Helpful food safety tips during and after disasters.

From the <a href=”http://paper.li/AllHandsDotNet/em”>AllHandsDotNet daily</a> (very informative!) came a great little nugget.

Great page on the USDA website about food safety during and after a disaster. I especially like the information for after a flood on which foods can and cannot be eaten as well as how to salvage food you have after a flood.

Q. Flood waters covered our food stored on shelves and in cabinets. What can I keep and what should I throw out?
A. Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.

  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  • Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.

Steps to Salvage All-Metal Cans and Retort Pouches
Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:

  • Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
  • Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
  • Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
  • Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
  • Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
    • Place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
    • Place in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
  • Air-dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
  • If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
  • Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
  • Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
Posted in Food, hurricane preps, prep, survival | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Review…Crovel Extreme vs Glock E-tool vs Cold Steel SF Shovel

This is sort of an apples to oranges to pears review. They are all related via the base design, which is the old US military entrenching tool. Each has similarities in that they have a shovel/digging capability, then things diverge wildly in some cases.

Set up…I was looking for a tool that would be easily carried on my get home bag (GHB) and/or bugout bag (BOB). Now remember…as with anything in any review, what works for me (or not) may or may not work for you.

Crovel Extreme (Link)
Cost: ~$109 (without case)
Weight: +5.5lbs
Length:
This is a very interestingly designed item. Basically an e-tool with a crowbar/hammer on the handle end. This is a solid, heavy duty tool, solid construction with a few extra features. Handle is hollow inside for storage of small items, but this does not compromise the sturdiness of the tool. Handle is also wrapped with paracord (nice touch but mine came unraveled after splitting wood). Locking nut is very solid with no chance of slippage out of locked ‘pick axe’ or shovel head position. Shovel head has serrations on one side for sawing and semi sharpened edge on the other for splitting (not sharp enough to cut wood against grain) plus a bottle cap remover. All main metal parts have a heavy duty powder coating on them. Obviously the designers wanted people to have a shovel, axe, saw, pick axe, crowbar, hammer all in one. Let’s see how it performed on each of these tasks…





Digging/Pickaxe:This is by far the Crovel’s strong suit. Due to it’s sturdiness, weight and heavy duty locking nut, the Crovel beats the other 2 hands down. The crowbar/hammer handle end allowed for extra grip and leverage. The only design change here would be a more pointed shovel head…crucial for getting through the tough shallow root system that exists in the swamp. One drawback was sometime the crowbar head would bite into my forearm if I was gripping the handle instead of the crowbar end while in pickaxe mode.











Crowbar/hammer:Though a neat idea this part gave me problems. Due to the position of the crowbar/hammer, I was very limited on the amount of swing I could use due to the shovel head either getting in the way or biting my forearm (see pics). Also due to the angle of the crowbar head, insertion between a door and door jam was very limited. Zero angle would help somewhat, though the shovel head might get in the way regardless.


Shovel head position limits ability to insert crowbar head between door/doorjam interface.

Regardless of pivot position shovel head makes contact

Saw/chopping: The saw blade side of the shovel head is rather inefficient since the teeth are triangular and not off set. A substantial amount of effort was required. As to being used as a weapon…this would be the side to apply….due to the weight of the tool..probably the most deadly of the 3. The Crovel plain side is beveled, but not enough for chopping. It can be used for splitting seasoned wood…it’s heavy weight allows it to be top in this aspect.

Conclusion:
At over 5.5 pounds, it simply is too heavy to add to a GHB. BOB…perhaps if one excludes other tools, but that weight coupled with full weapon/ammo compliment is too much extra. The challenge would be it would need to be attached near the torso since heavy weights should be mid/center and as close to body as possible when packing. Problems with the crowbar/hammer head utilization, make this aspect of the tool rather limited. The threaded shaft area the locking lug rides on quickly began to rust and will require a thin coat of grease to prevent future problems (minor issue). Though I like the concept of the Crovel it’s use beyond a shovel (or last ditch weapon) is limited in my mind.


Glock E-tool (Link)
Cost: ~$34 (with case)
Weight: 2 lbs
Length:
The Glock e-tool is a simple design digging tool with a small added feature of a saw blade inside the handle. This is the most compact out of the 3.

Tool in it’s most compact form. Adjacent pic shows the saw.

Digging/Pickaxe: The pointed nature of the blade help for digging and pickaxe. Handle telescopes out and is locked in place by rotating counterclockwise. Shovel head is fixed in position by a tightening nut that maybe could be a bit larger. The lightweight did transfer ‘shock’ from striking roots back to the handlers arm/wrist.
Saw/cutting: The saw blade attachment does the job well on small limbs and roots. Also would make an excellent bone saw for quartering large game. This tool has no chopping/splitting function.

Conclusions:
Lightweight/lack of mass require more energy for digging, etc.. Not intended as a weapon. This is the most lightweight of the tools, thus additional tools such as an axe and crowbar will also be needed to be carried. Case is a bit weak and may wear out quickly (I’ll update if it does). Since this tool has a few parts that separate…there is the possibility that they could be lost. This will mot render the shovel aspect inoperable, but obviously the saw would be.

Cold Steel SF Shovel (Link)
Cost: ~$26 (without case…+$10)
Weight: 1.66 lbs
Length:
This is the simplest of all the designs, based on the WW2 style. Straight solid wood handle with steel head. The entire edge of the shovel head is VERY sharp. Why the cover is sold separately makes zero sense to me..it is a must have item.

Digging:No problem here…goes through roots and dirt rather well. Handle is easy to grip and sturdy (except when wet..wrap some duct tape for better grip).

Chopping/Splitting wood:The best out of the 3….roots with 1 swing. Very sharp blade, branches 3 inches thick were not a problem. Splitting it was second to the Crovel due to lack of mass only.

Conclusion:Can be used for digging, chopping, zombie head removal…no pickaxe option. Blade is sharp and MUST have a case. Between the Crovel and Glock tool in size. Though listed as lighter than the Glock, it felt a bit heavier/solid. Edge did show some light rust, thus a thin coat of grease will need to be applied. Cold Steel also shows how the shovel can be thrown and impale targets…I’m not a big fan of throwing tools, knives, axes, etc..the penetration done is usually less than incapacitating. If you miss, your intended target now has your tool/weapon.

So which to carry?
-I was excited about the Crovel, but disappointed with the results due to the design issues I mentioned and the weight. It’s cost (5 times more than next reviewed), perhaps caused me to be a bit more critical, but I believe this is warranted of any high priced item.

-The Glock tool certainly being the lightest/most compact is the easiest to carry, but it’s rather non-solid feel gives me pause. I plan on putting it through a similar abuse the SF tool went through…if it holds up it will get the nod…I will update.

-The Cold Steel, I worked the heck out of it to see at what point the wooden handle would break (hammer, prybar..and yes, I did the throw thing…it did break (10th throw….Cold Steel sells replacements), but I would probably not use it in such a way. At the moment it is my top pick (with case). Yes, you can throw it and it sticks into targets…neato!..not practical unless it is the last thing you have and you want to make your enemy bleed before you expire.

Posted in e-tool shovel survival review, preppers | 5 Comments

Survival Seeds…an experiment.

So I thought I would start an experiment back in September. 
Garden is a 4’x8′ section plus a small planter (1.5’x3′). Rainfall was below normal and the dry season has begun, but watering did occur when needed until 5 wks ago when fresh water became scarce.
It was rather simple scenario:
 I’m Joe 6-pack, and I purchased these survival seeds just in case. I don’t have much gardening experience. I have put aside some supplies, food, water, etc.. Collapse occurs, but I decide to bug in (suburban area) since most roads are blocked and fuel quickly ran out. It’s me, my wife and 2 children (8 and 10). About half the neighborhood stays. Most decide to be responsible for their own food. I quickly put seeds in the ground or in seedling pots that should grow this time of year in Florida. After the seeds are planted, day to day survival takes precedence, I pay little attention to the garden due to other demands such as security, fresh water (I’m surrounded by mostly salt/brackish), sanitation issues and a death in the family. Now it is December, canned food is running low and I’m out of vegetables. Going out and foraging has become increasingly difficult as a few roving groups that have been robbing/violently looting and a population surge into the area due to a nearby metro area where govt food supply lines collapsed. Disease has also broken out such as cholera, dysentery and rumors of malaria. I turn attention back to my garden….
So how did Joe 6-pack’s garden do with very little attention paid to it? For all intents and purposes it was a failure. Very few seeds germinated, plus the garden suffered from animal, insect and disease incursions. Overall success rate was about 7% with enough total food for 2 days. Joe didn’t know to stagger plantings, and now realizes that he should already have a crop of something else going. Not watching, his son used the planting guide as kindling to get a cooking fire going back in November. 
  I see this as a very standard scenario that most living in a southern coastal area will experience in an case of complete collapse and mentality of more individual/family than larger group cooperation (see previous post). This also plays into the discussion of year round garden production, harvest and storage, as well as seed viability and success with different levels of attention paid. These are all concerns preppers need to keep in mind when making a plan.
 I found it rather interesting though was the seed germination failure rate. Carrots and leafy greens did well, but the rows were heavily damaged/scattered by animal incursion early on (lack of fencing). 
Beets, radishes and onions did not grow well or at all, and were extremely small and ‘weak’ for how long they have been planted. (lack of fertilizer and suitable planting area).
Cucumbers germinated well, but were quickly destroyed by insects. All that is left are 2 small plants. (lack of fertilizer insecticide).
Fertilizer, insecticide, fungicide and good location are needed as well as dedication to the garden. This is an additional prep item(s)/plans many skip over. I am going to run the experiment again with a bit more of a prepared scenario, and heavier attention paid to the garden. Going into winter should be a bit more challenging, but at the same time…disasters don’t occur when convenient. At the end of the second run if I see similar germination failures I will list the product name so people may avoid  wasting their money. 
Posted in garden survival seeds | 3 Comments

Home intrusion…not just one intruder..multiple…

Most people, when they think of home invasion, think of just 1 intruder…what if there are more? The trend lately seems to be 3 or more intruders attacking at night. Reasoning seems to be, instead of searching, home owners can show the intruders were the valuables are more quickly.

Some cases unfortunately, involve more violent and nefarious agenda.

Many say ‘no problem’, I have a shotgun (or other firearm)…but it is not as easily done as it is said. You are surprised, multiple targets in multiple directions with loved ones in close proximity, in close quarters is not the same as paper targets at a range. Adrenaline is pumping, have to get to weapon (not many people wear their firearm while sitting on the couch watching Monday night football) then have to engage targets.

Some simple steps can be found HERE and HERE.

But preppers should seriously consider going further and getting professional training for home invasion and/or multiple targets.
JB Training (NE FL, SE GA)
CRI (Nevada)
Please note…I have not tried either course, but will probably take JB’s course and will post a review. I encourage people to do their own research and find what works best for them.

International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is also a great way to learn pistol shooting at a whole different level. IDPA uses realistic scenarios to engage multiple targets, moving, loading, shooting from cover, etc..

The situation isn’t pretty out there folks. If the present economic down trend continues, we can expect this to occur more frequently. Don’t be a target! Prepare and train now.

Posted in home invasion security prep prepper | 3 Comments

Water distillation…the quick way.

I live on an island of sorts. This is a bonus in some aspects as I have a rather large continuous supply of tasty seafood year round. The draw back of course is in times of need…I am surrounded by salt water. This can present a problem during the dry season, which sometimes occurs during the wet season. Sometime it rains every afternoon and sometimes it doesn’t rain for weeks. So the ability to procure drinkable freshwater can be a challenge. An easy method is water distillation. The simple method of causing water to evaporate and then condensing it elsewhere. This is exactly what nature does to create rain. There are several methods to doing so, but one of the quicker methods is to boil water and then condense the steam and collect the water. 

Materials are rather simple:
-Pressure cooker (recommend stainless) or any container which can withstand a heat source under it and can be sealed to prevent loss of steam except through 1 hole.
-Heat source (fire, grill, etc.)
-food grade vinyl hose (not required, but makes connection easier)
-hose clamps (unless not using hose)
– stainless or copper tubing
-rubber stoppers
-5 gal bucket
Water distillation leaves you with water that is free of salt, bacteria, viruses, etc. Now point of caution…chemicals with a boiling point less than or equal to water can end up in your collected water. A trick to avoid this is boil water for ~10 minutes uncovered..this cooks off the volatile chems.

Distillation Systems


  • Distillation Systems use a process of heating water to the boiling point and then collecting the water vapor as it condenses, leaving many of the contaminants behind.
  • Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);
  • Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);
  • Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);
  • Distillation Systems will remove common chemical contaminants, including arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, nitrate, sodium, sulfate, and many organic chemicals.

Set up is easy. Salt water into your pressure cooker (or what ever container) place it over your heat. Secure lid to pot (now a tea pot and hose attachment to the spout can work too). Attach hose/condenser coil to your lid valve/hole. In warm weather it’s good to have the condenser coil submerged in a bucket of water (any water is fine) to help condensation. If it is cool outside, air cooling on the condensing coil works too. It takes a bit to get water boiling, but once it is going you are in business. 
It is a good idea to produce water for about 20 minutes, then use that water for the garden. This sterilizes your hose/condenser coil in case any contaminants got into them….in other words don’t drink it.
Once the system in perking along you should be able to produce between 1/2 to 1 oz of water per minute. The great thing about this system..once it is going, it produces well…the drawback is that it is very fuel (for the heat source) intensive.
Posted in water distillation | 18 Comments

Present to future situation…and remembering the unorganized militia.

2 interesting if not eye opening articles on Business Insider show not only the present situation economically in the US via photos, but also a peek into what perhaps maybe the future situation for more and more as this economy slowly degrades.

First is a bit of a photo essay comparing the great depression photos and today’s so called non-existant recession.

We recently published some color photos of the Great Depression, which make that era look a lot more familiar than when it is viewed in black and white. The more-familiar black-and-white shots of the Depression are moving, but they make it seem completely dissimilar to the vivid color era in which we live today.
And now we find ourselves in an economy that has several unsettling parallels to the Great Depression, one that in many ways is the worst economy since that horrific decade. 



Next is another photo essay on a tent city that has arisen in NJ.

Inside his tepee in the woods outside Lakewood, NJ, at the homeless Tent City, the roosters wake early and the mornings are already cooler.
A musician who lost his Florida home in the housing crisis, Hardman says he floats in and out of Tent City, that he’s proud of his kids, and misses the life he no longer has.
He has company out here.
About an hour south of Wall Street, where some bankers quietly gripe about how hard it is to survive on a million dollars a year, other Americans are making do with less.

Lastly, a great article by Randy Barnett on the unorganized militia and how they saved an untold number on 9/11/01.  Originally written on 18 Sept, 2001 it pushes home the idea of who the unorganized militia is and their capabilities.

” The next time someone tells you that the militia referred to in the Second Amendment has been “superceded” by the National Guard, ask them who it was that prevented United Airlines Flight 93 from reaching its target. The National Guard? The regular Army? The D.C. Police Department? None of these had a presence on Flight 93 because, in a free society, professional law-enforcement and military personnel cannot be everywhere. Terrorists and criminals are well aware of this — indeed, they count on it. Who is everywhere? The people the Founders referred to as the “general militia.” Cell-phone calls from the plane have now revealed that it was members of the general militia, not organized law enforcement, who successfully prevented Flight 93 from reaching its intended target at the cost of their own lives.


Posted in recession depression militia | 1 Comment

Tips from Urban Survival Guide.

Urban Survival Guide by David Morris is one of many survival books out there, though it separates itself by being more of a ‘bug in’ book (survive in place) versus heading out into nowhere land and surviving off nature. Something I point out in a previous post that sometimes it won’t matter where you go trouble will be there. The book isn’t tremendously detailed, but it brings up many issues one faces in an urban suburban setting. What I really like is that the book wasn’t just published and left out there. The author has continued the process of learning and preparing and puts out a newsletter as well as offers classes, equipment suggestions etc..

In light of the recent riots in London as well as continued economic destabilization in the EU and US, the advice and information seem rather timely.

If wide spread riots occur will you be able to get from work to home? Can you survive in place away from your supplies. Can you repel those that wish to take or simply burn the place down? These are tough and even scary questions, but unfortunately reality seems to have taken on a reality of it’s own.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment