How to Survive Civil Unrest and Riots

Not since the 70’s have we had so many urban area civil unrests and riots.  When looking at historical data about civil unrest and riots, the 1970’s decade had 48 notable events.  Compare those figures to the events totalling 14, 9, 16 for the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s respectively.

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A Quick History

Not since the 70’s have we had so many urban area civil unrests and riots.  When looking at historical data about civil unrest and riots, the 1970’s decade had 48 notable events.  Compare those figures to the events totalling 14, 9, 16 for the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s respectively.  We are only half way through the 2010’s and we’ve already had 18 notable events involving more people and more violence than the previous 3 decades.

There are many factors that have created this increase in the number of civil unrests and these factors have increased the potential in urban areas for large widespread rioting across our nation.

  • Crime
  • Poverty
  • Lack of education
  • Lack of Empathy

This is a recipe that will lead to urban areas becoming more and more unstable.

If you live in a rural area, suburban or  less populated area you are always going to be safer than people that live in heavily populated, low income, or urban areas in larger metro cities.  Other than moving to the country, here are some rules to follow to survive a civil unrest, riot, and looting event.

What Should I Do?

The most important thing to do in the case of civil unrest is to not panic. Remain calm and logically assess the situation. Be leery of media reports, especially TV coverage, because they’re often inaccurate and exaggerated.

Get your family together in a safe place and stay there until it’s over. Most civil unrest is confined to small urban areas; if you stay out of it, you should be safe. Go home and hunker down and wait until it is over. Make sure your children are out of school and with you.

It would be best not to drive or use public transportation during such a situation, because you might become trapped, especially if authorities close off part of the community. Instead, stay in one safe place until it is over. Civil unrest is another reason why every family needs to have several weeks’ worth of food and supplies stockpiled in its home. Definitely stay away from shopping areas and banks during civil unrest, because those are most likely to be hit.

Keep valuable hidden and make yourself incognito.  The best way to avoid problems is to make your home, cars, and contents unremarkable.  If you drive a Cadilac Escalade, put it in the garage and close the door.

So how does an average person protect herself and her family from such civil unrest? The best way to avoid such unrest is not to live near those places most likely to be hit by civil unrest. The most likely targets in a new round of civil unrest are likely to be wealthy, gentrified neighborhoods in big cities, financial districts, and posh suburbs located near large cities. Examples of these include Brooklyn, Denver’s Highlands neighborhood, and Santa Monica and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. Also stay away from large universities, college campuses, and government buildings, which are likely to be the epicenters of disturbances.

What Not To Do

Do Not visibly display firearms or to try to organize any sort of armed patrol or defense. Yes, you should defend your home and your family, but you should not take any action that might provoke an armed response  by anyone including police or the military. Do Not go out into the street armed or stand in front of your house with a gun. Keep your guns handy but out of sight.

Something to remember is that police and soldiers are likely to be very jittery during a disturbance. They might not be able to distinguish between an average citizen and an armed looter. This situation could get far more dangerous if the regular military, the National Guard, or police officers not used to patrol duty get sent out into the streets on armed patrol. During civil unrest, radicals often deliberately try to provoke over response by shooting or throwing objects at the police and troops. The Kent State shooting tragedy occurred because a radical tossed a dummy hand grenade at National Guardsmen during civil unrest in 1970.

The best way to get through a civil disturbance safely is to stay out of the way of both the rioters and the authorities. The last place you want to get caught is between the authorities and the rioters. Civil unrest in the United States is likely in the years ahead, but most of us should be able to get through it safely by staying out of its way.

 

These Suburban Preppers Are Ready for Anything

By all appearances, Bob Valenti is your average upwardly mobile suburbanite. The 40-something father of two has a couple of advanced degrees and a high-paying job at a high-flying technology company. He has an aggressive retirement plan and plenty socked away in college funds for his kids. As of last year, he also has a plan for surviving the end of the world as we know it.

They’re rich, armed, and ready for the end of days—and they just might live in the McMansion down your street

BY ROD O’CONNOR

ILLUSTRATION: ARTHUR MOUNT

By all appearances, Bob Valenti is your average upwardly mobile suburbanite. The 40-something father of two has a couple of advanced degrees and a high-paying job at a high-flying technology company. He has an aggressive retirement plan and plenty socked away in college funds for his kids. As of last year, he also has a plan for surviving the end of the world as we know it.

A few years ago, Valenti (who asked that his real name not be used, for reasons that will be clear soon enough) and his wife traded their Chicago townhouse for a gorgeous $800,000 residence in west suburban Downers Grove. The idyllic 12-room house features handsome walnut cabinetry, a sprawling yard, and a basement that holds the beginnings of what will ultimately be a year’s stockpile of food and emergency supplies. Valenti recently ordered a box of 50 lighters and is squirreling away batteries, which he believes could someday be highly valuable for bartering. He has 25 pounds of meat in his freezer and another 50 at an undisclosed location out of town that he refers to as “Plan B.” Should he and his family need Plan B, he has a couple of 30-pound packets of “survival seeds” there for jump-starting their own farm.

Valenti, who otherwise seems like a perfectly reasonable man, is preparing for society’s collapse, which he believes could come any day now in the form of a global pandemic or the implosion of our highly leveraged financial system. “All of a sudden, you have hyperinflation, and you’ll need a wagon of cash for a loaf of bread,” he says as we chat in his immaculate kitchen while a cleaning woman vacuums in the next room. “Society could crumble in three days. That’s all it would take. Then it’s going to get primal.”

You can bet Ted Nugent’s crossbow that, for most people, the term “survivalists”—or the more polite “preppers”—conjures images of tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists holed up in Montana hoarding canned pinto beans and assault weapons. National Geographic Channel’s hugely popular Doomsday Preppers, which spotlights fanatics who build bulletproof shelters out of train cars to wait out Armageddon or dress their families in matching HAZMAT suits, reinforces the extreme stereotypes. So do the “doom boom” opportunists who peddle nuke-proof multimillion-dollar luxury condos in abandoned missile silos, complete with spas, rock-climbing walls, hydroponic farms, and HDTV windows programmable to the preapocalyptic view of your choice.

Valenti is just one example of how the prepper movement has climbed out of the bunker and established itself, quietly, along affluent streets in Chicago, its suburbs, and beyond. Combined Universal Martial Applications Survival School chief instructor Waysun Johnny Tsai, with his penchant for knives and a license plate holder that reads “Zombie Police,” looks the hardcore survivalist part but says that his students don’t. Over the past few years, participants in his classes at the Chicago school have included doctors, lawyers, and upper-management types who live in upscale city neighborhoods and hoity-toity surrounding towns. Tsai tells me that he trains individuals for “the possibility, not the probability” of hardcore disasters and civil unrest. They come to him to learn how to build makeshift traps for catching their own food and light fires with a metallic rod and Vaseline-soaked cotton ball after the shit hits the fan—or SHTF, in prepper-speak.

With every new epidemic or terrorist attack in the headlines, a new batch of preppers is born, says David Scott, whose Northbrook company, LifeSecure, sells everything from crush-resistant earthquake survival kits to fireproof masks designed for fleeing a bombed-out building. “We think of it like sediment,” he says of the movement that he, of course, has a stake in stoking. “Another headline comes and another layer forms.”

Scott started his business in 2005, a few months before Hurricane Katrina, and believes the storm’s aftermath was a wake-up call for thousands of Americans. “It taught people you could go hungry, thirsty, and even die in the U.S. before the government could save you,” he says. “I talk with people on the phone, and they’ll say, ‘I don’t think I’m going to die from Ebola, but it made me think.’ There are a lot of prudent people out there who you wouldn’t identify as preppers who understand the need to be prepared.”

How Prepared Are You for the Apocalypse?

It was last fall’s Ebola outbreak, in fact, that made Valenti suddenly feel he was ill-equipped to protect his family if a pandemic disease were to spiral out of control. “I remember exactly where I was. I was crossing one of the bridges in the Loop, and I thought, Why am I not more prepared for this?” he recalls. “I fear the government isn’t very prepared. I don’t have any confidence that Chicago can handle it; Chicago just figured out how to handle major snowstorms.”

Valenti decided to call one of his hunting buddies, a longtime friend in Wisconsin whose reading list had recently shifted from postapocalyptic fiction to books that addressed “more plausible scenarios,” as Valenti puts it. “He was having exactly the same thoughts. And he had already done research. He’s like, ‘I’m thinking about starting to buy some food.’ ”

Within days, Valenti kicked off his own efforts, which he sees as no different from those in other walks of his life. As a professional, he likes to be overprepared. “I am paid to anticipate the questions my clients are going to ask,” he says. He’s telecommuting today, so his usual khakis have been replaced with comfy sweats and a Blackhawks cap he wears backward. He walks me down to the basement and cracks open two large plastic storage trunks. Inside one is a six-gallon bucket containing 330 servings of just-add-water meals with a 20-year shelf life (the same Chef’s Banquet All-Purpose Readiness Kits that sell for $121 on Amazon), a water purifier you can drop in your tub—which can store 100 gallons of drinking water—and a military-grade first-aid kit complete with sutures, splints, and a hand-crank emergency radio. The other trunk holds three 15-­gallon containers of gas.

“Come back in a year [and my stockpile] will be double the size,” he says. “Ultimately, it comes down to one fundamental concept. I have the disposable income. I’d rather be in a situation where I have something and I don’t need it than need something and I don’t have it.”

Valenti’s largest-scale effort, Plan B, is an outwardly innocuous summer house that’s been in his wife’s family for years. It’s this property that he and a handful of like-minded friends and family members have designated as their safe haven if they need to (a) wait out a short-term threat or (b) start from scratch (hence the survival seeds). Valenti won’t tell me where this house is, except that it is a few hours’ drive away, is near the woods, has a virtually limitless water source, and is “easily defendable.” Onsite is a small arsenal of “multiple rifles, guns, and pistols,” along with 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

No one other than those in on Plan B knows about his new hobby. Not coworkers, not friends, not extended family. And especially not the guy next door. “This is about survival. I only want to talk about it with the people I’ll be surviving with,” he says matter-of-factly. “Mostly, I don’t want my neighbors to know about it. Because I don’t want them knocking on my door when the shit hits the fan.”

food

A portion of the Trapp family’s supply of dry goods and canned food PHOTO: RYAN LOWRY

Preppers are, not surprisingly, a paranoid bunch. Locating people willing to speak with me about their habits was more challenging than finding vegans at a gun range. After emailing a dozen members of Northern Illinois Preppers, a Meetup online community whose membership has grown from about 110 to more than 150 in the past six months, I received two responses. One was from someone who told me to take a hike (“I have no interest in being involved in your article. I also do NOT give you permission to quote me,” he wrote, which was perplexing, considering that no interview had been conducted). The other was delivered via a peer-to-peer encrypted email service.

“I took the liberty of setting up a secure email for you,” read the note, whose sender requested I call him Tommy. Then, in the encrypted message, Tommy chewed me out for asking about his prepping efforts:

Due to OPSEC (operational security) and PERSEC (personal security) you’ll never see my stored materials. Though I personally take no offense at your question due to the nature of this interview the question itself is exceptionally rude in prepping circles. By way of analogy it’s the equivalent of my coming over to your home for the first time and, in front of your wife or girlfriend, telling you I think she’s hot and I’d like to see her without clothes. It’s simply not done. Any prepper who would be willing to show you their stocks, anonymously or otherwise, has violated so many rules they may as well just put their stocks on the curb for all to see and take.

A few weeks later, I went to a Lombard gun range on shooting league night and met a wealthy couple from Barrington who, I was told by a reliable source, had recently begun taking shooting lessons as part of their preparedness plans. Both gave me their phone numbers. After repeated calls, I finally caught the man on his cell. He told me they were both too busy to participate in this story and hurriedly bid me adieu.

Then I casually mentioned this assignment in an email exchange with a former colleague, an advertising executive who lives on the North Side. I was surprised to discover a closet prepper in my midst.

“I’m sure you want people a lot more hardcore than me,” wrote my friend, whom we’ll call Pete Campbell, “but I’m a bit of a prepper. I probably have some materials and views that could get me seriously put on a watch list. Plus, I don’t want people knowing I got the goods when they get desperate. My greatest asset is my unobtrusiveness. No one would suspect me of harboring such ideas.”

We agree to meet at a bar near his place. When I arrive, he’s already there, sitting in a booth and sipping a craft beer. After some small talk, he tells me that if things “go from pudding to poop,” as one prepper so eloquently posted on a chat board, his primary concern is getting out of the city, which would have the highest concentration of desperate, unprepared types. Since he’s a condo dweller with little space, his “bug-in” plan is limited: two cases of military-issued MREs (meals ready to eat) that could last him a month and three firearms (an AR-15 rifle, a .38 revolver, and a .45 semiautomatic pistol).

I ask Campbell if he fears the kind of lawlessness seen in post-Katrina New Orleans or the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. “I don’t think that’s too far-fetched that something like that could happen in Chicago,” he says. “And if that happens and I’m holed up in my house and somebody tries to break in, I want to be able to protect myself. You can call 911, but what if they can’t get there in time?”

For the trek out of the city (on foot, if necessary), he has a carefully constructed bug-out bag, which some preppers refer to as a 72-hour kit or an INCH (“I’m never coming home”) bag. (Preppers really relish their acronyms.) “If something goes down, I grab this bag and a couple other things and get out the door,” he says. “Once the roads become impassable, I throw this on my back. My plan is to make it 72 hours and figure it out from there.”

He places the compact 25-pound pack on the table and starts talking me through its contents: water packets, protein bars, survival rations, a tent, light sticks, a first-aid kit, and one of those foil thermal blankets that are draped over finishers at the end of marathons. Everything is individually packed in plastic bags, in case he has to wade through a river or endure a rainstorm.

“Check this out,” he says, excitedly holding up a paracord bracelet that looks like one of those Livestrong wristbands but unwinds to provide 10 feet of rope. “You could use it to secure things, or as a trap or a snare.”

At the end of show-and-tell, he fishes out a small utility knife, flips open its corkscrew, and smiles. “No matter what happens, I’ll always be able to open up a bottle of wine.”

For Campbell, who is in his 40s and dresses in the youthful ad-industry uniform of untucked shirts and hip sneakers, the interest in prepping began two decades ago, when his parents, both military contractors with top-secret clearance, would occasionally call him with vague warnings. “They’d say, ‘I can’t tell you anything, but shit may be going down,’ ” he recalls. “To this day, my mom still won’t tell me what she meant.”

He doesn’t consider himself an extremist. “As soon as the power goes out, I don’t pull out the supplies. I like to think I have a firm enough grasp on reality that I am comfortable with my level [of prepping]. For me, it’s a hobby I hope I never have to use. A lot of people have figurines on glass shelves that they display. I’m collecting peace of mind.”

The whole notion of prepping is a mental exercise, argues Richard Mitchell, a sociologist from Oregon State University, who wrote the 2001 book Dancing at Armageddon. “There aren’t any practicing survivalists because the world hasn’t come to an end yet.”

Mitchell points out that preppers emphasize certain threats and ignore others to “craft a scenario where their preparations can be seen as both necessary and sufficient.” Their most popular threat, by far, is an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, which, whether caused by a nuclear detonation, terrorist strike, or solar flare, involves waves of intense magnetic energy frying our electronics, ushering us and our Kindles and computerized coffeemakers back to the Dark Ages. In response to our cushy existence full of meaningless choices—Should I get the space-gray iPhone or the silver-and-white one?—preppers choose to imagine situations that put their choices to the ultimate test.

“Modern life has traded complexity for efficiency and abundance,” Mitchell says. “Most are satisfied with the exchange. But a lot of us are damn near useless. [Preppers] want a place between a rock and a hard spot to test their talents and gauge their gumption. This hands-on grappling, at least hypothetically, gives them purpose.”

This need seems to be particularly heightened among the wealthy—those with the most to lose. Edward Limoges, who has worked as a bodyguard on behalf of the Glenview company NIS Consulting Group, which provides security for high-net-worth individuals, explains that among the superrich, preparedness often extends as far as their disposable income allows. He shares stories of families in gated communities in Barrington and Long Grove who own pickup-truck-size generators, satellite hookups for emergency phone and data communication, and high-end freeze-dried entrées such as pasta primavera stored in their climate-controlled wine cellars.

Preppers with big bank accounts want to maintain at least a semblance of their comfortable pre-Armageddon existence. In the case of Valenti from Downers Grove, that also means preparing for the possibility that, for a while, the nation might operate under a totally new economy in which the dollar is useless.

During my visit, Valenti shows me his basement workshop, just around the corner from the kids’ playroom. On the wall is a large poster that diagrams proper assembly of an AR-15, a lightweight semiautomatic rifle (the civilian version of the M-16) popular among preppers. Here in this small, unfinished room, he’s taught himself to recycle spent bullet casings into fresh ammo. When he’s at the gun range, he collects used casings—like picking up errant golf balls at the driving range—and refills them with primer, powder, and the actual bullet. The function of his substantial ammo stash, safely kept at Plan B, is more capitalistic than ballistic. “Ammo is a great barter tool,” he says. “It’s the ultimate commodity item.” He also has a network of contacts who can help him acquire coins and precious metals, he tells me, in case he needs to stock up quickly on cash alternatives as the economy goes south.

Much of Valenti’s approach to prepping has been shaped by books such as 2014’s Prepper’s Blueprint, a step-by-step manual by Tess Pennington that promises “freedom through self-reliance.” A few times a week, Valenti consults the legal pad on which he’s scribbled lists of supplies in five primary categories: food, energy, defense, shelter, and hygiene.

He says the last category is tragically underappreciated among preppers. “It’s one thing to have food. But if you don’t have tampons, your wife is going to be pissed off. And let’s say it’s difficult for me to take a bath because water is scarce. I’ve got baby wipes.”

Mark Trapp, a corporate attorney, and his wife, Karina, invite me to sit on the couch in their sunny living room in Glenview. A large portrait of Abe Lincoln lords over the proceedings. The bookshelves lining the walls are filled with tomes on Reagan and Churchill, as well as a few zombie books. The Trapps’ spacious brick colonial overlooks the Grove nature preserve.

Their oldest child, 17-year-old Eleni, plops down next to me, along with her friend Blake. Unlike Valenti and Campbell, whose significant others are largely uninvolved with prepping, the Trapps view preparedness as a family affair.

The clan of seven convenes every Monday night to pray and to discuss whatever is on anyone’s mind. One evening last fall, Eleni brought up the topic of emergency planning, which she had recently learned about at school. Soon the conversation progressed from blizzards to the quintessential prepper novel One Second After (detailing the aftermath of an electromagnetic pulse attack; Newt Gingrich, America’s favorite conspiracy theorist, wrote the foreword), which she had recently read. Eleni, who has braces and hipster glasses, asked her parents how prepared they were for a serious disaster such as an EMP.

“Putting the kids to bed that night, I thought, What if something bad happened?” Karina recalls. “What do we say to our kids: Sorry, we didn’t prepare?”

The concept of prepping wasn’t new to the Trapps. They’re practicing Mormons, members of a religion that stresses self-reliance. “If you look at history, Mormons were chased out of a lot of places, so they had to take care of themselves,” says Mark. “It’s not just a theological thing. I think God does want you to rely on yourself, but the church does it as a practical matter.”

food-1 The Trapp family’s bug-out bags PHOTO: RYAN LOWRY

All members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to have an emergency plan that includes at least a three-month supply of food and, ideally, up to a year’s worth of “long-term storage.” And while not every practicing Mormon follows this rule, it is actually a full-blown commandment.

The Trapps have made up ground quickly since last fall. “We may not be far up in the Mormon totem pole,” Mark says with a laugh about the size of the family’s survival stash. “But we’re pretty far up there compared with most people just by virtue of the little that we’ve done.”

After the family meeting, Karina started stockpiling first-aid supplies, which are now stored away with toiletries, protein bars, and other gear in individualized bug-out bags in a front closet. The backpacks of Eleni and her other teenage sisters (Reagan, 16, and Bella, 13) include items like favorite sweatshirts and girlie shampoos. Five-year-old Libby, who peeks around the corner during my visit before giggling and running away, has her own bag. Six-month-old Kiffin, the youngest child and only son, keeps his stash of Cheerios, Binkys, and bottles with Mommy’s gear.

Next Karina ordered wheat flour, oats, beans, and spaghetti from the Mormon Church, which sells the items in bulk to members and nonmembers alike both online and at home storage centers throughout the country. During trips to big-box stores, she loaded up on extra cans of corn, beans, soup, and fruit.

We walk down to the basement, where shelves across the back wall are filled with food. Boxes of Cap’n Crunch and Cheez-Its are stacked 10-high near the crawlspace, which the family might clear out for additional storage. Twenty-four cases of water sit under a table. All told, the Trapps are closing in on enough food and supplies to last about three months.

Most of the items have a 20-year shelf life, but the idea is to rotate the food, not stash it mindlessly. “You don’t buy a huge bulk amount and then, when the world doesn’t end in the next 20 years, you throw it out and buy it again,” Mark explains. “You cycle through it. You buy what you’re going to use anyway.”

food-2 Two of the Trapp girls with their rifles PHOTO: RYAN LOWRY

While food storage is a recent effort, Mark bought a .22 revolver in 2012, something he shares with me about an hour into my visit. Fresh-faced Reagan walks in, and Mark tells me he got her and Eleni their own rifles for Christmas not long after. She smiles and says that most of her friends didn’t believe her when she told them about her 22-gauge present under the tree.

Mark took both girls to the range so they could learn about gun safety as a family. “I didn’t want the girls to have the mindset that guns are the absolute worst things in the history of the world,” Mark says. “Because they’re not. If you know how to use one, it could save your life.”

We discuss whether, as many preppers believe, society is more dangerous now than in the recent past, as reports of school shootings, terror attacks, and global pandemics have become routine. “I don’t know if we’re the only ones feeling it, but there’s this sense that times are different now,” he says. “It’s sort of like the middle is not holding. Things are fraying, and I think more and more people are coming to the conclusion that if something is gonna get done, you may have to do it yourself.”

That includes protecting his family if a disaster triggers mayhem in the streets. “Those who are ready to deal with it are going to do much better than those who aren’t,” he says. “The social contract is potentially written on very thin paper when stuff goes down.”

I find myself wondering whether the rise of the modern prepper represents a grand illusion or a societal step forward through self-reliance. Who’s living the fantasy—them or me? I think back on something Bob Valenti told me when I visited him: “I don’t consider myself to be radical. I consider myself to be rational and practical.”

As he walked me out, he put in an earpiece and dialed into a conference call. We shook hands, and I jokingly asked him if I could be on the list to head to Plan B if the world as we know it ends.

He looked me in the eye, cracked a smile, and said, “I hope it never comes to that.”

But just in case, I have my real estate agent searching for houses in Downers Grove within a few blocks of Valenti’s. I’d love a big yard, but I’d kill for a bunker in the basement.

This article appears in the May 2015 issue of Chicago magazine. Subscribe to Chicago magazine.

Superbugs Found Along Britain’s Surf

Superbugs Found Along Britain’s Surf By Tim Sandle

superbug

Some Escherichia Coli are becoming resistant to antibiotics

A proportion of the bacteria found along the U.K. coastline are pathogenic. Of these pathogen some, worryingly, are antibiotic resistant according to a new survey.

Researchers have found that some of the Escherichia coli bacteria found floating at the surface of Britain’s coastal waters are resistant to antibiotics. Samples were taken from 97 different costal spots around Wales and England. Of these 97 sites, 15 contained E. coli that was resistant to third-generation cephalosporins, These are a class of antibiotics that are used as antibiotics of last resort, when the other antibiotics cannot be used.

Although the actual proportions of antibiotic resistant bacteria was low (less than one tenth of one percent), this is still a dangerous number and poses a risk to people who swim with cuts or to aquatic sports enthusiasts.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Dr. Gaze said in his conference speech: “Although this research has established that coastal waters are a potential source of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we’re not recommending that people stop visiting the beach. Exercise and enjoyment of the natural environment has many established benefits for health and well-being and this kind of research will help us ensure people can still make the most our coastal resources.”

The growing menace of antibiotic resistance is, arguably, the single biggest threat faced by the world’s population.

The study was conducted by microbiologists working at the University of Exeter. The findings were taken to a recent meeting of the Society for General Microbiology.

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Bioterrorism, Pandemics and Emergency Preparedness

bioterrorism Martha McSally

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who chairs the subcommittee on emergency preparedness.

“The risk of a biological terrorist attack to America is an urgent and serious threat,” McSally said. “A bioattack could cause illness and even kill hundreds of thousands of people, overwhelm our public health capabilities, and create significant economic, societal and political consequences. Our nation’s capacity to prevent, respond to, and mitigate the impacts of biological terror incidents is a top national security priority. This hearing will highlight the threat of bioterrorism and ensure we’re taking the needed steps to prepare for and defend America against this threat.”

What can a family do to prepare for such an emergency?

bioterrorism1

Biological and Chemical weapons may be the most devastating and uncontrollable weapons ever rendered by man. Biological weapons are any man made weapon caused to disperse viruses, bacteria, or toxins derived from living organisms to cause death or disease within humans. Recent statistics claim that in the event of a future terrorist attack, the means in which the attack would be achieved would be through the use of bio-chemical weapons. This is not hard to believe, considering most bio-chemical agents can be created in ones own home with readily available materials. Due to the nature of biological and chemical weapons, the most widely predicted use for such weapons would be against the populace of a nation, where it may inflict massive fatalities and economic destruction. However this does not mean that a bio-chemical attack is unsurvivable, with proper knowledge and readiness it can very well be a crisis that one can overcome.

bioterrorism2

Don’t count on a vaccine being available. The flu vaccine that is currently used for seasonal flu will not work against any Chemical or Biological Attack. New strains of the virus require new vaccines, and these can take months or years to develop and even longer to produce and distribute on a large scale.

Stay informed. Should a pandemic of any kind flare up, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other governmental and non-governmental organizations will provide information on the spread of the disease, as well as updates on vaccines or other medications, tips for keeping yourself safe, and travel advisories. The WHO and CDC, as well as various national governments, already have websites in place to provide useful planning information to the public. Newspapers and TV and radio broadcasts will also help disseminate critical warnings and advice.

Get your yearly flu vaccine shot. While the current vaccine won’t protect you from every flu or any other “new” strains of the virus, it can help you stay healthy (by protecting you some flu virus strains), which may in turn help your body to fight the virus better if you do become infected.

Get a pneumonia vaccine shot. In past Chemical or Biological pandemics, many victims succumbed to secondary pneumonia infection. While the pneumonia vaccine cannot protect against all types of pneumonia, it can improve your chances of surviving the pandemic. The vaccine is especially recommended for people over the age of 65 or those who have chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma.

bioterrorism3

Use anti-viral medications if advised to do so by a health professional or by the government. Two antiviral medications, Tamiflu and Relenza, have shown the potential to effectively prevent and treat avian flu. These are both available only by prescription and will probably be effective only if taken before infection or very shortly afterward. It should be noted that additional testing is necessary to determine how effective these drugs really are against avian flu. Furthermore, mutations in the avian flu virus may render them ineffective in time.

Use an alcohol-based disinfectant. Since it’s probably not feasible to wash your hands every time you touch something that may carry the virus, you should carry an alcohol-based hand cleaner with you at all times. These cleaners come in a variety of forms, and can be used any time you need a quick touch-up. Keep in mind, however, that the use of these cleaners is not a substitute for thoroughly washing your hands, and they should only be used to supplement hand washing.

Avoid exposure to infected. Right now, the only documented way to become infected with avian influenza is by coming into contact with infected birds or poultry products, and these routes of infection will continue even if the virus mutates so that human-to-human transmission becomes the greatest threat. Avoid handling any thing the infected has already touched, and try to prevent domestic animals (such as house cats/dogs) from coming into contact with Infected. If you work in proximity the dead or living infected, for example–take precautions such as wearing gloves, respirators, and safety aprons. Cook all foods thoroughly, to 165 °F (74 °C) throughout, and exercise proper food-handling techniques, as you would to protect yourself from other threats such as salmonella. Proper cooking kills the most virus.

Exercise social distancing. The most effective way to prevent becoming infected is to avoid exposure to infected people. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine who is infected and who is not–by the time symptoms appear, a person is already contagious. Social distancing, deliberately limiting contact with people (especially large groups of people), is a reasonable precaution to take in the event of a pandemic.

Stay home from work. If you’re sick or if others at your workplace have become sick, you should stay away from your workplace even in the absence of a pandemic. Given that people will generally be infected and contagious before they exhibit symptoms, however, during a pandemic it’s essential to stay away from places, such as work, where you have a high probability of being exposed to an infected person.

Try to work from home. A pandemic can last for months or even years, and waves of intense local outbreaks can last for weeks, so it’s not like you can just take a few sick days to protect yourself from workplace infection. If possible, try to arrange a work-from-home situation. A surprising variety of jobs can now be accomplished remotely, and employers will likely be willing–or even required–to try this out if a pandemic strikes.

Keep children home from school. Any parent knows that kids pick up all kinds of bugs at school. Avoid public transportation. Buses, planes, boats, and trains place large numbers of people in close quarters. Public transportation is the ideal vehicle for widespread spread of infectious disease.

Stay away from public events. During a pandemic, governments may cancel public events, but even if they don’t, you should probably stay away from them. Any large gathering of people in close proximity creates a high-risk situation.

bioterrorism4

Wear a respirator. The most virus can be spread through the air, so in the event of a pandemic it’s a good idea to protect yourself from inhalation of the virus if you’re out in public. While surgical masks only prevent the wearer from spreading germs, respirators (which often look like surgical masks) protect the wearer from inhaling germs. You can buy respirators that are designed for one-time use, or you can buy reusable ones with replaceable filters. Use only respirators labeled as “NIOSH certified,” “N95,” “N99,” or “N100,” as these help protect against inhalation of very small particles. Respirators only provide protection when worn properly, so be sure to follow the instructions exactly–they should cover the nose, and there should be no gaps between the mask and the side of the face.

Wear medical gloves. Gloves can prevent germs from getting on your hands, where they can be absorbed directly through open cuts or spread to other parts of your body. Latex or nitrile medical gloves or heavy-duty rubber gloves can be used to protect the hands. The gloves should be removed if torn or damaged, and hands should be thoroughly washed after removal of gloves.

Protect your eyes. Some Illnesses can be spread if contaminated droplets (from a sneeze, or spit, for example) and then enter the eyes or mouth. Wear glasses or goggles to prevent this from occurring, and avoid touching your eyes or mouth with your hands or with potentially contaminated materials.

Dispose of potentially contaminated materials properly. Gloves, masks, tissues, and other potential bio-hazards should be handled carefully and disposed of properly. Place these materials in approved bio-hazard containers or seal them in clearly marked plastic bags.

Prepare for disruption of services. If a pandemic strikes, many of the basic services we take for granted, such as electricity, phone, and mass transit, may be disrupted temporarily. Widespread employee absenteeism and massive death tolls can shut down everything from the corner store to hospitals.

cash

Keep cash on hand at all times as banks may close and ATMs may be out of service. Discuss emergency preparation with your family. Make a plan so that children will know what to do and where to go if you are incapacitated or killed, or if family members cannot communicate with each other.

h2o20-main-water-drop            Emergency Water Filter System

Stock up on necessities. In the developed world, at least, food shortages and disruption of services will likely not last more than a week or two at a time. Still, it’s essential to be prepared for such an event. Store a two-week supply of water for everyone in your household. Keep at least 1 gallon (3.8 L) per person per day in clear plastic containers.

Store a two-week supply of food. Opt for non-perishable foods that don’t need to be cooked and that don’t require a lot of water to prepare.

Make sure you have an adequate supply of essential medications.

Seek medical attention at the onset of symptoms. The effectiveness of antiviral medications decreases as the illness progresses, so prompt medical treatment is imperative. If someone with whom you have had close contact becomes infected, be sure to seek medical care even if you do not display symptoms.

bioterrorism5

Anthrax

  • Organism accountable (Type): Bacillus anthracis (Bacteria)
  • Method of Infection: Inhalation, Intestinal, Cutaneous (through the skin)
  • Incubation Period
    • Inhalation: 1-60 days
    • Intestinal: 3-7 days
    • Cutaneous: 1-2 days
  • Lethality
    • Inhalation: 90-100% untreated, 30-50% treated (this percentage rises the longer it takes to receive antibiotics.)
    • Intestinal: 50% untreated, 10-15% treated
    • Cutaneous: 20% untreated.
  • Treatment and Vaccine: Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin and Doxycycline are available through the centers for disease control, the sooner one receives treatments the higher the chance that they will survive.
  • Inhalation: Initial Flu like symptoms such as; fever, headaches, abdominal pain, chest pain, vomiting, and coughing, but with no nasal congestion. Eventually it will lead up to severe respiratory problems, where the victims will die of asphyxiation from the lungs filling up with blood and fluids.
  • Intestinal: Begins with abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, sore throat and a painful ulcer at the base of the tongue.
  • Cutaneous: At first red itchy bumps begin to form all over the body, then they collapse into painful ulcers which later scab over.
  1. Cover your nose and mouth with fabric, wet fabric if possible, this will filter out a portion of the deadly spores.
  2. Leave area of attack immediately.
  3. Take shallow breaths or if possible, hold your breath until you leave the area of attack.
  4. Limit your movement from a contaminated area to a secure area. Constant movement will spread the deadly spores. Once you reach a safe area remove your exposed clothing and place them in sealed plastic bags.
  5. Take a cold (hot or warm water may open pores) shower as soon as possible with copious amounts of soap. Wash your eyes with a saline solution or just warm water.
  6. Await antibiotic treatment. The key to survival is early antibiotic treatment.

biotrrorism6

Glanders

  • Organism Responsible (Type): Burkholderia maller (Bacteria)
  • Method of Infection: Inhalation, Cutaneous/Mucous membranes
  • Incubation Period
    • Inhalation: 10-15 days
    • Cutaneous/Mucous membrane: 1-5 days
  • Lethality: Nearly 100% within 1 month, without any treatment. Rapid medical attention would likely decrease the chances, however little or no medical data is available.
  • Treatment and Vaccine: No vaccine available. Antibiotics like, combined Amoxicillin and Clavulanate, Bactrim, Ceftazidime, or Tetracycline must be consumed for 50-150 days to effectively purge the toxin.
  • Inhalation: Begins with fevers, chills, sweating, headaches, body aches, chest pain and congestion. Later the neck glands begin to swell and pneumonia will develop. Painful open sores start to develop along the internal organs and mucous membranes. Dark pus-filled rashes may also form.
  • Cutaneous/Mucous membranes: Painful ulcers along the point of entry, and swollen lymph nodes start to form. Increased mucous production from the nose and mouth.
  1. Cover your nose and mouth with fabric, wet fabric if possible, this will filter out a portion of the deadly spores.
  2. Leave area of attack immediately.
  3. Take shallow breaths or if possible, hold your breath until you leave the area of attack.
  4. Wash skin with soap and water.
  5. Run your eyes through warm running water for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Await medical treatment from response teams. If you begin developing a fever, seek medical attention immediately.

bioterrorism7

Ricin

  • Organism Responsible (Type): Ricinuss communis (Plant derived toxin)
  • Method of Infection: Inhalation, Intestinal, Injection
  • Incubation Period
    • Inhalation/Intestinal/Injection: 2-8 hours
  • Lethality: With a standard high dose, lethality becomes a devastating 97%. Most victims will die within 24-72 hours after the initial symptoms.
  • Treatment and Vaccine: No treatment available except activated charcoal for ingested Ricin. Vaccine is experimental at the moment.
  • Inhalation: Sudden onset of fever, cough, chest pain, and nausea. Then one begins to feel joint pain and a shortness of breath. Respiratory problems begin to get more severe as time passes.
  • Ingestion/Injection: Abdominal pain, nausea, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.
  1. Cover your nose and mouth with fabric, wet fabric if possible, this will filter out a portion of the deadly spores.
  2. Leave area of attack immediately.
  3. Take shallow breaths or, if possible, hold your breath until you leave the area of attack.
  4. Wash your body, clothes and contaminated surfaces with soap and water, or a mild bleach solution if you have become directly exposed.
  5. Await instructions from medical response teams.

Gas Attacks

Gas attacks have been around since the 5th century BC, when they were used as chemical warfare.[1] Today, the release of toxic gas might also be the product of a terrorist attack or industrial accident.[2][3] While you should hope that you never have to experience this, knowing how to recognize and respond to such a threat could save your life.

bioterrorism9

Chlorine Gas

  1. Be aware of any yellow-green gas floating around with the strong smell of bleach. Some soldiers in WWI described it as pepper and pineapple. If you are exposed to chlorine gas, you may have trouble breathing or seeing and will feel a burning sensation.
  2. Move quickly into an area with clean air in order to minimize exposure to the gas.
    • If indoors, exit the building as quickly as possible.
    • If outdoors, move to the highest ground. Since chlorine gas is more dense than air, it will sink to the ground.
  3. Grab a cotton pad or any fabric and soak it in urine. Hold it up to your nose as a mask. The Canadian military survived the first large-scale chlorine gas attack in WWI by using urine instead of water, under the presumption that the urine crystallizes the gas.
  4. Remove all clothing that may have been exposed to the gas, being sure not to let the clothes touch your face or head. Cut the clothes off so that they don’t need to make additional contact with your skin as they’re peeled off. Seal the clothes in plastic bags.
  5. Clean your body thoroughly with a lot of soap and water. Rinse your eyes with water if your vision is blurred or your eyes burn; if you wear contact lenses, throw them away. However, water mixed with Chlorine gas can turn into Hydrochloric acid, so be careful.
  6. Call emergency services and wait for help to arrive.

bioterrorism8

Mustard Gas

  1. Be aware of a usually colorless gas that smells like mustard, garlic, or onions–but note it doesn’t always have an odor. If you are exposed to mustard gas, you may notice the following symptoms but they may not appear until 2 to 24 hours after exposure:
    • redness and itching of skin, eventually changes to yellow blistering
    • irritation of eyes; if exposure is severe, there may be light sensitivity, severe pain, or temporary blindness
    • irritation of respiratory tract (runny nose, sneezing, hoarseness, bloody nose, sinus pain, shortness of breath, and cough)
  2. Move from the area from where it was released onto higher ground, as mustard gas is heaver than air.
  3. Remove all clothing that may have been exposed to the gas, being sure not to let the clothes touch your face or head. Cut the clothes off so that they don’t need to make additional contact with your skin as they’re peeled off. Seal the clothes in plastic bags.
  4. Rinse any exposed parts of your body with plain water. Eyes should be flushed for 10-15 minutes. Don’t cover them with bandages; however, sunglasses or goggles are fine.
  5. Call emergency services and wait for help to arrive.

Tips

  • Purchase and use “Self Powered Radios” AND “Self Powered Flashlights”. In anyemergency, especially one of this magnitude, batteries will be unavailable. Get this equipment AHEAD of time. These devices will keep you informed and you’ll also have reliable lighting as well. The latest of these designs will also charge your cell phones as well.
  • Listen to qualified medical responders at all times, even if their instructions contradict this article. This article MAY NOT be 100% accurate, and medical responders probably know best.

Sources

SHTFandGO.COM

Living Outdoors Can and Will Hurt You.

Following some simple rules can save your life.

In an emergency survival situation the very first priority is clean drinking water. One can impractically, but survive for weeks without food, but 3 days in a warm climate is just about the human body’s limit without water. When collecting water in your environment always assume the water is NOT drinkable until either, boiled, filtered, or chemically treated. Here’s a small list of just some of the water borne diseases and pathogens you can contract by drinking untreated water. The best course of action is to  always choose caution and avoiding health concerns.   Avoid contracting the disease in the first place.

 Water Borne Diseases

water

Adenovirus Infection (Adenoviridae virus)

  • Vary depending on which part of the body is infected
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Incubation 5-8 days

water-2

Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica parasite)

  • Diarrhea, stomach pain, and stomach cramping
  • Fecal matter of an infected person (usually ingested from a pool or an infected water supply)
  • Incubation 2 to 4 weeks

water3

Campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter jejuni bacteria)

  • Diarrhea, stomach pain, and stomach cramping
  • Chicken, unpasteurized milk, water
  • Incubation 2 to 10 days

Cryptosporidiosis (Cryptosporidiumparasite)

  • Stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, weight loss
  • Fecal matter of an infected person (can survive for days in chlorinated pools)
  • Incubation 2 to 10 days

Cholera (Vibrio choleraebacteria)

  • Watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps
  • Contaminated drinking water, rivers and coastal waters
  • Incubation 2 hours to 5 days

E. Coli 0157:H7 (Escherichia colibacteria)

  • Diarrhea (may be bloody), abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, HUS
  • Undercooked ground beef, imported cheeses, unpasteurized milk or juice, cider, alfalfa sprouts
  • Incubation 1 to 8 days

Giardiasis (Giardia lambliaparasite)

  • Diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, and upset stomach or nausea
  • Swallowing recreational water contaminated with Giardia
  • Incubation 1 to 2 weeks

Hepatitis A (Hepatitis A virus)

  • Fever, fatigue, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, jaundice
  • Ready-to-eat foods, fruit and juice, milk products, shellfish, salads, vegetables, sandwiches, water
  • Incubation 28 days

Legionellosis (Legionella pneumophilabacteria)

  • Fever, chills, pneumonia, anorexia, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting
  • Contaminated water
  • Incubation 2-10 days

Salmonellosis (Salmonellabacteria)

  • Abdominal pain, headache, fever, nausea, diarrhea, chills, cramps
  • Poultry, eggs, meat, meat products, milk, smoked fish, protein foods, juice
  • Incubation 1-3 days

Vibrio Infection (Vibrio parahaemolyticus,Vibrio vulnificusbacteria)

  • Nausea, vomiting, headache (a quarter of patients experience dysentery-like symptoms)
  • Raw shellfish, oysters
  • Incubation 1 to 7+ days

Viral Gastroenteritis (Calicivirus virus)

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramps, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, slight fever
  • Water, ready-to-eat foods (salad, sandwiches, bread) shellfish
  • Incubation 24 to 48 hours

If you don’t want any of these diseases it’s best that you plan for emergencies by having a way to either sterilized or filter your water sources. Boiling water, using a filtering system that removes particles down to .5 microns, or chemically treating water with 3-4 drops of bleach per gallon of water will provide protection. Obviously none of these processes will allow you to drink salt water. The only way to process and sterilize salt water is to distill it. This process through boiling and condensing will both kill any pathogens and remove minerals.

Ok we’ve got water now.

What else can make you sick? Well the answer is more annoying and dangerous than any lion, tiger, or bear. They outnumber us billions to one and they are relentless….Insects

From the annoying buzzing of mosquitoes to the sting of the creepy scorpion. Through out history, insects have been responsible for the collapse of entire societies.

Protections from insects can include a number of solutions.

  • Long sleeve clothing
  • Long pants
  • Hats and Head Nets
  • Netting covering opening in shelters
  • Chemical Sprays (Deet, Paricardin, Eucalyptus, Gamma CyhalothrinSprays)
  • Fire

If you are bitten or stung by any insect. To reduce the possibility of allergic reaction one should either take an antihistamine such as Benadryl or some other brand. If you know you have a severe reaction to stings such as bees or wasps an epipen is definitely something you’re going to want to pack in you bug out.

Fleas

Yersinia pestis:plague

Lice

Lice Infestation

Mosquitos

  • Arboviral Encephalitides
  • Mosquito-transmitted viral diseases causing brain inflammation/encephalitis
  • Eastern equine encephalitis
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • La Crosse encephalitis
  • St. Louis encephalitis
  • West Nile virus
  • Western equine encephalitis
  • dengue fever
  • malaria
  • Rift Valley fever
  • West Nile encephalitis (West Nile virus infection)
  • yellow fever

Ticks

  • babesiosis
  • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
  • ehrlichiosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Southern tick-associated rash illness
  • tick-borne relapsing fever
  • tularemia

Scorpion

Stings result in numbness or tingling, blurry vision and twitching muscles. For children, hyperactivity and erratic eye movement can manifest.

Spider Bites

Mild stinging, followed by local redness and severe pain that usually develops within eight hours. Necrosis of tissue is common among some species and poisonous spiders. Some spiders such as the Brown Recluse and Black Widow are poisonous and can result in severe illness and/or death. Anti-Venom treatments in some cases may be the only way to survive.

Bee and Wasp Stings

Sharp pain or burning at the sting site. Redness, minor swelling, and itching. Those with severe allergic reactions need medical attention immediately or self-administered epipen treatment (strong antihistamine)

Ants

Sharp pain or burning at the sting site. Redness, minor swelling, and itching. Those with severe allergic reactions need medical attention immediately or strong antihistamine treatments.

Wild Animals, especially the Human kind can harm you and your family

It’s an unfortunate reality that in emergency and survival situations we are sometimes forcibly placed in predicaments that we would have never imagined. Animals have innate instinct to survive by hunting for food. If you are prepared for an emergency and have food, animals will try to take it from you.

Bears

  • They will eat your unprotected food.
  • Do not climb a tree to get away, they are excellent climbers.
  • Pepper Spray or Firearm can/will deter them.
  • Be loud.
  • Do not run away. They will consider you prey.
  • Bears are good to eat.

Mountain Lion

  • They will lay in wait for hours.
  • Make a lot of noise.
  • Firearm can/will deter them.
  • Do not run away. They will consider you prey.
  • Can be eaten for emergency food

Racoons

  • They will steal your food
  • Can’t harm you.
  • Lock down or hang food stores
  • Be loud
  • Can be eaten

Alligators

  • Do not camp right on water sources they frequent
  • Be aware of surrounding
  • If chased, run at 45 degree angle from them.
  • Excellent food source.

Poisonous Snakes

  • Wear long pants and boots if you walking through tall grass.
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Crawling around larger rocks and or logs may upset snakes
  • If bitten:
  • Stay calm. Apply a compression wrap to area.
  • Do not try to suck out venom. This does absolutely nothing. You may end up causing more necrosis of the tissue and at best you’ll remove 1/1000th of the venom injected.
  • Receiving professional medical attention and the proper anti-venom is the best option.
  • If no medical support is available, there really isn’t anything to do but wait. Healthy and strong individuals have a much better chance of survival.
  • Can be eaten

Humans

  • The most dangerous of all animals
  • They will eat your food
  • They will steal everything valuable
  • They will hunt you
  • They will kill you and your family (or worse)
  • In Survival situation trust no one other than family and people you know well.
  • Protect yourself with firearms, pepper spray, knives.
  • Be prepared to pack up and run. (avoidance is the safest option)

When SHTF be Prepared to GO

Be Prepared, Plan for Emergencies, Protect your Loved Ones.

Download a free Emergency Check List [Download]

shtfandgo.com