Archive for March, 2013

The newspapers and television stations we get our current news from have a propensity to label every storm that comes down the road the greatest disaster since whenever. It is true that we have some terrific storms, but how do we really classify them as disasters? Many of the so-called greatest disasters of today become minuscule in tragedy compared to disasters of yesterday.

Hurricane Katrina was called the worst disaster since whenever, but the reality is that the hurricane that wiped out 1,836 people back in 2005. But the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane  caused more real damage, taking many more lives than Katrina did. The damage was just as extensive, but because costs have risen so much over the decades due to the decline in the value of currency worldwide, Katrina cost much more in cash to recover from.

Do not take me the wrong way here, Katrina was a tragedy, but in real terms, it was in fact a tragedy that really might have been prevented. However, that was then, Sandy Hook has come and gone and we wait with tingling buttocks the next media fed disaster of the century.

Let us look at our own disaster levels, and prepare for them by creating plans for each of the different levels of disaster. I have developed a personal tiered system of five levels of disaster/preparedness that we should be ready for. You can develop your own system as you see fit, but please develop prepping goals that help you achieve a permanent survival plan in case the worst does come to pass.

Here are my five stages:

  • Stage 1; Stage 1 is the simplest, and least stressful of prepping events. This would include any situation involving no more than one night without your usual or normal infrastructure in place. This could involve a thunderstorm creating a blackout of just a few minutes to a 24-48 hour time frame. At this point, you will be consuming the food in your refrigerator first, as it is likely to thaw and spoil in just a couple of days.

 

  • Stage 2; Stage 2 is a little more complex, with your infrastructure being interrupted for up to one week to a month. By day three you should have cleaned out your refrigerator, and begun to consume the contents of a deep freeze if you have one. Store bought canned and dry food in your pantry will be consumed at this point. You will want to save MRE’s and long-term food supplies for stage three and beyond. Batteries will likely have been used up by this point, and you would be on alternative lighting such as oil lamps, etc. cooking will be done with camp stoves, so you would need plenty of fuel on hand for this stage.

 

  • Stage 3; Stage 3 is a duration of from one month to a six months or so. You would have consumed all fresh foods long before the beginning of this stage, and would be utilizing your short-term storage foods such as canned goods and may have begun your MRE  program. Availability of foods and fuels in the marketplace is no longer an option, as there likely is no marketplace to speak of. Your fuel may be gone, and you would be utilizing wood for heating and cooking. The smart prepper would have developed a solar lighting scheme to recharge batteries for lighting and other needs.

 

  • Stage 4; Stage 4 is a period of from six months to one year. This is the time frame in which you would have mentally sat back and taken stock of the fact that we are really screwed, it is not just a bad dream. Short-term food supplies will be running low, and you will begin consuming your long-term food supply. A good prepper would have seen this coming and realized early on that your short and mid-term supplies would need to be rationed to avoid running out too quickly. By now you will be at the barter stage to obtain needed supplies as the government is obviously  dumber than we gave them credit for being.

 

  • Stage 5; Stage 5 is a period of survival lasting from one year to two years out from the initial disaster. You finally figured out that you were right all along, and there is no going back to the way things were. You will be on your long-term food supply, and will by springtime have planted that survival garden you thought you would never need. There are no jobs, no money, and transportation is now 100% people powered. Bicycles and animals provide the means of getting anyplace faster than walking. Your long term food is holding out, and in the fall, you will harvest and prepare for storage your food needs for the entire following year.

 

  • Stage 6;  Stage 6 is no longer a survival stage. If you have made it this far, you will find that this is the new normal. It had been over two years since the disaster that created the situation you are in, the government, the economy, and society have all crumbled into a sort of 18th century mentality. Roving gangs have moved from the depleted urban areas and are now roaming the countryside to take what they want. You have banned together with your neighbors to form militia groups for protection from these marauding gangs. You have found that life truly sucks, but that is OK, you will weather the storm.

 

That is a brief rundown of the stages of disaster preparedness. Most of us only have to put up with an occasional stage 1 setting, and a few of us go on to a stage 2 setting. Very few people ever come close to a stage three in these days, but it could happen. We owe it to our families to prepare for the worst, but pray that it never happens.

Happy prepping folks!

A piece in today’s Washington Post says that The US intends to beef up our west coast defenses by adding 14 interceptors to Alaskan installations. This is surprising for a couple of reasons. For one, Hussein Obama has been against increasing the military standing of this nation, and in fact had wanted to reduce our military to a strength that would make us vulnerable to outside forces.

Secondly, most of the rhetoric still suggests that while North Korea might be a pesky little bother, they really haven’t the wherewithal to launch an attack that could really damage us here in the US. Sure, they have demonstrated their ability to launch an ICBM level warhead to a distance that may affect our western seaboard, but do they really have what it takes to find success? I think not.

However, the article, (read it here) suggests an underlying reason for this seeming change in our stance against Pyongyang’s rising nuclear threat. I suspect there may be a probability that what we may really be increasing our stockpile of west coast weaponry for is a combined Iranian/Korean offense that quite likely may include the detonation of a high altitude electromagnetic pulse weapon (HEMP), launched from the North Pacific, possibly from inside Korea, but more likely from an ocean-going vessel.

The reason for my feeling this way is due to the fact that, according to the article, the Pentagon plans revamp its Aegis missile program to pay for this expansion. The interceptor program has a rather questionable history, and some analysts seem to be saying that the first real deployable interceptors won’t be available until 2022. Strategically speaking, that really is not that far away, time-wise, but the Aegis missiles are already in action.

Nevertheless, the main point is that the Aegis has a limited range. They cannot travel to North Korean territory to intercept an ICBM launched from there. We would have to wait and see where this ICBM is headed for before deploying our defenses, and in real terms, that may be too late.

Therefore, my reading between the lines tells me that it is more likely that we may see multiple shorter range missiles launched against us from the North Pacific. These are the types of missiles the Aegis system was developed to fight against. I might be mistaken here, but…

These shorter range missiles would still have the ability to carry and detonate a HEMP weapon over the western US, but it would leave the Eastern seaboard unscathed, which really is not acceptable to the North Korean and Iranian regimes. However, if they were to simultaneously detonate multiple HEMP warheads from bit the Pacific and Atlantic theaters, they would seemingly attain success, and devastate our electrical infrastructure, thereby crippling our ability as a nation.

But the shorter range defense system apparently being suggested for Alaska could hardly protect out eastern seaboard, could it? But wait, the light clicks on…Senator Susan Collins’ last newsletter says that she encourages the establishment of a missile defense facility in Aroostook County, which would be capable of defending against these missiles I am writing of today. Further, a Bangor Daily news article from last year, (read it here) says that the National Research Council claims there are serious holes in our missile defense system, and that a base in the vicinity of Caribou, Maine would be an ideal location to establish a missile defense installation.

Again, I could be wrong here, but…

I believe it would be in the best interests of preppers everywhere to start learning about HEMP potentials and what the real damages would be to our nation should an enemy of ours succeed in detonating one or more over our nation. I have written about this in past blog entries, and there are a lot of websites that address this issue. However, be careful out there. There is a lot of so-called expert advice whereby the so-called experts do not seem to really grasp the science and reality behind the threat. I intend to address this issue again in a month or so with some in depth reporting on the subject, so please return to visit again.

Until then, happy prepping!

According to some prophecy aficionados, the Papal Conclave has just elected the last Pope of the Catholic Church. According to the legends, in the 12th century, Malachy O’Morgair, then Arch Bishop of Ireland, had a series of “divine” revelations showing him the entire Papal line, down unto the last pope. Malachy had named 112 Popes, or rather, described who they would be in a but of a cryptic fashion, much along the lines of Nostradamus’ prophecies. They were they in plain print, and yet they left a lot of room for subjection. Apparently, thus far he has named 111 Popes to the tea, including the recently abdicated Pope Benedict XVI.

Of course, Malachy never gave proper names to any of his predictions, just descriptions. For Benedict, he merely described the 111th Pope as “the glory of the olives” and of course, the Pope’s choice of the name Benedict, suggests this description fills the prophecy, since the founder of the Benedictine Order was also known as Olivetans.

Coincidence? Maybe, but here are a couple of other items of interest regarding prophetic happenings. Nostradamus as well had a few Papal prophecies regarding the end of the line for Catholic leadership. He had predicted that the next-to-last pope [Benedict] would “flee Rome in December when the great comet is seen in the daytime.” Sounds fanciful and far-fetched as the months are wrong, but remember that the calender has changed since the time of Nostradamus, and Benedict would indeed have abdicated in December, just as Nostradamus predicted had those changes not occurred.

Think of it, the comet ISON was seen in the skies for some time, and as an interesting note, a huge bolt of lightning is said to have struck the cross on the top of the Basilica just a few short hours after his announcement of abdication. And a few days later Russia’s Ural region was showered with a meteor shower, shattering windows and causing numerous injuries. How is that for food for thought.

But before you run of screaming “the end is coming,” here is an important point to this prophecy of Malachy; theologians generally argue there is no authentic written manuscript. Supposedly, Malachy’s list was discovered in 1590 in the Vatican archives, hundreds of years later. Maybe this prophecy never came from Malachy at all?

So, what does this all mean to survivalists and us preppers? Well, for one thing, it means we are going to have to endure another round of conspiracy claims. One of the central themes of the conspiracy crowd suggests that the Illuminati are controlled by the Jesuit Brotherhood, and guess what? The new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has chosen the name Francis, is a Jesuit. Hmmmm….

I will leave you with that thought to stew over.

Speaking of stew, one of the items you should be including with your preps, food wise, is plenty of stew like meals. Try to have several canned styles available for your program entry level needs to cover the first few months, with the long term styles for when we are certain things are not going to return to normal. They contain lots of nutritional value, can be filling, and are easy to prepare. I have several MRE style stews in my EDC bag, as well as some heaters for a quick, hot, wholesome meal, but I also have quite a few cans in my pantry for the first few weeks at least. After that I will break open my #10 cans of stew.

I do not really know who started the mantra of one is none, two is one rule of survival and preparedness planning, but it is a great notion to cling to. For instance, if you are hiking alone in the woods and you lose your compass, you are screwed. I know, some will say “but I use a GPS, those are almost impossible to lose”. Maybe so, but suppose the battery goes dead? Do you see my point? If you only have one of an essential item, and you lose it or it breaks, then what?

The same goes for any other tool or bit of supply you may need in your survival plan. I remember a couple of years ago I was opening a can for supper, and the can opener fell apart after a couple of cranks of the handle. I had another can opener in the drawer, and luck had nothing to do with it, so it was no big deal. However, if I had no backup tool in waiting, I would not have been able to simply grab the back up and finish preparing the meal.

I would have had to do without, compromise, or get primitive and open the can with a huge knife. That would have been a pity as the blade would have needed substantial attention after slicing through the metal can. One is none, two is one. It is a good rule to follow and should be a central consideration as you develop your preparedness and survival plans.

One drawback to this goal of having at least two of your essentials on hand is the added cost. You have to plan on double the cost of these essentials, thus doubling the size of your preparedness budget as it relates to these essential items. Is it really necessary that we have two or more of everything? Not really. There are times when we can get away with making concessions. We may be able to come up with alternative tools or devices to compensate for the loss of some of our needs.

One suggestion I can give here is to make sure that you keep these extra tools in a separate place. Have an extra box of additional tools, but keep it close enough that you can access it when the need arises. Unfortunately, far too many people utilize offsite storage for the excess baggage we consider as needs today. Personally, I consider offsite storage a waste of resources. The money that you spend on locker rental fees could be better used for buying the things you need to develop your preparations for the coming times.

The fees for these lockers can be pretty hefty, and in some cases may be enough to equal the cost of a good supply of long-term storage foods. A one hundred dollar a month rental fee equals 1200 dollars a year. How often have you seen food deals for several months worth of food for that price? Just this week, I received a flyer from a mail order house offering a six-month lunch and dinner supply for one at only $1,299.00[1]. That is not a bad deal, and you could afford it if you can afford to pay that much for a storage locker full of household goods that you do not use.

If you do use this arrangement, perhaps you need to include this aspect of your life in your overall preparedness plan. Seriously consider what you are paying storage fees for, and decide whether it really makes sense. Granted, there will be instances where there is no other option, but for the most part, much of what we have stored in these lockers have little real survival value. If the crap hits the fan and you become forced to shelter in place, will this locker be of any benefit to you? If you have to pack up the bug out vehicle and get out of town, what happens to the stuff you have paid all that money for in storage?

I know some people who have a rental unit as their central bug out command post, with a vehicle inside it ready to roll at a moment’s notice. They keep the truck and trailer fully loaded with MRE’s and long term storage food, along with all the tools they will need to survive if they have to leave town in an emergency. This is a good plan, and, providing you can afford it, and the unit is accessible 24-7, go for it. but it takes a certain level of ability as well as acceptance of the facts to be able to comfortably commit to these sorts of resources.

Whatever you decide to do, make certain that you are comfortable with your choices, that can afford your choices, and that you have considered all aspects relating to that choice.

 

[1] $1,299.00 for food for one may sound like a lot of money, but the reality is that it works out to only $216.50 per person per month, for two meals a day. A little over three bucks a meal. When was the last time you had a nutritious meal for that kind of price? It costs an average of eight bucks for a burger, fries and a drink in most fast food places today.