The Survival Mom » More http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Survival Mom Radio Network Signs Off http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-radio-network/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-radio-network/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19566 Two years ago a friendly acquaintance on Facebook said to me, “Lisa, why don’t you create your own podcast network?” I had been tossing around some ideas with him about setting up my own podcast and, possibly, joining a network. Read More

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PinkRetroRadio-150x150Two years ago a friendly acquaintance on Facebook said to me, “Lisa, why don’t you create your own podcast network?” I had been tossing around some ideas with him about setting up my own podcast and, possibly, joining a network.

There was something about his suggestion that stuck in my brain, and although I knew nothing of podcasting, much less running a network, that idea had been planted, and it wasn’t going anywhere!

In January of 2013, I began putting plans together and casually asked a group of women bloggers if they might be interested in joining me with weekly shows. An all-women network was what I had in mind. A far more experienced podcaster said to me bluntly, “All women hosts isn’t going to work,” but I knew that it could. There were already 2 or 3 “prepper” networks out there, and since I’ve never been one to fit a mold, I wanted the Survival Mom network to be different, not narrowly focused on prepper/survival topics only.

As more than a dozen hosts signed on, I became more and more nervous. I knew nothing of sound editing, nor did my husband, who was going to be my partner in running the network. We didn’t have any advertisers and, frankly, had no idea if our shows would have even a few dozen listeners.

Our official launch date was April 8, 2013. Among that early group of hosts was Vickilynn Haycraft, Donna Miller, Charley Cooke, Julie Behling-Hovdal, Sharon Peterson, Angela Paskett, and Kendra from New Life on a Homestead.

As a team, we faced one hurdle after another, but our group persevered and stood by me as I made more than my fair share of mistakes. (Thanks, ladies!)

Eventually, we learned that our efforts were paying off in huge numbers of downloads. Just between June 1, of this year through the end of October, our shows were downloaded more than 2 million times. Clearly, we’ve reached our audience, and then some, and they aren’t all women! We have plenty of men who listen to our shows and enjoy them.

The Family Factor

At this point, let me say that when I first started the blog, my kids were just 7 and 9. They have grown up as The Survival Mom’s kids, and have, I hope, enjoyed the experience. However, now they are both young teens. My daughter is 15, my son will turn 13 on Thanksgiving Day.

If you’re a parent, you know that feeling when you look at your children and suddenly realize that your time with them is running short.

That’s where I stand now.

Running the podcast network was one of the most time consuming projects I had ever tackled. Each show is time sensitive. A Monday show can’t just casually show up on Wednesday afternoon or Saturday mid-morning! The process of maintaining that weekly schedule kept my husband and I on our toes for a year and a half.

About a month ago, I realized that I needed to set aside the network in order to focus more on my kids, their last few  years of homeschooling, and then just wait on God to see where my path takes me next.

Closing Up Shop

The week of Monday, November 24, is the last week that brand new shows will be produced for the network. My own podcast will continue and, for now, it will continue on The Survival Mom Radio Network feed every Tuesday. If you’ve been listening to our  shows via Stitcher, iTunes, or any other podcast app, you’ll see new episodes of my show and it will continue indefinitely.

I wanted to end the shows this coming week so my hosts could relax, enjoy the holidays, and have plenty of time to decide whether or not their own shows will continue. You can keep up to date with them by visiting their websites, Facebook pages, and by signing up for their newsletters. As well, for those hosts who continue their shows, they will likely be on the Prepper Broadcasting Network.

All of our past network episodes will be available to you 24/7 on The Survival Mom Radio Network website. They can be listened to directly from the website or downloaded to your computer for later listening. In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking steps to make it easier for you to search the podcasts by topic. With more than 700 episodes available, there is a vast amount of information and entertainment, and it will take you months to get through all of it!

For now, I’ll be spending time writing blog articles and may add a few ebooks in the near future. For sure, I’ll be careful about where I commit my time, and I encourage each of you to do the same. Your kids may be grown and long since out of the house, but so often in our culture, we end up spending time on things that are of lesser importance and end up neglecting things of real value.

Thank you for being part of my Survival Mom journey and for those of you who were loyal listeners to our podcasts, we appreciated you more than you’ll ever know.

 

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The Living Off the Land Fallacy http://thesurvivalmom.com/living-off-land-fallacy/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/living-off-land-fallacy/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:00:39 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19054 A common plan tossed around by survivalists and preppers is this idea that in the event of martial law or some other crisis, they are going to head off to the hills, presumably for weeks or months, and just live Read More

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living off the landA common plan tossed around by survivalists and preppers is this idea that in the event of martial law or some other crisis, they are going to head off to the hills, presumably for weeks or months, and just live off the land.  While this sort of plan might appeal to the pioneer and bushcraft spirit, if nothing else, the reality is that for most people, this is just planning to fail.

Basic Problems

There are a few problems with falling into what I call the Living Off the Land Fallacy.  For starters, while the DNR isn’t likely going to be enforcing fair hunting rules, you aren’t going to be the only goofball out there with a rifle or bow.  If you’ve ever gone hunting with someone brand new to it, you know just how frustrating, even dangerous, it can be.  They don’t know how to be quiet.  They want to take shots that are risky at best.  They just don’t know what the heck they are doing, right?  Now, multiply that times a thousand as there are going to be a ton of other folks, just like that, out there looking for their own dinners.

On top of that, it won’t take long before tens of thousands of house pets are going to turn feral and be competing with you for the small game.  Granted, some folks might look at that as just being an addition of potential targets for lunch.  Even so, competition is going to be fierce.  It won’t take long before even the ubiquitous squirrel is scarce.

Fishing

What about fishing?  Okay, not a bad plan but do you really think you’re going to be the only Babe Winkelman out there wetting a line?  Plus, likely as not you’re also going to have at least a small segment of the population who will sit on the sidelines and wait for someone to reel in a good sized bass, then take it from them by hook or by crook.

I grew up in an area where deer hunting is akin to religion.  The school district darn near shuts down during gun season, given how many students head up north with their parents to see about adding a trophy to the wall.  These people have been hunting for generations and know all the tricks.  Yet, for all of that, only about a third of them are successful in a given year.  Granted, that’s big game, but still, food for thought.

Wild Edibles

As for wild edibles, that’s something to consider, but you need to know what you’re doing so as to avoid poisonous lookalikes and such.  Plus, consider the fact that the crisis may hit in the dead of winter, when not too many things are growing in abundance.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you abandon all plans for hunting/fishing/trapping/gathering.  Instead, consider those options as ways to supplement what you’ve stockpiled and grown on your own.  Generally speaking, the plan would be to have enough food packed away to get you through at least one, if not two, complete growing seasons.  Have plans in place for growing much of your own food from seeds you harvest yourself.  Raise chickens, goats, and other potential meat sources.  Learn now the best ways to preserve meat if you don’t have access to electricity, and thus freezers.

Above all, abandon the attitude of “Me hunter. Me go kill meat for family.”  That way of thinking will indeed likely result in a death, but probably not of the four-legged variety.

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My Opinion: Cell Phones Have Made Us Soft and Have Affected Our Ability to Survive http://thesurvivalmom.com/cell-phones-survive/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/cell-phones-survive/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 09:02:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19290 Technophilia: “a strong enthusiasm for technology, especially new technologies such as personal computers, the Internet, [and] mobile phones.” Caution! The following story is true. Names have been changed or omitted to prevent embarrassment of the woefully ill-educated, miss-informed, and unprepared Read More

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cell phones survive

How can cell phones and other technology affect our ability to survive?

Technophilia: “a strong enthusiasm for technology, especially new technologies such as personal computers, the Internet, [and] mobile phones.”

Caution! The following story is true. Names have been changed or omitted to prevent embarrassment of the woefully ill-educated, miss-informed, and unprepared in this cautionary tale…

Prelude

One morning, about a month ago, I was in the parking lot of a popular hiking area in the Colorado Front Range. The small dirt lot, surrounded by mixed forest on three sides and a meadow on the fourth, was overflowing with vehicles. This was no surprise as the fall colors were peaking. People were out in force to take in the views, and so was I.

Leaning against the bumper of my car, enjoying the morning sun, I switched my flip flops for hiking shoes and got ready to don my daypack. I looked up from my task and took in the scene around me. There were at least fifteen people milling about, readying gear and preparing to hit the trails. What I found so striking is what I have come to call the surefire hallmarks of the unprepared.

As hikers left the parking lot and headed out on various trails, I could see only three day packs, one camelbak, and couple of water bottle holders on hips. These weren’t nearly the size of packs necessary to hold basic personal and emergency gear for a day hike compared to the number of people in the group. Notably, I also saw nine cell phones (OK, ten if you include mine). Wait a minute, ten cell phones?

You heard me correctly. Ten cell phones either in hand, up to an ear, attached to a belt, in a pocket, or secured to a pack strap. Oh, I almost forgot, and one iPad, as well as a set of earbuds in use. I later found out the iPad was for taking pictures. Really? An iPad for taking pictures on a hike and earphones to drown out the noises… of nature? But, I digress, back to the tale at hand.

In short order, I shouldered my daypack, took one last look at the trail map, put it in my shirt pocket, and started my hike. The day turned out to be beautiful. The weather was mild, the trees and shrubs were aflame with brilliant fall colors, and the vistas were breathtaking. I was so enjoying the day, but that was about to change.

The Event

Four miles out from the trail head, about a mile from the end of the hike, I was following a bend in the tree-lined path and came upon a scene of mild pandemonium.

A family of four and two additional hikers were massed on the side of the trail. The dad was in obvious distress, sitting up against a tree and holding his right ankle. The mom was hovering over him with her cell phone to her ear trying to call for help as their young daughter was clinging to her leg, frightened and crying softly. Meanwhile, the couple’s twelve year old son was five yards away kneeling at a small stream filling the family’s one and only water bottle, emptied before the hike ended, so he could give his dad a drink.

To add to the mix, the two other hikers, poised near the dad, each had their cell phones out. One was dutifully attempting to read a first aid app and the other trying to make a call for help, as well. There was no cell service on this part of the trail. The scene would have been comical if it wasn’t so potentially dangerous.

I quickly introduced myself and took control of the unfolding situation. Following a head-to-toe assessment of the dad, his ankle was padded and wrapped in an ace bandage from my pack and immobilized in a makeshift splint constructed of materials at hand. After asking about signal strength, I had everyone stop attempting to call for help so we could conserve battery power for later use if need be. Mom gathered the kids up and calmed the daughter. I asked the two hikers to go ahead together and find or call for a ranger. Dad was able to hobble out with assistance. The family and I slowly walked the last mile to the cars. Everyone made it safely off the trail.

Aftermath

At the parking area, the ranger, who had been on patrol nearby, asked some questions of the group. Come to find out, none of the adults had any first aid training or a first aid kit.  In addition, had weather or circumstances dictated it, the group didn’t have the basic or proper gear to spend an unplanned night out, not even a headlamp or flashlight to assist in an forced night hike. Markedly, five out of the six people in the group had cell phones so they could “call for help if they became lost or hurt.”

The Point and My Opinion

The issue is much broader than just cell phones. As our country has become urbanized and citified, and a growing portion of our population has become afflicted with technophilia (yes, this is a real state of being and word), it has become painfully obvious to me that the  meaning of preparedness, self-reliance and self-sufficiency has become bastardized and in some ways lost.

Reliance on one’s skills, knowledge and experience has been replaced with a dependence on the latest techno-tools, gadgets and gear that purport to be able to make your experience more enjoyable and help you in an emergency. But what good are the gadgets without the understanding of how to use them effectively?  And even more importantly what are their limitations, as in this case of the unusable cell phones?

Where’s the Beef?

National search and rescue statistics consistently show that day hikers are the ones most likely to need help. Additionally, in a report entitled Search and Rescue Trends Associated With Recreational Travel in US National Parks, the authors found that,

“[t]here is a general feeling among many SAR ’(Search and Rescue)’ unit managers in the United States that cell phones are being used to request…assistance in what turns out to be minor situations. They may also be used as an excuse to take extra risks because help is only a phone call away.”

I think in the event I described, both of these statements apply. With the advent and advancement of cell phone technology, many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts alike have become lulled into a false sense of security and complacency instead of acquiring the basic knowledge and skills needed to safely enjoy the great outdoors.

Don’t think you are exempt just because you are a prepper, survivalist or homesteader and “don’t really do much day hiking or backpacking.” No matter what you call yourself,  it is vital to master survival basics.  I know they are not flashy, don’t have a big “wow” factor,as many of the latest gee-wiz techno-gadgets, but they are essential. Let’s face it, for most people, learning how to build a basic shelter, filter water, or start a fire is not nearly as fun or engaging as watcSurvival-Factorshing your favorite rerun of Survivor Man or NatGeo’s Doomsday Preppers.

Whether it is a world event or local emergency which causes you to use your survival training and tools, it will be your knowledge, skills and experience in the basics combined with the correct gear and resources that will count the most and make a difference for you, your family and like-minded friends to be able to survive and potentially thrive.

The Challenge and Call to Action

So before you head out on that nice day hike you have been planning, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is your first aid certificate up to date?
  • Are you practiced in CPR?
  • Do you have not only your personal gear, but some basic first aid and survival gear in your day pack, just in case you become involved in a survival event?

If the answer to even one of these questions is “no”, do yourself and everyone else out on the trail a favor, Stay home! Take a first aid and CPR class. Research, purchase and practice with your basic survival gear. Then practice some more. You can then take that hike with a high degree of certainty that if you become involved in a survival event, like I did, you will have the basic knowledge, skills, experience and tools to properly help yourself and others.

Are you a prepper, survivalist or homesteader? The same goes for you. If you cannot answer yes to all three of the questions above, instead of taking on that next task or purchase on your to-do list, complete a first aid and CPR course. Gather some basic survival gear and put it in a designated place such as a day pack. Add “practice survival skills” to your list of  to-do’s on a regular basis.

Practice in the environment you spend most of your time. Home, homestead, backyard, or even at the local park. Make it as realistic as possible, so that someday, if a emergency or survival event happens, you will be ready to respond. All the other preps you have put in place may be for not, if you don’t.

Back to Cell Phones

As for cell phones, frankly, I find them annoying and distracting when I am out hiking, whether it is mine or someone else’s. Lest you think I’m completely naive and an unrealistic prude, I know they are good for the occasional selfie, group picture or nature shot and yes, used appropriately and effectively, have saved lives. Still, I think cell phones are better turned off and put in your pocket or pack while you are enjoying your outing, and saved for a real emergency. That’s where mine stayed as this mini-rescue took place.

The Rest of the Story

The dad refused ambulatory medical assistance at the scene and was driven to the local ER by his wife, where he was treated for a severely sprained ankle and a slightly bruised ego.

As for the son, filling up the family water bottle at the nearby stream where the accident took place, I was able to prevent him from giving his dad any of the unfiltered and untreated liquid, but not before he gulped down some to quench his own thirst. I’m sure that story had its own ending…

All images and graphics belong to the the author.

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Brrrr! Get Ready for The Polar Vortex With These Resources http://thesurvivalmom.com/brrrr-get-ready-polar-vortex-resources/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/brrrr-get-ready-polar-vortex-resources/#comments Sat, 08 Nov 2014 07:00:12 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19357 It’s barely November and there is already a polar vortex barreling down on us. Even if you live somewhere warm, most of the USA (except for Hawaii) gets at least somewhat cooler in the winter. For some of us, it’s Read More

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polar vortexIt’s barely November and there is already a polar vortex barreling down on us. Even if you live somewhere warm, most of the USA (except for Hawaii) gets at least somewhat cooler in the winter.

For some of us, it’s as simple as swapping flip flips for shoes that hide our toes and wearing long sleeves and long pants. Others have bigger adjustments, like much shorter days, sub-zero temperatures, and machines (like cars) that don’t like operating in weather that cold.

Even if you are prepared for winter, these posts will help you get just a little bit better prepared for cold weather.

Read More

If You Just Moved Here: Surviving Severe Winter Weather

Freezing to death in your own home? Learn to live in just one room

A mom’s guide to getting ready for winter travel

Easy 5-Ingredient Crock Pot Chili

Grid-Down? Have coffee anyway!

Home Protection: Fire Safety

Even if you aren’t living in a car, you need to read these terrific survival tips!

Get started on your emergency preparedness plan with these downloads!

Stay Warm This Winter With Canned Heat

Snow Happens, or What Everybody Should Know About Snow Storm Survival

How to Baton Firewood

Instant Survival Tips:

Here are a few Instant Survival Tips on cold weather topics.

Triple your warmth options

Add silk long underwear to your preps

You CAN compost during winter’s chilly months!

A refrigerator for life and death scenarios

Firewood Tricks

Prepare your kids for disasters away from home

What tips do you have to share?

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Book Review – “Preppers: History and the Cultural Phenomenon” by Lynda King http://thesurvivalmom.com/book-review-preppers-history-cultural-phenomenon-lynda-king/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/book-review-preppers-history-cultural-phenomenon-lynda-king/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:00:27 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18881 Preppers: History and the Cultural Phenomenon is a non-fiction book written by Lynda King, a freelance writer and community preparedness educator. The book was published in 2014 by Prepper Press and is available in paperback and e-book formats. OVERVIEW: The Read More

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Prepper book review postPreppers: History and the Cultural Phenomenon is a non-fiction book written by Lynda King, a freelance writer and community preparedness educator. The book was published in 2014 by Prepper Press and is available in paperback and e-book formats.

OVERVIEW:

The book begins with a quote by General George S. Patton: “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” This is exactly what Part One of the book accomplishes as it provides a history lesson of US and world events (weather, political, cultural, economic) that give the reader an understanding that “preppers” are not a new phenomenon in our culture.

Part Two is titled “A Look at Modern Preppers.” Several chapters include topics such as how technology (like internet access) has influenced preparedness, a look at different events that people are prepping for, how people prepare, and the booming preparedness business marketplace.

The book is 306 pages long, but the last 50 pages make up the extensive list of references, a complete index, a basic prepper jargon glossary, a list of related websites, and information on prepper expos and conferences held around the country.

COMMENTARY:

Many people think that “prepping” is a new thing, brought about in 1999 with the Y2K scare. The history as presented in this book shows that people have been preppers since at least Biblical days. Though I found the history presented fascinating, the direct link between the historical events and prepping were not directly made.

For example, the discussions of the Victory Gardens or the creation of the Civil Defense Councils were informative, but it is up to the reader to make the connection that these people should be considered early preppers. A few times, Ms. King mentions that those who were already living self-reliant lifestyles faired better than their less prepared counterparts, but I would have preferred a more specific link to be made in the text.

What Part One does very nicely is show the reader that our history is full of proof that bad things can and do happen, with alarming regularity. If someone ever asks why you are preparing for bad times, you’ll be armed with myriad historical facts to show that it’s not a possibility, but an inevitability that bad times will happen again.

The content of Part Two that discusses multiple aspects of the modern prepper was mostly filled with information that I, as an experienced prepper, felt like I already “knew” in my head, but hadn’t necessarily seen presented all in one place before. Fully understanding this content will make the reader more able to have articulate and intelligent discussions about the prepper movement.

BOTTOM LINE:

This book reads like a textbook. That’s not to say it is boring or dry at all, but with the amount of historical content, inserted quotes and references, a lot of statistics, and a huge range of sources, I found it to be a much more intellectual read than the vast majority of other non-fiction preparedness books.

I recommend this book to the following people…

  • To the reluctant newbie who would benefit from the historical content as proof that the world is predictably unpredictable and being prepared for hard times is essential.
  • To the prepper-curious who wants to learn more about the subculture and motivations of the prepper community
  • To the left-brained preppers who enjoy scholarly reads and want an excellent reference book on their shelf.
  • To any preppers who are looking for a high quality book that is truly different than all the others in the non-fiction preparedness genre that seem to get churned out by the hour.

 

 

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Lodge Cast Iron GIVEAWAY! http://thesurvivalmom.com/lodge-cast-iron-giveaway/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/lodge-cast-iron-giveaway/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 08:17:17 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19144 Over the past couple of years, I have fallen in love with my cast iron skillets and Durch oven. My son swears that the best peach cobbler in the world comes only from a Dutch oven over a campfire! Along Read More

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image by Will Merydth

image by Will Merydth

Over the past couple of years, I have fallen in love with my cast iron skillets and Durch oven. My son swears that the best peach cobbler in the world comes only from a Dutch oven over a campfire!

Along with some of my blogger friends, we’re giving away a beautiful set of Lodge Cast Iron!

To enter this giveaway you must be 18 years of age and live in the lower 48 states of the United States (sorry, shipping costs and other laws prohibit us from making it open to everyone else) Go here to read our complete list of contest giveaway rules. This giveaway is sponsored by:

Melissa K. Norris of Pioneering Today 25+ One Dish Cast Iron and Dutch Oven Recipes

Laurie of Common Sense Homesteading

Tammy of Trayer Wilderness

Lisa of The Suvival Mom 12 White Hot Ways to use Cast Iron

Kathie of Home Spun Seasonal Living

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ebola Has Unnecessarily Come to America…And I Am Livid! http://thesurvivalmom.com/ebola-in-america/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/ebola-in-america/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18896 I am horrified at what has been unfolding in the U.S. in regards to the Ebola virus. From 2003-2005, I was the Team Leader of a U.S. Government Disaster Medical Assistance Team, a 120+ member group of volunteer physicians, nurses, Read More

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Ebola in America

I am horrified at what has been unfolding in the U.S. in regards to the Ebola virus. From 2003-2005, I was the Team Leader of a U.S. Government Disaster Medical Assistance Team, a 120+ member group of volunteer physicians, nurses, medics, and supporting personnel able to respond to disaster sites at a moment’s notice to save lives.

My team worked their butts off to train, prepare, exercise, and deploy to disasters. We made a difference in Americans lives, and even though I’ve left the team, it continues to fulfill its’ mission: “Catastrophic Care for the Nation.” My team is part of the 70+-team National Disaster Medical System, a public-private partnership that silently prepares 24/7 to come to the aid of stricken communities in the midst of disaster and chaos.

But as hard as the teams may work to save lives and alleviate suffering, when people who are supposed to be on our side can’t seem to get anything right, it makes us understandably upset, even angry.

Our Health System is the Envy of the World

I have incredulously watched the slow-motion train wreck that is the reaction of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the Ebola crisis, and all I can do is cringe. As a country, we are incredibly fortunate to have the best health care system in the world. Leaders of other countries routinely fly here for care because there is no finer care available. Cedars-Sinai, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts General, all of these hospital names are familiar and bring to mind quality and excellence.

So Much Potential, Such Little Results

Sadly, our Federal public health infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the excellence found in local primary care and hospital systems. In particular, the CDC has played fast and loose with the containment of incredibly dangerous infectious pathogens, most recently in 2012 and earlier this year.

Even more disturbing has been the attitude of CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, who testified before Congress on October 16, and said, “We remain confident that Ebola is not a significant public health threat to the United States,”

Quickly following that statement he then said in written testimony submitted before he appeared before a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “We know Ebola can be stopped with rapid diagnosis, appropriate triage and meticulous infection-control practices in American hospitals.”

Does this guy sound like he’s taking things seriously?

This is part of the reason I’m livid.

Open Borders and Airways

All the while, Frieden and President Obama are in deep denial over the utility of travel bans or restrictions of persons traveling from the three most affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Such restrictions are favored by many in the health field, notably by Dr. David Samadi, M.D. and others.

The Associated Press noted that, “border closings may also be helping halt the spread of Ebola” in a region where 4,500 people have died of Ebola and over 200 medical professionals have passed away as well. According to an NPR report, Ebola is referred to as the “nurse killer” in Liberia because it has killed so many caretakers.

Ebola, as the Associated Press noted, has ravaged, “Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, overwhelming their health systems,” and countries like Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal that share a border with one of these affected countries “have closed those borders.”

International SOS, which has been actively monitoring Ebola in Africa for its member organizations, compiled a list of nations that have instituted, “entry restrictions” for land, air, and water travel. In addition, “health screening has also been implemented at ports of entry and departure in various countries throughout West Africa.”

At a House hearing on Thursday in which Centers for Disease Control director Tom Frieden refused to answer whether his agency has discussed travel restrictions with the White House, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) referenced the International SOS list. Frieden said he had not seen it yet but would take Griffith’s word that numerous African nations have been successfully combating Ebola with border restrictions. Frieden, in a statement, admitted that “porous land borders” initially worsened the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.”

Unfortunately, the travel restriction issue has been conflated with our ongoing “open borders” immigration issue, so our Ebola medical strategy is now politicized.

Are you beginning to get angry?

CDC Slow to Help

We now know that the CDC was slow to provide support to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted as America’s first confirmed Ebola case. Duncan died on October 8, and left a legacy of infecting at least two of his nurses. The two nurses who contracted Ebola, “demonstrate the need to strengthen the procedures for infection-control protocols which allowed for exposure to the virus,”Frieden admitted.

The nurses who treated Duncan made a statement through their union that is worth reading.

It’s enough to piss anyone off!

Ebola Travels from Texas to Ohio, and Takes a Cruise

The CDC’s passivity next led to one of the infected nurses, Amber Vinson, to take a flight to Cleveland, Ohio, while under “voluntary self-monitoring” for Ebola symptoms. Even when she began to feel symptoms in Ohio and she inquired of the CDC whether she should take her flight home, she was cleared by the CDC official to fly.

A review of the circumstances has led the airline, Frontier Airways to decontaminate two of their aircraft and notify about 800 travelers of their potential exposure due to Vinson’s travel. Even more ridiculous, the public learned that a Laboratory Supervisor who had handled Duncan’s blood samples was on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, and subsequently the countries of Belize and Mexico refused to allow the ship to dock due to the health risk.

Thousands of pissed off travelers and the Ebola story here in America continues to unfold with a new case in New York City. How many more will we learn about in the days and weeks to come?

This didn’t have to happen!

What We Could Face if We Don’t Get Our Act Together

“The doctors and health workers of Médecins sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, have done so, in heroic, lonesome fashion. The group has been fighting Ebola in the villages of West Africa, where the entire social structure has broken down, since well before the West cared, and with desperately few resources.”

Pierre Trbovic, an M.S.F. volunteer from Belgium, wrote a few weeks ago about taking on what was regarded as the most awful job at an Ebola center in Liberia: telling people that there were no more beds. “The first person I had to turn away was a father who had brought his sick daughter in the trunk of his car. He was an educated man, and he pleaded with me to take his teenage daughter, saying that while he knew we couldn’t save her life, at least we could save the rest of his family from her. At that point I had to go behind one of the tents to cry,” he said. The center couldn’t admit more without putting all the patients at risk; there was a constant struggle to keep the tents clean of human excrement, blood, and vomit, and to remove the dead bodies.”

In August, M.S.F. had six hundred and fifty people in the field. Now, it has three thousand, in six locations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. “Now we have reached our ceiling,” Brice de le Vingne, the director of operations, said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. The same day, the group noted that sixteen of its workers had tested positive for the Ebola virus, and nine had died.

That here, with our bright hospitals, we would allow the disease to spread through simple carelessness feels like a betrayal. At last count there are only 9 hospital beds in the entire U.S. prepared for Ebola patients!

Ebola Czar? He Wouldn’t Know a Virus if He Tripped Over One

I conclude with the latest madness to befall us, the appointment of Ron Klain: “Facing renewed criticism of his handling of the Ebola risk, Obama will make Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, his point man on fighting Ebola at home and in West Africa. Klain will report to national security adviser Susan Rice and to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, the White House said. Klain does not have a medical or a health care background.

Now I’m REALLY pissed! It’s time to hold our elected officials accountable and to let our voices be heard. Ebola has come to America unnecessarily and left us with a scarier and more uncertain future than ever.

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Ta Da! Check Out the NEW SURVIVAL MOM TEAM STORE! http://thesurvivalmom.com/new-survival-mom-store/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/new-survival-mom-store/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17538 The Survival Mom finds all kinds of great books, gadgets, and things we can all use to help us in our every day lives and in becoming more prepared. It can be hard to keep track of them, and even Read More

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grand openingThe Survival Mom finds all kinds of great books, gadgets, and things we can all use to help us in our every day lives and in becoming more prepared. It can be hard to keep track of them, and even harder to find something you saw mentioned in an article a few months ago.

So what’s the solution? The new SURVIVAL MOM TEAM STORE! It has items recommended by all the members of the writing and podcast teams, including items mentioned in our blog articles. It is based on the Amazon store, so you can go ahead and use the Amazon checkout you are already comfortable with, look at all the reviews on Amazon, and if you have Amazon Prime, free 2-day shipping!

For those of you who don’t know how the process works, you pay the same amount as you do when you go straight to Amazon to buy the items in the store. The difference is that a portion of the price of that item and every other item in your cart when you check out, as long as it is within a day or two of visiting the store, will go toward supporting this blog, the podcast network, and the weekly newsletter. It doesn’t cost you a penny more.

What is in the Survival Mom Team Store?

You’ll find all kinds of things in helpful categories, such as books, camping and outdoor equipment, games, movies, cooking utensils, tools, machines (like a sewing machine), specialty hobby supplies, and even budget-friendly survival supplies.

There are hundreds of items already and we keep adding more every day!

You’ll find a few items featured on the store site. These are things we like a lot, for some reason. Right now there is a non-electric portable slow-cooker, a Celtic animated movie, hand sanitizer that does NOT leave your hands dried out, a smoke alarm that lets you record a message instead of beeping, and an ultra-light camping stove. Tomorrow, it may be something different. But whatever it is, we think it’s extra-special!

Is it Only For Disasters?

Of course not. Lots of these items can be used for everyday life. The Breathe Healthy face masks in the Viral Outbreak category (under Worst Case Preps) are machine washable fabric impregnated with an antimicrobial agent, and it’s MUCH more comfortable than a disposable mask if you are doing dusty yard or housework.

Wool emergency blankets in your car come in handy when the weather turns unexpectedly cool during a game. And books, movies, and TV shows are just plain fun.

There is a even whole section full of gift ideas.

So, Do You Have Disaster Prep?

Of course! Viral Outbreak has the most items for fairly obvious reasons, but there are tons of items for Fire Safety under Safety & Security as well, and there are items for Nuclear protection as well. (If you live near a nuclear power plant, keeping Potassium Iodide Tablets on hand isn’t a bad idea.) You’ll also find products we like for your emergency kits and bug out bags. We will add more categories and products in the future.

Let us know what you think!

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Basic Steps to Maintain Your Core Temperature http://thesurvivalmom.com/maintain-your-core-temperature/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/maintain-your-core-temperature/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:00:22 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18546 In a true survival situation, such as if you’re lost in the woods, the first priority is to do everything you can to maintain your core body temperature. Hypothermia (core temperature too low) can kill a whole lot faster than Read More

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body temp2In a true survival situation, such as if you’re lost in the woods, the first priority is to do everything you can to maintain your core body temperature. Hypothermia (core temperature too low) can kill a whole lot faster than a lack of food or water. Hyperthermia (core temperature too high) is no fun, either.

First Steps

The first step is to get out of the elements if at all possible. Rain, snow, wind, and even the hot sun can all negatively affect you. Avoid sitting on damp ground or cold rocks. If you have a jacket or something with you, use it as a cushion to help avoid losing body heat through conduction. Insulating yourself from other objects is important when trying to maintain your core temperature.

Our first line of defense is our clothing, of course. Always strive to either wear or have with you seasonal appropriate outerwear. Even a small rain poncho stuffed into a pocket or pack will benefit you should the weather take a turn.

A good quality emergency blanket will also work well. I stress, though, that you should purchase one of good quality. The cheap ones, such as you might find at a dollar store, are so thin and fragile they are all but worthless. Spend a couple of extra dollars and get something durable, possibly even wool. More than one hiker has unfolded their cheap emergency blanket and found nothing but ribbons of material because it had worn through on all of the folds in the package.

Staying Warm

Emergency blankets work best when wrapped tightly around you, like a cocoon. However, they can also serve as a roof for an expedient shelter, keeping the rain and snow off of you. Most of them don’t come with easy attachment points where you can tie paracord (you do carry paracord, right?) but you can make your own grommets, after a fashion. Take a small rock and place it in the corner of the blanket. Fold the blanket around the rock a couple of times, then tie your paracord around the resulting bulge.

A small campfire can also serve to warm you up and dry you out. This is why every survival kit, no matter how small, should have fire making gear in it. A butane lighter, strike anywhere matches, and/or a ferro rod, coupled with tinder like dryer lint or cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, will make this job infinitely easier than trying to assemble a bow drill or some other primitive fire making apparatus.

If the weather has been rainy and you have a hard time finding dry wood, try batoning firewood. Yet another way is to use a pencil sharpener to carve off wood shavings from thin sticks. That should provide enough small fuel to at least get the fire started.

Staying Cool

But, what if the problem is too much heat, rather than too little? Baking in the sun will dehydrate you quickly, adding to your dilemma. Use your poncho, emergency blanket, or even a shirt or jacket to create shade to rest under. Limit your activity as much as you can.

If you have a body of water nearby, such as a pond or stream, soak fabric and place it on your neck and wrists. I do not recommend you use your available drinking water for this, though. Consume your potable water to keep hydrated.

Maintaining your core body temperature is absolutely crucial to survival. Be sure to have the proper gear with you any time you venture into the field.

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Preparedness on the High Seas http://thesurvivalmom.com/preparedness-high-seas/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/preparedness-high-seas/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 06:00:45 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18879 In 1997, I went on my first cruise and loved it. In September 2014, I went on my 13th cruise. Cruising is a fantastic way to vacation but there are some safety and preparedness issues that are unique to this Read More

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Cruise the High SeasIn 1997, I went on my first cruise and loved it. In September 2014, I went on my 13th cruise. Cruising is a fantastic way to vacation but there are some safety and preparedness issues that are unique to this kind of travel.

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, and many know the story of the Costa Concordia or the Carnival Triumph. These cases, while they got a lot of attention, are rare. But obviously, they do happen and you need to be prepared in case an emergency happens during your vacation.

Know your cruise ship and the emergency procedures.

Some people find it difficult to find their way around a large cruise ship. It is sometimes easy to get turned around and not know fore from aft. Each ship has a pocket sized deck plan you can carry with you. Get one and study it so you will know your way in an emergency.

LifeBoatAttendance at a “muster drill” is mandatory onboard a cruise ship. At the designated time (almost always before leading the embarkation port), the ship will sound the alarm and passengers must go to their assigned muster station. Pay attention and memorize where to go and the instructions of the crew. This information is also printed on a sign on the back of your cabin door. In an emergency, don’t wait! Get your life jacket from your cabin – if it is safe to do so – and go straight to your muster station.

Remember that these ships are floating cities!

  • The United States has more than 15,000 towns with populations smaller than the capacity of the larger cruise ships.
  • The largest ship of them all, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, can hold 6,296 passengers and crew at full capacity. Most of the larger ships are in the 2,500-4,000 range.
  • You need to behave on the ship the same way you would walking around a city on land. That includes your children. If you wouldn’t let them wander around an unfamiliar city on their own, they shouldn’t be left with the run of the ship.
  • Overall being on the ship is very safe, but crimes and accidents do happen. Many of the injuries and deaths that occur onboard are related to alcohol consumption. The same can be said for some of the crimes committed. Too much alcohol leads a person to make poor decisions (going back to the cabin of a crew member or other passenger, allowing others into your cabin, etc). I know you’re on vacation, but be smart about your alcohol intake.
  • Bottom line, you don’t know your fellow passengers. I have met some wonderful people on cruises but I have always maintained a level of safety while onboard, just as I would on a land vacation.

What should a prepper pack?

It is unrealistic, and in most cases impossible, to carry your whole BOB* with you. Boarding the ship requires a security check similar to TSA at the airport. The rule of thumb is that if you can’t carry it on an airplane, you won’t be able to carry it on the cruise ship, so many of your EDC* items will likely have to be left at home. Be sure to check with your cruise line for a list of prohibited items. With these restrictions in mind, here’s a recommended list of preparedness items to carry on the ship with you.

  • Whistle and FlashlightSmall flashlight and a whistle. If you take nothing else from this list, bring these two things. You will receive a card that works as your identification, cabin key and charge card while on board. Consider bringing a lanyard to have an easy way to carry that card with you when you don’t have pockets and don’t want to carry a bag. Attach the flashlight and whistle to the lanyard as well to have them with you at all times. Ship interiors are very dark if the lights go out. (There are lighted strips similar to on an airplane along the halls and stairs.) A whistle will allow you to be found more easily by rescue workers, if needed, and will also get attention if you should find yourself in a dangerous situation with another passenger or a crew member.
  • Protein or meal replacement bars. You may likely eat more food on a cruise ship than at any other time in your life! Cruise ships have a very precise calculation of how much food they need and they get close to running out toward the end of the cruise. If there is an emergency that requires the ship to be delayed from returning to port, plans are made to stretch the food out. Having extra calories in your cabin just in case is a smart idea.
  • Emergency radio. Depending on where the ship is, you might not pick up any radio, but you could. Also, my radio has a flashlight and electronics charger. I can recharge my devices using solar power or a hand crank. I may not be able to make calls but I can use the camera, play games, read my eBooks, etc.
  • Small lantern, battery operated candles, or light sticks. Without power, interior cabins without windows are darker than the inside of a cow. If the ship loses power, having these items will allow you to be in your cabin safely.
  • Hand Sanitizer. Because of past cases of norovirus onboard, most cruise ships have multiple hand sanitizer dispensers available near the dining rooms and buffet lines. There are other times you may want to disinfect. Having your own on you or in your cabin keeps you from having to find a dispenser.
  • N95 masks. If norovirus does break out on your hip, a mask may help keep you healthy when in the common areas or when helping to treat a sick travel companion.
  • CruiseMedsMedications. Each ship has a medical clinic and one or more doctors onboard. In an emergency or in a large norovirus outbreak, the clinic may be quickly overwhelmed. Having the ability to self-treat in your cabin will be beneficial. Also, while you can get cold medications, motion sickness, and other OTC drugs onboard, they are expensive. Carry a minimum of one extra week of any prescription medication you must take daily.

Stay safe in port.

  • Don’t carry your passport off the ship. Use the in-cabin safe to store your passport and other valuables and carry the copy of your passport with you. It, along with a drivers’ license, will be sufficient for use as citizen identification if there is a problem. Not carrying your original prevents it from being stolen if you are mugged or pick-pocketed.
  • Just as on board the ship, control your alcohol intake. Make good decisions and do not take ride offers from strangers, go to a different location with a stranger, or flash around a lot of cash.
  • You will be provided information on how to contact the ship from shore in case of emergency. Be sure to carry it with you.
  • Take a photo of your family and friends as you get off the ship. If anyone gets lost, you will have a current photo and description of the clothes they are wearing.
  • Each person in your group should have a sheet of paper in their wallet with their personal information on it. Include name, address, emergency contact at home, the names of those traveling with you, ship name, and important medical information. If you are injured, a quick look through your wallet will provide plenty of information for emergency responders.

Cruising is a wonderful vacation option, and I fully intend to travel by ship many more times in my future. But like any other activity, you need to be smart, be prepared, and make good choices. Bon voyage!

*BOB = Bug Out Bag; EDC = Every Day Carry

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