Archive for Live Free USA News – Page 2

SURVIVAL SHOVELS

Survival Shovels

Very small folding shovel for survival packs.

Very small folding shovel for survival packs.

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A shovel is one of the items that is often left out of the bug-out-bag, but should be included if at all possible.

When I was a kid just after World War Two every kid in the neighborhood had an “Army Shovel”.  These were childproof and child sized digging tools.  The result was that every vacant lot was a warren of trenches and underground tunnels. Unfortunately a few kids did get killed in cave-ins.

The shovel of the static trench warfare of World War One was the M-1910.  This was just a small “T” handled spade.   World War Two was a more mobile operation requiring the soldier to dig quickly in any kind of soil and then move and dig again.  The M1943 folding shovel was strong enough to dig in frozen and rocky soil and included a pick to chop and pry. It was a bit heavy, but troops were generally trucked for long distances. This was the shovel that somehow came home after the war and fell into the hands of the baby-boomer children.  The very similar M-1951 served through the Korean War and Vietnam.  There were and still are a wide variety of commercially made imitations of this well designed tool.  The tri-folding shovel with its triangular grip handle came into use late in the Vietnam conflict.  It is a much more compact and lightweight tool than the M-1951, but a bit less capable.

Shovels have somewhat limited use in urban areas where an axe or pry bar may be of more help, but they are a must once the brick and concrete are left behind.  Uses include: digging shelters, digging fire pits, burying waste, drainage trenching, building defensive positions, and making animal traps. There may be the need to clear ground and shovel snow for cold weather camps as well.

There are a variety of small “camp shovels” on the market.  Your choice depends on how much weight you can add to your survival pack.  The two main designs are miniaturized version of the old M-1951 and the current tri-fold designs.  If you are really pressed for space and weight, a good quality garden trowel gives you at least some digging capacity.  Of course you may want a bigger shovel in your vehicle or survival cache.

 

Home Freez-Drying Machine

In Home Freeze Dryer

    At a recent preparedness expo I observed a demonstration of an “in home” freeze drying machine.  Up until now, freeze-drying was been the one food preservation option not available to most preppers.  We can dehydrated, smoke, pickle, cure and can, but we have to pay a high price for freeze-dried foods.  Freeze-dried survival foods are by fare the lightest weight and longest lasting of all survival food supplies, but are also the costliest.  A dollar’s worth of beef stew can cost from $6.00 to $8.00 in a freeze-dried package.   Purchasing a six-month or one-year food stock of freeze-dried is a considerable investment.

The Harvestright ™ freeze-drying machine is about the size of a vey large microwave.  The machine freezes the foods down to around 40 below zero and then vacuums away all of the moisture content.  Finally the food is vacuum-sealed  in oxygen and moisture proof packages.  The manufacturer claims that 97% of the nutritional value of the food is preserved with a shelf life of over 25-years. 

At this point the machine sells for a hefty $4,000.00.  You would save about $5.00 to $6.00 per freeze-dried meal so you would need to do about 600 to 800 meals to pay off the machine.  This may not be cost effective for a person or family, but could be a good business investment or cooperative purchase for a survival/preparedness group.  Cost may come down some, but the need for the refrigeration, dehydration and vacuum systems will probably sustain prices well above $1,000.00 for years to come.

   For more information go to:  Harvestright.com or call 1-800-923=4673.

 

Home Freez-Dry machine demo.

Home Freez-Dry machine demo.

LIVE FREE RADIO INTERVIEW LINKS

At this point we have done a total of seven radio programs for the Preparedness Radio Network at PreparednessRadioNetwork.com.  Of these two have been edited and are available to listen to.  Once we get all of the links we will post themm to a special page, but for now. Here are the links for the ones we have.

 

First Interview: http://www.preparednessradionetwork.com/listenepisode.aspx?id=a160c5fe97c547b191ff77cbbdc4d641

Second Interview: http://www.preparednessradionetwork.com/listenepisode.aspx?id=08dca0ffa1ae4a3db78e32066936e015

NEW LIVE FREE CHAPTERS!!

Live Fee USA continues to grow with new "boots on the ground" working chapters in more states.  These are great gruops that serve their members needs for security, preparedness and self-reliance while bringing survival information and education to their communities.

The two newest chapters are:

The Middle Tennessee Live Fee Chapter near Nashville IN. Contact: galloyd@mttkd.com

The Northern California Live Free Chapter.  Contact: Blackbelt51@aol.com

I have post below a listing of all current Live Free chapters.  This also includes some information on how to start a chapter or affiliate an existing group as a chapter.  Together we can do more and be more secure.

ChapterDirectory,2014,4-14

 

DIABETES DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

Personally, I would have liked to have just added the link to this article, as it is fairly lengthy. It is, however, very important for each person to read. We never know when this information can or will be pertinent.

I personally encountered a woman in a Diabetic crisis in a gas station last year. Knowing what to do, prevented her from going into s severe reaction and needing an ambulance. Sadly, everyone else just stood around. I was thankful I recognized the signs and was able to help her immediately. My Mother-In-Law is and Best Friend, are both Diabetic, so this information becomes especially important within our family. When this situation occurs, we have minutes to respond, not hours. It must be attended to immediately.

Posted by Prepper Ideas | Posted on 03-31-2014

diabpack

PATIENT INFORMATION

Modern media have made our world seem small. News about events around the world reaches us in minutes. We learn of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, industrial accidents and terrorist attacks immediately. TV teaches us
that any disaster brings chaos to people and their environments.

As a person with diabetes, your daily routine involves schedules and planning. An emergency can seriously affect your health. It may be difficult to cope with a disaster when it occurs. You and your family should plan and prepare beforehand even if the event is loss of electricity for a few hours. The first 72 hours following a disaster are the most critical for families. This is the time when you are most likely to be alone. For this reason, it is essential for you and your family to have a disaster plan and kit which should provide for all your family’s basic needs during these first hours.

 

BE PREPARED LIST

You should safely store the following medical supplies or have them readily available:

0 Copy of your emergency information and medical list

0 Extra copies of prescriptions

0 Insulin or pills (include all medications that you take daily including over the counter medications)

0 Syringes

0 Alcohol swabs

0 Cotton balls & tissues

0 A meter to measure blood sugar

0 Blood sugar diary

0 Insulin pump supplies (if on insulin pump)

0 Strips for your meter

0 Urine ketone testing strips

0 Lancing device and lancets

0 Quick acting carbohydrate (for example, glucose tablets, orange juice, etc.)

0 Longer lasting carbohydrate sources (for example, cheese and crackers)

0 Glucagon Emergency Kit (if on insulin)

0 Empty hard plastic detergent bottle with cap to dispose used lancets and syringes

Other supplies:

Flashlight with extra batteries Pad/pencil Whistle/noisemaker Matches / candles Extra pair of glasses First-aid kit
Female sanitary supplies Copy of health insurance cards Heavy work gloves Important family documents Tools Water
Food Clothing and bedding

Radio with extra batteries Cell phone

Make sure you have enough supplies for 2 weeks.

These supplies should be checked at least every 2 – 3 months.

Watch for expiration dates.

HELPFUL HINTS ABOUT INSULIN, PENS, SYRINGES

o Insulin may be stored at room temperature (59° – 86°F) for 28 days.

o Insulin pens in use can be stored at room temperature according to manufacturer’s directions.

o Insulin should not be exposed to excessive light, heat or cold.

o Regular and Lantus insulins should be clear.

o NPH, Lente, Ultralente, 75/25, 50/50, and 70/30 insulins should be uniformly cloudy before rotating.

o Insulin that clumps or sticks to the sides of the bottle should not be used.

o Although reuse of your insulin syringes is not generally recommended, in life and death situations, you have to alter this policy. Do not share your insulin syringes with other people.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • Stress can cause a rise in your blood sugar.
  • Erratic mealtimes can cause changes in your blood sugar.
  • Excessive work to repair damage caused by the disaster (without stopping for snacks) can lower your blood sugar.
  • Excessive exercise when your blood sugar is over 250mg can cause your blood sugar to go higher.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Check your feet daily for an irritation, infection, open sores or blisters. Disaster debris can increase your risk for injury. Heat, cold, excessive dampness and inability to change footwear can lead to infection, especially if your blood sugar is high. Never go without shoes.

 

HOT WEATHER TIPS

• Stay indoors in air-conditioned or fan cooled comfort.

• Avoid exercising outside.

• Wear light colored cotton clothing.

• Remain well hydrated (water, diet drinks).

• Avoid salt tablets unless prescribed by your physician.

• Seek emergency treatment if you feel: Fatigue, weakness, abdominal cramps Decreased urination, fever, confusion.

You should wear diabetes identification

AT ALL TIMES

FOOD ITEMS TO BE STORED

1 large box unopened crackers (saltines)

1 jar peanut butter

1 small box powdered milk (use within 6 months)

1 gallon or more of water per day per person for at least one week

2 6-pack packages cheese and crackers or 1 jar soft cheese

1 pkg. dry, unsweetened cereal

6 cans regular soda

6 cans diet soda

6-pack canned orange or apple juice

6 pack parmalat milk

6 cans “lite” or water packed fruit

1 spoon, fork and knife per person

Disposable cups

4 packages of glucose tablets or small hard candies for low blood sugar

1 can tuna, salmon, chicken, nuts per person

These supplies should be checked and replaced yearly.

FOOD CONSIDERATIONS DURING A DISASTER

1. Food and water supply may be limited and/or contaminated. Do not eat food you think may be contaminated. It may be necessary to boil water for 10 minutes before use.
2. Drink plenty of water.
3. Maintain your meal plan to the best of your ability. Your plan should include a variety of meat/meat substitutes (i.e., peanut butter, dried beans, eggs), milk/milk products, fruits, vegetables, cereal, grains.
4. Limit sugar/sugar-containing foods. These foods include:

• Jellies, jams, molasses

• Honey

• Syrups (fruits canned in sugar syrup, pancake syrup)

• Tonic (dietetic tonics with less than one calorie per ounce are allowed)

• Frosted cake

• Presweetened or sugar-coated cereals

• Pie, pastry, Danish pastry, doughnuts

• Chocolate

• Custards, pudding, sherbet, ice cream

• Gelatin

• Soda

• Cookies, brownies

5. Monitor your blood sugars frequently and record in diary.

LIMIT SWEETS

FOOD CONSIDERATIONS DURING A DISASTER

6. When reading labels, limit products with these sugar-containing ingredients:

• Sugar

• Corn syrup

• Dextrose

• Sucrose

• Corn sweeteners

• Honey

• Molasses

• Brown sugar

• Fruit syrup

7. Avoid greasy, fried foods.
8. Try to eat meals and snacks at the same time every day. Avoid periods of hunger and overindulgence. The quantity and frequency of your food intake should remain similar day-to-day depending upon your activity level.
9. Increase food and water intake during periods of increased exertion or physical activity by either eating between-meal snacks before activity or by eating additional food with meals.
10. Carry a fast source of sugar with you at all times:

• 3 glucose tablets

• 1 small box of raisins

• 6-7 small hard sugar candies

SICK DAY RULES DURING A DISASTER

1. Always take your insulin or pills on time or close to it. Never omit your insulin unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Insulin is still good if there is no refrigeration. A used or unused bottle of insulin may be kept at room temperature (59° - 86°F) for 28 days. Discard unrefrigerated insulin after 28 days.
2. Keep an extra bottle of each type of insulin you use on hand at all times.
3. Eat within 15 min. or no later than ½ hour after taking your insulin
(depending on insulin type) or diabetes medicine. Try to eat on time.
4. Never skip a meal. If you cannot eat solid food because of nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, sip regular coke, eat hard candies, fruit or regular soft drinks instead of following your usual meal plan.

5. Most Important:

• Do not let yourself get dehydrated.

• Drink plenty of liquids.

• In between meal times, sip diet soda.

(This will not replace food, but can help you be hydrated.)

6. Rest.

7. Check your blood sugar. Notify your doctor if your blood sugar average is over 240mg or if you are ill for 2 days.

8. Test your urine for ketones when:

• Your blood sugar average is over 240mg.

• You are vomiting

• You have symptoms of high blood sugar (increased thirst or hunger than usual, quick weight loss, increased urination, very tired, stomach pain, breathing fast or fruity breath smell).

SICK DAY RULES DURING A DISASTER

9. Call your doctor if your ketone test is moderate or high and/or if you have symptoms of high blood sugar (as listed in number 8). You may need more than your usual amount of insulin on a sick day. Your doctor can guide you in this. If you need medical assistance / or are out of all medications, food, and cannot reach your doctor, immediately:

• Go to the nearest hospital; or

• Contact the police; or

• Contact the American Red Cross; or

• Go to an Emergency Medical Center

30 Uses For Wood Ashes

 

(Ashes from hard wood trees works best, and don't use ashes from treated wood)

  1. Make lye water out of ash. You can boil 2-3 spoons of ash (clean white/grey fluffy ash) with water and then filter it with a coffee filter. Lye water is a great cleaning agent and sanitizer for clothes, floors, windows, silverware, plates, and even rust in marble.You can also make lye by adding the fluffy white ash in a cheesecloth.  In a bucket with holes on its base, you add the cheesecloth and ash, and hang it somewhere high. Add the water. Underneath, place another clean bucket to collect the lye. The lye has a brownish color, so you remove the bucket when clean water starts to sip through. Test the lye by adding a fresh egg in the liquid. If the egg floats, the lye is good to go, if not, repeat the process.-For use in soap making.

    2. A paste made out of ash and water, can remove stains from furniture.

    3. If we want to remove a stain from clothes the moment they happen, we add a bit of ash and after about five minutes, we rub it with the crumb of a bread (not the crust, the soft white bit).

    4. Ash is a great odor repellent, just add a bit over the area that smells. eg, kitty litter.

    5. You can remove odors from a fridge, by adding a plate of charcoal ash inside. Change the charcoal over, until the smell is gone.

    6. You can use it to brush your teeth. (recipe here)

    7. You can wash your hair with lye soap  and rinse with vinegar. This is especially good for oily hair.

    8. Lye is used in many foods and sweets. Like grape must pudding (moustalevria),  honey cookies (melomakarona), and in bread. It makes bread fluffy and prevents it from crumbling. Lye is also good for the cleansing of the intestines.

    9. Ash was used for many years in farming. It recycles the natural nutrients back into the earth. It can be used as compost but does not include Nitrogen. It aids in the increase of the earths PH level which in return, aids in the growth of the plants. (But because of the ongoing increase of the PH level, not all veg and fruit thrive from it. eg potatoes).

    10. It strengthens plants that love calcium, such as tomatoes, vineyards, beans, spinach, peas, avocados, garlic etc. Even rose bushes. You can add 1/4 cup ash before planting.

    11. One spoon ash per 1000L of water, strengthens underwater plants.

    12.It prevents plants from frost in winter, if you add a layer of ash over them.

    13. Animals hate ash. You can rid your garden of insects and various parasites, such as slugs and snails.

    14. You can rid yourself of ants. If you throw some ash in their colony, they will be forced to relocate, as they can’t move the ash.

    15. Spread some ash in the corners of the house, or dark spots of your cellar etc. For as long as there is ash, no mice/rats, cockroaches or insects approach.

    16. It repels lice, ticks and fleas off animals. You make a thick paste of ash and vinegar and spread over the fur. It’s messy, but it works.

    17.  It repels clothes moths. You can add some ash on your stored clothes, and simply shake it off when you need to use them. You can leave them for years this way, and nothing will happen to them.

    18.  Lye is used to make soap (potassium hydroxide). It’s a bit of a lengthy process, but its worth it.

    19. Ash is used for “immortal eggs”. In a recipe used in the Middle East, they preserve eggs in a mix of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice rind for many months.

    20. Sodium Carbonate, can be made out of ash. It is known to be an excellent product, used as household cleaner. Boil water and ash, until it evaporates. The remaining substance is your Sodium Carbonate (Soda).

    21. Ash contains salt, and can therefore melt ice.

    22. The charcoal collected within the ash, can be used as a filter.

    23. You can use charcoal to filter blurry wine.

    24. You can use charcoal to filter water before drinking.

    25. Charcoal in metal containers can be used to remove humidity in cellars, cupboards and under sinks.

    26. You can put a fire out quickly by throwing ash over it.

    27. In the older days, they used to preserve seeds in large clay containers, by adding a thick layer of ash over them. This prevented insects from destroying their produce.

    28. It can be used in wounds, to kill bacteria and aid in faster healing. Melting hand made soap in lye water and rinsing a wound with it without rinsing over it with clean water.

    29. No fridge? No worries! You can preserve your fruits and vegetables for many days, even years, by digging a hole in the ground and filling it with ash. Add your veg and fruit, ensuring enough space between them, so that they do not touch each other, or the muddy ground. Seal the hole with a piece of wood, and you let it be.

    30. In the olden days, to preserve the fresh rennet, they added it in a bone animal horn, filled it with ash, sealed it with mud and hanged it from a tree. This ensured the rennet lasted for many many years.

 

Thanks go to Hank (From APN) who is the Author of this article. http://humblelore.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/30-uses-for-wood-ashes-you-never-thought-of/

 

Preparing and Sharing: Developing a Bartering Surplus

I think as Americans, we are blessed in being able to afford to buy items in bulk. But, at the same time I think we should learn about budgeting what we consume, along with some alternatives.

Are you willing or prepared to develop a ‘bartering surplus’ within the use of your everyday shopping habits?

I recently read an article on APN News about Sari-Sari stores. It occurred to me that we have the ability to develop similar ‘markets’ through our own everyday purchases. Sari-Sari’s are small community convenience stores (in a word) often found in the villages throughout the Philippines.

Preppers here in the U.S. often talk about purchasing food and supplies in bulk from warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, etc..  That's actually not a bad idea, but ONLY if you are disciplined enough to plan your meals and usage of your supplies, and not consuming any more than you actually need.

This stresses the importance of establishing thoughtful, regular food planning and meal preparations based on what we are accustomed to eating or would normally consume. Thus, allowing us that extra supply for emergency storage.

Well, what if we set aside a portion of what we purchase, and package it into smaller individual sizes? This could afford us the opportunity to maintain our own personal emergency storage, and begin to build a bartering system.

For example, a 25lb bag of rice is easy to come by today. But, in the future, who knows? Keeping 5lb for our regular use seems adequate. Most people don’t eat rice at every day, and since its volume doubles when cooked we really don’t tend to need very much dried rice for a single meal. By storing 10# for our coffer, we still have 10# left available to seal/store/package, into much smaller units. A 1/2 lb package (One Cup), doubles when cooked, into 2 Cups. Each of those smaller units now becomes a valuable bartering tool. We now have 20 smaller units available to work with.

Think beyond food items, as well. There are many, many items we use daily that can be separated and stored individually.

  • Laundry detergent (Tide has individual 1”x1” packets, in sets of 3 for about $1, or so)
  • Lighters
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Diapers
  • Toilet paper
  • Flour
  • Bars of soap
  • First aid items, many come in individual use packs (peroxide, alcohol, Neosporin etc.),
  • Spices (salt and pepper packages, like from fast food places)
  • I have seen on Amazon.com, multitudes of food items available in restaurant packaging intended for individual use (also good for less waste, when opened). Many are very inexpensive and worth the thought when considering reducing the load of our Go Bags.
  • Cigarettes, split up the pack and seal them.
  • (Some say small bottles of alcohol… Sprits – I don’t care for this idea but, to each, his own).

This list can go on-and-on. I believe this mode of thinking may take us one step beyond where we currently are. There may be something that someone needs, and vice-verse.

I personally draw the line at Ammo… You are not getting, what you can use against me!!

During the recent Tornadoes that effected the Coal City region, this is exactly what we did. In providing smaller package items for the families that needed supplies, they were not burdened with how to store them (for example 25# of rice).

Would I recommend “Hanging A Shingle”, NO! However, there are families of preppers developing that will be relying on one another for their survival. This can become a life saving or longevity tool for all of us, within the prepping communities.

This also leads into groups collectively making purchases at Bulk stores and splitting purchases amongst one another, both, the items and their costs. This would be another good way to develop our emergency supplies.

I hope this gives rise to a newer way of thinking for some, as, we do not know what the future holds for us. Each person’s idea of  SHTF means something different, and perhaps this will give rise to ‘thinking outside the box”.

-Lisa Pappas  -  April 2, 2014

7 Plants That Repel Insects

 

7 Plants That Repel Insects

 Springtime is just around the corner and many of us are beginning to put our garden/yard plans together.

A friend shared an article with me that I just had to pass on. I personally don’t like using chemical repellants in/on/or near the food I plan to eat. So why not use beneficial plants to do some of the hard work for us?

 The warmer months are on their way, and what does that mean? Bugs! If you are not into using chemicals to repel bugs, read on for some great plants that are natural insect repellents!

Think about it: repelling insects naturally, and sprucing up your space with beautiful plants- what could be better?

 You will find MANY more beneficial articles, such as this at the following website. Original article published from this website, with minor additions and corrections by myself. You will find the useful link at the bottom of this article

mintMint

Not only is it fragrant and beautiful, but mint has an added benefit: ants and mice absolutely hate it! Plant a few sprigs of mint around your house, near your entryways, to keep those pests out of the way. Added bonus: you will have fresh, home grown mint to  add to those summer recipes and drinks! ( http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-real-mojito/ )

basilBasil

Basil is fragrant and is used in many different recipes, but also for medicinal purposes as well! Place some potted basil plants in areas where flies are common to help deter them. Basil is great to place near your outdoor grill or picnic tables, where flies like to gather. Don’t forget that basil needs to be watered at the roots and not the leaves.

bay-leafBay Leaves

The bitter plant is often used for its fragrance in cooking, but, bugs hate the scent. You can use bay leaves to repel flies, moths, mice, earwigs and roaches. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have fresh bay leaf plants, you can use dried bay leaves to get the same results!  (Also very handy when used completely dried for your long-term storage grains and flours!)

catnipCatnip

Yes, that catnip, the same greenery that makes your kitten go crazy, can repel bugs as well! Talk about a multi-tasker! Some studies even show that catnip might be more effective at repelling insects than DEET (the powerful ingredient commonly found in insect repellents). You can take a few leaves of catnip, roll them around and press them onto the skin, and viola! Bugs won’t want to be anywhere near!

 CitronellaCitronella

One of the “oldest tricks in the book” when it comes to insect repelling plants, citronella is famous for making bugs hate it! Citronella is used in all sort of candles, torches, and insect repellents, but using the “real deal” a/k/a the live plant is much more effective. Citronella is a large clumping grass that looks great in flower beds and patio planters. Try to place your citronella plants near places where people gather for the best effect.

Lemon BalmLemon Balm

Lemon balm is a plant that is in the mint family, and produces a strong lemony odor that many pests hate. You can use lemon balm for a plethora of medical reasons, from cold sores to digestive issues. Plant lemon balm near your entrance ways or patios, and you can also crush it up and rub it onto your skin for an immediate effect. (I personally recommend keeping this in a container. It is very prolific and it will not take much time to take over any ground space it is given!)

LavenderLavender

Everyone loves lavender for its beautiful purple flowers and calm, relaxing scent. However, bugs don’t like it so much! Keep lavender growing in your patio planters or garden to keep the bugs away. You can also hang dried lavender in your closet, and you will never have to worry about moths eating your clothes!

As you can see, there are many different plants that repel insects. Whether you are looking to repel insects in your garden, on your patio, or even inside your home, there are plenty of choices out there. It is easy to repel pests naturally without using any chemicals! I have found that many of these plants are quite useful in flower boxes and are being used this year around my home entry!

http://www.selfsufficiencymagazine.com/7-plants-that-repel-insects/

TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD A FIRE?

    The very definition of ‘survival” is someone starting a fire without matches. What survival class goes without a fire starting class? So to suggest that a fire is not always an essential survival need is near heresy.  But all the other mammals do survive without the benefit of fire. Even in the arctic many species thrive without knowing how to start a fire.  Eskimos have no access to firewood in most places and get by with no fire or with very little heat from oil stoves.  The animals and primitive man survives by conserving body heat alone. 

   I am not suggesting that fire is not important. But I am stating that in many cases its value is only psychological and in some cases it may be more of a liability than an asset to survival.  In all cases, shelter, keeping dry and the conservation of body heat should take priority over fire building.  Putting aside the psychological benefits * of a campfire, lets look at the physical benefits of a fire under different conditions.

 

  • Warm Dry Nights:  On a warm dry night a large fire is just not necessary for survival.  A small twig-fire may be needed for cooking, water purification or some smoke to ward off insects.  A camp fire will have you breathing smoke, ruin your night vision, attract unwanted attention and could cause forest fire.  Insect repellent and a compact stove would be much better.  If you must have a fire, make it a small one before dark.  A dark camp is practically invisible and generally safer.

 

  • Rainy Weather:  It takes skill, time and luck to start a fire in wet weather. Damp fires are hard to keep going and put out little heat. Getting wet and using energy while trying to gather wood and start a fire may not be worth the trouble.  Staying dry and finding shelter far outweigh fire making in your survival priorities. A good rain poncho and a mini stove heating up a hot drink will do much better.  The exception is if one is already soaked and hypothermia is a danger.  In that case a big fire may be a necessity if it can be achieved.

 

  • Cold Windy Weather: In a cold wind, without shelter most of a fires heat blows away and the fuel burns fast.  Cold air is drawn into the fire past the people around it, taking away more heat than they get.  Snow melts around the fire resulting in damp feet and boots.  What heat you do get from a fire under these conditions is from radiation, but you loss more from convection of cold air going into the fire.  If you have a good shelter at your back (e.g. lean-to, rocks, etc.) and a reflector on the other side of the fire you can get some benefits.  You are better off in a tent and blankets or sleeping bag than in the open around a fire in these conditions.

 

  • Cold Calm Weather:  In low winds and low temperatures a campfire has real value.  A modest fire can provide heat, cooking, water purification, and snow melting for water.  Combined with a shelter and a reflector, it can provide real comfort.  We still have the energy and the time spent on building and maintain the fire, but it may be well worth the effort in this case. 

 

   Fire often gives the allusion of warmth and safety while actually putting you at risk.  Fire is a luxury, not a necessity.  You can survive without it. Shelter, clothing, food and energy conservation are more important. People have survived long periods in even arctic conditions by holding up in shelter.  Eating hot food and drinks to get heat into the body does more than a fire outside the body.  A small stove or twig fire can be used for this.  Always carry a wool cap and extra socks. 50% 0f your body heat escapes through the top of your head.  The cap will probably do more to keep you warm than a fire. The extra socks can replace wet ones or be used as mittens to protect the hands. Carry a 24’ x 24” sheet of folded HD aluminum foil in all your survival kits.  It can be used as a reflector for a small fire or fashioned into a pot to melt snow and heat water to drink.

   Always carry three ways to start a fire. I recommend: waterproof matches, a lighter and a magnesium metal-match.  When in a survival situation stay dry, get out of the wind, conserve heat and energy and then consider the risks and benefits of building a fire. Stay warm and safe.

 

Extra Stuff In Your Pack

Extra Stuff In Your Pack

   I do not remember when I had my first  “survival pack”.   I do remember that after World War Two ever boy had access to a variety of discarded military items brought home by relatives.  Every kid had knapsacks, army shovels,   “clamshell” mess kits, army blankets, canteens, as well as pup tents and a variety of web gear.  Having a rather unsecure childhood, I soon tended to pack various “survival” items and supplies into an old army pack.  Through some very rough times the existence of the pack provide a level of comfort when nothing else did.  I still have a few of the original items and even the original army blanket.  By this time in life I probably have built, rebuilt and updated my pack 25-30 times.  I seldom do “survival pack” classes or articles anymore since so many others are doing them.  Beyond the basics of water, food, shelter, hygiene and first-aid there are a few items that the would-be survivor might (or might not) have overlooked.  I have written more detailed articles about each item in Live Free’s American Survivor newsletter.

 Binoculars or a Monocular:  Even a cheap small pair of binoculars in the 4 to 6 power range gives you a great advantage.  You can see what’s coming before it gets to you and you can see where you are going before you get there.  You can scout out safe routs and safe locations. You can locate campsites and hazards.  You have a big advantage when you need it most.

 A small AM/FM/WB Radio:  Don’t depend on cell phone APS.  I used to carry a little “transistor radio” in the 70s.  Today you can get very small AM/FM/WB radios that are crank, battery and solar powered and even can recharge your cell phone.  You need to know what’s going on out there and what’s coming your way.  

 A folding shovel:  Way back I had a big army shovel that was way too heavy to carry around.  I substituted a garden trowel for many years.  Now you can get a variety of small lightweight shovels.  These are great for sanitation, fire management and shelter building.   Some come with axe and saw blades

 Tyvek ™ suit:  These are the white hooded coveralls you see used by medical technicians, painters, etc.  I always carry one in my pack.  This is a chemical, fallout, biological protection worn over my clothing or an emergency body covering if my clothing needs to be decontaminated or dried.  It also is good winter camouflage.  They are cheap, weigh very little and take up very little pack space.

 N-95, dust/mist mask:  These are available in painting supply stores.  I recommend carrying one in your jacket pockets and at least 2-4 in your pack.  Combined with the Tyvek ™ suit or just a rain poncho you have some NBC protection. In survival conditions a lot of nasty things (e.g. dust, smoke, toxics) will be in the air.  They also should help conserve body heat loss from respiration in cold weather.

 Pain Killer including aspirin:  Survival situations will result in a variety of injuries, illnesses, strains and stress.  For those over 50-years of age, aspirin is a must as it may be the only option you have for preventing or reducing the effects of a heart attack.  Pain will reduce your overall survival effectiveness.  A doctor told me that combination of 2 Tylenol and 3 Alive tablets taken together is safe and will give pain relief comparable to codeine.

 Seasoning and bullion: You may need to hunt, forage and eat foods you are not accustomed to.  Consider having beef and chicken bullion cubs and maybe a few of your favorite seasonings. 

 Spare glasses:  Put that old prescription pair or reading glasses or at least a good magnifying glass in the pack.  You are going to need to do some reading and fine work in survival situations.

 Don’t forget sever pair of extra socks and foot powered.  I always keep my pack in a tote bin for extra protection.  I keep a pair of good boots and a weapon and ammo in there with it.  This makes it a one grab and go if necessary.