Generator

Do You Really Need That to Survive: A Generator

Homeowners can often power most household appliances using between 3000 and 6500 watts.

If your home has a small furnace and you are on city water, you can probably get by with a 3000 to the 5000-watt generator. If you have a large furnace and/or a water pump, you will likely need a 5000 to a 6500-watt generator (Honda).

If you plan to power just lights, fans or computers or a small camper then a 1000-2000 watt generator would be ideal. You have to determine your need before purchasing one, but even before that determine if you need or want one at all.

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Do you need that to survive

Do You Really Need That to Survive?

We are starting a series of articles on gear, material, and supplies for survival that you may or may not need. Finances are a big problem when it comes to prepping, and if you are avid readers of survival forums, websites, and blogs then you are inundated with recommendations on gear and supplies, the problem, however, is money.

Many of the sites do a good job of convincing you that you need a certain product or you won’t survive. We here always try to present the pros and con’s, who may benefit the most from a product and in some cases, may state a certain product is not for everyone.

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Manuka Honey Healing

Honey and Its Amazing Powers to Heal

How old is honey? No one knows, but cave paintings in Spain dating back to 7000BC depict humans raising bees, and bees are raised for only one thing. The paintings showed beekeeping.

Archeologists’ also had found bee fossils dating back 150 million years. They were making honey 150 million years ago, so bees have had millions of years to perfect their art (The Honey Association, n.d.).

The Egyptians’ symbolized bees. They realized the special powers of bees and their nectar. It was used as a sweetener by the common person during this time. Greek physicians of this period however prescribed it for various ailments. The Greeks had an uncanny ability when it came to healing the body, and the medicinal purposes of many of nature’s wonders and bees were at the top of the list when it came to natural wonders that also contained healing powers.

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Advanced Tools SHTF

Advanced Tools and Equipment For When the SHTF

Oxygen/Acetylene Torch

An acetylene/oxygen flame burns at about 3,773 K or 6,332 °F/3500 C. Imagine, what can you do with that kind of heat and it doesn’t take any electricity to operate one. Of course, the tanks will deplete over time, but a torch like this is not something you would use every day, so you could conserve and have a valuable survival tool for months or even years to come. However, it takes a certain skill level to cut metal, weld and to shape metal with an acetylene torch. You can even melt iron, steel, silver, and gold with a torch that produces high heat.

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Newspaper Uses

16 Uses for Old Newspaper

Yesterday’s Newspaper Its Still worth Plenty

1.) Newspaper had for years been used as insulation in homes. Shredded and placed in the walls it acted just as the insulation of today does. It was even used to wrap water pipes to help keep them from freezing.

2.) Stuff balls of newspaper in damp shoes or boots to help absorb moisture. Once dry, stuff more paper balls in to retain the shape of the shoe or boot.

3.) Wet squares of newspaper and form around a tennis ball, baseball, or similar object and let dry. Make them as big or as small as needed. The dried container can then be used to start seeds. Just plant the entire container when ready to transplant outdoors.

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Water Pasteurization: What We Know

Water Pasteurization

We here have written extensively on water purification methods, and one method bears writing about again, because it is an important method that some of you may not be as familiar with as you should be.

Certain survival shows have shown water pasteurization, and for the most part, have depicted the method correctly. With that being said however, the shows typically have the stars using plastic bottles or even snake skins that are placed close to the heat, so as not to melt the container (s). There is a better method though.

The traditional and mostly foolproof method of water purification is rapid boiling of water for at least one minute at sea level. At sea level water boils at 212° F, and at higher elevations, it boils at lesser temperatures because of the reduction in air pressure, and thus, would have to boil longer.

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Chuck Wagon Cooking: When the Power Goes Out

Cooking without electricity for an extended period (months) is not the type of cooking many of us have ever experienced. Of course, we cook over open fires when camping overnight or when the electricity is out for a few days, but when the power is out for weeks or months and the propane bottles run empty cooking becomes much more difficult.

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Is There Such a Thing as Overreacting To a Threat or Perceived Threat?

Threat

Los Angeles closed all of their schools, leaving some 640,000 kids without a classroom. The threat was real according to experts, so real, in fact, they took the unprecedented step of cancelling classes for the entire district.

Crying wolf to many times may cause some people to ignore the threat, write it off as another false alert. The government up to this point doesn’t seem to know what the threat is let alone deal with it, so can we believe them when they say it is a credible threat, dare we ignore them.

Maybe that is what the enemy wants us to do however. We have to be careful. It is hard to envision that terrorists would warn anyone of an attack, but tactics change, and we all have to be aware that what was normal yesterday, may not be considered the norm today.

Communities cannot ignore any credible threats, and therein lies the rub. What is credible, who gets to decide, and just how far should we go to counter the threat or to protect the community, when warned of a possible attack.

We expend resources, upend communities for hours or days at a time, and nothing happens, a hoax, a crank call, akin to some kid pulling the fire alarm at school so they don’t have to take the math test. Watch the scared people run, watch them huddle together, watch them gather and grab their cell phones to spread the fear even more.

Parents feel their hearts in their throats when they get a text alert or hear on the news that their children’s school is locked down or closed due to a credible terrorist threat. This is the very definition of terrorism. Terrorist will instill fear, sow discontent, and confusion, and then let people’s imagination do the rest of the work for them.

Keep Us off Guard

Send threats, and then gauge the response, so the enemy can then adjust their tactics based on how law enforcement responds to various scenarios, scenarios that the terrorist control. They are testing us, and we will never know when the threat is real or when it is a hoax and they want it that way.

This country has found itself in a defensive posture. Forced to defend a position, we can’t move toward the enemy and neutralize the threat, because we are too focused on holding what ground we have.

What Can We Do What Can You Do

Frankly, at this point as an average citizen, we can only react. We rush to school to get our kids before the bombs go off. We listen to the experts. We hear the phrase repeatedly “out of an abundance of caution”.

We react, and always after the fact. The second largest school district in the country brought to its knees by a single email, a worded threat, unspecific, and yet the implications are clear. Your kids are not safe, your staff and educators are not safe, and the parents that rush in to grab their children are not safe.

A simple email now means that at any time, they can bring a city to its knees without firing a shot. This is just the beginning however. There will be shots, there will be explosions, and they will come when we least expect it, because already the LA school district is being criticized for what they did, and so next time a school district, a town, or a city will hesitate, and that is when the shots will ring out and when the bombs go off.

We could fill page after page of recommendations about what you can do, and should do, but it will not do any good. It will not do any good, because we really don’t know what to do. We only know something must be done. We as humans are designed to be thinkers, to work out the problem on paper, on slate, and we carve the questions and answers into rock, and yet the problem still exists.

Learn how to shoot a firearm and carry it wherever it is legal. Doing nothing is not an option. You will always run towards your children if they are in danger, and when you have to, at least run toward danger with some way of defending your children, yourself and your community.

We have stated it before and we will state it again. The police only show up after the shooting starts. They are not your personal security force. They are sanctioned to enforce the laws. They are not your bodyguards, they will show up, but who will be there first besides the shooters. Will you be there with a way to defend your children and yourself?

Will you stop waiting for others to step up, who out there will grasp the reality. Understand that the country we live in today has changed. It is time we all adapt to the new normal.

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Can You Eat Foods Past Their Expiration Date?

Canned Food

The following are codes or dates that you can expect to find on certain food products, along with a brief explanation provided by the USDA.

Types of Dates:

  • A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires
  • A “Best if Used By (or before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date
  • “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product
  • “Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer (USDA, 2015)

Some 20 states require dating of food while others have no specific laws. The USDA does not specifically require dating on foods with the exception of baby foods/formula.

“Use-by” dates usually refer to best quality and are not safety dates.

Is Dating Required By Federal Law?

“Except for infant formula, product dating is not generally required by Federal regulations” (USDA, 2015).

Baby food, more specifically baby formula should not be consumed past the “use by” date.

Therefore, the question is can you eat food past the dates stamped on a food product. Well some you can and some you cannot, how’s that for specificity. It is obvious some fresh foods cannot be eaten if they have been lounging in the refrigerator for several weeks.

On the other hand, the dates on the packaging are recommendations, but are not necessarily chiseled in stone, and as stated earlier they are not food safety dates. Use your nose and eyes as well as the dates on the packaging when it comes to fresh products or packaged products that require refrigeration.

Fresh meats will of course spoil after a couple days left in temperatures above freezing and the higher the temperature the faster the meats or other fresh products will begin to decompose. Cooked meats can be stored up to four days in refrigeration.

Eggs for example, are edible for up to five weeks after purchase if purchased before the use by date and stored in your refrigerator. Keep fresh eggs as close to the back of the refrigerator as possible. Most refrigerators are cooler in the back furthest from the door.

Test Your Eggs

A bacterium creates gases as it breeds and grows and too much bacteria in an egg will cause it to float (become buoyant) because of the gases. Draw a bowl of tap water and place the egg (s) in the water. If any float do not eat them obviously.

Some Recommendations for Storage

  • Fresh chicken should not be consumed if it has been thawed in the refrigerator for longer than two days
  • Beef, pork, and lamb can be stored thawed in the refrigerator up to five days and still be considered safe to eat
  • Ground fresh chicken and beef is good for two days thawed and under refrigeration
  • Ground fresh pork or turkey two days under refrigeration
  • Cured products such as ham purchased from a grocery store is up to five days

Certain cured or dried products can have an extended shelf life. However, much depends on the curing process and the level of expertise that went into the process. Check any dried or cured products for evidence of deterioration, mold, bad smell, or taste.

Caution:

Processed fresh foods/meats such as deli sandwich meat, hot dogs, and sausages if left unfrozen past the use by date can encourage the growth of the bacteria listeria, which causes the infection listeriosis.

Canned Goods

Highly acidic foods such as tomatoes are generally of good quality up to 18 months. This does not mean you cannot eat the product after 18 months, but you can expect some texture and flavor deterioration after this point. Low acidic foods such as green beans are considered stable for five years or longer.

Any canned product that shows swelling or bulging should be discarded. Swelling can mean a bacterium is growing in the can and this could cause sickness or worse if consumed. Glass canning jars can burst if a bacterium begins to grow.

Where you store your canned products can make a difference, so hot areas like attics or garages can reduce the stability of canned products. Fifty to 70° F is the ideal storage temperature for canned products. If stored in this temperature range the shelf life can be six years or more.

In most cases, you can tell if fresh meat is spoiled by the smell and color of the product. Fruits and vegetables will show obvious signs of spoilage as well.

Foods like pasta, white rice, and most hard grain products with the exception of brown rice is somewhere around 12 years plus and even longer if stored at a constant 70° F or slightly lower. Brown rice is shelf stable for up to six months, and can be stored up to 12 months under refrigeration and up to 18 months in the freezer.

The reduced shelf life of brown rice is due to the oils that will oxidize and go rancid. Weevils will infest any grain products so package to prevent infestation.

Sugar, salt, and honey are considered shelf stable indefinably as long as stored properly.

Flour is shelf stable for 5 years plus if stored in a sealed container. Flour can last longer if stored in an oxygen free environment however.

Frozen foods with the exception of frozen meats can be frozen for years. Meats will begin to lose flavor and texture, and there will be some deterioration after a certain period. Much depends on the packing method before freezing however.

Grounds meats are considered stable between two and four months in the freezer and this includes processed lunch meats. Steaks and whole roasts according to foodsafety.gov are good for six months up to a year in the freezer.

Vacuum sealing products will help to extend the shelf life of many frozen foods and certain other fresh products when stored in the refrigerator. Vacuum seal hard and soft cheeses, for example, to extend the shelf life while under refrigeration.

Foodsafety.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html

USDA. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/fsis-content/internet/main/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating

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The Importance of Having a Carbon Monoxide Detector in Your Home

Carbon Monoxide CO Detector

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. The gas is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, which include coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas.

Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2015).

On average 170 people die each year in the United States from Carbon Monoxide gas poisoning produced from non-automotive devices. In 2005 alone, 94 deaths were attributed to gas powered generator use. The generators were placed in a confined space that allowed for the buildup of deadly CO. CO detectors were not in use or simply did not work.

carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the gas before it reaches dangerous levels.

Simply put Carbon Monoxide will kill you in your sleep.

An audible alarm will sound, giving you time to evacuate, or to ventilate the area. Time is of the essence, and so not responding to the alarm can be deadly for you and your family.

Do You Need One?

You do if you burn wood, coal, kerosene, or wood pellets for heat or cooking and if the heating or cooking devices are in a confined space. You need one if you use propane or natural gas for cooking or heating and if you burn any carbon based materials of any sort in any confined space.

You need one if you use a backup generator, and even though it is situated outside the home fumes can enter through windows, doorways, cracks in the walls, and even through a dryer vent, or through heating/air conditioning duct work. You need one if you are unsure.

You need one if your hot water tank or dryer uses propane or natural gas, and you need one if you live in a building that uses a boiler that burns a fossil fuel to heat the building or the building’s hot water supply. Bio fuels will emit CO gas as well.

Yes you need one if you live in an apartment building that is heated by any type of fossil fuel, so know how your apartment building is heated. CO can collect in some areas of the building such as the basement, laundry room or storage areas, so inquire with the building’s management about detectors in common areas, and have one inside of your apartment as well.

Cold weather is upon some parts of the country right now, so people are burning wood in wood stoves and fireplaces, and in some cases starting for the first time this season their heating appliances.

Many of the CO detectors sold today operate off batteries, so like smoke alarm batteries they need to be replaced every year regardless of usage. Batteries deteriorate over time, so they do need to be replaced on schedule.

Certain CO detectors can be hardwired into your home’s electrical system, and often times CO, smoke and heat detectors are combined in one unit and hardwired in. However, it is important that any unit installed have a battery backup system in the event of a power failure.

Some CO detectors plug into a household receptacle making them portable in a sense. They can be carried to a work area in the garage and plugged in if you use any fuel fired heating device to warm the work area for a short period. Ideally, you would have CO detector in all areas of the home, because at some point you will forget to move it, and one time of forgetfulness can be deadly.

Symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning is similar to the flu, but without the fever, and they can include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death

Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

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