Posts tagged: Emergency

46 Must-Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

46 Must Have Items For Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

As much as I like to think I have a handle on things, sometimes projects slip through the cracks. Case in point: Since the big road trip to Arizona in late September, not once have I gone out to the Subaru and reviewed the contents of my car kit.  At the time of my journey I was certain that I had everything I needed in the event of a calamity along the way.  The journey, after all, was close to 1,500 miles.

Since then, life has happened.  We needed room to cart groceries and, in Shelly’s case, to transport 4 set of golf clubs along with 3 of his buddies.  Something had to give, but what?

Today’s challenge is to take inventory of your emergency vehicle kit and supplies.  To get you started, here is a car kit submitted by long term reader, Elaine K.  I think it is a good one and am going back to check my own supplies to make sure that I am as prepared as she is.

Best Practices: 46 Items to Include in your Vehicle Emergency Kit

  1. Tow chains
  2. Jumper cables
  3. Spare tire
  4. Tire jack
  5. Fix-a-flat (I like this brand)
  6. Fire extinguisher
  7. Gasoline funnel
  8. Candles
  9. Flashlight
  10. Cigarette lighters
  11. Matches
  12. Flares
  13. Duct tape
  14. Disposable gloves
  15. Well-stocked first aid kit (here is one I put together myself)
  16. Well-stocked tool kit
  17. Solar blankets
  18. Wool blankets
  19. Warm socks
  20. Rain coat
  21. Cash (bills and coins)
  22. Winter hat
  23. Heavy gloves
  24. Heavy sleeping bag for winter, lighter sleeping bag for summer
  25. Paper
  26. Pen
  27. Whistle
  28. List of important phone numbers
  29. Can opener
  30. Knife
  31. Map
  32. Garbage bags in various sizes
  33. Paracord or rope
  34. Quart of oil
  35. Sewing kit
  36. Baby wipes
  37. Toilet paper
  38. Hand soap
  39. Comb
  40. Hair brush
  41. Tooth brush
  42. Change of clothes
  43. Various towels in Ziploc bags (women can use to urinate in if caught in traffic)
  44. Water
  45. Survivor Filter Pro
  46. Edible nuts stored in raw honey

I don’t know about you, but I got some good ideas from this list.  And shame on me; for all of my foresight I did not have a fire extinguisher in my car.  Thanks, Elaine, for your valuable contribution to Backdoor Survival and to our preps!


How To Treat A Burn Victim In A Survival Scenario

How To Treat A Burn Victim In A Survival Scenario

The danger of getting burned is ever-present in our day to day lives. Whether we’re talking about a minor burn caused by carelessness or a severe degree burn caused by an unfortunate event, it’s important to know how to react in such a situation. Most of us have already dealt with burning injuries at least once in their lifetime, so the sensation and the gravity of the matter is known to most people. We’re not lacking in the health department in this day and age; there’s plenty of doctors and clinics out there that are able and equipped to deal with burn victims. Even if they’re not immediately available, medicine is widely available and many people already have their stock set aside for darker days. But what happens in TEOTWAWKI situation, when medical care and supplies won’t simply be available anymore? In this case, it’s important to know how to treat a burn victim and to improvise as best as we can in order to save one’s life.

The first thing we’ll need to asses in a burning accident is how much of the overall body surface has been affected by the burn. People that have less than 20% of their body’s surface affected by 2nd and 3rd  burns are not facing direct life threats (although the danger of infection and complications is still present); 1st degree burns do not pose a life threat, as the skin is not significantly affected. But those who have suffered. This is easily calculated by using the rule of nines, according to whom the surfaces on the human adult body are as follows: head = 9%, chest (front) = 9%, abdomen (front) = 9%, upper/mid/lower back & buttocks = 18%, arms (each) = 9%, palm (each) = 1%, groin = 1%, legs (each) = 18% (front = 9% + back = 9%).  For children, the numbers are as follows: head = 18%, chest (front) = 9%, abdomen (front and back) = 9%, upper/mid/lower back & buttocks = 18%, arms (each) = 9%, palm (each) = 1%, groin = 1%, legs (each) = 14% (front = 7% + back = 7%).

After the affected surface area has been determined, it’s imperative to understand what degree of burn you’re dealing with. As an international convention, burns are split into three distinctive categories:

1st degree burns or mild burns are what happens in the best case scenario. The injury is superficial and the skin is not completely affected. A good example of a 1st degree burn is a nasty case of sunburn. It requires a lesser form of treatment and it’s not life-threatening

2nd degree burns are much more serious and pose a greater threat to general health. They are far more painful as the affliction penetrates far deeper into the skin. If this is the case, it’s recommended you seek medical help, if available.

3rd degree burns are the most severe types imaginable. Because the injury goes so deep into the skin, the pain receptors can be completely destroyed, so they victim might not feel pain at all. If the affected area gets swollen, turns leathery or black, you’re dealing with a 3rd degree burn; as a mentioned before, pain is no longer an indicator. This is an emergency, and you should seek professional help if it’s available, if not, turn to your medical kit.

Before you start applying a treatment, you’ll need to determine the nature of the burn. Various types of burns require different treatments. These are some of the most common causes when it comes to burn injuries and how you should deal with them:

If the victim has been subjected to a flame source, the first step is to take the person away from the fire source and to extinguish his clothes if they’re on fire. Water is the best choice, as this will not only put out the fire, but it will also wash away any remaining pieces of charred clothing. Cold water will cool the burned areas and sooth the pain. Next, remove the clothes, gently tap with a dry and clean piece of cloth and apply any treatment available.

Treating electrical burn victims requires a different approach. In this case, the insides are just as damaged (if not more) than the outside. Electrical current takes a toll mostly on the heart, so before treating burns, check the patient’s vital signs first. You might need to perform CPR before anything else. Once the victim is stabilized, you can proceed to treating the burns.

Chemical burns are also a hazard to take into consideration. Treating skin that’s been exposed to corrosive substances requires a lot of patience. The burned area should be washed with water for about 30 minutes before proceeding to apply any type of ointment. If the area is not cleaned perfectly, the remaining substances will continue to destroy skin cells. After the area has been cleaned, you should double check that the ointment you’re about to apply won’t react with the chemical residue found in the burn.

If medical help is not available and if your personal survival medical kit is depleted, worry not. Luckily you can still improvise burn treatments out of everyday household items. Here are some of the things found around the house that can do wonders in case you’re dealing with burns:

  1. Honey is a fantastic first aid solution when it comes to treating burns. It can also work as a permanent solution, provided you’re in a survival scenario and you happen to have some honey lying around. You should cover the affected surface in honey completely. Next cover the area in a plastic warp. Honey will prevent bacteria from reaching the wound and keep the risk of infection to a minimum. Check the wound daily and apply as much honey as you can spare.
  2. Vinegar can also be used for cleaning the burned area, as it can be used as an antiseptic. Because it’s an acid, the vinegar will sting and add to the burning sensation, but in the process it will clean and sanitize the burned area, killing of any unwanted pathogens that might lead to severe infection. Diluted vinegar is the way to go.
  3. Baking soda works perfectly for treating a burned area. Just add water, turn it into a paste and apply it gently over the burned area. The baking soda will help reduce the swelling and the pain sensation. You can add it to any type of burns EXCEPT chemical burns. It may give an unwanted reaction with the chemical that caused the burn, so avoid using it in this case.

Aiding a burn victim in no easy task, and you should take it seriously. Educate yourself in the field before taking on such a task, as the wrong move might have unwanted consequences. There are many popular treatments that do not give great result, quite the opposite. Burns should be cleaned with cold water, but never ice water. You might have been told at some point to press something cold next to a burn, but you strongly advise you not to. The surface you might be pressing into the burned area might be carrying pathogens that will cause infection. Also egg whites and oil do not work either, so don’t bother. If your hands and fingers have been burned, remove rings and jewelry asap, because burned areas tend to get swollen. Nasty burns will most likely result in enormous blisters; do not pop them! They’re helping the healing process. Popping them may result in infection, pain and permanent trauma.

NOte – this is an informational article and not to be seen as medical advice nor substitute for consultation with a medical professional, nor a recommendation to self-diagnose or self-treat.

How To Prepare And Survive In Case Of A Hurricane

How To Prepare And Survive In Case Of A Hurricane

The U.S. has had its fair share of hurricanes in these past decades. Hurricanes Sandy, Rita and Katrina have hit pretty hard. They took so many lives and the process and produced massive infrastructural damage. No matter how far we’re willing to go as far as preparations go, we will never be completely safe from nature’s wrath. But every precaution can be a small battle won and +1 when it comes to our chances to survive in case of a hurricane.

In order to beat the storm and come out on top, we must understand what a hurricane actually is. Hurricanes are immense storms that cover great areas. Because the winds blow in a swirling motion, powerful air currents are created that can be strong enough to pull out trees out of the ground, lift cars and even lay whole cities to the ground. Wind speed is a major factor in considering how devastating the hurricane is going to be; according to wind speed, hurricanes fall into the following categories:

  • Category 1: winds reach speeds of 74 mph – 95 mph
  • Category 2: winds reach speeds of 96 mph – 110 mph
  • Category 3: winds reach speeds of 111 mph – 129 mph
  • Category 4: winds reach speeds of 130 mph – 156 mph
  • Category 5: winds reach speeds of speeds of over 157 mph

Hurricanes will most likely form over warm ocean surface, and they sometimes have the tendency of going towards land. When this happens, it also sends a wave formation (storm surge) towards land alongside heavy precipitation. These two combined can cause major flooding to urban or rural areas. Even though hurricanes cover large areas at a time, the intensity of the storm is not constant throughout the entire area, but it’s rather varied from zone to zone. Based on intensity, hurricanes are comprised of the following parts:

  • Zone 1: the eye of the hurricane is the portion in the middle of the stormy area (central zone); it’s the zone that’s least affected, where wind and precipitations are at their lowest
  • Zone 2: the eye wall is a circle of thunderstorms that swirl around the central zone (the eye); the wall is where storm activity is at its highest, with heavy precipitations and strong winds
  • Zone 3: rain bands stretch from the eye wall towards the outside; they’re a weaker reflection of the eye wall, comprised of storm clouds, precipitations and possibly tornadoes

Preparing for an incoming hurricane

As I’ve said before, there is nothing you can do that is 100% hurricane proof, but every measure of precaution you take might just be enough to save you or your property. First and foremost, my main advice is to consider of building your very own underground bunker or disaster-proof room somewhere in the vicinity of you home and have it filled with as many provisions as you can. Just be sure to consider flooding and the need for oxygen. If such a room would be too much trouble, you can also reinforce a room in the house (possibly the basement), turning it into a safe room and hope for the best. If you want to save as much of your property as possible and limit the damage, cover your windows with special, permanent storm shutters; if you can’t find any in your vicinity, just use some plywood instead. Roof straps will reduce the damage and maintain the structure of the house as whole as possible. Trimming your bushes, trees and shrubs around the house will make them less likely to fly off and damage or even kill somebody; the trimmer they are, the less “grabby” their surface will be when it comes in direct contact with the wind. Rain gutters should be unclogged, in order to fight off flooding.

What to do during the storm

If there’s a massive storm coming your way, you need to stay informed. Follow any sort of alerts and directions the authorities issue on the tv, radio or internet. Secure your house as best as you can by closing all the doors, even those inside the house. The less the air flows through, the safer you’ll be. Any sort of small object left in your shed or front lawn should be moved in the house. If they get picked up the storm, they could become serious projectiles that can do permanent damage or even kill. When the storm hits, turn off all the utilities and keep away from the phone as much as possible. Propane tanks should be switched off, as well as the refrigerator. If things get serious, go to your panic room or your provision room. Keep enough food and water supplies. You cars should be fully fueled, because if the opportunity should arise, you must be able to drive without stopping as far as you possibly can. Also keep cash on you; banking and ATM systems will most probably be shut down. If you’re eager to evacuate, take a moment and think things through; acting on impulse might cost you your life. Wait for things to settle down a bit and listen to the directives given by the local authorities.

Dealing with a hurricane is a stressful and life-threatening situation. Take all the necessary precautions you can in order to limit the damage, but remember that nothing’s more important than saving your life. You safety should come first, before everything else. So if you’re taken by surprise, flee for safety and don’t waste any time in securing your property.

By My Family Survival Plan

Survival First Aid: Treating Bone Fractures

Survival First Aid: Treating Bone Fractures

Broken bones, fractures and joint injuries are a common thing that happen on a daily basis. We’re only one phone call away from receiving immediate medical assistance if in need. It’s not a life threatening situation in the 21st century, unless there are immediate complications. But what if we happen to brake a hand or a leg in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, where medical assistance will cease to be a commodity and when our very survival will depend on our mobility and full functionality? In case this happens, all is not lost, there are procedures to follow that will get as out of harm’s way. But if the treatment is to be successful, you’ll need to do everything by the book. The first thing to do is to make sure that the injured person’s life is not threatened in any way; once he’s out of harm’s way you can start treating the injury. Once his vital signs have been checked and you’ve concluded that he has been completely stabilized, you can start treating the fracture.

First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure that what you’re dealing with is a fracture and not something else. Most commonly fractures bear the following signs and symptoms: the inability to use or bear weight on the affected body part, severe pain, swelling, deformity, discoloration etc. In some cases, the ones that suffer the injury might even hear a loud cracking noise. In extreme cases, the fracture is so bad that the bone will pierce the flesh. Apart from bone fractures there are other injuries that are easier to treat and not as severe, but can be just as debilitating if left untreated, like muscle strained ligaments and joint dislocations. Fractures can be very tricky and should be approached with care. Many complications can arise (damaged blood vessels, torn muscles, damaged nerves), so minimal and gentle manipulation is imperative. If the affected area becomes swollen, pale, numb and the patient succumbs to shock, it’s probably that an important blood vessel has been damaged, causing internal bleeding. In this case, you should put on hold the fracture treatment and stop the hemorrhaging instead.  The best method of dealing with broken bones is splinting. Many people would advise that the splint should be applied without traction, in the position found, but this would be completely impractical, as the bone should be placed in an anatomically correct position in order to prevent severe pain and loss of function (partial or even complete). So it’s ok to manipulate the fracture gently.

Broken legs

You’ll need two forked branches that are strong enough, so you’ll need them to be at least 2 inches in diameter. One should measure the exact distance from the armpit to 12 inches past his broken leg, while the other should measure the distance from the groin to 12 inches past the broken leg. Next you’ll need to pad the splints. The ends that go past the leg (that measure 12 inches past the leg) will get a 2 inch in diameter branch placed in between them. Now the two splints should be tied together accordingly with the splinting guidelines with anything you can get your hands on: cloth, vines, rope etc. With the same material (provided it’s strong enough), tie a wrap around the ankle; the free ends will get tied to the cross member. Finally, add a twisting stick at the free end of the ankle wrap; twisting the wrap will provide traction. Continue twisting until the broken leg is in line with the healthy leg.

Broken feet

Splinting a foot will require a piece of long and tough cardboard or plastic. This piece of material should be bent lengthwise so that you get three identical (more or less) segments. You can add cloth or padding on the inner side to add comfort. Place the splint under the foot and the leg, so that it reaches halfway to the knee, yet it goes enough under the foot to immobilize the ankle; once this is done, add some cloth between the ankle and splint. Fold the cardboard around the leg and secure it with some tape.  Now do the same as you did with the ankle for all the empty spaces between the leg and the splint: add cloth. You can reduce swelling and discomfort with ice, but don’t keep it on for longer than 20 minutes.

Broken arms

Once the arm is adjusted in its natural position, you should apply the splints. You can use any material as long as it’s hard enough (strong cardboard, sticks, wood etc.) and long enough, so they extend passed the wrist and the elbow. Before the splints go on, wrap the arm in a clean and soft cloth, for comfort more than anything. Once the arm is wrapped, you can wrap the splints as well. The splints should be applied equally when it comes to length; for forearm fractures the splints should go beyond the wrist, while in the case of upper arm fractures, they should extend beyond the elbow. The cloth that holds the splints together should be at least 5 inches before and after the fracture. Don’t tie the bonds too firmly; if you can slip two fingers in, it’s perfect. In order to keep the arm secure and in place, tie a piece of cloth around the neck of the patient and slip the fractured hand in it. The hand should be centered on the sling and it should be at a flat and horizontal position. If the elbow is at a 90 degree angle, you’ve done an excellent job.

Broken hands

Securing a broken hand in place will be a bit trickier, as you’ll need a material that is strong and rigid enough to hold the hand in place, yet flexible enough to fold. It should extend from the wrist to the end of the fingers. The hand should be straight and relaxed, with its fingers slightly opened. Place some cloth in the palm of the hand and place the first splint under the wrist, so it extends to the end of the fingers. The splint should be folded up and around the wrist. Tie it together and add tape for extra security. Once you’re done, stuff the open spaces with cloth to increase comfort and firmness.

If you ever find yourself in the posture of treating broken bones or fractures, remember the first thing to do is to keep calm and act with caution. You’ll need to be very aware and have enough knowledge in the matter. You can educate yourself further in anatomy of the limbs and learn a few knots that will secure your splints in place. You can practice these techniques and even take up courses for first aid, so you won’t have to do it for the first time in a SHTF situation.

By My Family Survival Plan

How To Improvise A Fishing Rod

How To Improvise A Fishing Rod

Every serious fisherman knows the importance of owning the right fishing rod. Whether you’re fishing for sport or you’re simply trying to feed yourself, there’s no better way than doing it the old fashioned way. But in a SHTF situation (whether you’re lost in the wilderness or you’ve found yourself trapped in an end-of-days scenario) you might not have you trusted fishing rod on you. But you won’t necessarily need to. You’ll need nothing more than a knife; having a small tackle box with the right assortment of hooks and some spool of monofilament will make things easier. If you’re lucky enough to have these items on you, you’ll need to improvise the fishing pole only, which it’ll be more than enough to feed yourself in desperate times. If not, well, you’ll need to improvise the whole thing. The rest of the materials you can easily find in your surroundings. And here’s how to do it.

The pole

The first thing you’ll need to find is the pole; any 6 – 7 foot-long branch will do, as long as it’s no thicker than a human thumb. Once you’ve found the right one, you’ll have to break it off from the tree. Once this is achieved, you’ll need to break it again to the desired length. If it’s dry enough, you can snap it in half against your knee or against any hard surface; but if it’s not dry and it’s still rather flexible, you can try cutting it with the knife. Using dead branches is a bad idea because their durability is very low and break easily. You can test the tip by banding it to the point of snapping. If it snaps, fine; the more it does snap, the stronger the remaining pole gets. As soon as you got the pole to the desired length, use the knife to remove any remaining branches, leaves or shoots. Make it as smooth as possible in order to improve weight and handling.

The fishing line

If you happen to have some monofilament fishing like on you, your job gets much easier. If you don’t, sewing thread could get the job done as well. But in sewing thread isn’t an option either, you’ll need to get your hands dirty and look for thin green vines in ground cover or in the undergrowth found around various bushes. The greener the vine, the stronger it will be. If you find a vine that’s about 10 feet, look no further. Remove any tendrils by pulling carefully so you don’t damage the line. For safety, the line should be tied midway down the pole and wrapped as many times as possible towards the tip, where a simple overhand knot will suffice for holding it in place. This way, if the pole breaks, you can immediately catch the line with your hands.

The hooks and the bait

Some professional hooks will work extremely well, provided of course you brought some along. If not, you can always use paper clips, safety pins or soda can tabs. Another viable option is to carve your very own V-shaped hooks out of wood (green wood preferably). A one end you’ll need to carve a groove, in the hook-eye area. This will allow you to tie fishing line onto. As bait you can use pretty much any insect you can get your hands on. The easiest things to get are the earthworms, which can be found underground, under rocks, around moss and in other moist areas. Once you’ve baited the hook, you’re pretty much ready to go. From here on in it’s all about patience and skill.

When it comes to fishing is a SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, fishing areas are very important. It’s absolutely necessary to procure the maximum amount of fish with as little resources as possible. So it’s not all about the gear that you have or that you’ve crafted. It’s just as important to know where, when and how to fish. If you’re fishing in stagnant waters, you’ll need to go after still pools. The stillness of the water will make the bait as visible as possible, thus increasing your chances of catching something fast. When it comes to running waters, the area behind exposed boulders would be the best location to catch anything, as fish have a tendency of gathering in such places. You might also want to consider bank fishing, as standing on the water’s edge can also be a very productive fishing method.

As you can see, improvising and entire fishing pole is a rather difficult task, but not impossible to achieve. As previously stated, having line and hooks on you will spare you a lot of trouble. But if not, you’ll just need to put some extra effort into it. Just follow all the steps and you’ll have your DIY fishing rod in no time.

By My Family Survival Plan

How To Stop Excessive Bleeding In A Survival Situation

Everybody who has been following my writings or has some clue about who I am and what I “preach”, will have an idea of how much I advocate safety before anything else. I’ve talked many times before about the importance of having the right stuff and a personalized medical kit for and emergency situations, be it for TEOTWAWKI or simply for everyday life situations. But even though you might plan things in advance, the outcome of a situation can change unexpectedly. You might find yourself in need of medical assistance and have no professional products at your disposal. This is where you’ll need to improvise and fast. Open wounds and cuts are some of the most common injuries that usually occur. Find out how to stop excessive bleeding because will be imperative to reduce health risks as much as possible. Luckily there are plenty of methods to reduce hemorrhaging that don’t require special bandages and other products that are usually found in a professional medical kit. Here are some of the best methods to get the job done.

Applying direct pressure on the wound

Stopping the heavy blood flow by applying a piece of cloth (or pretty much anything else that can stop the blood flow) directly on the gush will be your first instinct. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Any type of cloth or cloth-like material will do. In some cases, if the situation is desperate enough, you can even apply direct pressure with your hand. Using a sterile cloth would be preferable sure, but in a life-threatening scenario pathogens are the least of your worries. Infections are risk factor beyond the shadow of a doubt, but it will take some time (days, even weeks) to set in and become a real problem. But blood drains really fast, especially if the wound is deep enough. You can die in a matter of minutes, considering the average adult male has a volemy (total blood volume) of about 5l, while the average female has 4,5l. So if SHTF, stopping the blood loss is top on the priority list.

Using pressure points

If applying direct pressure on the open wound fails and the blood loss can’t be stopped, you’ll need to take the technique a step further and resort to applying pressure on the nearest artery. The key is to press the artery against the bone in order to reduce blood flow; the main idea is to compress the artery that correlates the heart with the open wound. If you do the technique right, the blood transported from the heart to the affected area will be stopped in its tracks, hence the bleeding will cease. There are many pressure points on the human body for stopping massive hemorrhaging but the main two are the brachial artery (the primary pressure points for the arms) and the femoral artery (the primary pressure point for the arms). The brachial artery is placed a few inches below the armpit area, on the inside of the upper arm, somewhere in between the biceps and triceps muscles. Feel for the pulse; once you’ve got it, apply pressure with 3 fingers. The femoral artery is located on the inside of the thigh, in the groin area; it’s pretty deep in, so you’ll need to use a bit of force to actually apply enough pressure to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped, do not apply pressure on the artery for longer than 3 – 5 minutes.

Applying a tourniquet

This method is probably the most efficient method in stopping heavy blood flow, but it should be used as a last resort only, as it can cause irreparable damage. It reduces the blood loss entirely, but it also prevents the oxygenation of the affected area and of all the living tissue below the pressure point. This could cause permanent damage or even the loss of the limb in question, so apply the tourniquet only if there is no other option available. You can improvise a tourniquet out of pretty much everything, whether it’s a belt, a hose or a folded piece of cloth (never wires or thin ropes). The contraption should be placed between the heart and the open wound, more precisely a few inches above the gush. Just make a simple knot, push a stick through it and tighten firmly by twisting. Loosen the tourniquet every 20 minutes to check if the bleeding stops. Once the hemorrhaging stops, apply direct pressure on the wound and ice packs (if available).

Astringent plants

Once again, Mother Nature comes to save the day. If you find yourself in a desperate situation, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of plants you can grow (and find) that will do wonders for excessive and periodical bleeding. Once you’ve treated and open wound, you can always use prepare a mixture of concoction to fix the problem from “the inside” as well. Here are some of the most important and easy to use plant

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum minimum) – this pepper is recommended for external use; dry them up and grind them in a thinpowder, that you can use on open wounds to stop the bleeding

Plantain (Plantago sp.) – it’s mostly used against superficial cuts; you can use the leaves to make salves, juices or even tea

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – it’s an excellent astringent and aids blood clotting; you can make a tea from both leaves and flower heads (fresh or dry)

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) – as far as internal use goes, the witch hazel can be brewed into a tea that does wonders for internal bleeding, especially for the stomach and bowels

You should be very vigilant when treating a deep open wound. It’s preferable to have a professional medical kit at your disposal, but if for some reason or another you won’t, at least you know the alternatives. Respect these techniques, and if there’s ever the need for it, you’ll save lives.

By My Family Survival Plan

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

We’re all aware of what a gas mask is; at least we have some idea about them. Gas masks (aka. respirators) are heavily used in society. The Police force has them, the Special Forces have them, the firefighters have them, spray painters have them etc. The basic use of a gas mask is to serve as filter for the air you’re breathing in and to stop possible irritants and noxious substances from getting into your respiratory system and affecting you general state your health.

The best gas masks (or respirators) are based on the same principle: the air is pulled into the canister that has a filtering system (on 3 layers: aerosol filter, charcoal filter and dust filter) and then is released towards the interior of the mask; the filtered air is safe to breathe.

The air is sucked into the canister as the wearer breathes. There are also battery operated gas masks, equipped with a fan, that will syphon air inside, but become useless when the batteries die out. There are also some that work just like a scuba breathing system: they don’t have a filtering canister, but a pressurized air canister, that is completely sealed.

A gas mask is a real asset for any serious prepper. It’s an absolute must-have in case of a chemical or biological attack. Works just as well in a combat zone, as it’ll filter out heavy smoke and even dust clouds. There two main types of masks: half masks and full mask. I half mask will cover your mouth and nose only; they’re used in spray painting and are recommended only if you know what contaminant you’re dealing with. In case of an extremely dangerous contaminant or if you simply don’t know what you’re facing, a full gas mask is the way to go. Not only will it cover your respiratory system, but I’ll also protect your eyes and face from dangerous agents, like Anthrax etc.

Israeli Civilian Gas Mask

This gas mask was issued by the Israeli government, is NATO approved and it’s perfect if you consider the quality / price ratio (it costs about $80). Because of the relatively low price and good features, it’s regarded to be as the standard gas mask for civilian protection. It’s best used in an evacuation scenario from a contaminated area. The mask itself is made out of a soft but durable rubber that covers the whole face (full mask); it offers great protection not only for the respiratory system, but also for the entire face. It has extremely efficient filters (NBC filters) that will keep you safe from almost everything, from nuclear and biological agents (like Anthrax) to chemical agents. This particular gas mask comes in both adult and child versions.

M61 Finnish Gas Mask

The MA61 model was developed in Finland and it’s meant to be used as a heavy-duty gas mask. It’s a side-mounted mask, which means the filter is screwed into the side of the mask, rather than in the font. The rubber it’s made from is extremely durable, but rather soft flexible at the same time. Its flexibility means that the mask will incase the face of the wearer perfectly, making it airtight, so that noxious fumes or chemical agents won’t find their way inside. It uses a twin goggle system rather than a single visor. The exhalation system has a plastic valve with an integrated speech diaphragm, for better communication.


The 1000 CBA-RCA mask is 100% American and it was developed based on a US Military design that was used by the USAF during the Operation Desert Storm. It has a Hycar face piece which is about 40% lighter than most full gas masks and also a customizable fit. There’s also a standard nose cup to eliminate visor fogging and a mechanical speaking diaphragm. The visor is a one piece that’s extremely tough and offers great field of vision. The canister can be mounted on both the left and the right side and it’s effective against all sorts of biological and chemical agents, like Mustard, Lewisite, GA, GB, GD etc. The head harness is adjustable and stable. There’s also an ID tag attached and it includes a CBA-RCA canister. The whole package comes at about $300.

There are plenty of models that are available on the market, it’s only a matter of personal choice. The price of a certain gas mask does not necessarily reflect its quality, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money for a good product that will filter well and fit great. But you’ll need to educate yourself in the matter a bit so you won’t throw your money out the window. Luckily there’s many manufacturer’s and sellers and price ranges vary from one to the other. So keep hunting for bargains, you’ll most likely find them.

By My Family Survival Plan

Survival Footwear : Choosing The Right Shoes For The Right Situation

Survival Footwear: Choosing The Right Shoes For The Right Situation

Those of you out there who have done hiking before or any sort of expedition, be it on moderate or rough climates and settings, will no doubt understand why having the right shoes in a TEOTWAWKI situation could mean the very difference between life and death. If you’ll find yourself obligated to travel a lot and carry heavy stuff with you, you’ll need to have the right provisions and gear for the job; and the right pair of shoes or boots is no exception. When it comes to survival footwear, wearing the right pair of shoes or boots will spare you a lot of trouble. There is no universality in this case, there is no one pair of shoes or boots for all scenarios and settings, but rather specialized products that will suit the wearer’s needs based on terrain, weather and distance.

When choosing yours, looks will be the last thing to consider. You’ll have to take into consideration insulation, durability, shoe size (make sure you get the right size or walking in the wrong size shoes will take itstoll very soon), the type of socks you’ll be wearing (normal or hiking socks), the terrain and weather conditions you’ll need the shoes or boots for and ultimately the fact the sturdy footwear will need to be broken in. They might not feel comfortable at first, but in time, you’ll get used to them. Price is also an important issue, especially for tight budget preppers like me, who never feel like spending more than they absolutely have to. There many products available on the market and the prices vary a lot. But know that “expensive” is not necessarily equivalent with “best” when it comes to survival footwear, so you won’t have to sell your soul just to afford a pair of trail shoes or boots.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots are the right shoes bring along for planed trips, especially if you’re planning on staying a bit longer outdoors; they work extremely well and will be very comfortable if you’re dealing with moderately rough terrain. They should be well built, fairly insulated and if you’ll be carrying some weight, they’ll be the best option you have. The sturdier the boot is, the more resistant it will be in the field. The taller boots are usually more durable and will offer better ankle protection. The best ones are partially waterproof and will be as comfortable as possible even after long walks on rough terrain. The Durand Mid WP is what I’ve been using lately and it’s probably the best pair I’ve had so far: it’s waterproof, breathable and it has an integrated heel cushion and midsole for better comfort.

Heavy duty hiking boots

This particular type of hiking boots takes the hiking game to a whole new level. They’re the best option for those who spend more time on the go then they do in their homes. They’re generally used for cross-country backpacking, be it on normal or very rough terrains. They might not be as light as regular hiking boots, but they’re the better option, as they’re tougher and better for people that are carrying heavy loads throughout rough terrains and settings. Choosing a pair of heavy duty hiking boots will require a great deal of attention from your part. These types of boots don’t necessarily feel comfortable at first, you’ll need to break them in first. So try them on carefully before purchasing and analyze whether they’re worth the money or not. The most serious stores have small areas that will simulate the boots performance on various terrains. The Asolo backpacking boots, with Gore-Tex inserts and Vibram outsoles are some of the best heavy duty hiking boots on the market; they’re pretty light too, as they weigh less than 2lbs.

Mountaineering boots

They’re the epitome of survival footwear, and  the first clear sign you get is in the price, as even the cheapest pair of mountaineering boots will cost no less than a couple of hundred bucks. As the name clearly shows, they’re suited for hiking in extreme and rough alpine terrain, at high attitudes and low temperatures.

They’re built to be heavy and rigid, but with good reason. Even the standard models have very stiff soles and shanks (in order to provide maximum protection to your feet and ankles), a multi-layered build comprised of rigid shanks for stability and protection, an insulating inner lining and a waterproof lining. The soles are very thick and rigid, built for maximum grip even on slippery surfaces. The Nepal Evo, by La Sportiva, is everything I just mentioned and more, with durable leather and metal lace loops and with an impressive overall built that will make it suitable for even the roughest conditions.

If what we’ve been looking at so far is a bit much for you, worry not. If you’re nothing more than an amateur hiker that goes on light hikes only, you can always buy a simple pair of regular hiking shoes. These are nothing more than improved sport shoes that will do well on regular strolls in the wild.

Unless you’re facing rough terrain on bad weather, you’ll have nothing to worry about. But whether you’re considering buying the simplest pair of hiking shoes or a state-of-the-art mountaineering boots, always try them on before buying. Unlike regular pairs of shoes, hiking footwear will require some wearing arround the house before you’ll get completely used to them.

Survival Tents: DIY Shelters For Critical Situations

Survival Tents - DIY Shelters For Critical Situations

Whether you’re simply having a camping a trip or you’ve found yourself fighting for your life in a post-apocalyptic scenario, you’ll need to have a good quality tent with you in order to make your situation just a bit more bearable. If it’s a trip in the local surroundings or you’re exploring uncharted territory due to some sort of unfortunate event that forced you to leave everything behind, it doesn’t matter that much. As long as you’ve packed the right tent before setting off, you’ll have a proper shelter that will offer your insulation and protection. Those of you that aren’t that knowledgeable in the area, let me tell you that there is a great variety of products to choose from. There is basically a tent for every hostile situation that you can think of: tents for low temperatures, tents for flood situations, above ground tents (that will keep you safe from ground predators, etc.), simple hiking tents and more.

Upon purchasing your very own tent, there are many things to consider apart from the price. You should consider first of all the type of situation you are trying to counter (cold climates, high temperatures, wild animals, excessive precipitations etc.), and once you have this figured out, you can start looking into the size of the tent, the material it’s made up of, the price etc. 

I’ll show you some of the most affordable and versatile tents on the market.

The Trango 3.1

The Trango 3.1 by Mountain Hardwear is a semi-professional product from Mountain Hard Wear, built especially for those who take wilderness adventures really seriously. It costs about $559. It’s pretty sturdy as a tent and it packed form it weighs about 11lbs 4oz. It’s roomy enough for 3 people and it was built to withstand much of what nature can throw at him: it has welded guy clip anchors, welded corners and it’s waterproof and watertight. The DAC Featherlight NSL poles used by these tents are extremely resistant despite they’re light weight, and make for a great foundation. The structure itself is more intricate than what you’d expect; it has a vestibule in which you can change you wet dirty and wet clothes before entering the main, warmer chamber of the tent. It does way a bit much and it may become strenuous to carry it over long distances, but it makes up for it in quality and toughness. Be it cold, windy, rainy or hot, this tent won’t let you down. Check out the Trango 3 on Amazon

The Tentsile Stingray 3-Person Hanging Tent

Well, the product name says it all: this is less of a tent and more of a tree house, all for the price of $675. The idea is that you
can suspend this tent from trees and have a hammock-type, covered structure, large and strong enough to shelter 3 people. The ratchet buckles and straps are about 19.5ft long and the manufacturer assures us that they can withstand about 2.5 tons of weight. So unless you’re planning to park your car inside, you have nothing to worry about. The floor of the tent is made up of a certain 240D composite that is wide enough for 3 people to sleep comfortably. The whole surface of the tent is coated in 190T PU polyester rain fly, which not only makes it completely waterproof, but also resistant to all sort if insect stings or bites. The rain fly can be extended down to ground level, making a rainproof vestibule for your gear. Once the tent is set up, you can gain access through 2 doors. A side door is available, but if you’re too high from the ground, you can also use the center floor hatch. This tent is perfect for survival scenarios which involve predatory ground animals. Not only will you be safe, but the experience of camping in such a tent is unique.

The Sundome 2-Person Tent

This is a fairly simple tent released by Coleman, which weighs in at about 8lbs. It costs under $50 in some places and it’s the optimum choice for serious campers. If camping is your lifestyle, look no further than the the Sundome 2-Person Tent. It’s a one door tent and it can easily accommodate 2 people. The tent is pretty stable even in tougher weather conditions thanks to its 2-pole system; it also is very easy to set up, as an untrained camper can put it together in no more than 20 minutes.  The outer coating, the material on the outside of the tent wall (aka. the outer fly) is waterproof, so precipitations won’t bother you much. But keep in mind, although it’s a perfect camping tent, it’s not all that great when it comes to expeditions to remote and extreme areas; using it as a survival tent will not be a good idea. It’s not well ventilated, and this may cause dampness on the inside as a result of moisture buildup. I’ve been using this tent myself for a while now, and as an occasional camper myself, I think this is the best camping tent when it comes to quality / price ratio. Check out the Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent on Amazon

Camping for fun or survival requires some education in the matter and should be done properly. Whether you’re just a casual camper, an avid one or you find yourself in need of shelter in order to survive the harshness of the wild, you should always be prepared and leave nothing to chance. Do serious research in the matter and you’ll find one or several tents to suit your needs.

The Best Survival Flashlights That Money Can Buy

A very important piece in the serious prepper’s survival kit is the flashlight. No one should go without one. If SHTF at some point or another, any old flashlight will do if a survival flashlight is not in reach… but nothing can compete with a professional, state of the art lighting gadget that’s been designed specifically for such occasions.

These survival flashlights, also known as tactical flashlights are superior to a normal flashlight in both battery life and durability. Most of them come with new and improved LED lighting systems and extremely powerful batteries (rechargeable batteries) that will outlast regular flashlights; there’s is hardly any competition there.

Because they’re meant for usage in extreme situations, they are built to be extremely tough and robust: they’ll withstand shocks, they’re waterproof (most of them are) and will deteriorate slowly (if at all) even in extreme climates.

And the term “survival” applies in more ways than you can imagine; because they’re so sturdy and tough, made up from strong alloys, they can be used as a self defense clubs in case you’ll be forced to protect yourself.

One hit over the head and, ironically, it’s lights out! There’s great variety on the market in the survival flashlight department; products vary in shape, sizes, type of battery (primary or rechargeable), lightning filters and sequences etc. I’m about to show you some of those that I actually got to use and could be an asset to anybody in distress.

Olight M22 Warrior

Olight M22 Warrior

This particular flashlight is still, in my opinion, the best option out there for those who are on a tight budget. It’s the best if you consider the price / quality ratio, considering you can buy it for about $50. It’s 5.7 inches long (1.6 in diameter) and it weighs 5.15oz. The M22 Warrior‘s body is made up from a very durable aluminum which is also used in aircraft manufacture. It used the latest and greatest in LED technology (Cree XM-L2 LED), which can put out about 950 lumens; this is more than enough to give you visibility coverage of about 1000 feet. It has a adjustable brightness level that works on 3 settings and a strobe mode for signaling your position or disorienting attackers. The mode selection and strobe can be turned on / off through a selector unit built into the head of the flashlight. There’s another switch located at the opposite side which controls brightness, but also the auto strobe mode, for quick access. The power source is optional:  you can use 2x CR123A batteries units or 1x 18650 battery. At the lowest setting (20 lumens) you get 30 hours of battery time and 1 hour at its highest setting (950 lumens).

SureFire E2D Defender

SureFire E2D Defender

The SureFire E2D Defender is probably the best self-defense oriented flashlight that I got my hands on. If it’s a white weapon you want that can also light the way from time to time, look no further. It has a crenellated front bezel and tail, all to make it more menacing at to give more angles and edges that can be used in a combat situation. It’s probably the toughest survival flashlight on the market and will take quite a bit of striking force to actually break it; you most probably won’t. If you hit hard and precisely enough, it will stop any attacker in its tracks, be it man or animal. We got the self-defense part covered and we can all agree the SureFire E2D Defender is force to be reckoned with. If you expect it to be less efficient as a flashlight than it is as a weapon, you’d be wrong because it’s actually pretty good. It has a 2 settings mode: the full power mode will have it working at 200 lumens and will deplete the battery in about 2 hours. The ultra power-saving mode will get it down to 5 lumens, but it will keep battery life for up to 76 hours. It measure 5.4 inches in length and it weighs about 3.7oz.

Fenix HL22

Fenix HL22

This is a very good choice for those who are looking for a large yet lightweight flashlight, that’s easy to use and carry around. It’s 2.5 inches long, 1.6 inches in diameter and despite its size, it weighs about 1.6oz without battery. It has 3 adjustable brightness settings and it also has an SOS lightning mode, which is perfect for signaling for help. At its highest setting of 120 lumens it will deplete the battery in about an hour and a half. But if you let it run on power saving mode, its setting of 3 lumens will keep the battery lasting for about 55 hours. And all this can be achieved with a simple AA battery. The power saving mode of 3 lumens is not bright enough for visibility over long distances; you’ll only be able to walk without tripping over anything in the dark.

Klarus XT12 Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

Klarus XT12

I love this one. This thing is built like a tank, super bright (up to 930 lumens), waterproof to 2 meters, has a strobe mode to disorient an enemy in darkness, and comes with a magnetic connector that enables it to be charged via USB – using the cable supplied. Note that this is a non-standard cable so don’t lose it (or get a spare) otherwise you won’t be able to charge the flashlight.

Summary: Choosing your personal flashlight is no easy thing and you should do it by the book. Consider the possibilities, scout the market thoroughly and make the right decision. Of course you can have more than one, just to play it safe. When comes to survival flashlights, the prices may vary from $15 to even $400. However if you are truly on a budget there is currently an amazing option currently out there – a Hybeam Tactical Flashlight for just FREE + shipping (pretty amazing deal!)

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