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Friday, November 30, 2012

Let's Prepare for...Getting Sick

Original Article

Hopefully you won't get sick this cold and flu season, but you should be prepared for that eventuality nonetheless.  Here's some things you can do to prepare for that possibility:

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Add some extra money to your emergency fund (especially if you don't get paid sick leave).
  • Put together a "sick kit".  Include a thermometer, cough drops, Thera Flu, Tylenol, Sudafed, a box of Kleenex, Zinc lozenges, a bottle of Vitamin C, acidophilous tablets, Carmex, Vicks Vapo-rub, and some echinacea, 
  • Put together a small stock of food that you would want to eat and drink if you get sick: canned soup, Pedialite, Gatoraid, teabags, etc.
  • Have a small stock of these germ-buster products: nitrile gloves, face masks, Clorox wipes.
  • If you have children add children's pain reliever/fever reducer to your sick kit.  Also keep on hand coloring books and crayons as well as other activities that children can do while they are recuperating.
  • Know that the best way to treat your average cold or flu is to rest quietly and sleep as much as possible.  Don't forget to stay hydrated which is also very curative.
  • If you get sick and have a chronic illness which requires daily medication, be sure to ask your doctor what to do in the event that you either vomit up your medication or forget to take it.  Ditto if you are taking birth control pills.
  • Don't automatically reach for an antibiotic if you become ill.  Many of these seasonal illnesses are caused by viruses not bacteria so an antibiotic won't help (unless you have strep throat which is a bacterial infection).  Overusing antibiotics encourages antibiotic-resistant infections and illnesses. 
  • For a severe case of the flu which causes a very high fever, dehydration, severe dizziness, shortness of breath, or other life-threatening symptoms, don't hesitate to call 911 or go to the emergency room.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Faraday Cage, How to Build and Use One

Original Article

First, what is a Faraday Cage?
A Faraday Cage is a simple container that by its design, shelters sensitive electronic devices from EMP Pulses (Electromagnetic Pulse) and Solar CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) pulses or emissions that can damage electronic circuitry.

At least that’s what it’s supposed to do! I’ve researched this topic for a while now and there are a lot of theories about the Faraday Cage but no tests using an actual nuke since the 1960’s but we were not electronic back then. So, there is much speculation and no hard and tested fact about what would happen with today’s electronic gizmo’s, electronic auto ignitions and our power grid using a real EMP nuke. However, the basic science is there and I’ll go with that rather than stick my head in the sand and hope for the best, so building a cage is worth the effort!

Inside the ‘Cage’ is where you will store your electronic devices like extra computers, cell phones, two-way hand held radios, ham radio, CB or regular am/fm shortwave radios, small flat panel TV, battery chargers, sensitive auto ignition parts or virtually any device the uses delicate electronic circuitry to operate.

The ‘Cage’ is simply a container sometimes made of metal wire mesh covering on all sides from the size of a shoe box to a 55 gallon metal barrel with metal lid.

Interior Insulating:
The inside of the cage must be electrically insulated so the electronic devices stored inside can not touch any of the inside metal surfaces otherwise an arc can jump to that device. Also the outside of the ‘Cage’ itself must be insulated from touching any surface that will ground it to earth. This includes, direct contact with earth, gravel, concrete floors or wire shelving that touches a concrete floor.

Building My Faraday Cage:
I used a 5 gallon steel bucket with a removable lid and a rim clamp and a 5 gallon plastic bucket that will line the metal bucket to act as an insulator.

I also used a lawn mower battery grounding strap to be sure there is electrical continuity between the lid and bucket.

As you can see here the plastic bucket almost perfectly fits inside the metal bucket.

I cut the upper rims off the plastic bucket

The plastic bucket without the rims almost fits all the way to the bottom of the metal bucket but not quite. The outside diameter was just a touch to large to fit perfectly.

I needed to reduce the plastic buckets diameter by a very small amount. The way I did that was to make a single cut down one side of the plastic bucket.

Now with the cut down the side of the plastic bucket I can overlap the excess plastic to fit all the way to the bottom of the metal bucket and have the electrical insulation needed to keep the electronics stored inside from touching the metal bucket walls. Simple and quick!

I ground off the paint where I will attach the battery grounding strap.

The attached grounding strap.

A quick coat of spray paint to prevent corroding of the connections.

Some of the electronics I store in the Faraday cage. Hand held radios, a “AA” NiCad battery charger and a portable CB radio.

Some more electronics, another NiCad battery charger and my 12 volt auto battery charger.

And the total of the electronics, 2 hand held radios, a hand held CB radio, 2 “AA” battery chargers, a 12 volt car battery charger and all my “AA” NiCad rechargeable batteries.

All I have to do now is put the lid on and my communications and electronics should be protected from EMP and CME pulses, I hope!

The 5 gallon bucket has the advantage of fitting in the bucket storage shelving units so it takes no special storage requirements, just insulate it from the wire shelving.

Insulate the bucket or barrel from touching the ground including concrete.

A 55 gallon drum, if you have room for it, can easily hold all your sensitive electronics.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You’ve Got Cooties!

Original Article

That embarrassing scourge of elementary schools everywhere, head lice are becoming more and more resistant to chemical means of getting rid of them. The expense of buying all the products can be a real financial hit, once you add in washing all your clothes in bleach, spraying the bedding and carpet with special spray and treating your child twice with a toxic remedy purchased from the drug store.
Not only is it expensive, chemically toxic and time-consuming, but there may come a day when the remedy for getting rid of lice is not as close as your nearest pharmacy.
I learned the hard way about how to get rid of head lice when a plague of them swept through my daughter’s school.  It was so bad that the school began performing twice-weekly head checks and sending children home with a note that they could not return until their heads were inspected and found to be free of lice and nits.  Seven year old girls being seven year old girls, with the hugging and hat sharing and whispering, it wasn’t long before my youngest was sent home with head lice.
I dutifully went out and purchased the toxic chemicals from my pharmacy and proceeded to treat my daughter and my house as per the directions….fast forward to the emergency room where the quickly washed-off chemical had caused a horrible burning rash and allergic reaction on her delicate scalp.
Coconut Oil Method:
It was then that I learned about more natural alternatives of ridding a head of lice. One being, coconut oil. Coating the head in a thick coat of coconut oil will suffocate the lice and kill them. An added benefit of this method is it naturally conditions and softens your hair in the process. Simply, add a generous amount of coconut oil to dry hair and place a plastic bag or shower cap over hair and allow it to penetrate hair for 30-45 minutes. Wash hair well to remove oils.
The Wet Comb Method:
Once you have used the coconut oil to kill the lice, then you must pick the dead lice and remove the eggs from the hair. The wet-combing method of removing head lice is one of the best methods to use for this process. It is virtually These are excellent tools to add to your home first aid kit, and even your bug-out bag in case you end up in a shelter with of cost, completely free of chemicals and can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime (assuming you have access to water). The one tool I’d recommend purchasing is a lice comb with wavy, tightly-placed metal teeth (called a cootie comb at our house).
These are excellent tools to add to your home first aid kit, and even your bug-out bag in case you end up in a shelter with others.
You can wet comb with just water, but if you have conditioner, the process goes a little faster and is more effective. Coating the hair with Vaseline is another remedy you can use to remove lice. Either using condition or Vaseline makes the hair slippery so that the louse and eggs cannot hold onto the hair. Make sure the person being combed has something to entertain/distract them – this process can be very time-consuming – up to 2 hours for the initial combing.  You will gain an entirely new appreciation for the word “nitpicker”.
Gather your supplies:
  • lice comb
  • conditioner or vaseline
  • wide-toothed comb
  • tweezers
  • tissues
  • bowl of hot water
  • hair clips
  • infested head
  1. We generally start with a clean head – this is optional but a bit more pleasant, if you can call picking little parasitic bugs off of a person’s scalp “pleasant”.
  2. Apply conditioner or Vaseline heavily to hair and comb it through with a regular wide toothed comb.
  3. Part the hair off into manageable sections and pin out of your way using the hair clips
  4. Take the first section of hair. Using the lice comb, separate an even smaller section of the hair. Place the teeth of the comb as close to the scalp as possible and pull it through the tiny strand of hair.
  5. Examine the comb – there may be live lice or nits on the comb. After each pass through the hair, you need to wipe it with a tissue and rinse it in the hot water.  Lice move slowly, so you can use the same tissue for numerous passes of the comb. Flushing the tissues is the best way to dispose of the lice.
  6. Go through the person’s head, mini-section by mini-section, combing, wiping and rinsing.
  7. Sometimes you will see a bug that the comb missed – use your tweezers to grab it and put it in the tissue to be disposed of.
  8. After completing a section, use a hair clip to clip it out of the way and move on to the next section.
  9. The most common places for lice to congregate are the nape of the neck and behind the ears – pay special attention when you are combing there.
  10. Once you have finished combing all the sections take out the clips and run through the entire head of hair with the lice comb, wiping and rinsing after each pass.
  11. Have the person wash his or her hair to remove the conditioner.
  12. Quickly go over the head again with the comb – if you find more than a couple of nits or bugs, you need to start the entire process over and resection and comb the entire head thoroughly again.
You will need to repeat this process once or twice per day for the next 10 days. It takes a louse egg 10 days to hatch and if you miss one, since they breed quickly, you could be starting at square one again.
After the initial combing, the subsequent combings generally only take a fraction of the time. In the modern world, we are lucky enough to be able to run our linens through a sanitizing cycle in the washing machine and throw our kids’ stuffed animals in the deep freeze to get rid of head lice.
In an off-grid world, the key to getting rid of lice in your home is to know what lice need to live.
Things that are lethal to lice:
  • Being deprived of a host for more than 4 days
  • Temperatures above 125 degrees Fahrenheit sustained for more than 20 minutes
  • Temperatures that are below freezing for more than 24 hours
  • Boiling water (in the case of brushes and combs, etc.)
  • Lack of oxygen for more than 24 hours (sealing things in plastic)
  • Lice are passed from person to person, not animal to person to animal
Some health departments recommend the use of products like Lysol on household upholstery, while other health departments suggest that Lysol-type sprays are ineffective on lice.
Dealing with head lice is a lot of work.  Help to prevent the transmission of head lice by teaching your kids to:
  • Avoid head to head contact
  • Avoid sharing hats, hair barrettes or scarves
  • Put mousse or gel in her hair every single day and top it with hairspray. Lice hate that stuff and stay away.
  • Add tea tree oil to shampoos and conditioners. Again, they dislike the smell.
  • Make a spray bottle of tea tree oil and water and use this on your brushes and combs
  • Keep hair in braids (best) or ponytails (second best)

Keep hair covered with a bandana, hat or scarf, especially if they or a family member has lice.

Related Reading:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival

Original Article

7173144658 723c266819 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival   Backdoor SurvivalMy love affair with paracord continues.  Not only is it strong and useful for a myriad of tasks, it is colorful and fun to work with while making bracelets, key fobs, belts and other goodies.
Enter paracord into your search engine and you will be treated to a ton of stuff – what is it, how is it use, where to buy it and more.  It seems like everyone has a stake in the paracord love-fest.
What Exactly is Paracord?
8098661001 1a5d66eff2 o 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival   Backdoor SurvivalHere on Backdoor Survival, I first wrote about paracord in May 2012 in the article Paracord for Function and Fashion.  I described paracord this way:
Paracord is a lightweight nylon rope that was originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Soldiers, however, found that this miracle rope was useful for far more than their paratrooper missions. In the ensuing years, both the military and civilians alike have found hundreds if not thousands of uses for paracord.
It is available by length, typically 50 to 100 feet (or more) and in a variety of colors. It is also available is large quantities by the spool. Many hikers and outdoor sports enthusiasts make or purchase “survival bracelets” made of several feet of paracord which is woven into a compact bracelets that can be unraveled in the field.
By the way, you will often see paracord referred to as Paracord 550 means that it has a breaking strength of 550 pounds or more. Now that is strong!
Paracord can be used for many purposes such as securing things, removing heavy debris and fixed objects, strapping things together, as a harness to escape a burning building, controlling bleeding as a tourniquet, and the list goes on. You can even unravel the cord and use the individual strands as a fishing line or as thread to sew on a button. Wonderful stuff.
I touched upon a number of uses in my description above but that was merely a sampling.  There is more – a lot more.  What follows are 44 different uses of paracord for survival purposes.
44 Ways to Use Paracord for Survival
  1. Secure a tent
  2. Secure a tarp between trees
  3. Hang tools from your belt
  4. Hang tools from around your neck
  5. Secure things to the outside of your backpack
  6. Make a tourniquet
  7. Secure a splint
  8. Make a sling for your arm
  9. Make an emergency belt to hold your pants up
  10. Make emergency suspenders
  11. Replace a broken bra strap (it happens)
  12. Replace broken or missing shoe laces
  13. Repair a zipper pull
  14. Secure your boat or skiff to a tree
  15. Make a tow line; double or triple up for extra strength
  16. Create a makeshift lanyard
  17. String a clothesline
  18. Hang something up off the ground
  19. Rig a pulley system
  20. Make traps and snares
  21. Replace damaged or missing draw strings in packs, bags and sweat pants
  22. Keep rolled up items secure
  23. Create a neckerchief slide
  24. Tie objects together for easier transport
  25. Make a rope
  26. Make a hammock
  27. Make a sack for carrying groceries or gear
  28. Bundle stuff together
  29. Tie tall garden vegetable plants to stakes
  30. Make a pet leash
  31. Make a pet collar
  32. Secure a garbage-bag rain poncho around your body to keep you dry
  33. Hang food in trees to keep the bears away
  34. Tie stuff down so it will not blow away in a storm
  35. Create a trip wire
  36. Create makeshift hand cuffs
  37. Tie bad guys or intruders to a tree or chair
  38. Tie people together on a trail so that they keep together
  39. Identify members of a group using different colored armbands or bracelets
  40. Use as sewing thread (inner threads)
  41. Use as fishing line (inner threads)
  42. Emergency dental floss (inner threads)
  43. Emergency suture material (inner threads) when there is nothing else available
  44. Make arts and crafts to stave off boredom
The Final Word
Paracord is awesome stuff.  I happen to like all of the various colors and have a number of personal favorites.  You might even say I have become a collector.  You can purchase paracord at most outdoor stores as well as online, most notably Camping Survival (a Backdoor Survival sponsor) and Amazon (of course).  Just keep in mind that different colors are priced differently so if you are looking for a bargain, consider various color options.
8033583714 f3ddb4c0c7 m 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival   Backdoor SurvivalNow if you are handy and want to make stuff, free instructions for paracord projects abound on the Web.  Try Instructables for their set of  Easy Paracord Projects.  I know that  I plan on making some key fobs using their Easy Paracord Key Fob instructions.  (Did I mention that these instructions were free?)
Whatever you decide, be sure to pick up some paracord for your survival kit, your car and you home.  You are gonna love it!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

More from Backdoor Survival:

Monday, November 26, 2012

STOP, Study, Think, Observe, Prepare

Original Article

A survival reminder for when facing a disaster, is to… STOP.

Stop when you realize that you have a problem or a potential oncoming problem. Accept that you have (or will have) a problem and are in trouble. Do not fool yourself into thinking that what you are experiencing is not a problem, issue or obstacle.
Study any information that you may have been given or have discovered.
Think about what you need to do to survive. Think about the consequences for NOT taking action. Use your brain. Consider, envisage, surmise and understand the situation.
Observe the area. Look for risk. Look for shelter and safety if need be. Survail and inspect the space you are in, and the resources available to you.
Prepare your plan and implement it. Decide how you are going to use your available resources. Do not delay. Remain calm. Think clearly and acutely.
THE most important thing for survival is YOUR BRAIN. Use it.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

9 Reasons a Coffee Can Should be in Your Survival Kit

Original Article

You'll need a good survival kit in the wilderness
Size and weight matter.
Whether your putting together a 72-hour Survival Pack that you can sling over your shoulder or making a Every Day Carry Kit that you can slide into a jacket pocket, it’s important to consider how easy the kit will be to carry.

Consider Convenience

I can tell you from experience if it’s big and bulky, you’re survival kit will get left behind more often than not. You’ll simply walk out the door without it. “I’m only running to the store; I won’t be gone but a few minutes,” you’ll say to yourself. Odds are, that’ll be when you’ll need it. And a survival kit, no matter how well stocked, is worthless if you don’t have it when the need arises.
Two factors that affect kit convenience: how heavy is it, and how bulky is it.
To curb unnecessary growth in both size and weight, it’s good to carry items that can serve multiple purposes. The fewer items you have to carry, the lighter your kit will be.

The Many Uses of a Coffee Can

That’s how a 1-pound coffee can can earn its way into your 72-hour pack. Consider the following uses for this light-weight and versatile survival instrument.
  • Purify water. As a metal container, the 1-pound coffee can be filled with water and safely heated over a fire to kill any water-borne pathogens that may be present.
  • Dig a hole. The rigidity of the container allows it to be used to scrape the ground and even dig a hole in some soils. This can be handy for finding food or water.
  • Carry fire. A small coal from your fire can be placed inside the can along with some tinder and kindling and transported to another campsite, saving matches or firesteel.
  • Cook stew. The natural wild edibles you may find in a true survival situation may be as unappetizing as they are nutritious. Combining your dried earthworms, grubs,  and ants with more palatable items like dandelions and chickweed will help soften the taste and texture of your impromptu meal.
  • Melt snow. During the winter months, a coffee can may be used to melt snow or ice over a fire. The warm liquid will help provide much need heat to your body as well as lift your spirits.
  • Contain the kit. The coffee can itself can be used as the container for the survival kit. You can pack quite a bit inside the can, including a multi-tool, a trash bag, a fire steel, safety pins, some packages of oatmeal, cotton pads, a handkerchief, and some paracord to list but a few.
  • Table. The can may be turned upside down and the bottom of the can will provide a nice flat and durable, albeit small, work surface that you can use.
  • Make noise. Tapping on the bottom of the can with a rock or the spine of your knife will produce a noise that can help signal would-be rescues.
  • Carrying items. A can is, after all, a can. It can used to help carry small items along your journey as you survive in the wild.
With so many uses, and potentially many more, why not add a coffee can to your 72-hour pack or your get-home car kit?
What uses have you found for a coffee can? 

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winter Prepping

Original Article

























Friday, November 23, 2012

Knife care and Maintenance

Original Article

Knives that sit on a drawer or box all shiny and unused will require little care other than being stored in a dry location. Its pretty different when a knife is used often, maybe daily, in contact with humidity and going through the normal wear and tear any tool experiences.
There’s two facts about knives.
1)Knives have to be sharpened on regular basis
2)Knives rust when not protected with a thin layer of oil.
Even if you maintain your knife well, in many cases a bit of rust is unavoidable. Its not a big problem really. A bit of mineral oil and some used sandpaper is all you need to clean it up. I show how its done in this video.


1)Keep your knife razor sharp. A sharp knife is safer to use.
2)WD40 and other tool oils are good for knives but don’t use them on knives that will be used to prepare food. These are toxic and will taint the food you use it on leaving a bad taste. 
3)For knives that will be used to prepare food, you can apply a thin layer of mineral oil or petroleum jelly for protection. Even though you don’t want to eat this directly, they are non toxic and wont leave an aftertaste in the knife. Wipe it dry with a tissue paper after applying it to the blade.
4)While not ideal, vegetable oil can be used. For a knife used for eating meat or used for barbeques, knife expert Abel Domenech says the knife can simply be wiped clean with a paper napkin after use, leaving a thin layer of meat fatty. While this isn’t ideal because it can eventually leave stains on the steel, it does provide some protection from rust.  
5)Don’t leave a knife stored long term in a leather sheath, especially if wet or in locations of high humidity. Plastic sheaths are preferable, but make sure they are dry too before leaving a knife in it long term.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Easiest Way to Use Wheat

Original Article

As my family and I work toward building an emergency food supply, we’re starting with a three-month supply of food we already like to eat (especially the kids, who are notoriously picky eaters). After that, we plan to work toward a year supply of food storage basics.  In the meantime, I thought I’d experiment with some long-term storage items. The item I’m most interested in is wheat. It super versatile and is a key ingredient in my favorite food—pizza. So, I obtained a small amount of whole wheat kernels to experiment with.

There I was with a about a pound of wheat and no idea what to do with it. I don’t have a wheat grinder, so making bread was out of the question. I’m not into wheatgrass. I was lost. Then I remembered a conversation I had recently with Don Pectol, one of the owners who has been with Emergency Essentials® since 1989 (see Don in our TV commercial here). He told me about the easiest way to incorporate wheat into one’s everyday diet. Here’s what he said to do:

1- Boil some water.
2- Pour the water into a thermos (leave some space).
3- Add ¼ cup of whole wheat kernels.
4- Close the thermos lid (tightly).
5- Leave it overnight (about 8-12 hours)
6- Drain water
7- Add hydrated wheat to any food item or eat alone (Don said it takes on the flavor of whatever you add it to).

I tried this method of thermos cooking and it was amazing. The prep time was about ten minutes, then I left it overnight (about ten hours). The next morning, I had some nice hot cereal waiting for me. I added some almond milk and stevia sweetener and it was delicious. My wife tried it and liked it. The little ones are another story. My daughter, age seven and our pickiest eater, refused to try the thermos-cooked wheat and I know better than to push her. My son, age 3 and a less-picky eater, tasted it and said, “Mmm,” then didn’t eat any more. Still, I’m going to keep trying, adding it to other foods without telling the kids.

By itself, the wheat has little taste, so it takes on the flavor of whatever you add it to. This means I can add it to foods to boost nutrition without my kids even noticing. Plus, it gets our family used to eating wheat. Since I can prepare wheat without much effort or energy, I can make it every day. I can even make it “on the trail,” only using the amount cooking fuel needed to bring a few cups of water to a boil. I could do the same thing in an emergency, which is a lot more comforting than the thought of grinding wheat into flour on a rock. Ok, I could use a hand-powered grain mill if I had one (which I don’t). Still, who knew a thermos was a survival tool?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DIY Waterproof Matches

Original Article

I love our readers, always asking interesting questions.  Lately, a reader asked about making DIY waterproof matches.  I know I have a few boxes packed in my camping gear, I also know I have a lighter and a fire steel.  A gal likes to have her options.
I had never thought about DIYing the matches though, and it’s a GREAT idea.
Start with some Strike Anywhere Matches.
Set up a work space. You need someplace out of wind, well ventilated, with a way to dry the matches.  I saw one set up that used some double sided tape to hold the matches while they dry. I saw another set up that used corrugated cardboard set on edge, with a match in each hole.
Dip the matches, head first into some shellac. Only cover about half the match.  Let the matches dry, heads down, on the sticky tape.
Voila! When dry you have waterproof matches.  The shellac is much nicer than the wax coating some people recommend. That wax coating can melt, it can crumble, it’s generally just a mess. Shellac avoids a lot of that. Clear nail polish works similarly to the shellac, if you happen to have that on hand.
Don’t forget to make some NO FAIL TINDER while you’re DIYing your fire kit.
Grab some dryer lint, add some flammable liquid to it, either some wax or paraffin. Let it dry into little ball and then pack them SAFELY into your emergency kit.
No need to spend crazy money on this, but do get it done, fire is too important to ignore.  Exposure will kill you every time, especially up here in cold country. :-D
- Calamity Jane

How To Survive A Stampede

Original Article

Mass casualties can result from a human stampede. A peaceful crowd can quickly turn into a senseless panicked heaving mass in which rational behavior by any single individual becomes nearly impossible. What’s worse is that the stampede can be triggered while there is no actual danger. Under certain situations, a crowd that has grown to a big and tight enough size and density  reaches a critical state at which the slightest twitch is sufficient to send it into a stampede.
Panicked crowds move fast and release an incredible amount of energy, usually compared to the energy generated by a running train: once a crowd gets moving it is very hard to stop, and the flow of people could literally sweep you off your feet.
It is interesting to note that the force of only 6 or 7 people pushing in the same direction can generate up to 1000 lbs of force – enough to bend steel railings and topple brick walls. During a deadly stampede, people can even die standing up… people die when pressure is applied to their bodies in a front to back direction, causing them not to be able to breath. When pressure is applied to their side, they often survive, probably because their rib cages are protecting their ability to breath.

If you are in a crowd, a first and most important thing is to make yourself familiar with your surroundings and mentally notice alternate exits. No matter where you are, make sure you always know how to get out.
Make yourself aware of the type of ground you are standing on, and know that in a crowd of moving people wet or uneven ground can be slippery or hazardous, causing you to fall.
Be aware of the general atmosphere of the event, as panic situations can often be anticipated. When in danger, a few seconds can make all the difference, giving you the possibility of taking advantage of your escaping route. Always stay closer to the escape route.
If you find yourself in the middle of a moving crowd do not fight against the pressure, do not stand still or sit down, because you could easily get trampled.
Instead, move in the same direction of the crowd; take advantage of any space that may open up to move sideways to the crowd movement where the flow is weaker.
Keep your hands up by your chest, like a boxer – it gives you movement and protects your chest.
If you fall, get up quickly. If you can’t get up because you are injured, get someone to pull you back up. If you have kids, lift them up.
If you fall and cannot get up, keep moving by crawling in the same direction of the crowd, or if that is not possible, then cover your head with your arms and curl up into the fetal position (do not lay on your stomach or back, as this dangerously exposes your lungs).
The worst scenario is to be pushed by the crowd against an immovable object. Try to stay away from walls, fences or barricades, as the crowd pressure can build up rapidly.
After you’re pushed forward, like in a wave there’s a lull. In that lull is your chance to move, and the way you move is on a diagonal, between pockets of people. There’s always space between people. A couple of steps sideways, another wave surge, then another couple of steps in the next lull. You work your way out that way till you get to the periphery.

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Pros and Cons of Popular Water Storage Containers

Original Article

Last month I asked you all to tell me how you store your water and boy did I get a variety of answers!  Which actually, is to be expected.  There are a myriad of different containers available for storing water and each method has its pros and cons.  Today we’re going to discuss some of the more popular containers and their strengths and weaknesses to give you an idea what is available and which containers might work best for you.

Gallon jugs of water from the store.

  • Relatively inexpensive (usually less than $1.00/gallon)
  • Easy to find at most grocery and big box stores
  • Not too heavy
  • If the jugs are the milk jug type, the plastic can break down and your water leaks out.  The jugs are usually good for about a year.
  • Don’t stack
Water bottles

  • Easy to find
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Portable, single serve, and reclosable if you don’t drink it all in one sitting
  • Great for emergency kits, either your personal kit or your vehicle kit
  • Can stack cases on each other, just not too deep

  • Small
  • Need a lot of them to get your 1 gallon per person per day quota, especially for a large family
  • Make a lot of trash
Refilled PETE bottles like 2 liter soda bottles

  • Practically free, especially if you offer to clean up after a party
  • Small enough to fit in little unused spaces in your house
  • Only about 4 1/2 lbs full, so easy to carry and move
  • Difficult to stack
  • A little extra effort required to clean them out before filling with water
5 gal hard plastic jugs
  • A little more expensive
  • Most are built very sturdy
  • Can get spout attachments to pour water out easily
  • Hold approximately one day’s worth of water for a family of 4-5
  • At 40 lbs each full, they’re borderline on being able to haul them around.  Tough guys, or wimpy people with wagons should still be able to move them around okay.
  • Some are designed to stack, others aren’t, so they can use up a lot of floor space
30-55 gallon drum
  • Hold a lot of water
  • Relatively small footprint for the amount of water they hold
  • Cost
  • Super heavy, so don’t plan on moving them once they’re full
  • Need a pump or siphon system to get your water out
  • Bulky–tough to find a place for one of these in a very small home.  I did see one house that had laid boards on top of their barrels and made a laundry folding table–pretty creative.
And here are a few less common water storage choices:
  • 3 1/2 gallon size is a manageable weight and they come with carrying handles
  • Wide mouth opening makes for easy cleaning
  • Stackable–in fact, the interlock kind of like legos to make a stack of waterbricks very stable
  • Flat enough to fit under a bed
  • Spout available separately makes dispensing your water easy
  • Cost–about $17 each, plus extra for the spout. Not awful, but not cheap either.
Water bladder
  • Hold a LOT of water.  These bladders range in size from a bathtub liner to industrial bladders that start at 100 gallons and go up from there.
  • The non-bathtub varieties lay fairly flat, so they could fit under a bed if your floor is strong enough to hold the 800 lbs!
  • Not easy to clean
  • Don’t mix well with pets, especially ones with sharp claws!
  • Some, like the WaterBOB are designed for one-time-use
Emergency water boxes and pouches
  • Small enough for emergency kits
  • Up to 5 year shelf life, so rarely need rotated
  • Once they’re open, you can’t close them back up, so they will need consumed in one sitting
  • More expensive than water bottles
For me, I have a combination of the Waterbricks, a lot of refilled soda bottles, water bottles and a few jugs from the store, and a couple of the 5 gallon containers.  We live in a super small house and those are the options that work best for us.   So give some thought to the water storage solutions that will work for you in your own situation, and get some water stored.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Building a DIY Rocket Stove

Original Article

8088229297 14e8bb782a o Building a DIY Rocket Stove   Backdoor SurvivalRocket Stoves are pretty neat.  Common among campers and backpacking enthusiasts, rocket stoves are relatively new to urban dwellers or those that do not spend a lot of time outdoors.  But wait – here come the preppers who seek fuel efficient ways to cook outdoors when the grid goes down.  Not to make light of the situation, five years ago I had no idea what a rocket stove was nor did I know how they worked.
How times have changed.
While there are many commercial rocket stoves (and I own two including the Solo Stove and the EcoZoom Versa) an efficient rocket stove can be had for as little as a couple of bucks as you are willing to do a bit of work.
8087990310 a4a7e5c039 n Building a DIY Rocket Stove   Backdoor SurvivalBut first, just what exactly is a rocket stove?
According to Wikipedia, a rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney that ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface.
Seems simple enough, especially when you consider that rocket stoves are found more commonly in third world countries where wood fuel sources are scarce so an efficient system for converting twigs, branches, pinecones, leaves and other bits of biomass to fuel is essential to cooking.
Now as good as I am around the kitchen, in the garden and with the home and domestic arts, building stuff comes not so easy.  So I asked Backdoor Survival sponsor Ron Brown who is a retired engineer and really good at this stuff to help me out with some detailed instructions for building a DIY Rocket Stove.  He has convinced me that the process is easy and cheap, even for someone like me!
A Bit of Background
Ron told me that many years ago he made some maple syrup. Lacking any guidance, he constructed a boiling-down arrangement consisting of a simple campfire under a kettle. It takes 13 gallons of tree sap to make one gallon of syrup and he made several gallons. It was delicious but he burned a mind-boggling amount of firewood in the process.  Not at all efficient and not something you would want to do in a survival situation.
Improvised rocket stoves that are common around the world come in lots of designs and various configurations.  Their common advantage stems from a principle whereby three sides surround the fire while one side remains open. This facilitates combustion of the fuel and the ultimate creation of heat.  Of course, “real” rocket stoves are double-walled and have insulation between the walls.
What we will be describing here uses just a big, institutional-sized tin can with one wall.  Buy hey, it works.  And besides, 80% of the efficiency improvement over an open campfire (Ron’s estimate) comes from the basic three-sided feature while only 20% comes from the insulation.
The Almost Free DIY Rocket Stove
To get started, you are going to need the following:
1    No. 10 size steel can (institutional size) You can also use a 3-lb. coffee cans or a one-gallon paint can
1    cast iron trivet (check the Dollar Store for this)
1½ cups marbles, small rocks, or gravel
1    hinge
1   “turn button door catch”
2   bolts for door-legs (size 8/32 x 3) with 4 nuts
5   sheet metal screws for door hinge & door catch
Utility knife
Can opener
16-penny nail (sharpened) to serve as a punch
Short length of 2 x 4 (to clamp in vise and use as support when cutting/punching can)
1. Cut off the can’s top and save it. Empty the contents, rinse out the can, then cut a rectangular hole to make a door in the side of the can. The can shown here is 6″ in diameter and 7½” tall. The door is 5″ wide and 4½” high. The bottom edge of the door is 1½” above the bottom lip of the can.
To cut out the door, I support the underside of the metal with a stick of wood clamped in a vise and simply cut the sheet metal with a utility knife (the kind with the replaceable blade). Admittedly, this method takes a fair amount of strength and not everybody will be able to do it this way.
8087989444 780a70c80d n Building a DIY Rocket Stove   Backdoor Survival     8087988446 ea3fe0ef13 n Building a DIY Rocket Stove   Backdoor Survival
An alternate method is to use a sharpened nail and punch a row of small holes along the perimeter of where you want the door to be. Punch the holes as closely together as possible. Then use a knife or a hacksaw blade to cut just the webbing between the holes. It’s a bit slow and tedious, but it works.
Tin snips are not practical for this job. Tin snips have jaws the width of your finger. We want a narrow slit plus four square corners.
2. Put one small hinge in the bottom-center of the door. Fasten it to the can with either small nuts-and-bolts or sheet metal screws.
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3. Install 2 bolts near the top of the door to serve as legs when the door is open. In use, the door stays open most of the time and serves as a mini-table to support the fuel-wood that we feed into the flame.
4. Install a small metal “turn button door catch” to hold the door closed when it’s not needed. As shown in the pictures, I fashioned a catch from “plumber’s strap.”
5. Punch a row of holes around the bottom of the can to let in air. Or, cut triangular holes using a church-key style can opener. These holes are down near the bottom lip of the can but are in its sidewalls, not in the can’s bottom.
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6. Put gravel or small stones or glass marbles in the bottom of the can. You’ll need about a cup and a half. (Marbles are best because natural stone contains moisture which can turn to steam and split a stone in half when it expands. POW! It doesn’t always happen but, if it does, it will get your attention, guaranteed.)
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7. Punch lots of holes in the upper can lid that we removed in step #1. Place it inside the can, on top of the marbles or gravel. The lid-punched-with-holes is then the floor upon which we build our fire.
Combustion air enters through the holes we punched in step #5, circulates between the marbles, comes up through the holes in the floor, and feeds the fire with oxygen.
8. Oh! Lest I forget. The Dollar Store trivet will come to you painted. That paint will bubble and scorch off in its first use. Scrape away whatever remains.
9. In use, put a flat stone or a layer of firebrick under this stove. Glowing bits of wood will leak out from time to time.
10. Think safety! This is a live, burning fire, nothing to joke around with. Leather gloves, pliers to use as tongs, a fire extinguisher or bucket of water . . . all excellent ideas.
Some Extra Credit Hints
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When used as a rocket-stove top, turn the trivet upside down if you’re cooking with a large pot or griddle. The legs on the trivet, pointing skywards, support the griddle. You can’t block off the top of the can (what amounts to a chimney) completely. There must be some space around the bottom of the pot or griddle for smoke to escape.
This stove can be used as a small charcoal grill. Despite its crude appearance and obvious limitations, it works well. Once started, it boils water faster than the gas range in the kitchen.
By the way, neither Ron nor I have discovered where the “rocket” part of the name comes from. Maybe it just sounds sexy. Perhaps far more relevant is the question, “What’s for dinner?”.
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The Final Word
Factory made rocket stoves are great but they will set you back about a hundred dollars on Amazon and elsewhere.  These are highly efficient and look “pretty”.  But as Ron says:
For my money, seeing as how we’re burning pine cones, twigs, and scrap lumber . . . and seeing as how this is for emergency use, not day-to-day cooking for life . . . and seeing as how the factory-made model is just as dirty to clean out as this one . . . and will carbon up the bottom of your pots and pans just as quickly . . . I’m gonna opt for the improvised/free version. Free is good.
Just keep in mind the following disclaimer:  Use this rocket stove outside. If you would not start a campfire in the middle of your kitchen countertop then don’t use this stove in the middle of your kitchen countertop. Don’t lay your bare hand on the trivet-top to see if it’s hot and ready to cook. Don’t pour gasoline on the flames to see what happens. Don’t toast firecrackers on the griddle. And do be careful of the raw edges on the sheet-metal door; they’ll cut you. This last bit is for real.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
PS – My sincere gratitude goes out to Ron for his help with this article and especially for the photos. His wit and sense of humor continually amaze me. Be sure to visit Ron’s website at Lanterns, Lamps & Candles.  His e-book on CD is also amazing!

More from Backdoor Survival:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death." - Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Great Info From a Good Blog

Original Article


Found at:

He has a great blog go check it out, and this is good info!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Refilling 1 lb. Propane Cylinders

1 lb. propane cylinders are very handy and great at powering camping stoves and camping lanterns. In times of emergency these two appliances can be life savers and very comforting. The camp stove can cook your meals as well as sterilize drinking water and at night the propane lantern is hard to beat with a single mantle lantern putting out nearly the equivalent of a 100 watt light bulb. The trouble is these small cylinders don’t last forever. After 4-5 nights for a lantern and a dozen or so meals on the camp stove they expire. Because they don’t run things forever you have to stock dozens of them and that’s very expensive today.

Fortunately, there are a number of companies that make refill adapters so we can refill these smaller cylinders repeatedly from larger cylinders like those used for your BBQ or an RV.

The process of refilling the 1 lb. cylinders is very simple, just do it outside in case of a propane fitting leak.

Here’s a photo of one of my 30 lb. RV propane tanks used for this demonstration.

Here’s the refilling adapter I used. They are durable and very simple. You can purchase one at, Camping World or many other outlets on the web.

I’m using a 32 oz. kitchen scale to show the weights before and after. In this photo is a totally empty cylinder now weighing 15 ounces. Notice the frost on the side of the tank. In order to completely fill the cylinder with 1 lb. of propane you must put the cylinder in your freezer for about 1 hour before refilling.

Here’s the small cylinder attached and filling from the large tank. Notice the large tank must be upside-down. Also the tank is resting on a couple scrap 4x4’s so I can easily get to the main valve to turn it on and off. The time it takes to fill one cylinder about 60 seconds. There’s no weighing involved or timing how much propane goes in. Just open the valve, after a few seconds the small cylinder is full, turn off the large cylinders valve and disconnect the small cylinder.

Here’s the cylinder after filling and as you can see it took just slightly more than 1 lb. of propane from the big tank for a total weight of just under 32 ounces, close enough for me. I just saved $3.00 and now have a full cylinder for my camp stove or lanterns.

When you get your adapter follow precisely the directions supplied with it.

Refill cylinders outdoors. Any mishap of say a broken valve or dropping the large cylinder with the small one attached there is the possibility of a serious leak. All propane is under very high pressure, between 250 and 275 PSI.

Place the 1 lb. cylinders in the freezer for about an hour. The cold will allow filling the cylinder with 1 lb. of propane.

I have tried to fill room temperature cylinders but could only get 6-7 ounces in them. Although this will be fine if the grid is down and you don’t have an operating freezer, you’ll just have to refill more often.

Do not store propane cylinders in your garage or in your house.