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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

EMPs and Solar Storms…Could we be cast back into the 19th Century?

What just happened? No wind, no clouds in the sky, no warning…no power. An EMP attack will happen without warning and you will be in the dark, literally in less than a second. Local radio and television stations will be off the air. The Internet will be down. Cell phones will not work, land lines may work but only if you have a land line phone that is not portable. The entire world will not be without power but the entire county, state or nation may be.
Exactly what can we expect? No one really knows for sure but there are a few things you can plan on.
Unless you have protected the electronics in your home they will not work.
Many car will be damaged and unable to operate. Many have said that a car is encased in metal so the parts will be protected but we need to remember that in order to be truly 100% protected electronic parts need to be completely surrounded by metal, not so for car parts.
Fuel and public transportation will disappear as fuel pumps will be unable to operate without electricity and should the attack occur near refineries they will be unable to process fuel.
Food will disappear quickly from store shelves as people become frightened and restocking of shelves will become impossible due to lack of transportation.
Drinking water may disappear quickly, especially in the large cities, as treatment facilities will be without power. There will be water in the system but those who are uninformed will continue to turn on the tap and flush toilets and soon the reserve will be gone.
Civil unrest will occur. As people become frightened and store shelves are empty, and they become hungry, people will resort to force. Restaurants and other places seen to have supplies of food on hand will be raided and trucks already on the road who are delivering food and other necessities will be hijacked.
Hospitals will close as there will be no replacement medications and supplies arriving. This would not happen immediately but after a few weeks.
Mail and newspaper deliveries will halt.
Jobs will disappear and paychecks cease. Of course this may not matter much because the banks and stores will be closed so there will be no place to cash checks or spend money.
Now all of this is a worse case scenario and hopefully it will never happen. If we do experience an attack hopefully it will be a small one and within a few weeks neighboring states will be able to bring in supplies and equipment to get the infrastructure back up.
There are things we can do now to help us to prepare for a worst and best case scenario. As we consider an EMP attack we must understand that we are not preparing for a specific disaster but for a self reliant lifestyle which will enable us to survive any and all challenges we are faced with. There are a few things to think about that are specific to an EMP but most preparations are just repeats of what we already know and hopefully are doing.
We haven’t talked about solar flares which most scientists consider a growing threat. A solar flare may also cause a loss of electricity and these effects could be world wide. Solar storms would primarily affect the power grid, and are not likely to harm things like computers. Solar storms would only disrupt communications temporarily, and would not be likely to cause direct harm to communications equipment except for satellites which are outside of the protection of the earth’s atmosphere. An extremely large solar storm could create currents that would destroy a number of the large transformers on the power grid, again this could be world wide. If this should happen electric power could be out in some areas for a period of years.
The last solar storm that could have caused this level of damage happened in 1859, before the power grid was in place. A smaller solar storm occurred in 1921 which did wipe out much of the power grid at the time. We have not had a large solar storm since the modern grid has been in place. The grid is very fragile when considering a solar storm and is not protected against one.
Just as with a devastating earthquake in California it is not a matter of if but when another large storm will happen. Many scientists believe conditions are ripe for one within the next two years.
While communications may be better after a solar storm with the gird destroyed all of the other scenarios we discussed after an EMP attack will be in play. There will be a lack of food and clean water, a damaged transportation system, banks closed, jobs gone, anything that is dependent on electricity could be lost to us for a time.
We are not crazy or paranoid to be discussing these possibilities. We are just trying to be as well informed as possible so we can deal with anything that is thrown our way. Just imagine how different the outcome could have been after the 1906 earthquake in San Fransisco if people had been prepared. Did you know that there were those in the fire department who tried to get city officials to put in a better water delivery system in case of a city wide fire. The plan was being implemented but few believed the risk was real and inferior materials were used, because those in charge saw a way to make money. When the earthquake and resulting fires happened the water was turned on but the system failed and the city burned.
Next week we will being discussing the specific ways in which we should prepare to return to life as it was for our pioneer fore fathers, just in case…
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The Path to Preparedness


The Path
Although your intended purpose of becoming better prepared may be to enact a major change in your lifestyle, sometimes a simpler approach to that change will be much easier for you to accomplish. Becoming more self-reliant and better prepared for things that come your way may be better approached in a few simple stages. Although some people can endure dramatic changes in lifestyle and even view them as acceptable, for many others drastic changes in lifestyle over a short period of time can quite often be just as devastating as any disaster. There is simply no reason to make that disaster one of your own making.

Simple Stages of Preparedness

1.) Financial Preparedness. Work towards becoming more economically and financially independent. Start by keeping a record of your expenditures. If you don’t know where your money is going, you won’t know where or when you can save extra money to help you reach your preparedness goals. Your finances will be a lot easier to keep track of and you’ll be able to understand where you can save money by eliminating certain items that may not be essential. Small savings will add up to a substantial amount in just a short period of time without creating a major change in your lifestyle.

2.) Mental Preparedness. Learn to do more things on your own and reduce your need for assistance. In other words, become more self-reliant. Begin with small tasks that are easily accomplished and move on to more complicated things as your knowledge and skills grow. It’s also a lot cheaper than paying someone else to do them for you and will save you extra money in the process. Be prepared for those times when assistance is necessary because the task may be outside the realm of your knowledge or skills.

3.) Physical Preparedness. Develop a healthier lifestyle. Learn to eat healthier meals and find ways to exercise more. Monitor any health problems closely. Your health is an important part of your lifestyle and maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be a part of the process.

Simple changes in your lifestyle which are done slowly and systematically will help you reach your preparedness goals much faster and easier than you may have thought possible. You will ultimately need to figure out which path will be the best for you to reach your preparedness goals. The path to preparedness that you eventually choose should be based on your lifestyle, your circumstances and your goals. There is no single path to preparedness that is right for everyone. Not everyone will choose the same path even though they may be similar in many aspects. The path to preparedness should always be based on your own unique needs and circumstances.

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Preparing Emergency Water Supplies

“Some people think of the glass as half full. ...Image via Wikipedia
There are three things a body needs to stay alive:


Air: A person can go without air for only a few minutes.


Water: A person can survive without water for up to three days.


Food: A person can go without food for up to three weeks.

Let us firstly assume that the air is not contaminated and that you can breath safely.  This leaves us with water and food. Water is considerably more important than food for our ability to survive a reasonable length of time.

This means that having a supply of safe water is essential to surviving a sustained crisis situation.

When it comes to water storage, you have basically two options: 1) buy bottles of water to store or 2) store tap water.  The first option is the most convenient. But, if you are to store enough water to ensure your entire families survival over a sustained period, then this will be expensive. If it's stored properly, tap water is every bit as good as bottled water and, of course, it costs a lot less.

Storing your emergency tap water supplies

Choosing the proper containers to store your water is essential. These are the main options available to you:

Buy plastic containers which can be found in most stores.  Be very careful to make sure that they are appropriate for water storage: if not, there is the risk that chemicals will penetrate the container and contaminate the water.

Disposable plastic soft drink bottles

Start collecting your soda and water bottles and build up your supply. Glass bottles are also safe, but are more difficult to store and too easily broken.

Use camping thermos jugs

Prepare the container for use by carefully wash the container and let it completely dry before filling it. Add some chlorine bleach, or hydrogen peroxide (about ten drops per gallon of water). This will kill most microorganisms, without having too much impact on the taste. Fill the container completely to the top, to force out all air.  Store the water off the floor, in a place where it can't freeze (frozen water will expand and break the container), away from direct sunlight, and away from chemicals.

Purifying your emergency water supplies

No matter how much water you store, in a sustained crisis, you risk running out. For this reason, it's important that you have the means to purify more water.  There are some water-purification chemicals available and even simply boiling it can be effective. However, the easiest and most reliable way to make water safe to drink is by using a water filter.

About water filters

The most common filters are ceramic filters impregnated with tiny quantities of silver that kill off harmful bacteria.  Some ceramic filters are operated by hand-pumping action. A hose is placed into the unfiltered water, and the purified water exits via a spout into an appropriate container. 

Others rely on gravity. Two thermos jugs sit on top of each other. The dirty water is poured in the top one and the filtered water drips into the bottom one.  Some filters are a combination of a ceramic filter with a carbon filter that removes dangerous chemicals.

On my other blog, Prepare to Survive in California I wrote a pretty big article about Zero water filters which I purchased at Home Depot:  Testing the water...so to speak.
Always have a back up plan and practice your plan when ever you can.
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Should You Stay Or Should You Go

Post-Katrina School BusImage by laffy4k via Flickr
I recently watched a video on YouTube from some guy who lives on the east coast. The guy was apparently pissed about how people seem to be bug out crazy, and that those people are preparing to fail. Needless to say it got me thinking on the subject, and while I still hold true to my stance that everyone should have one in case of the unexpected, it did make me think that there are times when staying put at home may be a better option for you. Here are some examples why boarding up the windows instead of hitting the road will be a better option.

Well Water

If your home has its own separate well system, meaning it’s not connected to a city then you have a constant supply of water even if the power goes out, provided you can keep the well running. You might need a generator to do this but as long as theirs ground water you will have all the water you need.

Government Response

When you look at some of the worst disasters in history there have been times when the government has fallen on it’s face in regards to helping it’s citizens promptly (Think hurricane Katrina for example) In a global disaster the government will be all but absolutely useless to help. Going to a government shelter may put you in a far worse situation then what you want to be in.

Isolation

If you live in a rural area then staying put makes sense as the area you live in probably won’t get a lot of visitors and leaving you safer from marauding gangs of thugs and looters.

Food Supply

A bug out bag may hold a few days worth of food, but your home may hold weeks or months of food depending on how much you prepared in advance.

You Know The Terrain

Unless you just moved in and the apocalypse happens, chances are you know the area very well. This will make it a lot harder for a would be attacker to sneak up on you, and a whole lot easier for you to set up traps and ambush points for those attackers. This also means you know what resources you can use to survive. For example you might have a trail nearby that leads to a river to catch fish, or an abandoned shed that can be used a storage facility.

Less Trauma

What I mean by this is that staying at home will give you a certain degree of comfort when things go to hell. The radio and power will go out for sure, but being at home will give you some sense of comfort because it’s familiar.

More Resources

Like food and water there will be other things you can use from home to survive. Chances are you’ll have access to tools, a garage, a car as an escape vehicle (If it runs), flammables to start fires, and scrap materials to build traps and weapons to defend yourself.


So what would you do? Would you decide to stay at home, or do you feel your residence is too vulnerable you feel you need to leave it when the apocalypse happens?

Where To Find Food And Supplies In The Post Apocalypse

Dog food at a supermarket in Brooklyn, New York.
For most of us getting food and supplies in the post apocalypse world will be no easy task. For starters most of us live in cities and urban centers, these places require a complex network of delivery systems to bring food, medicine, clean drinking water, and all the other things we take for granted everyday. A major disruption in services means that very quickly store shelves will become empty. Those affected in those areas will have to rely on other means of getting food, especially if those services aren’t coming back.

Like in any situation you need to know what’s in your local and immediate area. Where I live for example there are no less then 5 grocery stores that range from high end to discount bargain food. There are 4 convenient stores like 7-11 or clones like 7-11, 1 gas station minus the car wash, 5 cafĂ©’s, and one pet food and supply store. All of these are excellent starting points to find food in the post apocalypse. Of these however I recommend starting at the pet supply store, why? Because all the major grocery stores will be looted first, followed by the convenient stores. Stores that sell dog or other pet food won’t be a first target for looters because they simply won’t have starved enough to realize that dog food is still food.

Depending on where you live in there world there are any number of resources you can use to acquire food to survive, here are few your location might have

1.Sea Containers in train yards or harbours
2.Rail cars since they transport supplies across land
3.Abandoned homes (make sure nobody is home first)
4.Boats in a harbour from fishing boats to luxury liners
5.Strip malls
6.Food courts in office buildings
7.Warehouses and distribution centers

Sea Containers

Everything that comes to one continent or another be it cars, computers, or food comes by the sea via a freighter. If you live in a city that is connected to the ocean and has a port these places make excellent locations to find food that many would miss. Try to find any kind of documents or lists that indicate what items are located in what container, otherwise you could be spending a very long time searching through them all.

Rail Cars

Those same supplies that are shipped out or in are usually transported over land by train. Finding abandoned rail yards is a great source of resources that are now available to you. Like sea containers in ports try to find some form of documentation to help cut down on your search time.

Abandoned Homes

This is a tricky one, while many in the event of a collapse will flee their homes, many others will simply board up the windows and doors and prepare to ride it out. As well other survivors may have squatted in previously abandoned homes, either way your not going to be sure of what to expect, so be cautious. When searching abandoned homes make sure to do your homework and check for signs of human activity before you take anything. Things such as lit candles, fresh unfinished food, and human waste are pretty good indicators that somebody has either just left, or is still around.

Boats

Many people will overlook the various fishing boats, pleasure yachts, or even ferries that will be docked at various ports. There is a very good chance that many of these vessels will have food and other supplies you can use to survive. Another overlooked resource that almost every boat will have is some form of radio equipment. If the boat still has power these radios can be used to try and make contact with other survivors.
Strip Malls

Many small malls may have generic clothing stores, dollar stores and other run of the mill type stores. Chances are also good that many of these stores will be ignored by many looters. While not a great source of supplies places such as dollars stores for example carry cheap canned soups, dehydrated noodles and other food packed full of MSG which in the event of the post apocalypse you won’t really care about.

Food Courts

In many cities that I’ve travelled to it’s been a common practice to see some form of food court at or near the base of an office tower for all the office types to grab a snake before returning to their work. Most of this food will be nothing more then fast food or really bad Chinese food. They will have several canned and packaged items that will be of use to you. Remember to avoid foods that were frozen as they will have thawed out and gone bad.

Warehouses

In every major town and city there are places where food is collected to be distributed to outlet stores, and again places like this will be overlooked by many survivors at first who will hit the grocery store instead of its distribution warehouse that supplies it. And like those grocery stores you will find everything you would there only in bulk. Expect to see things packaged in crates ready for delivery, so you’re going to have to spend some time reading what the items are inside.

Again it all depends on where you live in the world which will determine your resources that you get to choose from.

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