Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cheat Sheets

When we were in high school, cheat sheets were naughty, dishonest and downright bad. Later, I had a teacher who encouraged cheat sheets. His exams were challenging and required a thought process to apply what was in the books to real world situations.  His philosophy was that "life is an open book test," so his exams should be the same. I loved this guy, but his exams were always a bear.  Most of us gave up on bringing books, just a few index cards of equations.

Unless an emergency is particularly fast-moving, emergencies and the post-crisis recovery will be open book. We may not have access to the Internet, so a "cheat sheet" or two in your preparedness supplies is a good idea. These may vary from a laminated index card to an entire book. Your response situation, i.e. whether you need to leave home and if so whether on foot or in a vehicle, may dictate your choice of formats.

I use several different formats. In my mobile supplies I keep a few small handbooks, like the SAS survival guide and a Special Forces medical manual. At home I keep a few more, including the Carla Emery Country Living book. In some specific containers of supplies, I keep a laminated cheat sheet with excerpts from websites. My most recent is with some water purification supplies and is edited from these posts:

The first one is how to make the equivalent of Clorox bleach from consumer packaged "pool shock" (calcium hypochlorite only, this table is geared to 68% strength).  I found this product most recently at Walmart.

Next is how to use your new bleach to disinfect water of differing qualities.

The next handy cheat sheet is useful for those who keep a few silver coins in preparedness supplies. It is part way down on this site.  It's handy because the far right column gives a value for the silver in each type of applicable US coin based on the price of silver at $10 per ounce.  If silver is $25 an ounce, then you can do the math and multiply the value in that column by 2.5 and have your starting point to negotiate use of the coins.

How do I make my cheat sheets? Two ways:
Method 1: I use this when a lot of editing is needed. Cut and paste the parts of the site that you need onto a word processing document. Then edit and print.

Method 2:  Center the info you want on your screen. Hit the FUNCTION and PRINT SCREEN keys. Go to a PAINT or other graphics program.  Hit CONTROL V and paste the graphic into the work space. Crop what you want and save the file as a .jpg or other graphic file.  Here's that example from the silver site, 2-clicks coins.

When I have a few, I head to the UPS Store or Kinko's and laminate them. Most will be 4 x 6 inch cards in multiple copies so I can have the info in several places.  (You may have other ways to laminate, including a small home lamination machine) Why not just have them on your phone, laptop, tablet, thumb drive or other electronic media? Well, that's a good place for a lot of info, but there will be times when it just won't work, so a few hard copies are wise. Not of everything you're keeping in your electronic files, but of some critical info for managing through until electronic media is again practical-- like how to purify your water without dragging too much stuff with you or how to use silver coins when plastic isn't being accepted.

Also, remember that old guideline about being prepared: three is two, two is one, one is none. If you really think your cheat sheet is important enough to have a copy in an emergency, make 2.  If not having the info will reduce your and your family's chance of survival, a minimum of 3 copies, stored in different places, makes sense.

What's your favorite cheat sheet?


  1. "What's your favorite cheat sheet?"

    My survival gear trailer and a 30 pack of Natural Light. :-)

    1. You sound like a 'Man with a Plan' and the preparations to execute it!

  2. Purified water is Australias premier manufacturer of filtered boiling and chilled water units for use in private and commercial applications. Manufactured in Victoria and represented nationally.

  3. A Man with a cheat sheet is like a man with a plan. water management