Treating for Shock

Any sort of traumatic injury can lead to shock. What happens is the body’s system starts diverting blood to the vital organs, lessening the circulation to other areas. Ultimately, this can be fatal if not treated.

The symptoms of shock include a quickened pulse and a gray or blue pallor to the skin, particularly in the face and lips. The skin can feel cold to the touch and may be clammy. Trouble breathing and feeling sick to the stomach can also occur.

Keep the victim lying down, with their legs raised. (Do not elevate the legs if the victim has a head injury.) Be careful in elevating legs if the legs are injured, of course. Loosen their belt and clothing. This helps them breathe easier. If the victim has vomited or seems likely to do so, keep them on their side so fluid drains out of their mouth. Otherwise, keep them on their back and as comfortable as possible.

Keep the victim warm with jackets, blankets, or other clothing. Try to keep them conscious and alert by speaking to them reassuringly.

Give fluids only if all the following conditions are met:

1) There is no abdominal injury.
2) The victim can hold the cup themselves.
3) Surgery is not likely to happen in the next six hours.
4) Evacuation is not likely in the next six hours.
5) There is no downward change to their consciousness level.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

An Unusual Tool for the Bug Out Bag

If you grew up out in the sticks, you’ll probably recognize this tool. On the other hand, city folk might be puzzled by it at first.

Commonly called either a fence tool or fence pliers, it is typically used for, well, putting up fencing. The tool is like the bastard son of a pair of pliers and a hammer, with a bit of wire cutters tossed into the mix.

Around 10-11″ long, it isn’t tiny but could well be worth the space it will take up in a pack. The tool features a hammer head, wire cutters, staple pulling jaws on the top, and a spike opposite the hammer.

While you could use a rock or possible the butt end of your knife to pound in stakes for your emergency shelter, the hammer part of this tool will do the job easier. In a pinch, either the hammer or the spike could serve as a weapon.

The wire cutters can trim up your snare wire when needed. The staple pulling jaws could serve as a vise as you cobble together makeshift tools in the field.

New, these go for around $15 but you can often find them used at rummage sales for far less. While it is obviously too large for a minimalist kit, odds are you can find room for it in any larger bug out bag.

Gifting a DIY Bug Out Bag

For Christmas this year, I’m giving one of my family members a bug out bag. Don’t worry, they don’t read this blog so it will still be a surprise to them. The family consists of two adults and two young children.

I’ll start by picking up a decent small backpack at a thrift store. The idea with this kit isn’t to be able to live for weeks on end out in the wilderness but rather endure a night or two stranded somewhere. So, no need for an elaborate kit inside a giant backpack.

Inside the pack, I’ll have the following:

Two of the HeatSheets 2 person emergency blankets.

A fire starting kit consisting of fire straws, strike anywhere matches, a butane lighter, and a fire steel.

Two survival whistles.

Paracord and duct tape.

A small first aid kit.

A Mora Companion SG knife.

A couple small LED flashlights.

There will also be instructions as to additional items they should add to the kit. One of the kids has a number of food allergies so it will be far easier for them to add the appropriate types of food, enough to last a couple days. Two or three blankets to be rolled up and kept next to the kit. They should have a few regular water bottles as well. Both the parents have cell phones so they should already have at least one with them in an emergency. Extra hats and gloves for each family member will help keep everyone warm.

All told, I’ll be able to put this together for under sixty bucks or so. A rather modest investment, really, considering the potential benefits.

Reference Books for the Long Haul

If there does come to pass a total collapse, folks are pretty much going to be on their own for quite some time. With a collapse will probably come a lack of Internet access so you’re going to want at least a few basic reference books on hand to guide you through unfamiliar procedures. There’s also the problem of educating kids, which will fall onto parents much more than it does today.

Here is a short list of topics that should be addressed in your home library reference materials.

Home repair: You’ll want one or more books that detail how to effect basic carpentry, plumbing, and even electrical repairs. Sure, common sense can probably guide you through some of it but it will be nice to see how things “should” be done. There are a ton of great books out there, such as the ones published by Home Depot. After a collapse, these books may end up being worth their weight in gold.

Medical: Into this category fall both traditional medicine as well as herbal and other so-called folk medicine. Where There Is No Doctor, Where There Is No Dentist, as well as the phenomenal Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Handbook By Joseph Alton M.D. and Amy Alton ARNP are all highly recommended.

Bushcraft: If you aren’t well experienced with wilderness skills, pick up a few good books on the subject so you aren’t totally lost. Naturally, I’d suggest you go through those books and learn the skills, rather than just hope you’ll be able to pick it up on the fly when needed.

Educational: Give some thought to picking up at least a few basic texts on language, math, science, and history. Given how popular homeschooling has become in recent years, you should have no trouble finding some great books out there on these subjects. Keep in mind the ages of your children and plan ahead to provide for their needs in the years to come.

Haunt used bookstores and rummage sales frequently and you’ll be able to put together a fairly extensive reference library at little cost. The benefits may turn out to be enormous!

Lose a Tail

As I’ve mentioned a time or two, my day job is working as a private investigator. I’ve been working in this field for close to twenty years now. While I don’t know all there is to know about surveillance and such, I’ve learned a few things over the years.

Today, we’ll talk about how to lose someone who is tailing you in a vehicle. Why in the world would someone need to know that, outside of a movie or thriller novel? Well, one ploy criminals use, particularly this time of year, is to watch for a car all loaded up with gifts and follow it home. They then know a great house to hit with burglary later. Some sex assaults happen this way as well.

If you think you’re being followed, make four consecutive left turns. While there’s a chance someone might legitimately make a couple of those turns with you, the odds are about nil that someone who isn’t deliberately following you would make all four of those turns.

You can also speed up, slow down, and change lanes at irregular intervals. Do not do anything that is dangerous or hazardous to other drivers though. There’s no sense in putting innocent folks at risk. Just keep an eye on the vehicle you think is following you and see if they mirror your movements here and there.

If you still feel you are being followed, drive directly to the closest police department. Do NOT go home or to your workplace. If they don’t already know those locations, you don’t want to clue them in. If you have a cell phone, call the police and explain the situation. Try to stay in well populated areas, rather than heading off into the boonies.

Remember, it is better to feel a moment of embarrassment if you’re wrong rather than lose your stuff or your life because you didn’t want to look stupid.

Making a Bola

The bola has been used for hundreds of years in hunting and in warfare. Deceptively simple in design, it consists of three weights at the end of cords that are attached to one another. It is held where the cords join, spun around the head, then thrown at the target. The weights wrap the cords around the target, immobilizing it for dispatch.

Here is a simple way to make a bola at home.

Take three tennis balls and, using a razor knife, cut two Xs on each ball. The Xs should be on opposite sides, one across from the other. These Xs need not be very large, perhaps the size of a nickel or so.

Cut three lengths of paracord or clothesline about 3-4 feet long. Tape the end of each cord to a pencil or a straightened out metal clothes hanger and push it through the holes you made on the tennis balls, one cord for each ball. The cord should run through the ball. Tie a large knot on the cord to keep it from pulling back through. You might find it easier to thread the cord through a metal washer first as that will prevent you from having to make an enormous knot.

Once you’ve done this for all three balls, tie the loose ends of each cord together. You may want to wrap duct tape around the cords at that end as well, making something like a handle.

Now you’ll want to add some weight to those tennis balls. Push pennies, small rocks, or nuts and bolts through the holes you made on the balls. You don’t want to add too much though otherwise the bola won’t be easy to control. You want just enough weight to give each ball a bit of heft.

To use, grasp the bola where you made your duct tape handle and begin twirling it around your head. When you have it spinning at a good clip, throw it at your target as you would a lasso. It will take a bit of practice but you’ll get the hang of it. Your target should be the legs of the animal or bad guy. To practice, use a fence post.

Rolling Carts for Bug Out?

It was brought to my attention today that one of the new products being marketed to preppers is a sort of rolling cart that is designed to be a portable bug out bag or kit.

While it looks like a solid and well built cart, I cannot in good conscience recommend such a product for bugging out. First, it is bound to be heavy. One of the selling points they make is that it is set up to carry 28 liters of water in seven bottles of four liters each. That alone weighs over 60 pounds! Add in your gear as well as the expected weight of the cart itself and you’re going to be getting close to 100 pounds.

Ok, sure, you’re rolling it not carrying it so the weight isn’t quite as much of a factor. But, what if you do need to pick it up over just a large crack in the road? Can you essentially dead lift 100lbs and carry it even as much as six feet? Or are you expecting to unload the contents a little at a time, then repack everything?

Also, we’re assuming that we can find fairly level surfaces to wheel this beast around on. I can’t imagine this sort of cart will be all joy and sunshine to get up a hill though. Downhill could be fun, I guess. This cart does come with brakes, so we have that going for us, I suppose.

Look, I fully realize there are folks out there who are, for one reason or another, not physically capable of carrying a pack or a duffel bag. I totally get that. But if your physical condition prevents you from doing that, I would expect that same physical condition is not conducive to pushing or pulling 100lbs on wheels for any great distance.

A bicycle might be a better solution. Not necessarily for riding but as a “pack mule.” I think you’ll find a bike is easier to push than a cart. Outfitted with panniers and such, a bike can carry quite a bit of gear and still be very easy to push.

Personally, I would never suggest someone on foot even try to come up with a way to transport that much water to begin with. It just isn’t feasible. Far better to have a few water bottles and the means to collect and purify more water along the way.

Property Search

So, my wife and I have started looking for new digs. In today’s market, deals are there to be had, that’s for sure. But the downside is, if you’re a current homeowner like me and still owe money on your current house, you’re looking at getting nowhere near what the property should be worth. Plus, we have a limited budget, at least until I finally hit Powerball.

One property we looked at over the weekend was pretty decent. It had about 3.5 acres of land, with farm land all around. Good sized house, with a full basement and two decks. A two car attached garage and a large outbuilding. This outbuilding had room for several cars, though part of it was actually set up with horse stables. They had also started building a small apartment above. But, there were enough downsides for us to definitively pass on it.

1) It was located just off a major highway.

2) Not enough land.

3) The driveway is actually shared with the folks who live just behind the house. Could be good or bad, depending on the neighbors.

4) The house had been added on to at least twice, based on what we saw in the basement. Any time you add on to a house, you risk problems with the construction.

With our budget, we don’t hold any illusions that we can afford our dream property — 50+ acres with a pond or year round stream, mostly wooded but with several acres cleared for a house site, gardens, and greenhouses. But, we do have a few things on our list that we consider to be “must haves.”

–Full basement, poured cement or block. No evidence of water leaking in anywhere.

–Minimum 3-5 acres. More is better, of course.

–A house in “turn the key and live” condition. I don’t want to have to spend thousands of dollars and hours fixing things before the house is livable.

–4+ bedrooms. With three kids, who are only going to get bigger, I’d like for each of them to have their own room.

–Room for a home office. Currently, we have a small bedroom we’re using for an office/library.

–2+ full baths. With five people living together, this is rapidly becoming an issue.

–Legally able to have chickens, goats, and other homesteading critters.

With regards to location, we’re sort of torn on the issue. We like being close enough to civilization that shopping and such aren’t a huge ordeal. Right now, my wife commutes about five minutes to work. Given we’ve had car trouble several times in the last few years, this has been a huge benefit. Also, we love our current neighbors. But, it would really be nice to look out my window and not see another house within a stone’s throw.

We’re not really looking to leave the area altogether. Let’s face it, the job market isn’t exactly booming right now. So, we’re not looking to pull up stakes and hope for the best somewhere else. We both have jobs we like and while like anyone else we’d like to have more earned income, we’re doing ok on that score.

We’re fortunate in that we don’t need to move immediately. We can take our time and find the right place for us, rather than a place that is just ok for now.

Realistically, what would you be looking for in a new house and property?

Keeping Warm When The Power Is Out

One of the critical problems faced during a power outage in winter is keeping warm. Of course, if you have a wood stove or a fireplace, this isn’t as much of an issue, provided you have firewood available.

If you don’t have either of those, there are still several things you can do to keep warm.

First, bundle up. Layers work much better than just wearing one big coat. A knit hat will do wonders for keeping you warm as much of your body heat is lost through your head. Thick socks and mittens or gloves will keep your feet and hands warm.

When feasible, have family members pair up under blankets and comforters. This is when having good quality emergency blankets will be of great benefit. They will reflect back about 90% of your body heat.

Don’t overlook pets either. Keeping dogs and cats on your lap or next to you will give you quite a bit of warmth, as well as sharing your warmth with them.

It is best to keep everyone all in one room. If you cover the windows and doorways with hanging blankets, this will keep the body heat in the room. On average, the human body gives off about the same amount of heat as a 100 watt light bulb. By trapping this heat from a few people all in one room, you’ll go far in alleviating cold conditions.

A few lit candles in the room will also give off a bit of heat, as well as keeping things from getting too dark. Just be very careful where you put the candles so as to avoid accidents.

Do NOT try using any sort of open flame larger than a candle indoors. Do NOT use a propane or other gas heater without proper ventilation. Do NOT use your gas stove for heating the room. Any of these are just asking for bad things to happen.

Simple DIY Security Solutions

While many of us would love to have a security system that would rival Fort Knox, the reality is most of us are just about flat broke, right? Here are some quick and easy DIY approaches to increasing your security in the home.

Hang a wind chime on the inside of every exterior door. You could leave them in place 24/7 or have them on a hook next to the door and just put them on the door every night as you check the locks. This is also a great way to determine exactly how far past curfew your teen is when coming home. I’m willing to bet you can find wind chimes at your local thrift store for under a couple bucks.

While you’re at Goodwill, keep your eyes open for a used baby monitor set. Put the transmitter near the door most likely to be used by an intruder and the receiver in your room. Turn them both on at bedtime.

Keep the area near your exterior doors free of bushes and shrubs. If you already have exterior lighting above the doors, consider replacing them with motion activated lights. Ideally, use the brightest bulbs you can in the fixtures.

At the back door, the one that is hidden from the road and more likely to be used by burglars, put an old dog dish on the porch or patio. Not a brand new one that is still shiny but one that’s obviously seen better days. Time and again, in prison surveys burglars cite the presence or suspicion of a dog in the house as a major deterrent. If you’re thinking of adding a dog to the mix, be sure to visit your local humane society.

You should go through your home and ensure you have a self-defense weapon available to you in each room. Pepper spray is a great choice. Kitchens, of course, are rife with improvised weapons — knives, rolling pins, heavy skillets. But, what about your home office? Or the bathroom?

Remember though, the idea is if there is a break in, you want to be alerted to it as soon as possible and your goal is to get out and call law enforcement. Only engage the intruder if you have no other option.