Hot Disaster Preparation Posts

How To: Read a paper map

Have you ever found yourself lost in the Appalachian Mountains, or stranded in the Mojave Desert? Maybe it was because you couldn't read a map… a real map… a real hands-on, folding paper map. Reading a map is an important skill that may be lost in the internet and GPS era, but it' s a skill that everyone should have.

How To: Create a grip with paracord

When is a knot not a knot? When it's a grip. The knot outlined in this video isn't a knot per se but a way to wrap objects to increase their grip and also to store extra paracord. Specifically, this video demonstrates how to County Comm Micro Widgy Bar, which is a miniature pry bar. It’s made from hardened D9 steel and is around 3? in overall length.

How To: Tie a bloody knuckle knot

A bloody knuckle knot is the result of a row of half hitches fused with a blood knot--this video teaches you how to tie one. Make two loops with your rope then loop them over your thumb. Take the tail of the rope and keep making loops and adding them to the others on your thumb, to produce a row of loops. When you have five loops, slide them off your thumb, take the end of the rope and pass it through the loops. Pull out the slack but do not tighten, then take the other tail and pass it throu...

How To: Tie a right angle knot like Navy SEALS

You're underwater, and you need to tie a knot. (Hey, it could happen!) What do you do? In this tutorial from the folks at ITS Tactical, you'll learn how to tie a right angle knot. This is a knot used by navy SEALs, and if you ever end up needing to tie a knot underwater, you'll be very glad you watched this video.

How To: Tie a bowline backup knot

The bowline knot can be furthered strengthened by tying an additional backup knot. As knot-tying reduces the strength of the line, it's advisable to back up knots if the rope will be enduring some weight. Watch this video survival training tutorial and learn how to tie a bowline backup knot.

How To: Make a survival fire from a battery and staple

Check out this how-to video to start a fire using an AA battery and a staple. You can do this while listening to the classical guitar piece, "Malaguena" if you feel like it. It could save your life! With your battery: start by cutting the plastic away from the negative terminal. Watch the video survival training tutorial for more tips on starting an emergency fire!

How To: Terrorist Cheatsheet Explains How to Avoid a Drone Strike

The expanding U.S drone war in the Middle East has sparked controversy back at home, with many Americans protesting against the unmanned airstrikes. The attacks, which are carried out from a network of secret bases around the world, have been scrutinized for their lack of transparency with their "kill list" and ability to supersede the judicial system and assassinate any U.S. citizens that are involved with terrorist groups. To top it off, many are incensed with the accidental killings of civ...

How To: Measure Radiation in Japan, Plus Other Sources of Common, Everyday Intake

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Japan, Southern Californians have been hyper alert to any news regarding dangerous levels of nuclear radiation drifting over from Fukushima. At this time, official statements from the California Department of Public Health and the EPA are assuaging the population that there is nothing to fear. While there has been some detection of radiation in the air, the current levels recorded are "thousands of times below any conservative level of concern". But despit...

How To: Build an emergency portable car heater for emergency situations

If you've ever gotten your car stuck in a blizzard or been lost on a wilderness drive in winter, you know that keeping that car warm is vital to your comfort and even survival. Using the heater means keeping the car on though, and that means consuming precious fuel. And what if the car breaks down? Watch this video for instructions on how to make a portable emergency heater for your car that will keep it between 60-70 degrees for about 24 hours burning only rubbing alcohol. It could save your...

News: Rule #1 for Surviving Somali Pirates: Lay Off the Doobie

Though it's unlikely you'll ever have a need for hostage survival skills, it never hurts to take in a few tips on what to do in the event of being accosted by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa. Wired has tracked down a HowTo guide that addresses such a scenario. Though most of the advice is fairly general, one important point addresses the dangers of lighting up with the enemy:

How To: Tie cylinder, mat and ball Turk's head knots

In this Disaster Preparation video tutorial you will learn how to tie cylinder, mat and ball Turk's head knots. To tie the cylinder, first tie the double coin knot as shown in the video. Then put it around a staff and make the 3-lead 4-bight Turk's Head. After you finish with this, tighten and trim the rope. To tie the 3L4B Turk's Head as a mat, remove the Turk's Head from the staff and follow the steps as shown in the video to make the mat. You can watch the video and learn how to tie the ball.

How To: Make natural long burning torches in the forest

In this tutorial, we learn how to make natural long burning torches in the forest. First, use a dead tree limb and rip off all the bark that is on it. Next, gather up the bark from the tree and tie it together with wire you carry with you. Also, gather up a dead stick and connect this to the dead bark as well. Use a multi-tool to cut the wire if you are in a hurry. Once finished, light the bark on fire and you will have a natural torch that will burn in the forest! Be sure to use a dead tree ...

How To: Start a fire with a "flint on marcasite" method

In this Disaster Preparation video tutorial you will learn how to start a fire with a "flint on marcasite" method. Mal Stephens, head instructor of Maine Primitive Skill School presents this video. Marcasite is a form of iron pyrite and you can get friction fire from fine grained iron pyrites. For the flint, you can use any hard stone. For the burning material, find some tinder fungus. Now hold the marcasite immediately above the tinder fungus and strike it with the flint. The sparks from the...

How To: Use pitch tinder

John Campbell shows us how to use pitch wood to create a fire. This is a good method to use when you have dead pine trees available. Pitch wood can be found in the first three to six inches of a branch of the dead pine tree. This area is covered with pine resin. You want to pick a branch on the dead tree, then cut this branch off from the main trunk. The area closest to the trunk should be soaked with the resin. Next, split the branch in half. Using one half, scrape off a bit of the tinder us...

How To: Make a spear for hunting in the wild

This is a method for making a native American free point spear using a bamboo stick, bamboo strips and some commonly found items. First take a sea shell and make a hole in it. Make the hole using a pointed stone and pierce an opening in the shell. Make the hole such that the shell fits the bamboo. Now the bamboo has to be split in half and for this you have to find a common stone which has a sharp edge on one side to split the bamboo. This is a common stone found anywhere. Now you have to tak...

How To: Make a bow drill

There are various tools to be made and a number of items to be used during a disaster. One can utilize the wood logs for firewood. A bow drill can be made by just crafting the ends of a long wooden stick into necks so that plastic wires can be notched and it can be used made into a bow. Any stone with holes can be used as a notch. This notch holds the end of the bow drill. The wire of the bow drill can be wrapped in a stick and then vigorous forward and backward movement of the bow drill arou...

How To: Make an arrow and tent pole bow

There's nothing like the great outdoors. The fresh air, the seperation from today's society, and being in a quiet relaxing environment. So in this two part tutorial, for all you nature lovers, find out what it takes to make an arrow and a tent pole bow. Enjoy!

How To: Make a sleeping bag from a wool blanket

This video is about making a mummy type sleeping bag or an over bag for a hammock with a woolen blanket. The first task is to make coat rings and hooks. Take a piece of flexible wire and bend it into a ring of diameter 1 3/4 inch or 2 inches with a overlap of about 1 1/2 inches make 6 or 7 rings. Now take a small straight wire and make a hook of 1 or 1 1/2 inch, make the tips of the wire pointed so that it can penetrate. Overlap the edges of the blanket by 2to3 inches. Fix the rings with the ...

How To: Cook under a tarp in rain

This is a video about shelter cooking. We are shown how people who are hammock camping in the rain are able to cook under their tarp. This is important because you have to have some way to cook under your shelter when it rains, and there's no way you can have a fire under there without getting smoked out. It makes life easier if you can set up a stove inside your shelter to cook on. We are shown two ways to do this, and both systems work well. One way is to use an alcohol stove. You can make ...

How To: Start a fire with your cellphone

Ever wanted to know how to make a fire with your cell phone? All you need is a cell phone, a brillo pad, and material for tinder. First take the battery out of your phone and find the positive and negative contacts on the bottom of it. Next tear off a chunk of the brillo pad, roll it up until you have a twisted piece about an inch long. Bend the steel wool over and touch an end to the positive and the other end to the negative contacts on the battery. That causes the steel wool to smolder--no...

How To: Use an ice lens to make fire

A classic demonstration on how to make a fire using Ice lens. Get a good block of ice from creek or pond. Cut and shave it to make a small square block. Shape it into a small ball about 2-3 inch in diameter. From a round shape, lightly shape it into a lens shape using the heat of Your fingers or tongue. Follow these instructions and You'll be able to make fire from lens.

How To: Tie the padlock knot

The padlock knot is designed to look like a padlock, but without the actual function of one. In order to tie this knot take your rope or string and fold it in half. After you have done that make a loop with both sides of the rope making sure you leave a loop at the top. Put the two loops together the one in the front turning clockwise and the one in the back counter-clockwise. Make sure to leave a hole in the center for the rope to pass through. Now wind each piece of rope through the hole in...

How To: How to tie an eye splice with rope

The eye splice might sound like some horrible procedure from the lab of Dr. Frankenstein, but it's actually a very useful skill to learn for camping or disaster preparation. Eye splicing is a way to secure different strands of rope together so they're stronger than a knot. In this tutorial, the guys at ITS Tactical show us how to do an eye splice.

How To: Escape from Dual Zip Tie Handcuffs

You are not having a good day. You've been abducted by sinister folks, and your hands are tied by a pair of zip ties bound together. How will you escape? In this tutorial, the guys at ITS Tactical show you how to escape from these bound cable ties, which are frequently used as makeshift handcuffs by police and military personnel, along with mischievous kidnappers. To break free, believe it or not, all you need is a little force.