Greetings and welcome to the Patriot Express Newsletter Edition #194. Welcome to Hope for Survival. Merry Christmas to you and your family. May your holiday season be blessed and filled with family and friends. We are spread all over the nation and I'm sure we all share different traditions started by our parents and grandparents long ago. Regardless of your location and tradition, I do hope you are warm, fed, and sheltered through this Christmas season and beyond. Oh, important question, did Santa bring any of you a case of Twinkies? Be honest.
Everyone, please take a few minutes extra to reach out to neighbors, single family members, and loved ones to lend an ear, a meal, or a hug. As I have reminded before, set up a buddy care system in your neighborhood and family. The stress of the past year is bad enough and add the added stress of inflation and folks trying to survive is just a lot for many around us. Take the $10 you would spend on the Starbucks fluffy drink and go buy a hot meal and drop it off to a homeless person or a neighbor living alone. No, it may not be your responsibility, but many are left behind in a system that does not care for them any longer. Are we equally as guilty?
As I work on this edition of the newsletter our oldest granddaughter (12) is spending the week with us before joining other family for Christmas. She is wrapping a few gifts for us probably wondering where her gifts are. Ha Ha. She does quiet well with her wrapping. Ms. Lucy is prepping dinner with home canned chili (2015) and will use the waffle maker to make cornbread waffles to pour the chili over. We will then gather around the table to play a card game named grandpa this evening with Christmas cookies and hot chocolate. It's not the Waltons Christmas story but a modern-day version that's enjoyable. It's these moments that last and remain memorable for years to come. While enjoying this time together my mind drifts and wonders if the world ahead will allow us to have these times together in the future.
Because it's Christmas this edition is shorter, and I will save my Soap Box comments for next week. Below you will find some information on winter preparedness and alternative heat sources. Stay safe and warm.
Let us move along....
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We must make this brief public announcement to protect the innocent.
Ding, Ding, Ding....Attention HFS readers..... Opinions shared in this newsletter are just that, opinions, and nothing more. Read at your own risk. The owner and author of this site is not responsible for hurt feelings or thin-skinned readers. I do my best to show restraint and respect to the best extent possible. I take as many precautions as possible and try to remain as nonpolitical as possible, however, there are times when I just can't help but point certain things out. Occasionally I use words only Patriots recognize and understand. It's not personal against any non-Patriot. It's just the truth. Sometimes we must pull up our spenders and suck it up. Just saying. Stay the course, read what you want, and avoid the rest. Avoid fear porn as much as possible and the day will be okay. When all else fails… Keep the faith and always have Hope.
Let’s move along and get to some thoughts...
Thoughts for the week -
Fifteen Lessons Learned from Texas Deep Freeze - With weather forecasted to reach single digit and deep freezes across many areas of the United States, no doubt many will be caught unprepared and dependent on a system that will likely not be capable of responding timely and then providing immediate repairs to get heat and water back in operation. Self-reliance is critical during these periods, and many will not be capable of doing so. It's Christmas and I don't like sounding negative, but the reality and truth is many remain unprepared.
Several months ago, during a HFS Zoom session we discussed lessons learned from the Texas grid down and power outage. In many of the lessons learned, self-preparedness and having a plan in place could have comforted many of the grid down victims. One is none, two is one, and three is better. When the first resource fails you, what is up next to replace it? If the second resource fails, what is the third resource available? A good example would be when the Twinkies run out you get out the Ding Dongs, and when you are out of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, what is next? Since both Twinkies and Ding Dong's run out fast, maybe have Dum Dum's available since they will last longer.
Here's what we put together to present based on the event:
• Survival is very physical. Expect to exert a lot of physical effort. (Spiritual, Psychological, Physical Self responsibility. Leaders responsibility to know the people and monitor efforts to the best degree possible)
• Culture matters. Don’t end up in a community without morals or ethics when it all hits the fan. (Five Mile Radius – Doing your homework to know community cultures and other intelligence information.)
• Convergence of two “black swan” disasters can wipe out your best plans, even if you have successfully prepped for anyone (standalone) disaster. (One is none, two is one, three is better in planning. Redundancy)
• Some of your preps will FAIL. It’s difficult to consider all possible scenarios, so count on failures striking without warning. (Pre-event information gathering, Five Mile Radius Course, Left of Bang, Out of the Box thinking, Risk Analysis and Mitigation)
• You need LAYERS of preparedness and “fall back” systems that are very low-tech and require nothing more than the laws of physics (gravity, chemistry, etc.). (Redundancy in all plans and equipment. Multiple route surveys, fails-safes in plans, one is none, two is one, three is better)
• No one is coming to help you. In many situations, no one can get to you even if they wanted to. (Stressed importance of documenting processes and plans. Just as backing up your processes with one is none, two is one, and three is better, you must do the same with your family/group/team members)
• Containers (buckets, barrels) are extremely important. Have lots of pre-stored water and fuel at all times. (Minimal 180-day supply and build upon it. Multiple sources of food, water sources, and methods to cook, filter, and transport if required)
• Bitcoin and crypto were all completely valueless and useless during the collapse, since they all rely on electricity. Gold, silver and cash worked fine on the other hand. (Stressed gold as investment, low value silver for bartering as well as resources, skills and trade for obtaining needed resources during collapse.)
• You will likely experience injuries or mishaps due to new, unusual demands on your work activities. Practice safety and be prepared to deal with injuries yourself. (Mindset. Adapting to what you can do and know how to do. Mind vs body. Recruiting group members for skills and not personality. Prep 102)
• Having lots of spare parts for plumbing. Standardize your pipe sizes and accessories. I have standardized on 1″ PEX pipe and all its fittings because PEX is very easy to cut, shape and rework. Plus it’s far more resistant to bursting, compared to PVC. (This is part of building your plans. If you don’t practice the plan, you don’t know what could fail you and what resources will be needed when you face failure. One is none, two is one, and three is better.)
• Investment in food is always a good investment, as prices will continue to climb. No one ever said during an emergency, “Gee, I wish I had less food here.” (Addressed food planning in book, website, training classes, zoom, speakers… Folks buy thousands of rounds of ammo but complain they only have 30 days of food. Which resource is going to be most needed?)
• You can’t count on any government or institution or infrastructure to solve anything. Usually, they just get in the way. (The entire HFS concept was built based on my understanding of FEMA and the State Governors roles. All disasters are managed at the local level. The people are left out until critical infrastructure is repaired or stood back up. Self-reliance and the ability to survive on your own for a chosen period of time.)
• You MUST have good lights and many backup batteries, or you will be sitting in the dark. You’ll need a good headlamp (I use the PETZL Nao+) and some good 18650-battery flashlights such as Nite core. (Develop a multi-layered plan with at least three options.)
• Guns and bullets are not needed in some survival scenarios, so balance your prepping. Don’t put all your money into ammo and fail to cover other important areas like emergency first aid.(Discussed above. Security and protection is needed, however, food and water is a must.)
• Think about what sources of energy are: Wood, diesel, gasoline, propane, water elevation, etc. Survival is a lot about energy management. (The sun and wood will be your last remaining resources. Planning based on your risk assessment and vulnerabilities to identify your needs and available resources to support your plans is key to surviving. Knowledge and skills is a must)
Most of us can figure out many of the basics we should keep on hand for winter months and specifically during freezing temperatures. Some of the items will require additional funding, availability of resources, and time to complete the task required for the suggested steps and resources. You can decide you need to do.
Again, this is assuming you have the preparedness basics covered. Things to consider adding if you don't already have available.
- Blankets and winter clothing for each household member
- Sturdy snow shovel
- Deicing salt, sand, or kitty litter for your sidewalk/driveway
- Alternative heat sources, such as a kerosene or propane space heater, wood burning fireplace, solar backup, or simple steps using ceramic flowerpots and tea candles. Be creative.
- If you burn things for heat, have enough wood or fuel and a dry place to store it
- Fire extinguisher
- Flashlights with working batteries
- Stored fuel in portable cans
- Bonus: Generator How to winterize a house - Indoor home winterization checklist:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Replace batteries and ensure they work.
- Furnace or boiler: Have it serviced once a year.
- HVAC: Clean or replace furnace intake filters. In the fall, spray HVAC unit with a garden hose to remove dirt, dust, bugs, bird poop. It's not necessary to cover your unit with a tarp.
- Chimney: If you use your fireplace regularly, consider having it inspected and cleaned. Pay attention to removing creosote buildup from wood stove and fireplace chimneys.
- Heating vents: If you burn things for heat, make sure any exhaust valves outside the house are clear of debris or ice. You don't want gases building up inside the house.
- Attic: Add extra insulation to prevent ice dams. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining off the roof. If too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm the ice and snow on the roof. When it refreezes, it can cause an ice dam, which can lead to water damage inside your home or possibly even a roof collapse. If applicable, block the attic stairwell.
- Weather stripping: Add it around doors. Caulk windows to mitigate drafts and heat loss.
- Water pipes: Check for and fix water leaks immediately.
- Insulate pipes: Wrap water piping, including elbows and turns, in UL-Listed heat tape and insulate if exposed in unheated areas like garages, exterior walls or crawl spaces. Use only thermostatically controlled heat tape if your water piping is plastic. Most hardware stores carry inexpensive R-4 foam pipe insulation. R-value indicates resistance to airflow, so the higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation.
- Water valve: Know how to turn it off. Consider installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system in case your pipes freeze.
- Combustible items: Move them away from any heat sources that you'll likely be using.
- Wells: Using well water? Ensure your pressure tank is insulated if it's in the garage.
- Electronics: To protect your gear during power outages, make sure your gadgets' power sources are plugged into surge protectors rather than an outlet. Consider getting an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), which can give you 10-30 minutes of power.
- Ceiling fans: Reverse your ceiling fans so they push warm air downwards. Newer models have a switch to run in reverse. On older models, try removing, flipping, and reattaching the fan blades for the same effect.
- Bed canopy: Closing old-school bed canopies can create a heat pocket while you sleep. If you have a four-post bed or some other arrangement, consider having thicker canopy sheets ready. Outdoor home winterization checklist:
- Trees: Trim limbs and remove dead branches. They can damage your home or hurt someone if they fall because of ice, snow, or wind.
- Gutters: Clear them out so melting snow can drain and ensure downspouts direct water away from the home's foundation.
- Outdoor vehicles: Winterize for storage your campers, boats, jet skis, and any cabins or properties you may not visit over the winter.
- Driveway: Put up markers if you get your driveway plowed. Plows destroy your yard, landscaping, mailboxes, and such if they go astray
- Garden hose: Disconnect, drain, and store.
- Faucet: Drain, shut off valve (usually inside), and cover with a hard shell.
- Yard: Fertilize your lawn or garden (ideally in the fall) for next season. The idea is to nourish it for winter hibernation, not to make it grow.
- Generator: Ensure it's working, and you have fuel stored.
- Septic: Some people take small steps before winter, like checking lid seals for water leaks. But normal household usage keeps the system flowing fine, so don't worry about it.
- Roof: If there's damage to shingles, chimney flashing, or gutters, fix them! An average roof can handle up to four feet of fresh snow before it's too stressed. See chart: Home insurance for winter
- Severe winter weather caused 15% of all insured auto, home, and business catastrophe losses in the United States in 2014," said Dr. Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, in a 2015 press release. Even when you exclude hail damage, winter storms alone caused $28 billion in damage over the 1997-2016 period. Inflation-Adjusted U.S. Insured Catastrophe Losses by Cause Of Loss, 1997-2016 cost of winter damage compared to other disasters Dollars in billions - Insurance Information Institute
There is no specific winter home insurance product like there is for floods or earthquakes. Homeowners and renters insurance usually covers damage from burst pipes, wind-driven rain, and ice dams on your roof. It usually covers a collapsed roof from the weight of snow or ice. Water that comes from the top down, such as rainfall and burst sprinklers, is typically covered by a standard homeowners policy, according to the III. But water that rises from the bottom up, such as an overflowing river, is covered by a separate flood policy, usually through the National Flood Insurance Program. Floods are a big risk during winter, caused by sudden snowmelt, ice jams in rivers, and coastal flooding. When the ground is frozen, it can't absorb water. Some home policies cover sewage backups. Some don't. Check with your insurance company. Melting snow can flood and overwhelm sewer systems. Sewage backed up into the drains in your home can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home and electrical systems. Make sure you document your home and belongings as part of your annual prep review. It can make the insurance process much easier, faster, and more successful.
HVAC and programmable thermostats - Todd Washam, a spokesman for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). "There's a 50-50 chance that your HVAC was installed incorrectly," Washam said, referring to an EPA study claiming nearly half of all HVAC systems are installed incorrectly. National Institute of Standards and Technology studies indicate those improperly installed HVAC systems lose 30-40% of their efficiency. Before winter, consider hiring a service provider to test your system. They use blower door tests to determine how airtight your house is, as well as infrared cameras to see where heat escapes. Replace or clean your furnace air filter. Make sure your furnace burners are clear of major dust. Some will burn off when your heater first kicks on, which you might smell. That's OK. Uncover your vents. Ensure the outdoor exhaust flue is clear from leaves, animal nests, and other debris. Install a programmable thermostat to manage the heat, like the popular Nest smart thermostat.
The Energy Department and energy company Direct Energy both suggest setting thermostats to 68 F during the day, and 62 F at night for optimal efficiency.
Ease into winter. - Start off a 72 F during the day, and gradually dial it back 1 degree per week. Make up for the colder interior temperatures by wearing more layers inside the house - it's much more cost effective to warm the little bit of air around your body than it is to heat the entire house.
Alternative heat sources consider focusing on emergency gear such as portable propane heaters and stoves. Many preppers rely on wood stoves, pellet stoves, or radiant "in floor" heating to heat their home throughout the winter. They save money and have the huge benefit of running even after a bad storm or grid-down scenario. This is a great source for heat and cooking, however, availability, space, and ability to secure source to burn can present problems for some. Also, the cost for wood stoves skyrocketed since the start of the Covid-19 era.
If you are caught in an emergency situation with no source of heat to keep you and your family warm, consider this method to keep from freezing. Close off a bedroom where you can sleep as a group. If you have any type of tent you can pop up and locate on a bed, do so, and cover the tent with a blanket. Climb inside the tent located on the bed and climb in to sleeping bags or under multiple blankets. Your body heat and breathing should help keep you warm enclosed under the tent. If you do not have a tent, be creative and build a makeshift shelter on the bed. Why the bed? The mattress is off the floor and away from a cold floor. The mattress will help keep the backside of your body warm while the shelter or sleeping bag will help contain your body heat to keep you from freezing. If you own any of the silver mylar blankets, consider using them under this circumstance to help contain body heat in the enclosed shelter. If you don't own a sub-zero sleeping bag(s) consider purchasing one or more. Your life could depend on it.
You can also consider a few other heat source setups if you desire. Just remember, safety is paramount and having a fire extinguisher available should be considered in these methods of providing heat.
Stay warm, be safe, and stay ahead of the possible need for alternative heat methods. ...
That's all my Patriot brothers and sisters.
Prayers - Please keep our great nation, our elected leaders, military and first responders in your thoughts and prayers. We pray for good health and wisdom. Please pray for our leadership to find answers and guidance to the problems facing our great nation. May your faith remain strong and answers to the unknown provided. God is good and may our prayers blanket and protect you and your circumstances. I pray for each, and every one of our Patriots.
May we pray for all the blessings and things in life to be thankful about and continued hope for revival around the world. We must continually pray for the unsaved, our family and friends who live each day without the protection for eternal life and salvation.
Please pray for the HFS family. We have several Patriots with ongoing health issues and several in recovery mode at this point. It has been a tough year for many who lost loved ones and watch as loved one's decline. Your prayers would be much appreciated.
As Patriots we must stay strong and never give up. Our home, community, and nation need us now more than ever. Stay focused on your local community and things that will impact you around the nation. Don't allow the events around you to create fear in your life. Build your own self-reliance and focus on faith and hope. Remember we are a blessed nation, and we must continue to be great people today and make a better tomorrow. Keep charging.
Bravo Echo Out,