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Friday, April 23, 2010

Woodstove Replacement Program

"Maine Enacts Wood Stove Replacement Program" is the headliner from a MPBN broadcast today. While this isn't exactly true, as the legislature hasn't passed the bill yet, it gives pause to the idea of using a wood stove as an alternative source of heating and cooking needs in your survival and preparedness homestead. In a nutshell, the program that will be developed will establish a fund at the state level to provide for the replacement of alder wood stove units with more efficient newer units. For those of us Mainers that rely upon the old standby, this may be the moment to seriously undertake replacing that old woodstove you are keeping on standby for when the grid goes down and you lose any other means of heating for your homes.

There are some points to bear in mind however. According to a Pierce-Atwood analysis of the legislation; Only wood stoves that were manufactured prior to 1988 and are used as a primary source of heat in a primary residence are eligible for replacement funding. That means if you desire to participate, you need to have an older woodstove ion use already. The program will be administered by the state EPA, and will supposedly be funded with 1.5 million that will be pulled from the same hat the pink bunny gets pulled from when there isn't any money to go around. That said; think carefully before you leap into the fire.

One of the problems many have with their preparedness planning is the financing of those plans, and some folks may be tempted to go around the barn backwards just to obtain a little help from Big Gov. Remember that the intent of this bill is to clean up the pollution caused by older stoves. The summary says that; This bill establishes a residential wood stove replacement program in the Department of Environmental Protection under which eligible applicants could receive funding toward the purchase of new cleaner-burning residential heating appliances to replace older wood stoves and appropriates funds for that purpose. The plan isn't in place, and standards as to who will be eligible, and exactly what kinds of appliances can be purchased has not been determined as yet.

Therefore, if you hear of this program, especially from a fast talking woodstove salesman, stand back and watch the game for a while before committing to a sale. As we get closer to the time of need we'll see an increase in the sales of woodstoves and firewood, so if you want to be prepared, buy now, or get your older model upgraded if you can. Normally I don't put much stock in these government handout programs, but depending how this scheme works out it could be to your advantage.

But before you do, make sure your research is complete.

Why is it important to have an energy efficient woodstove? According to the eco-warriors they reduce the amount of air pollution, but the practical reason is that you can get more work out of your stove for less fuel. It'll save you money on cordwood as it will take less to heat your home. Burn times can be substantially longer so you have to spend less of your time tending the fire. They are also supposedly safer to operate which lowers the risk of unwanted home fires. Based upon these three points alone, I'd say upgrading would be a wise choice at this time.

Maine being a cold weather state wood stoves are almost a given in your survival homestead, and anything you can do to reduce your costs will allow you to spend more on other supplies and equipment. And as I have said before, the closer we get to the time of need, the more expensive it will be to get fitted out as a survival style home. This is where your ability to analyze your situation and resources to develop your preparedness plans occurs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shopping for the long haul

It's been an interesting few weeks watching the value of our currency decline in the world markets, but that can have good consequences here in Maine. The value of the Canadian Dollar has increased to a level that is now on par with the American dollar, so if you want to jump across the border to pick up some supplies, you don't have to mess with the exchange rates to make sure you are getting what you think you are. A buck is a buck is a buck, both here in the US and to our lovely neighbor to the north.

I mention that because there really is no reliable retailer for preparedness supplies here in Maine, but we have a new company (http://www.basiclifeessentials.com ) across the border in New Brunswick you may want to take a look at. I haven't bought anything from them, so I cannot vouch for their reliability, and their online catalog is still under construction, so you'll have to contact them for prices. I'm told they are starting another operation for the northern New England market, so we'll see how that comes out.

One of the problems that seem to be worsening here in Maine is the ready availability of survival and preparedness supplies and equipment without having to go out of state or do your business online. That kind of sucks, but we've little that can be done about it. What few places claim to sell long term products are really little more than army-navy stores, commonly referred to as military surplus dealers. Not much from these sources, I am afraid to say.

That said, I have a comment/question for any Mainer's reading this post.

I'd like to see if we can get a listing of as many places within Maine, or within an easy drive from anywhere in the state, that are potential sources of possible long term supplies and equipment for the Prepper community. There are many shops that deal in things like alternative heating systems and fuels, generators, solar equipment, foods and food preparation, small farm suppliers and so forth that don't advertise in the normal resources the preparedness community would frequent. That is mostly because they don't consider themselves as preparedness suppliers.

I don't want to do this as an advertising stunt, but I believe it would be of tremendous benefit to other Mainers to know where we can go to get some supplies and maybe some advice on different products on a first hand basis, rather than on the internet, where you may not have your questions answered as well as you'd like them to be all the time. If you'd like to take part in developing a stronger preparedness community here in Maine, simply leave your thoughts in the comment box, or drop me an email if you'd rather.


One of the things happening in Maine now is a reduction in police and firefighting staffing in many communities across the state. This will leave some smaller communities with no ability to quickly respond in the event of a major disaster. Some towns are contracting their police, fire and ambulance services to nearby towns leaving some towns completely without these services. This would be a good time for us to start looking at volunteering or participating in the emergency planning functions of these smaller towns.

For those of us that have been learning the ropes of preparedness for a while, it should be of some benefit to the community. After all, the community we live in is home, and we should look after our own homes, shouldn't we?

As a couple of other notes, I understand that there may be some changes in the works for some inland waterway flood zone changes, although I haven't been able to determine exactly what those changes will be. I believe that most of the change will culminate in a reduction of available assistance to those living in recurring heavy flood areas, so if you live in one of these areas, keep up with the changes to avoid problems down the road.

Also, don't forget that even with the record and near record rains, the dry Canadian air is coming back, and with it the winds will pick up. Be aware of the possibility for wildfires over the next couple of weeks if you live out of town.

MEMA News:

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