I messed up! If you’re looking for the “Buying Bugout Property On The Cheap” article, I sent the wrong link. You want to go here: http://www.secretsofurbansurvival.com/1527/buying-bugout-property-on-the-cheap/
Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you this week by Jeff Anderson’s “Collapse Survival Secrets.” If you haven’t yet, I want to strongly suggest that you check it out. He’s slashed the price on it this week and is including “Flash Mob Survival” as a free bonus. With the sheer volume of flash mobs that have been happening, including flash mobs of 40, 200, and 300! people THIS WEEK, this is incredibly timely and valuable information. To find out more, go to SurviveInPlace.com/survivesocialchaos
It’s Survival Diva, fired up about the recent electrical grid crash in DC, how it happened, and what we can do, personally, to prepare.
It been painfully obvious that our decision makers inside the DC beltway don’t have a clue how to protect the American people in times of disaster. Some would argue they don’t care. At the very least, they have proven their privileged lifestyle has left them disconnected from the plight of the average American and light years away from the meaning of an effective preparedness plan.
At the same time, David works with several disaster response professionals from the DC area who know what they’re doing, have “been there and done that,” know what we, as a country need to do to prepare, but who are hamstrung by DC politics and forced to implement plans that they know won’t work as well as they should.
Our current policy makers tell us they are the smartest, the best educated, the most able-bodied to handle national emergencies. With the summer storm that hit the East Coast on June 30, 2012, crashing the electrical grid and bringing punishing temperatures in the triple digits, the only plan they put into action was to call a state of emergency—which was done at the speed of light. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with decades of disasters, calling a state of emergency does not bring relief to those afflicted. It does fill the piggy bank, though.
Few on the Hill possess the skillsets to hunt and fish for their food, or garden and preserve its overflow and it’s highly unlikely they have food and preparedness goods put aside–unless they are one of the few deemed important enough who will be whisked away to a private location, complements of a concerned government. How then, when they are clueless about basic survival (other than rushing to a Howard Johnson’s), can we believe we can place our personal welfare in their hands?
The Chasm between Us
Consider this; the DC Metro area enjoys lower unemployment rates and higher average salaries than most of the rest of the country. People working for the government oftentimes do the same work as their counterparts in the private sector, but they receive bigger salaries and more benefits.
But it appears the rule of “Not in My Backyard” was employed with the recent East Coast storms when a state of emergency was called directly after the devastation of power outages to more than 3 million, and with it extreme heat. Compare that to the Joplin tornados, which called a state of emergency DAYS later after a reported 348 deaths in numerous states occurred. It seems clear that our elected officials are more willing to declare an emergency quickly when it happens close to home.
(David’s note: The importance of this can’t be overstated. This disaster happened in the back yards of the people who are planning emergency response protocols for the rest of the country. They reacted FAST, threw the full force of local, state, and federal resources at the problem. They have well funded, trained, and equipped CERT teams and volunteer groups and it STILL took over a week to restore power in some areas. NOBODY can afford to trust others to take care of them and you absolutely must do what you can as an individual, family, and neighborhood to prepare for breakdowns in infrastructure and supply chains.)
We only have to look at the warnings that were given to our leaders about how fragile the power grid is, which were ignored, to understand their complacency with regards to the public’s welfare. Eric J. Lerner points out in his article in The Industrial Physicist, experts like former utility executive John Casazzu had warned “Blackout risks will be increased” if plans for the deregulation of electrical power was implemented.
Lerner goes on to explain the U.S. electrical grid is one huge machine, co-dependent, and made up of only three grids with a handfull of interconnects: The East covering the Eastern two-thirds of the country; the Western encompassing most of the rest of the US and Canada, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas covering much of Texas. We are now seeing the results of our leader’s not heeding the advice of experts as Mother Nature. Add to that the fact that we’re in a period of increased solar activity, and you start to see how vulnerable the entire country is to a situation like what happened in DC.
(David’s note: Most people try to ignore how vulnerable our power infrastructure is. Preparations for Electromagnetic Pulses from Coronal Mass Ejections is a prime example. Many people don’t know that we had an X class solar flare last week and another one on Thursday the 12th. The one that happened on the 12th was facing the Earth and the resulting CME (coronal mass ejection) will hit Earth on Saturday, July 14th in the morning in the US. This one will probably not do much besides interrupting some communications, but we all need to be prepared for larger and more destructive solar activity as we become more dependent on sensitive electronic equipment for everyday life.)
Progression of the East Coast Storms & What We Can Learn From It
When the storm hit the Eastern Coast on Saturday June 30, 2012 it toppled trees, and rendered swatches of the U.S. without power. Reports of sweltering homes, spoiled food, street light outages, and disrupted services to a reported 3 million people. Soon, their concerns turned to anger over the lack of response to repair the electrical grid…while the mercury climbed. In fact by June 24, 2012 there were a staggering 1,900 heat records reported.
Problem: At the onset of the disaster, the biggest concern during the power outage while the mercury continued to climb was the health risk it posed; especially to the sick and the elderly and to infants. David Morris discusses measures you can take to combat extreme heat in his post Surviving Extreme Heat and Power Outages. Listed below is but one of David’s insightful recommendations.
Solution # 1: First, we’ve got sweating. Our bodies rely, in large part, on sweat evaporating off of the skin to cool the body. You want to give the body the tools it needs to be able to sweat as it sees fit.
If you take medication that interferes with sweating or is a diuretic, then you’ll have a harder time sweating.
If you don’t drink enough water, you won’t sweat as much as you need to. I like to drink as cold of water as I can. Some will go back and forth with me on whether you’re better off drinking cold water or room temperature water…I drink it cold when I have the option.
If you consume sugar, caffeine, or alcohol, you will need to drink more water or you won’t sweat as much as you need to.
Your sweat contains salt and minerals. If you don’t replace them, your body will enter a low salt state called hyponatremia. When you’re in this state, you feel like you want to die. I would gladly have the worst flu conditions that I’ve ever had for a week than hyponatremia for a day.
All of these factors are more pronounced for the extremely young, extremely old, and people who are chronically ill.
By Saturday, July 1, 2012 as reported, in part, by Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press: Some Virginia suburbs of Washington, emergency 911 call centers were out of service; residents were told to call local police and fire departments. Cell phone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water until sewage plants returned to power.
Brooke Richart, a 26-year-old teacher from New York City, said she was among the stuck passengers (Amtrak Passenger transportation was gridlocked due to downed trees). “We tried to walk up the side of the mountain to see if anyone could get cell service. We didn’t have cell service the entire time we were down there,” she said.
Problem: Spotty cell landline and cell phone coverage and reduced emergency services capabilities.
Solution: As discussed in the recent post Get Started With Life-Saving Medical Supplies, it is important to set aside medical supplies and first aid reference books to refer to for a time you find yourself stranded without emergency services. You should take a first aid and CPR training course, so in an emergency, you will be confident helping others.
Although it is possible that land line and cellular phones might work during a disaster, it is always wise to make alternate plans. Be sure to discuss alternate plans to meet up if away from home. There may be circumstances where your neighborhood takes a direct hit and evacuations of your area become mandatory (such as the recent wildfires in Colorado). Choose an alternate meeting place, away from your immediate area, and practice dry meet-up runs with loved ones.
Choose an alternate contact person outside your immediate area, who is unlikely to have experienced the same calamity. Everyone should have this persons phone number with them at all times. If a loved one becomes separated, they may be able to get messages to the contact person, provided communications are still operable.
By July 2, 3 days after the storm hit, over two million people were still without power while utility companies waited for extra crews to arrive from as far as Quebec and Oklahoma to clear downed trees, broken electrical equipment, and downed power lines before they began the task of restoring power. The death toll by July 2 had reached 22 by some reports.
By now officials concerns were not concentrated solely focused on the sick and elderly, but “widespread use of generators run in enclosed spaces, leading to further deaths.”
Problem: CO Poisoning from running generators in enclosed spaces.
Solution: Generators must always be run outdoors, where fumes and poisonous CO cannot collect in living spaces. BBQ’s also emit deadly CO gas. They should never be run indoors, under any circumstance. Camp stoves can be used indoors during a power outage, but only with proper ventilation such as open windows. It is important to keep CO detectors in your home, to warn you if dangerous levels of CO are building in living spaces. CO is a silent killer.
By July 8, power has not been restored to 2 million people. In order to handle the heat, residents by the 9 day mark have emptied stores of bottled water and must try to replace spoiled food. However, grocer’s shelves are sparse. At this point in time, the media reports have dwindled as they turn their attention to “fresh” news, leaving millions of people without power to struggle on their own.
The process of restoring power has been slow while repair crews are overwhelmed by the scope of the devastation. The biggest problem, some may argue, is the public’s naivety of not having provisions put aside for emergencies as they wait for relief.
Problem: Food shortages and spoiled food due to lack of refrigeration.
Solution: Preparedness should start with easy to consume meals such as canned goods and MRE’s. They give you time to come to grips with an emergency as you ease into your preparedness plan while performing damage control for whatever calamity has occurred.
Depending upon your living conditions, you will want to put aside either a good supply of canned goods, or MRE’s, or if you have the room; long shelf life bulk goods, stored in buckets with tight fitting lids. The food should be stored in Mylar bags or Glad bags that do not treat their bags with pesticides.
If you have a bit of land or an area under your home available, consider a root cellar or a cold room.
If you live in a year round warm climate, root cellars and cold rooms may not be effective. But, you can make your own clay pot refrigeration (sometimes called zeer clay pot refrigeration). This method has been used for centuries to keep food cool. Instructions; Start with a large, porous terra cotta clay pot. Insert a second pot –glazed is preferable to keep liquid from penetrating to your stored food. Fill the gap between the larger, porous pot and the smaller, glazed pot with wet sand. Store food in the smaller glazed pot, and cover with a wet towel to keep heat and sunlight out.
David’s note: You can and should add water bottles to your freezer and/or refrigerator when the power is working. Not only will this make them more efficient by providing thermal mass and keeping items cooler when you open and close the doors often, it will also keep items cooler for longer when the power goes out.
Remember, this happened in DC after a freak storm. Not after an earthquake, tsunami, volcano, hurricane, terrorist attack, or solar flare/CME, but a freak storm. This area got attacked on 9/11 and people still weren’t prepared. That means that we need to be incredibly diligent in getting ourselves prepared and encouraging others around us to do the same. If you haven’t gone through them yet, I want to strongly encourage you to go through my www.SurviveInPlace.com course, my www.FastestWayToPrepare.com course, and SurvivalDiva’s book, “Survival.”
So, what lessons did you learn from watching what happened in DC? Have you made any changes to the timing of your plan? How about the increase in X class solar flares—Have they made you accelerate your planning? Are you buying anything “just in case”? Share your thoughts by commenting below: