power outage


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By Kellene Bishop

While the thought of waste management isn’t sexy or glamorous, I wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors if I didn’t teach about sanitation in greater detail. So here are a few things that you’ve just GOT to know about do-it-yourself sanitation for a prolonged period of time.

Sorry to have to say this, but human waste is a huge danger in a disaster. Many folks will just give up on any semblance of sanitation in desperate circumstances. When I lived in the Philippines, it was nothing to see a woman stop where she was going and crouch down and urinate wherever she stood. It was also common for people to simply throw their human waste out their windows…as if it was now marked as someone else’s problem. Now picture what may happen if someone lives in a high rise apartment in the center of a city not being able to flush their toilets for a week. They aren’t just going to hold it, right? I guarantee that “civilization” as you know it will cease when it comes to waste disposal. But wait. There’s even better news. A person who is healthy and has regular bowel movements produces two to three pints of urine daily and one pound of feces per day. I don’t even want to think about what happens when someone is sick from eating unsafe food, or stressed out. Ugh. And that’s just ONE person.

Flies photo c/o ufl.edu

Flies photo c/o ufl.edu

As shared previously, one small area of poor sanitation can kill everyone within a 50 mile radius. So it’s critical that you’re just as diligent with your sanitation preparedness as you are your food, water, and shelter. How can a bad sanitation area kill so many in such a wide area? The perpetrators are rodents, flies, and bacteria. Bad bacteria can travel three hundred feet from the original site of “yuck.” Flies live to spread feces and such from one place to another. And rodents are attracted to it as well. If they go in, they go out, and they then take the death germs with them. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? So you’ve got be mindful of not creating a festival of killer bacteria in the first place.

There’s quite the cocktail of formidable germs lurking in a human waste area. Streptococcus, staphylococcus, E. coli and shigella bacteria, some salmonella, Norwalk virus, hepatitis A virus, the common cold virus, and various sexually transmitted organisms.

Immediately after a power outage you may still be able to use your sewer system by pouring water directly into the toilet bowl. But this method uses up a lot of valuable water and you run the risk of having sewage in your home when the home system backs up. I wouldn’t recommend living long term that way. Instead, plug the toilet up with a tennis ball to avoid sewage coming out in the event of a blockage. And then set up alternative waste disposal options.

Trench illustration c/o wedc.lboro.ac.uk

Trench illustration c/o wedc.lboro.ac.uk

One option is to dig a trench. Your trench should be 2 feet wide, at the very minimum, 1 food deep and four feet long or more. More importantly it should be FAR way from any type of living arrangements—especially FOOD! Since the bacteria can travel 300 feet, you might want to think about having your trench that far way from your living area. After each trench use, cover the area with dirt, lime, wood ash, I-Pee, or ChemiSan. Also, I recommend sprinkling a bit of diatomaceous earth (DE) after each use as it will keep the flies and other insects away, and thus further prevent the spreading of germs. (Note: Human waste should NEVER be used as compost for food gardens.) The downside of digging the trench is that it takes up vital physical energy. Thus some of the simpler methods may be necessary instead.

Another option is to use a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat lid. After each use, be sure to layer it with one of the aforementioned items. ChemiSan has biodegradable bags that you can use to line the 5-gallon buckets with. This will enable you to take the bags, bury them and know that you haven’t furthered the contamination in your area. (Check their site to find distributors in your area.) For our readiness, we have lots of heavy duty plastic bags, DE, and lime on hand specifically for this purpose.

Whatever method you use, try to construct a covering/shelter for the area. This isn’t just about dignity and privacy. Germs in feces can be propelled through the air easily. Thus, leaving the waste area immediately after applying the covering of dirt, lime, etc is important. Having some type of a door or at least a plastic sheeting is a good idea as well.

Be sure that everyone is diligent in cleaning their hands for at least 20 seconds after using the facilities. The same goes if you are changing a baby or elderly diaper. Be sure to get in between the fingers and under the fingernails each time you wash your hands. If you’re relegated to using hand-sanitizer, be sure to apply enough to be just as thorough as you would if you had soap and running water.

Boil cloth diapers to clean them. Photo c/o searchingbliss.blogspot.com

Boil cloth diapers to clean them. Photo c/o searchingbliss.blogspot.com

When disposing of disposable feminine products, they should be burned after use, not put with the other waste in the trench or bucket. The same goes for disposable diapers. However, cloth diapers and their pins should be boiled, then bleached, and then exposed to the sun for a couple of hours. (Do NOT use your solar oven for this sanitation purpose)

And lastly, you may want to invest in room deodorizers now while you can get them frequently for FREE with coupons. While you may not fathom being able to use 6 cans of Febreeze now, you’ll be grateful that you have it when your “community” is forced to take care of business the early 1900’s way.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Candlelight

Candlelight

In the event of a long-term power outage, the obvious inconveniences will unfold such as a lack of heat or air-conditioning, television, microwave, and video games.  However, many folks dangerously underestimate their need for appropriate lighting.  You may be unaware that insufficient lighting will not only be incredibly inconvenient, but dangerous on so many levels and can also quickly lead to depression.  Indeed, the lighting that surrounds you directly affects your mood.  And believe me, while candlelight is great for a brief romantic evening, you’ll soon tire and even be annoyed by it in a long-term emergency situation.

If you’re going to spend the money on lighting preparations, be sure you take the time to test it…long term, in the dark, not just turning it on in the store and feeling like it’s sufficient.  Many folks have “candles stored by the dozens” without ever testing the lighting they have on hand to ensure it’s suitable.  As I always say, never have equipment on hand that you haven’t used and become familiar with.  Let’s explore some of your lighting options.

Lantern Reflector photo c/o coleman.com

Lantern Reflector photo c/o coleman.com

Battery operated lanterns can be quite convenient, complete with a remote control.  However, in the event of a power outage due to a large solar flare or an EMP attack, your lantern will most likely become useless.  Be sure that you have a mix of lighting options.  Don’t rely solely on one fuel, one type of candle, or just battery operated equipment for your lighting.  Each lighting solution you elect to use is preferred if you can magnify it with a bulb like you see on a lantern, or a reflector like the ones from colonial days—a silver plate behind the candle in order to project the light.  Placing candles in front of a mirror is a great way to reflect the light as well.  You can usually get by with purchasing cheaper candles if you’re able to use this method.  This is in part why we have stored many square mirror tiles, which are great to use for signaling as well.

Next, your lighting must be portable.  While some stationary lighting in your shelter is fine, be prepared to have dependable and effective lighting for travel, even if your travel is simply to the backyard “outhouse.”

Candles for lighting are affordable, but you will find they put out very little usable light.  Lanterns, whether oil or battery powered, will usually give you more light.  However, you will need several light sources to give your family the kind of light that you will need to function. 

There are several reliable solar powered lighting options.  I’ve tried and used many of the solar powered head lamps, flashlights, and such.  Try some for yourself and don’t be afraid to send them back or return them when they just don’t cut it.  You want a piece of equipment that holds its charge for several hours, not just 30 minutes.  Make sure the light puts out sufficient power in order for you to function.

Lanterns that use white gas and propane get very hot and have an intense smell.  Use extreme caution using either of these for indoor lighting.

Many candles are poorly constructed as they allow the light to tunnel into the wax as it burns down.  Thus, the more it burns, the more the light is hidden.  Be sure that your candles continue to convey their light at the top of the candle. 

Hurricane Oil Lamp photo c/o vermontlanterns.com

Hurricane Oil Lamp photo c/o vermontlanterns.com

Small oil lamps are surprisingly effective in putting out light.  Care and caution must be used when using them inside your shelter of course, and around children.  This is why my one of my preferred type of lighting is oil lamps like the ones you see in antique stores.  I really like the hurricane version which runs on oil, but are also protected with a bit of metal décor around the edges, making them sturdier.  Plus, they are attractive enough to have on display everyday in my home. 

  • In a pinch you can place some canola oil in an empty tuna fish or other like shallow can, with the lid mostly attached.  
  • Press down the lid to create a slope from the side of the can in which the lid is still connected.  
  • Pour a little bit of canola oil in the can.  
  • Tightly wad a thin wick of paper towel or newspaper, and place it in the oil, on its side running up the slope of the lid.  
  • Just a small portion of the wick should be pointed up out of the can.  
  • You can also take a jar, put some sand in the bottom and then place a small votive candle on top of the sand.  The candle inside the jar will aid in providing stronger reflection.

If you’ve invested in those otherwise useless florescent glow-sticks, you’ll soon realize that they won’t give you much operable light.  However, if you heat them in a pan on low heat for a minute or two, it will dramatically enhance their lighting power.  Of course they won’t last as long this way, but they are mostly useless otherwise.  I suppose you could also string several of them up around your shelter, but it will take a lot of them to provide sufficient lighting.

The oil that you store for your lamps actually has a very long shelf life.  You can even use cooking oil that has gone rancid in some cases.  Of course olive oil is an ideal fuel because of its medicinal and cooking uses as well as its extensive shelf life.

In closing, I want to extend a Two-Day Light Challenge.  Try living solely off of your emergency lighting for two whole days.  Go ahead and live with your other luxuries during those two days.  But for two days use JUST the lighting that you have planned on using in an emergency.  See how ready you really are.  Are you game?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Natural Disaster photo c/o history.com

Natural Disaster photo c/o history.com

Typically when I mention emergency preparedness to someone they automatically think of “food storage” or “the Mormons.”  Unfortunately, a focus on either will not save your family in a time of crisis.  There are actually ten vital areas to being prepared for an emergency whether it be a natural disaster, act of war or financial collapse.  Food is only one component that we’ve addressed recently.  So let’s take a look at all 10 areas of being prepared.

I’m listing them for you in the area of importance.

  1. Component of Emergency Preparedness #1: Spiritual. This category has everything to do with your belief system.  It’s where you draw on peace even in the midst of chaos.  It’s also where you draw on knowledge and understanding of that which is to come.  Your spiritual preparedness needs to be fed on a regular basis.  It will be incredibly invaluable in a time of great need, such as a catastrophic emergency.  If your spiritual preparedness is lacking, not much else you focus on will be of benefit to you.
  2. Component of Emergency Preparedness #2: Mental. This category has to do with your knowledge level, skills, and mental rehearsals for chaotic scenarios.  This area requires constant nourishment, education, and deliberate thought.  Unless you mentally prepare for a situation such as self-defense, or mass chaos, or the fact that all hell can really break loose, then you will be physically and emotionally paralyzed from being a leader and a protector to anyone, let alone your family and loved ones.  The mental preparation is what prepares you in spite of the crazy looks and comments you get from friends and loved ones.  Immerse yourself in movies, books, and conversations relevant to emergency preparedness (see #5).  Expose yourself to as much learning experiences as you are able.  Work that mental muscle as much as possible.  It will serve you well in a time of crisis as well as long-term survival.
    The key to your mental preparedness is Attitude, Skills, and Knowledge. Fortunately all three of these aspects can be obtained without monetary cost as there’s so much available through classes and online.
  3. Component of Emergency Preparedness #3: Physical. This area covers a great deal.  Physical preparedness has to do with your physical strength and ability to maximize your physical strength, such as the
    Exercise photo c/o healthspablog.org

    Exercise photo c/o healthspablog.org

    use of wagons or wheel barrels, your ability to protect yourself and your family, as well as planning for any necessary travel needs.  Keep in mind that your physical strength will be your primary asset when it comes to travel.  Since most of us aren’t trained extensively in military tactics and maneuvers, firearms are a key consideration for physical self-defense.  Make sure you have tools like small wagons, bikes, wheel barrels, etc.  You can strengthen your physical preparedness by adjusting your diet now to avoid foods that impede your performance or you won’t have access to later.  And no, I’m not going to rattle them off because you already know what you’re doing wrong in that regard.  Exercise is critical for your physical preparedness as well.  You will inevitably be called upon to be more physical in your survival efforts in an emergency.  Perhaps you will need to trek 30 miles.  Or perhaps you will need to do some heavy lifting to create a suitable shelter.  You will also need to function without air conditioning or heat like you’re accustomed to.  Take precautions now so that you are better physically prepared later.

  4. Component of Emergency Preparedness #4: Medical. This includes having what you need for first-aid, solutions for your existing medical needs, as well as sanitation.  First-aid needs includes bandages, a field surgical kit, pain relievers, herbs and essential oils, as well as the knowledge to use such items.  Your existing medical needs will be a challenge since most individuals can’t get a year’s supply of prescription medicines.  If I were you, I would make sure to study up on alternative options available, such as herbal nutrition, essential oils, homeopathic care, etc.  Recently, as a result of my goal to be more prepared medically, I set a goal to eliminate all of my prescription drugs.  I started the New Year with seven prescriptions on my nightstand, and I’m now down to one.  The most recent I was able to get rid of was my thyroid medicine by incorporating quality nutrition products into my diet instead of my thyroid medicine.  While my doctor wasn’t happy with the approach, he did acquiesce just this last Friday that my blood tests showed that I was no longer in need of my thyroid medicine!  I feel much more independent and capable now.  While I can’t supply a years worth of pharmaceuticals safely, I sure can keep a year’s supply of various nutritional products.  (Just FYI, I elect to use Reliv products.  No, I don’t sell them but you can locate them easily online.)
    As far as sanitation is concerned, you have to be sure you’ve thought this one through.  Digging a hole out in your back yard will not do.  You’ve got to have the chemicals on hand to break down the waste.  I assure you that if the hole in the back yard was everyone’s strategy, everyone within a 50 mile radius will be dead within 30 days!  The holes have to be dug deep.  Plan on using some type of a disposal breakdown chemical regularly.  Disposing of the waste, keeping it covered, and minimizing its location and effect on everything else around you will be critical in a time of emergency.  Understand that this aspect of preparation will not be simple.  You should expect a lot of diarrhea initially as a result of stress, different foods, and drinking less liquids.
  5. Component of Emergency Preparedness #5: Clothing/Shelter. This category is a higher priority than food and water.  Many folks really overlook this critical area.  While being able to survive in your own home is ideal, it’s not necessarily possible for a myriad of different reasons.  Be sure that you’ve got SPARE clothing available for all of your children’s ages and have it readily accessible.  This may mean you need to go to a local thrift store and purchase clothes for a year in advance of your children’s sizes right now.  Sturdy shoes will be critical—especially if you have to walk long distances to get to safety.  Also, be mindful of your clothing and your shelter accommodating either warm or cold weather.  Be sure to have hats and gloves for everyone—spares so that there’s no chance of them “getting lost” in the event of a crisis.   Even if you are able to survive in your present dwelling, be sure you have tools on hand to reinforce it, such as hammers, nails, sheeting, duct tape, and even some plywood.  (My preferred sheeting is purchased at Costco.  It’s twice as thick as others, you get twice as much, and it’s less expensive.)  Be sure that you don’t have to rely on electricity and batteries for the use of your tools as well in the event of a solar flare or an EMP attack.
  6. Component of Emergency Preparedness #6: Water. Let me be perfectly clear on this.  A two week supply of water is NOT sufficient.  That’s short-term.  I hardly EVER address short-term preparedness in my articles, and am almost always focusing on long term.  As overwhelming as it may sound, you need one gallon of
    Water Barrel Storage photo c/o homelandpreparedness.com

    Water Barrel Storage photo c/o homelandpreparedness.com

    water, per person, per day.  That’s 365 gallons per person.  Yes, that’s a lot of barrels.  But that’s just the MINIMUM.  You’ll be using water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, sanitation, and bathing.  There are a myriad of different ways to conserve water, but you’ll want to employ those even if you do have the 365 gallons per person.  Water is the only thing that will keep your organs functioning properly.  You need water just as much in the cold as you do in the heat.  Your kidneys process hundreds of gallons worth of water each day.  You do not want to treat your kidneys like a teenager treats their oil filter, right?  You’ve got to continue to give your organs new water in order that they will not shut down.  Your body uses flavored water very differently than it does real water.  You use more energy to benefit from the flavored water than you do just straight water.  In addition to storing enough water, I also store a lot of paper goods that I can use that won’t require cleaning afterwards.  I also store cleansing cloths.
    You don’t need to treat your water before storing it if you’re using tap water.  Plan on treating it afterwards if necessary (8 drops of Chlorox for each gallon of water).  You can rotate your water once every 5 years and be just fine.  Stale water can taste a LOT better if you simply aerate it—such as pouring it back and forth from one container to another before serving.

  7. Component of Emergency Preparedness #7: Food. As I’ve shared in the last 8 part series, be familiar with the food that you’ve stored, be prepared to cook it without electricity, and be sure that it’s nutritious.  90 days of food is SHORT-TERM.  It’s not the end result.  One year of food supply for your family is absolutely necessary.  Also be sure that you have all of the tools on hand you will need that don’t require electricity.  Be sure you have nothing in your equipment stores that you have not used yet.  (In other words, don’t just buy that solar oven and put it in your basement.  Use it.)
  8. Component of Emergency Preparedness #8: Fuel. Your fuel should be usable on as many tools as possible, and every responsible member of the family should be familiar with its use.  I store butane for my small oven, propane for the grill, and kerosene for my lights, heaters, and another stove.  I also have some
    Butane Stove photo c/o manventureoutpost.com

    Butane Stove photo c/o manventureoutpost.com

    charcoal and some wood for other forms of cooking.  I’ve experimented with my cooking fuel coupled with my pressure cooker and have learned that I can cook 2 meals a day for 3 weeks on one can of butane.  It’s critical that you know how much fuel you need for your family.  It’s also critical you know that the lights you’re relying on can actually put out enough light.  We bought these “100 hour candles” only to discover one night that they barely put off enough light for us to see the match and the wick so that we could light the next one.  I recommend to all of my clients to try a day or two without electrical lighting.  I also recommend that they go a whole week without using any electricity to prepare their food—including the refrigerator.

  9. Component of Emergency Preparedness #9: Financial.  Financial preparation isn’t just about having debt.  Most of us will have a mortgage if nothing else.  I recommend my clients pay their utilities and their taxes in advance whenever possible.  It’s also critical that you have goods with which to trade such as wheat, sugar, and other stores that will be in high demand.  Anything more than $500 cash on hand is a waste, in my opinion, as a crisis will quickly make money worthless.  If you don’t already have what you need, you will NOT be able to buy it amidst a mob of crazy people who are unprepared. 
  10. Component of Emergency Preparedness #10: Communication. All of the other areas of preparedness I discussed are focused on you and your family.  This is the only area of preparedness that focuses on reaching out to others.  In order to be prepared for communication in an emergency, you should have a very specific plan of communication with you family and friends.  You should have a specific point of gathering agree upon for everyone to meet in the event of a disaster.  Additionally, plan on other forms of communication such as a HAM radio, accompanied by the license and skill to operate.  Also plan on good old fashioned message delivery.  (Another good reason to employ physical preparedness.)  Being able to coordinate with the outside world will become important during and after your initial crisis reaction.

Don’t get overwhelmed with all of this.  Just put it on your radar and start chipping away at it.  Look for opportunities to learn and strengthen your spiritual and mental preparedness first and foremost.  Everything else will appropriately follow.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Gasonline Generator photo c/o germes-online.com

Gasonline Generator photo c/o germes-online.com

Obviously, given my line of work, I’m frequently told by people that they are prepared because they have a generator.  Well, I see a whole lot of downsides of owning and relying on one, so I thought I’d share my two cents as to why I don’t plan on ever owning a generator.

  1. Generators are relatively expensive.  If I had to opt between a generator and a firearm, I would definitely select the firearm.  There’s a whole heck of a lot of wheat or water or other emergency preparedness supplies that I can buy in lieu of a generator.  I’d much rather have items that run off of solar power rather than being reliant on a generator.
  2. In many instances, many generators will be destroyed in the event of an EMP strike.  Some older generators may have points and condensers but most of them today are electronic fuel injected, making them useless in the event of an electro-magnetic pulse hit.  So there goes all of the other necessary supplies you could have obtained instead of the generator.
  3. A generator usually takes gasoline to operate.  Gasoline is combustible/flammable.  It’s frankly hard to store it safely.  It also gets old easily.  Generators are temperamental.  The gasoline needs to be clean in order to be effective.  Yes, you can buy a gasoline additive to keep it clean, but that’s that much more money you need to spend on the generator and the gasoline.  Also, the gasoline will not be available to buy once the electricity goes out.  Most pumps are electric.  So you will have to rely solely on the gasoline you have on hand.  And I can think of a whole lot of more important uses for gasoline other than a generator.
  4. Except in the case of emergency medical assistance, I feel like a generator is a temporary luxury that most homes simply can’t afford to have.  If you don’t have a year’s supply of food, fuel, water, ammo, clothing, shelter, financial reserves, medical supplies, and entertainment, then you can’t afford a generator.  It’s not like you’re going to use a generator to keep your refrigerator going or to watch movies on you computer.  Generators should be used for emergency purposes only, not to live off of otherwise.  In my opinion, if I come across the need for a generator, it will be very temporary and for that I can work in trade to obtain the use of or trade with some of my supplies.  Bottom line, if you ever saw me with a generator, it’s because I got it for free along with the fuel I needed for it, or I had so much money to burn and everything else I wanted, I just couldn’t resist.
  5. Solar Oven photo by Preparedness Pro

    Solar Oven photo by Preparedness Pro

    A generator is simply not as necessary as many folks believe.  As I said previously, other than keeping life-saving equipment on, I can’t think of another reason to have one. Yet most folks think they will need one in order to eat, cook, light, cool, and heat with.  They are incorrect.  You’ll have to let Mother Nature do the cooling for you.  You can cook with more stable fuels such as wood, propane, butane, kerosene, isopropyl alcohol, rolled newspapers, charcoal, and solar.  You can live off eating plenty of items that don’t need to be cooked or refrigerated.  You can have light via a candle and several other fuels I’ve mentioned previously.  And the same fuels, as well as quality cold-weather clothing, blankets, and sleeping tents and bags, will provide you and your family with the heat you need.  Sure, when the power goes out you’re going to have some spoilage with the meat.  But you don’t need electricity to recover from that.  You need Mason jars, and a canner, and voila—you don’t need that freezer anymore.  Sure there will be a few things you can live without, but considering all of the non-electrical technology that you can rely on today, losing electricity isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.  

targetIf you rely on electricity for physical life sustainment, then I recommend that you diligently research the best kind of generator to obtain that will not be affected by an EMP hit, and a way to store fuel for it around your home so that it’s safe.  Also be mindful of the fact that if you have a generator running in hard times, you will be the target of crime and looting.  Be sure that you have a way to secure it so that you can have the use of it when the fit hits the shan.  Don’t plan on using a generator if you’re the lone dweller of a suburb home.  You’ll need some help keeping it running and defending it.

Ultimately, before you rush out to the store thinking you need a generator, think about all of the other priorities that should come first on your preparedness list.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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