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Arthritis is one of the most common problems that affect the bones and joints in the human body. A huge number of people develops some sort of arthritis at some point in their lives, and the numbers are staggering: 54 million Americans have it, out of which 300,000 are babies and children. And once you develop the condition, it tends to get worse if you don’t take care of it.

Common symptoms of arthritis:

  • joint pain
  • decreased mobility
  • discomfort.

These symptoms can compound and obviously reduce the quality of your life.

RELATED – Do I Have Arthritis?

The best way to manage arthritis is to never get it in the first place. But if you have it, there are ways that you can manage the symptoms of arthritis. To do this, make sure that you keep your joints and bones in good health. Some of the supplements that we’ll mention in this article will help you prevent arthritis if you don’t already have it.

If you don’t want to jump to the pharmacy and buy some pharmaceutical medications, then make sure that you read this list. These are some of the best natural remedies that you can find for helping manage the symptoms of arthritis.

1. Cold Treatments

Using some form of cold treatment is one of the best ways to overcome the discomfort of arthritis. There are a number of ways that you can do cold treatments, the most common and effective being the use of a simple ice pack.

Applying an ice pack to your skin helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation of your joints. This will also help to numb the area so you won’t be able to feel any pain.

You’ll want to avoid doing cold treatments too often. Make sure you wait at least half an hour before reapplying and hold the ice pack down for about 15 minutes each time. You can find ice packs in many pharmacies.

2. Hot Treatments

Hot treatments work in a different method than cold treatments. They help to relax the area and increase the rate at which blood flows. This can help to encourage mobility and reduce discomfort.

You can use a hot water bottle for this, or a microwave heat pack. Make sure you don’t get them so hot that you burn your skin!

Hot water bottles and heat packs can be found at most pharmacies. You’ll want to spend some time in between each application of the hot compress, about 30 minutes.

You can also find relief from symptoms by taking a hot bath, a hot shower, or even soaking in a hot tub for a few minutes.

3. Magnets

There are a number of interesting ways that magnets can be useful for physical therapy. Many studies have been done that have revealed that magnets can be useful for helping to improve the symptoms of people suffering from osteoarthritis.

The exact mechanism isn’t clear, but magnet therapy has been useful for helping to reduce joint pain and improve mobility. However, there isn’t any clinical evidence that proves that it can be useful for fighting rheumatoid arthritis.

You can get magnetic therapy products from natural health food stores or natural pharmacies. These can come in the form of bracelets, necklaces, pads, or discs that you can easily attach and reattach to the area of discomfort.

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture might not be the easiest form of treatment to get at home, but it’s certainly a natural remedy that should not be overlooked. Acupuncture can be useful for helping to treat anything from mental problems, like depression, to physical issues like arthritis.

Acupuncture works by stimulating certain energy meridians in the body. These can influence our biology and our physical response to certain stimuli. By interacting with these meridians by inserting small needles into the body, acupuncture practitioners can help to promote or prevent certain things from happening in the body.

Acupuncture has been proven to be particularly useful for helping to reduce markers of inflammation, which are often very high in people suffering from arthritis. Some acupuncture therapists will be more suited to help with arthritis than others.

5. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been suggested to help reduce the discomfort associated with aromatherapy, and in people that don’t experience immediate physical benefit, it will almost certainly help to improve mood and promote relaxation.

There are a number of essential oils that can be useful for aromatherapy. Some of the most popular ones for helping to manage physical ailments include lavender oil and eucalyptus oil. These can be smelled directly out of their container, but it’s often wise to use an essential oil diffuser.

Essential oil diffusers use a gradual increase in heat to vaporize the essential oils into the air. This allows you to breathe them slowly over the course of a day and experience their soothing benefits.

6. Breathing Exercises

Meditation and breathing exercises have been proven to be incredibly useful for helping to manage the symptoms of all sorts of ailments, both physical and mental. Breathing properly has been shown to reduce markers of inflammation, stress, and other problems associated with diseases like arthritis.

One of the simplest ways to begin a healthy breathing exercise is to just take slow, deep breaths from your belly and count them. Inhale slowly for a count of one, pause for a half second, and then exhale for a count of one. This will be one solid breath.

Doing this for ten minutes a day can be immensely useful in helping to regulate stress and inflammation. People who meditate and do breathing exercises show significant improvement over pretty much any physical condition that they suffer from.

7. Gentle Exercise

While you might not feel up to moving a lot when you’re suffering from arthritis, it’s actually very important to make sure that you get enough movement into your daily routine. Doing so helps keeps your muscles and joints primed so you’re less likely to experience inflammation and pain when you do have to move.

Make sure you talk to a medical professional before deciding on what type of exercise routine to embark on. Aerobics can often be difficult for people suffering from arthritis of the feet and legs, but aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping and can be great for improving overall health.

Gentle exercises, like balancing, yoga, and range-of-motion exercises can all be immensely useful for helping people manage the symptoms of arthritis.

8. Massages

Massages are one of the best ways to help people manage arthritis. There are many reasons that the technique of massage has been used for so many centuries.

Massages are great for helping to fight pain, reduce swelling and tension, and improving range of motion. Massages are generally used on muscles, but they can be very useful for helping to prevent discomfort

9. Pau d’Arco

Pau d’arco is one of many South American plants that is revered for its medicinal benefits. In particular, this plant is highly effective at fighting inflammation and the related symptoms. It can be used to help remedy arthritis.

Pau d’arco is found in some health food stores. It can be bought in the form of supplements, but some prefer to make tea. The tea is nice because you can make it as strong as you want, but it’s not always as easy to find pau d’arco bark.

10. Turmeric

Turmeric is widely known for being one of the most powerful and widely used medicinal herbs on the planet. Not only is it great for flavoring curries, but it can help to heal a huge number of ailments – including inflammation.

Since arthritis is known for causing inflammation and pain in the joints and bones, using turmeric can be instrumental in helping you manage its symptoms. Turmeric is much stronger when you are using it with black pepper because the piperine found in the pepper helps to facilitate its absorption.

You can also find supplements containing nothing but the main active ingredient in turmeric, known as curcumin. Curcumin supplements are often prepackaged with black pepper to maximize absorption. These can be found in health food stores, as can raw turmeric root. Turmeric powder can be found in most grocery stores.

11. Meditation

Meditation is a simple practice that can have far-reaching effects on both your physical and mental health. There is some evidence that it can be used for helping people treat the pain associated with chronic conditions like arthritis. It can also help to eliminate the stress associated with these problems which can make them worse.

Mindfulness meditation is proven to help people manage pain. People who also suffer from a mental health condition like depression are most likely to experience benefits from meditation.

A simple meditation is to simply count your breaths. Slowly inhale, pause for a second, and then slowly exhale. This will be for a count of one. Do this at least ten times and you will notice that your stress levels will decrease drastically.

12. Yoga

Yoga can be considered another form of meditation, and its benefits can be just as far-reaching. Many people associate yoga with the physical, but it’s actually a practice that benefits the mind just as much as the body.

This means that yoga can help you manage the physical discomfort associated with arthritis as well as help you manage any stress that comes along with the condition. There are a number of online courses that can teach you how to do yoga, and there is probably a local yoga center somewhere in your local area.

13. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most beneficial nutrients that you can take for fighting inflammation. They are found in all sorts of food, like fish, avocados, and various vegetable oils. They are also available in supplement form and can be found at pharmacies, grocery stores, and natural health food stores.

Fish oil supplements, which are one of the most effective sources of omega-3 fatty acids, have actually been proven to help fight the stiffness and discomfort associated with arthritis.

14. Devil’s Claw

Devil’s claw is a fairly potent medicinal herb that can be used for treating a wide number of ailments that affect the bones, muscles, and arteries. It is known to help fight stiffness and inflammation, and can, therefore, be useful for helping people manage arthritis.

Devil’s claw can be found in some supplements and most natural health food stores will carry it. It can be made into a tea if you’re able to find the loose leaf variety.

15. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a fairly powerful herb that’s been used for a number of different applications, both mental and physical. It has been shown to help improve cognitive abilities by enhancing blood flow throughout the body and brain, and also for helping to manage the physical symptoms of ailments like arthritis.

Ginkgo biloba can be found in supplement form and the leaves can also be purchased from health food stores and made into tea. Ginkgo biloba works great in conjunction with other herbs, like turmeric and devil’s claw.

16. Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a plant that most of us know best because we’ve tried to avoid it at all costs in the forest. However, the plant has a number of important benefits and can be used to help treat problems like gout and arthritis.

One study that was done in Germany revealed that an extract of stinging nettle contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. This compound helped to prevent the body from producing cytokines that caused inflammation in chronic joint diseases like arthritis.

17. Bromelain

Bromelain is a powerful enzyme that’s found in the pineapple plant. It’s used in both its original form and in extracted form for its medicinal benefits, which can include helping to manage the inflammation associated with various problems.

Extracts of bromelain can be found in some health food stores, and pineapple on its own can be useful for treating smaller cases of inflammation.

18. Boswellia

Boswellia is a powerful herb that’s been popular in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. It functions well as an anti-inflammatory compound and can be found in many health food stores. It remains one of the most effective herbal remedies in the Ayurvedic medicinal regime for helping treat arthritis.

It helps to prevent the loss of cartilage in the body, and can also prevent the autoimmune process from occurring when it is not necessary. Extracts of this substance have been proven to help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis while enhancing physical functioning.

Boswellia can be found in some health food stores and pharmacies. Some sell it as Indian frankincense or frankincense resin. It can also be purchased online quite easily.

 

RELATED – BONE ON BONE. Here’s what that means…

19. Thunder God Vine

Thunder god vine is a folk remedy for a number of problems. Its most popular uses include treating menstrual problems, as well as treating chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

Thunder god vine has become quite popular in recent years and is available in many health food stores. Some supplement companies have also begun marketing the product to pharmacies. If you’re able to find the loose leaf tea, you can make it into your own tea.

20. Chili Peppers

Despite being associated with a burning sensation that many people find uncomfortable, chili peppers are actually great for our health. They contain a substance known as capsaicin, which has a number of medicinal benefits.

One thing that capsaicin is known for is helping to fight inflammation. It can be used topically in the form of a cream – just make sure not to get any in your eyes. It’s good to get pre-made creams because the amount of capsaicin is often regulated so the cream won’t cause any discomfort.

However, if you are familiar with hot peppers, you can probably make your own cream or oil by diluting it properly so it doesn’t irritate the skin.

Another thing that capsaicin does is train the body not to produce substance P. Substance P is a hormone that’s released when the body experiences pain. When we eat hot peppers regularly, we create a bit of a tolerance to substance P,

Chili peppers are easily found in various places. Many grocery stores stock jalapenos, and some stock spicier peppers like habaneros and Thai chili peppers.

21. Avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables

Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables, also known as ASU, is an extract made from avocado oil and soybean oil. It has a number of useful medicinal benefits, one of which is preventing the body from producing chemicals related to inflammation.

It has also been shown to prevent the body’s synovial cells from degenerating. Synovial cells are what retains the synovial fluid in the joints, which is necessary for cushioning our motions. Protecting this fluid can allow your joints to remain strong and healthy for longer.

ASU can be found in some health food stores,  pharmacies and online.

22. Cat’s Claw

The second claw herb in this article, cat’s claw is another useful medicine for helping to treat arthritis. It works in a similar manner as some drugs that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, by preventing the tumor necrosis factor, or TNF.

TNF is a form of cytokine that’s responsible for causing inflammatory reactions. Reducing this cytokine can be very useful for helping to prevent the pain associated with arthritis.

Cat’s claw can be found in supplement form or in its loose form in many health food stores. Supplements and tinctures are readily available at pharmacies.

23. Omega-6 Fatty Acids

We’ve already mentioned that omega-3 fatty acids are great for helping to fight inflammation, but they’re not the only essential fatty acids that are useful for this. Omega-6 fatty acids, such as gamma linoleic acid.

Once consumed by the body, gamma linoleic acid is metabolized into various anti-inflammatory compounds. It has been proven to help people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing pain and stiffness while increasing mobility.

Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in various supplements and should be consumed alongside omega-3 fatty acids. It’s important to maintain a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. If this balance is upset, numerous health problems can occur.

24. Ginger

Ginger is one of the most versatile medicinal foods. It can be useful for treating digestive issues, improving the health of our blood, fighting bacteria and yes – helping to manage arthritis.

It works by helping to fight inflammation. Gingerol, the active compound found in ginger, has been shown to function in a similar manner as various NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin. This means that it can be highly effective for helping to manage arthritis.

Ginger can be found at any grocery store. However, getting an organic variety will provide you with more powerful benefits. Check your local health food or natural food store. Ginger extracts and supplements are also available at the pharmacy for those who don’t like the flavor.

25. Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract is made from the bark of a tree that grows in France. It contains a number of compounds that are known to be effective anti-inflammatory agents, such as procyanidin.

Studies have revealed that this compound is great for helping to manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Patients reported more than a 40% decrease in their pain and a 25% reduction in the stiffness of their joints.

Capsules and extracts of pine bark extract can be found in many health food stores and also acquired online.

26. Rose Hips

Rose hips are incredibly powerful medicinal plants. They can be found anywhere that roses grow, and in many cases can be picked right off the plant and made into medicine.

Among other things, rose hips are known to be useful for helping to fight inflammation. There is a standardized extract of rosehip powder that delivers a highly effective amount of the active compounds in rose hips.

The study linked to above evaluated 287 people. They were given rose hip treatments and they experienced significant anti-inflammatory effects that were comparable to NSAIDs like ibuprofen. However, rose hips caused none of the dangerous side effects that these drugs are known for.

Aside from being found on rose bushes, rose hips can also be found in supplement form in many health food stores and pharmacies.

27. Green Lipped Mussel Extract

Despite the somewhat unpleasant name, green lipped mussel extract can be very useful for helping to treat arthritis. The extract comes from a particular mussel that grows in New Zealand, and there are multiple medicinal benefits to using this extract.

One of the reasons that they’re good for helping to fight arthritis is because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain several other nutrients that are useful for helping people manage symptoms of arthritis.

Green lipped mussel extract has been proven to help many different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. It’s not the most common supplement, but can be found in some health food stores and certainly purchased online.

28. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is one of the most beneficial herbs for a number of different problems. It’s useful for helping to reduce the discomfort associated with external and internal wounds.

Aloe vera gel can be useful for helping to treat the discomfort associated with swollen joints. You can find aloe vera gel in many places, including the grocery store, the pharmacy, and natural health food stores.

29. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is another essential oil that’s very useful for helping people manage the symptoms of arthritis. Eucalyptus and the essential oil contain a number of compounds known as tannins. These are known to be helpful in fighting inflammation and discomfort from swollen joints.

Eucalyptus leaves can be made into a paste or a salve and applied directly to joints. However, eucalyptus leaves are not the easiest to find unless you live in an area where the tree grows. Eucalyptus oil, however, is available in most natural health stores and anywhere that aromatherapy products can be found.

You can swab eucalyptus oil onto your swollen joints with a cotton ball and you’ll probably experience some improvement. You can also inhale the scent of the oil for mild anti-inflammatory effects.

30. Green Tea

Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks in the world. Studies have revealed that people who live in areas where more the most green tea is drunk have significantly longer lifespans than people who live in areas where few people drink green tea.

One of the reasons that green tea is so powerful is because it helps to reduce inflammation in the body. This can help to fight symptoms of arthritis and can also be useful for helping to prevent the emergence of chronic inflammatory conditions that can lead to disease.

Green tea can be found in most grocery stores. Organic, loose leaf green tea can be found in tea shops and natural health food stores. Green tea extracts and capsules can be found in many pharmacies and natural health food stores.

31. Willow Bark

Willow bark is one of the oldest and most reliable folk remedies for treating arthritis. It’s been used for thousands of years – people in Ancient Greece used willow bark to help manage the discomfort associated with inflammatory conditions.

Modern studies have proven that this herb is great for helping people manage symptoms of osteoarthritis. It shows particular promise helping people treat inflammation in the knees, the back, the hips, and the neck.

Willow bark teas can be found in tea shops and natural health food stores. Powders, capsules, and tablets can be found in pharmacies and natural health food stores.

It’s important to make sure that you know how much you’re taking. This is one of the reasons that standardized capsules are popular – an overdose of willow bark can lead to rashes and can actually cause inflammation. It’s also important not to take it if you’re allergic to NSAIDs like aspirin.

In Conclusion

Arthritis is an irritating condition, and it can lower the quality of a person’s life. However, there are a number of natural remedies that can be useful for helping to manage the symptoms.

These natural remedies are a lot safer than many over-the-counter or prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, and they treat the problem in a much more holistic manner. Hopefully, this information has helped you understand your arthritis better and will help you improve your condition!

And once you develop the condition, it tends to get worse if you don’t take care of it.

As preppers we stock up on supplies that we think we will need in an emergency. The order of priority for these items is usually tied to what our bodies need to survive. We can only live for 3 days (on average) without water so we make plans to purchase storage containers and water filtration systems to cover that base. We next need food, so we stock our pantries full of store-bought and freeze-dried food for a situation where the grocery store is either unreachable or out of food. Security and shelter round out the list of initial survival concepts you want to take care of but what else is there?

There are so many aspects to preparedness, but one of the more important ones to consider is medicine. If the grid goes down, the pharmacy will be in the same boat as that grocery store. If you are still able to purchase items (grid up), they may be sold out with no reasonable hope of resupply. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need simply medical supplies to treat illness or injury and aren’t able to procure them for your family. Thinking about your families’ health from an injury standpoint isn’t as sexy as buying a good SHTF weapon, but knowing which medicine to stock up on for an emergency will allow you to plan for disruptions and possibly keep your family more healthy when they need it the most.

 

What are important types of medicine to stock up on?

This list certainly won’t take the place of a hospital pharmacy and it surely won’t give you the skills you need to treat every injury, but even the most basic of medical supplies and a little knowledge could help you out. When shopping for medicines or thinking about first aid, I consider what types of injuries you could encounter in a disaster.

Disasters both natural and man-made bring death, disease and injuries. The medicines you need to stock up on should take some of these into consideration while not addressing every conceivable ailment under the sun. To achieve a basic level of preparedness I would recommend having the following items on hand.

Pain Medication / Fever Reducer

By pain medication I am referring to over the counter pain relievers. This can help with anything from headaches, sore muscles from too much exercise after SHTF or injuries. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is good for relieving pain and fever. It is generally less irritating to the stomach and is safer for children but can be toxic to the liver if you take too much of it.

Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These reduce inflammation caused by injury, arthritis or fever. They can also assist with pain associated with menstruation.

Children shouldn’t be given aspirin as it has been shown to cause Reye’s syndrome and can cause other bad effects. For pain medication I would have at least a bottle or two of your favorite pain reliever. For smaller children who might take liquid or chewable tablets I would stock up on that also. You don’t want your child to experience a fever without having medicine to bring that fever down if needed. The medicines above can be useful for both reducing inflammation, relieving pain and reducing fevers. I personally like aspirin for headaches but we do have large bottles of the other two on hand as well.

Anti-diarrheal

One of our readers put this as his top 4 or 5 items to have in his bug out bag and I can understand the rationale. The last thing you need to worry about in a bug out scenario is pulling over every twenty minutes or trying to find a safe place to let it all out. Diarrhea besides being messy as all get out can dehydrate a person quickly. Dehydration leads to weakness, irritability and confusion. Not the state you want to find yourself in an emergency.

There are two main types of medicines that help stop diarrhea, thickening mixtures (psyllium) absorb water and gives number 2 a little more volume. Antispasmodic products slow the spasms of your lower intestine. Loperamide is the active ingredient in products like Imodium and Pepto Diarrheal control. I have also seen loperamide hydrochloride in pill form in dozens of first aid kits. Fortunately, I have never had to use them but have them just in case. Better safe than sorry.

Antibiotics

Sooner or later someone you know will need something a little stronger than a clean bandage. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. A cut from a rusty piece of metal when the grid is up isn’t life threatening. Without something to fight the infection in a grid down world, a bacterial infection could spell death. Antibiotics do not work on viruses though, so they won’t help you out with every illness.

How do you know when to use antibiotics?

The answer depends on what is causing your infection. The following are some basic guidelines from Familydoctor.org:

  • Colds and flu. Viruses cause these illnesses. They can’t be cured with antibiotics.
  • Cough or bronchitis. Viruses almost always cause these. However, if you have a problem with your lungs or an illness that lasts a long time, bacteria may actually be the cause. Your doctor may decide to try using an antibiotic.
  • Sore throat. Most sore throats are caused by viruses and don’t need antibiotics. However, strep throat is caused by bacteria. Your doctor can determine if you have strep throat and can prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Ear infections. There are several types of ear infections. Antibiotics are used for some (but not all) ear infections.
  • Sinus infections. Antibiotics are often used to treat sinus infections. However, a runny nose and yellow or green mucus do not necessarily mean you need an antibiotic.  Read more about treating sinusitis.

 

Obtaining extra antibiotics could be difficult without a willing doctor or an active prescription. A common alternative to pharmacy antibiotics is fish antibiotics. Largely made with the same compounds, fish antibiotics are available without a prescription.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver isn’t loved by the medical or scientific establishment, but that doesn’t mean it does not work. Colloidal Silver or CS as it is referred to by some is said to be an excellent antibiotic with the side benefit of being able to be made with simple materials by anyone. You should research for yourself whether or not this is a prepper supply you want to store and there are well documented cases of people who have abused this. I have some in my medicine cabinet.

Additional medical supplies

  • Oral re-hydration solution – To offset the effects of dehydration caused by illness or diarrhea, make your own by adding 6-8 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter of water. Best to boil the water, add the sugar and salt while it is still warm to dissolve completely and let cool.
  • Multi-vitamins – I know the experts say that vitamins don’t do anything for you, but I believe if your body is deprived of vitamins supplementing with a good multi vitamin is a good idea.
  • Bandages – Probably more than you would ever expect to need. Bandages on wounds need to be routinely changed and the wound cleaned (based upon injury of course, consult a medical resource book for frequency) and you can easily go through dozens with one injury.
  • Rubbing Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide – Both alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are useful for cleaning wounds but each have many other benefits in the prepper’s first aid kit.
  • Cough Drops – Sure there are natural alternatives to cough drops, but you can buy a few hundred for less than $10
  • Anti-itch creme – Itching sucks.
  • Honey – Natural honey can be used to treat wounds and never goes bad if you have it stored properly. Plus it tastes great on that oatmeal you have stored in your pantry too.
  • Knee Braces and Ace Bandages – A lot of injuries will simply take time to heal. A good knee brace can make getting around possible for someone with mild injuries. Ace bandages can help with sprains.
  • Any prescriptions you take regularly – An entire post could be written about obtaining supplies of life-saving medical prescriptions. The sad fact is that in a grid down world, many people who can no longer access prescriptive medicine may die. There are alternative treatments, homeopathic remedies and natural substitutes for some specific medicines, but these should all be researched thoroughly on your own. At a minimum you should have at least a one month supply of any medicine you must take. If the disaster allows you to make it to another medical provider you have some time.
  • Thermometer – Get the old-fashioned kind if you are worried about EMP, although the newer digital thermometers are really nice too.
  • Blood Pressure Cuff – Helpful in situations although requires some training on how to use one properly. Don’t forget the Stethoscope to hear the heartbeat. – Hat tip to Ty for these last three great recommendations.

When does medicine go bad?

Yes, medicine does go bad, but it may not be bad in the way you think or as quickly as you might believe. For one thing the expiration date on medicine does not mean that the medicine is bad after that date. Medicine does start to lose its effectiveness over time though so keeping your medicine up to date is the best approach to having a good supply of medicine in your home.

How quickly a particular medicine loses its potency will vary by the medicine and the conditions where it is kept. Moisture and heat are not friends to medicine so a cool dry place out of sunlight is the best location. Medicine that has changed color, texture or smell even if it has not expired shouldn’t be taken. If pills stick together or are harder or softer, show cracks or chips they likely need to be replaced.

This is really just a start at some of the most obvious medicine to stock up on but each person has their own needs. What is your plan if you can’t get to the doctor?

These are some of the most obvious medicine to stock up on but each person has their own needs.

My great granny made her eggs just like this. I loved to spend the night with her when I was little so she could make me breakfast.

She had a little cast iron skillet on a hob and she stirred and stirred and stirred until they were perfect golden little blobs floating in butter. The crunch at the first bite says it all, perfectly toasted bread goes a long way with scrambled eggs.

Watch this and then I’ll probably see you in the kitchen.

No way they could have known that over 250 years later, their recipe would be shown to over a million viewers worldwide.

In any survival situation, the most important thing is finding food.

While you may have a stockpile stored safely somewhere, it might not be accessible. Depending on the circumstances, you may find yourself having to forage for food to survive.

Foraging for food is an essential part of any survival plan. It will be vital during a crisis. Most forested areas are rich with edible plants. These plants can potentially hold you over until you can reach your safe house.

However, many wild plants can be dangerous. Some are even perfect replicas of the original. Knowing which plants are safe to eat and which are not is critical to survival.

Below are a few plants that you do not want to eat when aiming to survive in the wild.

Moonseed

The Survival Plants That Might Get You Killed Menispermum canadense – also known as Moonseed. This is a woody vine that grows 8’-20′ long. Stems of the young plant are green to brownish-red and slightly hairy, while older ones become hairless and woody. The smooth leaves of this plant are 6″ long and 8″ across and often bend downwards.

Clusters of white or yellowish flowers sometimes appear along the non-woody stems of these plants and may reach up to 5″ in length.

This plant blooms in late spring to early summer and lasts about two weeks.

Female flowers will develop into small berries in late summer to early fall and look similar to wild grapes.

Found throughout North America, this plant commonly grows within the region and is native to Illinois.

A low-lying vine plant, Moonseed has a high poison severity and is highly toxic to humans – causing convulsions and death when ingested. The toxic principle of this plant, Alkaloid dauricine, is found in all the plant parts.

Thankfully, this plant’s highly potent berries have a rank taste – which often deters hungry foragers.

However, because this plant’s leaves and fruit are similar to Fox Grapes- which are edible, this resemblance leads to them being confused as Fox Grapes or Wild Grapes and unknowingly consumed.

Unfortunately, Moonseed is highly poisonous and can be fatal if eaten.

While this plant’s flavor is usually enough to indicate danger, one should always examine the fruit’s seeds when foraging to ensure it is not a moonseed.

Moonseeds have a single crescent-shaped seed, while a grapes seed will be round. The tendrils of this plant are also an indication. Grapevines will have forked tendrils, where Moonseed vines lack tendrils altogether.

Signs and symptoms of Moonseed poisoning may include:

  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pupil changes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Seizures

*If Moonseed is consumed, it is suggested that you seek immediate medical attention to rid your body of the deadly toxins and treat any related symptoms.

Snakeroot

The Survival Plants That Might Get You Killed White snakeroot plants have coarse toothed, round-based leaves with pointed tips and can reach up to 3 feet (1m) in height—clusters of flowers grown on the top of the stem throughout summer and fall.

This plant prefers shady areas and is commonly found along roadsides, in thickets, or under powerlines.

The leaves and stems of the white Snakeroot contain tremetol. This fat-soluble toxin is known to poison the livestock consuming it and passes into lactating animals’ milk.

The name of this plant was derived from the belief that this plant’s roots could cure snake bites.

It was also thought that burning this plant could revive an unconscious person. Thus it has been used medicinally for many years. However, due to its toxicity, even the medicinal use of Snakeroot is not recommended.

While consuming this plant is not often deadly to humans, it can cause ‘milk sickness’. The poisonous properties of this plant are most significant when the plant is fresh and green.

However, even dried versions of this plant have been found to contain toxins. This plant is especially toxic to animals, with death occurring when an aminal eats anywhere from 1%-10% of their body weight over a few weeks.

Signs and symptoms of Milk sickness (also known as tremetol vomiting):

  • Trembling
  • Vomiting
  • Severe intestinal pain

*Milk sickness caused by Snakeroot does not rely on personal ingestion. Milk sickness can occur when consuming animal products from an animal that has come into contact with or ingested this plant.

Pokeweed (aka wild parsnips/carrots)

The Survival Plants That Might Get You Killed Phytolacca americana, or pokeweed, is native to eastern North America and the mid-west but is scattered throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Considered a pest weed by farmers, pokeweed is poisonous to humans, dogs, and livestock.

While this plant is edible in the spring season with proper preparation, it later becomes deadly.

Cultivating poisonous berries can induce vomiting, burning sensations, altered heart rate, respiratory issues, convulsions, and even death if ingested.

All parts of this plant can be toxic and pose a risk to humans if eaten. The poison, produced by the chemicals phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin, is most concentrated in the roots, stems, and leaves of this plant.

However, the berries should also be avoided as they still contain enough toxicity to cause harm.

Pokeweed can be identified by its large, fleshy, white taproot that often grows 4 to 6 inches in diameter. The stems of this deadly flora can grow 3 to 7 feet tall in some areas and are typically a deep reddish-purple. Whiteish-green flowers adorn this plant and consist of  5 petal-like, rounded leaves that mimic flower petals, growing in clusters opposite leaves.

Each flower-like structure develops into 8-10 juicy berries that are flat and round in shape and small in size. The berries begin as a light shade of green, turning black or purple, and generally become heavy, drooping with maturity. Each berry contains a small, black lens-shaped seed encased in a juicy blood-colored liquid.

Native Americans used pokeweed to treat a variety of conditions in the past, and juice from the berries was often used to create red dye.

Signs and symptoms of Pokeweed poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea, sometimes hemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Heart block
  • Rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow or difficult breathing

*Other names for Pokeweed poisoning include American nightshade poisoning; Inkberry poisoning; Pigeon Berry poisoning; Pokeberry poisoning; Scoke poisoning; Virginia poke poisoning; Poke salad poisoning.

Treatment

Poisoning from pokeweed requires immediate medical attention.

However, suppose you cannot get to an emergency room. In that case, you could attempt to create activated charcoal by burning wood or another dense plant fiber until everything but the carbon has been scorched away.

Unfortunately, this process can take several hours, and you need to mix the charred wood with other chemicals to create a useful substance. Thus, this may be challenging in a survival situation, and it is best to seek professional medical help.

*If you or someone you know has consumed pokeweed, call poison control, or immediately go to the nearest emergency department.

Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade

The Survival Plants That Might Get You Killed Atropa belladonna – commonly referred to as Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade– is a poisonous perennial herbaceous plant in the nightshade family.

Found in various places in Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia, it is also scattered throughout Canada and the United States.

This plant’s foliage and berries are extremely toxic if ingested because of the chemical (tropane alkaloids) they contain.

Bella Donna is one of the most poisonous plants known to man, and its effects can be deadly.

All parts of this plant contain tropane alkaloids. The leaves are most poisonous when the plant is budding or flowering, and the roots are most toxic at the end of the vegetation period.

However, this plant’s berries pose the greatest danger because they look delicious and have a somewhat sweet taste.

Despite its name, which means ‘beautiful lady,’ the Belladonna plant is exceptionally hazardous. Poisonous to humans and most animals, Belladonna poisoning affects the nervous system.

Symptoms may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Red, dry skin
  • Inability to sweat
  • Muscle spasms
  • Blurred vision
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Hallucinations
  • Inability to urinate
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Coma

Belladonna is commonly used as an ingredient in many over-the-counter medications to treat many common ailments.

For example, belladonna can be found in treatments for

  • common cold
  • fever
  • whooping cough
  • each ache
  • asthma
  • motion sickness
  • flu
  • joint and back pain
  • inflammation
  • nerve issues.

Unfortunately, belladonna can have serious side effects, especially when consumed without medical advice.

*If consumed, seek medical attention immediately. Activate charcoal is used to remove toxins from the body, and treatment of the various symptoms is often required.

Rhododendron

The Survival Plants That Might Get You Killed Found throughout most western and eastern United States, this plant is easily mistaken for bay leaves. Unfortunately, using these leaves to spice up your emergency stew would be a bad idea.

Rhododendron and Azaleas are close relatives and cause the same types of toxicity. It is often referred to as ‘mad honey’. Because the honey found in this plant’s flowers is known to cause confusion. So eating any part of this plant is discouraged.

Poison control often receives calls in spring and early summer about children who have put the flowers or leaves in their mouths trying to eat them.

While this plant generally only causes mild mouth irritation, nausea, and vomiting have also been known to occur with ingestion. While rare, severe and life-threatening poisoning has occurred. Thus, this plant should not be consumed.

The honey of this plant holds the highest concentration of poison. The agent responsible for the poisoning properties of this plant is Grayanotoxin.

The neurotoxin, which is also known as andromedotoxin, acetylandromedol, rhodotoxin and asebotoxin, is produced within rhododendron and other plants within the Ericaceae or Heather family. Honey made from the nectar also contains grayanotoxin – or ‘mad honey.’

Mad Honey poisoning can occur anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after ingestion and symptoms include:

  • Salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Circumoral paralysis (around or near the mouth)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart-rate
  • Loss of coordination
  • Progressive muscle weakness
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty breathing

*Rhododendron poisoning is rarely fatal to humans, and symptoms usually last less than 24 hours. Death is much more common among animals who ingest this plant while grazing.

Treatment:

Treatment requires vomiting-inducing techniques and repeated use of activated charcoal. If you ingest Rhododendron, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

While obtaining plants for survival may be dangerous, you can often find danger in your own backyard as well.

Plants that commonly grow in urban areas can be just as harmful to your health as those found out in the wild.

For example, rhubarb leaves are known to be extremely poisonous, and while this plant is known to many as a tasty treat, the leaves may cause severe medical issues if consumed.

Rhubarb poisoning can cause:

  • Rhubarb leavesBreathing difficulty
  • Burning in the throat
  • Coma
  • Eye pain
  • Kidney stones
  • Nausea
  • Red-colored urine
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

In the wild, there are many plants available for survival.

Unfortunately, there are also many that can cause damage or even death if consumed unknowingly. It is vital that you are aware of what you are eating and sure that it is safe.

Being aware of your surroundings and knowing which plants (or which parts of plants) are safe to consume may mean the difference between life and death.

Not all plants are man's best friend. Surviving also means knowledge. For example, These Survival Plants Might Get You Killed

You are in for a treat today!

This fried chicken recipe comes from Nathan Bailey’s 1736 cookbook, “Dictionarium Domesticum.”

And people love it!

This recipe calls for a marinade that is sure to surprise you.

The tartness of the marinade contrasted to the sweetness of the batter really sets this dish off.

You should really try this! This may be just the best fried chicken ever!

Warning – Do not watch this video on an empty stomach.

 

For those of you who want it in writing, here’s the recipe.

Marinade:

-Juice of two large lemons
-Add equal part of the vinegar of your choice (Malt or cider is preferred)
-1 tsp of salt
-1 tsp of pepper
-2 bay leaves
-1/4 tsp of cloves
-1/2 cup of green onions(or shallots)

Quarter the chicken, or add the individual pieces (e.g breast, thigh, leg) to the marinade.
Leave in marinade for 3 hours.

Batter:

-1 1/2 cup of flour
-Add white wine until similar to pancake batter(you could use cider or water instead of wine if preferred)
-3 egg yolks(add more wine if needed)
-1 tsp of salt
-Mix until it’s even

Cooking it:

-Fill pot with the oil of your choice
-Heat oil to about 350F
-Fry until a light mahogany brown

Garnish:

-Add extremely dry parsley to the oil
-Fry in small batches

People say The History Channel should hire this guy and give him have his own TV show.

What do you think? But let’s talk after you eat this chicken like in 1736.

Warning - Do not watch this video on an empty stomach.

Water is obviously a critical supply you need to have in order to live. Water more than food is required if you are going to survive and we talk a lot on survival blogs about how to handle the water once you get it. If your water isn’t clean, we discuss how to filter or treat the water to make it drinkable.

We have talked about transporting water to your location or carrying water in something like your Bug Out Bag. We have additionally talked about filtering water that you collect in rain barrels, but what if you are in a survival situation and you have no source of water. Knowing how to find water is perhaps just as important as knowing how to treat water before you drink it.

Water is the most abundant resource on this planet in terms of sheer volume, but fresh drinking water is not as easy to come by. Although the earth is covered in oceans, freshwater sources are a little harder to find and as a society, we have come to rely on water treatment stations to pump the majority of what we drink. Many rural locations rely on well water, but that is also pumped from deep underground.

 

If you are in a survival situation it will be very unlikely that you would be able to drill a well and find a source of water. Obviously, if you are in a fixed location this is always a possibility, but for the rest of us water can be found and this post will go into both Urban and natural settings where you can find sources of water.

Water Basics

The human body needs approximately one gallon per day in average conditions for hydration and hygiene. You could of course skip a bath, but you still need a steady supply of water or you will become dehydrated. Go without water too long and you die so we want to make sure that doesn’t happen. We will mostly cover how to find water in the wild in this section, not how to treat water.

Snow and Ice – Depending on your location, you may have water all around you at certain times of the year. If you are where there is snow and ice, you can melt as much water as you need. Two things to remember with this is that heating snow for drinking water is very fuel intense so if this is your main plan for survival, expect to use a lot of wood or energy to heat that snow. Many of you have eaten snow as kids; I know I did but you can’t do this for long or else your body temperature drops as the cold water chills your inside. I saw a documentary one time where a family was hiking and became lost in a snow blizzard. The mother who was breastfeeding an infant at the time was eating snow to stay hydrated and provide milk for the baby. She died because the snow reduced her body temperature so much. Melt the snow if you are going to drink it.

 

Ground – How many of you have heard the hiking adage that if you are lost you want to make your way downhill, then down river as all rivers flow to a town. Bear Grylls used to say that on just about every show he was in the mountains. Well, I don’t know if all rivers do lead to a town, which would hopefully get you in contact with people who could help you, but I do know that water flows to the lowest spot. If you are in the mountains, make your way down and unless you are in a desert, you will start running into places where water runoff accumulates, forms trickles, then streams, then rivers. I think that in the wild you should have plenty of sources to find water and you can even find drinking water in a tree. Make sure that any water you drink is treated first obviously.

Desert – Deserts are a little trickier as they don’t normally have water on a good day. It is possible to find water though without squeezing it out of elephant dung. Deserts get rain from time to time; it’s just so infrequent that the water sinks down, runs off or evaporates before long. In deserts you can dig along creek beds for water that could be a couple of feet underground. You could also build a solar still. The video below shows how to do this.

If that isn’t an option, you could wrap a clear plastic bag over the leaves of a bush or tree to collect condensation, but I don’t believe you would get enough water to live like this and it’s much better if you are lost, to make your way out of the desert as quickly as possible.  Regardless, here is another video that shows that method as well.

Rainwater – If you can collect rainwater, I think this is probably the easiest and safest way to find water but it isn’t without its own drawbacks. First of all, it has to rain and as you know even the weather men can’t predict when that will happen with complete accuracy. Waiting on rain could take weeks and if you are thirsty, that will be too long. You also need a method to capture the rain also. You can’t just stick a gallon jug outside and expect that bad boy to be filled up. Collecting rainwater for survival requires rain, a large collection surface and a big bucket.

Providing you have these things, a relatively small amount of rainfall can allow you to collect an amazing amount of water. Our home is set up with two rain barrels and I have filled each barrel up with a single rainfall before. For situations where you have a base location you are staying in, collecting rainwater for survival makes the most sense to me.

Dew – You can also collect water from the dew in the morning, but like the solar still and the clear bag methods above, I don’t think these are realistically going to give you enough water to last a day. They may be worst case scenario options, but if you are going to survive, you need a reliable source of abundant water.

Finding Water in Urban Environments

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Drain the water from your water heater in emergency situations.

One advantage of trying to find water in an urban environment as opposed to the wild is that we pipe a bazillion gallons of water into our cities every day and unless it is used, we store it in pipes and reservoirs in almost every house, shack, building and complex.

You can start in your own home. Even if the water has been shut off, you will have a lot of water still inside the walls of your house. The back of the toilets have at least a gallon and a half each. Your water heater will have 30-60 gallons. The actual pipes in your house will still have many gallons stored in them and you can access it simply by opening the tap in the highest part of your home, like the second floor and gravity will allow the water trapped in the pipes to flow out the bottom taps.

Most of us already have the home sources identified, but what about water in other locations? I wrote a post a few days back trying to point out what in my mind where the differences between looting and scavenging. At least one of our readers had strong feelings on that subject, but in this case where you need water for survival, there would be many more places that could be abandoned that could offer potential for water also.

Large manufacturing plants have water reservoirs on the roofs in some cases for their fire systems. Even if they don’t like the pipes in your home, sprinkler systems are loaded with water that could be used in an emergency. Before I get any nasty grams about this, the usual caveats apply. I am talking about a grid-down, SHTF scenario where your life depends on having a source of water and there is nobody presently using or occupying this structure. Even that isn’t clear enough… I don’t mean to break into anyone’s home and steal their water if they are home.

 

Sprinkler systems are much trickier than other sources and the kind you can see above your head are easier than the ones buried underground. We have other sources like water towers, fire hydrants, break room water coolers, swimming pools, hot tubs, fountains, aquarium tanks, air conditioning evaporator traps, water fire extinguishers and on and on. Essentially, there should be a lot of places to find water, but we may have to try a little harder if the world has gone to hell in a hand basket and of course all the sources should be treated first before drinking.

What not to drink

The following items shouldn’t ever be consumed as a water replacement and as much as I respect Bear Grylls, I have to agree with the second item on this list.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Urine
  • Blood
  • Seawater

I hope that gives you some ideas for water sources if you are ever faced with survival scenario that you need to find water. I hope even more so that you never are. Maybe in your list of prepper supplies, it would be good to have a hacksaw and a pipe wrench too. You never know…

If you need more there’s always wikihow. Here’s what they have to say.

Locating water is an important skill to have if you enjoy wilderness activities such as hiking, camping, or cross-country events. Water is vital to the performance of your body. Even a single day without water can become a challenge. Dehydration can result in clouded judgement, physical weakness, vomiting, and fainting. In as few as three days the body can begin to shut down, leading to death. Knowing how to find water if you become lost or separated from regular water supplies can save your life.

1. Look for areas that have green foliage. Green areas in a desert or plains area can indicate the presence of water.[2] A line of trees or some foliage low on the ground may also hint at a creek bed or some other body of water.

2. Scout the terrain for low-lying areas. Some examples of these include valleys, depressions, or crevices. Water moves toward the lowest point possible, so these places are prime locations for finding a lake or stream.

  • Rainwater may collect in these areas.
  • If you are in a mountainous area, check for water at the foot of cliffs.
3. Detect signs of wildlife. Circling birds can sometimes indicate a water source nearby, but you might also follow animal tracks. Water is a basic need for all animals, and the tracks you follow will likely lead you, eventually, to a watering hole.[4]

4. Notice the presence of insects. Mosquitoes in particular are an indication that water is nearby, as is the presence of flies, which tend to remain about 325 feet (100 meters) from water. Generally, most insects do not stray too far from water sources.

  • Keep your eyes peeled for bees as well. Bees build hives three to five miles away from a water source.

Part2

Accessing Trapped Water

1. Collect suitable snow or ice to make water. If you are in an arctic area, or an area that receives snowfall, you should collect snow that has a bluish look to it. This will prevent you from consuming frozen water that his high in salt content, which could contribute to your dehydration.

  • Frozen water that has a higher concentration of salt will appear gray or opaque.

2. Melt the ice with a heat source and purify. There are many ways you might melt your ice into water that will quench your thirst. In extreme situations, you may have to find a container and then cuddle it, using your body heat to melt the snow. In other cases you may be able to use a match, lighter, or other heat source. Once the snow has melted, you may purify the water using several different methods, such as:

  • A water purifying tablet to cleanse the snow, now turned to water, for consumption.
  • A filtration device, like a water purifying straw, to drink your thawed snow.
  • Using your heat source to bring the melted snow to a boil. Allow it to boil for a least a minute to guarantee the water has been purified.
3. Search out water in damp sand or dirt. In an arid setting, if you spot a depression or moist patch of sand behind a sand dune, in a dried out lake, a gully, or some similar feature, you should dig down in that area to search for water. If you notice water begging to puddle at the bottom of your hole, you’re in luck.
4. Locate any water-containing plants, such as barrel or saguaro cacti. It can be helpful to brush up on your knowledge of edible and poisonous plants, but this may be an unrealistic option for your situation. Instead, you seek water in vines, cacti, and roots. Cut a notch in the plant and wait for liquid to seep out. In the case of cacti, break it open and suck moisture from its pulp, being careful not to eat any of the cactus, as it could make you sick. Generally, you should avoid drinking plant sap that is:
  • Thick
  • Colored
  • Sour or bitter
  • Sharp or unpleasant in odor

Part3

Determining the Drinkability of Water

1. Know the hazards of drinking unpurified water. Drinking water that is poisonous, contaminated with parasites or bacteria, or is tainted by human waste can cause serious health complications. This can be a threat to your survival in an emergency a wilderness experience. Illnesses associated with contaminated water include:

  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid

2. Increase your chance of survival while looking for water. Sweat will make you dehydrate faster, so you should avoid activities that may make you sweat while looking for water. You should also:

  • Stay in the shade, if possible.
  • Avoid eating anything while thirsty.
  • Damp your clothes in hot conditions to cool yourself in hot climates.
  • Carry materials, like a plastic sheet, to make water collection devices.

3. Be prepared to purify the water you find. You can do this simply by bringing water to a boil over a fire, though this might not always be an option. To ensure you don’t end up drinking water potentially tainted with parasites or bacteria, you should consider:

  • Carrying water purifying tablets.
  • Purchasing a simple water filtration device, like a water purifying straw.

4. Choose water that is clear and flowing. Flowing water will not be stagnant, and stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for many disease-carrying insects and parasites. When deciding on whether or not a source of flowing water is safe to drink, keep in mind:

  • The location of the nearest human settlement. The downstream area of rivers can easily be tainted by human activities.
  • The mouth or origin of a water source will likely be safest for drinking.

What do you think? Did we miss anything?

Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water. Here's how to find it.

Perhaps the single most useful tool for someone to have in a survival situation is a lighter. While some might argue that a lighter is a little bit of a cheat and that a real survivalist would start fires from scratch, this argument doesn’t really hold water when your life is actually on the line. Starting a fire the Neanderthal way might be more pure, but it actually requires considerable skill and even a bit of engineering savvy before you’ll see the first glimmer of smoke, and eventually some life-saving flame.

A survival lighter is very compact, is universally available, and provides a priceless function to someone suddenly thrust into a life-or-death situation. For someone intentionally seeking out the wild places of the world, a reliable lighter is solid gold. But for a lighter to be as useful as possible, it must be relatively immune from the effects of wind and the elements and offer a steady flame that will not be blown out by a mere breeze. Storm-proof lighters offer just that kind of service and are well-known to survivalists around the world, many of whom carry two or more in the wild.

Here are some of the ways that a good survival lighter can make the difference between life and death in a real survival situation.

Building fires for warmth

Ultimate Survival Technologies Delta Shock and Storm Proof Lighter – Blaze Orange

In a cold climate especially, warmth will be essential for a person caught in the wilderness. Some kind of shelter is essential as protection from weather conditions, but it will also be necessary to keep warm, and in places where the thermometer dips low at night, a fire can stave off frostbite or even worse harm.

Cooking food

Humans are capable of lasting up to three weeks without food, but that doesn’t mean you can count on surviving that long between meals. In actuality, the body begins to grow weaker far sooner than the three week period, and that means muscle coordination and even brain functions are degraded far sooner. Raw food might be palatable in a pinch, but cooking food also kills germs and bacteria that might be present and will allow for a healthier intake of foods that are not normal components of the human diet.

Protection against wild animals

In an area where there might be predators, fire can be essential protection for the survivalist. Wild animals have a natural aversion to fire, many of them having witnessed the damage that wildfires are capable of, and they will not enter a campsite where a strong fire is burning. Of course, this means that the fire has to be maintained whenever there is a suspected presence of such predators and that a steady supply of fuel must be gathered, but here too, fire can help. Carrying a burning piece of wood along as you seek wood supplies will cause most animals to keep their distance.


Boiling water works just fine to kill off anything nasty in your water supply.

Water purification

There are, of course, better purification methods than boiling water, for instance, handheld purifiers and water bottles with purification systems, but if you happen to be caught without any of these, then boiling water works just fine to kill off anything nasty in your water supply. And it almost goes without saying that you must locate a water source, because humans cannot live longer than three days without it. Like with food though, that three-day guideline is an extreme case, and body functions will begin to degrade much sooner than that without essential water being taken in.

Mini survival kit

A survival lighter can be made to have much greater value than its single, intended function of lighting fires for all those benefits described above. Someone who has time to plan for a stay in the wild can dress up a lighter to be much more useful than as a mere starter of fires.

Carry a lighter on your keychain. This small peanut lighter could save your day.

Wrapping your lighter with duct tape can pay handsome dividends in a survival situation because there are hundreds of ways that duct tape can come in handy. After taping the lighter, add several fish hooks to one side of the lighter, and some sewing needles on the other side, to give yourself a tiny toolkit of items that can help with other aspects of survival.

Finally, wrap a long strand of heavy fishing line, perhaps 20-lb. test line, around the whole lighter to provide a means for fishing or makeshift trapping, and also to repair gear. By including these extra aids to survival all on one simple tool, the survival lighter is made even more valuable as a means of keeping you alive in a hostile situation.

Perhaps the single most useful tool for someone to have in a survival situation is a lighter. While some might argue that a lighter is a little bit of a

When we talk about off-grid power or emergency electrical power, most preppers are talking about solar panels or possibly a wind generator. We tend to scoff at gas-powered generators, as if they are something that only “amateurs” would use.

Yet even while we do that, disaster management professionals buy generators to power stores, police stations and their emergency operations centers.

Much of the negative attitude about fuel-powered generators in the prepping and survival community comes from the root problem with these generators, in that they need fuel to burn; fuel that won’t be available in a long-term survival situation. But what about short-term survival; wouldn’t it be useful then?

Let’s be honest with ourselves; few of us have enough solar panels to power more than our cell phones, let alone keeping the fridge running. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to keep our refrigerator working, rather than having all that expensive meat spoil?

Unless you’ve got a lot of solar panels up on the roof, that probably means buying a generator. Fortunately, they’re not all that expensive; so they’re probably a good addition to your prepping stockpile.

But is that it? Do we just need to buy a generator? Actually… not. If you’re going to have a generator, there are a few things you should do, making sure that your generator will be ready for use, the next time a storm causes the lights to go out.

Figure Out Your Plan


Before even buying a generator, you should figure out a plan for how you’ll use it.

In other words, what are the critical electric devices that you have to have power for? Once you’ve decided that, then you need to know how much power do those critical electric devices draw.

Finally, you can figure out where to place the generator for maximum benefit and how you’re going to get the power from the generator to the various devices that need it.

Stockpile Gasoline


No portable generator is going to be useful without a goodly stock of gasoline to fuel it. That can be problematic though, as gasoline doesn’t keep well over a prolonged period of time. Six months is about the maximum without additives and those additives will only add about another six months to the shelf life.

The obvious solution to that problem is to rotate your gas stocks, following a first-in, first-out (FIFO) schedule. As the gasoline starts getting old, pour it into one of your cars to burn. Then fill that container again, maintaining your stockpile.

If you’re going to do that, I’d recommend that you not use plastic gas cans to store your stock. All gas cans expand and contract as the temperature cause the gas to expand and contract. This can cause leaks in those plastic cans.

Better to use metal ones, which can still end up being damaged by expansion and contraction, but will not start leaking. Better yet, buy a used 55-gallon steel drum and put it on a stand, so that it’s laying on its side.

Add a non-sparking spigot in the small bung hole, which should be located at the bottom. The drum can then be filled through the large bung hole. Using some of that gas every month and adding fresh gas to replace it will keep the gasoline usable.

Protect the Generator from EMP

One of the reasons we’re concerned about being able to generate our only electricity is because of the risk of an EMP. With that being the case, it’s important to shield the generator from EMP. That way, it will still operate, even after an EMP attack, somewhere down the line.

There are a couple of ways of doing this, both variants of the idea of the Faraday Cage. The first is to store the generator in a metal shed. That shed is essentially a Faraday Cage anyway, so it will protect the generator from EMP damage.

Just make sure that the generator doesn’t touch the metal of the shed and that there’s a layer of non-conductive insulation between them.

If you don’t have a metal shed, then you still need some form of Faraday Cage for storing your generator.

You could go through the trouble of building something that will work in that way or you could just buy some EMP proof cloth.

This relatively new material is what they’re making those EMP proof pouches for cell phones and other electronic devices. But you can buy the fabric by the yard, allowing you to use it to wrap up your generator.

Buy Extension Cords

Having a generator isn’t going to do you any good, if the electricity can’t get where you need it.

Yet most of us don’t have enough heavy-duty extension cords and splitters to do this.

We’re either going to have to move the devices from where they are, to wherever the generator will be or we’re going to have to put the generator in the wrong place, just so we can use it.

Good extension cords are expensive, I get it; and good extension cords are the only way to go. Buying cheap ones and joining them together to cover a long distance is a sure way of starting an electrical fire.

Better to invest the money in some good, heavy-gauge cords, than to take that risk.

Install a Generator Interlock


An even better way of getting that electricity from your generator to the appliances which need it is to install a generator interlock at your breaker box. This special circuit breaker and interlock allows you to connect the generator directly into the house’s wiring, allowing the existing wiring to do the distribution for you.

At the same time, the interlock will disconnect the home’s wiring from the grid, making it so that the electricity your generator is producing isn’t just lost in the grid.

The generator interlock is a much less costly solution than the alternative, that of installing a whole house switch. Still, it would be a good idea to have an electrician install this for you, unless you’re comfortable working inside your breaker box.

Replace the Muffler

When the time comes to use the generator, you’re going to be faced with other challenges than just the possibility of running out of gas.

As soon as you fire that thing up, all your neighbors are going to know that it’s there. You can’t really prevent that, but you can reduce how many neighbors hear it.

The mufflers on generators really don’t do all that much to reduce the amount of noise they produce. They do something; but not all that much.

You can improve on that by adding on a small muffler of the type that would be found on a compact car.

Weld an elbow to the output of the existing muffler, allowing it to act as the mounting adapter for you. Then either attach the new muffler right to that elbow or attach it through a short piece of tailpipe.

This isn’t going to make the generator totally quiet, but it will help. Your neighbors will probably still hear it; but the guy living a block away probably won’t. So it will make a difference.

A Further difference can be made by erecting a fenced-in area in your backyard for the generator to sit in, when in use. The fence will further absorb the sound that the generator makes and what it doesn’t absorb, it will help reflect upwards.

Between that and the muffler, you will hopefully reduce the generator’s acoustic signature to the point where only your closest neighbors will know it is there.

Create a Secure Generator Area

While you’re building that fenced-in area, you might as well make it secure. That could mean just putting a locking gate on the area, so that people can’t get in there without having to break the lock.

But I think I’d go a step further than that and make a concrete pillar, buried into the ground.

At the top end, install a large U-bolt, while the concrete is still wet. That will provide a great anchor to chain the generator to, making it much harder to steal.

When we talk about off-grid power or emergency electrical power, most preppers are talking about solar panels or possibly a wind generator. We tend to scoff at gas-powered generators, as

When it comes to sprucing up a bland dinner or adding flavor to homemade pickles, there are few ingredients that can compare with good ol’ fashioned salt. Salt allows food molecules to be released into the air and gives the food a distinct aroma and flavor. It highlights and suppresses the taste of foods, and is a necessary staple for any homesteading chef.

However, did you know that there are multiple uses for salt outside of the kitchen? There are several different types of salt; all of which can serve distinctive purposes.

Table salt is the most common type of salt and is finely ground, containing no trace minerals or impurities. It does not clump and has added iodine, which is necessary to prevent conditions such as hypothyroidism. Sea salt, on the other hand, contains higher quantities of minerals such as zinc, potassium, and iron, making it excellent for cooking and food preservation.

Other types of salt include kosher, Himalayan pink, Celtic sea, flake, and pickling salt. Although there is a vast variety of salts and their uses vary, it’s important to remember that all salt can be given second-life in these multi-purposing tips.

Food Preservation

Increase longevity of foods

Salt acts as a preservative through the process of osmosis. When two chemicals are brought into contact with each other, they reach a situation of equalization. As a result, it can be said that salt helps to dehydrate foods by absorbing or “equalizing” the water contained within the food. This dehydration prevents the food from decomposing.

To preserve your fruits, vegetables, and meat, you must completely cover your food with water and then gradually add salt (until there are salt deposits on the bottom of your container). Store this container—ideally with an airtight seal– in the refrigerator for several days. After this time has elapsed, exchange the old brine for fresh. If you’re dehydrating meat; bake it in the oven at an extremely low temperature.

For short-term preservation, cut fruits and vegetables can also be placed in a saltwater solution. The salt helps prevent the pieces from turning brown and losing flavor. This is a great solution if you’re cutting up large quantities of potatoes, apples, or other ingredients for cooking, and need to temporarily prevent them from browning.

Test egg freshness

If you are a homesteader and tend to stockpile large quantities of chicken eggs, this is the tip for you. If you’re not sure how long that carton of eggs has been in your fridge, never fear. Simply place the questionable egg in a cup of water with two teaspoons of salt. If the egg sinks, it’s fresh. If not; it will float (and should definitely be tossed).

For the eggs you plan to keep, there is another use for salt. You can prevent eggshells from breaking during the hard-boiling process by adding a few teaspoons of salt to the boiling water. This will save you time and energy—and also prevent a nasty, stinky mess!

Extend the shelf life of dairy products

As a prepper, it’s important that you maximize the shelf life of all of your supplies—especially hard-to-store dairy products. To preserve cheese, soak a napkin or cloth in saltwater and tightly wrap it around your cheese. This will prolong its shelf life and prevent mold.

You can also add a pinch of salt to a carton of milk. Doing so will allow the milk to stay fresh a week or sometimes more past its expiration date.

Cleaning

Season cast iron

Cast iron pans are fabulous cooking tools for homesteaders because they add an immense amount of flavor to your food and provide trace quantities of iron. However, since they have the ability to rust when exposed to water, they are difficult to wash.

Salt can save the day! If you have a grungy cast iron pan with stubborn remnants of food, simply pour one cup of coarse kosher salt into the warm pan. Scour using a rag (be careful not to burn yourself). Then dump the salt and briefly rinse with hot water. Dry or heat the pan immediately to evaporate the moisture.

Remove odors from wood cutting boards

Been cutting up some stinky salmon on your beautiful wood cutting board? Odors tend to linger for longer periods of time in wood because it can be tougher to sanitize. However, salt can help. Pour an ample amount of salt on your cutting board, then rub with a damp cloth before washing in warm water or with bleach. No more stink!

Eradicate stains and freshen up

Salt is great at removing stains because it is a natural exfoliant. As a result, it can be used to clean hard water stains, dishes, coffee rings, the oven, and even stains from red wine or blood. A salt-water paste applied to a surface is effective at getting out the toughest stains.

You can also clean your cleaning supplies with salt. Sponges tend to get gross with multiples uses. Rather than throwing it out and buying more (not a good option for most preppers), soak it in saltwater overnight. When you wring it out the next morning, you’ll think it was a brand new sponge.

 

Get rid of rust

If your outdoor furniture or fixtures have seen better days, salt can help. Make a paste with six tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Ironically, although salt often causes rusting (which you’ll know all about if you live in a northern climate and own a vehicle), this combination can help remove rust stains from most surfaces. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry so that the mixture doesn’t set in and amplify the problem.

Deodorize your clothes

If you live an active lifestyle, as most preppers and homesteaders do, you’ll find that your clothes begin to tell a smelly tale after a period of time. To freshen up your shoes, spray the inside with a saltwater solution. This will help eliminate and prevent future odors.

You can also add a few tablespoons of salt to your laundry detergent. Salt is eco-friendlier than most store-bought additives such as OxiClean and will help keep your clothes fresh and bright while removing any lingering odors.

Wash lettuce

You want your salad to have a crunch—but that crunch shouldn’t be from all the leftover dirt. Lettuce and other leafy greens, such as kale or collards, can be difficult to wash because the irregular shape of their leaves allow dirt to become trapped. If you soak your salad mixture in a water bath with a bit of salt, the salt will help to force away the rest of the dirt.

Safety and First Aid

Stop a grease fire

Grease fires are hard to put out but are frighteningly common. In fact, cooking fires are the most common cause of house fires in the United States. Don’t rely on a fire extinguisher for small fires—instead, turn to salt.

Salt helps to smother fire as it deprives the flames of oxygen. It won’t make a mess of your grill, barbeque, bonfire, or stovetop, either. It also won’t cause excessive smoke.

Treat Wounds

The main chemical that exists in salt, sodium chloride, acts as a cell dehydrator in most situations. This means that simple cuts and injuries can be treated by applying a saline solution. Because salt forces the liquid in cells to move out of the body, it helps eliminate unwanted bacteria from entering your bloodstream. In essence, this helps to prevent infection and speed up the healing process. Next time you find yourself with a small cut, apply a small amount of saltwater (yes, it will hurt!) until the wound is healed.

Disclaimer: The author is not a doctor. Neither the author nor old.dailypreppernews.com shall be held responsible for the usage of the information in this article.

Calm inflammation from insect bites and stings

Let’s face it. Insect bites are probably the number one most unpleasant thing about summer months. They itch, make you feel uncomfortable and frankly, make you hate going outside in the first place. Fortunately, salt can help to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by bites or stings from honey bees, wasps, mosquitoes, and other flying critters.

Soak a cloth in saltwater and use it as a compress. This will help to cool your skin and relive the itch. This remedy can also be used for rashes caused by poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

Melt hazardous icy spots

One of the most common—and most old-fashioned—uses for salt is as a de-icer. Salt naturally lowers the freezing point of water and prevents ice from forming on windshields, driveways, and other surfaces. Simply scatter salt wherever you need a surface to be slip-free. Ideally, this should be done before any precipitation, as salting works better as a preventative measure than as a treatment.

You can also de-ice your windshield using salt. To do this, simply soak a sponge in saltwater and rub all of your windows down. Let them dry. When your windows get wet during the storm, this will prevent them from freezing.

Medicine

Nasal rinse

If you’re feeling congested or simply want to help prevent a cold, try using a salt nasal rinse. This helps restore moisture and calm down testy mucous membranes inside your sinuses. This is a great home remedy for individuals who suffer from frequent colds or sinus infections.

To make a saline nasal rinse, fill a squeeze bottle with a mixture of salt and water. Tip the bottle into your nose and allow the mixture to drain out of your mouth or through the other side of your nose. This strategy is much cheaper (in essence, free!) and more natural than any medication sold in pharmacies.

Sore throat

Salt doesn’t necessarily prevent or treat the underlying infections or allergies that cause a sore throat, but it does help to draw out mucus. It can help loosen up congestion and limit those nasty sick-time secretions.

Mix a ¼ teaspoon of salt with a cup of water, and then gargle. This will help relieve some of the scratchiness in your throat; as well as pressure and pain.

Gum infections

Salt can also help prevent mucus and inflammation in the mouth that cause oral problems. Gum infections can be treated with a toothpaste made of salt, baking soda, and water. You can also gargle with saltwater to help relieve canker sores and to freshen up your breath after a garlicky meal.

Skincare

As you already know, salt is a great exfoliant. Sea salt scrubs are commonly sold in stores to help remove dead skin cells and refresh tired skin. Salt helps remove odors, rough patches, and calluses from the skin. To use, simply mix with water and a few drops of essential oils to create a relaxing, fresh-smelling mix. Salt treatments can help to dry out acne and improve your overall complexion and skin health.

Aches

If your muscles are screaming in agony from all the work you’ve been doing around the homestead, salt can help you take a load off. Fill a bathtub with Epsom salts and hot water, and soak for several minutes a few times a week.

If you don’t have time to lounge in the tub, you can also make a paste of salt and any kind of gel (such as aloe) and apply it directly to your skin for instant relief.

Digestion

Feeling a bit backed up? Before you reach for store-bought cleansers, try sea salt instead. A mixture of salt dissolved in water helps your system effectively push waste through the body. It will release toxins and improve your overall digestion. Pepto who?

Home Improvement/DIY

Make soap

Next time you make homemade soap, consider adding salt. Not only does salt help to slough off dead skin cells and rejuvenate your complexion, but it also helps add hardness to a bar of soap. If you find that your homemade soap is finding its way to a goopy mess on the floor than it is to your skin, adding salt could be the way to go.

Fight weeds

If your garden is succumbing to weeds this season, that’s not good news for your wintertime food stores. Attack those cumbersome weeds before they can take control by pouring boiling saltwater on them. The hot water will kill the weeds and the salt will prevent their regrowth.

This isn’t a permanent fix and you must take care not to hit your precious plants, but it is a safe and natural alternative to chemical herbicides. This tip also works well in hard-to-weed areas such as the spaces between patio bricks or blocks. Salt can be dispersed among the bricks to help prevent weeds from popping up and ruining your landscaping.

Prevent ants and other pests

Many species of bugs hate salt. It kills slugs as it dehydrates them and prevents them from completing the necessary respiratory processes. Ants, on the other hand, are deterred by salt as they dislike walking on the fine grains.

Sprinkle a line of salt to prevent slugs or ants from entering a specific area, or spray a saltwater mix in general vicinity. Salt is not toxic to humans or animals, so it’s a safe alternative to Raid and other insecticides on the market.

Scale fish

There’s nothing worse after a productive day on the boat than coming home to a pile full of fish that need to be cleaned. Though this is a necessary byproduct of an enjoyable and sustainable hobby, salt provides a way to speed up the process.

If you soak fish in saltwater before you attempt to descale them, you’ll find that the task is much easier. You won’t have to work as hard to peel the scales. Instead, they will fall right off as soon as you touch them.

Pluck chickens

Even if you are lucky enough to own a mechanized chicken plucker machine; pinfeathers remain an unfortunate component of the butchering process. Pinfeathers are the tiny black feather shafts that form on a chicken’s body as the result of new feather growth. They often remain even after the chicken has been plucked and, though not harmful to ingest, give the meat an unsavory appearance.

To remove them quickly, rub the chicken down with salt. The salt dries out the skin and makes it easier to pull out the stubborn pieces.

This list is a mere sample of the countless ways to use salt as a cleaner, preservative, and tool around the house. Start stockpiling salt now! Every time you head to the grocery store, make sure you grab an extra carton. It will never spoil and will be a valued commodity to you as a prepper or homesteader.

When it comes to sprucing up a bland dinner or adding flavor to homemade pickles, there are few ingredients that can compare with good ol’ fashioned salt. Salt allows food

What Are Your Bug Out Triggers?

What conditions would have to exist for you to decide that you had to abandon your home; that remaining there had become more dangerous than bugging out into a world that has gone sideways (at least in the corner of it that you can observe)? Some natural events are pretty easy to visualize, such as hurricanes, tsunamis and out of control wildfires. But these are actually localized evacuations and not ‘bug-outs.’ In these events, you can reasonably expect that first responder will flow into your area quickly. They will be followed by state and federal agencies with varying degrees of timeliness and effectiveness. Disaster relief funding will be appropriated, insurance companies will write you a check to repair or rebuild and, eventually, you will be able to move back into your property.   In other words, the massive infrastructures of local, state and federal governments will have continued to function throughout the disaster. All’s well that ends well, right?

But, what if there weren’t going to be any first responders? What if state and federal governments were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, or if they effectively ceased to exist at the very moment of the event? In some SHTF scenarios, those conditions might prevail and you simply haven’t learned of it yet. So, here you are in your dark home, with no water. You’ve burned the last chair from your dining room set to keep warm and you haven’t seen any neighbors for more than two weeks. Maybe it’s time to go, but you aren’t really sure.

If you find it difficult to articulate the conditions under which you would be willing to bug out, you aren’t alone. That difficulty is compounded by generally vague SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenarios and a lack of meaningful decision trigger points. What are the differences between an inconvenient, undesirable situation and one that has become intolerable and possibly life-threatening? Can you make such a decision with the full knowledge that no “mulligan” will be issued if you get it wrong, that once you step outside the door of your home, it may be for the last time?

For purposes of this discussion, I make the following important distinctions between evacuation and bugging out:

  • An evacuation is accompanied with the reasonable expectation that you will be able to return to your residence in the foreseeable future. It means not only that you are leaving a place under imminent threat, but that you are evacuating to a known place of safety where aid can be provided by a still-functioning government or the charity of others. An evacuation means that rule of law and its consequences continue to apply across the entire spectrum of society and that there has been no suspension of Constitutional rights. Your primary concern may be as simple as finding a motel that hasn’t turned on its “No Vacancy” sign.
  • Bugging out means that you have no reasonable expectation of returning. It means that sheltering in place in a post-SHTF environment has failed as a strategy and has become more dangerous to your survival than bugging out. Rule of law may no longer be respected or enforceable. It also means that no one can guarantee a safe route of passage or a safe destination. Finally, it means that you have no guarantee of receiving aid; that acquiring essential food, water, shelter, and security are entirely dependent upon your ability. In other words, you are on your own.

With two exceptions (#22 and #23), all of the questions that follow are independent of any specific type of SHTF event. Instead, they deal with conditions and information that will help determine whether or when you need to bug out. The list is by no means complete; you are welcome to add questions that pertain more directly to your own environment. Rather than treat them with simple yes or no answers, consider the degrees of risk that may develop as time progresses. As you work through the list it will become evident that answers to multiple questions can lead to a more complete understanding of your situation and the world around you. Having many data points is more reliable than basing a decision on a single piece of potentially flawed information.

RunningFromFire

The questions deal with specific aspects of public safety, public or government infrastructure, your own resources, or conditions in your immediate area or region. There are no redundant questions. For reasons that should be obvious, this article assumes that you have already made some level of preparation to bug out.

(1) Can you defend your home?

  • Understanding the defensive limitations of your home and property should be the prime factor in determining whether and when to bug out before it ever becomes necessary to do so. The stark reality is that the vast majority of residences are not designed or constructed for defense. Windows, sliding glass doors and wood or stucco exteriors will not stop a bullet or a determined intruder, and some calibers can penetrate cement block walls. In the typical suburban setting, with small property lots and walled in back yards, the defensive field of view is extremely limited. Without some form of perimeter security, you may face the prospect of repelling armed looters that have already entered your home.
  • Can you maintain a visual awareness of approaching threats around the clock? Can you maintain this level of awareness for days or weeks?
  • Is your concept of defense dependent upon distance? In other words, can you tolerate a potential threat that is 1 mile or only 200 yards away? What if there is an existential threat standing on the other side of your front door?
  • Objectively accessing your ability to stop looters outside your residence is a paramount consideration, regardless of how defensible you think the interior may be. Importantly, ask yourself if you would be able to prevent or defend against simultaneous entries from multiple points in your house. A low probability of success (intrusion prevention) is an obvious red flag. That doesn’t mean it will happen, but if you do not believe that you can prevent entry from multiple points without endangering your family or yourself, then you must conclude that your home is not defensible. If the answer is “no,” the issue now becomes whether you are willing to gamble on the outcome. Simply stated, if your home is not defensible and other factors (below) indicate an increased risk over time, you must at least consider bugging out for your own safety.

    Does your disaster preparation plan include security measures?

  • Another aspect of home defensibility pertains to fire. Are trees or native brush located near the structures on your property? Do you have a defensive (fuel-free) space that would prevent an uncontrolled fire from destroying your home? Could you suppress a fire without the aid of the fire department? Before you answer “yes” to this question, could you do it if there was no water?

(2) How long have you been bunkered in your residence?

  • The longer you remain in place the less likely you are to be factually aware of the situation unfolding around you. This is particularly true if you cannot obtain information from news networks, local radio stations, etc. Events and threats can develop rapidly. The absence of timely eye-witness or other authoritative information can mean that you are in the path of increasing danger and don’t know it.
  • The assurance of continued safety may require that you reconnoiter your area on a regular basis to assess current conditions. Speak with as many people as you can (safely), but you must also evaluate the other questions on this list.
  • If possible, set up a regular time each day to meet with neighbors to share information.
Makeshift barricades are a low-tech way of blocking or slowing access.
Makeshift barricades are a low-tech way of blocking or slowing access.

(3) Has your neighborhood been forced to erect barricades?

  • The erection of barricades across streets leading into your neighborhood may be a preemptory defensive measure to a perceived threat, or it could be in response to an active threat. You will need to determine which situation pertains.
  • If conditions are such that barricades are deemed necessary by local residents, you must at least consider that the risk to personal safety has increased to a level that warrants consideration of bugging out. In other words, if barricades are necessary, but become ineffective, your zone of safety will be greatly diminished,

(4) Are you counting on neighbors for your own security?

  • Is your strategy for sheltering in place dependent upon the cooperation of neighbors to maintain a degree of safety?
  • Do you consider that your neighbors are able (equipped, competent and physically capable) to contribute to your security?
  • Have you exchanged commitments (a mutual defense pact of sorts) regarding area security? Is it based upon a perceived threat level or the passage of time? In other words, does the pact hold as long as the threat is minimal? Have neighbors (or you) committed to remain in place for a limited time, such as one more week, or are you/they hanging in on a day-to-day or hour by hour basis?
  • Are you confident that you can patrol your neighborhood without being shot by a local resident? Think about that for a moment. How do you intend to reconnoiter your neighborhood if you have no means of communicating with each other?

(5) Have your neighbors abandoned their homes? Has your security situation improved or worsened since they left?

  • After the event that caused you to shelter in place, have you seen neighbors generally packing up to leave?
  • Have neighbors (that you were counting on for mutual defense) started leaving their homes?
  • Has your ability to protect your residence been degraded by the departure of others?
  • A sharp decline of residents in any neighborhood effectively isolates those who stay. Remaining residents are surrounded by unoccupied structures and will be unable to prevent looting and arson. In such a case it may be beneficial for remaining residents to relocate into adjacent houses where they can maintain close communication and concentrate their defenses.

(6) Are you willing and prepared to salvage supplies from residences in your area?

  • If you are determined to shelter in place for an extended period of time you will inevitably need something that you do not presently have or that you have run out of. The list of potential items is virtually endless, yet you may be surrounded by homes that were hastily abandoned – possessions whose owner/occupants will never reclaim. You are faced with a choice: You can inventory and salvage useful items, or you can sit back and wait for looters and scavengers to take them. Either way, it is merely a matter of time before your neighborhood will be cleaned out of anything that is useful, that may extend your life or improve your safety.
  • I am not advocating theft or looting. I’m talking about a world that has gone sideways; a world where rule of law has largely collapsed; where the government has ceased to function; where even the declaration of martial law has no effect on the behavior of people.
  • If you are unwilling to salvage abandoned material, you may be hastening the day when bugging out is the only course of action remaining to you. Importantly, you will still be without the items that you needed.
AbandonedCity
When is the last time you saw or spoke with anyone outside your own dwelling?

(7) When is the last time you saw or spoke with anyone outside your own dwelling?

  • Let’s look at an extreme hypothetical situation where you have been bunkered for two months in a typical suburban environment. There was an initial chaotic period where neighbors were fleeing their homes and large numbers of refugees were streaming through your area. Those numbers declined after a week but were replaced by looters and scavengers during the next four weeks. None of your neighbors have returned and no refugees have moved into vacant structures. You have now been in place for two months and you haven’t seen a single soul in the past three weeks.
  • Does this mean that you’ve weathered the worst of the post-SHTF event, that you are safe? Hardly. This scenario brings us squarely to the issues of situational awareness and your sense of timing. Your decision to shelter in place means that you were neither ahead of nor in the middle of the golden hoard. They left you behind a long time ago.
  • Except for what you have been able to salvage or scavenge for yourself, every business and dwelling place may have been picked clean for miles in every direction. There is still no potable water, gasoline, propane, packaged food, seeds, protein on the hoof or medicines that you can find.
  • At some point you have to confront the concept of what it would mean to be totally alone; without the possibility of immediate or future aid. Now what? Do you have an objective reason to think that your original bug out destination is still a viable option?

(8) Have you seen or been forced to repel looters?

  • Many major metropolitan areas provide information about the location of criminal activity via web sites. It is fairly easy to identify high crime zones, as well as the general nature of the activity (burglary, assault, homicide, etc.) by looking at an interactive map.
  • What distance is your home from these chronic hot spots? Are there convenient routes that would enable riots and looting to spread toward your residence if law enforcement was unable to control or contain it? How much time would it take for looters to reach your neighborhood?
  • In the absence of public communication, you may have no knowledge of the proximity of looters to your residence. Realistically, whatever that time frame is, you have far less time to decide whether to bunker down or bug out.
  • Once looters enter your neighborhood your margin of safety could shrink to near zero.
When is the last time you had access to water?
When is the last time you had access to water?

(9) How long has it been since the electrical grid went down?

  • Local weather events and even accidents can cause power outages lasting from a few minutes to a few days, but people still go to work and shop in areas where power is available. Utility crews show up with chain saws, electrical cable, poles, and transformers. Long duration outages (greater than three days) could indicate a problem that is far more widespread than your immediate locality.
  • From almost any high point you should be able to spot the sky glow from city lights reflecting off cloud cover at night. I can see the night glow from cities 70 miles south and 50 miles north of my location. If you are unable to see city lights in any direction, the event that caused your outage may be at least regional in scale.
  • The key to this issue is not the outage itself, but whether the resources (manpower and replacement gear) exist to recover from it in a time-frame that enables you to remain in your residence. Without electricity, the infrastructures that provide gasoline, natural gas, public communications, and water will be inoperable. At some point, you will begin to use and deplete irreplaceable emergency supplies that you have stored in your home.

(10) How long have you been without a source of water?

  • The delivery of urban water depends upon electric pumps, purification plants, and large capacity storage tanks to maintain pressure. Without electricity, water will cease to flow.
  • Here is a straightforward equation: SC=R. If you started this event with a five-day supply of water (S) and it has been five days since water stopped flowing from your tap, then you have consumed (C) all that you had stored at the end of the 5th You now have zero days of water remaining (R). Conservation of your dwindling supply is irrelevant if there are no prospects that water will begin to flow from the tap. Without the ability to replenish potable water stocks, continued occupation of your residence will become untenable. If you have no source of water, neither will anyone else in your immediate area.

(11) Are you running low on your bug out supplies of food and water?

  • When the taps went dry, how much potable water did you have on hand (measured in days of supply) for the number of people in your residence, including water needed for food preparation and toilets?
  • Including cooked or uncooked foods that were refrigerated or frozen before the power grid went down, how many meals do you have available for the number of people in your residence?
  • Assuming that you have a bug out plan, how much of that food and water will be needed to reach your destination once you abandon your residence? Once you begin depleting your bug out resources, you will effectively be reducing your range of travel; possibly without the ability to replenish supplies along the way.

(12) Are grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and banks in your area open for business?

  • Have you ever experienced panic buying situations where shoppers strip food aisles in the face of an oncoming winter storm? There is no reason to think that a SHTF situation would not produce the same or worse behaviors, but of a greater magnitude.
  • If the situation is accompanied by large-scale power outages of long duration, modern commerce will effectively cease.   To the extent that any purchases are possible, they will be strictly cash and carry; but the conventional sources of cash (banks) will be closed. It will not matter how much you have in your checking or savings account; you will not be able to access it or convert it to a usable form.
  • For anyone that is sheltering in place under such conditions, the cash and supplies that you have on hand are all that you are likely to have for the foreseeable future. Given those circumstances, you must determine when bugging out will become necessary. The key question is whether you intend to be in front of or behind the Golden Horde.

EmptyHighway

(13) Has home delivery ceased?

  • At minimum, there are three organizations that make regular deliveries to your home or neighborhood and they are ubiquitous throughout the country: USPS mail carriers, FedEx and UPS vans. And, unless you haul your own trash, the local sanitation department will make weekly or semi-weekly stops to empty the dumpsters that you place on the curb.
  • If all of these services have ceased it could be that your area is no longer considered safe for employees to enter. This could be a localized or temporary issue, in which case there will be other indicators to help with your assessment of risk.
  • The absence of mail and package delivery may also be caused by other factors, such as the collapse of regional or national logistics systems that rely on air and ground transportation, massive sorting centers and, of course, data processing and communications.
  • A build-up of trash at your residence (while other houses have none) will indicate that it is still occupied, that you are sheltering in place, and that you have some level of resources, such as food and water. Can you conceal or bury trash while sheltering place?

(14) Have you seen any long-haul freight carriers operating on highways?

  • Freight transporters cannot function without fuel, communications, and logistics. If tractor-trailer rigs aren’t moving in and out of depots, are piling up at truck stops or are sitting on the side of the road, there has been a major breakdown in the transport/supply system.
  • Many businesses rely on “just in time” delivery for merchandise, including food, by using real-time inventory control systems and automatic low order restocking points. If the order cannot be fulfilled, if the distribution center cannot load freight onto a truck, or if the truck cannot roll, the supply line will back up – but not at your merchant’s back door. The material will be stuck in distribution centers, at the producer’s plant, or may be rotting in a farm field. Consequently, supply chains will quickly fail.
  • Looting and other forms of civil disorder are likely to occur within hours and could quickly become widespread. Initial looting targets are almost always retail stores. The next likely targets would be distribution centers and other types of supply warehouses. Common sense suggests that freight haulers will not enter areas where civil disturbances are uncontrolled.

In Part 2, we will examine the remaining questions that you should evaluate when before making a decision to bug out.

What Are Your Bug Out Triggers? What conditions would have to exist for you to decide that you had to abandon your home; that remaining there had become more dangerous than

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages and pages of bookmarked websites that they can pull up at a moment’s notice. For every idea they have a source. For every plan, they have written information, sourced in binders with color coded tabs. This could be the same for you and your food supplies that are all written neatly in a binder or on a downloadable excel spreadsheet or parked on a DVD you bought online from a survival expert.

My question is what if the world as you know it ends tomorrow? What if the proverbial poop hits the fan and all your lists are just that; worthless words on pieces of paper. What if your highly organized blueprint for survival is nothing more than electrical impulses burned to a hard-drive that will never run again? What if in your efforts to be thorough, you didn’t actually do anything and now you family is looking to you for guidance? Since you have been talking about Prepping for 3 years, you have something prepared for this day, right?

I know that this isn’t the majority of people who read Final Prepper, but there are those out there that become overwhelmed by information and keep thinking over the details in their mind of what they want or need to do until it’s too late. We call this analysis paralysis and in the world of survival, this can get you killed. If you haven’t begun storing food for your family because you haven’t finished watching a DVD or your excel spreadsheet isn’t completely accurate with the quantities and current prices for all 1000 food items you need, you should try something else. What I want to give you is a simple food supply plan that can feed a family of 4 for a month, can be purchased in about one trip out and will cost you a few hundred dollars. Use this plan if you haven’t started anything yet or simply need a jump start on your emergency food supply list for your home. Trust me, your family will appreciate this if something terrible happens and you will be able to look them in the eye again.

What Foods to Buy?

Rice is a cheap and easy emergency food supply

Rice – Rice is one of my favorite storable foods because it is relatively easy to buy even in big quantities and I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who wouldn’t eat rice. Rice stores easily as long as you keep it cool and dry just in the bag. For longer storage you can seal your rice in Mylar bags, throw them in buckets and you are looking at years of shelf life. For your emergency needs though I would go to Sam’s or Costco and by a 50 lb. bag of rice or two. A 50 pound bag contains 504 servings of rice and will lay flat on your shelf for years. We use our rice though so it is always in rotation. Cost – Approximately $20

Beans – Beans, beans the magical fruit. Beans are another food that has a long storage life and is relatively cheap. Beans are the first part of Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids for a good reason. Beans don’t need too much care and like rice store easily for years. You can use them for a good source of fiber, but you should make plans to deal with excess gas if everyone is going to start eating beans once a day… A 10 lb. bag of beans costs around $7 and makes 126 servings. Buy several bags for your pantry and don’t forget the chili and soup mix.

Canned Meat – The best way to cheaply store meat is in cans and for a little variety and additional flavor for your meals, we stock up on canned tuna and chicken. Depending on the size you will need about 35 cans to cover your family for 30 days but these stack nicely and you can always work them into your weekly meals. Canned chicken will easily store for longer than a year so rotation shouldn’t be a problem.

Canned Veggies – 40 cans of your family’s favorite vegetables will give you the nutrition they need and something they will eat. Make sure you aren’t buying mushrooms or olives (unless your family loves them) if you don’t want to see turned up noses when the power has been out for a week and you are trying to get creative with dinner. 40 cans of vegetables will cost roughly $40 and like the meat will store for years.

Canned Fruit – Some people purchase other items for dessert, but canned fruit has a long shelf life and I have to recommend this for your sweet tooth over most other things outside of fresh fruit. I purchased 5 big #10 cans of pears, peaches, and mixed fruit. Each has about 25 servings and will be a nice addition to the rice, bean and chicken stew… 5 cans will cost around $25.

Oatmeal – Breakfast is served, unless that is you are raising chickens and already have fresh eggs everyday which I also highly recommend if you have the ability to do so. Oatmeal is great for breakfast cereal, its cheap and will store a pretty long time. Oatmeal needs a little more care than your rice or beans, but if you have this stored in Mylar you would have breakfast for years. The old cardboard tubes of Oatmeal has 30 servings, costs about $2 each. Buy 4 and you only need water to make this edible. Unless you have the next item.

Honey – Honey as you probably know has been called the perfect survival food. This is because it has an infinite shelf life. That isn’t something we usually have to worry about though because it gets used as a sweetener to replace sugar in tea, over that oatmeal above and you can even use honey to treat wounds. The normal 5 lb. jar of honey is about $15 right now and has 108 servings. Buy two of these.

Salt/Seasoning – Salt is another good storage item because if you keep it dry it will also last forever. Salt is needed by your body and in my opinion; it makes almost everything taste better. You can buy a case of salt in 4 lb. boxes for about $12. Buy a case and you will have enough for a year of seasoning. You can also purchase pepper and other spices you normally use to make that soup or chili above taste better.

Vitamins – The experts say vitamins don’t help you but I tend to believe that some nutrients even in vitamin form are better than nothing. If you aren’t able to maintain perfect nutrition, a simple multivitamin could keep you healthier than not. If you have kids get them some chewable gummy vitamins to keep their health up too. A bottle for each of you would cost about $8.

Water – I know this list was about emergency food supplies, but I will throw water in here too because if you are going to the trouble of taking care of food, you should knock out water at the same time. Each person needs about 1 gallon per day (assuming you aren’t working in the heat all day) for normal hydration and hygiene. A family of 4 would need 120 gallons of water to live for 30 days so you can either buy a whole bunch of bottled water or get 5 gallon plastic water storage containers. If you have the space, a fifty gallon water barrel would be easier, but you won’t be able to move that once it is in place.

What Next?

If you purchase all of the food supplies above it will set you back around $500 buy will cover your family as far as food and water for 30 days. Is this enough to weather any disaster? No, but it is that start you were looking for and you can really knock out all of these items in one day. One day of shopping and storing water would give you the peace of mind you need to ensure your family is taken care of. Can you go out and buy a 30 day supply of freeze-dried food just as easily? Maybe but the key is to do something now. Act before you need this food and take care of your family.

Next steps would be to work on medical supplies, and security. Once you have those, there is also other lists of prepper supplies you should consider. If you want to read a more comprehensive plan, you can also check out our Prepping 101 – Step by Step plan for How to get started Prepping.

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages

Everybody loves it, and everybody hates it – that’s what I like to call the Coca-Cola paradox. Even though the doctors scream at the top of their lungs that Coke’s as poisonous as arsenic, we cannot conceive a cozy family meal or a game night without at least one uncorked bottle of coke.

As far as I’m concerned, I can’t say I have any love for fizzy drinks, no matter their backgrounds. Of course, I would prefer a glass of freshly-squeezed lemon juice any time, but that doesn’t mean that I want to see the Coke factory burnt to the ground.

There’s no denial in the fact that people who drink too much Coca-Cola expose themselves to all manner of nasty diseases such as leukemia, thyroid cancer, morbid obesity, tooth decay, COPD, asthma, heart disease, and the list goes on and on. Still, it doesn’t mean that this type of beverage doesn’t have its uses. No, you’re not going to die if you drink a bottle of Coke every now and then, but don’t make it into a habit.

Anyway, since my dad’s a big fan of Coke since the early ‘50s, I spend a lot of time doing research on this drink’s side-effects in an attempt to convince him to tone it down a notch. Can’t say that I had too much success, but I did uncover something really interesting. Coke can be used in SHTF situations. Yup, you read that right. How? Stick around to find out.

Boost the efficiency of your compost

If your compost’s not good enough for the plants with munchies, add a bottle of Coca-Cola. It will increase the acidity of the compost and, at the same time, it will give those tiny organisms all the sugar they’ll need.

Get rid of dirt and stains from the toilet

If you don’t have anything else on hand to clean the toilet bowl, try using Coca-Cola. Pour half a liter in the toilet, wait 15 minutes, then flush the toilet a couple of times. There you have it! No more stain or smudges and, best of all, you didn’t even have to scrub it.

Remove gum stuck to your hair.

You really don’t have to cut away those precious locks if get gum stuck in them. Instead, soak them in a bowl with Coca-Cola for a couple of minutes. You can now remove the gum by hand.

Set a trap for pesky bugs

There’s nothing worse than having to dodge stinging insects like wasps or bees when you’re at the picnic. Want to take your revenge on them? Try this trick. Fill a small bowl with Coke and place it as far away as possible from your picnic area. Attracted by the sweet smell, the suckers will go for the Coke and leave you alone.

Get rid of congestion fast

Yes, I know that drinking too much Coke can lead to all kinds of intestinal mishaps, but, apparently, this stuff can be used to relieve congestion. Take a pan and add one can of coke and some water. Bring to a boil, wait a couple of minutes for that stuff to cool down a notch, and serve.

Hack away windshield ice

Tired of having to wait around for the engine’s heat to melt away the ice on a windshield? Pour a bottle of Coke over it and wait to see what happens.

Make a diversionary device

If you need to get out of Dodge fast, it’s possible to create a diversionary device using a big bottle of Coke and a couple of Mentos pills. Unscrew the cap, get a couple of Mentos pills inside, put the cap back on, shake for 10 seconds, and throw.

No more nausea

If you feel like your stomach makes a loopty loop, open a can of Coke and let it go flat. Take on a teaspoon of that stuff every hour or so, and you’ll be up and kicking in no time.

Hack away the powdery corrosion on car battery’s terminals

Tired of seeing that white and blue stuff on your battery’s terminals every time you pop open the hood? Use Coca-Cola – pour a small amount over each terminal and wait. Finally, use a clean cloth to remove the smudges.

Make a grown bolt budge

If a rusty bolt’s preventing you from opening something, pour some Coca-Cola over it to unloosen it. By the way, this beverage works wonders on rusty screws and bolts. Don’t replace the rusty ones. Instead, dunk them in a bowl filled with Coke and let them soak overnight.

No more scorch marks on pots and pans

Did I tell you how much I hate scrubbing them pans after cooking? Well, I’m going to say it a thousand times if it’s necessary. Luckily, I have discovered a secret weapon – Coke. If there are too much burn marks on your pots and pans, pour some Coke inside, and let them soak overnight. Drain, wash, rinse, and you’re done.

No more ouchie from jellyfish stings

Remember the last time you went for a swim and ended up getting stung by those jellyfish? Well, if you feel like your skin’s about to melt, pour some coke over the sting site. Coke’s ingredients will neutralize the poison.

Kill slugs and snails

I really don’t have anything against slugs, snail or lummoxes. However, every time I see them munching on my veggies, I go berserk. If you’re having the same problem, use some coke on them. The acid inside America’s favorite fizzy drink will make them curl and die in agony.

Remove blood from clothes

Well, this might sound a little odd, but Coke’s very useful in removing blood stains from just about any type of clothing or fabric. Just so you know.

Coca-Cola for hiccups

Again with the hiccups? If holding your breath doesn’t solve the issue gargle some ice-cold Coca-Cola for a couple of seconds. Works like a charm.

That’s it for my ways of repurposing Coca-Cola. Think anything’s missing from the list? Head to the comments section and let me know.

Everybody loves it, and everybody hates it – that’s what I like to call the Coca-Cola paradox.