The Survival Mom » Preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:17:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 5 Uses for an Indoor Tent http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-uses-indoor-tent/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-uses-indoor-tent/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:21:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19515 PEST FREE During a family vacation and faced with an unexpected storm, we decided to rent a small unfurnished cabin at a state park. As soon as we had our sleeping bags spread on the floor, our pillows fluffed, and Read More

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DOMETENTHelenCates

PEST FREE

During a family vacation and faced with an unexpected storm, we decided to rent a small unfurnished cabin at a state park. As soon as we had our sleeping bags spread on the floor, our pillows fluffed, and the room dark, a million feet started crawling over our faces and legs. Oh, the horror when we switched on the lights.

Every conceivable, imaginable creature had crawled out of the woodwork. I had never seen so many bugs in one place. On top of that, we had several raccoons circling around the cabin.

Then I remembered our tent. Not wanting to sleep indoors or outdoors for that matter, we decided to set the tent up inside. Thankfully, it was one of those easy pop up dome tents that didn’t require stakes.

After zipping ourselves inside the tent, we were finally comfortable.

We quickly learned the value of owning an indoor dome tent, and I’ve since added a smaller one to our preps for this type of emergency. During a crisis and without power, an indoor tent would also be helpful when dealing with mosquitoes or even bedbugs while on travel.

QUARANTINE

What to do in limited living conditions when a family member is sick? An Indoor tent enables you to set up a sick bay on a porch, or somewhere off to the side where they won’t be disturbed.

An indoor sick bay is especially helpful when you have children sharing a room with siblings. Having the sick child “camp” to the side of the room would not only separate them from being contagious, but they could turn it into a fun camping experience.

Worst case scenario, dealing with something highly contagious or a pandemic, having a means to separate family members in their own living space is critical.

EVACUATION

Having an indoor dome tent stashed in your bug out bag or vehicle is essential. Whether you plan to bug in or you have another destination in mind during an evacuation, a dome tent can provide you with some privacy whether you are camping inside a public emergency shelter or staying with friends and relatives.

A tent would help you to claim your space and make your temporary living conditions more bearable, especially when forced to sleep in a brightly lit, high traffic area. Being able to keep your belongings enclosed will also add just a tiny bit of security against thieves. (I’m not saying a lot, but at least they can’t just reach out and grab something off the cot behind you.) Indoor tents use little space, are usually cheap, and set up quickly, making them ideal for use as a temporary emergency shelter.

SLEEPOVERS

Just like evacuations, an indoor tent could provide a sleeping spot for visiting relatives. Many times when we’ve had family over, there would be children and adults using the couch or floor to make their beds. A tent would easily keep them sheltered off to the side of the room. An added benefit is that they would be less disturbed when family members are staying up late, or early risers. The tent would also come in handy for those surprise visitors who end up at your house during an emergency.

Are your kids looking for  an adventure? Let them “camp” in the house. An indoor tent with a mattress pad (or sofa cushions) and sleeping bags can be a source of tremendous joy for kids.

HEAT

Indoor tents have been flying off the shelves in South Korea. Millions have sold to families trying to stay warm. With surging blackouts and rising utility costs, many Koreans claimed they’ve saved over half on their utility bills.

During a blackout and severe winter storm, an indoor tent could be a life saver.

When shopping for an indoor tent, keep the house size in mind. For inside, I purchased a 4X5 dome tent. Anything larger would have taken up too much space. I wasn’t concerned about it being waterproof for reasons I hope are obvious. This type of tent is relatively cheap and can usually be found for $25 or less., especially during seasonal sales. The Monodome Tent for 2 Persons is an inexpensive option from Amazon and even comes with its own carry bag.

For outside, I purchased a 7X10 dome tent with excellent reviews about how rainproof it was. Although much larger, it could also be used indoors if needed.

A true canopy bed with heavy curtains all the way around and across the top can serve the same purpose in trapping heat in the winter. (The princessy ones with something akin to tulle floating across the top with “panels” on each corner that wouldn’t reach more than about a foot in any direction won’t do anything to keep you warm.) That is why people originally had canopy beds with big heavy curtains on them – to stay warm in bed when the house was cold. But I still find value in the dome tent as it allows us to be more mobile, and there just aren’t that many real canopy beds around anymore.

Do you have any other ideas on the uses of an indoor tent? We would love to hear your experiences or ideas.

 

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Dem Bones: First Aid and Herbal Response for Fractures http://thesurvivalmom.com/dem-bones-first-aid-herbal-response-fractures/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/dem-bones-first-aid-herbal-response-fractures/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:16:43 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19435 Bone fractures are definitely emergencies that require standard first aid followed by professional medical care from a doctor. However, there are several ways herbs can be utilized as whole body support after emergency medical care has been given. Before we Read More

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Dem BonesBone fractures are definitely emergencies that require standard first aid followed by professional medical care from a doctor.

However, there are several ways herbs can be utilized as whole body support after emergency medical care has been given. Before we get started on the herbal side of things, let’s take a look at standard fracture first aid as a refresher.

Fracture First Aid

Always keep up to date on your first aid certifications with an organization like the Red Cross, when possible. It gives you hands on training that will be helpful in this type of emergency. Another great idea is to keep a first aid handbook easily accessible, so that you have a checklist to follow as you wait for professionals to arrive. Still, fracture first aid is usually straight forward.

Do:

  1. Stop any bleeding
  2. Immobilize
  3. Apply ice
  4. Be careful of shock

Don’t:

  1. Try to push any protruding bones back in if they have broken the skin
  2. Try to straighten a crooked limb.
  3. Move the person at all if the injury affects the back or neck. Instead, wait for help to arrive and keep the injured person still.

Once a doctor takes care of the fractures, herbs can be used for after-care as an adjunct to your doctor’s instructions. Be sure to get the all clear first, and then herbs traditionally used for pain, healing, and providing extra minerals for the diet can all be incorporated.

Pain

Bone healing is an inherently inflammatory process. In this case, inflammation is a good thing. NSAID drugs (like over the counter pain relievers) actually inhibit the exact processes the body is trying to use to repair bone. This means that they may help with pain, but using them may extend the overall healing time.

Some traditional herbal alternatives include St. John’s Wort, Jamaican Dogwood, California Poppy, and Valerian. Extract form is often the best form these herbs, rather than a tea. The extract is more convenient and can be taken in a little juice or other beverage to disguise the strong, unpleasant tastes of these herbs. Poppy and Valerian both also offer the advantage of being nervine herbs traditionally used to settle the nerves and promote sleep.

Don’t use St. John’s Wort if you are taking prescription drugs. This herb is notorious for interfering with medications.

Healing

Healing a fracture requires good nutrition. Not only does healing utilize more calories than normal, the body will also need extra protein. Bone is around 70% minerals in total composition, so making sure to get enough calcium and other minerals is another big nutritional factor.

Herbs for Minerals:

  • Horsetail
  • Nettles
  • Oatstraw
  • Dandelion

These herbs can be prepared as teas and steeped overnight to be extra strong. In this case, sipping on them over the course of the day is a better approach than drinking them all in one go.

Comfrey

Comfrey is another herb traditionally used for healing fractures. There is a modern debate about whether or not comfrey should be used internally, but it can still be used topically.

If the fracture requires a cast, it’s best to wait until the cast comes off before beginning to apply a comfrey compress or poultice. A simple compress can be made by preparing a strong tea of comfrey leaves, soaking a clean flannel cloth in the tea, and then applying the cloth to the affected area. Once the cloth cools, it can either be dipped into the tea and reapplied or washed to use again later.

Poultices work in much the same way, but the fresh or dried leaves are mashed with just enough water to form a paste, spread directly onto the skin, and held in place with a cloth. Poultices are usually changed out every four hours.

Wilderness First Aid

If you like to hike or camp, live remotely, or are otherwise often not near medical help, you might want to consider taking Wilderness First Aid. If you can’t find a provider with a quick Google search, you might contact the local Boy Scout Council (even if you aren’t even remotely affiliated). They should be able to help you find a good resource for it because they require leaders trained in it for certain types of outings.

Wilderness First Aid is, among other things, one of if not the only place a person who is NOT an EMT or medical professional can receive training so that they can determine if a person with a back or neck injury can be moved. They also train you in how to splint a broken bone with whatever you have on hand, and how to transport people who are injured. All of that might be very handy if you are with someone who falls and fractures an arm or leg a mile from the trailhead, at the bottom of the great sledding hill everyone loves (the one with no cell service), or when a car slides on the ice or an oil slick and goes into a ditch.

Even if you prefer an herbal approach to managing your health, it’s important to realize that herbs cannot miraculously set a fracture- it’s important to have the break seen by a medical professional who can realign the bones and set the stage for the body to do it’s thing!

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Safe, Sexy, Secure Concealed Carry Women’s Holster http://thesurvivalmom.com/sexy-concealed-carry-womens-holster/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/sexy-concealed-carry-womens-holster/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:25:29 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19380 I own multiple holsters to use when carrying my handgun concealed: inside-the-waistband paddle holster, soft-sided hip holster, and a plastic hip holster. None of them are “bad” but I dislike all of them because they way they sit on my Read More

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AVR CanCan Review TitleI own multiple holsters to use when carrying my handgun concealed: inside-the-waistband paddle holster, soft-sided hip holster, and a plastic hip holster. None of them are “bad” but I dislike all of them because they way they sit on my body. With each holster, the firearm is noticeable under my clothes. This is called “printing.” In fall and winter months when a sweater or jacket can be worn, it isn’t quite as noticeable, but summertime (or even fall in Florida) meant not carrying on my body at all.

Enter the Can Can Concealment Holster Company!

Can Can Concealment offers several different styles of “safe, sexy holstering” including those worn around the hips, a full corset style, and two leg garter styles. You can also choose from several accent colors. I ordered the original Hip Hugger Holster with purple accent.

Classic Hip Hugger with purple trim and an Extender holding a Ruger SR22 handgun.

Classic Hip Hugger with purple trim and an Extender holding a Ruger SR22 handgun.

Carrying concealed on the body can cause issues for women. Using a public restroom or trying on clothes in a store can create a safety problem when wearing traditional holsters. Do you unholster? Remove the holster? Just let it dangle? Good  women’s holsters can be tough to find.

Women who wear yoga pants also have difficulties carrying at the hip since the pants are often not sturdy enough to support the firearm and holster. But with the Hip Hugger Holster, the firearm can stay securely in place in each of these situations.

Choosing and Sizing

Be sure to follow the instructions on how to measure and choose the size that would best fit you.  I opted to choose a size smaller than suggested but add a “cell pocket extender.” This allowed me to have an extra pocket that fits my iPhone perfectly while being just the right size, and also allowing the holster to fit without the extender as I continue with some weight loss. Multiple rows of hook and eye closures make the holster very adjustable.

There are also options depending on the size of your handgun. The Classic Hip Hugger is made for smaller handguns, while the Big Shebang model will support larger handguns.

Multiple handgun pockets allow for kidney or appendix carry for right or left handers… or the option to carry up to four handguns at once! There are also more pockets to hold extra magazines, pepper spray, a knife or lipstick.

A friend asked a very important question: What about the muffin top?

Definitely something I was a bit concerned about when I purchased the Hip Hugger Holster, because I am not thin and smooth like the woman in the above linked video. But as it turns out that wearing this holster gives me LESS of a muffin top than wearing jeans alone. It’s actually slimming!

Note that these are not just women’s holsters. The Stealth Sport Belt, in particular, is perfect for men who want to carry concealed.

women's holsterThe Bottom Line…

The Can Can Concealment Classic Hip Hugger Holster…

  • Is comfortable to wear
  • Keeps the handgun secure against my body even when wearing yoga pants
  • Has the ability to also carry other items
  • Is pretty and has color options
  • Has very little “printing” even with slimmer fit clothing
  • Is made in the USA!
  • It’s slimming!

It’s a total winner for me! Buy this for yourself, as a gift for a friend, or put it on your Christmas list! 

**Can Can Concealment has offered a discount just for Survival Mom readers! Enter code RIPERMOM15 for 15% off your order! (Expires December 31,2014)**

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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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Here’s a honey of a post! 17 things you probably didn’t know about honey, but should! http://thesurvivalmom.com/heres-a-honey-of-a-post-17-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-honey-but-should/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/heres-a-honey-of-a-post-17-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-honey-but-should/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:41:06 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10755 Not all honey is created equal. Or, more accurately, not all honey on the grocery store shelves is equal. Some international honey has been treated and no longer has the health benefits discussed here. If you can possibly buy from Read More

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honey facts

Here are 17 facts about honey.

Not all honey is created equal. Or, more accurately, not all honey on the grocery store shelves is equal. Some international honey has been treated and no longer has the health benefits discussed here. If you can possibly buy from a local farmer, farmer’s market, or a reputable local company, it really is the healthiest choice.

Honey and Baking

1. Never refrigerate honey.

2. Slightly warmed honey is easier to measure out and mix.

3. One 12-ounce honey bear is equal to one cup.

4. It never spoils, making it a real food storage winner. If it crystallizes or becomes granular, place the open container in a bowl of hot water until it liquifies again.

5. To replace sugar with honey in a recipe, substitute 2/3 to 3/4 cup of honey per cup of sugar, and decrease the amount of liquids by 1/4 cup per cup of  honey used.  Stir the mixture very thoroughly. Lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees. Watch the baking time carefully since foods brown more quickly when honey is used.

Health Benefits of Honey

6. Honey contains antioxidants, which help protect against cellular damage.

7. Use honey on wounds, including burns, to help them heal faster. Honey is a natural antibiotic.

8. Manuka honey is the preferred variety for first aid treatment.

9. It can be used as a treatment for chapped lips!

10. A good rehydration beverage combines 1/2 c. honey, 1/2 t. salt, 2 c. orange juice, and 5 1/2 c. water. Use lukewarm water to help the honey dissolve faster, then cool.

11. Adding a little local honey (produced within 50 miles) to your kids diets may help prevent some allergies. The bees have been collecting pollen from plants in your specific area, the same pollen that is the culprit behind many allergies. Tiny doses of this pollen has the same effect as allergy shots, helping the body build immunity against pollen. (Note: filtered honey has had the pollen removed, so do not expect the same benefits from filtered honey.)

Odd Bits and Pieces

12. Bees have been known to produce blue and green honey.

13. It can be purchased in a crystal form. When rehydrated, it can be used as liquid honey.

14. Honey should be stored in closed containers because it absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause it to ferment.

15. An African bird called the Honeyguide locates and feeds on wild honey. The Honeyguide becomes very chatty when it finds a beehive, making it possible for people to retrieve honey themselves.

16. Ancient Egyptians used honey as a form of money and fed it to their sacred animals.

17. Honeybees are the only animal that actually produce food for humans! Just one reason to learn about beekeeping and becoming a beekeeper! Pay back the favor!

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32 Mental and Urban Survival Skills for Kids http://thesurvivalmom.com/32-mental-urban-survival-skills-kids/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/32-mental-urban-survival-skills-kids/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 07:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19308 Kids come in all ages, abilities, and levels of emotional and mental maturity. As you read this list, keep in mind that not all skills are appropriate for younger kids, in particular. Although these are listed as urban survival skills, Read More

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32 mental and urban skills for kids

Kids in the cities and suburbs need to know these skills.

Kids come in all ages, abilities, and levels of emotional and mental maturity. As you read this list, keep in mind that not all skills are appropriate for younger kids, in particular.

Although these are listed as urban survival skills, the truth is they are relevant for most kids living a modern life, not just those in cities. Some of these, particularly escape and evasion, aren’t things most of us need in daily life (sibling issues aside), but kids should use and practice most of these skills in their regular daily life.

Cyber and Personal Security

1. Know who to trust with personal information
2. Recognize the sound of gunfire and know what to do if you hear it
3. Identify and know how to escape elevators and other potential “trap points” in your daily life
4. Online safety – not sharing personal information, etc.
5. Identifying dangerous people and groups online, and where to find help
6. If the family has an emergency stash of food and supplies, know where it is and how to access it

Emotional Well-Being

7. Set goals and know how to achieve them
8. Be responsible for themselves
9. Develop problem solving skills
10. Work hard: be a self-starter and a family helper not a complainer!
11. Have a strong faith in something greater than yourself (live morally, memorize religious verses, pray, sing, etc.)
12. Stay calm
13. Manage boredom
14. Handle disappointment, manage anger, and overcome fear

Escape and Evasion

15. Conceal vs. cover
16. What to do if they ever get lost
17. Blend in when necessary
18. Where to hide if in danger, both inside and outside
19. Know where family and friends live if they need to find them
20. Where to find water and shelter in a city
21. Be aware of the nearest exit, and the next-nearest
22. How, why and when to stay hidden
23. Assist an injured or otherwise handicapped person getting to safety when there is no power

Financial Savvy

24. Money management – saving, spending wisely, balancing a checkbook, using a credit or debit card (and the differences between them)
25. Bargain and trade (kids naturally do this with their toys so teach them at garage sales)
26. Hiding their assets and knowing how to find any “emergency cash stash” their family has
27. Identify items of higher value in different situations (e.g., batteries may become very valuable with power out, but not with it running)

Self Defense

28. Basic unarmed self defense
29. Shoot a sling shot
30. Make and use a basic weapon
31. Understand and use basic gun safety procedures, even if they can’t shoot
32. Shoot a gun, including basic eye and ear protection

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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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Using Water Heater Water in an Emergency http://thesurvivalmom.com/water-heater-emergency-water-supply/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/water-heater-emergency-water-supply/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:00:54 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19058 We preppers talk a lot about water storage.  Water is critical to survival and really you can’t have too much of it stored.  However, in the event of a true crisis, on top of the cases of bottled water you Read More

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water heaterWe preppers talk a lot about water storage.  Water is critical to survival and really you can’t have too much of it stored.  However, in the event of a true crisis, on top of the cases of bottled water you have squirreled away, you likely already have a fairly sizeable supply of water at your fingertips.

The average water heater contains about 30 gallons of water at any given time, except perhaps right after your teenager has taken their daily 90 minute shower.  For all intents and purposes, a water heater really just amounts to a giant glass and metal thermos with an attached heating element.

Homeowners should already know where their water heater is located, often in a basement or utility closet.  Those who live in apartments and condos might have to do a little hunting to find theirs.  Again, though, check the building basement first.  If you live in a mobile home, the water heater is sometimes found behind a false wall in a closet.

Draining the Water

Draining the water from a water heater is a fairly straightforward process.  Start by turning off the water supply coming into the heater.  This can be important as if the water supply becomes tainted at some point down the road, you don’t want that flowing into your water heater.

If your water heater is electric, turn off the power at the circuit breaker panel.  Do this even if the power is already out in the area.  The heating element inside a water heater can be come damaged if it turns on and there isn’t any water inside.  If you have a gas water heater, turn the thermostat to Pilot.

Toward the bottom of the water heater, you’ll see the drain valve.  It looks like a faucet.  Connect a garden hose to the drain valve but do not open the valve just yet.  First, open a hot water faucet in your bathtub or sink, being sure to plug the drain so as to save any water that comes out, of course.

Run the hose from the drain valve to a bucket, then open the valve.  This water may still be rather hot, so be careful.  It is best to have several water containers at the ready as, again, you have about 30 gallons or so of water to drain.  You don’t have to drain it all at once but that might be ideal, depending on the circumstances.

As you get the last of the water out, you may notice some sediment.  This stuff isn’t going to harm you, it is merely mineral deposits.  Just let it settle to the bottom of your bucket.

Restarting Your Water Heater

When it comes time to put your water heater back into use, start by making sure the drain valve is closed.  Turn on the water supply going into the water heater and let it fill.  Turn on the power or turn the thermostat back up.  Once the temperature is back to where it should be, you’ll need to test the pressure relief valve on the side of the water heater.  The instructions for doing so should be printed right on the heater or on a tag attached to that valve.  If it doesn’t test properly, get in touch with a licensed plumber to get it fixed ASAP.

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I Survived … Did you? http://thesurvivalmom.com/survived/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survived/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 07:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19100 It’s time to share our best survival experience tips. I’ve got several I’ll share. At first, I didn’t think I would have that much to share, but as I look back over my military brat and wife life, I’ve sampled almost Read More

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I survived photo2It’s time to share our best survival experience tips. I’ve got several I’ll share. At first, I didn’t think I would have that much to share, but as I look back over my military brat and wife life, I’ve sampled almost every kind of disaster.

Typhoon

When I was little, we lived in Okinawa, and later, in Japan. Instead of snow days in the school calendar, there were typhoon days. A typhoon is a hurricane, except you really can’t evacuate anywhere when you live on an island. I weathered several typhoons as a child and never feared them.

Survival tip: Children take their cues from their parents. Stay calm in, no matter the situation, and the children will, too.

Earthquake

Japan has an average of four earthquakes a day, but most of them are so small people don’t feel them. I actually never felt any big ones in Japan, but did feel one later in life in Alaska. It scared me because I had no warning, but my instincts kicked in from doing earthquake drills as a child.

Survival tip: Practice, practice, practice. When a disaster strikes, there is not much time to think – you just need to act.

Volcano

Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines when I lived in Japan. My father had to go help clean up Clark Air Base. I don’t recall being affected by the ash, but we did see people evacuate to the base we were at. Surprisingly, we were always worried about Mount Fuji erupting. Later, in Alaska, we faced the potential eruption of a volcano and prepared ourselves with masks, plastic sheeting, duct tape and air filters for our vehicles.

Survival tip: Think through all potential scenarios. It may be the one that is least likely to happen that does happen.

War

We lived on a military base overseas when the Gulf War kicked off. While wars may not be often fought on American soil, overseas military (and their families) often get a front seat to the conflicts. The start of the war was announced over the school intercom. Building signs were covered over with black bags. Identification had to be produced everywhere we went. Families of deployed military needed us to help them.

Survival tip: The world can change in an instant. Be prepared to help children deal with hard situations.

Riots

With our luck, when we were moving from Japan to Utah, we happened to land at LAX just at the L.A. riots were happening in 1992. After hours of traveling with 13-, 11- and 7-year-old kids, a dog, a cat, and lots of luggage, my parents faced having to put us on a connecting flight to Utah instead of a direct flight.

Survival tip: Learn to be flexible and carry cash. Some food and extra comic books can do wonders helping children adapt to change.

Hurricane

As a single, young adult, I evacuated from Florida with a few of my belongings and my cat. I dragged my mattress from the second floor of my condo to buffer my piano from any wind and rain should my windows break. After it was over, I drove back through small towns that had been flattened by tornadoes and found out that I had no power and very little food. I honestly hadn’t thought about the grocery stores being without power either. I think I lived on peanut butter sandwiches for two days.

Survival tip: Always be prepared for a few days without power, even if the only person you’re taking care of is yourself.

Blizzard

I’ve seen several blizzards in Colorado, Alaska, Missouri and Ohio. We’ve been able to judge when we can go out and know how to drive for the conditions. There have been times of skidding and getting stuck in the snow, but our vehicles are prepared to get us out of such situations. Which way do you turn the wheel when your car starts skidding? Are you willing to turn around and go back home if the roads are worse than you thought? If you stay home, are you prepared to be stuck at home? My children were home on winter break a whole week longer than scheduled last year due to winter weather.

Survival tip: Learn and know how to drive for potentially unsafe conditions. Give yourself extra time to get where you are going. When in doubt, stay in place, and be prepared to stay in place.

Delayed Paycheck

Remember the furloughs and military budget battles? That meant some people had paychecks delayed. Bills don’t get delayed, though, and little mouths still need to be fed. When it’s hard to tell when and if you might be paid, putting the bills on a credit card and adding interest is the last thing you want to do.

Survival tip: Have something saved up to help with hard times, whether it is food or money. Look and know where the budget can be cut.

Time to share – what event have you survived and what one tip can you share with others?

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Understanding Chemical Symbols http://thesurvivalmom.com/understanding-chemical-symbols/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/understanding-chemical-symbols/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 07:00:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16721 When you are handling any sort of chemical, it is important to know the risks associated with it. Fortunately, over the years a sort of shorthand has been developed to communicate this information to you in the form of various Read More

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chemical symbolWhen you are handling any sort of chemical, it is important to know the risks associated with it. Fortunately, over the years a sort of shorthand has been developed to communicate this information to you in the form of various symbols.

National Fire Protection Association Warning

First, we have the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warning. This is a diamond shaped symbol, divided into four sections, each with a different color.

FB_IMG_14060511395586459The blue section refers to the chemical’s health hazard. Basically, will it hurt you if you are exposed to it?

The red section is for flammability. Is this chemical dangerous to use near heat or open flames?

The yellow section is explosiveness. Will this chemical suddenly react violently?

The white section is for special warnings, such as a W with a line through it signifying this chemical reacts with water.

Each of the first three sections (blue, red, yellow) will contain a number, 0-4. This number tells you how high the risk is for each category, with 0 being the lowest risk and 4 being the highest.

Other Symbols

There are also other symbols you may run across. These include:

A test tube with liquid pouring onto a hand = this chemical is highly corrosive. Avoid breathing the fumes or getting this chemical on your skin.

A circle with flames above it = this chemical is an oxidizer. It can ignite flammable materials or otherwise make flames worse if spilled near an open flame.

Skull and crossbones = poisonous, avoid bodily contact.

Wheat with an X through it = hazardous to food, store well away from anything edible.

It is important to understand these different chemical symbols, even if you are striving to live a chemical free existence. You never know what the future will bring. It could very well be that you may need this information in the wake of disaster. If you are bugging out on foot, for example, and come across an abandoned trailer, knowing how to read the hazard symbols on the back can help to keep you safe.

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