Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Important Renovations to Prepare Your Home for the Worst

When you find yourself surrounded by disaster (natural or otherwise), what do you do? You find safety for yourself and your loved ones. What happens to your house? What is the most efficient way to protect your home as much as possible? Perhaps your next home renovation should include protecting it from severe events.

Wild Fire

Droughts have caused wildfires in many places in the nation. If you live in one of those areas, have you considered changing your landscaping? The types of plants and materials that surround your home can either increase or decrease the effect of fire in the area. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Use pebbles or gravel instead of mulch.
  • Exchange your wooden deck for a concrete patio.
  • Decorate with more rocks and fewer plants.
  • Keep dried leaves and debris from accumulating around your property.
  • Apply a fire-resistant material to your exterior walls.
  • Switch to Class A roofing. This roofing withstands severe exposure to fire from outside of the structure.

Hail Storms

If you live where these storms occur frequently, consider replacing your current roof with an impact-resistant material. Class 4 shingles are the most resistant to hail, high wind, and streaks. These shingles not only protect, but they also enhance the curb appeal of the home.


    Torrential rains, melting snow, storms, and melting snow are some of the reasons that flooding happens. What measures can you take to prevent as much damage as possible?
  • “Dry proof” your home by applying sealing materials to your walls.
  • “Wet –proof” your house with foundation vents that allow water to flow through it instead of rising inside.
  • Raise switches, and circuit breakers, etc. at least a foot above the flood level of your property.


    Heavy winds cause your home to be vulnerable. Renovation ideas to better protect them include:
  • Repair or replacing loose or missing shingles.
  • Change to heavy-duty bolts on the doors so they are less likely to blow off.
  • Install impact-resistant windows and doors, like the ones available from Storm Shield LLC.


If you live in an earthquake zone, and your home is more than twenty years old, you may need to upgrade your home’s foundation in to strengthen it. It is also recommended to apply safety film to your windows and glass doors. Fires, hurricanes, hail, wind, and earthquakes can be devastating. What is the best way to protect your home? If you already have plans to beautify it, why not safeguard it as well.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Finding an Inexpensive Survival Knife

CRK Mark IV Everywhere you look people are pushing high end survival knives. But what do you do if you don’t want to drop $200+ on something you might just lose anyway?

Rambo aside a survival knife is basically a good stout knife that will hold an edge, and can accomplish most any wilderness task you set for it.

Native Americans / Mountain Men

For generations Native Americans used stone blades for all their cutting needs. You can still accomplish your cutting needs with a sharp flake of stone if you want to go that route.

The Mountain Men lived with and sometimes against the natives. They usually carried a carbon steel blade very similar to today’s butcher knives. Some of those knives were made in a heavy Bowie or Arkansas toothpick design, but the majority were made thinner out of old saw blades.

These knives are of carbon steal and will rust, but if you use them you will take care of them. Old time steel varied widely in quality (similar to today’s imports) and some of the blades were brittle and broke. This is why Mountain men usually carried several knives, not only for trading but also for replacing lost or broken ones.

Finding these Knives Today

Any heavy bladed kitchen knife will pull double duty as a decent survival knife.

I have a thing for these knives and many times you will find me in the woods with an old carbon steel butcher knife. I always keep an eye out for carbon steel knives.

You can find them at yard sales, flea markets, auctions and thrift stores. I will always go poke through the box of kitchen knives at these places looking for carbon blades.

You can usually get then for $1 each at most. At this price you can afford to have a few extras in your kit. The most I have ever paid was $10 for a bundle of five knives that included a very old mountain man style knife made from a saw blade.

Even Stainless Kitchen blades will work if you must.

Sure your custom made $200 dollar blade looks pretty, but my $1 carbon butcher will do just about the same job, and not cause me to lose any sleep if I drop it in the lake.

Randy Augsburger writes form an old homestead that has been in his family since 1866

Thursday, September 10, 2015

STAND: 5 Keys to Protecting Your Family in Changing Times

Remember the word “stand” as you prepare to protect your family during unforeseen emergencies and disasters. Each letter “stands” for a key component of any successful family security plan.

S is for Seeing Ahead

You've probably watched enough dystopian TV dramas to know that bad things happen to the guy or gal who fails to pay attention to the world around them. But you know something they don't: police scanners and shortwave radios provide advance notice about what's going on in your neighborhood and around the world.

You don't want to become a weirdo who obsesses over every tremor on the planet, but you do want to monitor conditions that may affect your survival. Stay tuned to the financial market reports, weather forecasts, and public safety messages that will impact you.

Having a heads up if there is a flu epidemic at school or a fire hazard in your neighborhood can mean the difference between escaping harm or falling victim to it. Remember that the most important aspect of seeing ahead is making a list of the tools and skills your family must have to survive any potential threats where you are.

T is for Taking Lessons

When you practiced seeing ahead, you made a list of tools and skills you and your family will need during potentially disruptive events. Don't just buy a weapon and let it sit in a gun safe. Don't make an elaborate bug-out plan and never rehearse it.

Go to the gun range and practice firing your weapon accurately and safely. Have regular drills with your family to ensure everyone knows their role in a bug-out situation.

Take classes on edible wild plants, primitive fire starting, and foreign languages to keep yourself on your toes. Every skill you gain is an advantage when your life and your family members' lives are on the line.

A is for Assembling All You Need

When planning for a shelter-in-place or an escape situation, you should have lists of what you'll need for the most likely scenarios you expect to encounter. How will you handle water, food, and shelter needs at home? Begin the assembly process by collecting the food and supplies you'll store there.

You'll need to assemble off-site supplies, too. Where will you store extra fuel for the car, emergency food, and replacement ammunition away from your residence? Gather these items next. A Brownells coupon can help you procure extra ammo and supplies.

You'll need a master plan with a checklist for every emergency criteria, including maps, recipes, phone numbers and backup plans. One copy of the master list should be located with your bug-out bags that you assemble for each family member and keep at home or in your vehicle. Another copy should be located off-site where you can reach it easily if you are forced from your home for any reason.

N is for Nesting or “Nomad”-ing

Once you have the supplies, tools, and training you need to face emergencies at home, and you have solid bug-out plans if things start going sour, you're ready for whatever life throws you. When disaster strikes, you only need to decide whether you will nest or be nomads.

There are times when staying at home is not an option. Flooding or fires may make your home a death trap. Other times, staying home is the best way to remain secure.

The important thing is for your family team to be committed to whichever choice is made. When you nestle in or play nomads as a devoted, strong group, your chances of survival increase. Work out any kinks in your plans and toughen up your family by having “no power” nights at home and by camping in state parks while acting out pretend emergency role playing games.

D is for Defend

Whether you nest or nomad, you must constantly be on guard for weaknesses in your line of defense. How can you secure your home or your bug-out spot from potential threats? Think up methods that will work even if you have no power.

Devise low-tech ways to camouflage yourselves and your supplies. For example, string up fishing line or string trimmer line attached to bells or metal pie plates to make noise if a person or animal walks into a boundary area.

Know the animal, human, and microscopic threats your family faces, and be certain all capable family members know how to defeat them, whether that means aiming a pistol or boiling all creek water before drinking.

If you keep your family's emergency “stand” in mind, you'll find it easier to organize and prepare your family for anything that develops on this volatile, ever-changing world.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Standing Your Ground: What To Know About Your Rights to Home Defense

SHUT UP! 152/366
You have a right to defend your home and family from force and violence. Self-defense laws have become complex and can be very different from one jurisdiction to the next. You should know a few things about your rights to home defense.

Immediate Threat

There must be an immediate threat in order to claim self-defense. This means the threat is right in front of you and is more than likely going to affect you soon. This is important because self-defense no longer applies if the situation ends or the aggressor leaves.

Reasonable Fear of Harm

You must also have a reasonable fear of harm to exercise your rights to home defense. This means that a reasonable person should be able determine that you were more than likely going to be harmed. This is in place to ensure that irrational responses like shooting a delivery person cannot be counted as self-defense.

Responding Proportionally

If you do take action, then you are allowed only to use the level of force that is being employed against you. This means you cannot use lethal force against someone who did nothing but reach for your body. Responding proportionally is difficult to judge in the heat of the moment. If you face criminal charges, a Keyser defense attorney in Minnesota recommends discussing your options with a lawyer.

Your Duty to Retreat in Some States

Some states make it your duty to try to retreat from any situation before violence occurs. You cannot claim any self-defense in these jurisdictions unless you can show that you tried to retreat and avoid conflict first. If home defense is important to you, then check if you have a duty to retreat in your area.

Trying To Standing Your Ground

Some states have stand your ground laws that negate the duty to retreat. This means you can act in self-defense without trying to avoid the conflict first. Proportional response still applies and lethal force is not part of stand your ground in some states.

The Castle Doctrine

The final right is called the Castle Doctrine. This allows you to use lethal force if someone has illegally entered your home. The exact situation and laws in your state will dictate the circumstances under which you can use the Castle Doctrine to explain your self-defense.

It is important to act with care when faced with a home defense situation. Know the law and try to contact the authorities immediately if you feel threatened in or around your home.

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She enjoys writing about home, family, business and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading a good book when she isn't writing.

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