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Sunday, May 29, 2011

When Is An Emergency Big Enough To Use Supplies?

I just experienced one of those things that leaves you in total awe of how some people think. Now I do not know about you but hate people that can not think for themselves and parrot a company policy as their reason for not thinking. Even though most people do not think so even the military wants its enlisted folks to think and operate with independence when it is needed. Not so the managers of such stores as Big Lot’s. Let me set this up for you.

The wife wanted to run down to the store for some stuff she forgot to pick up shopping. I wanted to stop at Big Lot’s for a couple of items they carry that are close to two bucks cheaper than anywhere else so I rode along with her. We got our items and were standing at the check out when someone came in the store stating that a car was on fire in the parking lot. The car on fire was parked up by the front of the building, maybe eight feet away at most.

Some facts where quickly established, i.e. the people in the car were out and safe and 9-11 had been called. The cashier looked out the window and came back and grabbed the microphone and announced that a red car next to the one on fire should be moved. A couple minutes later an older woman came running up and looked to see if it was her red car. It was. She started screaming at the cashier for not making the announcement right away. Well lady, the cashier made it as soon as she discovered the problem. Older Woman ran out and jumped in her car and moved it, right in front of the door to the store. Mind you she could have moved it out away from the danger zone but she decided that she needed to park right by the door for her quick escape later? Older Woman then came running back in the store bitching like crazy she had left her purse in the store and it was probably stolen. I told her we had been watching it for her and it was safe.

While Older Woman was moving her car someone asked the store manager for a fire extinguisher. Store mangers response was, “It is against store policy to use fire extinguishers.”

WTF! I couldn’t believe my ears. A guy stepped up and said he was a fireman and if they would give him one he would put out the fire. Again the policy was stated.

Like I said, I hate that kind of mentality. I stated out loud to no one in particular but really for the manager, “It cost less than $20 to fill an extinguisher and hundreds of dollars to repair smoke and fire damage.”

Some young kid walked up and handed the fireman an extinguisher. The manager started to say no but stopped and the fireman walked out with it. Just as he reached the door a loud boom was heard from the car and the flames leaped higher.

By this time my wife and I had managed to get everything checked out and paid for so we got out of there. By this time most people in the store had run up to the front and when they heard the explosion they bolted for the parking lot and were leaving. The Fire Department was arriving as the wife and I left.

Had quick action been taken more than likely the car fire would have been minimal and surely no explosion would have occurred. The explosion was not large in terms of throwing fire and debris around, but enough to make the fireman stop approaching and using the extinguisher.

Several years ago my oldest son was driving his brother’s truck and it caught on fire after some road debris was picked up when he drove over it and caused something to spark under the hood. He whipped the truck into a parking lot, sprinted into the building and grabbed an extinguisher and went out and put out the fire. He did not ask if it was policy or not, he acted and saved the truck. I stopped the next day to pay them for the use of it and they waved us off stating they were glad it was there and it helped. That is how someone should react to an emergency. They did not worry about policy but rather results. They were genuinely pleased that my son and the truck were safe.

Part of my job at work is to check the fire extinguishers monthly and hold the safety drills. Maybe because of that I am closer to the value of having those items handy. In my life I have used fire extinguishers several times to put out a small fire that was soon to be a big out of control fire. Those things save lives and property.

As an aside I hope that your preps include a good quality fire extinguisher and not one of those Kidde ones that has plastic values. I bought good metal reconditioned ones from the company that does ours at work. Like I said earlier, a $20 refill is a lot cheaper than building a new home. To steal the tag line from Riverwalker, “Got fire extinguishers?”

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Some Random Thoughts

It looks like spring finally arrived in Michigan. As I write this we have had a couple weeks of temperatures in the sixties and even a few days of sunshine. I finally mowed the yard for the first time. I found a few morels too. You can not have too many mushrooms.

I built a composting bin last week. I had a lot of grass after the cutting so I decided to make a compost bin and start using it. I had helped a friend from work with hers so I knew it was time to make mine too.

I clean up all my scrap metal around the farm twice a year. I load up in the spring and try to make a trip just before the snow flies. I usually put the money from that into rotating gas from storage. If you have the space scraping can be a great way to pick up some extra cash for prepping.

Have you heard the Dodge commercial on TV where the announcer talks about what a great car this one would be after the apocalypse? You would be able to out run zombies chasing you in it. It worried me that prepping has become so main stream that it is in commercials. Once “everyone” talks about something it seems to go south so after.

I found some Heirloom seeds on sale at Menard’s the other day. I picked up half a dozen packages for putting back. I discovered mice had gotten into the supply we had at the farm sometime after Dad passed away. They will be sealed and put in the freezer for now to help keep their life a little longer.

I have been clearing a lot of brush on the farm this spring. I seem to clear a lot of brush on the farm period. I used to use a double bit axe but switched to an older single bit this spring. I do not like it nearly as well as the old double. I should do a story on the double bit axe. In my early youth my grandfather knew some old lumberjacks that were kids when his father ‘jacked near Manton, Michigan. These old boys showed me a lot about using those double bit axes. To this day I find that very few folks know the real reason there are two edges on an axe head. I surprised the hell out of a museum curator by knowing that tidbit of information.

Speaking of lumbering as it were, I stopped at a church rummage sale a few weeks ago and bought a single man crosscut saw for ten bucks. (A sawbuck in old time terms and sort of an irony if you ask me.) I like the idea of being able to cut up some wood without the noise of a chain saw. I can see a need for that after TSHTF.


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Sunday, May 15, 2011

What Kind of Learner are You?

I am a sucker for garage sales. I should not be, but I am. I ran across one this morning on my way home so I stopped in. I like to look for survival supplies at garage sales and flea markets, mainly because they can be bought cheaper there. At this one there was a twenty pound propane cylinder, full, for $5. That would normally be a great deal but this tank had the old valves and could not be refilled. I already have several of those and just did not feel I wanted to store another “one time use” tank.

I did buy one thing though. I found a DVD called Liquid Gold, Gathering and filtering waste vegetable oil for fuel. The thing cost fifty cents and I figured that would be good to have around if things go to hell in a hand basket and I need to make fuel for the neighbor’s tractor.

As an aside here, my neighbor has a Ford tractor that runs on diesel. I do not have any equipment that uses diesel but I keep some on had for him. Tonto gave me another five gallon diesel jug the last time I was at his bunker compound and I will fill that and have it around for the neighbor. I have one of the best neighbor’s in the world and I want to make sure that his equipment can function if we need it. You might want to think about that if your neighbor has some equipment you might need to use in the future, have spares for him.

I tend to be a visual learner, meaning that I learn best by watching something. If I can follow up the watching with hands on training I can usually master a skill fairly quickly. Reading something is ok for me as far as learning, but it is probably my second weakest form. Auditor learning does not work as well for me as the others. I wish I had known all this when I was in high school and college, it might have helped me.

We all know that if we have TEOTWAWKI we will be learning new skill sets. It would be in your best interest to find out how you learn best and make sure that it works for you if you need a skill. A book on trapping might be fine for you, but your wife or son may need a DVD to learn. YouTube has given us thousands of chances to see and hear how people are prepping, but grid down it may no longer be an option. You can always fire up a generator and watch a video or DVD or sit down and read a book. Figure out the ways you learn best and prepare yourself, it just might save your life.


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Friday, May 6, 2011

A Good Survival Tool

I have been doing a lot of spring work here on the farm and I happen to notice that about every other day the tool I need for the job at hand is the Number 2 round nosed shovel.

I would recommend that this be one of the first tools you acquire for your survival situation. It does not matter if you are sheltering in place or bugging out this tool has a lot of uses. The obvious job is digging. You can bury a cache or dig it up, make a latrine, use it as a weapon, clear snow, fight fires, and hundreds of other uses.

I heard or read that a guy used his shovel as a frying pan while out in the woods. The military E-tool is designed for chopping as well as digging. There is even the story of a Marine that used his E-tool as a weapon after he ran out of ammo and dispatched several enemy soldiers and lived to receive a medal of valor for his actions.

I keep a shovel inside the door of each of my outbuildings so that one is handy if I need it. One has the tip broken off from trying to pry a stone out of the ground and one has the handled glued and wrapped with wire to keep it useful. Even while not in perfect condition they are very useful.

It is not fancy or complex, but sometimes it is the simplest of tools that are the most useful. Make sure you have a good Number 2 shovel in your arsenal of survival tool.


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