The Survival Mom » Featured http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:58:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 How to Survive a Blizzard in Your Vehicle http://thesurvivalmom.com/survive-blizzard-vehicle/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survive-blizzard-vehicle/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14177 How do you survive if you become trapped in your vehicle during a blizzard? With winter fast approaching, this is a good question. The last few years have seen unseasonably cold and snowy winters in the U.S. Along with sustained Read More

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How to survive a blizzard if you get stranded in your vehicle. Smart to plan and think ahead, just in case! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

How do you survive if you become trapped in your vehicle during a blizzard? With winter fast approaching, this is a good question.

The last few years have seen unseasonably cold and snowy winters in the U.S. Along with sustained cold temperatures, many regions experienced blizzard conditions including heavy snow fall and accumulation, combined with strong winds. Numerous areas were affected, including thousands of miles of roads ranging from major commuter highways down to narrow, twisty mountain roads. This became a recipe for motorists getting stuck in their vehicles during these tough weather conditions and they did.

Blizzards and winter storms are generally forecast by our nation’s weather services. What is not easily predicted is the true amount of snow, wind speeds, and the areas where snow and ice will accumulate.

This means that if you live in or are traveling through to an area that gets winter snow storms, regardless of whether it is urban, suburban or rural, you need to be prepared.

Here’s how.

Winterize Your Vehicle, personal gear and emergency equipment

Your Vehicle

  • Get your vehicle winterized including, engine, radiator and windshield washer fluids. Don’t forget new wiper blades as well.
  • Have your battery checked.
  • Get your tires checked. Do they have enough tread to last the winter or do you need to change them for all season or snow tires?
  • Put your tire chains or traction mats in the trunk.
  • Print out this free download of what you should keep in a vehicle emergency kit.

Emergency Equipment

  • Verify that you have a windshield scraper, tow rope, jumper cables, flares, or portable emergency roadway lights. If you have a larger vehicle, in particular, make sure your tow rope is up to the task. You don’t want a 10,000 lb. rated tow rope to pull out an Escalade, but you don’t need a 30,000 lb. one for a VW Bug.
  • Include a small folding shovel and bag of sand or cat litter (the old cheap kind, not the newer clumping kind) in case you get stuck and need to dig out or provide extra traction for your tires.
  • Check your first aid kit and replenish any used supplies.
  • Additional items can be found at  Ready.gov

Personal Gear

  • Winterize your emergency gear with a couple of space blankets as well as one wool blanket or sleeping bag. The cheap mylar space blankets are great to have, but they rip easily so you might want to splurge on the reusable, higher-quality ones to keep in your car.
  • Make sure your emergency kit includes, among other things, glow sticks, knife or multi-tool, duct tape, flashlight, extra batteries, a lighter, matches, candles for melting snow, pen and paper.
  • It’s important to have a metal cup or can for melting snow into water. Even an empty soup can will do, provided it’s metal. Most H2O containers will freeze once your vehicle cools down.
  • Store some extra water and high energy foods or snacks like protein bars in the vehicle.
  • Pack a small gear bag with extra clothing. Jacket, hat, socks, and gloves are a minimum – preferably wool or something high tech and waterproof. If you dress up for work, add a complete change of appropriate winter clothing, including snow boots. I also add in a couple packs of chemical hand and foot warmers.

If You Become Stranded

First and foremost, keep calm and stay focused on what you need to do to survive.

Stay With Your Vehicle

It is much easier to spot a vehicle than it is a person. Only leave to seek help if you have 100 yards (a football field) of visibility or more and you have a clear, visible objective to go for. Do not just get out and start walking along the road way hoping someone will find you. That is a good way to freeze to death, literally.

Make Your Car as Visible as Possible, Quickly!

Turn on your emergency flashers and dome lights while your engine is running. Tie something bright, like a bandanna, to your antenna or roof rack, if you have one, or hang something bright out a window. If you have glow sticks, put one in both your front and back windows. This will make your vehicle (and you) much more visible, even when it is snowing and blowing heavily. Finally, when the snow has stops, raise the hood of your car.

Call 911 and a Friend

After you are sure you are stuck and in danger of being snowed in, do not hesitate to call 911. Answer all questions and follow all directions given by the 911 operator. Your life may literally depend on it.

After your 911 call, or if you can’t get through to the operator, contact a family member or friend and give them the details of what has happened to you. If you haven’t reached emergency services, have them call for you. Remember, you are in a blizzard and who knows how long phone service will stay up or the battery in your phone will last.

Stay Warm

Turn on your engine for 10 minutes every hour and run the heater at full blast. (Keep your tailpipe clear of snow.) At the same time, crack open a downwind window just a little to let in fresh air and prevent carbon monoxide build up.

Put on extra clothing if you have it, especially a jacket, hat, socks, and gloves (see above). Do you have a winter emergency kit in your vehicle? If so, take out the space blanket, wool blanket, and / or sleeping bag and wrap it around you. If you have all or some of these coverings, layer up. Use them all, but not to the point of over heating.

If you don’t have a winter emergency kit, use things like maps, magazines, newspapers and even removable car mats for insulation under and around you.

If you are traveling with someone snuggle up, huddle, and share the body heat.

Move

OK, so it is a little hard to run in place in most vehicles. But it is important for mind and body to keep your blood circulating and muscles from stiffening up. You can clap your hands and stomp your feet. Move your arms and legs. Do isometric exercises and don’t stay in any one position for very long.

Fuel Your Body

Eat and drink regularly. Not a lot, just snack, so that you body doesn’t pull too much blood from your extremities to digest your food.

Beware!

If you are stuck for any prolonged period of time, there are three things to be on guard for: carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, and frostbite. The good news is these threats are fairly easily dealt with if you take action to protect yourself, as soon as possible. Keep a window slightly open periodically (usually when you run your vehicle engine) to allow just a little fresh air in. This will combat carbon monoxide build up. As for hypothermia and frostbite, layer up with your extra clothing and coverings, keep moving (see above), take in liquids and food frequently and in small amounts-snack. Stay moving and stay fueled!

Keep Motivated and FocusedThink, Act and Survive!

The longer you are stuck in your vehicle, the easier it becomes be to get demotivated, thinking help will never come. It is vital that you keep a positive mental attitude. This one thing will strengthen your will to live. Stay focused on the positive things you need to do to promote your rescue and your survival. Attitude is everything in survival. Like the will to live, keeping and cultivating a positive mental attitude (PMA)  is central to your success. I would wager more emergencies have gone from bad to worse because of a lack of PMA, usually caused by fear and panic followed by depression and apathy.

Things to do to promote a positive mental attitude, defeat fear and control panic as well as ward off depression and the onset of hopelessness and apathy:

  1. Once you deal with any immediate and urgent safety or medical issues, Stop! Take a moment and be still.
  2. Focus on your breathing. Breathe slowly and deeply. This promotes relaxation and helps reduce anxiety.
  3. Slow down your thinking. Focus on positive thoughts and feelings. Fear and panic are at their strongest when your mind is racing and your imagination is running rampant with negative thoughts and ideas. Drive these thoughts from your mind.
  4. Create your survival plan. Focus on what you need to do to survive.
  5. Get busy and be proactive. Concentrate on the fundamental things you need to do and keep doing while you are stuck in your vehicle.
  6. Improvise: Be willing to think outside the box as you create your survival plan and act on it. Look around and be creative in the use of your resources at hand.
  7. Adapt: A blizzard means COLD! Adjust to your circumstances and surroundings, possibly including huddling for warmth with people you normally, literally keep at arms length. Be willing and able to tolerate discomfort. . Know your strengths and weaknesses: mental, emotional, and physical. Push your limits, endure what is necessary, and make “I will survive” your mantra. Stay Strong.

The vast majority of survival events, including getting stuck in a blizzard are short lived – less than 24 hours. That said, during any major weather event  including blizzards, road crews, law enforcement, and sometimes even rescue teams are out looking for stranded motorists. However, there is a lot you can do to help keep yourself safe and alive until help arrives or you are able to rescue yourself.  Remember, first and foremost, you are responsible for your safety and survival.

Additional Resources

Pamphlets and Checklists

Winter Survival Brochure

Car Checklist for Winter Survival

Winter Driving Tips

AAA Winter Driving Tips

News Clip

What do You Need in Your Car to Survive a Winter Storm

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Top 18 Holiday Bargains for Stocking Up http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-18-holiday-bargains-stocking/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-18-holiday-bargains-stocking/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 21:46:13 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20321 Beginning in October every year, grocery stores begin prominently displaying all types of food typically used in holiday cooking and baking. Every grocery store I’ve been to in the past couple of months has their holiday bargains right out front and Read More

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The holidays are the perfect time for stocking up! Here are 18 bargains to look for. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comBeginning in October every year, grocery stores begin prominently displaying all types of food typically used in holiday cooking and baking. Every grocery store I’ve been to in the past couple of months has their holiday bargains right out front and center.

For Survival Moms who want to stock up their food pantry, this is an ideal time to take advantage of the coupons and sales that also come at this time of year. Today I took a look at this week’s grocery ads, and here’s a master list of items you may want to grab before the holiday season ends.

  • Ham and Turkey
    • Both of these can be frozen and/or canned to provide meals well into the New Year. A frozen turkey can remain frozen and still be safe to eat for up to a year.
  • Fresh oranges
    • Once the orange has been eaten, dry the peels and create your own orange zest for recipes throughout the year. If you end up with more zest than you think you’ll use within 6 months or so, use a Food Saver to vacuum seal the remaining zest in a pouch for longer term storage.
  • Coffee
    • Grocery stores know that coffee is part of holiday entertaining, so you’re going to find lots of coffee brands on sale. Coffee beans, and especially green, unroasted coffee beans, will have the longest shelf life, but you can still repackage both beans and ground coffee in canning jars using the Food Saver jar attachment to suck out all the air/oxygen or seal the coffee in plastic pouches using your vacuum sealer.
    • Coffee is definitely worth stocking up on, but be sure to keep it stored in a cool, dark, and dry location. Even so, it will have its freshest flavor if used within just a couple of months.
  • Nuts
    • Again, this is the season for baking all types of treats and many of my favorite recipes include nuts. You’ll find nuts on sale but keep an eye on prices because they are still generally a higher priced grocery item.
    • If you do find a bargain, store those nuts in a cool, dry, dark location, and, if possible, vacuum pack them using a Food Saver.
  • Fresh fruit
    • Depending on where you live, you may find low prices on blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates, pineapple, oranges, and a lot more.
    • Dehydrating fruit is very simple and food dehydrators don’t have to cost a lot of money. I found mine on Craigslist several years ago for $30 and it still works fine.
    • You can also freeze fruit and even can it, so stocking up now on fruits that are in season is a very smart thing to do. Just make sure you budget your time so all that yummy stuff won’t rot during an especially busy time of year.
  • Butter
    • Right now my favorite grocery store has a pound of butter for $2.50. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen in a while. Butter can easily be frozen, at one time I had 40 pounds of it in our big freezer!
    • I’ve heard of canning butter but am not convinced it’s the safest thing to do.
  • Alcohol
    • Call me crazy, but it never hurts to have a few bottles of whisky or vodka around. Even if you’re not much of a drinker, vodka can be useful in making tinctures and from what I’ve heard, whiskey has medicinal uses as well.
    • If you’re thinking of stocking up on bottles of alcohol as a product for barter, stick with hard liquor: vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey and brandy, as they can all have indefinite shelf lives.
  • Potatoes, both fresh and instant
    • Potatoes can be peeled, sliced, and dehydrated by following these steps.
    • When stored in a very cool location, around 45 to 50 degrees, they can stay fresh for up to 3 months.
    • Instant mashed potatoes come in handy for quick meals. However, they will need to be repackaged for a longer shelf life. Read these instructions. Once repackaged, I highly recommend placing them in the freezer for at least a week in order to kill any microscopic insect eggs that might be present.
    • Here’s a terrific collection of awesome potato recipes.
  • Canned vegetables
    • Store these in a cool location and they can last for more than a year.
    • You can always drain the veggies and dry them on your dehydrator trays for even longer shelf life.
  • Over-the-Counter meds for coughs and cold symptoms
    • These generally have a shelf life of more than a year.
    • During the winter months, you’ll also find coupons for these for added savings.
  • Batteries
    • Retailers aren’t stupid. They know that for every battery-operated gift purchased, someone is going to need batteries! Keep an eye out for coupons and combine them with store sales.
    • Batteries are among the most useful items you can stock up on, so go crazy when you find a really good deal!
  • Not-just-for-Christmas wrapping paper
    • Who said that white wrapping paper with red polka dots is just for Christmas? When you find wrapping paper that will be perfectly fine throughout the year, buy it!
  • Gravy and gravy mixes
    • There’s nothing like homemade gravy, but there’s also nothing handier than opening a jar of gravy and pouring it over mashed potatoes! A few jars of gravy in the pantry just might save dinner one day soon!
    • Gravy packets are great as a stock-up item. They have very long shelf lives, can be prepared quickly, and can make items as plain as white rice pretty tasty.
  • Frozen pies
    • Now, you wouldn’t ordinarily think of a pie when it comes to stocking up, but one or two in the freezer can come in handy.
    • Think about any special occasions coming up, potlucks, parties — any even where you might have to make dessert. Now think about how busy you’re going to be this year. A frozen pie looks like a better and better idea, doesn’t it?
  • Baking staples
    • Sugar, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips — you’ll find all these and a lot more on sale. And, all of them can be stored long-term.
    • Flour, in particular, must be repackaged. Read this to learn how.
    • Watch this video to learn how to store things like chocolate chips, shortening, and candy.
  • Snack foods
    • Grocery stores know that serving appetizers and snacks are a part of the holidays. You’ll find things like Triscuits and other crackers on sale, along with pretzels and chips. If you find these at a great price, stock up and plan on portioning them into snack bags for your kids’ lunches.
  • Chex cereals
    • Everybody and their dog is going to be making one variation of Chex mix or another, so why not stock up on several boxes for breakfasts or other recipes?
  • Canned soups
    • Like most other canned foods, soups can have a long shelf life if stored in a cool location.
    • Buy soup flavors that your family members enjoy and soups that you normally use in recipes.

What other foods that are on sale during the holidays do you stock up on?

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Stock Your Pantry From Scratch: Homemade Apple Pie Filling http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-apple-pie-filling/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-apple-pie-filling/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:26 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19664 Apples just seem to overflow here at our homestead. And thankfully so! They are an excellent staple to have on the pantry shelf, easy to can & put up and best of all…delicious! If /when the SHTF, comfort foods will Read More

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Stock your pantry from scratch with this amazing apple pie filling you can yourself. Super easy recipe! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Apples just seem to overflow here at our homestead. And thankfully so! They are an excellent staple to have on the pantry shelf, easy to can & put up and best of all…delicious! If /when the SHTF, comfort foods will be soooo appreciated, even if the “S” in question is just a big Snowstorm!

Each year, we can huge quantities of applesauce, make apple butter for the grandparents, and dehydrate apple chips, but far and away our favorite way to preserve all the beautiful apples we get in the Fall is Apple Pie Filling! No matter how much we make, there can never be enough for our family and friends.

I can seasonally and in bulk, to stock the pantry shelves, teach my children the art of canning and have shelf stable (delicious) foods on hand, at the ready. This helps me use sales and in-season foods at the best price and quality, while keeping the pantry stocked.

Apples are so versatile that we came up with 27 Things You Can Do With Apples.  Now, it’s prime time to finish canning those apples and stock your pantry from scratch!

Homemade Apple Pie Filling!

When we think canning, most of us think about things like green beans and chili. But there is so much more to canning than vegetables and the old standards! Let’s can some DESSERT for those deep pantry shelves!

I love to have this super simple, yet very delicious, pie filling on my pantry shelf! It’s easy to can and makes for effortless desserts all year long. What’s not to love? Here’s my recipe for apple pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling

18 cups (of your favorite!) apples, peeled & sliced (about 6 lbs.)

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 cups brown sugar

1 cup cornstarch

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

¼ 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

8 cups water

In a large bowl, mix the apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside. In a large pot, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes. It will start to thicken up.

Add your apples and return to a boil. (You may want to drain off some of the lemon juice, but some folks think it adds a nice flavor.) Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Don’t forget to stir OFTEN. You don’t want this to burn!

Have your canner, quart jars, and lids hot and ready. Pack each jar with filling, leaving head space, 1 inch from the top.

Process in your water bath canner for 20 minutes. Makes about 5 – 6 quarts! Carefully remove your jars from the canner. Set your jars on a towel, counter, or table for 24 hours, then line your pantry shelf!

Enjoy! You’ve just made it so simple for yourself to have a homemade dessert ready in minutes for your family, to take to a family in need, or that last minute congregation or family gathering! We use this as a base ingredient to make apple pies, crisps, ice cream topping, dump cakes, etc., etc.–in minutes! Apple pie filling always makes a welcome gift, too. :-)

Take advantage of what He gives us. Canning  is truly a labor of love for me.

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Understand and Prevent 4 Kinds of Heat Loss http://thesurvivalmom.com/understand-prevent-heat-loss/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/understand-prevent-heat-loss/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:00:14 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19626 Maintaining your core body temperature is critical in a survival situation. Hypothermia can set in even at relatively mild temperatures. A fact that is often lost on many people is that heat is energy and cold is merely the absence Read More

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Do you know how to prevent heat loss? Do you know how to combat the four most common kinds? Do your KIDS know? If not, learn more in this post! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comMaintaining your core body temperature is critical in a survival situation. Hypothermia can set in even at relatively mild temperatures. A fact that is often lost on many people is that heat is energy and cold is merely the absence of that energy. Heat is a “thing” where cold isn’t. This is an important distinction so you’ll better understand the different ways heat is lost and how to prevent it from happening.

Different Types of Heat Loss

Conduction is the loss of heat through direct contact. Sitting on a cold rock can give you a chill, even if you’re otherwise sheltered from the elements. Your body heat is being leeched away by contact with a cold surface. The best way to prevent this is by insulating your body from the ground, such as sitting on a foam pad.

Ever been outside and have a sudden cool breeze give you a bit of a shiver? That’s convection at work. Think of your body as being encompassed by a thin layer of air that is constantly being warmed by your body heat. This “bubble” sort of insulates you a bit from the rest of the world. When a breeze or water flows past you, it can remove that bubble, causing you to feel cold. We combat this by wearing clothing that traps that air bubble around us.

Preventing heat lossRadiation is how we lose the most heat energy. We constantly radiate heat from our bodies, some at greater rates than others. If you’ve ever cuddled an infant, you know just how much of a little “hot box” they can be, right? We reduce the effects of heat loss through radiation by covering up, trapping as much of that radiated heat as we can.

When we exert ourselves, we begin to sweat. When we’re working hard, we heat up and our bodies try to cool us down by perspiring because evaporation is a cooling process. The problem comes in, though, when we’re trying to stay warm. When we’re fighting for survival in a cold climate, we want to avoid sweating as best we can.

Sweat not only robs us of body heat, the moisture can get trapped in our clothing, which can be detrimental to the insulating properties of our attire. This is why dressing in layers is important. As your work level increases, remove one or more layers of clothing to moderate your body temperature. Then bundle back up as you cool down.

Preventing Heat Loss

As a general rule, moisture is detrimental to survival, at least when it comes to maintaining our core temperatures. Water is a fabulous conductor of heat energy. It absorbs heat quickly and whisks it away from you. This is why it is vitally important to stay as dry as you can and, should you have the misfortune to get caught in a downpour or perhaps stumble into a stream, get a fire going as quickly as possible to dry yourself out.

This is also why constructing an expedient (emergency) shelter is important. Getting out of the elements helps prevent heat loss through convection (by reducing or eliminating the wind blowing across your body) as well as through evaporation (by keeping you dry). In a properly constructed shelter, your body heat will warm up the confines through radiation and you’ll insulate yourself from the ground to prevent heat loss through conduction.

See how it all works together?

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Holiday Fire Safety: Tips for the season and beyond http://thesurvivalmom.com/holiday-fire-safety/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/holiday-fire-safety/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19402 Halls decked with holly, a fresh pine adorned with hundreds of lights and glass ornaments, and scented candles spreading cheer — it’s a recipe for disaster! At this time of year, holiday fire safety is a major concern. In fact, this Read More

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The holidays are prime time for house fires. Here are some great tips AND a quick interview with Chicago Fire's Charlie Barnett! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com
Halls decked with holly, a fresh pine adorned with hundreds of lights and glass ornaments, and scented candles spreading cheer — it’s a recipe for disaster!

At this time of year, holiday fire safety is a major concern. In fact, this is the season when house fires and burn injuries increase more than at any other time of year. It’s a simple matter to reduce the risk factors that contribute to house fires, and earlier this week I had the opportunity to chat with actor and star of NBC’s Chicago Fire, Charlie Barnett, about steps to take to make sure your home doesn’t become a fire statistic.

You can listen to my interview with Charlie here.

Some of the tips he shared in our conversation are:

  • Water fresh trees frequently and pay even closer attention to any heat or fire hazards as the tree becomes drier.
  • Fresh Christmas trees should be no closer than 3 feet from any source of heat.
  • Double check all strings of lights for bare wires, frays, or kinks that might indicate damage to the wires.
  • Never leave an open flame candle unattended, especially around children.
  • Know basic first aid and what to do if someone is injured by fire.
  • In case of a fire, have an escape plan that everyone in the house has practiced, along with an official meeting place outside.

Charlie is working alongside the Shriners Hospitals for Children to help families become aware of fire danger now and throughout the year. You can visit their website, BeBurnAware.com, for more tips.

Perhaps his most helpful tip was the importance of not being distracted. The holidays bring with them some of the busiest times of the year, and it’s easy to overlook common sense safety measures, something as small as making sure cups of hot beverages are out of the reach of young children. Maybe the biggest lesson is to slow down, pay attention to what is going on around you, know where the kids and grandkids are and what they’re doing.

Don’t forget to protect valuables and vital documents

It’s not just the house, furniture, books, toys, and other household items that can burn in a house fire, it’s also important things that help us most in times of an emergency:

  • Insurance documents
  • Financial records
  • Cash and coins
  • Birth certificates
  • Copies of drivers licenses, Social Security cards, and tax records
  • See my complete list of important documents here.

To protect all these items and more, consider adding a fire resistant safe to your household. We have SentrySafes in our home and have found that they bring a great deal of peace of mind.

When you’re selecting the right safe for you, keep in mind that it should be both fire and water resistant. Fighting a fire takes a great deal of water and sometimes that water leads to mold growth. Fire, water, mold, any one of those can cause serious damage to documents, computer CDs and DVDs, photos, and more.

What do you want to store?

If storing documents safely is a concern, your best best is a heavy duty, water and fire resistant filing box. I have this one. It was a very simple matter to lift my important files from my desk filing drawer and drop them into this safe. If you store nothing else, store those vital documents. When these are lost in a fire, or in any other disaster, it’s difficult to replace them in a timely manner.

You probably also have various valuables and perhaps family heirlooms around the house. Great-grandma’s wedding ring, an American burial flag from a veteran’s funeral, gold and silver coins, photos, all of these deserve to be protected. Someday you’ll want to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Losing items like this in a fire is losing a part of your family heritage. I have a larger combination safe just for items like these. In fact, mine has an alarm as well.

One item to keep in a safe is cash. Even if it’s just $50 or $100, following a fire or other disaster, you’ll want to have some cash immediately to cover incidental expenses, purchase food and gas, pay for a few nights at a hotel, and buy whatever supplies are needed by your family.

Handguns, rifles, magazines and ammunition also need to be protected from fire. Both fire and smoke will damage the metal, plastic, and wood used in firearms and magazines. If kept in a water and fire resistant safe, they will very likely survive a house fire.

A few final holiday fire safety tips

Sometimes we overlook the simplest precautions, and it doesn’t hurt to be reminded!

1.  Have you installed smoke detectors in all bedrooms, in the kitchen away from the stove, at the top of stairways, and in larger living areas, such as a family room?

2.  Does each smoke detector have fresh batteries and have you recently tested the alarm to make sure it works?

3.  Do you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and at least one more in the house? Do you know how to activate and use an extinguisher correctly?

4.  If you have a live Christmas tree, it would be helpful to keep a small extinguisher close enough to the tree where it could be quickly grabbed and put to use. If you’ve ever seen a dry Christmas tree burn, you know how quickly they go up in flames.

5.  An artificial Christmas tree should be labeled “Fire Resistant”. The tree could still catch fire, but it will burn more slowly, giving you more time to either put out the fire yourself or get everyone out of the house.

6.  Use this time of year to begin sorting through family papers, photos, old letters, and other heirlooms. Enjoy sharing them with family and friends, and then store them in a fire resistant safe.

And, as always include every member of the family with your fire safety plans. Here’s a great picture book on that topic for kids ages, along with this one, Stop Drop and Roll. This page from FEMA has some great resources for teaching kids about fire safety.

Stay safe this season and throughout the New Year!

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5 Post-Emergency Herbs: The Calming Cuppa http://thesurvivalmom.com/calming-herbal-teas/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/calming-herbal-teas/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 08:00:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19842 Five Herbs for Emotional Support Post Emergency The experience of dealing with an emergency situation can leave you feeling shaken, drained, and upset. Stopping long enough to go through the familiar motions of making a cup of tea can give Read More

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In an emergency, adrenaline fuels us but doesn't just disappear when it ends. In an emergency these 5 herbs can help calm the jitters. | www.TheSurvivalMom.comFive Herbs for Emotional Support Post Emergency

The experience of dealing with an emergency situation can leave you feeling shaken, drained, and upset. Stopping long enough to go through the familiar motions of making a cup of tea can give you a focal point to counter feelings of being scatterbrained and disorganized, but not just any tea will do.

Earl grey, green tea, and other teas made with camellia sinensis (the tea most people are familiar with) could add to your jitters because they contain caffeine.  Turning to herbs that are traditionally considered to be calming and beneficial for the nervous system is a much better idea.

For best results, make sure to purchase your post-emergency herbs in organic, loose-leaf form from a reputable herb merchant. Steer clear of herbal teas that come in ready to use tea bags unless they come from a small company which specializes in strictly herbal teas. Studies have shown that mass marketed brands may contain filler plants, or be adulterated with heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides.

Rose

Although most people think of perfume and potpourri when they think of roses, the petals from red roses are also an important botanical for herbalists. Traditionally, rose petal tea is considered to be very soothing for the nervous system. Modern herbalists often turn to it for helping balance the emotions - especially its ability to provide an uplifting and calming influence. Rose petals pair well with a sprinkle of cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg and sweetened with honey for a pleasant, exotic flavor.

Linden

Linden blossoms, which come from the tree Tilia cordata, make a popular, traditional tea in Europe and in Latin American folk medicine that is reputed to be ideal during times of nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. Linden has a sweet, pleasant flavor that make it a favorite for many people.

Chamomile

Beloved plant of adults and children everywhere, chamomile is another traditional herb to turn to when one feels fussy and out of sorts. Chamomile can be especially helpful if there is an upset stomach from anxiety or nervousness.There are two kinds of chamomile- matricaria recutita (german chamomile) and chamaemelum nobile (roman chamomile). German chamomile is more common in the herb trade in the United States, but both types are traditionally used in much the same way.

Hops

Most widely known as one of the key flavorings in beer, hops (humulus lupulus) has a long record of use as a traditional calming herb and sleep aid. Hops tea has a bitter flavor, but adding a little honey, which sweetens and deepens the flavor, can make it much more pleasant. The German Commission E, an advisory board that focuses on the medicinal use of traditional herbal remedies in Germany, approved the use of hops for restlessness and anxiety.

Valerian

During WWI and WWII, valeriana officinalis was used in Britain for “shell shock” (what is now more appropriately recognized as a stress response to combat situations), and also given to civilians stressed by constant air-raids. Traditional herbalists viewed this herb as having a potent sedative effect on the central nervous system, and often employed it for cases of epilepsy, severe anxiety, and nerve related pain.

It is interesting to note that not everyone responds to valerian in the same way. Valerian may make some people feel more awake and alert rather than sleepy. If you have pets, be aware that some cats enjoy valerian as much as they do catnip, so they may take an interest in your tea!

* Please remember that although herbs are natural and generally wholesome, these herbs may react with prescriptions for anxiety, high blood pressure, or depression. Be sure to check with your doctor before using herbs if you are on prescription medications. If you are hypotensive, these herbs may not be a good fit for you. Be sure to check with your doctor.

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Holiday Goodie Bag Giveaway http://thesurvivalmom.com/holiday-goodie-bag-giveaway/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/holiday-goodie-bag-giveaway/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:00:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20151 Happy Hannukah! Merry Christmas! And a Joyful New Year! The Survival Mom has teamed up with Earth Easy, Flying Circle Bags, and Pelican to put together a great giveaway for the holiday season. Pelican Flashlights has donated one of their Read More

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Here's your chance to win a Holiday Goodie Bag. Includes an LED flashlight, Scrubba Wash Bag, and so much more! Great prizes! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comHappy Hannukah! Merry Christmas! And a Joyful New Year! The Survival Mom has teamed up with Earth Easy, Flying Circle Bags, and Pelican to put together a great giveaway for the holiday season.

v1Pelican Flashlights has donated one of their high-quality LED flashlights, an item I carry with me everywhere I go. It has a nice, heavy-duty feel, which isn’t surprising since it comes from the same people who make the famous Pelican Case. This flashlight is the ideal size for a purse, backpack, or to tuck in the outer pocket of any backpack. Super-bright light, 2 settings, you’ll love it! You can see all their products here, including a really nifty keychain light.

sun bellThe Sunbell is a cute little solar lamp that also charges your cell phone. It’s a handy little device when you are camping or even just traveling and staying somewhere with too few outlets for all your needs.

scrubbaI don’t know about you, but my family can definitely overpack when we travel. A good way to cut down on that is to do laundry while traveling, but finding a laundromat can be a hassle. That’s where the Scrubba from Earth Easy comes in. At less than 5 oz and able to fold down to pocket size, the Scrubba is easy to pack. Having the instructions printed on the side helps make it easy to use. And better still: It works!

This pocket-size wonder will help lighten your load whether you are backpacking the Appalachian Trail or heading out to see a show on the Great White Way in New York.

lifestrawThe LifeStraw personal water filter is amazing. I personally watched a demonstration where the person stuck the Lifestraw into disgusting, muddy water and drank it! Since she wasn’t making any nasty faces, I’m guessing it even tasted good.

Bacteria removed include Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Vibrio cholerae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella, and Salmonella. Protozoa removed include Giardia lamblia (“Beaver Fever”), Cryptosporidium Parvum, and Entamoeba histolytica.

A clear and proven winner for camping and post-disaster at home, the LifeStraw is perfect for camping as well. As an added bonus, for every LifeStraw sold, an African child will receive clean water for a year.

presidioOnce you have all these goodies,  you’ll want a goody bag to store them in. Flying Circle Bags has the solution for you with their Presidio Backpack in either black or coyote brown. (The Survival Mom reviewed this backpack a few months ago.)

One lucky winner will receive all of these items! This giveaway will be open for 8 days, ending at midnight on December 23. The winner will be selected at random and notified via email within 72 hours. The winner will be selected the next day and notified via email. Winner must respond within 72 hours or forfeit the prize. This giveaway is open to USA residents only, age 18 and older.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wilderness Survival Series: Practicing Survival Skills As A Family http://thesurvivalmom.com/wilderness-survival-series-practicing-survival-skills-family-everydaycarry/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/wilderness-survival-series-practicing-survival-skills-family-everydaycarry/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 08:00:28 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19555 We are surrounded by wilderness here on our Idaho homestead.  We spend as much of our free time as possible outside and adventuring. What do our adventures consist of? We live a very traditional life out here so a lot of our Read More

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Wilderness Survival Skills are important for everyone, not just survivalists and mountain men! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comWe are surrounded by wilderness here on our Idaho homestead.  We spend as much of our free time as possible outside and adventuring.

What do our adventures consist of?

We live a very traditional life out here so a lot of our time in the wild actually has a purpose. We may be scouting for a good hunting spot, harvesting our meat or firewood for the year, taking a 20 mile hike for some casual exercise, or even panning for some gold (really!). We really put our wilderness survival skills to the test!

Any time we leave our property, whether on foot or in a vehicle, you can be sure that we have our gear and are prepared for anything. Not only do we have our gear, but we always have additional clothing and we each have a firearm.

We live in a very vast location and you never know what may be around the next corner, when your truck may break down miles and miles from home, when the weather may turn, or when even an unexpected injury will happen.

Our predators are typically the 4 legged kind, but you never know when you may run into the 2 legged kind as well. Our safety is a top priority and I feel that survival moms should know how to protect themselves and their children. I feel very strongly that women should not only carry a firearm, but be very knowledgeable on the gun they carry, know gun safety and know how to very accurately use their gun. This is a subject you will find in one of my upcoming posts, but I thought I would give you a little food for thought for those of you that do not carry.

Before I met my husband (aka Mountain Man), I was already busy running wild in the mountains and enjoying the outdoors. I grew up on a farm and my Dad wanted boys and ended up with two girls! As a result, my sister and I were the epitome of tomboys. I knew the outdoors and I LOVED it! I am thankful for the chivalrous nature of my Mountain Man, BUT when it comes to being in the outdoors, he knows I can hold my own and he expects me to know how to handle and take care of myself.

After having children, it only seemed natural to teach my children what I knew. Many are not used to the outdoors the way my Mountain Man and I are, which is why I want to take you through the steps for getting and keeping your family educated, trained and ready. Embracing things as a family is a great opportunity to grow as a family and also empower and nurture your children. When they see Mom and Dad do it, the kids are more likely to jump in and be enthusiastic.

Why YOU Need Outdoor Skills, too

Ladies, if you have a very chivalrous man and maybe even a proud man that wants to show you he is fully capable of taking care of yourself and your family, that is a very genuine man. However, he is not doing you any favors if he does it all for you. If you, yourself, are not interested in learning and allow your husband to do everything while you are camping or in the outdoors, you are not doing yourself any favors either.  Let me explain…

Let’s say that your husband falls and breaks his ankle during your next excursion.  What will you do?

Let’s say you are all out camping, and one of your children wonders off and gets lost.  You split up in an effort to find your child. It is getting dark and you have been unsuccessful in finding them.  Does your child know enough to survive, lost, for a night without you?

This is critical!!!  This is why, even though our family is very well versed in survival, we still go out as a family and practice our skills every chance we get. The old adage “Practice Makes Perfect” is just as important as “Knowledge Is Power”!

The entire family should know what gear to carry, what to carry on their person, how to light a fire, how to build a shelter, how to get safe drinking water and how to sustain themselves in any situation. You never know what may happen when you are out on even a simple hike.

Every day, I wear a paracord survival bracelet that my son made me. I have 9′ of paracord at my disposal ALL the time. I carry a lighter in my pocket, a pocket knife on my jeans, and my Keltek .380 P-3AT is holstered on my belt. My son is equipped with the same things and then some. Having those simple things on our person can save our lives. (This is referred to as your EDC, or Every Day Carry.)

This spring. our family practiced the whole 9 yards, including staying out for the night. Here is a little video of our excursion. As part of this new series here on The Survival Mom blog, I will walk you through what we carry in our packs, the varying ways we start fires, build shelters, hunt for food, etc.

This is just one part of a series of posts where I will provide how-to information and videos that you can watch with your children or as a family. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you and hope to encourage you to embrace these tasks as a family.

 

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What’s in YOUR Wallet? The Art of EDC (Every Day Carry) http://thesurvivalmom.com/edc-whats-in-your-wallet/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/edc-whats-in-your-wallet/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 08:10:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19631 To far too many people, being “prepped” means accumulating piles and piles of stuff, much of which various so-called experts insist you carry with you at all times. Some of those folks apparently feel you should never leave the house Read More

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To far too many people, being “prepped” means accumulating piles and piles of stuff, much of which various so-called experts insist you carry with you at all times. Some of those folks apparently feel you should never leave the house without a 95lb expedition style pack strapped to your back, even for a walk to the mailbox and back.

EDC stands for Every Day Carry. Today, we’re going to talk about taking a minimalist approach to what you really should have with you at all times, or at least any time you venture out from home. The goal is to have at least some amount of survival essentials at arm’s reach, without your pants threatening to fall from the weight of all the gear in your pockets. While it doesn’t need to all fit in your wallet, that’s closer to the size we’re talking about than a tactical backpack is.

Basic Gear

First and foremost, I firmly believe a good quality knife is essential to survival. It should be your constant companion, leaving your side only when mandated by law, such as when entering a government building like a courthouse or when flying. For most people, this means either a folding knife or a multi-tool. Personally, while I’ve been known to carry both on occasion, I tend to favor the knife simply due to weight. My suggestions for a folding knife include a Bad Monkey Folder (which I’ve carried constantly for about two years now), a Swiss Army Knife (Tinker Model is my preference), or a Buck 110 lockback. For multi-tools, I don’t know that you can go wrong with anything produced by Leatherman or SOG.

Next on the list is fire making. This is another survival essential. A butane lighter will suffice in most cases. I’d caution you, though, about buying one of those cheap ones you’ll find at gas stations, the ones that are typically sold two or three for a buck. They tend to leak and will go dry over time, perhaps without you realizing it. Better to invest an extra dollar and get a brand name like Bic. You could go a step further and wrap a few feet of duct tape around the lighter as that can come in handy for quick clothing patchwork and other uses. Duct tape even makes decent tinder.

For most of us, a cell phone is already part of our EDC gear. If you’re reluctant to invest in any sort of monthly service, at the least perhaps consider a pay-as-you-go phone. A cell phone can be your lifeline in an emergency. Get into the habit of charging your phone each and every day. What I do is plug my phone into the charger every night before heading to bed. This way, I start every day with a full battery. If you’re a heavy cell user, consider purchasing a portable power pack that to keep in your pocket or purse. Be sure to have the proper charging cord with you as well.

A small flashlight will be very appreciated should you find yourself out and about when a power outage hits. More than once, I’ve ended up using my pocket flashlight to illuminate my way through a darkened store or mall, even when visiting the facilities at work.

Items You Might Miss

I like to keep a flash drive (sometimes called a thumb drive) with me as well. It contains copies of my identification and important papers, such as insurance policies. Probably overkill as I already have copies of these things elsewhere, but the flash drive or a memory card weighs nearly nothing.

Finally, a small amount of emergency cash is advised. In this day and age, many people use plastic for almost every purchase from filling up their gas tank to their daily caffeine fix. The problem comes in when there is a power outage or perhaps something goes wonky with the local online services and stores are unable to process credit card transactions. Keeping $20 or $30 in cash on your person allows you to still make those purchases you feel are necessary to daily life, though admittedly I doubt you’ll be able to fill your car’s fuel tank with just twenty bucks. The cash can be kept in a concealed pocket in your wallet or purse, if not directly in your pocket.

The overall idea behind a minimalist approach to EDC is to always have some amount of survival gear with you, without resorting to lugging an entire bug out bag in and out of every place you go. Naturally, you should have a bug out bag or a get home bag in your vehicle or at your workplace, but you don’t need to carry it to the bathroom or lunch. The EDC gear is just for normal day-to-day use.

So, what’s in your wallet that will help you in an emergency?

The post What’s in YOUR Wallet? The Art of EDC (Every Day Carry) by Jim Cobb appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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16 Non-Traditional Containers For Your Bug Out Bag/Emergency Kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:37:28 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10665 When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets Read More

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A backpack might not be the best choice for an emergency kit. Check out this list of non-traditional containers! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets and pouches to help organize your gear and supplies, they can be carried on your back, leaving hands free, but they aren’t always the right solution for every scenario.

Here are a few non-traditional containers for your bug out bag or emergency kit that maybe you haven’t considered.

A rolling suitcase on wheels

Look for sturdy wheels because if one breaks off, you’ll be carrying that suitcase. Not fun! Some of these suitcases also have backpack straps.

A Rubbermaid container with lid

You select whichever size suits your needs and space. These are a good choice because the bin itself can be used to hold water, kindling, and a lot more.

Under the bed storage container

Mine fits perfectly in the back of my Tahoe and the transparent plastic lets me see the contents.

Trash can on wheels

These hold a lot, are very sturdy, and have an attached lid. They will also be heavy and difficult to load into a truck. However, if a trailer is part of your bug out/evacuation plans, you could store a trash can, fully packed, in the trailer. Include a box of heavy-duty black trash bags to keep the interior of the trash can clean if you ever have to use it for actual trash!

Space Bags 

Great for use with softer items, such as blankets, coats, jackets, and pillows.

5-gallon buckets with lid

Again, these buckets have multiple uses besides holding your emergency kit contents. A product like the Bucket Backpack would provide an alternative way to carry the bucket longer distances.

Multiple milk crates

My husband swears by these! They are extremely durable, stack easily, but do not have lids. They’re also free if you can find a grocery store that will give you one or more.

Military duffel bag

Soft-sided means you’ll be able to shove this bag behind and between things, and they come in several sizes. Their muted colors are also a plus.

Ziploc Flexible Tote 

Inexpensive, can easily see inside the tote, and lightweight. Not heavy duty, though, if your evacuation includes trekking through the wilderness.

Diaper bag

The waterproof lining could be very helpful, especially if you have small kids and/or a baby.

Tool box

Not lightweight but could be very useful for protecting fragile items.

Metal bucket with lid

I have this one and it’s definitely a multi-purpose container.

A storage locker, preferably one with wheels

Heavy-duty black trash bags

Be sure to the buy “contractor” bags. These are amazingly resilient, stretch a bit as you stuff more into them, and are very cheap. They would be useful for packing soft things like bedding, clothing, and sleeping bags.

A messenger bag with shoulder strap 

Anything with a shoulder strap will leave both hands free and might be easier to carry than a backpack for someone with back problems.

A fisherman or photo vest 

Obviously this won’t carry as much as these other containers, but with all the multiple pockets, you could keep the most essential items close at hand.

When planning for an emergency evacuation, I recommend dividing the contents of your emergency kit into 2 or more different types of containers. For example, a 5-gallon bucket can hold food and cooking supplies and will provide an emergency toilet, a large water container, and a handy tote for firewood. Then use a Space Bag to hold sleeping bags and cold weather clothing and finally a large backpack for everything else. You’ll have 2 multi-purpose containers and a backpack large enough to hold all the essentials in case you have no choice but to continue your evacuation on foot and have to leave the bucket and Space Bag behind.

When choosing your containers, keep in mind that they might be in for a pretty rugged future. Look for:

  • Extremely durable fabrics
  • Sturdy construction
  • Heavy-duty zippers, snaps, or other closures
  • Colors that blend in
  • Non-tactical appearance. This may cause you to look too prepared and a potential target.
  • Tight fitting lids

Also keep in mind the different ages and physical capabilities of your family members. Even young kids can carry small backpacks, easing the load for parents and teens.

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