The Survival Mom » More http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Ticks: How to Safely Remove This Parasite From Your Skin http://thesurvivalmom.com/ticks-safely-remove-parasite-skin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ticks-safely-remove-parasite-skin http://thesurvivalmom.com/ticks-safely-remove-parasite-skin/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:00:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16525 Summer is here in all its glory and so are those blood-thirsty little arachnids, ticks! If you are hiking through an infested area, these tiny eight-legged creature will wait on brush, shrubs, bushes, grass or low growing plants and cling Read More

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How To Safely Remove Ticks From Your SkinSummer is here in all its glory and so are those blood-thirsty little arachnids, ticks! If you are hiking through an infested area, these tiny eight-legged creature will wait on brush, shrubs, bushes, grass or low growing plants and cling to your clothes as you sweep by. It then climbs upward looking for an area of exposed skin to burrow into and literally sucks your blood, which is used for food.

Ticks are in the same animal family as spiders, scorpions and mites. Incredibly resilient and adaptive, they live in all 50 states, most often in brushy fields and wooded areas. These tiny animals are active in late spring, summer and early fall, as temperatures warm, and also in winter, when it is above freezing.

Ticks can be found all year around virtually everywhere in rural America, where the vast majority of leisure, adventure, and outdoor activities take place.

Why Are They a Problem?

This parasite is not only an annoyance, it is potentially dangerous. When a tick burrows into your skin and draws your blood into its body cavity, it can transfer a variety of harmful bacteria and viruses (pathogens) back to its host, you, similar to the way a mosquito conveys malaria.

The nine species of ticks found in North America carry and transmit no less than twelve diseases that can harm you, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Pawassan Disease.

You or one of your family members are outdoors or have just come back from an outing and find a tick attached to you. Your immediate response is that the little parasite must be removed, the sooner the better.

Wait! In your haste to remove it from your skin, don’t pinch the tick between your fingers, twisting or pulling to try to dislodge it.  These actions can cause the tick’s mouth parts to break away from its body and remain in your skin. There is a safe and dependable way to remove this pesky parasite.

How to Remove a Tick

The best and safest way to remove a tick is by mechanical means, using fine-tipped tweezers or a specialized tick removal tool (see the end of this article for a list of tools.)

  1. Disinfect the tweezers or tick removal tool with rubbing alcohol or soap before using.
  2. Gently grab the tick as close to your skin as possible with the tweezers or removal tool.
  3. Pull upward using even and steady pressure until the tick is dislodged.
  4. Do not jerk, twist or pull fast.
  5. If the tick breaks apart and the body separates from the mouth-parts (teeth), re-grab the remaining piece attached to your skin, repeat beginning with step 2.

Bite Care

After the tick is removed, clean and disinfect the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, soap and water, or iodine scrub.

Parasite Disposal

After removing the tick, dispose of the creature by placing in a plastic bag or vial, or wrap the little critter in tape (medical or duct tape) before putting in the garbage. Refrain from attempting to crush the tick between your fingers as this will spread its body fluids and contaminants.

The Don’ts

Other ways people attempt to dislodge a tick include applying nail polish, petroleum jelly, insect repellent, lighter fluid, gasoline, or heat. The tick may react to these other persuasions, but take more time to dislodge from your skin than if you properly pull it out with tweezers, increasing the likely hood the parasite will inject more of its body fluids into you.

These methods decrease the chance of removing the whole tick successfully, and the increase the possibility of infection and disease.

Monitor the Bite Area

After a couple of days, if the bite area is still red, irritated, inflamed or infected, check with your doctor for further care.

Summer is here, time to get out and enjoy some great outdoor activities. Just remember, if you get a tick embedded in your skin, you have a surefire way to safely remove it.

Additional Resources

Tools

Pro Tick Remedy

Tick Ease Tick Remover

Tick Key

Tick Twister

Tweezers

Websites

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

WebMD.com

TickInfo.com

Videos on How to Correctly Remove a Tick

University of Manitoba

Tick Encounter Resource Center

Howcast

Books

Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival - James Hubbard M.D., “The Survival Doctor”

All images are the authors or from the CDC.

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7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds http://thesurvivalmom.com/childrens-summer-activities-survivalist-seeds/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=childrens-summer-activities-survivalist-seeds http://thesurvivalmom.com/childrens-summer-activities-survivalist-seeds/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 06:00:03 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16733 Summer activities can be a fun and creative way to introduce your children to basic survivalist concepts. Ways to pass the lazy summer days has changed a great deal over the last decade or so. What used to be typical Read More

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7 Summer ActivitiesSummer activities can be a fun and creative way to introduce your children to basic survivalist concepts. Ways to pass the lazy summer days has changed a great deal over the last decade or so. What used to be typical summer past times has now become occasional treats for today’s youth. Help introduce your little ones to general survival skills while reintroducing your summertime to do list favorites!

1 | Building Forts

A childhood favorite both indoors and out is building forts. Whether it be a table and blanket fort inside or a more complex structure in the backyard, allowing children to use their creativity to build these small getaways can help teach them early on about what works and what does not.

Very few of us will ever become an award winning architect or cutting edge engineer, but the trial and error process of building those wobbly but fun hideaways with friends can aid in constructing a more serious shelter later.

2 | Swimming

Swimming or splashing around in cool, refreshing water is a summer favorite on those hot, humid (or arid) days. Learning how to swim and water safety is something every child should experience early on. What seems like water fun can really be a subliminal survivalist skill that could save his or her life later on.

3 | Fishing

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Spend those lazy summer evenings on a riverbank with your little one and teach them the ins and outs of fishing. Be sure to teach them how to properly set up their pole and bait the hook. Kids typically think of nonstop casting and reeling when it comes time to fish, but teach them the basics and patience so if the occasion ever calls for it, they can catch their own dinner!

4 | Outdoor Sports

In the midst of an electronic age, it is important for children (and the rest of us) to get unplugged and outside. Putting down the PSP, DS, tablet, etc., and getting active outside helps children become more resilient to natural environmental conditions such as prolonged sun exposure and lack of a constant stimulant. In other words, kids are forced to entertain themselves in the summer heat.

This may sound like a no-brainer but when kids spend most of their time inactively indoors playing video games or watching television in climate controlled conditions, making the transition to moving about in the humidity of summer can be tough. Encourage your children to play outside to build stamina so if an occasion occurs where moving about outside is necessary, they will be conditioned and ready.

Some active outdoor summer favorites include baseball/whiffle ball, basketball, flag football, tag, catch, jumping on trampolines, jumping rope, mastering the hula hoop, hopscotch and kickball.

5 | Hiking

Pack a bag, grab a walking stick and hit the trail! Hiking can certainly help condition the body for long hours outside and help teach little ones forest safety. Many state parks have hiking trails for all levels so if you are new to hiking, talk with a park ranger or other official about which trails are best for beginners.

Some state parks and campgrounds may even offer guided hikes which generally include basic lessons on the area’s wildlife, plant life and environment. Be sure your children know what plants are dangerous to touch and eat and how to respond to wild animal encounters. What is a fun day in the woods now can be a ticket for survival later.

6 | Target Shooting

Water guns are a summertime blast. Children giggle and scream as they run barefoot around the yard trying to blast their siblings and friends with that ice cold stream of water. What they generally do not realize is that they are building their hand-eye coordination as they practice zoning in on their targets. Another target shooting favorite is shooting aluminum cans with bb guns.

Try setting cans up in different formations and teach your kids how to use the basic sight feature that is standard on most bb guns. If your child decides to take up hunting for sport or necessity later, he or she will have a comfortable edge hitting their target.

7 | Campfire Fun

Summertime campfires are a must for childhood nostalgia! Roasting hotdogs on a stick, making ooey, gooey s’mores, and sharing ghost stories are childhood campfire traditions for a reason! Teach your children how to make a campfire, introduce them to primitive cooking over the fire, and then how to properly and safely extinguish a fire.

Get unplugged and outdoors!

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Subway Safety with Kids http://thesurvivalmom.com/subway-safety-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=subway-safety-kids http://thesurvivalmom.com/subway-safety-kids/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:48:59 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16763 Living in a big city, I have learned to rely on public transportation. Parking spots are limited and often too narrow to fit my big jeep in. Not to mention the crazy, fast paced, and often mentally exhausting traffic here Read More

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Subway_Safety_WKidsLiving in a big city, I have learned to rely on public transportation. Parking spots are limited and often too narrow to fit my big jeep in. Not to mention the crazy, fast paced, and often mentally exhausting traffic here in Seoul, South Korea.

It is easier and more cost effective to just walk a few blocks to the subway station. Besides, my kids love to ride the subway.

After the first few trips on the subway with my children, and playing out the “What If?” scenarios in my mind, I compiled a few tips to aid in safely traveling with kids on the subway.

Preparing for the Trip

Since both my children are younger, they each wear a lanyard with an I.D. holder on it. I place a card with my name and phone number on it, as well as an alternate emergency point of contact.

When we travel, I also include our hotel name and phone number. If something happens, they don’t have to struggle to remember phone numbers. It also gives them a place to put their subway card.

Entering the Subway Station

Subway stations can be very busy places at times, crowded, and face paced. There are many moving components: automatic doors, escalators, elevators, turnstiles, and moving sidewalks.

Take your time. Don’t get caught up in the rush. Remind the kids to take their time on steps, through the turnstiles, and to be clear of the subway door. In the subway car, I always try to have the kids find a seat. If there are none, be sure they always hang onto a safety rail. Sometimes the trains can have rough starts and stops. It is easy to lose your balance.

Learn the emergency signs together. There are many different signs in the station. Regular signs point you to the bathroom, the platform, transfers to other trains, information kiosks, and standard exits. Then there are the emergency ones: exits, phones, first aid, flash lights, fire extinguishers, and gas masks. I make a game out of it by randomly quizzing them on finding a certain sign, for instance an emergency exit.

I also point out the Information kiosks and station attendants who have special uniforms. In an emergency, the kids know they can ask the attendants for help.

Knowing the Route

Another game we play is knowing our starting and ending points: what station we begin our adventure on and our destination. We also count the stops on the way and discuss what subway line we are on. Here, the lines are distinguished by color and numbers.

By looking at the map, they can tell me how many stops there are before we transfer to next line, and how many total stops to our destination. Both of my children’s navigating skills have amazed me. Sometimes they even beat me to the punch and know how many stops before our station.

Which leads me to our “What happens if we get separated?” plan. If the subway car is crowded or a door closes too fast and we get separated, what do you do? (I have had happen this happen in a Korean elevator, but that is a whole other story for another time.)

If anyone gets stuck on the train, they are supposed to get off at the next stop, take a seat at the first bench they come to on the platform, and wait. If anyone is left at the station, they take a seat on the platform and wait. Either way, someone will be right there to get them.

Other Useful Tidbits

Most subways have a discount child fare, as well as a special gate for stroller friendly access. Some even offer special seating in the subway car.

Some subway systems have cell phone applications for maps. You put in your starting point and destination. From there, it will give you arrival times, stops, and transfers.

Here in Seoul, most subway stations are also fallout shelters equipped with emergency supplies, including gas masks.

No matter where in the world you are, or what subway system you are using, be sure to look up their website for more local tips on traveling and safety. The subway is an easy, fun way to take an adventure in the big city with kids.

Helping them to be prepared in case of an emergency will give you all a peaceful mind.

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Get Pandemic Ready http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-pandemic-ready/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=get-pandemic-ready http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-pandemic-ready/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16699 When someone asks me, “What are you prepping for?” my answer is that I don’t prep for one particular event because I’m an “all hazards” prepper. But I know what the real question is. “What do you think is the Read More

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AVR Pandemic ReadyWhen someone asks me, “What are you prepping for?” my answer is that I don’t prep for one particular event because I’m an “all hazards” prepper. But I know what the real question is.

“What do you think is the most likely serious “disaster” to occur?”

To that, I answer without hesitation: Pandemic.

While flu is the most likely source of the next pandemic we face in the United States, recent concerns about the Ebola virus… its unprecedented outbreak in some African countries, fears that it is spreading to other countries, and now its introduction to the US by way of infected health care workers brought to Georgia for treatment… have gotten people talking about the possibility of another pandemic here in the United States.

A Few Pandemic Facts:

  • Illnesses and diseases are not considered pandemics if they “only” sicken or kill a lot of people. To qualify as a pandemic, the illness must be contagious. (This explains why heart disease and cancer, though they kill millions every year, are not considered pandemics.)
  • An epidemic is a contagious illness that affects more people than average but is contained in one geographic area. A pandemic is one that crosses borders and stretches around the globe.
  • One of the earliest recorded pandemics was the Plague of Athens in 430BC.
  • The “Black Death” in the 14th Century killed more than 75 million people.
  • The US has been affected by three major pandemics/epidemics since the early 1900s. The “Spanish Flu” of 1918-1919 killed almost 700,000 people in the United States and more than 20 million worldwide. Schools and businesses were shut down, and essential services were shut down because of ill workers. In 1952 an outbreak of Polio affected almost 60,000 people, killing more than 3,000. Whole cities were quarantined to help stop the spread. The Asian Flu (similar to the bird flu and swine flu) hit the US in 1957. Thanks to a quickly produced vaccine, the end came within months, but not before killing nearly 70,000 Americans.

Our world is “ripe” for another pandemic for several reasons:

  1. We are a mobile world. In 2012, airlines carried more than 800 million passengers worldwide. The same year, Americans alone took more than 10 billion rides on public transportation. Think of how many people you come in contact with each day at work, school, grocery store, movies, restaurants… then think of how many people they come in contact with, and how many things you touch that others have touched, and so on. Being aware and practicing good hygiene will only go so far. Unless you become a recluse with zero contact with anyone else, you can’t protect yourself 100%.
  2. Widespread antimicrobial medication overuse has increased the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria which can lead to flus and other illnesses that have no available treatment.
  3. There have been “a string of public-safety scares” at CDC and FDA labs studying anthrax, smallpox, and lab-created flu hybrids. There is a lot of information being disseminated that there is little to no risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States, but many people are still concerned.
  4. Another threat we currently face: illnesses and disease brought in by illegal immigrants. Some are considered “minor” like chicken pox, scabies, or lice. They are also bringing tuberculosis (TB), MRSA and other staph infections, and a variety of much more serious viruses. These are all coming across our southern border in record numbers. It’s not just the border states that are affected. The government is transporting the sick and unvaccinated to myriad locations, potentially speeding up the process of spreading disease across the country.
  5. While the exposure to disease by illegal immigrants coming into this country is unintentional, many illnesses have been weaponized for specific intent to harm an enemy.

So what CAN you do to prepare for a pandemic? Here’s your checklist:

1. Visit the “Get Pandemic Ready” website. This is the number one online source of information about pandemic preparedness. I recommend starting on the FAQ page and then reading and downloading some or all of the files.

2. Stock up on food and supplies. My preparedness plan for pandemic is simple. I want to have the ability to close my doors and not go into public places for up to six months. (Four to six months is how long the experts believe it will take to create and deliver a vaccine to the public.) All I need is to have enough food and supplies (hygiene, paper products, etc) for my family and pets for that long. It isn’t complicated, but it does require some storage space! If you don’t have that much in your stock now, decide how much you are comfortable storing and start increasing as quickly as your budget will allow.

3. Stock up on medication and hospital supplies for your family. A great plan is to have a small bin for each person in your household. It can be customized with pain relievers and other cold and flu medications, tissues, throat lozenges, eye drops, masks and gloves that are appropriate for each person (children’s sizes and doses for the kids, etc.) If illness strikes your home, and you need to have a mini-quarantine, these bins will make caretaking for each person a little bit easier and help prevent cross-contamination. Another benefit of the bins is that if you or a family member gets a run-of-the-mill illness, there will be no need to head to the store for medication and supplies. You’ll be ready!

4. Understand how to create and maintain a “sick room” in your home.

5. Remind yourself and your family members about good hygiene and hand washing practices, but just as important, STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE!. Your skin is a strong enough barrier to repel most illnesses. What actually makes you sick is when you touch your face (specifically your nose and mouth) with your contaminated hands. Be conscious of how many times you touch your face. It happens a lot more often than you might think!

6. Consider what vaccinations you and your family members will receive. Vaccinations are a hot topic in our country right now and a whole separate discussion to have. Weigh the risks and the benefits and decide what is the best balance of protection for you and your community.

A pandemic can occur anytime, and without warning. It doesn’t care if the economy is good or bad, if we are in war or peace time, or where we live. It doesn’t discriminate if we are wealthy or poor, male or female, or what color skin we have. The economy may never crash, there may never be an EMP or asteroid, and you might never face a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado, but there WILL be another pandemic. You and your family need to be prepared for its arrival.

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What’s new on The Survival Mom Radio Network? Interviews with experts! http://thesurvivalmom.com/whats-new-survival-mom-radio-network-interviews-experts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=whats-new-survival-mom-radio-network-interviews-experts http://thesurvivalmom.com/whats-new-survival-mom-radio-network-interviews-experts/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16590 We have been very, very busy over at The Survival Mom Radio Network. Every week our 14 hosts interview experts and bring together information on so many topics that it’s hard to keep track! With about 14,000 downloads per day, Read More

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survival mom radio networkWe have been very, very busy over at The Survival Mom Radio Network. Every week our 14 hosts interview experts and bring together information on so many topics that it’s hard to keep track! With about 14,000 downloads per day, our information is reaching a lot of people, and we’re very happy for that.

For sure, check out these interviews:

Mykel Hawke – Tammy Trayer of “Mountain Woman Journals” interviewed Mykel who talks about his life as a star in survival TV shows and his observations of survival in general. Fascinating conversation with the author of Hawke’s Special Forces Survival Handbook.

Joel Salatin – Joel is a farmer, libertarian, well-known speaker, and author of 9 books. Joel was interviewed by Wardee Harmon of “Know Your Food.” Another great episode for you!

I interviewed 4 of the experts on The Survival Mom Writers Team: Jim Cobb, Robert Camp, Kathie Lapcevic, and Karen Thompson. Jim and Robert are both survival experts but approach survival from different angles. Jim is a prepper survival expert and the author of multiple books, while Robert’s expertise is in wilderness and outdoor survival. Robert believes in simplifying survival, and you’ll find that as a theme in his articles. They both bring a wealth of information to the blog and I enjoyed speaking with them.

Kathie and Karen are both homesteaders. Kathie lives on a small homestead in Montana and works it full time with her husband. Karen is a suburban homesteader in coastal North Carolina. Both raise bees, garden, and preserve food, but their lifestyles are quite different. Tune in and learn more about them, along with tips for getting started on your own homestead.

 

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Review and Giveaway: “The New World” Series by G. Michael Hopf http://thesurvivalmom.com/sanctuary-g-michael-hopf/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sanctuary-g-michael-hopf http://thesurvivalmom.com/sanctuary-g-michael-hopf/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:00:30 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16202 This Giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to our winner – Tom! Once you read this review and get excited about reading all of G. Michael Hopf’s dystopian “The New World Series” – Sanctuary is the newest book – put the Read More

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Sanctuary by G. Michael Hopf

Book 3 in the series and the latest release.

This Giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to our winner – Tom!

Once you read this review and get excited about reading all of G. Michael Hopf’s dystopian “The New World Series” – Sanctuary is the newest book – put the books in your Amazon cart or on your wishlist, enter our contest to win the entire series (at the end of this review), then sit back and wait. If you’re the winner, empty out that cart and start reading! If not, well you still have an excellent series waiting for you!

The author is a former Marine and has researched what the effects of an EMP would be on America. According to Penguin Press, these books are his way of bringing “awareness to this real threat.”

If you’d like to listen to his explanation of how he developed this book series, listen to Lisa Bedford’s interview with author G. Michael Hopf here.

Would you survive a living nightmare?

A time travel machine has been invented, and I hope that no one ever uses it because there is a living nightmare on the other side, and that nightmare is the setting of G. Michael Hopf’s New World Series. That time machine is an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) that could send us all back to the lifestyle of the 1800′s and a life without electricity by destroying (overloading) all our electronics so they no longer work. This includes the electrical grid itself.

As the book series begins, Washington, D.C. is destroyed by a nuclear attack. At the same time, a Super EMP detonates over the Midwest, leaving only Alaska and Hawaii with power in the entire U.S. At first, most people sit around just thinking the power has gone out and will come back on shortly. A few people wonder why their phones and cars aren’t working either. (Older model cars work, but cars built from roughly 1980 on are increasingly chock full of electronics that an EMP would destroy.)

People who see planes fall from the skies realize something bigger has happened. One of those people is Gordon Van Zandt, a former Marine who was out for a morning run in San Diego. While other people wait for the power to return, Gordon has his family start filling up containers with water and grabs a bike and trailer too get supplies, knowing they will disappear fast. His quick decisions set his family up for a good chance of survival.

"The End" by G. Michael Hopf

Book 1 in the series.

Gordon’s brother, Sebastian, is a deployed Marine when the attacks happen. Orders are sent out to recall all military back to the U.S. to help with the recovery on the East coast. However, his unit commander, Lt. Col. Barone, decides to take over the ship and go back to California so the servicemen can help their families survive.

The orders had been given by the only person left alive in the government chain of command, Speaker of the House Brad Conner. He had left Washington because his son was in a car accident in Oklahoma. The ventilator his son is on in the hospital stops working after the EMP and yet, after this loss, Conner realizes that something big has happened. He makes his way to Tinker Air Force Base in an old truck and is sworn in as President.

Down in Mexico, there is one final player who makes an impact in this series, Pablo Juarez. He is the son of a drug lord who sees America’s demise as a chance for restoring Mexico’s glory as his own empire.

These four worlds collide as people try to survive and America tries to get back on its feet. Neighbors turn into enemies over food. People barter with ammo, food, and anything else available. Starvation and disease become the norm. Violence and murder can be viewed from your front porch. Anything that can go wrong, does.

And that’s just in the first few weeks after the attacks.

In the most recently released book of the series, Sanctuary, Gordon finds himself seeking revenge against a leader of a cult who held him captive while his family travels to their land in Idaho. They get there just as winter sets in and are forced to seek shelter amidst strangers, just shy of their goal.

Juarez continues his attack on the former America using any means necessary. The country divides into sections and people like Lt. Col. Barone seize the opportunities to control parts of the country. Even Sebastian finds himself seeking sanctuary as his new marriage divides the family. Without giving too much away, the end will have you wishing book 4 was already released!

It Makes You Really Think

Book 2 in the series.

Book 2 in the series.

I recommend this series for anyone who wants to explore what an EMP could do to our way of life but enjoys good fiction. It is also a great series to lend to people who do not understand or feel the need to prepare for emergency situations. This is one of the most devastating scenarios of what could happen, but it does cause you to think about how and if you could survive a true disaster.

This book is not appropriate for anyone under 18 because there is a lot of descriptive violence, which would be a reality in a post-EMP world.

As a newbie to the postapocalyptic (dystopian) genre, this series was riveting and caused me to think a lot about different scenarios that could happen with an EMP attack. I have re-examined what things we need to have on hand, such as coffee. “The lack of caffeine in this new world had more than once proven to be a problem for him,” Gordon thinks in Sanctuary.

I honestly don’t know how long my family and I would survive after an EMP attack, and I hope we never have to find out. However, it is something that we all should think about when preparing for emergencies.

For more information, visit G. Michael Hopf’s websiteFacebook page, and follow him on Twitter, @GMichaelHopf.

Entering the Contest

The prize for this contest is the entire series! You get all three books so there’s no waiting to buy the next one!

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age and older at the time of entry. The giveaway starts July 29th, 2014 at 5:00 am (CDT) and ends on August 2nd, 2014 at 5:00 am (CDT). We will choose a winner at the end of the giveaway and that person will be notified by email.  They will have 48 hours to respond. If they do not respond we will choose another winner.  Good luck to everyone and here’s to enjoying a great book series!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How to Baton Firewood http://thesurvivalmom.com/baton-firewood/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=baton-firewood http://thesurvivalmom.com/baton-firewood/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:00:03 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15980 Mother Nature often doesn’t like to play nice. While we’d hope that if we had to spend the night in the woods, it would be nothing but clear skies and perhaps just a bit cool, the reality is you are Read More

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Baton FirewoodMother Nature often doesn’t like to play nice. While we’d hope that if we had to spend the night in the woods, it would be nothing but clear skies and perhaps just a bit cool, the reality is you are just as likely to be sitting in the middle of a steady rain with not a dry twig in sight for the evening fire. But, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way.

If you have a sturdy knife, you can find dry wood, even in a downpour. I do have to stress, though, that the knife must be of good quality. A cheap “Made in China” knock off probably won’t stand up to this sort of abuse. Most folding knives aren’t going to have the blade length necessary, either. Ideally, your blade should be four to five inches in length or longer. Batoning firewood is an age-old technique for splitting wood in the field. The objective is to split thick branches so as to expose the dry wood inside.

To baton properly, as well as safely, you need your knife and a solid surface, such as a flat rock or a tree stump. You can do this on packed earth as well, but I’ve found having a harder surface makes the job much easier.

The branches you select to baton or split need to be thinner than the length of your knife blade. For example, if your blade is five inches long, search for limbs that are about three inches thick. As for branch length, look for branches up to about three feet or so. While I’ve successfully batoned branches upwards of five feet long, shorter lengths make things easier to handle. If need be, you can always break or chop long branches into shorter pieces.

Concentrate your searchBaton pic 2 on dead wood that is off the ground, either low branches still attached to trees or branches that have fallen but are resting on rocks or logs. The reason for this is branches lying directly on the ground will have absorbed more moisture and are less likely to be dry inside.

You will also need one branch to act as a hammer of sorts. A solid piece of wood around eighteen inches in length and a couple of inches thick will do the trick nicely.

Position the branch vertically on your rock or tree stump. Place the blade of your knife across the top of the branch, with the blade edge facing into the wood, making a T shape. The100_5864 blade should extend beyond the side of the branch by a couple of inches at least. Next, pick up your “hammer” stick and gently tap the spine of your knife blade, driving the edge into the wood. As it digs deeper, strike the blade more firmly and toward the tip of the blade.

Continue driving the blade through the branch until it splits completely or until you’ve reached a point where you can easily pull the pieces apart by hand. The wood inside should be dry and ready to burn.

Batoning is an excellent addition to the wilderness survival skills toolbox.

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Ponds as Emergency Water Sources http://thesurvivalmom.com/ponds-emergency-water/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ponds-emergency-water http://thesurvivalmom.com/ponds-emergency-water/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16211 In many parts of the United States, ponds are as common as bees. Often the results of periodic flooding in river basins, ponds are an important part of local ecosystems. Many an adult can recall a pleasant childhood memory of Read More

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Ponds emergency waterIn many parts of the United States, ponds are as common as bees. Often the results of periodic flooding in river basins, ponds are an important part of local ecosystems. Many an adult can recall a pleasant childhood memory of chasing frogs or fishing in a local pond. A pond’s ability to sustain wildlife extends to sustaining us as well if you learn how to use ponds as emergency water sources.

Man has tamed the pond, as he has many other of nature’s features, and just as the in-ground pool is now ubiquitous in communities throughout the world, so too, the backyard pond can be possessed by those with the inclination. As the owner of a pond, one possesses not only the valuable aesthetic benefits of this little piece of nature’s beauty but the emergency preparedness benefits as well.

Let’s look at how your beautiful little pond can help sustain your family in a disaster. We’re going to address the backyard pond first, and then we’ll look at how ponds in your local area can supplement your survival strategy.

Beautiful and Life-sustaining

The pond is the anchor of a local ecosystem and sustains aquatic plants, insects, fish, birds, and other wildlife. Water is needed for life, and a concentration of water equals a concentration of life. Whether natural or man-made, a pond contains more water in a small area than you could reasonably store in your garage or backyard shed.

For example, a pond 15 feet by 15 feet and 2 feet deep contains approximately 450 gallons of water, or the equivalent of almost 2,200 pint-sized water bottles (1 cubic foot=7.48 gallons). Add some fish, and you have an additional food supply as well (fish also help control nuisance insects like mosquitoes).

As with any home improvement, money is a trade off with time and effort. In other words, if you have a ton of money, you can just hire a landscape architect to design and build your backyard pond. For the rest of us, there are numerous online resources and books available to help you start your own pond.

A basic pond requires some kind of liner to contain the water. There are rigid ones that are in a particular shape and flexible ones that allow you to design the shape and features within the pond. Anything over about 250 gallons will require the use of a flexible liner.

The actual construction techniques for installing your pond are comprehensively covered online. I particularly like This Old House for a great step-by-step explanation.

In addition to the installation of the pond liner, we have other details to plan. A pond isn’t just storage for water. It is a chemical and biological soup that should be managed to assure nuisances like algae and nitrates don’t ruin your plans. The good news is that you can design the pond’s environment to address likely problems. As a part of your emergency water supply, you need to get this right.

Your ally in keeping your pond environment clear and fresh is oxygen. Just as a living-room aquarium relies on a pump and filter to keep fish alive, a backyard pond benefits from a fresh stream of oxygen in the form of a fountain or waterfall. If you have fish in your pond, a pump and some type of biological filter is essential for removing ammonia and nitrates excreted from the fish. Aquatic plants help in much the same way.

Keeping it Clean

A biological filter sounds pretty complicated. The fact is that all you need is a place for beneficial bacteria to grow and a flow of water through the area. You’re going to love how easy this filter is to make. I have had great success with evaporative (swamp) cooler pads, available at your hardware store. Find a container, like a 55 gallon drum or big trash can, and direct the discharge from your pump into the container. Roll up a swamp cooler pad and place into the container, which needs to have a closed top (cuts down on mosquitoes).

Use a “bulkhead fitting” (also available at the hardware store) to affix a hose from the container back to the pond, where you can direct the discharge to a waterfall or fountain. The good bacteria naturally latch on to the fibers of the pad, and turn the nitrates and ammonia into a dark sludge. This sludge collects at the bottom of the container, and is full of nutrients for plants. Periodic draining of the sludge keeps your bio filter in top shape.

Using the Pond Water for Emergencies

When the finished pond establishes its own balance, the water should be pretty clear. While it is probably safe to drink, prudence indicates at least some basic purification before use. Straining the water through a coffee filter or other cloth will remove the larger particles. At a minimum, boil the water for a couple of minutes. Adding 8 drops of regular chlorine bleach per gallon will accomplish the same level of treatment in 30 minutes. As a last resort, you can put the water in clear plastic bottles and leave it in the sun all day. The ultraviolet rays from the sun kill microbes in the water. Using ponds as emergency water sources only works if the water is safe to drink.

Living Off the Land: Natural Ponds as a Water Source

Using natural pond water is a good strategy in areas with lots of rainfall or with a high water table. It’s a little trickier when you come across a stagnant pool with lots of algae, or foam. If you have the choice, avoid it as the excess algae can indicate contamination with chemical runoff.

When collecting water from a natural pond, draw from below the surface and above the bottom. Both areas are more prone to contaminants. A regular garden hose and 12 volt pump (available at hardware stores) are sufficient for water collection. Take extra care in purifying water from a natural pond, distillation and/or reverse osmosis are ideal methods. Boiling and bleach are second choices.

Of course, other water sources like streams and lakes are valuable water sources, but are greatly outnumbered by the humble pond. To be on the safe side, get your own!

 

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Six maps you need for an urban evacuation http://thesurvivalmom.com/six-maps-you-need-urban-evacuation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=six-maps-you-need-urban-evacuation http://thesurvivalmom.com/six-maps-you-need-urban-evacuation/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:46:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16595 Let’s assume an urban disaster scenario, and you must leave quickly. How will you find your way? What maps do you need? We’re talking about the printed, paper in hand type. Don’t plan to rely on a GPS. They are Read More

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maps you needLet’s assume an urban disaster scenario, and you must leave quickly. How will you find your way? What maps do you need?

We’re talking about the printed, paper in hand type. Don’t plan to rely on a GPS. They are as reliable as their batteries, and constant use could mean the unit is soon powerless. Also, any electronic device can break or just quit working.

So before you worry about maps, get a good compass. I prefer one with a clear baseplate that is designed to work on maps. Invest in a good one with declination settings, and then learn how to use it. The smaller compasses that come with some survival kits are only useful as backups and for giving a general direction.

Here are the maps you need:

City map: Your evacuation will start with this map, so get one with the finest detail possible. This map can help you figure out alternative street evacuation routes if bridges and/or overpasses are closed. Also, gridlock on major highways and freeways is a given, so you might need to plot a course around them.

Topographical map: A topo map is a three-dimensional view of an area. Looking at it, you can get an idea of the terrain.

According to the Geospatial and Analysis Cooperative of Idaho State University: “The concept of a topographic map is, on the surface, fairly simple. Contour lines placed on the map represent lines of equal elevation above (or below) a reference datum.

Topographical maps show the terrain features of an area.

Topographical maps show the terrain features of an area.

“To visualize what a contour line represents, picture a mountain (or any other topographic feature) and imagine slicing through it with a perfectly flat, horizontal piece of glass. The intersection of the mountain with the glass is a line of constant elevation on the surface of the mountain and could be put on a map as a contour line for the elevation of the slice above a reference datum.”

I have the National Geographic mapping software for Oregon, so I create a custom topo map for every outing. I print them out on standard-sized letter or legal-sized paper. These sizes fold nicely in half and fit in a quart Ziploc plastic bag. This bag, in turn, rides in the thigh pocket of my BDU pants. The map is easy to pull out and check, which means it will be.

During an urban evacuation, you might need to go cross-country through a park or open space to avoid crowds or other potential dangers. The city map gives street details, but it may not show water obstacles or other physical barriers. With your topo and compass, you should be able to plot a course effectively.

State Highway map: This gives the big picture of your situation. It shows major highways and roads, and gives general directions. It could be useful for figuring out where to go once you get away from the urban scene.

Forest Service map: I carry this in my car in central Oregon. Commonly referred to as a fire road map, this is a large overview of the national forests and public lands. Most importantly, it shows fire and logging roads. The map doesn’t show if the roads are improved or not, so don’t depend on this map to tell you if you can drive on it. In some instances, the roads may have overgrown into trails. You may be able to hike or ATV them in the summer, or, in the winter, snowshoe or operate a snowmobile.

These maps help you figure alternative routes in wilderness areas. Assuming you make it to a wilderness area, a good compass, this map, and the appropriate topos will be worth their weight in gold.

These four maps should help you get out of town.

Here are some others that could also prove to be useful:

History maps: I buy any historical map I come across. Some of them, such as the Oregon Trail or Lewis and Clark maps, show routes used by historical figures. While the trails may be obscure right now, that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Overland pioneer routes were established because wagons or pack trains could travel on them. Those trails might be a good thing to know at some point.

River charts: My fishing obsession and map nerd-ism combine again with these charts. Every navigable river in the United States has detailed charts showing river terrain, danger areas, and topography of the stream. These charts allow a traveler to plan a river evacuation or trip. I carried a set of Mississippi River charts on my end-to-end journey in 1980. It was easy to plan overnight stops, or decide where to pull out.

On smaller streams, the maps can show take-out points, landings, and water dangers.

Hunting maps: Put out by your state fish and wildlife departments, these are useful to anyone who goes into the wilderness areas. I carry one to see the boundaries of my hunting unit, road closures, and the terrain, to some extent.

None of these maps are of any value if you don’t know how to read and use them. A good training activity including some exercise could be to take your compass and maps, create a possible evacuation scenario and practice navigating somewhere using alternate routes, streets and cross country travel.

So check out these maps, practice with your compass, and give some thought to how you might get out of town if you had to.

For more info on land navigation, visit Staying Found

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How to Always Be Prepared, No Matter Where You Are http://thesurvivalmom.com/always-be-prepared/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=always-be-prepared http://thesurvivalmom.com/always-be-prepared/#comments Sat, 19 Jul 2014 11:00:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15990 When you get right down to it, prepping is all about planning ahead, right? We stock up on food, water, and other supplies so we have them at the ready, come what may. All that, though, is the easy part Read More

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always be preparedWhen you get right down to it, prepping is all about planning ahead, right? We stock up on food, water, and other supplies so we have them at the ready, come what may. All that, though, is the easy part of being prepared. The hard part is to always be prepared, no matter where you happen to find yourself.

To a large degree, preppers go about this stuff in a rather casual manner. You pick up a few extra cans of veggies when they’re on sale, no big deal. Today, though, we’re going to talk about prepping while on the move and anticipating needs in a more active and immediate manner.

How do you make sure you’re prepared for any number of survival needs when you’re away from home?

Never leave home without the basics

First, make sure you have a well-equipped emergency kit in your vehicle and in a small bag or backpack that you always have with you. These could be a few Everyday Carry (EDC) items, a Bug Out Bag, or just an extra cosmetic bag in your purse filled with a few items like a Swiss army knife, small roll of duct tape, pocket water purifier, and a LED flashlight.

These supplies will form the core of your survival, no matter where you are. Here’s a handy list to get you started.

Look around for resources and basic survival supplies

Here’s an example of how this works. When taking a break while hiking, look around for natural forms of tinder, such as seed pods, dry grass, and such. Put a handful of it into a plastic bag (you DID remember to put a few empty bags in your kit, right?) and stash that in your pocket. Odds are you won’t need it for building a fire later, but if you do, you’ll have it with you. When you make it home safely, just take it out of the plastic bag and toss it on the compost pile.

Make a mental note of other resources you come across as well. If you happen across a stream or spring that might end up being a source of emergency water, try and remember its location relative to your travel going forward. Assuming you’ve learned a thing or two already about wild edibles, keep an eye out for those, too, in case you need a night’s meal. You might even go so far as to pick a few plump blackberries to munch on later.

While you’re at it, make an effort to check your compass (real or an app) on a regular basis and keep track of your direction of travel. Do this often enough and you’ll get to the point where you develop an internal compass and you’ll just know which way is north. That probably won’t happen your first time out, of course, but spend enough time outdoors and it’ll come. The point is to be in a position where you’ll be able to retrace your steps, to one degree or another, in case you stray from the path and make a wrong turn.

When Should You Do This?

This isn’t something limited to wilderness excursions. Get in the habit of anticipating survival needs everywhere you go. When you go to a movie or out to eat, take note of where all the emergency exits are located, in case there’s a fire or another reason to evacuate. Keep an eye out for easy to remember landmarks when driving in an unfamiliar area. They can help you backtrack, if you make a left when you should have jogged right.

Getting lost while driving might not seem like a true survival situation but, take it from someone who does an awful lot of city driving, it can be quite easy to suddenly find yourself in a very sketchy part of town. If that happens, you want to be able to exit stage right posthaste.

At first, you’ll need to keep all of this at the forefront of your mind, actively thinking about how you’ll meet potential survival needs. But, as time goes on and you do it more and more, you’ll find it becomes second nature and you’ll do it unconsciously.

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