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Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 4:08 PM

I was visiting with Mom today and saw 2 new editions to the family library. Both books are on the subject of emergency preparedness.

Now I am not a "Geiger counter in the basement" kind of guy. I do however believe that it is absolutely irresponsible not to provide at least 2 weeks worth of provisions for the home.

I live in Texas. Central Texas. Our biggest concerns in this region are loss of power, tornadoes, flooding and drought as well as excessive heat. And we do have winter weather which can be quite disruptive on the rare occasion that it arrives. (It seems the local gov is not too well prepared for these events either). Now these are climactic disruptions to daily life in the immediate area and do not take into account the interwoven dependency regions now share.

So I have re-evaluated my preparedness. I am also, thanks entirely to CR4, much more aware of the cost effective and practical technologies that are available to my family and I.

How 'bout the rest of us here at the forum? Any recent changes? Anything you want to share? What's the great new technology? What's the great old technology we wouldn't want to be without?

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#1

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 6:19 PM

LPG-powered standby electric generator wired through automatic switch to come on when grid power is disrupted. Enough power to run a/c also, if it happens in summer.

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#2

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 6:27 PM

I keep my bow and arrows to hand in case of zombie invasion.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 6:30 PM

Ah, your feline wit. Have not a bit of mouse jerky stashed about?

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#4

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 8:16 PM

Hi TC.

We had a tornado come with in a quarter mile of my folks house about 25 years ago, they had no power for a week. When we lived in georgia, lost power and water for about five days due to a freak snowstorm.

We have a 5kw generator and a special circuit installed to run heat, refrigerator, and limited outlets. gas out in the shed and gas in all the cars to keep it running. couple of tanks for the gas grill, which has a burner as well for cooking.

In case of loss of internet I have an old kenwood shortwave radio i can run off car batteries. Haven't done much swl'ing in awhile...

We have a swimming pool so water isn't a worry for us(lots of bottled water around; pool water for bathing and flushing toilets.) The pool cover pump is available in case of flooding in the basement.

A couple of big tarps, and plenty of wood if it gets real dire; ( I'd have to tear out the wall over the fireplace the last owner put in; can't get wife to agree to woodstove.)

We always have a lot of candles for outside at night in the summer so thats handy too. I don't think i have CB radios around any more, probably ought to pick up a couple; do have a few of the kids old walkie talkies.

Oh, and I have a battery fetish, I hate rechargeables, and buy in bulk at sams club.

And several maglite flashlites.

Like you, not worried about food, I'd probably die from soda withdrawal before any thing else set in.

You should see some old tech in this post...

I was going to mention wifes handheld battery powered TV, but its analog...

Crossbow and the usual assortment of personal defense items as would be expected of a hunter in the US.

milo

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 8:26 PM

I would like to have a manual generator - a pedal power maybe for the radio and such. I too have some com equip. I haven't used in years. Even with the internet there is something about the radio that just can't be beat. Maybe I'll power up soon.

Am trying to get mom to cistern her rain water at her place. My family and I are renting and it is a great frustration for the short while, temporary as it is.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 8:47 PM

this would keep radio and lights on...

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Max-GEN-1250-Gas-Powered/dp/B000QUZEBO

I saw some R/C hobbiest using these at a meet.

milo

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#6

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 8:37 PM

Hand-cranked radios came on the market here a couple years ago - a return to old tech I guess! but very handy for when the batteries run out.

My personal fave in the new tech are these powerful LED lights that you mount on the wall and push to turn on.. when groping in the dark. beats looking for a lighter...

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#8

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 9:22 PM

Have looked at survival scenario many times in the past.

Short term, dehydrated food and preserves at the house at all times, chainsaw and fuel, wood fired stoves and heaters and plenty of fuel available. Documents and other details have back-up copy at sister in laws place 30km away (and we have their copies at our place.) so if total devastation happens to the house, we can recover those records, like bank account numbers. We renew the files each year around new years

Water tanks at house can be accessed by gravity feed direct into all the internal plumbing (just would be without pressure system) Enough water for 150 days without any rainfall at current usage pattern. Our catchment area currently provides 200% of our actual water usage.

Our strategy is to go "no electric", so all frozen and refrigerate materials would be either eaten or preserved (We have outside wood fired oven 1200mm x 1200mm x 600mm, so can easily prepare meats and vegetables and such.) and an inside wood fired heater with flat top suitable for small cooking.

External contact maintained through a hand cranked combination torch/radio device that we bought some years back. No batteries EVER, 2 minutes cranking handle gives around 2 hours radio or 1 hour with all LEDs on in the torch. The kids loved it as a night light because if it went dull, then they could recharge it themselves (and as parents we could hear them charging it up and know that all was well.)

Food after 2 weeks would be no issue. Local wildlife (rabbits and goats) are easily prepared and are small enough to present no storage issues. Thanks to the Australian gun laws, there are now excessive flocks of wild ducks and water birds also readily available and the occasional wallaby. (Did you know that Australia seems to be the only country in the world where it's legal to eat the animals displayed on the national coat of arms? And in places they are still in plague proportions.)

Our only issue would be maintenance of medical supplies. Primarily insulin for daily injections for type 1 diabetic. Our deep water dam (on farm) is cool enough to provide submerged storage and we would raid the stash once per week. A drip safe (evaporative cooler) is easily built for temporary storage.

Our household SURPLUS of vegetables currently averages around 50Kg per week. Sweet corn, zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkin, turnip, broccoli and cabbage, cucumbers, beans, leeks, carrots plus a few other items for variety. (Not to mention a modest herb garden for flavouring.) (Organic garden with no external inputs like fertiliser or sprays, mostly self saved seed each year.) We preserve around 100Kg of tomatoe relishes and sauces each year to use in the "off" season in meat dishes.

In the event of total cataclysm, the only issue we have identified is the supply of salt. The plan for this is to make an annual expedition 30km to the ocean and "make" salt by spraying sea water into the air and collecting the salt "mist" that is formed. (Yes this is feasible, we've done it.)

With all the spare time that would be available, the only addition that would be made is a smoke-house addition to the oven to smoke meats for longer storage.

I suppose that I have some advantages over most. I was raised in the back blocks of this country on a property without electricity, was taught to butcher and prepare various meats by my father and spent many years assisting on vegetable farms. I now live on a 100 acre (40 hectare) property that has significant resources readily available.

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#9

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/10/2009 11:00 PM

TexasCharley, This is something everyone needs to be prepared for nomatter where they live, I have most bases covered except for food. When I see how much food we purchase It makes me aware that to have a sufficient amount on hand for more than a week would be difficult for us. Of course we are all good at fishing and hunting but if many people had to depend on this form of feeding their families the game would become scarce real quick. As far as hardware we have most all of the camping, backpacking & personal protection equipment we have ever bought. Many different tents, sleeping gear, cooking equipment and all sorts of clothing for all seasons and conditions. An RV, boat and a 4 wheel drive. Two generators, 6x6 gallon water containers, 5x5 gallon gas containers. The list goes on & on, but I think the problem would come down to the haves & havenots if the problem was much bigger than what happens in a large hurricane. How many people are prepared to turn others away and defend what they have after a short time of no outside help. Would people do whatever it took to feed and protect their families? I think people that are used to having their every need fullfilled would get desperate & ugly real quick. People in this country no longer know how to provide for themselves, butcher animals or even clean fish much less prepare for having to doit. They don't understand proper sanitary deciplines to stay well and avoid killing themselves and others. Peoples bodies here cannot tolerate what third world citizens can. How many people here could do as was done after the tsunami a few years back and pile up the dead and burn them to prevent disease. Even if you are close to large bodies of fresh water it couldn't be consumed without proper treatment. I believe the best thing to do would be locate and advance toward a region outside of the affected area before despiration set in. J.Conway

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#10

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 12:01 AM

Hi TexasCharley,

A year or so ago I fitted my furnace with an inverter powered by a battery to run the furnace. This was a much cheaper solution than a generator, and possibly a better one. The furnace was fitted with a line plug which can be unplugged from the wall, and plugged into the inverter if the power goes off. This could be very handy on a cold winter night.

I am a firm believer in having extra food in the house, especially staples like wheat, beans and honey that last for years without spoiling. Canning fruit, vegetables and even meat makes sense when they are in abundance and cheap, and stocking up when things are on sale. There are companies that sell canned goods with inert gas to make them last for years for emergency use (things like powdered milk, eggs, tomatoes). We also have some dehydrated foods like apples and potatoes on hand.

Regards,

S

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 7:50 AM

I am a big fan of the dehydrated stuff.

So how much power does the power inverted furnace use? How is it powered in crisis?

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#16
In reply to #11

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 4:54 PM

KrisDelTM do some very good dehydrated water at a reasonable price .

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 7:03 PM

I'm still trying to figure out what the meat was in the jerky jerky you sent me.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/12/2009 3:55 AM

You found meat?

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#21
In reply to #11

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/12/2009 7:52 PM

"So how much power does the power inverted furnace use? How is it powered in crisis?"

This project was based on an article in Nuts and Volts magazine (Dec 2006). I chose a bigger inverter than the article because my wife sleeps with an oxygen concentrator with a humidifier. I have a 1200 watt unit with 3200 watts peak output. It is powered with a 12 volt battery. You can plug a trickle charger into the same outlet that the furnace uses, but if the battery is lead-acid, you may get gas given off that will set off a gas detector. I have not had to use the inverter so far.

A few years ago I powered just the gas solenoid of the furnace with a battery with a series resistor on a cold winter night. The furnace has a limit switch, so the gas goes off when it reaches 200 F or so. The heat rises through the ducts by convection and heats the upstairs. It probably wasn't efficient, but it kept us warm. The present solution powers the fan too.

S

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#12

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 2:44 PM

Two weeks is better than nothing, but more is better. Aside from plenty of canned food and bottled water, how about 25 kilos of rice, 25 k beans, cases of water, salt, sugar, and maybe some chili powder. Rice and beans is pretty boring but it will keep you going indefinitely. Plenty of vitamin supplements (it's pretty hard to keep fresh vegetables and fruits) and a good supply of prescription medicine.

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#13

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 2:54 PM

I agree whole heartedly in food storage and the basics. I am interested in what technology we are employing.

when the power is out what works for you. When the water rises do you inflate a raft (I have one in the garage)?

That kind of stuff.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 3:40 PM

If you are renting, maybe planning to build in the future, here's something that works well for me, in the power out-heating department. I have a wood furnace, hot water radiation system. The house is not huge 28x28 floorplan with 3 stories counting basement. The heating system works by convection when there is no power.

there are a couple of manual switches for the zones upstairs. I just push and lock the switch by hand to circulate heat by convection to the upper floors. It's not a bit complicated but very practical and provides central heating comfort in emergencies.

I guess heat is not that important in most Texas emergencies... sorry I don't have a raft! (keep talking, I may get me one...)

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#15

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 3:55 PM

Go on the FEMA web site and you should find emergency preparedness guides and links to where you can buy long lasting supplies (mre's) and such.And survival kits are also available.There are things that you can keep on hand for different types of emergencies.Know what you are looking for or you will need a second residence for your stuff.Don't overdo it.

Here in NJ we have loads of chemical plants in our back yards,everything comes through here so we do a lot to be prepared.Like predetermining disaster meeting sites outside the home and safty zones inside.For example you could choose the master bedroom and bath as the place to be during a toxic vapor release. You would have precut plastic sheeting for all doors, windows,electrical outlets and vents...

Yes this is part of what I do and I teach it to local citizens.I could go on for hours and pages of info. But the resources are out there and the FEMA site is great. Also contact your local Emergency Management office and they can assess your needs and give suggestions of what you should keep on hand.

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#18

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/11/2009 10:19 PM

We have an acre and so do most of our neighbors. If things get bad I may have to rig the garden with some surprises. That is if they get past the dogs. Bell likes to bite: tires, squirrels, cats, dogs, but strangers and one uncle are her favorites. The cat (trouble) will just be a pest wanting attention unless they try to pick him up, stupid humans.

Every year we can. Apples, Pears, Peaches, This year the Logan berries should produce enough. We also dry and freeze many many veggies and fruits. Have a flour mill that I picked up at X-mass.

I have reloading dies for every caliber I own. Tools to fix everything I own and friends with lathes and mills for the unobtainable. A wood shop and a workshop.

About 10 Jerry cans of different fuels.

Lots of other options. The more options you have the better you can respond to what ever your needs are.

Brad

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#20

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/12/2009 5:18 PM

Up until the late 1940s it was common for a family to keep a years worth of food on hand. Growing up quite rurally I can can, smoke, and dry food with experience. I have a few dozen cases of various sizes of canning jars and lids. I have a still for making alcohol for fuel or consumption. I made about two gallons of "apple pie" for personal use since last fall, 150 proof on the first pass. I have a small quantity of fresh brewer yeast on hand. I have a 12k generator/welder. My home is well above the 100 year flood plain. Of course that government data may be bogus since we have had three 100 year floods in the last 13 years. I have an extra heavy duty four wheel drive with 5 spare tires on rims, traction chains for all the way around and a winch that will lift it all straight up. I can reload for anything I and my children own except 22lr. I can make my own lead or copper jacket bullets. I have the info on paper and in a laptop on how to do most anything that might be needed in a long period of social unrest. I have several solar panels for electricity. I have a small mill and a lathe with quite a bit of stock. I have trapping supplies from running a trap line from when I was much younger than now. I used to make candles for home usage and still have around 75 pounds of paraffin and bees wax and several candle molds. And lots of camping supplies. I have two old 5 watt cb radios and two newer cb's with ssb and 6 longer range gsmr hand held radios. I have a small garden in which I grow mostly herbs. It seems I have a brown thumb for vegi's. I got a grand total of one tomato this past year on three tomato plants. I have fruit trees, blueberrys, grapes and a hazelnut tree.

But by far the most important of all is I have friends than can help with almost anything.

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#22

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/14/2009 11:10 AM

Get a copy of Henley's 20th Century Formulas, Processes, and Trade Secrets, published about 1920 or so. It covers everything from cosmetics to explosives and includes vendors for most of the supplies you'll need.

For example, you can make your own primers. Mix ground glass, potassium chlorate, and mercury fulminate. The procedure to make mercury fulminate is in the book.

It also covers things like tanning hides, preserving food, and many other jobs we never learned in school.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/15/2009 2:41 PM

Will look that one up.

I am so often disappointed by the new "survival" and "preparedness" books out. I have old Boy Scout books that offer better more practical help than many of the new ones.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Emergency Preparedness

01/15/2009 2:49 PM

There is an e-copy out on pdf that is linked because there is a lot of info. Or find a hard copy. It is fun just to read.

eg. short of super glue it tells you how to manufacture just about any glue you may possible need.

Some very interesting stuff.

Brad

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#25

Re: Emergency Preparedness

02/03/2009 5:52 AM

Shoot we could last 6 months or more with wind and solar power to keep the freezer cold. All the canned food, hopeing it is all not knocked off the shelf and broken. Water would be the problem. Storing it would not be a problem now but how much to sotre and how much bleach to stock pile to keep it drinkable.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Emergency Preparedness

02/03/2009 10:01 AM

Thats what the swimming pool is for...

milo

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Anonymous Poster (1); artsmith (2); dadw5boys (1); Del the cat (3); HarryBurt (1); Jerrell Conway (1); johnfotl (1); Just an Engineer (1); Milo (3); not so smart (1); silvCrow (1); StandardsGuy (2); TexasCharley (6); U V (2)

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