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Are you Prepared?

How Do People Really Behave When Disaster Strikes? July 7, 2017

There are a lot of reasons why people prep for disasters, but there’s one reason that’s far more popular than the others. What people fear most when they think about what would happen if society collapsed, isn’t hunger, disease, or exposure. They fear what other people might do to them when the chips are down.They worry that members of their community might hurt or kill them to survive.

And though most preppers won’t admit it, I think most of us fear what we might be capable of in a bad situation. We don’t have to find out if we have enough food stocked up in our pantries.

However, it should be noted that there is an alternate view on what most people will do if society collapses. For historians who study disasters and social collapse, there is hope that people won’t automatically turn into savages if the grid goes down. A writer for Slate recently interviewed several experts on this topic, and here’s what they had to say:

Can this ray of sunshine be trusted? I’d love to believe it can be. I asked Scott Knowles, a historian of disaster, what historians and sociologists who study collapses and disasters have to say. His answer: It depends. “We help, and also we don’t,” Knowles said in an email to me.

Over the years, academic researchers have gone back and forth on the question. “This whole area of work really got going in the Cold War when defense planners wanted to model post-[nuclear] attack scenarios,” Knowles wrote. The Disaster Research Center at Ohio State University (which has since moved to the University of Delaware) “did the work over years to model community response, and they pushed back strongly on the idea of social collapse—they found instead too much of the opposite—people converge on a disaster scene!”

And there are countless examples of people being altruistic and coming together during disasters; perhaps even more so than examples of people turning on each other.

In a 1961 paper (unpublished until 1996), sociologist Charles Fritz laid out the case for this “contrary perspective” that disasters and other majorly stressful events don’t necessarily result in social breakdown and trauma.

Fritz, who had begun his observations of disasters while stationed in Britain during the Blitz, reported that during that time he saw “a nation of gloriously happy people, enjoying life to the fullest, exhibiting a sense of gaiety and love of life that was truly remarkable,” with Britons reaching beyond class distinctions, sharing supplies, and talking to people they had never spoken with before.

Marshaling sociological and historical evidence, Fritz recounts example after example of people pulling together in the middle of tragedy: black and white police and militia members uniting to maintain order during the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1878; enemies forgetting old quarrels during the German bombing of Krakow in World War II; community members reporting strengthened personal relationships with neighbors after the White County, Arkansas, tornado of 1952.

In general, researchers agree that people will try to form alliances and help each other.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If humans didn’t have an inclination towards supporting each other, then we wouldn’t have a sophisticated society to begin with.

However, I think we all know that there is a dark side to our species as well, and many of the examples provided by the author don’t reflect that. It is true that we are a social species whose members would rather work together to build a society, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t disasters which could easily bring out the worst in us.

The best example that comes to my mind, is the Siege of Leningrad during World War Two. For more than two years, the city was encircled by German forces who cut off all supplies to the city. This lead to the deaths of more than a million civilians, mainly due to starvation. And during that time there were thousands of people who were arrested for murdering others for their ration cards, or killing strangers and family members before cannibalizing them. And in most cases, these people were found to have no criminal records when they were caught.

Point being, there are disasters that will drive ordinary people to commit heinous crimes, and there’s a big difference between those incidents, and the disasters that don’t lead to massive crime waves. In most cases, a destructive event only leads to temporary disruptions to the supply of food, medicine and fuel. People are happy to work together, knowing that everything will return to normal in short order.

But on the rare occasion that a disaster disrupts the flow of goods and energy for months or years at a time, a significant percentage of the population will turn on their neighbors to survive. There’s a direct relationship between how desperate people are, and how far they’re willing to abandon their morality to keep themselves and their family fed, and that’s something that preppers should never forget.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 7th, 2017
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West Coast Seismic Alert: 2 Alaskan Volcanoes Erupt As Earthquake Swarms At Mount St. Helens Raise Concerns May 18, 2017

Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Hood are all major volcanoes that lie along the infamous “Ring of Fire” that runs down the west coast of the United States, and all of the seismic activity that has been taking place in the region has many concerned about what may happen next.  Earlier this month, I wrote about how 45 earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater hit Alaska in just one 24 hour period.  This week, it is volcanic activity that is raising concerns.  The earthquake swarms at Mount St. Helens are making headlines all over the globe, and on Tuesday two major volcanoes in Alaska suddenly erupted on the exact same day

An eruption at Bogoslof volcano – one of two to erupt in the Aleutian Islands Tuesday – is its first after more than two months of inactivity, causing ash to fall in a nearby community before drifting south over the Pacific Ocean.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory said Tuesday night’s eruption at the volcano about 60 miles west of Unalaska, which began just after 10:30 p.m. and lasted for 73 minutes, sent a plume to an altitude of 34,000 feet.

Overall, 39 volcanoes around the world are either erupting right now or have recently erupted according to Volcano Discovery.

Most of those active volcanoes are along the Ring of Fire.

Fortunately, the U.S. portion of the Ring of Fire has been less active than other areas in recent years.  But experts assure us that will eventually change because seismic tension continues to build.  One example of this is what is happening at Mount St. Helens right now.  According to scientists, the famous volcano is currently going through what is known as a “magma recharge”

Since mid-April, small earthquakes have been cropping up deep beneath Mount St Helens at ‘relatively high rates,’ bringing roughly one tremor every few hours.

In the last 30 days, scientists have located 55 seismic events in the vicinity, and say there may be well over 100 earthquakes linked to the swarm so far.

The activity falls in line with magma recharge thought to be underway since 2008.

Someday it will erupt again, and the geologists that monitor these things are watching the latest developments very carefully

“Mount St. Helens is at normal background levels of activity,” Liz Westby, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey–Cascades Volcano Observatory, told ABC News. “But a bit out of the ordinary are several small magnitude earthquake swarms in March to May 2016, November 2016 and April 16 to May 5, 2017. During the April 16 to May 5, 2017, swarm, we detected well over 100 earthquakes, all below a magnitude 1.3.”

Personally, I am much more concerned about Mount Rainier than I am about Mount St. Helens.  Since the last time it erupted in the late 19th century, hundreds of thousands of people have moved into the danger zone around the volcano, and a full-blown eruption now would eclipse any other natural disaster in recorded U.S. history.

Over the last 30 days, there has also been a good bit of seismic activity at Mount Rainier, and much of it has been centered right along the core of the volcano…

Mount Rainier is capable of unleashing a flow of super-heated mud that could literally cover much of the Seattle/Tacoma area.  If you think that I am exaggerating, please see the following excerpt from Wikipedia

Mount Rainier is currently listed as a Decade Volcano, or one of the 16 volcanoes with the greatest likelihood of causing great loss of life and property if eruptive activity resumes.[45] If Mt. Rainier were to erupt as powerfully as Mount St. Helens did in its May 18, 1980 eruption, the effect would be cumulatively greater, because of the far more massive amounts of glacial ice locked on the volcano compared to Mount St. Helens,[37] the vastly more heavily populated areas surrounding Rainier, and the simple fact that Mt Rainier is a much bigger volcano, almost twice the size of St. Helens.[46] Lahars from Rainier pose the most risk to life and property,[47] as many communities lie atop older lahar deposits. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), about 150,000 people live on top of old lahar deposits of Rainier.[7] Not only is there much ice atop the volcano, the volcano is also slowly being weakened by hydrothermal activity. According to Geoff Clayton, a geologist with a Washington State Geology firm, RH2 Engineering, a repeat of the Osceola mudflow would destroy Enumclaw, Orting, Kent, Auburn, Puyallup, Sumner and all of Renton.[36] Such a mudflow might also reach down the Duwamish estuary and destroy parts of downtown Seattle, and cause tsunamis in Puget Sound and Lake Washington.[48] Rainier is also capable of producing pyroclastic flows and expelling lava.[48]

I keep warning about the dangers of a future eruption of Mount Rainier, and this is something that is so heavy on my heart that I even included an eruption of the volcano in my novel entitled The Beginning Of The End.  If you live in the Seattle/Tacoma area, you need to have a plan for a very rapid evacuation in the event a major eruption suddenly takes place.

On the other side of the world, scientists are warning that a supervolcano near Naples, Italy is reaching a critical stage.  The following comes from Newsweek

One of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes appears to be closer to erupting than we once thought, scientists have warned. Campi Flegrei in southern Italy has been showing signs of reawakening over the past 67 years, and new research indicates the volcano has been building energy throughout this period, increasing the risk that it will erupt.

Campi Flegrei is a huge volcanic field that sits about 9 miles to the west of Naples, a city home to over a million people. It is made up of 24 craters and edifices, and appears as a large depression on the surface of the land.

The volcano last erupted in 1538 after almost a century of pressure building up. But though it lasted over a week, this was a comparably small one—40,000 years ago, it produced a “super-colossal” eruption. This is the second highest measure on the volcanic explosivity index, the first being “mega-colossal,” like those seen at the Yellowstone supervolcano in the U.S. thousands of years ago.

For years I have been documenting how the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, and at some point a major seismic event is going to dramatically change life in America overnight.

Let us hope that day is delayed for as long as possible, but as certainly as you are reading this article it is coming.

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When Grocery Stores Go Empty, These Four Foods Will Help You Survive May 4, 2017

The only thing preppers fear more than masses of unprepared people during an emergency, is being one of those people. That’s why our ultimate nightmare scenario would be not having any non-perishable food on hand during a serious disaster. However, there’s plenty of reasons why an otherwise prepared person might not be prepared when the SHTF.

You could be out-of-town or out of the country, visiting family members who aren’t preppers. Or perhaps you’re having financial problems. So maybe you’ve had to dip into your food supply, or if you prefer buying canned food over freeze-dried food, you haven’t been able to restock items that have spoiled. Or perhaps you’re new to prepping, and you haven’t gotten around to building up a food supply.

Whatever the case may be, you should ask yourself, what would you do if you were one of those people who race to the grocery store at the last-minute during a disaster? Before you answer that, you have to consider the very real possibility that by the time you reach the grocery store, the shelves will be at least partially stripped.

The first food items that will sell out mostly consist of things that are already cooked or prepared in some way, including canned foods, frozen dishes, and bread. Fresh meat and eggs would also disappear pretty fast, despite the fact that they need to be cooked.

Ideally, you want to avoid this scenario altogether by prepping beforehand. In The Prepper’s Cookbook, Tess Pennington highlights key strategies for building an emergency pantry. This takes planning, so if you haven’t already done so, start today. Ideally, you want to store shelf stable foods that your family normally consumes, as well as find foods that are multi-dynamic and serve many purposes. These are the 25 foods she suggests that preppers should have in their pantries.

Have a Back-Up Plan For the Grocery Store

If you end up having to rush to the grocery store during an emergency, you should be prepared to employ a different strategy for finding food. If, when you arrive at the store, there are already a lot of people grabbing the low hanging fruit like canned foods, bread, etc., don’t join them. You’re probably only going to find the scraps that they haven’t gotten to yet. Instead, move immediately towards the food items that won’t disappear as quickly, and can substitute the foods that everyone is going to fight over first.

To employ this strategy properly, you only need one thing. Something to cook with that doesn’t require the grid, such as a camp stove with a few fuel canisters. You’ll need something like that, because many of the food items that disappear later in the game, tend to need some preparation.

These Four Emergency Food Alternatives Can Keep You Alive

So with that said, what kinds of foods should you go after when you arrive at a grocery store later than everyone else?

  • Instead of bread, go straight for the flour. Don’t worry if you can’t find any yeast. You can always make hardtack, tortillas or naan. You might also find that the sacks of dried rice and beans won’t disappear until after the canned foods go. When combined, these two make a complete protein and are perfect for emergency food meals. Keep cooking times in mind with the beans and go for small beans like navy or lentils.
  • If you find that the produce section is stripped bare, go to the supplement aisle instead. There you’ll find all of the vitamins and minerals that are normally found in fresh produce. Look for food based or whole food vitamins. You’ll also find protein powders that can at least partially substitute fresh meat. As well, look for seeds to sprout. Sprouts provide the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes of any of food per unit of calorie. Enzymes are essential because they heal the body, cleanse the body, prevent diseases, enhance the overall functioning of bodily organs, aids in digestion, and removes gas from the stomach.
  • If fresh meat or canned meat is gone from the shelves, a substitute for is dog food. Though this may disgust most people, desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s really cheap and packed with protein. The only downside, of course, is that pet food usually doesn’t face the same health standards as human food. If it can be helped, go for the wet food instead of the kibble. Though you’ll probably be fine eating any dog food for a couple of weeks, dry dog food isn’t as safe as wet food. Plus, the cans of wet food will be much more hydrating.
  • And finally, instead of trying to find butter, which will be one of the first food items to disappear, try looking for alternatives. Remember, you need fats in your diet. Healthy oils like coconut oil or avocado oil provide healthy nutrition and canI be used for cooking, added to coffee, oats, beverages, and other foods. In addition, one of the most nutrient dense foods that are often forgotten during emergency food planning is in the health aisle. Look for granola and nuts. Nuts are calorie dense and full of fiber to help you stay full longer. Due to the high protein count of this natural food, it can be an efficient meat replacement too. Look for non-salted nut varieties to keep you hydrated longer. It’s packed with calories and can go weeks without spoiling when it’s not refrigerated.  Read more about the ideal bug out meal plan here. Alternatively, if all the healthy oils and nuts have been taken, look for some lard. It’s sometimes labeled “manteca.” It will probably be overlooked, but has just as many calories as butter, and lasts a really long time.

Of course, many of these items aren’t the best tasting or the most healthy. They’re certainly not ideal. But then again, neither is being caught in a disaster without your food preps. If you arrive at the grocery store before everyone else, by all means, go after the good stuff. However, if you aren’t lucky enough to beat the crowds, now you know what kinds of foods you should grab first.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 4th, 2017
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