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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Tactical Intelligence News Brief: Chileans Arm Themselves Against Looters

What is Happening

Efforts to prevent looters from entering neighborhoods after Chile's disaster include barricades like this one in Concepcion
In the wake of the earthquake, hundreds of Chilean survivors are forming organized neighborhood watch groups, arming themselves and barricading streets to protect their homes from looters.
The groups have taken over the role of security since the police were overwhelmed by looting and soldiers were not able to restore order quick enough after the disaster.

What this Means

Looting seems to be a common theme in natural disasters. When the grid goes down for a period of time and the first responders become overextended, 1) the less savory people of society see it as a free for all and go on a looting spree, and 2) when people become desperate enough due to lack of food and supplies they often resort to looting as well.
This is especially problematic in an extended grid-down situation.
To reduce inventory and the associated carrying costs, modern grocery stores receive their inventory “just in time” for the next day’s demand. When that supply line gets held up for whatever reason, those who are dependent upon the goods in that store go without.
These Just in Time (JIT) supply strategies allow for no extended stock of food and supplies — which is why we see the shelves become empty prior to impending storms. The longer the supply is gone the more desperate people become.

How Does it Effect You?

A neighbor guards his block from looters in Lota, Chile, on Wednesday. (Aliosha Marquez / AP)
That wouldn’t happen here right? After all aren’t we a “civilized” country? Think again, it happened in Louisiana after the Katrina disaster and if another major disaster comes — economic or otherwise — it will happen again.
There are a number of lessons to be learned from this:
  1. You must be prepared: Food (and water) storage is absolutely essential. A minimum of 3 months but ideally one year’s worth or more. For more info on how to get started with food storage be sure to read my Food Storage Basics article series.
  2. Get to know your neighbors: Similar to these Chileans, banding together provides safety and security and besides, you can’t expect to man a 24/7 watch all by yourself. Get to know your neighbors now, before disaster strikes. If possible, come up with neighborhood disaster plans and discuss the possibility of how the neighborhood would respond to looters.
  3. Arm yourself: When the law is not around and the lawless run amok, you are the last line of defense for your family. Just having firearms is not enough. Be sure to get the proper training. There are numerous civilian training schools around the country that teach personal defense with a firearm.
  4. Beef up the security of your residence: Having a secure home is a good idea even without a mob of looters running around. Now’s the time to increase the security of your residence before the zombies come a’knocking.


This is by far THE best book out there for building a secure home. 700 pages of hard-core information (no fluff):

The Secure Home (by Joel Skousen)

Here are some links to articles about the Chilean looting problem:

Related posts:

  1. The Tactical Intelligence News Brief – October 6, 2009
  2. Welcome to Tactical Intelligence .Net!
  3. How to Create Secure Digital Copies of Your Emergency Documents

What to do after a Landslide

Guidelines for the period following a landslide:

* Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides.
* Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.
* Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow. Floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows because they may both be started by the same event.
* Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations.
* 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.
* Look for and report broken utility lines and damaged roadways and railways to appropriate authorities. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.

* Check the building foundation, chimney, and surrounding land for damage. Damage to foundations, chimneys, or surrounding land may help you assess the safety of the area.
* Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding and additional landslides in the near future.
* Seek advice from a geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk. A professional will be able to advise you of the best ways to prevent or reduce landslide risk, without creating further hazard.

Protect Yourself from Landslides Before it Happens

Protect yourself from the effects of a landslide or debris flow:

* Do not build near steep slopes, close to mountain edges, near drainage ways, or natural erosion valleys.
* Get a geologic hazard assessment of your property.
* Contact local officials, state geological surveys or departments of natural resources, and university departments of geology. Landslides occur where they have before, and in identifiable hazard locations. Ask for information on landslides in your area, specific information on areas vulnerable to landslides, and request a professional referral for an appropriate hazard assessment of your property, and corrective measures you can take, if necessary.
* If you are at risk from a landslide talk to your insurance agent. Debris flow may be covered by flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

* Minimize home hazards:
o Have flexible pipe fittings installed to avoid gas or water leaks, as flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage (only the gas company or professionals should install gas fittings).
o Plant ground cover on slopes and build retaining walls.
o In mudflow areas, build channels or deflection walls to direct the flow around buildings.
o Remember: If you build walls to divert debris flow and the flow lands on a neighbor's property, you may be liable for damages.

Recognize Landslide Warning Signs

* Changes occur in your landscape such as patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially the places where runoff water converges) land movement, small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.
* Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.
* New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
* Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
* Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or driveways.
* Underground utility lines break.
* Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
* Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
* Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
* A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
* The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that direction under your feet.
* Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.
* Collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible debris flow can be seen when driving (embankments along roadsides are particularly susceptible to landslides).

Simple Survival Tips - The Rule of Threes

Most any survival situation will have several common factors that will affect your ability to survive. Following the Rule of Threes will help you keep your priorities in order. This will help to give you a better chance of surviving.



3 seconds: The amount of time you normally have to respond to any threat.


3 minutes: The amount of time to obtain breathable air.


3 hours: The amount of time before you will need some form of shelter.


3 days: The amount of time you will have to find safe drinking water.


3weeks: The amount of time to find safe and edible food.


3 months: The amount of time before you will need contact with other people.

Staying above the water line!


Surviving the Economic Storm

While most people consider themselves well prepared in the event of a flood, hurricane or tornado, an equally devastating storm can endanger your survival and is currently an even greater threat to your survival. This is the current storm of unemployment that is now sweeping across the country that is leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. With current lengths of unemployment that are in excess of 6 months, it is important to have a strategy in place to effectively protect yourself and your family should you suddenly find your self unemployed.
Common Sense Solutions for Dealing with Unemployment
1. Get out of debt. This is by far the most important thing you can do to be better prepared. It will be virtually impossible to sustain your standard of living if you are trying to exist under a mountain of debt. That mountain of debt can crush you if you aren’t prepared.

2. Save more. If you haven’t started saving more money, you are going to get left behind in a hurry. While in the past most people have been notoriously bad at saving money, this is rapidly changing and current levels of savings are at an all time high in our history. This isn’t going to help our consumer driven economy much but I suspect that the people saving more won’t be too worried about the ones who aren't.

3. Spend less. You can’t spend your way out of debt, no matter what the politicians are saying, and high levels of spending on items that are not essential will make it almost impossible to increase your savings and will only lead to increased levels of debt.

4. Build an emergency fund. You may not need 6 months worth of income in your emergency fund but you will definitely need 6 months worth of expenses. While income may stop or become greatly reduced, your expenses will continue and may even increase. You can figure out how big an emergency fund you need by figuring your current monthly expenses and multiplying by 6. Mortgage or rent, utility expenses, health care and vehicle expenses will make up a significant portion of your needs. BTW, make sure you are sitting down when you do this as the results may shock you.

5. Keep the pantry stocked. You and your family will need to eat on a regular basis, even if you are unemployed. Having a six month supply of groceries on hand won’t hurt if you happen to find yourself unemployed. A little extra goes a long way and is just as important as your emergency fund. You won’t find a better reason to keep a little extra food around than long term unemployment.

6. Learn to grow your own food. Gardening is a great way to keep costs down while keeping food on the table. Even in an urban setting, a small garden can make a huge difference. It’s also a great way to relieve some of the stress that comes with unemployment.

7. Maintain your health and fitness. Regular checkups in order to keep your current health and fitness at optimum levels will be essential. Unexpected medical expenses or health problems while you are unemployed won’t help your situation.

8. Prepare to do more with less. Even a part-time job or one that generates significantly less income will be better than no income and will allow you to minimize the drain on your emergency fund while unemployed.

9. Prepare to do without. In a crisis there are some things you will have to learn to live without until your economic conditions improve. That extra phone, cable TV, second car or that fishing boat may have to wait for better economic times.

10. Learn to handle the stress of unemployment. Find things to do with your extra time that will help to decrease your stress levels without increasing your debt. Take a short walk or hike each day, read that book you never seem to have time for or do a little gardening. Maintain an active lifestyle to fill the gaps in your time while unemployed.

While many people are expressing concerns about the current high levels of unemployment, it is really the length of that unemployment that should be your main concern. The average length of unemployment has risen to levels that are currently the highest since they first started keeping track of this type of data.

Are you prepared for unemployment?

Staying above the water line!