Some Survival Techniques and lessons learned the hard way:
Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel I have decided to post links to sites that contain helpful information for various survival circumstances. I will also list some products that I have acquired along the way that may be useful. I do not claim to have all the answers and just because something may work for me does not mean that it will work for you. The various potential survival circumstances are too numerous for me to cover and it is up to each individual (YOU) to prepare for the situations that you may encounter in your region. It is my hope that others will join in and add their experience & knowledge regarding the various topics. We are all operating with different financial means and must work with the budget that we have. Therefore, it is necessary to prioritize our needs and work within our means to obtain them.
Topics covered will include: Water, Shelter & Clothing, Food, Basic Firearms & ammunition, and other useful supplies. If there are other subjects that others would like to cover then it is up to them to do so or make it known. It is expected that there will be differences of opinion, especially with firearms. If there are errors then they should be changed/removed but if there are opinion differences all opposing views should remain posted so that others can view the information and decide for themselves what they want to believe. Although I am getting this file started this is a group file and it is necessary for others to make changes to develop it further.
Water, Water everywhere and not a drop to drink
Water is the most abundant compound on the earth’s surface, covering approximately 71%. Of that surface water, however, 99.35% is contained in oceans, glaciers, and other ice which leaves only a small percentage available as potential drinking water.
Many people in developed countries have become dependant on the current structure of a functioning society for their needs. Most would have a difficult time obtaining potable water in sufficient quantities if it became necessary for them to do so. If ever you find yourself in such a predicament it is important to remember to Always Bring Very Funny Pictures.
Microorganisms encompass a wide variety of unique structures and can be classified into five basic groups, including:
Algae, Bacteria, Virus, Fungi, Protozoa
Remember that viruses and smaller bacteria can pass through most water filters so chemical treatment may be needed to kill them if filtering is to be the only treatment used.
In the field, water should be pre-filtered through a coffee filter or similar process if possible before actual filtering or chemical treatment.
Bleach for purification:
http://www.newjerusalem.com/PureWater.htm I have several gallons of household bleach that can be used to disinfect water or equipment.
Chlor-Floc Water purification tablets: these are what I believe the Army is using nowadays. I have no experience with this product. If someone else has experience with this product then please update this information.
Iodine for purification:
Note: Iodine is not completely effective in destroying Giardia in cold water. The efficacy of iodine depends on contact time; 60 minutes at 60F, 30 minutes at 80F and 25 minutes at 115F for 100% destruction of Giardia cysts. If you have BEAVERS, assume there is Giardia in the water. Iodine treatment appears safe for 3-6 months of use, but questions remain about long-term usage. It should not be used by persons with allergy to iodine, persons with active thyroid disease, or pregnant women. Adding a pinch of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) after the treatment helps eliminate the iodine taste of the water.
Ascorbic acid can also be used to clean cases if you practice ammunition reloading, and firearms with a small amount of rust can often be cleaned with the acid.
1) USP Resublimated Iodine Crystals:
I have several bottles of these and they are preferred to iodine tablets.
2) iodine water purification tablets (NSN 6850009857166): These are what we used in the Army. They contain a wax seal that allows them to be resealed after use. http://www.armyproperty.com/nsn/6850-00-985-7166/water-purification-tablet-iodine-8-mg-micropur
Katadyn Micropur Water Purification Tablets 8013692 (Alternative to Iodine)
PUROGENE is a 2% solution of stabilized chlorine dioxide (contains no free chlorine). Chlorine dioxide has been recognized safe for water treatment for more than 50 years.
I have a gallon of this stuff and it is what I intend to use to pre-treat water that is going to be stored long-term. 1 ounce treats 30 gallons of water.
Berkey Water Purifier: http://www.berkeyfilters.com/berkey-learning-center.htm
Berkey Purifier vs. common water filter
There are two different classification standards for water treatment devices.
The first classification is a water filter, to meet this standard a water treatment device must remove at least 99.99% of pathogenic bacteria. This is known in the water filter industry as a log 4 reduction. The second classification is a water purifier, to meet this standard a water treatment device must remove at least 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria (log 6 reduction). In addition the water purifier must be capable of reducing viruses by at least 99.999% (log 5 reduction). All Berkey systems that contain the Black Berkey elements are classified as water purifiers. In fact Berkey Water Purifiers remove 99.9999999% (log 9 reduction) of pathogenic bacteria. To our knowledge no other water filtration device in the world can match that claim.
Water is the #1 priority in a basic emergency supply kit
During an emergency having an ample water supply is the # 1 priority when preparing according to survival experts and agencies like FEMA. You can only survive for a few days without it. Most people would agree that there is a possibility that the municipal infrastructure that provides your drinking water could fail during an emergency. Possible causes could include, natural disaster (earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, epidemics, floods, storms, etc.), manmade problems (electrical outages, equipment failures, etc.) and manmade disasters like war or famine. During these trying times you and your family would need about 1/2 a gallon of water per person per day. If you had to provide a family of five with an emergency water supply for only three days it would take 7.5 gallons of water, weigh 62 lbs. and take up considerable space. How would you haul it if you needed to move from your home? What if you needed a fresh drinking supply for 10 days (208 lbs.) or even longer. You can see that the logistics of preparing for your drinking water needs quickly becomes very difficult or almost impossible for a long-term solution.
During an emergency prepare to use the water that is all around you
The problem of having drinking water is not one of just finding it. Water is all around us in the form of lakes, rivers, ponds, ditches, swimming pools, stock tanks, mud puddles, old tires, rain collection and many other sources. The problem comes from the fact that most of this water, if consumed would make you sick, the last thing you need in an emergency situation is to become sick, further dehydrating you. What if you had a way of purifying these contaminated sources of water. This is where the Berkey purifier comes in. Berkey designed these filter systems to be able to take water from these questionable sources and drink it. Our filter system uses time-tested technology and puts it in a portable form perfect for emergencies. Eliminate the need to store and transport hundreds of pounds of water. Our systems weigh less than 7 lbs. and can be taken with you anywhere.
International relief organizations discover the solution to emergency water filtration
When missionaries, rescue workers, medical specialists and emergency relief agencies like Unicef, International Red Cross and Save the Children go into disaster areas and need a reliable source of drinking water they often rely on the Berkey purifier. This time-tested micro porous technology has been around for hundreds of years. This coupled with advances in modern water filtration technology produce a water filter ideal to sustain your drinking supply during an emergency. Purchase a Berkey filtration system today and rest easy that your drinking water supply problem would be solved, no matter how dire the emergency becomes.
Emergency water storage
During an emergency you can also store this precious commodity using your Berkey purification system. Many people in preparation for an emergency, store water in large containers. This provides them with a safety net. Portable plastic 55 gallon containers make excellent emergency storage (I disagree, they are too heavy and anything beyond 15 gallons I would consider too large to transport. If you have no need to transport the water from one place to another then these would be fine). When you store a large quantity of drinking water you are more able to provide for yourself and others around you who may not have anticipated the emergency event. Water heaters (remember to close off the water intake valve when the water supply is lost to prevent the water from siphoning out of the heater. It is also recommended that you drain your water heater once a year to clear out contaminants and prevent a buildup of debris)., bathtubs and swimming pools, when filled, also make a good emergency water supply (the water can also be used to flush the toilet). (If you live in an area where large-scale flooding is expected to occur they most likely will turn off the water supply before power is lost and contamination occurs. This happened to me several times as hurricanes were approaching while growing up in Miami). Here a some good resources: http://www.redcross.org/preparedness/cdc_english/FoodWater.asp#alternate
Katadyn pocket filter:
I have 2 of these and they are wicked awesome lightweight. These are nice if you need to pack lite and travel. I purchased mine for much less than Amazon has them but the price may have increased since I made my purchase.
MSR® Miox™ Purifier http://beprepared.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_WP%20P100_A_name_E_MSR®%20Miox™%20Purifier Although I have this product I have never used it. It comes with two 3 volt NiCad batteries, a small bag of rock salt, test strips (similar to diabetic test strips), and an instruction manual.
Ron Hood, a Vietnam veteran and former university wilderness survival instructor, gave a decent review of the steripen http://www.steripen.com/-adventurer-opti-solar-charger which is only slightly smaller but similar product as this one.
Water distillers are the most effective means of removing contaminants from water. However, most water distillers require power to operate and take a considerable amount of time to purify a relatively small amount of water.
Solar Panel Distillers: http://waterdistillersusa.com/English_Site/English_HomePage.htm
Non-electric fire distillers: http://www.everythingkitchens.com/waterwise-nonelectric-distiller.html , http://www.highwaterfilters.com/lifesaver-nonelectric-portable-distiller-kit-p-144.html, http://waterdistillersusa.com/English_Site/English_HomePage.htm, http://www.aaoobfoods.com/waterdistillers.htm, http://www.conquestinc.com/products/nonelectricdistiller.html
Solar stills: There are basically 2 types of solar stills and neither actually boils water so there may still, get it, be harmful bacteria. 1) The ground solar still: http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/dec/stories/water.html 2) The box solar still: http://solaqua.com/solstilbas.html The ground solar still is what most survivalist are trained to make. Although I have never actually made a ground solar still, the ones that I have seen others make in videos only produce small quantities of potable water. Solar still kits can be obtained at: http://www.solaqua.com/solaquakit2.htmlThis picture shows the use of a solar still to purify and gather water from vegetation but this could also be done using non-potable water. In the military we were told that this could be used to purify urine. I have never actually attempted this but from videos that I have seen it only gathers a small amount of water and multiple stills would be needed to gather water in any significant quantity.
Reverse Osmosis R/O water filtration systems: …(Needs input)
Colloidal Silver: **The use of colloidal silver is controversial** If you are new to survival preparations there are many other items that are of a higher priority. I have a colloidal silver generator so that I can make my own and not have to purchase it from someone else trusting that it is genuine & of proper quality. I will leave it up to you to decide if this is something that you are interested in. I can tell you that as a Medic we used to use SILVADENE® CREAM 1% (silver sulfadiazine) for the treatment of burns. Although silvadene is different it also has similarities. Silver wire that is to be used to make colloidal silver needs to be .9999 pure. Also, Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins are the only silver coins, that I am aware of, that are pure enough to be used to make Colloidal Silver.
NO SILVER SPOONS TODAY: A thorough search reveals that today there are no silver spoons to be found on the market. If one wanted to purchase real silverware having pure silver on the business, or ladle end, it would be discovered that it is not available. There are some brands having silver inlaid in the ladles, but no silver on the end where it might wear off ever so slightly to the benefit of the user. (used sterling silver flatware can be purchased on eBay and can often be found for below the spot value of the its silver content)
From Wiki: In August 1999, the FDA banned colloidal silver sellers from claiming any therapeutic or preventive value for the product, noting colloidal silver was being marketed for numerous diseases without evidence of safety or effectiveness. As a result, the product now has the status of a dietary supplement in the US; it can be promoted with general “structure-function” claims, but cannot be marketed as preventing or treating any illness. Following this ruling, the FDA has issued numerous Warning Letters to Internet sites that have continued to promote colloidal silver as an antibiotic or for other medical purposes. In 2002, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) found there were no legitimate medical uses for colloidal silver and no evidence to support its marketing claims. Given the associated safety risks, the TGA concluded “efforts should be made to curb the illegal availability of colloidal silver products, which is a significant public health issue.”
15 gallon containers used for food service — such as delivery of syrups to soda bottlers and other manufacturers — are often available on the surplus market. I paid $36.95 each for four used containers http://www.bayteccontainers.com/15gal.html (3 are used for fuel and 1 W/spigot for water storage) and they are provided new for only $31.95 at the link http://www.survivalsolutions.com/store/emergencywaterstorage.html It is important to check shipping charges because although a large item may be priced cheaper than another place it can be much more expensive when shipping charges are calculated. It has a carry handle that helps with lifting and I have found that lifting 15 gallons of fluid is not too difficult. I also purchased several varieties of hand pumps for fuel and water. I would not recommend that above 15 gallon tanks be used unless they are going to be filled in place and remain there. When I lived in Rangeley, Maine there were several natural springs in the area and I would travel once or twice a week to go fill 5 gallon water jugs. The containers with the handles on the top are much more user-friendly than the ones with the handle on the side. However, if you have a water dispenser like the one in the below photo you are forced to use containers with the handle on the side. I also have four thermos’ which are great for storing hot water. They are especially useful if you have small children and need to warm bottles. If you have a generator I recommend taking care of as many needs as possible at the same time in order to conserve fuel. I was able to run the refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, rice cooker, and cell phone charger all at the same time with my generator. By using it in the afternoon rather than at night it wasn’t as disruptive for the neighbors. If you are heating water by fire or propane stove it is also better to do as much at the same time as possible.
Drinking water should be stored in a cool dark place out of direct sunlight. I have found different and even contradictory information regarding how long water may be stored. Some sites state that water can be stored for 2 years without any problems but I would recommend rotating water storage every 6 months.
Shelter & Clothing: Shelter is of a higher priority than food, at least in the short-term, as a person is more likely to have serious medical issues as a result of exposure to heat or cold rather than for lack of food. It is beyond the scope of this discussion to explain field expedient shelters and up to the individual to study those techniques if so desired.
These pictures show about 200 yards of sewing materials, thread, needles, 100 large oval buttons, 100 small oval buttons, and other sewing supplies. If have used dental floss to sew before and it is very strong. I suppose that fishing line could also be used in an improvised situation.
Food Storage: If you are just getting started it may be best to practice copy canning until you get a small supply of food storage before moving on to long-term storage. The attached link explains the method of copy canning food storage. http://www.survival.com/y2kkarens.htm
MRE’s: Vegetarian MRE’s can be purchased at mrestar.com or by calling 866-680-6737
MayDay or SOS bars: These are the high calorie food bars that should be considered for food storage that will be left inside a vehicle. They can handle the high temperatures associated with the interior of vehicles.
Long-term Food Storage: ***WARNING***You should wear a dust mask when filling bags with wheat or similar substances as the tiny particles can be caustic if inhaled into the lungs. The scope of this topic will be dealing with how to properly prepare food for long-term storage and some of the mistakes to avoid (there are several methods of storing food and I will be demonstrating the one that I use). Before you start you should gather and prepare all of your storage equipment. A dust mask should be worn when filling the mylar bag with wheat or similar foodstuffs as the minute particles that may be breathed in are caustic in the lungs. It is recommended that no more than 5 buckets be prepared for storage at the same time if you will be sealing them without assistance. This should prevent the oxygen absorbers from being exposed to the air for an extended period of time. Additionally it is recommended that the lids AND buckets be labeled with the name of the intended contents prior to being filled and also have the date written on them with indelible marker. This should prevent confusing the contents of the bucket after they are sealed.
The above picture on the left shows two 6 gallon buckets with two mylar bags already placed inside the buckets, two 20 pound (lb.) bags of Pinto beans, and two 25 lb. bags of Hard Red Wheat. The above photo on the right shows a 20 inch wide by 30 inch deep mylar bag, 2 orange bucket handles, blue dust masks, an aluminum & a yellow plastic bucket openers, 2000cc oxygen absorbers, 500cc oxygen absorbers, and a bucket lid with a black rubber seal.
The above photo on the left shows the FS-600 24″ heat sealer for sealing the mylar bags. The above photo on the right shows two 6 gallon buckets with mylar bags. The mylar bag on the left is filled with rice and the one on the right is filled with Pinto Beans. Both of the mylar bags have a single 2000cc oxygen absorber placed on top of the contents. The bags are filled to about an inch from the top of the buckets. Squeeze out as much air from the mylar bag as possible before proceeding to the next step.
The above left photo shows a mylar bag that has been sealed several times by the heat sealer. I was not able to seal the bag and take a picture at the same time. However, to seal the bag simply lower the arm on the heat sealer. You may have to adjust the heat higher or lower the arm several times to get it to seal the bag properly. The above right picture shows a mylar bag that has been sealed and tucked in. If the bag is not properly sealed you should be able to hear air escaping when you attempt to tuck the mylar bag inside the bucket before placing the lid on it. The bucket on the right has had the mylar bag sealed, tucked in, and the bucket lid sealed on. The date on the bucket for the beans was the date of purchase as I had run out of buckets until recently.
**Mistakes** 1) Honey should not be allowed to freeze or get too hot to prevent it from crystallizing. To bring crystallized honey back to liquid form, place the container of honey in a pan of warm water until the crystals disappear. 2) Unused oxygen absorbers should not be stored in zip-lock bags or it will ruin the absorbers usefulness. They should be heat sealed in the original package if possible. 3) Foods, such as Dry milk or buttermilk, should be purchased non-fat as most foods with fat can go rancid quickly and are not suitable for long-term food storage. 4) The 6 gallon buckets are a better value than the 5 gallon buckets.
Top left Photo: non hybrid Seeds **NOTE**nutty types of seeds such as Moringa oleifera should not be stored in a freezer or allowed to freeze, 4500 Jiffy peat moss pellets Top Right: pressure cooker Bottom: Propane stoves & heaters
I have purchased several varieties of seeds for edible weeds. I hope to be able to scatter them in an area and that they will grow unmanaged and that it will be unknown to anyone that they are edible. However, the majority of the seeds that I have purchased are of the Non-hybrid HEIRLOOM variety. I have very little gardening experience so I am hopeful that someone will expand on this subject.
Basic Firearms & Ammunition for protecting self and loved ones:
The above left photo shows a 300 Remington Ultra Magnum bolt-action rifle (almost complete) and the picture to the right is a AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Bolt action rifles are generally more accurate than semi-automatic rifles but the semi-auto rifles are able to fire more rapidly which is usefule when engaging multiple targets or stopping vehicles. Shotguns are extremely effective but only at close ranges. I would prefer to defend my house or belongings at a distance and having someone within shotgun distance is too close for my comfort. If purchasing pre-1980’s military surplus ammunition remember that they most often have corrosive primers. If it states that the ammunition is berdan primed assume it is corrosive. weapons that have fired corrosive ammunition need to be cleaned with an ammonia cleaner such as sweet’s 7.62 shortly after firing to prevent pitting damage to the weapons metal. Also, snap-caps are very useful for practicing dry-firing weapons.
For those that are on a very tight budget and interested in purchasing a firearm, wideners has mosin nagant rifles $79.00. They are WWII weapons and fire 7.62 x 54R ammunition. They also have the 8mm Mauser rifles for about $169.00. Although these weapons are relics they have been battle tested and are very reliable. These can be purchased and shipped to a local firearms dealer where they can be picked up later, after paying the background examination fee which is usually $25.00. http://www.wideners.com/itemview.cfm?dir=700|701|1029 J&G sales has them for about the same price or slightly less expensive when purchasing more than one weapon. http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/rifles/mosin-nagant/p/mosin-nagant-91-30-round-receiver-rifle%2C-7-62x54r-caliber-/cPath/209_261/products_id/1041
Survival Tools & Misc. Supplies: Hand Tools, wheelbarrows, hand trucks, garbage bags, zip lock bags, green scotchbrite scrub pads, feminine supplies, toothpaste, multiple lighters (50+), butane, lighter fluid, flints, nail clippers, soap, multiple flashlights, GPS & Maps (Delorme), propane, kerosene lamps + wicks, multiple solar charged lamps, multiple can openers, silicone caulking, JB weld, multiple cans ultra-flat earth colored spray paint, feminine products, special medications, benedryl, toiletries & phone books (it is unlikely that enough toilet paper could be stored for long-term hence Phone books), toilet seat lids, hacksaw with multiple blades, multiple knives & leatherman tools, utility knives with multiple blades, drywall screws, nails, 4 Mil plastic sheeting, bleach & ammonia (do not mix the 2 as it creates a choking agent), vinegar, large amounts of cooking oil, motor oil, ATF, solar panels, solar chargers, picks, axes, shovels, hoes, post whole digger, rakes, Parachute cord AKA 550 cord, rope, chains, tow straps, hi-lift jack, come along, wire, cable, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, crowbar, large bolt cutters, welding supplies, soldering equipment, pens, pencils, paper, wash clothes, hand-mill & electric grain grinders, blankets, clothes, propane, chainsaw, goggles or glasses, work gloves, electrical & duct tape, sleeping bags & blankets, numerous Lighters 50+ (butane, Zippo, flints, fluid) if you have ever made fire by friction you understand why and forget the waterproof matches nonsense, cookware (cast iron that has been cleaned, coated with cooking oil and wrapped in plastic) & metal utensils, Medical supplies (bandages, sutures, triple antibiotic ointment, gauze, betadine), etc.
Fuel Storage: The more refined a fuel is the quicker it will begin to degrade. Fuels should be stored in fuel containers that are full and below ground if possible. Both gasoline and diesel require a fuel stabilizer to last longer. Additionally, diesel requires an antimicrobial additive. The fuels we buy are made for seasons and regions, therefore gas and diesel fuels are blended for the ambient temperatures of the area where they are purchased. For example, the winter time fuel needs are quite different in Tampa, Florida than Minot, North Dakota. If you store fuel purchased in the summer you may experience wintertime operation problems. In the case of diesel the fuel may cloud or gel. In the case of gasoline, the gas may not vaporize well and cause starting problems. If you are storing fuel in a boat, RV, generator, tractor, auto, etc., it is best to leave the fuel tank full and use a commercial grade fuel stabilizer prior to equipment storage. http://www.batterystuff.com/tutorial_fuel_storage.html
Fuel stabilizers such as Sta-Bil or PRI-G can be purchased at Wal-Mart for less than they are offered by Amazon and there isn’t a shipping charge either. http://www.priproducts.com/consumer_products.cfm
Vehicle storage: 1) Use a fuel stabilizer and make sure it is topped off 2) Over-inflate the tires to prevent flat spots 3) Keep a Bicycle pump & tire plug kit with the vehicle 4) Start the car or equipment periodically in the off-season 5) Get a Solar trickle battery charger or disconnect the battery cables and keep jumper cables in the vehicle 6) Get an oil change before storage 7) Keep extra fuses in the vehicle 8) Use insect repellents and/or cover air intakes if pests might be a problem.
Taboo defensive supplies: Only if a social economic collapse is imminent will these subjects be discussed and expanded upon as most are illegal under normal circumstances.
Finally: I have much more supplies than what is shown in the pictures. I have 2,140 pounds of food storage in superpails. Additionally, I have an unknown weight of freeze-dried food storage contained in 143 #10 size cans. Moreover, everything that I have shown or spoken of in this article I have purchased within the last 5 years. If you find yourself under tight financial constraints then try to be constant and deliberate with your purchasing. It takes time but it is more than just possible to get prepared. If you are not as financially fortunate as others then hone specialty skills. Maybe you have gardening , welding, small engines, security, or some other experience that someone else has need of and is willing to barter for. If things ever get too bad just remember, Chuck Norris is out there and he is on our side.