Not prepared?…..Here’s a few ideas

There are many people finding themselves NOT in the best position. Many are homeless, many are hungry, many have no electricity, and many are cold. We can go around and around and feel good about ourselves because WE are preppers and survivalists, and are prepared.


BUT, what are these people to do as they find themselves in quite a predicament? Many are browsing the internet on their phone hoping to find help. If some of the victims of Hurricane Sandy happen to stumble across ModernSurvivalOnline, here are a few ideas:


  • Candles – use a mirror behind it/them to double the light.
  • Many people have solar lights in their yard, during the night bring in from outside and then take out in morning to recharge.
  • Flashlights of course. Many modern LED lights have low and high settings. Use the low setting as much as possible to extend battery life. For regular lights turn off when not needed.
  • Need batteries? Many wall clocks have AA batteries in them. Look for other devices around that may have batteries in them that  can run your flashlights.
  • Lanterns can provide great illumination.
  • Be very cautious using anything with a flame!!!! A candle can be made using vegetable oil and some cloth as a wick.
  • Fire can provide warmth as well as assist in cooking.
  • How to make fire? Matches and/or a Bic lighter work great. 
  • Newspaper or other paper can be crumbled up and placed underneath that which you want to burn. 
  • Stack twigs and sticks in the shape of a pyramid, Tiny and small twigs at the bottom, on top of paper, followed by larger but small sticks, and finally some larger ones on top. 
  • Cover some cotton balls or rolled up paper towel in common Vaseline and use as a fire starter. This works great.
  • Do NOT use  gasoline to start a fire unless there is no other option. Do NOT pour gasoline on a smoldering fire or open flame as the flame can follow the fuel stream to its source and KA-BOOM!!! 
  • If gasoline must be used place a very small amount(1/2 – 1 teaspoon) in aluminum foil folded like a cup and light under your wood. A small metal or other non-flammable cup can work also.
  • Create a “warm” room. A south facing room if you are collecting solar heat during the day and a basement room at night. The basement will not get as cold, plus, once it is warm the concrete or rock walls will hold the heat much longer.
  • Use some form of plastic sheeting to cover walls and windows to keep heat in.
  • Sources of plastic sheeting -sheets of plastic, tarps, garbage bags, plastic bags, plastic wardrobes, plastic ponchos, shower curtains, car cover, furniture covers, mattress protectors, tyvek,  those inflatable beds are made of vinyl, as are stored pool toys and pool liners. Think of all the things you have that may be plastic or vinyl that you can duct tape–scotch tape, staple, sew, shipping tape, silicone– together.  
  • Try to have everyone in one room – preferably not too large. Several people in ne room can generate a lot of heat. The basement will be the easiest to retain heat in. Don’t forget to plastic or tarp the ceiling! Heat rises! Create a double door, so the heat can’t escape. People and pets in a confined area will keep it above freezing and, confined enough, will keep it comfortable.
  • No plastic? Consider blankets, throws, sheets, curtains, etc.  hung from the walls, doorways, and over the windows. Solar heat from a south facing room will often heat the room enough to be comfortable during the day if the windows are then covered in blankets at night, or tinfoil with the shiny side facing in to reflect body heat back at you during the night.
  • Candles in tin cans will generate a lot of heat. Why tin cans? Because they will also heat the tin which will radiate twice as much heat and stay hot longer when the candle burns out.
  • An alcohol heater can be made by stuffing toilet paper into something like a paint can then soaking the paper with rubbing alcohol. Simply light the toilet paper and the flame will burn for hours. Make sure there is some ventilation so you so not use up all the oxygen.
  • If you have a yard, consider creating a campfire in back and heat rocks, any rocks, bricks, anything cement, anything that won’t burn you can find, and bring them in to your warm room, sit them on the floor and put your feet on them, hold them in your lap, warm your hands on them. If you set the on tinfoil facing up it will also reflect the heat toward you.
  • Do you have a camping tent? Pitch it and throw plastic and blankets over it. Body heat alone will keep you warm if the temperature is above 20 degrees. The more bodies, the better. Break out your sleeping bags and camp in your living room or basement. Put tin foil shiny side up under the tent to reflect body heat back to you.
  • Check your vehicle emergency kit or first aid kit to see if you have any of those cheap little emergency blankets around, they reflect back 90% of your body heat.
  • If you have a grill, heat  bricks, stones, etc. on the grill.
  • Heat up a room with a stove or grill then take it out! Carbon monoxide is your enemy!
  • Dress in layers!
  • Put a hat on! 90% of your body heat leaves through your head! Sleep in a hat!
  • Feet cold? Put bread bags over your socks but in the boots–toasty feet! Plastic rain suits, ponchos, garbage bags with head and arm slits work, etc. are great for retaining heat.
  • Plastic wrap over a layer of clothes then add another layer of clothes to stay warmer! Plastic baggies on your hands and head.
  • Use 8 drops of bleach to 1 gallon of generally clear water. Up to 16 drops if the water is not clear.
  • For disinfectant cleaning – 9 parts water to 1 part bleach.
  • Look to your water heater for drinkable water.
  • The water in the BACK of your toilet is drinkable, NOT in the bowl!
  • Snow should be treated.
  • Create a simple stove out of a can and a candle and you can heat your food and water.
  • A simple brick rocket stove,–multiple uses cook and heat! 
  • No manual can opener? You can open your cans how? Screwdriver and a hammer or a knife and a hammer. No hammer? Use a rock or brick.
  • Cold outside? Put your refrigerator food outside!
  • Freezing? Put your freezer food in coolers outside.
  • Someone in the neighborhood has a grill and your food is going to go bad, have a party! Meet your neighbors!
  • No water to flush the toilet? Put your best quality (or double them) garbage bag in the toilet, fold over and put the seat down. When not in use,  use a twist tie to close it. When full, close tightly and sit outside.
  • Out of TP? Catalogs, newspapers and telephone books all work.
  • Put a wastepaper basket next to the toilet, line it with a garbage bag and put the used “paper” in it, that way the toilet won’t fill up as fast.


When life is better again—PREPARE! Please join us at and


Alright Patriots……how about you make some suggestions and ideas?


 – Rourke

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  1. Rourke-exc helpful inf. for those affected by Sandy and everyone.Prayers to all Sandy victims. I advised many folks down there pre Sandy to prepare but so many have ears and dont listen. Arlene

  2. Even if you need one person staying up all night to keep guard over the rest of your family, everyone else needs to go to bed when the sun sets and get up when it rises. That may not be your normal schedule but it sure will save lots of batteries or candles since you will have much less need for lights. Also, don’t be afraid to nail those blankets or plastic to the walls. They will stay up much easier that way. It’s easy to patch little nail holes later.

  3. Your ratio of bleach to water is incorrect. eg. 1 cup of bleach in 9 cups of water is way too much bleach. Try one Tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water instead.

  4. The bleach to water ratio is way too high. The max recommended is 16 drops of bleach to a gallon of cloudy/dirty water I believe, and 1/2 that if the water is clear.

  5. In tight quarters and no way to bath, some ideas to remain socially acceptable are:
    Dry wash your hair with baby powder/corn starch/baking soda/any scented powders
    These powders in general can be used for a whole body dry wash and absorb a lot of sweat.
    Perfumes and colognes were invented to mask body odor, handy to have around in this type of situation. There is a reason people used scented hankerchiefs through the ages to put to their faces to mask other people’s body odor.

  6. Another imortant aspect to being prepared is having the propr training. I am considering taking a survival course at one of the many survival schools around. I have heard Sigma III survival (www.SurvivalSchool.US) is a good school. Any thoughts

  7. Be careful with heating rocks in a fire. Do not use rocks from a riverbed or river as as they can trap moisture inside and explode when when heated.

  8. If you have cat litter- use it for covering the solid waste in the trash bag in the toilet. Layer it and it will help keep the odor down. When 3/4 full of waste , tie it off so that there is enough bag to keep the waste from spilling out.
    If it is very cold outside and you have drafts at the door use the throw rugs to help block the cold. Use the smaller ones from the bathroom floor against the external doors to stop drafts.
    If you can cook in the oven with candles etc, make sure to leave the oven open after you’ve done cooking and the residual heat will come in the room. Stay off the floors -use couch cushions to keep the cold away from your body.

    Place any candles in clean used metal cans (emptied corn, beans, etc.)- this helps keep them safe from tip over, unprotected open flame but also works as a hand warmer. These can supply heat and light.

  9. Water heaters generally hold between 30 and 60 gallons of water in them. There is a drain valve at the bottom, you can hook a garden hose to it and drain water as needed into other containers. I used this method after hurricane Hugo.

  10. As far as catalogs and phone books for toilet paper, take it from an old paperboy; newsprint will come off onto your skin.

  11. Five gallon bucket filled to four gallons. Make strong bleach solution. Good for rinsing dishes, wiping dirt off clothes, general cleaning and disinfecting. Take a half gallon, add a scoche more bleach and a wash cloth – put in toilet, cleans a hellavalotta ass (kills coliform bacteria, ignore the ‘daisy patches’).
    Large pot or roast pan, fill halfway with bleach solution, use ONE drop of dishsoap per dish (less for utensils). Cleans allota dishes. Rinse in the large bucket, TOWEL dry. Have a reciept bucket for all water wrung outta ‘washrags’. Save that for other uses.
    Crumple newspaper used for TP. Makes the paper softer AND more absorbant.
    Peroxide will clean daisy patches from underwear or blue jeans (if yer the ‘commando’ type)
    GET OFF THE FLOOR!! It IS the coldest part of the ‘room’. Skids, milk/egg crates + a board or two, use yer imagination. The homeles use flattened cardboard boxes (the corrugated kind) to insulate against the ground. Works rather well in fact! Candle heaters only work if yer ‘above’ them. Use an old cot and put the heater under it. The flame should be fully enclosed so it doesn’t set yer bed afire but holes need to punched in the can to allow the candle to breathe. Use a large juice can and three smaller concentric cans mounted inside to the bottom. turn the can upside down over the candle.

  12. Thank you, Rourke. It comes from experience. My SHTF moment happened back in early August. Since then I’ve put together a rather ‘comfy’ camp on the outskirts of my ‘hometown’ so I’m, at present, living it 24/7. This site and a few others help considerably. Thanx so much for your insight and advice. If I can throw some your way to help others….

  13. Here’s more: Build a rocket stove outta scrap tin cans, use wood ash for an insulator. After cooking on the stove, bring it inside while there are still some glowing coals in it, place a terazzo tile under it so you don’t burn anything. As it cools it will radiate a LOT of heat. DON’T TOUCH IT WITH BARE HANDS!!! You don’t wanna add blistered fingers to your misery.

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