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Category: Skills


10 Steps To Sharpen A Chainsaw

My recent Prepography article “8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw” gave the basics on using a chainsaw. Having a sharp chain is very important for safety as well as productivity. Chains will dull very quickly, especially if cutting an extremely hard wood such as hedge. Knowing how to sharpen a chainsaw is an important skill to have. Not only will it increase the effectiveness of your efforts, it will save you money to boot because you’ll use fewer saw lubricating oils and won’t have to pay someone else to do it for you. How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps 1) Determine Your Chainsaw’s Gauge – You will need a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file that matches the size of the chain’s teeth. You can also buy a chainsaw sharpening kit that has everything you need in it, like the one to the right.  Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 of an inch in diameter. 2) Thoroughly Clean Your Chain – Use a brush and solvent to clean dirt, dust and debris off the chain. 3) Inspect Your Chain For Damage – Look for chipped, broken, or bent teeth. These will make a chain dangerous to use. If a tooth is worn short, it is at risk of breaking during operation, which is extremely dangerous to the operator. Replace any chain that is worn or damaged. 4) Place Your Saw On A Solid Surface – For safe and accurate filing your saw must be stable and the blade firmly supported. Use a vise to clamp the bar while allowing the chain to rotate freely is the best option. 5) Locate Your Start Point – The lead cutter on a chain is the shortest cutting tooth on the chain. If you can’t locate it, just take a permanent marker and mark a tooth as the starting point. 6)...

Self Reliance Skills: Teach Someone Something

Why learn new self reliance skills Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, and trying to cut down your reliance on outside entities is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that must be worked on and fostered. Part of that entails learning the skills and gathering the knowledge to do so. Without continued learning, your efforts stagnate, and you never achieve your goals. There is not a single person that I know who is traveling the path towards self reliance who is not constantly trying a new technique, or reading some book or manual in order to learn new skills and accumulate more knowledge. Why pass on your self reliance skills For many, a natural progression after gaining, or mastering, new skills, is to pass them along. The obvious answer as to why they do this is that they are propagating the idea of self-reliance and independent living. On the other hand, many people don’t consider themselves teachers and don’t have the confidence to teach others what they know. If you fall in to the latter category, there are a couple of reasons why you should reconsider becoming a teacher or mentor, if for no other reason then for your own self-improvement. The first reason is that by teaching others, you are forced to critically break down the process. You gain a more intimate knowledge of what you are teaching. By doing so, you become better at whatever you are passing along. The second reason for teaching others what you know is that you expose yourself to new ideas and outlooks on the subject matter. A student may give you fresh angle on the topic, or impart some knowledge you don’t have. Andrew’s Note:  In my Army life I’ve always volunteered to teach topics that I struggled with…preparing to teach others is the best way to learn...

Sheriff Clarke on Defending Yourself – Today’s Quote

I need you in the game…  With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option…  You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. … Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. via Wisconsin sheriff urges residents to arm themselves | Fox News. FacebookPinterestGoogleRedditTwitterTumblrEmailPrintPocketMoreLinkedInLike this:Like...

Building a Bug Out Bag – Part IX, Personal Health, Fitness & Medical Preparedness

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Building A Full Spectrum Preparedness Bug Out BagIn Building a Bug Out Bag Part I we discussed why building a Bug Out Bag is important and what type of bag to select.  In Part II we discussed the Transportation Items to consider, in Part III it was Water preparedness, in Part IV it was Food preparedness, in Part V we tackled Shelter, Clothing and Protection from the elements, in Part VI we considered Communications options, in Part VII we discussed Security Preparedness and in Part VIII we explored Financial & Identity preparedness for your Bug Out Bag.  Today we’ll discuss Personal Health, Fitness and Medical preparedness and Bug Out Bag elements to consider.  Remember, this is your last ditch, carry on your back, walk away from trouble Bug Out Bag…not what you hope you can get to your bug out location if your car, SUV, or Ford Falcon Coupe/Interceptor makes it. Personal Health, Fitness & Medical: Fitness:  The fitness aspect of Personal Health, Fitness & Medical isn’t something that you can pack in a bag and take with you.  Fitness takes a lot more work than Building a Bug Out Bag…but don’t neglect it.  A good way to establish and maintain fitness is to practice walking with your Bug Out Bag…it’s also a good test of how comfortable your bag is and how capable you are of humping it. Health, Sanitation & Prevention Hand Sanitizer or Soap:  Hand Sanitizer doesn’t last as long as soap but can be used without water and will help you start a fire (be very careful if you do this as it’s very flammable).  If you go with soap, make sure it’s unscented so you don’t attract bugs.  Your soap can be stored in a zip lock baggie. Insect Repellent:  Bug repellent isn’t just...

Wound Care for Specific Types of Wounds

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the final article in this week’s series on Wound Care from our Military Pedagogy series.  These discussions, are from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article discusses Wound Care for Specific Types of Wounds.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  Abrasion (1)    Description. Friction or scraping causes an abraded wound or an abrasion. This type of wound is superficial. The outer layers of skin or mucous membrane have been damaged or scraped off. A person falling on his knees on a sidewalk will suffer an abrasion. (2)    Treatment. Treat as follows: (a)    Irrigate the wound as previously stated. (b)    Apply antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin. (c)    Cover the wound with a dry, sterile dressing. Contusion (1)    Description. A contusion or contused wound occurs as a result of a blow from a blunt instrument, such as a hammer. There is no break in the skin. (2)    Treatment. First apply cold compresses for 12 hours. Pad the affected area and wrap an ace bandage around the area snugly.  If the area is on an arm or leg, elevate the arm or leg. Use R.I.C.E.–Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Puncture/Perforation (1)    Description. A wound made by a pointed instrument such as a nail, wire, or knife can result in a puncture or perforation wound. Sometimes a scalpel is used by a doctor to make a puncture wound to promote drainage from tissues. A wound caused by an animal or insect sting, the wound breaking the skin surface and underlying tissues, is also called a puncture...

General Wound Care

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the first of a new set of lessons from our Military Pedagogy series.  These discussions, are from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article expands our previous wound discussions and extends our discuss General Wound Care.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained. Immediate Care Initially, control the bleeding from the wound. Nature usually stops bleeding. For example, a person cuts his finger. Blood will gush from the lacerated blood vessels. These vessels constrict which tends to lessen the bleeding. The clotting process also stops bleeding. When blood escapes from an artery or vein, the blood undergoes changes which cause it to clot. The blood clot seals off the injured blood vessels, and bleeding stops. If the wound is large or clotting does not occur, apply direct pressure over the wound to stop bleeding. Use sterile pads if possible, but if they are not available, use a handkerchief, clean cloth, or even a bare hand as a last resort. Then, check the entire body for injuries. General Evaluation Make a general evaluation of the patient. Take care of him as a whole. Examine the patient from head to toe, checking for associated injuries. Follow the guidelines given below. (1)    Check his entire body for injuries. (2)    Ensure the airway is secure, spinal injuries are immobilized, etc. (3)    If there is an injury in an extremity, check the distal pulse and sensation in that extremity. (4)    Obtain a history of how the wound occurred.  (Andrew’s Note:  write down all answers so that...

Physiological Responses to Injury

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the another article in our Military Pedagogy series drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article builds on our previous discussions of Wound Terminology  and Wound Healing and Complications by discussing Physiological Responses to Injury.  As we’ve previously discussed, military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  This series focusing on first aid will run through the weekend and we’ll start Monday with a guest author who’s written an article I’m really excited about. Physiological Responses to Injury Once the skin and tissue have been injured, the process of healing begins.  Many factors influence the body’s ability to grow new tissue. Age. Very young and very old people heal more slowly than those in other age groups. People in these age groups have less ability to fight infection, and fighting infection is a major part of the healing process. The endocrine functions in infants are sluggish, and infants have limited reserves of fat, glycogen, and extracellular water–all which are necessary to fight infection. Healing is slower in the elderly because cardiovascular, renal, pulmonary, and musculoskeletal functions may be slowed down by chronic disease or perhaps just by the wearing out of body parts. Malnutrition Malnourishment and obesity, both forms of malnutrition, affect wound healing. A person who is undernourished has less fat and carbohydrate reserve; therefore, body protein (necessary for wound healing) must be used to provide energy needed for basic metabolic functions. This results in an imbalance of nitrogen which in turn depresses fibroblastic synthesis of collagen, the connective tissue for scar formation. A person suffering...

Wound Healing and Complications

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the another article in our Military Pedagogy series drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article builds on yesterday’s article on Wound Terminology by discussing Wound Healing and Complications.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  This series focusing on first aid will run through the weekend and we’ll start Monday with a guest author who’s written an article I’m really excited about. Wound Healing Wound healing is a complicated process. A wound is a break in the continuity of tissue. The body must have a special procedure to take care of the skin injury and dead tissue. The injured area must be able to signal distress, and there must be some way to get rid of the dead cells and replace them with new cells.  The process of wound healing is a way of restoring living tissue so that the entire body is covered with skin. (1)    The body’s first response to cell damage is inflammation. The reaction is similar regardless of the cause–cut, burn, bruise, or pinch. The injury starts a reaction which may be the release from the dead or injured cells of one of their substances such as histamine. The released substances affect the capillaries. The capillaries dilate, widely increasing the blood supply that they can bring to the injured area. If the injury takes place in the skin or in the tissue close to the skin, the increased amount of blood in that area causes the area to look red. Because the injured area has...

Wound Terminology

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the first of a new set of lessons from our Military Pedagogy series.  These discussions, are from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article lays the foundation by explaining Wound Terminology.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained. Definitions: A wound is a break in the continuity of the skin, the break caused by violence or trauma to the tissue. A wound may be open or closed. In a closed wound or bruise, the soft tissue below the skin surface is damaged, but there is no break in the skin. In an open wound, the surface of the skin is broken. Here are some terms referring to wounds that you should become familiar with. Abrasion (1)  Abrasion. In this type of wound, the outer layers of skin or mucous membrane are rubbed or scraped off (figure 1-1).  Incision (2)  Incised. This type of wound is cut smooth and straight. The rate of bleeding varies and there is minimal contamination. A surgeon makes this type of wound (incision). Laceration (3)  Laceration. This wound is a torn, jagged cut which has gone through the skin tissues and blood vessels (figure 1-2). The wound can be made by blunt instruments such as shell fragments. Lacerations are usually very dirty. Puncture (4)  Puncture. A puncture wound (figure 1-3) is made by a sharp object such as a splinter, knife, nail, or some other pointed object. These wounds bleed very little although the object may pass through nerves, bones, and organs, causing internal damage. Puncture...

Medical Aspects of Cold Weather Survival

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present another lesson from our Military Pedagogy series.  This discussion, from FM 21-76, the U.S. Army Survival Manual [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited] is on the Medical Aspects of Cold Weather Survival. When you are healthy, your inner core temperature (torso temperature) remains almost constant at 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F).  Since your limbs and head have less protective body tissue than your torso, their temperatures vary and may not reach core temperature.  Your body has a control system that lets it react to temperature extremes to maintain a temperature balance.  There are three main factors that affect this temperature balance– heat production, heat loss, and evaporation.  The difference between the body’s core temperature and the environment’s temperature governs the heat production rate. Your body can get rid of heat better than it can produce it.  Sweating helps to control the heat balance.  Maximum sweating will get rid of heat about as fast as maximum exertion produces it. Shivering causes the body to produce heat. It also causes fatigue that, in turn, leads to a drop in body temperature.  Air movement around your body affects heat loss.  It has been calculated that a naked man exposed to still air at or about 0 degrees C can maintain a heat balance if he shivers as hard as he can.  However, he can’t shiver forever. It has also been calculated that a man at rest wearing the maximum arctic clothing in a cold environment can keep his internal heat balance during temperatures well below freezing.  To withstand really cold conditions for any length of time, however, he will have to become active or shiver. COLD INJURIES The best way to deal with injuries and sicknesses is to take measures to prevent them from happening in the first place.  Treat any injury or sickness that...

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