Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 Everyday Household Items for Emergency Survival

In today’s post, we’ll discuss a survivalist principle known as improvisation. You might be familiar with the term as it’s used in music or comedy, but it essentially means thinking on your feet.

When it comes to survival situations, it’s easy to be caught off-guard, with less than you need to survive. This is why improvisation is so critical—it can turn “useless” items from your surroundings into lifesavers. While this skill is incredibly useful in the great outdoors, there are many items around your home that can be used in an emergency situation.

Here’s our 5 top household items you can use for survival:

Floss is easy to carry and can be used like any strong thread. You can stitch wounds or patch rips in clothing. You can braid it together for strong fishing line. You can tie down an improvised shelter. These are just a few of the many uses of floss.

Common household bleach can be used in two particularly important ways in an emergency. First, you can treat water—though you should only do this if filtration or boiling are not options. 8 drops of bleach per gallon is the level recommended to sanitize without any bleach taste. Second, bleach is extremely useful to disinfect surfaces, especially in the event of an epidemic.

Toilet Paper
Besides its intended use (which should not be overlooked in a survival situation), toilet paper can be used to dress wounds, it can be used as a fire starter a wick for an oil candle and much more.

Duct Tape
Duct tape has countless uses, not only everyday, but it’s also essential in an emergency situation. You can seal drafts in your home with a few layers of duct tape. Duct tape can be made into a sling for a sprained or broken limb.

It might sound gross, but in a survival situation, you need to be willing to use everything at your disposal. Tin cans can be used in a variety of ways: you can make candles with them or use them as a pot for cooking. The tabs from beer or soda cans can be used to make fishing hooks. Leftover cooking oil or bacon fat can be used as candle fuel. If you can repurpose garbage, you can be confident in your survival improvisation skills at home.

These are only five items, but there are probably hundreds of items around your home you can use if the need arises.

What’s your favorite household items for survival? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Must-Haves for a Barter-Based Economy

In any extended long-term emergency, our currency-based economy may no longer function and may even become non-existent. If that happens, you’ll not only want to have everything you need to be self-sufficient, but you’ll want to consider keeping items for trade in a barter-based economy as well. You never know when you’ll need something you don’t have, and if you can trade for something they need, it’s win-win.

The following items could be essential to your survival in a barter-based economy:

Coffee is the world’s second most valuable commodity traded today, behind crude oil. You can bet that coffee will be nearly as valuable in a barter-based economy, because of its widespread consumption and addictive properties. Coffee is a temporary mood-enhancer and increases alertness, which are both extremely valuable in an emergency situation.

While we don’t suggest drinking alcohol in an emergency situation, alcohol has many survival uses. With the right know-how, it can be made into medicine and can clean wounds. It can also be used to make a weapon or start fires if absolutely necessary.

Livestock or Game
In an emergency situation, many people will be without access to fresh food, especially meat. If you can raise or hunt your own protein, finding trading partners will be easy.

Fresh Produce, Seeds and Seedlings
Fruits and vegetables will be another commodity in short supply in an emergency situation. Your crops will be especially valuable if you are growing produce rich in nutrients like vitamin C that can prevent deadly diseases like scurvy.

Medicine and Vitamins
If you can find a supplier or an understanding doctor to obtain antibiotics or painkillers, these items can be extremely valuable in an emergency. Vitamins will also become valuable if fresh food becomes scarce.

Tools are a great barter item, especially if your trading partner also has a tool you need. You can swap and both contribute to each other’s self-reliance.

Special Skills and Homemade Items
If you know how to sew and make clothes, you fill a huge, necessary void that will be created if large-scale manufacturing ceases. Similarly, the ability to make soap is a crucial skill and item to have in a barter-based economy. But virtually any skill or homemade item can be used to barter if it is unique or very high in demand.

What are your favorite items to keep on hand for a barter-based economy? Let us know in the comments section below!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Your Guide to Winter Preparedness

Every time the seasons start to change, it’s always a good idea to double check your preparations. For folks in more northern states, preparing for winter is critical—especially with predictions for a harsh weather this year.

So this week, we thought we’d lend a hand with some tips to help you make sure you have everything covered. You can think of it as a checklist, though not exhaustive—you should consider your own needs as well to be even more thorough.

Check & Double Check Your Home

  • Make sure windows are sealed, caulking and adding insulation if necessary
  • Have a professional ensure roof, ceilings, gutters and chimney are in sound and working order
  • Test all locks, clean and lubricate
  • Ensure enough stock of snow removal supplies and gear (shovels break; keep extra)

Heat, Light and Fuel

  • Test generator, check fuel supply
  • Check furnace filters, replace if necessary
  • Well-seasoned wood, if you have a fireplace
  • Always maintain a half tank of gas in your car plus extra tanks at home
  • Emergency candles for power outages
  • Flashlight


Winter-specific Gear

Prepare Your Vehicle

Relax and Rest Assured
Once you have everything in place, it’s time to rest assured knowing you are ready for the worst winter can brew up. It’s the most relaxing feeling in the world. 

What’s your preparedness plan for winter? Anything we missed? Please share in the comments below!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Five Easiest Ways To Get Prepared

One of the questions we get asked most often here at My Patriot Supply is, “What’s the easiest thing I can do to get prepared?” It’s a tough question to answer, because there are a lot of easy ways. Today, we’ll discuss five of the easiest ways to get prepared for any emergency.

Some of these suggestions might not seem as easy as a lot of things we take for granted in this instant-gratification society, because preparedness does indeed take work. But, in the end this small amount of work is well worth it, because it makes things easier during an emergency.
1. Get A Preparedness Education for Free or (Very Cheap)
If you’re looking to expand your preparedness knowledge, there are many resources that are free or very inexpensive. A popular option are the many smart phone apps available, so you can keep this knowledge stored with you as long as your phone has power. 

The Red Cross First Aid app is a good one, as well as the U.S. Army Survival Guide.

There’s also the library, which will have a ton of materials on the topic of preparedness.

You can also check for free workshops or meet ups in your area to learn some new skills.

2.     Practice Your Preparedness Plan

As we discussed in our recent series on creating a well-rounded preparedness plan, practicing your plan makes taking action in an emergency much easier than not practicing. Practice takes time, but there’s no financial cost, and it will all be worth it if you ever have to use it. 

Part of practicing means putting things in order, like your insurance documents, medical records, a list of your emergency supplies and their location, and more. Getting organized now will also prove valuable during the chaos of an emergency. 

3.     Build Emergency and “Go” Kits

You can build and pack several basic emergency kits or go-bags in an afternoon. Generally, you’ll want to consider what you’ll need in each kit in terms of food, water, and first aid.

After that, customize it how you wish with additional gear. This can be a great activity for kids or newcomers to preparedness, as they get to see and feel what is needed to survive an emergency.  We’ll go deeper into building these kinds of kits in a later blog post.

4.     Store Emergency Food

When it comes to emergency food, you have a lot of options, though some are easier than others. Knowing preservation techniques is a valuable skill, but it also takes time, labor and equipment.

If you’re looking for the easiest option, purchasing a food supply that’s ready for storage is the way to go. We offer a lot of options for every need and every budget, and you can be confident that the food you’re getting is safe, will last up to 25 years and tastes just like homemade cooking. All you have to do is store it away—even easier with our slim-line totes, which jars and buckets can’t match.

5.     Secure Safe, Clean Water

Water is absolutely essential in an emergency. There are a variety of ways to secure drinking water for an emergency. You can buy bottled water. You can buy inexpensive water treatment tablets. 

But nothing is easier than having a water filtration system. These systems are your longest-lasting source of water, and the most economical as well. They’re also very low maintenance. The Alexapure Pro is ideal for home use and can filter 5,000 gallons on one filter, at less than four cents per gallon. We also have the Alexapure Go and Survival Spring that are easier to use in situations where you’re on the go.

Doing these five things are easy and will help you be prepared for almost any emergency situation.

What are your favorite, easy preparedness tips? Share with us in the comments below!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Project: Self-Reliance Blog—Well-Rounded Preparedness Part 2, The Long Term

Creating a Well-Rounded Survival Plan: Part 2—The Long Term

This is part two of our three-part series on well-rounded survival. In part one, we discussed strategies and preparations for short-term emergencies that last anywhere from 72 hours to a month. This article will focus on preparing for survival in emergencies that could last many months or even years.

Again, it is important to note that everyone’s preparedness plan will be different—based on individual needs, abilities and environment. Our goal here is to give you something to think about as you build your own plan.

The Long-Term: Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?
The first thing you need to consider when devising a plan for the long term is to assess how long you can shelter in place before you need to move on to a more sustainable location. Even if you have enough supplies to shelter in place for a long time, you should always have a back-up location you can move to if something goes wrong.

Many people choose to have an alternative shelter that is less than one tank of gas away. However, you won’t always be able to depend on traveling by car to your next location. So, you should have other options if driving becomes impossible. If you have to walk for several days, you should map out waypoints en route to your destination where you can shelter safely.

The ideal alternative location is one where you can live off the land and not be detected or attacked by others trying to survive. Ideally, this is a rural setting, with plenty of cover and visibility. Mountains, valleys and forests all have unique advantages in a survival situation. Choose what’s best by what’s closest to you now.

Once you’ve chosen your location, you’ll need to figure out food and water for the long-term.

The Long-Term Food Equation
Once you settle you’ll want to start thinking about establishing sustainable food sources as soon as possible. However, before you can consider that, you need to make sure you have enough food to survive until those new food sources become available. If you’re growing food from seed, expect to wait at least 40 days and up to 120 days for them to be ready to harvest. So you should plan to have at least three months of food to get by before you can sustain yourself.

Our Survival Seed Vault has a great variety of heirloom seeds to ensure a sustainable, nutrient rich source of food. To learn more about growing a survival garden, check out our full blog series on that here.

Once you’ve planted a garden, you should also try to hunt, fish and forage. Each of these skills deserves their own articles to discuss deeply. Foraging is probably the easiest, and our Edible Wild Foods Playing Deck is a fun way to get started.

Renewable Water
Finding a consistent, renewable source of water will be just as, if not more, critical than producing sustainable food—without water, you won’t grow much food or survive long enough to find it. Again, you should have enough water stored to survive until you find a good water source, but it’s harder to tell how much you’ll really need to store. Even if you have a filtration system, eventually those will become ineffective, and the municipal supply will be long gone. So consider how long it might take you to find water very carefully.

Renewable water can be found easily if you know a few skills. First, rainwater collection is easy to set up with buckets and barrels, and it’s perfect for watering plants. If you plan to drink collected rainwater, it’s a good idea to treat this water, either by filtration or boiling.

Next, you’ll want to survey the natural features of your new home to search for fresh water. Are there valleys or canyons around you? There might be a stream, creek or river at the bottom. If you spot big animal tracks (besides predators like wolves or coyotes), follow them downhill and you will most likely find water. Low-flying, non-predatory birds are typically headed toward water as well.

If your new home is near farmland, chances are there will be a well near the house or barn. Make sure any well you find is abandoned, as you don’t want to be caught “stealing” from another survivor. Although, meeting other survivors could be the start of a thriving community, as long as there are no hostilities.

If you live near the sea, you’ll need to go inland to find fresh water or you’ll need to know how to set up a still to remove the salt.

However you collect water, it’s safest to treat it before drinking. Our Alexapure Pro™ water filtration system has a filtration capacity of 5,000 gallons, so with a few extra filters, you will be able to remove 99.9999% of impurities for several years.

Survival Is Only The Beginning
Once you have executed both your short and long term survival plans, and you have what you need to survive indefinitely, you can start to think about “rebuilding” or getting back to normal. This might be a nice topic for another blog series, covering clothes making, raising livestock, architecture and construction and so on. Stay tuned.

In the next and final part of this well-rounded preparedness planning series, we’ll discuss how (and where) to get started.

Have a long-term preparedness strategy or idea that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Creating a Well-Rounded Survival Plan: Part 1 — The Short Term

Today’s post will be the first article of a three part series that will help you build your own emergency survival plan. We’ll discuss strategies for short-term survival, long-term survival and how to get started in preparing to execute these plans.

Before we start, one caveat: the most important advice about building your own survival plan is to consider your needs, your abilities and your environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Our goal is to simply give everyone options to consider and discuss with your family as you build your own plan.

The Short Term…How Long Can I Survive At Home?
When devising a short-term survival plan, where you live will determine how long you can shelter in place and survive. For example, if you live in a small urban apartment, you won’t be able to store enough food to survive a long time and your shelter may be easily compromised.

FEMA recommends a minimum of three days provisions of food and water at home. We here at My Patriot Supply are skeptical of that number—it seems like the bare minimum. For serious emergencies, we recommend at least a month of food and water. Let’s talk about these two vital survival needs now.

Short-Term Food Storage
So you need to store a month or more of survival food, where do you put it? If you have the space, you’ll want to keep your emergency food separate from your everyday food. You’ll want to keep it in a place that’s easy for you to get to, but hidden from plain sight to deter theft. Finally, survival food lasts longest when stored in a stable, dark, dry and cool environment—like a root cellar.

Even though it’s for short-term survival, your emergency food should have a long shelf life, because it may be many years before you have to depend on it. Our emergency survival food was developed to last up to 25 years, and you don’t need a root cellar to make it last.

Temporary Water
In a short-term survival situation, you’ll want enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning—especially if the municipal source is shut off or contaminated. If you’re staying put, you won’t need to drink as much water as you would if you were active, but you still want to secure at least a gallon of water per person per day. It’s always better to have too much than not enough.

Water takes up a lot of space, so if you can secure a source of fresh water, a filtration system is your best bet. In the event of an emergency, you’ll want to filter as much water as you can get from the tap, but a well, stream or lake are great backup options.

Our Alexapure Pro filtration system can filter up to 5,000 gallons on one filter and removes 99.9999% of impurities from any fresh water source. That will more than get you through any short-term crisis. Plus, it requires no electricity to operate, so you can have clean water even if the grid goes down.

Gear Considerations
  • To get through a short-term emergency, you’ll need to have some essential gear on hand. Here is a short list of items for you to consider:
  •    First Aid Kit
  • Battery or crank-powered radio and a NOAA radio
  • Flashlight
  • Manual can opener
  • Trash bags, moist towelettes and plastic ties for waste sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Wrench, pliers or multi-tool
  • Means of cooking without utilities
  • Fire-starting gear (matches, lighters, ferro rods, etc.)
  • Candles or a battery-powered lamp
  • Emergency whistle

What would you add to your kit?

This covers the basics of short-term emergency survival: food, water and gear. Next time, we’ll discuss how to survive for a much longer period in the event of catastrophic emergency.

Do you have a short-term survival strategy that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why You Need An Emergency Protein Supply

In any survival situation, you burn a lot of calories. To stay healthy, alert and active, you need to replenish those calories with carbohydrates, fat and especially protein.

Protein makes you stronger, helps you recover from injury faster and feel fuller longer. That’s why you need to make protein a priority for when an emergency strikes.

There are many ways to get protein in an emergency.

You can hunt, trap or fish.

You can forage for insects and nuts.

You can raise animals for dairy, eggs and meat.

You can grow high-protein crops like beans in your own survival garden. For tips on that, check out our survival gardening blog series.

If you have the knowledge, skills, time and a bit of luck, any of these strategies will help to secure a protein supply. Eventually, we’ll cover each of these topics in depth.

However, sometimes the need for protein is more immediate, which is why it’s always a good idea to have a backup supply.

When you purchase a protein supply with a long shelf life, you have the ability to fuel up with protein instantly, which is crucial in any emergency.  Backup protein gives you that extra peace of mind, especially when you have limited access to other protein sources.

What’s your protein plan for an emergency? If you have an interesting tip to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please post your comments below!