Letter Re: Fire Fighting Tools and Skills for Retreats

Dear Mr. Rawles, Recently a fellow posted asking about firefighting options. If he wants advice about firefighting and resources to do so, he might want to look into joining his local Volunteer Fire Department (VFD). Fire departments are the first ones (along with law enforcement) to be summoned to any natural or man-made disaster. For this reason, almost all fire departments (including the VFDs) prepare, trains themselves for disaster! 75% of the fire departments in the United States are manned by volunteers. All [of them] are always looking to add men to their rosters. While one might think that all …




Chimney Construction, by PrepNow

I would like to offer some information about my experience with chimney construction and creosote build up. This information does not apply to the typical suburban open fireplace. What I’m talking about is a wood-burning stove designed to heat your home or shelter. There are a number of manufactured fireplaces available that are designed to regulate the amount of combustion air traveling into the firebox and consequently the control the actual burn. These are the most efficient and are the type that we would be using in a structure designed to ride out the future storm. Construction of the chimney …




Two Letters Re Converting A Gasoline Engine Generator Set to Propane

Hi Jim, Regarding the thread on converting generators to propane, last year I installed a tri-fuel conversion kit on my 7.5 KW generator, that has a Honda engine. [Since the conversion] it works perfectly and [the conversion kit] was very easy to install. If the [grid] power goes out, I can switch it to the piped-in natural gas and if that goes out, I can either use propane or gasoline. I also got an inexpensive solar trickle charger and connected that to the battery, so that the battery is always fully charged. Best Regards, – Kurt JWR Replies: I consider …




Letter Re: Smoke Damaged Firearms

Greetings, In January, our home burned down. The family made it out safely thanks to our dog waking us up. The fire started outside and once it entered the house it was engulfed in minutes. My question is how to restore books, firearms, et cetera that have been damaged by smoke and fire. Since getting burned out is a possibility in survival times this information could be quite handy. BTW Smoke eats the finish on guns. My Mini-14 got eaten up pretty badly, but the CETME in the rack next to it came out just fine. I guess they used …




Letter Re: Bullet Casting: A (Relatively) Simple Introduction, by AVL

James, Another safety item for melting lead: When done pouring bullets, it is important that any remaining lead should be poured out of the pot, rather leaving it to solidify in the pot. Lead like all other materials will expand when heated. Lead will also melt from the bottom up and if trapped by a solid layer at the top, may erupt when it breaks through that top layer. – R.H.




Three Letters Re: Bullet Casting: A (Relatively) Simple Introduction, by AVL

Hi Jim, I have two notes regarding casting your own bullets (or any other metal for that matter): First: One piece of safety equipment that you really should have on hand when casting any metal is dry sand. Make sure you have at least 25 pounds of dry sand at the ready. If there is a metal spill, dump the sand on it and it will contain the flow and cool it quickly, plus it will cut of the supply of oxygen, preventing fire. Second: A fire extinguisher is good to have to put out fires, but with molten metal …




Bullet Casting: A (Relatively) Simple Introduction, by AVL

Bullet casting is likely one of the oldest activities regarding firearms. From the time humans graduated from using shaped rocks, casting was the method of choice for just about every projectile. While there are other methods that allow for more complex designs (swaging, see corbins.com) casting is still the best simple method for turning a lump of otherwise useless lead into a projectile that will put food on your table and protect your family. Safety It is important to note that casting is a dangerous process. Casting will expose you to toxic metals at high temperature. Safety is paramount. I …




Letter Re: Gas Masks, Fire, and Chlorine Gas

Jim, Thank you for your hard work on maintaining the SurvivalBlog. I was first introduced to survival ideas in the late 1990s when I read your novel “TEOTWAWKI” (I read it again when it was [expanded and] re-published as “Patriots”.) I truly appreciate the time and effort you spend promoting a self-reliant way of life. I am an Air Force NBC instructor (have been for about 8 years now) and I am concerned that recent posts on your web site will lead people to believe that military gas masks will protect them from industrial chemical releases. Military masks (M17, M40, …




Two Letters Re: Gas Masks, Fire, and Chlorine Gas

Jim: Just something I would really like to beat to death, and that’s Chlorine, Fires and Gas masks. I just keep getting this really creepy feeling that there are a lot of folks out there that aren’t clued in on the limitations of gas masks and may kill themselves. First:, grass fires, forest fires and house fires. A gas mask will keep you from choking on the fumes and stop your eyes from watering but it will kill you! The mask will stop the particulate matter that irritates your eyes, throat and lungs but it will not make oxygen where …




Letter Re: The Apex, North Carolina Fire

A quick comment regarding the Apex fire story suggestions. In Northwest Florida many years ago several chlorine rail cars derailed and leaked in the middle of the night. Residents close to the derailment tried to escape the harmful fumes by getting in their cars and driving off. Unfortunately, the chlorine gas saturation level in the area was too high and most vehicles would not start. Many families perished in their cars. Gas masks are great idea if you have to walk out. Probably the next best thing is to have a ready response kit that will seal openings, doors and …




Stockpile Fire Safety Considerations, by AVL

Hazardous materials storage laws can affect your intended stockpile. The survival mantra is “Be Prepared!” to this end; it is often necessary to have stockpiles of materiel that may come in handy in case of an emergency. Most conversations about such stockpiles talk about food, water, clothing, and of course gasoline, ammunition, gunpowder, primers etc. While there are currently no limits as to what quantity of food, water, and shelter you can store, gasoline, ammunition and firearms are another story entirely. What is considered hazardous material? A hazardous material is anything that may adversely affect your safety or the safety …




Letter Re: David in Israel on Fire Suppression and Fire Fighting

Mr. Rawles, The Ben Meadows catalog is a great place for all kinds of outdoor equipment. The print catalog is a few hundred pages long, with everything from soil testers to firefighting gear and arborist supplies. I consider it recreational reading as well as a supply source. Their website has a “Wildland Fire Management” page: See: http://www.benmeadows.com/refinfo/wildlandfire.htm?cid=W51206  Regards, – TFA303




Letter Re: David in Israel on Fire Suppression and Fire Fighting

Greetings JWR, A few words about the article that David sent you on fire suppression: While I admit my wildland fire fighting experience is limited, as a member of private forest industry we do a lot for fire prevention. My associations with fire run deep. David recommended talking to state and Federal forest entities…look up your local private industry forester. Often these people are happy to give advice and know contacts of people with the equipment and knowledge to do the work at reasonable rates. First, do not wait to make a clearing around your house…make one around your property. …




David in Israel on Fire Suppression and Fire Fighting

For those with a real retreat in the forest or high desert a more pressing need than complete firearms battery is fire suppression. If you miss my point here, I believe that many survivalists confuse their gun hobby with serious survival preparations. If the massive combined fire suppression ever stops for even a year massive fires will rip across the United States. Fuel loading from over 70 years of fire suppression and no natural burn-off has made conditions ripe for fires never seen before in North America.  Even if your only survival concerns are foreign invasion or occupation expect fire …