Category Archives: Survival Manual

A place where we don’t take for granted, what we’ve taken for granted.

Problems with the natural food chain

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Problems with the natural food chain)

A.  Crop Disease
The Food Crisis Of 2011, Oct. 27 2010 by Addison Wiggin, contributor
Pasted from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2010/10/27/the-food-crisis-of-2011/

“Every month, JPMorgan Chase dispatches a researcher to several supermarkets in Virginia. The task is to comparison shop for 31 items.
In July, the firm’s personal shopper came back with a stunning report: Wal-Mart had raised its prices 5.8% during the previous month. More significantly, its prices were approaching the levels of competing stores run by Kroger and Safeway. The “low-price leader” still holds its title, but by a noticeably slimmer margin.
[The world’s population is growing  at about 83 million people each year. During the last ten years, while global grain supplies have remained below average, about 830 million people have been added. A rising number of people on a diminished resource base has already lead to political turmoil across the Middle East. Now switch ‘food’ for ‘fuel’ in the ‘use more- have less’ equation and in a couple years when we are seen on the downside of peak oil, imagine retail cost increases and gasoline prices in North America, Europe, and developed of Asia. Mr Larry]
Read more at: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_the_world_population_grow_each_year#ixzz1U44q6sq

Within this tale lie several lessons you can put to work to make money. And it’s best to get started soon, because if you think your grocery bill is already high, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In fact, we could be just one supply shock away from a full-blown food crisis that would make the price spikes of 2008 look like a happy memory.
Fact is,  the food crisis of 2008 never really went away.
True, food riots didn’t break out in poor countries during 2009 and warehouse stores like Costco didn’t ration 20-pound bags of rice…but supply remained tight.

Prices for basic foodstuffs like corn and wheat remain below their 2008 highs. But they’re a lot higher than they were before “the food crisis of 2008” took hold. Here’s what’s happened to some key farm commodities so far in 2010…
•  Corn:  Up 63%
•  Wheat:  Up 84%
•  Soybeans:  Up 24%
•  Sugar:  Up 55%
What was a slow and steady increase much of the year has gone into overdrive since late summer. Blame it on two factors…
•  Aug. 5:  A failed wheat harvest prompted Russia to ban grain exports through the end of the year. Later in August, the ban was extended through the end of 2011. Drought has wrecked the harvest in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – home to a quarter of world production
•  Oct. 8:  For a second month running, the Agriculture Department cut its forecast for US corn production. The USDA predicts a 3.4% decline from last year. Damage done by Midwestern floods in June was made worse by hot, dry weather in August.

America’s been blessed with year after year of “record harvests,” depending on how you measure it. So when crisis hits elsewhere in the world, the burden of keeping the world fed falls on America’s shoulders.
According to Soren Schroder, CEO of the food conglomerate Bunge North America, US grain production has filled critical gaps in world supply three times in the last five years, including this summer…
• In 2010, when drought hit Russian wheat
• In 2009, when drought hit Argentine soybeans
• In 2007–08, when drought hit Australian wheat

So what happens when those “record harvests” no longer materialize?
In September, the US Department of Agriculture estimated that global grain “carryover stocks” – the amount in the world’s silos and stockpiles when the next harvest begins – totaled 432 million tons.
That translates to 70 days of consumption. A month earlier, it was 71 days. The month before that, 72. At this rate, come next spring, we’ll be down to just 64 days – the figure reached in 2007 that touched off the food crisis of 2008. But what happens if the U.S. scenario is worse than a “nonrecord” harvest? What if there’s a Russia-scale crop failure here at home?

“When we have the first serious crop failure, which will happen,” says farm commodity expert Don Coxe, “we will then have a full-blown food crisis” – one far worse than 2008. Coxe has studied the sector for more than 35 years as a strategist for BMO Financial Group. He says it didn’t have to come to this. “We’ve got a situation where there has been no incentive to allocate significant new capital to agriculture or to develop new technologies to dramatically expand crop output.”
“We’ve got complacency,” he sums up. “So for those reasons, I believe the next food crisis – when it comes – will be a bigger shock than $150 oil.”

A recent report from HSBC isn’t quite so alarming…unless you read between the lines. “World agricultural markets,” it says, “have become so finely balanced between supply and demand that local disruptions can have a major impact on the global prices of the affected commodities and then reverberate throughout the entire food chain.”
That was the story in 2008. It’s becoming the story again now. It may go away in a few weeks or a few months. But it won’t go away for good. It’ll keep coming back…for decades.
There’s nothing you or I can do to change it. So we might as well “hedge” our rising food costs by investing in the very commodities whose prices are rising now…and will keep rising for years to come.

“While investor eyes are focused on the gold price as it touches new highs,” reads a report from Japan’s Nomura Securities, “the acceleration in global food price is unrestrained. We continue to believe that soft commodities will outperform base and precious metals in the future.”
So how do you do it? As recently as 2006, the only way Main Street investors could play the trend was to buy commodity futures. It was complicated. It involved swimming in the same pool with the trading desks of the big commercial banks. And it usually involved buying on margin – that is, borrowing money from the brokerage. If the market went against you, you’d lose even more than your initial investment.
Nowadays, an exchange-traded fund can do the heavy lifting for you, no margin required. The name of the fund is the PowerShares DB Agriculture ETF (DBA).
There are at least a half-dozen ETFs that aim to profit when grain prices rise. We like DBA the best because it’s easy to understand. It’s based on the performance of the Deutsche Bank Agriculture Index, which is composed of the following:
•  Corn 12.5%
•  Soybeans 12.5%
•  Wheat 12.5%
•  Sugar 12.5%
•  Cocoa 11.1%
•  Coffee 11.1%
•  Cotton 2.8%
•  Live Cattle 12.5%
•  Feeder Cattle 4.2%
•  Lean Hogs 8.3%

So you have a mix here of 50% America’s staple crops of corn, beans, wheat and sugar…25% beef and pork…and 25% cocoa, coffee and cotton. It might not be a balanced diet (especially the cotton), but it makes for a good balance of assets within your first foray into “ag” investing.
The meat weighting in here looks especially attractive compared to some of DBA’s competitors, which are more geared to the grains. It takes about six months for higher grain prices to translate to higher cattle and hog prices.
You can capture that potential upside right now…and you’ll be glad you did when you sit down to a good steak dinner a few months down the line. After all, it’s going to cost you more.”
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B.  Five Dangers to Global Crops That Could Dramatically Reduce the World Food Supply
29 Oct 2010, The Economic Collapse, by Michael Snyder
Pasted from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/5-dangers-to-global-crops-that-could-dramatically-reduce-the-world-food-supply

 “The world food situation is starting to get very, very tight. Unprecedented heat and wildfires this summer in Russia and horrific flooding in Pakistan and China have been some of the primary reasons for the rapidly rising food prices we are now seeing around the globe.
In places such as Australia and the African nation of Guinea-Bissau, the big problem for crops has been locusts. In a world that already does not grow enough food for everyone (thanks to the greed of the elite), any disruption in food production can cause a major, major problem. Tonight, thousands of people around the world will starve to death. So what happens if things get even worse? Many agricultural scientists are now warning that global food production is facing dangers that are absolutely unprecedented. Crop diseases such as UG99 wheat rust and the “unintended effects” of genetic modification pose challenges that previous generations simply did not have to face. The outbreak of a real, live global famine looks increasingly possible with each passing year. So are you and your family prepared if a global famine does strike?
Already, there are huge warning signs on the horizon. Just check out what agricultural commodities have been doing. They have been absolutely soaring.
A recent article on the Forbes website noted a few of the agricultural commodities that have skyrocketed during this year….

Here’s what’s happened to some key farm commodit prices so far in 2010…
• Corn: Up 63%
• Wheat: Up 84%
• Soybeans: Up 24%
• Sugar: Up 55%
Are you ready to pay 84 percent more for a loaf of bread?

[A 1 lb. loaf of multigrain wheat bread would  therefore increase in cost from about $2.78 to $5.11. Mr Larry]
You better get ready – these raw material prices will filter down to U.S. consumers eventually. So what is going to happen if the world food situation gets even tighter?
You don’t think that it can happen?

The following are 5 potential dangers to global crops that could dramatically reduce the world food supply:

1.  UG99 Wheat Rust
UG99 is commonly known as “wheat rust” or “stem rust” because it produces reddish-brown flakes on wheat stalks. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico believes that approximately 19 percent of the global wheat crop is in imminent danger of being infected with UG99.
Ultimately, it is estimated that about 80 percent of the wheat on the globe is capable of catching the disease.
There is no known cure.
This current strain of wheat rust was discovered in Uganda in 1999 and has spread into areas of Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Iran. It is feared that this crippling disease will spread even farther into south Asia, devastating the fertile growing regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
If that happens, you might as well kiss world food stability goodbye.
A recent article in the Financial Times contained an absolutely stunning quote from one prominent agricultural scientist….“You can talk about crying wolf,” says Ronnie Coffman, director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at the University of Cornell in the US, “but it is a wolf”, he asserts, “driving across the corn fields of Kansas.”
Later on in the same article, Coffman warns that this disease could cause a devastating famine in which literally millions of people would die….“It can be absolutely devastating if environmental conditions are right,“ he says. “You can count the number of people who could die from this in the millions.”

2.  Mad Soy Disease
Mad Soy disease is spreading at an alarming rate among soy farms down in Brazil. Previously, the disease had been confined to the north part of the country, but now it has been increasingly spreading south. This disease retards the maturation of infected plants, and it has been causing yield losses of up to 40 percent. The USDA says that “there are no known effective treatments.”

3.  Verticillium Wilt
Verticillium Wilt is a fungus that prevents lettuce from absorbing water, causing it to quickly grow yellow and eventually wilt. This dangerous fungus is very hard to get rid of totally because it can stay in the soil for up to seven years.
Today, Verticillium Wilt is spreading all over Monterey County, California. Considering the fact that Monterey County produces more than 60 percent of the lettuce in the United States, that is very bad news.

4.  Late Blight
In 2009, a disease known as “late blight” attacked potato and tomato plants in the United States with a ferocity never seen before. According to a press release from Cornell University, late blight had “never occurred this early and this widespread in the U.S.” when it started showing up all over the place early last year.
Late blight begins as ugly brown spots on the stems of potato and tomato plants, and as the spots increase in size, white fungal growth develops until finally a soft rot completely collapses the stem.
This was the disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in the 1850s. A major new outbreak could occur without warning.

5.  Genetic Modification
While it may or may not technically be a disease (depending on how you look at it), genetic modification is having a very serious affect on crops around the globe. For example, about 10 years ago Chinese farmers began to widely adopt Monsanto’s (MON) genetically modified Bt cotton. Researchers have found that since that time, mirid bugs that are resistant to the Bt pesticide have experienced a complete and total population boom.
Today, six provinces in Northern China are experiencing what can only be described as a “mirid bug plague”. Mirid bugs eat more than 200 different kinds of fruit, vegetables and grains. Chinese farmers in the region are completely frustrated.
In the United States, a different problem is developing. The complete and total reliance of so many U.S. farmers on Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has resulted in several varieties of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” developing in many areas of the United States.
The most feared of these “superweeds”, Pigweed, can grow to be seven feet tall and it can literally wreck a combine. Pigweed has been known to produce up to 10,000 seeds at a time, it is resistant to drought, and it has very diverse genetics.
Superweeds were first spotted in Georgia in 2004, and since then they have spread to South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. In some areas, superweeds have become so bad that literally tens of thousands of acres of U.S. farmland have actually been abandoned.
One of the most frightening things about genetic modification is that it actually reduces that amount of crop diversity in the world. For example, if nearly all farmers start using the same “brand” of genetically modified plants that are all virtually identical, it sets up a situation where crop diseases and crop failures can cascade across the planet very easily.
Genetic variety is a very desirable thing, but today our scientists are just doing pretty much whatever they want without really considering the consequences.
It has been said many times that genetic engineering is similar to “performing heart surgery with a shovel”. The truth is that we just do not know enough about how our ecosystems work to be messing around with them so dramatically.
Can we afford to make any serious mistakes at this point? The truth is that we already live in a world that is not able to feed itself. Tonight, approximately 1 billion people across the globe will go to bed hungry. Every 3.6 seconds someone in the world starves to death, and three-fourths of those who starve to death are children under the age of five.”

 

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Filed under __1. Disaster

War, Cyber attack

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ War, Cyber attack)
(Further reading: Nuclear EMP and Long Term Power Outage

 A.  An All Out Cyber Attack on U.S. Grid Would Be Devastating; the Trojans, Malware & Trapdoors Already Exist
January 16th, 2011, SHTF, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/cyber-attack-on-us-grid-would-be-devastating-trojans-malware-trapdoors-already-exist_01162011

Computer expert, author and  technical trend forecaster James Martin says what many others, including ourselves, have warned about for quite some time. The electric and utilities power grid of the United States is completely unsecured and vulnerable to attack via the internet:

“There is quite a lot of evidence that people have been hacking into the American grid, and probably the grids of other countries to. In the American grid they’ve found quite a large number of Trojan horses and trap doors, they’ve found quite a lot of hidden malware, not coming from the States but coming from somewhere outside the States,” he said.

“If you knocked out all the power in America, it would be devastating. Normally when you get a blackout it comes back very quickly, but there have been some that don’t. If it was a deliberate attack, then the people attacking it would try to do damage that could not be repaired quickly,” he said.

“If they caused the grid to crash it would be much worse than 2008. This is known today, but what I find rather alarming is that although it is known the authorities are not really trying to stop it by making it secure.

“Certainly an outside entity could have a capability today to send many different malware messages into the grid at the same time in such a way that you could take down most of the grid, and may be all of the grid,” he said.

“The grid is full of huge transformers and pumps that are one off, which means that if you knock them out you can’t go and buy them off the shelf. If you picked out the things that could not be bought or not replicated quickly, and there a lot of those, then that would be damage that you couldn’t repair quickly.

“You have a large amount of company-to-company automation and all of that could be put out of operation. If it was put out of operation it could do immense financial damage, enormously
greater than the 2008 crash,” he told The Independent.

 Forget about financial damage – that would be the least of our worries if the power grid was attacked in any sort of meaningful way. A complete power grid failure, or one that took out large regions in unison would put a complete stop to commerce across the North American continent. Yes, there would be financial damage, but more importantly, there would be no way to re-supply our just-in-time inventory systems. That means there would be no gas, no food, and no way of getting those things delivered until the grid came back up.

As Mr. Martin points out, a coordinated attack focused on the ‘one-off’ elements of the grid would mean that once that hardware was destroyed there would be no way to replace it quickly. And that means not days or weeks, but potentially months, perhaps even years before things were back to normal.

When Hurricane Ike rampaged the Houston, TX area in 2008 it took down 95% of the metropolitan grid. This author was about 25 miles north-west of Houston at the time and can attest to the
difficulties utility workers had with restoring power. It took over 3 weeks to get power running to the outlying areas of the city – and it would have taken much longer had those repair workers not traveled from as far as Florida to assist Texas. Now, consider if a disaster that took out the grid included not
one, but several regional areas, where no workers would be able to come assist.

At the time of the Houston-area outage the first things to go were water, food and gas. Fights were literally breaking out at local gas stations. Those with home generators found them useless, as there was no fuel to keep them going. Grocery stores did not have reserve power, and those that did had it for maybe 12 hours, at which point all refrigeration came to a halt. City water filtration was non-existent, and “Boil Water” notices were posted all over the city – but there was no electricity available, so only those lucky enough to have fuel reserves for their generators or those with natural gas powered stoves were able to drink clean water. Luckily, this only affected a single major city and surrounding areas,
and within a week water and emergency rations became available.

Consider, for a moment, the ramifications of a full-out extended down-grid scenario affecting multiple regions. It would be much like an EMP attack, though some electronic systems may remain operational. Nonetheless, researchers have estimated that a worst-case EMP scenario could lead to 90% casualty rate over the course of a year. We would hope that a grid-attack could be resolved much quicker than an EMP attack, but there would likely still be mass casualties as food stocks ran low, emergency response personnel stayed home to care for their families and violent crime and looting ran rampant.

[Internet photographs:  (left) A nuclear power plant’s control room, TVA. (right) A subterranean power grid control room in Newark, NJ. Imagine the complexity of the things that make our nation what it is, maintaining regional optimized power grids, ‘just-in-time’ retail and grocery delivery/inventories, instant money-credit-financil transaction system,  self service electronic gasoline pumps, on-line brokers, cell phone communications, smart thermostats, transportation fleet controls, automated equipment and robotic workers, iPod- Ipad-microchips here- personal electronics there, conditions that a few decades ago would have almost been considered science fiction.  We live in a modern society bathed and nourished by the flow of digital information, we all depend on the stable flow of energy and the smooth flow of logical, digital language sequences as the machines talk to one another.]

How susceptible are we?
This is a topic of debate. Most of those people who have the power to harden and secure our grids will take no action until after a wide-scale event were to occur – at which point it would be much too late to do anything.

A close friend works for a large power company in the north-east. It just so happened that we had this very discussion a couple of weeks ago. He is a higher level executive at the company and when I asked how secure his company’s grid was in the event of a solar flare, cyber attack or EMP attack he responded, “Officially, we’re prepared to handle whatever comes our way. Unofficially, it will be a complete and utter disaster and we are simply not equipped to handle a mass failure.”

It is common knowledge that many elements of the U.S. power grid are decades old. We hear about smart meters being installed, but according to the friend at the power company, the smart grid portion is less than 1% of the complete grid. That means 99% of the physical grid is essentially running on equipment that has been around since the 70’s and 80’s. All of that old equipment is plugged into computer systems, and all of the computer systems are plugged into and fully accessible via the internet.

According to James Martin and other computer experts, our systems have likely already been breached and there is a real and serious possibility that Trojans, malware and trapdoors have already compromised our systems. They may very well just be sitting there waiting to be activated, at which point they could launch a massive, coordinated cyber attack on essential parts of our power grid infrastructure.

We’re not just talking about software glitches that can be fixed with a quick reboot. We’re talking about cyber attacks that target the physical hardware.

Hard to believe that a computer program can destroy hardware? Think again.

Consider the Stuxnet worm that was recently used to take down 1/5 (or more?) of Iran’s nuclear facilities. According to the New York Times, the Stuxnet worm utilized advanced programming to remain dormant for a time, and once launched, attacked the physical centrifuges used to enrich uranium. While the worm spun centrifuges to the point they destroyed themselves, a portion of the program responsible for sensors and warnings sent human operators and monitoring systems the green light that everything was running like normal. Iran’s nuclear plants,  much like the power grid of the United States, utilized old computer systems that were simply not equipped to handle advanced cyber-attacks that utilized 21st century cyber combat techniques.

There are plenty of enemies of the state who could bring down the US power grid infrastructure – China and Russia to name just a couple. And it’s no secret that the Chinese have been having their way with our networks for quite some time, so it is clearly a real and present danger. The US government regularly runs tests to Simulate Cyber Attacks on US the Internet Infrastructure.

In, 900 Seconds: Cyber Attack Wouldn’t Take Long to Bring Down the USA, [see the article, below] we previously outlined how a cyber attack might play out based on a report from Richard Clark, a one-time counter terrorist specialist with the US government.
In his warning, Mr. Clarke paints a doomsday scenario in which the problems start with the collapse of one of Pentagon’s computer networks.
Soon internet service providers are in meltdown. Reports come in of large refinery fires and explosions in Philadelphia and Houston. Chemical plants malfunction, releasing lethal clouds of chlorine.
Air traffic controllers report several mid-air collisions, while subway trains crash in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. More than 150 cities are suddenly blacked out. Tens of thousands of Americans die in an attack comparable to a nuclear bomb in its devastation.

[Internet photographs: (left) A server farm in San  Jose, CA, holding some of the  near 500bn GB data used on the internet. (right) Typical computer bank, storage, switching and automation controls for medium size business 50-150 employee. There would be many, many thousands of these in USA.]

Yet it would take no more than 15 minutes and involve not a single terrorist or soldier setting foot in the United States. The threat is real, and if it were to ever occur, it would likely come around the same time as an attack on our financial systems – which, as we saw in the May 2009 “fat finger” controversy that brought the stock market down 1000 points in a matter of minutes, is not so difficult to accomplish.

The biggest concern for the average American should be that there is really no emergency response ready to deal with the possibility of a wide-spread power grid cyber attack. The US government has specifically said, through FEMA, that they will not be able to help everyone in the event of a major emergency (think Hurricane Katrina). That means  you need take responsibility for yourself and family now, and Be Prepared to Be Without The System – Make It A Policy. What will you do if there comes a time when there is no electricity, no gas, no clean water and no access to food for several weeks or months?

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B.  900 Seconds: Cyber Attack Wouldn’t Take Long to Bring Down the USA
17 Sep 2011, James Martin (Computer expert, author and technical trend forecaster )
Pasted from: http://nieuwsanita.blogspot.com/2011/09/900-seconds-cyber-attack-wouldnt-take.html

“With our increasing dependence on the internet to transmit everything from emails and electronic payment information to air traffic control and transportation logistics, a properly targeted cyber attack could wreck havoc in the United States within minutes, says Richard Clark:
In his warning, Mr Clarke paints a doomsday scenario in which the problems start with the collapse of one of Pentagon’s computer networks.
Soon internet service providers are in meltdown.
Reports come in of large refinery fires and explosions in Philadelphia and Houston.
Chemical plants malfunction, releasing lethal clouds of chlorine.
Air traffic controllers report several mid-air collisions, while subway trains crash in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
More than 150 cities are suddenly blacked out.
Tens of thousands of Americans die in an attack comparable to a nuclear bomb in its devastation. Yet it would take no more than 15 minutes and involve not a single terrorist or soldier setting foot in the United States.
An enemy of the United States, whether foreign or domestic, wouldn’t need a nuclear bomb. They would simply need to take down the main computer networks. Many internet operations are centralized, especially in the private sector, so taking down something like the national DNS (Domain Name System) databases would put a stop to pretty much any communications used by the general public.
An attack on Defense Department networks would be even more serious, potentially leading to a cascading effect across the entire nation. Utilities, like water systems and electricity, are highly vulnerable, as they are built on very old technologies and are very dependent on each other due to old-style distribution systems. As an example, consider the massive black out that covered the entire north east for several days in 2003 while emergency crews worked to resolve the problems.
Roughly one fifth of our country was out of power not because local power stations were taken down, but, according to the official story, because one or two main plants experienced outages due to natural causes (trees on power lines). There is still no definitive confirmation on what happened here, and for all we know this could have been a cyber attack testing our networks. It’s no secret that hackers in countries like Russia, and especially China, have spent the last decade infiltrating and testing the stability and security of US networks – including the Pentagon and our satellite systems. At the first sign of potential international conflict, the initial wave of attacks will likely occur on the digital battlefield, resulting in downed communication systems, utilities, cable systems, GPS, cell phone networks, hardline networks and transaction processing systems. Another issue, not related directly to defense computer networks, is that the plans for US water utility, electrical utility, and internet networks are readily available on the internet for anyone to download and analyze for vulnerabilities. We’ve essentially given any potential enemies a road map for how to bring down the United States without even firing a shot.”
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C.  Combined computer attacks could have ‘catastrophic’ global effects
Pasted from: http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-125659.html

 ANI, London, Jan 17: A new study has found that coordinated computer attacks could have ‘catastrophic’ global effects.
The report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that multiple cyber attacks could “become a full-scale global shock” on a par with a pandemic and the collapse of the world financial system.
“What should concern policy-makers are combinations of events: two different cyber-events occurring at the same time, or a cyber-event taking place during some other form of disaster or attack,” the Scotsman quoted the report as saying.
One such example the report cited was “a very large-scale solar flare (bursts of energy from the sun), which physically destroys key communications components such as satellites, cellular base stations and switches.”
Another could involve “a hitherto unknown fundamental flaw” in the technical building blocks of the Internet “over which agreement for remedy could not be quickly reached”, it added.
According to the report’s co-author Professor Peter Sommer, of the London School of Economics, lurid language and poor analysis were blocking government planning for cyber protection.
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D.  Cyber attacks could create ‘perfect storm’
17 Jan, 2011,  Reuters, By Michael Holden
Pasted from: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/tech-news/oecd-cyber-attacks-could-create-perfect-storm/article1872682/
LONDON – Attacks on computer systems now have the potential to cause global catastrophe, but only in combination with another disaster, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a report.

The study, part of a wider OECD project examining possible “Future Global Shocks””such as a failure of the world’s financial system or a large-scale pandemic, said there were very few single “cyber events” that could cause a global shock.

Examples were a successful attack on one of the technical protocols on which the Internet depends, or a large solar flare that wiped out key communications components such as satellites. But it said a combination of events such as coordinated cyber attacks, or a cyber incident occurring during another form of disaster, should be a serious concern for policy makers. “In that eventuality, ‘perfect storm’ conditions could exist,” said the report, written by Professor Peter Sommer of the London School of Economics and Dr Ian Brown of Britain’s Oxford University.

Governments are increasingly emphasizing the importance of cyber security. The United States is preparing for cyber conflict and has launched its own military cyber command. Britain last October
rated cyber attacks as one of the top external threats, promising to spend an extra 650 million pounds ($1 billion) on the issue.

Meanwhile, emerging nations such as China and Russia are believed to see it as an arena in which they can challenge the United States’ conventional military dominance.

The Stuxnet computer worm — which targets industrial systems and was widely believed to be a state attack on Iran’s nuclear program — is seen as a sign of the increasing militarization of cyberspace.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that the worm was a joint U.S.-Israeli effort and had been tested at Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant.

The OECD study concluded that cyber attacks would be ubiquitous in future wars, and that cyber weaponry would be “increasingly deployed and with increasing effect by ideological activists of all persuasions and interests”. But it concluded that a true “cyberwar”, fought almost entirely through computer systems, was unlikely as many critical systems were well protected and the effects of attacks were difficult to predict, and so could backfire on the assailants.

Adopting a largely military approach to cyber security is a mistake, as most targets in the critical national infrastructure, such as communications, energy, finance and transport, are in the private sector.

The US has already experienced two major cyber warning shots. Hackers from Russia or China or both successfully planted software in the US electricity grid that left behind software that could be used to sabotage the system at a later date.

The North Koreans may not be able to feed their people but in 2009 they succeeded in bringing down the servers of the Department of Homeland Security, the US Treasury and several other government departments, along with regular internet providers, by flooding them with requests for data. Most dramatically, it saturated the internet connections of a Pentagon server that the military would rely for
logistical communications in an armed conflict.

“There are significant and growing risks of localized misery and loss as a result of compromise of computer and telecommunications services,” the report said.

Protecting your computer and data
Five steps that every computer user should implement to prevent cyber crime attacks. These days the cyber world is becoming bigger and bigger with rapidly growing number of businesses and individuals using internet as a business place. Naturally, cyber criminals target computers with low antivirus internet security and commit their criminal activities.
However, there are guidelines that need to be followed in order to secure your computer from internet security attacks:
1.  Back-up Data – Savvy computer users are aware of the importance of keeping their data safe and away from internet security attacks and regularly perform backups. You can back up your data on an external data storage device such is CD, memory stick or external hard drive. The device you use will depend on the data size. The overall idea is that if anything happens to your primary data, you can always retrieve them from somewhere.

[Mr Larry: Consider backing up your files in one or more of the ways discussed below:
a)  Seagate Freeagent Go, 250GB or larger,  USB external hard drive. Portable storage solution makes it easy to take your photos, music, videos, ‘historic e-mail’, pdf files, other Internet downloads, and documents everywhere; now they have 1 Terrabyte models.   :-)
b)  Amazon Jungle Disk and S3 olr other “Cloud storage”. The Jungle Disk software is your computer’s interface with Amazon’s cloud drive file servers. Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is basically an infinite hard drive you can buy on a pay per usage basis, and Jungle Disk is a utility that allows you to mount S3 as a hard drive on any OS. Jungle Disk has a backup tool built in. I use the S3 only for back up so have been paying about 25¢ – 30¢ a month for the service. See also,   https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/learnmore/ref=sa_menu_acd_lrn2
c)  Kingston Data Traveler 32GB, USB flash drive. Supports Windows 7, Vista, XP & Mac. Compatible with Windows 7 Available in multiple colors by capacity.
I’ve included images of these items/services below; they should be thought of simply as examples of the many products ‘out there’ that used together will give a depth to your data bases, documents, spreadsheets, photograph, music, MP3,  video and podcast files, etc.]

Images above include (L>R): Left) Seagate Freeagent Go, external,  drive, Middle) A web cloud service, Right) Portable USB flash drive that is never left connected to the system.

2.  File sharing- Another very important thing to be avoided is sharing files with strangers. This makes your computer internet security vulnerable as the files from other computer users may contain malicious infections that without a good anti-virus internet security can potentially destroy your computer or steal sensitive information. Make sure you turn off and disable file-sharing if it is not needed.
3.  Disconnecting from the Internet- It is additional prevention so whenever you internet is not in use just simply disconnect form internet. It lessens the possibility of cyber criminals passing your internet security.
4. Update security patches- Computer programs sometimes contain bugs that can be an entrance to your computer for any malicious person to attack and potentially harm your computer. Therefore, it is very important to regularly update your security patches and increase.
5.  Maintain up to date antivirus software firewall- Good antivirus software and firewall are crucial components of your arsenal to increase internet security that will protect your computer from attacks. Make sure to keep your anti-virus program and firewall up to date.

 

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Filed under Survival Manual, __1. Disaster

Hurricane survival

(Survival manual/1. Disaster/Hurricane survival)

A hurricane is a massive weather phenomenon, usually about 300 miles in diameter. Even when the center of a hurricane is more than 300 miles away, surrounding areas are already feeling its effects, such as winds in excess of 39 miles per hour and long bands of severe storms and tornadoes. These conditions worsen dramatically as the hurricane grows near. In other words, once the storm is close enough to see, you’re already in it.

A .  What Is A Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm Or A Hurricane?
•   Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained wind speed is 38 mph or less. Depressions have a closed circulation.
•   Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained wind speed ranges from 39 mph to 73 mph. The convection in tropical storms is usually more concentrated near the center with outer rainfall organizing into distinct bands.
•   Hurricane: When winds in a tropical cyclone equal or exceed 74 mph it is called a hurricane. Hurricanes are further designated by categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Hurricanes in categories 3, 4, 5 are known as Major Hurricanes or Intense Hurricanes.
•   The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale:  The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane’s present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale, as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental shelf in the landfall region. Note that all winds are using the U.S. 1-minute average.

_1.  Category One Hurricane: Winds 74-95 mph. Barometric Pressure Above 980 mb (Above 28.94 in) Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.

_2.  Category Two Hurricane: Winds 96-110 mph. Barometric Pressure 965-980 mb (28.50-28.94 in) Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.

_3. Category Three Hurricane:Winds 111-130 mph. Barometric Pressure 945-965 mb (27.91-28.50 in) Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 ft above mean sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required.

_4.  Category Four Hurricane: Winds 131-155 mph. Barometric Pressure 920-945 mb (27.17-27.91 in) Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).

_5.  Category Five Hurricane:Winds greater than 155 mph. Barometric Pressure Below 920 mb (Below 27.17 in) Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes.
Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles of the shoreline may be required.
Note: Severe Wind: The highest winds ever recorded in the world (by fixed equipment) – 231 Mph were recorded on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire on April 12, 1934.
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B. Hurricane!
There are no other storms like hurricanes, on Earth. Views of hurricanes from satellites located thousands of miles above the Earth show how these powerful, tightly coiled weather systems are unique. Each year, on average, 10 tropical storms (of which six become hurricanes) develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico. Many of these storms remain over the ocean. However, an average of five hurricanes strike the United States coastline every three years. Of these five, two will be major hurricanes, which are storms of category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which corresponds to hurricanes with winds at or above 111 miles per hour.

Timely warnings have greatly diminished hurricane fatalities in the United States. In spite of this, property damage continues to mount. There is little we can do about the hurricanes themselves. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Tropical Prediction Center and National Weather Service (NWS) field offices team up with other federal, state, and local agencies; rescue and relief organizations; the private sector; and the news media in a huge warning and preparedness effort.

What Are Hurricanes, and What Causes Them?
•  Hurricanes and tropical storms are cyclones with tropical origins (tropical cyclones). When the winds of a tropical storm (winds 39 to 73 miles per hour) reach a constant speed of 74 miles per hour or more, it is called a hurricane. Hurricane winds blow in a large spiral around a relatively calm center known as the “eye.” The “eye” is generally 20 to 30 miles wide, and the storm may have a diameter of 400 miles across. As a hurricane approaches, the skies will begin to darken and winds will grow in strength. A hurricane can bring torrential rains, high winds, and storm surge as it nears land. A single hurricane can last more than two weeks over open waters and can run a path across the entire length of the eastern seaboard.
•  More dangerous than the high winds of a hurricane is the storm surge – a dome of ocean water that can be 20 feet high at its peak and 50 to 100 miles wide. The surge can devastate coastal communities as it sweeps ashore. In recent years, the fatalities associated with storm surge have been greatly reduced as a result of better warning and preparedness within coastal communities.
•  Most deaths due to tropical cyclones are flood-related. Inland flooding is a common occurrence with hurricanes and tropical storms. Torrential rains from decaying hurricanes and tropical storms can produce extensive urban and river flooding. Winds from these storms located offshore can drive ocean water up the mouth of rivers, compounding the severity of inland flooding. Inland streams and rivers can flood and trigger landslides. Mudslides can occur in mountainous regions. In addition, hurricanes can spawn tornadoes, which add to the destructiveness of the storm.
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C.  How to Protect Your Property
•  Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a storm. A list will help you remember anything that can be broken or picked up by strong winds. Hurricane winds, often in excess of 100 miles per hour, can turn unanchored items into deadly missiles, causing damage or injury when they hit.
•  Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased or damaged limbs, then strategically remove branches so that wind can blow through. Hurricane winds frequently break weak limbs and hurl them at great speed, causing great damage when they hit property. Debris collection services may not be operating just before a storm, so it is best to do this well in advance of approaching storms.
•  Remove any debris or loose items in your yard. Hurricane winds can pick up anything unsecured, creating damage to property when the debris hits.
•  Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts. Hurricanes often bring long periods of heavy rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
•  Install permanent hurricane shutters. Hurricane shutters provide the best protection for your windows and doors. Taping windows could take critical time from more effective preparedness measures. All tape does is help prevent glass from broken windows from scattering all over inside. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking. Cover the outside of windows with shutters or plywood.
•  If you do not have permanent hurricane shutters, install anchors for plywood (marine plywood is best) and predrill holes in precut half-inch outdoor plywood boards so that you can cover the windows of your home quickly. Mark which board fits which window.
Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
Most homes destroyed during recent hurricanes had no window protection. When wind enters a home through broken windows, the pressure builds against the walls and can lift roofs, followed by collapsing walls.
•  Install protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Glass doors are as vulnerable as windows to breakage by wind-driven objects.
•  Well ahead of time, buy any other items needed to board up windows and protect your home. When a hurricane threatens, supplies are quickly sold out at many stores. Stock may not be replenished until after the storm.
•  Strengthen garage doors. Many houses are destroyed by hurricane winds that enter through damaged garage doors, lifting roofs, and destroying the remainder of the house.
•  Have an engineer check your home and advise about ways to make it more resistant to hurricane winds. There are a variety of ways to protect your home. Professionals can advise you of engineering requirements, building permits or requirements of local planning and zoning departments to provide the most effective protection.
•  Elevate coastal homes. Raising houses to a certain height will make them more resistant to hurricane-driven waters. There may be many local codes affecting how and where homes can be elevated. Meet
with your emergency manager or planning and zoning official for a description of the process to have your home elevated. There may also be community funds available for such measures.
•  If you live in a flood plain or are prone to flooding, also follow flood preparedness precautions. Hurricanes can bring great amounts of rain and frequently cause floods. Some hurricanes have dropped more than 10 inches of rain in just a few hours.
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1.  What to Do During a Hurricane WATCH

Continue listening regularly to a NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or television stations for updated information. Hurricanes can change direction, intensity, and speed very suddenly. What was a minor threat several hours ago can quickly escalate to a major threat.
√  Listen to the advice of local officials, and evacuate if they tell you to do so. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges. Leaving an area that may be affected will help keep your family safe.
Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community. Following the advice of local authorities is your safest protection. Local officials may close down certain roads, especially near the coast, when the outer effects of increasing wind and rain from a hurricane reach the coast.
√  Prepare your property for high winds. Hurricane winds can blow large, heavy objects and send them crashing into homes. Anything not secured may become a deadly or damaging projectile.
√  Bring lawn furniture inside, as well as outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, or anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
√  Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically remove branches so that wind can blow through.
√  Secure building by closing and boarding up each window of your home. Remove outside antennas.
√  Moor boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat to trailer.
√  Fill your car’s gas tank. If advised to evacuate, you may have to travel long distances or be caught in traffic, idling for long periods of time. Gas stations along the route may be closed.
√  Stock up on prescription medications. Stores and pharmacies may be closed after the storm.
√  Recheck manufactured home tie-downs. Manufactured homes may not be as affected by strong winds if they are tied down according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Properly tied down homes are more likely to stay fixed to their foundations.
√  Check your ’72 Hour Emergency Kit’ (see post: Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/72 Hour Emergency Kit)  Some supplies may need to be replaced or restocked.
√  Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly. Keeping the coldest air in will help perishables last much longer in the event of a power failure.
√  Store valuables and personal papers in a safe deposit box in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home. Hurricanes leave much water damage inside homes. Historically, it is shown that protecting valuables in this manner will provide the best security.
√  Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities. Authorities may ask you to turn off water or electric utilities to prevent damage to your home or within the community. Most of the time they will tell you to leave the gas on because a professional is required to turn your gas back on, and it may be several weeks before you receive service.
√  Turn off propane tanks. Propane tanks may be damaged or dislodged by strong winds or water. Turning them off reduces the fire potential if they are damaged by the storm.
√  Unplug small appliances. Small appliances may be affected by electrical power surges that may occur as the storm approaches. Unplugging them reduces potential damage.
√  Review evacuation plan. Make sure your planned route is the same as the currently recommended route. Sometimes roads may be closed or blocked, requiring a different route.
√  Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. When you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, if you can do so safely, get out of your vehicle and climb to higher ground. Most hurricane-related deaths are caused by floods, and most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. Rapidly rising water may stall the engine, engulf the vehicle and its occupants, and sweep them away. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.
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2.  What to Do During a Hurricane WARNING

√  Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio, or portable, battery – powered radio or television for updated information and official instructions. Hurricanes can change direction, intensity, and speed
very suddenly. Continue listening for local information.
√  If officials announce a  hurricane warning, they may ask you to leave your home as soon as possible to be safe. Take your Disaster Supplies Kit and go to a shelter or your family contact’s home. Call your check-in contact so someone will know where you are
going.
Local officials advise leaving only if they truly believe your location is in danger. It is important to follow their instructions as soon as possible. Roads may become blocked and the storm can worsen, preventing safe escape. Having your disaster supplies will make you more comfortable while you are away from home.
√  If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, on the first floor away from windows, skylights and glass doors, even if they are covered. Stay on the floor least likely to be affected by strong winds and flood waters. A small interior room without windows on the first floor is usually the safest place. Have as many walls between you and the outside winds as possible. Sometimes strong winds and projectiles may tear hurricane shutters off, so stay away from windows even if they are covered. Lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object. Being under a sturdy object will offer greater protection from falling objects.
√  Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors. Closed doors will help prevent damaging hurricane winds from entering additional rooms.
√  Have a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid using open flames (candles and kerosene lamps) as a source of light. Flashlights provide the safest emergency lighting source. Between 1984 and 1998, candle-related deaths from home fires following hurricanes were three times greater than the number of deaths related to the direct impact of the hurricane. Kerosene lamps require a great deal of ventilation and are not designed for indoor use.
√  Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, sinks, plastic bottles, and cooking utensils. Public water supplies and wells may become contaminated, or electric pumps may be inoperative if power is lost. Survivors of community-wide disasters have said the individual’s greatest need following the disaster is water.
√  If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce the power “surge” when electricity is restored.
When electricity is restored, the surge from many major appliances starting at the same time may cause damage or destroy the appliances. Turning off or unplugging major appliances will allow you to decide when it is best to turn them back on.
√  If in a mobile home, check tie-downs and evacuate immediately. Historically, manufactured homes suffer the greatest amount of damage during hurricanes. Prior to 1994, most manufactured homes were not designed to withstand even moderate winds.
√  Be aware that the calm “eye” is deceptive; the storm is not over.  The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds. The opposing winds begin suddenly, and have surprised and injured many people who ventured out during the eye.
√  Watch out for flooding. Hurricanes and tropical storms often drop large amounts of rainfall and cause severe flooding, even when they are weakening or are no longer a named storm. “Weak” tropical storms are just as capable of producing heavy rainfall and flooding as major hurricanes.
√  Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during and after a hurricane passes over. Remain indoors on a lower level, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows. Going below ground, such as to a basement or storm cellar, increases your risk from flood.
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3.  What to Do if Evacuation Is Necessary

√  Leave as soon as possible (if possible, in daylight). Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges. Roads and bridges frequently become crowded and traffic moves slow. Evacuation will probably take longer than expected. Give yourself plenty of time.
√  Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve. This will reduce potential damage to your appliances (from power surges) and to your home.
√  Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going. Relatives and friends will be concerned about your safety. Letting someone know your travel plans will help relieve their fear and anxiety.
√  If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone or area prone to flooding, move furniture to a higher floor. Moving valuable furnishings helps reduce potential damage.
√  Bring preassembled emergency supplies and warm protective clothing. People frequently arrive at shelters or hotels with nothing. Having these items will make you more comfortable in other
locations.
√  While shelters provide a safe place to stay and food, specialty items for infants and individuals on restricted diets may not be available. It may take several days until permission is given by local authorities to re-enter an evacuated area. Bring these items with you to a shelter:
•   First aid kit, manual, and prescription medications.
•   Baby food and diapers.
•   Cards, games, books.
•   Toiletries.
•   Battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
•   Flashlight (one per person) and extra batteries.
•   Blankets or sleeping bags.
•   Identification.
•   Valuable papers (copies of insurance papers, passports, and other  essential documents).
•   Lock up your home and leave. There may be individuals evacuating after you, or returning before you. Police may be busy with hurricane-related emergencies and not able to patrol neighborhoods as usual. Lock your property as you normally would when leaving home.

4.  What to Do After a Hurricane

•   Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
•   If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe. Local officials on the scene are your best source of information on accessible areas and passable roads.
•   Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding, even after the hurricane or tropical storm has weakened. Hurricanes may stall or change direction when they make landfall, or they may bring a lot of rain upriver, causing additional flood hazards for hours or days after the storm.
•   Stay away from flood waters. Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Continue to follow all flood safety messages. Flood waters may last for days following a hurricane. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. When you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, if you can safely get out of the car, do so immediately and climb to higher ground. Never try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water or people playing in high water. If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches deep can sweep you off your feet, and two feet can carry away most automobiles.
•   If you come upon a barricade, follow detour signs or turn around and go another way. Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads. Driving around them can be a serious risk.
•   Stay on firm ground. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
•   Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
•   Help a neighbor who may require special assistance – infants, elderly people and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
•   Avoid disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations, and put you at further risk from the residual effects of floods, such as contaminated waters, crumbled roads, landslides, mudflows, and other hazards.
•   Avoid loose or dangling power lines; immediately report them to the power company, police, or fire department. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
•   Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service. Call an electrician for advice before using electricity, which may have received water damage.
•   Stay out of the building if water remains around the building. Flood waters often undermine foundations, causing buildings to sink, floors to crack, or walls to collapse.
•   When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Hurricane- driven flood waters may have damaged buildings where youleast expect it.
Carefully watch every step you take:

>  Wear sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet.
>  Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest, preventing fire hazard for the user, occupants, and building.
>  Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.
>  Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage. Cracks and damage to a foundation can render a building uninhabitable.
>  Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, or submerged furnaces or electrical appliances. Flammable or explosive materials may come from upstream. Fire is the most frequent hazard following floods.
>  Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
>  Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
>  Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company, and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting ice cubes.
>  Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes, that may have come into buildings with the flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris. Flood waters flush many animals and snakes out of their homes.
>  Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.
>  Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
>  Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
>  Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If power was lost, some foods may be spoiled.
>  Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated. Hurricane-driven flood waters may have contaminated public water supplies or wells. Local officials should advise you on the safety of the drinking water. Undamaged water heaters or melted ice cubes can provide good sources of fresh drinking water.
>  Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage. If the water is pumped out completely in a short period of time, pressure from water on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.
>  Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.
>  Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.
Pasted from <http://www.disastercenter.com/guide/hurricane.html>

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D. After effects
Hurricane Ike was devastating to the regions it struck. Galveston, Houston, and the surrounding areas were especially hard hit by the storm. These areas experienced massive, long-lasting power outages as a result of the hurricane.
90% of the 2 million customers of CenterPoint Energy, the largest power provider in the region, were left without power after the storm. Entergy Texas, another major power provider in the region, reported that an estimated 392,600 of their 395,000 customers lost power during the storm. The one area that was notably able to retain its power in Houston, Texas was the Texas Medical Center, a complex containing 13 renowned hospitals. People experiencing a myriad of medical complications due to the lack of power flocked to the Texas Medical Center for assistance after Hurricane Ike.

Residential homes were not the only places where power was conspicuously missing after Hurricane Ike. Many traffic signals in Houston were damaged or destroyed or were powerless due to the storm. Some estimate that as many as half of the city’s 2,500 traffic signals were disabled by the storm. As a result, Houston’s roads were congested with traffic for approximately two weeks after Ike hit.
Some residents reported that their commutes stretched up to three hours because of the traffic jams.

Power outages in Texas can be truly devastating. Because natural disasters often occur during the hottest months of the year, it is vital that power remain on for as much of the city as possible. Due to the humidity in places like Houston, a power outage can mean quickly rotting food, billions of dollars in damage to restaurants and grocery stores, and insurance claims in the millions during traffic accidents. Many people are at risk for heat exhaustion and stroke during power outages, as the heat in asphalt and concrete covered cities builds to dangerous levels.  [At my home east ‘n Texas, power was out for about 4 days due to a blown local transformer. Mr. Larry]
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E.  Prevent Illness From Food and Water After a Hurricane or Flood
Pasted from:
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/foodwater.asp
Highlights

  • Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible and add block ice or dry ice if the electricity is expected to be off longer than 4 hours.
  • Local authorities will tell you if tap water is safe to drink or use for cooking or bathing.
  • If the water is unsafe, follow the directions of local authorities to safely disinfect the water.

Prevent illness from food

  • Identify and throw away food that may not be safe to eat
  • Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.
    • Throw away canned foods that are bulging, opened, or damaged.
    • Throw away food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
    • Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40°F for 2 hours or more. Thawed food that contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below can be refrozen or cooked.
    • If cans have come in contact with floodwater or storm water, remove the labels, wash the cans, and dip them in a solution of 1 cup (240 milliliters) of bleach in 5 gallons of water. Relabel the cans with a marker.

Water

Local authorities will tell you if tap water is safe to drink or to use for cooking or bathing. If the water is not safe to use, follow local instructions to use bottled water or to boil or disinfect water for cooking, cleaning, or bathing.

Correctly boil or disinfect water

  • Hold water at a rolling boil for 1 minute to kill bacteria.
  • If you can’t boil water, add 1/8 teaspoon (approximately 0.75 mL) of newly purchased, unscented liquid household bleach (Clorox) per gallon of water. Stir the water well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it.
  • You can use water-purifying tablets instead of boiling water or using bleach. For infants, use only pre-prepared canned baby formula.
    Do not use powdered formulas prepared with treated water.
  • Disinfect children’s toys that have come in contact with water. Use a solution of 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water to disinfect the toys. Let toys air dry after cleaning.
  • Some toys, such as stuffed animals and baby toys, cannot be disinfected; they should be discarded.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced by many types of equipment and is poisonous to breathe.
  • Don’t use a generator, pressure washer, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window, door, or vent.
  • Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open. Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
  • If your carbon monoxide detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
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F.  Prevent and Treat Other Illnesses and Injuries After a Hurricane or Flood

Avoid floodwater and mosquitoes

  • Follow all warnings about water on roadways. Do not drive vehicles or heavy equipment through water.
  • If you have to work in or near floodwater, wear a life jacket. If you are caught in an area where floodwater is rising, wear a life jacket, or use some other type of flotation device.
  • Prevent mosquito bites by wearing long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts and by using insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.

Avoid unstable buildings and structures

Stay away from damaged buildings or structures until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other government authority. Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises that signal that the structure is about to fall.

Beware of wild or stray animals

Avoid wild or stray animals. Take appropriate precautions to avoid animal bites and rabies exposure. Call local authorities to handle animals. Get rid of dead animals according to local guidelines.

Beware of electrical and fire hazards

  • NEVER touch a fallen power line. Call the power company to report fallen power lines. Avoid contact with overhead power lines during cleanup and other activities.
  • If electrical circuits and equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel.
  • Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Do not burn candles near flammable items or leave the candle unattended. If possible, use flashlights or other battery-operated lights instead of candles.

Beware of hazardous materials

  • Wear protective clothing and gear (for example, a respirator if needed) when handling hazardous materials. Wash skin that may have come in contact with hazardous chemicals.
    Contact local authorities if you are not sure about how to handle or get rid of hazardous materials.
  • Clean up and prevent mold growth.
  • Clean up and dry out the building quickly (within 24 to 48 hours). Open doors and windows. Use fans to dry out the building. To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water. To remove mold growth, wear rubber gloves, open windows and doors, and clean with a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Throw away porous items (for example, carpet and upholstered furniture) that cannot be dried quickly. Fix any leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing.

Pace yourself and get support

Be alert to physical and emotional exhaustion or strain. Set priorities for cleanup tasks, and pace the work. Try not to work alone. Don’t get exhausted. Ask your family members, friends, or professionals for support. If needed, seek professional help.

Prevent musculoskeletal injuries

Use teams of two or more people to move bulky objects. Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).

Stay cool

When it’s hot, stay in air-conditioned buildings; take breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms; drink water and nonalcoholic fluids often; wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; and do outdoor activities during cooler hours.

Treat wounds

  • Clean out all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Apply an antibiotic ointment. Contact a doctor to find out whether more treatment is needed (such as a tetanus shot).
    If a wound gets red, swells, or drains, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Wash your hands
  • Use soap and warm water to wash your hands. If water isn’t available, you can use alcohol-based products made for washing hands.
  • Wear protective gear for cleanup work
  • Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toes and insoles (not just steel shank). Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.

[Internet image: Looking straight up in the eye of a hurricane, blue sky and wall illuminated by sunlight.]

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Filed under Survival Manual, __1. Disaster

Canned protein

(Survival Manual/Prepper Articles/ Canned protein)

 A. Canned Protein Foods For SHTF
7 December 2013, ModernSurvivalBlog, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/survival-kitchen/canned-protein-foods-for-shtf/

Protein can

While planning and choosing various foods for your overall preparedness food storage, also think about the proteins.
All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group.
Proteins are the building blocks for our bones, muscles, and blood.
Here’s a list of some choices for storing back some canned protein…

CANNED PROTEINS
They are already ready-to-eat, pre-cooked and/or pasteurized, and therefore theoretically require no fuel consumption for safe eating (although some of the items listed below will likely taste better warmed up or cooked).

Canned Salmon
Not only is this fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s actually better for you when canned because ‘traditional pack’ salmon is packed with the bones intact, meaning more calcium for your bones and teeth. Also, some of the fat is removed, making it a healthier option.

Canned Tuna
Tuna is a naturally lean protein source, also containing good omega-3. Be aware that tuna may contain levels of mercury, so it’s probably best not to consume more than a few cans a week. Here is a tuna consumption calculator for your reference regarding maximum recommended intake.

Canned Chicken
Packed with protein and low in fat for a relatively low calorie count, chicken is high in selenium as well as cancer-preventing B-vitamin niacin. It also contains B6, which is important for energy metabolism.

Canned Pinto Beans
The canned beans are convenient and can easily be added to soups or stews. They’re a good source of folate and manganese, relatively high in protein, and rich in vitamin B1 as well as a slew of other minerals.

Canned Kidney Beans
They are high in fiber, iron and memory-boosting B1, releasing their energy slowly (meaning no sugar spikes), and contain a relatively good amount of protein.

Canned Beef
There are a variety of commercially available canned beef choices out there. Beef is another source of protein. I just randomly checked a can of Kirkland canned beef (12 oz) and it contains 15 grams of protein, slightly more than the same size canned chicken (13 grams).

Canned Almonds
Often considered the healthiest nut, a medium sized handful contains about 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber (the highest of any nut), calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin E, and some B-vitamins, minerals, and selenium. Generally, most all unprocessed nuts are good in that they contain protein and other attributes. If they’re canned, they should have a longer shelf life, but the oils in them will go rancid after a time.

How much protein do you need each day?
Recommended daily amounts are shown in the following list from the USDA.

These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.

Children 2-3 years old – 2 ounce equivalents**
Children 4-8 years old – 4 ounce equivalents**
Girls 9-13 years old – 5 ounce equivalents**
Girls 14-18 years old – 5 ounce equivalents**
Boys 9-13 years old – 5 ounce equivalents**
Boys 14-18 years old – 6 ½ ounce equivalents**

Women 19-30 years old – 5 ½ ounce equivalents**
Women 31-50 years old – 5 ounce equivalents**
Women 51+ years old – 5 ounce equivalents**

Men 19-30 years old – 6 ½ ounce equivalents**
Men 31-50 years old – 6 ounce equivalents**
Men 51+ years old – 5 ½ ounce equivalents**

**See Protein Equivalents Chart below…

 Protein Equivalents Chart

protein chart

B.  My Protein Food Sources
2009, iProtein.com,
Pasted from: http://www.iprotein.com/protein-foods.html

Find out how much protein is found in the protein sources listed below!

Protein in Foods

…………………………………..Calories       Protein (g)  Total Fat (g)  Ounces

Beef

Pot Roast                                    183               28                8                     3

Flank Steak                                 175               24                9                     3

Rib Roast                                    172               24                8                     3

Round Roast                               153               27                4                     3

Sirloin                                         165               26                6                     3

Tenderloin                                  174               24                8                     3

Lean 85% Ground Beef            204               22                12                   3

Lean 90% Ground Beef            162               25                7                     3

Beef Jerky                                      70              11                1                     1

Beef Liver                                   184               23                7                     3

Beef Hot Dogs                            184               6                  17                   1 hot dog

Chicken

Broth                                          19                 3                  1                     1/2 cup

Dark Meat                                  174               23                8                     3

White Meat                                 147               26                4                     3

Ground                                       178               22                9                     3

Chicken Liver                              133               21                5                     3

Pork

Loin Chop                                    165               26                7                     3

Country-style Ribs                     203               21                13                   3

Shoulder-lean                              207               22                13                   3

Tenderloin (breaded)                  277               30                13                   3

Lean Tenderloin                          133               25                4                     3

Pork Hot Dog                              183               6                  17                   1 hot dog

Ham                                              133               21                5                     3

Turkey

Beast (no skin)                           133               26                3                     3

Breast (with skin)                     168               24                4                     3

Ground                                      210               23                12                   3

Dark Turkey (no skin)            159                24                6                     3

Turkey Hot Dogs                    129               8                  11                   1 hot dog

Lamb

Shoulder                                   239               30                12                   3

Leg                                             163               23                7                     3

Loin Chops                              186               25                8                     3

Veal                                            127               25                3                     3

Seafood

Fish

Breaded Fish Sticks           231                13                10                   3

Cat Fish                                132                 21                5                     3

Cod (baked or broiled)       89                  19                1                     3

Flounder/Sole                    99                  22                2                     3

Haddock                             98                  23                1                     3

Orange Roughy               143                   17                8                     3

Red Snapper                     19                  22                1                     3

Canned Salmon                130                17                6                     3

Fresh Salmon                   183                23                9                     3

Sardines                           177               21                10                   3

Shark                               148                24                5                     3

Sword Fish                      127                22                 4                     3

Trout                                  164                30                 5                     7-8

Tuna (oil packed)            169                25                 7                     3

Tuna (water packed)        111                25                 –                      3

Fresh Tuna                       156                25                 5                     3

Shrimp

Batter                                 195                18                11                   3

Canned                               102                20                 2                     3

Fresh/Frozen                      84                 19                 1                     3

Lobster

Broiled/Grilled                     80                  17                1                     3

Canned Meat                       79                  17                1                     3

Oysters                                    117                12                 4                     3

Bread

French                                        100               3                  1                     1 slice

Italian                                         83                 3                  –                      1 slice

Mixed Grain                             65                 2                  1                     1 slice

Pumpernickel                           80                 3                  1                     1 slice

Raisin                                         68                 2                  1                     1 slice

Rye                                               65                 2                  1                     1 slice

Sourdough                                  88                 3                  1                     1 slice

White-firm                                  88                 3                  1                     1 slice

White-firm                                  75                 2                  1                     1 slice

Hamburger Bun                          129               4                  2                     1 bun

Hard Roll                                    155               5                  2                     1 roll

Hot Dog Bun                              115                3                  2                     1 bun

Whole Wheat                                60                2                  1                     1 slice

English Muffins                            140                5                  1                     1-3 1/2 inch

Tortillas

Corn                                            61                  2                  1                     1-6 inch

Flour                                          105                3                                         1-8 inch

Vegetables

Lentils                                        115               9                  –                      1/2 cup

Refried Beans                            135               8                  1                     1/2 cup

Radish                                          1                 –                  –                      one

Rhubarb                                      26                 1                  –                      1 cup

Spinach-Fresh                            9                 1                  –                      1/4 cup

Potatoes

Baked                              220                5                  –                      7

Boiled                              124                3                  –                      5

Mashed                            122                3                  1                     3/4 cup

Baked French Fries            224                3                  12                   1/3 cup

Fruits

Bananas                                     105               1                  1                     1 med.

Pears – Fresh                             98                 1                  1                     1 med.

Pineapple – Fresh                     38                 –                  –                      1/2 cup

Plums – Fresh                           36                 1                  –                      1 med.

Prunes                                        20                 –                  –                      one

Raisins                                        55                 1                  –                      2 Tbsp.

Raspberries – Fresh                  30                 1                  –                      1/2 cup

Tangerine                                    37                 1                  –                      1 med.

Cherry Tomatoes                         3                   –                  –                      one

Tomatoes – Fresh                        26                 1                  –                      med.

Grape Fruit                                 39                 1                  –                      1/2 med.

Oranges – Fresh                          60                 1                  –                      1 med.

Cantaloupe                                 94                 2                  1                     1/2 med.

Honeydew                                  113               1                  –                      1/4 med.

Watermelon                                152               3                  2                     1 – 1×10″ slice

Cherries – Fresh                        104               2                  1                     1 cup

Strawberries – Fresh                 23                 –                  –                      1/2 cup

Kiwi                                             46                 1                  –                      1 med.

Apple                                           80                 –                  –                      1 med.

Nectarine                                   67                 1                  1                     1 med.

Peach                                          37                 1                  –                      1 med.

Soups

Chicken Noodle                          56                 3                  2                     1/2 cup

Cream of Mushroom (water)    98                 2                  7                     3/4 cup

Cream of Mushroom (milk)    154                5                  10                   3/4 cup

Cream of Tomato                       65                 2                  1                     3/4 cup

Vegetable Beef                           59                 4                  1                     3/4 cup

Eggs

Egg                                               75                 6                  5                     1 large

Egg Yolk                                      59                 3                  5                     1 large

Egg Substitute                             48                 3                  3                     2 Tbsp.

Cheese

American                                    106                6                  9                     1

Cheddar                                      114               7                  9                     1

Cheddar (low fat)                         90                 8                  6                     1

4% Cottage Cheese                     109               13                5                     1/2 cup

2% Cottage Cheese                     102               16                2                     1/2 cup

1% Cottage Cheese                      82                 14                1                     1/2 cup

Cream Cheese Light                     60                 3                  5                     1

Feta                                                 75                 4                  6                     1

Mozzarella                                     72                  7                  5                     1

Parmesan                                       23                 2                  2                     1 Tbsp.

Ricotta Park Skim Mild            170               14                10                   1/2 cup

Swiss                                             107               8                  8                     1

Miscellaneous

Peanut Butter                              95                 4                  8                     1 Tbsp.

Air-popped Popcorn                  30                 1                  –                      1 cup

Oatmeal – Cooked                      109                 5                  2                     3/4 cup

 

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How to keep cool indoors and out: vests

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ How to keep cool indoors and out: vests)

Think about maintaining your normal body core temperature, whether inside and outdoors during an extended emergency summer power outage.

A.  Keeping Your Cool: cooling vest type
April 2010, mitoaction,
http://www.mitoaction.org/red-tape/keeping-your-cool-cooling-vest-types-sources-financial-assistance

There are a variety of personal cooling systems that are available for purchase, and each style has unique advantages and drawbacks. Here is a brief summary of the three most popular systems:

1.  Evaporative Cooling Vests:
These vests feel like terry cloth but have tiny pockets of highly absorbable beads that can take in water and expand to 6 times their dry size. The vest is soaked in cool water and gently wrung out to remove excess. The vest is placed over a t-shirt and cools by evaporation; the air moves faster next to the water-logged beads, which creates a layer of cool air between the vest and the skin. Evaporative cooling vests are light weight, inexpensive, and there is no need to purchase a second vest to swap; the vest can be re-wet and immediately used again. Evaporative cooling apparel is not limited to vests; headbands, wristbands, floor mats, and even dog vests are available for purchasing. If an evaporative vest is damaged, it can be re-sewn by hand. The function of the vest isn’t seriously compromised if a few beads escape. (The beads are non-toxic, but always check the vest carefully to avoid ingestion by a child.) Evaporative cooling vests are of limited benefit in humid environments and are sometimes not tolerated by individuals with sensitive skin due to the slight dampness of the garment.

 2.  Phase Change Cooling Systems:
This type of vest contains inserts that are activated by placing them in the freezer or a container of ice water, and then the inserts maintain a consistent temperature (usually 53-56 degrees F.) for up to three hours. The inserts can then be re-activated (10 to 20 minutes for activation) and reused. Many people choose to purchase an extra set of inserts and rotate them, so that the vest can be used continuously. The inserts are not exactly ice packs; they do not reach freezing temperatures so they are unlikely to cause damage if left in contact with bare skin. This makes them safe to use with young children or individuals who are unable to feel heat or cold due to neuropathy or communicate discomfort. They are activated when exposed to temperatures above freezing, and need much less time to recharge than an actual frozen ice pack would take. Also, the inserts do not “sweat” when the cold is being transferred to the wearer, so clothing stays dry. Phase change vests can be made to fit wearers of all ages and sizes, custom vests can be made for individuals weighing more or less than the displayed vests are recommended for.

There are drawbacks to purchasing and using phase change vests. The inserts add weight to the vest, from 1 ½ to 2 lbs for children’s vests to 4 lbs or more for 3X or 4X adult sizes. Fortunately, the weight is evenly distributed on the body and is close to the individual’s center of gravity, so the balance issues associated with backpacks or weights shouldn’t be a problem. The cooling vest system is much more expensive than an evaporative vest; you can expect to pay around $200 for a vest and two sets of inserts. The phase change inserts are filled with a viscous fluid and are durable but not indestructible. If an insert is damaged it must be discarded and replaced.

3.  Hybrid Cooling Vests:
This vest combines the benefits of the evaporative as well as phase change vests. The user has the ability to choose between using the evaporative or phase change cooling methods, and can also choose to use both systems simultaneously to complement one another. This type of vest is new to the market, but customers who have purchased hybrid guests have reported high satisfaction rates.

4.  Cold Pack Cooling Vests:
These vests look just like phase change cooling vests, but use actual ice packs that freeze at 32 degrees or in some cases, even colder. These cold packs give the highest level of cooling because the cold packs are the lowest temperature. These vests are effective in extreme humidity and very high temperatures. Extra packs can be added or changed out over time.

There are several drawbacks to cold pack vests. The frozen inserts are generally heavier than phase change inserts, are usually inflexible when frozen, and must be returned to an actual freezer, below 32 degrees farenheight, to be refrozen, which can take several hours. Most frozen packs “sweat” while discharging cold energy, which some individuals may find uncomfortable. Most importantly, ice packs cannot be applied directly to skin and should never be used by individuals who may have impaired sensation, are asleep, or unable to communicate discomfort, as frostbite and serious injury can occur.

.

B .  MSolutions Cooling Climate Control Products
http://www.mscooling.com/faq
1.  WHO NEEDS A COOLING VEST?
If work, leisure activities or medical conditions make you uncomfortably hot and/or affect your performance, you could benefit from a Cooling Vest.

2.  WHAT IS HEAT STRESS?
Heat stress occurs when the body’s reaction to the environment causes its core temperature to rise above safe limits. This can result in a racing heart, profuse sweating, dizziness, reduced energy and slowed reaction times. This reduces safety, decreases efficiency and lowers productivity.
What is the difference between the many different types of body cooling systems available?
There are many different cooling products available and the best one for you depends on your personal situation, activity and environment. We recommend you consult your health care professional prior to purchasing a cooling garment or system.

A summary of the systems:

Evaporative
Cooling Power: Low*
Cost: Very Low
(*depending on humidity and outside variables)

Cold packs
Cooling Power: High
Cost: Low to Medium

Phase Change
Cooling Power: Medium
Cost: Medium

Active Cooling
Cooling Power: Very High
Cost: High to Very High

Evaporative Cooling: These products come in an assortment of garments that fit a wide variety of locations on the body. They are soaked in water to charge special polymer materials built into the garments. As the water evaporates (sometimes over several days), the garment provides surface cooling. These systems are typically low cost and light weight.
Advantages: Low cost, light weight works for an extended period of time
Disadvantages: Requires wetting of garment loses effectiveness in higher humidity

Cold pack cooling: These products typically come in vests, neck coolers and wrist coolers. The products work by incorporating cold packs into pockets of the wraps. The cold packs are placed in a freezer or a refrigerator until ready for use and then are placed in pockets designed into the wraps. The packs will stay cold for 2 to 4 hours depending on environmental conditions.
Advantages: Medium cost, no wetting required effective for 2-4 hours, highest cooling capacity works in all environments adjustable cooling with more / less packs extra packs easily carried for extended cooling
Disadvantages: Requires access to freezer / refrigerator requires time for packs to freeze medium weight: 4-5 lbs.

Phase Change Cold Pack Cooling: These products are similar to the cold pack systems only use a phase change polymer in the cold packs or the garment. This technology controls the release of temperature to a specific range through out the cooling cycle. A typical temperature is 58 degree F. Phase change cold packs may be recharged in the freezer, refrigerator or in ice water.
Advantages: Charges in ice water, refrigerator, freezer wetting not required, effective for 2-3 hours provides moderate cooling temperature  works in all environments extra packs easily carried for extended cooling
DisadvantagesHigher cost system, high cost of spare packs Lower cooling efficiency than cold packs medium weight: 5-7 lbs. medium cooling capacity.

Active Cooling: These products typically incorporate a coolant, often ice water, that is circulated from a reservoir by a pump system through channels or tubes embedded in a vest. Often a hood for the head is incorporated into the system also. The temperature of the circulating coolant usually can be adjusted. The system operates on batteries, house or car current. This type of system will provide many hours of cooling before the ice and water needs to be recharged.
AdvantagesMost effective cooling – core body cooling adjustable cooling temperature extended cooling time between recharges no wetting required, works in all environments light weight garments.
Disadvantages: Very high cost system tethered system limits mobility requires ice water reservoir.

.

C.  Glacier Tec  Phase Change cooling vest
Pasted from <http://blog.coolvest.com/easy-rider-glacier-tek-coolvest-product-review/>

Original RPCM® Cooling Vest – Tan Khaki
Price: $179.00, get a 10% discount with the special sales code “fjrforum-10″    from <http://www.fjrforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=139799>

I have this vest and it works well, it does keep you cool out doors at temperatures of around 100F while doing light to medium work . I prefer using this,  the “phase change” vest for “in the house” applications when the power is out. It’s dry and doesn’t damped furniture; for for a similar reason, I prefer the evaporative vest, discussed below, for outdoor use.

Product Details:
RPCM® Cooling Vests feature side elastic straps and over-the-shoulder adjustability to fit a wide range of body sizes. RPCM® Cool Vests provide you with the maximum comfort available in the market today. They maintain a cool, constant 59°F/15°C temperature for up to 2½ hours, weigh less than 5 lbs., and recharge in minutes. The RPCM® Cool Vest is extremely durable. It can be easily cleaned in regular laundry. .                                                           

> RPCM® Cool Packs quickly recharge in only 20 minutes in ice water. The packs charge (freeze solid) at a temperature about 50 degrees. There are 3 ways to fully charge the packs. They will be rock solid even using the refrigerator which is my favorite of the 3 ways.
__1) On the road toss them in a plastic bag full of ice for 30 minutes.
__2) Put them in the freezer for 1 hour.
__3) Put them in the refrigerator for 2 hours
> RPCM® Cool Vests are Glacier Tek’s exclusive Patent-Pending technology that uses a unique “green” formula.
> RPCM® contains absolutely no hazardous ingredients or chemicals and is completely non-toxic.
> Vest weigh less than 5 lbs.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Pasted from <http://www.glaciertek.com/RPCM_Cooling_Vest/FAQ.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1>

Q. Is the material in the RPCM® Cooling Vest hazardous?
A. No. The phase change material in the RPCM® Cool Pack is unique among phase change materials used for cooling. It is the only phase change cooling vest on the market which contains no hazardous ingredients or materials. It is also non-toxic, safe, and environmentally friendly. Should the RPCM® Cool Pack become punctured and leak onto your skin, it may be washed off with soap and water.

Q. How many times can the RPCM® Cooling Vest be used?
A. If the RPCM® Cool Packs are not punctured or torn, they can be used indefinitely. Our RPCM Cooling Vest has no shelf life. Some of our cooling packs have been recharged 10,000 times with no measurable change in performance.

Q. Can I store my cooling vest in the freezer?
A. Yes, the RPCM® Cooling Packs can be deep-frozen indefinitely without affecting performance.

Q. How long do RPCM® Cooling Vests take to recharge?
A. Typically 20 minutes in ice water will fully recharge a set of cooling packs, longer in a freezer or refrigerator. They recharge more quickly in ice water because of the conductive method of heat transfer. In a freezer, they chill convectively, which takes longer. They can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer indefinitely without damage or loss of functionality. Recharging in a cold freezer with the door kept shut takes about an hour. In a refrigerator, it can be several hours to overnight, depending on the heat load, how many times the refrigerator is opened, etc.

Q. What are the benefits of RPCM® Cool Packs over ice or frozen gel packs?
A. There are three key benefits:

  1. RPCM® Cool Packs operate at a much more comfortable 59° F (15°C) temperature. That means they can’t cause skin or tissue damage or cause extreme discomfort like ice or frozen gel can do.
  2. RPCM® Cool Packs will be effective for a longer period of time between charges. The reason? The difference in temperature between ambient (surrounding) air and the phase change product is much less than the difference in temperature between ambient air and ice. That means more cooling is absorbed by the body and less is lost to the air.
  3. RPCM® Cool Packs are cooled to a temperature that is usually above the dew point. That means they normally won’t condense or sweat against your body or clothing. Ice and frozen gel packs are below the dew point, so they sweat, making them uncomfortable to wear and adding to the weight of the vest or jacket. Condensation also robs the ice pack of efficiency because condensation creates heat, which is absorbed by the pack, further reducing its efficiency.

Q. How do RPCM® Cooling Vests compare with evaporative-type products?
A. RPCM® Cooling Vests provide much greater efficiency and better performance. Evaporative-type products by design retain water, so are always wet and can grow bacteria. This makes them uncomfortable against your skin. It also means they will grow mildew quickly over time, as they rarely dry out. Further, evaporative-type products can’t operate in high humidity environments (or under protective clothing,) because the atmosphere is already saturated with water, so there is no place for the evaporation to go. RPCM® Cooling Vests, on the other hand, are unaffected by humidity.

Q. Will RPCM® Cooling Vests reduce body core temperature?
A. Our products are worn to help maintain a normal body core temperature. The purpose of phase change cooling technology is to help maintain a comfortable core temperature and prevent that temperature from increasing above normal. It’s our goal to help you avoid heat stress in the first place.

Q. Isn’t water a phase change material?
A. Yes. A phase change occurs whenever matter changes from one form into another. Water can change from a solid (ice) to a liquid, as well as to a vapor. Water changes into a solid at a specific temperature: 32ºF (0°C). But RPCM® Cooling Vest packs change into their solid form at 59º F (15°C). Since water changes into its solid form at a much lower temperature, it loses more of its cooling ability to ambient (surrounding) temperature. It’s also below the dew point, so it causes condensation as it melts. Further, it’s uncomfortable and requires an overnight stay in the freezer to refreeze.

Q. Will RPCM® Cooling Vests cause vasoconstriction?
A. That’s one of the advantages of RPCM® Cooling Vests: They function within a comfortable temperature range that unlikely to promote vasoconstriction of blood vessels, unlike ice or frozen gel which promotes rapid vasoconstriction. This is an important benefit, as non-constricted blood vessels allow your circulatory system to freely move blood throughout your body, then release heat at the skin surface. With ice, the body is fooled into defending itself agains the intense cold. It reacts by constricting the blood vessels near the skin, limiting the body’s natural cooling system. The heart and lungs then have to work harder, expending extra energy in the chest cavity and creating yet more body heat and other risks.

Q. Do RPCM® Cooling Vests come in sizes?
A. No. The RPCM® Cooling Vest is adjustable across a wide range of sizes to enable it to fit many people. Inventories of various sizes are reduced and one vest may be adjusted to fit several people, enabling sharing of the product from person to person. It adjusts over the shoulders and around the waist for a comfortable fit in a wide range of body sizes.

Q. Where can I purchase Glacier Tek Products?
A. Glacier Tek, Inc. wishes to offer you the most expedient service possible, and allows you to choose from several ordering options: Order On-Line, Fill out an Information Sheet, or call us at 800-482-0533 for more information or to locate a distributor near you. Thank you for your interest in Glacier Tek, Inc. and our cooling technology products.

.

D.  Tech Deluxe Evaporative Cooling vest
Amazon.com, $49.99
See: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FGD8SA/ref=gno_cart_title_1

[Photo at left] TechNiche Deluxe Hyperkewl Evaporative cooling vest, Large size (40-42),, silver colored exterior, $49.99: High mandarin collar, front pockets, and zipper closure combine to offer the ultimate cooling and sun protection solution.

The evaporative vest works, I have one and prefer it for outdoor use. I’ve tested it doing my afternoon walks at temperatures of about 100F.

HyperKewl™ Evaporative Cooling Fabric is 47% Fluff Pulp, 33% Crosslinked Super Absorbent Polymer Fiber, Sodium Acrylate Coploymer and 20 % Bicomponent Polyolefin Bonding Fiber

EASY TO USE:
1.  Soak garment in cool water for 1-3 minutes
2.  Gently squeeze out excess water
3.  Wear; repeat steps as needed
4.  Hang to dry
5.  Wash in mild, soapy water (as needed)

Improved HyperKewl™ Evaporative Cooling Fabric ((PEF6519) – Helps our Evaporative Cooling products to last longer, and withstand more wear and tear. No gel or beads. This simple and effective technology works by combining water with our HyperKewl™ Fabric to create garments that gradually release water through evaporation to keep you cool and comfortable. Comfortable quilted Oxford nylon outer w/ polymer embedded fabric inner, water repellent nylon liner, and black poly-cotton trim.
Provides 5-10 hours of cooling relief per soaking; lightweight, durable and washable.

* Between use the vests are each hung on a sturdy wide shouldered clothes hanger.

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Everything Won’t Be Alright

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Everything Won’t Be Alright)

Everything Won’t Be Alright
4 September 2012, The Automatic Earth, Ashvin Pandurangi
Pasted from: http://theautomaticearth.com/Earth/everything-isnt-alright.html

“Looking around at those… around me – family, friends, acquaintances and random faces in the crowd of apathy – the level of complacency is so concentrated I can taste it, yet I can’t even describe how bad it tastes. I’m not really talking about the understanding people lack about the numerous predicaments we face as a species – that’s definitely there too… but what I’m talking about is even worse. It’s the assumption that we can just go about our day-to-day lives, doing our day-to-day work, having our day-to-day fun… and humanity will eventually heal itself, no matter how bad the injuries sustained.

This is a cultural phenomenon that has infested the Western world, and refuses to be eradicated. It is where many of us ultimately place our hope and stake our lives, sometimes without even realizing we are doing it. We previously discussed the entertainment enemas that have penetrated modern culture (and the lives of deluded teenagers) in Culturally Programmed Myths of Omnipotence. They have given us the vision that we can always become bigger, “better” and stronger as individuals and nations, evolving towards God-like glory, no matter what obstacles are in our way – all of the stories about superheroes, vampires, werewolves, wizards, robots and aliens – it’s all about the propaganda of pernicious power.

We even see this mentality taking root in academia and scientific research through the field of “transhumanism” (very well portrayed in the documentary, TechnoCalyps). As you can probably guess from the name, transhumanism tells us that we are on the way to becoming something more, something other, than human beings. Forget random mutation and natural selection, the transhumanist says – we can circumvent all of the slow evolutionary nonsense that we only theorized about a century ago. Now we can transform ourselves into a new species over the course of a few decades with the help of modern technology and “intelligent designers”. Just a little bit ironic, don’t you think?

Ironic, yet frighteningly appealing to the broader public. Yet another aspect of this cultural programming is the idea that all troubling stories have a happy ending – that all good things come to those who [sit on their ass and] wait. We have obviously been fed this diet of propaganda by movies and television on a consistent basis over the course of decades. You sit through one and a half hours of action-packed plots with drama, romance, suspense, twists and turns mixed in… and then the whole thing comes together and the heroes prevail in the last 20 minutes. That’s truly how many people view the world now – an epic movie that is approaching its glorious credits, just so the sequel can come out next year.

This virulent mentality is not only quarantined to the mainstream materialistic culture, but is also evident in many alternative spheres of cultural milieu, even penetrating its way into the so-called “Doomer” crowds. Many people who are otherwise extremely pessimistic about the current world-system and its effects on human civilization have found refuge in the idea that we are entering a “New Age” of human existence. It may be initially characterized by pockets of chaos and upheaval, but it will end with a radical spiritual transformation that results from the natural evolution of human consciousness.

The Universe will re-balance itself and bring the blessings of peace and harmony to ALL of its inhabitants – “all” being those who are mentally programmed to properly decode its gifts. There is really nothing “new” about these concepts, though – they borrow many of their underlying tenets from the ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. For example, a prominent prophecy within sects of the latter is the arrival of the Maitreya Buddha at a time when humans have completely lost touch with their true nature as immaterial and interconnected parts of the divine whole (a time like now, perhaps?).

The Maitreya may not be a majority view in “New Age” circles, but it reflects a general mentality that has submerged itself in both the mainstream and alternative streams of modern culture, presenting itself to us in many different forms. There is an entire industry based around the concept of self-help gurus teaching people [much too] simple ways to become “happy, healthy and successful”, no matter what is going on in the world around them. Yet we all know that there is no money to be made from a product that truly helps its patients (customers).

They’re selling us exactly what we want to hear – that the reality of human suffering in the world is not actually as bad as it appears to be; that there is more truth in the fictional movies we have seen than in our real lives. Maybe if we can just find that slick-looking guy in the black leather jacket and cool shades, snatch the red pill and wash it down with a bottle of Absinthe, the truth will be revealed to us and everything will be alright in the end. Or maybe the blue pill will give us a better high…? Either way, I’m here to say that we should be really careful what we wish for, because there is only a razor thin line between the truth and fiction these days.

Most importantly, though, I am here to make clear that no one is immune from the mentality that “everything is alright” or “everything can be alright”, including me. I have my own personal beliefs about how humanity can be preserved and even perfected, and I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with that. What’s wrong is when I forget to remind myself where those beliefs come from and where they are truly leading me. Do they simply make me feel good and comfortable and “enlightened”? Am I simply willing to swallow the red pill because someone slick tells me it will “open my eyes”?

Or is there something more fundamentally true about why I have deep concerns and why I have ultimate hope. What sacrifices are really required of myself and others to reach our maximum human potentials? I believe these are questions we must repeatedly ask ourselves, because the moment we become too comfortable and too uncritical of our beliefs, or the beliefs of others around us, is the moment that we become apathetic and willing to go wherever the world takes us. It is only when we confront the uncomfortable truths of our situation in this world that we will be able to become the best we can possibly be.”

Current News headlines (the list is growing) (Mr. Larry)
The middle class is being destroyed
Private Debt Is Crippling the Economy
Average Credit Card Interest Rates Are Way Too High
Too Big To Fail Banks Get Bigger, American Dream Turns Nightmare
Does shadow banking require regulation?
A Cartel of Big Banks Is Hurting the World Economy By Manipulating Derivatives
JPMorgan’s Big Loss: Why Banks Still Haven’t Learned Their Lesson
Despite a Negative Fund Balance the FDIC is Insuring $6.1T in Deposits
 Gas prices shouldn’t be high, but are: What gives?
France Interior Ministry threatens to expel Muslims
EU Police to Patrol Internet for Political Enemies Opposed to “European Integration”
Hypocrisy Alert: The Obama ‘Royal Family’ Continues Spending Spree with Lavish Vacations
China Challenges Obama’s Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup
Russia, China seal major gas deal, bypass US dollar
Russia’s secret weapon: crashing US economy by collapsing petrodollar

Democracy and the bathroom metaphor
Two people live in an apartment and there are two bathrooms, then both have the freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom anytime you want, and stay as long as you want, for whatever you need. Everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution. But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in the freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, “Aren’t you through yet?” and so on.

The same way democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The more people there are the less one individual matters. …………………….Issac Asimov

US Population, no one is talking about it! Could it be the root of our problems? Ya think?
1775 – the founding of our nation, and at about the time the Constitution was written, this country had a population of 2,500,000.
7 September 2012: Now, a mere 237 years later,  we have a population of 313,459,820, which is 125 times larger than in 1775 when our Constitution was drawn up.
We need to stop immigration and reduce the US population about 15% so that there is no unemployment and we are eating within our means. In the coming 20 years or less, when the downside from Peak Oil becomes manifest, that 15% reduction may need be stretched to…..ummmm 47%. Mr. Larry.

The graphic below depicts the power and money flow trickling down through the US and global economy, its pathway into the not to distant future; of course with different named, but substantially similarly sub categories. We all share the common end point, one of deep concern. Mr. Larry.

In the meanwhile, as our train hurdles down the track, while everyone is metaphorically comfortable in their seat watching life pass by, unaware that historically, “global”‘ debt scenarios do not end well for the public at large, you should:
1.  Keep a minimal amount of cash in the bank, keep the balance in a safe place that only your family knows about. (make sure you have a lot of smaller bills, $1, $5, $10 and rolls of change; you might have to pay exact cash for groceries.
2.  Obtain a few hundred ounces of silver coin (Silver Eagles and US pre 1965 silver change). Buy the silver only after you have some cash set aside.
3.  Have a few ounces of gold coin (Gold Eagles), figure that 1 ounce equals a month’s living expenses. Buy gold only after you have the silver coins.
4.  Have  some food (3+ months) in nitrogen packed cans in long term storage, and use bulk rotation in your well stocked cupboards.
5.  Have various household supplies in storage.
6.  Be prepared to protect your home from  invasion. Everyone approaching their mid teens should be part of your home security plan.
[Photo: Smith & Wesson Military & Police 9mm (S&W M&P9) Barrel Length 5″, Capacity 17 + 1]

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Bug Out or Shelter In?

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Bug out or Shelter in?)

  

A.  Is a Bug Out Bag even necessary?
11 February 2010, Death Valley magazine, Do-you-really-need-a-bug-out-bag-part-1, by James G. in Urban Survival
http://www.deathvalleymag.com/2010/01/24/urban-survival-do-you-really-need-a-bug-out-bag-part-1/

“So you have your Bug Out Bag (From here on referred to as a “BOB”) with enough food and water for 72 hours along with a fire starting kit, first aid kit, maps, medicine, guns, food for your dog, knifes and camping gear so you can last indefinitely anywhere in the world.

That’s great and I am always encouraged to see people who have prepared for emergencies but…

Well let’s start from the beginning, why would one own a BOB in the first place?
To put it simple: In case something happened that was so devastating one would have to immediately and without warning leave their home and travel in such a way you could only bring what you could carry on your person.

I really can’t think of a natural or manmade disaster that would happen so suddenly I wouldn’t even have time to pack a bag.

_1.   BOB for natural disasters:
Hurricanes and Tornadoes
I don’t see anyone looking out the window and seeing a twister heading to their house then grabbing a BOB and running out the front door. For hurricanes you would have some sort of warning so you would have time to get prepared and decide to stay or run beforehand.
Even if your first warning was seeing a twister in your back yard you still wouldn’t grab your BOB and run out the front door of your house.

Flooding
Sort of the same thing here, most areas have flood warnings, for example a state of emergency was issued for the entire state of Louisiana 2 full days before Katrina even hit land.
So if you had several days warning that your town was going to be underwater you would probably load up your car and go, not just one backpack.

Earthquakes
With earthquakes you only have a few second warning before the ground starts shaking. Earthquake prediction itself is a not accurate at all, even in Japan where they have the most expensive and state of the art earthquake warning system they are lucky to give a 60 second warning.
So I also doubt that someone would grab their BOB and run outside when they hear the “in 10 seconds an earthquake will hit” sirens or when the ground starts shaking violently.

_2.  BOB For Man Made Disasters:
Civil Unrest
In just about every instance of major civil unrest there are warning signs way in advance, riots are a result of built up frustration over a situation that someone cannot control. The key part being “Built Up” meaning it takes time for thousands of people to get angry enough to destroy a city.
A good example is the riots after the Rodney King beating police trial, everyone knew that there would be civil unrest if a non guilty verdict was delivered and that was months before the first Molotov Cocktail was thrown.
If you knew that a mob of thousands of people were going to be in an area days in advance you would not be there. if you were there than you would be there out of choice like the Korean storekeepers protecting their property in the above riot.
I doubt that if someone were to look out their window one Sunday morning and see 3 thousand people waving torches and walking down their street they would grab a BOB and run out the front door.

Pandemic
Like natural disasters people are warned in advance, and in the case of a pandemic the warning my even be a year or more in advance. You can’t run from the flu unless you have an island to live on and enough money saved up to pay your bills until it passes.
If during a pandemic you see someone sneeze while walking past you house, again, I doubt that you will grab your BOB and run out the back door of your house.

Terrorism
During a terrorist attack you are ether dead, wounded or unharmed. Generally speaking you will not have a warning that a terrorist attack will take place at a certain place or time with enough certainty to avoid it.
Going on the road immediately after a terror attack is foolish due to follow-up attacks and because you would contribute to already congested streets causing Emergency Services to divert resources to crowd control and civil policing when they are needed for helping the wounded and capturing those responsible.
So if I saw that there was a terrorist attack in my neighborhood or town I would not grab a BOB and run out the front door, if anything I would run to the place of the attack to help.
And if you run outside during or after a biological attack, well let’s just say don’t miss your ride on the short bus later.
And it will also be a cold day in hell when some terrorist makes me run away and abandon MY home.

Nuclear Attack
You have been watching too many movies…
But if a Nuke does go off in your neighborhood then feel free to grab your BOB and run.

Zombie Attack
Grab a BOB and run? Are you kidding? I am staying right here for some much anticipated Zombie Killin’ – Death Valley Zombie Killing Rangers!
Now I have been watching too many movies…
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[Above: The kind of storage you could develop for “sheltering-in-place” within the relative safety of your home. There is a chance you’d be able to escape catastrophe with a quantity of food like this and your other gear, if you were set up in a tent and held out for months on end. You are already ahead if you stock up, but stay at home,  house walls are safer than tent fabric. Mr. Larry]

So in my opinion the reasons for having a BOB don’t really pan out, in just about every instance where you are supposed to use one you can’t. And the times you would need to evacuate you would have far enough advance notice that you would have time to pack an entire car or fortify your current location.

Q: So should you own a BOB? Well even with the above info it’s still a personal decision for you.
Q: Is it a bad thing to own a BOB? No.
Q: Is it 100% necessary? Probably not.
Q: Is it fiscally practical? Like should you have used the $500 you spent on equipping your BOB    or bought a natural gas powered fridge for your basement or maybe a case of Southern Comfort instead? I think so.”

[Despite the reasonable argument presented above, does Mr. Larry have a BOB or standby suitcase packed? Yes. Because even the most reasonable and well thought out investment portfolio can never protect you completely by covering all the contingencies.
The unknown future could surprise practically everyone, by not dishing up a commonly assumed disaster scenario. Instead, we could face a Black Swan event, a single event that crashes the system, or a cascading series of events that become catastrophic. These events could arise from scenarios which are presently considered impossible, or at best, only remotely recognized by a few, as a threat. Realistically, if we knew what might happen and-or how severe it might be, we’d be ready for it ahead of time and the event wouldn’t be classified as catastrophic.
.
The photo below shows an improved shelter-emergency camping situation over setting up directly on the ground. Raising the platform another 3-4 blocks would provide a lot of below board storage area, and add a little extra security. Extending the deck would allow the addition of a screened enclosure for mosquito protection while cooking and eating. The fellow who took the picture wrote of the tent and platform saying, “My home for 3 1/2 months while white-water rafting in West Virginia,” so this is doable.       Mr. Larry]

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B.  The Fallacy of Bugging Out – Are You Prepared to Be a Refugee?

19 April 1012, http://www.SurvivalAcres.com
http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/the-fallacy-of-bugging-out-are-you-prepared-to-be-a-refugee_04192012
This article has been generously contributed by Survival Acres – Sustainable Living & Common Sense.

Many websites, blogs and forums have covered the topic of bugging out in excruciating detail, all under the assumption that this will be a necessary escape plan for many of us when the proverbial shit hits the fan. This notion is predicated upon the belief that escape and evasion, necessary for your immediate survival will be a (likely) event that you must plan and prepare for now.

However, nothing could be further from the real and actual truth. This cherished myth is a deceptive and dangerous notion that has little place in reality. I’ve long held a stance against this notion because in nearly all cases and all situations, this is a very bad idea with oftentimes fatal consequences. Bugging out is embracing the refugee lifestyle – a very bad idea. Refugees throughout history have fared very badly, suffered extreme hardship and deprivation, with many not surviving the experience. There is a far better alternative to this.

The rejection of the “bug out” mythology flies in the face of the so-called ‘expert advice’ and theory being proposed by many websites and authors, who are also very active in selling products and gear specifically oriented around this concept. You could say quite rightly, that there is indeed a agenda at work here, but it is not one in your best interests. Hold onto your pockets and read on.

Bugging out entails leaving everything you are, and everything you own, and everything you use, day in and day out, and everything you cannot carry or transport with you, behind. Not only behind, but inaccessible, unusable and abandoned. Potentially forever.

How much of our lives, and the things within our lives, do we truly want to abandon? You will also leaving behind all rules of normalcy, the concept of “plenty” and abundance (which also means replacements and repair), all laws, rules, behavior and expectations that we have come to expect from each other and within our society, both good and bad.

Let’s make a list of these things to put this reality into perspective:

You will be leaving behind your job (income), perhaps your family (wife, kids), your home (shelter), your friends (support network), your contacts (other people you know), your bank accounts (money), your credit (ruined), your retirement (pension), your property and everything you own (everything you cannot carry with you), your vehicles (except perhaps one, at least until the gas tank is empty), your future (prospects, employment, credibility, integrity). Don’t forget things also left behind, such as electricity, running water, Internet access, news and information, communications, telephone and even cell service, a warm, dry bed and other ‘essentials’, some more than others.

You will also leave behind all expectations of normalcy, decency, morality and expectations, i.e., a “normal life”,  forever – more on that below.

If you were dependent upon a job, it will be gone. You will have either been fired or laid off with a ruined reference for any future employment. You would not be able to pay your rent or your mortgage, your utility bills or any of your monthly obligations. If they’ve lapsed far enough, then you would be facing bankruptcy and / or forfeiture of your (remaining) assets, or at the very least, their liquidation (if you still have them) in order to survive a few more weeks.

It’s possible your kids or your wife could be gone, having abandoned you for abandoning them or sucked up into the system by the welfare state or child protective services. Your marriage could be in ruins, your family and friends could disown you, but in any case, what would be left of your relationships could potentially be in complete tatters. Worthwhile? You decide.

Your connections to society and civilization would also be destroyed, or certainly damaged, perhaps beyond repair. In effect, you’d be “cashing out” completely and perhaps forever, of the life you’ve lived and starting over. Worthwhile? You decide.

But you’d be alive! (supposedly).

In effect, bugging out will mean you will be totally abandoning your present life in exchange for huddling under a tree in the woods, trying to avoid hypothermia and starvation, wondering where you next meal will come from, and how long you can hold out in your new ‘reality’. And whatever it was that you chose to run away from — will still be there. This is perhaps the most overlooked point of all.

How long could you hold out? Not long. The reasons are many, but they are sound.

The need to bug out is an exceedingly tiny reality — a future event that will probably never happen. But it is not a zero possibility (nothing is, not even an alien invasion). Yet this topic still receives a ridiculous amount of attention despite its extremely low probability, which makes no sense at all. The reason is because escapism is thought to be a ’solution’ versus contributing to the problem. It’s not, as the points above demonstrate.

Running — from whatever the problem is, usually ensures that you are taking your problems with you. Only if your life is in immediate danger does running offer a better opportunity then staying put and dealing with the problem. Running does not make problems go away, it will very often make them much worse.

Running is also thought of as being romantic, adventurous and even ‘brave’ in some circles. Taking on the world all by yourself while you’re on the run is a common theme in movies and books, but has nothing to do with real life. Running means you’re in full-blown survival mode and all bets are off, including all notions of morality, right and wrong, doing the “right thing” and what you can even reasonably expect to happen. Anything can happen if you run, and often does, because you are replacing all of your security for a whole series of things unknown (and insecure).

Did you know that if you abandon the system, then the system will also abandon you? Nobody much talks about this point, but it is true. You will find yourself outside of society, unhelped and unhelpable, unknown, disconnected and even hated for being what you have now become. With no address, connections, no references, no family or friends, nothing with which to help connect you back into society, society will turn its back upon you in fear, and you will be outside of all normal channels of help and assistance, effectively cut off. This is a huge issue, but nobody ever mentions it.

To The Woods
Bugging out is usually assumed to mean “to the woods” where survivors, patriots, militia, end-timers and others will be making “their last stand” (apparently together, whether they like it or not) while roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. Instead, it will be the last man standing over a pile of rotted and half-eaten corpses, since the food and supplies and the notions of ‘living off the land’ will have died out with the last slaughtered deer to be found. And every ’survivor’ will have been hoping all along that nobody has turned them in for poaching.

Campsites, caves and hidey-holes will have become armed, dirty and infested encampments of hungry and desperate men (the surviving women would have long since been forced into prostitution and slavery), all fighting over the remaining scraps to be found (and newcomers showing up) necessary for their survival. Informants, traitors, thieves, murderers, rapists and thugs will quickly become the defining characteristic, with the strongest ruling (or eating) the weak. Those who arrive “first” will potentially be better prepared to prey upon the late-comers or the weak, so if you are still planning on trying this, get your seat at the table early.

Think not? This is exactly what happens during civil wars and internal conflicts when a country turns against itself. The war in Bosnia saw tens of thousands of murders, rapes and thefts as the people turned on each other. It was a fight for survival, for food, for weapons, for money, for women.

It has happened all over the world, and it will happen again. Whenever there is not enough to go around, and whenever there is strife, secrecy and conflict, those involved will resort to whatever methods of survival that they have to in order that they might live another day by whatever means possible. It will be no picnic, no romantic “retreat into the woods” where faith, truth, righteousness or rebellion will flourish and grow. Instead, it will be a bloodbath where the young, old and the weak succumb the quickest. I suggest you bring lots of Tabasco sauce, as it does make the meat taste better.

Bugging out also means you are leaving the norms of society behind. These are the rules, laws, restrictions and expectations that you have come to expect (and largely appreciate) that govern human behavior. Would-be dictators and gang leaders will spring forth from unlikely sources. Since there is nothing to hinder them, then they will allow themselves to be unhindered. Unrestrained, you will find the true nature of what your “friends” can really be. You’ll soon regret not locking up the mad caps among you and taking away their weapons. If food or medical supplies are in short supply, then expect gang on gang, tribe on tribe warfare to begin. Expect slavery, torture, imprisonment and rape. Also expect the nearby communities (cities, towns, villages) to become their prey, as theft, robbery and murder to go hand in hand with their (daily) need for food and other things like fuel and medical supplies.

Inversely, you could also expect smart and prepared communities to expel, exterminate and hunt down these refugees if things get way out of hand, exacerbating an already bad situation. Forget for a moment the military or law enforcement going after these woodland refugees (a topic unto itself), the locals themselves will not be the helping hand that you may have naively come to expect, especially if you or your gang have already trod upon their welcome mat. They’re trying to survive too, and live normal, unfettered lives as best they can. They don’t need nor appreciate you coming along and messing things up. Camping out in their back yard or nearby forests will often pit you against them in violent and lethal ways. And they will be far more adept then you are outlasting you because they will have the infrastructure and support network to do so.

Survivalism is only rarely about ’surviving in the woods’. Rather, survivalism is about living, and staying alive, and how you might do that while experiencing as few hardships as you can. Bugging out to the woods to survive your end-time fantasies is going to be a quick path to death for the majority of people that try this route. There is a better alternative to this.

Staying Alive
Bugging out is never quite what everyone seems to think it is, where living off the land and finding adequate nutrition and staying healthy is grossly overlooked. Many people claim that they can “do it”, yet return year after year from hunting season empty handed. When the beer runs out, they head home. Or when the food is bland or gone, they’re beating tracks as fast as they can to the nearest restaurant. These ’survivalists’ and ‘outdoorsman’ will not survive their voluntary refugee status by bugging out, but they will (if they show up, far from home) be a serious problem for the locals.

You will burn up a tremendous amount of calories (as much as 3 – 4 times as normal) while trying to live off the land. Finding and building shelter, hunting and gathering for food and water, providing heat, establishing security and working and waking / walking for long hours at a time, will cause you to expend far more calories than you will be taking in. Even if you are very well supplied, you won’t be for long (you cannot carry enough). Foraging for food will very rarely provide enough calories versus what you are expending while looking. You will quickly go into a calorie deficit, burning off fats and muscles as your body adapts to your new environment and demands.

I’ve seen lot of ill-informed discussion of ‘nomadic lifestyle’ whereas the individual or group is roaming about, living off the land. This notion is pure b.s., as it is calorie-deficient, ill-advised for security reasons and will increase the risk of injury and health issues. You will need to preserve calories — not expend them (if you can).

Calorie deficiency cannot last very long (mere days in most cases) before your health diminishes and your strength drops. You risk hypothermia, vitamin deficiencies and a higher risk of contracting illness and injury due to your weakened condition. Unless your nutritional needs are met and you are able to also stay warm and dry, avoiding hypothermia (core temperature drop) and frostbite / exposure, then it is just a matter of time before you become incapacitated, unable to effectively help yourself.

There are countless examples of ‘modern day survivalists’ who have found this out, believing that they too could live off the land and survive, but lacking the skills and experience to do so. Additionally, our forests are not the cornucopia of food waiting to be plucked many seem to think, they’re vastly depleted monocultures of trees, lacking sufficient edible foods and wildlife. Some of these people wound up dead, others were found or rescued. All of them learned that foraging for sufficient nutrition and calories is why we have modern farms — it is the most efficient way of meeting our nutritional needs. Even growing your own food at home in a controlled environment (garden) with a plentiful supply of soils, seeds, water, tools and time is extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible for most of us (really) to meet all your daily nutritional needs, all while leading a far less demanding lifestyle then living off in the woods in survival mode. I’ve long been advocating sustainable living and raising your own food, but here in the woods where I live, I cannot even grow half of the food I need to stay alive and healthy, let alone expect to hunt it down. Nor can I grow enough to feed my family, compounding the nutritional needs required.

Bugging out is in nearly all cases, a very bad idea, fraught with danger and pitfalls, destined for failure and doom for those that believe that this will be “their answer” to whatever they’re running away from. It would only be necessary in the most extreme circumstances (extremely rare) and for very extremely short periods of time and for extremely few (skilled) people. This rules out almost everyone else. You would need to return to civilization far sooner than many seem to be planning for. If you did run off into the woods, you’d soon be back (as many Y2K refugees found out). Wouldn’t it then be a better solution to avoid this unnecessary step altogether if you could?

Ultimately, this then is the far better solution — bugging in, back to safety, food, heat, clothing, medical attention and survival. If you truly think that you foresee a need to bug out — then revise your plans to bug in to a new location within civilization where you can find (or work for) food, clothing, shelter, safety and security (including an income) where your survival is a far more sure thing. This is the only long-term answer there really is. You will also be in a much better situation to deal with whatever the problem was in the first place that caused you to leave.

I do not have a bug out bag anymore, since it no longer makes any sense to me to have one. I do have cash, toys, tools, vehicles and other things of interest at my disposal. Disappearing off into the woods is a dead end and it will not work for the vast majority of people that would try this. You would have to come out sooner than you think (if you survive) and return to life within civilization somewhere. You’re not going to live off the land indefinitely, and not even as long as you may think, so it makes far more sense in your ‘escape plan’ to prepare for living someplace else instead.

The entire concept of bugging out truly needs to be redefined to fit within the parameters of reality and how this would really work for the vast majority of people. Leaving for reasons of safety, security, natural disasters or some other valid reason is perfectly acceptable — but where you go and how you will plan on surviving while you are there seems to be where this theory falls flat on its face against reality. Having the means to leave, but having some place to go, where you can find safety, food, shelter and sustainability is key to a true “bug out” plan. Planning on disappearing into the woods is in all probability one of the worst ideas you could attempt. You would have to come out sooner or later, weakened, possibly sick or injured, broke, destitute and impoverished — a true self-made refugee. Basically, a dumb idea all around, one that should only be tried in the most extreme circumstances and only for the adept.
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[Don’t put yourself in a situation where you might be found here. Mr. L.]

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