News of The Day
It’s that time of year for storms and here are the links to really good classes and they are free, the National Weather Service Storm Spotter classes.
National Weather Service Sky Warn / Storm Spotters classes.
The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.
Who is Eligible?
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.
Find a class in your area.
Classes are FREE & for ALL AGES!
All classes will run approximately 2 hours
No prior training is necessary & registration is only required if noted
NOTE: Classes may be canceled with short notice due to severe weather.
Where and how to start your journey towards a more prepared house hold
Part 5 Energy
I recommended Knowledge as one of the first things you should try and gain in part 1, so in part four we will look at another basic category of Items or Stuff I believe is needed for emergency preparations to keep yourself and family safe and secure and today that is Energy.
- Water that’s clean and drinkable
- Shelter, could be your home, a tent, or proper clothing for your area.
- Food, canned goods, freezer stocked up, garden growing or freeze dried.
- Energy, be it heat to cook your food or warm your shelter or electricity for lights & radios.
- Security / Self Defense
- Reliable transportation
- Low or No Debt
- Trade Currency, i.e. cash (or Barter items), to acquire the things you need from others.
So let’s look at our options and sources for energy if the grid goes down, specifically to cook with, lighting, communications, transportation and for warmth or cooling.
Cooking – If you have natural gas you should be OK for a while if it is a short term event, (and you don’t live in an earth quake area, if so all bets are off). Propane stores basically forever as long as the container is not damaged so if you have a barbecue pit or a portable camping stove you are set to boil water and cook food. When it comes to camping stoves there are lots of manufacturers and fuel options available. Different types and capacities from a two burner Coleman that runs on propane or white gas to a small portable alcohol, or one of the Solo Stoves that burns twigs and pine cones. Don’t have any of those, how about a camp fire or fire pit. Admittedly it’s a skill set to cook on an open fire and you need a few items like a grate or tripod to do so safely and efficiently. Now is a good time to practice and learn from your mistakes while supplies are available and working. A member of a MAG I use to belong to took it a step further and bought a wood stove and his family relies on it for cooking, heating water and canning.
Lights – Basics first, a black out kit, click here for the contents list of ours. Next acquire more LED flashlights, portable lanterns and plenty of fresh batteries to fit. As funds allow add more rechargeable batteries to your supplies and a solar panel of some sort to recharge them. We picked one on amazon that has multiple voltage out puts from USB 5 volts to recharge cell phones and tables all the way up to 12 volts to recharge a car battery.
Oil lamps and candles are options as well but be careful with open flames inside your home; a couple of good fire extinguishers are always a good addition to your home. Don’t forget extra wicks and plenty of lamp oil.
Power – After you have the basics covered, save some money, do some research and buy a 500 watt true sine wave inverter. With this and some extension cords you can use the battery in your card to supply AC power to some lights and radio or TV for short intervals. Next step up would be a small generator and I recommend at least a 1000 watt compact unit like the Honda E1000 or a Yamaha EF100is. These both are equipped with an inverter that will supply clean power to any electronics you will want to run. Yes you can get a similar size package for about 1/3 to ½ price from places like Harbor Freight and while I don’t have any first-hand experience with them, at such a low price point I wonder about there long term reliability. That being said if that is what your budget allows, it’s better than nothing.
One other advantage to the Honda, and I assume the Yamaha as well, is there are aftermarket carburetor kits available that allow them to run on natural gas or propane so fuel storage becomes less of a hassle. For a link to one we used click here, our use google for a search.
And what good is a generator if you don’t store some fuel, be it gasoline, diesel or propane. Think safety and whichever you chose to store, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure there is not some fine print on the amount you can store.
To continue to build on your off grid power supplies would next be purchase some deep cycle batteries, at least one but as many as you can afford in even number pairs, a bigger inverter and a charge controller and a 100 watt to 150 watt solar panel. You can use the solar panel or the generator to recharge the batteries if grid power is not available and the sun is shining.
Other options to consider if money and resources are available on your property are Wind and or Water power. You will still need some batteries to store your energy but if a good flowing stream or a windy hill is accessible there are dozens of manufacturers that can help put you in the home power business.
Heat – Next let’s consider what are options for heating your home in winter, assuming you live in a region that gets cold. As previously mention wood stoves or fireplace inserts are very efficient, much more than just an open fireplace for heating a living space. Portable propane space heaters are available here locally at Walmart, Tractor Supply and Northern Tool that can be used. Same cautions apply for open flames inside house, keep away from combustibles, have fire extinguishers available, and have a window opened just a bit for fresh air and keep out of reach of children and pets. A carbon monoxide alarm is also a wise investment for any home.
Transportation – Whether your mode of choice is an automobile, pickup truck, motorcycle, four wheeler, Jet Ski, boat, snowmobile, airplane or helicopter, sooner or later fuel may become an issue for that vehicle. Alternatives to consider are a bicycle, electric golf cart, electric car, horse, dog sled or being in good enough shape to walk some distance. Horses and dog sleds take another skill set, specialized equipment and knowledge but if you have access, then you are one of the lucky ones. The electric car and golf cart will have a limited range but if you have a way to recharge them you could be ahead of the curve.
Radios – Communications are going to be vital if the grid is down. Simplest place to start is a good quality weather radio and a couple of inexpensive two way radios like a Baofeng UR-V5. The UV-5R radios are available from lots of sellers on Amazon and eBay and are a great little radio for under $30.00 each. These will receive UHF, VHF, FRS and MURS frequencies and if you have an amateur HAM license you can talk on 2 meter and 440 short wave bands. It can also be programed as a scanner for your local area emergency services. A great addition of a replacement antenna will improve the reception and transmit range over the one included. Lots of detailed information on the web on these so take time and do some research.
That’s some of my thoughts on energy in its different forms, but there are dozens more tangents that can be considered. Keep in mind the best time to start preparing and working on some of these options is the present. Make a plan on what to work on first, save the money and pay as you go; don’t go into any more debt than you already are.
As always please add your thoughts and comments below.
Here in the US we have a very reliable energy grid system and we are confident that when you flip the light switch, the lights will come on. But from time to time severe weather can have an effect on the power delivery to our homes. It might be due to trees or tree limbs taking down power lines, lighting striking transformers or ice storms breaking wires. Most of these are relatively short-term events that are quickly repaired by local utility companies and are merely an inconvenience at best.
Loosely defined a Blackout Kit is a collection of supplies to help you deal with an emergency situation of loss of power in your home. They are commonly referred to as Blackout Kits because you are most likely to need one, well, in a blackout. It should be stored in a box, bag, bucket or kit and kept in a central location that everyone in the house knows where it is and can be easily retrieved.
There are a number of ready-made kits available in the market place from different suppliers that fill the bill just fine if you would rather go that route. Click here to see a link to one that we carry in our store.We chose to build our own to our specific needs and price point.
First, each bedroom should have an inexpensive but reliable flashlight available close to the bed and they are handy to have even when the power is not out. A flashlight like this one on Amazon is another good option as well. It stays plugged into an outlet to keep it charged and when to power goes off it comes on so you can locate it easily.
So what sort of supplies should you have on hand to deal with a short-term power outage? For a basic, inexpensive list we have the following in ours.
- Two small battery powered LED lanterns
- Two small battery powered LED flashlights
- Two LED Head lamps
- Extra batteries for all lights
- Glow Sticks
- Candles and matches
- Wind up / battery powered AM / FM Radio
- 2 Survival Bivy sleeping bags, (since there are only my wife and I, add more if your house hold is bigger).
- Small basic first aid kit
- Small ABC Fire extinguisher
- Deck of cards
That about sums it up for our basic Blackout kit… and it actually gets used a couple of times a year here in our middle Tennessee home. I will follow up with a more extensive list of items for a longer-term blackout, (like we had in Louisiana after Katrina, three weeks without electricity from the utility Company), in a future post.
I guess it should be said too that it’s a good idea to check the contents and refresh the batteries several times a year so it works when you need it to. We check ours twice a year when the time changes over to or from daylight savings time.
Number one thing to remember, in most states, concealed means not visible and that includes an apparent budge or “Printing” of your weapon while in public. Number two is if it is not comfortable, you’re not going to carry your weapon as often as you should.
Your choice of weapon style, revolver or semi-automatic and caliber be it 380, 9mm, 40 or 45 will be a major deciding factor if you can properly conceal it on your body. Larger frame men should have no issue hiding a full size 1911 with the right holster but my 5’, 110 pound daughter would have a challenge concealing the same weapon under her clothing during the summer.
My choice for the last several years has been a hybrid of sorts of an inside the waist band style holster for my Glock 19 made by Crossbreed called the Super Tuck. One part is leather that rides comfortable against my skin or tee shirt and second part is a Kydex holster that is formed for the model of weapon carried. The design of the two belt clips allows a long tail shirt to be tucked in and conceal the grip of the weapon that is in easy reach. If you prefer to wear a loose fitting shirt not tucked in so much the better. Cool weather I carry it at 3:00 position since I’m typically wearing a jacket or sweatshirt, summer time I’ll usually position it around 5:00 to 6:00 because it seems to be better hidden. Of course in cool weather you could also use an outside the waist holster and keep it covered with a jacket or hoodie.
I’ve also found with carrying my pistol inside the waist required needing a heavier, double thickness leather belt to support the weight of the gun and I started buying my pants in the next waist size up so I was not as tightly wrapped so to speak.
Since I work for myself and don’t have an office job anymore, most days I wear jeans or a pair of tactical cargo style pants from Propper. They have several styles and fabric blends that are comfortable and affordably priced. Their Men’s Tactical model F5252-50 pants feature elastic in two positions of the waist that make the transition from carrying to not carrying my weapon very comfortable. Another plus is that they have multiple pockets for the various EDC items I like to keep close at hand.
If you prefer a more casual look Propper’s Covert Short Sleeve Button up shirt is a neat option with its tear away side openings and false-button front closure.
As mentioned earlier, in cooler weather jackets, sweat shirts and hoodies offer concealment options as well. Another product from Propper I like is their Cover Hoodie because it features the front kangaroo type pocket with a magnetic fastener inside that allows you to access your weapon if carrying in the front area of your waist band. And they come in ladies sizes and colors as well, F5496.
Other options that may not be as quick to retrieve a pistol include a number of choices. For the ladies you might want to consider a specially designed purse with a secure pocket for your weapon. Or, do an internet search for Women’s Bra Holster, you will find there are quite a number of makes and models out there for the smaller pistols.
Several manufacturers like Maxpedition, 5.11 and Propper have purpose built every day carry bags, shoulder packs and sling bags with built in pistol compartments that can be accessed quickly when needed. Options offered by Propper are two different size Over the Shoulder bags, a Bias Sling / One Strap Back Pack and a General Multipurpose Attaché style bag.
Finally and most important is practice and training. No matter whatever method of concealed carry you chose you’ve got to practice retrieving your weapon from concealment smoothly, securely and quickly. Seconds count and you don’t want to be fumbling around with unfamiliar latches, releases, zippers or access if the need arises.
EMP stands for Electromagnetic pulse. It is a burst of electromagnetic radiation that results from suddenly fluctuating magnetic fields that can be caused by solar activity, nuclear explosions, lightening, and other sources. These EMP’s are known to produce damaging current and voltage surges that destroy electronic circuits, microprocessors and computer chips. Basically everything from delicate electronics to the power company’s transformers is at risk. In other words life as we know it in America would be changed drastically and thousands of people will die.
There are naturally occurring EMPs that come from our sun and lightning. One devastating source of EMPs radiation is our own sun. The Earth has been burned more than once by EMPs from geomagnetic storms caused by Solar Coronal Mass Ejections or CMEs. They are solar storms that originate at the surface of the sun. These Coronal Mass Ejections often occur along with high solar flare activity. When material from a CME reaches the Earth, widespread effects can result from the EMP effect. One of the best known and documented was the solar super storm of 1859 that is called “The Carrington Event”. It is named after the 19th century astronomer who observed the solar flare associated with this incident.
You can see a more in depth story at this link.
Another source of EMPs is the lightning seen during thunderstorms but its effect is largely localized.
The big threat in our life time are Man Made EMPs or High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) Devices. These Nuclear Explosions are the most powerful man made EMP sources developed to date. Their power poses one of the greatest threats to our modern electronic based infrastructure that our society depends. These EMP effects are lessened when a low-level ground strike happens. It’s the high-altitude nuclear explosion that produces the powerful and widespread EMP radiation effects. Using a bomb used to create EMP effects is referred to by the military as a HEMP (high-altitude electromagnetic pulse) device. Historical examples of testing these devices has shown that they can be used as a effective weapon to neutralize an enemy’s infrastructure while creating minimum damage to buildings, structures and people.
Some Quotes from people in the know.
I have believed for a long time that EMP or electromagnetic pulse may be the greatest strategic threat we face, because without adequate preparation its impact would be so horrifying that we would, in fact, basically lose our civilization in a matter of seconds.
-Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives
The idea that this is some science fiction that has no basis in reality denies and defies what a bipartisan EMP commission agreed that it did represent – and that is a serious threat to the safety and security of every single American.
-Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas
It’s not a secret. You can’t do anything about something that’s this broad in impact and still secret. So in order to get anything done you actually have to acknowledge we have a weakness. And, we worried about the fact that if we acknowledged that we had a weakness, how damaging will that be since we will inform our adversaries. We came to the conclusion that our adversaries are really quite well informed already.
-Robert Hermann, Commissioner, Congressional EMP Commission
So, what can you or I do to prepare for life after an EMP? We will follow that up in the next post.
I don’t mean to scare you but if we are ever hit with an EMP, whether it is from a coronal mass ejection from our sun or a high altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon, life in the United States will change drastically and a lot of people will be dead within a year. It has happened before; the Sun did just that back in 1859, known as the Carrington Event. It was a powerful geomagnetic storm on the Sun that produced a solar coronal mass ejection that hit Earth’s magnetosphere and induced one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record.
And another one here: https://www.facebook.com/theblaze/videos/1062676327103040/
If you have not done so already, I recommend you first read a book, (or get the audio version), “One Second After” by William R Forstchen. While it is fiction, this book has been cited on the floor of Congress during hearing on our countries lack of preparedness for a nationwide EMP event. The story is centered on a family in a small North Carolina town and is probably a realistic look at the effects on day to day life if such an event were to ever happen to our country.
It a story about a weapon our enemies are working on acquiring and that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America.
Again, it’s fiction but the author manages to examine the probabilities and problems that we could face. What life might look like if there were no more computers, communications, cars and trucks not working, utilities shutting down, food shortages and civil unrest just to start? It’s a story that gave me ideas and a starting place to think about what realistically can be done to prepare that doesn’t involve building and moving into a million dollar underground bunker somewhere.
First, think about the commonalities of what being prepared are that we covered in an earlier post about these are. (Read it here)
The basic human needs for survival / preparedness and to have relative comfort are:
1. Knowledge, knowing what to do with the things you have.
2. Water that’s clean and drinkable
3. Shelter, could be your home, a tent, or proper clothing for your area.
4. Food, canned goods, freezer stocked up, garden growing or freeze dried.
5. Energy, be it heat to cook your food or warm your shelter or electricity for lights & radios.
6. Low or No Debt
7. Trade Currency, i.e. cash (or Barter items), to acquire the things you need from others.
So in the event of an EMP you can expect anything controlled by electronics is no longer going to work. That is no working (modern) automobiles and trucks, no communications, no radio, no television, no internet, and no utilities, basically back to how life was in the 1800’s. Life would be hard, make no mistake about it, but not impossible. When you think about our modern conveniences and comforts we are all accustomed to, it really has only been 4 generations back that most of these did not exist and people managed to some how live, work and have children.
Refrigeration first began in the mid-1750s, and developed in the early 1800’s so people managed to preserve food in other ways like salt curing meats or smoking them. Root cellars were common to where they stored fruits and vegetables, and some preserved by pickling and brining. The automobile did not appear until Karl Benz built the first one in 1885 in Mannheim, Germany and later Henry Ford began producing the Model A in 1903. Before that people used bicycles and horses for transportation, hauling supplies and materials.
Possession of some of the knowledge and skills of the way things were done 100 – 150 years ago by our great grandparents will make survival a whole lot easier after an EMP.
How many of these skills do you possess now and how many could you learn over the next six months or year. Although it would be impossible to know all there is to know about these, having a number of these skills in your repertoire would make you a more valuable individual in your network and to your community.
This list is by no means definitive or complete so take some time to review and add your skill set to the list if it is missing.
Agriculture, Farming Expertise
Alcohol Production & Distillation
Architect, Home Reinforcement
Baker, Cooking Expertise
Beer and Wine Making
Doctor’s Medical Assistant
Engineer, Community Planning, Manufacturing, Electrical
Food Preservation & Storage
HAM Radio Operator
Home schooling, Tutoring, Teaching Experience
Horse Shoeing, Fairer
Hunting & Trapping Skills
Lumber Jack / Tree Felling
Martial Arts Training
Mechanic, Small Engine Repair
Ranching, Large & Small Animal Care
Sewing, Knitting, Weaving, Textiles
Small Appliance Repair
Soap Making, Candle Making, Hygiene Products
Stone Mason, Brick Working
Welding, Metal Working
Well Construction, Water Table Expertise
Wild Foods Expert
Are you a part of a local support network, a Mutual Assistance Group or MAG or even Neighborhood Watch group? To be sure if a large scale disaster like an EMP attack ever does happen, you will need other people you can trust and rely on to accomplish all the tasks that will need to be done every day for survival. It’s not practical to think one or two people can survive in the short term without a group to rely on.
Early in the disaster there will be bad people trying to take advantage of the situation so self -defense weapons and training will be necessary to protect you, your family and your supplies. I know a number of law enforcement and military members who have told me that in an event like an EMP, they will be in the same situation you and I are and their 1st priority will be their families. Twenty four hour security will be a top tier task (until a reliable police force is re-established) and we all need to at sleep some time so a large family or like-minded group of people is going to be what it takes to survive.
Short checklist on challenges to be faced:
Water procurement and filtering
Food production, preparation and preservation
Repairs to structures, fences…..
Home schooling young children
Tending to any pets and livestock
Medical issues from injury to illness
Next will be looking at Bugging In or Bugging Out or if you even have a choice.
A close friend, (Thanks Laura), contacted the previous web designer and was able to take possession of the old websites domain. When the original site was first started back in 2012 a number people that I connected with through the site are now close friends today. Unfortunately it looks like all the old posts and files are gone so we are starting from scratch.
I volunteered to try and get it back up and running because I wanted to learn more about WordPress so it’s a work in progress. It’s current design a little rough around the edges but we’ll get those worked out along the way. I’ll be handing it off to the new admins as soon as we get a few more glitches fixed.
The forum is not just for people living in middle Tennessee, all are welcome no matter where you live to join in and be a part of the community.
Our hope is to restore it’s previous usefulness, we had so many contributors that shared their knowledge with the members on the forum over the years. Hopefully it will attract fellow Patriots and Preppers to share their experiences and know how in case there are tough times ahead.
Preparedness and Situational Awareness while shopping should be on your mind during the holidays.
With the happiness that the holidays and shopping season celebrations and gatherings bring the down side is that the criminal element is active so be aware of some of these things you can do to protect your self and property.
If you are going on vacation to another city for the holidays, don’t post your travel plans to social media like twitter or facebook. Wait until you are back home to tell everyone what a great trip and time you had. There is no need to let any interested bad guys know that no one is home.
While you’re out of town try and make it look like someone is home by installing inexpensive timers on several table lamps in your house set to come on and go off at regular times. Maybe even leave a TV or radio on to have some noise present.
When out shopping, at the very least carry some pepper spray. Better would be to have your concealed carry permit, take some training and then carry your pistol of choice.
Shop with a friend or relative, shop in pairs. Thieves are much more likely to approach a single person than they would a group of people.
When approaching your car with packages, look around for any suspicious looking people loitering about. Always keep one hand free of packages and have your keys in that hand so you don’t have to fumble around looking for them and can open your car immediately. Most new cars have remote unlock buttons as well as a panic alarm, so have it ready.
When putting packages in your car, the trunk is the best option, that way they are out of sight and not in the back seat where they would be visible and attract bad guys for a smash and grab.
If shopping late at night, park in well lighted areas, avoid dark and secluded.
The other option which I find we are using more every year is shopping on line, avoiding parking lots, crowds and assorted hassles. Order it on line, have it delivered to your door, just make sure some one is home to receive it.
These are just a few tips that come to mind. Comment below on what you precautions you are taking.
Hunting and target shooting are among the safest of all sports. This list is intended to make them even safer by emphasizing the basics of safe gun handling and storage and by reminding you that you are the key to firearms safety.
You can help meet this responsibility by enrolling in hunter safety or shooting safety courses. You must constantly stress safety when handling firearms, especially to children and non-shooters. Beginners, in particular, must be closely supervised when handling firearms with which they may not be acquainted.
Don’t be timid when it comes to gun safety. If you observe anyone violating any safety precautions, you have an obligation to insist on safer handling practices.
1. Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction
2. Firearms Should Be Unloaded When Not Actually In Use
3. Don’t Rely On Your Gun’s “Safety”
4. Be Sure Of Your Target And What’s Beyond It
5. Use Correct Ammunition
6. If Your Gun Fails To Fire When The Trigger Is Pulled, Handle With Care!
7. Always Wear Eye And Ear Protection When Shooting
8. Be Sure The Barrel Is Clear Of Obstructions Before Shooting
9. Don’t Alter Or Modify Your Gun, And Have Guns Serviced Regularly
10. Learn The Mechanical And Handling Characteristics Of The Firearm You Are Using