Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Survivalist's Phone

A friend of mine shared a link on Facebook to the Motofone F3. While this phone is old technology (about 5 years old), I think it might be beneficial to have as part of your G.O.O.D. bag.

According to the specifications, it's a simple phone. It makes calls, receives them, sends text messages, beeps, vibrates, has an internal phone book, and an alarm clock. It also has dual antennae for radio broadcasts.

Motorola also designed the handset to be light (68g), thin (9mm) and strong. It's reportedly resistant to shock, dust and moisture, with a sealed keypad and speaker (which is extremely loud).

I like this phone because it has an e-paper display as opposed to the LCD display other phones use. In other words, this phone can be read in direct sunlight as well as in dim-lit back alleys. It claims to be able to last on one battery charge for two weeks if left on standby, and several months turned off. I know for a fact that my Kindle (which also has an e-paper display) will last up to a month between charges if I leave the WiFi turned off, which leads me to trust that the battery life is accurate. The downside of e-paper displays is that there is no back-light. You need an external light to be able to read it in the dark.

I will do some research, and see if I can find a better survivalist phone that's available in the United States. But, for now, this is the phone I'm looking forward to purchasing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Non-Perishable Food

There are several food items that don't go bad, or at least not for a long time. It's a good idea to keep them on hand at all times. Especially if SHTF (shit hits the fan) or TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) happens.

01) Sugar: This product does not support bacterial growth, and as a result it will not spoil. Brown, white, powdered, all are the same in this respect. The hard part is to keep it from hardening into chunks. To keep it fresh (and to keep bugs out), store it in a airtight container. I use Lock & Lock containers for this, but if you feel like you can use a Ziploc bag (just make sure it's sealed).

02) Pure Vanilla Extract: This will last a long time, if stored in a cool dark place.

03) Rice: This grain keeps a long time, provided it doesn't get infested with bugs. The only exception is brown rice because of its higher oil content. Brown rice should be kept in the fridge or freezer. All other types may be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Once again, I use Lock & Lock for this.

04) Corn Starch: This one will last indefinitely. Store in a cool, dry place and store tightly after each use. A name-brand now comes in a re-sealable container, but I usually transfer this to a Lock & Lock container as well.

05) Honey: Another product that lasts indefinitely. It's a healthy artificial sweetener and is naturally immune to bacteria. If the honey crystallizes, place in a pan and gently simmer in water until it returns to a usable state.

06) Distilled Spirits: Gin, Whiskey, Rum, etc. don't spoil. While they don't have a medicinal use that I know of, if TEOTWAWKI occurs it can be used for trading.

07) Salt: This spice is not made from a plant. It is, in fact, mineral. As such, it does not spoil. Keep in a cool, dry place to prevent clumping.

08) Corn Syrup: This artificial sweetener keeps indefinitely as long as you keep it tightly sealed and store it in a cool, dry area.

09) Maple Syrup: It will never spoil if you refrigerate it or freeze it. For long-term storage, seal it in an airtight plastic container and freeze it.

10) Distilled White Vinegar: This product is a multi-use item. It can be used in cooking, preserving, cleaning and laundry. Seal it tightly after each use and store the bottle in a cool, dark place to keep it for years.

Note: Credit for this list goes to The Survival Mom and The Mother Nature Network

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What if the Electricity Fails?

Most often lightning strikes a transformer or strikes a tree that falls on a power line, causing an interruption in the power. Sometimes snow (which can be very heavy) will break a tree branch and knock down a power line. Here, I will tell you about how I prepare for this potential emergency.

First thing I do, when I hear my computer announcing a weather alert, is make sure I have enough water. I fill my two-gallon water dispenser (Not this brand, but mine wasn't listed. It is similar, though.), fill my Camelbak water bottles, and the gallon milk jugs I use for filling my Swamp Cooler during the summer. The combined water, with rationing for myself and my two cats, will last well over three days.

The second task is to check my battery powered lanterns and flashlights for power, and replace the batteries if needed. I also check the kerosene lamps for oil, in case the power is out longer than batteries last.

When the storm is a certainty, instead of a possibility, I fill my bathtub with cold water. Reason being is when there's no electricity, the water pumps don't work. However, the plumbing itself works on gravity. All you need to do is fill a bucket with water and pour it into the toilet. It will "flush" without electricity if enough water is poured in, which helps if the power is out for more than a couple hours.

If the power is interrupted, I unplug my cordless phone (which requires an electrical outlet to work) and plug in an old fashioned one (which does not require the electrical outlet). This way, if someone needs to get in touch for any reason, I am available.

One thing that I do year-round is keep two plastic bottles filled 2/3 with water in the freezer. In my case, they're re-filled half gallon plastic orange juice bottles. But you can decide for yourself how much space you want to give up for these bottles, and how much ice you need. Regardless of your personal preference, don't fill the jug too full. When water freezes, it expands (if you didn't already know). In the event the power does go out, I quickly transfer one to the fridge. The ice helps keep the food cold longer, especially if you don't open the doors to the fridge and freezer unless absolutely necessary. And, since this water isn't for drinking, there's no need to worry about BPA or other chemicals.

I would also keep a stash of checks and/or cash in your home. If the power is out, the store can't take your credit card.

I also discovered, the last time the power went out, that 3G service does not require electricity like WiFi does. I had no WiFi, because the modem and router was down, but my Kindle was able to check the status of the storm and the news with little problem using the 3G network.

A problem with the electricity failing is no air conditioning. There is a system to keeping a home relatively cool without electricity. It won't be 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will be bearable. When you get up in the morning, make sure to close your windows. If you have thermal curtains, close them as well. If you don't have them, and don't have the money to purchase a good set for each window, there are some alternatives. You could cut up cardboard boxes and set them up in the windows. You can also cover the windows with aluminum foil.  Either work to keep heat out, and hold cold air in. At sunset, open the curtains (or remove the alternatives), and open the windows to allow cooler night air in.

Good Luck!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

G.O.O.D. Bag Prep: August 2011

This month I began preparing my First Aid Kit. I purchased a Lock & Lock First Aid Container. It has not arrived yet, so in it's place is a rectangular Lock & Lock kitchen container. Inside, which will move to the First Aid one, I placed all my first aid supplies, and some I purchased the last time I went to the store:

  • Band-Aids

  • Cortisone 10

  • Naproxen Sodium (Aleve)

  • Aspirin

  • Lavender Oil.....This is the real thing, not Essence of Lavender oil. It can be used to sooth bug bites and burns. It can also be used to relieve minor headaches. I did try it on a heat rash recently, and it did relieve the itch somewhat. (Note: Essence of Lavender Oil has an ingredient that will aggravate burns, so it is not recommended for a first aid kit.)

  • Super Glue.....This was originally created for use in emergency medicine, specifically during wars. It was used to close wounds when there wasn't time to sew it shut. It can still be used for that purpose, but I would get training in emergency field triage before trying, because some wounds can't be fixed with it. Also, if things return to normal after the catastrophe, those in power will question your training. If you have a certificate to prove you know what you're doing it will keep you out of trouble.

  • Dayquil

  • Vick's Vapo-Rub

  • Cotton Balls

  • Waterproof Adhesive Tape

  • Oral Thermometer