Category Archives: Gear

The Problem With Drones

dronesDrones are quickly becoming a part of the modern landscape while at the same time our government, including Federal, State, and local communities, tries to keep up with rules and regulations on their use.

Then there are companies like Amazon that are even trying to figure out how they can use drones as a quick and cheap delivery vehicle.

It seems at times like everybody wants to get on the Drone bandwagon including, amateur and professional photographers, real estate agents, farmers, local police, geologists and archaeologists to name just a few.

Every day the news brings the new ways that companies and people are thinking of to use Drones.

So we should realize that Drones are in our future and also understand the ways that they can impede in our privacy.

Drones And Your Privacy

The cost of drones has plummeted to the point that almost anyone can afford one now.  Many of them including low cost ones come with HD cameras that can take very clear photos.

Before, when your neighbors or authorities wanted to spy on what you were doing they had to physically be close enough to see you.

But now, for less than a couple hundred dollars they can send a drone over your property to see what you’re doing from a distance.

Many of these drones can take photos or even HD movies of you, your family, and your property.

While right now many of the lower cost models have limited flight time because of their batteries this is rapidly changing as well.

I don’t know about you but the thought of this unfettered access bothers me.

It’s not that I’m doing anything illegal but especially where my prepping is concerned I’d rather that people didn’t know what I was doing on my own property.   I also don’t want people to know what I might have stored.

If you read my article on new sensors that the police are using and think about the possibility of these sensors being added to existing drones the amount of information that can be gathered from a drone hovering over your home or bug out location is alarming.

In a crisis situation where you are trying to protect your family surveillance such as this could be an extreme disadvantage.

How You Can Use Drones Yourself

One great thing about drones though is that you can use them yourself to do the exact things that you don’t want other people doing to you.

These devices are a great way to monitor your property and safely check on what is going on outside without putting yourself or anyone in your family in peril.

The battery time on even today’s low end models with a camera is enough to check out quite a large area.

I have yet to see one that is commercially offered but I have seen articles on drones available to government agencies that offer night vision.

Even an inexpensive thermal camera would allow you to keep an eye on the areas around your home and bug out location

Recent Drone Incidents

You’ve probably seen in the news the growing number of incidents involving drones.

The White House

It was just last month that a drone crashed into the most secure building in the world, the White House.  This drone was supposedly operated by a drunken partier that lost control of it.

But the fact that it penetrated the airspace of the White House without detection by it’s advanced radar system or being seen by security personnel shows just how dangerous these devices could be.

Drones In France

Then as I was writing this article came the news that up to five drones were  spotted at different times in France near the American Embassy, numerous landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, and the French Presidential Palace.

Police spent more than six hours chasing these drones without determining who was operating them or where they came from.

In October and November as many as 20 drones were seen flying around French nuclear plants.  And at the end of January several small drones were also spotted near a bay in Brittany that is the home for four of Frances nuclear submarines.  This area is one of the most protected sites in France.

Now these drone sightings might very well be from curious hobbyists or they might be from terrorists that are scoping out areas for attacks.

But even with the likelihood that every police agency in France was trying to locate the operators no one has been found.

Even in the case of the White House, the only way that they found the operator was when he came forward.

My concern is that right now the only thing that stops these flights in inappropriate areas is the controllers willingness to obey the laws such as they are now.

And right now these laws are a mishmash that varies from state to state and city to city.

How To Protect Yourself From Drone Surveillance

Although it might be tempting it isn’t a good idea to shoot one down as a man in New Jersey did after a drone was hovering near his home.

It turns out that the drone was controlled by a neighbor that was taking pictures for another neighbor’s construction work on his home.

Even though I live in Colorado most of the year where the town of Deer Trail briefly considered issuing licenses to shoot down drones the fact is that you are probably going to get into  a lot of trouble if you give into your urges to shoot one down.

There are ways that you can make it more difficult for these Drones to collect information around your property but that assumes that you are going to be able to see them.

With ever improving optical systems Drones will be able to hover just out of your sight while they collect information.  Or they could fly around your property at night when you are asleep.

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Emergency Power Survival Equipment

power survival equipmentThere are a lot of different things that you need to deal with in case of an urban disaster situation.  Most times we start by thinking about the basics – food, shelter and security.

But one of the things that we also should be thinking about is power survival equipment.

Why Do You Need Power During A Disaster

All that you have to do is think about all the things that we use every day that rely on a reliable power source and you know why you need some way to get power during a disaster.   Not just for cooking or food storage, but also for communication that lets us know what is going on in the world around us and keep in contact with our friends and family.

Some of this can be replaced by having enough batteries but power stored that way can be rapidly used up unless there is a way to recharge them.

Emergency Power Generation

There are many times during disaster situations where we lose the power that we take for granted.  This can be caused by severe weather conditions or some type of terrorist attack.

So having power during any period of disaster would make your life a whole lot easier and safer.

How To Generate Emergency Power

There are a lot of different ways that we can generate power when the power grid fails.

Gas Generators

These generators are relatively inexpensive and come in different sizes to power everything from a refrigerator to a whole house.

One of the benefits of gas generators is that you can buy portable units that you can take with you in case you need to evacuate your home base.

But the downside, as far as a source of emergency power, is the fact that they are noisy enough that they would likely be noticed and run only as long as you have gasoline to put in them.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are a great way to power an off the grid home or to lessen your reliance on the electrical grid in case of an emergency.

The solar panel industry is going through tremendous growth right now as the efficiency of solar panels keeps improving and their cost keeps dropping.

The other great thing that is happening in solar is that batteries are developing that can store power for times when there is no sunlight available.

Just recently Elon Musk mentioned that his company, Tesla, is already producing a 10-kilowatt-hour battery pack that with a full charge  can power an average home for about two days in the event of an outage.

These batteries are currently being tested in about 500 homes in California but will soon be available through Solar City,  a sister company of Tesla and one of the largest manufacturers of solar panel systems in the country with more than 39% of the residential solar market.

Currently Solar City installs solar panels on peoples roofs, then leases the panels to the home owners.  This gives the average home-owner a low cost way to take advantage of solar power and cut their utility costs.

The batteries are designed to store any excess power over the home owners needs that is produced during the day by its residential solar panel systems, making it available at times when the solar panels aren’t producing power.

Pros and Cons Of Emergency Power Survival Equipment

Even though gas generators are a great and inexpensive tool for emergency power I think that if I was looking at creating a stand alone emergency power system I’d be more prone to go with Solar Power.

Solar panels come in all sizes that can power everything from your cell phone to an entire house.  In fact, I would advise having one of these smaller charger units in your grab and go bag to keep your phone, tablet, and laptop powered should you need to evacuate your home.

In fact, I would recommend that every member of your family makes sure that they take a phone sized solar charger with them every time that they leave home.

Today’s smart phones are energy hogs and can run out of battery power quickly unless they have a way to be recharged.

Having a small emergency power solar charger will help keep your families phones charged no matter what the situation, insuring that you will be able to keep in touch with them.

Most cell phone towers are being updated to include emergency power battery back-ups and EMP proof housings to insure that they will work even when land lines and power is out.

 

Conclusion to Emergency Power Survival Equipment

The bottom line is that you should make sure that you include some way to generate emergency power in your emergency survival plan.

No matter what you use it gives you the ability to save frozen foods from spoilage, keep warm if you’re in the middle of a winter storm, and keep in touch with the outside world.

This gives you the advantage of knowing what is happening outside your home , what steps are being taken and how soon the emrgency situation that you are in will be over.

More importantly it gives you the ability to have emergency power keep in touch with family and friends and make sure that they are safe.
solpro-helios-solar-smartphone-charger-4-500-mah-battery-15

 

The above device is a combined solar panel.battery that can keep you cell phone charged.  With its batteries fully charge it can reacharge your smart phone up to 3 times using a USB cord.  Plus it takes just 3 hours to charge it’s batteries.

I have one of these and it’s a great way to keep my phone charged when I am out hiking or away from a power plug.

Even though you would think that most restaurants would have a plug to power up your phone or laptop at every table few do.

Having a solar emergency power generator takes care of this problem and helps me stay in touch with family and friends.  It also lets me know what is happening in the world around me.

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Survival Preparedness Gear

imagesCAJQGGEHSurvival preparedness gear is anything that helps you survive disasters that might come your way.

Although I always argue that the best survival tool you have is knowledge there are always tools that can help you as well.

Most people in this day and age live in urban areas and having the right survival preparedness gear can easily make the difference between surviving or not.

Just in case you need to evacuate your home you will always need a Bug Out Bag.  Even if you stay in your home, you might be without power and any way to heat food.

I have a friend who couldn’t even open a can without power because she only has an electric can opener.

Water

But what if your water supply was contaminated.  Would you be able to find water to drink or would you have some stored in case of an emergency?

Water is also the most important supply to keep stored because most people could only last about three days without water.

Food

What if the grocery stores were unable to get food delivered.  Most have no more than a 3 day supply.  And if you’ve ever gone into a store just before a big store you know how fast things can fly off the shelves.

Survival Preparedness Gear

Survival Preparedness Gear is anything that you would bring with you if you leave your home or that you would keep in your home in case of an urban disaster.

Make sure that you consider your needs and location when preparing your gear.

You need to think about things like:

  • any meds that you might need
  • glasses/contacts
  • emergency medicines in case of an accident
  • shelter in case you need to leave your home
  •  what defense tactics or weapons  you are going to use
  • and don’t forget to have food and water for your pets as well

Thinking ahead and storing basics can make a huge difference in whether you are going to comfortably last out a disaster or have to rely on others.

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