Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Doom Cometh Sayeth Some - Be Prepareth Sayeth I

If you have been around this blog, and others that I read regularly, you may come away with the idea that I and other bloggers whose sites I frequent are doom sayers. For the great majority of us that could not be further from the truth. Yes though there truly are doom sayers out there, those who believe we are in for terribly bad times and that those times will amount to the end time. Kind of like a belief in Revelations and all its predictions. Me - I do not go for that sort of a thing. If the end is near or seems inevitable, I am planning to do something to make sure it is not my, or my family's doom that is imminent. Too many people buy onto the idea that if bad things happen someone else will be there to bail them out. Just look at what happened with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. If the shit truly hits the fan and we wind up with The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI - I wonder who coined that one) I am convinced I am not going to wait around for government forces, God and legions of Angels, a knight on a white horse or the Marlboro Man to come to my rescue. Sure I will accept rescuing if things get that bad, but until help comes if ever, I plan keep myself and the family safe on our own as best I can.

So, now some of you may be thinking - that is paranoia, stuff like that never happens. Hmm let's see, when has it happened even on a small scale in the USA:

Hurricane Katrina = TEOTWAWKI

The WTC on 9/11 = TEOTWAWKI

The LA Riots = TEOTWAWKI

Hurricane Andrew = TEOTWAWKI

And if a terrorist group gets nuclear material and smuggles it into the USA across our extremely porous southern border - then whatever area they blow up will = TEOTWAWKI.


TEOTWAWKI does not have to engulf the whole world to end the world as we know it. It just has to end part of our world as we know. Of course, the bigger the catastrophe, the higher likelihood it will change the whole world and throw it all into chaos. A nuclear attack on US soil, or anywhere in the world, could do just that if the right targets are hit. For example think of the chaos that would result should Washington (DC), NYC, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis, Denver be hit by nukes or dirty bombs. Think of only half of them being hit. What would be the effects of radiation within those cities, and what about the panic outside of those cities caused by people fearing additional attacks, what about economic stability or lack of it should that happen. Would the government be there to help or would they be the first to be wiped out?

Think of the tumult caused if a laboratory enhanced version of the flu is released here in the USA, maybe just along our southern border, or maybe just in Mexico. Think it could spread rapidly? Thank goodness the swine flu (H1N1) has been as weak as it has been so far, let's hope it stays that way but the government is not banking on it and is rushing a vaccine through. Look how much that one spread by itself. What if terrorists had a stronger version and spread it by way of infected suicide jihadists. Do you think that after a couple of weeks of it spreading there would still be civil order in this or any country if people were dropping like flies. Do you think the shelves would still be stocked with food. Do you think there would be enough police to protect us not only from criminals but from ourselves.

If the attacks on 9/11 had been carried out according to plan there reportedly would have been several more cities targeted and attacked. Think of what the aftermath of that day would have been like, if for instance another 10 major targets in other cities had been attacked successfully. In any drastic situation mentioned above, or in another just as bad, chances are there would be plenty of survivors, but they would also be pandemonium enough to do things like disrupt power supplies, fuel supplies, food supplies, water supplies, medical supplies and treatment, sanitation services, telephone and other communication services, transportation services to include disruptions to air, rail and ground transportation, highway blockages, employment, first responder services such as police and fire protection, and the list goes on. Think about the possibility of it, and maybe do something to assure you will make it through it.

Me, I have thought of it. I do not pan to wait around helplessly for someone to come and get me out of the thick of it if there is any way I can also help myself. I am not going to be like the lady in the alarm company commercial who shouts 'go away' at a burglar hoping my home owner's alarm goes off and actually scares him away. Chances are he is going to try to hurt me or my family to take away what we have and I am going to do all I can to protect us. I am not going to just call 911 if someone is breaking down my door and threatening us. Sure I'll have someone call, but I'll be arming myself and ready for them if and when they get inside and passed the dogs. Or in a calmer scenario, when supermarket runs out of bottled water and the water system is down, I will have water to drink in stock. I'll also have food to eat should food deliveries come to a halt or if for any reason rationing begins. I'll have a way to cook my food, purify my water, and hopefully a way to heat my home should bedlam let loose around us. I'll also have enough first aid supplies on hand should it come to needing them.

Will we be able to make it for a year, or months, or several weeks. Maybe not, but we will have enough on hand to be able to survive a catastrophe for at least a week or two. By that time I am hopeful that we would have found alternate sources for what we need, or that maybe - just maybe - we have made it to safety under the wing of others like us or that John Wayne and the Cavalry have arrived. If not then we would have the means by which to go out and hunt and gather what we need. My guess is that most Americans would fail miserably if they attempted to survive a major catastrophe in their area or across the country. My guess is that most Americans are not at all prepared to survive more than a couple of days at most, some not even a day or two should the shit hit the fan and the fan be turned on at high speed. Maybe we would not make it either, but I can tell you: 'Brother - we are gunna give it our best try'. I was brought up during the height of the cold war and I can tell you that back then the survival mantra was pounded into us from a young age. They (the powers that were here in the USA) really believed that we could survive an all out nuclear war and they implemented a Civil Defense Program. Now, I am none to sure if we could really do that or if we would want to do so, but I am certain that should one of the above scenarios occur - I am going to do my darnedest to come out of it alive and kicking along with my family.

So how does one go about preparing to survive TEOTWAWKI? It is more than just stocking up on everyday items that we usually use to make it through a day. We need things more specific toward making it through a disaster than through a regular humdrum Tuesday Afternoon. So where to start? Well a decent place to start can be found on the Internet or in your local library (those of us without computers should be familiar with them as should those of an older generation). What you are looking for is information about civil defense and disaster preparedness. You can find several sources for that information in both the library and on the net. Such sources include state government publications, federal government publications such as those prepared by FEMA, and private publications (yes there are plenty of folks out there who have written books on how to prepare for and survive SHTF and TEOTWAWKI situations. You can also check with organizations like The American Red Cross.

Lest you think my fears are simply total balderdash, or are reserved for those with paranoia, let me show you what the state of Hawaii - a state that remembers Pearl Harbor well, one that has active volcanoes, and one that could be in the path of a Tsunami - has to say on the subject on their site:
Hawaii State Civil Defense.

"Preparing For Disaster

Being prepared for disaster is important. When disaster strikes, you may not have ample time to respond and ensure the resources you and your family need to survive are available. Moreover, hundreds of other families in your area share the same concerns, and it will be difficult to get access to the necessities you need due to shortages and competition. Do not wait until the last minute and get caught in this situation. Disaster-time civilian response requires sound decision-making and action to save the lives of families and friends.

When determining your emergency needs, plan for the long haul. In any major disaster scenario, it may take 72 hours or more for emergency personnel to reach you. Emergency preparedness kits should contain the essentials your family needs to survive during a disaster. Having two is ideal; a multi-purpose kit that with provisions for more activities for the home, and a transportable slimmed down kit with bare necessities for survival when on the go. Any preparations should be accompanied by an emergency plan. Know where your family is and how to keep in contact in the event of a disaster. Most of all keep informed. Find out what disasters you may be affected by and plan accordingly. Determine and manage your emergency needs as required. "

They then go on to tell you some of the basic items you will need in such an emergency by way of providing some info and also providing links to sites that give a breakdown of what an emergency preparedness kit should (as per the government) contain. See these links (these go directly to the sites and not through the link provided by Hawaii because I figured the direct link would be more reliable) :

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit as per The DHS site Ready.gov (note this is not the same as Ready.com which is a commercial site).

Three Steps to Preparedness STEP ONE: Get A Kit


Okay that is the stuff they tell you to get but you must have figured by now that I am going to tell you otherwise. Heck we are talking about surviving a major disaster here, not about parlor games for the kids. The space you would need to equip yourself with some of the items recommended by the government and by the Red Cross, such as games and things like that for the kids, would be better used filled with things more likely to tip the odds in your favor than to keep your kids playful and blissfully happy in their ignorance with Armageddon at the doorstep. Nor are we talking about doing laundry or washing the dishes at the sink so why bother with things like liquid detergent. While I agree with many of their choices of survival items, I find some others ludicrous. I just think there also are some better choices to include in your preparedness kit than important family documents (why aren't they in a safe deposit box at a bank if they are so important). I also think room is better used for things other than paper cups/plates and plastic utensils (this is not going to be a picnic) but somehow they do not quite seem to get that. What I think you need are items and gear that go more toward assuring you will survive a disaster and not only survive it but come out of it well. In that light, 3 days worth of food and water just does not cut it because three days worth will not be enough.

What will suffice. If you are the average American Family you will need to think about the space required to store any preparedness items because it will take up space. The thing is you can stock up on enough for three to four people to make it through a week, or more, inside the trunk of a car like a Ford Taurus (plugging American since I own a Taurus even though I prefer my Toyota Corolla) and still have room left over - not much mind you but there will be some. Then again you can usually store more in your home. Now here is a point, think one of the websites above made, but maybe it did not sink in when you looked them over: You need a preparedness kit at home for the home, and you also should have a mobile preparedness kit for each person in your household. If that is not practical then make sure that the preparedness kit in your home is easily transported. So the first thing on the list, though not in order of importance, is a tote or set of totes of some sort. You want to be able to store almost all of the necessary items for survival inside of that container or attached to it. I recommend a large Rubbermaid Type container available at places like Home Depot, Costco or Walmart. You know them, the type used to store clothing and other household effects. Or you could use a large expandable suitcase. Whichever, get one with wheels - they make it easier to move and the kits can be heavy. Individual survival kits can be contained in a backpack. I can carry enough emergency supplies in a medium to large sized day pack to last me (just me in survival mode such as if lost in the woods) at least 5 days to a week. Of course in the larger container kept at home I can store enough of most of the supplies and gear to last up to two weeks; that includes food, some water, first aid, money, basic sanitary items, flashlights and batteries, radios and batteries, emergency shelter (tarp), knives, fishing gear .

I will go over each and every other item I think you need in the same detail as I just did for the containers;so this will be much longer yet. My list may not agree with your own if you have one, it surely will not agree with those of the Red Cross or of DHS, but it will give you an idea of what you will need to survive
a bad moon rising:

Ballseye's Reccomendations for a Preparedness Kit and Other Preparedness Items (these are for home kits as well as for grab and go kits unless otherwise noted. Also note that anything that is underlined is a link.):

Knife - Each member of the group should be equipped with a fixed blade knife (non-folder)that is kept in a belt sheath. Yes this means each group member needs to be wearing a belt, a good strong leather belt. The knife itself should have a blade of 5 to 7 inches in length, and have a fairly thick and strong blade at that to withstand the many uses you can find for it. See can opener below. My favorite all around knife is
this one (it can be had for less here than the price at the linked site or even less here).

Shelter - Emergency shelter is a must. Note I put this before food and water and I did so for a reason. Even without food or water you could survive for at least a few days and having an emergency shelter to provide you warmth in cold weather or shade in hot weather can make all the difference in you making it until you are found or you find some supplies. Shelter can be a decent sized tent, or as simple as a tarpaulin with some strong cord to tie it in place to make a lean-to or tent like shelter.

Water - Bottled water is a must, but only in plastic bottles. Water weighs a lot so try to have prior knowledge of water sources in your area and along an emergency escape route in case you run out. A couple of cases of 20 ounce bottles can last about one week per person if rationed. It pays to have lots of extra water in the home but packing it into a grab and go kit can be difficult. Take as much as you can carry if on foot, and as much as you can stow if driving a vehicle. Other items below may have to be cut back or cut out completely to assure enough water is at hand. That is your decision to make. Another solution to getting fresh drinking water is to get yourself a water purifier and or filter of some sort, and also carry water purification tablets. Remember that you will need proper containers to carry water. Metal containers are a must if you need to sterilize the water by boiling.

Food To Last 1 to 2 Weeks - Fully prepared foods like MREs, canned foods such as hams, veggies, and fruit. Canned fruits and veggies often contain lots of water, do not discard it, drink it. Food should include high energy foods such as canned nuts, and packaged fruit bars.

Firearm - One that you own and can carry legally. If the truth be told, if it was a TEOTWAWKI situation and my life or those of my family members were in jeopardy, I would arm myself with any firearm I knew was in working condition that I had at hand. In addition to self defense, a rifle may be needed to put food in your mouth or as a signal device. A small portable rifle like the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle could fit the bill for self defense, and hunting. It fires the .22 Long Rifle cartridge which itself is compact and very portable in large numbers. I recommend at least 100 rounds of ammunition for any firearm - if not more.

Roll of Cord - at least 25 yards, is essential to a survival situation, and it should be able to withstand 250 pounds of stress. It can be used to build shelter, to snare animals, as a component to make a spear, to tie on a splint, to lash items to a pack and so on.

Fishing Gear - Keep at least 150 yards of fishing line, several hooks of various sizes and a few lead weights in the preparedness kit. This takes up very little room. Besides using it to catch fish, the fishing line can be used to make snares for small game animals.

Eyeglasses - If you need em you had better have them. Have an extra pair or two in your grab and o preparedness kit, and maybe another extra pair or two at home. If you have ever watched the Twilight Zone episode -
Time Enough At Last - you know that Henry Bemis learned just how important eyeglasses could be in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

Matches and Fire Starter Medium - These need to be waterproof matches. Fire starter medium can be candles (help start fires even in damp tinder, and provide light), dry kindling, and commercial fire starters (do not keep gasoline or liquid flammable substances in your kit - just too dangerous).

Flashlight - Get a small but bright one, and get plenty of extra batteries. Note that some LED lights using batteries advertise a 50 hour battery life. You also can go for one that has a hand crank to keep it powered. Sporting good stores and places like Walmart now have these. They use LED bulbs, and are crank powered. Try to gert a waterproof one. Each person should have one.

Money - Have cash, and if you can also have silver and gold. Don't forget the ATM and credit cards in case things get better while you are away from home.

Clothing - The clothes you have on your back so make sure you are dressed properly for the season if you have to leave your home. Also have if feasible a change of socks and underwear if you have room - socks mor eimportant than undies. A weather proof/rainproof jacket with hood is a good idea, but a good rain poncho, for each person in your group, maybe is a better idea. Remember this is a survival kit, not a travel kit.

First Aid Kit - This is a tough one to give people advice about. You want one to contain at least adhesive bangages of various sizes, several sterile dressing pads about 4x4, sterile gauze roll, a good sized compression bandage, and ace bandage 2" or 3" wide, 2 eyepatches, sterile eye wash and eye cup, roll of adhesive tape, burn cream, cold pack, heat pack, antibiotic ointment, disinfectant such as provodine iodine, pain killers (such as aspirin which is my personal preference, or tylenol which I think does nothing for me but make sure no one in your group is allergic to it), allergy medication pills, anti-diarhea pills, laxative pills, any prescription meds you absolutely need to survive, scissors, tweezers, sterile gloves, sterile wipes to cleanse wound areas, a first aid instrcution pamphlet. All of this should be kept in a waterproof metal or strong plastic/polymer container clearly marked as First Aid Kit. My kit contains somewhat more, but not much because of space being needed for other items.

A Compass - If you don't know why you might need one please stop reading here.

Radios - Yes I said radios and not a radio. You should ahve at least 2 GMRS or similar portable walkie-talkie tyoe radios in case your group is split up; make sure to have a few sets of extra batteries for each. You should also have a portable AM/FM/Weather Service radio with extra batteries. Of course these are also made in ones that use solar panels, or a hand crank, or a combination of solar, hand, battery power. Some even have chargers that work off of the crank or solar cell that can charge a cell phone.

Cell Phones - A cell phone with extra battery is a nice thing to take along if the phone service is up or don. Keep it off except to check to see if there is a signal once a day. Then only use it for calling for emergency aid or to try to locate a family member. Be sparing with it since you may not have power to chare it. Then again, some crank radios also have the capability to charge cell phones and come with universal cell phone charger adapters.

Sleeping Bags - If you have room for em throw em into the car. If it is cold out you had best hope you have room so buy ones that are compact in fluffiness but keep you warm regardless. Modern man-made fibers make that possible, and such bags can be had at an affordable price.

Eating Utensils - These should be made of stainless steel - a spoon, knife and fork for everyone. Low cost utensil sets that are sued by military and campers are available and recommended. Of course if you already have a knife as outlined way above, that is all you really need. You can always eat using your hands instead of a fork or knife to stuff your pie hole, but these make it much easier and can double as cooking utensils.

An Emergency Plan - This should include an escape route in case of hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earth quakes, invasion or something as mundane as your home being on fire. If you leave your home for any emergency, make sure everyone is out, and make sure you have a rallying point at which to meet should you be seperated. Of course, you may decide to weather out a disaster inside oif your home if you believe it to be a safe haven. If so, have a plan of which room to set up in as a command center or meeting room or shelter room - often it is the basement that provides the most protection from storms but you have to figure which room of your home would afford you the most potection.

Maps - Local area and road atlas maps are a great item to have. if you do not need them to navigate they can be sued to start a fire or as a sanitary aid.

Personal Protective Gear - Gas masks, vapor proof respirators, dust masks are somethings you may want to consider. Other such gear includes protective coveralls made of materials like Tyvek®, protective gloves, protectiver booties (that fit over your shoes), and protective goggles. Tis tuff takes up lots of room in a kit but definitely should be considered for the car and the home if you can pack it. today's world is just that hostile that you may need it. Fire excape hoods are also a good idea for each bedroom in the home. They give you precious minutes or seconds of trapped air during a fire, precious time you can use to escape harm.

Personal Signal Gear - A whistle is a good signal device in an emergency. Many can be had that come in an elongated form with an internal compartment that contains a compass and some other small survival gear. Light sticks are also a very good idea. Each person should put a 12 hour light stick or two into his pockets. They make wonderful personal beacons to help attract rescuers to you. A metal signal mirror- another good signaling device.

Personal Hygiene Items - Soap a bar or two is a good item to have, I recommend
hunters soap since it kills body odor and is not scented. It can also double as shampoo. Soap has other uses beside washing up - such as fire starting. Of course washing now and then would be a good idea if you can find clean water. If you cannot find water in which to bathe then Body Wipes (unscented or made for adults since the ones for babies smell horrific) are a good choice as far as I am concerned. Feminine hygiene products such as Tampons® may also be needed. Do not forget a toothbrush and toothpaste for each member of your group. Toilet Paper (or paper towels) are also something that is really good to have for when nature calls. Of course, nature can help you there with leaves if need be but watch out for things like poison ivy.

Small Tool Kit - It should have a screwdriver with various heads, an adjustable pair of pliers, an addjustable wrench and maybe a socket wrench set. keep it in the home or in the car or keep one in each. Electricians tape and duct tape are two excellent additions to this kit as is some lubricating oil. Wahtever tools you keep in the house, make sure the kit contains the proper tools for turning off the water in case of flooding, and the gas or other fuel such as oil in case of leaks.

Gun Cleaning Kit - If you are going to have the gun you should make sure it will remain in excellent working condition. Such
a kit can be quite small.

Knife Sharpener - I recommend a small
Arkansas sharpening stone for keeping your knives well honed.

Can Opener -
Small can openers like the P-38 and P-51 are good to have, but if you lose them and still have your knife you can probably open cans with it if need be.

Plastic garbage bags - These have many purposes. You can store items in them, use them as ponchos, or use them as portable toilets and septci holding systems. If the water is out in your house, and going outside is out of the question, you will be happy to have them. A few of them tossed into a grab and go preparedness kit might also be a good idea.

Car - Of course this will not fit in your kit, but your kit and water supply - along with all the members of your party - should fit into it. Your car should be in good repair and ready to roll. Never allow your gas tank to go below a quarter of a tank. That way you usually have a good distance yocan travel along an escape route before you will need additional fuel. A full tank is better for sure. Only store additional gasoline if you have a safe place (within local fire department codes) to store it and a safe container in which to keep it.

Generator - If you can afford one it is a good thing to have in the home. of course this does not fit into any preparedness kit unless of course you have some type of truck with which to haul it. It is really more the home readiness type of thing for emergency power loss.

Well that is about all I can think of now. I may have forgotten something, and I sure don't have all the things that I have suggested - but I am working on getting most of them. The point is you can use this list as a go by for your own home and mobile disaster preparedness kits. Remember the really essential things to survival are shelter, water and food - in that order as far as I am concerned (unless you are dying of thirst at the moment). If you have nothing else, a good knife and a bit of cord can help you make or acquire shelter and food - maybe even water in some situations. It can also be used as a defensive weapon. There is no way to underate the importance of a good knife as a survival tool.

All the best,

Glenn B

2 comments:

Humble wife said...

Awesome post! I am with you on this one totally!

You know if the world changes in a larger scheme, New Mexico can always use a family that is weapon friendly and skilled to use them!:)

I have always been one to roll up my sleeves and work out the best solution possible. When my husband had his accident, it was harder than anything thus far, and learning to adapt to such a lessor income has been TEOTWAIKI(the end of the world as I knew it) and instead of putting my hand out, we regrouped and made a plan.

Farming, who would have guessed? Food canning and preservation? Going to the county fair...in fact being the assistant poultry director- cRazy...but this is what it has taken to make my ended world start new.

Water, food, and shelter were first, then the circle continued out.

Knowledge and skills of survival have taken a front burner now that we have the primary ones.

By the way, when I began blogging we were in the regroup mode, and I would have never guessed where we would be nearly four years later!! Me- making cheese?!!

Oh well Glenn this is an incredible post. I think if you are ok, I would like to link this down the road! Just let me know if that is ok
Jennifer

Glenn Bartley said...

Jen,

You can link to anything I write whenever you want. Thanks for asking.

All the best,
GB