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Archive for July, 2011

Comprehensive Long Term Water Storage Plan Part 1

Imagine a worst case scenario, something you would read in a Michael Crichton novel.  After coming out of a period of minimal solar activity, the sun erupts with a solar flare of unimaginable magnitude.  From this flare comes a silent, invisible Super-storm, called a Coronal Mass Ejection.  This CME speeds towards the earth at over 500,000 miles per hour and washes across the earth’s magnetic field a mere 18 hours later.  50% of the satellites in orbit, those not protected by the body of the earth, shudder with the geomagnetic storm and then go silent, disrupting cell phone traffic across the globe end rendering much of the GPS network inoperable.  On earth, the storm causes Aurora, much like the Northern Lights, that are visible as far south as San Juan.  Energy is almost visible to the human eye as the atmosphere literally hums with the power.  As the pulse touches down on the world’s electrical grids, no one can imagine the speed at which our fragile wire-based infrastructure collapses…a massive chain of transformer and power station explosions rock the country.  The energy companies tell us it will take 20 years to restore power to 90% of the planet, due to the complexity and lack of capacity to build new transformers, if the parts can even be fabricated in our sudden electricity-less world.

Geomagnetic Storm Headed Toward Earth

Of course this scenario is unlikely, farcical even…or is it?  The exact event I described, minus the effects on our current world, occurred in 1859, and is called the Carrington Event.

On September 1–2, 1859, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred. Aurorae were seen around the world, most notably over the Caribbean; also noteworthy were those over the Rocky Mountains that were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.[4]

Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed in some cases even shocking telegraph operators.[5] Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire.[6] Some telegraph systems appeared to continue to send and receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power supplies.[7]

While I preach that our preps should be based real-world likelihoods, the fragility of our electrical grid would make a storm of similar magnitude to what occurred in 1859 a catastrophe of Biblical proportions.  Most areas of the world in the 1800’s knew at least something about food production, carpentry, cobbling, coopering and a hundred other skills that we have lost in our specialized societies.  While specialization has led to booming living standards, it comes at a cost…brittleness.  Meaning, if everyone knows how to farm, the loss of any particular farming area or piece of equipment, while tragic, would likely be insignificant to the world’s food supply.  However, imagine that our entire method of farming, from industrial fertilization to high-capacity farm machinery, is rendered a total loss to the collapse of our electrical infrastructure.  That is another story entirely, and would require the remaking of our world.

Most here by now know I’m not a fatalist.  I prepare for things like tornadoes, job losses, and floods, not for EMP’s, nuclear war, or Zombies.  However, there is always a little tickle at the back of my skull that whispers of my lack of preparation in one particular area:  water, and what would occur if something truly monumental occurred.   You all know the deal with what I consider the 5 musts of preparedness:  Water, Food, Shelter, Fire, Light.

However, while I’ve harped to my preparedness group (I affectionately call it SurvivalClub) for over a year about our lack of water preps, they are woefully inadequate.  We have over 10 person-years of food stored, multiple locations we could head to for shelter (plus a dozen tents and tarps), 50 ways to make fire, probably 500 flashlights, candles, lanterns, torches, flares, glowsticks and headlamps.  All that, and we have less than 10 days worth of stored water, and very little planned in ways to get more.   Sure, we have water filters, ways to boil water, iodine, bleach, pool shock and several other ways to make water pure.  However, unlike the other areas, we don’t have a real plan.

So, having gotten tired of listening to me, our group has finally taken the first concrete steps toward a real water solution.  We came up with the SWP, the Survivalclub Water Plan.  The plan had several requirements:  it needed to work without electricity, had to be able to support 20+ people, and had to run with a minimum of moving parts that could break or wear down.  I don’t remember which of us actually first read about a ram-pump, but when we all saw it, we knew that was the solution we were looking for.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the ram-pump, how it works, and the components of our complete system.

15

07 2011

Article Content Entry – Dehydrate!

Thanks to Rob from Michigan for today’s entry!  My wife loves her Excalibur Dehydrator.   She uses it to make dog treats, dehydrate fruit and make other yummy concoctions!

Rob:

Dehydrate to help save space and money.  Besides having rice, beans and can vegetables stored for the unexpected, use a dehydrator to add to your long term storage. This is a great way to buy food when it is on sale and save money by doing the work yourself.

I found the easiest way to do this without getting  frustrated and saying the heck with it is to buy frozen bags of corn, green beans, peas, peas and carrots, hash browns, pineapple chunks, peaches (cubed), and whatever else you and the family will eat. I like buying them frozen because all the hard work is done. No stringing the beans and snapping them, they are already are cut, washed and all the same size.

The nice thing about having dehydrated food stored, it makes a great backpacking item. Light weight and easy to use. The food will hydrate to almost the same size as when you started and taste great. Plus it will store for a very long time. I will use storage baggies for things that will be eaten in a relativity short time. But for long term I like to use canning jars with a food saver vacuum sealer for the lids. The sealer will suck-out the air and give you a very tight seal on your jar.   You can open the jar, take out the portion you need and reseal it over and over. You can fit a lot of food in one jar, a 6 pound can of corn will dehydrate to about a pound saving a lot of space and weight.

We like to eat the fruit as snacks while hiking and camping. It taste great, not heavy to carry and will give you the nutrition you need while out. This is just one way of many that you van build your long term food storage. Buying it from the manufacture can be very expensive but well worth adding to your food storage.

14

07 2011

Article Contest Entry – Prepare With a Friend

Great advice today from Tim in the Land of 10,000 Lakes about preparing with a friend.  Only 2 days left to get your entries in.  Due to the number of participants, I guarantee everyone who has participated so far but doesn’t win one of the first three prizes will get at least a little something from the Random Survival Hoard!  For those who have participated but didn’t leave me your address, please email it.  Gift Certificates will mail next week.  My wife is having knee surgery tomorrow (prayers welcome!) so I’ll be picking up a lot of extra tasks, so it might be the following week to be able to mail the other prizes.

From Tim:

If I could give any advice on food storage from my limited experience, it would have to be doing it with a friend.  My first time storing food didn’t go so well.  I had 5 pails with the Mylar bags inside them and had filled them with food, and the oxygen absorbers still in their sealed bag.  I only did 5 pails my first try because I was not aware how much work it would be, but I learned it would have been a lot nicer to do it with a friend. 

When I had all the food in the bags (rice, and pinto beans) I had already heated up the iron to seal the bags but I had not anticipated how long I would be leaving the absorbers open.  When I broke the seal I threw each absorber into a pail and started sealing the bags with an iron but it took longer than I thought it would, exposing the absorbers to air for a longer period of time.  Though I have read that this isn’t too big of a deal, obviously it is best to keep them exposed as little as possible. 

My next time around I filled ten pails with a friend of mine.  This went a lot smoother and a lot faster than if it had been just me.  We each sealed five pails in a quicker fashion than I had last time, saving a lot of work and time.  It was also good to talk to someone about why I was doing this, and it got him to start thinking about doing it as well.  So not only was the efficiency of my food storage increased but I also exposed a friend of mine to it.  As a younger guy with little income, I can’t include friends or neighbors in my storage plans so much, I am focused on myself and my family but; I think helped expose the world of preparing and self reliance to a dear friend of mine. 

13

07 2011