Last week I’d heard about a story of three family members who died during Hurricane Irma because they ran a generator inside their home. Although I couldn’t find more details, I did find this article about the incident.
Sadly, such a tragedy was entirely preventable by understanding what carbon monoxide (CO) is, how it can kill you, and perhaps most importantly: what items produce CO.
Here’s some good articles about carbon monoxide and safety:
Anyway, what that tragedy really got me to thinking about was those things (or actions) you don’t actually need to have (or do) to survive in a disaster, such as with the recent hurricanes.
Now, I’m assuming that this family was running a generator to power an air conditioner because it was relatively warm weather at the time, but that’s pure speculation on my part. If they were running a generator for any other reason then it’s even worse because there are honestly very few reasons why you’d need electricity after a disaster.
Now I can hear you saying, “But, wait! I need to keep my refrigerator and freezer food from spoiling!”
No you don’t.
You SHOULD be able to do so… but you don’t HAVE to, especially if it means doing something ignorant like running a generator inside your home.
Regardless, you don’t need to have or do many things, such as:
You don’t need power to keep the lights on if you have other light sources such as candles (not my first choice) or battery-powered lanterns (a better option). Heck, you could just sit in the dark but that sucks.
You don’t need power to run a stove or oven or even a microwave if you have alternative cook sources like a BBQ grill or even makeshift stoves. (Note: BBQ grills can also produce carbon monoxide if charcoal-based and even propane grills can put off CO as well).
Heck, you don’t even NEED to heat most foods so long as it’s been precooked, such as with canned foods. That said, some foods just need to be boiled to make them edible like rice, beans, pasta etc.
You probably don’t need hot water either for any reason (except as noted in #3); this makes for cold showers and cold teas but it still works.
Like I said above, food can be allowed to go bad and so the refrigerator doesn’t need to be kept cool. That said, I understand there are some cases where you’d hate to lose many hundreds of dollars worth of food and so you should be able to keep them running but it doesn’t have to be a generator that does it (hint: your car works pretty well for this purpose) and, besides, coolers and ice work well enough for a few to several days.
You probably won’t need to do laundry in most cases since most of us have plenty of clothes in the closet which can be dusted off.
You don’t need to bathe for weeks or longer in most cases (but I’m sure it would be appreciated by most people around you, lol). Even a simple washcloth rinse off is better than nothing.
You sure don’t need WiFi or the internet or television… except then you couldn’t read this. 🙁
I’d suggest that you don’t need your cell phone but it is our primary means of communication these days and so you really should try to keep it powered… and, of course, learn to text during and after disasters since they’re FAR more likely to get through jammed cell towers.
You don’t need almost ANY beverage (such as soda or beer) besides water to survive; sorry, you’ll live without either.
You don’t need water to flush toilets or for most common household activities; keep water for the most necessary activities such as drinking, cooking, and minimal personal hygiene including brushing your teeth and the washcloth bath… and for pets too.
In many cases you don’t need to air condition your home. Granted, there are some locations and times of the year where you’ll be miserable but so long as you can stay hydrated, in the shade, with a breeze,an so on then you’ll live. Of course, there are some folks who simply cannot tolerate the heat such as the elderly and so must be planned for.
In some cases you don’t have to heat your home either. Yes, there are locations and times of the year where you’ll literally freeze to death if you don’t (and you know who you are) but most of us will survive by putting on more clothes and huddling under lots of blankets.
You won’t need to do any dishes for weeks if you bother to stockpile some disposable supplies. Even if you want to use your dishes then items like cups, for instance, could be labeled with names and reused for quite a long time. I’d assume you could get creative too with your other dishes.
I’m sure I could go on listing items and actions you could likely do without in a relatively short term survival situation, but I’m sure you get the idea.
That said, there are some items/actions that you really shouldn’t go without. For example, any life-necessary medications or other medical equipment that literally keeps you alive come to mind. As such, it behooves you to have plenty of these medications on hand as well as the ability to power medical equipment for several days or longer if the power goes out.
Similarly, it would be silly to not be able to care for your basic needs, such as being able to heat your home if you live somewhere that you could truly freeze to death (as mentioned previously) and, of course, at least some minimal amounts of food and water. I still can’t believe people run out at the last minute to grab bottled water before a hurricane… ugh.
Recently, while I was sitting at the orthodontist waiting for my kid’s braces to finally get removed, I began to think about “what if SHTF” and I we didn’t have an orthodontist (or dentist) readily available who know what to do with such things?
After all, I don’t have a clue how all that orthodontics gear works and since my youngest still has many years of orthodontics to go, I should probably get a clue. I know the braces are cemented in there somehow but besides that I’m sure I would do more harm than good if I tried to do any of it off on my own, let alone try to keep their teeth properly aligned either… that won’t happen at all, lol.
SHTF Problem #1: Your Teeth
You’d be surprised but in a truly long-term SHTF situation teeth may be a much bigger problem for many people than they realize.
Besides just having cavities, who knows what types of additional–and sometimes very serious–problems you might encounter, here’s a few I can think of:
Abscess teeth. I’d wrote an article a long time ago about how it killed my wife’s uncle. It’s a much bigger problem than most realize and can lead to a variety of serious health problems.
Crowns that come out. This would leave the root uncomfortably exposed and probably indicates a much bigger problem. While the usual SHTF remedy for “bad teeth” is to just pull it, that might not be as easy with a crown removed and probably rather painful I’d imagine.
Orthodontics, various appliances. Really, anytime you’re in the middle of a process that takes years to complete, I’m guessing you’d also need the knowledge to know if it’s working properly and I’m also guessing that you could quickly do more harm than good. My gut-reaction is to remove the braces (or whatever) but, again, I don’t know how.
I’m sure there are more significant problems to be aware of here and while I have various extraction tools I do wonder how useful they may be with crowns, for instance. And considering that an abscess tooth is such a problem it would be a good idea to have appropriate antibiotics.
SHTF Problem #2: Birth And Babies
This is another big concern that many of us could have but not even consider until that “surprise” hits us. Obviously, this can be minimized by having and using appropriate protection, though, there will still be plenty of instances where people will have babies post-SHTF, wanted or otherwise.
Now, women have been having babies for as long as humanity has been around and doing so relatively successfully, the process isn’t without it’s complications to say the least.
And, of course, while most people choose a hospital with all of the medical benefits… they just won’t be available or accessible in a long-term situation. About the only solution would be to befriend an OBGYN or midwife and hope for the best. Lucky for me I’m married to a midwife. 🙂
Besides concern for the baby, such as being able to resuscitate them, complications with the mother are just as serious, especially hemorrhage. Both of these problems may result in death if you don’t have a knowledgeable resource to take charge and even then the worst may happen simply because they didn’t have appropriate drugs or equipment.
Again, having babies is no joke (and fraught with many serious complications besides what I mentioned above) in good times with all of the support structure we have in place. Afterwards we’re back to hoping and praying of the best.
I won’t get into potential complications with newborns as I don’t know about these types of problems to offer any sound advice.
SHTF Problem #3: Pets
Most of us have little idea what to do when we run out of pet food and, more important, may find ourselves torn between feeding our pets from our dwindling food storage foods or not. Granted, many of us may not be torn at all and simply just feed our pets as if they’re our children. 😉
I do wonder just how well most pets (and I’m thinking of dogs and cats mostly) will do with a significant change of diet from their typical dog or cat food to all human food? I’d suspect they will manage somehow.
What about potential medical issues? Again, if there’s no vet about the best we can do is to care for them as if they’re human and then hope for the best.
For us, we have a dog and then also guinea pigs who, sadly, would be the bigger problem because they eat mostly vegetables, hay, and pellets. As much as I really like them they probably won’t last long post-SHTF.
Anyway, what problems can you think of? What SHTF concerns would you have that you may not have thought about?
A while back I was asked if I would be willing to contribute to the 2017 Prepper Bundle and I said “sure, sounds like fun.” But it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how massive this prepper bundle truly is…
You see, I recently had a chance to find out just what’s included in this prepper bundle and who’s involved and I immediately realized this was going to be big!
For instance, you’ll find contributors like Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, Todd Sepulveda of Prepper Website, Misty Marsh of Simple Family Preparedness, Lisa Bedford of The Survival Mom, Melissa Norris (of her own website), Jodi and Julie of Food Storage Made Easy, Paul Wheaton (he should need no introduction), and plenty of others besides myself.
Anyway, it’s a huge group of knowledgeable folks who contributed their expertise on quite a wide range of topics to get you better prepared. Here’s some of the resources to get you salivating a little (author’s book description follows the title with the occasional redaction to speed this up, lol):
The Guide to Primitive Survival Traps – A book for all outdoorsmen and survivalist who enjoy the sport of trapping and wilderness survival. With an easy, basic read and images for an easier understanding, this book provides you with instructions to making primitive survival traps.
Meal Planning for Long-Term Food Storage -Start building your food storage today! This kit is the easiest step to building your long-term food supply. Including 7 different recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Recipes are basic and easily converted for food storage cooking. Each group contains a shopping list for 1 week, 1 month or 3 months to help facilitate easy gathering of a family’s food supply.
Build Your Own Emergency Off-Grid Power System – This book began as a project to prepare ourselves to survive without electricity for an extended period of time, maybe as long as a year. We share our research into battery-centric, electricity storage devices that most people refer to as “Solar Generators” using solar panels to collect electricity to store in batteries.
Fifty Ways To Make Survival Tools From Trash And Household Items – This is a collection of “how-to’s” from the writings of Ken Youngquist as he explains the uses of “trash” as they apply to emergency and survival scenarios. Who knew that duct tape can be used as a magnifier? that a plastic bottle can start a fire? That a soda can combined with a potato chip bag can pasteurize water? Learn these “how-to” techniques so that you can be better prepared for what lies ahead.
Canning 101: A Primer – Start building your food storage today, from scratch! Canning provides a means to build your pantry, one batch at a time…of homemade, shelf stable food for you and your family. Not only build up your stock of healthy ‘convenience foods’ for your everyday pantry needs; but build a long (or short!) term food storage. Everyone has a ‘rainy day’, eventually. Be Prepared for it! Learn to what you’ll need to start canning, where to find it and how to get started safely canning your own healthy, delicious food and meals.
Mini Seed Saving e-Course – Learn how to seed save your own garden seed every year from someone who has been saving the same strain of green beans in her family for over 100 years. Gain the foundational knowledge of seed saving, including cross-pollination, and never purchase seed from the store again. This course walks you through the amazing living history of heirloom seeds and how to start creating your own seed bank.
Prepared Kids – Our children are the next generation of adults in the world, and we get to help raise them! Whether we are their parent, grandparent, guardian, or family friend, we can raise children that are responsible and self-reliant. In this book, I share ideas that our family and others have used in raising our children that have helped foster in them an attitude of self-reliance and preparedness.
Homemade First Aid Kit – Have you ever wondered how to make your own homemade first aid kit using natural products? Then this is the book for you. It tells you exactly what natural items you need in your first aid kit, what to use them for plus covers miscellaneous items-like tweezers – that you might accidentally overlook when making your own first aid kit.
The Prepper’s Guide to Disaster Water Security – When disaster strikes your community, are you going to be one of the 1000’s waiting in a FEMA line every day for your ration of water? Or are you going to be the hero, the person who planned ahead and can take care of your family in the comfort of your home during the disaster and subsequent recovery? If you want to be the hero, you need The Prepper’s Guide To Disaster Water Security your complete guide to building a bulletproof water program.
…and those are just the ones I bothered to highlight. Of course, there’s my contribution too:
My Contribution To The Bundle…
How to Stop Burglars Dead In Their Tracks – Inside my report, “How To Stop Burglars Dead In Their Tracks” you’ll uncover who these criminals really are, how they plan heists, what factors deter them, which items they want most, 27 actions you can take right now to stop them (including easy security measures) as
well as a dozen hiding spots no criminal will suspect.
I know this doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s directly related to being prepared but you’d be dead-wrong when all your stuff gets stolen because you took your security less seriously than you should have. In my super-biased opinion it’s probably the MOST important of all the topics covered in the bundle. 😉
That bit of sarcasm aside, there’s a lot more included I haven’t even mentioned yet covering a wide range of topics, including: first aid and survival skills, general survival, shelter, food and water, managing and organizing your preps, and more… you really should check it out for yourself.
There’s Still More To The Prepper Bundle…
Prepper Supplies Checklist – Looking for a list of survival gear that can help you determine the right preparedness supplies for you and your family? Prepper Supplies Checklist is a workbook designed to help the user develop an emergency preparedness plan. It is presented in an easy to read format that includes stories, photos, illustrations, helpful tips, and some great survival gear ideas!
Building A Cob Style Rocket Mass Heater – A rocket mass heater (RMH) can heat your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove. A RMH is a DIY project that usually takes a weekend to build and about $200 in materials. This DVD will show you two rocket mass heater builds featuring the most popular style: cob.
Wonder Oven Recipes – For those interested in Wonder Oven style thermal cooking, this e-book is a convenient way to get all of My Food Storage Cookbook’s printable recipe cards. It begins with a 6 page explanation of Wonder Oven cooking (including best practices and tips) and is followed by 28 recipes. All in one, baby!
6 Steps to Your Quick Win Emergency Kit – Once you know the peace of mind that a stocked and ready emergency kit can bring, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to finish your own! This 4-week course helps beginners put together their emergency kit. We’ll cover how to identify the likely disasters for their area, how to put together a simple kit to cover basic emergencies, and then how to put plans in place to personalize individual and family kits.
…and still plenty more not even mentioned yet.
What’s The Bundle Cost?
By now I’m sure you’re wondering how much this costs and you’ll be shocked (and pleasantly surprised) to hear it’s all ONLY $29.97 for the online, immediate access version. Better yet, you can pay a bit more and get the online version plus a USB thumb drive with the same content for $59.97! That way you can get it now and have it for ready reference should SHTF.
The Prepper Bundle Bonuses…
As if all that’s included weren’t enough there are some awesome bonuses as well, such as a very good savings on the All American Sun Oven (my personal favorite solar oven), access to the Pioneering Today Academy, the Trayer Wilderness Academy, and plenty more… but you’re going to have to see them for yourself.
After I’d went through this massive list myself I was looking for the “buy” link myself, no kidding. Turns out I get a free copy for having contributed to the bundle. With that in mind, I’m willing to go above and beyond the call of duty…
My Prepper Bundle Giveaway To You
Seeing as though I want YOU to get prepared and to utilized this information, I’m willing to buy an online only copy for one of my readers.
Just share this on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and then add a thoughtful comment below by this coming Friday night, I’ll pick a random winner, announce it on Saturday, buy a copy, and then reach out to you via email to hand off the login details.
Again, please share this using the provided share buttons and leave an actually useful comment as to why you can make use of this bundle. (Obviously useless comments will be ignored.)
The thing is that I’m leaving on Sunday for a full week and won’t be around to check emails and whatnot… so, if I don’t hear back from you on Saturday via email you’re simply going to have to wait until I get back for your login details. And if I still don’t hear back by then I’ll move on to someone else… you snooze, you lose.
Your Special Offer On My Own Survival Course
Now, I must be feeling generous today since I’m also willing to offer everyone who’s bothered to read this far a full 25% off my own survival course, The Prepared Path, during this 6 day prepper bundle event as well.
Be fully aware: this offer on MY course has absolutely NOTHING to do with the prepper bundle offer. They are completely separate offers.
Please DO NOT contact the prepper bundle folks about my course or me about the prepper bundle.
To be perfectly clear: if you want the prepper bundle you must buy the prepper bundle. If you want my course then you must buy my course. If you want both then you must purchase both separately. Got it? Good.
“WARNING: We Are Not Ready For The Next Pandemic,” this was the cover title on a recent Time magazine article I read while waiting at my kid’s orthodontics appointment the other day. I was intrigued. What did Time magazine know that I didn’t?
Well, a few things, in fact. For example, I did learn that “the number of new diseases per decade has increased nearly fourfold over the past 60 years, and since 1980, the number of outbreaks per year has more than tripled.” That doesn’t sound reassuring, not at all.
I also learned that there are nearly half a million viruses with the potential to spill over, that is, to spontaneously jump from animals to humans like HIV did with chimps, SARS with bats, and influenza with birds and pigs, to name a few they cite in the article. This statistic alone startled me as I had no idea there were so many potential threats looming out there!
I also found out that budgets to those departments which are at the forefront of the battle to keep us safe are being cut (or proposed to be), that there are efforts to both catalog and rapidly develop vaccines but they’re still a long ways off at best, and that there’s approximately zero incentive for drug companies to invest in anything which could help us stop the next pandemic because there’s literally no money in it… until there’s money in it due to a pandemic which is already in full-swing and killing us in droves.
What should scare you the most, however, is the fact that one of the deadliest of flu outbreaks was the Spanish flu of 1918 which infected about 500 million (about a third of the population) and killed an estimated 50-100 million people (more than WWI and WWII combined) that’s a good 10-20% who contracted the flu and died! Can you imagine one or two out of every ten people who get the flu… die? For most of us that would mean at least one family member which is just shocking to me.
Things just get worse. It should go as no surprise that there are a few more people on Earth now than there was then and in closer interaction with each other than in 1918 due to migration from rural lifestyles to cities. I believe I read elsewhere recently that more people now live in or near cities than not for the first time in human population. That’s scary in and of itself, lol.
Travel is unquestionably easier (with the ubiquitous use of planes, trains, and automobiles) and thus disease spread is easier too. This is, no doubt, how disease will spread around the world in a matter of days. Just how bad and out of hand will the next major pandemic be? I shutter to imagine.
Climate change apparently plays a part too by making it easier for disease-carrying critters and insects to travel farther than they normally would and interact with us more often which only increases the chance for disease to spill over.
Moreover, our general belief that science and medicine will “keep us safe” tends to lead to complacency by both the public and authorities. And since any effective reaction by the authorities to combat the flu with a vaccine, for example, would likely take several months at best (assuming we react to it from the very start which hasn’t been our track record) it will likely be too late for the majority of folks who come down with the next deadly bird- or swine-flu.
All isn’t without hope, however. There are some interesting efforts by scientists and various agencies to better sequence pathogens and to track their spread or potential of doing so (read the Time magazine article). One interesting application is genetic sequencing of viruses which according to the article “…can mean the difference between an outbreak that kills hundreds instead of millions. The hope is that scientists will be able to use genetic information to predict how a pathogen will behave–before a single person ever falls ill.” That’s very promising but still a long way off it seems.
The article goes on to state that: “For all the advances in finding dangerous pathogens, the simple truth is that neither the world as a whole nor the U.S. in particular is at all prepared to handle a major infectious-disease pandemic–and a significant reason for that is a failure to invest in things now that can keep us safe later.”
Ok, I’m back to being depressed.
Really, it isn’t going to be a vaccine that saves us. It’s going to be the efforts of healthcare workers on the ground, mandated quarantines (yes, I said it), and ultimately it will be up to YOU to both recognize the threat and to be prepared to outlast it.
This won’t be your average power outage, or even a deadly tornado or Hurricane Katrina… it will be on a scale like nothing we’ve experienced. This isn’t local or even nationwide… it’s global. And it isn’t a few week ordeal… it’s several months at best.
Can you outlast a several month pandemic? One where healthcare services are overwhelmed at best, non-functional at worst? One where very little goods aren’t being traded and services (like electricity and water) are being kept going because nobody wants to go to work for fear of being exposed? One where food can’t be found because everyone is hoarding it? One where desperate mobs and looters ransack nearby businesses and neighborhoods in search of anything they can get their hands on?
I sure hope so, but the honest truth is that most of us won’t be able to. Most don’t do a single thing to prepare now for the worst later. I guess that’s just human nature.
I’d like to think I’m prepared to outlast such an ordeal but maybe not. Who knows what my family and I would be subject to over several months of a pandemic. I don’t know… but I can prepare as best as I can… and you can too. Now’s the time because tomorrow may be too late.
It always amazes me how complacent the vast majority of Americans are. Most people seem to think that disaster will never strike them. That the lights will always stay on. That grocery stores will always have food.
On the one hand I can understand this sentiment because–while times are good–society runs very smoothly and we’re rarely without anything we could possible need… or want.
On the other hand, it’s this very “smooth running” of society which makes us uniquely vulnerable because the vast majority of us haven’t a clue what to do if the lights go out for longer than a few hours or if the grocery stores don’t get their next shipments of food in a day or two.
The sad thing is that it’s really not that hard to prepare yourself for at least a minor hiccup in the food supply, for instance, by stockpiling even a bit of shelf stable foods. There are a few strategies to employ, one of the best ones is to start copy canning, that is, purchasing twice the amount of any shelf stable foods you consume each time you got the grocery store (e.g., buy fours cans of green beans if you used two, six cans of corn if you used three, etc). In short order you’ll build up a small stockpile upon which to rely.
Why bother, you ask?
There are plenty of reasons. The following article discusses six, each of which are certainly possible (one or two are inevitable), and I’m sure there are plenty more if one simply bothers to think about how food becomes a precious resource here in America once again…
“1. EMP – one nuclear bomb, detonated high in the ionosphere, can ruin your whole decade. Most of the U.S. could be without power for a very long time. Computers and anything using computer components would be burned out. It’s hard to say just how extensive the damage would be. Most cars would probably be inoperable. Cell phones may or may not be burned out, but the cell towers definitely would be dead. Radio, TV, cable, internet, would all shut down for a very long time. The infrastructure that supports modern communications took many decades to build up, and it would take just as long to rebuild…”