The key to effective prepping and survival : Test Run!

This guest post is by Jim M and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

We were out-of-town on that Friday, at a conference in a town about 90 miles away. The weather was extremely hot that day- 104F, but we drove in an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned room in an air-conditioned hotel.

While having dinner with about 90 people in a large room, we were oblivious to the weather outside, not a common occurrence for either my wife or I.  I work out doors and have been an outdoors person my whole life. My wife breeds flowers and is outside a lot.

After dinner, there was an auction with a Powerpoint presentation, during which, there were some people who came in and said that there was a storm outside. I just glossed over that.

Suddenly, the power went out. No lights at all, not even emergency lights. After 10 seconds or so, the lights came back on, but then went off again. 90 people sitting in a room in the dark, mostly people over 50, trying to figure out how to make their phones use a flashlight feature. A man came into the room and said that the storm was bad. I could hear it now, and became mildly concerned. The lights came back on and we started the auction again.

When I went out to check on the weather, I was shocked to see huge piles of leaves and branches against the doors and windows. On going outside, a few trees were down, but nothing big – some car damage. The hotel generator was running.

I tried the cell phone – no service. I tried the hotel phone, no service. A tv was on and they were saying that Roanoke had a major power outage due to the storm.

I figured that we had power, water, and I did have my bug out bag and supplies in my car. No problem.

The next day, it was apparent that the damage was pretty bad. I called my neighbor, a retired military intelligence officer, and he said that there was no power and that a lot of trees were down, but none on my house, just lots on the property.

We were not in a position to leave, as we were the guest speakers that evening!  It slowly dawned on m that I was well prepped and would leave at 5 am the next morning to drive back.

As the day developed, it seemed that it was a Derecho that had caused these problems. It seemed to be getting worse, because information was not great. Cell phone coverage was not great. It slowly dawned on me that I needed to review preps and get home with a couple of things.

The forecast was for an extended heat wave with temps in the low 100’s. I left at 5 am and there was really only spotty power here and there. I stopped at 2 Lowes and 3 Wal Marts to finally get a window air conditioner. 2 Credit cards did not work, both with over $10,000 available on them. My debit card did work, as I was about $20 short of the $270 needed for the AC unit.

We live in an area where most people have heat pumps. These need a lot of energy to run and my 5K generator did not have a transfer switch. While at Wal-Mart I tried to buy an additional heavy-duty extension – sold out. Did I mention that I got the last AC unit? Day late, dollar short.

As I approached home, the trees were looking worse and no one had power. This was for 70 miles. NO  ONE HAD POWER. I did not have this information , or perhaps I would have canceled and left early.  No power means no gas. I always keep the tank over half full. Thank God. Do you?

Going down my long country road was tortuous. Trees and power lines down everywhere. People walking on the road – hardly ever see that. People carrying water jugs to go to the spring that comes out of the mountain near us. I got to my driveway, steep, long. My neighbor had cleared the big stuff with his full size tractor.

Approaching the house, I had a bad feeling in my stomach. The house was ok, but there was at least 2 feet of leaves and branches swirled up against the house and equally that much in the valleys of the roof. Fences down everywhere. 26 trees down on 5 managed acres, and at least 50 including the 4 acres of woods. Tree on the truck, tree on the car, tree on the tractor. Luckily, that was a blow down and not much damage. Old vehicles. I was driving the new one.

I went to work getting out the generator, stored in the basement. Fueled it with 6.6 of the 21 gallons of Stabilized gas that I keep in the barn. Do you have gas, stabilized as well? Fired right up.

I collected all the cords and started running them into the house.  I had to install a window air conditioner in a crank out window that opens to the side. Had to cut plywood. Had to drill. Got that hooked up in a couple of hours. It was 99 at 1130am.

Checked the fridge and freezer – my neighbor had put a bag of ice in each, but some stuff was spoiled already. Cats were panicky and hot, but ok. Dog still at our friend’s house 10 miles away.

Fired up the chain saw to start cutting some of the trees – vehicles first, then started on the fences.

I will have a 10 year supply of firewood.  Pinched the saw in a big tree.  I purchased a back up saw three weeks ago, and cut it out. It is a duplicate of the other saw. One is none, two is one.

My most excellent neighbor came by and asked if I could help him with the tree on his house. I have a lifetime of experience with these things and with his huge tractor, was able to get it off of the house with little damage.

Test Run – what did I learn?

Lack of information and communication is a hallmark of a larger problem. Get your information , and use multiple lines of communication to find out things. Land line, internet, cell, text, FMRS, CB, Ham.

Have back up water. I had 100 gallons. It was around 100 F for 11 days. I did not have a transfer switch installed, making it difficult to use the well.  100 gallons for two people, 2 cats, 2 toilets and one dog when it is 100 only lasts 5 days or so.  DID I MENTION NO POWER FOR 9 DAYS? We made trips to the spring and to the Fire Station for water.  Note to self- transfer switch asap. FLO JAC or similar right away.

Generators use a lot of fuel. 1 gallon per hour when running near full throttle for a 5 K gas unit.

Propane grills do not heat water for tea and coffee efficiently. We have a wood stove, but only for the winter. Buy a single or double propane burner or a jet stove that uses wood outdoors. I did have two propane tanks, good thing – non were available.

Have many gas cans full at all times for cars, tractors, generator.

I had plenty of food. 1 year supply! My wife did not like much of it. She likes bacon, eggs, cereal with milk, hot tea, yogurt, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables. She does not like to try to cook rice, pasta, canned meats, etc on a grill when it is 100. Get food that she likes or I will guarantee you a few days of hell!

I did not need a gun, but had plenty in case I did.

You can’t possibly have enough batteries for a long WTSHTF. In 9 days, we used most of our rechargeables, and 12 D batteries.  Note to self – get a solar charger to go with the regular 110 one.

I can’t recommend enough that you get 3w or 5w solar lights. They were problem free and lit the house with a good light, not for reading, but for walking around. They are called garden lights. Get the 3x or 5 x ones for more light.

Carry cash with you at all times. Really. Stash some in your car, some in your wallet and some in your EDC or BOB. Really.

Test everything that you have for preps. Don’t wait. Learn how to use things. Perhaps you need a test run that you start yourself.  I have seen the light and all items will get tested and I will get better. You should too.

This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:

First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following;  (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of  LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.

Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.

Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.

Contest ends on August 7 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Great article. Thanks for sharing. You can get solar landscaping lights in the Walmart garden section for 97 cents each. We always use them down here after hurricanes. I have a collection of about 50 now. Throw them in a 5 gallon bucket and put it on the patio to charge them. You’re right, they work great!

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      Harbor Freight used to sell a very small solar security light outfit for farm outbuildings, a tiny little thing that actually produces a dim but usable light for most of the night. About $25 when on sale, the light, cord and small solar panel all included. I bought a pair of spares for around home for just in case long term light is needed.

      I have a Brunton Solarport 4.4 solar battery recharger so I think I’m somewhat covered on batterys for our LED flashlights. My biggest worry is refrigeration – a small cubic foot solar refrigerator would be nice to own. Be especially important for diabetics and others who NEED medicines kept at frigid temperatures year round.

      • We own both a chest type solar powered refrigerator and freezer. The refrigerator gets so cold near the bottom that it will freeze the water and even meat! We really should turn it up, but drinking water with ice crystals on such hot southern days is so refreshing. We live that (unlike propane refrigerators) we can leave ours running full time and unattended at our camp. The freezer pulls a good bit of amps, so you would need a larger watt solar panel than it states, but works well. All in all we are extremely satisfied with our fridge/freezer!

  2. JP in MT says:

    Thanks for sharing. We can plan for things to go bad, but until you actually have to use you skills and equipment, we don’t know what we have forgotten. These stories help.

  3. Good stuff.
    As for gas, I have 6 5-gallon cans that I use, and weekly I use one, putting it into the tank and then drive to the gas station and fill it up. When I return I put that can in the back of the rotation,
    This way, rotating a can each week I do not have to use any stabilizer until after a SHTF scenario.

  4. Excellent article Jim M. You gave me several things to think about. I just love this site, always learning.

    I’ve done the no power thing for 5 days with a house full of people, and except for water, we did fine. Fortunately for me, it was during a big snow, so at least our washing and dish water was from melting snow on the woodstove. We were also using the snow on the deck for our refrigerator.

    I now have 5 – 275 gallon containers full of water, and will add more if I can.

  5. riverrider says:

    jim, i feel your pain brother :), hey we’re practically neighbors, need to link up at the salem show some day. we had the same problem; too hot to cook/eat. we did sandwiches n snacks mostly. we figure next time we’ll just forget the frig, and run the genny a few hours a day to keep the frozen food. i keep a few bags of ice in an extra frig in my shop and used that in a cooler. i went to farmville before i found ice. appomattox had gas at one place early on, not that i needed it.. how about rainwater collection?…..good job on the post,btw. take care.

    • Riverrider,
      Yes, it seems like we are neighbors, along with two others nearby. I am planning on rainwater collection – installation underground this winter, with a solar back up pump.

  6. EB. Esquire says:

    If you only have $250 in your checking account, that seems like it could be a problem as well. Hopefully you are like me, and keep most in savings and minimum in checking. But then again, money in your savings account didn’t do you much good. Just something to think about.

    • E.B Esquire,
      You are so right, that you need money! I did have money in my checking account, but only $250 cash, which in most circumstances would be fine, but it is the unexpected that we prepare for. I plan on bringing more cash whenever out of town just in case…. Jim

  7. SurvivorDan says:

    You mean you didn’t sit around the whole time whining about when the FEDS were coming to save you. You had problems and solved them. You took note of short-comings during TSHTF and plan to correct them.
    Well done.

  8. SurvivorDan says:

    Any of you got some friends/relatives who don’t prep? I’d like to know what they did during some of the recent storm emergencies. And do they plan on being ready the next time?

    • SD,
      when I lived in Maine , the folks that lived in the rural areas could not be called preppers or for that matter anything else . They did however always have plenty of food , fuel , and supplies in their homes , this is because they could depend on being snowed in for at least 3 weeks every winter , not all at once but average total , its just a way of life and those folks dont even think about it .

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Good point TR. A lot of farm folk also put up foodstuffs and have generators and fuel and their way of life revolves around, “Two is one and one is none.” The Mormons down here mostly lay in a years supply of food and such. It’s the normal thing for them to do. Self-sufficiency. I wish I had that kind of upbringing.
        I had to slowly come around to the necessity of prepping and learning the skills one needs to survive this coming sh*t storm.
        Still learning from MD and the WolfPack.

        One of my brothers lived in Alaska where folks who aren’t self-sufficient are the odd balls.

      • Most Alaskans are that way also , its breathtaking country , but its a rugged way of life . Most of your summer is spent getting ready for winter .

        • RobinME says:

          I live in Maine and I agree, I wouldn’t consider ourselves preppers. It’s more of a way of life up here. With 9 months of snow and plenty of Nor’Easters and Arctic Clippers its not uncommon to lose power for 3+ days (longest for me was 18 days during the massive Ice Storm). Having said that, I’m glad we always stock up it has helped during this recession.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          My older brother was also in the Army (combat arms not REMF) and managed to finagle most of his entire four year tour there cuz he loved that area.
          Being from Hawaii, I think I would have been trying to get to Okinawa or Guam. Lol.

          • SD, agree with you there except dealing with monsoons, life is good in Guam and Okinawa. Fresh pig, fresh fruit and fresh fish I could live in a bamboo hut or the stone or concrete homes I’ve become accustomed to.

      • Kelekona says:

        TR, it’s like that in Lake Effect Indiana as well. Depending on the town, things don’t really shut down, it’s more of a preference to stay at home. Of course, many people run out at the last minute to rent movies and buy supplies to sacrifice french toast to the storm gods.

        My “prepping” is getting carried away in my habit of keeping enough so that I don’t have to go out during weather. Most of my current plans involve a level of suffering. Power outage during a heat wave means that I’ll be making love to the linoleum.

  9. SISTERJUDI says:

    Thanks for a great article.What I have experienced this summer as I went through,floods ,heat wave,trees down,no electric,boil water orders,70 mile an hour winds,was I had the food meds,medical supplies,guns ,amo,what I didnt have was an inner understanding of the hell of the stress and how fast my attitude sank.I was totally unprepared for the traumas

    Attitude is everything.Good news I control my attitude.

  10. Kind of an interesting observation of how people dont think ahead . I was doing work in Death Valley at the visiters center . Day in and day out I would see people walking around dressed like they were going to a sunday cook out , tank tops , shorts , FLIP FLOPS !!!!! , do these people have any clue about where they were ? I guess not . They obviously did not plan on ever leaving their air conditioned cars with that 12 oz soda in their hand ……..they certainly had no concept of the possibility of their car breaking down ….somewhere ..out there …in 127 degrees in a hostile landscape . Our crew did do some exploring after work , however , we all had on long sleeve shirts , wide brim hat , long pants and boots …………not to mention water, water , water . , in one canyon I hiked a mile and a half total with a 25 pound pack , doesn’t sound like much , but this is Death Valley . I drank 3 quarts of water that had hydration tablets disolved in them . The tablets worked wonders , however by doing that short hike , it was very clear 3 quarts of water were not enough .

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Well sure. Many summer search and rescue operations where I sucked down a gallon of water in only a few hours and I could tell that I was still somewhat dehydratedl.

      A couple of years ago, I had four young guys burst out of the woods near Payson (only 90 degrees) begging me for water. They had hiked with a six pack of beer a piece! (Alcohol will dehydrate you for any that don’t know that.) They had a found a muddy seep earlier and drank the dirty water. Probably paid for it later with diarrhea. Ah….youth!

    • T.R., I’ve spent time out in Death Valley and in the winter or Spring and early Fall it’s great but April to late September it’s no joke. People go off trails, unprepared and maybe a gallon or two. Driving from the L.A. area to Las Vegas is short of four hours and Phoinex is six to seven hours and with a gas station and other services the longest you may go without seeing civilization is half an hour to an hour I still pack a 5 gallon can 2 1/2 plastic container and an ice chest of water and Gatorade when traveling the freeway and I prefer traveling at night to avoid sun burn and excess heat and fuel consumption by running the AC.

      Friends say its a bit excessive but I’ve spent my time in the desert here and a few others in 120 plus temps. Never be caught unprepared.

  11. Backwoods prepper says:

    Good article. I got stuck in traffic that night just south of Roanoke from so many trees down. I have a tote with food and water, just so happened i had a case of water also. I handed a lot of water out that night sitting on the Tahoe tailgate making peanut butter and jelly crackers lol.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Good for you Backwoods.

      Other less prepared folks were probably digging around their vehicles for condiment packages.

      “Like some ketchup with your mayonnaise?”

      “No thanks. I’ll just eat the relish.”

    • village idiot says:

      How long were you stranded there, Backwoods?

      • Backwoods Prepper says:

        We set there about 6 hours on route 220 between Roanoke and Rockymount Va. I finally turned north and went through the woods to get back south to Rockymount.

    • Backwoods,
      It seems like a lot of people get stuck around I-81 in all kinds of weather and conditions. Important to have just what you had and to give charity whenever you can. Might meet someone that you will value in the future. Jim

  12. Great submission – A real deal, but in miniature. Big lesson out of it for me is to have good neighbors. I must be a little nosy and note you mentioned Roanoke ( VA – I suppose) . I have been looking into moving to that area. I am now in a more rural area several hours away, but would like to get closer to mountains and OUT of my current state ( a little tyranny of a state- guess which one !) . Roanoke seems to have an active outdoor-oriented culture and plenty of fun stuff to do. The city seems on the medium side and the VA colleges are great IMO. Worth picking up and moving? Locals very inviting ?

    • Backwoods prepper says:

      Let me reccommend Rockymount VA. not far from Roanoke and Ferrum college just out of town.

    • I am from the Charlottesville area, which is beautiful, but expensive, and a little too close to DC and Richmond. Roanoke is nice, and cheaper. If I had to live in or near a town in Virginia, I would opt for Blacksburg, Wise, Monterey, or Eagle Rock. All have some ammenities, especially the first, and Hospitals, Rescue Squads, and lots of open land. In addition, if you look on Zillow or other websites, you will find inexpensive houses fpr sale. All of these have a cooler summer climate than most of Virginia too. Monterey is the coolest.

  13. Can someone explain what “stabilizing” gas means, how you do it and why? Thanks.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      Karena, gasoline turns to varnish @ about 6 mos. A stabilizer like Sta-Bil, purchased anywhere and everywhere, extends its life to about a year. If gas sits in an engine for an extended period it will clog up the works.

    • village idiot says:

      Stabilizing gas means using a preservative such as Stabil or PRI-G to lengthen the amount of time that gasoline will remain viable. Gasoline will break down fairly quickly if it is not stabilized, sometimes as little as 2-3 months. It’ as easy as adding a few oz. of the stabilizer to a specific amount of gasoline.

      • Like mentioned before… I use 6 5-gallon cans. 20 gallons will fill my tank, I do not let it get below a half tank unless traveling, so 6 cans will make sure I have two full tanks for my truck, or roughly 750 miles.
        Each week I rotate a can by siphoning from the oldest can into my tank, then go fill up my tank and the one can, which gets returned to the back of the rotation.
        This way, I do not have to add stabilizer to any of the 6 cans until after a SHTF scenario.
        Of course if you plan to store more than 6-8 weeks of fuel, then stabilizer would be more appropriate.

    • Gas(Petrol), Low Sulphur Diesel cant be stored for more than few months. You need to put product like Stabil to store it longer.

      Normal Diesel is good for storage for a year as long as there is no water and sediments. Search online, this info is from online sources not my personal experience. Only experience I had was the gas in my generator gone bad and choked the engine.

  14. I went through the same storm. I live in Bedford, and let me tell you it was awful! We did not have a generator, so no go for any A/C or anything like that. The closest we got was using the truck battery with a power converter for a few minutes at a time so I didn’t pass out from the heat. I had plenty of edible food and water though! Also, some fruits that do not wilt that easy in HOT weather. We also each have a cell phone charger for the vehicles so we can still be connected when there is no power. All of out frozen food went bad but we managed to keep some condiments cool enough. I wish I would have had a generator but we could not afford a large enough one, or any at all for this moment. With my tax return I plan on getting on so I never have to live through that again! We only were without power for 3 days but I had a heat stroke and one day we had to go to PetSmart so my Pugs did not die from the heat! I think for some people it isn’t a matter of not preparing, but not being able to afford the bigger things that would help.

    • riverrider says:

      dang i had no idea there were so many of us in the area. maybe we’ll make it thru the coming storm after all.

    • Jamie,
      What some people might not know about on this blog is how severe summers can be not only in the mid Atlantic, but the South and Midwest. Having lived in other places, I can think of no place more difficult to live outdoors in the summer than those areas. Night temps can stay in the 80’s with high humidity, so that the house does not cool down below that temp at night without AC. Of course winter in the north can be horrible too!

  15. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Good article. Yes there were gaps in your preps but you were resourceful. You helped and were helped by others. Survivors know their environment. Years ago while living in ND every winter a motorist would get stranded in a blinding snow storm wearing penny loafers, a windbreaker, and no gloves. If they survived, there would always be a plea for help because of lost body parts. There is no cure for stupid and that is why we are buying weapons. I come from a long line of survivors and my guess is you do too. There is always more to learn but we are going to continue and because we are and do, our children and grandchildren will continue. Kudos.

  16. Pineslayer says:

    Another good lesson for us all. Those of you who need air conditioning need to look at all other alternatives for keeping your house habitable. Air conditioners needs lots of juice and will drain your supplies quickly. Shade trees, natural air movement through convection, swamp coolers for those in drier climates, or maybe a Harrison Ford ammonia based cooler 🙂
    I think that would be a cool DIY project 🙂

    My weakness is water, I need a hand pump, got a good well, but when the gennie is out of fuel or the pump goes belly up, water is only 1/2 mile away, exposing myself too much for my comfort level. I like the Bison units, but they are pricey. Looked at the Flo-jac too, cheaper, but they are made in the US and they have a good rep. For you gardeners, do you have water for the long haul?

    • riverrider says:


    • No, I don’t. Have bought some rain barrels that will supply about 110 gallons when full. County and subdivision will not allow a well, so, if the you know what breaks loose I am up the creek without the proverbial paddle.

      Rains most of the time since this is Florida, but last year we were dry for close to 3 months. Since I cannot have a large garden (same people against removing sod, idiots!), I am container gardening. At the SHHTF time, I am going to plant whatever, wherever I can. I have been a Master Gardener since 1984 and no one is dying of hanger on my watch. You betcha there will be a well for irrigation, our water table is about 10 to 20 feet where we live. DH and I dug a 25 foot irrigation well in Miami (1977), we were young pups at the time. Hope we are up to it now

      God has a plan for our lives and I am sure that if I do my part He will be there to help. With His help every thing is possible.

      God bless!

      • If your floor under your tub(s) will support it, they do make plastic bags that insert and attach to your tub faucet and will hold up to 100 gallons (if your tub holds that much)… I have one in the closet next to each tub in my home.
        Just a thought.

  17. worrisome says:

    Great article! Things came to mind for me.
    If I were alone without family help would i be able to make the flo-jac work? What would happen if I couldn’t get the generator to start? As far as operating a chain saw? Probably not………..note to self….have the tree along side the house cut down NOW and the one that leans over the driveway as well. Food in the car? check. Water in the car, garage and house? check. Extra gas stabilized? check. Money stuffed in odd places? Nope need to work on that one.

  18. I’ve also become a strong advocate of test runs. Recently I had to tap into my food storage supply and found a number of flaws in it, things I needed to add to make my life more comfortable in a SHTF scenario.

    I have one question, though, about stabilized gas – is it any less volatile? I live in an apartment and have wondered whether or not I could store gas here. Unfortunately, I don’t live out in the country and have a barn I can relegate my gasoline to. Any thoughts?

    • michael c says:

      I’m going with “No less volatile” since the stabilizer is in to preserve that “volatile” nature of the gas.

    • Sandy,
      Stabilized gas is just as volatile. It just does not go bad as fast. I have read on another blog that more Stabil or PRI G will just stabilize for longer. Probably the best storage is keeping a full tank in your car if you have one. Half a tank, fill it up. !

  19. Lewis Smith says:

    We live in NE Minnesota, about 20 miles from Canada as the eagle flies and are slowly getting things together. I have searched the web for several months now, looking for water barrels that didn’t cost an arm and leg to ship….most double the cost. But, a place called Emergency Essentials has come thru for all of us. Shipping for up to 60$ in merchandise is 6 bucks, to $120 is 9 bucks and over that is 12 bucks..MAX….their 30 gallon water barrel in blue food grade is 64.95 plus s&h…..but they also have a kit with 20 five gallon mylar bags with pour spouts and heavy duty boxes to put them in for $124.95….plus the 12 bucks of course…..the least expensive I have seen anywhere…address is ….

    We also have a garden going and it is looking good….spuds, peas, beans, carrots pumpkins and cucumbers… we bought a pressure canner for the glass top stove from Home Depot-the wife researched these and this was the best deal for us-and a bunch of jars, etc. When the SHTF we will most likely have 13 bodies here and I hope we are ready because none of them can really afford(I know, I know)extra expenses now but we are going to have a family meeting here soon and I will give them all some reading and facts and see if they wake up…..there are four adults who can afford 25 bucks a month and pool that and get something…..we have a FoodSaver vacuum sealer and a bunch of batteries, candles, soap, toothpaste-ya get the drift. And we are starting to buy 5 gallon gas cans, full and stabilized(Stabil says their product will keep gas good for two years) and will have 10 of them at any one time. Hopefully BEFORE the panic.

    As far as weapons, due to circumstances I cannot have a gun…………so I bought a cross bow and a REAL powerful air rifle-almost sounds like a .22 going off-and our three boys have about 6/8 guns between them and I know they will bring them along. See, there is the perfect place for their 25 a month….buy ammo! At least every other month….anyway, y’all know how it goes, one step at a time and slow and steady.

    So. am ordering the water boxes/bags tonight and will be ordering some more rations from Augason Farms thru Sam’s Club……every month something shows up here,,,,oh, and Sam’s Club has some great prices on food from Augason….gotta buy 2 of some items but beats their price at most things….oh, and some solar panels are in the works/on the list….check out Harbor Freight…

    More later, y’all take care….


    On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 11:19 AM, wrote:

    “The key to effective prepping and survival : Test Run!” plus 3 more
    Link to

    The key to effective prepping and survival : Test Run!
    Recipe of the day: Lentil Stew
    Letter from a Fellow Pack Member
    Tuesday miscellany

    The key to effective

  20. Interesting article to say the least: You keep mentioning you didn’t have a transfer switch OF COURSE YOU DO It’s called your main disconnect on your panel box YOU just shut is off and plug your generator into any 20 amp outlet and back feed through the house. It takes days for a freezer to defrost and day for fridge to get warm…. SO power up the house get water jubs filled then power freeazer and fridge one at a time…. and charge the batteries while your at it . your generator should be a min of 10,000 watts ($1100) but you can get away with a 8500 watt for $700….

    • riverrider says:

      k, that bypasses your breakers, a very dangerous situation. you may be lucky and get away with it for a while, but if there is ever a short or more likely an overload, there is nothing between the melting wires and your house burning down. plugging in to a 20amp plug only gives you 110 v, won’t run most wells. there is a u/l approved lockout plate that can be paired with a seperate breaker in your box, that can be hardwired to a outdoor gen connection box, all for less than 100 bucks and is a SAFE way to do it. your insurance co. won’t pay for your losses if you’re connected in illegally either. good luck.

  21. Good article Jim. There are a couple of things there that I had not taken care of yet. A couple more are on the to do list. Thanks for the inspiration.

  22. Jim, good article. Puts in perspective with Rivers article and others experiences. When I think I’m set, someone else gives me another point of view.

    We get temps 90+ for most of our Summer and a few weeks out of the three to four months hitting 100 to 110. When the power goes out here as Cos can attest to last year with the wind storms that took out a large portion of the Los Angeles foothill cities (where I now moved to) people were crying and screaming about no power. While they have cell phone use and therefore access to social networks and internet to keep up on what’s going on, if you suggested they buy a generator, drive 5-10 miles away to get ice or water the sense of intitlement they felt that the power should be back on in hours. I told them if my advice isn’t good enough, neither is my home.

    Some may recall I went out of my way for a couple friends that wanted to buy a generator and I even lent my sawzall to a friend that wanted to be self sufficient. Each one of them now semi prepped at least they have a generator, water, food, flashlights and batteries for 10-15 days like the state recommends.

    One way I can suggest reducing the heat to the home and I have done this. I have 2″ insulation foam cut to the windows and they are Mylar lined. I have a 5,000 btu AC in my bedroom and when the power went out on a 100+ day I just popped them in to reflect the outside heat and connected the AC to the generator and was fine. The only time I had to go outside was to check on the generator or cook on the stove since the old place had an electric stove and water heater. You can also create shade by setting up silver tarps to PVC or metal pipes so the sun isn’t beating down on the side of the house you are staying in.

    • Also in the freezer I keep a good supply of frozen water bottles and ice packs in case the power outage is while I’m at work or away to keep what’s in there good until I can run the gen.

  23. Your test was my test, same things happened to me for my test run when a big storm knocked down trees, phone service and power for a week.

    I let my gas supply go down, but it wasn’t needed much except for chain saw to cut trees on my garage and driveway. I had water stored and found a spring nearby, No generator though, but I made do by wetting my shirt several times a day along with the dogs swimming to cool down. I live in a cool spot up north, but it got over 90 that week. I used my yard solar lights, and two AAA batteries powered my weather/am/fm/ radio and it is still going strong. I used charcoal grill for big cooking the thawed meat for the dogs, and a camp propane stove for everything else.

    Insurance paid $40 for the lost food in fridge which well made up for the losses, paid $216 for garage repair which cost $90 because I had the material here already and a guy with a discount to repair it, and work paid me a bonus of $50 to work without power at the resort. All in all, I gained $156 for the “test” and 2 cords of firewood I didn’t have to buy.

    Worst part of it was boredom after my favorite radio shows were over in the afternoon and the heat.

    I learned without a generator, it is harder to survive or keep convieniences. Without a generator, for you apt. dwellers, a stash of canned and dry food is best. I ate well during the power failure.

    I learned to keep gas supplied at all times, have a generator back up—it doesn’t take much time to keep refrigerator cold, and without power freezer should keep food frozen for 3-4 days- helps to keep ice in freezer, so generator power can be converted to air conditioning, TV, other places most of the time.

  24. EB.Esquire says:

    This was one of the best articles. I’m glad it won, as I read it every once in awhile to get my mind going on what I need to do, and just how quickly things can go down hill.

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