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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 27

Issue No. 27- January, 1982

By W.B. Carson, II

Editor’s Note: Why are we running a series on firefighting in PS Letter? The picture below of downtown Rogue
River says it all. Any fire -be it forest fire or a grease fire in your city apartment- can get out of control so quickly
that you simply don’t have time to wait for the local fire department to show up and, under survival conditions, you
would have no choice but to fight the fire yourself.

W.B. Carson, II has had extensive experience working on ambulance crews, rescue squads, and as a structural and
wildland (forest, brush, and grass) firefighter. He recommends that you order ​Fireground Tactics by Emmanuel
Fried (H. Marvin Ginn Corp., 625 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611). All of the equipment mentioned is
available from Freedom Pax, P.O. Box 729, Grants Pass, OR 97526, 503-582-1222). I realize that the equipment is
expensive but when you consider what you can lose, it is cheap insurance indeed. N.T.

What’s at Stake

There you stand, working and living in your self-sufficient survival system. You have created a center of stability
for yourself, your family, and your community, hopefully in that order. Your home library covers all the major
fields of knowledge required to create, maintain, and expand your system. You have long-term storage foods,
gardening equipment, tools, medicine, clothing, and various stored fuels such as firewood, gasoline, propane,
kerosene, and the gas and oil in your cars, trucks, lawn mower, roto-tiller, moped… Without taking proper
measures, it can all be completely gone, totally consumed, in thirty minutes.

Fire can set your whole plan back to the beginning. Without your equipment and supplies, and especially without
your home and its contents, your system and your freedom to support yourself are dead. Fire is an incredibly
destructive force and one that a survivalist can ill-afford to ignore. So whether you are at your retreat or your home
in the city, you must treat local firefighting services as you would other external utilities: replace them with your
own system.

What Can Happen

Knowing some of the problems you’ll run into will help. A fire starts in part of your house. It gets good and hot by
the time you notice the smoke or noise. You run and get the five-pound fire extinguisher and empty it at the fire
with no apparent effect. By now the house is filled with smoke, the kids are crying, and worst of all, the fire is
getting really hot and big. You run for the garden hose and return. It’s too hot and smoky to fight the fire from
inside, so you spray it from the outside.
Problems: a) the hose is too short to reach, b) the flames are too hot to approach, c) the small volume of water
evaporates before hitting the burning surface, d) the pump on the water well dies when multiple short-circuits and
heat shut off the electricity. Chances are that the fire is now in the attic, even if it didn’t start there, which means
you’ve lost it. As the flames move horizontally, they burn the ceiling supports, causing interior collapse throughout
the house, dropping hot burning debris into fresh fuel. The burning roof falls on the burning ceiling, which falls on
your possessions inside.

Now the garage literally explodes as a can, drum, or tank of gasoline ignites. If there’s a welding tank of acetylene
or storage tank of propane there, they may help extinguish the fire by completely leveling the area of obstructions
for several hundred yards. Hopefully, you and your family survive. But as you survey the ruins of your home, you
realize that most of your possessions are gone, your life bitterly changed. The stress on your life is only just

I know. You’re very careful and wouldn’t start a fire in the first place. (Let’s ignore the fact that I, a veteran
firefighter, started three barely-controllable fires on my property in the past year. They simply got out of hand. It
can happen to anyone.) We recently had a large forest and brush fire in this area. It destroyed 2300 acres, many
homes, and countless animals. If it had come over one more ridge you would not be reading this.

What about the grass or forest fire that’s coming your way? It will roar through you fast and hot with thick, noxious
clouds of smoke. How can you fight an oncoming wall of flame when you can’t see or breathe? How can you
protect your house, and outbuildings, and vehicles, and animals all at the same time?

Passive Controls

First and Second Fire Perimeters

Let’s deal with grass, brush, and forest fires first. Keep an eye on Figure I as you read this. It illustrates a buffer
zone around your home that will greatly reduce wildland fire hazard. All the area within the first perimeter is
close-cut or well-grazed grass. There is no brush, dry cornfield, or hayfield within 50 yards (minimum) of any
important wood building. The only trees in this area are far away from each other, with no branches within ten feet
of the ground.

You are trying here to preempt fighting a vertical fire, a wall of flame. This first perimeter is protected by ordinary
revolving lawn sprinklers. Because water volume and pressure is limited, there is a control valve for every three or
four sprinklers so that maximum water goes where it’s needed. Wet grass will slow a fire down nicely.
The second perimeter contains an area similar to the first. It extends an additional 50 yards (again, minimum). The
same rules apply for isolating trees, but uncut grasses and brush are all right if they really need to be there. Beyond
this circle may be thick forest; if so, cut your firewood from this area so as to push out the second perimeter,
because, even 150 yards away, your house paint would blister and crack from the heat of 80-foot high flames.

It’s difficult to grasp what intense heat can do. Even the giant monitor water cannon, blasting 2000 gallons a minute
(your garden hose dribbles about 10 gpm) at a burning oil tank never touches the target; the water turns to steam
and evaporates before it hits. So the above distances are definitely minimums. You may notice the similarity
between this fire perimeter and another fire perimeter you’ve already read about here: namely the surveillance and
defensive shooting zone around your home. They are quite compatible.

For two such important purposes, why not extend the perimeter as far as you can? If your cabin is nestled in
amongst the whispering pine and you really want to keep it that way, then you have to put more money into active
control equipment; I’ll get back to that later on.

Building Protection

All this clearing work is to keep running fires from reaching your buildings. What about fires that start inside in the
first place? Smoke alarms in strategic areas will alert you early in the game. You must have them! Put them in your
outbuildings, too. If you’re concerned that you won’t hear them, install an integrated alarm system or get your local
alarm or electronics type to rewire the small horn of the smoke alarm to relay to a big car-battery-powered horn.

Here I could go into keeping workshops clean and fume-free, not overloading electrical circuits, storing flammables
safely, preplanning escape routes, staying low to avoid breathing hot gasses, and feeling for hot doors before
opening them, but you can get this information from any fire prevention officer or fire department.

And that’s your next stop because you are going to go there to 1) check up on me to see if I know what I’m talking
about, 2) discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your particular home construction, and 3) get some idea of how a
fire department approaches a fire. Talk to these people. Most are usually very glad to help. They have a specific
knowledge of firefighting and prevention which is essential for you to learn.

Cells and Fire Stops

If you can confine a fire to a certain area, you win. The flames will consume all the fuel in that area and then die.
That is why building codes require sheetrock (non flammable compressed gypsum) throughout wood frame
construction. That’s why masonry homes don’t burn very well. And it’s also why mobile homes burn to the ground
in 10 minutes or less.

Get your house plans -or draw them- and look for places where you can segment your house into cells. Unbroken
walls, hallways with doors at the ends, any other barrier which will block the fire even temporarily. Now, if you
can, put an additional layer of sheetrock along these barriers. Put a solid-core door at the end of the hall. Do
whatever is necessary to isolate one cell from the next.
It is desirable to segregate the kitchen, wood stove area, bedrooms, storage rooms, and garage from each other.
Next get up into the attic and continue the barriers from ceiling to roof, again using thick sheetrock (5/8” thick or
better). The attic is where fire will always try to go so be thorough. You want any fire that burns through the ceiling
to go up through the roof rather than spread laterally.

The sheet rock barrier will channel the fire upwards. Cut access holes, optimally in the center of the cell, for quick
entry from the room or closet below. You must be able to see the entire attic barrier by sticking your head up
through the hatch. The hatch door should be made of sheet rock.

You would do well to install fire sprinklers in the attic, one per cell, and regular sprinklers on the roof. Installation
is super simple and relatively inexpensive. The sprinklers should be on separate lines, of course. The attic line is
always pressurized and the roof line -rubber hose will not do- usually turned off. Include a drain valve on this line
for freeze protection.

(If you are interested in a low-cost, low-pressure sprinkler system, contact Jim Russell of Valley Fire Service in
Grants Pass, OR.) While you’re on the roof, put a screen on your chimney and wood stove stack to break up
burning embers and paper. Smaller pieces will conduct less heat and are that less likely to start a roof fire.

Now how well are you protected? A forest or brush fire will probably bypass your perimeter for lack of fuel.
Burning debris landing on your roof will be extinguished by roof sprinklers. Grass fires won’t have a chance with
the ground sprinklers in your first perimeter. A fire inside your house will be announced immediately by your
smoke detectors.

The fire cell will fill with smoke but the fire will be contained at least temporarily- which is all you need; you can
outsmart a fire any day, given enough time. You may lose that cell and its contents, but it is only 10 percent of your
system. While one or two people keep an eye -and a trigger-shut off garden hose- on adjoining cell walls, including
the attic, you can concentrate on dealing with the seat of the fire.

But some serious problems remain: you still can’t deliver sufficient water to control the fire. The average household
can only get 30 gallons per minute flow and that’s at zero pressure. You need a longer reach, that is, more pressure.

The standard fire department fire attack is with three 1½” lines, each pushing 100 gallons per minute at 100 pounds
per square inch (psi). You need to emulate that system. Another problem: once inside your burning home, the hot
gasses will try to cook and asphyxiate you. You’ve got to protect yourself as you fight the fire.

To be continued in the next issue-​ Part II: Active Controls

Dealing with Small Fires

Smoke Alarms

God help you if you don’t read the following: nothing will contribute as efficiently towards your safety as a smoke
alarm. It will alert you to the presence of smoke, which is the forerunner of fire. A smoke alarm will wake you long
before noxious smoke can kill you. Then you can alert your household and either employ a fire extinguisher or
evacuate to return with charged fire line. The critical point is that you have advance warning and more time to make
decisions and act.

There are two types of detectors: ionization and photoelectric. Ion detectors use a small radiation source to charge
ions in the air. This allows a small current to flow through two electrodes. When even small (invisible) particles of
smoke enter the field, the ions attach themselves to the particles, slowing the flow of electricity between the
electrodes. The current drop is sensed and the alarm goes off. Ion alarms react first to the combustion products of
open flame. If you buy ionization alarms, get dual chamber models. These reduce false alarms.

Photoelectric models emit a small light in a chamber with a photocell. The light does not shine at the cell. When
visible smoke enters, the light scatters and illuminates the cell, sounding the alarm. Photoelectric alarms react faster
to visible smoke than the ion type, but will not react quickly to fumes or very fine smoke. It is not terribly important
which kind you install as either will give you good warning.

You have a choice of how to power your detector: 120-volt AC or batteries. Actually, if you’re a survivor, there is
no choice. 120v AC models will not function during brownouts or power outages, which are expected in survival
situations. If you have an electrical fire, your main breaker will probably trip before your 120v AC alarm sounds.
That’s worse than not having a smoke alarm, as you subconsciously think you will be notified of fire. So get
battery-powered units that take common size batteries (9v, AA, C). Battery alarms are far easier to install, too.

Put alarms in the right places. Minimum protection: at least one alarm outside each sleeping area. Bedrooms that
are grouped in one section of the house can be protected by one or two alarms. Try to put an alarm between each
bedroom and non-bedroom area. Also put a detector upstairs and downstairs if you have such areas. Follow the
placement instructions included with the smoke alarm.

It is most important that you test your units with smoke, especially right after installation. Pressing the test button
only tells you the condition of the batteries. Actual smoke will tell you the reliability of the total alarm. A single
burning match should do it.

Instruct your family what to do when they hear the alarm. Even four year-olds can learn the proper actions if you’ll
spend the time making dry runs. My youngest child knows when he hears the alarm at night, “feel the door, if it’s
hot, go out the window.” He has practiced opening the window, removing the screen, and jumping out (a four foot
drop). One of these nights I’ll see if the programming has taken hold.
Smoke alarms increase your chances of survival 400%. They give you the time to extinguish the fire with a fire
extinguisher, thus saving your furnishings from the water damage of a larger fire fighting system. And during social
confusion, when the fire department may not come to your house, by alerting you early enough to act effectively,
smoke alarms may save your entire home. Don’t put installing them off! They save lives!

Fire Extinguishers
Type Agent Amt. Agent Rating Manufacturer Price

Water Water 2.5 Gal 2A General $ 71.65

Loaded Potassium Acetate 2.5 Gal 2A-10B Standard $ 85.00

CO​2 CO​
​ 2 10
​ lbs. 5BC General $116.30

Halon Bromotriflouromethane 9 lbs. 1A-10BC Amerex $105.00

Dry Powder Sodium/Potassium

Bicarbonate 10 lbs. 60BC General $ 46.30

ABC Monoammomium
Phosphate 5 lbs. 2A-10BC Amerex $ 29.50

ABC Monoammomium
Phosphate 10 lbs. 4A-60BC Amerex $ 47.80

ABC Monoammomium
Phosphate 20 lbs. 20A-120BC Amerex $ 78.65

Now that you have smoke alarms installed and working, fires will be smaller when they are discovered. When the
alarm sounds, and smoke, fire, or hot wall is confirmed, send your spouse or progeny out to: start the fire pump,
unroll the hose, open the valves, and stand ready. Your job is to extinguish the fire without bringing a charged fire
line into the house.

The portable fire extinguisher is a miniature firefighting package which requires little maintenance (and usually
receives none), is ready without any preparation, is simple to use (although practice is important), and ​it is effective
on small fires.​
Most fires can be categorized into four classes:
A. Burning wood, paper, cloth, plastic, textiles.
B. Burning liquids: gasoline, oils, paints, solvents.
C. Electrical fires.
D. Burning metals and metalloids.

Look at your house, inside and out. What fuels are around?

Probably a small amount of Class B and C material and ​a large amount of Class A fire potential.​ Fire extinguishers
are rated according to their capabilities. A lA-10B extinguisher will handle fifty burning 20-foot 2x2’s or 45 gallons
of burning naphtha. A 2A-20BC unit will handle twice that amount plus electrical fires, in theory. (See chart

Not all 10 pound multi-purpose (ABC) extinguishers have the same rating. Same agent, same size, different
manufacturer, different rating. Servicemen I’ve talked to believe that this is due to money under the table at the test
lab. The two brands they like are General and Amerex with the latter the favorite because of its five-year warranty.

Since it’s smart to have more than one extinguisher, you can suit them to specific purposes. You want one ABC
unit in the house and one in the garage, and depending upon your circumstances an ABC or CO​2 ​unit in your
priority vehicle, and maybe a home-chargeable water unit for backup when commercial charging services are not

If you have important electronic equipment like a ham radio or computer, add a Halon fire extinguisher: it will put
out an equipment fire without freezing sensitive circuits and without leaving harmful residue. It will also handle
Class A fires but not as effectively as Class A-rated extinguishers.

If you only want one fire extinguisher for your home, get a multi-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher. The unit should
be as heavy as your family members can handle. I keep a twenty pound extinguisher (20 pounds agent, 40 pounds
total) next to my bed. That size is comfortable for me.

Most women would be more at ease with a 10 lb. unit (20 lbs. total). Most children could handle this size. If it fits
in your car, this unit is appropriate. Remember, when you double the extinguisher size, you more than double the
rating. This is because a small extinguisher may not finish the job, allowing flame to flash back, restarting the entire

There is only one disadvantage to an ABC dry powder extinguisher: it is messy. It leaves a crusty residue on the
burning object and fine powder everywhere. I consider this a low priority nuisance, but if you want “clean”, use
water or a gaseous agent.
The location of your extinguishers should follow smoke alarm placement: between life and hazard. Don’t store
them too close to a possible fire source. You don’t want an extinguisher so close to a fire that you couldn’t reach it
for the flames. For example, don’t mount a unit inside the furnace room or next to the kitchen stove. But don’t hide
them either. “It’s in the hall closet under the fourteen boxes of Christmas tree lights… or maybe in the garage?”

Finally, when you get your extinguishers, build a small bonfire outside and try to put it out. See what an
extinguisher can and cannot do. Have each family member find the fire extinguisher, activate it by pulling the pin,
and extinguish the fire by sweeping the base of the flames. When a real fire breaks out, you won’t have time to read
the directions or ask for help. Your home and family may depend on that difference.

Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers make up an inexpensive system for dealing with small fires. Smoke alarms
alert you while the fire is small enough to be handled with a fire extinguisher. When the alarm sounds and you see
fire, don’t hesitate; use the extinguisher. But always send someone for backup: garden hose, fire hose, or buckets of
water. If you have doubts about controlling it, get all noncombatants out and send for help. And when it really gets
bad, get yourself out. Your life is more important than your house.

Meat Hunting III

By Jeff Cooper


In taking four-legged animals of good size, it is vital to remember that placement is more important than either
power or bullet construction. One need only hold that little pellet in his hand and then look at the powerful, massive
structure of a big game animal to realize that nothing that can be shot from the shoulder will carry with it sufficient
power to do the job by that alone. Any animal shot through the heart, the major arteries, or both lungs, will be
incapacitated very quickly with any sort of bullet that will penetrate far enough to reach those organs.

It is very desirable, for both convenience and humanity, to drop an animal in his tracks, but it is not necessary if the
animal is totally incapacitated at the shot and falls only a short way from where he was hit. Because of the anatomy
of quadrupeds, a great many shots on game are broadside. This is due to the animal’s tendency to turn sideways to
look back and see what disturbed him. When an animal stands broadside, the tendency of the novice is to shoot for
the center of mass, and this is an invitation to disaster. It will deliver a gut shot almost every time, putting the bullet
through the animal’s intestines or stomach and causing a slow, lingering death- usually so far distant in time as to
lose the animal to the hunter.
It is necessary for the shooter to place his shot in the forequarters, and somewhat lower than center-line, if he
possibly can. This means that when an animal stands broadside, the deflection plane should be based upon the
foreleg. If you are using a crosshair, place your vertical wire upon the foreleg, if the animal is standing broadside or
approximately so. This will absolutely place your shot pattern into an area where you will avoid the gut shot and
bring down the beast in a very short distance, even if you do not anchor him at the shot. In elevation, the hunter
should divide the animal horizontally into three equal bands and endeavor to place his shot at the juncture of the
two lower bands, one-third the way up from the bottom line of the animal.

This is partly because the vital zone is located low in the forward end of the body cavity, and partly because the
strong tendency in all inexperienced hunters is to shoot high. This high shooting syndrome is very apparent on any
well-used game target. The distribution of patched bullet holes over that shoulder area is always found in the upper
quarter of the animal rather than down where it should be.

This is partly due to the fact that most people zero their weapons for two-hundred meters and then shoot their beasts
at one hundred, where the trajectory is about three inches above the line of sight. More of a factor, however, is the
tendency of the human eye to seek the center of mass when looking at any object.

Your eye wants you to put the bullet in the middle of what you can see, and if what you can see is the whole
animal, that will be back in the gut and too far up. As a careful hunter you must rise above this tendency and put
your shot forward and low into the shoulder.

Neck shots are very useful and quite productive. A survey taken by the National Rifle Association a couple of
decades ago suggested that the most successful deer hunters were those who shot for the neck. A properly delivered
neck shot will cut the spinal cord about half way between the ear and the brisket, at a point where it is almost
median between the top and bottom extremities of the neck.

The danger here is overshooting the spine at this point, and a bullet traveling through the neck muscles above the
spine will do little to fill your larder. A beast thus shot may not even feel it, unless he succumbs later from
infection. I have a feeling that the success of the neck shot in the survey was due to a couple of factors other than its
intrinsic lethality.

It may be that those who used the neck shot were usually experienced hunters who had got quite close to their
game, and were shooting with great care in order to save as much meat as possible. People of that sort are usually
immune to buck fever and simply shoot better, at whatever they shoot at, than those who try to “brown” the animal

While it is true that a great many shots are broadside, some are not. If a beast is looking straight at you, your best
bet is the “sticking place”, right at the base of the throat in the center of the brisket. A shot here will almost
certainly penetrate the heart or major arteries and cause death by bleeding in a very short time.
When a large animal is facing away from the shooter, penetration becomes a problem and it may be that the bullet
simply will not drive far enough through the body cavity to reach the vitals. Such shots should be avoided if
possible, but if your weapon is powerful enough and you have a properly designed bullet, you can still bring them

On a very large animal that is quartering away, one should shoot for the far shoulder, in the attempt to drive through
the vitals to break the bone structure on the far side. If one is forced to shoot from dead astern (and here I am going
to part company with the last several authors I have read) the shot should be taken over the back, with the object of
breaking the neck just below the ears. Otherwise the chances of a gut shot, with its attendant misery and frustration,
will be too great.

The Pistol

Accepting the fact that we may be called upon to use both military rifles and military ammunition on game, what
should our position be on the use of a defensive pistol as a game-getter? It is clear that anything one can do with a
.22 pistol, one can do with a centerfire pistol, and the pistol one wears upon his belt for personal defense should do
well enough for small game.

The difficulty is that we normally use the pistol on fairly coarse targets at short range in our defensive practice, and
may be somewhat taken aback by the need to hit something the size of a ping-pong ball out there at fifteen or
twenty yards. It can be done, but we must remember that the type of precision necessary to hit a squirrel sitting on
top of a fence post at 15 paces in the head, is of the same order as that necessary to hit a man in the X-ring at fifty
or sixty yards.

In terms of meat-getting capacity, the standard pistol cartridges suitable for self-defense are quite capable of taking
down an animal the size of a man. A .357 or a .45ACP or other similar cartridge is quite acceptable as a deer gun if
conditions are right. But conditions must indeed be right and the shooter must be extremely careful.

I remember an anecdote a friend of mine related to me some years ago about shooting a deer in Texas with a
.45ACP. He claimed that the regular GI hardball round did just fine. When I asked him how it happened, he said he
shot for the center of the shoulder, but missed and hit the deer in the base of the brain, and all worked out very well.

This does not mean that the .45ACP is a good deer cartridge, nor that my friend was a particularly good shot. He
just “lucked out”, as sometimes happens.

The sport hunting of big game with a pistol is a specialized activity and probably should not be included in a
discussion of pot shooting for a survivalist. It is nonetheless clear that the .44 magnum is quite suitable for taking
large animals on purpose, if that is needful. I have recently run across two situations in which the .44 magnum has
been selected to do a specialty job and has done it very well.
The first involves a landowner in Norway who presides over an elk harvest every fall on his property. His primary
duty has to do with the supervision of the retrieval of the animals, and in managing his tractors and winches he
cannot have a rifle in his hand. His .44 magnum in his shoulder holster is most useful in case he meets a sudden,
unexpected shot at close range.

The second case is that of the Honda distributor on the Arctic island of Svalbard. He spends much of his time
rushing around on snowmobiles and tricycles, trying to keep them running or determining what has made them
stop. He has serious problems with polar bears, and here again, he cannot have a rifle in his hand so he carries a .44
magnum under his parka ready to go. The big .44 is quite a satisfactory game gun in the proper hands. The problem
of shooting it well is common to all pistols, from the .22 on up.

If there is one piece of advice more important than any other in the matter of meat hunting, it is to get used to your
weapon. Clearly no firearm is of any use unless it is skillfully used. We repeat ​ad nauseam that the issue is the
shooter and not his weapon, and insist that marksmanship rather than weaponry is what you need to fill your

One acquires marksmanship through practice, but additionally one acquires marksmanship through familiarity with
his particular piece. In quizzing graduate rifle students and instructors here at the ranch, the consensus seems to be
that the thing that distinguishes the master shot from the average is his complete oneness with his weapon.

Whatever weapon you choose, learn to know it and learn to know it ​intimately​. The more familiar you become with
your piece the better it will serve you when it must. In the old Marine Corps, the recruit was introduced to his rifle
as soon as he got his shots, and required to sleep with it for the rest of his tour as a “boot”. This may seem a touch
exotic to us now, but in looking back upon it, I can see that it had much merit.

A Plan for Economic Survival

By Eugene A. Barron

Editor’s Note: In this and subsequent articles such as one on barter in the next issue we are going to offer
information and suggestions that we hope will help to cushion you from the coming economic turmoil. N. T.

The successful young restaurateur was alert and concerned. “All of my high-income friends are freaking out. They
can’t understand what’s going on.” She was referring to the confused economic situation at present, and inability of
the usual solutions to provide relief.
What is happening is beyond the experiences of anyone under the age of 60. We are in an inflationary recession,
heading inevitably into an inflationary depression, an experience totally new to this country. What can be expected
is the worst of the USA, 1929-1933, combined with the worst of the Weimar Republic, 1921-1923. One of the
primary differences will be the great speed of events, the result of advanced communications and the faster pace of
life at present.

Barring a miracle, some time in the next 2 ½ years will come the full financial and psychological event that starts
the panic and subsequent depression. There will be severe declines of all the financial markets domestically,
especially the bond markets. The dollar will be under heavy speculative attack overseas, while financial institutions
try to cope with suddenly lowered liquidity, placing them under legal reserve ratios.

All the Federal Reserve can do in this crisis is suspend reserve requirements and permit banks to pay whatever is
necessary in interest to attract capital. This practice will pull the domestic hot money out of commercial paper and
stock markets, collapsing them. This will mean that many companies heavily dependent on commercial paper will
become rapidly illiquid, and probably insolvent, and then bankrupt.

With sophisticated communications and computers, the speed with which all of this can occur will be staggering-
probably within a week. The Federal Reserve will have a series of quandries to solve. Flooding the economy with
funds will ignite fears of hyperinflation and worthless money.

If the banking system alone is made adequately liquid, loans will be made at high interest rates, bankrupting
borrowers. If an interest ceiling is placed on loans, the banks will go under. There will probably be a compromise,
with Government-guaranteed loans at lower rates going to large companies representing significant employment,
while smaller firms will be allowed to go to the wall.

In an attempt to liquefy, companies will dump goods on the market at bargain prices. Bank runs will start,
particularly if one or more large banks fail. With liquidity demands accelerating, borrowers will be willing to pay
almost any amount of interest, pulling funds out of the banking system as fast as the Fed puts them in. Cash will be
king, and credit sales will cease.

As the velocity of money increases, the final irony will be that it will depreciate rapidly in value, buying less and
less, on almost a daily basis. The Legislative and Executive branches of Government will enact emergency
legislation to solve the problems, including special measures for banks and large corporations, and very probably
the outlawing of gold in private hands. With simultaneous high rates of inflation and the progressive collapse of the
private economy, there will be no practicable solution to the problems.

If wage and price controls have not been imposed before this point, they will be instituted now, resulting in
immediate black markets and shortages. However, these measures will permit the Government to maintain a
fictitiously low level of official inflation while blaming “profiteers” for the true inflation. [We have already seen the
manipulation in this direction, with the CPI (Consumer Price Index) altered regularly to prevent any meaningful
measure of inflation.]
Foreign exchange controls will be enacted to prevent any large movements of money out of the country. Food
prices may well be controlled to insure the ability to feed the populace, while food rationing will be instituted to
prevent hoarding. Gasoline may well be rationed, too, to prevent “wasteful driving”.

With massive unemployment and resultant skyrocketing social payments against a steadily-shrinking tax base,
further massive inflation will be inevitable, as deficit financing continues on a scale not currently imagined. And it
will still not be able to satisfy the ever-growing demand for funds.

Taxes will zoom on real estate and visible hard goods purchases; “user charges”, a euphemism for selective sales
taxes, will be imposed on all sorts of expenditures. Crime and terrorism will increase, leading to greater
Government restrictions on individual freedoms in an unsuccessful attempt to combat the unrest.

How, then, can you prepare yourself for what is coming? After all, the rules that applied even for 1929-1939 will
not work. A new approach will be required; a totally new set of rules will have to be followed, as what is coming
has no real precedent within the memory of most people.

The most important element that will set you apart from the 97% of the population that will be stumbling about,
panic-stricken, will be your ability to maintain a realistic and rational outlook on circumstances, forewarned by this
article, and other study and reflection, as to the probable sequence of events.

You must train yourself to be totally objective and honest in your appraisals of situations, uncluttered by past
preconceptions. Unless you can do this, adapting yourself to changed circumstances, no advice given you will be
worth anything.

You must become an entrepreneur, taking advantage of opportunities as they appear, and changing your mode of
operations as circumstances dictate. You must be able to move rapidly and flexibly to exploit market advantages,
especially in high-profit areas after thorough investigation. As loan money will not be available at a practical
interest rate, you must start businesses on equity only, and grow by retained earnings on a steady basis, keeping the
enterprises as liquid as possible with no debt.

You are better off with multiple small businesses, rather than one large enterprise, since small firms will attract
little Government and competitive notice. More importantly, with a series of small separate businesses, if one fails,
it will not drag the others down with it. Try to do as much cash business as possible, at a time when cash is tight.
Barter as necessary. If you extend credit, be sure of the borrower, and mark the product up sufficiently to allow for
deep discounting of credit paper and such losses as might occur.
Buyers will be very value-conscious, insisting on well-made products at the lowest possible prices. One way to
provide this will be to purchase distressed merchandise of good quality at giveaway prices for resale. Another will
be to buy broken or worn-out products for rebuilding and sale at prices much lower than new goods. A guarantee of
limited term will probably be necessary to move these items.

Product areas will be obvious. Concentrate on items that will be needed: for example, in the Great Depression, the
need for entertainment to escape the unpleasant realities of everyday life led to once-weekly movie theater outings
and the radio for the average family. In the coming crisis, it will, of course, be the television set that will provide
entertainment. The reconditioning of top-line, smaller, table-model black-and-white and color sets is indicated.
Repair and sales personnel will be readily available.

The same will be true of automobiles, as basic transportation will still be a necessity and public transportation will
not be able to handle the job. But stay with the inexpensive, lower-line vehicles, and avoid the expensive
show-boats, no matter how attractively they are priced, since your buyers, the key to your success, will want an
automobile they can operate as cheaply as possible.

Concentrate always on high-turnover, rapid sales to keep your investment capital working. If an item does not
move, distress price it and move it, insuring that you do not make the mistake of stocking it again.

You will see other product areas. If you study people’s basic needs, you will get ideas for products. Used tools
might be an interesting area; as people cannot afford repairmen, do-it-yourself work will become a necessity, not a

Inexpensive sporting goods might succeed since they provide some diversion. While there will be many markets for
high-line items for the wealthy and ostentatious high-living types, it will probably be best to avoid these, as the
turnover ratios will probably be too low to make them really profitable.

Concentrate on cash flow and retained cash, not paper profits. Collections on debt during a depression will be
difficult, at best. Notes will either be totally worthless or deeply discounted.

If you can contact someone who worked in a small business during the Great Depression, seek his advice on cash
management. Don’t be afraid to barter either, as monetary units become increasingly worthless. Hard goods might
be preferable to pieces of paper.

Don’t hire employees. Instead, in all instances, utilize independent contractors as repairmen and salesmen, paying
them each a percentage of cash profits in lieu of wages or salaries. Initially, this will keep you away from the
manifold invasions of government entities at all levels.
After all, as business declines, expect horrendous employee taxes to be levied on management to pay benefits to all
of those out of work. Then again, tying compensation directly to financial performance will insure, with the proper
controls, a maximum effort from your associates to turn out top-quality products and sell them at the proper prices.

Finally, be merciless in your evaluation of your businesses. If a project does not operate to your satisfaction,
terminate it without remorse. Many an astute businessman has gone broke trying to make an uneconomic business
fly “with just a few dollars more”.

Set your financial goals realistically; allow sufficient investment to make it succeed, and work at it. If you terminate
the business by sale and your successor makes it a winner, don’t worry. In this period, an alert entrepreneur will
recognize nothing but opportunities where the average person sees nothing but disaster.

Above all, keep a low profile, both in your businesses and personally. The obviously successful will be a target not
only for the various government busybodies, but also criminals and terrorists. Let the unintelligent have the
spotlight: drive an old car that appears shabby, but is in top mechanical condition, and wear old clothes. Live in a
modest-appearing house that may he a palace inside. In other words, live like the old-time Mafia; be wealthy, but
don’t show it- you will avoid a great deal of grief.

An alert reader will recognize the type of person I am describing here: he is the old-time entrepreneur who built this
country from the post-Civil War era until the First World War. This person eschewed debt because he could not get
it. He kept his business secret to hide his successes from potential competitors, not, as will be the case in the future,
from the Government. For the same reason, he kept a low personal profile, avoiding excessive displays of wealth.

We are already in the early stages of this financial crisis. A smart man will begin taking the appropriate steps now,
cognizant of the 2 ½ year time limit. Businesses established now on a quiet basis may well be your salvation in the
future when the big, highly debt-leveraged firms start going under (after all, leverage works both ways; when cash
flow falls, rigid debt payments will destroy many companies). Above all, in all of your future dealings, remember
one cardinal principle: Government will never be the solution: Government is the problem.
Editor’s Note: Perhaps the most difficult problem that the survivalist faces is that of alternate energy sources.
There are no simple answers, but in this issue we begin a series which should give you some idea of the approach
best suited to your particular needs. Helping us in this area are Eric and Anne Teller, who have been living on their
homestead retreat since the mid-seventies. Since then, as Anne wrote me, “We have cleared 20 acres of our land,
built a road and three ponds, constructed a house, garage/shop… and developed and put into use a completely
independent power and lighting system with accessory backups.”

Bruce Clayton’s article on page 9 compliments the Teller’s, for it contains additional useful information on Aladdin
lamps. N. T.

Alternative Lighting for the Homestead

by Eric and Anne Teller

Lighting is one of those everyday necessities that the serious survivalist had better not take for granted. Having or
not having adequate artificial light immediately available can be of critical consequence. Besides the fact that there
are many activities that are simply impossible to do without sufficient lighting, working under inadequate lighting
diminishes the value of your efforts.

When my wife, Anne, and I began work on our homestead retreat nine years ago, one of the first projects was to
develop a viable lighting system. We wanted a system we could depend upon under all circumstances; our goal was
one that we could operate and maintain ourselves, one that would be reliable in both daily and emergency
situations. The actual attainment of this objective sounded simple enough. It took seven years of research and
experimentation, revision, and more experimentation to produce really dependable results.

Using the above criteria, we knew we didn’t want to hook up with commercially available outside power. Don’t
think we weren’t tempted to hook up temporarily, just until the pressures of the initial building and developing of
our homestead retreat eased off.

But somewhere in the back of our minds, we knew how easy it would be to keep putting off the attainment of our
own independent, dependable, alternative power and lighting system. So Anne and I agreed from our start here that
even though it definitely put us at a temporary disadvantage and forced us through some hardship and sacrifice, the
only power we would use would be that which we could produce or harness ourselves, right here on our own land.

The first months of experimenting disclosed some interesting realities.

The reader might, at this point, wonder why we didn’t simply buy a decent generator/alternator to give us regular
120-volt AC power for our lighting needs. Although an electrical generating unit has today become an important
part of our total power and electrical system, the full-time operation of an electrical generator/alternator was not
practical for full-time lighting. And we couldn’t have afforded one even if we thought it was the answer.

Beginning with basics, romantic though it might be, we realized candlelight would not meet our daily lighting
needs. We began our lighting experiments with wick-type kerosene lamps and pressure lanterns.

Kerosene-burning wick-type lamps proved to be the base level in our alternative lighting system; simple, reliable,
and very easy on fuel. With a lamp of this type in daily use, a single 55-gallon barrel of kerosene fuel will last
between two and three years. If the lamp globe or chimney is kept clean and soot-free, and reflectors are used to
focus and concentrate the light, this lamp is surprisingly efficient, especially considering the extremely low fuel

For these reasons we recommend the wick type table and wall lamps with reflectors to be the most reliable (and the
least expensive) alternative lighting. We still use these lamps on a regular basis, especially during long winter
evenings. Outdoor-style lanterns of the kerosene wick-type serve dependably where low level, weatherproof light
sources are needed, such as for markers, warning lights, etc.

Although we found kerosene wick-type lamps provided dependable low level illumination, they illuminate a small
area and do not provide enough light for comfortable reading or other tasks needing higher levels of visibility.

When we needed a stronger light than our kerosene lamps would provide, we would use one of the lamps known to
us from past camping experiences. The ubiquitous Coleman gasoline pressure lantern is well known to most
campers and those living in remote areas. Indeed, single- and double-mantle pressure lanterns do produce a
significant amount of illumination, much more than wick-type lamps. Additionally, they are rugged (except for the
mantles!) and readily portable.

However, they do suffer from definite limitations when used inside confined spaces. First and foremost, although
they do give off a bright light, it is not adjustable in terms of brightness and it is a harsh, glaring type of light.
Besides the fumes from the fuel combustion, the irritating hissing noise is definitely an undesirable side effect. We
found that when nothing else was available, the pressure lantern could be placed on a hook outside the window of a
building in which light was needed. By using a reflector, we brought light into the living or working space without
the associated negative features of noise and fumes.
It is also possible to reduce the harsh glare by use of frosted globes which are available as options. The results of
our experiences with this type of lighting cause us to conclude that it is not practical (with one exception) for
survival situations. The notable exception to the family of pressure-type lanterns is the Coleman Model 201
kerosene pressure lamp. Although it shares the basic shortcomings of all pressure lamps, its very high output light
coupled with the fact that it burns kerosene makes it a valuable emergency lighting source under special conditions.

Especially when a dependable portable outside light source is needed the Coleman Model 201 kerosene pressure
lantern fills the bill nicely. Our two kerosene lanterns get regular usage during the crisp evenings of fall when I’m
out in the yard after supper splitting firewood.

If you decide to add one of these lanterns to your lighting equipment, be sure to get several additional generators,
and a spare globe, and at least a dozen extra mantles. The mantles are generally long-lived except when the lantern
is set down sharply or in other ways jarred. All lanterns of this type present a fire hazard and, naturally, must be
used with care.

Many years ago, Anne and I were visiting a writer friend and his wife at their Canadian wilderness cabin and were
introduced to probably the most efficient homestead retreat lighting unit in terms of good, dependable indoor
illumination in a simple, portable unit. It was after a late supper and the sun was long gone below the tree line when
our friend lifted down a glass table lamp from the shelf. Upon seeing it lighted, Anne and I were immediately
impressed with the brilliant, quiet light given off by this super-efficient kerosene burner. This was our introduction
to the Aladdin lamp.

The Aladdin is a non-pressurized kerosene lamp that produces approximately 60 watts (at maximum light output) of
bright, even light with minimal consumption of kerosene. In emergencies, these lights can even be fueled by No. 1
diesel or fuel oil. However, we don’t recommend it since the lamp’s performance suffers and the wick will require
more frequent cleaning.

When we had finally acquired several Aladdin lamps for our homestead retreat, it was a big change compared to
wick-type kerosene lamps and the Coleman lanterns. The light output of Aladdin lamps is adjustable and can be
varied from barely a glow, even less than the low flicker of a wick kerosene lamp, to the output of a bright,
incandescent bulb.

Users should be forewarned, however, that at maximum light output the Aladdin is temperamental and must be
watched and turned down if signs of carbon formation begin to show on the mantle. Failure to do this can turn the
lamp into a flaming torch. It’s very disconcerting when this happens; the end result being not only a fire hazard but
the house filling with a mass of floating particles and strands of sooty carbon just waiting to form a black, oily
smudge on any surface on which they settle.
But when used with reasonable care and sense, the various models of the Aladdin lamp perform dependably day
after day, providing quite adequate lighting for nearly all purposes.

One additional cautionary note concerning the Aladdin lamp: A relatively large amount of intense heat is given off
at the top of the globe due to the high, efficient, white-hot burning of fuel. You must not have the top of the
chimney directly under or even near any combustible material. However, this efficient burning trait with its related
heat output can provide a bonus in emergency or survival situations. It is possible to fabricate a one-burner cooker
utilizing the Aladdin as the heating source.

Any solid open-ended box style structure with an opening on one side to allow access to the wick raising/lowering
handle will do. Via one open end, the unit is placed over the lamp.

A steel grill set on the open top serves for supporting cooking or water containers. The strength of the box structure
should be sufficient to support whatever is put on the cooking grill. This unit not only serves as an efficient, small
one-burner stove, but gives a certain amount of light as well.

The mantles on Aladdin lamps are similar to Coleman mantles, being composed of a material that turns to ash when
it is first ignited and thus is susceptible to the least bump or jarring. Be that as it may, we have used Aladdin lamps
on a daily basis for over a year with the same mantle. It is still wise to stock plenty of spares.

And that goes for wicks, wick cleaners, and the flame spreader, too, which on the newer lamps appears to have a
limited life span of only a year or two. As with the wick lamp, it is my feeling that the Aladdin lamp is basic to any
reliable homestead retreat lighting system.

Yet another dependable source of high illumination alternative lighting is the LP gas mantle light. There are LP and
butane camp lanterns available, but their limited fuel capacity makes them impractical. For interior lighting in the
permanent homestead retreat, gas mantle lamps can be installed at strategic locations in the same manner that
permanent lamp fixtures are.

The fuel supply for these lights is the common outside bulk storage tank. It’s the same LP gas fuel as is used for
cooking and other domestic household uses. The prime advantage of this fuel is that it stores indefinitely. LP gas
can be piped into homestead retreat buildings with little difficulty. The piping or copper tubing is run directly from
the bulk tank to the gas light fixtures.

The lights give out a constant bright light equivalent to about a 60 watt 120-volt incandescent bulb. The main
disadvantage is that, unlike Aladdin lamps, the LP gas mantle lamps of this type lack portability.
Since adequate ventilation is very important to remember in any tightly constructed building, it makes sense to
provide sufficient ventilation when using any of the aforementioned lighting units.

By the time Anne and I had the Aladdin lamps and I had installed two LP gas lights at strategic spots in the kitchen
and living room, we felt our basic lighting needs had been met. However, I still wanted something that we could
depend upon for a safe and practical lighting system in the event all stored fuel had been used up. With that goal in
mind, we made a quantum leap forward in the perfection and refinery of our homestead retreat lighting system.

It had long seemed to me that somewhere in all our so-called modern technology there should be the ingredients for
a completely safe, highly efficient, and thoroughly dependable lighting system; one that would perform with the
flick of a switch or snap of a button just like the piped-in system we have learned to rely upon too heavily. As it
turned out, the 12-volt battery/electrical system is it.

Twelve-volt lighting certainly isn’t anything new. But getting the right combination and integration of components
in the system is critical. It took careful research along with a lot of trial and error for us to come up with a workable
system. When we first started experimenting with car batteries and 12-volt incandescent bulbs, we had many frantic
mornings revolving around a dead car battery. It all evolved from that point. Fortunately, complete off-the-shelf
systems are available today that weren’t nine years ago.

Long-lived, heavy-duty, deep-cycle batteries form the heart of the 12-volt system. We graduated to six used
batteries, six years ago, and they test as well today as the day we got them.

A new set of batteries can be expected to last from 15 to 25 years when properly maintained. The light comes from
special light fixtures hooked to the battery bank by means of simple wiring procedures. These special fixtures
contain built-in inverters which allow regular 120-volt fluorescent bulbs to be used in the fixtures. In fact, this
lighting is comparable to lighting found in most homes served by commercial power companies. Our bank of six
batteries provides the electrical power for the lights in the main part of our house.

A separate bank of two deep-cycle batteries provides the lighting for the garage and shop. Presently the batteries are
all charged with a portable heavy-duty commercial garage-type battery charger, powered by a diesel generator. Our
batteries are recharged every week or two for a period of from four to eight hours. In the near future, we plan to
phase out the generator and battery charger combination, and charge the batteries directly with a small 12-volt
windmill and solar panel combination.
There are a great many more applications for a 12-volt battery power system for the homestead retreat besides just
lighting. For instance, many of the radio-communication systems discussed in previous PS Letters operate on 12
volts. An assortment of security devices and even a home entertainment center can be powered by this source. The
possibilities are numerous and additional information about most 12-volt power applications is available from: Jim
Cullen Enterprises, P.O. Box 732, Laytonville, CA 95454.

Even our flashlights are now powered by the 12-volt battery system. Sears carries a hand lantern battery which can
be recharged hundreds of times by a 12-volt system. Having used hand lanterns with these rechargeable batteries
for several years, we find them to be dependable.

A 12-volt system makes sense because its smaller size means less complexity and more dependability. A larger
system, especially when integrated with a higher-voltage wind generator, becomes much more vulnerable to
potential problems. As in so many aspects of survival planning, the crucial concept to follow is simplicity.

As mentioned, we still maintain and use on an occasional basis our basic kerosene and LP gas lighting units. Should
some terminal fate or sabotage befall our homestead retreat battery bank, we will still have light.

In summary, the basic alternative lighting system which has proven itself to us in daily use and which I would
recommend as the minimum to any serious survivalist is as follows:

3 Wick-type kerosene lamps

2 Spare lamp globes
9 Spare wicks

These lamps and parts are available from Lehman Hardware, Box 41, Kidron, OH 44636. (Incidentally, these
people put out a catalog of unique items useful to the homestead retreater, some of which are generally unavailable

2 Coleman Model 201 kerosene pressure lanterns

2 Spare globes
2 Reflectors
2 Dozen spare mantles
6 Spare generators
This particular model of Coleman lantern can be purchased from Hudson’s, 105 Third Avenue, New York, NY

3 Aladdin amber glass kerosene lamps, with shades. (We specifically recommend this model lamp for survival
purposes because it’s easy to monitor the fuel level and the shade cuts down considerably on the bright glare from
the unshaded light.)
3 Spare globes
2 Dozen spare mantles
3 Wick cleaners
1 Dozen spare wicks
6 Spare flame spreaders

Aladdin lamps are also available from Lehman Hardware listed above and from S.I., 17019 Kingsview, Carson, CA

3 Wall-mounted LP gas lights

2 Spare globes
1 Dozen spare preformed mantles. (We have found that the preformed mantles last the longest.)

Gas lights should be available from any local LP gas dealer, or a trailer/recreational vehicle supplier. If you can’t
locate these fixtures, write to me in care of PS Letter and I will locate a current source for you.

Finally, the retreater wanting the ultimate in safe, convenient, and dependable lighting for a permanent homestead
retreat can buy a complete, off-the-shelf 12-volt electrical system. The best current source, Jim Cullen Enterprises,
is listed in this article.

Speaking as one who knows from firsthand experience, it’s a frustrating ordeal trying to do tasks well under
inadequate lighting. Even recreational reading becomes an unpleasant chore. Conjure up a mental picture of a
survival crisis situation where there’s no electricity from outside sources. It’s a pitch black night. There are vital
things to be done. At this point you either have your alternative lighting system set up and are well-acquainted with
using it, or it’s too late.

People who stop in for a visit here don’t realize that we have an independent lighting system. The fixtures appear
very similar to lighting fixtures seen in any home. The hanging lamp over our favorite reading chair in the living
room is operated from a wall switch that probably looks the same as the one you have in your living room. The
double fluorescent ceiling fixture illuminating the kitchen has been snapping to life as needed for a good many
The only time our lighting system seems different is when our section of the county is smothered in darkness by a
tree crashing through the main power line, a situation which frequently occurs in the spring and fall. At such times,
we are able to continue with whatever is at hand. We have a secure feeling at those times.

Editor’s Note: The authors will be going into more detail about the 12-volt system and the deep-cycle batteries it
requires in a future issue. If you can’t wait until that article appears and have specific questions for them, you can
write them in care of PS Letter. N.T.

Observations on Light, Heating, and Cooking, Part II: Lights

by Bruce Clayton, Ph.D.

Another lesson from our three-day test involved kerosene lamps. We had a pair of wick lamps and several large
candles which we thought would be adequate for emergency lighting, but quickly learned otherwise. The yellowish
light from the lamps and candles perfectly camouflaged our little boy’s yellow pajamas against the “harvest gold”

Whenever I tried to pick him up, the shadow cast by the base of the lamp I was carrying made him vanish into the
floor. Also, I found that the globular base of the lamp was very hard to hold with one hand, as you must do when
carrying the baby into the bathroom to change him. These lamps left a lot to be desired.

I mentioned these experiences to Bill Pier of Survival, Inc. a few months ago and he immediately started telling me
about the virtues of the Aladdin kerosene lamps. I was skeptical that any kerosene lamp could really be worth $30
to $110, but Bill was adamant. (A $50 Aladdin would have to beat ten $5 wick lamps, after all, to be cost effective.)

The result of the conversation was that Bill expressed the courage of his convictions by sending me three lamps to
test. I decided to use it as an opportunity to compare and report on a variety of lighting and heating devices. (See
Issue No. 25)

Let’s start with the lanterns. Bill sent me two of the metal base Aladdin “utility lamps” ($43 in the SI catalog) and
also one of his “most popular” lamps that had a pedestal base and a paper lamp shade (not in the 1981 SI catalog
but listed with an electric conversion kit for $79.95 in the 1980 catalog).
These lamps are a cross between two more familiar types of lamps, the standard wick kerosene lamp and the
Coleman white-gas mantle lantern. The Aladdin lamps embody the best of both categories. They are as bright as the
Colemans, but are silent (the Coleman lamps hiss loudly) and require less attention (no pumping). Then there is the
inestimable advantage of burning kerosene instead of explosive white gasoline.

In spite of the tradition of the Chicago fire, kerosene is difficult to ignite without a wick. I have tossed flaming
matches into pools of kerosene and watched them slowly burn out without igniting the fuel. Don’t try that with
white gas!

I tested my wick lanterns against the Aladdin mantle lanterns for fuel consumption, brightness, and general utility. I
was not able to measure absolute brightness, but by using an old trick remembered from a college physics exercise I
did come up with a rough estimate of the relative brightness of the lamps. The $5, ¾” wick kerosene lanterns gave
off about 1/10th as much light as the $43 mantle lamps. The cost differential seemed justified.

The mantle lantern was surprisingly bright, and in addition gave off white light as compared with the wick’s yellow
glow. One very valuable feature of the Aladdin lamps is that the glass chimneys lock in place, and do not fall off if
the lamp is tipped. Carrying a wick lantern, on the other hand, is a perpetual balancing act.

As for fuel consumption, the Aladdin used kerosene at about twice the rate of the wick lanterns. Although the rate
of consumption was higher, the Aladdin produced light about five times more efficiently than the wick lantern. This
means that the wick lantern might be a good night light, while the Aladdin would be an excellent reading or work

If I were to make a specific recommendation, I’d suggest that you get one of the Aladdin pedestal models because
they can be grasped and carried with one hand while the less expensive squat-based models cannot. You may be
seriously inconvenienced otherwise. We have tried out the electric conversion kit which goes with these lamps and,
although it works very well, I’d discourage you from buying it. If you buy it, you will use it.

Then when the power fails, you get to make the conversion to kerosene in the dark... which isn’t as easy as it
sounds. As for aesthetics, the “Amber-based” lamp with the “natural burlap” shade is about the best looking lamp in
the line, although it is not the most expensive ($79.95). The fancier brass and milk glass models (to $110) somehow
don’t look as nice. Up close they look like $14.95 K-Mart specials. We have purchased two of the amber base
lamps as gifts for friends.
That brings to mind an amusing illustration of the quality of the Aladdin lamps. One family we gave a lamp to was
struck by a power failure soon after. They used their new Aladdin with great success as the blackout extended
through the evening. The next day, however, they found that there was a lot of bad feeling among the neighbors.
They couldn’t figure out why only one home on the block still had electricity! The rumor was that our friends must
have had special pull with the city power department! Those are ​bright, white​ kerosene lamps.

One problem with the Aladdin lamps is their tendency toward carbon fouling when too much fuel reaches the
mantle. The difficulty is that the fuel flow increases as the lamp heats up, so setting the wick for maximum
brightness virtually guarantees that the mantle will overheat and begin to foul within minutes. This problem seems
to be worse with the lamps that have shades.

I’m not sure whether this is because these lamps heat up faster due to reflected heat from the shade, or because the
user can’t see the mantle as readily, but in any case it is very easy to ruin a mantle in minutes with these models if
you don’t keep your eye on them.

Since I suspect that this article will eventually find its way into the hands of the Aladdin Company, I’ll strike a
blow for those of us who use the lamps by pointing out a definite flaw in them. The thumb wheel which adjusts the
wick height shreds your thumb after two or three days of use. It gets hot, it is very narrow, it has eight sharp
corners, and it is very stiff to turn. I eventually resorted to pliers. This flaw could be easily remedied at the factory
by making the knob larger, thicker, softer, or by altering it in almost any way at all!

If you purchase mantle lanterns, be sure to use only first-quality kerosene in them, not the “lamp oil” you find in the
grocery stores (or even from Aladdin!). Ask at Standard stations for “pearl” grade kerosene, which is available in
55-gallon drums, or in lesser amounts depending on the dealer. Poor quality fuels foul the mantle.

I also tested two candles while I was at it. The first was one of SI’s “50-Hour Emergency Candles”, the kind
molded inside a four-inch cold cream can ($2.45). I lit it and set it aside on the kitchen counter. Two days later it
was still burning, and mine eventually burned almost sixty hours before flickering out. I was pleased to see it live
up to its name, but there were two negative observations, too. The first was that the candle flame quickly burned
down below the edge of the can and illuminated only the ceiling over the can.

A glass container, although breakable, might have cast more usable light. The second observation was that there
was still about 20% of the available wax left around the sides of the can when the candle hit bottom and guttered
out. It looked like a slightly taller, slightly narrower container might have been more efficient.
The second candle I tested was virtually a novelty item, but one which survivalists might find of interest. It is called
a “Strike-A-Lite”, and is manufactured by Ferguson & Ferguson, Box 82, Fresno, CA 93707. This is a
three-inch emergency candle about ¾” thick which has a strike-anywhere match as a wick!

The match head is waterproofed by a tiny rubber sheath which has to be pried off before use. I had to use a knife tip
to cut off the rubber cover. Then I struck the match on the edge of the knife blade and (voila!) instant light! I set the
candle on a saucer where it burned steadily for 58 minutes. If handheld, I’d say it’s usable life would have been
about half an hour before singed fingers would have terminated the experiment. These candles are $3.00 for a pack
of four.

Before closing, let me remind you that all open-combustion devices require adequate ventilation, even if it means
opening a window to a blizzard. Otherwise you may fall asleep and wake up dead. Thousands of others have gone
that way before you, so don’t take chances. Also, it is very wise to keep one or more dry-chemical fire
extinguishers within arm’s reach when using these devices.

Survival Gunsmithing- Single Shot Shotguns

By J.B. Wood

The single-shot shotgun is not the best choice for defensive purposes, for obvious reasons. For every other survival
application, though, there are many points to recommend it. The external-hammer guns with pivoting barrels are
mechanically simple. Parts breakage is not common, but when this does happen, repairs are easily done. If there are
children or other novice shooters to be taught shotgun handling, the simple single-shot is perfect for this purpose.

In ​Survival Guns,​ Mel mentioned several of the single shotguns as good choices. On the list he sent me for this
column, he narrowed it down to two guns of good quality which are still available as new commercial pieces- the
Harrington & Richardson “Topper”, and the Savage/Stevens Model 94C.

The “Topper” has had several model designations, as the 148, 158, 058, 490, and so on, and these have small
mechanical differences, but the basic gun is the same. There are similar sub-models of the Savage/Stevens 94C. For
our purposes here, we will consider the versions in current production, by whatever designation.

For these simple guns, we’ll briefly abandon the separate basic and comprehensive spare parts lists, and make one
complete list for each gun. Here is the list for the Harrington & Richardson “Topper”: firing pin, firing pin return
spring, hammer spring, ejector, ejector spring, barrel latch spring, and trigger guard.

When obtaining the spare firing pin, be sure the point of your replacement matches the firing pin aperture in the
breech face. The factory changed the diameter of the point in recent years, and if you have an early gun, the
current-production firing pin won’t work.
The return spring is included in case of impact-weakening after long use. The hammer spring is on the same basis,
and these also break occasionally, but not often. If age-weakening occurs, it is sometimes possible to restore the
tension by carefully cold-bending the lower rear arms of the spring, but this can eventually lead to breakage.

The ejector is subject to wear at the shell-rim contact point, and can also break at the narrowed forward area of its
shaft. The ejector spring is compressed at all times when the action is closed, and can eventually age-weaken. The
barrel latch spring is not subject to this, as it is expanded when the gun is closed and not in use. It is included
mainly because of its essential nature, just in case it takes a “set” far in the future.

The trigger guard is made of a tough plastic, and breakage is not common. Plastic, though, is not steel, and a sharp
blow at the right angle can crack it. Since it is one of the least expensive parts on the gun, a spare or two would
make sense. Two other inexpensive parts that the Confirmed Pessimist might want to add are the hammer and
trigger, in case of a broken sear step or sear extension. Wear is not a big factor here, as both parts are

Now, let’s turn to the Savage/Stevens Model 94C, for which the parts list will be a little longer: firing pin, firing pin
retaining screw, hammer spring, hammer spring guide (plunger assembly), hammer spring base (plunger seat),
locking bolt plunger and spring, ejector, ejector spring and guide, ejector hook, fore-end housing spring assembly,
trigger guard, and trigger guard screws (2).

The firing pin screw is a small, headless type with a slim, unthreaded lower tip, and, in case of breakage or loss, it
would be difficult to reproduce. The hammer spring will probably not be needed, but the guide can break at its
rebound head, and the base can be lost during disassembly or reassembly if it slips and is propelled by the spring.

The locking bolt plunger and spring power the “locking bolt” or barrel latch, and the spring may weaken with age.
The plunger, or guide, has a special curved shape and a pointed head which fits a recess in the back of the barrel
latch yoke. If the guide is lost or broken, it would be quite a job to make a replacement with exactly the right point
and curve to function properly.

The rim contact area of the ejector is subject to wear, and the spring is compressed whenever the action is closed.
The ejector hook has been known to break at its pivot hole or the vertical arm which contacts the ejector spring. If
the hook breaks, the ejector will still work, but without its snap-out action.

The double-curved blade spring that retains the fore-end may weaken with age, and can also break. An individual
spare can be kept. The complete fore-end spring assembly, however, is not expensive, and will make installation
much easier, requiring only the removal and replacement of two screws.

Late series-K guns will have a hammer-block link assembly, pivot-attached to the front of the trigger. This link
system blocks the hammer from firing pin contact unless the trigger is intentionally pulled to the rear. Those with
series-K guns may want to add the stop link to their lists.

To cover every possible disaster, all Model 94 owners could also keep a spare hammer and trigger, in case of a
chipped hammer or sear step. Both parts are surface-hardened, so wear is not a problem.
To avoid confusion, it should be pointed out that there is a superficially similar series of Savage/Stevens guns, and
some under the Springfield name, in Models 940, 944, and 947, with various letter designations. These have the
barrel latch on the right side of the receiver, and have different internal mechanisms. They are of lesser quality than
the 94-series guns.

The Model 94 is on page 163 of ​The Gun Digest Book of Exploded Firearms Drawings,​ Second Edition. I’m sorry
to say that this gun is not included in ​Part V: Shotguns in my series of takedown books. The internal mechanism of
the Model 94, though, is practically identical with the Model 24, covered on pages 260 through 267 of the shotgun
book. In fact, several of the parts will actually interchange, a good point to remember if you have both guns.

The Harrington & Richardson “Topper” is not in the ​Exploded Drawings book, but it is covered in ​The Gun Digest
Book of Firearms Assembly/Disassembly, Part V: Shotguns,​ on pages 98 through 104. If these two books are not
available at your local gun shop or bookstore, they can be ordered direct from DBI Books, Inc., One Northfield
Plaza, Northfield, IL 60093.