Emergency Preparedness for the Blind and Disabled

Technology has become an essential element of everyday life for many who are blind or otherwise disabled. But what should one do to prepare for the time when modern technology doesn’t work, or is unable to work optimally?

The Blind Bargains Qast is a podcast devoted to technology news and information for the blind and physically handicapped. Cohost Joe Steinkam shared some tips on emergency preparedness for the blind on Blind Bargains Qast 112 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in South Texas and Louisiana.

Joe’s tips are reproduced here with permission.

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Protect your valuable documents…

Grab a slate and stylus, or that old fashioned Brailler, and jot down your important numbers. Insurance policies, medical information, your family’s social security numbers and other information you think you might need in order to verify your medical or residential status.

Then, after all that is down on hard copy Braille, put it in waterproof bags with Braille labels on them. Keep them somewhere safe, yet easy to get to. That way you have them if you have to leave your home quickly.

Check your lighting conditions…

Use the help of others, or Vision Assistance Apps, to make sure all your indoor and outdoor lighting is working properly. Also, be sure to have a flashlight and fresh batteries on hand. This will help others, including First Responders, help you in dire situations.

Food And Crates…

If you have a Service Animal, or just family pets, be sure to have about a week’s worth of food on hand. It may take a while to reach your area if you were to become cut off due to flooding or downed power lines. So making sure those furry friends have enough to eat is paramount.

Moreover, if you do have to evacuate, many shelters will not accept pets without them being housed in a crate or cage. You don’t want to leave them behind. So be sure they have these things available to them.

Battery Packs and Generators…

Refrigerators, phones and laptops are all important devices in our lives. Until the power goes that is. Then you really find out how much you need them.

Making sure you have the resources on hand to run them for longer periods of time, during a power outage, can be one of the most important aspects of managing life off the power grid. Be sure to invest in batteries for radios, and other electronics, as this will allow you to find out news and weather updates for your local area.

Homeowners may want to look into the purchase of a portable generator for running the icebox. But those who live in apartments may want to be sure they own an ice chest for keeping food and medical supplies cool.

Lastly, look into waterproof cases for your electronics.

If your phone, laptop or notetaker is your primary form of access, providing the ability to
keep it safe from the elements is key when you are forced to travel for whatever reason.

About Joe

Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. (Assistive Technology) Industry for10 years and podcasting about it for nearly 5 years.

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Additional Resources from DestinySurvival

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Going Beyond Off Grid – A Conversation with Jason Matyas – Part 2

Going beyond off grid. Where did the concept come from? And how can it be lived out?

DestinySurvival Radio features the conclusion of my two part conversation with Jason Matyas to talk about the documentary film entitled Beyond Off Grid. We discussed more, too, so you’ll want to hear what we said.

If you missed the first part, click here for Part 1.

I included Jason’s background info in that post about the first part of our chat. He volunteered a little more in the second part of our visit. It will help you understand something about why he and his family have chosen the lifestyle they’re living.

 

Beyond Off Grid - DVD

 

Overview of the Film

Someone else had started working on Beyond Off Grid a couple of years before Jason got on board in 2013. The project was a long time in the making. You can tell by watching that a great deal of thought went into crafting the message.

An excellent summary is included in promotional info I received from Jason.

“…It’s primary purpose is to inspire fundamental lifestyle change so that we can start rebuilding a solid foundation for the future from the ground up, starting in families, then working up into our churches, communities, and regions.

“As current events make the future look more and more uncertain, you need to understand what’s coming and take action to prepare for the future.

“And the Beyond Off Grid film can be an inspiration and motivation to help you do just that.”

Overview of Our Conversation’s Conclusion

I asked Jason to talk about the dozen or so experts featured in the film. They include:

  • Michael Bunker, author of Surviving Off Off-Grid, which inspired the film
  • Codey of the Wranglerstar YouTube channel
  • Permaculturist Paul Wheaton
  • Rick Austin on homesteading
  • Franklin Sanders on economics
  • Jim Smith, owner of a back to the land store
  • …And others

I agree with Jason’s assertion that we can’t thrive or survive alone. With that notion in mind, the film spends time focusing on building families and communities.

It’s Jason’s hope that churches will take the film to heart and act to provide solutions. If a church isn’t prepared to meet the needs of their people, how can they serve their community?

This is important because we can’t count on the federal government or politics in general to solve our problems. We should know that by now, shouldn’t we?

What lies in the future–a dramatic collapse or slow burn? I invite you to hear Jason’s thoughts. Then draw your own conclusions.

But regarding our present circumstances, consider this. What would you do if you lost your job?

Jason recommends we act on diversifying our income streams. What possibilities exist for you outside of typical employment?

How is this working out for jason and his family? You’ll want to hear what he says about his career change, which led to home schooling their children, starting a family owned seed company (Seeds for Generations) and the challenge presented by the Beyond Off Grid project.

 

Beyond Off Grid - Return to the Old Paths

 

Overview of Action Steps

You and I should be leaders, according to Jason. Why wait for the collapse, hoping to rebuild afterward? Take steps now to live a more self reliant, fulfilling life.

Listen to the conclusion of my conversation with Jason Matyas on DestinySurvival Radio for April 27, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Then watch Beyond Off Grid by first clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post.

Why should you explore returning to the old paths? Because it’s not about nostalgia. It’s about survival.

 

Going Beyond Off Grid – A Conversation with Jason Matyas – Part 1

Many preppers and homesteaders are working toward living off the grid, if they’re not already doing it. But is going off grid the final answer for survival?

This week’s DestinySurvival Radio features a conversation with Jason Matyas to talk about Beyond Off Grid, a documentary film that can provide answers and inspiration for those of us wanting to make significant lifestyle changes.

In this post I’ll share thoughts about the film and part one of my two part conversation with Jason Matyas.

Incidentally, I’m releasing the first of two parts on Tuesday, and the second part is being released on Thursday, the normal day for releasing DestinySurvival Radio.

The Knowledgeable Guest

 

Jason Matyas

 

My conversation with Jason Matyas centered around the Beyond Off Grid film. If you’re aware of a number of the big issues we face in the world today, and you’re looking for solutions, Jason’s comments will resonate with you. But if you’re not familiar with who he is, here’s some background.

“Jason Matyas is a husband and father of seven, lifelong gardener and growing homesteader, 18 year Air Force veteran with 9 worldwide deployments, entrepreneur and business consultant, and is the Co-Founder of Beyond Off Grid, Executive Producer of the documentary film, and producer of Beyond Off Grid’s training series and courses.

Beyond Off Grid is devoted to inspiring and equipping you to reduce your dependence on the modern economy and seek true freedom by returning to the old paths of productive households and local community interdependence.”

“He is the founder of a family business with his children called Seeds for Generations that provides heirloom garden seeds and inspiration for gardening as a family.”

At the site for Beyond Off Grid, “Jason is featured in our Summit Online Course, Summit Event Video Course, and Grow More Food Course.”

The Information-Packed Film

Beyond Off Grid lasts about an hour and a half. It’s very well produced. Getting distracted by poor quality won’t be a problem.

There’s a lot to digest. You’ll want to watch it more than once to soak it all in.

The first half of the film takes the time to define the problems we face. A number of parallels are drawn between the Roman empire and the U.S. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s presented well.

If you’re like me, you’ll agree with the assessments set forth.

As the film moves on, we’re given an explanation of modern society’s grid. As I mentioned to Jason in our chat, I can imagine someone picking up a sentiment of anti-structure and anti-progress. Over regulation is indeed a problem, but could talk against regulations cause someone to think of survivalists who promote anarchy?

If someone isn’t already of the prepper mindset, they may find parts of the film to be offensive. Yet we all know that all that’s claimed to be progress isn’t good. For example, one of the presenters describes a toddler who was given a print magazine, and the child tried treating it as if it were a touch screen.

Beyond Off Grid is family friendly and comes from a Christian emphasis or perspective. But it’s not preachy or heavy handed.

There’s a significant turning point in the film where the topics discussed are more familiar to preppers. For example, what would be the impact of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse)?

One of the other issues touched on is the dangers found in GMO foods.

Homesteading, developing skills and going back to the old ways are encouraged. You’ll see info on having your own water supply, raising your own food, and restoring the family and community.

Thankfully, this documentary proposes solutions. We’re not left without hope. This isn’t one of those presentations that leaves us steeped in fear and in the dark about possible outcomes for the future.

The Thought Provoking Conversation

During our chat Jason said the film and the term “Beyond off grid” were inspired by Surviving Off Off-Grid, by Michael Bunker. The idea is that going off grid isn’t enough because isolation isn’t going to solve the larger problems we face.

Beyond Off Grid is designed to encourage preppers and homesteaders to see a bigger picture and, at the risk of sounding cliche, think outside the box. This may mean a change of mindset.

Once you know how we got where we are and can put what we face into context, then you can make lifestyle decisions to address those issues. That calls for consideration of what’s appropriate for you, your family, your church, and your community.

What does it take to become more productive and self reliant? How can we break the chains of our consumer-based society?

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but wonder how many will follow through to make life better for themselves and their families. The task of real change seems so daunting.

Making lifestyle changes is no small undertaking, but Jason believes it’s not impossible. He encourages taking one small step at a time.

It’s in the second half of the film that we see positive examples of the changed lifestyle of several families. And those examples are simply there to show us the possible alternatives.

Beyond Off Grid will reinforce what many preppers and homesteaders already understand, but it can also serve as a tool to help others wake up to enlightenment and action.

 

Beyond Off Grid - Return to the Old Paths

 

The Next Step

I’ve only shared highlights here. Find out more by listening to the first part of my conversation with Jason Matyas on DestinySurvival Radio for April 25, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Then watch Beyond Off Grid for yourself by first clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. You and your family will be glad you did.

Click here for Part 2.

 

Surviving a Fire in a Burning Building

How often do you factor in fire when preparing for trouble? It’s worth consideration.

Buildings can be set on fire by rioters, lightning strikes, electrical shortages, or accidents. Situational awareness on your part could be the key which saves your life in a building that’s on fire.

Joe Alton, MD of DoomAndBloom.net has produced a video discussing some tragic building fires, especially in public venues. He examines what happens in a fire, how fire behaves, and what you can do to increase your chances of surviving the conflagration.

You won’t be dazzled by fancy graphics in this video, but in about 8 minutes, you’ll know what you need to know to stay alive when a fire breaks out.

 

 

Find out more about house fires, wildfires, burns, and much more in Joe and Amy Alton’s Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.

 

To Bug Out or Not to Bug Out in Long Term Situations

Much has been said about whether to bug out when the chips are down or shelter in place. A number of factors need to be considered when you decide whether to bug out or not to bug out.

Is it a short term or long term situation? If long term, how well are you equipped to deal with the following areas of concern?

  • Location and shelter
  • Water
  • Washing clothes and bathing
  • Storing up food
  • Gardening
  • Livestock and pet food
  • Firewood and fuels
  • Lighting
  • Guns and ammunition
  • Entertainment

Jackie Clay-Atkinson looks at bugging out in place in “Backwoods Home Magazine” for January/February, 2017, issue #163. An excerpt follows. Read the whole article by clicking on the link below.

Then draw your own conclusions and think ahead now about what you should do when there’s trouble.

Bugging out in place

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

Some emergency situations require quick evacuation. You barely have time to grab your bug-out bag, gather the family, and run out the door. Most of us are ready for that situation, with a fully-stocked backpack equipped with such things as lightweight food, shelter, survival gear, clothes, and possibly a weapon and ammunition for both self-defense and food procurement.

But some other bad situations (economic collapse, EMP, widespread terrorist attack, etc.) will last longer than a few days or weeks. For these situations, you might find yourself traveling to a survival retreat in a very rural area or bugging out in place on your own homestead.


Read the whole article here:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/bugging-out-in-place/

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine.
http://www.backwoodshome.com (541)247-8900.

Jackie Clay-Atkinson has looked at both sides of the bugging out issue. View my post on what she said about taking it on the road here.

 

How Prepared Are You for Winter?

Fall is a good time to prepare for winter. Whether you live in town or on a homestead, you don’t want to wait until the last minute.

Jackie Clay-Atkinson shares expert guidance on preparing for winter in the September/October, 2016, “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #161). Check out the exerpt below and click on the link to read the whole article.

Preparing for winter

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

In some climates, winter’s no big deal — just a little rain and cooler weather. But for the rest of us, winter is something to be prepared for. I’ve lived in Michigan, New Mexico, Montana, and Minnesota, all of which have significant winters.

In Michigan, I remember just barely beating a blizzard home from a horse sale, fording snow so deep that it covered the headlights of our Blazer. Up on the high plains in New Mexico, we didn’t have so much snow but we did have wind and cold temperatures. We would fall asleep at night wondering if the water lines to the bathroom and kitchen would freeze.


Read the whole article here: http://www.backwoodshome.com/preparing-for-winter/

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine.
http://www.backwoodshome.com (541)247-8900.

 

Should a Zero Waste Home be Part of Your Prepping Strategy?

I read Zero Waste Home, by Bea Johnson, thinking it might have applications for those of us who are preparing to survive come what may. My impressions are mixed. This isn’t a book tailored to preppers, but it could have its uses for you.

This isn’t a new book, and you may have heard of it before. It’s copyright date is 2013.

The concept isn’t particularly new either. It’s all about living in an environmentally friendly, responsible lifestyle and cutting exposure to toxins as much as possible. There’s more to the recommended lifestyle than cutting back on consumerism and limiting trash output.

While a simpler lifestyle is the goal, what Johnson exemplifies seems extreme to me and may not be realistic for many of us. But she does show us it’s possible.

She points out that living a zero waste lifestyle needs to be cultivated and grown into. It’s not something you or I can do all at once.

Zero Waste Home isn’t about total minimalist living or living off the grid, but if that’s the path you choose for your prepping strategy, this book may be a place to start. Besides, if everything goes South, we may need to adopt a number of Johnson’s tricks and tips.

Not many of us have lived through the Great Depression of the 1930’s, but we may have picked up habits from those who have. Wearing second hand clothes is nothing new to us. Neither is finding a new use for items that have outlived their original purpose.

We’re familiar with frugality dictated by necessity. People in today’s society are not.

Such was the case with Bea Johnson. She had to come down from a life of affluence I’ve never experienced. Thus, she comes across to me as elitist and patronizing. Your impression may be different, should you choose to read her book.

Johnson claims a number of benefits to the zero waste lifestyle, ranging from saving money and time to better health.

Chapters cover…

  • Kitchen and grocery shopping
  • Bathroom, toiletries and wellness and health
  • Bedroom and wardrobe
  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Work space and junk mail
  • Kids and school
  • Holidays and gifts
  • …and more

Throughout the book we find five steps incorporated into the discussion of the topics shown above.

  1. Refuse what we do not need.
  2. Reduce what we do need and cannot refuse.
  3. Reuse what we consume and cannot refuse. (Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.)
  4. Recycle what we cannot refuse, reduce or reuse.
  5. Rot–Compost the rest.

Step 3 is one that’s probably most familiar to us. And gardeners everywhere will be glad for the mention of step 5.

Believe it or not, Johnson isn’t a fan of recycling. The less there is to recycle, the better. She urges us to get rid of all the plastic we possibly can. Don’t let it come into the house, and it won’t have to go back out.

Here are a few questions to ponder.

Could you get along without having a trash can in the kitchen? Could you bring all your groceries home in cloth bags and jars? Do you know what to buy in bulk and what not to buy that way?

Ever thought of making your own toothbrush as well as toothpaste? Would you use an alternative to toilet paper? Ladies, would you make your own cosmetics?

How familiar are you with the many uses for vinegar around the house and in the garden?

Would you “make” your own paper from the papers you have around the house?

Would you get rid of your stapler and staples in your home office? This is one of those nit picky items that goes to the extreme for me. The last package of staples I bought will likely last for years. Staples are too small to worry about the space they take in a landfill.

Could you cut down on the number of Christmas presents and cards you give and receive? What about homemade gifts and craft projects?

Do you know how to minimalize waste products when camping with your family?

Would you talk to managers at grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses about eliminating disposable packaging?

These are just a few of the areas Johnson covers.

You’ll be grateful for the number of recipes which appear throughout the book on such things as mustard, glue, cosmetics, cleaning products and more. There’s a helpful resource list in the back of the book, too. But looking on the dark side, it won’t be much use if the Internet goes down.

As you might guess, Johnson encourages you and me to adopt as much of the zero waste lifestyle as possible and then be ambassadors for it. However, her projections of what the future could look like are idealistic, in spite of her claims to the contrary.

I don’t see this way of living becoming widely accepted. But, as noted above, circumstances may change, forcing us into creatively doing with much less.

You’re welcome to buy Zero Waste Home by clicking on its title wherever you see it in this post. Johnson invites you to pass it along to someone else or donate it to your library. For that matter, borrow it first, then see if you want a copy for yourself.

Either way, have a look and draw your own conclusions as to whether a zero waste home should be part of your prepping strategy.

You may also want to view my post about how to right size your life for survival.