An Old Boy Scout’s Journey – Part 2, by Rocket J. Squirrel

(Continued from Part 1.)

There is a DeWalt 6 kW generator with a Honda gasoline engine that was purchased used. The local Stihl dealer gave it a tune up. Spare spark plugs are kept in the tool box. I have very limited gasoline storage but do have a tri-fuel kit. The tri-fuel kit from enables the generator to use gasoline, propane, or natural gas for fuel. Make certain you buy the kit which matches your specific engine model. I need to get the kit installed as well as the natural gas fittings for our current home. Natural gas may have better availability than gasoline in a longer term grid down situation. This would be especially true for a localized power outage due to a short-term disaster such as a wind storm or hurricane. This is because most natural gas transmission pipelines now use gas turbine-driven compressors fueled by the natural gas in the pipeline rather than electric motor drivers.

It is unsafe and illegal in many jurisdictions to connect your portable generator to your house circuitry without a transfer switch. The transfer switch disconnects the wiring in your house from the utility distribution system. This is to avoid electrocuting/killing the power company linemen during a power outage. Yes, your little portable generator could do that. Without the transfer switch you will have long cords running to your refrigerator from the generator which needs to be located outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning of your family. I recently ran across an elegant, significantly lower cost solution compared to a traditional transfer switch set-up. Installing a GenerLink Meter Mounted Transfer Switch (includes a 20’ cord) is now on the to-do list. Home Depot has the lowest price ($650) I have found. I will have to get permission from the utility company to install it since the meter seal has to be broken for installation. Hire an electrician to do the installation. If you live in the Great White North, a generator with transfer switch will enable you to run the fan on your furnace during a power outage if you do not have a wood stove for heat. You obviously still need natural gas or propane to run your furnace in addition to the power for the fan.

First Aid:

Get training on how to handle the big three that are truly life-threatening emergencies: breathing, bleeding and poisoning. Treatment of life-threatening shock is next on the list and comes along with any significant injury. Everything else might be considered medium term care or longer.

We have various first aid kits in the house and cars. A medium term aid kit was assembled with various supplies and over-the-counter remedies and is stored in the house. Here are the contents of the big kit: Grundig Mini World 100 short wave radios (purchased used) with reel antennae, NukAlert radiation monitor, several RADSticker individual dosimeters, 500 g of potassium iodide USP from Post Apple Scientific (and printed instructions to make enough KI solution to treat 250 adults for 2 weeks, see, packages of QuikClot, 6” Israeli bandages, SWAT-T tourniquets, generic povidone solution, butterfly closures, light sticks, aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen (children’s liquid too), Neosporin, Bacitracin, Vaseline, Sudafed, antacids, Imodium AD, hemostats, EMT shears, hydrocortisone ointment, zinc oxide ointment, meclizine (anti-nausea), and 200 meters Glide floss (emergency suture material), minor surgery kit, and an emergency dental kit. What I have assembled is certainly not complete. See for a more complete list of kit contents compiled by an MD. In the kit I have printed hard copies of various instructions for use of the contents.

Still on the to-do list is to assemble a rehydration bucket to treat burn victims or those with diarrhea. See for instructions. I have the required components (Morton Lite salt, baking soda, sugar) but it will be handy to have them in a single bucket as described in the link. Several boxes of N95 masks are stored in the garage.

The big kit is on the checklist of things to take with us in the event of an evacuation. I just realized that I need to place my hard copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny in the big kit. You can download a free PDF copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills at but I always like to have a hard copy of my important reference books.

We have a few military surplus Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK) with Combat Application Tourniquet, nasopharyngeal airway and 4” emergency dressing. I need to add a package of QuikClot to each. I served as an usher at a large Christian congregation in Southern California. As part of our security training, I attended active shooter response training which included the use of the Combat Application Tourniquet and nasopharyngeal airway. (Our pastor in charge of security was wise and our active shooter response also included the security team shooting back at any assailant.)

A bottle of 190 proof Everclear is stored for making tinctures. My beautiful bride is the herbalist and has stocks of herbs and such that I do not understand. We all have different skills and things in which we are interested; that is an advantage of having a team. We recently purchased a colloidal silver kit from You can make your own kit less expensively. Chris even tells you how to do so on his web site, but I just bought the kit.

We have hard copies of several medical references in our library:

  • Where There is No Doctor
  • Where There is No Dentist
  • Red Cross First Aid Handbook
  • Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
  • Medicine for Mountaineering
  • Wilderness Medicine
  • Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook
  • Combat Medic Field Reference
  • Emergency War Surgery
  • Physician’s Desk Reference (an old copy)

Note: We keep the more compact books in the big kit duffle bag.

Fire Fighting:

Nip fires in the bud! When the responders are overloaded, you may be on your own, but quick action is imperative, no matter what. If the fire department can respond immediately, they are likely several minutes away at the very best. A fire can grow significantly in that time. Knock down any fire immediately with an extinguisher.

I volunteered to be part of the community emergency response team organized by my employer and was fortunate enough to attend several days of excellent training over several years provided by fire fighters/nurses. Hands-on training was provided on organization, communication, search and rescue, building entry, victim extraction techniques, first aid, triage and fire fighting.

There are multiple fire extinguishers throughout our house and in the vehicles. Get the big 3-A:40-B:C rated extinguishers for inside the house. A 75’ by ¾” diameter hose with a nozzle may help you knock down a fire. The rule-of-thumb taught to us by the firefighters was that if the fire is bigger than a desk then it is too big to fight with an extinguisher; and hence it is time to retreat. This was based on the scenario of a team of two going into a building after an earthquake armed with two fire extinguishers. One person leads and the other follows and provides backup. If you have never used a fire extinguisher, then get some hands-on training.

Self Defense:

I have never been in a fist fight. My temperament is to avoid conflict and avoid being in dangerous situations in the first place. I expect that I would do reasonably well in a fist fight, but I really do not know for certain. So, I need to get some training, likely Krav Maga.

After the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, and also after starting to read preparedness literature, I realized that I needed some firearms to protect my family. I started with a Remington 870 shotgun. Since I lived in the Republik of Kalifornia, I chose not to get any hand guns since they require registration. I hated the thought of registering a firearm. I investigated what other arms I should get. I researched SurvivalBlog, Boston’s Gun Bible, Mel Tappan’s book Survival Guns and many Internet sources.

The following types of firearms were selected and purchased:

  • Shotgun: Remington 870 12 gauge. I eventually fitted them with weapon lights and side saddles. One has a 26” barrel which is now held in reserve for hunting; the normally mounted barrel is 18” with rifle sights. I need to mark the sights with luminescent paint.
  • Main battle rifles: M1 Garand (from the CMP) and a Springfield M1A.
  • For closer range and lighter weight: Ruger Ranch Rifle (Mini-14) (The AR-15 platform has been added now that I have escaped Kalifornia. I took Mr. Rawles’ advice and stocked up on amazingly inexpensive sale deals from Palmetto State Armory.)
  • For learning how to shoot: Ruger 10/22.
  • All have slings. A few have optics.
  • On the to-do list is the purchase of a scoped Mossberg MVP bolt-action rifle in .308. The MVP is designed to accept M1A magazines. This means interchangeability between my chosen platforms and fewer magazine types to stock. Use of the M1A 10-round magazines will be transferred to use with the bolt-action per Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle platform concept. If you were to choose the MVP chambered in .223, then it will accept AR-15 magazines.

I chose those specific models since they were not categorized by Kalifornia as “assault rifles.” (When you think about it, is there any other type of rifle?) The M1A had to be California compliant and have a muzzle brake instead of an inherently evil flash hider. I also chose those models since they are chambered in ammunition which matches standard military calibers. The M1 Garand is originally .30-06 but you can get them from the CMP already re-barreled in .308/7.62×51. (Make certain that the ammunition you purchase for your Garand is loaded specifically for the Garand so it cycles correctly.) I confirmed with Ruger that the Mini-14 is dual rated for .223 and 5.56×45. And .22LR is relatively inexpensive and ubiquitous.

(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 3.)


  1. Michael Nixon is correct. I am a power company lineman and backfeed can come from many sources, (ex: home solar panels) not just a generator. If I were to be electrocuted it would be my own fault for not following the most basic safety rules. Are lines are considered energized unless bonded to a ground/neutral. Sort of like driving around without a seatbelt and the airbags disabled.

    1. Thank you, Cactus Jack and Michael Nixon, for the important safety reminders. When we installed our generator, we hired an electrician to place a manual switch that must be “flipped” so that it is impossible to back feed power into the line. We think of this as placing an “air gap” between the systems. In our “plug and play” culture, not everyone is aware of these kinds of safety protocols. Safety education is key. Always hire an experienced, properly trained, skilled electrician.

  2. The fire safety tips (and rule of thumb) are also important. We live in a beautiful forested area, and one that experienced significant forest fires just a few years ago now.

    A couple of safety take-aways…

    1) Understand the danger of fire, be very actively aware of fires in your area, and know when and how you must make the decision to retreat (or escape).
    2) Know your escape routes, and have more than one.
    3) In addition to fire extinguishers, keep a couple of axes and saws in your truck bed or trunk. Shovels are a good idea too. Fallen trees may block points of egress.
    4) Understand respiratory risks associated with evacuating through an affected area, and have appropriate equipment in your vehicle.
    5) Learn as much as you can about the care and keeping of the environment surrounding your home to reduce risk.
    6) Look as well to prevention of fire originating in your home as well. Build behaviors into your routine that include double checking risk areas and the maintenance of early warning systems including your smoke detectors. Study the causes of fires, and review your situation or circumstances against those. Take precautions.
    7) Teach your children and grandchildren about fire safety.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  3. Good article Squirrel,
    A small transfer switch does not cost a lot. Peace of mind is priceless.
    Remember, you might be the one person who knows the switch line up and process to safely connect your generator to the house.
    You might not be home.
    You want a safe solution for your loved ones. My family knows that if they connect the generator to our transfer switch they do not need to change any circuit breakers in the house panel. Everything is on the front panel of the transfer switch. No suicide cords!

    Cactus Jack is correct. Utility professionals have safety protocols in place. We do not need to add to their workload.

    Hire an electrician if you have never worked in the trade.

  4. 1) Thanks very much for the info about generators — my power is underground and normally reliable but was out for a day due simply due to a strong thunderstorm that knocked some trees down in the surrounding area.

    2) On multiple occasions, my neighbors about a quarter mile away have had power out for days and –on one occasion due to a winter ice storm — for over two weeks. In this suburb of a major city, they’ve had no power for 4 days due just to this summer thunderstorm. Several have had to install generators.

    3) The US government’s concerns about “critical infrastructure” are ridiculous if you look at Philadelphia’s suburbs – trees 100 feet tall growing within 10 feet of power lines strung on poles. If we get hit by a hurricane like the Sandy that hit New York City, we could be screwed for weeks.

    Needless to say, the blocked roads from fallen trees would make getting out of Dodge difficult for most.

    But the moronic tree huggers would let out a big outcry if the electric utility did anything other than prune year after year.

    4) The thunderstorms did terminate the Floyd protests and rioting , however.

    5) Off topic, but re massive surveillance, the Pennsylvania Turnpike –the main road across Pennsylvania from New York to Ohio – has used the Covid virus as an excuse to fire 500 toll collectors and go to automatic imaging of license plates so they can send you the bill in the mail. I.e, they now track anyone who gets on the Turnpike and knows where/when they get off.

    1. I second the sand bags and plywood and bolts or screws to be used for attachment.
      eBay has good availability on sandbags. It is small, compact, inexpensive insurance that will last a long long time if stored dry and away from sunlight.

  5. A quick Amazon search- generator interlock for your QO, HOM, or ITE (Seimens and Murray) main panel are all under $50. This is entry level, all manual operation, and you should hire an electrician to install it if you are not savvy. Plus you will need a permanent place to install a gen plug and a wire to your main. Total material cost should be under $200. The big disadvantage is you will be starting your genset, plugging it in, flipping off your main breaker and turning on the gen breaker in the dark. Also this system does not tell you when the power comes back on. (Check the in the dark neighbors now and then). A essential circuit panel does tell you because the circuits not working come back on.

    The other end of the spectrum, a permanently installed natural gas generator will set you back close to $10K in my neck of the woods. But it comes on automatically and self tests weekly.

  6. I went with a 6 switch Reliance panel.
    It was less than 300.00. Electrician might be 200.00 more.
    6 switches and 2 were yoked for the well pump.
    We put the other 4 on essential circuits like coffee and hair dryer 😉
    With this panel the generator plugs straight into the transfer switch.
    No need to turn off any switches in the breaker panel.
    We only use one circuit at a time.
    We just leave an unassociated light switch on so when the power is restored we know it right away.

  7. One of the easiest things to live without is electricity. My old Honda generators cost $100.00 each, and will only be used if the solar panels can’t put out enough to recharge radios and batteries for flashlights and NV. 50 gallons of gasoline will power every device I own all winter 12 hours per day. 10 gallons of fuel is all I really need and only as back up for an especially long dark winter. They are not as efficient as a newer Honda 1000e, but the savings of about $900.00 each, means the fuel is free, and one can afford to buy two instead of one generator. Alternatives include a snowblower engine that turns a one wire Chevy alternator, and bicycle that can turn a treadmill motor, or the Chevy one wire alternator that generates 12vdc power. Kerosene lamps are my primary lighting during the winter. Instead of a transfer switch and the labor to install it, one could buy a used propane/natural gas refrigerator, and reduced the dependency on electricity and the cost of creating it.
    It is good to take a good hard look at what one actually needs versus what they want. I cover the all the bases first before getting what I want, but do not actually have to have. Given current events I would work hard to cover all the basics, and top priority to beefing up security. I would run out and get NV for the AR.

    1. One of the easiest things to live without is electricity.

      So true, TR. However, many readers will sputter and spit at that statement.

      Carry on in grace

      1. “However, many readers will sputter and spit at that statement.”

        Hey Marine, you got that one right! lol. When friends and family ask me to do an estimate of what it would cost to set up solar panels for them, I’m always shocked to see what their monthly electricity usage is. I’ve got mine down to 100 kWh per month even though I have solar panels. If TEOTWAWKI hits, generator fuel only lasts so long and then there’s going to be a very steep learning curve for electricity hogs. I try to prep so when the SHTF, it’s just be a small blip if I’m already living a self-reliant lifestyle.

    2. Because of the Virus, I prefer to make as few trips to the grocery store as possible and I also want to stockpile meat,eggs, cheese and other items in case there are shortages. So there is a stronger need to keep the packed refrigerator/freezer running than normally in order to not loose the money we have invested in the stockpile.

      Yes, we can get by on the beans and rice and sardines/corned beef I have stockpiled but I — And She Who Must Be Obeyed — prefer to eat normally if possible.

  8. I read the colloidal silver site. Looks great. However, the site says use silver wire. How about silver coins? Anybody have an opinion?

    Carry on in grace

    1. Hi Once a Marine,

      Using silver coins will work better than wire because of the unregulated amperage most make their colloidal silver with produces larger particle sizes when wire is used, and smaller sized particles when a coin is used. If one regulates the amperage, then the 14ga wire can produce very small colloid silver particles that work better on viruses, than the larger sized particles that better suited for bacteria.

      And it is true, most would not accept my statement about electricity and other opinions. There may come a day, however, that someone will find themselves in austere conditions, and remember and prioritize accordingly. Thanks for chiming in.

    2. The silver wire is more convenient but more expensive. I looked at alternatives. You could use an American Eagle silver coin or 1 ounce bar. They would likely last a lifetime. Just be certain to use 0.999 fine silver products. You will have to solder a wire to the coin or bar. Make certain to keep the solder joint above the water level, otherwise any metals other than silver in the solder will end up in the colloid suspension.

  9. TR
    Most of us would agree that there will be a day when electricity will not be available.
    Your point is good and important to consider in our future plans.
    The electrical grid does let us down when we least expect it too. Murphy’s law.
    As Don Williams noted many of us have stocked up on perishables to get us through without having to tap our stored food supply.
    Many have a need to pull water out of the ground. Even though we have alternative supply.

    Some of us have a need for a soft landing when the Schumer hits us. I asked her and that’s how I know.

    I appreciate the remarks that put emphasis on electrical safety. If people are going to use a generator connected to their house they need to do it safely. As you noted, Honda generators are definitely a great choice for clean and safe power.

    Thanks for all of you share. I always learn on this blog.

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