TIP: Dental Floss

Dental floss as suture in an emergency.note: first appeared September 2015

Dental floss is a good substitute for suture material in emergencies.

Yup!  If you need suture material and you are out, go looking for dental floss.

And hint……..dental floss is a whole lot cheaper than suture material.Sutures

Just make sure you have suture needles on hand.  Yes, they can be re-used if you sterilize the needle in between use.

And another hint…only buy and use curved suture needles.

 

 

 

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TIP: If your water supply is failing fill your bathtub and…

Water Main Broken city water supply failsnote: first published in September 2015

If your water supply is failing but there is still running water, fill your:

  • bathtubs
  • sinks
  • buckets
  • trash cansfill any container with water
  • pot & pans,
  • bowls
  • water bottles
  • jars
  • glasses

Fill anything that will hold water. You can figure out how to store it and purify it later, but for now just fill up anything at all that can hold water. Water is priceless and the single highest priority for sustaining life.WaterBOB = water storage of 100gal

A WaterBob is a great way to store water in a bath tub should you need to.

< Information on water >

< Information on bath tub water storage >

 

 

 

 

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TIP: Socks

Socks Smart Wool socks for preppersnote: first appeared in October 2015

#1 – For serious preppers…only go with wool socks. And the only real brand I use to recommend was SmartWool. They are simply the best wool socks out there that I have personally worn over the last 20 years of hard wilderness and back-country use. They stay cool in the desert, and warm in the snow. When wet they won’t tear your feet up. However, I have Socks Wool REIbeen trying a couple other brands in the last 2 – 3 years or so. I am liking Minus33 and REI brand wool socks just as much. They rate right up there with SmartWool.

 

 

 

 

Socks Wool Minus33

#2 – If the seams of your wool socks are bothering you then turn your socks inside out. The seam will not bother your feet because you will have the smooth side of the sock against your skin.

 

 

 

 

#3 – Wash your wool socks inside out and they won’t get those little “balls.” I also always use the “air” setting on the dryer, never any heat setting (well, if you want them to last as long as possible). And I am perfectly accepting of laying my wool socks over the back of a dining room table chair. Yeah, my wife loves that option 🙂

 

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TIP: Winter Storms…know the difference

Winter storm snow blizzard

note: first published in November 2015

Pretty soon the snow will be flying, the temps dipping, and the threat of winter sets in. Don’t get caught unprepared. Know the kinds of messages that you will get from the TV, radio, and other emergency broadcasters. Know how imperative your action needs to be.

Don’t suffer or die needlessly!

Winter Storm Outlook Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.

Winter Weather Advisory Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.life threatening Winter storm snow blizzard

Winter Storm Watch Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.Winter storm snow blizzard

Winter Storm WarningLife-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Get your vehicle emergency kit updated with hand warmers, cold weather clothing, etc.

Get your GOOD BOB updated as well. Or, place your cold weather gear bag/box with your GOOD BOB.

Don’t get caught in the cold unprepared!!  You can die easily from exposure when the temps get below 50º.

 

 

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TIP: Deadly chemical intake…

Poison chemicalsnote: first published September 2015

There are only three ways a deadly chemical can enter your body:

  1. Touch
  2. Ingest
  3. Breath

Prevent poisoning by deadly chemicals is accomplished by preventing those three things.  Here are the first tidbits of wisdom:

  1. Stay up-wind
  2. Stay up-hill
  3. Stay up-stream

More proactive measures that can be taken:

1 – Have sturdy rubber cloves and wear vinyl under them to avoid touching chemicals.

RubberGloves GlovesNitrile2 

 

2 – Have a good quality military-grade face mask respirator.

Gas mask

3 – Have heavy duty rubber boots.

RubberBoots

Best thing to do is simply don’t be where the chemical is.  Get out, get out soon, and don’t take chances with deadly chemicals!

When I was still a structure firefighter we used the “Rule of Thumb” for hazard materials incidents.  While holding our thumb out in front of us and looking at the Hazmat scene, if we couldn’t cover the entire hazardous materials incident with our thumb we were too close.

firefighter Rule of Thumb

Hazardous Materials Scene Rule of Thumb

Well, technically there are three more “rules” regarding HazMat that I already mentioned:

  1. Stay up wind.
  2. Stay up hill.
  3. Stay up stream.

Yup, if the HazMat substance can’t reach you…then you are safe from it.

 

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TIP: Liquid Tape is great stuff!

I’ve talked about Performix Liquid Tape before but here is a great little tip when you have over-crimped your ring connectors, or any crimp-type connector. If you squeeze too hard when crimping your connections you may put a “dimple” in the connector and expose a little bit of metal. That can expose the metal to corrosion or worse yet, a short.

The way to fix that is pretty simple. Get out your Performix Liquid Tape and a toothpick. Put a small amount of Liquid Tape on the toothpick and work into the “dimple” created from over-crimping. Force it in making a good seal.

Let it dry and you are good to go.

 

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TIP: Time for a change…

First off…I apologize for the quality of the photos…they suck! I got in a hurry and didn’t verify them when I took them, I just assumed they were in focus, etc.

So now the meat of this tip…Oil Changes!

It was time for me to do a little preventive maintenance (PM) on my two Champion generators. One is my Champion 120v, 4000 watt (PSW), inverter generator, the other is a Champion 3500 watt (MSW), dual fuel generator. Both have the same engine. Yeah, amazing how that worked out…same motor on both…almost like I planned it 😉

In this case the PM was oil change, air filter cleaning, and spark arrestor check. So here are my steps on how I go about it…

1) I get the generator well off the ground to a comfortable working height and to make it easier to get to and oil drain pan underneath.

Sub-tips:

    1. Notice the dump cart in the background. I use that to transport the well house generator to my mini-barn/shop. The cart tilts to ground level, I roll the generator onto the cart, tilt the cart bed back to its upright position and haul the cart with my UTV. My solar system stand-by generator is on a 4-wheeled cart that I simply hook up to and pull with the UTV. Yeah, I mounted it on its own cart to assist in moving it around the construction site while I was building the house. I also left it on the cart to make it easy to move around the property with the UTV should I need the power somewhere more remote. I can also more easily use it at other locations in my community should the emergency need arise.
    2. Don’t buy some expensive oil drain pan! I use a Walmart plastic storage bin that cost me about $2. It came with a lid so I can close up the drain pan till I am ready to dump the oil.
    3. To get my wheeled generator off the ground high enough I simply pulled it up on my car ramps.
    4. And what you don’t see in the picture is my mechanic’s stool. An adjustable stool, on casters, with a tool tray around the base. That gives me a nice comfortable working height…sitting down. And a place to keep my tools off the floor of my shop which happens to be cinders.

2) To make my efforts more efficient I actually work on changing the oil and cleaning the air filter at the same time. I use a stiff brush to clean around the drain plug, then I remove the drain plug to drain the oil, and remove the oil dip stick to make the draining easier. Then I remove the air filter and take it to the house to clean it. There are some air filter cleaners out there but they are a little pricey. I simply use hot water, a little dish soap, and clean it like I would a shop rag. After I have rinsed it thoroughly I use dry paper towels to wrap it in and squeeze until the paper towels are no longer damp. Then I sit the air filter out in the sun to finish drying. You must get the air filter completely dry! While I have been cleaning the air filter the oil has drained completely.

Sub-tips:

    1. When I remove the dip stick I place it on a clean paper towel to make sure it stays dirt/grit free. And it has a nice absorbent surface to drain on.

3) I make sure the air filter cover is clean on the inside as well as the air filter housing that is connected to the engine. If needed, I use WD-40 to clean off any grime. Before I put the air filter back into the housing I use PJ1 on the foam filter to assist in catching/trapping any dirt/grit/sand/dust from getting through the filter.

4) Time for putting in the nice clean oil! Yeah, don’t forget to put the drain plug back in. And really don’t forget to ensure that if there is a crush washer that it goes back on.

Sub-tips:

    1. I use only fully synthetic oil when I do oil changes. Yes, I use manufacturer recommended oil for the break-in period…then fully synthetic after that. And yes, I use a slightly heavier oil in our hot summers and a slightly lighter weight oil during the winter. And yes, I buy my oil in gallon jugs or larger…cheaper.
    2. Make sure you have a long-neck funnel on hand to assist in pouring the oil back into the motor. Champion generators come with a funnel…nice touch! Also, notice the Ziplock bag in the picture? Yeah, I store my funnel in it. It keeps any dirt/grit from getting on it. I also put a couple of paper towels in the bottom to absorb any leftover oil when I put the funnel in the bag.
    3. When adding the oil I use the drip stick to check the quantity of oil to add. To check the oil level correctly you have to screw the oil dip stick all the way in. But, I am inpatient. I simply put the dip stick in until it hits the mouth of the oil fill inlet, I don’t screw it in. When the oil reaches about the halfway full mark it is close enough. Then I screw it in to do a final level check.

5) The final step in my PM in checking the spark arrestor screen and cleaning it if needed.

Note: A buddy of mine saw a used generator deeply discounted at a “big-box store” that appeared to be fairly new. The tag said it would not start or run. He looked at the spark arrestor screen…he immediately purchased the generator. He got it home, took the spark arrestor screen off and cleaned it really well. He checked the air filter…fine. He checked the spark plug…fine. Checked to make sure the gas wasn’t foul…fine. It started right up.

Sub-tips:

    1. You can run the generator without the spark arrestor screen. But, check the warranty, it may void it, and it won’t be approved for use on public lands…or in California.
    2. If you are in California…move.

 

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TIP: Performix Liquid Tape

note: originally published in 2015Performix Liquid Tape - Electrical

There are times in life that really cool stuff comes along…like Duct Tape. Performix Liquid Tape is one of those times and products.

As you know I do a decent amount of electronic and electrical fabrication. That is a fancy way to say I “tinker” a lot. I have learned that you really want to keep electrical and electronic parts separated.

Sparks and the smell of burning wiring is not a good thing!

I like electric shrink wrap a lot but that is not always feasible. And there are times when you want more sealant capability, especially for cracks and odd shapes. Liquid tape really comes in very handy for those times and so much more.

This stuff is “gooey” and can be forced into cracks and crevices to form watertight barriers and act like electrical tape preventing contact between electrical components. AntennaFix2

One example is the antenna waterproofing project published on 8/17/2020 “ExpertPower XP-771 Elite for the Baofeng UV-5R radio.”

Let your imagination run wild on what you can do with this product.!

 

 

 

 

 

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TRAP: Don’t fall for it…

I’ve noticed a rash of Internet articles the last couple of months promoting panic buying. While they don’t use the term “panic buying” that is exactly what they are trying to convince you to do.

Here are a few examples of clickbait article headlines:

  • Top Ten Things That Will Disappear in the Next COVID Wave
  • Top 20 Items to Buy Now
  • Top 15 Food Items That Are Disappearing Fast
  • What you must buy now before it is too late!

Well, that is a pretty limited sample of the article headlines that I am talking about, I could go on. But, you are smart, you get the idea. Here’s the problem…they are promoting panic buying.

So what if pinto beans are in short supply! You should already have your supply of pinto beans…or have a plan to acquire the correct amount of pinto beans. So there is no reason to go out and buy 100pounds of beans…right! Especially if you need medical supplies or ammo as well. You fall back on your priorities…not your panic.

Why use the great pinto bean scare? Several months ago a lot of people got sucked into the pinto bean panic. Meaning, that there was supposedly a shortage of pinto beans and that you better buy them now before they disappeared. So, a lot of people went out and bought pinto beans…thus creating the shortage…an artificial shortage. There never was any abnormal shortage of pinto beans…ever…period. Yes, meaning I checked it out myself…there were plenty on the shelf when supposedly they were all gone.

So when you read headlines…or the body of an article telling you there is some kind of shortage and you better go buy some top ten list…IGNORE IT! It is someone trying to talk you into panic buying.

So what should you do?

  1. Read the series of articles “Layering & the Common 7” <click here to start reading>
  2. Then review where you have the holes in your prepping, list them, then prioritize them.
  3. Then develop a plan to purchase, make, grow, or otherwise acquire those items to plug the holes.
  4. And above all…do not panic. There simply is no reason to and it doesn’t help.

Do not fall victim to the hustlers, hucksters, and wannabes out there.

  1. Get educated.
  2. Assess your needs.
  3. Identify the deficiencies in your preps.
  4. Have a plan to remedy those deficiencies.
  5. Work your plan.

Don’t fall for the calls to panic buy. Panic, like fear, is not your friend.

 

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Tips, Tricks, Traps & Thoughts…

Download this page as a PDF file. <click here> Yes, you have my permission to pass this PDF file along to others. Please, just don’t alter it…meaning: don’t delete the footnote “Courtesy of AHTrimble.com”

 

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