Letter Re: Forever Preps – Preparations You Can Buy Once, and Have Forever

Thanks and God Bless for your wonderful blog. You do mankind a great good every day your site is up and passing information to the masses. Please keep it coming.

I find it a rare and surprising occurrence when my real world work experience and professional knowledge actually prove some use to the on-going threads found at SurvivalBlog. Since I’m a career Maitre’ de in fine dining restaurants, it really isn’t surprising; I seriously doubt anyone will be worried about wine vintages or the proper service of escargot after TSHTF. However I was pleasantly surprised after I read Andrew D.’s post on Forever Preps. I found his info extremely helpful, since I quickly added a few amendments to my master prep list, with many valuable links.

I must disagree with Andrew on his candle substitute option, the paraffin oil cartridges. I have chosen, purchased, and used dozens of varieties of paraffin oil cartridges, and the lamps that burn them, throughout my 25 year career and in my experience they would be next to useless in a survival situation. They work well for what they are, which is a simple light source used to provide ambiance. They give virtually no use-able light and generate very, very, little heat. Mainly, because they are not meant to do so and they cannot be opened or adjusted, since the tiny wick is part of the sealed self contained unit. I once had to purchase small penlights for my entire waitstaff due to the ineffectiveness of these items with dim room lights, much less total darkness. These units are inexpensive, well sized and store well, but unless you can rig an alternate adjustable wick, which I don’t recommend, or transfer the oil to a proper lamp or lantern, I can’t see recommending this over candles or larger containers of oil. You don’t need the extra bother. However, I still trust candles as the ultimate back-up lighting. I live in the deep south and have also had candles melt to nothing in storage, so I tried a trick from a local candy vendor. This guy makes and sells Roman candy, i.e. taffy, from a horse drawn carriage even during the hottest summer days. To keep the candy from sticking and mal-forming when it’s soft from the heat, he would roll a stick in several layers of over-sized waxed paper and simply twist the ends. I tried this and it works well for tall candles and tapers. However the larger and detailed candles may mal-form a bit upon hardening and lose details. Plastic wrap will also work, however it may stick to the re-hardened candle a bit. Thanks. – W.N.