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Preparing for America’s worst day: Army multi-component exercise tests the force

Preparing for America’s worst day: Army multi-component exercise tests the force

BUTLERVILLE, IN, UNITED STATES

04.22.2018

Story by Master Sgt. Anthony L Taylor 

318th Press Camp Headquarters 

MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. – Fields of debris, demolished vehicles and bodies of mannequins and live role-players laid across an entire town center; words on bed sheets, asking for assistance, hung over the roofs of buildings; and street poles laid fallen, while buildings were covered in plumes of smoke, and homes were submerged in a body of water.

The scene was not the set of Hollywood’s next apocalyptic blockbuster film, but it was what U.S. Army Reserve, Army National Guard and active component Soldiers drove into at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center for the U.S. Army Reserve’s Guardian Response 18 exercise, April 2 – 28, 2018.

“This is a Defense Support to Civil Authorities exercise and it’s to validate and ensure the readiness of our response force for a catastrophic event,” said U.S. Army Reserve Col. Chris M. Briand, Chief of Staff, 78th Training Division and chief of operations for Guardian Response 18. “It is a (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear)-response enterprise which is comprised of three different elements across the active duty, the U.S. Army Reserve and the National Guard.”

More than 4,500 service members from 80 units across the nation participated in the U.S. Army Forces Command-directed evaluation/capstone training event. In addition to all Army components participating in the exercise, elements from the U.S. Air Force as well as state and federal agencies, and local emergency response forces were involved.

“It really is about readiness in our forces and having the proper capability to respond to a catastrophic event anywhere in the homeland,” said Briand. “And also to be able to develop those partnerships with the local communities and interagency (partners), and to be able to come and save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate extensive property damage, which are the three tenants of the (DSCA).”

The U.S. Army Reserve’s 84th Training Command and 78th Training Division planned, and coordinated as the execution control headquarters for Guardian Response 18.

“If you look at other exercises, we’re usually preparing our capability and our readiness for the warrior abroad,” said Briand. “But with this exercise, we’re really talking about protecting the homeland and being ready and capable to respond to America’s next worst day.”

Briand further shared that readiness, partnerships and capabilities were some of the key focus areas for this exercise, and that the military’s role was strictly a support role and that they would not be in charge of incidents in a real-world disaster.

“We (the Army) or Soldiers who respond to an event are not in charge,” said Briand. “It’s the state incident commander who is in charge. We are supporting here, but we in the exercise replicate the incident commander, the defense-coordinating officer, and all those state and federal agencies that assist in this response. We are playing those roles here.”

The validation exercise sets realistic training for first responders through a notional 10-kiloton nuclear detonation scenario in a major city of the United States. The training audience brings a range of life-saving capabilities such as medical response, decontamination, technical rescue, patient evacuation, communications and logistics support to move people, equipment and supplies by land and air. The overall scenario developed for the training exercise was service members responding to an incident in support of civil authorities, several days after the incident occurred.

Guardian Response 18 produced a variety of events for Soldiers to include trench rescues, urban search and rescue operations, vehicle and subway extrications, and a mass casualty decontamination line, to name a few, while all in a contaminated CBRN environment. Maj. Gen. Ray Royalty, commanding general of the 84th Training Command, and exercise director for Guardian Response 18, toured the grounds at MUTC before the training audience arrived and met with the various planners and support staff for the exercise.

“The biggest take away (at Guardian Response 18) is the training, the dialogue and the understanding of the expectations of something like this really happening,” said Royalty.

Once training units arrived on the ground, they established their work sites and sent out CBRN teams to check for radiation and decontamination levels ahead of deploying technical rescue teams to the impacted area.

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Ian Kurtinitis, a firefighter with the 468th Engineer Detachment, based out of Danvers, Massachusetts, was a part of the training audience at Guardian Response 18, and conducted rescue missions in conjunction with the CBRN mass casualty decontamination line.

“Our specific mission is urban search and rescue and specifically, today, to search and rescue a contaminated environment,” said Kurtinitis. “There’s a subway station that we’re working at and there are people trapped inside. Our mission is to gain access, extract patients and to assist anyone that is ambulatory and to extricate those who are non-ambulatory. But, we are coming into this (scenario) as we’re assisting overwhelmed local entities who have been at this for several days.”

Kurtinitis further shared that a unique skill of their training is the capability of performing technical rescue operations while in CBRN environment protective gear. He added that although civilian entities are trained in the same technical disciplines and Hazardous Materials teams, typically, civilian partners do not perform technical skill rescue operations while in CBRN protective gear.

“We’re firefighters. Our (Military Occupational Specialty) is 12 Bravo, a firefighting unit, so a lot of these skills fall under our skill set, and this builds on it,” said Kurtinitis. “We’re still executing our job, but we’re doing it at a much more technical and advanced level, so the upside is that you have people that want to be here, people that want to do the job, people that want to help others, so even in training, they approach it as a real-world event.”

“There’s never an issue with motivation or discipline. When (Soldiers) are out here working, they’re 100 percent of the time going to execute the job that they’re here to do,” said Kurtinitis. “In an event like this, the added feature is that they have (live) role-players, so (Soldiers) get the exposure to patient packaging with a real person. You have to take care of that person because it’s a real person that you’re bringing out.”

Once victims were rescued, they were transported or directed to the mass casualty decontamination line for triage, treatment and then transport to the closest medical facility.

“We sort them into groups to see who needs to go through first,” said Spc. Christopher Custer, Combat Medic Specialist with the 409th Area Support Medical Company, based out of Madison, Wisconsin, who was receiving patients after they exited the decontamination tent in the MCD line. “I basically re-sort them to make sure that they’re going to the right place for the right amount of treatment. After they are (decontaminated), they come to me and I re-direct them.”

U.S. Army Reserve Spc. David Forcier, assigned to the 468th Engineer Detachment, was working on a team for urban search and rescue at a vehicle extrication site.

“There’s been an event and we’re here to rescue the victims out from inside of the vehicles,” said Forcier. “(The training) is absolutely phenomenal (in regards to) the amount of work that they are doing, and the rotations (that everyone is on). Everyone’s doing a really good job at making sure that we’re taking care of each other, and also taking care of the victims. (There is) a lot of good triage for the victims and making sure that the medical team is waiting for them, so when we extricate those victims, they are well taken care of and we’re working really hard to make sure that every victim gets out in the least amount of time.”

Training scenarios primarily were focused on search and rescue operations, decontamination and medical support capabilities, but units were also tested on events such as an outbreak of protests from displaced civilian role-players at their facility gates, to test their reaction.

“When I approached, everyone seemed mad and slammed on the gate,” said Pfc. Miguel Sanchez, with the 555th Transportation Detachment. “We tried to work with them and tried to work with their leader, but they were incompliant and said that they didn’t have a leader. But you have to do the best that you can and calm them down as much as you can — Afterwards, the commander arrived.”

“I think it’s great,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Dillard, commanding general of the 78th Training Division, and deputy exercise director for Guardian Response 18. “This is all about protecting the homeland. I think it’s an excellent exercise for our Soldiers to understand what’s important and how to work with the civilian authorities. Also, to collaborate and communicate with the civilian authorities, as it would occur, and what they would do if we were to be involved in an incident of this magnitude.”

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Bill Gates thinks a coming disease could kill 30 million people within 6 months — and says we should prepare for it like we do for war

The next deadly disease that will cause a global pandemic is coming, Bill Gates said at a discussion of epidemics on Friday.We’re not ready.
A flu like the 1918 influenza pandemic could kill 30 million within six months, Gates said, and the next disease might not even be a flu, it might be something we’ve never seen.
The world should prepare like it does for war, according to Gates.
If there’s one thing that we know from history, a deadly new disease will arise that will spread around the globe.
happen easily within the next decade. And as Bill Gates reminded listeners while speaking at a discussion about epidemicshosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday, we’re not ready.

As Gates said, he’s usually the optimist in the room, reminding people that we’re lifting children out of poverty around the globe and getting better at eliminating diseases like polio and malaria.
But “there’s one area though where the world isn’t making much progress,” said Gates. “And that’s pandemic preparedness.”
The likelihood that such a disease appears continues to rise. New pathogens emerge all the time as the world gets more populous and humanity encroaches on wild environments. It’s becoming easier and easier for individuals or small groups to create weaponized diseasesthat could spread like wildfire around the globe. According to Gates, a small non-state actor could rebuild an even deadlier form of smallpox in a lab. And in our interconnected world, people constantly hop on planes, crossing from megacities on one continent to megacities on another in a matter of hours.
According to one simulation by the Institute for Disease Modeling presented by Gates, a new flu like the one that killed 50 million in the 1918 pandemic would most likely kill 30 million within just six months now. And the disease that next takes us by surprise will most likely be one that we see for the first time when the outbreak starts, like happened recently with SARS and MERS viruses
If you were to tell the world’s governments that weapons were under construction right now that could kill 30 million people, there’d be a sense of urgency about preparing for the threat, said Gates.
“In the case of biological threats, that sense of urgency is lacking,” he said. “The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war.”Stopping the next pandemic The one time the military tried a sort of simulated wargame against a smallpox pandemic, the final score was “smallpox one, humanity zero,” according to Gates. But as he said, he’s an optimist, and he thinks we could better prepare for the next viral or bacterial threat. In some ways, we’re clearly better prepared now than we were for previous pandemics. We have antiviral drugs that can at least do something to improve survival rates in many cases. We have antibiotics that can treat secondary infections, like pneumonia associated with the flu. We’re getting closer to a universal flu vaccine. During his talk, Gates announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be offering $12 million in grants to encourage the development of such a vaccine. And we’re getting better at rapid diagnosis, too, something essential since the first step against a new disease is quarantine. Just yesterday, a new research paper in the journal Science announced the development of a wayto use the gene-editing technology CRISPR to rapidly detect diseases and to identify them using the same sort of paper strip used in a home pregnancy test. Yet we’re not good enough yet at rapidly identifying the threat from a disease and coordinating a response, as the recent global reaction to the last Ebola epidemic showed. There needs to be better coordination and communication between military and government to help coordinate responses. And Gates thinks that government needs ways to quickly enlist the help of the private sector when it comes to developing technology and tools to fight against emerging deadly disease. As Melinda Gates said recently, the threat from a global pandemic — whether one that emerges naturally or one that’s engineered — is perhaps the biggest risk humanity faces right now. “Think of the number of people who leave New York City every day and go all over the world — we’re an interconnected world,” she said. Those connections make us all vulnerable.

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Preparing for Chaos, Theory and Application- Part 1, by DF

Many people view the possibility of economic/societal disruption and collapse as science fiction, suitable as entertainment in dystopian novels or movies. I view it as actual science, not fiction and am preparing for the ensuing chaos and necessities to get past it. Well-proven theories in the areas of nonlinear systems and economics can help us partially understand what can happen, how we can prepare and respond, and even what is not possible to predict. My first section on “theory” is quite abstract. It looks at some of the basic principles of chaos theory to describe the mechanisms of economic/societal collapse. …

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Creating Your Own Secure Messages – Part 2, by DaytonPrepper1

Yesterday we talked about how to create and use a One Time Pad. Today we will talk about another way of encoding messages. I am sure I am not creating anything new with this method, but I have not seen it before nor do I have a name for it. My working name is Word Grid Substitution. Description of the Method The heart of this method is a 25,000 word grid. The current word grid is 10×2500. I take the message to be encoded and search for the first word from a random spot in the list. When the word …

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Creating Your Own Secure Messages– Part 1, by DaytonPrepper1

I am an experienced programmer with a lot of time spent in Excel everyday for my paying job. East Sierra Sage’s article on Cipher Security got me thinking again about One Time Pads and other secure message techniques. I really enjoy automating things with Excel’s powerful formulas and macros. So I set off to create a tool for a One Time Pad spreadsheet that would create the One Time Pads and also encode and decode the messages being sent. How to Use a One Time Pad (OTP) You will need a Shift Chart and an OTP Chart as the basic …

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What is the Shelf Life of Ammo?

We talk about the shelf life of lots of things around here:  food, medicines, liquor, but there is one thing we have not discussed, and that is the shelf life of ammunition.

Manufacturers often indicate that properly stored ammo lasts for ten years.   But in reality, that may be more of a guideline.  Some may last for decades – we’ve all heard of people shooting ammunition from 40-50 years ago with no problems. Just like food storage, how long ammo is good for depends on how it is stored.

Proper storage

To make sure your ammunition does not degrade, here are a few considerations:

  • Ammunition must be stored in a cool, dark and dry place with low humidity.
  • Maintain consistent temperature – temperature swings threaten the condition of ammunition because the humidity will likely set in.
  • Avoid any type of moisture as it will cause corrosion.
  • Make sure it is away from direct sunlight or heat.
  • Store in a sealed container.  A good quality ammo can with an airtight seal keeps external air from coming in and ruining your ammo.   Throw in a silica gel desiccant pack for extra protection against humidity.
  • Label your containers so you don’t have to constantly open each can every time you need a certain type of ammo.  Include the date of purchase on your label.
  • Use the “first in, first out” rule in your ammo inventory:  use the oldest ones for target practice so you are constantly rotating your stock on a regular basis.
  • Inspect your stock periodically.

Signs of damage

Before using old ammo, look for signs of damage such as:

  • cracks in the case
  • rust or corrosion
  • warped shape
  • improper fit in the chamber
  • the bullet tip is pushed into the cartridge

    What happens when ammunition has degraded?

    The casing can corrode or rust, the primer can become deactivated.

    As far as the powder, the risk is the bullet may never make it out of the barrel of your gun when fired because it does not have enough momentum.  When this happens the bullet becomes lodged in the barrel and cause a blockage.  The next shot fired will cause the destruction of your firearm and possibly injure you or others.  If in doubt, don’t use it.

    How do you dispose of bad ammo?

    I’ve brought old ammo to the gun range for disposal.  The proprietors had a canister of old ammo awaiting pickup from a recycling company and they allowed customers to drop them off there.  Ask first.

    You can also call the non-emergency number of your local police station to find out if you can arrange to drop them off.  Or, check with your favorite gun store and they may just take it off your hands or steer you to someone who will.

    The final word

    Your firearms are no good without ammo.  Take care of your investment.  With proper storage and care, your ammo will last for decades.

    First posted on http://apartmentprepper.com/what-is-the-shelf-life-of-ammo

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Birth- Part 2, by A.E.

According to the CDC, about 11,000 babies are born in the U.S. every day. If anyone in your family or group is of childbearing age, you might want to think about preparing for an out-of-hospital birth. Most people have never witnessed a “natural” or med-free birth. Therefore, they have no idea what natural birth looks like or how to prepare for it. In Part 1, I spoke about the importance of the mother’s psyche in childbirth and also about the sphincter law that applies to childbirth. We began the topic of Preparing for Birth with suggestion for books, such as …

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Scavenge After SHTF Where to Look and What to Get

There are many phases in a total collapse of society. In the earliest stages you will find that people are simply trying to figure it all out. In this phase people will likely still be civil with one another. There will still be resources around and people will be living off their own stores. This phase will end quickly and give way to the more dangerous parts of a collapse.

Eventually – and in a modern society it won’t be long – there will come a phase when most resources have been exhausted. You will still need resources to stay alive. At this point the scavengers will arise. If you haven’t prepared enough, or if unseen issues crop up, you might be a scavenger too.

The smart prepper will operate in a balanced world of simple, self sufficient living and scavenging practices.

HOME REPAIRS

Not only will your local Lowes or Home Depot be gone; it will be picked clean and likely taken up as a decent base of operations for some gang or military faction. Still, you will need a home that protects you from the elements, with a roof and walls that keep the wind and rain out. It’s vital to keep as much of your home in working order as possible. Consider scavenging things like:

  • Scrap Metal
  • Scrap Wood
  • Insulating Materials
  • Cloth
  • Gutters or Irrigation
  • Tools

MEDICINES AND FIRST AID

Did you know that every business with onsite employees is required to have access to a first aid kit? Even the small law firm down the street has a first aid kit. When it comes to scavenging these types of supplies you would do well to look at these small abandoned businesses and business parks. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with what can be found in the desk drawers of offices. In a true SHTF situation, even animal medicines may prove useful. Before considering any “alternative” medicine, be sure to research the heck out of it.

WEAPONS

Whether we are talking about bullets, guns, knives or even baseball bats, in a collapsed world where scavenging is necessary you will need to be able to protect yourself against various threats. The gun shop may not be the best stop to swing by on a scavenging jaunt, but what about the distribution center for a big box retailer that is far out in the country? A lot of firearms and ammunition get sent by mail in the USA, so when the crisis hits the chances are there will be weapons among the packages waiting to be delivered. It will be this type of thinking that makes scavenging profitable.

DIY

Scrap wood, metal, nails and other random bits and pieces will be crucial if you plan on DIYing yourself through the disaster. The good news about scavenging these items is that the disaster and the following collapse will likely leave plenty lying around to be scavenged.

Crumbling homes and buildings are likely to produce plenty materials to scavenge. You might still be in the market for things like nails. If you find yourself an abandoned pallet yard, you can build a whole house using the nails and wood you harvest from those pallets!

Smart Scavenging

There will be a certain amount of risk when you head out to scavenge. Where you go and when will determine the amount of risk you face. We will look at two ways that you can scavenge smarter. You must be willing to do a little research ahead of the collapse, and learn to operate at the best time for scavenging.  The items to bring with you is important. Tools, bags, cordage, liquid containers, duck tape, etc might all be very useful when scavenging. Especially if you hit the motherload. If you do hit the motherload, you may have to hide some of your booty to come back and get. Materials and tools for this would be handy.  You should also think about Scavenging in pairs. 1 as a watcher and one as a scavenger. Also, a very valuable skill would be sign language.

Location

Long before the scavenging begins you will want to make a resource map of your immediate area. These are simple to create. By printing an area map of your location and the surrounding areas (use google maps) you can mark all the major retailers and business parts in the immediate area. Color-coded markings and a key will help quickly identify things like medicine, food and tools. This resource map should focus less on the big retailers and more on small stores and business parks. Your scavenging success will come down to how few people you run into, so you want to stay away from obvious places that most people will search.

Stick to smaller business parks and offices for scavenging. Look also in abandoned homes that can be watched from afar. Valuable locations for various supplies could include feed stores, sale barns, and veterinary clinics. Tools, batteries, various fencing and repair items, and medicines and bandages can all be found there. These places may be picked clean early, but they may still be worthwhile for a scavenging trip. Also, feed stores may have batteries left for the poor man’s taser (cattle prod). Spend some time looking for the useful items: traps, rope, solar power, self-help books, etc.

Timing

Another very important factor in successful scavenging is when you decide to get out there and do it. Your goal should be to move when the least amount of people are around. The time between 3am and 6am is a great window to get things done. You have darkness for most of this time frame in most seasons. Those who stay up late will be sound asleep by this time.

When planning your trip be sure to calculate your round trip. Make sure that you have plenty of time to scavenge when you arrive at your location. Don’t blow an entire trip on travel time.

Places to Scavenge After SHTF:

  1. ABANDONED BUSINESS PARKS AND SMALL OFFICES
  2. DISTRIBUTION AND TRUCKING CENTERS
  3. JUNKYARDS
  4. USED CAR LOTS
  5. ABANDONED HOMES
  6. CELL TOWERS
  7. MARINAS
  8. MANUFACTURING CENTERS
  9. PERSONAL STORAGE FACILITIES
  10. ETC.

Can see the original at http://www.askaprepper.com and https://www.prepperwebsite.com

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Birth- Part 1, by A.E.

Typically, when we think about a survival situation, like TEOTWAWKI or SHTF, our minds race to food storage, defense, clean water, growing gardens, and raising livestock; often times, we forget other necessities, like good medical care and childbirth. According to the CDC, about 11,000 babies are born in the U.S. every day. If anyone in your family or group is of childbearing age, you might want to think about preparing for an out-of-hospital birth. Most people have never witnessed a “natural” or med-free birth. Therefore, they have no idea what natural birth looks like or how to prepare for it. …

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How to Prepare When You’re The Only One- Part 3, by Patriotman

I’m a man in his mid 20s trying to prepare for when SHTF to care for 21 family members and guide another 21, none of which are really contributing in any significant way. I’m also part of a fireteam group, but they are not walking the walk on preparations either. My girlfriend is supportive, but I feel generally alone in my preparations. I’ve outlined the problems I have in each group– family and fireteam– in Part 1 of this article series. In Part 2, I went over how I am resolving these problems and my specific plans as well as …

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Droughts Are You Prepared?

What is a drought? A drought is a period of irregular dry weather that runs long enough to cause a serious imbalance in our daily lives. During a drought, for example, crops can be damaged, and water supply can run short, which is why they’re recognized as serious events that can result in widespread destruction of communities. The severity of the drought, however, is measured by the duration, temperature, and size of the area impacted.

A drought is defined in one of four ways:

  • Meteorological Drought: This occurs when dry weather dominates a specific area. What might be labeled as a “drought” in one place might not be the same in another.
  • Agricultural Drought: This type of droughts occurs when the moisture in the soil becomes inadequate, which can result in a lack of crop growth and production later on down the road. This type of drought, however, is usually associated with short-term drought situations.
  • Hydrological Drought: This occurs when the water supply becomes considerably low. This is found by measurement of groundwater levels, streams, and reservoirs.
  • Socioeconomic Drought: Perhaps the scariest of the four, this occurs when water levels are too low for human and environmental needs.

That’s why conserving water during droughts is extremely important. Aside from that, it’s also a good habit to develop; that way, you’re always prepared for environmental changes. With that in mind, try taking baby steps each day to help you and your family conserve water:

Clean water not only has the ability to change the environment, but it also can reduce death and diseases from spreading. This means that by conserving water at home, you can actually preserve life here on Earth, which is why conserving is now more important than ever before.

Even if you don’t live in a drought-stricken environment, cutting back on your water usage can go a long way. First, you’ll notice a difference in your utility bill financially. Then, you’ll start to notice a difference in the environment you live in as well. So if you’re ready to cut back, just know that there are a lot of small ways that you and your family can practice conserving water, especially around the house.

If you can’t do everything on the list, don’t worry about it. Just pick a few things to focus on at first, then make your way down the list as opposed to doing everything all at once. A few changes can add up to hundreds of gallons of water saved each and every year.

Here are five of many things you can try to conserve water in your home:

  • Turn off your faucet when you brush your teeth.
  • Turn off the water when you wash your hands.
  • Cut your shower time.
  • Repair any leaks you have around the house.
  • Head over to a car wash that recycles water.

Develop a Rain Catch System:

Remember, when it comes to survival, it’s all about the water – so why not save it? The water that falls from the sky is not only valuable, but it’s also free. Despite rainwater being natural, however, it not entirely safe to drink unless it’s been filtered ahead of time. Why isn’t it safe? Well, because as the rainwater washes off your roof, it also washes off pollution with it. This might include harmful particles from exhaust systems located on cars, cigarette residue, dead bugs, and of course, bird droppings.

It’s still great water, nonetheless; and beneficial to plants as well. The water you’ve captured using the rain catchment system, for instance, can be used to water your grass, clean your house, and even drink – as long as you purify it – without spending a dime. You can use it to water your vegetables too. Just don’t forget to pour the water at ground level when watering your plants. That way, you don’t contaminate the food you plan on eating later on.

Another thing to keep in mind is the weather. So, if you live in a cold environment, consider moving your rain barrel somewhere safe. This will prevent it from cracking and getting contaminated. In the long run, catching rainwater to use later on will also keep it from seeping into your basement, crawl space, and foundation, which in return, can preserve your home for years to come.

Smart Irrigation:

In order to tackle this enormous problem, however, community members must be willing to make small changes. Agricultural and hydrological drought, for example, can both be minimized by smart irrigation.

How? For business and homeowners, they can start by incorporating irrigation controllers that are labeled with water conservation logos. This logo symbolizes that the company has created a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help reduce the amount of water used for landscaping. These systems monitor the weather and landscape conditions to help them determine when to water the landscape and for how long.

For larger crop fields, there are irrigation systems that can be programmed to monitor landscape and weather conditions the same way they normally would for smaller areas. Most systems can be programmed to water a specific crop for the optimum amount of time, saving the farmer money and water at the same time.

The devastating effects of dehydration are something no one should have to experience and be faced with; that’s why it’s essential for you and your family to learn different water-harvesting techniques before a drought strikes near home. Remember, the human body can live without food longer than it can live without water. So, start prepping, and don’t wait until it’s too late.

First seen on https://www.prepperwebsite.com

 

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How to Prepare When You’re The Only One- Part 2, by Patriotman

I’m a man in his mid 20s trying to prepare for when SHTF to care for 21 family members, none of which are really contributing in any significant way. I’m also part of a fireteam group, but they are not walking the walk on preparations either. My girlfriend is supportive, but I feel generally alone in my preparations. I’ve outlined the problems I have in each group– family and fireteam– in Part 1 of this article series. How Do You Overcome These Barriers to Success? Now that I have laid out my problems, which are substantial, I want to talk …

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How to Prepare When You’re The Only One- Part 1, by Patriotman

I think this article will resonate with many of the SurvivalBlog readership, because I suspect that many of us are in a similar situation of being the only one preparing. While some of you may be lucky to have complete buy-in and participation with prepping from your family or survival group, many others, like myself, may find that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. Before I speak about my experience with this issue and the steps I have taken to attempt to mitigate this, let me provide some background on myself as well as what the composition …

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Caring for Children on the Autism Spectrum During TEOTWAWKI- Part 2, by Grey Woman

The focus of this article is on prepping for children and adolescents on the mid to lower functioning end of the autism spectrum. If you are the parent or caretaker of an autistic child, I’m sure you have already considered your child’s or adolescent’s special needs and planned accordingly. This article is intended to serve as a general overview and resource for those who are less familiar with the needs and capabilities of these unique individuals. Autism- A Prevalent Disorder Based on the prevalence of Autism spectrum disorder and autism, it is likely that either your family or a family …

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Caring for Children on the Autism Spectrum During TEOTWAWKI- Part 1, by Grey Woman

“How a society treats its most vulnerable is always the measure of its humanity.” Ambassador Matthew Rycroft A fair amount of literature has been devoted to prepping for the needs of babies and children in general and for the elderly, but there seems to be far less information available to guide decision making in prepping for the developmentally disabled members, including those on the autism spectrum, of our communities. According to the latest analysis by the CDC, between 6% and 7% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed as having a developmental disability. These disabilities …

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Sniffle Detective: 5 Ways to Tell Colds from Allergies

With spring upon us many will be suffering with allergies. But you may also be suffering from a spring cold.  Seasonal allergies and colds share some common symptoms, so it may be hard to tell the two apart.  Both conditions typically involve sneezing, a runny nose and congestion. There are some differences, though. Additionally, colds usually include coughing and a sore throat, but these symptoms can also occur in people with hay fever who have post-nasal drip. Itchy eyes are common for seasonal allergies, but rare for colds.

Colds and seasonal allergies seem very similar in many ways.  It’s the duration [length] and chronicity [frequency] of symptoms that might help tell the difference. It’s not unusual for parents and even doctors to confuse cold and seasonal allergy symptoms. Young children frequently get colds, and their parents may not always think of seasonal allergies as the reason for kids’ constantly drippy noses. Seasonal allergies may first show up in a child at around ages 4 to 6, but they can also begin at any age after that. And genetics play a role: People with one parent who has any type of allergy have a 1 in 3 chance of developing an allergy.  When both parents have allergies, their children have a 7 in 10 chance of developing allergies, too.

Here are five signs to look for to determine whether symptoms are due to seasonal allergies or a cold.

Consider the time of year.  Colds tend to occur in the winter, and they often take several days to show up after exposure to a virus. With seasonal allergies, the onset of symptoms — the sneezing, stuffy nose and itchy eyes — occur immediately after exposure to pollens in spring, summer or fall. If symptoms tend to show up the same time every year, it may well be seasonal allergies rather than a cold.

Duration of symptoms matters.  The symptoms of a cold typically last three to 14 days, but allergy symptoms last longer, usually for weeks, as long as the person is exposed to pollen, Rachid said.

Color of nasal discharge offers clues.  When she sees a patient with green or yellow mucus, Rachid said, she tends to think the person has a cold or infection. Seasonal allergies usually produce clear nasal secretions, she said, although sinus infections may confuse the picture. Sometimes allergy sufferers develop sinus infections, which can result in yellow-colored nasal discharge.

Any temperature or muscle aches?  Despite the name “hay fever,” seasonal allergies don’t usually cause fever or body aches, whereas people with a cold often have these symptoms.

Notice “the allergic salute.”   Parents may notice children frequently pushing their noses up with the palms of their hands to wipe or relieve itchiness — this could be a telltale sign of seasonal allergies. When trying to determine if a child’s symptoms are due to a cold or seasonal allergies,  ask about the allergic salute. You can also observes the skin on the child’s nose, since the “salute,” when done frequently, tends to cause a small crease at the bridge.

Anyone with a cold may do the allergic salute, but children with allergies tend to do this a lot. It means something is bothering them, and could indicate their allergies are getting worse.

 

 

 

 

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Disaster preparedness for families with food allergies

When you are the parent of a child with a food allergy, you have additional obstacles and things to consider when trying to be prepared. There could be circumstances where you’re required to shelter-in-place in your home for an extended period of time, or even go to a public shelter. In the event of either of these scenarios the best thing you can do is be prepared, and prepare your family for what may happen. This preparedness and training can be really beneficial for your children whether it’s a major disaster or a small house fire.

Create a Family Disaster Plan

The first step to getting ready for any sort of disaster or emergency situation is creating a family plan. In addition, depending upon the age of your child and the size of your family, you’re going to have to make adjustments to your plan. For example, if you have an infant your child isn’t going to be able to do much for themselves, and if you have an older child they may be able to help out more. Additionally, you have to keep in mind that your child and you may not be in the same place during a disaster, so you have to figure out how you will reach each other and meet.

  • Decide on a location of where to meet in your home if there is a disaster
  • Practice emergency drills for if there’s a disaster in your home
  • Fill out a Family Communication Plan for your child and put it in their go-bag, make sure they know and understand the plan (depending on their age). Be sure to fill this out together and talk through this plan together.
  • Talk to your child about the disaster plan if they are at school or day care

 

Connect with your child’s school or daycare

If your child is at school you’re going to want to 1) talk to the school about their emergency plans, and 2) figure out what supplies and emergency kit you’re going to leave for your child at school. I think it’s critical to explain to your child what will happen and where you will be during this time.

Things to consider about your child’s daycare or school:

  • Do they store water and food?
  • Do teachers have first aid and CPR training?
  • Can children leave and store their own emergency kits?
  • What is the plan if the class doesn’t shelter-in-place and they have to go somewhere else?

When you’re packing an emergency kit for your child at daycare and school, here are some things I would consider:

  • A comfort item like a teddy bear or toy that makes them feel secure
  • A folder containing medical information, family contact info, and any other contact numbers
  • A change of clothes
  • A supply of medications – both prescription and over-the-counter
  • A family photo including a note from parents or recorded message
  • An emergency whistle
  • A water bottle with water emergency pouches
  • A small flashlight
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Epi-Pen/Auvi-Q and carrying case
  • Snacks appropriate to their diet
  • Handwipes
  • An emergency ID card – in addition to their allergy bracelet. These ones come in a variety of patterns and styles and you can include your contact information on the back.

 

Your Home Emergency Kit

It’s important to have a home emergency kit stocked with everything your family could need. I highly suggest having extra food for your child with food allergies. During a stressful situation, you don’t want to be forced to introduce new foods, so pack long-term emergency food and extra of it. Don’t forget to re-stock and check your home emergency kit regularly.

Here are some suggestions of item’s for your home emergency kit:

  • Water for each person in the house-hold (enough for drinking and cleaning)
  • A first aid kit
  • Contact information for relatives, hospitals and emergency shelters
  • Medical information on everyone in the family
  • A detailed allergy plan
  • Food supplies suitable for your child with food allergies
  • Prescription and over the counter medications
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries for all devices
  • Emergency blankets
  • Maps of your local area
  • Copies of any personal documents including birth certificates, insurance and passports
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • A battery-powered radio
  • Extra cash
  • Pet supplies
  • Games and activities for children

One easy thing is to

Suggestions for foods to have on hand

You’re going to need food that is not perishable and can store for a longer term that works for your child, here are some suggestions:

  • Soy, Almond, Coconut Milk and other non-dairy milks that don’t need refridgeration
  • Peanut-Free nut butters like SunButter
  • PackIt Gourmet has both dairy-free and gluten free meals that can be used in long term storage.
  • Mountain House has a variety of dehydrated gluten free meals
  • Some of the Paleo Meals to Go may work for your child

 

Your child’s home bug-out bag

In addition to having an emergency kit for your house your child should have a home bug out kit in the form of a backpack or easy carrying case. You’ll want to check bags on a regular basis to make sure everything in them is re-stocked and up to date. Things to include here are:

  • Re-usable water bottle
  • Change of clothes
  • Comfortable shoes and socks
  • Medications
  • Family contact information and emergency numbers
  • Toiletries
  • An emergency blanket
  • Small snacks
  • Emergency whistle
  • Hand  sanitizers
  • Band aids and wipes

You can also pick up a pre-made kit like the one below and then add additional items that your child may need.

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Tips for surviving a wild animal encounter

It’s a situation you never want to find yourself in. You’re on vacation, peacefully enjoying the planet’s natural wonders and then – out of nowhere – a wild creature attacks.

While these encounters are usually very rare, Kyle Patterson, spokeswoman at Rocky Mountain National Park, say it’s because people aren’t aware of their surroundings or don’t use common sense.

“Any wildlife can be unpredictable,” she said. “Sometimes you see a visitor who sees an animal and think, ‘they’re close to the road, I’ll just get out and a take a picture.’ This isn’t a zoo where it is fenced off.”

Every animal responds differently to human interaction, but a general rule of thumb for any wildlife encounter is be prepared and look for signs.

“If the animal is reacting to you, you’re too close. All wildlife will give you a sign.  Some species will put their ears back.  Some will scrape their paws.  Some will give verbal cues,” said Patterson.

In order to help you, we’ve come up with a list of tips for surviving all kinds of animal encounters, from bison to sharks.

Even with this list handy, remember that it is illegal to approach wildlife at the national parks and no matter how prepared you are, expect the unexpected.

1. Bear

North America’s recent rash of bear attacks should be inspiration enough to want to know how to survive a mauling. At least six people in five states have been mauled by black and brown bears recently. There was the Alaskan hunter who was attacked on Saturday, the hikers in Yellowstone National Park who were attacked by a grizzly last Thursday and 12-year-old Abigail Wetherell who was mauled by a black bear on the very same day, while out on an evening jog in northern Michigan.

“These are two species that you shouldn’t never run from: Black bear or mountain lion,” said Patterson. “You should make yourself big, as much as you can.  Whether it’s taking your jacket and putting it over your head, or picking up sticks or just waving your arms, you need to fight back.”

Here’s a list of bear attack survival tips from Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources:

1.) If you see a bear that is far away or doesn’t see you turn around and go back, or circle far around. Don’t disturb it.

2.) If you see a bear that is close or it does see you STAY CALM. Attacks are rare. Bears may approach or stand on their hind legs to get a better look at you. These are curious, not aggressive, bears. BE HUMAN. Stand tall, wave your arms, and speak in a loud and low voice. DO NOT RUN! Stand your ground or back away slowly and diagonally. If the bear follows, STOP.

3.) If a bear is charging almost all charges are “bluff charges”. DO NOT RUN! Olympic sprinters cannot outrun a bear and running may trigger an instinctive reaction to “chase”. Do not try to climb a tree unless it is literally right next to you and you can quickly get at least 30 feet up. STAND YOUR GROUND. Wave your arms and speak in a loud low voice. Many times charging bears have come within a few feet of a person and then veered off at the last second.

4.) If a bear approaches your campsite aggressively chase it away. Make noise with pots and pans, throw rocks, and if needed, hit the bear. Do not let the bear get any food.

5.) If you have surprised a bear and are contacted or attacked and making noise or struggling has not discouraged an attack, play dead. Curl up in a ball with your hands laced behind your neck. The fetal position protects your vital organs. Lie still and be silent. Surprised bears usually stop attacking once you are no longer a threat (i.e. “dead”).

6.) If you have been stalked by a bear, a bear is approaching your campsite, or an attack is continuing long after you have ceased struggling, fight back! Predatory bears are often young bears that can be successfully intimidated or chased away. Use a stick, rocks or your hands and feet.

2. Elk

Migrating elk are known to take over towns, especially this time of year. For example, Estes Park, a popular resort town in the Rocky Mountains hosts nearly 2,000 elk for the summer months, and much of the year. With a population of only 5,858 inhabitants, the town is literally overrun by elk.

Rocky Mountain National Park also has a large population of elk.  Patterson said the dangerous times are in the spring, when they’re protective of their calves, and the fall mating season, known as the rut. “Sometimes the bulls can be very aggressive,” she said. “During the rut, elk are in big groups.  You want to make sure you’re not in between  the aggressive bull elk and the focus of his attention.”

That’s why the park takes preventative measures such as closing meadows and sending out teams of volunteers to patrol.

Here are some tips from The Payson Roundup, a small paper that covers Rim Country in central Arizona, an area that has had its fair share of elk invasions.

1.) Always keep a safe distance and if driving, stay in your car.

2.) Never approach a baby calf; they are not abandoned even if the cow is not in sight. The cow is close by or very likely has gone to water and will return. The maternal instinct could produce an aggressive behavior if something might come between her and her calf, so play it safe.

3.) Elks travel in the reduced light of early morning or late afternoon — so if you want to avoid an elk, don’t go out during dawn or dusk.

3. Bison

Bison are the largest indigenous land mammal in North America. The bulls can often weigh as much as one ton. Not only are they huge, bison are fast. They can quickly accelerate to speeds up to 35 mph. So if they look majestic and docile out on that plain, just remember bison are beasts and they are much faster than you.

If you encounter a bison, here are some tips from Canada’s National Park Service:

1.) If you encounter bison along the roadway, drive slowly and they will eventually move. Do not honk, become impatient or proceed too quickly. Bison attacks on vehicles are rare, but can happen. Bison may spook if you get out of your vehicle. Therefore, remain inside or stay very close.

2.) If you are on foot or horseback: Never startle bison. Always let them know you are there. Never try to chase or scare bison away. It is best to just cautiously walk away. Always try to stay a minimum of 100 meters (approximately the size of a football field) from the bison.

3.) Please take extra caution as bison may be more aggressive: During the rutting season (mid July-mid August) as bulls can become more aggressive during this time. After bison cows have calved. Moms may be a little over-protective during this time. When cycling near bison, as cyclists often startle unknowing herds. When hiking with pets. Dogs may provoke a bison attack and should be kept on a leash. On hot spring days when bison have heavy winter coats.

4.) Use extreme caution if they display any of the following signs: Shaking the head. Pawing. Short charges or running toward you. Loud snorting. Raising the tail.

4. Mountain Lion

Attacks from mountain lions are very rare, Patterson said, and they’re going to prey on elk and deer–not humans.

But she said the danger arises when people hike alone or families with children let the kids run ahead and make noises.

“If a child is running along a trail they can mimic prey,” she said.  This is why they tell visitors to ‘”make like a sandwich” when walking along the trails.

“Families and adults should think like a sandwich and the parents should be like a piece of bread and the children should be the filling.  Have an adult should be leading the pack and should be in the back.”

Here is a list of tips for a mountain lion encounter from the conservation advocacy group, The Cougar Fund:

1.) Be especially alert when recreating at dawn or dusk, which are peak times for cougar activity.

2.) Consider recreating with others. When in groups, you are less likely to surprise a lion. If alone, consider carrying bear spray or attaching a bell to yourself or your backpack. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. In general cougars are shy and will rarely approach noise or other human activities.

3.) Supervise children and pets. Keep them close to you. Teach children about cougars and how to recreate responsibly. Instruct them about how to behave in the event of an encounter.

4.) If you come into contact with a cougar that does not run away, stay calm, stand your ground and don’t back down! Back away slowly if possible and safe to do so. Pick up children, but DO NOT BEND DOWN, TURN YOUR BACK, OR RUN. Running triggers an innate predatory response in cougars which could lead to an attack.

5.) Raise your voice and speak firmly. Raise your arms to make yourself look larger, clap your hands, and throw something you might have in your hands, like a water bottle. Again, do not bend over to pick up a stone off the ground. This action may trigger a pounce response in a cougar.

6.) If in the very unusual event that a lion attacks you, fight back. People have successfully fought off lions with rocks and sticks. Try to remain standing and get up if you fall to the ground.

7.) If you believe an encounter to be a valid public safety concern, contact your state game agency and any local wildlife organizations.

5. Shark

While shark sightings are on the rise, shark attacks are still relatively rare. Last year only seven people were killed in shark attacks. Although, in 2011, the number of shark-related deaths was 13. On the off chance you come face to face with Jaws, you should be prepared.

Here are some shark encounter survival tips from Discovery’s Alexander Davies:

1.) Don’t panic. If you find yourself face to face with a shark, you’re going to need your wits about you to get away with your life. So keep calm; remember that while sharks are deadly animals, they’re not invincible. Thrashing and flailing is more likely to gain its attention than to drive it away.

2.) Play dead. If you see a shark approaching, this is a last ditch effort to stave off an attack. A shark is more likely to go after a lively target than an immobile one. But once Jaws goes in for the kill, it’s time to fight — he’ll be as happy to eat you dead as alive. From here on out, you’ll have to fight if you want to survive.

3.) Fight back. Once a shark takes hold, the only way you’re getting out alive is to prove that it’s not worth the effort to eat you — because you’re going to cause it pain. Look for a weapon: You’ll probably have to improvise. But any blunt object — a camera, nearby floating wood — will make you a more formidable opponent. Often repeated advice has it that a good punch to a shark’s snout will send it packing. In fact, the nose is just one of several weak points to aim for. A shark’s head is mostly cartilage, so the gills and eyes are also vulnerable.

4.) Fight smart. Unless you’re Rocky Balboa, you’re not going to knock out a shark with a single punch. Not only will a huge swing slow down in the water due to drag, it’s unlikely to hit a rapidly moving target. Stick with short, direct jabs, so you increase your chances of landing a few in quick succession.

5.) Play defense. Open water, where a shark can come at you from any angle, is the worst position place you can be. Get anything you can to back up against, ideally a reef or a jetty. If there are two of you, line up back to back, so you’ll always have eyes on an approaching attack. Don’t worry about limiting your escape routes- you won’t out swim a shark, better to improve your chances of sending him away.

6.) Call for backup. Call out to nearby boats, swimmers and anyone on shore for help. Even if they can’t reach you right away, they’ll know you’re in trouble, and will be there to help if you suffer some injuries but escape the worst fate.  Who knows, maybe a group of sympathetic dolphins will help you out – they’re fierce animals in their own right.

7.) Fight to the end. Giving up won’t make a shark less interested in eating you, so fight as long as you can. If the animal has a hold on you, he’s unlikely to let go. You have to show him you’re not worth the effort to eat.

6. Stingray

While stingray attacks are not usually deadly, they are painful and warrant close medical attention. With a recent stingray invasion along the Alabama coast, now is an important time to learn about the barb-tailed sea creature. The animals often bury themselves in shallow water, so even if you are just wading in the ocean, you are still at risk of being stung.

Here are some tips from Jake Howard, a lifeguard at Seal Beach, Calif. on how to handle a stingray encounter:

1.) Always shuffle your feet when walking out to the surf, sting rays are shy and skitish creatures and will generally flutter away at the first sign of danger. The sting is a self-defense mechanism when they get stepped on or threatened. The Sting Ray Shuffle is your first line of defense.

2.) If you do feel something soft and squishy under your foot step off of it as quick as possible. I stepped on a sting ray last weekend, but got off it in time that it didn’t get me…Step lightly in other words.

3.) In the case that you do get stung come to the beach as quick as possible, don’t panic because it will only increase your circulation, thus aiding in the movement of the toxin through your body. Also you want to try and limit anything that may bring on symptoms of shock.

4.) Go home, or to the nearest lifeguard or fire station to treat it. The wound can vary in pain. I’ve had a woman compare it to child birth and seen full-on tattooed gang bangers cry like little sissys, conversly I’ve seen little girls walk away with relatively little discomfort. Either way it’s not going to be fun. Pretty much the only real thing you can do for the pain is soak the sting in hot water, as hot as you can stand, but don’t go burnin’ yourself. You can also take Advil or something, but no asprin. Asprin thins the blood and allows the toxin to travel easier.

5.) Soak the foot until it feels significantly better. The pain probably won’t go completely away, but it should feel dramatically better. A little swelling is normal. Be sure to clean the wound as best as possible. If it looks like the sting ray barb is still in your foot see a doctor for treatment. Actually if anything weird at all goes on go see a doctor.

First published on http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/08/22/tips-for-surviving-wild-animal-encounter.html

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Survival, Thirteenth Century Style- Part 2, by Snow Wolf

After I happened to watch the first episode of a 1975 British TV series called Survivors, I began to think differently about survival. Two conversations rearranged everything I’d assumed about survival and the continuation of civilization after a catastrophic disaster. I began to think from a perspective of thirteen century style survival. I watched as the character in the show named Abby interacted with others and concluded that no one person had the knowledge to make much of anything in our modern society and she needed to learn how to master the old crafts. You might know some part of …

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Survival, Thirteenth Century Style- Part 1, by Snow Wolf

Like many preppers, I love disaster movies, whether Godzilla stomping a city, asteroids hitting the earth, pandemics, earthquakes, or volcanoes. After all, any of these things could happen, except maybe Godzilla, and useful ideas can come from anywhere, regardless of the style of disaster. The disaster movies were good for a laugh, but they also convinced me that any major disaster—asteroid, pandemic, or nuclear attack—will make societal recovery lengthy and perhaps impossible and survival difficult. Then, I happened to watch the first episode of a 1975 British TV series called Survivors. Two conversations rearranged everything I’d assumed about survival and …

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