Thursday 01/03/18

It’s not that I’m technophobic, but it worries me when people leave home for the day with nothing more than a smartphone and an EFTPOS card. These are only two of your everyday carry items. In addition to these items, you should never leave home without a watch, a small amount of cash, and a pen.

Always wear a watch. “My phone just died; does anybody know the time”? I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard this question over the years. Smartphones perform a lot of functions and as a result they quickly chew through their batteries. Unfortunately, many people fail to charge their phone before leaving home for the day. Although smart watches have their place, they suffer the same battery issues. A good quality analogue watch is a smart addition to your wardrobe and should last many years, if not a lifetime (unlike smartphones). Obviously, you can tell the time with your watch (and maybe the date and/or day), but did you know you can also use your analogue watch as a compass?

Always carry cash. A little while ago I enjoyed a quiet Sunday lunch in a usually busy café. This wasn’t due to lack of customers, it was due to the chalkboard sign outside the front door “EFTPOS DOWN. CASH ONLY”. While I ate I watched at least twenty people arrive at the shopfront, read the sign, then walk away. It was disturbing how few people carry cash with them anymore (not even $20). During a natural disaster (bushfire/flood/cyclone – all are common in Australia), EFTPOS infrastructure may fail so petrol stations and other retailers may implement a temporary CASH ONLY policy (especially if they are profiteering). Do you carry a small amount of cash with you when you leave the house? If not, how would you cope if you were out for the day and EFTPOS was suddenly unavailable? You don’t need to carry enough cash with you to do your weekly grocery shopping, but $20 should be enough to catch a taxi ride away from trouble.

Always carry a pen.Hang on, I’ve just got to turn my phone on to take notes”. That’s ok if you aren’t in a hurry; but if it is an emergency, you don’t have time. If you’ve witnessed an incident that requires details to be noted, a pen in your pocket is instantly accessible. “What could be so damned important that it can’t wait for two seconds while I get my phone”? Good question. If you witness something like a hit & run, the perpetrator will be long gone before you can snap your first photo. You need to start writing details immediately, before your brain starts merging or forgetting them. No paper? No problem! The skin on your forearms and legs make great notepads.

And there you have it; three everyday items that will save you lot of grief during your day-to-day activities. If the information in tonight’s blog was helpful, please share it with your friends and family on social media.

Thursday 01/02/18

Beyond the urban environment, there is a basic set of rules that everyone familiar with the outdoors will follow religiously; that is The Rule Of Threes. And you should follow them too.

Don’t panic! It isn’t anything as foreboding as memorising an ancient incantation to stop an undead army rising from their graves. ‘The Rule Of Threes’ is an easy way to remember the fundamentals for survival away from home.

What are these rules?’, I hear you ask.  

3 Minutes.

  1. Cold: If you fall into icy water, you have approximately three minutes to escape the water and warm-up before hypothermia sets in.
  2. Oxygen: If you are unable to breathe (ie: due to drowning or asphyxiation), you only have a three-minute window to receive help (ie: mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) before permanent brain damage or death occurs.
  3. Blood loss: If you damage/sever a major blood vessel, you will bleed to death in three minutes if the bleeding is not stopped.

3 Hours.

In extreme cold, you can only survive for three hours without shelter. Hypothermia and frostbite will soon make their presence felt if you do not have shelter. Do not disregard this rule if you live in a more temperate climate. Sunburn and heatstroke can do terrible things to your body in a survival situation. Depending on your environment, shelter can be anything from a solid structure (like a building) that will protect you from blizzards, right down to a simple lean-to made from palm fronds that will provide shade from the harsh midday sun.

3 Days.

You can survive for three days without water before your body starts to shut down. Renal failure isn’t pretty, and it can’t be fixed with anything in your First Aid kit.

3 Weeks.

You can survive for three without food before your body shuts down. If you don’t eat, your body will cannibalise itself to get the kilojoules it needs; and not just your fat reserves, it will break down your muscles too. (Coincidentally, this is why starving yourself to lose weight doesn’t work). The longer you go without food the weaker your muscles become, and the less reliable cognitive abilities become (leading to poor or dangerous decisions). This rule has more leeway than the other rules. In this situation, people carrying a few extra pounds will survive for a little longer than someone with little-to-no body fat.

There you have it. Four simple and easy to remember rules to help you survive in the outdoors. As always, if you found the information in this blog useful, please share it with your friends and family on social media.

Thursday 04/01/18

Prepping is a subject that gets more than its fair share of bad press; for no other reason than the pursuit of ratings (for “reality” television shows). Unfortunately, mainstream media has portrayed preppers as gun-toting lunatics with fortified mountain retreats, eagerly awaiting the next extinction-level event. The average person, not bothering to question the accuracy of such dishonest representations, accepts this depiction as gospel and shuns the topic of prepping entirely.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing mysterious or dangerous about prepping. Prepping has nothing to do with wearing military fatigues or owning a truckload of guns. In its simplest form; prepping is being prepared for future events, mundane or disastrous. Prepping can, and should, be done by everyone.

You may not think of yourself as a prepper; but in many small ways, you probably are (the fact you are reading my blog indicates you are). Do you have a First Aid kit in the house? Do you know how to perform basic First Aid? Do you keep more than one spare lightbulb, and a stash of spare batteries? What about an extra box of laundry powder? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then congratulations, you are already on your way to becoming a prepper!

Yes, it will cost you a few dollars to gather the basic supplies you need for a basic food stash, but not as much as you think. You don’t need a cupboard full of expensive long-life food, your regular groceries will do the job. You just need to buy a few more of the things you already eat.

I prefer tinned food because it requires no preparation and can be eaten from the can without being heated-up. The food you already eat is perfect: baked beans, spaghetti, tuna, stew, beef, ham, fruit. For a basic stash, you only need enough of it to feed each person in your household for seventy-two hours. And at least two litres of bottled water, per person, per day. To keep your supply from going out of date, regularly exchange the food in your stash for the new groceries from your weekly shopping.

Most importantly, keep this extra food in a plastic tub (or in a couple of sports bags – one per person), away from your pantry. This prevents your emergency supplies from accidently being eaten, then not being replaced.

And there you have it; there’s nothing scary or difficult about prepping. A small outlay of a couple of dollars will buy a few extra groceries that will keep you and your family out of trouble during the next blackout or flood. If you know someone who could benefit from the information in tonight’s blog, please share it with them on your social media account.