Meeting Notes – June 2020

June 13, 2020 Meeting

  • “AMP 3” video
  • “AMP 3” contents
  • Fish antibiotics, must-have books
  • Overview of the medical kits in April meeting
  • Pandemic Debriefing – Open discussion of lessons learned

The meeting began with a demonstration of the AMP 3 first aid kit – and a do-it-yourself version of that same kit. We then watched the AMP 3 video, which described the kit, along with how the different components are used.

The use of fish antibiotics (sold for use with aquarium fish) was discussed, along with a printed hand-out that gives details on how they are used, including dosage.

The medical kits that were detailed in the April video meeting were displayed, along with a brief overview of the kits, their purpose, and how they are used. The primary kit was purchased from Galls.

Building a medical reference library – a variety of books on first aid and medical treatment was displayed and discussed.

There are three basic categories – or reasons – for owning various types of medical reference books:

  • Basic and advanced first aid during “normal” times when medical infrastructure is available.
  • Comprehensive medical care at home in a situation in which medical infrastructure is not available.
  • The preservation of knowledge that civilization cannot afford to lose. In a time when knowledge is “saved” in digital format rather than in ink-and-paper, someone needs to archive this information in a form that cannot be destroyed by EMP or other electronic destruction.

One of the “books” specifically discussed was the EMS Field Guide. It is a pocket-sized (3″x5″) quick reference guide in a tough, water-resistant package. There are several versions of this, but for general preparedness purposes, the BLS Version (previously called “Basic & Intermediate Version”) is the best choice. Click on the image to be taken to the Amazon order page.

Meeting Notes – May 2020

On-Line Meeting due to COVID-19

We will be returning to our regular meetings (with appropriate social distancing in place) beginning with our next meeting on June 13. Program topics will be posted as soon as we get them lined up.

Topic: Growing and Planting Sweet Potatoes

 

May meeting video

 

This video is a follow-up to the main one. It shows the sweet potato yield in a 3×4 foot area that had been planted rather than just spread into.

 

A quick tour around the garden (included at the end of the meeting video)

“If I Could Grow Only One Crop” – Informative article about sweet potatoes on Homestead Survival Site.

Calorie spreadsheet – This is not the same chart mentioned in the video.

April 2020 – First On-line Meeting

This was our first attempt at holding a “virtual meeting”. The best thing we can say is “the next one will be better” and “we’re learning.”

Some lessons learned:

  • Live streaming takes a lot more knowledge and effort than we have at this point. Pre-recording and uploading is the better option.
  • The uploaded file should be uploaded the day before so that any problems that may come up can be addressed.
  • We waited until the afternoon of the meeting to upload the file in an effort to include the latest COVID-19 information for this county. A better option would be to have that as a separate short video rather than making it part of the longer meeting video.
  • Using the on-camera microphone just isn’t sufficient. We will have two other options for the next meeting: wired lavaliere microphones and a shotgun microphone.
  • Audio processing through software helps, but it is no substitute for recording good sound right from the start.
  • It is important to have good notes and to rehearse enough that the presentations go smoothly.

 

 
 

First Aid and Medical Kits

Take a look at this earlier blog post for details about the “Green kit” which is a trauma kit and part of the Mass Casualty kit.

This is the Contents and Locations sheet for the ALS kit made by Dyna-Med. Note that the contents of this kit are different from what is supplied by Dyna-Med. We have added some items and removed some items to suit our specific needs. This sheet is our own creation, and not furnished by Dyna-med.

Trauma Kits

Most people have a standard, off-the-shelf first aid kit around the house. It’s what is often referred to as a “boo-boo kit” – great for typical cuts and scrapes – but it is woefully insufficient for major trauma. That’s why we strongly recommend that you have a trauma kit available. This is a special purpose kit that is aimed at stopping the bleeding and other life-threatening effects of a serious wound – especially a gunshot wound. It is compact enough to make it easily available when and where it is needed, and inexpensive enough that cost should not be a major issue.

The kit we’re using here as an example is a trauma kit used by a church security team. The kit is a component of our Mass Casualty Kit, made up of 4 of these kits, identically configured, plus a 5th one with a few more advanced items. Listed below are the kit contents, including approximate price and Amazon link (links open in a separate tab). In training and in use, these kits are simply referred to as “Green Kit” or “Red Kit”. There are also three other medical kits, including a suitcase-size ALS kit with Oxygen, that are part of our medical response program, but we will cover them at a later time. Each of these kits will be displayed and discussed in an upcoming meeting.

First, let’s see what they look like:

Green Kit – Front side
Green Kit – Rear side showing MOLLE attachment system. For our purposes, this is not used.
Green Kit – Opened up showing contents. Our kits are loosely packed – you could (and should) add another Israeli bandage or other trauma dressings.
Red Kit contents. Same as Green Kit, plus NPA, Chest Seal twin pack, additional compresses.
Mass Casualty Kit, with 4 standard kits (“Green Kit”) and one advanced kit (“Red Kit”). These are kept in a Dewalt tool bag.

Contents

Pouch with EMT shears $13 – Note: The pouch comes with elastic pieces that connect the two sides so that it will not spill the contents when opened while attached to a vertical surface – we want the kit to open flat, so we cut those off. The original design is for use on a belt or MOLLE webbing, but for our use, the kit would be laying flat on the ground.

Tourniquet $12 – Note that tourniquets are a “last resort” measure, and they are very seldom needed – but when they are needed, nothing else will do. Direct pressure will stop the bleeding on the vast majority of wounds.

Israeli Bandage, 6″ $7.40 – Standard sizes are 4″ and 6″. Either will work fine, but we prefer the 6″ since that will easily fit into the pouch we use. For instructions on how to use this, see this video.

Misc. Items
Nitrile gloves (2 pair) – Having a box of these that are sized to fit your hand is highly recommended.
Pen and/or pencil with Notepad or 3×5 cards – Use for writing down the exact time that a tourniquet was applied, along with patient name, age, and notes.

“Red Kit” additions
Nasopharyngeal Airway (NPA) with Surgilube, twin pack $12 – Caution – For use ONLY by those who have been trained in its use.
Chest Seal, twin pack $16 – Should have two in order to treat both entrance and exit wounds.

Suggested additional items, depending on available space in kit
Additional Israeli bandage
Celox Z-fold gauze
Ziplock bag of non-sterile 4×4 gauze
Sterile compress and Kling-wrap


Some often-repeated wisdom that bears saying again – Equipment is of little use if you don’t know how to use it. Get training. Don’t exceed your training – it’s easy to do more harm than good. Knowledge is king.

February 2020 Meeting Notes

February 8, 2020

  • Survival Fishing with the yo-yo reel
  • Making apple cider vinegar and the “mother”
  • The importance of vinegar, baking soda, garlic, cinnamon, and red pepper
  • Essential oils, tinctures, and herbs
  • Bucket storing techniques – O2 absorbers with type and volume, Mylar bags with type and models, bucket options

Yo-Yo Reels – Automated fishing
Yo-Yo reels were demonstrated and passed them around so folks could see how they work. These are essentially a spring-loaded reel that retracts when a fish takes the bait. These can be baited, set, then checked later. Note that, as far as we can tell, Florida freshwater fishing rules do not clearly indicate if they are legal or not to use here. We’re talking about fish as a food source under survival conditions when sports fishing rules would no longer apply.

Also demonstrated was a minnow trap – minnows make good bait. These occasionally show up at yard sales.

Video demonstrating the Yo-Yo reel:

Video showing a modification to the Yo-Yo reel:

 


Making apple cider vinegar and the “mother”
The importance of vinegar, baking soda, garlic, cinnamon, and red pepper

Hand-outs from this meeting can be found on the link at Kelly’s Corner. Two members shared information about loved ones who had been bitten by brown recluse spiders and how homeopathic remedies made the big difference to both these very serious cases.

Tip: Spiders hate peppermint. Spray a mix of peppermint oil and water around doors and windows. Always check your shoes if you leave them outside or in the garage. Works for mice too.

Demo – making vinegar. See Kelly’s Corner for further info on this.
Various essential oils and herbs were discussed, along with their use.

 


Bucket storing techniques – O2 absorbers with type and volume, Mylar bags with type and models, bucket options

Sealing up a Mylar bag filled with rice, along with oxygen absorbent packets.
Several days after this was sealed at the meeting, you can see how well the oxygen absorbent packets have worked by the way the bag has been pulled down as the oxygen was removed.

January 2020 Meeting Notes

January 11, 2020
These are the BASICS. If you’re just getting started, don’t miss this one.

  • Water – THE Most Important Prep
  • How much you really need and where to find it
  • Gutters, harvesting rain water, swimming pool, hot tub, ponds, filters, and purification
  • How to find water in the wild
  • Water storage and transportation options
  • Barrels, jugs, kiddie pools, plastic containers
  • Food, Part 1 – How much do we need – Time, Souls, and Calories
  • Food – Shop for the year, starting right now
  • Food – Methods of storing overview – canning, buckets, dehydration, meals-in-a-jar, MREs, 30-day storage buckets
  • Food – The 52 Week Method

Some of the items demonstrated and discussed:

1
2
3 (Note: StoveTec is apparently no longer in business)
4

It is important that we not get distracted by “Arts and Crafts Prepping” – cobbling together something that can easily and affordably be purchased today. Leave that for those who refuse to prepare. “Arts and Crafts Prepping” is kind of like building furniture out of old pallets – it might be fun, but that is very low quality wood and it will not last long. This isn’t a game that we’re playing, so quality matters. Don’t trust your drinking water to some plans you found on the web that use plastic buckets and sand, when you can buy something made for the purpose that will do the job right.

We are way past teaching “Arts and Crafts” prepping a.k.a. “How to survive in the wilderness” and are now focusing on how to prep in the here and now. Instead of learning how to sterilize water in a soda bottle using the sun…just buy a 100% proven, safe water filter. Now is the time to prepare while the good stuff is readily available and trucks are still delivering from Amazon.

Are you really wanting to go to Walmart or Publix if the coronavirus hits big time in the US or when Antifa takes to the streets because they don’t agree with the election and trucks stop delivering. Do you have a water barrel or 2 or 3? Water is the first to go in a “crisis”. Do you have a large supply of N95 masks?

To that end…prepare now.

Food self-sufficiency is important goal, but it is not a substitute for a good food storage program. A can of “Survival seeds” is not a plan – it is a way to sell a false sense of security.

REFERENCES
How Much Land Do I Need? – “David The Good” gives a great overview of gardening for self-sufficiency.

131 Survival Foods

One Year Supply Guide

November 2019 Meeting Notes

November 9, 2019

  • Fire starting – flint and steel, fire plow, tender, Dakota fire pit, dealing with rain and dampness.
  • How to cook using a tripod and cast iron dutch oven and other cast iron utensils.
  • How to make a brick rocket stove
  • Alcohol stoves demo

Building a Rocket Stove

After discussion about the bulk radio purchase, the meeting began with a demonstration of how to build a rocket stove from standard concrete blocks. Dave built one and demonstrated how it works, and then showed several variations on the design. A quick search on YouTube will show various designs.


Using a Cooking Tripod

Another important aspect of primitive cooking is the use of a tripod to suspend a pot over the fire. At a time when food is scarce, the most common meal will probably be soups and stews with whatever is available at the time.

Cooking tripod with cast iron pot.

Fire-Starting Methods

Several methods of starting a fire were discussed and demonstrated.

While it is important to know various ways of starting a file, the point here is NOT to become highly skilled at using a flint and steel to start a fire. The point is realize the importance of having matches and/or a lighter so you don’t have to resort to something like flint and steel.

Have it With You

EDC Pocket kit. Outside pocket contains flashlight and spare keys.
EDC Pocket kit. Two fire-starting methods here: magnifying glass and “peanut” lighter. Also shown: S&W tactical pen, pocket knife, nail clipper, pill containers, flash drives.

Alcohol Stoves

Alcohol stoves – also called Spirit stoves – are about as simple as a cooking stove can get. There are no moving parts, no seals, and no pump. There is even a group of folks who enjoy designing and building their own alcohol stoves from things like discarded soda cans. Alcohol stoves use Denatured Alcohol, which is available by the quart or gallon in the paint section of just about any hardware store. Note that you must use Denatured Alcohol – rubbing alcohol, etc., will not work. It shouldn’t be needed, but we’ll point out here that Denatured Alcohol is a poison – not just sort of toxic, but highly toxic.

Trangia burner and stove. Weight = 7 ounces.
Trangia burner and stove assembled.
EverNew Titanium burner and stove. Weight = less than 2 ounces. Also shown is 8 ounces of Denatured Alcohol in a Stanley stainless steel flask: weight = 12 ounces.
Assembled EverNew Titanium burner and stove.

October 2019 Meeting Notes

October 12, 2019

  • Radio work – Demo, testing, and drills outside the meeting building. Be sure to bring your radios for this one.
  • Emergency radios – hand crank powered
  • Faraday cages
OCT 2019 meeting – Radio workshop. Familiarization and practice using radios from the group orders. All radios are programmed with local frequencies.

The bulk of the meeting was a workshop-style meeting going over the features and functions of the radios that were purchased in a bulk order. All radios in the group purchases have been programmed in one of two formats – one for licensed ham radio operators, and one for those who have not yet been licensed. This gives us the ability to coordinate by channel number.

Bud showed a portable antenna that is available on ebay. This link shows how to built your own 2-meter J-pole antenna using ordinary TV Twin Lead, along with the coax that will lead to your radio. Here is a YouTube video giving more details.

Hand-outs from this meeting:
SHTF Frequency List
Call Sign Key

August 2019 Meeting Notes

August 10, 2019

  • Insurance Pitfalls – Real world stories from an insurance adjuster
  • Container Gardening, Part 3
  • Vegetable plants for container gardens

Insurance Pitfalls – Real world stories from an insurance adjuster

It seems to be the very nature of preppers that we focus on the “dramatic stuff” – grid down, life-or-death scenarios, etc. While that’s a wise approach, it is not wise to ignore the sort of every-day personal disasters that we will all almost certainly face at one time or another.

We probably have a food storage program as insurance for a time when food would otherwise be unavailable. The key word here is “insurance”, and that was the topic of our first program for the August meeting. Insurance is an important part of being prepared, yet it is almost never discussed among preppers – we are changing that.

Most contact we have is with insurance salesmen who naturally have their own interest as well as ours, but this was presented by an independent insurance adjuster. Scott understands how the entire system works, and what we need to make sure that we are adequately insured in order to face life’s more typical disasters.

This LINK is a PDF file to Scott’s presentation on insurance.


Container Gardening, Part 3 – and – Vegetable plants for container gardens

This portion of the meeting is a continuation of the “Kelly’s Corner” series. Information and downloads available here.


Also discussed, but not part of the scheduled topics:

  • Seminole pumpkin – Stephen brought in two that were harvested last Fall and have been outside in a pole barn since that time. Both are still in as-picked condition. Scott described how his family prepares Seminole Pumpkin (he had some for supper just before the meeting).
  • Discussion on ordering radios and on the upcoming September meeting.

July 2019 Meeting Notes

July 13, 2019

  • Items to Keep in your truck/car
  • Intro to the PrestoGarden
  • When to Plant in this area
  • Container Gardening, Part 2
  • Medicinal Plants & Essential Herbs – Plantain, St. Johns Wort, Mullein

 


 

Items to Keep in your truck/car

Emphasis on the need to keep your GHB/BOB separate from a vehicle kit. You don’t want to take things from your GHB/BOB as a matter of routine, so have duplicate items if needed for your vehicle kit.

Vehicle Kit Presentation
Vehicle Kit items
Vehicle Kit items
Vehicle Kit items

 


 

Introduction to the PrestoGarden

Jay described the PrestoGarden product that he is working on. He currently has a patent on the design, and the molds for production are being built in China at this point. There are a number of prototype models now in use for testing throughout the U.S. and other countries. The PrestoGarden is a self-contained hydroponic “Grow Tower” that lets you grow a large amount of food in a small amount of space. We’ll add more details here as they become available.

 


 

When to Plant in This Area

We are located in Zone 9a for the northwest part of Volusia County, and 9b for the rest of the county. The split between 9a and 9b is State Road 40, and it divides Central and North Florida as far as planting times. Keep in mind that this is a guide – not a hard and fast rule. Know your area and adjust accordingly.

The Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide includes a chart that shows the best planting times for a vegetable garden. It is important to note that the times shown are for planting outdoors. If you are able to start your seeds indoors and then transplant them outdoors, you can get a head start on your garden.

Early planting is not just about getting your harvest earlier – it is a very effective way to avoid insect damage. Insect cycles are closely tied to plant cycles. By planting earlier than the insect cycle, you are able to plant, grow, and harvest before the bugs arrive, giving you a huge advantage. Starting your seeds indoors and then transplanting makes it possible without worrying about the danger of a late frost.

IMPORTANT DOWNLOAD
Be sure to DOWNLOAD and PRINT the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide. It is as close to a “Single Source” guide to gardening as it gets.

 


 

Container Gardening, Part 2
Medicinal Plants & Essential Herbs – Plantain, St. Johns Wort, Mullein (Kelly’s Corner)

 

Sources: Kelly was asked about where to buy herb plants and seeds. This was not available at the meeting, but her primary source is Logee’s (link).

Discussion on plants that grow well together (Companion planting) and some that just don’t do well with other plants nearby.

Discussion on the importance of building up your immune system to better cope in a time of increased stress and disease, and decreased sanitation and nutritional availability.

The materials presented in this portion of the meeting are available by clicking on the “Downloadable resources” link on the Kelly’s Corner page.

Herbs prepared and ready for sampling.

Video on herbal medicine and conventional medicine