Letter Re: Your Earthquake Audit

Mr. Rawles: The recent article about conducting a home earthquake audit reminds me of a preparedness step that I took: A little over a year ago I saw an automatic gas shutoff valve displayed at a professional plumbing store. After looking in the cutaway demonstration  valve , I inquired about the cost of the valve, which was around $100. I have kept a wrench next to the gas meter for years, but last year I had to commute 60  miles  away for school. Now with a new prepper mentality  , I wondered what would happen if a big quake did …




Aloe Vera, My Survival Companion, by Carol F.

I grew up in the low desert areas of Arizona:  Douglas, Wilcox, and Mesa.   Later, living near Flagstaff, I began keeping Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) in my kitchen.  In the low desert, Aloe grows in medians and desert yards; almost weed – like.  It is a succulent so it does not need much water.  Most of its moisture comes from any available humidity.  It has a cactus look without thorns, and is a welcome green in a harsh country.  A bonus is the beautiful tiny orange-yellow lily flower that fits with the easy lifestyle of a desert landscape.   Pictures and …




Two Letters Re: Fire Protection 101

Dear Mr Rawles, In regard to the article by Firefighter Charles on fire protection, I imagine (and, indeed hope) that I won’t be the only person who suggests a qualifier to the advice on what to do with a fire in a cooking pan.  My understanding is that one should NEVER put water on a pan which holds oil or fat, because the resulting explosive burst of steam and fat will leave anyone attempting the exercise with extensive, serious burns. I realize that Firefighter Charles dealt with grease fires earlier in the same paragraph, but wondered if it might be …




Fire Protection 101, by Firefighter Charles

Fire protection is very important for the home.  Keeping protection around your home from fire is a very important practice.  Too many homes a year are destroyed to fires.  Too many people die each year from fire related deaths (Note: Most people die from smoke inhalation not the heat of the fire).  You should learn ways on how to prevent fires and learn method on how to fight fires.  Preventing fire will lessen your chance of a fire but learning how to fight a fire will lessen the damage to your home and keep your family alive.       Understanding The …




Letter Re: Multiple Advantages of ICF Construction

Jim: I am considering using Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) for building my next house/retreat back in the United States  for when I feel that it is not longer safe to live abroad.    For a relatively small incremental cost in a new home (3-5%), you have disaster proof, fire resistant, fortified home. I found this brochure (in PDF) that describes some of the advantages of ICF construction.   Best Regards, – AmEx (American Expatriate)




An Army Veteran’s Thoughts on Camouflage, by H.R.

In case of TEOTWAWKI, being successful in the art of camouflaging will be a serious matter. It will be necessary for many aspects of life to include; movement, reconnaissance, and ambush. Camouflaging is a multi-tiered animal, including camouflaging your skin, your clothing, your gear, and your weapon. I spent six years in the army as an Infantryman. As a result I personally have spent 26 months of my life in Iraq, and I have been on well over 500 combat patrols: to include raids and ambushes of all kinds. Camouflaging of your outfit or uniform begins with the construction of …




Building a Fire in a Post-Collapse World, by Entropy

Recently (based on a suggestion by a SurvivalBlog reader) I began a Meetup Group for Emergency Preparedness.  One of the Meetup events that I’m soon to host is entitled “To Build a Fire”.  Hosting this Meetup which I originally conceived as simply a fire building class has forced me to think logically about tactical fire building in a WTSHTF scenario where you are forced to build a fire for survival purposes.  I’ve synthesized these ideas into this article. By “tactical” what I mean is “low observability” because technically no true definition of tactical perfectly fits this discussion.  However people should …




Guest Article: To Build a Fire, by Bob A.

Okay, I admit it, I’m a Prepper.  The first time I read the Boy Scout Motto “Be Prepared”, I was hooked.  “Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, “Why, for any old thing.” said Baden-Powell.  My real awakening with the Boy Scout Handbook was my first introduction to fire.  Learning to make a basic campfire, a cook fire, bonfire and camp-fire television were the first tastes of what would prepare me for the future. I camped, earned merit badges and worked my way to First Class and Patrol leader all the while putting an end …




Three Letters Re: Turning One Town’s Junk Into This Man’s Treasure

James: That was an excellent article by A. Arizonan! As a former newspaper deliverer (rural route in the American Redoubt), I would like to add that there are benefits to delivering or subscribing to newspapers. As a deliverer who serviced home customers and coin-op boxes, I could amass “extra” or “unsold” paper to the tune of about 300 to 500 pounds a month. To this day I still have about 2000 pounds in storage. I’d have more but I can’t properly store any more. The added benefit of my former route was that I got to meet a lot of …




Odds And Ends That You Won’t Want To Be Without, by Sonny Jim

I believe in having all the “big” things, to prepare for the possible breakdown of civil society.   I have a large home outside of a small mid-west town, and expect 12 people to arrive to hunker down, if things do fall apart.  I need to be able to feed and supply of them, perhaps for years. So I have 1,200 gallons of Kerosene.  This is intended for heating the home for 3 winters, and I have 3 Kerosene heaters to do the job.  The Kerosene is stored in in 3 large 330 gallon plastic totes, half buried in my back …




Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting, by Ron B.

INTRODUCTION I began work in Toronto on August 1, 2003.  The lights went out three weeks later.  The entire Northeast was dark for several days. The company had provided us with three months of free housing.  By my standards it was quite posh ¾ pool privileges, chandeliers, weekly maid service.  But we knew nobody, had little food in the cupboard, and no local currency.  (Then again the cash registers didn’t work anyway.)  When the sun went down it got dark and stayed dark.  We had no light of any kind.  Granted, the two huge candlesticks on the mantle were a …




Letter Re: Tire Bale Bastions and Houses?

Hi, Doing some research on earth domes and I’m seeing a new trend, tire bales. These are 5 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 2.5 feet tall. They weigh 2,000 pounds apiece. They are environmentally friendly, being sold for $25-35 a unit plus shipping. I’m planning on using them around the houses perimeter as I feel they are much less expensive and more durable than a masonry wall. Covered in concrete or adobe they won’t be an aesthetic issue either. I was wondering what your opinion of them would be as a ballistic barrier/wall? Keep up the great work. – …




Letter Re: Testing a Breath of Life Emergency Mask

Hi James, I recently attended a close quarters battle (CQB) training course with a company here in the United States. After the course, I was very kindly ‘gifted’ a ‘Breath of Life’ emergency mask. I was very grateful for this gesture, and curious as to this product. Luckily, as a volunteer fire fighter, I got the chance to try this mask’ effectiveness during one of our training sessions, which can be seen here. I must say, I was incredibly impressed with this product, and as a long time reader of your excellent site, feel it maybe of interest to your …




Some Useful Government Training, by David N. From Tennessee

Just like everybody else, I am unique. In the disaster prepper field I am unique in that I am both a diehard personal prepper and a college trained emergency management professional.  I did not become one because of the other; my personal preparedness mindset comes from my parents, as well as my internal system of ethics and belief structure.  My career path grew out of my military and correction background.  However, even though they are separate, I find that my skills in one translate to the other even though the goals of the two are not always identical. I would …




Letter Re: Making Good Use of the Hissing Well

Mr. Rawles, A s a distributor of oil and gas parts, it warmed my heart to read R.J.’s article. I would note a couple of things, however. First, when you reduce the pressure of gas you also reduce its temperature. In the aforementioned case, that pressure reduction would drop the temperature by around 10 degrees F. Ordinarily this isn’t a problem, but in the winter an already-cold regulator could seize or internal parts could break. With higher pressures, the problem becomes much more significant. To solve this problem, most installers would use two regulators with some pipe between them. Each …