South Florida Water Main Break Leaves 220,000 Without Water – Are you prepared?

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coconut trees

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Broward County Florida, water main break leaves over 220,000 without water for hours with more to come.  Residents of cities Sea Ranch Lakes, Tamarac, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Port Everglades, Oakland Park, Winton Manors and Ft. Lauderdale were notified by an emergency alert text message early in the morning that the water was cut off.  We were informed we may not have water for 24 – 36 hours.  We had city water when we went to sleep, when we woke up there was none.

I’m covering this story because it’s local, it affects me directly and it is an excellent demonstration of why we have emergency supplies and equipment.  Living in Florida we have an expectation of hurricane events every year.  Due to that fact of life one must be prepared for the loss of municipal services like water, or private business services such as electricity.

alligator near water plant on body of water

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Most of the water here comes from aquifer wells because we are surrounded by brackish and salt bodies of water.  If one doesn’t know where too look one could run out of water fast here and dehydrate quickly.  There is also the potential for dangerous wildlife encounters gathering fresh water.  It’s why we keep an average of 80 plus gallon of bottled water on-hand at any given time.  With the broken 42 inch pipe temporarily repaired we have a boil water order until further notice.  That means they consider all water entering our home to be contaminated and it must be treated before use to be safe.

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That’s not all.  The repair is only a temporary one and must have a permanent solution before the water supply returns to normal.  That means we will be without water again sometime in the near future.  The other potential with this incident could have been the loss of electric power.  The pipe was broken when a power company contractor was digging a hole for new electric service.  Without water and power it would be like after a hurricane.  We spent three weeks without power after Katrina struck Miami.

How did this affect our home?  Beside potentially contaminating our pipes, hot water heater and toilets it also left us without working fire hydrants.  We have water purification covered.  We have the ability to boil water with our electric stove, portable gas stove or turkey fryer as well as purify it with a mixed oxidant disinfectant we produce our self and our hiking water filter.

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Portable Gas Stove

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Turkey Fryer

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Mixed Oxidant Generator

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Hiking Water Filter

Water purification covered that leaves fire protection.  Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue reported that they called for mutual-aid from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Fire Rescue for tanker trucks to provide water should they need it.  Setting up quick dump reservoirs and shuttling water is a time consuming process which may leave fire crews needing water if things don’t go as planned or the fire is a large one.  The last thing they want to do is draft from a body of water or canal.

red fire hydrant on green grass field

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Without working hydrants and the slow nature of tanker trucks there is the potential for a ripping blaze by the time fire crews can supply enough water to fight fire effectively.  I’ve seem homes burn down because there was no water supply or a delay in supplying it.  If the homeowner or tenant doesn’t have a way to fight fire during a natural or manmade disaster there is always the possibility of loosing everything or someone.

CART COMBINED

The best success causing the least damage requires a quick response.  If we had a fire during the worst part of a hurricane we would be on our own without municipal fire protection.  That means during a storm we have to have the ability to put out a fire.  If not if will burn a home down and possibly the neighbors as well depending how close they are.  Radiant heat will set other homes, vehicles and anything else close enough on fire.

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Because of our preparations for those type incidents we have for the most part been unaffected.  Our water supplies were in stock there was no need to go anywhere for supplies.  We have several means to supply pure water so there was no concern should we have to use them.  And on a small scale we have fire protection covered, enough so that we could put out a small fire quickly.  We regularly wash clothing and dishes as soon as there is a load, so most of our clothing/dishes are clean.  That was a lesson learned from Katrina.

This incident should make more people aware of the preparations necessary to prevent last minute scrambling for emergency supplies.  No matter where one may live there is always the potential need for those supplies.  Everyone should be prepared.  This was an excellent test of our capabilities.  I think our preparations have proven to meet my expectations.  Are you ready? -13

Video below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austere Medicine: Mega Medic Bag – Kit Contents

Note: this post contains affiliate links, proceeds support this website.

I finally got around to finishing this bag and making a video!  On June 3rd of 2016 I posted a product review video of the Mega Medic bag.  At the time it was sitting empty, we had decided our medical supplies and equipment needed to be changed and updated based on how the use of the kits evolved over the previous 5-8 years.  Most of the kits had been used out of a rescue truck for a project we were working on.

When I made the review video I gathered various medical items that fit into the different parts of the bag to demonstrate the possibilities of what could be kept there.  The items shown weren’t a set up ready-to-go kit.  I already had a list for the kit contents but didn’t have everything I wanted.  Some of the items on hand had reached it’s useful life.

Recently after reading a video comment on the kit I had never seen before I checked to see what was needed to finish this kit.  Triangle bandages.  That was all.  Trying to keep track of medical inventory without a computer may put me in a straight jacket.  After replacing and restocking items the kit was finally ready.  How is that for a swift kick in the pants?

BRAVO

B Compartment

The kit is an extension of the aid bag.  This is considered our Trauma Kit and builds on splinting, bandaging, eye, dental, large wounds, burns.  Can be resupply or used as is.  It is based on several kits from past experience.  It may be hard to imagine but nearly every item in this kit could be expended on one incident.

Some of the kits from the past using the same bag had more of the bandaging and splinting materials.  Those kits had been based on, in part, by proximity to a military base and a direct flight path where helicopters and transport aircraft that could hold hundreds of soldiers could and sometimes did go down.

Then there is the, being the only one there and no one is coming. To the rural 20,000 person county, only 5 people qualified to operate two ambulances with the nearest mutual aid unit 30 minutes away, no air support.  Standing there after a mass casualty incident looking around and seeing empty aid bags and bandaging supply wrappers among the carnage leaves a lasting impression.

ALPHA

Alpha compartment, why we use those pouches

During the same time we were updating our kits we were able to find several different type packing organizers on sale at Marshalls store.  After using a few of them we went back to that store and many others within our local area and bought whatever stock they had in the store.

Those finds allowed us to keep items protected in ziploc bags and create mini kits without having a kit full of ziploc bag mess.  Multiples of one type item or a kit made of several different components they’ll work well for many common items.

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Double side bandaging pouch (Go Travel Packing Pouch no.3)

The bag above was one of the last pouches found.  As it’s packed it works very well, 8 rolls Kerlix, 12 5×9 Surgipads, 20 4×4 sponges.  I’ve looked for more and can’t find them.  The pouch below is what was used before we found the pouch above.  The dressings were packed the same way they are shown, the Kerlix was packed like the double side pouch, 8 rolls in a ziploc bag.

The smaller pouches have items like tape, self adhesive, triangle and elastic bandages.  The bandage pouches are very handy for bandaging purposes or resupply.  Glad we found them when we did.

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Single side bandaging pouch (Travelon Packing Organizers Set-Small)

CD CASE

CD Case

I’ve been looking at ways to store the instant hot and cold compresses for years.  When the portable CD cases became available I found out they worked well.  If the internal storage sleeves are removed there is room for two instant compresses.  All I had to do to get this type case to work was remove the sleeves from the rivets that were simple to pull out by hand.

At first I used a metal case but it added weight and was too stiff to fit in multiple spaces.  When these softer type plastic cases became available I tried one.  Discovered that I liked it better.  It has more flexibility and can fit into tighter spaces than the metal case.  For the type of compress and CD case chosen its simple to get them into the case.  First, I arrange the liquid part of the compress in one half of the bag and the dry ingredients in the other then, fold in half.

CASE FOLD

Case open showing how compress is packed

Place both compresses in the case then close it.  As shown below it works good.  The compress is protected from punctures and abrasion and it’s easy to see the contents.  I usually look for things like this at the outlet stores but ordered these off eBay for consistency.

CASE CLOSED

Case packed with 2 compresses

This kit has one 18″ and two 36″ SAM splints that can be used in many different ways and can be custom cut with the trauma shears.  Very handy to have on hand.  They beat the old ice cream scoop, vinyl covered wood, blow-up doll, waxed cardboard splints any day.

SPLINT

FareTec CT-6

REEL COMPACT

REEL Splint

The two photos above show the traction splints kept in or with the trauma kit.  The FareTec and the REEL splints are surplus finds.  If you’re looking to stock your kit check out eBay and the surplus stores.  Make sure all the parts are there before you buy, get new if at all possible.  Couldn’t give a price on either of these.  eBay as I shockingly found out only keeps auction records for 3 years not a running tally like Amazon.

EYE DENTURE

Dental / Eye Kit

In the photo above are the contents of the dental and eye kit.  The denture case can be used for dentures, loose teeth or prosthetic eyes.  There is a scleral cup for removing contacts and prosthetic eyes.  A case for contact lens and a 10x magnified mirror.

Two eye shields and two food service 16 ounce deli cups for covering injured eyes.  Those things can work well for keeping eyes protected.  Some of the eye injuries I’ve seen makes me want these in stock at all times.  Not shown are the sterile eye cups, the Sal-jet rinse 30ml saline vials or the Refresh Plus eye drops.

Most items in the kit have multiple uses.  Dressing like the trauma and surgipad make good splint padding.  The surgical CSR wraps in the kit to make clean working space can be used to protect wounds.  A mylar blanket as an occlusive dressing.  The list is endless.

SEAL

Security Sealed Kit

Security seals are an important part of our medical system.  The seals are tightly controlled and numbered.  A strict system is in place, only a couple of people here are allowed to seal a kit.  That way when one of the kits need to be used and the seal is intact we can be assured the contents will be there.

The seals used in the video are not the same seals used on our bags.  They’re from old stock and are used for training.  They work the same as fire extinguisher seals, twist or pull on the seal and it will break easily.  If you get some, get numbered if possible it will help in case someone else has the same type/color seals.

A word of caution, be careful where they are placed on zippers they can break zipper parts easy.

CASE OPEN

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The Trauma Kit is kept in a cabinet or could be stored and transported in a heavy duty case with the REEL splint, a MOLLE 2 pack frame, various color pack covers, a quick litter in a dump pouch and a small tarp to place the contents onto.  The case is stored with the gasket out, if left in place it compresses under the weight of the other cases and is not as effective over time.

Seems like that covers the items I felt I left out of the video.  I don’t want to repeat the video here.  I would rather people watch the video, then read the blog after to see what was left out.  Clearly I don’t write scripts for these videos, just an item name, maybe a note.  If there are any changes or updates in the future they’ll be posted.  The new video is below.  -13

 

Other video project featuring the Mega Medic bag are below.

Product review video.

 

 

 

Video of MOLLE 2 pack modifications.

 

 

Austere Medicine: Mega Medic Bag / MOLLE 2 Pack Frame Attachment Points

The first video I made on this bag.

 

The Dyna-Med Mega Medic bag is one of my favorite bags to use.  Only problem is when I pack the bag it gets heavy.  Sometimes 35+ pounds.  I need a better way to move the bag than hand or over shoulder carry with that kind of weight.

I have a broken MOLLE 2 pack frame I like to use for experiments so I don’t break a good one.  By chance I laid the frame next to the mega medic bag setting on a table one day.  It was easy to notice how close they were in size so I set the bag on top of the frame and this is the result.

A video how I modified the mega medic bag to attach to the MOLLE 2 pack frame.  It’s not a how-to, it’s a how I did it video.  The process was simple but time consuming.

Put the bag on the frame, pick the best spots to attach webbing.  Mark it, get the dimensions for the webbing, mark, then cut the pieces.  That process took maybe 45 minutes to an hour.  Once the webbing is ready its sewing time.

I knew sewing was going to go slow.  The pieces I’ve added would have been sewn on much sooner in the assembly process reducing the time drastically.  The time was no problem since quality/accuracy is more important to me than speed.  The webbing straps make it easy to attach to the MOLLE 2 frame.  Think this took more like an hour plus but I’m not sure.

I did notice over the last few videos how bad the audio is so I’ll attempt to make it better. Several issues there that must be addressed.  After I’ve updated the kit contents I’ll make another video about the bag to include kit content and modifications. -13

Video of modifications.

Vacuum Sealer Project: FIRESTARTER

The simple vacuum sealer. One of my favorite appliances made for home use. I’ve always wanted to have the ability to vacuum package my own stuff since I opened one in the 70’s.  It might be survival supplies, clothing I want to stay dry and compact, or something good to eat.  Around here seems like the sealer gets used for non-food items as much as repackaged food or snacks.

Sometime in 2016 I started to update our fire starting kits.  In the past my fire starting kit included military surplus matches/trioxane fuel bars/toilet paper packet, flint/steel/char-cloth/extra cloth/in a tin, Bic brand lighter, a Doan Magnesium Firestarter, pine heart wood, magnifying glass, and wildcrafted tender that was constantly in need of replacement.

I always use the lighter first.  All the rest of it backup or an aid when the flames needed a little help.  The updated kit for everyday fire starting is very small, natural fibre tender, lighter and WetFire if the fire needs help.

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The survival fire starting kit has more options based on the many fire starting failures and successes I’ve experienced over the years.  I know what does and does not work for me.  There is nothing like suffering as a motivator.  If at all possible I won’t do without a heat source.

The updated kit is set up to be self contained within an individual survival kit or pack.  All of the items within the kit are vacuum sealed individually.  Each vacuum package is over size to allow the package to be reused after opening.  The length is long enough to allow the end to be rolled up then held closed with a rubber band included in each package.

Not sure if this would work I tested to see if this would be enough to keep out rain or a dunk in water.  Part of a paper towel was placed into the package.  The torn edge was rolled then held in place with a rubber band.  The sprayer on the sink set to high, water blasted on the package from every angle for a minute or so with no leak.

A similar test was set up for dunking.  The same package used to test before was used for this test, nothing was changed on the package at all.  The package was held underwater in a drywall compound bucket for about thirty seconds to a minute.  I held it down by hand and moved it gently in the water to simulate a quick immersion in a body of water. Thinking as if this was in my pocket and I fell into water somehow and was able to get out quickly.  Again, the result, dry.

Wouldn’t it be great if I’d filmed it.  But no! It was an after thought.  Not so much as a photograph.  Getting used to that now.  Better off doing your own testing for sure.  The packing material rolled tightly along with the compression of the rubber band worked much better than I expected.

The contents are mostly modern.  I’ve eliminated the old time flint-steel and military surplus trioxane/matches/T.P.  The kits may still contain military surplus like a Doan’s firestarter  or folding knife since those seem to last forever.

Added UCO matches to the standard book matches and Bic lighter.  Anyone who has not seen the testing done on the UCO matches should see it then make up their own mind.  If it gets down to lighting a fire with matches I think those are my best chance of getting it lit.  They are the only match I know of that will still be lit if I manage to drop it in water.

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Various types of tender.  A tin of pine heart wood with a high pitch content, cedar and hardwood shavings, alcohol prep pads and WetFire cubes.  Magnifying glass and fresnel lens.  Swedish Fire steel purchased on sale with either a Camillus military stainless four blade folder or a Victorinox Pioneer knife.

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All of it packaged in a waterproof vacuum sealed pouch made at home.  It measures roughly 5 1/2″ x 8″, 1lb 3oz or 540g. The kit will never be a problem to keep on hand.  The last addition to the kit was a by accident item.

A friend came back from a professional convention and handed me several nylon carry bags.  I looked at them, they had cord configured into a backpack.  Didn’t think much of the flimsy things so I set them aside.  About an hour later a thought smacked me in the head like a hammer.

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I grabbed one, folded it a few times, it fit the fire starting kit profile.  Like it was planned that way.  The thought that hit me was how useful the bag would be in gathering all the small stuff needed to start a fire that is difficult to transport without loosing valuable resources.  The thinking was what if the fire starting kit was the only survival item I had on my person a way to carry things would be very helpful.

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Sure the bag is made of imported nylon and cordage.  The thing is, all it has to do is work well once for a short period of time.  If the bag is not overloaded I have confidence it will hold lightweight items for a few days until help arrived or conditions changed.  The already made kit and the bag were added to another vacuum pouch then sealed.  That way the bag can be retrieved without having to open the fire starting kit if its not needed.

Don’t forget the tear notch!  Must have the tear notch no matter what your preference!

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Tear notch samples

This video was filmed in early 2017 after getting all the items together.  I noticed after making the package in the video I had left the knife out.  That’s what I get for not making a checklist.  It was not filmed but the knife was added as soon as I moved some of the stuff visible to the right in the video.  The knife was covered by some it.

This is a kit I never want the need to use it.  Because if I do need to use it, it means something has gone wrong. -13

The video.

Vacuum Sealer Project: Pill Pack for Medication

This Preparedness – Prepper – Hiker Vacuum Sealer Tip may get you arrested.  Sensational title but true.  Those of us who take multiple pills whether they’re prescription medications or supplements often use those multi-dose/day pill containers.  Doing so could get you arrested, maybe prosecuted.  Prescription medications are supposed to remain in their original container according to the law as I understand it.

There are all sorts of possibilities which is why the only advise I ever give anyone is, seek the advise of legal counsel and medical professionals before you do whatever it is you’re up to.

I made these pill packs originally for backpacking/hiking trips and as a way to carry a small amount of vital medications on my person at all times.  Ever miss your ibuprofen, antihistamine or whatever because you didn’t have it with you?  Yeah me too but no longer.  Plus it helps save money buying in bulk and having to not throw out medications stored improperly.

I make up a new pack/s every time I have to open bulk meds.  Usually fill one or two of the individual pouches and then put the rest in a larger pouch for long-term storage.  I always include the name of the drug/supplement, type/concentration, lot number and expiration date.  I never separate this information from anything I place in these pouches until I’d consumed the contents.  It’s very important to keep them together.

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Things I find helpful to have on hand, a red sharpie makes it easier for me to see the marks so I can line them up with the heat sealer portion of the vacuum sealer.  A funnel helps with precise placement of the pills.  I have a short extension of soft plastic tubing but couldn’t find it for the video.  It’s good for reaching to the deepest part of the pouch when trying to get pills that want to grab the pouch material instead of slide.

To make the pill packs I use an 11″ vacuum sealer roll like the rolls in this link.  2 Pack – SimpleHouseware 11″ x 50′ Commercial Vacuum Sealer Rolls Food Storage Saver Compatible to Foodsaver Sous Vide (total 100 feet) To make the template I used microsoft publisher then converted it into a downloadable PDF file located here.  PILL PACK DIVIDER INDIVIDUAL DOSE TEMPLATE  When looking at the template the top  and bottom two boxes are larger than the center boxes.  They’re larger to account for the various size factory sealed edges.

I laminated my second printing for durability because the first one was getting beat up from use, and also added a grommet to hang up or bind with other similar items.

Expired meds shown in the video are kept past their expiration date if preserved correctly following the DoD Shelf Life Extension Program.  I would include a link but the government has removed them.  Not sure how you’ll get that info now I don’t have anything to share at the time of this posting.  Research it maybe you’ll find something.

Everything else I think, is in the video.   Check it out. -13

 

Vacuum Sealer Project: Another easy-open packaging video!

Another video about how to make your vacuum sealer packaging easier to open with a pattern notcher.

This goofy video was totally inspired by the Jingle track playing with the video.  When I was making a longer version of a video with the same topic I was searching through iMovie’s sound library for a little intro sound.  As I was listening to the tune this video idea popped into my head.  I thought it would be cool to try to communicate similar information in the 36 seconds it takes the tune to play without a voice speaking over the track.

I went back to my improvised shop set up in the living room and recorded this in about 15 minutes and spent about an hour editing.  It’s kind of silly and dumb and totally low-budget but I actually like it and it was fun from beginning to end to make.  Have fun hope you enjoy it. -13

 

Vacuum Sealer Project: How to make your packaging easy to open

Several years ago I packaged an emergency kit in vacuum sealer packaging.  Tested it, and was completely shocked to discover how tough the packaging is and how difficult it can be to open without using some other instrument or object.  Attempting to open one of them by hand-only proved impossible to do without assistance.  It also made me realize how important and useful the tear-notch on freeze dried meals made for backpacking could be.

An individual, with an injured hand and/or dentures/front dental work would be at risk for not being able to open the package without assistance from an object or the tear-notch.  With a tear-notch it may be possible place part of the package underfoot and tear with the uninjured hand.  I know this for sure, I cannot do it without the tear-notch.

The first experiments with nothing more than a simple straight cut with the scissors worked fairly well.  I noticed though when I decided to cut a “V” shape into the margin on the packaging that it was easier to open and the tear didn’t seen to veer off like the single cut did.  Sometimes when I was testing the single cut way the tear would not always follow into and open the package, it would follow the margin and made it just as difficult to open.

I like the V cut over the single cut because it is more visible and easier to use.  There are a few things I don’t like about the V cut.  First it takes two cuts to make, that is a lot of cutting when making multiple packages and more than one tear-notch for each package.  The cut must be more accurate to ensure that the two cuts meet at the V point, if they don’t it may create another more difficult package to open.  It works great but it’s much more time consuming and requires a certain degree of accuracy unlike the single cut.

Not happy with either of those things I searched for another more efficient way to make those notches.  I was trying to think of what to search for online when I remembered something I had seen in a sewing supply catalog I had but couldn’t remember what it was.  Lucky me I had kept the catalog and found it.  The item is a pattern notcher.

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A, Style-45N, 1/16″ x 1/4″ Pattern Notcher. Turns out it works perfectly for this purpose.  It cuts the perfect notch for getting the package open plus all one needs to do is put the margin edge of the packaging into the notcher until it stops then close the notcher with your hand and done!  Wow what a really fantastic solution!  I can quickly and accurately place the notch and make the cut in seconds then move onto the next pressing homesteading project.

I made a short video about my experience and demonstrate the way that “Works for me”.  Hope you find this information useful. -13