November 2023

Photo credit: Jim Cobb
Location: Paradise Springs, Palmyra, WI

Focus of the Month – Shelter

Reading Recommendations:
Non-fiction — The Complete Do-it-Yourself Manual by Family Handyman
Fiction — The Jakarta Pandemic by Steven Konkoly

When we talk about shelter in a survival sense, we’re not just talking about a roof over your head. That’s definitely part of it, but we’re also looking at all the different ways we can maintain our core body temperature during an emergency. If the power goes out, and your heat goes along with it, you’ll need some way to stay warm as the temperature starts to fall. Fortunately, there are several options to consider.

Along the same lines, it is important to develop some basic DIY skills so that you can keep things running during a crisis, as well as improvise solutions until an expert can tackle the problem.

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The Complete Do-it-Yourself Manual by Family Handyman is a great resource for those who are still learning their way around a hammer or screwdriver. It covers all of the basics, from tool selection and maintenance to repairs to plumbing, electrical systems, interior surfaces, and tons more. Lots of color photos make everything easy to follow and understand.

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On the fiction side of things this month, we’re reading The Jakarta Pandemic by Steven Konkoly. When it came out in 2010, it was one of the first novels in the then-budding prepper fiction genre. I still have one of the original editions of it, as well as the revised one that’s linked here. Alex Fletcher is a veteran as well as a prepper. When an unstoppable virus begins sweeping the country, he finds out that getting sick is the least of his concerns as society around him begins to crumble.

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November 16 – Staying Warm

As folks in Texas found out last winter, when the power goes out and the temperature falls, it can be difficult to stay warm. One doesn’t often think about freezing temperatures when it comes to the Lone Star State, but people there really suffered for a while. Close to 250 people died during that emergency, over two-thirds of them due to exposure.

If the furnace or other primary heat source isn’t working, you should have in place at least a few different ways to keep your family warm and safe.

Relocate for a bit – If the situation allows, and you can afford it, heading to a motel for a night or two might be your best bet. Think of it as a mini vacation. If you have pets, you’ll need to make sure they’ll be allowed in the room, of course.

Create a microclimate – The idea here is to limit the area you need to heat. Get everyone into one room, the smaller the better. Hang blankets over the windows and doors. Depending on the size of the room and the number of people in it, body heat alone should help raise the ambient temperature. You can take it a step further and set up a tent right in the living room. Cover it with a blanket or comforter to insulate it, then pile inside. Don’t have a tent? Make a fort out of pillows and couch cushions.

Indoor heaters – You can purchase a portable heater, one that runs on propane instead of electricity, and use that to keep off the chill. It is critical that the heater you buy is safe for use indoors. You’ll need to buy fuel for it, too.

Eat, drink, and be happy – Think hot cocoa and a warm bowl of soup, both of which can be prepared on a small camp stove or something similar if the stovetop isn’t an option.

Bundle up – This should go without saying, but wearing warm clothing will help. Avoid putting on so many layers that you begin to sweat, as that will cool you down rather than keep you warm.

Now, here are some things you DON’T want to do:

–Avoid alcoholic beverages. You want to be able to think clearly. Plus, while they feel warm going down, they’ll make you colder in the long run.

–Open flames aren’t a great idea. Yes, candles provide heat and a bunch of them will provide a bunch of heat. But, they are obviously hazardous, especially if you have young children running about. Be very careful with any sort of open flame heat source, and make sure you have proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide problems.

–Don’t go out and buy terra cotta pots and tea lights. I don’t care what you’ve seen on social media, that sort of makeshift heater isn’t going to heat up a room. Physics tells us that you can’t magically create more heat energy than what can be put out by those tea lights.