Tornado Preparedness Checklist
When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or- death decisions. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.
BEFORE A TORNADO
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tornadoes.
Have disaster supplies on hand.
Flashlight and extra batteries Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries First aid kit and manual Emergency food and water Nonelectric can opener Essential medicines Cash and credit cards Sturdy shoes - Go here for a more complete - Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state or out-of-town relative or friend if possible to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Tornado Watches and Warnings
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when weather conditions are such that tornadoes are likely to develop. This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.
A tornado warning is is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. The danger is very serious and everyone should go to a safe place, turn on a battery-operated radio and wait for further instructions.
Mobile Homes Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.
Tornado Danger Signs - Learn these tornado danger signs:
Large hail: Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail. Tornadoes frequently emerge from near the hail-producing portion of the storm. Calm before the storm: Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
Cloud of debris: An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
Funnel cloud: A visible rotating extension of the cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop. A tornado is evident when one or more of the clouds turns greenish (a phenomenon caused by hail) and a dark funnel descends.
Roaring noise: The high winds of a tornado can cause a roar that is often compared with the sound of a freight train.
Calm behind the storm: Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
DURING A TORNADO If at home:
Go at once to the basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level of the building. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Get away from the windows. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it. Use arms to protect head and neck. If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.
If at work or school:
Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it. Use arms to protect head and neck.
If possible, get inside a building. If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Use arms to protect head and neck.
If in a car:
Never try to out drive a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air. Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
AFTER A TORNADO
Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid when appropriate. Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information. Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes. Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.
Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
INSPECTING UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME
Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.
Mitigation - Tornado Aftermath
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Investing in preventive mitigation steps now, such as checking local building codes and ordinances about wind-resistant designs and strengthening un-reinforced masonry, will help reduce the impact of tornadoes in the future. For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.
Urban Survival: Surviving in the City
While we all want to do our best to prepare for a coming crisis, and many of us realize the city is perhaps the worst place to live, very few people are really prepared to pack up the old Winnebago and head for the hills. Most Americans, whether they're aware or not, are going to stay in the cities.
This is not a hasty decision for most people. Most of us depend on the city for our livelihood, and we can be better prepared by continuing to live in the city, earn a good income, and make preparations for exiting the city at the appropriate time or by staying in the city and living off existing supplies.
This special report explains some of the most critical dangers of living in a city and presents some solutions to surviving them. If you are one of the people who has decided to stay in the city, you'll benefit greatly from this information.
CITIES ARE ARTIFICIAL
Every city is an artificial construct. Cities formed as people came together to conduct business, participate in social interaction, and benefit from efficiencies in public services (such as schools, sewers, water, etc.) and a common defense. Yet cities cannot survive alone. They need resources from the country; most notably, food, water and electricity. While electricity and water can sometimes be created or found within city limits, the acreage requirements of food dictate that no city could possibly feed its own people.
Read that last phrase carefully: No city can feed its own people. Not one. Cities are, by their very nature, dependent on the importation of food. The advent of just-in-time delivery systems to our grocery stores means that most cities would run out of food within a week if supplies were for some reason disrupted.
Remember, cities are not self-sufficient. Although they may seem to be in 2013, they have for a long time been entirely dependent on the American farmer for their support, something almost all Americans take for granted (except the farmer, of course.)
RISKS IN THE CITY
The city presents some serious risks during a crisis. The four most serious ones are:
- The collapse of social order(riots).
- The failure of the water treatment and delivery systems.
- The depletion of food supplies.
- The failure of the power grid.
While not every situation will appear in every city, every situation will most certainly appear in some cities. Will that include yours? We’ll tackle these one at a time:
1. THE COLLAPSE OF SOCIAL ORDER
“Social order” is a delicate thing, and it exists as a psychological barrier that could easily collapse under the right conditions. We all saw this during the L. A. Riots following the Rodney King trial verdict as citizens of L. A. set fire to their own town, yanked people from vehicles and beat them literally to death, and even fired guns at firemen attempting to save their buildings! More recently we were all witness to the looting, violence and total breakdown of society following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
What allowed this to happen? Simple: the simultaneous melting away of the psychological barrier of “order.” Once people realized 911 couldn’t handle the load, or was offline, that the local police were helpless or had simply abandoned their posts, “Law and Order” ceased to exist in their minds. They then conducted their lives in the way they always wanted to, but couldn’t because of the police. That is, they ran out to the local stores and just took whatever they wanted (looting). They took our their racial frustration on innocent victims who happened to be driving through the area, and they let loose on a path of destruction that only stopped when men with rifles (the National Guard) were called in to settle things down. In other words, only the threat of immediate death stopped the looting and violence. Rifles work wonders.
Imagine store owners lying prone on the roofs of their stores with AK-47's, firing at anyone who approached. This is exactly what happened in Los Angeles. But worse, imagine the lawless horde firing at the rescue copters trying to bring in supplies to the desperate masses.
The National Guard eventually got things under control. This event was isolated, however, to one city. Imagine a hundred cities experiencing the same thing. Will the National Guard be able to handle the load? Not likely. What about local police? They aren’t fools; if things look bad enough, they’ll grab their families and head for the hills, just like they did in New Orleans. No pension is worth getting killed for. A few U. S. cities could be transformed into literal war zones overnight. It would require all-out martial law and military force to have any chance whatsoever of bringing order to these streets. And the reality is that there are not enough military in the USA to secure all of the cities if this happens.
This collapse of social order is perhaps the greatest risk of staying in the city during a crisis. What, exactly, would cause this collapse of social order? Lack of three things: food, water, and money. When people run out of food, some will begin ransacking their neighborhood, searching for something to eat. (Remember that in a city, a “neighbor” does not mean the same thing as a “neighbor” in the country. They are not necessarily your friends.) It won’t take long, then, for violence to take over in some cities. While certain regions will certainly manage to keep things under control and people will form lines at the local (depleted) Red Cross shelter, other cities will see an explosion of violence. Imagine the gang-infested regions of L. A., Chicago, New York, St. Louis & New Orleans. Do you think those people are going to stand in line and wait? They already have guns; now they finally get to use them. Pent-up racial tensions & hostilities will simply serve as justification for shooting people of the same or other color in order to get their food.
Even if the food somehow gets into the cities, lack of money (due to the government not sending out checks) could cause the same thing. Eventually, lack of money results in looting and mass theft. As the stealing balloons, it also results in a collapse of social order. Water; the same thing (but faster). The collapse of social order is also very dangerous because it doesn’t require any “actual” collapse of the power grid, telecommunications, transportation or banking. Social order is a psychological artifact. It is a frame of mind, and any global panic can quickly remove the mental barrier that right now keeps people basically “lawful.”
2. THE FAILURE OF WATER TREATMENT AND DELIVERY SYSTEMS
Will the water treatment facilities fail during a crisis? Many will. Some won’t. The problem lies in figuring out whether yours will. Certainly, they depend on electricity, and testing conducted on some plants has already revealed weaknesses in the system.
In one such test, the water treatment plant released a fatal dose of fluoride into the water system when tested. The computers thought they were 99 years behind in releasing minute doses of fluoride, so they made up the difference. If you happened to be downstream, drinking that water, you were dead. Fluoride, no matter what misinformed dentists tell you, is actually a fatal poison. A major crisis likely to demonstrate this fact in more than one city.
The most important question here, though, is about what will happen when the water stops flowing (or if it is flowing, but it’s not drinkable). As you are probably aware, while people can live without food for long periods of time (2-3 weeks), water is needed on a daily basis. You can go 2-3 days without it, at most, but beyond that, you'll quickly turn to dust.
That means people will do anything to get water, because to not have it means death. And guess where it’s going to be the most difficult to actually get water? You guessed it: in the cities. During the first day of the water crisis, many people still won't figure out what's going on. They’ll figure it’s a temporary breakage of a water main and the government will get it fixed within hours. As those hours stretch into the next day, these people will get very worried.
By the second day, more and more people will realize the water isn't coming. At that point, you could easily see a breakdown of social order, as described in the previous section (as you can see, these things all tend to cause each other.). People will begin their “search for water,” and the first place they’re likely to go is where they always go for liquids: the grocery store, the local Wal-Mart, the 7-11. The shelves will be cleaned out rather quickly.
Beyond that (because those liquids aren’t going to last long), you're going to see people engaged in a mass-exodus from the cities. They’ll take the gas they have left in their tanks and they'll leave the city in search of water. Some will go to “Grandma’s house” out in the country where they might at least find a pond or stream to drink from. Others will simply go on an expanded looting mission, stopping at any house they see and asking the residents (with a gun in their face, likely) if they have any water to “donate.”
As a result of all this, if water stops flowing, here are the events you can expect to see in some of the worse-off cities:
- Looting of all the grocery stores by the second or third day (remember New Orleans?).
- Minor outbreaks of violence during the looting. Shop owners, for example, may attempt to defend their shops with firearms (ala L. A. Riots).
- Mass exodus of residents from the city in search of water.
- Ransacking of any houses or farms within a gas-tank radius of the city.
- Mass traffic jams on the outbound highways as people run out of gas and abandon their vehicles (if bad enough, this could actually block the highways and trap people in the cities) (Remember Hurricane Rita?).
- Mass outbreak of water-borne diseases as people use streams and rivers as both a water fountain and a bathroom. People crapping upstream are going to infect the people drinking downstream. Very few have any kind of water filtration device. That last point is really critical. Once the water flow stops, disease is going to strike.
The food supplies will likely dwindle quickly as we approach a possible crisis due to people stocking up just in case. Once the crisis actually hits, expect to see breakdowns in the transportation sector that will result in major delays in food delivery. This means food may arrive in sporadic fashion in some cities (if at all).
Once this happens, food suddenly becomes really valuable to people (even though they take it for granted today). And that means any small shipment of food that arrives will be quickly grabbed and eaten or stored. It only takes one week without food to remind people how much they actually need it, so expect the atmosphere to be that of a “near panic” if food is delayed by as little as three days. The level of panic will vary from city to city. Some cities or towns may experience very little difficulty receiving food. Others may face near-starvation circumstances.
Remember, the cities depend entirely on food shipped in from the farms and food processing companies. Also, note that if there’s a water problem as mentioned in the previous section, and the mass exodus begins, the highways may be jammed up at critical locations, causing gridlock for the trucking industry. If we're lucky, some trucks will continue to roll. If we’re not, assume that nothing gets through.
A shortage of food ultimately results in the same behavior as a shortage of water. First, people eat what’s in the pantry, then they loot the grocery stores. After that, with all local supplies depleted and no hope on the horizon, they leave the city and start ransacking nearby homes. Some will hunt in nearby forests, but most city-dwellers don’t know how to hunt. In any case, anyone with the means to leave the city will likely do so soon after their food shortage begins.
4. THE FAILURE OF THE POWER GRID
Nothing is as suddenly obvious nor has such a gigantic psychological impact as the failure of the power grid. When the electricity stops, almost everybody knows it at the same instant (unless it happens at night).
Naturally, during the first few hours of the power failure, if it occurs, people will assume it’s a temporary situation. Maybe a tree fell on some power lines, or perhaps a transformer blew up somewhere nearby. They'll sit tight and wait for the power to come back on.
What if it doesn’t? Then the city faces a severe problem. Without power, obviously, everything shuts down. Within hours, the looting begins in the more crime-ridden cities (we saw this in New York a few decades ago.). The longer the power stays off, the worse the social disorder.
The loss of power will bring the entire city to a halt. While vehicles may get around for a few more days (using whatever fuel they have left), businesses obviously won't be operating. Houses that depend on electricity for heat will quickly reach Winter temperatures, freezing many occupants to death. While those that depend on electricity for Air Conditioning will just as quickly reach Summer temperatures, resulting in death from heat stroke. Hospitals and police stations may have generators on hand, with a few days worth of fuel, but in short order, that will be depleted, too.
But the water treatment plant will almost certainly be off-line without power, causing all the events mentioned in the water section, above. Let's face it, the power is the worst thing to be without in the city. If you have power, you can survive a food shortage, perhaps even a short water shortage. But without power, all bets are off. If you have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready to go (see below), this might be the time to bail.
SOLUTIONS IN THE CITY
Okay, so you're stuck in the city. You’ve made the decision to stay. You’ve read the problems above, you believe they make sense, and you’re intelligently frightened. What now? You really have two strategies. You can:
- Stay and defend your house
- Bug out (leave the city and head for the hills)
Important! This is not an either/or situation. You can begin by staying in your house and assessing the situation. You'll want to have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready, just in case, if you can afford one, but you may never actually choose to bug out. You’ll have to be the ultimate judge of this. Just remember that when you bug out, you face major risks and disadvantages. Among these:
- You're severely limited in how much you can carry
- You have limited range due to fuel
- You expose yourself to social chaos, roadblocks, random violence, etc.
- Your house will certainly be looted while you're gone
- You run the risk of mechanical breakdowns of your vehicle
- You must have a place to go that you know is in better shape than where you currently are.
In general, unless you have a specific, known safe place as your final destination, I don't advise people to bug out. Just “heading for the hills” is a very poor plan. You might not make it. But heading for Grandma’s house or some known, safe place could be a very good plan indeed, depending on whether Grandma is ready, willing and able to accept you!
For these reasons (and more), staying and defending your house is sometimes the only reasonable course of action, even if it seems dangerous. For the most part, looters and people looking for food are going to have plenty of easy victims, so if you show a little willingness to use force to defend your property, you’ll likely send people on to the next house.
That is, until the next house is already empty and you appear to be the last house on the block with any food and water left. If you're in a bad enough area, your neighbors may “gang up” on you and demand your supplies or your life. This is truly a worst-case scenario, and unless you literally have a house full of battle rifles and people trained to use them (and the willingness to shoot your neighbors), you’re sunk. This is why the best situation by far is to keep your neighbors informed and help them get prepared. Then you (both your member and non-member neighbors) can act as a group, defending your neighborhood and sharing the supplies you have with anyone willing to help defend you.
When you have this kind of situation going, your neighbors realize you are their lifeline. You supply them with food and water, and they will help support you because they are, in effect, supporting their own lives. The best situation is when your neighbors and other ward members have their own food and water supplies. That way, they aren’t depleting yours, and they have a strong motivation for getting together with you defend your neighborhood. (More on this below.)
STORING (AND HIDING) YOUR FOOD
Storing food is just as important in the city as in the country, but hiding it is far more important. That’s because in the worst areas, marauders will be going from house to house, demanding your food or your life. If you're dumb enough to put everything you own in the obvious places, you might as well not buy it in the first place. They will find it. To count on having any amount of food left over after the marauders break in, you'll need to hide your food.
One alternative is to plan on defending your home with force. If you have enough gun-wise people in the house, and enough firearms and ammo, you can probably pull this off. But most of us aren’t nearly as experience with firearms as the gang members. A better alternative might be to plan on bringing you supplies to your ward/stake building where all of the Saints can both pool and defend their resources. This of course will depend greatly on your local Bishop and Stake President.
Back to hiding: the best way to hide your food is to bury it. You’ll need airtight containers, long-term food that won't rot and you’ll need to plan ahead. Bury your food at night so nobody will notice, and make sure you don’t leave the map on the refrigerator door! (Better to memorize it!) Try to get the ground to look normal after you're all finished. You’ll want to bury your food as early as possible because it gives the grass time to regroup over the spot. If you’re in an area that snows, you’ll have a great concealment blanket! Most food marauders won't go to the trouble to dig up food, especially if you insist you don't have any.
Best plan: Have some smaller amount of food stashed around the house, letting them find something. Better to give them something and send them on their way. The art of hiding your food is an ancient one. You've got to get creative. Use the walls, the floors, and the structure of the house.
If hiding your food is simply not an available alternative, then try not to advertise it. Keep it put away in your house or garage in as discreet a manner as possible. Don’t make a point of telling people that you have a years supply (or more). Word gets around fast that Bro. Jones has a ton of food in his garage. Boxes of food fit nicely under beds, behind furniture, in the attic, etc.. Be Creative!!
To sum up the food storage, you really have three strategies here:
- Store it all in your house and plan on defending it by force.
- Bury it in your yard in case you get overrun by looters.
- Store part of it in your house, and hide the bulk of it.
- Relocate all of it as soon as you recognize a major disaster is in progress.
Then sprinkle some diatomaceous earth into the drum. You'll need about two cups to treat a 55-gallon drum, and it must be mixed in well. Diatomaceous earth is made from ground up sea shells, and it kills bugs by getting into their joints.
You want diatomaceous earth that is food grade, and on the bag it says, “Fossil Shell Flour.”
Once you get these drums filled and sealed, you can then bury them in your yard. This is actually a HUGE UNDERTAKING and is a LOT more difficult than it sounds, since you’ll need to dig to a depth of around 5 or 6 feet in order to sufficiently bury these drums. You’re likely to attract a lot of attention unless you do it at night, and you’ll definitely be removing a lot of dirt that you’ll need to find some use for. Because the drums are steel, they will also deteriorate unless you line the outside with plastic (a good idea) and treat the drums with some kind of protectant or oil. (Don't use WD-40.) Even Vaseline would work well, although you would definitely need a lot to coat a 55-gallon drum.
When you’re all done, you should have your protected grains in 55-gallon drums, buried in your yard and protected against the humidity of the surrounding earth. It’s a big effort, but then again, the food inside may save your life. You’ll find it much more efficient to bury several barrels at once; side by side.
In reality it would be faster and easier to simply build a false wall in your garage and seal up your food behind the false wall. Sure, you might loose 2-3 feet of useable space in your garage, but the tradeoff is knowing everything is safe and sound.
STORING EXTRA WATER
Water can be stored in exactly the same way, although you might want to bury the barrel before you actually fill it with water. Make sure you treat your storage water, rotate it or have filters on hand when you get ready to use it.
If you don’t have a yard, or it's not practical to bury your water, you’ll have to store water inside your house. This can get very tricky because water takes up a lot of space and it's very difficult to conceal. It’s best to get containers made for long-term storage, but in a pinch, you can use almost any container: soda bottles, milk jugs (although it's very difficult to rinse the milk out), and even rinsed bleach bottles (in that case, you won’t need to add bleach). But a lot of these containers will deteriorate quickly, and they may break easily. Also, consider what happens if your water may be subjected to freezing. Will your containers survive? Be sure to leave enough air space to handle the expansion.
In order to prepare yourself for the water shortage, assuming you’re going to stay in the city, stock at least six months of water at a minimum two gallons a day per person. That’s nearly 400 gallons of water if you have two people.
Of course, even with the best in-house preparations, you may find yourself depleted of water supplies. In this situation, one of your best defenses is to have a really good water filter (like the Purificup Water Filter) that can remove parasites and bacteria from the water. You can also treat your water in other ways (iodine, distillation, silver solution, bleach, etc.). Armed with these items, you can safely use stream or river water (or even pond water) for drinking.
By far, the best solution for obtaining long-term water supplies is to drill a well. Buy the best-quality hand-pump available (cast-iron pumps available from Lehman’s) and a good cylinder. They will last a lifetime if installed properly. With this setup, you'll have a near-unlimited supply of water.
The total cost of doing this, depending on where you live, ranges from about $4000 - $6000. Is it worth it? If you’ve got the money, I think so. However, many cities simply don’t allow the drilling of wells, so you may not be able to get one drilled even if you want to.
The deeper your well, the more expensive it gets. Most well drilling companies charge by the foot. When water is deeper, you also need a bigger pump and a more powerful cylinder, so the costs tend to really grow the deeper you go. If you can find water at 20', you’re very lucky and it might not cost you even $2000. If you have to go down to 200', it might cost you $7500, and you’re at the depth limit of hand-powered pumps anyway.
DEFENDING YOUR LIFE AND PROPERTY
Let’s talk about force. No doubt, there are plenty of nice people in this country, and I think that in small towns and rural areas, people are going to find ways to cooperate and get along. I also think, however, that some cities will suffer complete social breakdown and violence will rule. If you happen to be stuck in one of these cities, you’re going to need to use force to defend your house. The section that follows discusses what I consider to be extreme responses to violence in the most dire situations. Hopefully, you won't find yourself in these circumstances, but if you do, the information below may be valuable.
Important: Do not use your lights at night. If you are stocking propane-powered lanterns, solar-powered flashlights, or other unusual supplies, using them at night will announce to everyone within line of sight that you have more than the “usual” supplies. Expect them to come knocking in your door. At most, let a fire burn in the fireplace, but in general, avoid drawing attention to your house.
Defending your house is a crucial element on your stay-in-the-city plan. Make your house your fortress, and hold drills to help other family members practice some of the more common activities such as hiding, defending, evacuating, etc.
Some useful items for home defense include:
- A guard dog.
- Pepper spray.
- Smoke bombs (military-grade).
- Trip wires
Pepper spray is a great alternative to the firearm. It will incapacitate people and certainly give them a painful experience to remember. On the downside (potentially), it might just remind them that next time they come back for food, they better kill you first. So understand the limitations of pepper spray.
Firearms are useful for obvious reasons. In the worst-case scenario, when looting is rampant, you may have to actually shoot someone to protect yourself or your family. If you’re squeamish about pulling the trigger under these circumstances, don't plan to stay in the city. Use the “bug out” plan instead.
Smoke bombs can be useful for covering a planned escape from your house. You can purchase high-volume smoke bombs that will quickly fill up any house with an unbreathable cloud of military-grade white smoke.
Trip wires are great perimeter defenses. You can buy them from Cheaper Than Dirt (they run a few hundred dollars). They will give you early warning if someone is approaching. You can connect the tripwires to flares, shotgun shells, light sticks or other warning devices. This way, you can have an audible or visible alert, your choice.
In addition to these devices, you can make significant fortification-style improvements to your home. While none of these are very affordable, they certainly help defend your home:
- Replace glass windows with non-breakable Plexiglas.
- Add steel bars to the windows.
- Replace all outside door locks with heavy-duty deadbolts.
- Replace all outside doors with steel doors, preferably without windows.
- Remove bushes and other shrubs where people might hide.
- Black out the windows entirely to avoid light escaping at night (similar to what residents of London did during the WWII bombing raids).
- Build secret hiding places for food, coins, or even people.
- Create escape hatches or passageways.
- Rig pepper-spray booby traps.
To light your home when there’s no electricity, try the following:
- Use LED flashlights and rechargeable solar-charged batteries. You can buy all these items from the Real Goods catalog.
- Use propane-powered lanterns. You can find these in the camping section of your local Wal-Mart. Be sure to purchase extra mantles and store lots of propane.
- Purchase quality oil lamps from Lehman’s and stock up on oil. You can also purchase cheap kerosene lamps from the Sportsman's Guide or Wal-Mart, then simply purchase and store extra kerosene.
- Buy extra candles.
- Purchase lots of olive oil. Not only can you cook with it (and besides, it’s a lot healthier than corn or vegetable oil), olive oil also burns as a clean candle fuel. You can float a wick in a jar half-full of olive oil and light the wick. Viola, a home-made candle. Olive oil is a fantastic item for your storage anyway because even if you purchase all the grains in the world, you’ll still need cooking oil, and you obviously can’t buy powdered cooking oil. Well-stored olive oil can last for thousands of years.
Did you know that people won't steal giant logs? Although they may easily steal wood you've already chopped, most people won't have any way of stealing logs. They’re too heavy, and the vehicles won't have any gas left. For this reason, your best bet in regards to stocking fuel for your house is to stock up on UNCUT wood logs.
It takes a lot of extra research to find out how to get them (took me a few weeks of asking around), but you can find a source if you look hard enough. Or you can usually get a permit to go out and cut your own. The effort is worth it, because this will give you a ready-to-go source of heat and fuel that cannot be easily stolen.
The catch, of course, is that you'll need equipment to cut and chop the wood. A chainsaw is REALLY nice in this way, but it requires fuel. Fortunately, chain saws don’t use much fuel, so if you have a way to store as little as 50 gallons or so, you've got enough to power your chainsaw for a few years (at least!). You'll need fuel stabilizers, too, which you can buy at your local Wal-Mart. (Be sure to buy extra chains for your chainsaw, too.)
You’ll also need splitting hardware. You can buy log splitters or just buy an axe, a wedge, and a sledgehammer. Better yet, buy all four so you have a choice of what to use. And remember, wood splits much better when it’s frozen, too, so you might just wait until the cold hits in Winter to start splitting your wood. Only split a little at a time, because you don’t want to end up with a big pile of nicely-split wood sitting out in your yard. It will invite theft from people who don't have any. If you already have trees on your property, you're all set. Cut down about 4-5 cords right now, so they can start drying out, then chop them as you need them.
A “cord” of wood, by the way, is a volume measurement. It’s 8' x 4' x 4', or 128 cubic feet of wood (stacked). Some people that sell wood will try to rip you off, so make sure you know what you're buying. If you purchase logs, it’s better to get a price per linear foot, based on the diameter of the log. For example, you might ask for logs that are an average of 10" in diameter, and you’ll ask how much the charge per linear foot would be. Something in the range of $1 - $2 would be great.
RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORS
I’ve already mentioned the importance of getting along with your neighbors. It really is crucial to your city-based survival plan. The best situation to be in, as mentioned before, is to have neighbors who are aware of the issue and who are getting ready for it by stocking their own food, water, and other supplies. Every neighbor that becomes self-reliant is one less neighbor or member you’ll have to support.
The range of neighbor situations, from best to worst, is as follows:
- Best case: your neighbor is aware of and both temporally & Spiritually prepared for an emergency with their own supplies and training.
- Good case: your neighbor is aware of a potential crisis, and even though they don't have their own supplies, they’re willing to help defend yours as long as you share.
- Bad case: your neighbor didn’t prepare for it, figuring they would just steal from you if things got bad. They are aware of YOUR supplies but don’t have their own.
- Worst case: your neighbor isn’t aware of anything, and he’s a violent, angry neighbor just released from prison. He is going to be caught off guard by the ensuing events and will likely attempt to use violence to get what he needs or wants.
GUN CONTROL IN THE CITIES
No matter how you felt or thought about gun control in the past, it’s time to face disaster-induced reality. The gun-control politicians (and the people who supported them) have placed Americans in a situation where not only can the police not protect us in a timely manner, but we cannot lawfully defend ourselves. Criminals unlawfully have firearms; citizens lawfully don't. Intentionally or otherwise, gun-control supporters have created a situation where an unfortunate number of innocent men, women and children are going to be in danger during a crisis simply because they could not obtain the tools of self-defense.
It also happens that the cities where the rioting will likely be the worst are precisely the cities where firearms are most likely to be banned from lawful ownership (and where criminals may wield near-absolute power for a while.). Perhaps when society recovers from it, we can review the fallacy in the cause / effect logic that keeps people voting for gun-control laws, but in the mean time, millions of people are going to have to resort to breaking the law in order to protect their families. And yes, you too will have to resort to breaking the law if you are to acquire a firearm in an area where guns are entirely banned from private citizens (like New York, Los Angeles, etc.).
After the disaster hits, if the rioting gets really bad, we're going to see local police begging law-abiding citizens for help. Your firearm will be a welcome addition to the force of law and order, believe me. No local cop is going to mind you having a handgun if you're manning a roadblock protecting a neighborhood of families with children. Act responsibly, tell them what you're doing, and they'll probably give you a big thanks. But if you're carrying a gun while you smash a window of the Wal-Mart and walk off with a stereo; well that's a different story. Be prepare to get shot.
See, cops don't mind private ownership nearly as much as we've all been led to believe. I know, I work with law enforcement officers in a small town, and I ask them about topics like this. When the crisis hits, they'll be more than happy to have your cooperation. We're all going to need as many law-abiding gun-toting citizens as possible in order to fend off the criminals and establish some degree of order.
ONE MORE REASON TO MOVE OUT
If you really feel you need a firearm to protect yourself and your family, your best bet may be to move to a city or state where people are a lot more accepting of firearms. You'd be surprised what a difference the locale makes. Check the gun laws in any state you're considering moving to. Obviously, “cowboy” states like Arizona, Texas and Wyoming will have fewer restrictions on firearms (and, interestingly, they have less of a problem with gun violence). States where the population is more dense (like California & New York) tend to have much greater restrictions on private ownership of firearms.
Suppose it’s July 19, 2013, and you’ve changed your mind about this city thing. You happened to be right smack in the middle of one of the worst-hit cities in the country. The looting is getting worse, the power has been out for two weeks, and your water supplies are running low. You still have enough gas in your truck to make it out of town if you can get past the gangs, that is. You’ve decided to BUG OUT!
SOME BASIC POINTERS:
- Don’t try to bug out in a Chevy Geo. You will likely need a big heavy 4x4 truck in order to go off-road and around stalled vehicles.
- Get something that can carry at least 1000 pounds of supplies. A big 4x4 pickup will do nicely! Yes, it requires more fuel, but you can carry the fuel as cargo.
- Don’t bug out unless you can have someone ride shotgun, literally. You will need an armed passenger in case you run into not-so-nice people.
Ahh, the bug-out supply list. All this will fit in your truck. Here’s what you should take if you’re preparing to bug out with two people:
- Your 96 hour kits for each person in the vehicle
- 20 gallons of water
- 40 gallons of extra fuel or more (and a full gas tank)
As mentioned earlier, if you have a designated place of refuge (Grandma’s house, a cabin in the woods, etc.), head straight for it. If not, you’re basically driving anywhere you can go, so try to head for an area that forested and near a creek or river where you can get some water.
Choosing to remain in the city is a rational choice for many people in many situations. However, as you have seen from the dangers described here, the further away you can get from the population centers in general, the better your chances of surviving.
Most people, perhaps yourself included, have a difficult time actually accepting that a major disaster is going to be as bad as described in this report. And after all, if you leave the city, sell out, quit your job, move to the country, and then nothing bad happens? You will have disrupted your life, and you may find yourself broke, jobless, and homeless. You COULD assume it will be a mild event, which I suppose is also a credible possibility. In that case, surviving in the city will be quite feasible, especially if you have neighbors that can support your efforts and you don't live in a dangerous city with high racial tensions. However, the very nature of a major disaster means that if only one or two major infrastructure components goes down, the ripple effect will quickly create a much worse scenario. It seems there is very little room for “mild” effects unless they are miniscule. The most likely scenario at this point clearly points to massive disruptions, severe shortages in food and water, loss of power in some areas, and a breakdown of social order in certain areas where the population density is high.
But you can survive anything with good planning, an open mind, and plenty of practice. Why not start now?
Purificup Review & Use Tips
Purificup has asked me to do a review of one of their portable survival water purification units.
Upon receiving the unit, #2203 Natural Water Purifier in Green, the first thing that struck me was it's compact size, much smaller than I had anticipated - This is a good thing as it will not take up valuable space in your Bug Out Bag, Emergency Preparedness kit or Backpack.
It comes shipped in a semi-transparent plastic outer tube that has a cap and a string attachment on one end, and a small weep hole on the other end, take the cardboard sleeve off and - SAVE THIS.
It will be invaluable to use as a pre filter for water that has high particulate matter and / or high turbidity. You can use a bandana or construct a primitive water filter as your pre filter using this outer tube as seen HERE
Any manufactured water filtration system that you put turbid water through will clog the filter and / or shorten the life of the filter, it does not matter who makes it. It's just good common sense to use a pre filter - especially in a survival situation.
Secondly, the transparent tube can be used for transport after you have used the water filter - when you're finished wipe the entire unit down and dry it off to prevent cross contamination with the actual drinking cup - then place the entire a water purification system unassembled back into the plastic tube. The weep hole on the end of tube end will enable airflow when it is in long transports, this will allow the unit to dry when your situation does not allow you to let it sit out in open air for proper drying between uses.
The actual set up is pretty straight forward, soak the filter in cold clean water for a few minutes, take it out and give it a shake, then run 2 full receptacle cups through the unit.
Some of the Features of the Purificup Water Filter:
Uses a 3 Stage Filter Technology
- Ion Exchange Resin: Turn hard water into soft water by removing heavy metals (lead, copper, cadmium, mercury, etc) and calcareous (magnesium, calcium ions).
- Activated Carbon: Remove chlorine and other organic odor including THM, organic solvent, and pesticides.
- Silver Membrane: The membrane eliminates 99.99% of the pathogens in natural water sources such as streams, falls, creeks, and rivers. It is located on the inlet and exit of the filter circulation channel, preventing the filter cartridge from contamination. Absolute 1 micron filter for additional layer of protection against bacteria.
The silver membrane filter eliminates up to 99.99% of bacteria, parasites, and pathogens such as E.coli, giardia, crypto, etc. So there is no need to boil the water after it is filtered - each filter gives approximately 12 gallons, or 100-150 cups.
You can filter directly into sports bottles such as Nalgene, CamelBAK and most other generic bottles.
It is light weight and compact - weighing less than 11 ounces (305 grams).
It is BPA Fee - Very Important feature - BPA has been shown to mimic estrogen and disrupt the immune system, the last thing you want in a survival situation.
It has 3 rotating counter rings on the unit, this allows you to keep track of how many cups you have filtered, that way you know when you are approaching the end of the filters life span.
The price point is reasonable - Around $60 for the complete unit, which includes the initial filter - replacement filters run around $15 for the unit I have - also reasonable.
Highly Recommended - Purificup has become a permanent addition to my survival preps - it should be in yours too!
Preppers Staple Food Storage Quantities
"Experts" have said that the average adult will consume the following amounts of fresh food per year.
- Meat - 150 to 200 pounds
- Flour - 200 to 300 pounds
- Sugar or honey - 60 pounds
- Fats or Oils - 60 pounds
- Salt - 5 pounds
- Powdered Milk - 75 pounds
- Vegetables and Fruits - 600 to 700 pounds
- Water - 375 gallons
These figures are just basic guidelines, however considerations should be made from the aspect of preserved foods, rather than fresh foods.
Meat: In severe conditions, people could easily get by with less protein than 150 pounds of fresh meat per year, as that averages to almost a half pound per day. A canned, cooked one pound ham, for example, would be a real treat once a week, and easily feed a family of four. For weekday meals for a family of four, a 5 ounce can of tuna, canned chicken, 12 ounce can of luncheon meat, or 12 ounce can of corned beef can be used in a casserole (or whatever) and provide the required protein.
Flour: The listed amount of 200 to 300 pounds of flour per year is fairly realistic, in a SHTF scenario people would be making their own bread and pasta, for example. Using a hand cranked mill to produce flour from whole wheat is a sure way to limit the amount of flour required.
Sugar or honey: The recommended 60 pounds is the absolute minimum needed, in reality far below the actual amount desired, as sweeteners are the carbohydrates needed for energy, and survival is hard work. The 60 pounds listed does not take into account home canning, for example, and people will need to make jellies and jams and can fruits, all of which require a considerable amount of sugar or honey.
Fats or oils: Again, this is an absolute minimum amount needed, as 60 pounds of fats or oils does not go far when used in baking, frying, and other uses. In hard times, people actually require fat in their diet in order to do hard work. In every country in which food is rationed, cooking oils are one of the first items of scarcity. Corn oil stores for years, and so does plain, inexpensive hydrogenated lard.
Salt: Five pounds of iodized table salt would be the recommended minimum per person per year, but what about making kraut, salt preserving meat, or preserving fish in a barrel of salt? For those needs, a family should have at least 50 pounds of fine grade, non iodized salt, available for less then $5.00 from a feed and seed store.
Powdered Milk: The 75 pounds recommended per person is fine, but for cooking needs a couple of cases (48 cans) of canned, condensed milk is an absolute necessity.
Vegetables and Fruits: In hard times, greens and fruits can indeed be a vital food item, as they provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies require to remain healthy. Storing vegetables and fruits is where a food dehydrator really shines. Combine the dried veggies with fresh greens from a garden and canned fruit juices and sauces, and the 600 pound per year amount becomes far more attainable.
7 Preppers Food Storage Mistakes
- VARIETY - Most people don't have enough variety in their storage. 95% of the people I've worked with only stored the 4 basic items we mentioned earlier: wheat, milk, honey, and salt. Statistics show most of us won't survive on such a diet for several reasons.
- Many people are allergic to wheat and may not be aware of it until they are eating it meal after meal.
- Wheat is too harsh for young children. They can tolerate it in small amounts but not as their main staple.
- We get tired of eating the same foods over and over and many times prefer not to eat than to sample that particular food again. This is called appetite fatigue. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible to it. Store less wheat than is generally suggest and put the difference into a variety of other grains, particularly ones your family likes to eat. Also store a variety of beans. This will add variety of color, texture and flavor. Variety is the key to a successful storage program. It is essential that you store flavorings such as tomato, bouilion, cheese, and onion.
- EXTENDED STAPLES - Few people get beyond storing the four basic items, but it is extemely important that you do so. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home canned and store bought canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs. You can't cook even the most basic receipes without these items. Because of limited space I won't list all the items that should be included in a well-balanced storage program. They are all included in the The New Cookin With Home Storage cookbook, as well as information on how much to store, and where to purchase it.
- VITAMINS - Vitamins are important, especially if you have children, since children do not store body reserves of nutrients as adults do. A good quality multi-vitamin and vitamin C are the most vital. Others may be added as your budget permits.
- QUICK AND EASY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FOODS - Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. No cook foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation. MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat), such as many prepardness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. Psycological Foods are the goodies - Jello, pudding, candy, etc. - you should add to your storage.
These may sound frivolous, but through the years I've talked with many people who have lived entirely on their storage for extended periods of time. Nearly all of them say these were the most helpful items in their storage to normalize their situations and make it more bearable. These are especially important if you have children.
- BALANCE - Time and time again I've seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don't do that. It's important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you''ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year's supply of two to three items.
- CONTAINERS - Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don't stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most prepardness companies use when they package their foods.
- USE YOUR STORAGE - In all the years I've worked with prepardness one of the biggest problems I've seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It's vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods!
It's easy to solve these food storage problems once you know what they are. The lady I talked about at the first of the article left realizing what she had stored was a good beginning, but not enough. As she said, "It's better to find out the mistakes I've made now while there's still time to make corrections." This makes a lot more sense.
If you're one who needs to make some adjustments, that's okay. Look at these suggestions and add the things you're missing. It's easy to take a basic storage and add the essentials to make it liveable, but it needs to be done. As I did the research for my cookbook I wanted to include recipes that gave help to families no matter what they had stored. As I put the material together it was fascinating to discover what the pioneers ate is the type of things we store. But if you have stored only the 4 basics, there's very, very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it's put together the right way we'll be returning to good basic living with a few goodies thrown in.
Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook. Go through it and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.
Survival Prepper WROL Threat From Pseudo Preppers When SHTF
This may represent an actual small fraction of the preppers, we must address the possibility. Some preppers are all guns and no groceries (some are the other way around). When belly button meets backbone (starvation), they may resort to desperate means. Unlike the rank and file citizen, these folks often have talent. Desperate people do desperate things
Survival Situations & Personal Hygiene
In any situation, cleanliness is an important factor in preventing infection and disease. It becomes even more important in a survival situation. Poor hygiene can reduce your chances of survival.
A daily shower with hot water and soap is ideal, but you can stay clean without this luxury. Use a cloth and soapy water to wash yourself. Pay special attention to the feet, armpits, crotch, hands, and hair as these are prime areas for infestation and infection. If water is scarce, take an “air” bath. Remove as much of your clothing as practical and expose your body to the sun and air for at least 1 hour. Be careful not to sunburn.
If you don’t have soap, use ashes or sand, or make soap from animal fat and wood ashes if your situation allows.
To Make Soap
- Extract grease from animal fat by cutting the fat into small pieces and cooking it in a pot.
- Add enough water to the pot to keep the fat from sticking as it cooks.
- Cook the fat slowly, stirring frequently.
- After the fat is rendered, pour the grease into a container to harden.
- Place ashes in a container with a spout near the bottom.
- Pour water over the ashes and collect the liquid that drips out of the spout in a separate container. This liquid is the potash or lye.
Another way to get the lye is to pour the slurry (the mixture of ashes and water) through a straining cloth.
- In a cooking pot, mix two parts grease to one part lye.
- Place this mixture over a fire and boil it until it thickens.
After the mixture (the soap) cools, you can use it in the semiliquid state directly from the pot.
You can also pour it into a pan, allow it to harden, and cut it into bars for later use.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Germs on your hands can infect food and wounds. Wash your hands after handling any material that is likely to carry germs, after urinating or defecating, after caring for the sick, and before handling any food, food utensils, or drinking water. Keep your fingernails closely trimmed and clean, and keep your fingers out of your mouth.
Keep Your Hair Clean
Your hair can become a haven for bacteria or fleas, lice, and other parasites. Keeping your hair clean, combed, and trimmed helps you avoid this danger.
Keep Your Clothing Clean
Keep your clothing and bedding as clean as possible to reduce the chances of skin infection or parasitic infestation. Clean your outer clothing whenever it becomes soiled. Wear clean underclothing and socks each day. If water is scarce, “air” clean your clothing by shaking, airing, and sunning it for 2 hours. If you are using a sleeping bag, turn it inside out after each use, fluff it, and air it.
Keep Your Teeth Clean
Thoroughly clean your mouth and teeth with a toothbrush at least once each day. If you don’t have a toothbrush, make a chewing stick. Find a twig about 20 centimeters (cm) (8 inches) long and 1 centimeter (1/3 inch) wide. Chew one end of the stick to separate the fibers. Then brush your teeth thoroughly. Another way is to wrap a clean strip of cloth around your fingers and rub your teeth with it to wipe away food particles. You can also brush your teeth with small amounts of sand, baking soda, salt, or soap. Rinse your mouth with water, salt water, or willow bark tea. Also, flossing your teeth with string or fiber helps oral hygiene.
If you have ever encountered "prepper flack" from loved ones, family or friends, here are some thoughts to bring peace to your mind and hopefully to theirs. And remember you need not prove to anyone your sanity for prepping.
Prepping is a personal choice. I think of it as insurance for the future. I buy other insurance so why not prepare for the most important things needed in case of loss from storm, job loss, economic collapse, EMP etc. We preppers each have our own reason for prepping.
You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/healthyprepper
Survival Situations & Dental Emergencies
By Douglas W. Stephens, D.D.S.
TOM and Sylvia Moore and their two boys, Tom Jr., age twelve and Jed, age ten, hiked all day and near dusk made camp on a lovely grassy knoll overlooking a high mountain stream loaded with trout, apparently begging to be tossed in their frying pan.
At daybreak, Tom and Sylvia were awakened by Tom Jr. and Jed jumping up and down outside their tent yelling for them to get up and take them down to the stream. The boys had their four rods rigged by the time their parents had dressed. Tom understood their excitement knowing how much the whole family had been looking forward to this vacation.
As they started out, the two grownups found the kids' feelings contagious. Halfway down the trail, Jed, who had been running ahead, suddenly let out a cry of pain. When the family rushed up, they found the boy lying on the ground holding his jaw. Tom picked him up and sat him on a flat rock. Blood gushed out of his mouth. Pulling the boy's hand away, Tom saw a gapping hole where Jed's front tooth should have been. The boy held up a bloody tooth. Tom saw where the boy fell and the bloody rock where he must have hit his jaw and realized he had knocked the front tooth cleanly out of its socket.
Luckily Sylvia had once worked in a dental office. She gently took the tooth from the boy being careful to hold it by the crown. Leading the boy back to camp, she sat him in a camp chair while she got out her emergency first aid kit. Laying the tooth on a clean piece of gauze, she washed the blood from the boy's mouth and inspected the tooth's socket. A small amount of blood was still oozing out. She had the boy rinse with plain water cautioning him not to suck or use any force. She then rinsed what dirt she could from the surface of the root, being careful not to touch the root with her fingers. Still holding the tooth by the crown, she tenderly inserted it in the tooth socket, holding it firmly in place while her husband, using a piece of heavy monofilament fishing line splinted the tooth to the two adjoining teeth. She made a cold pack with water from the icy stream which she had the boy hold against his face next to the injured area to minimize swelling.
Leaving Tom Jr. and Sylvia at camp, Tom took the boy down the mountain to a hospital emergency room where they got in touch with a dentist who gave the boy more permanent treatment. He told Tom due to their quick action in replacing the tooth and bringing him in for professional help, they had an excellent chance the tooth would be permanently attached though he would have to check the tooth's pulp from time to time to make sure it was alive. If it died, he would fill the canal and the boy could still retain his tooth for many years.
Often when taking a vacation away from home, we are prepared for general health problems but do not know what to do when faced with a dental emergency. Whether the trouble faced is a simple toothache, pain from tooth eruption or something more serious like a broken jaw or a abscessed tooth, it may threaten to spoil a vacation.
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.
This should include: 1. Medications such as, salt, hydrogen peroxide (3%), aspirin or acetaminaphen (Tylenol), oil of cloves and orabase with benzocaine, (like Orabase Oral Protective Paste with Benzocaine on sale at your local pharmacy). 2. Supplies should include: cotton balls, cotton swabs, gauze pads, tea bags, a toothbrush, dental floss, toothpicks, tweezers, some paraffin or candle wax and an 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. Next rinse vigorously with warm water. Then soak a small piece of cotton in oil of cloves and insert it in the cavity. This will give temporary relief until a dentist can be reached.
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 RECOMMENDED 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, injuries 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 increased 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, as was the case in Tom and Sylvia's family, fast prompt emergency treatment can spell the difference between permanently losing a tooth and saving it.
Reprinted from American Survival Guide July 1991