Thursday, 20 March 2014

By on March 20th, 2014 in lab day, personal

07:58 – Our recent severe winter weather has gotten me started thinking about upgrading our car emergency kits. I intend to build several of them. First, a smaller duffel bag for Barbara’s car and a larger duffel bag for my 4X4. These will remain in the vehicles by default, removed only when we’re hauling stuff or carrying extra people in the vehicles. I’ll design them as 2-person, 3-day kits. They’ll contain at least 2,500 calories per person per day of food that stores well and requires no preparation, 2 liters of water per person per day, clothing, emergency fire-making gear, space blankets, folding knives, multitools, flashlights and light sticks, plenty of batteries, radios (AM/FM/NOAA and FRS/GMRS transceivers), a basic medical kit, and so on. Those small kits are intended to cope with typical emergencies, such as the winter storm that stranded all those people in Atlanta for days. Second, I’ll design larger kits for each vehicle that will support two to four people for 15 to 30 days. Those are evacuation kits, intended to deal with hurricanes and other large-scale emergencies. Those won’t be in the vehicles routinely, but will be available to grab and go.

So I went over to the Red Cross and FEMA sites and looked at their recommendations for emergency kits. Both were fine as far as they went, but they lacked detail and made assumptions that I don’t necessarily want to make. My next stops were the Costco and Amazon web sites and eventually several other sites, where I searched for emergency kits. What a joke. Even the best of them are pathetic. Most contain only shoddy junk, to keep the price down. The medical/first-aid supplies are typically of the two-aspirins-and-a-small-bandaid variety. You usually get a $0.15 plastic whistle for some reason. One of the kits, alleged to be a 2-person-3-day kit, contained a grand total of 1800 calories in the form of six probably-inedible food bars. Worse still, it included only 125 mL of water per person per day in the form of 12 pouches, which according to the reviews leak.

I’d be interested to learn what specifically, my readers carry in their own kits.

10:42 – I find myself buying more and more of the chemicals we need on eBay. I’m making up solutions and just opened my last 500 g bottle of potassium iodide, so I sat down to order more. My regular vendor was charging about $245/kilo for ACS KI, so I checked eBay and ordered a kilo of ACS KI for $126, about as much as my regular vendor wanted for 500 g.

62 Comments and discussion on "Thursday, 20 March 2014"

  1. Stu Nicol says:

    I take a DeLorme inReach SE on my back country 4WD trips where I will be beyond cell phone coverage:

    It communicates via the Iridium satellite phone system by transmitting test messages to smart phones or to email accounts. It also has SOS transmission capability to appropriate search and rescue agencies.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Never considered that. I’m pretty decent at reading topo maps, but I’m not sure if Barbara is.

  3. Chad says:

    I’d be interested to learn what specifically, my readers carry in their own kits.

    I just carry a gun. I figure in a survival situation I can use my gun to take what I need from weaker unarmed people. 🙂 Just kidding. I am woefully unprepared for any survival situation. I used to have a small kit in the car, but it would get raided for something, or taken out of the car to make room for something else and never put back in, etc.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m thinking about buying one or two Marlin Model 60 .22 rimfire rifles for each kit. We’d normally be better-armed than that, but a Model 60 with a couple hundred rounds in tube speed loaders is nothing to sneeze at.

    Which reminds me of the stupid FEMA lists, which always instruct you to leave all firearms at home when you evacuate. Yeah, right.

  5. Stu Nicol says:

    “Never considered that. I’m pretty decent at reading topo maps, but I’m not sure if Barbara is.”

    Each SMS, text, or email contains a hyperlink to their map with your precise location, quite similar to a Google Earth satellite view with GPS, lat & lon, coordinates displayed.

  6. Lynn McGuire says:

    A .38 special +p revolver plus 500 rounds of ammo in each kit. But now you need to be careful crossing a state border or into DC.

    A crosscut saw. A hammer. Screwdrivers of various sizes. Nails and screws.

    Generic underwear. Generic socks. Flip flops. Coveralls.

    Cheap work gloves.

  7. Roy Harvey says:

    A few days late, but a bit on herding.

  8. OFD says:

    I’m working up similar kits for our vehicles, mainly based on the worst-case scenario (currently, anyway, short of armed brigands roaming the countryside) of being stranded in one of them during a blizzard or ice storm many miles from home.

    Agreed that the already-assembled kits for sale online mainly suck; we need to prepare stuff for our local/personal circumstances anyway; for example, we’d need to include a reasonable supply of specific meds for Mrs. OFD, plus spare glasses and suchlike for me. And don’t forget toilet paper and some kind of water purifying device/s, too.

    Meanwhile I have some survival-oriented apps on both my iPhone and the Kindle, but won’t be counting on them for long. Firearms would include the Ruger 10-22 Takedown, cut-down 12-gauge shotguns, and .38/.357 revolvers. Plus ammo.

    “… the stupid FEMA lists, which always instruct you to leave all firearms at home when you evacuate.”

    Because they’re counting on us to evacuate and then report directly to one of their “managed” facilities or camps. One look back at how that panned out after Katrina and you’d be advised not to take that route.

    I don’t see us evacuating because of anything in particular here, but I suppose a major fire would render us temporarily homeless, so yeah, a couple of bigger go-bag kits stored for now in the attic or cellar. For the winter scenario on the road out there somewhere we’d want the long johns, blankets, gloves, hats, etc. And *at least* 2,500 calories per person per day. Probably a gallon of wottuh PPPD.

  9. For serious medical kits (not just a bunch of band-aids and ointment), there’s:

    The kit I have is not large, but contains, as its centerpiece, a folding splint made out of coated bendable aluminum, suitable for splinting broken arms and legs.

  10. Chad says:

    I guess it depends on what you’re preparing for. A few days? A few weeks?

    I’d be tempted to throw some medications in there (acetaminophen, NSAIDs, loperamide, antibiotics) but the heat inside a car in the Summer would probably ruin them in short order.

    A quart of 80+ proof liquor comes to mind. Passing the time while stranded would go much smoother with a bottle of hooch for social lubrication. 😉 If you’re a “zombie apocalypse” type of preparer then alcohol and tobacco can quickly become currency in a dystopian future.

    If you frequently travel with your dog, then a 5lb bag of kibble wouldn’t be a terrible idea and could even be used to feed humans if it came down to it.

    In the event of severe flooding, would a small inflatable raft be a bad idea?

    I’ve been toying with the idea of purchasing this book. It has decent reviews:
    Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family by Arthur T. Bradley.

  11. brad says:

    I don’t carry all that much as an emergency kit – that’s a trade-off, because I always have the stuff with me, in a pocket in my backpack. If it were a lot, I wouldn’t do that.

    Anyway: I have a “standard” small first aid kit that contains small-to-medium sized bandages, disinfectant, crappy scissors. Separately, I have an elastic bandage, a roll of athletic tape, and one of those reflective blankets. Total weight is maybe a bit more than half a kilo.

    I’ve been involved only in one emergency – a car accident with two injured folks (the tree won). I didn’t need any of my stuff, because other people were there first – I just helped take care of one of the people until the ambulance arrived. Took about an hour altogether, because the medics did some on-the-spot treatment.

    Oh, on the more general front, I always have a big Swiss army knife, a multitool, and a small selection of batteries. Add another half-kilo. No food or drink or anything along those lines.

  12. OFD says:

    We should probably distinguish between an ECD (Every Day Carry) pack like brad mentions here, the vehicle kits, and the house-based go-bags.

    This guy and his site have been a gold mine for info:

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The 144-hour kits are not intended for end-of-the-world/zombie-apocalypse situations. They’re merely designed to allow us to survive comfortably for 1-person/6-days, 2P/3D, 3P/2D, 4P/36H, etc.

    The medical kits in the 144-hour kits will be limited, but will include sufficient for a full course of treatment with amoxicillin, tetracycline, cephalexin, metronidazole, sulfadimethoxine, and one or two others. They’ll also include loperamide for diarrhea; diphenhydramine and loratidine antihistamines; aspirin, ibuprofen, and tramadol analgesics, and so on.

    I don’t have much medical training other than what I’ve done on my own, so I look to the book _The Ship’s Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea_ for ideas. I also have a copy of Emergency War Surgery, and I’m arrogant enough to give it a try if the situation warrants.

  14. Chad says:

    The medical kits in the 144-hour kits will be limited, but will include sufficient for a full course of treatment with amoxicillin, tetracycline, cephalexin, metronidazole, sulfadimethoxine, and one or two others. They’ll also include loperamide for diarrhea; diphenhydramine and loratidine antihistamines; aspirin, ibuprofen, and tramadol analgesics, and so on.

    You don’t feel that temperatures in the car will negatively impact the medicines?

  15. Terry Losansky says:

    For emergency kits, I always like multi-purpose supplies. What really got me thinking on those lines was the suggestion to use maxi-pads as large bandages; useful for any three-day kit.

    For multipurpose items, I prefer the best quality I can afford. I like the Gerber brand over Leatherman for example, which has worked well for me over the years.

  16. OFD says:

    On the med question: I’ve read that heat can adversely affect meds stored in a vehicle, though that is not likely a problem up here most of the year; our summuh is July 3-5.

    But: what about how to acquire meds, some of which Bob mentions, that are not OTC; and how true is it that some veterinary meds can be OK for us homo sapiens sapiens?

    I’ve had first responder EMS training but it was a while ago; (other cops told me: just remember to stop the bleeding and call an ambulance). Thinking about taking the EMT courses offered down at UVM and getting certified accordingly, though. Also recommended: “Where There Is No Doctor,” and “Where There Is No Dentist.”

  17. Chad says:

    “Where There Is No Dentist.”

    In that instance, don’t we just resort to 19th century dentistry? That is, ask them which tooth hurts, liquor them up, and then yank it out with a pair of pliers.

  18. Lynn McGuire says:

    Too much of this stuff and you are going to need a Ford Expedition like I drive. The Expedition is the ultimate station wagon and gets 13/20 mpg. Get a few pounds more and one will need a trailer which your Expedition can handily tow. Note that the four wheel drive Expeditions are rare as hen’s teeth and highly prized. Mine is 2WD with limited slip (almost as good as 4WD).

    BTW, during the ramp-up for Hurricanes Rita and Ike, it was impossible to bug out of the Houston metropolitan area. Too many people (4 million out of the 7 million plus) tried to leave with too little preparation. The freeways clogged first and then the gasoline ran out at the stations on the freeways. Diesel was generally still available though. I would like to have a diesel truck but they are an $8,000 premium for new (even the old diesel trucks have a premium price until they get 300,000 miles on them). Half of the people got frustrated within 8 hours (they were sitting on freeway outside my office), turned around and went home to ride the storm out.

    Then the problem was that all the hotels within 300 miles were filled up. Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Fort Worth, etc. See gasoline problems from above.

    So, I submit that you need a large vehicle for bug out and a planned place to go to. Maybe a state park with water and a place to throw up a tent. That means you need a tent.

    And you need extra fuel for your vehicle. I would plan on the vehicle getting half of your normal mileage due to traffic congestion and load. And your vehicle must have a serviceable spare tire (many cars do not have spare tires anymore, mini, mercedes, smart, honda minivan, etc).

    I have four empty 5 gallon gas cans in my garage that I plan on filling at the first mention of troubles. If we decide to bug out then I can strap them to the roof rack. But that does expose them to pilferage, just like a pickup truck bed.

    I don’t have a clue what to do for a zombie apocalypse. Or if North Korea invades the USA (see last Red Dawn movie). Or an alien invasion. Have lots of guns and ammo. Know the location of the nearest national guard armory. Have lots of food and water.

  19. MrAtoz says:

    Several more items for bugging out:

    Short Term:
    Food: Case of “chunky” soup per person

    Long Term:
    Handcuff key, cuffs, zipcuffs
    Lock picks (I’ve picked since HS but am rusty, helped in several pickles)
    MREs calorie dense, long shelf life, tightly packed
    SAS Survival Guide or equiv

    Foraging book
    How to slaughter animals book (Cool Tools has all kinds of recom’s)
    Fishing kit

    I’m thinking of making my own survival vest that would hold all the essential tools + camebak. Commercial ones look kind of wimpy

  20. Terry Losansky says:

    But: what about how to acquire meds, some of which Bob mentions, that are not OTC

    My BIL is a licensed ships captain. When he goes on extended trips he has a local doctor ‘proscribe’ certain non-OTC drugs. I think some doctors, if you have a standing relationship, will agree to that, if there is demonstrated need and no history of abuse.

  21. OFD says:

    I thought so, Terry; we need to get hooked up ASAP with a primary care MD here, so that is in progress. I have a forty-year history of abuse, however. Cold-turkeyed every one of the substances, last one nearly five years ago. Sober as a judge now, LOL, and system all cleaned out. Minus some brain cells.

    Good tips from MrAtoz all around, and esp. on the personally customized vest apparatus.

    Dental emergencies may involve more than simple extractions, however, and best to be semper paratus and all that good stuff.

    Excellent and informative historical anecdotes from Lynn; yes, the shit hits the fan in and around major urban areas and everyone goes nuts immediately, panics, and hits the highways. With the expected results. Gotta say, though, in a major shitstorm of Barackapocalypse level, you don’t wanna be anywhere near a city anyway and if you haven’t already left, sad to say, you may be hurtin’ for certain when the time comes. You wanna be at least five miles from a major highway or rail line and the hell away from any gummint/military installations. Ditto gas storage tanks, reactors, and suchlike; an interesting problem will be how to do orderly shutdowns of the latter if necessary. A geiger counter would be useful.

    Lynn is gonna have to actually bug out in a large vehicle and head for the hills if and when the time comes. So he is clearly aware of that and thinking on the subject.

    But we can probably dismiss zombies, North Koreans and aliens for the nonce; we’ll see some shit ramped up when the financial mess finally disintegrates, and that will be world-wide anyway. Civil unrest and rebellious incidents will be stomped on hard by the regimes and remaining civil liberties will go up in smoke. Remember that military justice is to justice like military music is to music and you’ll be fine.

    After the house of cards folds, we can expect a decline in supply, a rise in demand and costs, of all fossil fuels. At some point the whole Grid may go down, except in Texas which they keep telling us, has their own. By that time we will have seen mass die-offs, as millions of folks in large metro areas simply can’t hack it; no money, no food, no gas, no heat, no water, and violent thugs preying on them nonstop. Many of the morbidly obese will immediately fade to shadows of their former selves, and many others may well end up roasting on primitive BBQ spits in urban back alleys, tended by deranged revenant gangs. Not zombies but close enough.

    Or maybe we’ll luck out somewhat here in North Murka, and simply fall back to circa 1900-1950, muddling along, life a little harsher but doable.

  22. MrAtoz says:

    One other item I forgot to mention:

    Long Term/Barackalypse:

    $1,000 each of gold and silver. I bought a variety of gold in the 5-10 gram weight for this and 1oz silver coins (generic issue). The gold easily fits in my “travel” belt along with a bunch of $20 bills. I wear the belt when traveling out of country.

  23. OFD says:

    Do mean $1,000 each at face value or current gold and silver prices, sir?

    I’m working on the “junk silver” accumulation; small denomination gold coins will have to wait while other priorities are accomplished.

    The guy at codename:insight had recommended carrying a dollar in quarters and I forget the amount in fiat cash but it wasn’t that much; plus have a grand available on your ATM and/or credit cards. But this was for short-term ECD use, not apocalypse or anything more major than getting temporarily stranded somewhere with a good shot at getting home soon and unhurt.

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    You mentioned a kit that was too large to carry in the car normally. Have you got room in the house/garage for it? I seem to remember that space is at a premium at your place because of all the kit stuff.

    I don’t have any emergency stashes, I haven’t really thought about it. What about UHT milk, fruit juice that doesn’t need refrigeration, food that is tasty and *different*, such as, in my case, bottled olives, and stuff, to escape the monotony of life. Something to boil water off the car battery? I’ll have to give this a lot more thought and read what everyone ays when I have time.

  25. Lynn McGuire says:

    Lynn is gonna have to actually bug out in a large vehicle and head for the hills if and when the time comes. So he is clearly aware of that and thinking on the subject.

    In the case of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, do not bug out unless you are in danger of getting inland wave action or serious flooding at your location. Water and waves kill, wind just sounds bad. Yes, tornadoes and trees kill but you do not want to ride the hurricane out in a car. In my case, I slept in my bed while 90+ mph winds were ripping the shingles off my roof and a 40 ft tree went down in my backyard.

    BTW, is your food protected from water from above? One out of 100 homes in my area lost roof decking and had severe water damage in the house. Severe enough to re-sheetrock the entire house.

    If you are below 25 ft sea level, leave. In fact, I would put your house up for sale now and move to higher ground so that you do not have to leave. If you are above 25 ft sea level, go fill up all your vehicles and containers with the fuel of your choice. You should already have plenty of food and water to ride out the storm and the two to six weeks of nightmare afterwards. I am at 72 ft of sea level so I am riding it out. I just need extra fuel which I will try to procure before the storm arrives.

    For those of you who leave, please use the side roads. We could not believe the people who were sitting on the freeway in 105 F heat for literally hours in one spot while we were driving around Sugar Land on parallel roads to go home / work / etc. The gas stations on the freeway were empty. The gas stations just one mile away from the freeway had plenty of gas for another 24 hours then they got drained also since there were no deliveries (for two weeks).

    If the side roads are clogged then head towards the hurricane. At some point you will be able to make a ninety degree turn and head parallel to the hurricane. Keep that fuel tank at 1/2 full or more at all times! If you see a fuel station, top off! You never know when you will see another open fuel station. It may be next month. It took two weeks to get open fuel stations around here after Ike.

    I really want to get a 500 gallon propane tank and fill it with gasoline. Since these are pressure tanks, it would keep the gasoline fresh. I suspect that my HOA would go nuts if my neighbors turned me in.

    Another thing about hurricanes. FEMA has decided that during the next major hurricane in the Houston area, they are going to turn the natural gas off. For the entire ten county metropolitan area. For the duration of the recovery (Ike was one to six weeks depending on your location). So, no natural gas generators, no stove cooking, no hot water, etc.

    In the case of the Barackalypse, I literally have no idea. You probably need to stay in place for a while and reconnoiter. I would think that you have two to four weeks to bug out unless things go horrible in a hurry. And you need a destination. With food. With water. Fuel to get there. That you can stay at for six months or a year.

    If you show up at Aunt Matilda’s, you better have food and water. You know that she has very little of either. Little old ladies and men have about a week of food in the house at best. And no water. And no weapons.

    BTW, if we transfer to martial law, you need to make a decision about your weapons. If an APC parks itself on the end of your street and some lieutenant bullhorns “bring out your weapons”, what are you going to do? I have really wrestled with this question. And if you say this won’t happen in the USA, it happened in New Orleans after Katrina except it was the police. The police makes it a slam dunk answer for me (no), but I am worried about the military. Guard units are bad news, Marines are freaking scary. They will shoot you and leave your body as an example. And the military are very effective during the daytime and even more so effective during the night. Their night equipment is much better than you think.

  26. OFD says:

    Hurricanes and tornadoes are not our worry up here; it’s major blizzards and ice storms where the Grid goes down, usually not for long, but what if for weeks or months during the middle of our winter? Down the list a way would be earthquake; there have been occasional tremors over the years and a bad one around Boston during Dr. Franklin’s time.

    We ain’t going anywhere; we’ll ride out whatever right here with our neighbors; I worry, though, about the rest of my family, and our son’s, down in Maffachufetts, smack in the middle of Metropolis between Woostuh and Boston.

    I doubt the military would even bother showing up around here if the whole enchilada blows up nationwide; they’ll have their hands full in the cities and protecting their bases and equipment. We have nothing worth a fuss here; it’s a small lakeside village and a couple of hundred law-abiding citizens. They’ll have the prison a couple of miles from here to worry about, maybe, and whatever traffic on the interstate and rail lines and it’s unlikely they’ll have occasion to post an APC and some tanks down this way.

    If they do, and some jeep looey starts yelping through his bullhorn about turning in our weapons he can go take a piss up a rope, Marine or not. The Guard units are guys from around here, first of all, and if they all wanna mount up full-scale nighttime fire team assaults on residential homes so they can grab a couple of rifles, then that’s some pretty sorry shit. Most likely we’d be ready and available to ASSIST them, not shoot at them. But if they wanna fight, they’ll get one. They can’t kill us all.

  27. Ray Thompson says:

    I never leave home without a couple of LED flashlights, super bright. One running on CR123 for maximum brightness, one on standard AA batteries, Lithium of course.

  28. Clark E Myers says:

    Consider Brownell’s and LA Police Gear for supplies and Midway USA for food. The specific survivalist market is likely to have better quality at better prices.

    Don’t overlook the need to be presentable – electric razor as applicable, toilet paper and clean underwear, reading and writing material – so far it’s not the end of the world as we know it that’s the planning problem; it’s the no vacancy sign – blindfold for daytime sleeping in crowds and a small fan that doubles as white noise generator.

  29. Lynn McGuire says:

    LED 2 AA battery flashlight. I own about 10 of these (two in each car), I even use at the office for looking at PC motherboards, great for walking at nighttime (have a noticeable decay instead of just dying):

    LED 4 D battery lantern (I own 8 of these scattered over the house and office):

  30. Lynn McGuire says:

    Oh look, Michelle is in China negotiating over who is going to own the internet naming system (ICANN). They’ve just got to figure out how much of an annuity that Obummer is going to get from the Chinese:

    “Why fix Internet oversight if it’s not broken?”

  31. ech says:

    Which reminds me of the stupid FEMA lists, which always instruct you to leave all firearms at home when you evacuate.

    Because most shelters won’t allow firearms. They used to not allow dogs and cats, but they found out after Katrina that there were substantial numbers of people that stayed behind because of the no pets rule. Now most will take dogs and cats in crates.

    We bugged out for Rita to my brother’s house in Austin. Went via side roads most of the way. First gas was south of Luling. Waited for 1 car to fill up, then bought ours. Went North a couple of miles to I-10 and there were over 1000 cars at the truck stop. Went on to Austin with no trouble.

  32. Alan says:

    LED AA Lantern (AA batteries usually much cheaper than D)

  33. bgrigg says:

    As evidence on what the LEOs will do during an emergency:

  34. pcb_duffer says:

    Re: athletic tape. Skip the cheap stuff from your local mass merchandiser, and get a few rolls of a J&J product called Elastikon. Very Very Very strong, sticky, and durable.

    And one thing I didn’t see mentioned – something to start a fire with. Butane lighters tolerable, Zippo plus a spare can of fluid much better, old fashioned Boy Scouts sparking took a whole lot better than angry glances.

  35. Lynn McGuire says:

    LED AA Lantern (AA batteries usually much cheaper than D)

    Those only last 6 hours. The LED 4D battery lanterns last 2+ days on low. I am talking about the situation where you might not have power for a week. Or six.

  36. Lynn McGuire says:

    BTW, I am not interested in the rechargeable batteries for LED lanterns whatsoever. I figure that in any dead power circumstance, we may need multiple sets of batteries.

    BTW2, when my neighborhood had a power outage from 8 pm to midnight a couple of years ago, one of my neighbors came over to check out the light coming from our windows. All he had was a flashlight and candles so I gave him one of the LED lanterns. Keep that in mind that you may have to supply the neighborhood, grin.

  37. OFD says:

    Neighbors here trying to cadge lights and food and water will be shot on sight, if they survive the mines and booby traps.

  38. Lynn McGuire says:

    Neighbors here trying to cadge lights and food and water will be shot on sight, if they survive the mines and booby traps.

    Hey, you may need those neighbors to help repulse the zombie herds!

  39. bgrigg says:

    I think OFD has the least to worry about. After all, everyone knows you can’t there from heah.

  40. OFD says:

    That’s right, ya caint git theyar from heeah. Zombie hordes from Megalopolis will be spread pretty thin by the time they get up this fah; and will be cut down like the summuh wheat.

    I was just kidding about the neighbors. Most of them. Well, a few of them. Maybe just the couple next door and the couple across the street. Everyone else will be gunned down or blown up.

  41. SteveF says:

    Don’t blow them up, OFD. Shooting them is what you want to do, then ice them. You never know when you’ll run out of food.

  42. OFD says:

    Plenty of ice still here right now.

    But I think I’ll be going after the cows first; lots more cows than humans up here. And I like beef bettuh than pork.

  43. bgrigg says:

    Didn’t the cannibals in Borneo call it “Long Pig”?

  44. OFD says:

    long pig
    (among the Maori and Polynesian peoples) human flesh as food for cannibals.
    1850–55 Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.

  45. Alan says:

    Those only last 6 hours. The LED 4D battery lanterns last 2+ days on low. I am talking about the situation where you might not have power for a week. Or six.

    The AA lantern lasts 6 hours on high, longer on low. If you compare high to high it’s 25 hours vs. 6 hours so 4D vs. 12AA per 24 hours (rounded). A quick check of bulk alkaline battery prices on Amazon and some back of the envelope calculations give $3.60/day for the D cell lantern vs. $4.30/day for the AA one. My other preference for the AA lantern is I hardly have any household uses for D batteries these days but a number for AAs (remotes, portable radios, flashlights, etc.) so stock is more frequently rotated and more stock is on hand.

  46. Roy Harvey says:

    Gorilla tape and maybe some zip-ties.
    A small inverter to run low-draw 120V off the car. One with a USB power port.
    An extra one each charging cable for cell phones, ipads, ipods, etc. Most these days run off USB ports.
    Deck of cards and a couple of paperbacks.
    Paper maps. Delorme atlas is great for your state, gas station for nearby states.
    Fallen trees and limbs feature in many disasters, so a good little pruning saw.

    Silver… the suggestion I’ve seen that makes the most sense is to have a bag of silver dimes. Gold is a bit steep if you are negotiating for a meal.

  47. OFD says:

    Bags of mixed pre-1965 silver coins and/or rolls of the new 99%-silver U.S and Canadian dollars.

    Maybe we could have someone here coordinate a running list of the best suggestions?

  48. Lynn McGuire says:

    I carry the Wal*Mart Rand-McNally road atlas in all our vehicles (my truck gets the new one each year and the old ones get passed down accordingly):

    Some days having a large map in an unfamiliar state really helps get the picture across for the trip. Crossing the reservation in New Mexico is not as easy as it looks. And yes, I get the easy to read size. You want to make something of it?

    And I did well last summer giving one to Mom. She really liked it and had not bought a new one since 2005. And she is a devout anti-technology person so no google maps app like Dad and I use. Plus google maps don’t work in the middle of the rez.

  49. Lynn McGuire says:

    Where should one buy those beautiful one ounce silver us coins? $23 each sounds a little expensive. Looks like a good birthday gift!

    I wonder if the wife would mind me buying a hundred or so? Sounds like one of those things that if I wanted her to know, I would tell her.

  50. OFD says:

    That $23 price for those is in the ballpark, sadly; but shop around online; prices drop slightly with the number of coins or rolls ordered, of course.

    Sounds like one of those sorta things up here, too.

  51. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, the spot price of silver is currently around $20/ounce so if these are one-ounce coins that’s about right to account for production costs and profits.

  52. jim` says:

    Having bought quite a few gold coins over the years, I can safely say that your local coin dealer is likely to have better prices than you can find online. Not so sure about silver. It’s also worthwhile to strike up a relationship with a local dealer in case you need to sell some in a hurry.

    I’ve known Scotty at for a coon’s age, long before he had a website. You could check out his site or give him a call with your wishlist and see what kind of deal he can make for you.

  53. OFD says:

    Some more “Get Home Bag” tips; I thought of this more than once; it has normally only been a 30-35-mile commute each way for various gigs in recent years, but that stretch covers varied terrain which looks different during conditions of darkness and storms. What if the vehicle conked out along the interstate and not much chance of a cop or wrecker driving by for whatever reason and the cell phone is kaput? There are several large rivers and creeks between home and the area of jobs that I was going to; plus bogs, swamps, bridges, dams, etc. To do it on foot in a blizzard would be a challenge.

  54. OFD says:

    Another item to consider when doing a recon of a place to move to, as our host is right now, is potential sources of danger and disaster. We did some due diligence when we moved here in ’12 but missed something fairly major: Mrs. OFD was just downtown and had to wait at the RR crossing as a mile-long freight train rolled through, with most of the freight being tanker cars filled with LNG. This line is only about three miles from us.

    Another thing I hadn’t been that aware of is the preponderance of all kinds of “law enforcement” in the area, which, dumbass that I am, should have thought of, being so close to the Canadian border. Local town PD; country sheriff HQ; U.S. Customs and Immigration; Border Patrol; state police barracks; and OD-green choppers flying overhead regularly. Guess I can forget running a meth lab or arms-smuggling depot here at the house….

  55. Lynn McGuire says:

    LNG is much safer than LPG. Much safer. The safest hydrocarbon in transport is heavy crude such as the Canadian tar sands. LNG is just cold, not pressurized like LPG is.

    Are you sure it was LNG on those trains? I was not aware of LNG being transported via train anywhere in the USA.

  56. OFD says:

    Mrs. OFD sez that the tankers said “Liquified Petroleum Gas,” i.e., LPG, not LNG, after all, after prolonged interrogation here.

  57. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    It’s interesting that LNG is shipped cryogenically while LPG is compressed. Obviously, there’s no reason why LPG couldn’t be shipped cold instead of compressed, so it must cost much more to chill the gas than to simply compress it. Apples to apples, LPG would be safer than LNG, because LNG is mostly methane (1 carbon) with some ethane (2 carbon) while LPG is a mix of propane (3 carbons) and butane (4 carbons). The more carbons, the higher the melting point, so it’s very difficult or impossible to liquefy low-carbon alkanes at normal temperatures, while it’s relatively easy to do so for higher-carbon alkanes. That, incidentally, is why the propane/butane mix in LPG differs according to season. In the winter, it’s mostly propane, while in the summer it’s mostly butane.

  58. Lynn McGuire says:

    You chill the gas by compressing it, fanning off the heat of compression to the atmosphere and then expanding it so that the vapor cools according to the gas law (PV = znRT). To liquify the vapor requires a second vapor with a lower dew point such as nitrogen.

    Not worth it for LPG and the LNG tanks have to be vacuum insulated (expensive, like a thermos bottle). BTW, LNG tanks can maintain 99+% of the LNG as liquid (-260 F) for one to three weeks then they have to start venting it. Reliquifying the methane vapor requires near-liquid nitrogen and a refrigeration cycle. See BOG (boil off gas) compression.

    BTW, the LPG train fires are a result of the train derailing and the tank cars splitting open, spilling the LPG. Any hydrocarbon liquid will burn at that point but LPG has such a low autoignition point (usually less than 500 F) that just about any heat source will ignite it. And some of the train derailments are being caused by locked up tank wheels due to lack of maintenance which overheat and cause the wheel to fall off the tank car. Not good when your heat source is right there.

  59. OFD says:

    Mrs. OFD further volunteered the info that the tank cars had highly visible “FLAMMABLE” type warning symbols on them.

    I would imagine a major derailment of a train like that so near downtown would be a huge problem for downtown, but not so much us down here three miles away…?

  60. Lynn McGuire says:

    Usually what happens in these situations is that half the liquid drains out of the tank, catches fire from a heat source and the fire goes back into the tank which now has flammable fluid and air in it. You get an explosion due to the contained space and metal parts (dense weight) get thrown up to a half mile away. Maybe a mile, I am not an expert here at all. In any case, three miles away from that section of track is extremely safe. From that hazard.

    I suspect that your exposure to two legged lake varmints is a much higher risk. And Champ.

  61. OFD says:

    Agreed. Two-legged riff-raff, mostly of roughly the same ethno-racial background as us, of course. I got sumthin fo day ass.

    Champ has not been known to attack or molest homo sapiens sapiens so fah; he/she is mostly likely a plesiosaur living extremely under the radar (or sonar) for millions of years in very deep cold-water lakes and lochs with outlets to the sea. He/she continues to keep a very low profile, and the last good sighting (and photo) was taken nearly forty years ago from a position about two-hundred yahds from our back porch.

  62. Roy Harvey says:

    It’s interesting that LNG is shipped cryogenically while LPG is compressed. Obviously, there’s no reason why LPG couldn’t be shipped cold instead of compressed, so it must cost much more to chill the gas than to simply compress it.

    To get LNG to liquify they have to purify it to a high degree. So you identified a key difference yourself: LPG is a mix.

    There is serious work in progress for trucks to use NG, particularly LNG for long-haul trucks. The engines (and related things like tanks) for the big rigs are becoming available. Companies are slowly but surely setting up the fueling infrastructure for the trucks. And they are starting to try it for locomotives too. LNG, being already a liquid, can refuel a vehicle quickly.

    CNG is already in widespread use for vehicles that return to base each night, such as garbage and delivery trucks. CNG can either be slow-fill (compressing as you go) that takes much of the night, or quick-fill (pre-compressed and stored that way). You can buy a Ford F-250 truck that is set up for both gasoline and CNG.

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