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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Home Security Tips I Learned from My Neighbor

Our neighbors headed to sunnier climes about four months ago. Since that time I have learned a few things about home security from them...actually it was from the things that they didn't do right. Such as:
  • They don't have anyone regularly checking their house while they are gone. It appears that they have their kids (maybe relatives?) drop by about once a month or so but that isn't frequently enough to stop problem before they get out of hand. What if a water pipe breaks as spews water for a whole MONTH before someone notices? What I do when we are away from home for a lengthy period of time is either get a house sitter or have the housekeeper come by weekly just to dust. There isn't much cleaning to be done, rather this is just to have someone check out the place and make sure all is well.
  • The relatives that come over to check their house apparently don't have a key to the house since about once a month I see them scurry around to the back of the house, lift up a planter, take out the "hidden" key, then return after a half hour or so and replace the key. Um, real safe thing to do. Good thing they live in a good neighborhood where the usually observant neighbors don't want or need anything they have in their house. Our solution is to have a couple of people (a trusted friend and the housekeeper) keep keys to our house. If anyone else needed to get in our house we would have them meet up with either of these two for a key hand-off.
  • The neighbors don't make any effort to make their home look "lived in" while they are gone. There are no lights on, no noise from the radio or TV, basically their house looks abandoned. When we go on vacation or are away for work, we leave various lights and TVs on a timer. Of course our neighbors may notice from the lack of activity that we are gone, but the random burglar may be thrown off by the lights and sounds coming from our home.
  • The neighbors didn't leave any emergency contact information with anyone in the neighborhood. Most of our neighbors are friendly enough to wave when passing and will occasionally invite neighbors they see outside over for a barbecue or garage sale but mostly everyone keeps to themselves. This can be good for people who like their privacy but, as happened this weekend, it can also be a problem. Just a couple of days ago an alarm in the neighbor's house went off. We are talking a shrill, screechy alarm that continued to sound for nearly 10 hours before I couldn't stand it any more and called the sheriff. He came out, took a look around, and asked how to contact the people because it wasn't within his duty to break into their house. After going back and forth a bit, with me telling him that if the alarm continued for very much longer I was just going to cut the power to the entire house, we finally decided that he should get the "hidden" key and take care of the problem. Fortunately he was reasonable about the situation and realized that I wasn't going to listen to the alarm very much longer. He got the key, went in, fixed the alarm, and left a note. This whole problem would have been averted if they had left emergency contact info with any of the neighbors or even left a card in the window stating "in case of emergency call___". Actually a card like this would be good to have in everyone's window. Should an elderly neighbor fall or a diabetic neighbor pass out, at least it would save emergency responders from breaking the door down and the proper people (the emergency contact) would be alerted to the problem and could come over.
  • The exterior of their home doesn't look like it was "prepped" for vacation. There are no exterior lights on at all--generally a welcome invitation to burglars. Fortunately it is now winter so the grass isn't getting overly long which is a clear sign that no one has been home for a while. I do see some papers piling up in their driveway which is also a clear sign that no one is home--these are the free papers, not the subscription papers, which are stacking up so if this happens where you live, you should be sure to call the distributor and tell them you want absolutely no papers delivered to your home.
  • Here's some other random things that I hope (but doubt) they did before leaving: take the garage door opener out of the car they left in the driveway. Take valuable items (guns, jewelry, expensive electronics) out of the home and leave them in the car of a responsible friend. Unplug all electrical items to avoid being toasted by power outages (we have had three outages since they left...don't know how their electronics have fared). Secure the garage doors by disconnecting the electronic motor and/or putting a metal bar through the tracks so they can't be forced open.
Well, they did one thing right. They picked the right neighborhood to live in. However, it doesn't matter how "good" your neighborhood is, if you don't take care to secure your home before you leave to go out of town, you run the risk of coming back to a home that may not be in the same condition as you left it.
Rain barrels coming soon.

Food and Water in Retirement

Now that we've covered finances and shelter that leaves food and water.

Yesterday I touched on new technology to provide energy, but when it comes to food and water we have to look to what past generations did before 24 hour supermarkets and on-demand tap water.

Naturally this means gardening, but it also includes things like canning and pickling, water conservation and even basic cooking skills.

My wife's 82 year old grandmother still pickles all her own stuff and my friend's elderly grandfather has the most productive garden in town.

Unfortunately the knowledge and skills involved in these activities have been lost over the last few generations; however with the internet, knowledge that our grandparents never had access to is easily and cheaply available.

One thing that I think everybody should be doing is gardening.  Almost anybody can plant a few veggies from the huge row garden to the apartment balcony planter boxes.  Ideally your garden should provide the majority of your food,  however if it only provides 10%, that's still less money out of your pocket.

The "Squarefoot Garden" method is popular among preppers for it's low-maintenance and high productivity. There's plenty of info on-line covering Squarefoot Gardening and I plan on adapting it to my tiny yard this summer (which I'll post pics of here).

Our Canadian winter's though make storing and preserving food very important. Canning and pickling is the traditional method but dehydration is getting very popular.  Check out Dehydrate2Store for great info on dehydrating.

Apart from growing and preserving your own food every prepper should be stocking at least a month's worth of food but the exact amount is up to you.  You should practice the "eat what you store, store what you eat" method where begin stockpiling the foods you already eat. 

Having familiar food during emergencies makes it easier if you have to depend on your supplies. Secondly, it creates a natural rotation of supplies and avoids unused expired food.

Lastly, you can actually save money by storing food in this way.  Since we're Canadians let's use our national comfort food as an example: Kraft Diner.

I don't know about you but I'm shocked by how expensive KD has gotten lately and I refuse to buy it when it's over $1. Because of this I buy multiple boxes whenever it goes on sale.  This way if the price goes back up I can wait because I've still got a dozen or so boxes at home.

If you do this for all your regular groceries you can save up to 30%!

Now this leaves us with water which depending on where you live is either a very simple solution or a rather difficult one.If you live in the country you simply need a well, but if you're in the city this isn't an option.

However, if you can't look down for your water, you can always look up: rain.

Every downspout on your roof should have a rain barrel.  You can buy the expensive factory made ones, or you can make one out of a plastic barrel or garbage can

My town has a by-law saying when you can and can't water your lawn so I love "sticking it to the man" by using my rainwater to water my lawn during "forbidden days".  In areas where your water use is metered, you'll also save money by using less water.

No matter where you live though you should practice water conservation to either lower your water bill, to preserve your septic system and/or lower the electricity by the well pump.  You can do this in a number of ways that I'm sure we're all familiar with: low flow toilets and showerheads, short showers instead of baths etc..

Well, I think I've touched on a lot of basics in this series of posts. Please leave any ideas or comments.

I don't know about you but I can't wait for retirement!

(Cross-posted at Next Best West)

Gasifier Woodstoves by Valcas1...

Valcas1 traded me this stove a while ago with the stern injunction to do a review of it. This isn't the most thorough review I have ever done, but I am happy to report that this stove passed 9 out of 10 of my marks.

My sister wanted to go for a walk in the woods today despite the howling winds and four foot drifts. I agreed as I needed to get out of the house.

When we reached the shelter, I realized I'd forgotten the potstand. "Oh well," I thought. "I'll just set the canteen cup on top of the stove."

I must say that this stove would perform admirably with a potstand. Without it...well suffice it to say that every time I put the cup on top of the stove (without the included but forgotten potstand) it tended to snuff out the woodgas flame, which increased the boil time markedly. Also, some of the wood I gathered wasn't the best in terms of moisture content, nor was it the best in terms of wood quality.
Oh well, it was fun, and we got our mint tea anyway. It just took a bit longer


I am confident that with the proper fuel, more experience and a potstand I could get this stove to boil water in under five minutes, from ice cold to a rolling boil.

General rating? Five stars.

  • Attention to detail: Excellent. There are no "snags" or rough or torn edges where Valcas drilled the holes and cut the cans. Absolutely zero, zip nada, nothing. He is a master at this.
  • Overall construction: Excellent. (See above comment). Heavyweight cans that will not easily fall apart. Hardware cloth grate is also very decent in quality and well trimmed to prevent snags.
  • Compactness: Good to Very Good.
  • Completeness of kit: Excellent. This stove kit comes with everything you need to start cooking with (wood) gas, minus your food and cookpot, and the wood you burn.
  • Ease of lighting: Fair to Excellent, depending on how dry your fuel is.
  • Completeness of burn: Perfect-beyond Excellent. There was literally a few fingersful of white ash and one or two tiny chunks left, out of two small branches that I burned. This thing burns hot, and clean. Better than my mini gasifier experiment!
  • Usefulness: Excellent in my locale.

Unless you are going hiking above treeline, I would recommend this stove to anyone who lives in an area with trees and shrubs big enough to burn. (Not hard as this stove requires sticks pencil to thumb thick and less than four inches long). The benefits far outweigh the downside of finding dry fuel. This stove would be even better for those of us in very dry, windy areas as you could easily use this in place of an open fire for cooking and even heating, thus circumventing the burn bans. The only bad thing about woodgas stoves in general is that the fuel must be absolutely bone dry, or it just will not burn. I don't know why that is but it is true; I have experimented with my own before, and it is the same way. Altogether an excellent stove that I will carry for many a year.

Thanks Valcas!
Children in Jerusalem.

Child Related Items In Your Kit

Child Related Items in Your Kits

When I was young , very much pregnant with my first child I started to freak out about the things I might need in an kits. Some of those things are as follows :

  • Lactation Tea - In an emergency Try to keep / and dry out and use again if needed
  • Hand Powered Breast Pump - Make sure you know how to use it
  • Emergency Formula - Keep Regular & Soy on Hand
  • Barley - For Mother or Child
  • Nappies - Clothe Diapers
  • A Sling - Know how to use it
  • Extra Clothing / Sleep Sack / Shoes / Socks
  • Bottle / Bottle Brush / Nipples
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Zip Storage Bags for all , including one for soiled clothing / Nappies
  • Rags Marked for Specific Uses - Diaper , Burp , Bath kept sealed in completely different bags. Keeping them marked keeps people from using them inappropriately and spreading germs / disease.

Latter when I had my second child I my first had grown quite a bit I found the following Just as useful.

  • Child Leash - For Toddlers on a Walk
  • Stash of Toys - To keep em Occupied
  • A Stuffed Animal - Comfort Objects
  • Board Books - Entertainment , Calming Ritual with Parents
  • Children Ban-Aides - Kissing Boos make it heal better.
  • A Second Sling - In Case you need to Carry you older child.
Even if you do not have children I think that these are things you might want to look into , because sooner or later you are bound to interact with others who Do have children , or maybe even have some of your own.

I also recommend keeping the following herbs / Oils around or in pack in for use by nursing mothers and children.

  • Lavender Oil - Relaxes Small children
  • Fenugreek - For lactation stimulation
  • Anise - (NOT star Anise , please look it up ) - for gassiness
  • Ground Cloves - for teething issues

As with all emergency kits you should keep checking in and keep items up to date. I have found the formula needs to be changed out often if you hand measure it , Similac Carries a Type in Convenient bottle size doses that I highly recommend and used with my own children , these , left sealed can be stored for up to a year . Always make sure that you have proper accommodations in clothing and sleeping gear for littles. Children Grow Fast and Their Clothing becomes too small quickly so you should also keep their clothing in kits up to date or larger than they might really need. I also recommend Nappie Pins , even if you use velcro , because velcro can wear our . You should make sure you know how to use these things in an emergency , not just have them around and have no idea how to use them.

You can read more from preppermom at A Prepared Mother

Delivering Babies

Delivering Babies: So Grizzled

Delivering babies can be a grizzled job. How grizzled?

Let's just say that the field of Obstetrics (OB) is kind of a Wes Craven meets the Care Bears situation: Blood, guts, gore, and cute little baby butts.

So there's a very good reason why obstetricians prepare like nuclear fallout specialists to deliver a baby. They have to fend against an all-out military airstrike with the baby as the Drill Sergeant: "Alright you bodily substances, you better hit 'em with everything you've got! Darned, if they make me come out into the world! So bring on the rain!" Then hence starts the artillery.

During one of the last deliveries that I performed, the umbilical cord sought its revenge and sprayed my face like Old Faithful. It was not pretty; kind of like the aftermath of the movie Carrie. I think I heard the dad scream.

For instance, cesarean section yields enough blood to make a general surgeon cry, "oh mommy!", but then the OB doc pulls out a tiny baby buttocks out of the gaping abdominal wound and everyone in the room goes, "Ahhhhhh! Isn't that cute!"

Now, you are probably wondering, why I would bother to talk about baby butts in a disaster and wilderness medicine blog. But that's just the point, just like in the world of OB, anything can happen. And you just might find yourself needing to deliver a baby.

First, in this post I am going to discuss the things that you should have on hand in order to perform an emergent delivery. (Emergent delivery: if you are in a situation where in you can't contact 911 or are unable to get the laboring mother to a hospital in time.)

In the next post, I will describe how to perform an emergent delivery. This is not to replace the work of medical professionals, instead it is designed to help you handle an imminent situation where appropriate medical help can not be obtained. (Image obtained from

As for gear, many companies offer pre-made OB kits which you can purchase online, which I personally prefer, because I'm too lazy to make my own. Or you can purchase the products separately and build your own. Lazy way is better.

The following is a list of items that should be contained in any Ob kit:

*One pair or more of sterile exam gloves. These are the gloves that are generally worn by OB docs in order to perform sterile cervix exams. I suggest having more than one pair.

*One disposable plastic apron or surgical gown. I'd personally go with the surgical gown, more coverage. You know, from a disaster perspective, I would stock up on disposable surgical gowns, but that's just me and I am biased towards having more medical supplies.

*One 17" x 24" under pad. In the medical arena, we call these "chux pads". These are plastic on one side and cotton plush on the other. The closest thing out in grocery stores to them are puppy pads, but I wouldn't suggest using a puppy pad for delivering a baby.

*Disposable Absorbent Towels. I would stock up on these. They are good for any medical emergency dealing with body fluids.

*Biohazard bag. Again, good for any medical emergency where instruments can become contaminated with fluids.

*Plastic Drape sheet. Okay, I have to admit that lots of blood equals need for lots of plastic coverage, whether it be in the wilderness or in your home.

*One heavy duty feminine pad and Ice. I personally like the ones that you can either fill with ice or can open enough to shove ice in them. The ice helps alleviate the pain that occurs post-partum in the perineum. The pad itself absorbs the post-partum blood.

*At least Four Sterile 4 x 4" guaze sponges. Really, if you don't have these in your emergency medical kit already than you have a very poor quality kit.

*One Sterile Scalpel. Preferably a #10. (Image taken from

*One Sterile 2 oz bulb syringe. I think this should be in any emergency kit notwithstanding whether the kit is designed for baby delivery or not.

*Alcohol Prep pads. Okay, these are a must regardless.

*At least two Sterile Umbilical Cord Clamps. Or you can use Kelly Hemostats. (To sterilize the hemostats: Place hemostats in water that has been brought to rolling boil for at least 15 minutes. Note: water sterilization kills most bacteria and inactive viruses, but doesn't kill prions which are the cause of Bovine Spongiform Ecephalopathy [also known as Mad cow disease] or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. But most likely, you won't encounter Prions on clean medical equipment.) The sterile clamps are the cream colored plastic pieces seen in the picture.

If you are unable to obtain these things, or they are not on hand when an emergency birth takes place. Get out your boiling water, toss a sharp blade in and some shoelaces. Boil for 15 minutes.

In a later post, I will describe the different types of sterilization techniques.

Next time, we'll discuss how to perform an emergent delivery when birth is imminent and medical help is unavailable.

Until next post,


This is a repost from
Wilderness Medicine and Disaster Preparedness. You can read more from little doc there or in the APN forums Dear Littledoc. Littledoc says that the advice given in this forum should not replace the advice of your primary care physicians. The American Preppers Network is not responsible for any medical advice given, or taken, at this forum or blog

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Food Storage Safety - Dented Cans

A large portion of everyone’s budget goes towards the cost of food and throwing away food unnecessarily can be an expensive practice. This can lead to higher food costs you may not be able to afford. There are several common things that you should look for when checking a canned food item for potential problems if it has been damaged.
Always visually inspect your canned food items prior to opening and after they have been opened. This is a priority with any canned food item and should be a part of your food safety routine on a daily basis.
1.) If the can is bloated or bulging it is almost certainly going to be unsafe to consume. Cans become bloated when bacteria produces gases that will cause the can to expand outward.
2.) Check the top and bottom of the can. If the top or bottom of the can moves in any way or makes a “popping” sound this is an indicator that the can’s seal has been broken and air may have entered the can. If this is the case, the can should be discarded. If the can doesn’t make a “popping” sound or the top and bottom don’t move, then it is probably safe to consume even if it has been dented.
3.) Visually check for any rust on the can. Rust can weaken the can and affect its structural integrity. This may allow air to enter the can and possibly contaminate the contents.
4.) Check for any dents on the seams on the top, bottom or sides of the can. The seams are the weakest points of any can. It is best to avoid canned food items with any apparent damage to their seams.
5.) Pay close attention when opening a canned food item to make sure the contents don’t spray from the can. This is also a good indicator that the contents are contaminated and should be discarded immediately.
6.) Look for dents with sharp creases. Sharp or severe dents in a can will also weaken the structural integrity of a can and may allow contamination of the contents. Cans that have sharp or severe creases should also be avoided.
7.) Visually inspect the contents once your canned food item has been opened. If it looks or smells bad, it probably is bad and will most likely be unsafe for you to consume.
Got dents?
Staying above the water line!

Kerosene Lantern

Given today's technology a kerosene lantern seems a bit old-fashioned and out of place! However, a kerosene lantern with a 1-inch wick will burn approximately 45 hours per quart of kerosene, saving lots of natural resources and utilizing approximately one-fourth as much fuel as a gas lantern. Kerosene lanterns are an effective and fairly safe lighting source. There are now scented lamp oils which replace kerosene. This lamp oil is generally available in retail stores. Make sure the oil is approved for use in your lamp

**Caution: Lanterns consume good air and exhaust bad air, so use only when well ventilated.**

There is a difference in lighting quantity and quality, as the kerosene lantern is quite dim when compared to the two-mantle gas lantern. The light output of a kerosene lantern is comparable to a 40W-60W light bulb.

As a rule of thumb, the typical kerosene lantern burns approximately 1 ounce of fuel per hour. Burning at the rate of 5 hours each day, the following approximate amounts of kerosene would be used:

Kerosene Lantern Fuel Consumption:

  • Day 1/2 pint of fuel
  • Week 2 quarts of fuel
  • Month 2 gallons of fuel
  • Year 25 gallons of fuel

Republished with permission from: Making the Best of Basics. Chapter 17: Energy and Fuels Storage. By James Stevens. If this information was of value to you, please visit our sponsor.

Preparing to prepare...

There is no need for the novice prepper or "prepper family" to create the equivalent of a corporate disaster response plan; there will be time for that later on. While it is important for you to know the types of disasters that are most likely to affect you based on where and how you choose to live your daily life, prepping can quickly become a daunting task if you focus too much on the minute details rather than the totality of staving of adversity as you begin to prepare yourself and your family. Once the basics are covered, it is then expected that you will round out and expand on your basic preparedness to address the more advanced and in some cases long term needs that you will have to overcome.

Let's start with the obvious - In some scenarios, your survival of the initial disaster is not assured. Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis and asteroid impacts to name but a few, will kill lots of people outright. There is no amount of preparation that will save you from the effects of a nuclear blast or a terrorist bomb that detonates next to your desk at work.

Preparing is what you do to mitigate the after effects of a disaster so that you can maintain your health and well being until you can recover and move beyond the adversity and disruption to your daily life.

To accomplish this goal in a relatively straight forward manner, it is important that the bulk of your advance preparations focus on the generalities of survival, regardless of the circumstances that brought about the need to survive. You would come to realize over time that many of the supplies and actions you need to keep going in the face of disaster are the same regardless of actual situation you encounter. To save you the time of coming to this conclusion on your own, below I list the aspects of survival that should be your predominate focus. If you take care of these, you will be in great shape to carry on when the world around you has fallen apart.

Disclaimer: There are always exceptions and additions to any list. Your personal situation, state of health and personal needs will dictate exactly what equipment, supplies and knowledge you will need. The list below is meant to be a general list of areas to focus on and is not to be considered all inclusive or mutually exclusive.

First Aid - After any disaster or accident, the first thing you need to be able to do is treat any injuries suffered by yourself or others around you. You need ample first aid supplies at home, in the car and at work.

Shelter - aka on going personal protection from the weather, sun, insects, dust, wind etc. You need to be able to stay warm and dry if you plan on surviving. Remember to take into account, the climate in your area. Shelter means different things in July and January for many people.

No Water - You need to consume at least 2.5 liters (minimum) everyday just for your body to be able to function. You need more to keep yourself clean and to cook. Having no safe water on hand to drink will limit your survival chances and affect your ability to help yourself. Store lots of drinkable water!

No Food - Everything you do after a disaster will be more difficult and take longer than it normally would. You will be burning more calories than you would sitting on the couch watching CNN. To preserve your ability to do work and stay healthy, you need to be able to eat. This is why you need to store food.

Money - We live in a consumer society. We are used to buying what we need to live. There is no reason to expect that everything you will need to procure after a disaster will be available to you for free. The bank wont be open so you will need to have some money available to purchase "things" from others.

Safety and Security - For every 50 people you put together in a group, there will be a few who have no compunction against doing you harm or taking what you have for themselves if given the opportunity. It is not unreasonable to assume that some stressed out desperate people will behave badly. You need to ensure that you have considered how you can protect your person, shelter, water and food from this often over looked threat.

Energy Sources/Utilities - It is safe to assume that in any disaster some or all of the public utilities you depend on to power your stove, furnace and lights may not be available for quite a while. You need a means of seeing in dark, cooking your food, safely disposing of human and food wastes.

Communication - You need a means of learning what is going on and gathering information on threats that exist that you may not be able to see. You need to know where to go and what to do. You need a radio to listen to messages from authorities. Because you are prepared, you may not need many or any relief supplies, but you need to know where these are being distributed if for no other reason than to avoid the throngs of unruly people who will congregate at these locations.

Restricted Travel - It may not be possible for you to travel within your town or between towns depending on the nature of the disaster or restrictions on movement imposed by the authorities. You need options that enable you to stay put under less than optional conditions. You should also consider providing yourself the option of leaving an area of perceived adversity if you have some advanced warning of events to come.

Advanced medicine or life support - Hospitals, medical clinics and doctors/nurses in general may well be overwhelmed by the needs of the many in the aftermath of a disaster. While no one can be expected to perform surgery on their loved ones, having the skills and supplies to suture open wounds, antibiotics for infections and rudimentary dental work is a great advantage. The next time you get your teeth cleaned, ask your dentist for the tools and compounds to apply temporary fillings and to treat cuts in the mouth and tongue.

Lost Records - You may need to prove who you are, that you own the land you are living on, that you have insurance in one form or other, that you are licensed to possess that rifle etc. You need to have copies of important paperwork in the event that the originals are no longer available.

Mental Health & Spirituality - Time will pass slowly without all of the modern distractions we have come to rely on (TV, computers, etc). Plan for those times when there isn't much to do. Keep yourself amused and the kids entertained. Playing cards, simple board games for the boring times (usually when it is dark but too early to go to bed). A Bible or equivalent scripture may be comforting to some.

When beginning the process of getting yourself and your family prepared for tough times, if you concentrate on the above areas of focus you can quickly and effectively increase your chances of survival and at the same time become independent of the need to rely on others in the short and long term. It is important that you begin to prepare right away. This post is an attempt to make it easier for you to begin this process. Please, do not procrastinate and assume that others will be willing or able to help you out. Your life is your responsibility.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

So you think you don't really need to be prepared?

We Canadians are a pretty hardy bunch all things considered. We endure crappy weather in all seasons, and insist on talking about the weather all the time. This winter in the Ottawa Valley is much akin to the summer we didn't have in 2009. Not much snow at all. My snow blower has been used twice and both times, a shovel would have been almost a quick and much more eco friendly.

This weekend, a serious snow dump is occurring across the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Many locations such as Washington DC where they usually do not see significant amounts of snow are getting buried. This is a perfect microcosm to examine how the local citizenry react to unexpected adversity when it is clear that govt. services will temporarily be unable to cope with the event. Remember, snow melts and in locations where lots of snow is not the norm, snow usually melts pretty quickly.

The following pictures illustrate how quickly a large retail grocery store can be stripped of almost everything in as little as one business day when the masses decide its time to gather supplies. As always, those who prepare regularly and store supplies for times of adversity were able to avoid all of the pandemonium and of course have everything they need readily at hand.

What do you think your chances are of getting the necessary supplies when you are competing with 95% of your neighbours for the limited stock on a shelf somewhere?

[Avoid the need to gather supplies at the last minute - it's safer and much less stressful]

4 powerful Traits of Survivors

There are some common personality traits that most survivors have in common. The following is a list of the 4 most common traits of people who have survived extraordinary situations.
1. Survivors stay Calm in the face of Danger.
A survivalist has the ability to stay calm in the face of whatever life may throw at him. It’s not that the survivor is without fear, instead he has the courage to face his fears. To be able to stay calm in the face of danger requires preparation & training. The more information you have the easier it is to stay calm during any survival situation.
2. Survivalists are Experts at Improvisation
Survivors can find a use for everything around them. They know how to pick gear with multiple purposes, and they know how to improvise when they find themselves without the needed tools or gear. Survivors  have the ability to make fire without matches, find water where there are no faucets, and find food where there are no stores.
3. Survivors are D.I.Y Experts
They are the ultimate tinkerers. In day to day life, the survivalist will find away to fix something that’s broken, before running off to Walmart to buy a new one. These skills are indispensable in an emergency situation.
4. Survivors are Great Leaders
They know how to make the tough decisions that will keep the people around them alive. During an emergency situation, while most are panicking and making stupid mistakes,  a survivalist  will stop, access the situation and then take action. They are the ultimate leaders!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Oatmeal Raisin Bites using Whole Wheat and Oats

As some of you know, I have been on weight watchers for the last few months. It has been a great experience and I have lost over 50 lbs. Despite my lifestyle changes, I still crave sweets every now and then. Imagine my delight when I tried this delicious recipe which also uses my food storage. As the recipe says, "These oatmeal-raisin cookies may be small, but they have a big granola taste and they're loaded with fiber, too." I loved them and so did my family. For any weight watchers aficionados, one cookie is one point!

Oatmeal Raisin Bites

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 c whole-grain wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 c butter, softened

1/4 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c raisins, chopped (I chopped them in the blender)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and both sugars until incorporated. Add egg and vanilla; mix thoroughly. Add oat mixture and mix until just combined; fold in raisins.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter about 1 inch apart onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11-12 minutes for crispy ones. Remove from oven and let cookies rest for about 2 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
馬口鐵罐頭食品涼粉 Category:Canned food Category:Grass ...

SHTF:Bad News For Long Term Scavengers

I have been on a tear lately about things running out, breaking, wearing down, etc. Guns, food, machinery, etc. I think what caused this was going back and watching the Discovery Channel's series about the world without people. It showed hypothetical scenarios of how quickly man made structures and creations would fall apart and revert back to nature.

What also brought this about was the rash of recent winter storms across the country. Trees heavy with snow began collapsing on to cars and houses causing more damage. Who would have thought snow could take down a tree? But it happened all over the country and without an army of city workers, contractors and handy men, most of those homes would be unihabitable in short order. Add to that the floods, earthquakes and tsumamis on television every single night and the damage they do to our infrastructure.

Pile on top of that the glut of doomer fiction, in movies and online, which often include the protagonist's ability to locate long abandoned treasure troves of supplies like ammo, canned food  and toilet paper and all of it ready and safe to use. For some reason, finding a bomb shelter or untouched Walmart warehouse is the popular choice for fiction writers.

Put all this together and we have the clash of reality versus happy thoughts.

Take a real, widespread disaster. Asteroid hit, nuclear war, pole shift. There's a bunch of people who have survived. They are hungry, cold, desperate. Every building, house, store, office and structure is going to be overwhelmed with hoards of mobile survivors tearing apart anything they can get their hands on. Not going to be much left in any warehouses or stores after that day. That's part one.

Part two. As soon as the infrastructure breaks down, so does the constant human care and feeding our our fragile systems. Just leaving doors and windows open (or broken) will result in the elements ruining everything left inside. Fires will run unabated. Broken sewer and water mains will send water in every direction. Animals will move into homes and buildings. It gets better.

Part three. Time. Food in cans will begin to turn. Paper will mold, mildew and rot. Leather will break down. Fabrics will be overrun with moths and insects. Water will damage everything stored carefully in cardboard and paper containers. Nails rusting in boxes. Ammunition corroding in those plastic dividers. Even plastic buckets will eventually crack, leak and become infested. There won't be much of any value in those warehouses or basements ten years after.

Here's where it gets bad..

The long term scavenger will be forced to move to the most hospitable areas left and search out new food crops, domesticated animals and clean water supplies. They will search out communities that are making and repairing clothing, tools, and other necessities. They will end up taking them from those who had the foresight or luck to be better positioned after the fall. If that's you, don't think the scavengers will be satisfied wandering around the cities looking for a leftover Happy Meal. They will be coming your direction.

At the same time, the community which believes there is still "good stuff" in the cities or hidden away in some warehouse will be disappointed. Everything not destroyed by man will be ruined by time and the elements.

The solution: the old rule, one is none and two is one. Except times 100. Stockpile those things which can help make new things. Seeds for food. Tools, nails, metal, concrete, lumber, a power source (if you can get it) and so on. Remember that on the day of the end, the clock starts to tick for everything manufactured and man made. The deterioration has begun and time is the enemy. If you have the chance to "allocate and distribute" (loot) that which has been left behind, do it fast, before it falls prey to time and the elements.

The survivor living off the carcass of the old world is fiction. Don't make long term plans based upon that which will be gone.
Tomato plants in the garden.

Prepare: Garden Time Is Just Around The Corner

There may be snow outside, but now is the time to plan your spring garden and get a jump on the competition. Growing your own food is fun, healthy, saves money and will probably save your life.

The weatherman is predicting snow again, tomorrow. Seems like the last batch just melted here, but it gave me time to scope out my planting area and start making plans. There amongst the brown grass and abandoned raised beds I can see overflowing tomato plants, corn shoots, green beans hiding in the leaves, bell peppers and fresh raspberries.

But this all means nothing if I don't get a start now on my spring garden plans. Most will get the "bug" to grow something sometime around April or May when the first warm days kick in. They wait until Saturday and then wander on down to the super garden center and find the best plants, seeds and supplies are long gone. They end up with two plastic pots and a couple of brown tomato plants for their summer bumper crop.

Don't let this happen to you.

It may be too early to start putting tender seedlings into the ground, but there is no reason not to start seed shopping right now. Seeds can be ordered online or at the retail store. There are hybrid (cross bred seeds which do not re-pollinate) or non-hybrid seeds (original or heirloom seeds which can be reclaimed from the fruit and reused the following season).

I generally pick up my seeds at the retail store and get a mix of hybrid and non-hybrid. I always get extra because they are available and I can save them for later. I keep my seeds in their original packets and store those in large coffee cans. They last well for me as I have used seeds I purchased three and four years ago without a problem.

Some advice - pick up extra "big seeds" like corn. There is generally only enough in one packet for a single planting. If you are shopping at the farm supply store and buying 100lb bags of seed, ignore this advice of course.

Lay out the garden on paper how you want it to look but don't plant anything until the danger of frost has passed. Too many gardeners take advantage of an "Indian summer" and plant too early and lose everything when that freak snow shows up.

Planting. Raised beds, pots, or tilling up the ground? What's best? I do all three. For most of my vegetables, I put together raised beds out of bricks, left over lumber and anything else around. I then tear them down at the end of the season. I use pots for herbs on the back patio. I have never had a great harvest growing tomatoes in pots, the ground works better.

I till up a large part of the yard for corn and have several growing areas which I move around.

The more growing space, the bigger the harvest. Take advantage of every corner to grow something edible. I make compost throughout the year. I throw yard and kitchen waste, old potting soil, grass, anything in the compost heap. And I turn it once a week for good effect. I don't water it much as it attracts ants, and even in a drought the heap stays fairly moist.

If rats or mice are a problem in the compost heap, get a couple of inexpensive trash cans with lids and throw the kitchen waste in those things until it breaks down then add them to the big pile.

Other than compost, I don't like to use fertilizers other than soil amendments like green sand, lava sand, earthworm castings. I don't use pesticides at all, but might have to chance that if the garden is life or death. Other than that, attracting birds and hand checking the plants is the natural and best way to get rid of pests.

Save rain water from the down spout. Get trashcans and rig them under the spouts as rain water is always better than hose water for plants. Water when needed but short duration, small waterings as it encourages the roots to grow shallow. Deep roots are the plants best friend.

Like buying food, only plant what you and the family will eat. While growing an Asian mustard plant is interesting, if you hate the taste, don't do it. Also, plant things which will produce a lot and are healthy - like tomatoes.

A garden is healthy for you, a way to save money and most likely will save you and your families' life if things keep going the way they are. Even if we hold the country together, the price of gas alone will make a garden pay for itself is lowered grocery costs and shopping trips.

What’s in your First Aid kit?

“It would be terrible if the Red Cross Bloodmobile got into an accident. No, wait. That would be good because if anyone needed it, the blood would be right there.”-unknown For the Cub Scout Readyman activity, boys are required to inspect a First Aid kit and explain the contents. So what exactly should they expect to find inside? If you buy a First Aid kit with “100 pieces”, you can bet 80-90% of the content is just generic “Band-Aids” in various sizes. A kit should contain so much more.
First, a short digression. Do you know the difference between a dressing and a bandage? A dressing covers the wound – typically an absorbent gauze. A bandage holds the dressing on the wound and keeps it from falling off. It could be tape or an elastic wrap. A Band-Aid is a product by Johnson and Johnson that combines a dressing with an adhesive bandage.
So yes, item #1 in a kit needs to be several sizes of adhesive bandages to cover your basic cuts and scratches. These can be bought cheaply in bulk at dollar stores or drug stores.
For large wounds, buy several packets of sterile gauze (four inch squares are best). Again buy a large package and share with friends. You’ll also need medical adhesive tape or elastic bandages to hold down the gauze. I favor elastic bandages since these can also be used as wraps for a sprained foot or knee or hand or elbow. You might need to include a small pair of scissors if your bandage roll resists tearing strips off.
Before applying the dressing, you’ll want to clean small wounds with triple-antibiotic ointment. Don’t try to clean or wash large gaping or profusely bleeding wounds. Cover large wounds immediately, apply pressure to stop the bleeding, and see a doctor.
Clean your hands with an antiseptic hand cleaner before (and after) applying First Aid. For First Aid kits in your car or other situations where you might be aiding a stranger, wear rubber gloves to prevent blood borne disease contamination. Include a plastic bag or garbage bag to safely dispose of blood soaked items.
If you’re trained in CPR, add a barrier mask to your public kit to block germs (and vomit) when doing mouth-to-mouth.
Don’t forget to include items for pain relief like insect bite swabs (Hydrocortisone to prevent itching) and child-safe acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Aspirin is discouraged for children under 19 as it can cause Reye’s Syndrome. Chewable aspirin is encouraged for adults who may be suffering a heart attack.
Tweezers are essential for removing splinters but potentially harmful for insect bite/stings. Scrape away, never tweeze, a bee stringer. Tweezing will push more venom into the body. Likewise use tweezers with care when pulling away a tick. Pull gently and slowly to avoid breaking off the tick’s head and leaving that embedded in the skin to cause an infection. Never squeeze the tick's body when it's attached as this will push more tick germs into the bloodstream increasing the chance of Lyme disease.
Include one or more large triangular bandages (like the Scout neckerchief) as a splint for injuries. You can make these yourself out of old sheets.
For extra credit, include an instant cold pack. These can reduce swelling with sprains.
In cold climates, an instant heat pack might save you from frostbite. Stuff it in your shoes or between layers of gloves. Do not apply directly to skin.
For kits outside the house, add a space blanket. Keep victims warm and covered after trauma to prevent shock.
If you have the space, add some Calamine lotion for Poison Ivy.
Last but not least, include a good First Aid book (or booklet) that you like and can understand.
Bottom Line
Your need at least one well equipped First Aid kit in your house. Another for each car. Your workplace should have a kit (required by law?) - do you know where it is?
Customize your kits for your activities. If you camp or hike or play sports you'll want more protection from insects, poison ivy, sprains, broken bones, etc.

Wind Chill

"I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there"
- song lyrics from Baby It's Cold Outside recently published an article, "It's time to get rid of a meaningless number", that is opposed to the idea of "Wind Chill factor". The columnist believes that "no amount of tweaking will make wind chill more comprehensible."
Let's start at the beginning. In 1945 two Antarctic explorers, Paul Siple and Charles Passel, realized that a bottle of water would freeze faster on a windy day than on a calm day. This is because the wind is more efficient at carrying away the heat in the water. They carefully recorded wind speed and freezing times to create a chart and formula uniting wind and temperature. So given 5 F and a wind speed of X, you could calculate that a bottle would freeze in the same amount of time as a calm day of -40 F.
The concept of wind chill was first used by Canadian Weather men in the 1970s. The Siple-Passel formula was used for 30 years before two researchers, Randall Osczevski in Canada and Maurice Bluestein in the United States, decided to retest the numbers. They found that the Siple-Passel formula was too extreme in its predictions. So instead of -40F above the same 5F and wind would feel more like -19F.
So this is confusion #1 - the system of wind chill was changed at the turn of the century.
Confusion #2 - If it's a windy day at 35F, the wind chill might "feel like" 20F but no bottle of water (or anything else) is going to freeze. The coldest anything can get in this example is 35F - safely above freezing. All wind chill does is tell you how quickly you'll cool down to the outdoor temperature - not how cold you will become. Wind does not make things colder than the air temperature - it just makes them as cold, faster.
Confusion #3 - Your results may vary. The actual rate at which your body cools will depend upon the clouds & sun, how much skin you have exposed, how insulating your coat is, how exposed you are to the wind, and so on. The modern Wind Chill model is based upon people who are 5 feet tall, somewhat portly, and walk at an even clip directly into the wind.
Bottom Line
Wind Chill is useful as a reminder about the dangers of a cold wind but keep in mind the limitations mentioned above. Also remember that wet clothes draw out heat and will cool you down faster than dry clothes. Stay dry and out of the wind.
Check out one of my early blogs for more details on Hypothermia.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

10 Uses for Your Emergency Fund

I always keep an emergency fund on hand. It is important that you ALWAYS have $1,000 to $5,000 available in cash or a mix of cash and money in your bank account which can be accessed with your ATM card. On a side note, I don't consider the use of a credit card to be an emergency fund because when you are in crisis, the very last thing you want to do is get into debt. Here's how my emergency fund has been put to the test over the years:
  1. Our furnace died in the dead of winter. There was no getting around the need for a very small (and very expensive) circuit board that blew out. And there as no waiting as the house dropped to about 40 degrees fairly rapidly since it was so cold outside.
  2. The car had a couple of issues, one electrical, which caused the brake light and tail light to only want to work occasionally. Now if I would have been stopped with the lights not working I would have got a ticket and a whole lot of hassle so it was best just to break out the emergency fund and pay to get the situation fixed immediately.
  3. A relative came down with Dengue fever--a tropical disease that is quite painful and unpleasant. Contrary to US hospitals where you can show up in the ER and receive treatment then figure out how to pay later, in the country where this event happened, if you don't pay at the ER door you don't get seen or treated.
  4. The spouse got laid off unexpectedly. Although this didn't cut into our normal budget, if this would have happened to many families that depend equally on both partner's incomes, the emergency fund would most likely have been tapped for living expenses.
  5. Last minute travel. We funded our travel to see our son who will soon be deploying out of our travel account because we knew ahead of time the approximate date he would be leaving. I have had two friends, however, who needed to leave on a moment's notice because of hospitalized relatives and have actually had this situation happen to me over the years where there isn't time to save or plan for travel because someone ended up in the hospital or they died unexpectedly. An emergency fund is the difference between heading to the airport immediately and calling everyone you know to scrape together enough gas money to drive across the country.
  6. The $800 cell phone bill. Some years ago (before I realized how much teenagers could talk in one month) we ended up with a surprise $800+ cell phone bill. After passing the stages of denial, shock, and anger, I ended up coughing up the cash to pay the bill so that #1 everyone else's cell phones would remain activated, and #2 I wouldn't have collections coming after me. This money was available because we had an emergency fund (note that the fund was replenished by said kid working a whole lot over the following months).
  7. The surprise tax bill. One year I was going along happy as a clam thinking all of my taxes were paid up to date like they usually were when I received a threatening letter from the IRS. Did you know you underpaid your taxes by over $3,000? Why no, I didn't. After practically sprinting to my accountant's office and learning that her assistant had a crisis right in the middle of preparing my taxes causing her to transpose the numbers on my form, I dejectedly went back home and cut the IRS a check. It would have been much worse if I didn't have the money in my emergency fund to cover this rather large expense.
  8. A very, very, very good deal. Your emergency fund is not the place to draw funds for every "good deal" that comes your way. In this case you would never have an emergency fund because there are always deals to be had. I have only used my emergency fund on a couple of occasions to take advantage of very, very, very good deals. One was for a car a friend wanted to sell--he was willing to take one quarter of the value of the car since he was leaving the country immediately and he knew it was going to a good home, and once for a couple of firearms that a widow needed to sell ASAP which were both rare, and very well priced.
  9. Paying off that very last debt. After spending months or years getting out of debt, you will reach a point where you maybe have $1000 left to pay and you will be COMPLETELY DEBT FREE. In this case, you may want to just pay the debt out of your emergency fund and get it over with.
  10. A disaster occurs. Think Haiti, think Hurricane Katrina, think something as basic as a flood in your town. When a major disaster occurs, it usually requires an initial outlay of cash even if you do have the ability to be compensated later. Gas for the car, hotel rooms, restaurant meals, replacing clothing and toiletries...all of these things require immediate cash, which, fortunately you will have in your emergency fund. While this hasn't happened to us on the scale of Hurricane Katrina, we have sheltered families on occasion who found themselves homeless due to flood or fire; they would have been much better able to handle the situation if they had had emergency funds available.

Self-Sufficiency as a Retirement Investment

One aspect of preparedness that is very popular among preppers is the concept of "prepping as retirement".

The dream of retirement is really a dream of independence and financial self-sufficiency, which is central to prepping.

Too many people in this country retire with only their Canada Pension Plan.  The good thing about the CPP is that everybody gets one; the bad thing is that it's not enough to live on.  If they're lucky they may have put some money into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, however, this isn't true self-sufficiency.

You do not want to be dependent on only these sources of retirement income;  RRSPs can lose value and the CPP is only around $800 a month, if you're lucky.  Both are subject to tax that further reduces your income.

If you want to increase your financial independence there are really only two ways to do this:

1) decrease the money going out


2) increase the money coming in

Apart from an income, the basics you need to survive in retirement is food, shelter and water.

The less you have of the last 3, the more income you'll need to purchase them.

Fortunately the reverse is also true! The more you have of the survival basics the less income you'll need in retirement.

The prepper lifestyle can help with both these goals and may even allow you reach that "Freedom 55" or earlier!

Debts and mortgage

One of the basic rules of prepping is to avoid debt as much as possible (with the exception of a house mortgage if necessary).

It's pretty simple to realize that living on a fixed income is much easier if you don't have any debts to pay.  All that money saved will give you the FREEDOM to do what you want with your life; isn't that what liberty and independence is all about?

A popular method of paying off debts is the "snowball" method.  Basically you focus on paying off the debt with the smallest balance first and then apply that payment PLUS the regular monthly payment to the next smallest debt.

Rinse and repeat until all debts are gone including the mortgage.

A couple I know both have low incomes.  She's on a government pension and he brings in a little more than minimum wage, yet all the family and neighbors are surprised at the type of lifestyle they have.  Nice house, nice car and not wanting for anything. The secret isn't that they're scamming the system somehow, it's simply that they paid off their house years ago and they spend wisely without going into debt.

This should be your goal.

Think of all the prepping supplies and activities you could do if you had no debts...which brings us to tomorrow's post:

"Home Energy Independence as Retirement Investment"

(cross posted at Next Best West)

Indoor Air Quality; Plants that can save us

Assuming that your house is still standing after a disaster and the authorities haven't attempted to evacuate you, the best thing for you to do is to stay indoors with your air vents sealed.

For instance, in the event of an earthquake, a good amount of dust is stirred up into the air, bringing with it a number of soil fungi that have been shown to cause lung infections in earthquake survivors, such as coccidioidomycosis immitis which is the cause of San Joaquin Valley Fever. (Refer to Jacobs, A.V. and Leaf, H. (2007). Fungal infections of the lung. Current Infectious Disease Reports, vol. 1, pp. 89-98 and Torre, J. and Richard, A.J. (2008). Coccidioidomycosis, emedicine,

In the event of a nuclear fallout, there is the radiation factor. No biggy, right? Well, that's because you already know that it is best to go into your basement and seal off any openings to the outside in your home and stay down there for at least 3 weeks. (Note: Earthquake and Nuclear preparedness and disaster response will be discussed in more detail in a later post.)

So how do you survive in an air tight environment for a few weeks? Yep, you guessed it: Plants!

Not only do plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, they also filter harmful substances from the air such as formaldehyde (man, plants would've been great to have around when I was in Cadaver class), benzene, and trichloroethylene. So in a nutshell, plants function as amazing air pumps and humidifiers. (Aglaonema modestum picture taken from

In 1989, NASA scientists Dr. B.C. Wolverton, Anne Johnson, and Keith Bounds conducted a study to find an economical way to purify air for the extended stays that astronauts made in space stations. (

This study found that a particular fifteen houseplants performed better at air filtration than was ever expected.

Wolverton stated that, "Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves (stoma). But research in our laboratories has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors. Combining nature with technology can increase the effectiveness of plants in removing air pollutants. A living air cleaner is created by combining activated carbon and a fan with a potted plant. The roots of the plant grow right in the carbon and slowly degrade the chemicals absorbed there."

The plants were also found to be helpful to air-tight office buildings. For instance, in most office buildings, trapped pollutants produce what is often referred to as Sick Building Syndrome. (

The signs and symptoms of this syndrome include: fatigue, nausea, confusion, flu-like symptoms, sinusitis, anxiety, pneumonia, headache, lack of concentration, edema, allergies, and insomnia, irritation of the eyes, nose and mouth.

Now if you're wondering how formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene get into your house, they do it like every other criminal, they pick the locks. No really, they are more like vampires, you invite them in... by bringing paper, cardboard, particle board, insulation, paints, oil solvents, adhesives, inks, varnishes, perfumes, deodorants, body lotions, cleaning products, smoke, pesticides, synthetic fabrics, carpets, detergents, etc. into your home. Darn, there goes the good things in life.

So here you are stuck in your house, trying to avoid the nuclear fallout like every other normal, non-mutant person, and all you have is books to read and walls to paint. Then you get that cleaning urge because you've got nothing to do except stare at the dust collecting on all the DVDs you can't use because the power is out. So, you clean and of course you have to varnish what remains of your furniture... and now you need to apply three layers of deodorant because you stink from all that work.

But then, suddenly, one of the radiation mutated cockroaches from the underworld just ate your dog and you have to whip out two cans of industrial strength bug spray because there is no way in Tartarus that your shoe is big enough to kill that thing. What do you do?

You get out your Mother-in-law's tongue. No, you don't have your mother-in-law to lick the roach to death; Mother-in-law's tongue is actually a plant called Snake Plant or Sansevieria trifasciata that filters all the chemicals from the above scenario. Please see the adjoining picture. (picture from

In other words, you prepare with plants. The following is a list of the top 15 plants that NASA found were helpful in filtering indoor air:

1. Philodendron scandens 'oxycardium,' or heartleaf philodendron (This is that plant that never seems to die, no matter how much you lack a green thumb. Picture is to the left.

2. Phildendron domesticum, elephant ear philodendron

3. Dracaena fragrans, 'Massangeana', cornstalk dracaena

4.Hedera helix, English Ivy

5. Chlorophytum comosum, Spider plant. (I love this plant; you only have to water it once every two weeks! Perfect for times of disaster.

6. Dracaena deremenesis 'Janet Craig', Janet Craig dracaena (medium light)

7. Dracaena deremenesis 'Warneckii', Warneckii dracaena (medium light)

8. Ficus benjamina, weeping fig (intense light)

9. Epipiremnum aureum, golden pathos

10. Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa,' peace lily (in low light, this plant works the best)

11. Philodendron selloum, selloum philodendron

12. Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen

13. Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm

14. Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue

15. Dracaena marginata, red-edged dracaena

NASA suggested that there should be at least two plants per 100 square feet, or two plants per a small room/office. The results recommended 15 to 18 houseplants, grown in 15cm containers or larger, to filter an average home of less than 2,000 square feet. My grandma seems to apply the more is better rule: her kitchen looks like the rain forest.

For those of you whom are interested in which plants filter what chemicals....

Filters of Formaldehyde:
Green Spider plant, Peace lily, Bamboo palm, Mother-in-law's tongue, draecena marginate, golden paths, and dracaena warneckei.

Beaters of Benzene:
Peace lily, Bamboo palm, Gerbera daisies, Mother-in-law's tongue, English Ivy, and Pot mums (my grandma loves these).

Tricklers of Trichloroethylene:
Peace lily, Bamboo palm, and Gerbera daisy.

Well, again, I better sign off for today. Again, i must hit the books.

May you enjoy your time with your Mother-in-law's tongue.


Here is a list of resources for more information on NASA's study, including the pdfs for the day:

This is a repost from Wilderness Medicine and Disaster Preparedness. You can read more from little doc there or in the APN forums Dear Littledoc. Littledoc says that the advice given in this forum should not replace the advice of your primary care physicians. The American Preppers Network is not responsible for any medical advice given, or taken, at this forum or blog.