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Posts Tagged ‘disaster preparedness’

PostHeaderIcon Discussion Among Preppers About Preparedness And Disaster Readiness

The ManOfMany Thingz came over for a visit and a discussion about the need for being prepared. Not just for an end of the world scenario, but for any sort of disaster than can and does happen all the time. Hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, blizzard, fire, job loss, power outage and other things that can hit us and take way our homes or source of income.

People need to be prepared. Most people go through their daily lives without giving even a single thought to any sort of disaster plan. But, even in grade school we had tornado and fire drills all the time. Why do we so soon forget this early training?

People grow up, leave the home of their parents to start a family of their own. They get their own home but forget the training they had as a child. No fire or tornado drills and no emergency food supplies put away.

There are many preppers out there. Most of the prepper community has received a bad reputation as being some sort of doomsday freaks. You imaging a gun toting wild man ranting about the end of the world coming so you better be prepared.

But this should not turn you off from being prepared for emergency or disaster.

Every single family or household should have a disaster plan in place. Especially if you have children you should practice a fire drill and a tornado drill with your family regularly. You should also have fire alarms in place and make sure to check the batteries often. Every family should have at least two weeks worth of emergency food rations and water. According to FEMA, a government agency which provides emergency and disaster support, you should have two weeks worth of water and food for every single member of your household. If you take medications you should also keep extra meds on hand and keep them rotated. Women also have needs that should be stocked up.

Most people simply wait and think this will not happen to them. Windham, New York probably did not think that their town would be completely devastated by a hurricane. They are about 150 miles inland from the nearest ocean. But Hurricane Irene wiped out their town and many homes and businesses are still recovering today.

In 12 months time New York lived through two hurricanes. This is a rare occurrence but somehow we got hit with two of them in a short time. People were still recovering from the first hurricane when just a year later the second one hit.

The strange thing is that it seemed like people were not prepared for the second one after going through the first.

All drinking water, instant meals, gas cans, batteries, generators, kerosene, portable heaters, gasoline, camping supplies and more were totally stripped from the shelves of all stores within 100 miles of us here in Upstate New York after each hurricane.

Camping supplies sold out after hurricane Sandy

It seems that people wait for the last minute to prepare for any emergency or coming disaster. Even with advance warning, people are flooding the stores on the day before the storm and for a week afterward trying to get needed supplies. In the mean time, preppers are sitting comfortably at home waiting it out.

Hurricane Irene destroyed my business and the home I was living in. My antique shop got flooded under 5 feet of water. It was a total loss. FEMA would not help me and insurance would not cover it because it was not located in a normal recognized flood zone. The beautiful old colonial home I shared with 4 other people at that time suffered intensive mold damage which drove me out of the place for health reasons. The place was not fixed up after the flooding and mold set in. The mold climbs up inside the walls and causes health problems plus damage to the house.

I was otherwise prepared well in advance of Hurricane Irene by having enough water, food, camp stove and fuel to survive an extended time without any utilities. I had actually planned to move into my survival truck camper if we lost power for a long time. My survival truck camper remains stocked up and ready to bug out at any time due to disaster, if needed. If I do not have to bug out, such as during the hurricane or a blizzard, I am all set for bugging into my truck camper to live in comfort until the utilities are restored.

Being a prepper I have lived through many power outages due to blizzard or ice storms in the past years. Often I remain in my truck camper in perfect comfort while others sadly suffer with no heat, food, water or power.

In the back of my car is a bug out bag. This is a bag packed with enough supplies to survive any foreseen emergency for three days. I have basic medical supplies, food, water purification methods and other survival needs. If you live in a colder climate you need warm clothes and a source of heat. My bug out bag is meant to keep me alive if I get stranded in winter or to get me home to my main bug out bag in case of emergency or disaster.

The ManOfMany Thingz has a bug out jeep which he calls the “SJ” which stands for Survival Jeep. His jeep is a self contained stealth bug out vehicle. He plans to bug in. This means that in the event of a disaster he will stay put at home. His jeep is decked out with everything he needs to get back home in the event of an emergency. It has tools, medical supplies, solar panel and batteries, AC power and much more. He can repair his jeep on the fly if something happens and get back home.

Be prepared! Get some water, food and other important supplies stocked up not to keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of an emergency. Practice a fire and tornado drill often if you have children. Make sure you have supplies on hand to survive loss of income, home or power.

PostHeaderIcon Making LED Lights And Finish Gutting The RV

It rained very hard all day again yesterday, so it was a good day for indoor work. I made up some LED lights for my RV and finished the demolition inside my new motorhome.

The first thing I did in the morning was to pour some of the rain water from my 50 gallon tank into my large 275 gallon tank because it was raining very hard and not supposed to let up at all for three days. Now I have about 100 gallons in the large tank.

Then I made up some LED lights for my new RV. I had some cheap LED lights that I got off ebay last year and never used because I got the wrong socket with them. The lights in the RV are bayonet type auto light bulbs using about 15 watts each. That equals just over an amp per light bulb. When you have a bunch of lights on in your RV this can quickly burn up all of your reserve energy in the battery bank.

The LED lights I am using consume only about a watt per unit. That is only a fraction of an amp. You can use about 15 of these and only burn as much energy as a single incandescent light bulb that came with the RV.

For those who are not electronics experts, here is a bit of a run down on amps, watts and volts.

The formula is W = I x V

Watts = Amps x Volts. For some reason they use (I) for Amps.

So in our example above the original light bulb burns 15 watts. At 12 volts this means we are using 1.25 amps per light bulb. 15 W / 12 V = 1.25 I (amps)

The LED light bulb uses about 1 watt. Using our formula this gives us 1 W / 12 V = .083 I (amps)

So we can use a lot more LED light bulbs and get just about the same amount of light per bulb but use way less power.

I had also purchased the proper light bulb sockets from ebay last year so all I had to do was solder the LED bulb to the socket and I have some new RV lights, which I did. Compared side by side, the LED lights look like fluorescent lights next to the standard incandescent light bulbs. But I dont mind the color of the light at all. What is important to me is that they get the job done. The LED lights give off just a little bit less light than the original bulbs. Again, I do not mind so much because I can basically turn on all the lights in the RV and still not burn as much as one of the original bulbs.

I was itching to try out my new Harley Davidson AGM batteries so I brought one inside and hooked it up to my Bedini SSG to restore it. The batteries have been sitting for years unused so they will be badly sulfated inside. They will not be able to be charged with a conventional charger and would normally be junk. The Bedini SSG radiant energy charger can convert the sulfation on the plates back into lead and acid, making the battery usable again.

But when I hooked it up to the SSG, the neon bulb started to flicker. This is sort of a visual fuse and warning. If the neon bulb glows then you are burning up your transistor. When you try to run the SSG without a battery on the output the massive amount of radiant energy has nowhere to go and the transistor will burn up.

This all meant that my new AGM batteries were too badly sulfated for my SSG to recognize and they appeared to be a dead short. So I did the old trick people use when trying to charge a dead battery and grabbed a good battery and connected it in parallel with the dead one. Then the Bedini motor spun up happily. I will leave them on together for a while until the old sulfated battery has been recovered enough to be charged on its own.

I went out to the RV and installed the new LED light bulbs and was satisfied with their performance. They light up the RV well enough for demolition work, which I then started.

I finished ripping out all the carpeting in the motorhome. The toilet was giving me trouble so I gave it a few good, solid kicks and it loosened up for me. Even the retaining nut came loose and I was able to easily remove it by hand. I had to remove the toilet in order to get the carpet out. And I will not be using a standard toilet in the RV. There is nowhere to dump your black water tank in the woods, so I will use a composting toilet from now on.

My neighbor Ed came over to help out a bit. He started stripping off all the window shades, lamps and anything else attached to the walls. He also removed the fresh water tank that stores under the bed. I found mouse filth under the tank and wanted to get it cleaned out. After the tank was out, I saw that there was a supporting board underneath and under that was a crawl space for mice. So we pulled out the entire supporting frame for the water tank. I am very happy we did. There is a huge mouse nest under there. It is about 8 inches x 8 inches x 2.5 feet long of solid mouse mansion. Fortunately there was nobody home.

I have never seen such huge mouse nests in my life. This RV has a lot of extremes in it.

While Ed continued removing all the wall fixtures I scraped off the glued on paneling on the water damaged walls to prepare them for restoration.

By dinner time Ed had to leave me and suddenly ManOfMany Thingz appeared to help out. That was perfect timing. He (Milton) continued stripping off the wall fixtures where Ed had left off. We worked until nearly 10pm. But we got it all pretty much gutted out as far as I want it.

Now it is time for cleaning, sterilizing and washing every surface in the whole RV. I will wash the wood surfaces with vinegar and water. The hard surfaces such as stove and sink will be washed with bleach and water. The hard to reach places such as under the bed areas and around the wires will be sprayed with a bleach and water mixture to sterilize everything. Then I will try my best to wipe everything with a rag.

Without all the help from friends, this project would probably take me months to complete. It is good to have friends, even in the forest.

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PostHeaderIcon Cleaning And Starting Maintenance On My Off Grid RV

Now that I have my new off grid motorhome delivered, I was anxious to get started on maintenance and cleaning it up. The RV sat untouched for about 7 years and has not been registered for 10 years. After 7 years in the forest, it is a mess due to mice, chipmunks and insects.

The first thing I did was to get my old generator fired up. This is the old 2,500 watt generator that I repaired myself using cobbled up parts from other machines and even a cereal box fuel bowl gasket. But it works and it generates power. I got out my air compressor and pumped up the tires in my truck. It was exciting to be able to run my air compressor for the first time since February. And my tires needed it badly.

The old batteries in the RV were just that, very old. Obviously they are at least ten years old or more. I cannot see the date due to all the filth on top of them. The main starting battery was already out for the trip over here because the battery tray was rusted out. The old deep cycle batteries were covered in years of dirt and moss. I pulled them out and put them aside for later restoration on my Bedini motor.

If the batteries are not damaged and the plates inside are still intact, then I will be able to restore them nicely with the Bedini SSG (simplified school girl) motor. This uses radiant energy to restore old sulfated lead acid batteries. For more info on building an SSG, please see this page: Restore Lead Acid Batteries With Bedini SSG

I pulled out the spare batteries I had sitting in my survival truck camper. These are the ones I got from the scrap yard, for scrap price, and they still work. I put them inside the motorhome battery compartment and hooked them up to the lines to get some power inside the RV. It took some work to get them hooked up due to the batteries having the wrong terminals but they worked in the end. Then I hooked up my harbor freight solar panels to the batteries with the original HF solar panel charge controller that came with them.

Now I have power in the motorhome for lights and fans.

I tried some of the electrical systems in the RV but some do not seem to work right now, such as the water pump. It may need water in order to turn on, but it is not doing anything right now. All the lights in the RV work though. Some are 12 volt fluorescent lamps, some are 15 watt incandescent auto bulbs and some are 25 watt 12 volt RV light bulbs. There are a lot of lights in the RV.

The water tank levels, battery status meter and other gauges do not work either. I got them to flash on once, briefly, but no more. It is probably a wire somewhere.

I lubed up the locks, door latches and all the seals on the sliding glass windows. Every window in the motor home that opens, slides from side to side. Due to age, algae and drying out, the seals have a solid grip on the glass windows and would not budge. With some silicone spray I was able to work a couple of the windows open eventually. You have to work carefully in order to prevent glass breakage while pushing sideways on the window.

I wanted to get some windows open because I had placed a bug bomb inside on Sunday and closed it up. I am happy that I did, too because there are dead ants all over the place. There must have been an infestation in the walls that I did not know about.

The cover over the refrigerator vent on the roof was broken at one point by a falling tree limb and went unnoticed for a few years, it seems. Leaves and filth got into the cabinet behind the fridge and left a mess. And there is also some water damage in there. I do not yet know the extent of it. It will take some cleaning to see if the fridge will even be usable.

The rear access panel on the motor home had been left open for years as well and allowed a bunch of debris to get in and decay. This caused some rot in the carpeting and wooden floor on the rear hatch area. I used a garden shovel to literally shovel out the rotten, decayed wood and debris. The wood floor of the rear hatch had composted nicely. I actually considered putting it on my garden, but the mouse filth would not be healthy.

There were some nice tools in the back hatch area though, which I will keep.

When I wanted to run the generator and plug it into the RV, I discovered that the AC line had been cut off short at one point in time. I thought I would just plug in the AC line to the generator and run a vacuum inside. This would also allow me to test out some of the AC appliances and things. But that will have to wait for another day.

Wearing a dust mask and gloves, I went in to bag up some of the loose garbage from the motorhome. There was a lot of it in there and I have not even put a dent in it after a day of work.

The I fired up my old generator and got a power cord and vacuum and started to clean out the motorhome carpets and seats. Everything is covered in filth from dust, dirt, insects and rodents. I have a small one gallon shop vac and had to keep emptying it constantly as I worked. There was a lot of filth. At the end of the day, I only had the front of the RV vacuumed. I will have to get the back half another day.

My old 2,500 watt generator performed well and has earned its place in my off grid home. It will be good for emergency backups or for large jobs such as vacuuming like I just did. It will also come in useful for running an upholstery cleaner later on to clean up the original chairs and seats.

I found some nice, useful things inside the RV while I worked. There was a Coleman propane lantern in a carrying case with the mantles still intact. I also found about 6 – 8 new mantles in a cupboard. I found a brand new set of LL Bean Binoculars from Nikon. Sadly the mice had made a nest in the case and ruined it. But the binoculars are fine. There were a bunch of other usable items that I will keep – after a thorough cleaning.

I tossed out the bed sheets and foam mattress pads that were on top of the original bed mattresses. One mattress seems to be fine and may be usable after some airing out. The mice had not been on that side so badly. The other mattress may have to be tossed out due to mouse nests in it. I might just get air mattresses to replace the original foam ones.

The sofa and carpeting are ruined. This was once a luxury motorhome with thick, fluffy carpeting. But now it is filthy and torn to shreds in areas. The sofa will have to go as well due to gaping holes in one of the cushions. I may get a futon to replace it with one day.

After a full day of hard work, I had to call it a night and close it down.

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PostHeaderIcon Killer Heat Fighting Ants And Working On Engines

Today was very hot again. In the sun it felt like an oven. Even the garden plants were wilting from the heat. After a long afternoon nap, I worked on engines a bit this evening, when it got a bit cooler. The ants are coming again and taking over. The battle is on.

It was already 80 out by 11 this morning. The temperature was climbing inside as well, and fast. By noon, it was about 85 inside and outside. It got up close to 90 inside in the heat of the day.

My garden plants were wilting in the extreme heat of the sun. It was intense and beating down. There is something wrong with the weather this year. It has been cold all along and I have run my fireplace until two days ago. Now its an oven outside. I think it is hard on the plants too.

I took an example from my cat today and took a nap in the heat of the day. I was getting a headache and dizzy from the heat. I drank a gallon of water by noon, so it was not dehydration. Just pure heat.

I have to correct my statements from yesterday. I was only using about 60 watts according to my Kill A Watt meter. I was looking at the wrong scale on the meter. Today I was using 89 watts with my dual fan running and my LED TV connected to my laptop. The laptop and three other fans were running on DC power and I still have no way to measure that.

At 11 am, after only two hours of sun, my solar batteries were topped off and I was pulling almost 500 watts of power. The batteries were on absorption mode already. I need more batteries to soak up more solar energy.

Later in the evening I started to work on my little chain saw again. This is the one I started on the day it was raining so hard. Well, this thing is a nightmare. It is tiny and stupidly engineered. I had to literally take it all apart. I had to remove the handle, pull starter, case, fuel tank, hoses, linkages and more. I even had to remove the coil to get to the carburetor. The carb was dirty from neglect and had to be cleaned.

After getting it all nicely cleaned up and using half a can of carburetor cleaner, I could not get the stupid thing back together again. It is engineered in such a way that I could not get the carb linkage and fuel line connected and get it back inside the case. I could get one or the other but not both. Finally I gave up and tossed the whole mess in the trash.

I pulled out my old Homelite chain saw and started to work on that. Now, this old thing is a breath of fresh air in comparison to the little Mcculloch chain saw. You remove the air filter and there is the carb.

I actually had the old Homelite chain saw buzzing away in no time. It runs. It runs well. It starts right on the first pull and runs well. Now all I need is a chain for this old beast.

I have to get some wood cut for winter. I should be cutting wood all summer to stock up. Winter is no time to go out and cut wood.

I installed my new Wilson Electronics cell phone booster today. I pulled out a screw on the frame of the kitchen window above the sink and pushed the antenna wire through the gap. I put the antenna on the roof and plugged it all in.

My phone was getting anywhere from 0 to 2 bars before and I kept dropping phone calls. Now I have about 4 bars and good, clear phone calls. I am currently uploading a video and it is super fast. My video tonight is a bit shorter but it is uploading very fast.

I might need to play around with the location of the antenna for best performance but I am already very happy with the ability to have a phone conversation without interruption. And the possibility to work online without loosing signal all the time. Sometimes it took me 4 – 5 hours to get a video uploaded due to lost signal.

Thank you Wilson Electronics. You can visit their site here: www.WilsonElectronics.com

Actually last night was very late due to the intense heat. My cell phone went into thermal shut down mode. I never even knew that existed. It beeped and said that due to extreme heat it will go into thermal protective mode and started counting down. All I could do was watch it shut itself down as I was trying to upload a video.

I put the phone in the freezer for a while and pulled it out and it worked again. But the battery was now down and I had to recharge it for a while before I could finish my video.

Sorry for being so late last night.

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PostHeaderIcon HOT Day Making Rain Water Collector And Fixing My Truck

Today was very hot. Very hot and humid. It went from day time highs of 50 and 60 degree weather to a high of 87 today and a heat factor of 91 and night low of mid 60s. Today I made a complete and fully functional rain water collection system in the meadow. And I worked on my truck today after my weekend break down.

Last night, for the first time since moving into a camper, I went from 3 – 5 blankets, down to a single blanket. It never really cooled off last night and stayed in the 60s. That is what we have been having for a daytime high temperature, at best recently. Today was very hot and humid. After ten days of rain on and off, the ground is saturated. The rocks and earth were sweating all day. You could see the moisture being drawn up from the ground as the sun beat down on the land.

It was so hot today the chickens were panting. They sat in the shade of their new chicken tractor, but it was scorching hot even in the shade. They drank a whole gallon of water today. Normally a gallon lasts them a few days. I made the long trip to the landlady’s house twice today to get fresh drinking water for myself and my birds.

Last night, sometime in the middle of the night, I heard a horrible, strange sound of a chicken dying. It was a painful screeching. If any of you ever heard a chicken being killed in the night, you know what I mean. I flipped on the outside lights and grabbed my 12 ga and ran out of the camper to save my birds. But, the motion detector lights were not on by the birds. This was strange. Then the screeching began again just on the edge of the forest near my tool tent. It sounded just like a dying chicken. It was horrible.

I had forgotten to bring my flashlight, so I stood there considering what to do. Run off into the woods or just try to protect the birds I still had. But the screeching kept going on and on and it stayed in the same place. This is unusual. A chicken would eventually die.

Whatever it was, it was not moving away and was not scared of me. The screeching continued and I realized it was some animal I had never heard before. And it was not afraid of me. It stayed just out of the range of my lights, not more than about 30 feet away from me. All the hairs on my body were on end.

After a while, I realized that all my chickens were unharmed, but that thing out there wanted them. And it was screeching at me. I could not see a thing but wanted to get back to bed. At the same time I wanted to keep my birds safe. So I fired a shot into the woods in the direction of the animal and then there was silence.

This morning I described the sound to a friend who told me it was a Fisher Cat. Not a cat, really but a member of the weasel family. And they eat chickens. They are also known to attack pets and even come after humans on rare occasions.

I will never forget that horrible screeching sound.

I decided to scrap the roof top rain water collection system for now and went with a ground level collector using the same metal sheets I had planned to use for the roof top. I took the pallet wood that I had piled up for the rain water collection system and build a series of stands that sort of look like saw horses. The first stand is 6 feet high and then the next is 5 feet, then 4 feet and then 3 feet high. I went with these measurements because I am using a blue poly container to collect water and it is just under 3 feet high at its top. The frame then slopes upwards from there so the rain will wash down into the container.

The hardest part was getting the heavy metal sheets on top of the frame, but I got two of them up there for today. I will set up another one tomorrow. Last year, using two of these sheets, I collected 30 gallons of water in a hard rain in ten minutes. Using three sheets I should easily get 50 gallons in ten minutes in the same rain storm.

I hope to expand the water storage capacity of this system so that I can have enough water for showers.

This is a very simple setup using all free materials except for one thing. I have a piece of plastic rain gutter I bought last year for about $5. I used about half of this to run across the bottom ends of each metal sheet and then pour water into the barrel.

The next step is to set up a water pump and enough hose to pump water into the on board camper tanks when needed. I have the water pump but need to get some garden hose. I think about 100 – 150 feet of hose should do it.

I am also going to make a water filter for drinking water using an old swimming pool filter. I have removed all the old sand and gravel and am going to sterilize and clean it inside. Then using charcoal, sand and gravel, I will make a new water filter for drinking water.

I have a major ant infestation in both campers right now. There are carpenter ants crawling all over every single surface of everything in my camper. This morning when I had my coffee, I first rinsed out the cup. Then I checked it to make sure there were no ants in the cup. I have to do this every single time I get a drink. The ants are in search of water and crowd around my sink and drinking glass.

Anyway, I poured my coffee into the cup and started drinking. Somehow an ant managed to get in, while I was holding the cup, and drown in it.

These things are so disgusting and so thick in here. With my truck broke down I could not get any ant poison and I was fully out of it. The last wave of ants ate it all up. So I got out some sugar and borax and mixed up a batch of homemade ant poison. I have a recipe that calls for a cup of water, 1/2 cup of sugar and three tablespoons of borax. I made up a triple batch and poured it into small water bottles and plastic containers and placed them all over under both campers. I also put some right inside the truck camper.

I sure hope this takes care of the problem or I will be run out of my own home. An ant colony contains as many as 10,000 ants. Carpenter ants also put out satellite colonies, each with up to 10,000 ants in them. A colony can have as many as 6 or more satellite colonies. Well, my campers have both become satellite colonies.

Today I was troubleshooting my dead truck. It was just like someone turned off the key. The truck simply shut off dead. I had to have it towed home yesterday.

I was checking for a broken or loose wire because sometimes the ignition has power and sometimes it does not. But all morning I could not figure it out. So I took a break.

Later while answering some youtube comments, someone suggested checking the wires on the starter solenoid. I argued that it is not the starter. The starter and solenoid work fine. But something nagged at me. Then someone else said that there is a wire from the battery to the solenoid and then into the cab. I didnt think this was the problem but decided to check it. Sure enough, there was a loose nut holding the positive wire, which goes into the cab. In minutes, I had my truck running again.

Thank you fellow youtubers for all the help and support in both fixing my truck and in keeping The Off Grid Project going. Thank you all for the advice and suggestions. As well as teaching others, I am learning from you all.

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