Here’s One Time You May Not Be Testing Your Smoke Alarms

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So I was downstairs in the basement this morning getting a fire going and I was having a hard time of it. Reason being is that this particular fireplace has a 90-degree bend in the flue which makes getting it going a bit challenging and takes some patience.

I wasn’t feeling very patient today and so I just “went for it” using kindling that was a bit too large and more than I should have started with, knowing full-well that I would probably smoke out the basement as a result. And, of course, I did have to open the doors to air the basement out while I was getting the fire going.

The thing is that I wondered why the smoke alarm nearest the fireplace didn’t go off because I was sure that it would have. And I knew for a fact that the batteries were good because I just recently replaced them a month or two ago.

Clearly, I wondered what was wrong, so I took the smoke alarm down and pressed the test button… nothing. I then opened the battery cover, removed the 9-volt, and my problem was obvious: I’d put the battery in backwards… literally 180-degrees the wrong way!

No doubt THAT smoke alarm was going to do me no good should I have ever needed it. Fortunately, I probably go overboard with my smoke alarms throughout the house, so I was likely covered by another–relatively nearby–smoke alarm but, regardless, I made an easily preventable mistake that I don’t believe I’d ever made before. And it was a mistake that could have cost lives.

Now I get to go check the rest of the smoke alarm batteries just to be sure they’re all installed correctly and, of course, I should be pressing the “test” button to ensure each of them works as expected… especially after I replace the batteries.

What To Do If Your Oven Catches Fire

Last night I was making two pizzas in the oven like I’d done many times before. When they were done I pulled the oven rack toward me as far as it would go so I could slide the pizzas out easier; I got the first one out no problem, but when I returned to get the second pizza, it was missing. I thought to myself, “Where in the world did the second pizza go!?” Turns out, the second pizza was now sitting atop the oven burner catching on fire and making one heck of a smoke signal!

My guess is the second pizza got stuck to the back of the oven wall and stayed attached as I pulled the oven rack out without me realizing it. Eventually, I fished out the second pizza and still need to clean it out, but that got me to thinking that we ought to remind ourselves what to do should the oven or a pot on the burner ever catch fire…

Oven Fire

Here’s what to do if the oven catches fire:

  1. “Leave the oven door closed!
  2. Turn off the oven and allow the fire to burn out on its own.
  3. If it does not go out on its own, leave the house and call 911.
  4. If it does go out, then open your windows.
  5. Carefully open the oven door (it will be smoky!) and remove the hot pan.
  6. Allow the smoke to clear before determining the cause of the fire and possibly resuming cooking.”

Burner Fire

Here’s what to do if a burner ever catches fire:

Never Use The Oven to Heat Your Home

This article explains why you should never use an oven to heat your home: “Do not use a gas or electric oven or surface units for heating. A gas oven may go out or burn inefficiently, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. An electric oven was not designed for space heating.”

The article also explains important safety considerations regarding keeping warm during the winter in an unheated house… all of which are good reminders for everyone to read.

Toaster Ovens

I also want to quickly point out that toaster ovens are particularly susceptible to fires for a few reasons, so keep a close eye on them. And if you ever choose to makeshift a candle-powered tea light oven because, why not, then REALLY keep an eye on it, lol!

Top 10 Places To Hide A Gun In Your Home

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There’s simply no question that a firearm is one of the very best home defense weapons you can have.

There’s also no question that leaving your firearms out in plain sight is a bad idea, and for more reasons than one. The last thing you want is someone with unauthorized access to get their hands on one of your guns, and that’s why you need to take action to keep your firearms hidden.

Now the obvious solution here is to invest in a strong, affordable gun safe, which has the added benefit of protecting your firearms from fires and other elements.

But this may not be a viable solution for you if you don’t presently have the funds to invest in a safe, or at least not in one that can hold all of your guns for you. (Editor’s note: be sure to follow any local laws regarding proper storage, even if you’re generally against more regulations, like me.)

So what are you supposed to do now? Simple: you need to find other places throughout your house to hide your guns in instead.

Here are the best places to hide guns in your home:

1. Food Boxes (i.e. Pizza Boxes)

Yes, any random food box such as a pizza box will be a perfectly viable option to hide a handgun, because it would be one of the very last places a criminal would even think to look.

The added benefit here is that the kitchen is a good place to have a firearm hidden anyway for defense against home intrusions.

(Editor’s note: be sure the box is thoroughly cleaned, otherwise it will get smelly!)

2. Pottery Pieces

Besides food boxes, you can also try to hide your handguns inside pottery pieces throughout your house as well. Take note that criminals will definitely think to look inside pottery pieces before food boxes, so it may not be as secure of an option. You’ll also definitely want to wrap the pistol in a towel of some kind before placing it into the bowl, just in case if a guest to your home peers inside out of curiosity.

3. Nightstand

It’s always a good idea to keep a firearm on the nightstand for quick access should you wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of something breaking downstairs. That being said, nightstands are also places that burglars would be sure to check for jewelry, electronics, money, and other valuables, so you’re definitely taking a risk here.

The best solution here may be to invest in a small pistol safe that you can drill into the bottom of the nightstand, where the pistol will be kept both concealed and secured.

4. Under Furniture

Who says that you only have to drill a pistol safe underneath a nightstand? What’s to stop you from drilling one underneath other pieces of furniture, such as office desks, chairs, sofas, and so on?

5. Under The Floors

Underneath the floors is another great location for hiding firearms.  You can also hide long guns here such as rifles and shotguns besides handguns only.  Just be careful about where you choose to cut into your floors. In a hallway that’s commonly used wouldn’t be as strategic as say underneath furniture.

6. Concealment Shelves

There are a variety of concealment shelves on the market that you can buy as well for hiding handguns.  Many concealment shelves are designed as everyday home furnishing items, such as drawers, clocks, picture frames, and so on.

7. Air Vents

Air vents are another location where you can hide firearms.  Granted, burglars may think to look there for money or other valuables, but children and anyone else curious probably will not.

8. Fake Books

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book (pun intended), but hiding a small pistol in a realistic looking fake book ensures that the firearm is kept both hidden and accessible. For larger pistols, you made need a real page turner. Try a dictionary, old Bible, or maybe your favorite edition of Harry Potter.

9. Closet

You’re taking a major risk by hiding your guns in the closet, because it’s often the very first room where burglars will go.  But it’s still an option for you. Just be careful and strategic about how you choose to hide your guns in the closet (i.e. underneath a pile of shirts or pants isn’t very strategic).

Editor’s note: get a good handgun safe if you’re going to use the closet for this purpose… thieves will go straight for the closet every time.

10. Underground

Last but not least, you can also always hide firearms underground, such as in a PVC pipe, pelican case, ammo can, or anything else that can keep the firearms shielded from moisture.  This is a topic that you’ll want to research much more careful to keep your firearms fully protected from moisture damage.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has given you a solid idea of a variety of different places where you can keep your firearms hidden.  But of course, these aren’t the only viable options for hiding guns, so  if you put your creative cap on, you’ll no doubt think of a number of other hiding places as well.

(Editor’s note: This was a guest post.)

BioScarf – Cold Weather Scarf with Built-in N95 Protection

I’d never heard of such a thing as the BioScarf until today. Interestingly, it’s like a typical scarf but with an N-95 mask built into it. Apparently, it can filter out all sorts of airborne pathogens, from bacteria to smoke and plenty more. Plus they come in a variety of colors, including camo, olive drab, black, and white. Check it out below and consider grabbing one as an early Christmas gift…

7 Things You Should Never Burn in Your Fireplace (and why)

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I have a bunch of old papers that I need to get rid of and it occurred to me that I could just burn them in my fireplace one day, but I got to wondering if that was really a good idea as I’d never done so before (I’d always done this outdoors).

Well, it turns out that “it depends” on precisely what I’m burning, but I did find this article on several items I should never burn in the fireplace and wanted to share it with you, too, so you’re aware as well…

“The fireplace looks like a handy place to dispose of unwanted combustibles, but it’s safest to burn only dry, seasoned firewood.  Many items you might innocently pop into the fireplace create serious hazards.

  1.  Don’t burn colored paper.  The inks used in wrapping paper, newspaper inserts, and magazines contain metals that can give off toxic fumes when burned.  Paper burns very quickly, so there is also a danger that flames may enter the chimney and ignite the creosote deposits in the flue.  Balls of paper can ‘float’ up the chimney on the hot air that is rising through the chimney and ignite flammable materials outside the home.

  2. Never burn painted, stained, or treated wood or manufactured wood such as plywood and particle board.  Chemicals in ‘salt treated’ wood, paint, or stains can produce toxic fumes when burned.  Likewise, burning manufactured wood products produces toxins and carcinogens…”

Read the full article here

What If We Regulated Driving Like We Do Guns?

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Yesterday I shared a brief video about Washington’s I-1639 passing that seriously restricts gun ownership, and I clearly wasn’t happy about it. I’m still not happy about it passing and, like the guy said in the video, most of the law won’t directly impact me whatsoever. Regardless, it’s still the wrong way to go but first…

Today I woke up at about 3 am still thinking about it… and still upset. Then, this morning I turn on the news to hear about another shooting, this time in a California bar.

What a shame. I simply don’t understand what these shooters hope to gain by doing this; it must be the infamy of going out in a blaze of glory. Odds are this guy had mental problems that weren’t properly dealt with, but only time will tell.

The thing is that we always seem to blame the gun for such deaths, but that’s just not the case. Now, I’m hesitant to use the saying, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” but it’s true.

Saying that guns kill people because they exist would be like saying that cars kill people because they exist. Literally. But we both know that’s not true. Cars don’t actually kill people… it’s the driver’s behind the wheel who do. There may be extenuating circumstances (such as poor road conditions) but it’s still up to the driver to drive safely.

The statistics are staggering

According to these CDC stats, America averages between 30-40 thousand deaths by firearm (homicides and suicides combined) each year, give or take a few thousand, and it appears to be rising. I’ll certainly agree that’s a lot and the trend is moving in the wrong direction.

And if firearms didn’t actually exist then, yes, these deaths in this manner would not have occurred. Would they have occurred in another way, say, with suicides? Well, Japan has very strict gun laws and a relatively high suicide rate… you do the math.

What about deaths on the road? Although motor vehicle fatalities were trending lower over the past decade, the trend seems to be on the rise again, totaling as many or more deaths per year as firearms at about 37,000 per year, according to Wikipedia.

Clearly, firearm deaths and motor vehicle deaths are not equal. People certainly use a vehicle in their daily lives far more than a firearm. I get that. But the fact still remains that as many or more people die from vehicle-related deaths as they do with guns.

And if we’re truly interested in reducing preventable fatalities then we should consider all major causes of preventable death, including firearms, vehicles, drug overdoes (many of which are prescriptions and cause more deaths than either firearms or vehicles), and so on… but only firearms get vilified day in and day out.

Initiative 1639 highlights

So, what would it be like if we treated your car just like Washington state want’s to treat guns?

Let’s find out…

Washington Initiative 1639 includes quite a bit. Once enacted, the law would:

  • Raise age limits for purchasing certain firearms
  • Require waiting periods after purchasing a firearm
  • Impose additional fees when purchasing a firearm
  • Require proof of firearms safety training
  • Increase background checks before purchasing a firearm
  • Require firearms to be securely stored or disabled by use of trigger-locks
  • Require approval from local police or sheriff to own a firearm

I’m sure there’s more in there that I missed, but these are the biggest problems I see. Now, on the surface, they sound reasonable enough. But, let’s substitute the word “firearm” for the word “vehicle” and see how reasonable it would be if this were your car and your lifestyle that we’re legislating…

Raise age limits for purchasing certain vehicles

One thing the initiative does is to raise the age limit on purchasing certain firearms from age 18 to 21: “This initiative would make it illegal for a person under 21 years of age to buy a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle. It would make it illegal for any person to sell or transfer a semiautomatic assault rifle to a person under age 21.”

What if we applied this same logic to a car? What if we said that a legal adult at age 18 couldn’t buy a sports car, such as Ford Mustang, until they were age 21 because of the perceived risk a sports car brings? Would that be acceptable?

Or, better yet, why not say they can’t buy a sports car until age 25 when insurance rates tend to drop even more? After all, young male drivers are known to be most at risk for making poor decisions behind the wheel, especially when speed is involved. A sports car surely makes it easier to speed, I can attest to that.

Why not apply the same logic to motorcycle purchases? After all, most motorcyclists I’ve seen on the road tend to speed or weave in and out of traffic, and they’re certainly more at risk of dying from an accident than the driver of a vehicle.

Let’s target SUV’s while we’re at it… most of “those people” drive poorly too, particularly in bad weather.

And if I kept trying I’m sure I could figure out how to target almost every car or group of drivers out there. Eventually nobody will be driving!

What about upper age limits?

Here’s another take that’s just going to upset quite a few people: what if we had an upper age limit on who can purchase–or even drive–certain vehicles?

What if, for instance, we said anyone who was retirement age couldn’t purchase specific vehicles or, worse, once you hit age 70 (an arbitrary number I just made up) that you couldn’t drive anymore?

Would you be fine with that? After all, older drivers may be just as much of a hazard on the road as the younger ones. Don’t get mad at me, though, we’re just trying to do everything we can to stay safe on the road!

Require waiting periods after purchasing a vehicle

Another requirement of I-1639 is to “…require a dealer to wait at least 10 days before delivering a semiautomatic assault rifle to a buyer.” Of course, this could take much longer due to background check backlogs, lost paperwork, or who knows why.

What if we did the same thing with vehicles?

What if, instead of being able to drive off the new car lot with your shiny new sports car (now at age 25) you had to wait? Possibly for weeks? You wouldn’t be very happy at all!

Now, what if we made everyone wait before they could take possession of any new car they buy, even from a private seller?

Dealerships wouldn’t be very pleased, that’s for sure. It kind of ruins their whole sales pitch and there may be a few “buyer’s remorse” returns too. That may hurt the economy a bit.

Insurance companies may not be very happy either, especially if there’s damage to a vehicle during the interim period where the dealer still holds a car due to the waiting period and when the owner takes possession. Though I’m sure they’re figure out a way around that or, more likely, they’ll charge you a “new vehicle holding” fee.

And, of course, new car owners won’t be very happy either.

Impose additional fees when purchasing a vehicle

The initiative would also “…allow the state to impose a fee of up to $25 on each purchaser of a semiautomatic assault rifle. This fee would be used to offset certain costs of implementing the initiative. The fee would be adjusted for inflation.”

Wait, we already impose new car fees, lol.

That’s just more money for the state to grab and do whatever they want with. Granted, the fees probably wouldn’t amount to very much, but it’s still YOUR money that they’re taking.

Require proof of vehicle safety training

The initiative states that: “Buyers would be required to provide proof that they have completed a recognized firearm safety training program within the past five years.”

What if we made anyone who wants to purchase a new car show proof that they completed a vehicle safety course within the past five years? Would you want to take a safety course every five years? How quickly would this become redundant? After a handful of these safety courses you could probably teach the course yourself.

Firearms are no different; once you understand the basics of firearms safety and familiarize yourself with the firearm (assuming it’s new to you) there really isn’t much else you need to reeducate yourself about. Requiring proof of training every five years is just silly.

Increase background checks before purchasing a vehicle

Continuing their intrusive behavior: “Background check and record keeping requirements that currently apply only to the purchase of pistols would also apply to the purchase of semiautomatic assault rifles. The same requirements for collecting and maintaining information on purchases of pistols would apply to purchases of semiautomatic assault rifles.”

What if dealerships were now required to pull your DMV record to determine if you were fit to drive? Would you be fine with that?

Granted, I know we have laws in place to revoke your driver’s license if you’ve had too many violations (or specific ones such as a DUI) but what if we did the same thing before purchasing your next car? Who gets to decide precisely what makes you a bad driver? And how far back to they get to look? I know I’m a very different driver today than I was in my youth; I’d suspect you were too.

Require vehicles to be securely stored or disabled by use of trigger-locks

I-1639 continues: “The initiative would create new criminal offenses for the unsafe storage of a firearm if a person who cannot legally possess a firearm gets it and uses it in specified ways. These crimes would apply to a person who stores or leaves a firearm in a place where the person knows, or reasonably should know, that a prohibited person may gain access to the firearm.”

Basically, it’s saying that you, as a legal gun owner, are now responsible for the actions of another should your firearm be stolen (or taken without permission, such as by your child) and then commits a crime with your stolen gun if you failed to “reasonably” secure it.

So, what if we make the same requirement of your car? Should you be required to not only lock up your car each day at home, but to securely store it in some fashion? What about at work or while you’re at the grocery store?

Maybe you’re only required to “lock up” your keys. Would you be willing and able to do that each and every day, every time you use your car? And if you didn’t, you could be charged with a felony in some cases!

In fact, just yesterday I heard about this 11 year old kid who stole his parent’s car and led police on a high-speed chase. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured and, while they’re filing felony charges against the child in juvenile court, according to this law they may also be able to file felony charges against you in some cases when you had nothing to do with it. Is that fair to you?

What if, for instance, you locked up your keys in a gun safe like you’re supposed to, but a thief stole the safe, eventually broke into it, subsequently stole your car, and ended up getting into a fatal accident? Are you responsible then? What’s reasonable in this situation?

That said, the initiative does state that: “Those crimes would not apply if the firearm was in secure gun storage, meaning a locked box, gun safe, or other locked storage space that is designed to prevent unauthorized use or discharge of a firearm.”

We’ll see how long that wording stays in or how much wiggle room a prosecutor wants to apply to the law.

The initiative does attempt to clarify: “The crimes would not apply if the person who gets the firearm is ineligible to possess it because of age… [or] in cases of self-defense… [or] if the person who is ineligible to possess a firearm obtains it through unlawful entry, if the unauthorized access or theft is reported to law enforcement within five days of the time the victim knew or should have known that the firearm had been taken.”

Right. Like I said, we’ll see how judiciously such wording gets used and abused when there’s an overzealous prosecutor or judge involved.

Require approval from local police or sheriff to own a vehicle

“Finally, the initiative would require [law enforcement] to verify that people who have acquired pistols or semiautomatic assault rifles remain eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law… [and] to take steps to ensure that persons legally ineligible to possess firearms are not illegally in possession of firearms.”

What if we did this with your car? What if authorities went so far as to track what car your’re driving and were able to revoke your driver’s license if they found out you were driving the wrong type of car for whatever reason?

Think this can’t happen? Nearly everything can be tracked these days, especially with the use of smartphones, GPS, and other smart devices. If they wanted to track which car you’re driving, they can figure it out.

Then it’s just a matter of tracking you down physically and revoking your license… or maybe they’ll just send you a text, lol.

Concluding thoughts

I get the purpose behind the law. I do. And on the surface it sounds like a good step towards solving the problem, but we always have to remember that criminals don’t care about the law. Initiatives such as this really only hinder law-abiding citizens.

We also need to recognize that we already have laws in place to prevent or remove access to firearms from those who are most likely to harm themselves or others, specifically the mentally ill.

Of course, there’s also the duty of gun owners to recognize situations where easy access to your firearms may be a bad idea. If, for instance, you have a teenager (especially a male teen) who is showing signs of depression, lock up your guns!

Statistics consistently show that suicides are the primary cause of death by firearms, year over year, and that firearms are the chosen tool here in America. We cannot ignore this fact. But it shouldn’t be up to the government to tell us responsible gun owners how to act.

It’s up to us to take the initiative (no pun intended) and to do the right thing where we can, and if that means locking up your firearms when you never have before because your teenage son is now moody little shit, then do it.

Bad things do happen, but they can happen a lot less if we, as law-abiding and responsible gun owners, take the initiative on our own… pun intended.

Washington Passes I-1639…Time to Move

I woke up this morning and watched this video about I-1639 passing which immediately ruined my day since I also live in Washington state.

So, thanks Washington voters, from the bottom of my heart, for making my life–and that of other law-abiding gun owners–that much more difficult because you’re a bunch of idiots!

Apparently, however, “The Yankee Marshall” is taking the news better than I am, lol…

How To Build A High Quality Survival Armory For Just $500

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If you feel that you need a personal armory of firearms but are extremely limited in your budget to only around $500 or so, you may feel that your best course of action will either be to wait and save up for a single high quality firearm later, or to go ahead and buy a collection of cheaply made ‘budget’ firearms to get you by.

But truth be told, neither of these options are ones that you have to pursue. This is because it is possible to build a complete armory of firearms for disaster and SHTF purposes on a shoestring budget of only around five hundred dollars.  

The reason this is possible is because there are a large number of high quality firearms that are also easily affordable. You see, there’s actually a difference between ‘cheap guns’ and ‘budget guns.’

In an SHTF or disaster scenario, there will be three basic types of firearms that you need to have in your collection:

  • Rifle: for big game hunting and long distance shooting
  • Shotgun: for personal/home defense and bird/small game hunting
  • Handgun: for defense and concealment

In this article, we’re going to outline and discuss three specific makes and models of firearms that you can buy in order to put together on a high quality survival armory for just $500 or less.

Rifle – Mosin Nagant 7.62x54r ($200)

The Mosin Nagant is one of the most popular budget rifles in existence.  While admittedly crudely made, the Mosin Nagant also has a well-earned reputation for being a very durable and accurate firearm.  It’s a rifle that you can beat to death, and it will

The Mosin Nagant served as the standard issue infantry rifle of the Red Army in World War I and World War II. Afterwards, when the Soviet Union upgraded to the AK-47 and SKS, tens of millions of surplus Mosin Nagant rifles hit the surplus market and found their way to the United States.

Originally, Mosin Nagants were so cheap that a bundle of three could be purchased for less than a hundred bucks.  Today, prices have been rising, but finding a Mosin Nagant in good condition for $200 or less either online or at pawn shops should not be a major challenge.

The Mosin is also chambered for the 7.62x54r round, which is very cheap and has ballistics very similar to a .30-06 Springfield.  This means that it will be more than capable in bringing down virtually any kind of North American big game.

Shotgun – Breech Loading 12 Gauge ($100)

Shotguns are among the most versatile firearms in existence, and if your gun safe doesn’t have one in it already, you need to change that.

What makes shotguns so versatile? The answer is simple: other than concealed carry and long distance shooting, there’s preciously little that they can’t do.

It’s all because of the ammo: when loaded with birdshot, a shotgun can be used for clay pigeon shooting and small game or bird hunting.  With buckshot, it’s one of the most devastatingly effective home defense weapons in existence. With slugs, it can even be used for big game hunting within reasonable distances.

Easily the cheapest choice for a dependable 12 gauge shotgun will be a breech loading single shot model.  These shotguns are so simple and rugged in operation that you won’t have to worry about one breaking down when the going gets tough.

No, a breech loading single shot shotgun is nothing fancy.  It’s no Mossberg 500 or Remington 870. But if you’re on a very shoestring budget, a simple breech loading shotgun will still be a perfectly doable option, and you should encounter no problems finding one in good shape in the $100 range.

Handgun – Taurus G2C 9mm Luger ($200)

At this point, we’ve spent $200 on our rifle and $100 on our shotgun. That leaves just another $200 to spend on our handgun.

The best handgun to have in an SHTF disaster would quite arguably be a mid-sized 9mm pistol with a relatively large capacity.  Such a handgun would be suitable for defending yourself against multiple attackers, while also being small and light enough to conceal carry.  While the ideal handgun for this criteria may be something like a Glock 19, that’s also going to be too much outside of our budget range.

One of the best pistols to fulfill this criteria for that $200 or so budget will be the Taurus G2C 9mm pistol.  This is a compact sized pistol with a capacity of 12+1 rounds, and offers you enough room for a full firing grip so it’s easily controllable.

The G2C also has an impressive number of features for a budget pistol, including a manual thumb safety, a Glock-style trigger safety, and a loaded chamber indicator.  The pistol has also gained a strong reputation for reliability, with many users reporting having thousands of rounds through their G2C pistols without any hiccups.

Conclusion

Having a personal armory of firearms is one of the most important things you can as you prepare for disaster as it can help keep your family safe while also enabling you to put food on the table.

If you only have $500 to spend on guns right now, the above three choices will definitely serve you well in any SHTF or disaster scenario.

NOTE: THIS WAS A GUEST POST.

Two Best Lockpicks

Video on lockpick choices. He recommends two:

  1. The Titanium Bogota lockpicks for better feel than stainless, plus they fit easily in your wallet or pocket.
  2. The folding pocket pick set because it’s all conveniently contained in a single unit, sort of like a Swiss Army knife.

Remember, of course, that picking locks other than your own is illegal.

After watching the video I do wonder how many locks this guy picks because it sounds like he has a lot of experience with it, lol…