Post Collapse Uses of Vehicles

Summer of Survival 2014

Following a major catastrophic event or economic collapse, we’ll call it post-SHTF, the plethora of cars we have in everyday society will quickly become useless. Whether its immediate, as a result of an EMP, or delayed as liquid fuel either runs out or goes bad, the bottom line is that we will have a lot of vehicles sitting around doing nothing. That is unless we plan to use those vehicles for a variety of alternate uses. The following is an outline of basic alternative uses of vehicles in a post-SHTF world:


  • Greenhouse: Each spring, unless you live in a very warm climate, many preppers begin to sprout seeds to extend the growing season. However, even many preppers will not have had the time or resources to build a greenhouse prior to the poo hitting. This is where a vehicle can come in great use as a makeshift greenhouse. Simply park the vehicle with the front windshield towards the south and place your trays of seed starts across the dash board and on elevated platforms on the front seats. Just make sure that you open the windows as necessary to keep the temperature in check. The ideal greenhouse temperature is around 80 degrees, although cool weather vegetables like beets, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, lettuce, and spinach germinate best at temperatures between 40 and 75 degrees. Depending on how early you start your seeds, you may also have the bring the trays inside at night to protect them from temperatures below 40 degrees as the inside of the vehicle will quickly match air temperature after sunset. One final consideration is a little breeze, which seedlings need from time to time in order to develop thick stems.
  • Dehydrator: In a post-SHTF world, most people will find themselves busy attempting to preserve their garden bounty in order to survive the winter. A vehicle makes an excellent solar dehydrator! Simply park the vehicle with the front windshield to the south and prop up window screens (or similar material) from the dash to the front seatback. The windows should be cracked to allow moisture to escape via convection, but the vehicle should be allowed to get quit hot. You may need to place screen over the cracked windows to keep disease spreading flies and other bugs from getting inside. You are now ready to dehydrate all of your fruits and veggies on the screened trays.


Listening Post Outpost (LPOP): Security will be a major concern for most preppers post-SHTF and a non-working vehicle would make a great location from which you could monitor the far corners of your property. Preferrably, you should pick a dark colored vehicle for this purpose to aid in camouflage and any shiny surfaces should be removed or painted. Additional camouflaging material, like brush, would also be necessary. It may be advisable to keep some mirrors in place to aid those on security detail in maintaining 360 degree awareness. Keep windows rolled down to allow for listening as well.

Energy & Mechanicals

  • Battery: Don’t let all the 12 volt batteries in those dead cars around you post-SHTF go to waste. Most car batteries will last quit a long time if they are maintained properly, which means keeping the water levels up and preventing full discharges. Keep a bottle of distilled water on hand as part of your preps and use that water to periodically “top off” the levels by removing the caps on the top of the battery and pouring in a little as necessary. The water level should be just at the bottom of the refill hole without overflowing. Keep in mind, this water inside the batteries has sulfuric acid and will burn your skin. In addition, car batteries should not be completely discharged when they are used to power devices. A complete discharge is very bad for the longevity of a car battery.
  • Alternators: Car alternators should be removed from any abandoned vehicle post-SHTF as they will be a valuable source of energy in the future. An alternator can be hooked to a bike, wind turbine, water wheel, etc. to produce 12 volt DC for charging batteries and subsequently powering devices. Keep in mind that some modern alternators have a built in regulator to maintain constant voltage with changes in revolutions while others rely on external regulators that would be mounted separate inside the vehicle.
  • Water Pump & Radiator: Most vehicles also contain 12 volt centrifugal pumps to circulate coolant through the radiator system. These pumps can be used, together with the radiators, in a variety of 12 volt powered solar heating systems. Radiators can be placed inside solar collectors and the pump used to transfer that heat indoors via hoses filled with coolant.

While I am sure there are a large number of additional uses for vehicles in a world without fuel… this list will hopefully get your creative juices flowing. Make abandoned vehicles a part of your resource plan, but keep in mind… use those last few drops of fuel to position them for whatever use you ultimately intend.



Nuclear War Preparedness…with an Eye Patch?

Summer of Survival 2014

I recently learned an interesting fact about the readiness state of pilots during nuclear war scenarios. Interestingly, at DEFCON 2 (the second highest level), pilots in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) are required to wear eye patches to protect one eye from the blinding flash of a nuclear detonation. This got me thinking about the utility of such a step for preppers to potentially take if they ever find themselves in a “get home” situation when nuclear war may be imminent.

When a nuclear weapon is detonated, there are several immediate effects, including a blinding flash of light. Many survival experts simply give advice like, “don’t look at the flash.” However, I consider that easier said than done. If you are close to the detonation, you may instinctually look toward the disruption created by the blast with little control over your body’s natural reaction. This instinctual response may leave you blinded in both eyes and in a rather precarious position if you are attempting to get home or get to a substantial shelter.

For the reason outlined above, I would recommend preppers, especially those living in or near large cities or strategic military targets keep an eye patch in your “get home” bag. It’s unlikely that a nuclear attack will come as a complete surprise. There will likely be a bit of warning by government officials or news media and that will provide you an opportunity to put on an eye patch to walk or drive home or to shelter. This way if you look towards a blinding flash you will only be blinded in one eye.

It is important to note that continuing a “get home” trip following a nearby detonation is not advised unless you can get home within 10 to 15 minutes, max, after the blast, otherwise seek shelter where you are. If you are closer than about 5 miles this won’t be an option, because you will likely be dead or severely injured from the blast pressure. If you are farther than about 5 miles, you will have a few minutes before the fallout begins to settle out of the atmosphere and the radiation levels begin to skyrocket exponentially. If you have preserved your vision with an eye patch, use that sacred time to fine a shelter that puts the densest material possible between you and the outside atmosphere and stay there as long as supplies will allow, up to two weeks if possible.



Free & Virtual Survival & Preparedness Expo

This summer 2014 could be the “Summer of Survival” for you, your family, and your network and best of all…if you register now it’s FREE. Even better, you won’t incur the cost of travel to hear your favorite experts speak because the expo is all virtual. From June 3rd to August 21st there will be a different expert in the survival and preparedness field presenting a topic followed by a live question and answer period. There will be a different session offered each Tuesday and Thursday night with a total of 24 speakers. Now for the best part, I will be presenting on the topic of leadership and structure within your network. All teasing aside, this free seminar series has a great lineup of speakers! To learn more and to register, click the banner below:

Summer of Survival 2014


Wearing a Trauma Ready Belt

I recently attended a conference with speakers who served in EMS and incident command at the Boston Marathon bombing. They gave inspiring speeches about crisis leadership, but something they said got me thinking… They stated that many people used expedient materials to form tourniquets to stop massive hemorrhages from the blast injuries. Many of us, especially men, wear the perfect tourniquet every day… our belts. The problem? You cannot secure most belts down to the diameter of the average sized arm or leg because there aren’t holes that close to the buckle.

Considering the increasing frequency of active shooter situations, it would almost seem our duty as preppers to be ready to respond to these types of situations. One easy way is to make sure that you are wearing a “trauma ready” belt that has extra holes drilled closer to the buckle. See the image below to see where you should drill an extra 10 or so holes to ensure that you can secure your belt firmly around an arm or leg to stop severe bleeding.

Trauma Ready Belt


Growing Green Onions 8 to 9 Times Faster

Growing food fast is key to survival in any SHTF scenario. While growing most vegetables from seed takes anywhere from 50 to 125 days, re-growing certain vegetables from left over stems can take significantly less time in a very basic hydroponics system. Green onions are one of the easiest vegetables to re-grow in water. However, there is a little more to it than what most “Suzy homemaker” blogs claim. I have found that green onions will re-grow in a glass of water very quickly and successfully by adding just 2-3 drops of all-purpose plant food with each change of water, which should be done at least every other day. This addition of nutrient will help the onions grow fast and healthy. Without this addition, the onions simply won’t prosper because most drinking water if all but void of nutrients needed for plants to grow. However, it’s important to note that too much of a good thing can also be bad, so don’t add more than 2-3 drops of plant food or you will kill your onion.

So how quickly will they re-grow? I have found that it takes about two weeks to re-grow a green onion from the stem of one previously used. All you have to do is save the root and about 1-2 inches of the stem. Place the root and stem in a tall glass with the nutrient dense water coming about ¼ inch from the top of the stem.  Soon you will have a new set of healthy, nutrient rich onions to eat! Best of all, these stems can be used over and over again as long as you maintain the water and don’t allow any mold to build up on the plant.

Green Onion Hydroponics


Treating Secondary Infections during Influenza Pandemics

A 2008 report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases indicates that most people who died during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic did not die from the influenza virus alone. Rather, many of the 50 to 100 million people who died ultimately succumbed to bacterial infections. These secondary infections take hold when the original influenza virus destroys the lining of the respiratory system. This destruction of the lining allows naturally occurring bacteria in the body to take hold and cause potentially fatal bacterial pneumonia. Two of the most common bacteria to invade during or immediately following an influenza infection are:

  • Streptococcus pneumonia
  • Haemophilus influenza

Both Streptococcus pneumonia and Haemophilus influenza are treated effectively with the antibiotic Keflex, generically known as Cephalexin. Fortunately for the prepper, this antibiotic is sold over the counter for fish tanks branded as Fish Flex (the 250 mg dose) and Fish Flex Forte (the 500 mg dose). These doses work well for adults, where the recommended dose is 250-500 mg every 6-12 hours depending on the severity of the infection. For children, the dosage is approximately 11 to 22 mg per pound (child’s weight) per day divided into doses given every 6 hours. Pills can be broken open or cut to divide a child’s dose.

Streptococcus PneumoniaeThe information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.


Seed Saving from Biennials Takes Pre-Planning

Saving seeds from veggies like cucumbers, beans, squashes, and even tomatoes can be pretty self explanatory. With that said…I shouldn’t make assumptions, so check out my intro article on seed saving, “Don’t Eat Everything…Saving Some Harvest for Seed.” But the main topic of this post is those seeds that aren’t as obvious…for example, carrots? When is the last time you saw a carrot flower? Chances are you haven’t and that’s because carrots, like several other veggies, are biennial seed producers and that means if we are harvesting them, we aren’t going to see any seeds. That’s because biennial means that they produce flowers (and thus seeds) in the second year of the plant’s life! The following is a list of common biennials of the veggie variety:

  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Beets
  • Swiss Chard

So, like my previous article states, the rule of “don’t eat everything” applies well to saving seeds from biennials because harvesting them will generally kill the plant and not allow it to come back the second year to produce flowers and seed for you. Therefore, I recommend every prepper plant a separate batch of biennials specifically for seed production. For example, if you plan to save seed from carrots you will need to set aside a number of carrot plants that you will not harvest (or till up) so that they can come up again the second year, flower, and produce seed for you to use the following year.

Depending on your climate, keeping biennials “alive” during the winter can be difficult. Obviously, unless you live in Florida or California, the green parts of your biennials are going to die in winter. However, for seed saving you are trying to keep the root alive so a second year plant will return in spring. There are several methods for doing this:

  • In warmer zones: simply spreading a thick layer of straw or other insulating material over the plants in fall after the first light frost will keep the roots alive to come back again in spring.
  • In cooler zones: planting carrots, kale, beets, etc. in pots (specifically for seed saving) and bringing those pots into a greenhouse or attached garage for the winter will keep the roots alive. Move the pots outside again in spring and they will grow again. Producing flowers that will dry up in fall full of seed for harvesting.

Finally, I have to mention that you can force a biennial to go to see or “bolt” in a single season by exposing it to extreme heat/sunlight while maintaining its moisture. This can be done in a greenhouse in summer. However, this is not as likely to work with root veggies, like carrots, that take longer to establish themselves, but may work fine for swiss chard, beets, cabbage, or kale that grow faster. The key is to experiment in your climate! In the cool zone 5, I have had carrots bolt and go to seed in a single season with no intervention when there is a particularly hot late summer.

Carrot FlowerThe information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.


A Simple Solar Panel Mount

Recently, I purchased a solar panel kit at Harbor Freight and found that I liked everything about it except for its mounting system. It worked in a portable or temporary setting, but I wanted something permanent. I also wanted something that would allow me to easily adjust the tilt of the panels for the various seasons. Here at my northern latitude the noon sun really changes in elevation based on the season. So, I decided to put together an inexpensive ground mounted frame that would hold my panels securely and allow me to adjust their elevation easily. The following photos are relatively self explanatory as far as design:

The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.


Preventing Public Health Emergencies when the SHTF

For fans of The Walking Dead, it’s clear that secondary public health emergencies, like outbreaks of flu, tuberculosis, cholera, etc., can be a big problem…even if the primary catastrophe at hand is an outbreak of a zombie infection. On season 4 of The Walking Dead, we have seen many in the network of survivors fall prey to a disease outbreak that is causing flu like symptoms, including a disturbing bloody cough known in the medical community as Hemoptysis. Diseases like this can easily spread in post SHTF conditions where reduced hygiene, malnutrition, and close quarters promote the immunosuppression and disease spread. Therefore, at the first sign of any disease outbreak, it’s important to take action and prevent it from taking hold and causing a serious secondary disaster. Some of these actions include:

  • Maintain distances of at least 6 feet between individuals in your group. Many diseases spread through the formation of tiny droplets of saliva during sneezing or talking or by physical contact, such as hand shaking. Maintaining distance helps prevent these droplets from reaching another person’s nose, mouth, or eyes through the air or by transfer through contact.
  • Every member of the group must continually remind and enforce regular hand washing by all members of the group. Hand washing is especially important after someone covers their mouth during a cough or sneeze. A hand washing should involve warm water, soap, and at least 25 seconds of vigorous scrubbing.
  • Every member of the group must continually remind members of the group not to touch their mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces or surfaces contacted by bodily fluids, including knobs, buttons, handles, toilet seats, sinks, eating utensils, etc., with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Bleach is cheap to stock, so stock up!
  • The use of surgical masks helps contain any coughs or sneezes and also serves as a great reminder not to touch one’s own face. Surgical masks are not thought to be sufficient to protect someone from getting infected, rather they serve to contain infections to an infected individual.
  • Boost the immune systems of members in your group by promoting plenty of sleep and taking supplements like vitamin C and D & E, St. John’s Wort, and Green Tea. These supplements boost the immune system, serve as anti-virals, and block cytokines that are often responsible for an overreaction of the immune system that can cause death. For more information on these suppliments and what is known as “cytokine storm,” check out my article entitled “Preventing ‘Cytokine Storm’ Death from Pandemic Flu”.
  • Anyone who exhibits symptoms should be quarantined away from others for a period of 7 days. Those who bring food and provide care to these individuals should wear appropriately fitted N95 masks, gowns, and gloves. These basic personal protective equipment require a bit of training, including the following:
    • Anyone wearing an N95 mask must put it on correctly and conduct a user seal check. Some key aspects to wearing a mask correctly include: placing the top strap of the mask above the ears over and around the temple areas of the head, placing the bottom strap of the mask below the ears and around the back of the neck, pressing and conforming the nosepiece to the nose by pressing from the nasal bridge down towards the cheeks. Conducting a user seal check by quickly inhaling or exhaling while feeling if any air is leaking between the mask and your face and thus, bypassing the filtering mechanism. Re-adjust the mask until no air can be detected passing between the mask and your face.
    • Gowns should be removed and disposed of prior to removal of gloves. o Gloves should be removed according to the following video instructions http://youtu.be/S4gyNAsPCbU.
    • Disinfect any tools, dishes, or utensils used to care for the individual with a bleach solution. o Wash your hands after providing care.

The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.


An Easy Chicken Treat for the Prepper’s Homestead

We’ve had chickens for a few weeks now and I’ve quickly learned that they are all about the entertainment factor. So when it comes to making them a treat that will keep them from eating as much store bought food, thus making them more sustainable, its also all about entertainment. About every other day, I pick bunch of wild purslane, lamb’s quarters, plantain, and perhaps a few kale leaves and give them to them to the chickens. However, I don’t just throw them in on a plate anymore like I used to. That’s nowhere near entertaining enough for their taste and they usually don’t eat much if any of it. Instead, I now tie the bunch from a piece of string and hang it from their perch. They absolutely go nuts and usually clean up every bit of the weeds except the stems!  They just can’t seem to get enough of how the bunch bounces back and forth when they peck at it, but more importantly, they eat every bit of the free, sustainable food.

The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.

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