Thursday, December 29, 2011

Be Prepared: Dakota Fire Pit

In the Boy Scouts we learned various fire building techniques including how to build a Dakota Fire Pit.  If you do not know, a Dakota Fire Pit is a below ground pit with a separate air tunnel that feeds the pit fire with oxygen.  This technique gives you an efficient burning fire that requires less wood to produce cooking coals than normal above ground fires.  In addition, since the fire burns more efficiently there is less smoke which means less chance of being detected by others if you are bugging out or just outdoors at your retreat.

Below are a few photos and a video of the Dakota Fire Pit in action.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Dakota Fire Pit Location

Main pit hole dug

Used a stake and piece of concrete to drill air tunnel

View of air tunnel in main pit

Dakota Fire Pit completed

Fire nicely burning

View of fire from air tunnel side                    


Saturday, November 26, 2011

DIY Car Repairs

As you all know, times are tough for everyone and one of the most costly expense for most people are car repairs.  In the past month I learned a few things that saved me at least $1,000 in car repairs.  Learning to repair a car can be a vital skill if there ever is a long term disaster.  Of course having access to car parts would be another story.   Stocking up on certain car parts may be something you should consider after you have a sufficient supply of food, water and other vital supplies.

Having the knowledge and skills to repair a car can be very valuable.  Many of the people I know don't have a clue on how to even change their oil let alone make an out of the ordinary repair.  I confess that I don't know much about car repairs but that changed fairly quickly this month.  In the past the information has not been available to the average person but the internet has enabled us to learn about anything. 

So for my first problem: the heater for my wife's SUV (2005 Mercury Mountaineer) was broken all summer so when it started to get colder I had to fix the heater or be in the dog house!  So I went searching on the internet and found out how to repair the heater and bought the $50 part.  Specifically, the Blend Door Actuator to switch to heat was broken and needed to be replaced.  From what I read on the internet it usually costs $600 to $700 to have the actuator replaced.  I just could not justify spending that much when the part only costs $50.  No wonder some mechanics have a bad reputation!  It took me 4 hours to replace the part but it was worth the savings.  The hardest part of the repair was maneuvering the actuator into position without the need to cut the dashboard or damage the new actuator.

The next problem for my wife's SUV was the alternator.  Not sure why, but the alternator in every car that I have ever owned needed to be replaced.  I wish they would do a better job at manufacturing the alternator since it has left me stranded away from home a few times.  At first I was a little nervous about replacing the alternator but after finding some good videos on the internet I went ahead and did the repair myself.  Again I could not justify paying a mechanic about $500-$600  when the part only costs $150.  The repair is very simple however I learned that whenever you replace the alternator you will need to replace or re-charge your car battery.  After replacing the alternator the SUV would not start and so I took my battery to the local parts store and had it re-charged.  Another thing I learned is that even after replacing the alternator and re-charging the battery the car would only start up in "limp" mode and the check engine light stayed on.  I thought I was going to have to take it to a mechanic but after visiting a few forums I learned that the car computer just needs to reset itself.  After a few hours the car started up just fine!

For those of you that always take your car to the mechanic (especially after your warranty expires) I recommend that you learn a few things about repairing your car.  It will save you money and if you take it to the next level and stock certain car parts you will at least be prepared to make minor repairs to your car such as replacing an alternator.

Below are some photos of my actuator replacement.  Sorry but I did not take any photos of the alternator replacement (I wish I did).

Be Prepared - Live the Motto!

View of front of dash and center console.

Photo of center console removed from vehicle.

View of inside with center console removed.

Lower dashboard removed.

New Blend Door Actuator - Cost $50.

Location of Actuator. It was a pain to replace!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Jersey's Firearms Laws - The Never-ending Saga of Firearms Ownership in New Jersey

This post doesn't particularly relate to preparedness but just wanted to let everyone know what crap us New Jersey gun owners go through.  See the below video.  I know I should just move to another state but can't move just yet!

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Emergency Home Birth - Be Prepared

In my last post I talked about death but what about birth in long term disaster situations or even emergency situations where a soon to be mother cannot get to a doctor or hospital.  Although more and more mothers are giving birth at home the majority of mothers still go to the hospital to give birth and if we ever had a large scale disaster many people would not know what to do if they could not get to the hospital. So how can one be properly prepared for an emergency home birth?  As with anything relating to survival, you must prepare in advance.  A good article I found is Giving Birth “In Place”: A Guide to Emergency Preparedness for Childbirth by Deanne Williams, CNM, MSN.  You can download the .pdf article here.  In this article you will learn about the basic supplies you will need and the actions that you should take to ensure the mother and baby make it through the birth. 

 Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Be Prepared: Disposal of Corpses during a WROL situation

As part of being prepared, one thing that is overlooked in our preparations is how to properly dispose of corpses, including your loved ones, in a disaster or WROL situation where you can't call a coroner or funeral home. 

In a disaster situation you must realize that your community will experience a higher level of death than normal, especially of the elderly and those who rely on medicine to fight certain diseases.  So what should you do when you have to dispose of the dead:

1) Before a disaster you should be prepared with the proper supplies such as body bags or heavy duty black plastic sheeting.  Shower curtains can work too.  Of course you should have rubber gloves, protective clothing, soap, disinfectant, and shovels.  You may want to also have lime to speed up decomposition and mask odor when the body is buried.

2) Be sure to know where all the cemeteries are located in your community.  If at all possible, you should only bury the dead in existing cemeteries.  By burying in existing cemeteries you can be fairly sure that they are not in the area of groundwater drinking sources.  However, there is no absolute guarantee that a cemetery is not in the path of drinking source. 

3) Before burying any dead, be sure they have been identified.  If you are unable to identify the dead, be sure to take a picture or describe the person in writing as best you can for future identification.

4) When burying the dead, whether at a cemetery or in your community, you should locate the grave at least 150 feet from the nearest groundwater drinking source.  The further away the better. You should try to bury the corpse 6 feet deep.  It may be difficult to dig a grave 6 feet deep with a shovel so at a minimum 4 feet should be sufficient.  You must be able to place at least 3 feet of soil on the corpse.  When burying the corpse be sure to wrap it in heavy duty plastic or a body bag.  Also, the corpse must be at least 5 feet above the water table.  So if you have a high water table, you may have to move your grave location to higher ground.

5) In a WROL situation, I would not consider cremation as an option unless absolutely necessary.  It takes over 600 pounds of firewood to cremate a body, the smoke will draw attention to you and your location and there are no health advantages over regular burial.  I guess the only reason you would need to cremate a body is if your area does not meet the requirements I listed above for burial.

Hopefully we will never be in a situation where we have to bury our own dead.  But we if do, you should know how to properly bury the dead.

See the below video from SouthernPrepper1 about burying the dead.  This is one of his scenario videos which have been helpful to me.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquakes and Hurricanes - Be Prepared

If you don't know, I live in New Jersey and this last week we had two potential natural disasters occur in one week.  The first was an earthquake.  This was the first earthquake I ever experienced and it only lasted about 30 seconds.  I was in Philly on the 17th floor of my office building when it happened.  Others in my office almost went into a full blown panic because they didn't know what to do.  The next event was Hurricane Irene which really was only a Tropical Storm by the time it hit New Jersey.  I rarely which TV but I turned it on for the weather coverage and it was ridiculous.  The media isn't interested in even telling the truth about the weather.  It's all about ratings and drama.  It's obvious that they wanted this storm to cause great damage and death.

These two events clearly showed how unprepared people are in this country, at least in this area.  Most of these people did not even have flashlights and batteries, let alone any food.  Like vultures they stormed the supermarkets and emptied all store shelves.  Even a few of the gas stations ran out of gas.  This shows that these people never think of worst case scenarios.  They'll try to explain that they are positive thinkers and that thinking about worst case scenarios is negative thinking.  If they had some foresight there would have been no need to panic, go on a buying binge and hope they will survive. 

What would have happened if we had a real earthquake or a real hurricane in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of the U.S.?  What if our homes and all the homes of our friends and family were destroyed?  It would have been chaos because most of these people do not know how to live outside which us Eagle Scouts call "Camping"!

I hope that those who find my blog and are new to preparing now understand why we prepare.  Just watching the news this past week should have revealed how unprepared people are today.  On any day, there could be a disaster, a job loss or other event that could change your lifestyle and force you to  adjust in order to survive.

If you are not prepared, I hope you wake up and get prepared.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Potatoes and carrots - Be Prepared

Its been a while but I'm still here and still prepping.  Just harvested some carrots and potatoes from my garden.  Time may be running short, especially if the U.S. defaults. Are we seeing the start of a major collapse?  Not sure but the way congress spends and borrows money it will be inevitable. 

I hope you have stored some food and have enough seeds to grow food for you and your family. 

Check out some of my harvest below.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Just harvested potatoes and one of my carrots

Potatoes and carrot cleaned and washed

What's up Doc!