Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tornado and Bomb Shelters Revisited

            This week in the United States, no fewer than 35 people died protecting their loved ones from tornadoes which appeared in parts of the American South.  This storm will be in my neck of the woods later this afternoon.
            In view of this, I am reprising the information from two posts I made two years ago, which focus on families who might consider a storm shelter, if they live in an area without a basement or simply live in a home without one.

            I don't have the time this morning to recheck the prices or even the existence of the companies listed, but most of these companies are still in operation, though the product lines and prices have changed.

         Stay safe everyone.

Excerpted from the original post:   Examining Bomb Tornado and Security Shelters
first posted on  April 18, 2012

This is the header from the Security Disasters website.  Scroll right to see entire picture.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
         With a number of deaths occurring this week following tornadoes in Kansas this week, I am receiving questions once again, about shelters.  Before investing a huge sum in such a thing, we all need to do a great deal of research.  We need to make sure that we tailor our responses to the reasonable risks in our area.  I think it unwise to take a second mortgage for an emergency shelter when the fortification of a basement, or a storm cellar might not only be cheaper,  but might financially allow the stocking of more supplies, broadening the overall preparedness of a family.

                  Still, I have promised to mention, some of the companies who will provide emergency shelters. Perhaps a discussion of these, will give you your own ideas.

                 Security Disaster Shelters is a Silverthorne, Colorado  company which is forty years old.
They specialize in the fabrication of steel structures for the purpose of egress from a home,  blast valve sleeves, hatches, blast door components etc.  They also build single and multi-unit emergency shelters.  There is value in visiting the offices and meeting with the people who make such structures, and so I will include many of these contractors so that you may talk to several.

           Security Disaster Shelters
        (970) 468-2125

      They are also associated with

We profiled on another post, so all I will do here, is provide their website:


Our prior post which discussed their company is here: d-about-construction.html


  Deep Earth Bunker is a company which specializes in the creation of everything from tsunami pods, to safe rooms, tornado safety shelters.  Their designs carry a Professional Engineer stamp, who also has a Ph D.  They also can fire proof, and bullet proof existing structures. They claim to be able to provide alternatives on lower budgets also.  They will discuss projects anywhere in the world.



This is the sleeping area of just one of their underground structures.

  Radius Engineering  designs and constructs a variety of in ground structures for worldwide clients. They are a US Dept of Defense contractor who can build anything you need.  They are Texas based.  They can provide pre-made shelters or manufacture these on site.

This is an installation of one of their ready-made units.

Phone: 972.552.2484
Fax: 866.503.3854                    

(6 Ft W x 10 Ft L X 6 Ft H) Seating up to 18 people
*Actual shelter shown, to be installed 100% below ground.
 Exterior colored paint for advertising purposes only.

  Many people who have contacted me lately, aren't looking for a bomb shelter, or hidden shelter per se, as much as they are looking for a tornado shelter, as they have no basement.

Here are some companies who can help with this issue:

Tornado Shelters Inc. for a short period have free delivery anywhere in the US.   They can provide shelters which are focused on tornado sheltering for 10-40 people.  These shelters cost anywhere from $3,000. US to about $17,000. US, and are a great value.

The above prices reflect cash purchase pricing.
Call and ask about our
"Rent To Own" Program!
Payments starting as low as $199.00 per month.      214-686-3696


This excellent information found within the two sets of two undulating lines, came from:

Considerations to keep in mind when looking at commercially made underground shelters:
  • What kind of material is used in its manufacture? Shelters may be made of concrete, steel, fiberglass, or other materials. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, for both installation and long-term use.
  • What style would best suit our needs and situation? There are storm shelters that are meant to be built into a new home, there are storm shelters that are meant to be installed in an existing home, there are storm shelters that are meant to be installed in the ground adjacent to a home. Some manufacturers are marketing "double duty" shelters, that can be used for valuables or extra storage area.
  • If you live in an area where you are affected by hurricanes, you will want to use the shelter for protection from them as well. So you will need to consider the possibility of storm surge in determining whether or not you want an underground or partially underground shelter.
  • How thick is the fiberglass/steel/concrete? Thick enough to withstand the stresses that will undoubtedly be put on it whether there is a tornado or not?
  • Were engineers involved with the design or is this an offshoot of another business that makes a different product that is not subject to the kind of stresses a storm shelter has?
  • What sizes are available?
  • How many people can fit comfortably into the shelter?
  • What provision is made for seating?
  • What provision is made for lighting?
  • What provision is made for ventilation, especially if the door is blocked for several hours?
  • Is there storage space for emergency supplies like water, a first aid kit, etc?
  • Does the entry to the shelter open outward, inward, or slide sideways?
  • Is there provision for getting out if the door is blocked or a tree falls on it?
  • How high is the water table in your area, and what provision is there to keep the shelter in position? If you have a high water table, you don't want water leaking into the shelter, nor do you want it bobbing up out of the ground.
  • If I live on a flood plain that sees frequent high water, what provision has been made to keep flood water from entering the shelter?
  • Is the shelter seamless, or are there seams that might allow water or soil in?
  • How deeply does the soil freeze? If you live in a northern climate, you don't want the frost in the ground buckling or cracking the sides or forcing the shelter out of the ground little by little.
  • How far down is the bedrock in your area? Shallow soils above bedrock may add considerably to the installation cost, although it doesn't prevent you from installing an underground shelter.
  • Shelters may be partially sunk into the ground, then banked with soil. What is the cost of drawing in additional dirt to bank a storm cellar that is only half underground?
  • What is the basic cost of the shelter?
  • Can I have it shipped here and install it myself with local help?
  • What "accessories" are available and what is the cost of each?
  • What is the cost of installation if we have to drill through rock to put it underground?
  • What is the cost to ship it to my location? The proximity to a dealer is often THE determining factor in choosing a shelter! Fortunately, there are a number of manufacturers with dealers in many states, so the choices now are better than they were a few years ago.
  • What is the installation cost if there is no bedrock?
  • How long a warranty is provided, and what does it cover?
  • What circumstances might negate that warranty?
  • What if I have a problem with it a few years from now--what kind of support do the company offer?
  • Are there additional costs I haven't asked about, and if so, what are they?
  • What is the amount of time it will take to complete the installation process?
  • Will unwelcome guests like rodents, snakes, scorpions, etc, be able to get into the shelter and either live or even worse, die there?
  • What kind of monthly/yearly maintenance is required or suggested?
  • How long has the company been in business? The longer the company has been in business, the more likely it is that they have created a good product and stand behind it. And the more likely they are still going to be around if you do have problems.
  • Ask for the names of previous customers that have shelters and speak to them about the performance of the product.
And ask yourself:
  • Are there underground pipes, conduits, gas lines, sewer lines, or cables that will have to be considered in or near the location you want to put your shelter?
  • Will their location have a part in determining which shelter is possible?
  • Do I want to consider investing in a larger shelter, and purchasing it jointly with a neighbor(s)? Is the neighbor going to be there permanently--is it another family member--might be factors here.
The FEMA site now has a document you can download on the performance criteria for tornado shelters. It is worthwhile reading! You can download it in Microsoft Word format here.

However, this is a good time to remind everyone that there are always "companies" that rush in after a disaster to take advantage of the victims of that disaster. It is sad but true. After Hurricane Andrew struck southern Florida, trucks crammed with jugs of tap water pulled into town, charging exhorbitant prices for something that, a day or so before, was not even considered valuable. After the ice storm struck Quebec, Canada in January, 1998, the same kind of thing happened. We heard of one person buying a whole truck-load of generators, then trying to peddle them to power-less Canadians at twice the price. There are companies that have products that can be "turned into" storm shelters. They have jumped into the shelter business, adapting these products somewhat. So go by the old adage, "Let the buyer beware!" If you have already decided that you are going to buy a shelter, ask the hard questions before you invest--because it really IS an investment.


The Tornado Risk Map shows the areas in which you may need to seek shelter.  You should do your own research.  Is your home or your own basement sufficient in a tornado ?


A final word from Jane,

      If you do determine that you need some type of a tornado or bomb protective structure, do not be rushed. Consider carefully all the aspects of this decision above, and consider your own finances as well. Make sure that you know what type of maintenance will be necessary for such a structure. I know some of you feel pressured to protect your families from this years tornado season, but remember, even if you purchase it, and make the decision today, it must be installed, and your family still need to stock it, and know under what conditions it should be used.  It would be unwise to spend a lot of money and find that you need something a little different.  Make sure that you complete your thinking before ordering.  One thing that does make such a purchase a little easier to swallow is that it IS a capital improvement to your home, and in many places, it is a purchase that can be added to the purchase price of your home, and that you may get back when it is time to sell.


And: Reprised from my post here More Information on Tornado and Bomb Shelters, which first aired here on December 9, 2012 


        I remember writing in Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness that most people have no particular need for a bunker.   Unless you are in an area in which tornadoes are common, then your preparation is probably better spent looking at ways to shelter in place or toward family evacuation.  A few families would benefit from a storm shelter.

           So back in August, I wrote a post which touched on storm and bomb shelters, and gave some contact information for some of the companies who manufacture and install these types of structures.

Please take a look at this:

            Since that time, a lot of people have asked me about these, and have wanted additional information.
First off, let me say that it is extremely important to learn all you can about such structures if you are considering one.  Ask yourself if you can afford such a thing, and also if the money wouldn't better be spent elsewhere in your preps.   In addition, a mention on this blog constitutes a mention only.  A mention in this or the prior post on bomb or disaster shelters does not constitute an endorsement of any kind.

  It is essential to do your own research and make your own decisions.

             These are some companies that specialize in tornado or bomb shelters or saferooms.
 I have not included fiberglass structures because I am aware that as buried structures, they may crack.

Cozy Caverns                                         

     Cozy Caverns builds custom built all metal storm shelters, which are sold nationwide.  They are based in Arkansas.  These are extremely heavy structures which are designed for families who wish to sit to ride out a storm.

This is the interior of a cozy cavern structure. The benching is part of the structure.

    These structures range from about $4500 up, but they do sell some that you may paint yourself and these afford you a substantial savings.   They can produce the shelter and install it in Arkansas, but the installation and anchoring, which can be quite expensive, they cannot do for you outside their home state.  This means that you must find a qualified installer.  This company always has a waiting list for their product. They also have financing through Iberia Bank in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jarrell Storm Shelters                                       

      This company produces storm shelters within the great state of Texas.
     Check out their website should you or other family reside in Texas.


Utah Shelter Systems                                      

       Utah Shelter Systems has been in business since 1984 and builds a corrugated metal structure which is designed to be buried. It has entrances which can be accessed by handicapped individuals and it can be completely customized.

        The least expensive structure is about $51,000.   Many of these structures come with air filtration and other devices.  Blast doors can also be ordered.   These are designed to be "All hazard shelters".


  F5 Storm Shelters and Safe Rooms                               

         This company builds military grade structures intended for governments, churches, daycares, schools etc.  They build primarily metal structures and have abandoned concrete which they say develop mold and seep water when buried.

This option is directly quoted from their website:

We are now offering an above ground shelter on a lease to own bases.  This is a 7' tall, 6' wide, and 8' long shelter.  We will charge $3,100.00 down at the time you order the shelter.  We will then build the shelter and deliver it for $2.05 per mile one way from Baskin, Louisiana, 71295, to your location.  We install the shelter as specified by our structural engineer.  The shelter and installation is done where it meets or exceeds FEMA requirements.  Your total cost at this time has been $3,100.00 down and $2.05 per mile for delivery.  This can be done with cash, check, or credit card.  After the installation is complete, you pay $225.00 per month for 48 months.  First note is due 30 days from the day we install.  You must be the land owner to order the shelter.  


     A purveyor of all types of shelters is

  They are the owners and manufacturers of the shelter which is pictured at the top of the page, which is actually fiberglass.  They also had an interesting caution on their website, which reads:

<<     Building permits are required within most city limits. Do NOT let anyone install a shelter on your property without a building permit if your local government requires it. The city has the legal right to have you remove your shelter or require you to get a permit after the fact if you have a shelter installed without a building permit. This is important if you ever plan to sell your home.>>

       This was particularly interesting to me because no one I know in the country has bothered to get a building permit, as they wanted their structure to be completely secret.

       Key Point: 
Again, if you have a need for one of these, do your research fully and do not allow yourself to be rushed.  You want your decision to be the best one possible for yourself and your family.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Emergency Value of Dipstick Urinalysis

This is the back of the container to Urine Reagent Strips

       It is very important to amass your Family Medical Kit for home use, your Evacuation Medical Kit, and your Document Evacuation Bag.    These are priority.

              Assembling your Rehydration Kit is also of paramount importance.

             However, after this is done, you can expand your preps to include Childbearing Family Kit.

Again, it is my personally held belief that you should amass these items yourself rather than buying a premade kit, (with the exception of the birthing kit portion of the Childbearing Family Kit)  simply because in an emergency, even if you have personally prepared the kit, it can be difficult under stress to remember what is in it.  In emergencies, I have often used someone elses supplies not remembering that I carried the same item somewhere within my own kit.

Once all of this is done, there is something else that is very nice to have, but should not be purchased in advance of essentials.   This is a refinement.  This refinement can provide a lot of information as to what is going on with a sick person in an emergency.  It can provide tangible data you can relate to another medical person should you have telephone, walkie talkie, or HAM radio contact with a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant. Having urine reagent strips can allow you to run some degree of diagnostics and in tandem with communication, allowing you to have the benefit of input of people with medical training.

         Urine Reagent Strips can provide an awful lot of information on a sick person's general condition, and sometimes it can reveal a diagnosis.  Your physician's office uses them, even though they often send out urine and blood samples to a lab. This procedure is also known as a dipstick urinalysis.

        These can be purchased from the following link:

     One source for urine reagent strips
(For $19.00 you receive 100 tests.)

There are a number of different brands of this item.  The generic varieties are just fine and are used by hospitals and doctor's offices alike.  The expiration dates are usually one or two years ahead.  After they are expired, I order a new set for human beings, and then I mark the expired ones,  "veterinary" and then I use them for one or two years past stated expiration, and thus far, they have worked effectively on my furry friends. The vet also appreciates the extra information.

     You need:

1. A package of urine reagent strips
2. a plastic or paper disposable cup
3. paper towels to sit the urine cup on while you work
4. a watch with a hand which allows you to count seconds
5. decent natural or artificial light sufficient to see what you are doing
6. pen and paper to record results  You might wish to write out items in advance and fill in
    results as they reveal themselves.
7. a few vinyl medical gloves.  medical professionals do not touch body fluids. Wear the gloves throughout the procedure and until clean up is complete.

Familiarize yourself with the procedure for reading these results, before beginning.  Some items will need to be read in 30 seconds and others are two minutes.

      Urine reagent strips allow you to have your sick family member collect urine in a clean plastic or paper cup, and immediately dip the entire stick in the urine.  Then place the reagent strip on top of the cup itself, and begin timing.  Some items can be read in thirty seconds and others in two minutes. 

In twenty seconds read the items that are ready and record them on the paper.    Do the same at the two minute mark.  These are read by comparing the dipped stick with the color coded results on the back of the container. Make sure that you do not touch the wet stick to the container itself. (See the picture at the top of the page.)

Certainly in a blog post I cannot relate everything your physician or nurse knows about reading these strips, but here are some important points.

1. If you have the option of relating abnormal information obtained in a dipstick urinalysis to a medical practitioner, then do so.   Sometimes, you will only receive information that you can act upon yourself. Sometimes, all you will receive is completely normal information, and that is a very good thing.

These strips test for:

Specific Gravity
Leukocytes   (white blood cells)

Here we can see gloved hands and a dipped stick.  The person is reading each test on this particular brand of dipstick, ketone , then protein at 60 seconds, ph at 60 seconds, etc.

        In very general terms for the purpose of a blog post, many times you will notice positive nitrites, positive blood, and you may even see a small amount of positive protein.  This means that your family member is very likely to have a urinary tract infection.    Provide the results of this test to your doctor.  Some patients may already have treatment for such provided by their physician.  Pregnant women with urinary tract infections can go into premature labor, so this becomes a priority.

       A positive glucose reading in an adult who was not known to be diabetic is usually an indication that they are now.  This is also something a physician should be told about, particularly if this is a new finding.

       A positive glucose and ketone reading on a child's urine is an indicator of new onset Type I (juvenile) diabetes, and is a medical emergency.  This child must be transported to a hospital for immediate treatment. Meanwhile, if they are awake, have them drink as much water as they can with a pinch of Morton lite salt, which is potassium) to each 20 oz of water while you are transporting them for likely intravenous hydration, stabilization, and gradual insulin administration.

       A person with only a positive ketone, (and negative glucose)means that through either food restriction (diet) or illness that they are breaking down body fat or muscle for use as fuel.  They need addditional hydration and some carbohydrates.  (Water and food) They may also need an underlying issue treated.

A person with positive urobilinogen may have disease or blockage of the bile ducts or some type of liver disease. This can also be elevated during a fairly severe urinary tract infection.

Urine specific gravity may also be measured somewhat using the urinary dipstick.   A value of 1.008 is a dilute urine, meaning that the patient is hydrated and putting out a fair amount of fluid.  A specific gravity of 1.020 is a concentrated urine, and suggests a tendency toward dehydration.

 Generally, you can be less concerned about individual results on the urine dipstick and simply relate this information to a health care provider when you speak to them via telephone or text.  Understand also that prescription or OTC drugs you are taking can impact some of these results.    For example, in a man, blood found in the urine may indicate a urinary tract infection of kidney stones (renal calculi).   In a young woman, blood in the urinalysis could mean that she has her menses.

      Still, having 100 dipsticks available at your home, in a clean, dry dark place, that you spent $!9.00 US or so, makes sense.  It can provide important information to your doctor or health care provider.  It is also an essential element in the kit for diabetic sick day supplies (For both Type I autoimmune, and Type II diabetes mellitus patients)  It is also an essential element to the kit for the Emergency Kit for the Childbearing Family.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

On Emergency Pet Food


  Periodically I mention products I have found in my travels which might be useful to you.   These are items for which I receive no remuneration, and so I have no axe to grind.  I simply want you to know that they are available.

             Most of us have a supply of long term food for people, and we likely have gathered an extra bag of dog or cat chow.  However, those large bags of food will often not last as long as a year.  They can grow mold, and then they are simply dangerous to give to your pet.  I try to keep one or two bags ahead for dogs and cats, and then I rotate them.   Here is something else you can do.  You can stock some dog or cat food that really will last as long as ten years.

    At $80-110. dollars, this is quite pricey and so it becomes a later prep for most people.  However, it IS excellent quality food for your pets, and there is quite a bit of food per container.

Thanks for preparing for me too !

If you need dog or cat food for an Evacuation Kit, then Quake Care has some alternatives:

 Mayday Emergency Food packs is another pet alternative

They sell thirteen meals worth of dog food for under fifty dollars and it lasts five years.

Mayday sold on

Mayday Catfood on Amazon

This is also information for making your own food, should you be stuck at home for a longer emergency

Friday, April 25, 2014

Finding Calm Within the Flurry of Our Activities

( Photo: )

            Yesterday was one of those rapid fire days.  At five thirty am, I had to care for horses and dogs so that at seven am,  I could take a family member for continuing specialty medical care at a university medical center at a city far away.  Two days before, I had learned that a friend had died suddenly and that his funeral would be later that day in still another city,  Richmond.  I wasn't very sure that I could make the trip to the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond by later that afternoon, but I knew I would try.

               Hollywood Cemetery is an interesting place. Sprawling hills of monuments and mausoleums, from the interior it seems as if it's in rural Kansas or Texas, but from parts of it, one can see the James River, and the Richmond skyline. It somehow bridges the gap between the country and the city.  It is the final resting place of the remains of two US Presidents, John Tyler and James Monroe.  It is also the final resting place of the remains of the only president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.  It is quite the Civil War historical site in that twenty five or more confederate generals were buried here, including J.E.B. Stuart and George Pickett.

                Luckily, we completed our medical center visit out of town, and the interstate was nearly empty.
When I returned my son had the car ready, and I mouthed, "I'll change".   I grabbed nice black slacks that I never wear,  and a shirt, thinking that it was still too cool out to wear a dress. I spent ten minutes looking for white pearls, that at least looked real, in order I thought, to show proper respect.

                Garmin is a trip !  The robotic voice mispronounces words and sounds annoyed when we don't follow its exact directions.  My son knows the way to the Hollywood Cemetery simply because it is so near the university from which he graduated, but somehow, he prefers to travel the most expedient route. It was a good thing he did.   We arrived about two minutes before the funeral began.

                 Our friend who passed was 96.  We had visited him at home for an hour or so about a week before he had passed.  He was as clear as a bell, but tired, I think.   He is the father of a family friend.  I remember their family being particularly present and supportive when our youngest son passed suddenly five years ago. How could we not have appeared as representatives of our family, when this man passed ?
              We knew this man as the elderly patriarch of a wonderful large rural family, but I am ashamed to say I knew only a snapshot of his later years. There are many things about him we learned at his funeral.  It was interesting to see how touched his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were at the prospect of his departure from this life. 96 years is a long time to be granted with one's family, but I suppose when we love, losing someone at any time is a great sorrow. I know I miss my own father immensely.   The Richmond Fire Department appeared at the funeral in full dress uniform to honor our friend for his long term service there, as did many, many people.

               So if you ever make it to Hollywood Cemetery, please tell Wallace that it was a life well spent, and well played. (Although we both know, his soul won't spend much time there.)   Make sure that in your flurry to be prepared, care for your family, and earn a living, that you carve out time to spend with family and pets, and to spend time reading as Wallace did.  Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reality Check


       I have never understood why some people consider preppers or survivalists to be a threat to the status quo.  Do they worry that we won't spend our disposable income in their businesses ?   Most preppers are simply being self sufficient to the degree that during an expected emergency, such as an earthquake, a hurricane or an ice storm, they won't need local or federal government help within just a few days !    Being reasonably prepared and reasonably self sufficient means that your family won't be a draw to local systems, thus diverting help from the people who might really need help when its stretched to its thinnest point.

                When I encourage all of you to be more self sufficient, I am doing so to encourage that direction.  I don't expect you to do your own brain surgery, raise sheep and salvage their thyroid glands to make your own dessicated thyroid, or take a chemistry class with the intention of trying to develop recombinant DNA origin insulin in the frij, right next to the jello.   Although we discuss things like emergency childbirth, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, none of us are an island.  It is not realistic to do everything for yourself in the long term.

                  It is appropriate to gather an Emergency Medical Kit for your home.  It is intelligent to gather an Family Evacuation Medical Kit. I would actually prefer one you gather yourself as it's less expensive and if you have amassed the supplies yourself you are more likely to remember what you have in it.  Emergency food that is palatable and long lasting is necessary for your home, and for family evacuation.  A specialized bag locked in a safe or locking cabinet with family documents, or spare original documents is also a good idea.  Having a plan for the evacuation of your family and for your animals is simply common sense.  In a wildfire, how quickly could you, your family, your pets and the items mentioned above evacuate your home ?
Most families can do these things quite effectively and fairly inexpensively.

                I do not expect you to gather all the clothing, food, toys, and Christmas presents you will need for the rest of your lives. I don't think you need to outfit a dental chair and hire a private dentist, (or worse, stock a dental chair with a copy of the book, Where there is no Dentist)   Unless you have some unusual special needs with regard to tornadoes and you are basementless, then I don't know that you should invest in a bunker, small or otherwise, because it might divert limited needed assets from things you need more.

              I do think that we should be preparing our children for real life and for employment.  I think that instruction for them in preparedness is a part of a good education, and that good parents educate their children, not simply abrogating the responsibility to a public educational system that does everything else but educate.    I think that you should learn whatever you can about your vehicles, and that you should have some capability with regard to repairs which comprise normal maintenance.  I think that within the confines of your present life, you should grow whatever food you can, even if all it is, are sprouts on the kitchen window, or tomatoes in a pot on an apartment terrace.  I think a nice professional haircut is a wonderful thing, but I also think that if you can trim your kids hair following the lines set by a professional hairdresser, and save half the money you would have spent on haircuts each year, then you and your family will be able to eat better than you would have otherwise.

           I believe that every adult should know how a handgun and a rifle works.  This way, you will be the first to know when someone is handling one improperly, and if need be, you can expel the magazine, check the chamber, and render the weapon ammoless.  Whether you choose to own one or not, is your business, but healthy adults without mental health issues should know how they work.

           If you live in a rural area, then unless you are being treated for cancer this year, or you are elderly, then you need to have a plan whereby you and yours can evacuate from where you live. The same is true for your animals, if in fact you have a hobby farm or livestock.  (See farm evacuation .)   See also farm disaster planning.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


This is Wendy's new interior plan for new restaurants.

    I am working to continue the series regarding Preparedness and the Childbearing Family .  Life has intruded and we have a busy week here.  I am also noticing that the number of readers of this blog from foreign lands has markedly increased, but interestingly, not so with Americans.  Snaring huge number of  readers, American or otherwise, was never really the objective. Placing accurate information on this blog, for reference, has been.

            This week my travels have been many.  I found myself sitting in a Wendy's restaurant eating a salad while hearing four conversations around me.  One man and his wife have seen their federal taxes skyrocket this year due to changes in the tax law which were instituted this year. They were discussing whether or not to leave the United States.The man and his wife discussed everywhere from the South of France to Costa Rica.    Two men to my right, who were some type of construction or infrastructure workers were discussing that they were each supporting several members of their family who can't find jobs of any type. One of them had been assigned to Maryland last week and was talking about scores of empty office buildings there.     By the window, on the tall chairs, two women in their sixties were having a conversation in which one postulated that the American collapse is already here.  There is no growth, simply deterioration and adaptation (paraphrased here).  More and more people are unemployed, dependent upon foodbanks and relatives. People with bachelors and master's degrees are applying to work in Wal-Mart, she said.  The media talks about a mythical financial improvement, and the Obama regime which has done a fair bit to perpetuate the lack of a recovery,  acts as if they have us right on track.  "It's the elephant in the room". Everyone knows it, but they are pretending that we aren't in a Depression.

           I crunched my dressingless salad while listening to the conversations.  I was oddly comforted by this dose of reality. For years I have managed preparedness as an intellectual exercise, and as changes came to America, post 2008, I wondered why, according to media, I was seeing changes, and not much about this was being reported on American mainstream media.  If the Wendy's conversations are any representation, then Americans are waking up.  The infrastructure construction men departed and their place was quickly taken by two older men who seemed to be friends.  They immediately began a conversation concerning drones coming to American cities. The conversation descended quickly to their dismay regarding the disregard of the Constitution and the erosion of American rights. They were surprisingly well informed concerning the Patriot Act, and oversteps which have been occurring with regard to the federal government.

           I had already spent more time on a lunchbreak than I should have.  I refilled my drink and started to head out again.  I was oddly recharged by my visit there, more so than a simple salad with chicken on it would normally have done.  Perhaps the American people are waking up. Perhaps they are talking.  Perhaps they can begin to select better representation and begin to address some of the really serious issues we have. I hope it's not too late.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Post Concerning the Fragility of Our Lives

    Please see my entry from another one of my blogs entitled,

      Tomorrow Might Be Too Late

  Our lives are finite, and quite short.  Try to live each moment, mindful of that, without being obsessed by this thought.

    Best wishes to you all.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Preparedness, Supplies and the Childbearing Family

(Photo: )

                                                                                           by Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel BS ES RN

            First of all, for preparedness purposes, the definition of a potential "childbearing family" is any couple of childbearing age.  Whether married or not, whether intending to marry or not, emergency and stressful situations do tend to result in perhaps less well considered sexual contact. The strategy of "conserving the condoms" isn't always a good one.   Pregnancies that would normally be detected early, may not be, in a variety of longer term emergencies.Surprise pregnancies do not just happen with teenagers.  Women, married and single, in their twenties, thirties and forties may all discover a pregnancy much later than is ideal.  In addition, many women in their fifties are now in the best shape of their lives and are nutritionally quite well, and this too has resulted in some peri-menopausal and menopausal pregnancies that frankly have shocked the socks off their spouses and their families.

              I do recall one young woman who came through our emergency room with severe back pain. Later that day she later delivered a healthy boy, never having had the slightest clue that she had been pregnant !  Of course, for the vast majority of us who remember pregnancy to be fraught with a number of pretty significant changes and discomforts, think that such a case can only be the result of some type of  denial of a  psychiatric level, but this is simply not always the case.  Sometimes, a healthy woman carries a baby she just doesn't know about.  This is simply a part of the saying, "In reproduction, anything is possible".

               Since you are reading this, I am going to assume that you are either a member of a childbearing family, or a principle family member planning preparedness for yourself and perhaps your extended family, which also includes daughters or sons who could be members of a childbearing family.   I am also for purposes of this post going to assume that in an emergency such as civil unrest, financial collapse, earthquake, hurricane or ice storm with protracted electricity outage, that your extended family has been instructed to come to you.

                Of course as a person with even a passing interest in preparation, you have general references which indicate how you should supply water and food.  My first book would be one such source, and there is a lot of valuable information there, which you should read.  However, today, I am focusing on the potential that you will provide safe harbor for a child bearing family who is related to you.

                The first supplies you need to have:

 1. Buy a bulk container of non deodorant sanitary napkins.   (These have uses other than for menstruation,        and post childbirth discharge. These can also be used over top of sterile dressings at times.)  Shop around.  I bought 120 of these plain and clean without deodorant ( which can cause allergies and limit uses), for about twelve dollars.

2.  Buy a large container of condoms with an expiration date as far in the future as possible.  Again, big box stores and Wal-Mart could be the least expensive suppliers.  Big Lots is a great store, but I don't recommend the initial purchase of expired condoms, although they probably can be used for a short time past expiration, if you already own them.

3. Buy a tube of Ortho-Gynol brand of nonoxyl 9.  When used as a lubricant after a condom is already applied,( in amount of about one tsp) the effectiveness of the condom in terms of pregnancy prevention can become 99 point something percent in one study.   Make sure your family members know you have these.  I know this can be an uncomfortable conversation, but this is an emergency.  Yes, this is the same gel used with diaphragms.
     Ortho-Gynol Extra Strength Contraceptive Gel

There is an expiration date, but it reasonably can be used for eight weeks or so past its stated date of expiration if kept in a cool dry place.

4. Buy a set of perianal cleansing bottles.
   These can be used for menstruating women.  These can be used for those with bladder infections who need to run a stream of warm water over their urethra to permit the starting of a urinary stream.  They can be used to supplement daily perianal cleansing in anyone.  They can be very useful if you have a bedridden patient and need to do some perianal cleansing on a bedpan.   However, they are probably most useful in the important cleansing with must take place following childbirth, each time a woman urinates or defecates, for potentially weeks.

Remember that these supplies are in addition to your Family Evacuation Medical Kit and your Home Medical Kit which I speak about in my book at length and you can learn about at the following blog links:

Continuing with todays subject of disaster management of the childbearing family:

   The least expensive and some of the best Perineal Cleansing bottles

5.  The last thing you really do need to add to your supplies is something we used to call a precipitous delivery pack.   Now it's easier to find as simply a "birth kit".   Although on all my other first aid and medical evacuation kits, I urge you to assemble your own, this is the exception.  It is more frugal to simply purchase the kit readily assembled and sterile until opened.  Do not open such kits until you are about to use one.

Custom Birth Kit from Precious Packages                                  $79.00

This one contains:     It is a deluxe home birth kit often used by midwives

20 Basic Underpads, 23x36"
10 Alcohol Prep Pads
1 Plastic Back Sheet
1 Sterile OB Pads, 12/pkg
5 Synthetic Pair Gloves, medium
5 Synthetic Single Glove, medium
2 Mesh Panty, choose size
1 Peri Bottle
2 Cold Peri Pack, Standard
1 Economy Bulb Syringe, 3 oz
1 Digital thermometer with case
10 Gauze, 4x4, 2 per pkg. Sterile
2 Straws, Individually Wrapped, Flexible
2 Newborn Paper Tape Measure, 36”
1 Newborn 100% Cotton Hat
1 Povidone Iodine Solution, 4 oz.
5 Lubricating Jelly, 5 g
1 Mattress Cover, choice of King or Queen
2 Umbilical Cord Clamps, sterile
1 Fracture Bedpan
1 Kleenprint Footprinter
1 HomeBirth Certificate
1 Infant Heel Warmer
1 DeLee Mucous Trap, 8 Fr
2 Gallon Size Ziploc Bags
1 Sterile Field
1 Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide, 16oz

The ones that I keep in house are:

 Birth Kit                                                                             $24.20

This one contains:

Underpad 23 X 36 15
Pad, Non-Sterile, Contoured, PEACH 10
Peri Bottle, 8 oz 1
Bulb Syringe, 2 oz. 1
Scrub Brush, Hibiclens 1
Gauze sponge, 4 X 4 12-ply (2/pkg) 6
Stretch Briefs - unisize 1
Tape Measure, infant, 2 ft/60 cm 1
Infant hat 1
Glove  Sterile Medium Single, VINYL 3
Glove, Medium, Pair, VINYL, sterile 3
Plastic Cord Clamp - Sterile 1
Lube Jelly, 3 grams, sterile 6
Flexible Drinking Straws 2
Plastic Backed Sheet, 40 X 72 2
Sani-Cloth towlette, germicide cloth, 11" X 11" 1

If you have everything listed in my listings at the links above, and you have everything listed in this post, you may wish to consider purchasing a #14 sized foley catheter and urine drainage bag.   A non-medically trained individual should not insert one of these, but in an emergency situation, if a physician on the phone or over a HAM radio instructed you to have a neighboring nurse insert one, it would be awfully good to have one.   If you do purchase one of these, DO NOT disrupt its sterile packaging by opening it.  It needs to be stored in a clean place and opened only immediately before use.   Buy also several packages of sterile gloves in both medium and large sizes.

One source of foley catheters

Lubricating jelly for foley catheter insertion

One source of Urinary drainage bag

The next post in this series will discuss attending emergency childbirth, and where to get the best written references for doing so

Copyright 2014     All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Parliamentary Association of Europe Strikes Out Against Parallel Societies, or Homeschoolers


Funny, they don't look dangerous.  PACE might wonder what they are plotting.

           Once again, Europe is overreacting to the potential that extremist Muslims might create schools in their midst.  Europe is involved in wholehearted attempts to integrate foreigners into their societies.  Although I understand the intent, I disagree in the manner in which this is being done.

               This week, the Parliamentary Association of the Council of Europe, or PACE declared that homeschooling should be severely restricted because it opens the possibiities of parallel societies !
In order to make doubly sure that no Terror Camps for Tots emerge in their nations, they want to ensure that no one homeschools !    That's a bit like stopping pertussis by beheading all of the children in a nation who are of an age in which pertussis could be fatal !      Stopping homeschooling removes an excellent and viable means of education for many.

            Why should we care what happens in Europe ?    We should care because whatever madness comes to Europe, sooner or later hops the pond to our shores.  In the United States, homeschooling has provided the only means for many families who can't afford a private school education to ensure a superior education for their children.  My own children have graduated from universities with honors following almost exclusively homeschooling.  I am not entirely sure, had they remained in the chaos of the public school system that they would have had the inclination, desire, and the nerves to continue in college and university.   Why discount an entire alternative that has been proven to benefit many families ?

          If Europe wishes to monitor Neo-Nazi's, extremist Muslims, Mansonites, and Ku-Klux-Klanners then knock yourself out.  Our nation is already monitoring the Conservatives at our expense.  Perhaps keeping their meddling hands off the only bodies of learning which are successfully teaching reading, writing, history, geography, and the like should be left unmolested !   After all, we are going to need someone to do the work and the thinking of the world after the rest are simply mesmerized by their iphones.

Information on this development:

Council of Europe Threatens Homeschooling

On Fighting "Sects"

Monday, April 7, 2014

Another Look at Emergency Freeze Dried Food Stores for Diabetics

You can buy this book, and others on amazon. com or on  Keep in mind that you should always have hard copies of recipe books for emergencies, and not exclusively internet or kindle editions.

    Pre-packaged food stores, many of which are freeze dried, often have an abundance of carbohydrates, calories and often entirely too much salt.   MREs and camping foods were originally constructed for soldiers and hiking campers where 2800 calories a day or more and abundant carbohydrates were really important to fueling the kind of activity that was necessary.  Abundant salt was added not only to enhance palatability but to prevent too much water loss through perspiration.

               However, when we are talking about stockpiling freeze dried emergency foods for families, or for family members who are women, or for someone who is Type I or Type II diabetic, then excessive carbohydrate is pre-packaged packets is unwise, and we might need to consider other freeze dried alternatives.  (Keep in mind that Type I autoimmune/juvenile diabetes mellitus is a different illness than Type II diabetes mellitus. However both have the same "rash" in terms of glucose regulation difficulties. Although the control strategies for each do differ, there are commonalities in that the regulation of carbohydrate intake needs to be organized,  planned and mindful.)

               For example, if you, a non-diabetic or active male, are looking for high calorie food, then look to

             Expedition Foods  which sells a macaroni and cheese freeze dried, reconstituted with water, entree which is 800 plus calories per serving.

              However, if you have a family member who must conserve carbohydrates and perhaps enhance protein and vegetables as in diabetics, then perhaps your best bet is not to purchase much of the pre-made entree ready meals, and do what I do.


Most of the time our chickens keep us blessed with plenty of eggs. However, there are times when whole eggs which are freeze dried can be very useful.

               I purchase #10 (industrial cans) of Augason Farms freeze dried food which has the calorie counts and grams of protein etc. for each measured serving clearly on the can. This way I can custom construct exactly what my diabetic daughter needs even in emergencies.   I can reconstitute chicken, beef, potatoes, vegetables and a variety of fruits and provide exactly the correct diet for her fairly easily.  The freeze dried eggs work well and one can make a crustless quiche which works well.  There are recipes on the Augason Farm website which you can make using their broad range of meats, vegetables, potatoes, rice, and grains, etc.    She can also eat servings of the prepared entrees, but we often need to provide only 3/4 of the adult serving.

              Another important strategy is to buy a modern diabetic cookbook which has the calorie counts broken down for each serving, and then to substitute the plain Augason Farms freeze dried origin foods (reconstituted)  

             Remember if you have diabetic family members after planning their basic meals,  to stock nice-to-haves like sugarless chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, and cheesecake flavored puddings.  These are not freeze dried but will last a couple of years in a clean dry cabinet.  There are some excellent and very low calorie and carbohydrate controlled hot chocolate mixes.  In addition, stock some freeze dried fruits ( I use the large cans Augason farm strawberries or apples)  These can be reconstituted as fruit or measured out so you know how many carbs and calories you are ingesting, and eaten as a snack. If you are even moderately creative, you can provide interesting meals with variety which do fit within the confines of even a restricted weight reduction diabetic diet. It's certainly possible to structure interesting meals for diabetics without a need for weight reduction.

           In addition to stocking certain emergency freeze dried foods for diabetics, it is important to make use of growing your own sprouts and growing some lettuces when possible in anything from a window or porch garden, where you can not only attend to these items and water them often, but where you can harvest from them, often daily.  (The easier your access is, the more likely you will use them in your daily diet.)

          If you do grow  kiwi, blueberries, blackberries, apples, tomatoes etc., make sure that you use this when fresh especially in diabetic diets, and find some ways to save this bounty for later in the year through either canning or dehydratiing these yourself.

These are some interesting recipes which can be used for diabetics:

Vegan cheese

Gluten free vegan cookies

These are some of our earlier posts which are beneficial in providing emergency food for diabetics:

This is an earlier post on exactly this subject:

Other Rational Preparedness posts on the subject of preparedness which may well be of interest to

These  are also  interesting links:

State of N.J. Disaster Preparedness Pages for Diabetics

Diabetic diet plans for 1200, 1500, or 1800 calories

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Value of Guaifenesin (AKA Mucinex)

 In the US, Mucinex is a name brand of Guaifenesin. (  Robitussin cough syrup contains some Guaifenesin )

  By far, the best strategy in order to remain healthy, is to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits as a source of varietal vitamins and trace elements. Drinking plenty of pure water is also important.  In the past fifty years or so, diets in the industrialized world, and particularly in the US, have become more refined, less healthy and higher in many things that we simply don't need. (Like larger amounts of fat and large amounts of refined sugars.)

              Sometimes however, we eat as well as we can and we still develop clogged sinuses, the occasional cold or flu.  Guaifenesin is a drug that used to be available only in a prescription strength. It was most often prescribed for those with very thick mucus, usually accompanying head or chest colds, sinusitis, pertussis, laryngitis,  and sometimes pneumonia. Some people also use it in addition to antihistamines during allergy season.   In my lifetime, it has always been available in lesser amounts in some liquid cough medicines.  In my adulthood, it joined a number of drugs which are no longer prescription, and are available in the US and Canada as over the counter or OTC.  (There is still a prescription strength of the drug which is formulated in a fairly high dose, but more is not necessarily better.)

               Generally, Guaifenesin liquifies mucus secretions and can be of great benefit if you need it. In the US, the name most people know it by is Mucinex. There are a great many preparations of Guaifenesin available as a generic drug. It's even readily available from most dollar store shops that sell medicines and toiletries. The drug used also to be called Glyceryl Guaiacolate, and in some other nations, probably still is.

This generic form is available from Sam's Club fairly inexpensively.

              This is indeed one of the drugs that you and your family should have stocked in your emergency medical kits for home and also in your Family Evacuation Medical Kit.  A larger container can be purchased for home, and a smaller one can be placed in your family evacuation medical kit.  Wal-Mart has been selling a small bottle of pills as a generic for only 88 cents. There is an extended release variety, but most people should simply stock the standard tablets because you are unsure which family members will be using this, and for how long. It often doesn't serve to buy high doses or extended release of something, unless you know you have a clear purpose for doing so.  The tablets I recommend are 400 mg. variety for adults and children over 12.
            If you have younger children or elderly family members who have difficulty swallowing tablets, then your family needs to stock a liquid preparation of Guaifenesin in addition to the tablets you stock for everyone else. 

This is liquid Mucinex.

         The normal dose for adults is 200-400 mg. every four hours, not to exceed 2.4 Gms a day. (That's 2400 mg. per day)   The drug needs to be taken with plenty of water.   Most of us can take 400 mg. every twelve hours and still notice positive effects.   In higher doses, many people can taste it in their saliva and smell the drug in their urine, and it adversely impacts their appetite, and this is why I am saying that often, less of this drug is more, in that if 400 mg. taken twice daily does the trick, then stay out of the higher OTC dosage range which may contribute to nausea.  In higher doses it may occasionally cause some transient diarrhea.

        Children's dosage with regard to liquid preparations of Guaifenesin

Adults and children over 12:     10-20 ml (or ccs)   every four hours as needed

Children ages 6-12                   5-10 ml     every four hours as needed

Children ages 2-6                     2.5- 5ccs  every four hours as needed.

Under age 2                              Contact your pediatrician or family physician.

          Pregnant women should clear this, and any drug with their physician before use, because it can potentially disrupt the mucus plug which is not supposed to emerge until birth is fairly imminent.

           This is a remarkably shelf stable drug, in that it has been safely and effectively used in its pill form, when kept cool, clean and dry, as many as ten years past its manufacture.  Of course, we always shoot for the purchase of a drug with an expiration date as far in the future as possible, whenever this is possible.

           Although Guiafenesin is most often used for the purpose I have described, there is another exciting use.  After some doses of Guaifenesin became OTC, more members of the public began to use it. Some patients who had joint discomfort, or who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia found that when they took it for mucus relief in colds or flu, their joint pains and discomfort seemed much better.  Of course, at first most physicians dismissed this as simply anecdotal information. Eventually a study comparing Guaifenesin for joint pain as compared with a placebo was performed. In this particular study, no evidence was found that Guaifenesin performed better than a placebo.

   Information regarding Guaifenesin Joint Pain Study

Dr. Bennett's Clinical Trial

         There remains a group of patients with fibromyalgia or with arthritis symptoms who do seem to derive clear benefit from the continued daily use of Guaifenesin, and we do not yet know why.  I have encountered such patients myself.

        For most people, this is an innocuous drug.  I thought you all should know of this alternate use.
Before doing a clinical trial on yourself or on someone you love, check that doing so is agreeable to your physician.   If you do try it for this purpose, please let me know if it has any positive impact on your own discomfort.

Mucinex and Arthritis

Note:   The drug's generic name is also Guaifenesin in Canada.   Some of its brand names there are Robitussin Extra Strength, Broncho-Grippex Expectorant, Benylin E, or Balminil Expectorant.  A sugar free preparation is also available.  Those who are seeking a sugar free preparation for adults should consider the tablets rather than a liquid preparation.

For those who wish to read more about it:
Mucinex has a website: