Hurricane Preparedness Experience- Part 3, by N.K.

Cooking was interesting. I had a propane gas grill with two spare 20-lb cylinders, a dual-fuel Coleman camp stove, a couple of single-burner butane units, and the ability to build a fire in the backyard. The gas grill got used, because it was easiest. It did take a couple of days to learn how to cook more than simple camping meals on it. We have an old style coffee percolator for camping, and getting the heat to it correctly on the grill took some learning. Cooking on the grill was something we should have practiced before we needed it. A …




How to Use Old Cooking Oil: The Floating Wick

A few months ago, one of my consulting clients mentioned that she had over-stocked her supply of vegetable oil. She had also neglected to store it in her freezer, to extend its storage life. The result after four years was 10 quarts of corn oil and two quarts of olive oil that had gone rancid. She asked if there was anything she could do with the oil. (She bemoaned the fact that that olive oil was particularly expensive.) My reply: Buy some floating wicks, and burn up that oil as a source of light and heat, during power failures. Floating …




Letter Re: Emergency Lighting

Good afternoon, Hugh, Two recent experiences drive me to write– a recent overnight house guest and a link today on Instapundit about surviving disaster (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150128-how-to-survive-a-disaster). My house guest commented on the number of my night lights and the fact that I have a floor lamp powered by a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), which is a “battery backup” typically used for computers. First, the night lights are what I prefer to call “target identification lights”. They’re not used just in the bathrooms; they are positioned to ensure anyone moving through the house must either cast a shadow or be silhouetted. This …




Scot’s Product Review: Streamlight Weapons Lights

Bad things can happen in the dark, and one of the great comforts we have is being able to make light. Light allows us to perceive our surroundings and make our way without stumbling. One thing I am seldom without is a good compact flashlight in my pocket. Over the last few years, weapon-mounted lights have become popular, especially in law enforcement circles. They are probably even more popular in Hollywood entertainment, and if you can stand the stuff, you will probably see at least one scene in almost any action TV show or movie with the hero searching about …




Letter Re: Alternate Lighting

Hugh, I’d like to tell you about a product I recently bought at Costco the other day. I have no stake in the company. It’s from Sunforce; it’s a 80 LED solar motion light. It has 900 lumens output from 80 white LEDs. It has a separate solar panel that’s connected by a 15 foot cord to a battery pack in the light fixture. It has a motion detector and a three position switch: on, off, auto. I charged the batteries for three days, per the instructions for the initial charge. I put the switch in “on” position, and it …




The Leader’s Recon: Planning the Homesteader’s Defensive Battle Space, by Tim R.

Today, I did a leader’s recon (reconnaissance) of my small homestead.  While I was in the infantry, I would plan my future ground defense by walking the terrain with my small unit infantry leaders.  Today, I did the same, minus the team leaders.  Twenty years in the infantry, and now several years retired, and now I look at how I am going to protect my family and defend my rural homestead.  I feel that the day may be coming soon.  President Obama stated that our nation’s deficit does not concern him.  This nation is on a mad printing spree, conjuring …




Anderson Powerpoles: The Legos of DC Electronics, by Dan in Alaska

To say that I’m a neophyte in the electrical world, or as we say here in Alaska a “Cheechako”, is making a big understatement.  So, a couple years back my co-worker and friend got me into Amateur Radio, also affectedly known as Ham Radio.  I studied my ARRL Technician book and passed my test, but it just barely rattled what I had in my head 20 years ago from my only electronics class I had back in High School where we studied Ohm’s law, identified a resistor, and made a strobe light.  So, I’m on a big learning curve.  I …




Letter Re: Low Voltage DC LED Strip Lights for Disaster House Lighting

Dear JWR: This might have been thought of before, but I just stumbled into something called LED strip lights. Here is a sample. They come in 15 meter rolls, are about 1/2 inch wide and have 300 individual LED lights. They can be cut into segments between every third light. They run off of 12 volts DC and are actually rather bright while using little electricity. If you purchased one of those little strips the reloading companies sell to mount inside the press so you can see what’s going on, it is probably this stuff. There are several versions. Some …




Letter Re: Natural Gas Powered Generators in a Disaster–Their Compressors, and Yours

James, Thanks for the information you deliver every day. I have recently gone on Social Security Disability and have some money to further our preps. My wife and I will hunker down in place, that being said, we have done what we can to make this as easy as possible. We can heat our home without electricity, but still need a solution for limited electric needs in the event of power outage. We are looking at the Honda EU2000i portable generator with the multi-fuel upgrade. In our years here we have never lost our natural gas supply, but have often …




Home Power Systems: Energy Efficiency and Conservation, by L.K.O.

(Note: This article is part of a series of feature articles about alternative / sustainable / renewable energy solutions for self-sufficiency. Previous related articles in SurvivalBlog that complement this one are “Home Inverter Comparison: Off Grid and Grid Tied” and Home Power Systems: Micro Hydro. Upcoming article topics in this Home Power Systems series will include: Photovoltaics, Batteries, Wind generators, Solar Water Distillers, Solar Ovens, and Solar Water Heating.) Overview of Energy Efficiency and Conservation : The First Step in a viable Home Power System The most recent article in this series, Home Power Systems: Micro Hydro, in a way …




Letter Re: Not All Kerosene Lamps Are Created Equal

Mr. Rawles; As a young researcher in the field of indoor and household air pollution, I felt compelled to respond briefly to the commentary on kerosene lamps in today’s “Odds ‘n Sods”. Additionally, having met two and worked with one of the authors of this paper, I feel that I may have a perspective on the article that is unique among your readers. While it may be true that a natural disaster contributes more to atmospheric carbon levels than emissions from kerosene lamps in the United States, it may not be true when considering kerosene lamps in other countries — …




Letter Re: Common Ground With Greens

James Wesley: While the compact fluorescent bulbs are good at saving energy, even better are LED bulbs. I know they are expensive, but they are coming down in price and can be had at very reasonable prices on eBay. Not only that, but they “burn” cool to the touch and contain no mercury. A broken CF bulb practically warrants a HAZMAT crew! L’s last even longer than compact fluorescent bulbs and are made of plastic so there’s no worries about breakage. I’m building a solar power system for my home, and plan on switching to LEDs. – Dave, RN




Discovering What We Needed in an Actual Time of Need, by M.M.

There has been much talk on many survival/prepper blogs about when and if our electricity goes out. Lots of speculation by folks who have experienced short power outages. My husband and I have experienced numerous, long power outages. They are very common in the remote area where we live. As we are the last house on the power line, when the power goes out we are the last to get our power restored. Our most recent long lasting power outage was in January, when our area experienced a rare ice storm. In 17 years of living in our present home, …




Three Letters Re: Battery-Powered House Interior Lighting

Sir: I enjoy your blog and support you in a small way with the 10 Cent Challenge.  After reading your response to the Battery-Powered House Interior Lighting letter, I want to add some information that I learned at a FAA seminar that I attended.  The FAA is now endorsing blue or green lighting in the cockpit of all aircraft (general aviation and commercial).  The green and/or blue takes less energy output for the eyes to see details.  Also, red lighting can be seen from further away than blue/green (red is used to designate towers and tall buildings at night, where …




Letter Re: Battery-Powered House Interior Lighting

James Wesley: We have frequent power outages.  We bought a [deep cycle] marine battery from Bass Pro Shops that was intended use with a trolling motor.  We keep this battery continuously trickle-charged.   A small inverter from Radio Shack provides 120 VAC for three strings of white LED Christmas lights attached to the uppermost part of the most important wall.  A charged trolling motor battery will keep these efficient lights on for a very long time.  All we have to do is to plug the lights into the inverter socket. Very safe. – Anonymous JWR Replies: It would be much more efficient …