Author Archives: Chris Murphy
Chris grew up near the Poconos in PA. He has enjoyed camping and hiking since his early years as a boy scout.
Author Archives: Chris Murphy
Chris grew up near the Poconos in PA. He has enjoyed camping and hiking since his early years as a boy scout.
Someday you may not have access to antibiotics. Maybe a doctor isn't available. Maybe there is a drug shortage.
Whatever the situation, you need antibiotics to fight infections. But, how do you find antibiotics when prescription drugs aren't available? Are all natural antibiotics an option?
The answer is yes! Natural antibiotics exist and they are easy to find.
Before we get into the natural options, lets talk about what antibiotics are and what they do.
Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections or diseases. They seek out and destroy bacteria, or block bacteria from repairing itself.
Different types of antibiotics target bacteria in different ways.
A word of caution: Antibiotics have an unfortunate side effect - they don't discriminate. They will attack the good bacteria inside you the same way they attack the bad bacteria. Which can leave you susceptible to more health issues down the road.
Here is a great explanation of what antibiotics do:
Antibiotics have been saving lives and healing infections for almost 80 years. Unfortunately, bacteria is an ever evolving organism. It can adapt to avoid the effects of antibiotics.
In the United States alone, 23,000 people die from infections that can't be treated due to resistance (source). Here is a video on what causes antibiotic resistance.
A 10 year analysis of deaths in the US, points to drug related anaphylaxis as the leading cause of death. Antibiotics make up more than half of those deaths. 1 in 3 deaths are directly attributed to antibiotics (source).
When we think of antibiotics, we imagine drugs prescribed by doctors. But, they can come from nature as well.
People have taken natural antibiotics for centuries. They didn't know why the worked back then. At least not at the scientific level we do now. But, they did work.
You may have several natural antibiotics in your kitchen already. Some you may even consume every day. Others, you may want to add to your pantry.
Quite a few natural antibiotics can be eaten raw. Others will benefit you more when added to teas, tinctures, extracts, as essential oils. Or, put into capsules.
Here is a list of natural antibiotics and how they are best consumed:
That's right. Your animals might also need to fight an infection some day. The same bad reactions that happen to humans can happen to them.
Many of the same natural remedies humans use may also be used in your pets and/or livestock.
Remember to introduce natural antibiotics slowly. That way you can keep an eye out for any adverse reactions. If possible, seek the advice of a veterinarian before you begin treatment on your own.
Unfortunately, no answer to this question would apply to everyone. Each individual person or animals system works differently. You will have to try them to find out which one works best for you.
From an infected wound or tooth, to sinus infections and UTIs, natural remedies have been used for centuries. Finally, modern medicine is "catching up" to these age old traditions.
Check your local market for these special healing agents. Stock up on the more potent antibiotics, like oil of oregano and colloidal silver. They may be essential in your arsenal against deadly infections.
Imagine your family cut off from the grid. No electricity. No way to refrigerate food. Canned foods can save your life. But, just how long does canned food last?
Safety first. Remember these rules before eating a can of food.
You see these dates stamped on canned, jarred or bottled foods. They can say “sell by”, “use by” or “best by”. It all means the same.
Food processing companies want you to eat their food in its best possible condition. They research when vegetables, for instance, begin losing their color, texture and taste. The "sell by" date says how long food can stay in the can before it starts to deteriorate.
Government agencies, such as the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), rigorously test canned foods. This ensures that “best by” dates are accurate.
Fun Fact: Stores can sell food after the expiration date on its label.
The type of food stored in your pantry or garage impacts how long you can keep it on the shelf. Canned foods fall into two acidity levels:
Foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits are high in acids. While meats, most vegetables, fruits and fish are low acid foods.
You can safely store high-acid foods 12 and 18 months. Lower-acid foods, such as meats and vegetables, can be stored safely for two years or even longer. This comes from many government agency and university studies.
You may not have to worry about getting sick, even if a can is several months past the “best-by” date. You just need to use some common sense. Pay attention to what condition the can is in.
Your first clue about how safe a food is to eat is the cans condition. A clean and undamaged can probably contains food that hasn't gone bad.
However, if the can is rusty, dented or swollen there could be problems.
When rust builds up, holes too tiny for the eye to see develop in the can or lid. These holes provide a way for microorganisms to make their way into the food inside the can.
Likewise, dented cans may have unnoticeable cracks or holes. The longer a dented can has been store, the more likely it spoiled.
A swollen can may indicate spoiled food. Swelling can also be caused by over-filling or high temperature storage. Best to stay safe and throw any swollen cans away.
Storage location plays a big role in determining how long canned food will last. It’s tempting to assign a few shelves in your garage or shed to food storage, but that could be a big mistake.
Temperature swings are bad for food. Hot temperatures, in particular, make commercially canned foods unsafe to eat.
You can safely store most canned foods at temperatures up to 85 degrees. However, above 95 degrees, canned food gets suspect. At 100 degrees, you probably have spoiled food inside.
Ideally, store cans at temperatures no higher than 75 degrees. Food will stil be safe to eat. But, it loses its nutritional value as your thermometer rises toward 85 degrees .
Don't place jars of food near light sources. It leads to loss of nutrition and changes in color of the food.
Eventually you will open the cans in your pantry or garage. How do you know if they are safe to eat?
Here are some things to watch for:
Once you have opened the can, take a look at the contents. A can with a bubbly liquid should be considered damaged and unusable. If the color of the contents isn’t right, the food is probably contaminated.
Canned seafood sometimes contain what looks like broken glass. These are completely harmless sugar crystals.
Your sense of smell can also help determine if canned food is safe to eat, even if it is past its “best by” date. Don't consume foods that smell acrid or pungent.
If there’s a chemical smell, it’s time to throw out the can and the food with it. You want canned food to smell the way you would expect it to smell.
Finally, taste the food. Cans stored for a significant period of time likely won’t taste as fresh as recently canned foods. But, they’ll still be recognizable as beans, or corn, or tomatoes.
If the can shows no other signs of damage, the food should be safe to eat.
Researchers at the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) conducted a well-known study in the 1970s. They analyzed the content of commercially canned vegetables that were more than 40 years old.
The study showed that the food was safe after 40-years. And, it was surprisingly nutritious and tasty.
Likewise, canned red peppers and oysters recovered from a steamboat sunk in the early 1900s were still safe and palatable.
Your family probably won't need to eat canned foods stored for decades, or even a century. Still, it’s good to know canned foods will stay fresh and safe for two years or longer if stored properly.
Feel confident planning food storage to help you and your family through natural disasters or unexpected electrical outages.
We see it all the time in movies. An EMP provokes a massive traffic jam. Cars get stuck where they stand on the roadways. It’s easy to assume the batteries are dead.
The idea is that an EMP will suck all the juice out of your batteries and everything will stop working.
Does an EMP effect batteries, or is it just an urban myth? Truth is, batteries aren't affected as much as you would think.
We know what would be affected by an EMP attack because of a 1962 experiment. That year the United States detonated a high-altitude bomb above the pacific ocean.
The experiment was called "Starfish Prime." They were testing what the effects would be on the mainland far away.
Discover Magazine outlined the results in their article on the experiments 50th Anniversary. They included:
The test showed no evidence that the EMP pulse affected batteries. Instead, they discovered that it fries sensitive electrical components.
The EMP sends a surge of electromagnetic energy along the grid. Electrical components absorbs that energy via antennas or wiring. The result is massive damage from energy overload.
The EMP can even damage components when they aren't hardwired into the grid at all.
Instead of draining batteries, the EMP fries the sensitive components of electrical devices... unless that device is protected from its electromagnetic field (EMF).
Batteries will survive and EMP. Their lack of sensitive chips or antennas prevent them from picking up the EMF.
However, no one does High-altitude detonation experiments anymore. The last test was in 1962. Well over 50 years ago. Since then, we have all kinds of new batteries, including lithium and rechargeable batteries.
Your car battery should still work. But, because the EMP fried the sensitive electronics inside, your car still won't run.
Not all cars will fail. Some older cars encase its electronic component in steel. The steel absorbs the EMF pulse, protecting your electronic components. This steel enclosure is a "Faraday Cage."
To protect your batteries and other sensitive electronics, put them in a Faraday cage. A Faraday cage can be any container made of conductive material. The cage absorbs the EMP's energy surge. This keeps the pulse from reaching your sensitive electronics inside.
In a pinch, use your unplugged microwave as a makeshift Faraday cage. Just make sure to cover the door with the viewing screen in aluminum foil.
Here are a few other ways to protect your electronic devices:
Bug-Out Faraday Cage - You obviously can’t bug out carrying your microwave. So you’ll want to get a metal box to carry with you. Aluminum is the most lightweight metal to use during bugout.
10-Gallon Metal Can - Even a metal trash can with a tight cover works like a Faraday cage. Just make sure to isolate what you put inside so it doesn’t touch the sides of the can.
Solar rechargeable batteries should also survive an EMP blast. But, your solar array may lose efficiency. That solar array will be incredibly valuable after an EMP event.
To keep your solar array in top shape get a fold-able version, like the Anker 21W 2-port Solar Charger. It's portable, and can folds up neatly to store in a Faraday cage when not in use. You might as well store extra batteries there too, just in case.
While you’re at it, put your newer flashlights in there too. They might contain chips the EMP could damage.
While the EMP won't affect your batteries directly. Having them connected to your device can drain them over time. You don’t want to pull out an emergency radio, only to find the batteries inside have no charge.
The easiest solution is to not put batteries in a device until you actually need it. Or, if you have a way to keep them stored in the device while it's unplugged, that’s also an option.
How can you be sure your makeshift or store bought cage is going to work during the event? It’s actually pretty simple to test.
Put your smartphone inside your Faraday cage and try to call it. If it rings, there is a leak in the cage.
Try this with your microwave too - once with and without the aluminum foil on the front. You may be surprised to hear it ring without the foil.
Have you ever had trouble using your smartphone inside a steel building? This happens because the building acts as a natural Faraday Cage. It may not be good for your cell reception, but it will be great if an EMP ever hits.
If you’re worried about your batteries, don’t be. An EMP will not affect them. However, your other electronics may not be so lucky.
Use a Faraday cage to protect sensitive devices. That includes the chargers you will use to recharge your rechargeable batteries. Make sure it's portable, so you can take it with you when you bug out. A lightweight Faraday cage made of aluminum is the best option. It beats relying on a microwave you can’t take with you.
Some people even put spare distributors and ignition coils in their Faraday cage. These are the components of a car most likely to get damaged during an EMP.
What do you think? What would be the best items to store in a Faraday cage in the event of an EMP? Comment below and share with us your thoughts on how to best prepare for an EMP.
The normal rule of thumb for survival is that you can only go three days without water. However, the actual time can vary depending on whether you’re in an extremely hot or cold environment or whether you’re exerting yourself and sweating it out faster than you can put it in.
You could end up being lucky and last for more than a week, but do you want to take the chance? If it rains, and you’re in a survival situation, you probably won’t think twice about licking up rainwater.
Truth is, you can drink rain water. But, how safe is it? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could store rainwater ahead of time for future emergencies?
Potential Contaminants in Rain Water
If you live around factories or nuclear power plants, it might not be wise to drink the water straight from the sky. Factories can pollute the air enough to cause “acid rain” which would be unhealthy to drink.
Even volcanoes nearby could emit particles into the rain that would make it somewhat unsafe to drink long-term. If contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or viruses, you could end up very sick, so it’s not always safe to drink even when your environment seems safe.
Some contaminants can be removed by properly filtering that rainwater through a coffee filter or t-shirt, but this won’t filter out bacteria.
Carry a LifeStraw with you if you are bugging out and want to use rainwater or river water while you are on the move. It can remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne parasites.
If you’re hoping to collect rainwater for more long-term use, you will need to set up a “water harvesting” system.
This can be illegal, depending on your local and state laws, so check first. If you can collect rainwater without any legal issues, the next step is to make sure you don’t contaminate the water when you collect it.
It shouldn’t be collected off asphalt roofs, for instance, as this will contaminate the water with particles. You can use rain barrels to collect water, but if they come off your asphalt roof, the water is not potable and can only be used for non-drinking purposes, like watering a garden.
In addition, many of these barrels are not food grade plastic and can also introduce contaminants from the plastics they use to store the rainwater, making them unsuitable to store drinking water.
If you really get serious, you may want to read up on how to create large rainwater storage systems and put in a tank and a rain harvesting system, complete with filtration that doesn’t come off a roof, like a cistern.
Even if rainwater is collected from a metal roof and appears very clean, there is still some work that needs to be done to make sure it is potable and safe to drink on a large scale.
Normally, water treatment plants do this for us, but when you’re off-the-grid and harvesting rainwater for drinking it’s up to you to implement water testing, filtration, and disinfection to make the rain water drinkable.
Here are a few treatments you can use, but keep in mind that each treatment does not cover all the potential issues with rainwater and you may need to do more than one, depending on your water collection practices and usage.
First thing you want to understand is how bad your water actually is before you treat it. A drinking water test kit can tell you whether there is lead in the water or if it’s contaminated with bacteria, amongst many other factors. This can help you figure out how best to treat the water for the issues you may have with your water supply.
This will kill any bacteria and parasites, but it won’t address any chemical or particulate contamination. It’s also unlikely that people will want to boil all the water they use, simply because it takes a lot of time and effort to build a fire to boil water. In a hurry, this may not be an option.
You can chemically treat the water with chlorine or Potable Aqua Water Tablets - although it does take 30 minutes for it to be safe to drink afterwards. Tablets are easy to transport when you bug out, as they are in solid form and lightweight. One bottle treats up to 25 quarts of water.
Aquamira Treatment Drops are a similar concept, but in liquid form, and can treat up to 30 gallons of water. This treats the water against germs. Do not let water sit around too long after it has been filtered and chemically treated, or it could get contaminated once again.
You can use a first flush diverter with a steel filter to remove the first water that comes out of a larger water harvesting system that is usually stagnant, reducing the potential for contamination.
Or, if you want to filter the water on your table top after it’s been treated chemically, you can use a Brita water dispenser with a carbon filter. It’s also good for removing particulates and chemicals from tap and rainwater.
Water is more important than food when it comes to survival, but it’s the most overlooked part of a prepping plan. People assume they can either drink water from a nearby river or collect it and drink it when it rains.
Neither of these are really safe unless the water is treated beforehand. It’s a simple thing to store tap water in food grade containers before a SHTF scenario arises, and knowing you have a LifeStraw in your bug-out bag and some Potable Aqua water tablets can help you be certain the water you drink will be safe for you to drink.
How do you plan to make sure you have enough water in emergency situations? How do you plan on treating it to make sure it’s safe to drink?
Solar power is hot these days. Whether you are living on the grid or off the grid. It's reliable compared to other options such as wind power.
Plus, it's getting cheaper every day.
But, how certain can you be that your solar panels will survive and EMP? The truth is, these systems can be vulnerable to an EMP attack.
The national power grid could be destroyed. Taking your system with it. But, solar panels will survive and EMP if you take the right precautions.
An EMP or Electro Magnetic Pulse generates a surge of charged particles. That surge creates a burst of electromagnetic energy - overwhelming and destroying wiring and microchips.
It can be the result of many things:
Here is a quick overview of how an EMP works:
Countries have developed such weapons because they leave an area's infrastructure and population untouched. But, they destroy any electronic equipment with a microchip.
This means everything from automobiles to computers. Even radio equipment and small electronics. Depending on the source and magnitude, the EMP may or may not effect electronics.
A solar flare, for instance, could overload and destroy the national grid. But it would not be powerful enough to overwhelm electronic devices.
The only way to prevent an EMP from destroying electronic equipment is to seal it in a faraday cage. Also known as "hardening."
In 2004 and 2008, Congress commissioned studies to determine likelihood of an EMP attack. According to the report, "instead of destroying a city or a military base, [terrorists] may gain the greatest political-military utility from one or a few such weapons by using them—or threatening their use—in an EMP attack".
The report also states, China and Russia have both considered using EMPs an option. The military has prepared for this scenario by developing:
You can't just store solar panels in a faraday cage. They must be outside. Exposed to sunlight.
So how do you protect them? First you need to understand how the EMP damages your solar panels.
Solar panel systems depend on several high-tech electronic components. As a result, they have some vulnerabilities.
Wires and antennae would pick up the energy surge from an EMP. Sensitive components connected to those wires and antennae would then be vulnerable.
The solar panels themselves are immune to high voltage surges. They don't contain any wires or antennae top pick up the EMP's energy. And, they don't have any sensitive electronic components inside.
However, most solar panels use of diodes to control current flow. Diodes are semiconductors, which can be damaged if not protected by surge suppressors.
The inverter and charge controller are also vulnerable to sudden spikes of energy.
It is difficult to protect your solar array's diodes, inverter and charge controller. You can't just box up the entire system in a faraday cage.
Your panels need a clear line of sight to the sky. And each component connects to all the others... through wires.
So how do you protect your system? Energy independence is important now. Imagine how important it would be if an EMP fried the nations electric grid. Well, You have a few options.
Buy duplicates of all the necessary components of your solar power system. Store those components in a faraday cage, and have them readily available.
This is the most reliable option. It also has other benefits.
Should your system go down for any reason you can quickly repair or replace any failed components. Even in a non-emergency situation this would be useful. Such as a lightning strike. Or some element of your solar power system breaking.
The drawback to this plan is, of course, the cost involved.
High-quality solar equipment is not cheap. Having extra replacement parts could cost several hundred to several thousands dollars.
You also have the cost of building and storing the faraday cage. Compared to the components themselves, this isn't a major cost. But, it does need to be considered.
Additionally, the cost of solar panel systems has been decreasing rapidly year-after-year. So this may be a great option after-all. Especially if you can pick up discounted replacement parts.
Knowing you can just swap out any part that gets fried makes it the most reliable option. And it's good peace of mind.
Another solution is to purchase a hardened solar power system.
A number of companies sell these systems, which are based on military designs.
They use charge suppressors on the wiring and internal hardening for the other components.
The advantage is that you can use it day-to-day. You won't have to worry about an unexpected EMP event destroying your equipment.
Ultimately, a hardened system has been specifically designed to withstand an EMP. It may be the best choice to maintain power after a catastrophic grid failure.
Compared to purchasing redundant components, hardened systems are:
The redundant parts option is more flexible and reliable. You're covered if your system break down for any reason. You have replacements for every part.
The full report about EMP risks to the United States is at www.empcommission.org.
To learn more about the potential results of an EMP attack, check out this video. It explains a lot of EMP basics, and also dispels certain EMP myths.
Read Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms to expand your EMP knowledge. And help you prepare for the potential risks of an EMP attack or solar storm.