Monday, August 31, 2009

Testing the to speak

Finally, I put my plan into action and tested whether or not I can drink pool water with my filters.  I began with purchasing a 1HP, 8.9 gallon transfer pump; tried to run it with my 400 Watt power box, my battery bank and 1500 watt inverter, RV water filter, food grade water hose, and my ZeroWater filter & digital test stick.

On the back of the test stick there is a PPM chart, which reads from 0 to 500+.  0 PPM is the best and 500+ is the U.S. EPA's max contamination level. 

0 to 50 is pure water
50 - 100 carbon filters & mountain spring water
100 - 200 hard water
200 - 400 Average tap water
400 - 500 High tap or spring water
500 +  U.S. EPA's max contamination level

The pump worked great, except it took a bit of work to get it primed.  I know...I's a transfer pump, not a sump pump.  Ultimately, the water pressure was so great, I am considering attaching a regular hose and spray nozzle and using it for an emergency shower.

I used a RV water filter purchased at walmart for about $20.00.

This is the food grade, RV water hose, purchased at walmart for about $20.00; I think.
Inverter with cables...attached to my 3 deep cycle marine batteries.
400 Watt, Black and Decker, powerbox... It wasn't enough power to run the pump.  Perhaps, I should have fully charged it before I used it.
ZeroWater, PPM, test stick.
This is the pump and (smaller) food grade hose...same manufacturer...without the RV filter.
This is the unit with the RV filter attached...notice the volume of water...excellent water pressure.  Attach another hose and a spray nozzle and the we have an instant shower.
This is the base reading of the pool water... 197 isn't bad, I guess.
I let the water run through the filter for a couple of minutes and then took a reading. 

The filter lowered the PPM down a little bit.
Then I wanted to test the water coming directly from the main.  This faucet is by the pool in the back yard and does not get fitered by the house filtration system.  The base reading for the water from the water company is 301 PPM.
I then connected the filter, ran the water for a few minutes, and then took another reading.
I then went inside to the house filtration system and took a another base reading.
No, I did not attached the RV filter because this water is filtered by the filtration system and we drink it everyday and it gets filtered again throught the 'fridge when we want to drink it.  Then I went inside and took a sample from the 'fridge water.
Then I thought to myself that if the city water get contaminated or shuts down, then I won't be drinking it, I went back outside and put the ZeroWater filter system together.  I attached the RV filter to the hose and the pump and then began to fill up the ZeroWater holding tank and then began to take readings of the filtered water.
This reading was taken at the beging of the filtering process.  The filtered pool water in the holding taking was reading 180.
This reading was taken with two inches of water filtered.
And the final reading when the tank was done filtering all the water.  Yes, I did drink the filtered water and it was actually tasted pretty good.
Would I drink the water filtered by the RV filter only? No, I would not...but, I would probably bathe in it and use it to water the veggies in the garden.
Remember everyone...practice makes perfect. Practice now so you better prepared later.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Southern CA fires - Los Angeles National Forest

I'll let the pictures do the talkin'... fortunately, the fires are still a long way from the house and the winds are blowing in the other direction.  I guess, now is a good time to begin thinking about loss of power and how I would put out fires in and around my house.  First, I have to take some pictures of my water filtration system and get those posted.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I was over at Utah Preppers and read an awesome post about the Berkey filter system. As most of you know, California prohibits the filters from being shipped here. So I decided to find a filtration system which could be purchased and replacement filters can be shipped to CA. While I was in HomeDeopt, I found this ZeroWater system and decided to give it a shot.

The system cost me about $90.00. It came with two filters, two water chambers (an upper and a lower), water guard (prevents water overflow), and a water tester.

All the parts and pieces:

The base of the filter domes get screwed into the upper water chamber, the filter domes get put on, and the filter screw directly on the bottow of the upper water chamber. The water guard gets screwed into the base:

Assembly with and without the water guard:

When I had my business, I had a water cooler. When I closed the store, my instincts told me to keep it...just in case. It now sits in the garage. I plan to hook up my battery bank, inverter, and plug the cooler into makes hot and cold water.

This is the water tester which came with the unit...I'll do some testing, take some pics, and post them later.

Remember everyone...practice, practice, practice. Thank you Utah Preppers for the inspiration...keep up the good work!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When was the last time you had your eyes, teeth, and body checked?

I am thinking about going back to Afghanistan to do some more work and decided to get a physical, eyes checked, and a dental exam. I thought to myself that this could be my last chance to get all this done before the SHTF what the hell, let's get it over with.

I am glad I did. I found out that my vision changed, I am in overall good health, and I had a cavity. So, I got a couple extra pair of lenses for my glasses, got my cavity filled, and had a couple of beers. So, here is my post on getting your family prepared just in case there aren't any dentists around for a while after the SHTF.

Often when taking a job or vacation away from home, we are not usually prepared for general health or dental problems. The reason most of us are not prepared is because we do not think about those possibilities or we just don’t know what to do when faced with a dental emergency.

Before leaving on a trip, it is good insurance to see a dentist in order to make sure there will be no dental problems which may give trouble in the near term. It is smart to add a dental first aid emergency kit to your luggage, B.O.B., or household first aid kit.

This should include medications such as:
Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
Aspirin or Acetaminaphen (Tylenol)
Orabase Oral Protective Paste with Benzocaine (find at your local pharmacy)

Supplies should include:
Cotton balls
Cotton swabs
Gauze pads
Tea bags
A toothbrush
Dental floss
Some paraffin or candle wax
ice pack or a wet frozen wash cloth.

TOOTHACHE: The most common dental emergency. This generally means a badly decayed tooth. As the pain affects the tooth's nerve, treatment involves gently removing any debris lodged in the cavity being careful not to poke deep as this will cause severe pain if the nerve is touched.

At times the pain may have a more obscure location such as decay under an old filling. As this can be only corrected by a dentist there are two things you can do to help the pain. Administer a pain pill (aspirin or some other analgesic) internally or dissolve a tablet in a half glass (4 oz) of warm water holding it in the mouth for several minutes before spitting it out. DO NOT PLACE A WHOLE TABLET OR ANY PART OF IT IN THE TOOTH OR AGAINST THE SOFT GUM TISSUE AS IT WILL RESULT IN A NASTY BURN.

SWOLLEN JAW: This may be caused by several conditions the most probable being an abscessed tooth. In any case the treatment should be to reduce pain and swelling. An ice pack held on the outside of the jaw, (ten minutes on and ten minutes off) will take care of both. If this does not control the pain, an analgesic tablet can be given every four hours.

OTHER ORAL INJURIES: Broken teeth, cut lips, bitten tongue or lips if severe means a trip to a dentist as soon as possible. In the mean time rinse the mouth with warm water and place cold compresses on the face opposite the injury. If there is a lot of bleeding, apply direct pressure to the bleeding area. If bleeding does not stop get patient to the emergency room of a hospital as stitches may be necessary.

PROLONGED BLEEDING FOLLOWING AN EXTRACTION: Place a gauze pad or better still a moistened tea bag over the socket and have the patient bite down gently on it for 30to 45 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea seeps into the tissues and often helps stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues after two hours, call the dentist or take patient to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

BROKEN JAW: If you suspect the patient's jaw is broken, bring the upper and lower teeth together. Put a necktie, handkerchief or towel under the chin, tying it over the head to immobilize the jaw until you can get the patient to a dentist or the emergency room of a hospital.

PAINFUL ERUPTING TOOTH: In young children teething pain can come from a loose baby tooth or from an erupting permanent tooth. Some relief can be given by crushing a little ice and wrapping it in gauze or a clean piece of cloth and putting it directly on the tooth or gum tissue where it hurts. The numbing effect of the cold, along with an appropriate dose of aspirin, usually provides temporary relief.

In young adults, an erupting 3rd molar (Wisdom tooth), especially if it is impacted, can cause the jaw to swell and be quite painful. Often the gum around the tooth will show signs of infection. Temporary relief can be had by giving aspirin or some other painkiller and by dissolving an aspirin in half a glass of warm water and holding this solution in the mouth over the sore gum. AGAIN DO NOT PLACE A TABLET DIRECTLY OVER THE GUM OR CHEEK OR USE THE ASPIRIN SOLUTION ANY STRONGER THAN RECOMMEND ED TO PREVENT BURNING THE TISSUE. The swelling of the jaw can be reduced by using an ice pack on the outside of the face (At intervals of ten minutes on and ten minutes off.

COLD SORES, CANKER SORES AND FEVER BLISTERS: Sores in the mouth, lips or tongue can be caused by many reasons, irritation, in juries which bruise or cut the lip or just a run-down condition. The germs which cause most of these sores are always laying just below the surface waiting for a chance to flare up. Usually these lesions last five days no matter what you put on them. Such preparations as Blistex, Carmex, Butyn Dental Ointment or Spirits of Camphor will relieve pain but it is doubtful whether they cause them to heal any sooner. New studies suggest that high levels of another amino acid, arginine can give the body in creased resistance to these painful mouth and lip sores.

Generally, when confronted by a dental emergency, you can only relieve the pain and give temporary treatment until the patient can see their dentist. Sometimes, fast prompt emergency treatment can spell the difference between permanently losing a tooth and saving it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

When was your last fire drill?

Remember when you were in school and they had a fire drill? They did that for a reason. If there was a fire or other emergency everyone would know exactly what to do and how to do it. For that same reason you should have an emergency drill at least 3 or 4 times a year with your family.

Each time you should not just talk about what to do in an emergency, but you should pretend there is a real emergency and carry out your plans. Have everyone go to their rooms and then turn on the fire alarm and tell everyone to get out without using the doors. See if everyone shows up at the designated meeting place.

Pretend there is an emergency and you have to leave your home. Set up tents in your yard or other location and live for a day without the luxuries you are used to. Do not go in your house for at least 24 hours. This exercise will help you to understand the challenges you will face in an emergency, and help you to think of ways to be better prepared.

Another time you may want to practice what to do if everyone in the family is away from home when a disaster takes place. See if everyone can remember the communications plan and put it into effect. Use the communications plan to tell everyone where to go so that you can all meet up together.

The important part is that you will learn much more about being prepared by actually having a dry run than by just sitting around the kitchen table talking about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What is your backup plan for food and water?

When I returned from Afghanistan and Iraq, I began to take a real serious look at the preps we have and what we actually need. The first thing I did was move all the food out of the garage and into the guest room. (Yes, our children are slowly leaving the house and we have converted one of the rooms into a guest room.) I installed additional shelving, loaded the shelves with what we have, took a step back and really took a long hard look to see if my wife, her kids, and family members could live off the food stuff until I got home (I may go back to AFG and IQ for some extra $$$). I decided that although we do have a lot of food, we just can't live off this stuff. It's supplimental - only to used while the crops grow, or we can can't snare jack rabbits, or catch phesants.

Double click on the pictures for the best view!

This may look like alot, but it's really not. In the containers is (2) rice, (2) flour (1 all purpose and 1 bread flour), and (1) peanut butter, Jelly, and honey.

Hanging baskets with tomato, peppers, sweat asian peas, basil, rosemary, and flowers to bring in the bees.

Ripping out the grass and flowers and planting veggies!

55 Gallon container to catch the drip from the air conditioning unit. Its used to water the veggies.

Water in the pool...well, of course it will be used for flushing. I am actually designing a multiple filtration system so that it can be used for bathing, watering the veggies, and drinking.

I know... I know.... drinking pool water is not good. However, I purchased a test kit and when I am finished designing the filtration system I will take samples and send them in to a testing facility to see how pure it it. Yes, I will take pictures and post them.

What is your backup plan?

Water & its proper storage

You need to plan to store one gallon of water per day per person. How much water you store is up to you, but keep in mind that clean drinking water is the single most important item for you to have in an emergency. Whether you store enough for a day, a month, or a year is up to you.

Heavy-duty, thick, polyethylene food grade plastic barrels are essential. If you use lesser quality you run the risk of leaks and contamination. The barrels are blue, which indicates they are food grade plastic, and come in sizes that range from 5 to 55 gallons. It is recommended to store these barrels in a dark and cool area, such as a basement or food storage room. Storing your barrel in the open could have an effect on the life of the barrel, and may subject the water to freezing. It is not recommended to store any water container in direct or indirect sunlight. Barrels should be placed on a non-porous surface between the cement floor and the barrel, such as wood.

If you must store a water barrel outside, cover it as much as possible to prevent exposure to light and help insulate it. When water freezes it expands, so do not fill the barrel all the way in the winter. If there is not enough room at the top of your barrel, it can cause your barrel to become disfigured or may even crack.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Food Storage - A difference source

My wife and I decided that we were going to be proactive and really begin to stock up on food stuff this year....then I got a job in Afghanistan. I was the one who did all the shopping, cleaning, and taking care of the family preps. So, since I was away, and the wife doesn't like to shop...(Yea, I know...I know) we decided to have our emergency food delivered by Costco. We signed up for the system...just in case.

This is their ad from their website:

"Nowhere else can you get the total convenience, total value, and total weight loss results that you get from NutriSystem. You get a plan that works—because you’re eating often throughout the day, and you’re not giving up the kinds of food you love…so you never feel deprived.

Convenient meals delivered right to your door, and prepare in minutes
Meals are perfectly portioned for weight loss™ so you never overdo it
Healthy program with foods full of “good carbs” Heart-healthy and low in fat
No counting calories or carbs, and no meetings or weigh-ins
Food will ship from NutriSystem to your door within 4-10 business days of redeeming on via UPS and Fed Ex

Most of the food is really good... better variety than MRE's and a little cheaper too. The ONLY down fall to the whole system is the GAS!

OMG...there is a reason why all experienced preppers advise to eat what you store and store what you eat. My body is SO not used to this type of food and the experience is unique to say the least. If you choose this option, store extra toilet me on this one.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Rolling Blackouts".........who cares!

When the lights go out due to Rolling Blackouts, an earthquake, fire, riot, or government ineptitude; will you be able to comfort your loved ones by being able to cook, boil water, or put on their favorite DVD? You can't just sit around and read blogs all day; you MUST prepare, practice, and practice again.

Make a battery bank from deep cycle batteries (make sure you keep them charged).
Buy or barter for a used battery charger with a light.
Buy or barter for a used generator.

Most importantly, know how to use them and oh, yea, practice.