City Journal: Off the Richter Scale: Can the PNW Prepare?

Here is another long article on preparing for a major CSZ earthquake from City Journal – Off the Richter Scale: Can the Pacific Northwest prepare for the cataclysmic quake that’s coming? Here is a choice excerpt:

…Local governments can’t possibly stockpile enough food to feed millions during a disaster; they aren’t, in fact, stockpiling anything. People will have to feed themselves until FEMA arrives, and the agency won’t be on the scene in a day, or even a week. Not a single road will be passable. An entire region 100 miles wide and 600 miles long will be ravaged. Many Americans have bemoaned the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, but we’ll have hundreds of de facto islands in the Pacific Northwest. Small towns will be cut off, especially in the coastal regions, battered by tsunamis and separated from major population centers by mountain ranges. So the states are partnering with the U.S. military to provide rotary-wing aid drops from Chinooks and Blackhawks onto track fields at schools and similar locations.

Local governments once told everyone to have at least three days’ worth of food on hand that can be prepared without gas or electricity. They have since raised the bar to two weeks. Is that enough? “I don’t trust the federal government to feed me on Day 15,” I say to Phelps. “I don’t either,” he replies. “I openly share your skepticism,” says Jeremy Van Keuren, community resilience manager at PBEM, “but we don’t want to scare people.” It’s hard to encourage citizens to be resilient if they find the prospect too overwhelming. “And the quality of aid we expect to receive at the end of that theoretical two weeks is questionable.” At least it takes four weeks to starve to death…

Emergency management officials know that being prepared for the traditional three days isn’t enough. They know two weeks isn’t enough, but they’re afraid people will tune out if they say to prepare for longer. Don’t be afraid to be prepared.  That people turn off isn’t news in the emergency management field. In the six year old video below, starting around the seven minute mark, an emergency management professional talks about how they’ve stretched preparedness to seven to ten days from 72 hours because that is all that people can handle. She says all the experts say that isn’t long enough.

FEMA: We’ve Failed Miserably at Building Community Preparedness

A FEMA report has found that the federal government’s efforts to build disaster-resilient communities has been a failure for various reasons, including that government is not the best entity to reach out with a message of preparedness. It suggests that encouraging a bottom-up approach may be more effective.

Report: We’ve Failed Miserably at Preparedness

A better approach, a new FEMA Higher Education Program report says, is to develop individual cultures of preparedness from the bottom up that could eventually lead to a more resilient nation…

“We’ve achieved our national preparedness goals when it comes to first responders [as per Presidential Policy Directive 8] but when it comes to preparedness of individual households and communities, we’ve failed,” said Laura Olson, a lead author of the report. “To say we’ve failed it putting it mildly…”

The key difficulty with past approaches is that communities across the country lost trust in the government and therefore, the report says, government is not the best entity to reach out to communities with a message of preparedness.

There must be recognition that there is going to be a cultural difference in communication, whether it be communication between emergency managers and communities or any other entities, and to eliminate assumptions…

Click here to read the entire article at govtech.com.

 

AmPart: Medical Q&A Webinar, March 3, 2019

American Partisan‘s Reasonable Rascal, a medic and registered nurse, will be hosting a two-hour webinar to answer your questions about medical preparedness. The class is limited to only nine participants, so register early.

We’re offering another Q&A webinar on Sunday, March 3 for those interested in SHTF medicine. If you have questions about your medical preps to include medications, what to do in case of a specific type of SHTF emergency, or even how to set up various medical bags for specific needs, this is the one you’ll want to attend.

It’s two hours long, and there are only 9 seats available so that we can keep the discussion on point and ensure that everyone can get their questions answered. This is a casual discussion in which you can ask whatever medical questions you want pertaining to prepping, SHTF medicine, etc. With such a small discussion size, you’re certain to get a great deal out of it.

Running the discussion will be highly experienced medic and registered nurse Reasonable Rascal. He’s one of our newer staff members, but he isn’t new to medicine or to online discussion. He’s been running a serious, successful medical forum for several years, and together with several doctors and other medical professionals, co-wrote Survival and Austere Medicine, now in its 3rd edition.

DATE: Sunday, March 3, 2019
TIME: 8pm Eastern (7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific)
VENUE: Online webinar

The price for attending is $25. That covers the webinar cost for us and allows us to pay Rascal a little something for his time. You can register by either sending Paypal to info@americanpartisan.org or sending cash/check/money order to:

610 N. 1st St 5-209
Hamilton, MT 59840

Remember, there are only 9 seats, so get in while you can!

 

Citylab: Vashon Island Community Prepares for Disasters

The Vashon Island community has spent years working to be prepared for an emergency/disaster situation, going as far as forming a non-profit organization – VashonBePrepared – to coordinate the disaster preparedness organizations on the island. From Citylab.com, here is an excerpt from Preparing for ‘The Big One’ in an Isolated Island Town.

…[T]he island community has been building up its emergency preparedness efforts for nearly two decades. The work was initially kicked off when Joseph Ulatoski, a retired brigadier general and island resident, started asking who was responsible if a disaster struck. His questions led to a small group of locals meeting monthly to figure out exactly how they would handle such a situation, Wallace says.

“As time went on, it became clear that we needed to be more organized, structured, and also that we would be in a form that could be recognized by people,” he says.

The result was VashonBePrepared. Today it’s a non-profit, FEMA-sanctioned coalition of the island’s disaster preparedness organizations, including CERT and Voice of Vashon. Its purpose is exclusively to prepare the island for an emergency by helping to coordinate these organizations; it doesn’t actually play a role in real-time response efforts.

“It is a coalition to organize these partner groups to be efficient, avoid redundancy and duplication of effort, and inspire each other to move forward with all these different programs that each of us are running,” says Wallace, who is also the vice president of VashonBePrepared’s executive committee.

One of these key partner organizations is the Neighborhood Emergency Response Organization. Similar, in a sense, to neighborhood watch groups, its leaders have organized hundreds of households into neighborhood groups so they can get to know each other and thus be more likely to help one another if an emergency hits…

Ham radio operators in the emergency operations center radio room. (Courtesy of Rick Wallace)

Click here to read the entire story at CityLab.

SHTFPlan: Gov’t Shutdown Proves Americans Unprepared

From Mac Slavo at SHTFplan.com, Brutal Reality: Government Shutdown Is Proving Americans Are NOT Prepared For A Recession.

The brutal reality is that most Americans are not prepared for the next economic downturn or recession. The government shutdown is highlighting just how much Americans rely on others as opposed to themselves, and how little they have saved for an emergency.

According to the newest op-ed article by Market Watch, the government shutdown is perfectly proving that Americans are not prepared for a financial disaster of any kind, let alone an economic recession. Many have long assumed that the government (which as we all know is almost $22 trillion in debt) will be using their money (stolen funds aka, taxation) to bail out those who get themselves into trouble. But the shutdown is proving just how little the government actually does and just how financially illiterate many Americans have allowed themselves to become.

Almost 60% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings for a rainy day fund or an immediate emergency. It’s been ten years since the Great Recession left many Americans jobless with no money, and it appears most have learned nothing. The government shutdown serves as a painful warning and preview for what will happen once unemployment rises from 50-year lows.  Americans are far too dependent on others, including the government, for their survival.

Within just a few weeks into the government shutdown, people are struggling to cope. We hear stories about people turning to food banks to feed their families. We hear stories about people who are in dire straits because they can’t get loans. We hear stories about people who can’t pay their mortgages. That’s not even one month into the shutdown. –Market Watch

Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, including those who work for the government…

Read the entire article at SHTF Plan.

Yakima Herald: Trained Volunteers May Be the First to Reach Victims

The Yakima Herald had an article on CERT volunteers and training last year – In an emergency, trained volunteers may be the first to reach victims. Yakima County has an active CERT program. Benton County does not. If you live in Yakima County, you can take advantage of the training from CERT. They do a “CERT Basic Course” for volunteers which includes:

Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to the community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster as well as an overview of CERT and local laws governing volunteers.

Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.

Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.

Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.

Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.

Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.

Excerpt from the Yakima Herald article:

If an earthquake, volcanic eruption, wildfire or flood hits the Yakima Valley, you might not see firefighters or paramedics in your neighborhood for a while.

The experience in other disasters has shown that professional first responders can be overwhelmed as they deal with urgent needs, or they might not be able to get to where people need help because roads and bridges are out.

Instead, help for your neighborhood may come from people in green vests and hard hats like Paul Jenkins, a volunteer coordinator with the county’s Community Emergency Response Team

The team has quarterly training exercises and participates in events such as a recent drill at the Yakima Air Terminal, as well as activations of the county’s emergency operations center in Union Gap.

While some people may think that firefighters, police and paramedics will be on the scene right away when a disaster strikes, Jenkins said they could easily be swamped with calls for help in an emergency, or the nature of the disaster might cut off access for a time.

Jenkins has been called out for flooding in West Valley, wildfire near Moxee and the Miriam Fire, where he helped distribute literature and provide security at the site. He was also sent to Outlook to help get information and bottled water to residents after an overflowing manure pond contaminated local wells.

While there are 60 people currently trained, Ward and Jenkins would like to see more people get involved, as it will give them skills to cope in a disaster…

John Mosby: Seeking Sustainability in Preparedness

John Mosby has a nice article up at Mountain Guerrilla about Seeking Sustainability in Preparedness, expounding upon the importance of not having just a store of stuff built up but being able to survive and thrive without such a stockpile on your own skills and sustainable living habits. Getting to a self-reliant, sustainable lifestyle is difficult and takes time and trial and error. Patrice Lewis will be talking about some of that in her two talks at this year’s NW Preparedness Expo. Mosby talks about it frequently on his blog. This article is not short, but, as usual with Mr. Mosby, it is well worth the read.

…One of the recurring themes in preparedness circles is the argument over the nature of any impending disaster. One of the original theories in preparedness of course, is the idea of what was once referred to as a multi-generational collapse. This is a collapse of such magnitude that it will take multiple generations to recover from, if in fact, recovery is even possible.

In recent years, of course, while people still talk about the “remote possibility” of this, it has become equally popular, in many circles, to dismiss the idea of a multigenerational collapse as unrealistic, and urge people to focus on more immediate, “realistic” disasters of short-duration, like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires.

Without arguing the fact that wildfire, tornado, or earthquake is a far more immediate, and pressing concern for most folks, I WOULD point out that these are pretty simple to mitigate, and there is a well-developed set of basic planning considerations for doing so in all of these, because people have dealt with them for the entire existence of humankind…

We need to develop mitigation plans that address the continuance of life, through the duration of the emergency, even if it stops being an emergency, and just becomes “life.” (Which, long time readers know is my view of where we are any-fucking-way.)

We need to be looking at food production. We need to be looking at producing light and heat. We need to be looking at long-term trauma and chronic illness medical care. We need to be looking at educating our children and grandchildren, so they don’t revert to full-scale savagery. We need to look at maintaining—or more accurately, recreating, culture.

We need to stop looking at “survival,” and start looking at “Sustainability.”…

Click here to read the entire article at Mountain Guerrilla.

Washington Examiner: Start Prepping! Electric Grid ‘Prime Target’

The Washington Examiner has a short article up summarizing the findings of a recent 90+ page National Infrastructure Advisory Council report on Catastrophic Power Outage Start prepping! Electric grid ‘prime target’ of terrorists, ‘profound threat,’ says council.

In a new report that warns that the electric grid is the “prime target” of terrorists, Americans are being urged prepare for the up to six months without electricity, transportation, fuel, money, and healthcare.

“People no longer keep enough essentials within their homes, reducing their ability to sustain themselves during an extended, prolonged outage. We need to improve individual preparedness,” said a just-published report to President Trump.

“There needs to be more individual accountability for preparedness,” adds the report, “Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage,” from the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council and published by the Department of Homeland Security.

It looked at the potential of a power outage of up to six months and recommended Americans have enough supplies on hand for a minimum 14 days, a standard for some prepper organizations.

“Build a Culture of Preparedness includes objectives to incentivize investments that reduce risk, including pre-disaster mitigation; closing the insurance gap; helping people prepare for disasters; and better learn from past disasters, improve continuously, and innovate,” said a key recommendation… A prior governmental report also called for presidential action to protect the grid. That report warned of a threat to world order in an attack…

Some of those warnings from the report are below:

  • Given the growing frequency and severity of disasters and other risks, there needs to be an increase in individual accountability, enterprise, and community investment in resilient infrastructure.
  • There is a misconception that events occur infrequently.
  • There needs to be more individual accountability for preparedness.
  • Resilience at the state and local level will be critical to enable people to shelter in place and facilitate faster recovery. Any event that requires a mass evacuation will use up critical resources, clog transportation pathways, and reduce the workforce necessary for infrastructure recovery.
  • Electricity, fuel, clean drinking water, wastewater services, food/refrigeration, emergency medical services, communications capabilities, and some access to financial services have been identified as critical lifeline services that would be needed to sustain local communities and prevent mass migration.

Read the entire Examiner article by clicking here.

Mosby: Just Do It.

How do make your way to a self-reliant lifestyle? One small step at a time. John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla blog has a short piece on taking those first steps.

…I’m not gonna lie, we have a pretty awesome life. I don’t have an electric bill, because I built our solar power system myself, from components. We don’t have a house payment, because we built our house by hand, as we went. I have a land payment, but we pay so much extra on it, that the 15 year note will be completely paid off in 6 years total. We don’t have much of a grocery bill, because we raise and/or hunt so much of our own food.

I get to shoot—and teach—weekly, because we have a core group of guys who show up every weekend for training. We have a core group of 10 or so families that socialize together, party together, babysit each others’ kids, etc (Yes, we even identify, communally, as a “clan.”).

So, yeah, life is pretty…good, even as we watch the social structures we’re accustomed to collapse around us.

Here’s the catch though…It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen all at once. We’re still in the process of becoming communally self-reliant, for lack of a better term.

How then, does someone like my friend—maybe someone like you—start today, instead of waiting until the stars align properly?

Start small. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch (I have an amazing German brown bread recipe that I’ll post one of these days). It takes me twenty minutes of work, spread over several hours (to let the dough rise), to bake two big, round loaves of the bread. Even with two young kids that love to eat it (and my predilection for eating quarter loaf chunks ripped off the still steaming loaf…), two loaves of this bread will last us two or three days. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive…

Click here to read the entire article.

AYWTGS: 10 Kits to Put Together Today

Karen at A Year Without the Grocery Store has had to bug out three times, twice for riots and once for a tornado. She has enough to say about preparedness that she’s written a book and started a website. In the article, 10 Kits to Put Together Today to Be Ready for Tomorrow she talks about a variety of kits to have prepared so that you aren’t spending precious time rummaging around trying to find a light or cook stove.

1.) Where is the closest flashlight to you at this moment?

2.) Do you have an air filtration mask and could you put your hand on it in two minutes or less?

3.) What items do you have to keep your house cool and where do you keep them?

4.) If you had to remove stitches yourself, do you have the tools to do it?

5.) What’s your secondary method of communication?  Is it charged and ready?

So how did you do on the quiz?  Obviously, there’s no right or wrong answer.  The bigger question is  – could you answer each question.

Each of these things above is integral to preparedness.  Sometimes, we have these things – which is HUGE!  If you just have these things – high five!

More often than not though, if we have these things, we don’t know where they are.  So how do we organize things so that we KNOW that we KNOW where things are?

We develop kits!

Each kit is self-contained and is kept in tote.  For larger items, I keep them in large totes from Costco.  For smaller kits, I keep them in smaller totes which fit in the large Costco totes.   So what kinds of kits should we be putting together?  I’m going to be giving you a list of 11 kits.  I’m going to give you an overview here, but I’ll be doing a post on each of these so I can dive deeper.

Now there is one very well known kit that I am not including in this and it’s called a Bug out Bag or Grab and Go Bag or many other things.  A Bug Out Bag is for leaving the area, and we’ll cover that at some time.  These kits are all about what you are ready for at home.  So we’ll jump right in with kit #1.

Click here to read the entire article at A Year Without the Grocery Store.

Sparks31 Introduces Basic Grid-Down Communications Class

Sparks31 has introduced a new class which will debut in Watertown, CT – Basic Grid-Down/Down-Grid Communications (combined with his SIGINT class). Sparks will be bringing some classes to Washington state (including Yakima and Seattle) in 2019, and hopefully this class may be added to the lineup. Communication is critical in a disaster. Can you still communicate with those you need to if the internet and phone system go down?

This is a one-day class that covers all the basics you need to set up your monitoring post, collect signals intelligence (SIGINT), get on the air with amateur radio and personal communications services (FRS, GMRS, MURS, CB, Part 15), and establish communications networks and interoperability with other like-minded individuals.

Topics of instruction include the following:

  • Learning about Electronic Communications – A Primer
  • Communications Monitoring HF-to-UHF
  • Intelligence versus Information
    • Intelligence Requirements
  • SIGINT – Signals Intelligence
  • Listening Posts and SIGINT Operations
  • Communications Services
    • Amateur Radio
    • Part 95 & 15 (license-free or “license by rule” services)
  • Communications Networks
    • Interoperability – What it is, and how to make it work.
  •  Increasing System Performance
    • Antennas
  • Grid-Down versus Down-Grid Realities
  • Basic Crypto Systems and When It Is Legal to Use Them
  • Alternatives to Radio Communications
Cost for this class is $100. Please enroll via our storefront at https://squareup.com/store/sparks31/.

American Partisan: Is Your Group Missing Esprit de Corps?

American Partisan has a brief but good article up, One Critical Thing Your Group May Be Missing. Esprit de corps can be viewed as a group’s commitment, loyalty and attachment to each other and to their organization’s mission. A group with high esprit de corps and high member morale inspires individual members to execute their duties and responsibilities beyond expectations, leading to success reaching and exceeding the group’s goals. Individuals with high morale give their best service to the group. Confidence in the group’s cause, organization, leadership, methods and direction all contribute to individual high morale and, thus, group esprit de corps.

[W]hether regular organized units, survival groups, or guerrilla partisans resisting “enemies foreign and domestic,” the morale of the unit is almost as important as the combined unit skill sets. A less skilled, equipped unit with a high standard of motivation and sense of purpose can achieve as much as a well equipped, well trained, low morale unit. Throughout history, smaller ill prepared forces with a collective motivating goal have successfully hindered overwhelmingly superior forces that had less than ideal morale.

According to Harvard sociologist Alexander H. Leighton, “Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.”

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Related:

American Partisan: Forming a Community Survival Group

American Partisan: Ditch Medicine – Medications

The medical staff at American Partisan have a good post up about medication, how long it stays effective on the shelf, and what you might want to have on hand in case of emergencies. Ditch Medicine: Medications.

Most oral medications are given a rather arbitrary expiration date which may vary depending on the manufacture date, sell date, or type of medicine and concern over poor storage environments at home. Some manufacturers of medications indicate their desire to have their medicines expire, because they want patients to have up to date information about the medicine on the newer packaging.

The Pentagon shelf-life extension program has shown that many medications are safe and completely effective many years after the expiration date listed on the product, especially if stored in a favorable environment.  This is also extensively supported with numerous articles found by looking up “Myth of Medication Expirations” on the internet.

Many drugs stored under favorable conditions retain over 90% of their potency for at least five years beyond the expiration date on the label, and sometimes much much longer. Ciprofloxacin, for instance, was found to be completely safe and effective when tested nearly 10 years after the expiration date. Some medications appear to be more stable and therefore retain a greater amount of potency after expiration; these seem to include Cipro, Flagyl, lidocaine, atropine and possibly the penicillins.

Some medications are more unstable and do have an expiration such as insulin, nitroglycerin, aspirin and water purification tablets. A disputed article in one publication suggests expired Tetracycline may have caused toxicity in one patient (personally I don’t believe it since I am sure millions of doses of expired tetracycline have been used in 3rd world countries with no other reported complications; also, that old formulation of tetracycline is no longer available anyway, so I would be willing to expired tetracycline if I needed the medication). I am not aware of any other expired antibiotics having this risk.

Preferred storage environments would be cool, dark, and dry. Blister packaged medications might be preferable because they are kept dry and are waterproof but have the disadvantage of being slightly more bulky. Tablets are typically more stable and therefore have longer storage life than do elixirs/liquids. Many medications may be ordered over the internet as pet medications. Quality controls for pet medications seem good and I would be willing to use them on myself in an emergency.

The below is a list of commonly encountered medications that you might want to know about, and I would recommend finding a drug dose reference book from a bookstore or the internet; sometimes you can find them very inexpensively from book sections at Christian/Salvation Army stores…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

American Partisan: Ditch Medicine – Laceration Management

From the medical staff at American Partisan is this primer on the care of lacerations in austere conditions, Ditch Medicine: Laceration Management.

Lacerations are trauma which result in cutting or tearing of skin and possibly underlying tissue. Please note that deep lacerations that are complicated by the involvement of injuries to major arteries, tendons, nerves or abdominal cavity contents are not usually treatable in primitive conditions.

Initial Care for Lacerations

Most bleeding is initially controlled with pressure. Wounds without deep involvement should be surgically repaired if possible to speed healing, reduce infection, and improve cosmetic and functional results. The approximation of the skin edges can be achieved with steri-strips, skin glue, staples, or sutures (stitches). Before any wound is repaired, a few simple rules should be understood.

  • The longer a wound is left open to the environment, the more bacteria it will collect and therefore has a greater chance of infection, especially if the wound is closed by trapping these bacteria within the wound.
  • Most wounds can be closed within 12 hours of the injury (since the bacteria count won’t be terribly high). Since the face and neck have increased blood flow compared to most other body parts this extra blood flow helps the wounds fight infection and promotes healing, therefore wounds to the face and neck may be closed up to 48 hours after the injury.
  • Wounds that are to be closed must be thoroughly cleaned of any debris using forceps (tweezers) and using generous washings with clean or sterile water or saline. One source suggested using fresh urine from person without urinary infection since that should be sterile (I think I would rather use boiled water).

Creating Saline Solution for Laceration Washes

Saline solution can be made by adding one tablespoon of salt to 1 gallon of water or adding 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 L of water. Another irrigation solution can be made by adding 5 mils of household bleach to 1 L of clean water. Washing the area with Betadine or hibiclens before closure should be performed. Ragged wound edges and the tips of angularly cut tissue should be removed so that the wound edges to be approximated are smooth and will be likely to heal.

Steri-Strips, skin glue, and sutures may be the most useful ways to close a wound in a primitive environment. Staples may be used but require removal with a specialized removal tool which may not be readily available. Steri-Strips (tape) and skin glue can be applied to many wounds to hold the skin edges together until healing occurs. These are less secure than sutures (especially in larger deeper wounds) but maybe faster, require less technical skill, and may offer an improved cosmetic result.

For larger deeper wounds, sutures may be best for closure. Some wounds may have skin loss such that closure of the skin edges may be under some tension. The strength of sutures would be better for that closure, over glue or Steri-Strips. Sometimes tissue loss may be extensive enough that complete skin edge approximation may not be successful. Some gap in the skin edges may be allowed in these circumstances. Tissue loss with tension on the closure would require that the sutures be left for a longer period of time until the skin has stretched and relaxed enough so that there is no significant tension at the wound before removal of the sutures. In wounds without tension on the face, the sutures may usually be removed in about 3 to 5 days (this rapid removal is because of the high blood flow which speeds healing). The sutures on wounds of the trunk without tension may be removed in about 10 days. Sutures in the hands and feet are usually removed in about 10 to 14 days…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.