The War Against Germs; Autoclaves

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One thing is certain, when a world changing event happens, people may become migratory.  They may find the need to travel from place to place looking for food and supplies.  Some of these people, you may wish to add them to your community as valued members because of the skills they possess.  Unfortunately, they will also bring with them their regional germs.  It will be just like when you move to a new city and everyone in the family gets sick for the first month.  It will be like that, except a 100 times worse because there will be so many people, traveling from places far and near.  You can’t help but come in contact with them at some point.

Whether the contact be friendly or foe, one thing is for sure, germs will be transmitted in both directions.  If an outbreak occurs within your community, you will need to be able to sterilize your items because throwing them away just may not be an option, and neither may throwing them in the fire.  One can either boil items, or use an autoclave.  Boiling will kill anything that dies at 200° or below.  However, as in canning, you may need to kill germs that die only at higher temperatures.  In that case, you will need the autoclave.

Medical autoclaves are extremely expensive, and usually have a small capacity.  Larger ones can be prohibitively expensive.  There is another option.

Interesting enough, in Spanish, the word “autoclave” is the word they use for pressure canners.  Pressure canners will reach that magic 250 degrees that kills most nearly every living thing.  Perfect for sterilizing your items.  If you choose to use a pressure canner to sterilize items, you must bear in mind that you will not want to use that canner for food production.  It just ins’t good practice.  But, pressure canners are used all over the world to sterilize surgical equipment and other medical devices that can be sterilized by heat.

It is my opinion that pressure canners used as autoclaves should be the type that requires no rubber seal.  These are much better because it is screwed down and there is no wiggle room as there is with the rubber seals.  You will notice the price of the one pictured is not your average cheap pressure canner, and that it looks like a beast.  It is a beast.  It is also the best one for the job.
 It has a gauge so you know how much pressure is actually in there, as well as the weight to make sure you get the right pressure without going over and having it explode.  Don’t get me wrong, it can still explode if you have the heat too high, just like any other pressure canner.  One must always make certain to follow the manufacturers instructions for proper use and cleaning.  It has six screws to hold it firm and comes in a variety of sizes.  To date, I have never found one for a lower price than on Amazon, the link is in the picture.

I prefer the larger one as autoclave, even though it takes quite a while to heat to temperature, but it also will hold the most items so I don’t have to use it so often.

Remember, when handling contaminated items, to always use appropriate protective gloves and other necessary protective items.  Learn and follow appropriate protocols whenever possible to reduce the spread of outbreaks.
 

 

Stocking Stuffers or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 2

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How many of you are like us?  We hate shopping.  Period.  We do almost all our shopping online, mostly at Amazon.  Seriously.  The only other stores we enter are farm stores, hardware stores for home maintenance, grocery stores (there’s only two to choose from), and sporting goods stores (for camping and outdoor stuff).  We’re just not shopping types.  So when the holidays roll around, we either give gift cards, cash, or order something online and have it delivered.  Mostly it depends on the desires of the gift recipient.  All that’s left is the stocking stuffers, and they are super easy too!

A previous article, Disaster Recovery or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 1 about gift giving was important because everyone needs to be prepared, even those who don’t believe in “prepping”.  That book offers up a way to get them thinking, and maybe get their brains working in that direction.

Another way to help the unprepared prepare in a kind way would be to give them stocking stuffers or small gifts that will be perceived as thoughtful, kind or silly, rather than pushy.  Who doesn’t want someone to care about them at the most important level?

The important thing about all these gifts is that they will get your reluctant preppers to think about things in a different way. Many of the items they will use up right away. Even so, likely they will buy more of them and will have them on hand. When a world changing event does happen, they now have a different way of thinking and will grab those items on their way out the door.

Here is a list of stocking stuffers and small gifts we will be including this year for family and friends.

Clips and D-rings come in handy for a variety of things, especially in an emergency. We keep them in all vehicles, on the kayaks, in tool and tackle boxes. The ladies keep them in their purses in various sizes. They are attached to key rings. Fire Starters are kept in all the same places as the D-rings. What else do we need to say?
Can Openers are cheap and can be stored with canned goods. For those who live in areas where they need to keep food in the trunk or backseat of the car in the cold weather kit, tape them to the top of the cans so that you don't have to hunt for them.First Aid Kits are a must for every household and vehicle, but most people don't have them!
Sewing Kits come in handy for any fabric incident, but how many times have you grabbed a sewing needle to remove a splinter or scissors for some other emergency purpose?Flares are important. Green, yellow and red flares tell people what you need.
Thermometers should be kept with your emergency kit in the car as well as your bug out bagt.Emergency Blankets are not just for emergencies. They can be used to make solar cookers and waterproof barriers. And they are CHEAP! Ten of them for about $7.00.
Paracords are great! Make stylish bracelets out of them as gifts, or give the kits to kids and let them have a blast!Emergency Rations are easy to tell people to throw in the trunk of their cars for emergency use during bad weather.
Energy Bars help convince your reluctant preppers to keep food in the glovebox.Floating Eyeglass Holders
Dry PacksKindle - Loaded with survival books.
Unscented Baby WipesFanny Pack
Water Purification

Guest Post: Prepare Your Home with Purposeful Fences

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All fences should have a purpose.Nothing is as quintessential to an ideal American home as a knee-high white picket fence. They’re nostalgic, charming touches that can make a house feel like the American dream. Of course, fences can be a pleasant decorative touch to any home. But despite how great a fence looks, what purpose does it serve an unwanted guest is able to step above it to access a resident’s property?

It is every prepper’s goal to make their home and family safe no matter what happens, and a fence that provides actual security is always preferable to one that’s only worth appearances. And when families have to abandon their homes during emergencies, a home’s fence is practically the only meaningful barrier between your property and opportunistic looters. Here are three ideas that every prepper can benefit from the next time they’re on the market for a new home, or want to have a new fence installed on their property:

  1. Incorporate security features

A security system is only as strong as its weakest link. By integrating security features in your fence design, you can avoid helping invaders exploit your system. Foremost, a lockable gate is necessary for a fence to be effective. Keeping security cameras out of reach with your fencing can help prevent anyone obscuring or destroying them. Installing motion sensors just behind fencing can help hide them from unsuspecting invaders. This is crucial since common motion sensing technology − such as pyroelectric infrared radial sensors – are usually calibrated to not account for lower angles where pets might roam.

  1. Make it the right height

A fence of the right height is necessary in preparing your home’s defense for various reasons; the most obvious is to keep people from easily climbing and bypassing them. A fence should be six feet at a minimum if a homeowner wants a fence to be practical for this purpose. An additional way that a fence can benefit your security is by disclosing your property and certain security features. Homes which advertise their wealth with empty boxes for expensive electronics and windows with clear views to entertainment centers tend to advertise the family’s wealth. You’ll also be concealing when people come and go, and when your house is vacant – another tantalizing signal for would-be crooks.

  1. Choose the best materials

Depending on your preferences, there are a few things to consider in the fence’s construction. In terms of affordability and ease of installation, few options beat metal wire fencing. However, these aren’t the best aesthetic choice for those who aren’t willing to fully compromise function for form. They’re also highly transparent, which defeats one of the security purposes of a fence. For more traditional options, any sturdy termite-resistant wood or thick vinyl can work well. Fences can also be treated and modified to be fire resistant and flood proof, which are worthwhile additions if you live in areas prone to wildfires or floods.

What do you think matters when it comes to fencing for your property? What other features would you suggest on making your home more safe and sustainable in case of an emergency situation?

About the author:

Naomi Broderick is a full-time mother who finds time to pursue writing when she isn’t juggling the daily duties of family life. She currently writes about home protection. She is a dedicated prepper who enjoys sharing and learning with others online in order to create a household that can withstand whatever the world has to offer.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/almostjaded/1465022839/

Wildfires and Underground Shelters

Wildfires are unpredictable and can burn for weeks.Recently someone asked about the safety of staying in an underground shelter or bunker during a wildfire.  The answer is yes and no.  Okay, maybe.  There are many important things to consider.

You will have to seal the entrance, air inlet and exhaust vents.  They must be sealed to keep fumes out.  You will need an alternate air supply such as Scott air packs.

Things to consider about underground shelters and fires:

  • Air packs are usually good for about 30 minutes.
  • Each person breathes at a different rate.
  • There is no way to know how long the fire will last.  Wooded areas burn much longer than grassy areas.
  • How will you know when it has passed?
  • There is no way to know if the toxic fumes from the fire have dissipated before you open the vents.  Air packs will need to be used until you are certain toxic fumes have dissipated.
  • Vents could become clogged with ash and debris, making them difficult or impossible to open or use.
  • Escape hatches could be blocked by downed trees.
  • Stored goods could become contaminated by toxic fumes when the vents are opened or the seals fail.
  • Once you are below the fire, you are stuck there for an unknown amount of time.  No one will be able to come to your aid.
  • Many shelters are sealed with rubber and nylon seals and o-rings.  The heat from the fire could cause them to fail.  If this happens there is great risk of the air being sucked out and toxic gases would fill the void.  Persons inside would be exposed to these gases.  Protective clothing will be needed as well as the air packs.

Another question was about using scuba gear and tanks instead of the air packs.  That is much more risky than when sheltering underground with the air packs.  Technically it “could” be done, but parts of your body will be exposed to the toxic gases that may be entering your shelter.

Considering this information, the risks seem too high.  Wouldn’t it be better to seal the vents to the shelter before evacuating?  Return after the fire is extinguished to ventilate and clean your shelter.  You might need to live in it until your house is repaired.

photo by: Eggs&Beer