Tag Archives: skills

  • 5 Ways to Start a Fire with Water

    A crucial skill to have in practically any emergency situation is knowing how to build a fire. Whether you get lost overnight on a ski trip or your car runs out of gas as you pack up to leave your campsite, knowing how to build a fire and stay warm could save your life.

    So what’s the best way to build a fire? “Building” a fire typically comes in three stages: gather the materials, lay the fire, and then start it. Check out our Insight Article to learn “How to Build a Fire” using these three stages.

    However, in an emergency situation, there’s one other item that could actually help you start a fire that many overlook—water. It’s true. Grant Thompson, from thekingofrandom.com, shows five ways you can start a fire using water. Check it out:

    There you have it: five ways water can start a fire. Four of Thompson’s five fire starting methods show you how to use water as a magnifying glass to spark a fire, letting the power of the sun do all the work (or at least a lot of it!). But e But B ven if there’s cloud cover, you aren’t out of luck. With just a few supplies you can still ignite a fire in seconds.

    If you plan to use water to help you start a fire in an emergency, make sure to add the following supplies to your emergency gear so you are completely prepared.

    Method 5:

    • A light bulb. Make sure your bulb has been rinsed and cleaned according to Thompson’s directions. Cushion the bulb with fabric, grocery sacks, or other forms of padding to keep it from breaking and place it in a small container before you put it in your emergency supplies.
    • A balloon to cap off the end of the light bulb after you’ve filled it with water

    Method 4

    • Plastic wrap
    • A bowl

    Method 3

    • Plastic wrap
    • A picture frame

    *For this method, make sure you have a way to securely attach the plastic wrap to the frame and to heat water.

    Method 2

    • A juice bottle (that looks like a bubble) filled with water

    Method 1

    • Toilet paper
    • Toilet paper roll
    • Small chunks of sodium
    • Jar lid

     

    Caution! Playing with fires is dangerous so make sure to have proper safety gear (a fire extinguisher, goggles, and leather gloves) with you when practicing these new ways to start a fire. Also, make sure to light fires in a cleared area away from flammable objects or dry grass.

    These are some fun, unique methods you can use to start a fire, but don’t forget about the traditional methods as well. Adding items such as the Sparkie, the P-25 Strike Master or FiredUp! firestarters to your emergency supplies are reliable ways to get a roaring fire and warmth fast. (Or, taking a hint from Thompson, how about a magnifying glass?)

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCyHC7lnMyQ

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency preparedness, fire, fire starting

  • Throughout National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, we want to help spread the word about how you can prepare for natural disasters in your area. Last year one natural disaster occurred over and over again, wreaking havoc across many states in our nation—tornadoes.

    Prepare yourself to face any type of severe weather storm, even a tornado

    In November of 2013, the Midwest faced dozens of record breaking tornadoes that flattened neighborhoods, damaged homes, and sent many people into panic. Oklahoma faced the largest tornado on recordfor their area. Tornadoes even happened in Denver, CO where twisters are uncommon.

    The unexpected tornado in Denver shows that it's important to know how to prepare for a tornado even if they are uncommon to your area. So think about how you would prepare for a tornado. What would you do? Where would you go?

    Check out our Insight Articles “What to do During a Tornado” and “Tornado Preparedness” for tips on what you can do to keep you and your family safe. Also, learn from FEMA the importance of Developing an Emergency Response Plan for Tornadoes.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also prepared the following videos to help you prepare for a tornado.

    What to do Before a Tornado

    What to do During a Tornado

    What to do After a Tornado

    In honor of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, consider making today your tornado preparedness day—make a plan to keep you and your family safe if a tornado passes through your town.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, FEMA, NOAA, disaster, Weather, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, Tornado, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, tornadoes, Tornado preparation

  • Prep yourself each day with a new survival skill during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

    Throughout 2013, severe weather disasters touched down all across the country. Whether citizens faced tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, or other disasters, the importance of preparing became very apparent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up for their third year to inform the public how to best prepare for severe weather. They have chosen March 2-8, 2014 as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

    This year’s campaign, “Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step,” encourages individuals to set an example for others in their communities through disaster preparation and responses. For example, when tornado warnings, hurricane alerts, or other alarms notify the public of oncoming weather conditions, be an example and take action first rather than ignore the warnings.

    Often many will choose not to seek shelter immediately after hearing the alert. Instead, they wait to hear a second warning. Sometimes a second warning never comes. But once in a while that second alarm will sound and those who didn’t act after the first alert are caught in the chaos of a severe weather storm. If you take action to prepare, others will follow and, ultimately, stay safe.

    Knowing how to prepare for different weather disasters—and responding immediately to warnings—can help save your life. And so FEMA and NOAA ask you to “Be a Force of Nature.”

    Throughout this week, “Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step” challenges the public to take a single preparedness action each day. Your action can be something simple such as preparing an emergency evacuation plan for your family, or as complex as building your food and water storage supply. No matter what action you choose to do, this week is meant to better prepare you and your community for severe weather.

    Check back this week for tips on what you can do to stay safe during severe storms.

    Sources:

    http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1392907694854-c8defc5a1deef616f4c2fefb760b65bd/Severe+Weather+Preparedness+WeekToolkit.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, severe weather, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

  • Survival At Sea

    Jose Salvador Alvarenga survived at sea for over a year eating nothing but raw fish and birds' blood

    Did you hear about this? Earlier this month, a ragged figure washed up on the shore of one of the Marshall Islands and claimed he’d been lost at sea…for 13 months!

    José Salvador Alvarenga, a fisherman from southern Mexico, went missing at the end of 2012 when a storm blew him and his companion off course and set them adrift in the Pacific. The young companion apparently succumbed to starvation, but Alvarenga has told the press a shocking story of surviving on raw fish and birds’ blood for more than a year. You can read about his unbelievable adventure here.

    “Unbelievable” gets right to the heart of the matter. Some have expressed doubts about Alvarenga’s credibility, citing the impossibility of survival under those circumstances. But experts beg to differ. National Geographic, for one, has weighed in with a headline claiming “Surviving More Than a Year Adrift at Sea Is Possible, With a Little Luck”.

    …a little luck, we say, best supplemented with a lot of skill. I live in a coastal state where boat emergencies are a very real thing, but wherever you reside, there are important things to know about ocean safety. Here are one or two:

    Finding potable water at sea

    Fishing for survival

    Boat Safety

    Be prepared when spending time at sea. Whether boating, swimming, fishing, or having another water adventure out on the waves, take emergency supplies along … just in case. The following items have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, meaning they have been sealed against water, moisture, and air, giving you a better chance of survival if you ever find yourself in a situation like the one Alvarenga experienced.

    Here are some other items we recommend taking with you:

    Your own castaway story might sound like a swashbuckling adventure, but we’ll opt for more preparation over raw fish and birds’ blood any day.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, water, Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills, survival at sea

  • What would you do if you ran across wild animal tracks?

    It seems I just wrote a post about a family who went for a short mountain outing and ended up stuck in the snow for days. The last one happened in Nevada. This newest one happened in Idaho, and adds a chilling new element to an already frightening, if familiar, winter scenario.

    Friends Will Murkle and John Julian loaded up an SUV with their kids for an afternoon ride in the snow. When Will’s wife still hadn’t heard from them by midnight, she panicked. Turns out the group had gotten stuck in the snow and decided to walk to the nearest town for help.

    Which is when things got really dicey.

    “‘The scariest thing was when we came across fresh wolf tracks,’ Will Murkle said. ‘And we could tell wolves had been in the area recently.’”

    Not many of us would think to include bear spray or pepper spray in a car emergency kit, and even fewer of us would know what to do if we were to encounter an aggressive animal while stranded. The Murkle-Julian party got lucky—the tracks were as much of the wolves as they saw. So as not to rely on luck, however, here are a couple of resources to help us all avoid being eaten (or—more likely—just attacked) in an emergency situation.

    • Alaska knows a thing or two about wolves. Read their Department of Fish and Game’s article, “Living With Wolves”, then check the links to the left of that article for how to deal with other potentially predatory wildlife.

    Just because you’re isolated doesn’t mean all is lost! Know how to protect yourself and your family when circumstances are worse than you thought.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Winter, preparedness, Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness, wildlife

  • I have a new favorite website. And bizarrely, it has nothing to do with British television or decorating with old maps (my current obsessions). In fact, it seems like it should be better suited to the tough guy I’m married to—and yet, I can’t look away!

    It’s called Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook (honest-food.net). It’s written by a guy named Hank Shaw who used to be a political journalist but now writes recipes.

    Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook--Website Review

    Cray recipes.

    Crazy, wonderful recipes using edibles he either shoots, catches, finds, grows, or (occasionally) sources locally. Hank describes himself as an “omnivore who has solved his dilemma.” He’s published two books, contributed to an endless stream of both outdoors and food magazines, and has even appeared on television to demonstrate his culinary skills.

    Hunter-Goose-Bockwurst_HAGC

    The website is primarily a recipe archive, and I have to admit, those food photos are the big draw. But it’s the extras that make this site such a treasure. Categorized by main course (wild game, seafood, etc.), each heading provides how-to’s (do you know how to cut up a squirrel?), hunting tips (did you know seasonal diet will determine bear meat’s flavor?), video tutorials (any idea how to fillet a skate?), as well as extensive links and references, and some pretty fantastic essays.

    Wood Duck and Acorn Dumplings Recipe

    And did I mention the recipes? If you hunt or know a hunter, you’ve probably had a fairly decent deer roast. And the down-to-earth Hank would not turn you away if you offered him a bite. But how about French frog legs, partridge Escabeche, or grilled boar heart with peppers and onions?

    Not to mention squash spaetzle, stinging nettle ravioli, and acorn flour pasta. And he has a whole category dedicated to the “wobbly bits,” as he calls them: heart, liver, and whatever else I usually make my husband throw away before roasting the Thanksgiving bird. Talk about stretching your resources!

    What Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook advocates is twofold. First it challenges us to expand our conception of food. Nature’s readily available bounty includes plants and animals that we’re not used to thinking about in terms of meals, but which could absolutely sustain us (and in shameless gourmet style, Shaw demonstrates!).

    And secondly, it encourages us to widen our skill set. In an emergency and without other resources, could you shoot a squirrel or identify an edible mushroom? True preparedness isn’t just about stockpiling resources, it's also about knowing how to access what is available outside your storage cupboard.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: recipes, skills, hunting, survival skills, Website/Blog Review, fishing

  • Learn how to plan a preparedness fair to share your knowledge of prepping with your community

    Like the proverbial elephant that must be consumed one bite at a time, planning a major event like a Preparedness Fair is best done one step at a time. Follow these simple steps for a successful fair:

    Decide the purpose of your Preparedness Fair.

    Are you trying to educate your community on the general advantages of thinking in terms of preparation? Are you hoping to encourage the employees of your company to get emergency kits to keep at work or in their cars? Or do you live in an area where severe weather is a constant threat, and you’re trying to help people prepare for that? 

    Decide who’s hosting the Preparedness Fair.

    A school, church, hospital, business, city or county jurisdiction, emergency services, or any combination thereof could participate in hosting the event. If your group is small, you may want to partner with another.

    Know your target audience.

    Will it be the general public, your church, club, or civic group, extended family, or employees of your company? The answer will dictate the size of the venue, number of presenters, and budget. If you’re trying to attract as many people as possible, you’ll need a large venue such as a community center, hospital lobby, or multipurpose room at a college. If you’re planning several presenters who will repeat their classes, you’ll want a building with classrooms as well as an open area. A local church might be ideal for that. (Remember: free is good!)

    Choose a goal or theme.

    Unless your fair is enormous, it’s usually better to have a central theme rather than trying to cover all aspects of preparedness.  Examples:

    • “Family Safety” with topics such as “Smoke and CO2 Detectors,” “Avoiding Risky Behavior,” “Hidden Dangers in Your Home,” and “Planning to Meet After an Emergency”
    • “Bringing in the Harvest” with classes on gardening, composting, fruit and vegetable recipes, and food preservation methods
    • “Making Your Own Emergency Kits” emphasizing car kits, first-aid kits, 72-hour survival kits, and baby bug-out bags
    • “Water Storage,” covering topics such as ways water can be contaminated, appropriate storage containers, and water purification techniques
    • “Keeping a Weather Eye,” with classes on earthquake, storm, fire, or flood preparedness, evacuation procedures, and how to turn off utilities.
    • For more ideas, browse our website, blog, and Insight articles.

     

    Select presenters.

    Decide if you want commercial booths and vendors or strictly informational presenters. (Remember, if your fair is hosted by a tax-exempt organization, then your presentations will need to be informational only.) Will your presenters expect pay or do it as community service?

    You could have several classes going at a time and let your audience rotate between them, plus have an informational video repeating in the main room along with several booths. Choose presenters who will be well-prepared and professional with up-to-date, practical information. Handouts are helpful. (See the “Education” tab on our website and look through our blogs and insight articles for materials you can use.)

    You may be able to get representatives from FEMA, CERT, or your local police and fire department. If you happen to be in Utah, you can schedule a representative from Emergency Essentials for your event. Just email preparednessevents@beprepared.com for information.

    Select a Crew.

    In addition to your presenters, you’ll need people to set up and take down booths, tables, and chairs; provide technical help with microphones, computers, projectors, etc.; contribute and serve refreshments; man a booth with kid-friendly activities; be greeters; and direct visitors to classrooms. Unless you can get volunteers to do these things, remember to figure staffing expenses into your budget.

    Advertise.

    Some good advertising methods are flyers, posters, community radio spots, word-of-mouth, email messages, yard signs, church or business announcements, Facebook notices, and newspaper article. Be sure all ads give the date, time, and location of the preparedness fair. Include a couple of “hooks” like refreshments or door prizes, and use the back of the flyer to detail activities and presenters.  The more people you involve in some aspect of the fair, the better your attendance will be—they’ll come and usually bring others with them.

    Good luck! Having followed the above guidelines, you should be all set to have a great Preparedness Fair. We hope your event is so successful you’ll want to do it again.

    Feedback: Have you hosted or attended a preparedness fair or expo that included some great ideas you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them.

    Resources for your event:

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness, preparedness fair

  • Why Ice Fishing Could Save Your Life

    Compared to hundreds of years ago, ice fishing in the 21st century is more of a competitive sport, pastime, or hobby than a means of survival. Today, anglers come to the ice riding ATVs equipped with electric augers (a tool to drill holes in the ice) and sonar systems to identify approaching fish.

    So is ice fishing a practical survival skill to learn if you don’t have all the gadgets? Is it even worth it?

    According to Survivalist magazine, winter survival diets thrive on protein and meat to give you the energy and strength to survive in the cold. If you don’t feel confident hunting, and if edible plants are hard to come by, fish may become a crucial source of protein.

    But how do you ice fish? What do you need? What should you know?

    First: Gather your Supplies

    Let’s say you have to evacuate your home in winter and all you have is your emergency kit. These items in your kit could help you ice fish:

    • An Axe—to cut a hole in the ice
    • A Shovel—to skim slush and ice chunks out of the hole (some recommend even using a rice skimmer or ladle to do this)
    • Emergency Rope—to create a set-line or to tie around yourself and have others hold the end while you check the thickness of the ice (safety precaution)
    • Paracord—for fishing line
    • Pliers and Cutting Tools
    • SOL Origin Survival Pack—includes a mini fishing kit
    • Tape measure—to measure thickness of ice
    • Bait—you can find worms and other bugs in hollow logs. You can also use small pieces of meat, if you can spare it, or smaller fish. You could even make a jig (a decorated weight that looks like a fish that you move around in the water)
    • Fishing Hooks—Sense of Survival suggests to use different sized hooks that you can make from sticks, bones, and other naturally growing fibers.
    • Powerbait—a neon colored play-doh-like bait.

    The list above gives you some last minute options to use if you decide you need to ice fish for survival and don’t have the tools. But if you’re planning on ice fishing as a method of survival and want to have your emergency kit packed, consider purchasing more specialized equipment. The following supplies will help you to ice fish using basic supplies that you can carry with you in an emergency.

    • Auger—there are both hand powered and electric augers to drill holes in the ice
    • Ice Chisel/Pick—used to clear out slush from hole
    • Fishing Pole

    -          Tip-UP Pole- can be made with wood or plastic. It has a long stick with a reel and trigger device. A flag is placed at the top of the stick using a spring. When a fish bites, the flag will bounce up and down (kind of like a bobber).

    -          Jigging Rod— a two foot pole that looks like your smaller, traditional fishing pole. You bounce the jigging rod up and down every few seconds to get the fish attention. Can be used with a jig.

    • Bucket or Chair—so you can sit comfortably on the ice

    Second: Test the Ice

    • Four inches is a safe ice thickness for ice fishing (five inches is safe for an ATV or snowmobile, 8-12 inches is safe for a car or small truck)
    • Survey the ice before stepping out on to it. Are there cracks or breaks? Flowing water near the edges of the ice? Has water thawed and refrozen? Is there white ice? These are signs the ice is weak.
    • Test the ice thickness by using your ice chisel, axe, or other sharp object to break the ice and make a small hole. Then measure the ice thickness with a tape measure.
    • Just because your ice is four inches in one spot on the lake, doesn’t mean that the whole ice surface is four inches or safe to go out on. Ice may be two inches thick and unsafe only 150 feet away from you.

    CAUTION: Be careful on the ice. Slipping and breaking a bone during a survival situation is far from ideal. And be careful of exposure—the reflection of the sun on ice or snow could cause sunburns, and [hypothermia] is always a risk in winter weather. Make sure to dress in layers that you can take off if you get too hot.

    Third: Make a Hole

    When making your hole, make sure it is 6 to 8 inches in diameter (this is where your tape measurer comes in) and no more than 12 inches across. If the hole is larger than this, you may put yourself or someone else at risk of falling in.

    Use your axe or ice chisel to chip away at the ice to make a hole. Make sure you make sure you have a strap or something to tie the axe handle or ice chisel to your wrist so you don’t lose it in the water when cutting the hole.

    Fourth: Fish!

    According to Survivalist, the goal of survival ice fishing is to collect more energy in the food you catch than you expend to get it. In a survival situation, you’ll need energy to help yourself or your family to survive.

    The best way to increase your chances and to save your energy is to have a number of hooks in the water at once. You can use set-lines (lines with multiple hooks on them) that you can leave unattended and come back to later. Having multiple hooks out in the water can increase your chances of catching a fish.

    To learn how to make a set-line, check out the iceshanty.com article, [“Scientific set-lining for more Pike”]

    If the set line’s not working for you, you can construct a rod and reel system and use jigging or bait or try your hand at spear fishing (but you need really good aim . . .) for survival situations.

    Have you ever gone ice fishing without technology? Do you think it would be worth it to ice fish in a survival situation?

     

    Sources

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html

    http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/tips/post/ice-fishing

    Survivalist, Issue 14: Jan/Feb 2014

    http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/snow-sports/ice-fishing2.htm

    http://www.wikihow.com/Know-When-Ice-is-Safe

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency kit, emergency preparedness, emergency preparedness supplies

  • Venison can be used for a variety of delicious, flavorful meals.

    One of the first meals my husband-to-be ever made for me was a deer roast (followed closely by elk sloppy joes). I had never had venison before and was leery of anything acquired outside my trusty, sanitized grocery store meat department. But this boy I was dating had killed the deer himself and he was as anxious to impress me by cooking as I was to impress him by eating it. I didn't tell him at the time, but I was shocked to find I liked it. And years later, I've learned that pretty much anything he brings home and puts over hot metal is going to be delicious.

    While I didn't know it at the time, deer is a fairly tricky meat to get right. Naturally very lean, a deer’s low fat content can make it drier than a nice, fatty steer. And because hunters prize large racks, most kills are older (read “tougher”) bucks. On the hunting end, there are ways to ensure better-tasting venison. Young females are fattier and more tender. A quick kill minimizes the adrenaline in the muscles, which is largely responsible for the bitter, gamey taste of deer. And the longer the carcass sits in its skin before it’s cleaned and processed, the tougher it’s going to be. (Read here for more!) Whether you’re looking for a wall trophy or a way to stock your freezer, there are a few ways to get the best culinary bang for your (ahem…) buck.

    First, save the very best cuts for steaks. Backstrap (also known as “loin” or “tenderloin”) is considered the prime cut of venison. While it’s the most tender cut, venison steaks still require some tenderizing, like a marinade or a few quality minutes with a meat tenderizer.

    The second best cuts—usually the rump and the round (leg muscles just below the rump)—should be reserved for roasts. Slow cooking in liquid, whether in a crock pot or covered in a roasting pan and cooked at low temperature, infuses venison with much-needed moisture and results in a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

    After roasts and steaks, the rest of the meat is—in my hunter-husband’s expert opinion—best put to use as summer sausage. Venison’s natural toughness makes deer jerky hard to chew, and ground venison (while yummy) can only be preserved frozen. Summer sausage is already cured, which makes it far longer-lasting than any raw cut in your freezer. Summer sausage also tends to mold, rather than spoil, minimizing the risk of eating contaminated meat. And, because it’s cured, it stays palatable and safe outside a refrigerator longer than other meats, making it a great choice for hiking, camping, and food storage.

    My husband’s favorite preparation is fairly basic: cover a venison roast 2/3 of the way with beef broth in a crock pot, add a packet of onion soup mix and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and cook on low for 6 or 7 hours. If you want to get more adventurous in the kitchen, you can check out HuntingPA’s extensive recipe list or Hank Shaw’s fantastic gourmet site, honest-food.net.

    However you prepare it, venison can make an exciting variation to your food storage—and knowing how to prepare it can be a useful tool in your prepper skill set.

    Tell us about your favorite venison dish!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, skills, preparedness, emergency preparedness, venison, meat

  • What It is

    A Faraday cage, also known as a Faraday shield, Radio Frequency Cage, or EMF (Electromotive Force) Cage, is simply an enclosure built to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic radiation and electrostatic discharges. It can be anything from a small box to a large room, covered with conductive metal or wire mesh, which prevents surges from damaging the equipment inside.

    The sources of these surges can be powerful lightning strikes, destructive solar flares (CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections) directed toward earth, or the effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear bomb detonation high in the atmosphere.

    The device is named for Michael Faraday, who observed in 1836 that the excess charge from a conductor remained on the outside of a container and had no effect on the interior contents. He experimented by building a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from a generator to strike the outside of it. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room’s walls. Though the device bears Faraday’s name, Benjamin Franklin is believed to have been the first to discover the principle.

    Faraday cages, or shields, are used all throughout our society. Some are used in the scan-rooms of MRI machines, in which the “cage” effect prevents radio frequency signals from being added to the data from the patient’s image. Some electrical linemen wear “Faraday suits” when working on live, high-voltage power lines to prevent accidental electrocution. Military planners and politicians who have reason to keep their communications private often meet in Faraday-protected rooms that are impervious to electronic “eavesdropping.” In 2013, the Vatican even used the technology to shield the Sistine Chapel from curious listeners during the deliberations to select the new Pope.

    Many people buy Faraday bags to protect their cell phones and laptops both from electrical surges and from unwanted surveillance or tracking.

    According to the National Weather Service, an automobile is essentially a Faraday cage, and it’s the metal surrounding you, not the rubber tires, that protects you from lightning (as long as you’re not touching metal inside the car).[i] A smaller example is a microwave oven, which is a Faraday cage in reverse, trapping the waves inside the device instead of keeping them out. In fact, an old microwave oven makes a good Faraday cage for small electronics!

    Typical items that can be stored in a Faraday cage include

    • Laptop or notebook computers
    • Thumb drives or external hard drives
    • Cell phones
    • Ipads, iPods, and e-readers
    • Portable AM/Shortwave radios, ham radio equipment, and walkie-talkies
    • DC/AC inverters
    • Battery-powered radios

     

    Why You Might Need One

    Why, you may ask, would it do any good for you to have working electronics when everyone else’s would be down or destroyed? First of all, you might still be able to communicate with people outside the affected area (and it may be very difficult at first to determine how large that affected area is).

    Second, you won’t be the only “techie” who thought to protect valuable electronics in a Faraday cage. Some preppers do this as a matter of course, and eventually you would probably be able to communicate with them. (Cell towers, however, would likely be “fried” and need to be rebuilt).

    Communication at such a time would be extremely valuable. Unless there had been well-publicized warnings of impending CMEs in the days before the event, many people would have no idea what had happened to our world. Ham radio operators, who could communicate with other Hams around the globe, might become the new heroes of the day.

    Many AM/FM and shortwave radio stations believe that they’ll still be able to broadcast after an EMP or CME event, and without all the usual “noise” of our plugged-in society, their waves may be able to travel farther than they do now. Hopefully there would be Faraday-protected radios out there to receive their signals! There is, however, a likelihood that the earth’s electromagnetic field would be seriously disrupted by such an event, and it might take quite a while for things to settle down and not cause static on the airwaves.

    How to Make a Faraday Cage

    To be effective, a Faraday cage must:

    • Be covered with conductive metal or mesh. Copper is the most conductive metal, followed by aluminum. (Well--gold and silver are better, but we assume you won’t be covering your cage with those!)
    • Be properly grounded (according to some experts, to prevent shocks when touched)
    • Adequately surround whatever it’s protecting.

    In addition, whatever is inside should be adequately insulated from the cage itself, such as being placed on wood, in a cardboard box, or on a rubber mat so that it doesn’t touch any metal.

    Faraday Box # 1—The Galvanized Trash Can

    A Galvanized Trash Can can act like a Faraday Cage

    You will need

    • A galvanized metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid
    • Several boxes of heavy-duty aluminum foil
    • Enough metal screening or mesh to wrap around the top of the can and fit over the lip
    • Cardboard boxes of assorted sizes that fit inside the can
    • Plastic garbage bags or plastic wrap
    • Cloth pieces to wrap items

    Wrap the items you wish to protect first in cloth, then plastic, then 3-4 layers of heavy-duty foil, being sure that the foil is molded to the shape of the item and that each layer completely covers the previous one, with no tears or holes.

    Place your wrapped items in cardboard boxes. Tape shut, then wrap the entire box with 2 layers of foil.

    Line the trash can with cardboard, including the bottom, making sure there are no gaps. The foil-wrapped boxes must not touch the metal of the can. Set the can on wood or cardboard, not touching any other metal.

    Several experts say that simply putting the lid on the can, even if it fits tightly, is an insufficient seal. They suggest folding a sheet of metal screening around the top of the can and over the top lid and then forcing the lid over that to maintain a constant, tight-fitting metallic connection.

    Remember, this is for long-term storage of the appliances inside, not something that you can take your appliances out of to use and then return to the container without a great deal of trouble. A good idea is to look around for good deals on duplicates of things you use every day. Another important thing to remember is that you will need some type of charger—hand-cranked or solar-powered—to power up your devices once a crisis has passed. If you can wrap and store one of these in a protected Faraday container, you’ll be glad to have it. 

    Faraday Cage # 2—A Metal-Clad Box

    Any box made of non-conductive material such as plywood, and then totally covered with metal, metal mesh, or metal screening can serve as a Faraday cage. The metal must touch at all the corners and over and all around any opening for the protection to be complete, as an electrical charge will find its way through any gaps or crevices in the construction. The smaller the holes in the mesh or screen, the better the protection—but either mesh or screen is believed to work better than solid metal. The metal can be attached to the wood with staples or screws, whichever seems to work best for you. You might consider applying the metal mesh so that it folds around the corners. Then let the next piece overlap the edge of the first, securely fastened together and to the wood so that there is no break in the conductive shield.

    Updated: Living Off the Grid

    For those who don’t rely as heavily on electronic equipment for day-to-day life, the idea of Living Off the Grid is more realistic. Those who live off the grid don’t need to worry quite as much about EMP’s or CME’s causing havoc and chaos to their daily routine because they have already given up a lot of the equipment that would be affected by those electromagnetic pulses.

    However, living off the grid doesn't always mean going completely electronics-free.  In this case, living off the grid may not protect you from the aftermath of EMP’s or CME’s even if you produce your own electricity from an alternate source.  Faraday cages can benefit a variety of lifestyles to protect you and your electronics.

    There are many uncertainties about exactly what would happen in the case of an enormous release of electromagnetic energy in our civilized, plugged-in world. We can hope that nothing will happen to damage our electronics, but in case our hopes are vain, we’ll be happy for every measure we've taken to prepare!

    For more DIY projects, check out the articles below:

    DIY Tent Lamp

    Guest Post: Make a Paracord Bracelet

    Baby Steps: DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    Emergency Essentials' DIY Laundry Detergent

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/info__10047811-things-keep-faraday-box.htm

    www.ehow.com/how_8796313_make-faraday-cage-html

    www.thesurvivalistblog.net/building-a-faraday-cage

    www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

    www.science.howstuffworks.com/faraday-cage.htm

    http://thesurvivalmom.com/2012/10/09/skill-of-the-month-make-a-faraday-cage/

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, skills, disaster, preparedness, emergency preparedness, DIY, disaster preparedness, Faraday Cage

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