The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “JWR”. Our goal is to educate our readers, to help them to recognize emerging threats and to be better prepared for both disasters and negative societal trends. You can’t mitigate a risk if you haven’t first identified a risk. Today, we look at more coronavirus news from southern California.

COVID-19: Increasing Ventilator Production

Washington state company increasing ventilator production in response to COVID-19.  Here is a snippet:

“Kiple is the CEO of Ventec Life Systems out of Bothell. Founded 12 years ago, Kiple says the company’s latest ventilator model meets those needs. It’s the 18th model they’ve developed.

Dubbed ‘VOCSN,’ the ventilator can act as an oxygen concentrator, a cough assist, provide suction for symptoms of pneumonia, which many COVID-19 patients exhibit, and can be used as a nebulizer should that person need medication.”

JWR’s Comment: Once the hospitals are filled to capacity, it will be YOYO time. There is no way enough ventilators can be built in time. Be advised that the window of opportunity to find used steam vaporizers and oxygen concentrators on Craigslist and Facebook is closing fast!

Now Everyone’s a Prepper

They prepared for the worst — now everyone’s a prepper. JWR’s Comment: My prediction for 2020 and 2021: Weeks of boredom and toiling labor, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

Matt Bracken: DIY Face Masks

Some practical how-to from Matt Bracken, over at American Partisan: 5-Minute D.I.Y. Anti-Virus Face Mask

Los Angeles Mayor Issues No-Bugout Order!

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Issues “Safer at Home” Order for Residents. Much of this is unenforceable, but here is a quote:

“Meanwhile, residents are not allowed to go to work unless providing essential services as defined by this order, visit friends and family if there is no urgent need, travel to or from a job outside the city, travel to or from a vacation home outside the city or visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility.”

LA Mayor: No Power and Water For You!

Mayor Garcetti announces water and power will be shut off for nonessential L.A. businesses that don’t close.

LA County Sheriff Orders Gun Stores to Close

LA County Sheriff orders gun stores to close; adds 1,300 deputies to patrol.  Thankfully, that was later rescinded, but not with any apology for the trampling of fundamental rights. JWR’s Comment: So gun shops are “non-essential”, but weed shops are “essential”?  Considering that COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, and smoking exacerbates it, I’d say that LA County officials are insane.

City Dwellers Flee to California’s Deserts and Mountains

The LA Times reports: Hoping to escape coronavirus, city dwellers are fleeing to California’s deserts and mountains.

National Food Hoarding?

By way of the Whatfinger news aggregation site: Countries are starting to hoard food, threatening global trade

N95 Mask Re-Use? Stanford Hospital Docs Say: “Whoa”

Tony sent a link to a chart assembled by doctors at Stanford Medicine: Can Facial Masks be Disinfected for Re-use?

Turning Hand-and Half Into Milk

Reader Lynn G, wrote to mention:

“One thing that I have noticed in the milk section of most stores is that while the gallon size of milk containers are gone the 1/2 & 1/2 has a number of cartons available.I did a web search on how to turn 1/2&1/2 into whole milk. It’s a simple 4-to-1 ratio. 1 part 1/2&1/2 to 4 parts water. So one quart of 1/2&1/2 mixed will yield 5 quarts of whole milk with 4% fat content. So milk storage space filled with 1/2&1/2 amounts to a fair amount of fresh milk. And I’ve found that 1/2&1/2 will remain good well past the ‘Use By’ date.”

EMP Protection of America’s Power Grids

Reader C.B. spotted this: Initiatives to protect US energy grid and nuclear weapons systems

Another JWR Podcast Interview

G.C. sent a reminder to readers about this, which aired late last month: Podcast: James Wesley Rawles: Practical Coronavirus Preparation

You can send your news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


  1. Re;1/2 and 1/2
    Don’t use a lot of milk,but Mom likes a little cream in her coffee.A quart of 1/2 and 1/2 seems to last a good month or so in the fridge.

    1. Evaporated milk is reasonably shelf stable, and this is another option. The flavor is a little different from fresh milk (or half-n-half), but it works!

      If you have a flavored instant coffee in your stash, or a little bit of hot chocolate, these are also options.

      …and the idea for honey is excellent!

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  2. My biggest use of milk now is for adding to coffee. Along with some shelf-stable milk boxes(a few) and some evaporated milk, I picked up a box of 180 shelf-stable creamers(1/2 and 1/2). I hate to use all of that plastic and throw away the little thingies each time but they last a really long time on the shelf, take up minimal space and will eliminate my needing to buy fresh milk. This wouldn’t work obviously for cold cereal or drinking but does the job for us coffee drinkers!

  3. Thousands of people have left NYC, the most infected area, to who knows where. Cabin Fever will undoubtedly cause people to leave their homes an venture out. If we are lucky, this will only last until June/July but that luck has a lot to do with human behavior.

        1. The woman is known to police and with the information in the article, likely with mental health issues. The reality is that she won’t have the money and is likely on the public dole. The best that could be done is charge her with a felony crime based on the dollar amount. However, if she has mental health issues, she’ll likely walk with nothing more than just the arrest on her record.

    1. Actually I have a different take on all of this.

      California has signs dotting the sidewalks especially in the beach communities blaring you in the face- especially Laguna Beach/New Port Beach. “Smoking tobacco is illegal – CA code 123456789.BS.”

      The real reason is they [LEFTist Marxists] are making tobacco illegal is because it is a Founding father crop. It is racist as the Founding Fathers ALL had slaves. No they didn’t ALL have slaves but that is their narrative.

      Funny how the Liberal Founders [HBO talk show host Bill Maher and his cohorts] preach legalizing Marijuana for two decades.

      They want to criminalize the Christian Founding Fathers’ crop whilst legalizing their Marxist Founding Fathers’ crop.

      If Liberals really wanted to ban something, they should ban alcohol, as smoking tobacco never caused domestic violent or marriage breakups.

      Write your Senators.

      1. A different explanation is this. Personally I should not have to breath your 2nd hand cigarette smoke in public spaces. Said smoke causes cancer in the 2nd hand person breathing the smoke. If you want to smoke, get cancer, and die prematurely (I lost my father early to smoking caused cancer), more power to you, do it. Just don’t leave your smoke where I have to breath it.

        1. An observation: cigarettes are illegal, but marijuana is OK. At least cigarettes have quality control and are filtered. Marijuana, not so much…..

          1. Personally I don’t want to breath the smoke from cigarettes or Marijuana. I can’t speak to the dangers of Marijuana smoke as I’ve never read any studies, but fine particulates from burning anything (wood, diesel, paper, etc) are not good for your lungs. As to cigarettes, they have been heavily tested and the smoke contains a multitude of chemicals that cause human cancer. Cigarettes are not legal because they are safe, they are legal because they are an entrenched industry, politically connected, with too many addicted users, paying all kinds of taxes.

  4. I used to use milk or cream to “smooth” out the taste of coffee by removing the acidic taste. JWR recently said they use honey as their only sweetener. So I tried it, and was pleasantly surprised to find it removed the acidic taste and did not add a lot of sweetness . It’s my new go-to for coffee! The store shelves here are out of “common” meats, vegetables, dairy and junk food. We are moving towards using things in our meal preps (while fresh store food is available) using ingredients we don’t normally eat. Prices are starting to go up on some items also.

  5. COVID-19: Increasing Ventilator Production:

    Open Source Ventilator Project
    Open Source, Open Architecture Ventilator Engineering Design Specifications

    This open source project has been created to address predicted ventilator shortage worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic and host open source contributions – Distribute freely

    UF researchers design low-cost DIY ventilator
    By Michelle Jaffee / UF Health
    Posted Mar 25, 2020 at 7:49 PM

    “With parts available at Lowes and Home Depot, using open-source software, skilled volunteers may be able to help bridge the gap in life-saving technology against the coronavirus.”

  6. I just placed my first order from Seed For Security, just to try out their services and seeds. Order went well, but required me to pay through Pay Pal. I have not ever used Pay Pal, since as I understand it, they are anti-gun. For my part, and for that reason, I will not order from companies that only use Pay Pal.

    1. I had this problem once when ordering some gun parts. I called the company and he said just click on the Pay Pay key and it led to a screen where you could select a credit card instead. Worth a try?

  7. A million virus patients seriously ill and fewer than 200,000 ventilators?
    From what I can tell, a lot of patients who need assistance breathing probably do not require a sophisticated computerized ventilator. During the polio epidemic in the 50s we used the ‘iron lung’, a simple device that could be made in almost any workshop. The patient’s head and neck were in the open, the rest inside an airtight chamber. All that is needed is a means of raising and lowering the pressure, perhaps with a diaphragm a cam or eccentric wheel and a small electric motor. When hi-tech fails, low tech may suffice.

  8. A little perspective on COVID19.

    Today the WORLD WIDE COVID19 death count finally caught up with the current US seasonal flu death count estimate of 22,000.

    The seasonal flu death count for 2018 was estimated at 80,000 in the US alone. Flu season is generally excepted to be from October to May in the US. Six month or roughly 180 days. Those numbers translate into an average of 444.44 people per day for approximately 180 days last year to seasonal flu. As of this writing there are 1037 COVID19 deaths so far in the US. That is less than three average days of seasonal flu deaths last year. I am sure the seasonal flu deaths were not linear but probably had peak and valleys so it is likely that 1037 deaths may represent one day of death from seasonal flu last year at the peak of the season.

    There are a lot of deaths in this country every day that we don’t put up counters for. If we did they would be ticking away a lot faster than COVID19 deaths.

    Not saying to not take protective measures. I am. I am saying keep perspective. I am also saying I fear the reaction to COVID19 a LOT more than the virus itself.

    1. JBH, also consider the other normal causes of fatalities(auto accidents,crime,medical “mistakes”,etc.),this can only be viewed as a PANICDEMIC. Last time you heard a call to ban cars for 50,000 annual deaths,ban doctors for 400,000 annual deaths(a friends mother is being considered for hospice for a broken leg(not the scores of drugs pushed on her that are killing her),tobacco hunts down and murders millions (sarc),we tried outlawing alcohol(didn’t turn out well). Watch one of gov. Cuomo’s broadcasts and two things become clear: 1 the most dangerous place is between him and a camera 2 he is deranged and needs to be locked up for public safety(bet he has a picture of Stalin next to FDR in his office). Stay smart and watch the money, the helicopters of cash are about to start flying or should I say inflating (Dow 30,000+,$10 apples).

    2. JBH,
      What I try to take into account is the validity of the numbers coming out of China and Iran and others.
      China shut down their golden economy, welded the doors shut on millions of people, and built a hospital in 10 days.
      All clues. In my past life there was one question that our politicians have yet to ask.


      When the smoke clears on this we may know how many really died.
      I believe the number will be in the millions.
      Some people in our government probably already know. Shutting down the travel from China was most likely driven by news and possibly data shared between leaders.

      I do agree that level heads must prevail.

      God Bless,

    3. Please understand that the difference between the yearly flu and covid19 is that the yearly flu does not overwhelm hospitals. If covid19 blocks your lungs you will require about a week to 10 days on a ventilator in ICU with a dozen or so medical workers to take care of you. Additionally if a hospital suddenly gets 20, 30, 50, 100 of these patients they are overwhelmed and then must refuse to take in other patients including people without covid19. THAT right there is what all the fuss is about. The health professionals and experts do not want to get to a place in our country where we have death panels and they decide who dies and who lives. It will be a terrible thing after this is all over to read that the hospital in your community allowed 100 people to die because they had already picked out 100 people that they were going to save and that 100 people used up all their resources.

      Some commenters have even said that since it is the old people that covid19 is killing that it isn’t so bad. Well as much as I disagree with that statement I have to point out that once the hospital is overwhelmed that everyone else regardless of age will get no care or substandard care because that is what overwhelmed means. You and your family could be in a car accident and your children have life threatening injuries but if your hospital can’t take them in what then? This is the whole point of flattening the curve, of self quarantine, of closing places where people gather.

      One last point; it is meaningless to compare the deaths from covid19 today with a typical flu season. 18 months from now we will actually know how many people died from covid19. Some estimates are in the millions, I sincerely hope that is wrong. Do understand that this epidemic and the accompanying economic hit will likely be the most significant event in our lifetime. It will in no way compare with the yearly flu when all is said and done.

      1. Eli…well said…no one will know how bad this will turn out to be for one or maybe two years…so all comparisons are speculation now…I am prepared for the worst, but praying for the best…my oldest daughter is in the health care field and on the front line of this thing…that is my biggest concern.

      2. Regarding old people –
        The point of my comment is that if we lose a hundred 70 year old golfers, society survives.
        If we lose a hundred 30 year old power company employees, there’s an impact to society that can get other people killed.

        Not saying losing the old folks is a good thing… but that losing them doesn’t do as much damage to society as a whole

        1. And besides, the kids get to inherit sooner and Social Security can save a few bucks on useless eaters, right?
          But before they die, people are averaging 17 days in hospital care, so it’s good for the economy, right? Or just for the hospital execs?

          1. Not saying that at all.

            What I’m saying is that if the infrastructure folds, we’re all screwed.
            The death or sickness of people in infrastructure is a greater risk to society than people who aren’t in it.

            Put another way –
            Lose the golfers, society goes on.
            Lose the power grid employees… the golfers die too.

      3. Excellent rebuttal of JBH’s flawed reasoning. I will only add one final point: If you go to a hospital for any kind of care besides covid-19 at this point – guess what? You’re getting a little something extra for no additional charge. Yep. You stand an excellent chance of being exposed to the virus waiting to have your chest pain evaluated, pain relief for your kidney stone or to have your hand stitched up after you did something stupid in your garage!

    4. I’ve seen multiple comparisons between the flu and COVID-19 implying the steps we are taking to slow the virus (cure) may be worse than the illness. We won’t know the answer for at least a couple years. Consider this though. Right now the COVID-19 deaths are all AFTER we have taken really drastic remediation steps. Let’s say a country or the world chose not to take remediation steps and suddenly the death rate jumped to 4%, a number I’ve seen for Wuhan, attributed to Wuhan running out of hospital care. Then compare outcomes to the flu, but don’t. A flu to Covid-19 comparison is comparing apples to oranges, one is new with minimal options for treatment or limiting spread, one has a vaccine, one is much more deadly than the other, etc. Next, think about the economic impact of 4% of the population dying. 4% also means health care rationing. What does a higher death rate do to the workforce and national competitiveness? How many health professionals are going to die from catching the virus? Will there still be all the healthcare professionals you need after the virus is under control? Will people still train to become healthcare professionals after the virus? Are you ready to lose your parents or grandparents? It’s not a simple analysis.

  9. Re: Half and Half into Milk
    Be advised that diluting half and half with water will not make whole milk! The resulting diluted half and half does not have the same nutritional value or taste as whole milk. (Half and half is not whole milk that has had most of the water removed.)

  10. I’ve noticed in our smaller community that the Walmart shelves are starting to fill up again, not with everything, but the panic buying has subsided somewhat for now. We’re going to fill the gaps we have, and stock everything deeper, where possible. The war isn’t over by a long shot, but we have time to reload before the next fight comes. That fight may be with our own government, and getting them to relinquish the power they’re trying to consolidate at this time.

    The time to re-consolidate and re-supply is now.

  11. This headline: They prepared for the worst — now everyone’s a prepper. JWR’s Comment: My prediction for 2020 and 2021: Weeks of boredom and toiling labor, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

    One thing the wannabe preppers lack is experience. ANother is training. Easy pickings for those who would rather steal than shop. I just wonder how much energy any of us would expend to protect or train any of these latecomers.

    Carry on in grace

    1. So very true. It reminds me of a situation I experienced about ten years ago. I happened upon a stranded motorist along the side of the road so I pulled over, stopped my car and got out. The young man who appeared to be in his early 20s told me that his engine had been overheating and that he did not have any anti freeze on hand. He also said: “I know there is some way to check how much water is in this thing, but I don’t know where to check it.” He told me that he was from the metro area, which explains why he did not even know where the radiator cap was under the hood of his car. Fortunately for him I was prepared for such a situation (and worse) and topped off his radiator. Then I showed him where the engine dipstick was and how to check the oil level and the transmission dipstick and other things to check on his car. He had the aptitude and the willingness to learn, but then when someone is stranded in the middle of nowhere it makes ones lack of skill and preparedness a strong incentive to “get caught up”.

      Regarding preppers, whether new, old or just wannabe types, I find that the number one prepping flaw they have when it comes to long term survival is the lack of skill in food production. They are usually better prepared with purchased food on hand, but lack the skill and experience on how to produce it themselves. I guess another way of putting it would be: Most preppers are not gardeners and most gardeners are not preppers. The two need to become one.

      1. Amen, my friend. I have been raising most of my food since the eighties. Didn’t regard myself as a prepper. Just very frugal. Have you seen the prices for organic vegetables? Plus, I am in charge of harvest and storage.

        As I write this, I have a pot of greens that I dried last August, after picking them from my garden cooking for my supper.

        Carry on in grace

  12. Re: “N95 Mask Re-Use?”

    Dr. Arthur Bradley (a NASA electrical engineer PhD) has done some investigation into this, as well.

    Although not his specialty, he did put out a video on using UV to sterilize N95’s:

    Based on his recommendation, our family ordered two (2) of the UV Decontamination Chamber’s he spoke of. He also has a followup video showing how to attach hooks to the inside of the chamber, which should allow you to decontaminate five (5) of the N95’s at a time.

    P.S. – I’m not on SurvivalBlog much, so I dont know if this has been mentioned here before or not, but Bradley also has some of the most thoroughly researched (from what I have seen) methods to address EMP in both your home and your Alt-Power System…

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