Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Critical Info Form - DIY

ICE4SAFETY has had this Excel based spreadsheet tool online for several years now and it is still a relevent document in light of all the potential for catastrophe to occur resulting from one source or another....you will find it here on the DIY Forms Page

It is meant to be used by one or more family members.

You could complete the form as is or modify to your specific needs as directed in the "Read Me" comments inserted into the document. Once completed you can upload into a USB Drive/DVD and secure with your as you evacuate or secure underground or in a safe or with trusted relatives or maybe a copy in a bank vault.....all the time remembering that the information would be a gold mine for identity thieves.

No subscriptions required - no fees to pay - no membership to enroll in -no third-party to call - you control it. This is strictly a DIY tool.

In the event of an emergency requiring an immediate relocation you could access this info and take it with you if it were on a USB or portable secure drive. You could also place this information on an online file sharing database or backed up on a paid service that does this. If the internet is down or access is not available you could still have this information with you to help begin the timely and more orderly reconstruction of your life if your worldly possessions were destroyed. (it is also a great way to get organized - especially if you are sick.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Emergency Operations Manual

Sample Emergency Operations Manual
Critical information for the operation of  emergency equipment for industry is usually located in well defined, easily recognized and often mandated binders, manuals or laminated placards in close proximity to the equipment.

Many workers in construction industries often don't read the instruction manual for the tools they use - often leading to serious injury or death.  We know this for a fact. You should read all your manuals after installation or storage and it is a good idea for everyone who may be required to use the gear to also become familiar with the manuals as well as have hands on experience that you can "exercise" in one of your preparedness drills

The average homeowner may have operation manuals for equipment located in a variety of places throughout the house or outbuildings or if organized it might find a notable place in a file drawer.  
We recommend a simple color coded file system to help identify various info in paper file form.   Under stress and when your home is in shambles, locating operating and troubleshooting instructions for such equipment as back up power systems, generators, custom electrical installations (wind/solar/turbine etc) needs to be expedient. 

Emergency Manual Cover Form
People afflicted with "normalcy bias" or  "it won't happen to me" syndrome may assume others already know what they know. When disaster strikes and they are not available to figure everything out, the operation/repair of the equipment may be relegated to a spouse, child, relative or neighbor who may not be as knowledgeable or skilled.  In some instances your family's safety and continued comfort might rely on a total stranger or "new friend" with skills.

Communications may be down (you can safely assume THAT) so having essential info in a conveniently located and easily recognizable binder will help make sure locating it is easy.  A secure but acknowledged family location for emergency gear and info can also help.

We suggest service company contact info (business cards), typed out procedural lists, inspection checklists, safety warnings and other reference / service manuals (example above).    This manual can/should be in addition to important info laminated or bound and already stored with the equipment.  

Always try and remember - Redundancy.

One surefire way to instantly recognize your binder as pertaining to emergencies is to have the ICE Logo on it.....that is what it was designed for.  Training is a snap.....everything identified with the ICE Logo pertains to emergeny use.  Simple.
Fancy artwork or cute graphics symbols usually add to the confusion.  Industry standard MSDS binders are simple too.   

You can certainly create a binder like this for home.  We have added a cover page (see above) you can download and print to use that incorporates the ICE Logo already - it's ok to use in color, b/w or grayscale. 

One line is for your home address/name and you can define the other system or equipment you wish to include here....you may want to identify emergency and non-emergency info using color coded systems. 

Some typical suggestions:
Back Up Generators
Solar Chargers
Sump Pump Systems
Septic Systems
Water Systems
Inverter Circuits,
Chain Saws
Flood Water Pumps
Storm Shelter Operation
Phone and Radio Systems
Plumbing/Water Filtration Manuals
Emergency Respirators
Vehicle Operations (ATV, Boat, Tractor, Truck)

Download cover document.    Check out the other useful info on site there as well.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Drill Baby Drill!

Seasonal time changes ( Fall Back - Spring Ahead) can be a good time to schedule a preparedness drill of some sort.  You may not be prepared for a full scale "shut down" or "bug out" drill but not to worry. 

The whole point of conducting a practice drill is to be able to assess strengths and weaknesses in your preparatory plans and implementation.  Drilling also provides some essential insight into your ability to cope with and interact with others (family, neighbors, local businesses, utilities or otherwise) that you may rely on in an emergency situation.  

Never has there been such an emphasis on preparedness since the Japanese earthquake / tsunami / nuclear catastrophe this month.  It is absolutely one of the worst events in our lifetime.....unfortunately, that is what it takes to get some people motivated to take  care of themselves and overcome Normalcy Bias. 

You can conduct drills in many ways bearing in mind the whole purpose of doing one is to strengthen your ability to respond to a crisis. What you prepare for unless it is very specific usually never occurs as you may anticipate but your planning and prepping and drilling activity allows you to better adjust and ultimately previal. 

There are some instances where your ability to survive just may not be possible and you have little if any control.  Those should be considered in your overall assessment and you can make preparations for your survivors as sorry as that sounds. 

Limited action or focus drills can be done more often - some examples:
Loss of Power
Loss of Potable Water
Loss of Sewage
Stores Shutdown
Equipment Breakdown
Vehicle Emergencies
Weather Emergencies
Food Shortage
Responsing to an Evac Order
Fire Safety
Natural Gas Outage
No Internet Service (some may consider this an emergency)
Phone System Outage
Street Egress Closed Off from Flood, Downed Trees, Snow, Utility Lines Down
Emergency Evac from Work to Home
Emergency Evac to Tornado/Hurricane Shelter

These are a few limited focus - limited event incidents that you can engage the family on to assess your readiness and state of preparation.  This won't turn off the kids or tire you out just thinking about it. 

In a major catastrophe many if not all of these will take place.  Don't overwhelm yourself at first - undoubtedly those new to this preparedness activity may want everything to be resolved immediately and their prepareations to be completed in one fell swoop.  It is not going to happen because it is a dynamic process and not a static event like preparing for a birthday party.  Things change, stuff happens and you need to go with that flow as well.  If you begin by biting off smaller components and having some success at it can help build your confidence and encourage you to continue with others.

Public Shelter

We've been in the preparedness mode since Scout days and have been working at being prepared ever since.  Don't be discouraged.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Radiation Exposure - Potassium Iodate

IOSAT Anti-Radition Medication

Nuclear Radiation incidents in Japan as a result of the massive earthquake there have prompted people here and around the world to review their planning for such an event. 

Japanese authorities are distributing Potassium Iodate tablets to citizens in the country where it is most likely radiation exposure would occur. 

These are some "expired" samples from a friends Bug Out Bag.   The IOSAT Brand has been around for a long time and you can usually acquire them at pharmacies.    You can buy a variety of anti-radiation pills online that block absorption of Radioactive Iodine into your thyroid.

Read the FDA Guidelines on these products here:   http://tinyurl.com/4lbb52m 

CampingSurvival.Com has these available along with some other anti-radiation products, detectors as well as a very detailed explanation on how radiation affects your system and how this product works.


We might suggest that if you are conducting a "drill" today you consider your actions in such an emergency and how you have prepared to evacuate or shelter in place. Many of us are living close to such reactors.

Pray for those people in Japan who have literally disappeared as a result of the earthquake and Tsunami.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Food Stores - Canned Meat

If you like many others you are planning for an extended duration without access to food and you'd like to maintain a suitable variety of edible selections for a "stay in place" or stocked cabin somewhere. 

In any event you will likely be wanting some meat products (unless you are an avowed vegan) to supplement the bark and twigs you stored up in your survival cache. 

Dehydrated or freeze dried meat is fine, they are usually associated with an entree of some type but can be acquired in #10 cans of diced or chunked piece.

Problem is that these canned dried meats are now super expensive ($40-$60 per can) and there seems to be a 6 month waiting period from some suppliers.  Once you open a large can of dried meat means you are likely to have to eat it all in a week or two according to the label.  If you have a family that should be easy enough to do but if only 2 or less ell you might opt to vary the menu more

Note that a switch overnight to dehydrated foods from your normal diet may produce some unexpected gastrointestinal distress until your system eventually adjusts. That is why trying some of the various entrees ahead of time and on hiking trips is recommended.  Try to incorporate that into one of your emergency drill weekends, no power, no luxuries and use some of your stored foods.

You are also going to need fat in your diet if you plan on being healthy long term so don't be storing up a ton of fat free food in your basement - you'll likely expire.  Meats will provide those essential fats.

Enter longer term storage canned meats. 

Keystone Pork
 As a component part of your stores you would want to have a familiar foodstuff that is easy to transition to and that can help flavor the diet extenders such as rice, pasta, soups and breads. We have tried some of the Amish canned meat products - often hard to get in quantity - but very good.  We even found that the ground beef better than the average fair at the grocery store. 

We recently tried the Keystone Canned Pork.  They are located in Lima Ohio...been there.
This product was processed for long term storage - at low temperature storage of 65 degrees or less we could safely say 5 years plus is easily accomplished - as we have eaten Dinty Moore Beef Stew well past expiration with no problems......it looked more like dog food but tasted okay. 

Some canned foods have been consumed after 40 years of storage - but let's not push our luck.

This was simply prepared by heating in a skillet and adding some barbecue sauce (Jack Daniels) and the texture, flavor and appearance of the product was as described.  In fact it looked so good we forgot we were testing it and ate it without first taking a picture of it in the skillet. Sorry.  We'll get more and place a pic here.

Pork and Salt

What you should consider is getting as much meat as you can afford to get (45-50lbs or equivalent per person per year of meat is a good rule) for you and your family considering the time frame you wish to prepare for. That is not a lot, but just enough to fulfill some dietary requirements for protein and fat.

We would suggest you get a variety of chicken, ground beef, beef chunks, turkey, pork and rotate the stock if you have a reliable source of this product.  There also is nothing like real broth to extend your dishes even further.  We noted the contents of the Keystone Food as nothing but meat, salt and the can. Having this flexibility in your meal preparation if you are sheltering in place,  suffer a downsizing, long term disaster or ailment this is better than insurance. 

Protein, Fat, Cholesterol
Larger cans are good for larger families and smaller cans are good for 2 person homes - figure on having "company" of some sort during hard times and also in a severe situation you might need to barter a small can of meat for something else you may need more like medicine. 

Food Rotation Tip: 
Place the Purchase Date on Can as "P"  and the date - P3-10-11
Write the Expiration or Best if Eaten By date as -         X5-25-14
This will give you two reference points as to which cans to consume first.

Food prices are going to go up not down anytime soon - we found this on sale at CampingSurvival.com    and they have some recipes there as well.

We plan on testing the Broth and other meat selections next....if they are as good as the pork....this should be good eating.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Free ICE Kits - Still!

We have been doing this free giveaway for quite some time now....this public service is available to anyone who wishes to benefit from it.  

Here is what you get presently......forms, stickers, cards, card holders......for the price of two stamps.....and two envelopes (business size #10 suggested). 

If we are feeling generous or we get a nice note,  we often squeeze more into the envelope as many have found out already.   

CampingSurvival.com has been generous enough to sponsor a variety of free items for many people.  For that we are grateful.

Thankfully the freedom of our capitalist system allows us to provide this public service just because we want to.  We hope to continue.

Winter Storm Safety - Fire Hydrants

When you have finished with these...please unbury your fire hydrant!
Winter is still here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Product Evaluation - Kaito Voyager Radio

Radios - you'll likely need one WTSHTF. 

Some are worthless in an emergency and often lack the sensitivity to receive channels or only get AM/FM. 
Some are simply junk giveaway items or have fragile parts that break - ok, actually most of these are plastic and fragile unless you are buying a multipurpose VHF/UHF/MURS professional transceiver...

We don't want to sound elitist here so use whatever you can afford.  If you can afford a radio for around $50 then here is one that has considerable utility and may prove a lifesaver.  People seem to be able to buy $500 phones and $100 sneaks - so pop for one of these type of radios.
This Kaito also sounds good when played for everyday use so if convenient, keep one handy wherever you are. They come in different colors so each family member, vehicle, evac car kit or work location can have a different color if you wanted to differentiate them that way.

MultiBand Channels in Easy to Read Analog Dial
NOAA Weather Channels - including a Weather Alert Feature
Fairly Sensitive Tuner in SW/AM/FM/Weather
Rechargeable Battery Pack - NiMH Shrink Wrapped
Back Up Battery Pack - Suggest Lithium Ion AA for Storage
Solar Panel charging capable
Hand Crank Charger  90 Seconds Provides 15 minutes of radio use
LED Lamps - mostly seem like a gimmick - be sure to carry a good flashlight/headlamp.
USB Charger for phones - used to charge on board batteries or power external devices.
External Power - AC not supplied but you can find spare adapters around.
Case is "rubberized" and it has a useful strap.
Antenna is secured inside case against breakage - it is not tunable - so move the radio.
Earphone Jack for private listening or if main speaker fails
Comes with a variety of popular phone charging plugs sure to become obsolete in short order as they always do.  Suggest you mark them up before hand and secure the one you will need.
Weather Resistant (not waterproof like boat radios)

Battery compartment is fragile with tabs that break easily - use tape to secure it - you will not be using it often if you use the charger and store lithium AA cells on board.
Could use a protective carry case - find a cinch bag or camera case and make your own.
While it is "rubberized" we suggest you carry it in a bag/case as they are not built to conform to serious drop test standards


Bottom Line:
This is a utilitarian radio with useful features that can be used to support emergency communication in disaster situations and for short term use will provide a level of safety by self charging and being used to charge other devices.  Price is reasonable for the features.  Barely packable as it is not a compact radio but easily carried in briefcase to work, vehicle or other conveyance.  
We suggest you get the ac power pack for an additional $5.
You might also consider this radio to store in a faraday cage in case of an EMP attack.
Advertised Specs:
SW 3.2Khz - 22.00Khz
AM 520Khz - 1717Khz
FM 88.0Mhz - 108.0Mhz
Double molded chassis for ruggedized style (Defect in battery bay door - breaks too easy - tape it shut)
Dual Conversion Receiver
Dial Control - For fast tuning
Rotary volume controls
5-LED Flashlight with Red SOS Function
Band indicators for all band
NOAA Weather Alert Function
3.5mm headphone socket
3 inches 7 W full range speaker with enlarged magnet
Dynamic Bass Compensation for rich bass
Powered USB Port ( Power goes in and out)
6 mm (positive center) 4.5-6V power adaptor socket (To charge the batteries or run the radio from AC)
WxHxD in mm/in: 204 x 128 x 66 mm (8 x 5 x 2.6 inches)

Where to Get One:

Use Promo Code "ICE" to get 5% off (which is already $5 less than most others online....)

Product Evaluation - FoxLok

Every now and then a useful preparedness DIY idea comes along and then someone improves upon it and markets it. This is one of those ideas……

With a property related crime occurring every 3-4 seconds in the USA and security costs rising like all else, people have resorted to a variety of different ways to secure or hide their property and valuables.

An essential element of being prepared is securing assets and critical information in the event of a loss from man-made and natural disasters. Struggling for months or years to reassemble your life as some others have had to do is not advantageous to your long-term mental health or physical well being.

Some initial thoughts on this device:

  • It is simple to use and anyone with property can take advantage of it. Even if you don’t have property you can use it in remote locations.
  • It is durable and made to withstand the rigors of being buried.
  • It can be used for other purposes such as securing gear on a boat or similar craft if need be.
  • You can secure cash, certain valuables, coins, data backups on CD or high quality MilSpec USB Drives and a host of other items.
  • Certain firearms can be folded up or partially disassembled and most handguns can be stored along with properly sealed ammunition.

There are many places you can use this device…camps, homes, remote wilderness.

Some precautions….if you live in flood prone areas or one is anticipated then you need to consider burying where it might not be subject to a river of fast-moving water or it could end up in another county.

  • Photograph all the contents (not where it is being buried or pictured with the container) and leave some contact information inside in the event it becomes unearthed and an honest person finds it. Consider offering a reward?
  • If you are considering longer term burial, try leaving a foot of #2 round stone around the device to allow for drainage.
  • For winter retrieval in deep snow-covered areas consider triangulating some other landmarks or points to help you narrow down your digging efforts.
  • Don’t bury this in plain sight of your neighbors or during daylight hours if you can be seen by others. Don’t brag about having one of these to anyone.
  • Deep storage has advantages of keeping condensation to a minimum and items cooler in warm environments.
  • As added protection and piece of mind you should consider vacuum sealing your stored items and placing a fitted foam top or cover over the contents to prevent dirt from entering the enclosure when opened.

Now if you were considering securing your goodies in one of those big box store “fire safes” here is what they look like after a screwdriver (look close it is in front of safe) gets hold of them. They can easily “walk away” from your home or apartment too. 
They might make a good diversion to keep a burglar occupied for a while or until they get spooked enough to leave. Note the higher quality Gardall Safe took longer to defeat.
Consider leaving $50 inside as an incentive to quit and leave your house if they (burglars) make it that far.  Put something heavy inside so they think they got something. 

Need Info or Purchase Fox Lok

Defeated "Fire Safe"
Safe Photo Courtesy:
Fradon Lock Company Syracuse, New York