form>Function. While the “dress-boots” I have now are certainly comfortable and don’t hinder me at all, I was wondering if anybody had any recommendations for footwear that they enjoy and provide some protection without the “look” of work or combat boots? Any thoughts appreciated.

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What are you doing with your stimulus check?

Finally got mine. Are you guys spending some of yours on more preps, especially in this window before we might have more lockdowns? If so, on what?

A lot is sold out, so I was thinking about getting some workout stuff but I haven’t decided. Not being able to go to the gym is really effecting me, and I think fitness is a part of prepping.

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What did you learn from the experience from COVID-19?

Did you learn something fundamental? Were you rocked to your core? Or did you learn something little that you just want to share with the world?

For me it was the realization that 2 weeks of prep just won’t cut it. I was prepping with a big earthquake in California in mind. But with toilet paper disappearing for a month it finally dawned on me how desperate the whole state will be after an earthquake. With so many people in need there’s no way there will be enough logistics to feed everyone or supply water for weeks or months. I’m going to have to rethink things.

One small thing I learned is you can chop up green onion and it keeps in the freezer. I like to dress up my Top Ramen with more ingredients and green onion is one of my favorites. In the past I would just use fresh from the store, but in order to reduce my trips to the store I tried freezing it and it worked out great.

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When to bug out… and where?

Hi y’all,

I’ve been trying to manage my fight/flight impulses recently, but I find my fear at a constant idle of anxiety. We have the food, defense, and energy preps we might need to shelter in place in our home for a few months, I think. We have good relationships with our neighbors. But home maybe doesn’t feel like the safest place?

I live in a town recently mentioned as a potential target for Federal Troops coming to quell civil unrest, in a seismicly active area, a town with great wealth disparities and a large population of folks living pretty marginally. As times get worse, crimes of desperation will surely increase.

We’re trying to decide, in this very uncertain and potentially pre-cataclysmic economic time, when the best time to bug out is. Certainly, if we were to try to sell our house and investments it would be prudent to make those moves before housing and stock markets falter. That’s super hard to predict.

Advice sought: what triggering event/events would you use as economic indicators/triggers to make you pack it all up and move it on out? 

Further: where would we go? If we can keep our jobs and schooling running remotely, what are the best options? Should we stay within driving distance of our work HQ and friends, or should we try to immigrate to another country? Hunker in the woods or near a Costco or on a tropical island?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these matters. It’s OK to call me overwrought, or to say you’ve had similar thoughts, or hear about your bug out locations and triggers. I seek a variety of opinions.

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Pop culture prepping (not the crazy kind)

Any sane prepper-oriented podcasts/books/other media people have found useful and entertainig? Not so much subject matter how-to guides, I’m thinking more conceptual, scenario-driven or narrative-driven fiction (or nonfiction). I know the site did a round up of movies a while back. I found a couple new ones that way (and saw a couple I absolutely could not make it through–I’m not in it for the apocolypse long haul!) A few other things that come to mind are:

-The Big One podcast from KPCC. https://www.npr.org/podcasts/674580962/the-big-one-your-survival-guide This actually is sort of a how-to guide, but interspersed with a speculative scenario and interviews with scientists and experts. I don’t live anywhere near earthquake territory, but I thought it was really interesting!

-My Side of the Mountain book by Elizabeth Criaghead George. I loved this book as a kid and I recently read it with my first grader, and now he is very into learning how to make fire, live in the wilderness, etc. Get em while they’re young, right?

-Pagami Creek Fire Entrapments — Facilitated Learning Analysis, published by the US Forest Service after a 2011 forest fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5371477.pdf  I have spent a lot of time paddling and camping in the Boundary Waters and I found this report fascinating. It’s mostly a tick tock of the Forest Service’s emergency-response actions, but it is really well written. As part of that response involved interacting with campers near the impacted area it really got me thinking about how I would react in that situation. There’s also a 30 minute documentary with interviews with the rangers you can find on Youtube (search Pagami Fire from user WildlandFireLLC). I haven’t looked but I bet similar reports exist for other fires in other regions. Outside Magazine also had a really incredible piece about this fire from the perspective of campers https://www.outsideonline.com/1914461/sky-burning-caught-pagami-creek-fire?page=all

Any other suggestions?

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Clothing

Hi, 

I was just wondering whether anyone included any clothing in their kits? If so, what do / would you keep?

I was thinking that if the supply chains got disrupted for these items, then surely after a few years, clothes would be in short supply.

Also, regarding clothes washing, there was a ‘dry-bag’-style thing I saw on Indiegogo a few yrs ago that had special bumps inside to help dislodge any dirt. 

JS

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Dealing with food allergies/sensitivities and prepping

I’ve been gluten free for years and just prior to this pandemic my husband developed a serious gastro-intestinal issue that reduced his diet to literally 5 items (and growing, thankfully).  This definitely has put additional challenges on prepping, especially for BOBs.  I’m glad to find that companies have started offering and labeling GF freeze dried food options.  What I’ve not been successful at finding is emergency rations.  I can find protein bars, but their shelf life is months, not even a year.   Has anyone had success in finding (or making) very long shelf life rations for restricted diets?   And I know my situation is fortunate, I can’t imagine emergency scenarios with life threatening allergies.

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Best equipment for survival from EDC to SHTF

The truth needs to be told about the survival equipment that is out there and is not worth the money.  Start out with knives. I have over 25 knives. Not all great ones. But I didnt know.  So lets start with knives and move from there to other items.  Dont believe that one company has the best price and their beliefs of what works. Unless you seen in action and held in your hand only then can you tell whats good and whats junk.  So the discussion here is what do you have that works. Not wants on sale. 

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Home security

The police department where I live offers a home security assessment, and I opted to have one done this week. The assessment was focused on making a residence less of a target for burglary and opportunistic crime. So on the coattails of the TP article on hardening a home (https://theprepared.com/homestead/guides/home-hardening-basics/), I thought I’d post the items that the officer inspected and her general comments about protecting a home. Hopefully this will be useful to someone, and it’s not too repetitious.

For context, I live in a suburban, single family home with nearby neighbors on all sides.

This is what the officer went over:

Exterior: Bushes taller than 2-3′ outside of the house can create ‘ambush zones’ where intruders can hide. Keep hedges next to doors below that height. Also, prickly bushes like holly are better than non-prickly. Motion activated floodlights are recommended on the sides of a house which have windows but no exterior lights, and highly recommended near entry doors on the back/side of the house. At a minimum, use a dusk-to-dawn sensor on lights near entry doors. On all exterior doors which open outward (hinge pins on the outside), make sure you have hinges with locks in them. (Like this one: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-4-in-Satin-Nickel-Half-Square-Corner-and-Half-5-8-in-Radius-Security-Door-Hinge-14449/203339943.) Otherwise the door pulls right out when the hinge pins are removed, even if deadbolted. Cameras are good, but are generally “after the fact” devices. If you install a camera, make sure it has enough resolution to make a person or car readily identifiable. (I will also add that we have three cops that live in our neighborhood. Their homes have BRIGHT front outdoor lights and cameras covering the driveway, the front door and the back of the house.) Put easy-to-read house numbers on the exterior so that emergency personnel can find the residence easily.
  Interior: The primary entry points for burglars are the front and back doors. Windows are not the typical entry point unless they can be easily opened. Exterior doors with a window in them need deadbolts with keys on both sides. Don’t leave the key in the lock on the inside. Reinforce the door frame on the front door, and use long screws (at least 2.5″) on all exterior door strikeplates. Make sure deadbolts extend all the way into the door frame. Sliding glass doors can be easily lifted out of the frame. Use upward pin bolts to prevent this (e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Security-Deadbolt-Superior-Protection-Child-Safety/dp/B07VMQPSL1/ref=sr_1_14). Solid front doors should have a 180 degree peephole installed. Have a monitored security system, with signs that one is present. Install glass break sensors near any doors with glass in them. Use motion detectors in the main living area, and near any exterior door. Use them outside near doors if practical.  If you have venetian blinds, adjust the louvers so that anyone outside can only see upwards into the room. If the louvers are down and allow a view of floor, you can see the telltale cords of computers and other electronics that can be grabbed. The impact film available for windows works best when it is installed when the window is manufactured. The film is designed to keep the shattered window glass from falling away after an impact. However, if the film isn’t held securely by the frame of the window, the entire pane just falls away as a unit. Given the choice between a sliding glass door and normal door with a glass panel in it, intruders will prefer the normal door. Breaking the glass in sliding glass door creates more much noise, and the amount of glass increases the risk of getting cut. However, it’s certainly not going to stop them if they really want in. Once inside, the first place a burglar goes is the main bedroom. Keep any valuables (jewelry, watches, etc.) in a safe at all times, or at least in a different room. Only keep costume jewelry in the bedroom. Safes under 100 lbs need to be anchored to the floor. The typical small document safe routinely gets carried away if it isn’t anchored. Simple but actually effective deterrents include anything that makes the home seem “more occupied” from the outside: lights, a TV that is turned on, a radio on a talk station, etc. These are good when you’re out, or home alone. Garage: Garage door openers have an emergency release rope which, when pulled, disconnects the door from the drive chain and allows the door to be raised by hand. The handle on this release rope should be removed, as well as the knot in the rope which holds the handle. There is a tool which can be slid between the door panels to grab this rope and pull on it, allowing a burglar to raise the door. Also, for this reason, the door from the garage into the house needs to have a deadbolt on it and lock hinges (if it opens outward). Install and use the garage door locks when you are away. Put a translucent film (like adhesive shelf liner) over the windows in the doors in the garage to prevent anyone from seeing in. Don’t leave a garage door opener attached to the sun visor in your car. This is something that will be stolen to be used later.

-WS

 

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Preps with a newborn

I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant just as hurricane season starts. Skipping past the birth part (c’mon, Saharan dust, hold strong), what are good things to keep handy for disaster scenarios with a newborn? I’m thinking lots of formula + diapers, and then … 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Non-respirator masks

Is there any consensus around the best masks options if you can’t get access to respirators? Ideally in stock within about 6 weeks (when school would begin…)

I see lots of rankings based on comfort/style, but not as much analysis around “this is actually going to do a good job filtering out particles”

EDIT: oh hey, looks like the GoRuck masks are back in stock. Maskit also looks promising.

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Talking to young adult daughter about being prepared

So my brothers and I have embraced being prepared, as this year has convinced us of the plausibilty of events or chains of events occuring that could lead to scenarios that would require hunkering down and/or bugging out.  We have enjoyed talking about how we will respond to different things, what we’ve purchased, stuff we already have that we’ll share at our vacation home, I mean, bug out location….  

My question is have any of you men or women talked with your young adult daughters about being prepared and what were some tips you would provide?  I’m pretty ok with talking about the basics of being prepared with her as I’ve already talked about financial preparedness and currently addressing having her vehicle “prepared” since she just bought her first used car, ie, the fix a flat, first aid kit, etc, etc.  So I’m wanting to go the next level.  How will we meet up, where, why are we even talking about that (she lives 40-50min from me and closer to urban)… “Here daughter, here’s your go bag….  ummm, why do I need this…”  

Now she isn’t stupid or completely helpless, and I think she’d be open to the next level, but she is a thinker and may or may not see the need.  I’m just looking for thoughts from people (guys and women) who have had this converstation with their young adult daughters.

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Water storage tanks

Hi All

Thinking about getting some potable drinking water storage tanks installed in my home – any suggestions on how I should go about this and where I should look (UK based).

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Opinions on rifles?

I’m not a “gun guy” although I did grow up in North Texas, learning to hunt and shoot safely throughout my teens in the 70s. In the intervening decades, I have paid no attention to guns, and have never felt the need to have one around the house.(Except for 110-year old bolt action .22 that my grandfather used for rabbits on the farm) But now that I have prepped  reasonably in most other areas, I’ve been thinking of getting a modern rifle with some decent stopping power.

Any suggestions on selecting one? I am not a gun noob, but I’m 40 years out of practice. Thoughts on safe-yet-rapidly-acessible storage would be welcome as well. Just to make things more complicated, I now live in New Jersey. I’m applying for the rifle-purchase permit now, and have heard some stories about the state making it difficult to get. We’ll see.

 

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Learning to fish

At the risk of embarrassment & shame, I’m going to admit this in front of all of you who have awesome outdoor skills: I don’t know how to fish.

But I want to learn.

Now that I have my confession in the open, let me ask my questions. 🙂

– There are a zillion “how to fish” videos on YouTube. Can anybody help me pair it down & recommend some of the better videos, as well as any other sources? (Unfortunately, I don’t have any local friends who can teach me.)
– What is a good, basic set of fishing equipment (rod, reel, tackle, etc.) for inland, freshwater fishing? It seems like half of the local sporting goods store is dedicated to fishing equipment, and I’m sure most of it is stuff I don’t need.

Thanks in advance.

-WS

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Increasing your readiness when driving near protests

I wrote this on Sunday, relying in part on the work of others who have researched this.  I thought I would share this in case someone was looking for some guidance on dealing with these events.

https://paultmartin.com/blog/f/project-increasing-your-readiness-when-driving-near-protests

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Any eyewitnesses on scene in Portland, Louisville, and other hot zones?

I’m just curious if any of our readers have been near the civil unrest in Portland, OR or any of the other hot spots. I’d love to hear first-person accounts of what’s happening in these places because I get the sense that we don’t get the full picture in the mainstream media.

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