Saturday, October 31, 2009

StillTasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide - Save Money, Eat Better, Help The Environment

StillTasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide - Save Money, Eat Better, Help The Environment

A useful website for seeing how long food can last.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Learning About First Aid

You most powerful survival tool is between your ears. Training will help add to you capabilities.

Here are a few sites that will help with that.
Red Cross find a local chapter and take a first aid course.
ProCPR has videos you can review.
Hesperian Foundation is where you can get Where There is No Doctor, a very useful book for those times you are far away from good medical care and many other books.
University of California TV Several video programs on the subject.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let it snow and snow and snow

We got a bit of snow the last couple of days. You can see this car has great snow drift crawling over it.

Having a shovel in the car is certainly good but you still need to have something on the outside to reach the car in the first place.

Power has been stable but we have a few alternatives handy. I did pick up an extra 60 hour candle for the Jack 'O Lantern, multitasking is good.

My Ham radio batteries ran down while participating in to our net so it is recharging now, I need to remember to recharge them more often.

Our homeschool COOP was going to have a Halloween day but postponed it because of the snow.

I helped a girl who was having trouble getting her car into a parking spot there is a layer of ice under the snow which makes it treacherous for driving. The big problem of this snow storm is that it is the first snow of the season and most people seem to have forgotten that snow is slippery over the summer. When we commuted between Colorado Springs and Denver on snowy days I started counting the number of cars on the side of the road I quickly noticed that most of the vehicles were SUVs, we were halfway there before we saw the first car so I kept a SUV to car count. It started out at 10:1, and it took until March until they met parity. Drivers seem to think 4x4s have claws or something, it only gives you 4Wheel-Go, not 4Wheel-Stop or 4Wheel-Steer.

The thing I peeves most about these storms are the Snow Cruisers. You know these guys, its always guys, they have the 4x4 and they justified buying it with "I can drive it in the snow." Well, it snowed and so they have to drive it around. Actually, the funniest thing I have seen was the one guy down the street from my BIL he wanted to go snow cruising but all he did was block the street for an hour or so in front of his driveway. It looks like he had bald tires or something but he drove back into his garage and shut the door behind him.

If you do have a 4x4 get some good snow tires for it. A great trick I learned for an old state trooper is to have a complete set of snow tires for the vehicle on rims and a good jack so you can just swap them out in the garage real fast and then you can change it all back when the weather is good.

Timeline: The secret history of swine flu - health - 29 October 2009 - New Scientist

Timeline: The secret history of swine flu - health - 29 October 2009 - New Scientist: "Six months ago, swine flu emerged as a massive threat to global health. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but our timeline explains how the origins of the H1N1 pandemic go back more than a century"

This is a great post on how the current evolved over time.

A Basic First Aid Kit For Home

A good home First Aid kit is really good insurance for the little hazards of life. Sure you can go out and buy a pre-made one at the supermarket or pharmacy but this is one thing you should really make yourself because what you put in it depends on what you know how to use. Your kit will have vastly different things in it if you have medical training then compared to one for someone with just some first aid training or no training at all.

This is not some kind of Combat Lifesaver kit or anything like that it is just the kind of things you'll need to deal with the workaday injuries that come at home. This is for dressing regular cuts and burns you'd get in the kitchen or working on the car in the garage. You would want some different thing in it for your car or office, but that is another post.

This kit assumes you have a family with children:
Emergency Numbers, Medical Consent Forms, and Medical History for each family member
Prescription Medication information, Allergy Medicine
Pain Relievers, Cough and Cold Medications
Oral Medicine Syringe or Other Pediatric Dosing Instrument
Hydrocortisone Cream, Antiseptic Wipes, Antibiotic Ointment, Hydrogen Peroxide
Bandages of Assorted Sizes, Bandage Closures, Triangular Bandages, Elastic Wraps
Adhesive Tape, and Gauze in Rolls
Two-Inch and Four-Inch Pads
Sharp Scissors with Rounded Tips
Safety Pins
Petroleum Jelly, Calamine Lotion, Aloe Vera Gel
Cold Packs in the frig and a couple of Disposable, Instant-Activating Cold Packs for blackouts
Latex-Free Barrier Gloves
Small LED Flashlight

You'll want to go through the medicines and see which ones are expired and replace them. Do this twice a year, just before school starts is a good time, particularly for the cold medications.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caught the flu and made some chicken soup

Well, we caught the flu, it is deeply annoying.

We were almost out of chicken stock so I grabbed a big party pack of chicken wings at the store and whipped up a half batch of chicken stock. I forgot to freeze up some small water bottles but dumping ice into plastic bags worked just fine. The temperature of the stock dropped to about 60F in half an hour the frig can easily handle that.

Then I sweated up some onions, garlic and carrots with plenty of salt. Then added a cup of the stock and water. I really like the wing-based stock because they tend not to produce too much fat and with all the connective tissue releasing collagen the stock sets up like Jello in the frig.

Once the stock melted and everything came up to boil, I backed off the heat and added some leftover roast chicken and a 1/4 cup of Acini de pepi pasta, they plump up almost like barley.

Just the smell was wonderful and the taste... Campbell's eat your heart out.

Afterwards I was thinking that if we hadn't had the pasta we could have made a thickener out of some of the schmaltz and some flour (a couple of tablespoons each) and then we could have made a cream of chicken soup. Which could be fun.

See also Chicken Soup for the Flu-ed Soul

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winter Storm Tonight

It looks as though the winter storm is here. It's been overcast and windy all day but it is starting to rain. They are predicting several inches of snow by morning. I ran out and got some extra milk and stuff. We should be fine.

How To Know If You Have the H1N1 Flu

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:

fever *
sore throat
runny or stuffy nose
body aches
sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Getting sick means that you should stay home and avoid contact until the fever has been gone for 24 hours. The only problem is that you don't always get a fever. Generally, you only need to stay home and rest up and let it run its course.

Since flu is a virus antibiotics won't do anything to help you. If you get an opportunistic, secondary infection that is usually bacterial then antibiotics would be useful, if prescribed by a doctor.

You should go to the hospital only if these severe symptoms show up:

In children:
Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Fever with a rash

In adults:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting

Call 911 or the hospital first to let them know you're coming and any special instructions they may have for flu cases.

Is your nearest hospital equipped for children? Is there one that is nearby?

You do have the local hospital ER call-in number in your address book, right?

Monday, October 26, 2009

H1N1 Flu National State of Emergency

President Obama has declared a National Emergency because of the H!N! swine flu, which frees up certain resources, lends him certain powers and loosens certain restrictions. All of which are temporary.

While H1N1 is certainly virulent, one of the fastest spreading strains of flu recorded, it does not seem to be particularly deadly. Which is fine by me. But if it mutates and becomes deadly things change drasticly.

If you get it you need to take care of yourself and your family.

One of the really important things is hydration. You can live for a month without food but only a few days without water. While there are many electrolyte products available and certainly useful there is something I discovered from the running industry and that is to rehydrate with Jello, it has a lot of water, sugar and protein, make it normally but instead of putting it in the frig to firm up just drink it, you can still put some in the frig to firm up and enjoy later. If you are worried about vomiting stay away from the red versions as they could hide blood in the vomitus.

To reduce the amount of work you have to do use disposable plates, cups and utensils. If you are fighting the flu you won't have a lot of energy to wash dishes even with a dishwasher and you can bag it up without too much worry over cross-contamination.

If someone in your family has it and you don't some protective gear might be helpful like a mask and safety glasses. An important thing to remember is if you are using protective gear the most likely vector of infection is the outside of the face mask you touch it then touch your eyes, nose, mouth or ears and you cross-contaminat yourself, so make sure to dispose of them properly and then sanitize your hands. N95 masks are good for particulates, it will not stop a virus by itself, but mostly it will be hitching a ride on a water dropplet from a cough or sneeze, so even a simple surgical mask would help a lot.

To properly sanitize your hands squirt ~1Tbsp of sanitizer on to your hands or use soap and water and scrub for at least 30 seconds. If you are using alcohol gel hand sanitizer make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol or all it does is spread it all over your hands.
After washing your hands use paper towels so you don't cross-contaminate via the towel.

If you want to go to the doctor or hospital call them first so they can make any necessary arraignments to be ready to receive you or that you need to take before you get there.

In the case of quarantine you may have to survive at home for a couple of weeks until it is lifted, so having a 2 week supply of your regular foods, canned or frozen, would be a good thing and don't forget things like powdered milk and evaporated milk (one can per quart brings up the fat content enough to make it good).

Cold and Flu kit
Favorite cold and flu medications
Water bottle or sippy cup
Electrolyte mix (Gatorade, Pedialyte or DIY (1 teaspoon (5ml) salt, 8 teaspoons sugar and 1 liter of water))
Flavored gelatine mix
Broth, bullion, soup
Cough drops
Bowl or emesis tray
Plastic/paper plates, cups and utensils
Barrier gloves, face masks, disposable aprons.
Facial tissues
Hand sanitizer (=>60% alcohol)
Paper towels
Food and water for 2 weeks

Saturday, October 24, 2009

theblogprof: Vaccination Hell: In Oakland County MI, Thousands Line Up For H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine, Some In Line 11 Hours!

theblogprof: Vaccination Hell: In Oakland County MI, Thousands Line Up For H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine, Some In Line 11 Hours!: "A prelude to what will happen under Obamacare. What a horrible day this started out to be. We woke our kids up at their usual time on a school day to get in line for H1N1 vaccinations. .... Unfortunately, the high school looked like a scene from a new ride at a premier amusement park that just opened. Literally thousands of people there. We were told that the line is 5-7 hours long! Here is the scene from the Jr High School at 8:30am, a morning all of 48F and drizzling:"

Mmm, not a good start.

Obama declares swine flu a national emergency - Yahoo! News

Obama declares swine flu a national emergency - Yahoo! News: "President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients."

This is an interesting announcement to make Friday night, after the weekend newscycle has begun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What Disasters are Likely in Your Area

While I can't tell you exactly what disasters are likely in your city, the people you can ask are the police, fire and Emergency Management departments of your city.

We live in Colorado and so we have a different mix compared to NYC or LA. We don't have to worry about hurricanes or tsunamis but blizzards and altitude sickness are some things we have to watch out for.

But here is a list of things to consider preparing for:
Altitude Sickness
Animal Attack
Biological leak
Car Crash
Crime such as Shooting or Theft
Death of a Loved One
Extreme Heat
Floods/ Flash Flood/ Dam break
Hazardous Materials Spill
Heat wave
House Fire / Structural fire
Hurricane/ Cyclone
Job Loss or Workplace Injury
Landslide/ Mudslide/ Debris flow
Nuclear and radiation accidents
Mass Casualty Incident (Multi-vehicle pile-up/ Plane crash/ Shipwreck/ Trainwreck, mass transit crash or building collapse)
Major Individual Medical Incident such as Heart Attack or Cancer
Terrorist Incident
Severe Storm/ Tornado/ Hailstorm/ Lightning
Utility Service Failure
Open Space Fire/Wildfire
Winter Storm/ Blizzard/ Ice Storm/ Extreme Cold/ Thunder Snow

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A comparison and contrast of East and West Germany.

I ran across this And Its Soviet Similarities and it seems like time to talk about what I am seeing. Compare and contrast was an essay style tht was popular in the school I grew up in, I think it is time to pull it out again

After WWII Germany was split by the Allies into occupation zones, France, England and the US zones eventually coalesced into West Germany and East Germany was under control of Soviet Russia. They both started out with a bombed out nation and a defeated but sophisticated people. The West got the Marshall Plan and the East got communism. It was a contest, remember Khrushchev and his "We will bury you" speech.

Let's do a comparison and contrast.

Firstly, grocery shopping. Rather then large supermarkets they had smaller corner grocery stores, pretty close to the size of a small 7-11. Lets see the effect a regular old supermarket had on my Mom's sister. She was able to get a visa to exit the Soviet Union by herself, her husband and children needed to stay behind, of course. We needed to just got to the store to pick up a few things, nothing special. Well, like most supermarkets we walk into the grocery department, to her its like a whole farmers market worth of food, some of which she didn't recognize. We gather the fruits and veggies we need and turn the corner to the cereal aisle, you know, a hundred feet long, 7 feet high and ever box is a different kind of cereal and there was aisle after aisle after aisle of food as far as the eye could see. The little corner store she always took us to had both kinds of cereal the one with dried fruit and the one without. She broke down and started to cry, this ordinary and unremarkable supermarket represented such abundance that it overwhelmed her. I could understand that. When we went to the market where she was there was milk in glass bottles with the cream on top, while it may have been pasteurized it was not homogenized and you only had the one kind, no skim, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, just whole pretty much straight from the cow. As for other drinks there was beer and soda, and if the labels had fallen off, as they often did, you had to shake the bottle and peer through the dark brown glass to check what kind of bubbles formed.

By the 1980s Plauen, the small city that my parents grew up in had gotten a downtown revitalization project and had a department store. It was little different from a Sears, you know, clothes, bedding, tools, camping gear and the like; except that it was always mostly empty of product, every time we went it looked like a Florida supermarket just before a hurricane, vast shelf space sitting empty, waiting for product to hopefully come. At least they had finally cleared most of the bomb damage.

How about cars? East Germany had the Trebant, this from the same people as had created the Volkswagon Bug, a car that was little better then a Ford Model A. An uncle finally got one after 14 years on the waiting list and was very proud of it. We got rides into though after filling it with gas and oil and giving it a shake, I thought the Snapper lawnmower I pushed around the yard at home had a better engine. Not long after the Wall came down, we got one of those 3:00 am calls but instead of bad news he was screaming about how he had passed a Porsche on the Autobahn in his Trabbi. He eventually admitted that it had been spewing large amounts of smoke out of the tailpipe, but it was still on the road and didn't have its flashers on, so it was a legitimate overtake. So there.

As for Health care, Oma was on a little pension after her husband had died of a heart attack after coming home from work. I remember her hands most of all, curled into tight little arthritic balls and the hunched shuffling gait she used to get around. She did however have a wonderful garden on the edge of town, typical of Germany East or West, that she grew much of her food and medicine. We would take her pain relievers and coffee and such to help her and the rest of the family out.

Oma's apartment had, like many European buildings, a central bathroom for each floor. When you pulled the level it opened the hatch to drop the material into the basement collection vat and there was a naked gas burner that helped with the smell. The bathroom alone would probably give an OSHA inspector a heart attack. Oh, and the toilet paper, the stuff they had was like raffia or newspaper that had jammed badly in a printer and folded up like an accordion. That was awful. Gimme an old Sears catalog any day over that sandpaper.

As little as 20 years after the wall went up it was obvious that West Germany was winning the economic progress race. West German technology was and is some of the best in the world, East German, not so much.

see also "Russians Looked Only for the Agenda"

Chicken Soup for the Flu-ed Soul

It's almost cold and flu season and one of the great foods to help you out when you are sick is Chicken Soup. It is much, much better if you make your own.

Now, you obviously will not want to make chicken soup from scratch when you are sick but if you make the base stock when you are healthy and freeze it then you'll just have to defrost it and add a few final ingredients and a few minutes later you'll have soul warming and body helping chicken soup.

I don't know why chicken soup is so great when you are sick, it may be the protein from the chicken or something from the garlic, but whatever it is it's still good eats.

Frugal Tip: if do a lot of cooking at home anyway you can save the scraps of onions, celery, carrots and parsley stems you trimmed off for other recipes and just keep them in a bag in the freezer collecting them through the summer for this.

Frugal Tip: Buying whole chickens and cutting them yourself saves quite a bit compared to getting parts at the store. You can save the backs, necks, wing tips and any other parts you trim off and save them for the stock too.

Chicken Stock
makes about 5 quarts
4 pound of chicken backs, neck, and wings (you can use just wings)
1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, broken
4 ribs of celery, broken
10 sprigs fresh parley with stems
2 bay leaves
a dozen peppercorns
2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

2 gallons cold water

12 quart stockpot
2 other large pots for the stock to cool in
steamer basket
spoon or small fine mesh strainer
large fine mesh strainer
large cooler
4 frozen quart bags of water
a bag of ice

Place all the ingredients except the water into your largest stockpot. Set the opened steamer basket upside down on the ingredients and pour over the water.
Cook on high heat until it just starts to boil, turn down heat so the stock maintains a gentle, low simmer.
Skim the scum from the stock with a spoon or small fine mesh strainer every 10-15 minutes for the first hour and then twice an hour for the next two hours. Add hot water as needed to keep everything submerged.
Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours. The chicken bones should be brittle and snap easily.
Strain the stock through a large fine mesh strainer into your other pots. You can toss the spent chicken and vegetables they have given up all their goodness to the liquid.

This is the most dangerous part. This chicken stock is a variation on agar, the stuff scientists use to grow bacteria in petri dishes, you need to get it out of the danger zone as quickly as possible. Just stuffing this hot stock in the refrigerator will raise the temperature of the whole unit possibly spoiling all your food.

Dump the bag of ice into the cooler, place the pots of strained stock into the ice and the bags of ice in the pots. Cool until it has dropped below 40 degrees F. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove the solidified fat that has collected on the surface, save it for making a roux (a thickener made of 1:1 fat and flour). If you did it right the chicken stock will have the consistancy of loose Jello.

Covered, the stock will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. I like to portion it out into muffin tins (~1 cup) and ice cube trays (~2 Tbsp) and keep it in bags. It's easier to use that way.

Now you are most of the way to a chicken soup. A few addition ingredients on hand will make this very easy. We didn't put any salt in here so it can be used in many different ways without worrying about how it might effect a recipe.

Chicken Noodle Soup
4 cups chicken stock
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 ounces dried egg noodles, cooked to al dente (not quite fully cooked)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Over high heat, bring the stock to a boil for a couple of minutes in a 3 quart pot.
Add chicken breast meat, onion, celery and garlic. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add noodles and cook 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat and add herbs and salt and pepper, to taste.

Sometimes you might be too sick to make anything that fancy and no one is around to make it for you, here is an even easier recipe

Super Easy Chicken Soup
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots
1/2 ounce dried egg noodles, cooked to al dente
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Over high heat, bring the stock to a boil for a couple of minutes in a pot.
Add peas and carrots and cook for 3 minutes.
Add noodles and cook 5 more minutes.
Add parsley and cook 2 more minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste.

You could add some canned chicken, if you want.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Survival Porn

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein, from Time Enough for Love: "Notebooks of Lazarus Long"

You must intelligently train, equip yourself for, and practice your medical, electronics, on and off-road driving, long range bicycling, cooking, fieldcraft, armed and unarmed combat, loaded hiking, carpentry, navigation, boating, food preservation, butchering, cycling, farming, veterinary, water finding, cooking, hunting, fishing, leadership, metal smithing, mechanical repair and fabrication, engineering and other critical survival skills. Being a real survivor has nothing to do with hobby shooting, wide-eyed fanatics, or overweight dude commandos, it is about living your life with the calm confidence that you are walking in the path that the Lord has set out for you while taking reasonable precautions to protect the life you have been given as well as being a vital asset to your family and community.

I am all for becoming a well-rounded person as Heinlein suggests, but as the latter quote shows you can go hog wild.

The global economy was built around the fact that people will get succeed more by doing the things that they are best at. That is called the division of labor, Adam Smith talked about it a lot, he's worth reading.

Quite a bit of the survival blogs out there on the Web spend an enormous amount of time talking about what they would do in all kinds of increasingly bizarre survival scenarios. Like how to survive your plane exploding at 30,000 feet(2 people are on record having done that just that) or if a gamma-ray jet hits the planet or some other highly exotic and unlikely event.

At some point it just devolves into survival porn, it distracts from the real day-to-day things we deal with often: a cut finger, someone having a heart attack or stroke or a car crash. Even a cut finger can become a life-threatening issue if not dealt with correctly. It isn't as though those things can't happen, they have happened somewhere already, but they are very rare and as I said before once you are ready for a just a few emergencies you will be ready for almost all the others.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Loma Prieta quake — 20 years (and a few days) later | And Still I Persist

The Loma Prieta quake — 20 years (and a few days) later | And Still I Persist: "The quake finally died down, and I went out through the office’s sliding glass door to the outside deck and saw a glorious, once-in-several-lifetimes sight: dozens of giant redwood trees all swaying in unison in big sweeping arcs, while millions of tiny golden redwood leaves drifted down. None of the trees had fallen over, so I ran back into the house to check on everyone and to see what damage had been done to the house."

I remember this earthquake, though I was in college in Utah at the time. This is a good story to read since you get to learn from what happened to someone else, what worked and what didn't.

While earthquake is a potential threat here in Denver it is not as much a threat as in California or the Ohio River valley. A few of the standard precautions: strapping the hot water heater and tall bookcases down, 72 hour kit and the like.

Wisdom is learning from someone else's experience.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Ready with Pareto's 80/20 Law

I am a fan of Pareto's 80/20 Law which states:
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

If you choose your preparations carefully they will provide most of your needs without overwhelming your budget and storage space. For example of the man-made disasters the one getting the most attention right now is the EMP. A rogue state or terrorist group detonating a nuke 300 km over the continental US could destroy most or all of our electrical infrastructure. It would take a long time to rebuild the infrastructure because there would be a large number of burnt out parts that would need to be imported and replaced.

If you had a supply of food, a way to filter water and extra clothes you would be able to survive for some time. Add in seeds, a garden and the proper tools and you may be able to survive indefinitely. Some people react to this by moving to a farm which is certainly a valid thing to do but if nothing happens there is a lot of lost opportunity costs that go with it.

I would rather go with small but significant lifestyle additions rather then wholesale lifestyle change on the off chance of something massive happening to the whole world, when there is a greater likelihood of something far smaller but potentially devastating happening to just our family.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Starting Out

Right off the bat I want to make clear is that this is not going to be a blog about survivalism or The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) or even wilderness survival, well maybe a little of that from time to time. It is far more about surviving the average emergencies that crop up in our lives.

Being prepared can make a disaster into an emergency and an emergency into something that takes a little time to sort out and we go on with our lives.

There are average emergencies that most people deal with often badly: car crashes, heart attacks, crime, There are average disasters that some people are ready for but most aren't, just look at the store shelves before a blizzard or hurricane. Sometimes the Weather service guesses wrong and a snowstorm turns into a major blizzard.

I have also noticed that getting ready for one kind of disaster gets you mostly ready for a whole bunch more, Once you have the basics in place getting ready for some other kind of disaster is only a few pieces more. If you are ready for a blizzard, a stay and play kind of disaster, you are also ready for an ice storm, but you need some ice breaking tools and maybe extra power produciton/storage and also a Hazmat incident terrorist or otherwise with the aid of some plastic sheeting and duct tape. Which you may already use for covering your windows in the winter to stay warm.

The biggest survival tool is the one between your ears. The only problem is that in an emergency our fight or flight instincts take over and we lose most of our higher functions for a while until we recover and that takes long enough to be a problem sometimes, but it has been known for a very long time that training and practicing will allow you to react with you training and also recover faster and do more correct things then your lizard brain allows.