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Last Minute Preparedness: How To Prep For Sheltering in Place September 14, 2017

ReadyNutrition Readers, this article is not a substitute for common sense, nor is it a “betting slip” of things to do to beat the odds.  With Hurricane Harvey dealing our beloved states of Texas and Louisiana a crippling blow and with Hurricane Irma devastating the state of Florida, one thing is for sure – the nation needs to focus on preparedness…in all departments and for all disasters.  We’re going to run with this ball to give a checklist of things to do if there is a need to stay at home.

Sometimes it’s not just a matter of being either “hard-headed,” or rooted within the home and sentimentalities.  Sometimes there are things that force a family to stay in place and try to face what is coming, regardless of what the rest of the people in the area are doing.  Examples of this would be when a family member cannot be transported or moved, or when the family is unable to do it logistically for fear of losing everything or the great hardships imposed by fleeing.

Undoubtedly the army of skeptics is ready to call for fire on my position.  Before “Splash out,” sounds on the radio, however, the last sentence is the reality.  It happened that way in New Orleans with Katrina.  Whatever the situation or the reasons, it is not the focus of this piece to argue with Ned the Naysayer, but to provide something to help those who need it.  First advice:

If you can leave the area before the disaster strikes, then do so, and seek shelter elsewhere.

Now to the business at hand.  The more able-bodied people you have in the family to help you, the quicker you can expedite these basic tasks.  Review my articles on Katrina, and much of this ties into what my family and I did there.  We’re going to focus on stuff for a hurricane primarily, and then tailor-make it into advice to suit other disasters as well.

  1. Precut and preposition materials to close the “soft” spots of the house: plywood, 2” x 4” s, nails, screws, and plastic sheeting…these can be used to close off sliding glass doors, board up windows, and shore up spots that can be entered. If you have the time, then measure everything and cut pieces beforehand to set in place and then attach when the emergency is nearing.  Make sure there are extras of these materials in case there’s a breach of some kind.
  2. Bins and Bags: Place all your food (canned, dry goods, freeze-dried, dehydrated) into bins, and (depending on what floor you live on) raise them up so they’re above ground and secure. The reason is twofold: to protect from water, and so that you can grab them and move out with the food supply.  If you don’t have bins, use cardboard boxes and then place them into thick garbage bags.  Think on your feet.
  3. Tools: Centralize the tools you need (any kind of cordless drills or saws will be worth their weight in gold if they’re all charged up. Be able to do their function manually, just in case an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack or a Solar Flare occurs.  Make sure they’re protected from water or the elements and that everyone knows where they are and how to use them.  Don’t forget tools that you can use to get out, as well, if need be, such as a crowbar and an 8-lb. maul.
  4. Light: In the form of flashlights, battery-powered lanterns, and chem lights, for starters. Kerosene and white gas lanterns are nice, but be sure to use them after the initial consternation is over, such as the raging winds and so forth.  You don’t want to add fire to the list of complications that will present itself.  Make sure each family member has their own flashlight!  This seems a small thing, but it’s not.  Get a good one, such as a Maglite pen-light for $7 or $8.  You’d be surprised how much confusion results when the lights go out.  If it’s an EMP or war that brings about the power loss?  You better have blackout curtains or blankets to hang up and block out any light from escaping out of your windows.  Be sure: step outside (if there’s no radiation, of course) and make sure no light is coming out of those edges.
  5. Medical Equipment and Supplies: any family member who has special needs, such as medication must have access to that medication at all times unless they cannot administer it to themselves for any reason. All first aid equipment should be in a central location where everyone knows where the supplies are.  Each family member should have a small kit for themselves, as well, in case they are separated from the group.
  6. Water: Fill every container that can be filled and closed with a secure/tight lid. Fill all bathtubs, sinks, buckets, and so on.  You’re going to need water…on average at least two gallons per person per day.  Don’t forget the pets!  You’re responsible for them, and if you take care of them they may return the favor when it’s needed.
  7. Pet needs: we just mentioned it with the water. Make sure anything they need is in a bin…food, medical supplies, and materials to keep them clean and comfortable.
  8. The toilet: If you haven’t taken my advice from earlier articles, now is the time to pick up a toilet with a bucket that you can line with a plastic bag. Even if you do have municipal sewage, there’s the chance it may back up.  In addition, you can’t afford to use the water.  Tie it up in the bag and store this in a big bin for burning or disposal later.  Make sure you have enough bags to line it and plenty of toilet paper protected in plastic bags.
  9. Weapons: this one is going to draw the most criticism, but in the end, the decision rests with you and your balance between what is needed and your “love” for the law. Remember: the lawmakers of your state are already evacuated on your tax dime.  Every member of the family who is mature and responsible needs to be armed or have a firearm available if defense becomes an issue.  The “leaders” of the household need to carry, night and day.  Ammo and cleaning equipment needs to be safeguarded from the elements and readily available.
  10. Assign Tasks: Yes, that’s right. Everyone in the family needs a task assigned.  The younger members will feel a strong sense of participation and be both valued and needed.  Keep it simple for them, but they can do things, too, such as look after the pets and help take care of grand mom, who is bedridden, for example.  Tasking everyone also helps to reduce stress by giving a point of focus to concentrate on.  Assign someone (maybe grand mom, if she can do it) to monitor the radio or a small portable TV for news.
  11. Heads up with “Safe” Neighbors: this is a truly decisive issue and a judgment call. Only who you trust and trust absolutely!  You may be able to make a “heads up” with a close neighbor and family to help one another in time of need.
  12. Last Minute Pickups before the Midnight Hour: Fuel, canned food, as much cash as you can afford to withdraw, any last-minute medical supplies, batteries, extra radios, automotive equipment…anything you might need last minute…buy it. [especially ice and some Styrofoam coolers if it’s summertime…this for #14 below!  I did it, and you can, too]
  13. Vehicles: read what we did in my articles about Katrina. Flooding expected?  Stash the vehicle on high, as in a parking garage.  They’ll fine or ticket you?    They won’t have time to tow you, and guess what?  Your vehicle will be working when the time comes. As well, consider adding a 3-day supply of emergency items to the car in the instance that you have to bug out.
  14. Perishable food: cook it all as quickly as you can, and then refrigerate it. Better to have it cooked and then eat it than have it go bad.  When the time comes, throw it on the ice, as I mentioned above.  This will both save some of your perishables and also keep you from going into your longer-term/stable supplies.
  15. Firefighting gear: a couple of ABC-rated fire extinguishers may be a good investment. Keep them handy, charged up, and make sure all your family members know how to use them.

These tips will get you started.  We’ll cover more and be more specific for different types of disasters.  The important thing is to get these preps done and in place, and to think outside of the box.  In the end, you are responsible for your own preparedness, and to adjust accordingly for each specific type of disaster you face.  Fight that good fight, and fight it to win.  JJ out!

 

Additional Reading:

A Green Beret’s Guide to Hurricane Season Preparedness

Checklist for Exterior Home Preparation For Natural Disasters

How To Escape a Sinking Vehicle

Tips On How To Fortify And Prep Your Home Or Apartment

 

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Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 14th, 2017
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Bugging Out: Preparing Multiple Escape Routes and Vehicles for a Major Emergency September 7, 2017


ReadyNutrition Readers, we are becoming “long in the tooth,” so to speak, regarding the current world events.  Some of this article will mention points previously covered, but only in relation to the “big picture” of E&E…that’s the acronym for “Escape & Evasion.”  In the end, no matter how secure your fortress, be it Castle Greyskull or Mount Olympus II, you may have to leave it for one reason or another: fire, radiation, severe flood/hurricane, or the IHM (Incredible Human Mob).

The first thing you need to do is establish your immediate location and route to where you intend to flee if you must.  There are several different types of maps that you should consult, if not own outright, and they are as follows:

  1. Local atlas/road type of map with streets and metropolitan areas readily identified
  2. Topographic map: preferably military (DMA, or Defense Mapping Agency is your source) of the immediate area
  3. Maps from the State/Federal Forestry services for your area

Once you have these resources, then you can accurately identify your route out of there, and your new location to hide/hunker down.  There are some avenues you should specifically consider on your E&E.  Let’s go over them:

  1. Railroad tracks: most of the time, railroads must make their tracks accessible for repair/refitting trucks and equipment.  This usually involves a “built up” area that holds the track, sloped off and then followed by a large “bare” stretch that can hold a vehicle, almost akin to an unpaved “secondary” road.  THE KEY TO THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL RECONNAISSANCE!  You don’t want to drive along such a route and parallel the tracks when the time comes for the first time…only to find you must stop at a railroad bridge that is about a quarter of a mile long…so you don’t do the “Nestea Plunge” into a two-hundred-foot gorge.  That’s a bad thing.  You need to know the whole route…all the way to your final destination.
  2. Rivers: What direction do they flow, in relation to your destination? East-West, or North-South…it makes a big difference and will be specific to your location.  Also, are there any large bodies of water such as a lake or a bay or such in your immediate area?
  3. All the Roads to your Destination: You need all of them…the highway, the road, the firebreak, the dirt trails…every possible conceivable route by vehicle.  Then you need to prioritize them…in numerical order of preference…as to the route you want.  You also must find points where these connect.  For example, you may have as your #1 route an “Interstate Highway 66,” but the bridge is out on part of it.  Where is a jump-off point to #2, #3, or #4 that you can use?  All this needs to be meticulously planned and written down.

Because you may die or be taken out of the picture, and your family will have to appoint a new or temporary “leader” and follow your directions out of there.

  1. Airports: It may just be that you’ll need to fly out of there, either by your own hand or with someone else as a pilot. It may behoove you to know where the nearest aircraft and the nearest pilot (friendly to you and your cause) can be found.
  2. Major Harbor points with access to open ocean: self-explanatory, but once you go there, do you know what you’re looking for? Types of vessels that can hold you and your family, and your entire vehicle?

When you conduct the E&E, will you be taking your entire family with you at once, or will you rendezvous at a location to continue onward?  This second option would mean that each family member traveling separately will need a plan of their own, and then to link up with you to continue the overall plan.  We are now going to pose a series of questions to help you assess where you are at this point in time.

There are some skills that will need to be assessed and then brought into play.  Do you know how to pilot a boat?  Do you have such a boat available for your use, if the time comes?  If not, the moral dilemma: will you commandeer one?  How about seamanship, regarding the open ocean?  Do you have any experience, and do you know how to navigate using only a sextant and compass, without electronic aids?  Do you know how to fly, either VTOL (as in helicopters) or fixed wing aircraft?

Regarding a driven route, do you have at least 3 good viable routes planned for use, with connecting points and checkpoints to enable you to switch from one route to another easily and fluidly?  What are you driving, and how much gear/supplies/equipment will you be taking?  More than one vehicle?  How about fuel?

One thing I’ll tell you about that will be a tremendous help if you can swing it.  A mini bike, all the way up to say a 200-cc dirt bike.  You can throw that bad boy in the back of a pickup and then use it to scout and perform reconnaissance on an area ahead of the “main element” of your family.  Although great on gas, motorcycles are not the most efficient way to get out of dodge as a family, unless you’re one of the Hell’s Angels or a family of Evel Knievel-type daredevils without a lot of gear.

Plan refueling points, rest areas and hide spots (to hunker down) along the way on your routes.  All this planning needed to be done a while ago.  If you’ve planned it out, then good job.  If you haven’t, then this article may be something to stimulate you to act.  That is the whole point: preparation promotes a good follow through.  The key to success is being able to act decisively when the time arrives.  You’ll have to go with your observations and go with your gut on it, according to the situation, making changes and adaptations as you go.  Keep in that good fight, and plan your route to get out of Tombstone before the gunfight at the OK Corral begins.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 7th, 2017
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6 Critical Items That Have Disappeared in the Immediate Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey September 1, 2017

Before something like Hurricane Harvey, who would’ve imagined the kind of destruction that would literally immobilize a major U.S. metropolitan area for what could potentially be weeks if not months? As of this writing, we’re 72 hours into the aftermath of this major disaster and supplies are already running low.

Amid the images of loss and destruction, hurricane survivors know they must restock provisions to prepare for another week or more of sheltering in place. Now, imagine 6.2 million people trying to stock up at the same time. Panic buying is gripping the affected area and beginning to overload local and regional communities. Ahead of the hurricane making landfall the vast majority of people simply figured that the aftermath would, at most, last a few days. No one ever contemplated that real possibility that this scenario would be the end result or believed they would have to evacuate after the storm hit.

In fact, many have evacuated the city and moved to other Texas towns and now those areas are beginning to exhaust supplies as well. In any disaster, when the needs of the people are strained, frustration can quickly descend into a breakdown. While this is something no one wants to see happen, with a disaster such as this one, it is very easy to see how it can overwhelm government emergency response plans.

In an article explaining the breakdowns that occur after disasters, it was written, “When the needs of the population cannot be met in an allotted time frame, a phenomenon occurs and the mindset shifts in people. They begin to act without thinking and respond to changes in their environment in an emotionally based manner, thus leading to chaos, instability and a breakdown in our social paradigm.”

This is what is to be expected when so many people are hit with a rapid, far from equilibrium event. Keeping up with the desperate and immediate demands of hundreds of thousands of people will undoubtedly be a challenge in and of itself and supply trucks can only do so much, especially with flood water still standing on highway systems. Those living in this aftermath have a long road ahead of them, and knowing which items disappear off the shelves first can help them better prepare and stay on top of their personal supplies.

Just 72 hours after this disaster, here are the five supplies that have become difficult or impossible to find.

Gasoline

Concerns over closed refineries and disrupted pipelines erupted into a full-blown panic run on gasoline across Texas cities. Here’s the crazy thing, the shortages are not just happening in the greater Houston area, but two hundred miles north in Dallas, as well as in the cities of Austin and San Antonio, TX. This panic for gas is so insane that we are seeing gas lines that have been likened to the 1970’s.

While state officials are saying, “there is no need to worry,” things are getting real in Texas and whether they want to admit, the situation is beginning to get heated. So much so that reports of fist fights for fuel are popping up.

Water

Clean drinking water, the main staple in any disaster supply, is quickly being purchased faster than they can restock it. If hurricane victims do not have a high-quality water filter, they have to take their chances finding a store that has been restocked. In the flood ravaged areas, critical infrastructure has been damaged making it difficult for trucks to resupply the affected area, thus adding to the panic buying. Desperate residents do not know when this disaster area will normalize, so they want to grab supplies when they can to ensure their family has what they need.

In the city of Beaumont, things have become dire since the city shut off the municipal water supply, leaving 100,000 people with no other option but to hunt for water in surrounding areas. As well, the local hospital had to close its doors out of fear of water contamination, one of many immediate post-disaster threats we discussed in a previous article.

CNN reports that city officials plan to establish a water distribution point on Friday.

Meanwhile, earlier Thursday, residents lined up at stores hours before they opened in hopes of getting whatever bottled water they could find.

“It’s crazy,” said Khayvin Williams, who started waiting in line at Market Basket at 6:50 a.m. “People are freaking out.”

At a local Wal-Mart, Jeffrey Farley said the store was only allowing 20 people in at a time and was rationing water to three cases per customer. He got in line at 6:30 a.m. and waited until 8:30 to get his water.

Food Staples

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.

And that is what we are seeing now. Food staples like milk, bread, and eggs are all in high demand. Lines are forming outside of stores that are open to the public and these essential items run out fast.  In fact, grocery stores are putting limits on how much you can buy. In this report, one store manager in the area admits to the food limits. “Yeah, there’s limits,” Luis Castillo, a store employee who was working crowd control Tuesday, told BuzzFeed News. “But we already ran out of bread. There’s no more bread.” While many grocery stores and superstores like Wal-Mart and Target are opening more stores every day, at the given moment, it’s a race to resupply and stores can quickly be exhausted of food necessities.

Food staple shortages are also being reported in north Texas – 200 miles away from Houston.

Roni Neff, a professor of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University is concerned about those not able to get to the stores. “In Houston, as everywhere, the impacts are not equally felt,” she says. “People with lower incomes, people who are elderly, with disabilities, with medically necessary diets, may be particularly hit by this kind of situation, and really have quite severe food security threats to them.” (Source)

Bleach

Most people may not have even considered this essential post-disaster item.

In the aftermath, bleach and chemical disinfectants are hard to come by. Cleaning flooded homes and questionable water sources are making this a high-demand commodity. Sanitation is one of the most important facets of staying prepared. After a hurricane hits, overloaded sewage systems will start spewing raw sewage. Diseases such as cholera, are contracted through contaminated water and food, and often occur as a result of poor hygiene and sanitation practices.

Moreover, cleaning supplies like gloves and garbage bags are also needed by many in the disaster area and those in the relief efforts have all listed cleaning supplies as a needed item.

Toilet Paper

Hurricane survivors may have grossly underestimated how much toilet paper they needed to ride out the aftermath. Toilet paper is used every day and when it runs out, things can get nasty.

On average, consumers use 8.6 sheets per trip – a total of 57 sheets per day. Multiply that by a week-long storm and a family of 5 and you run out quickly.

Due to the high need for toilet paper, it is flying off the shelves and restocking has obviously become an issue.

Now that many disaster victims are evacuating the area, stores in north Texas are also seeing a shortage.

Home Repair Supplies

The last thing on people’s minds was how massive the clean up from Hurricane Harvey would be. But as we have often noted, hurricanes are unpredictable in nature and this one “threw a wrench” in many preparedness plans.

While thinking about how they were going to clean up after flood waters ravaged their homes wasn’t something anyone really considered beforehand, is it now at the forefront. As a result of the extensive damage, home repair supplies are in desperate need.

Plywood, tools, wheelbarrows, large plastic containers, trash bags, buckets, generators, and other disaster necessities are being purchased. In fact, at Lowe’s, Rick Neudorff, the retailer’s emergency command center operations manager said generators were in such high demand that “some stores are practically selling generators off the back of the truck because people have been waiting in the stores for the generators to arrive.”

The reality is that the vast majority of people have about three days of food and water at home, when a prolonged disaster strikes it upends the stability of the entire system of just-in-time delivery.

This is why using a layered approach to preparedness planning that includes short-term, long-term and worst-case scenario considerations is paramount.

What Hurricane Harvey has taught us is that devastating events, while so improbable that they may happen just once in a hundred years, are still a real and present danger.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 1st, 2017
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