Miscellaneous Disaster Readiness Information

Updated 02oct22

Power outages, fires, floods, earthquakes, storms and pandemics can interrupt utilities, phones, stores, ATMs, and travel. You can be forced to leave your home because of flooding, sewage backflow, fire, chemical accident, or terrorist threat. These things occur when you are least prepared.
The large disaster relief organizations can provide basic relief for a lot of people, but need a few days to get set up. Wise people are prepared to handle problems on their own for 3 days to a week.
Do not buy any survival kits or anything you are not familiar with. After the power goes out is not the time to try something out. Do not waste your money buying "special survival food". It will probably get old before you need it. Just keep your regular canned goods stocked.
Copyright 2005-2022 Ken Young (http://www.DinoDudes.com). All rights reserved.
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This information is provided on an "as is" basis with absolutely no warranty or guarantee. The information is not necessarily correct, complete, or suitable for any particular use. The entire risk is with you. Should harm arise from using this information, you assume responsibility for all damages and injuries. In no event shall the copyright holder, or any other party, be liable for compensation or damages arising from the use, misuse, failure to use, or inability to use this information.

Hand sanitizer recipe

Mix everything and put it in the bottles

Making your own masks

There are plenty of patterns on the Internet for sewing your own face masks. But what kind of cloth to use? Any cloth used to make filters works well, but a microfiber cleaning cloth is better.

Earthquake latches for cabinets

Earthquakes larger than magnitude 4 can hit any place on the planet (they are more frequent some places than others). They are unkind to upper cabinets, causing them to disgorge their contents onto the floor causing a colossal mess. Your appliances and ceramic dishes will need to be replaced.

Earthquake latches for cabinets with double doors are a challenge. The doors pull forward and apart at the same time as they open.

There are many solutions advertised, but all come up wanting. We needed something that wasn't plastic, inconvenient, or unreliable. No advertised earthquake latch was adequate.

Working with a seismologist who worked with the USGS, we found a solution we liked. Marine cabinet latches are strong and reliable. "Barrel bolt" cabinet latches proved to be convenient, also. Operating it when opening and closing the cabinet isn't a hassle.

Most marine barrel bolts would work fine as latches for cabinets with double doors. The ones we bought were made by Suncor Stainless and sold to us over the Internet by West Marine.

Barrel bolt closeup
We bought these "barrel bolts" for use as cabinet latches.
Barrel bolt installed
Here it is installed on one of our cabinets

Sand filtration system for making creek water (mostly) safe to drink

There are ready-made commercial bucket filters. One example is the AquaPail (This is not an endorsement of that product).



A clever water distillation system

If you have a working stove, but no clean water, you can distill using a big pot. Fill the pot halfway with dirty water. Put the lid on upside down, so the handle points down. Tie a cup to the handle. Start simmering.
The steam condenses on the upside-down lid and runs downhill to the handle. From there it drips into the cup.
Do not let dirty water get on the outside of the cup or it will contaminate the clean water when you pour it out.
Alternative setup: Put a brick in the pot and set the cup on the brick. This is a lot easier but isn't as good because the brick displaces a lot of water, reducing your still's capacity.

Sterilizing water without boiling it

Get some clear plastic bottles. Peel the labels off.
Fill with clear water.
Lay the bottles on their side in the sun all day.
The heat and UV radiation will do a reasonable job killing most of the dangerous stuff in the water.

Improvised cooler

Put a medium sized flower pot inside a big one with sand in between. Keep it covered and in a cool shady place. Pour water into the sand every day. The inside will be cooler than air temperature.

Hayboxes (ice chest cookers)

Conserve fuel with an ice-chest cooker (called a haybox). Line an ice chest or other insulated container with aluminum foil to make one.

Bring a pot of rice, beans, soup or stew to a full boil. Put the lid on and put it in the haybox (ice-chest cooker) for twice as long as it would take to cook on the stove. Ta-da!

Hobo stoves

These simple stoves cook one pot with a small amount of fuel (sticks or charcoal)

Take a big can. Use a can opener to remove the top completely. Use a church-key can opener to punch some holes in one side of the can near the bottom. More holes on the other side near the top.

Position the can so the side with the holes on the bottom is on the upwind side. Fill with sticks or charcoal. Light it using little pieces of paper. Once it gets going you can put a pot on top and cook.

If you don't expect any wind, punch holes all around both the top and the bottom.

The Crayon Candle

Crayons make a 30-minute candle. Use a blob of the melted wax to glue it to a plate for safety. The paper makes a wick, so you just light it. Warning: This may be irresistible to children, who might burn the place down.They may also want to recreate it later, adding subsequent fire risk.

The Crisco Candle

You can make an everlasting candle out of lard. Roll up a sheet of paper to make a big wick, and stick it into a can of lard. Warning: This may be irresistible to children, who might burn the place down.

Moser Lamp / Bottle Light

This is a light for a temporary shelter. Put two teaspoons of bleach in a bottle and fill it with water (the bleach keeps the fuzz out). Cap it and push it halfway through a hole in the roof (cap-side-up). Seal around the bottle to keep the rain out. It glows like a 50W bulb when the sun hits it.

LED lights and your UPS

UPS = Uninterruptible Power Source. They are used to protect your electronics from power problems and give you time to save your data after the power fails.

You can plug a lamp with an LED bulb into a UPS after a power failure and get light for quite some time. How long depends on the bulb and the UPS. Most UPS models chirp or beep in this situation because they think they are powering a computer and want you to turn it off before the UPS runs out of juice.

Consider plugging an LED nightlight into your UPS. It will give you a little light in the room when the power fails. You may need a power strip or short extension cord for better nightlight positioning.

Opening a can without a can opener

You can open a can without any tools. Put it upside down over flat concrete and scrub back and forth to grind the crimp off. After a minute of vigorous work, you squeeze the can really hard and the lid will pop out.

A clever mosquito trap

Turn a 2 liter soda bottle into a mosquito trap. It won't get all the mosquitoes, but it will keep their numbers down.
Mosquitos go in but they (mostly) don't come out. It lasts a couple weeks.

See also

Disaster Readiness   During & afterwards  
Spiritual readiness

This information was downloaded from http://www.FamilyReady.org