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‘Substantial’ El Nino event predicted

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By Helen BriggsBBC Environment correspondent

  • 2 hours ago
  • From the sectionScience & Environment
  • 185comments

The El Nino weather pattern, which can drive droughts and flooding, is underway in the tropical Pacific for the first time in five years, say scientists.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicted that it could be a “substantial” event.

The phenomenon arises from variations in ocean temperatures.

The El Nino is still in its early stages, but has the potential to cause extreme weather around the world.

US scientists announced earlier in April that El Nino had arrived, but it was described then as “weak”.

Australian scientists said models suggested it could strengthen from September onwards, but it was too early to determine with confidence how strong it could be.

“This is a proper El Nino effect, it’s not a weak one,” David Jones, manager of climate monitoring and prediction at the Bureau of Meteorology, told reporters.

“You know, there’s always a little bit of doubt when it comes to intensity forecasts, but across the models as a whole we’d suggest that this will be quite a substantial El Nino event.”

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Aftermath of flooding in California put down to El Nino

El Nino had been expected during last year’s record-breaking temperatures, but failed to materialise.

Weather patterns

The last El Nino five years ago was linked with poor monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the United States, heatwaves in Brazil and extreme flooding in Mexico.

El Nino is a warming of the Pacific Ocean as part of a complex cycle linking atmosphere and ocean.

It is known to disrupt weather patterns around the world, and can bring wetter winters to the southwest US and droughts to northern Australia.

The consequences of El Nino are much less clear for Europe and the UK.

Research suggest that extreme weather events like El Nino will become more intense as global temperatures rise.

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A Doomsday Prepper’s Guide to Personal Finance

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For Richard Duarte, surviving the end-of-the-world-as-you-know-it isn’t just a possibility; he’s lived it. In 1992, he and his family fled their home in South Florida with only the clothes on their back, after Hurricane Andrew swept through and destroyed their house. Half an hour after the storm passed, and long before rescue or cleanup teams arrived, looters entered his neighborhood. 

“Your whole world is turned upside down,” says Duarte, an attorney and author of two survival books, including his newest one. “Living in Florida, I knew Andrew wouldn’t be the last disaster, so I’ve done a lot of research since to find out what the average person can do.” 

When you think “Doomsday preppers,” you may think of survivalists building underground bunkers, stocking up on a several years’ worth of food, or arming themselves against marauding mobs. And some certainly are doing that. But “prepping” takes a variety of forms and being prepared for a worst-case scenario isn’t as out there as it may seem to some. Whether it’s a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or pandemic — or the loss of a job, or the death or disability of the family breadwinner — you aren’t likely to regret time spent on basic preparation. 

Get Organized 

“Legal and financial preparations are probably the most neglected,” says Duarte, a Miami-based attorney. “People are busy with their lives they’ve got a million things going on,” he says, and essential tasks are often neglected. He explains that every crisis or disaster is also followed by a rebuilding and reconstruction phase. “If you go through an event like I did where the house is blown away, you won’t have the access to those documents,” he says.

Organize your documents into three categories: 

  • crucial
  • important
  • nice to have 

Crucial, for example, would include your will, power of attorney and the title to your home or car, for example. Start there and make copies. It’s also a good idea to back those up digitally, either on a removable hard drive or flash drive. Then make sure the originals are stored in a separate, safe place, such as a safe deposit box. 

Duarte has also been a victim of identity theft — it took him a year to straighten out — so he’s especially conscious of the need for being organized financially. He also advocates the use of strong passwords to help reduce the risk of ID theft. 

Stash Some Cash 

Keeping some cash on hand can be helpful. “One of the biggest vulnerabilities we have as a society is that everything is electric,” he says. “There are very few things that will work if there is a widespread power outage in a large metropolitan area.” ATMs can go down, and store clerks won’t be able to run credit cards. So he recommends keeping some small bills in your purse or wallet in case you need to catch a cab or put gas in the car, for example, and keep some cash at home. 

Many preppers recommend stockpiling gold or silver in case of an economic collapse where currency loses its value. Duarte doesn’t have a problem with owning these precious metals as a way to diversify an investment portfolio, but he is skeptical about their usefulness in day-to-day transactions after a disaster. “Folks can’t eat gold and silver,” he says. 

Remember the Essentials 

Food and water are essential to survival, so having enough on hand to survive a Katrina-like event is wise. The core survival elements, Duarte says, are “food, water, first aid, shelter, self-protection, temperature regulation and sanitation/hygiene and knowing when to stay put and when to get out.” Store at least one month’s worth of emergency supplies if you can, but if you can’t, start with a smaller amount and work your way up. For example, on his blog he recommends spending an additional $10 a week on groceries that store well, and then rotating unused items into the menu periodically so they don’t expire and go to waste. A first aid kit is also a must-have. And you’ll need to think about how you’ll protect yourself in dangerous situations. 

Knowledge Is Invaluable 

Skills can be more valuable than “stuff” in the event of a disaster, Duarte believes. He explains: 

One example is water purification/disinfection. After a disaster it’s not uncommon for water to be contaminated and/or unsafe to drink unless it’s treated. If you purchase a water filter (stuff) and throw it in a closet, you take the risk that the filter may not work, may be damaged or may just plain fail when you need it most. On the other hand there are at least half a dozen ways to disinfect suspect water (skills) if you know how — heat (boiling), chemicals (chlorine bleach, iodine) solar radiation (SODIS), ultraviolet light (UV), etc.  With skills you always have other options, even if the “stuff” fails or you have no “stuff.” 

Another example is first aid and medical. It’s very important to have first aid supplies but it’s even more important to know the proper way to treat a sick or injured person. All the supplies in the world will be of little use if you don’t know how to use them. If you have the skills you can always improvise. Of course it will always be better to have both skills and stuff. 

“Some people will prepare for extreme events yet they won’t prepare for a house fire, or a loss of a job,” he says. “Start with the basics. Start small.”

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Water Crisis: Lake Mead, Largest US Reservoir, Faces Federal “Water Emergency,” Forced Rationing

Leak Mead – on your left, when you drive from Las Vegas across the Hoover Dam – is the largest reservoir in the country when at capacity. It’s fed by the Colorado River which provides water for agriculture, industry, and 40 million people in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Now after 15 years of drought, the “lake” – a mud puddle surrounded by a huge chalky bathtub ring – is threatening to run dry.

It’s considered “operationally full” when the water level is at 1,229 feet elevation above sea level. On May 2, the water level was down to 1,078.9 feet above sea level, the lowest since it was being filled in May 1937. It’s down 15 feet from the same day a year ago. Over the last 36 months, the water level has dropped 44.8 feet. It’s down 150 feet from capacity.

If the water level is below 1,075 feet elevation – 4 feet below today’s level – by January 1, 2016, it will trigger a federal water emergency. And water rationing. Las Vegas Review Journal reported that forecasters expect the level to drop to 1073 feet by June, before Lake Powell would begin to release more water. Assuming “average or better snow accumulations in the mountains that feed the Colorado River – something that’s happened only three times in the past 15 years,” the water level on January 1 is expected to be barely above the federal shortage level.

Even with these somewhat rosy assumptions of “average or better than average snow accumulations,” the water level would begin set new lows next April. But if the next winter is anything like the last few, all bets are off.

If the level drops below 1050 feet, one of the two intake pipes for the Las Vegas Valley, which gets 90% of its water that way, will run dry. A new $817-million tunnel is being built by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to create a new drain to get the last drop out of the bathtub. It should be ready by September.

The LA Times explains what water rationing would mean for the states:

Las Vegas has long been at a disadvantage when it comes to Lake Mead water. A 1922 Colorado River water-sharing agreement among seven Western states — one still in effect nearly a century later — gives southern Nevada the smallest amount of all; 300,000 acre-feet a year, compared with California’s 4.4 million annual acre-feet. An acre-foot can supply two average homes for one year.

This summer, officials will make their projection for Lake Mead water in January 2016. If the estimate is below 1,075 feet, rationing kicks in: Southern Nevada would lose 13,000 acre-feet per year and Arizona would lose 320,000 acre-feet. California’s portion would not be affected.

Note the last sentence – that California would not be affected. Keeping lawns green in LA is top priority.

“Between Lake Mead and Lake Powell, you have over 50 million acre feet in storage when they’re full,” explained Pat Mulroy, former general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority from 1991 until she retired in 2014. “To have them both go down to a quarter of their capacity is a pretty scary proposition,” she said.

Here she is, via Brookings, on the water crisis at Lake Mead, with ghostly images of the lake and of Hover Dam sitting high and dry:

To get through the drought, residents and growers in California’s Central Valley have been pumping water from aquifers to take a shower, fill a glass with water, irrigate almond orchards, or do a million other things. But now, it turns out, those aquifers, whose water levels are already dropping, are threatened by something else. NBC Bay Area video…. Fracking Wastewater Injected into Clean Aquifers in Parched California

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Prep School: Bay Area Survivalists Are Ready for the Big One

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Wednesday, May 6 2015

  • Armageddon chic: From protests to post-earthquake disasters, the gas mask is a perennial.

If you drive around the outskirts of El Dorado Hills long enough, you might chance upon the secluded 60-acre compound where Gary Miller and his friends are preparing for Armageddon. They have a water well, pallets of freeze-dried food from Costco, a Chevy alternator jerry-rigged with shovel blades that generate electricity as they spin, and a stockpile of guns and ammo.

“My motto is, be prepared and be safe,” Miller says. “If you think the government is going to help you, you’re misguided.”

Miller is a prepper, one of the estimated 3 to 4 million Americans who plan for catastrophe and the vigilantism sure to follow. The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 6,000 is a haunting reminder that San Francisco, too, is a time bomb. San Andreas, Hayward, Calaveras — the very names of the fault lines are a kind of sinister catcall that sets Miller on edge. “There are only three ways out of the city,” he tells me, and neither of the bridges will be passable. Miller never drives into San Francisco unless his Ford Explorer is stocked with everything he and his wife will need to survive in the wilderness for a month.

In a statement released April 27, Mayor Ed Lee said, “We know disasters … can happen at any time with little or no warning. That is why it is important to take steps now so you are ready for any emergency.” Miller has been ready since 1992. Back then he worked with computers at Moffett Field — he alludes to classified Army projects and NASA — and was an early believer in Y2K armageddon. He spent $20,000 on a generator and other hardware; $6,000 on the freeze-dried food that now fills every closet in his house; and $500 on a military-style hiking backpack that accommodates food, surgical equipment, clothing, toiletries, a fishing pole, a .22 rifle with scope, and ammo — enough supplies to completely cover his California King bed.

Three months ago, Miller and his son launched Norcal-preppers.com, a prepper supply website. “Social Security doesn’t pay enough,” Miller says when I ask why, at 68, he’s venturing into online retail. A better answer might be that like many preppers who talk shop on message boards, he is eager to connect with like-minded folks. Miller says he knows 50 or 60 preppers around the Bay Area, many of them firefighters, police officers, paramedics, or ex-military. Indeed, a former Army Ranger owns the El Dorado Hills compound where Miller and his cohorts stage bugouts, carefully choreographed disaster drills that can last all weekend.

Miller isn’t alone in the Bay Area. A cursory glance at prepper forums reveals a patchwork network of survivalists bracing for the next Big One. A message recently posted to the California Preppers Group solicited volunteers for a bugout to be held on a private ranch near Livermore-Tracy. And on Meetup, at least two active Bay Area prepper groups have a combined membership of nearly 700. On Twitter, the SF QuakeBot automatically updates 105,000 followers about every seismic twitch in the area.

When I ask Bill Snitzer, the bot’s developer, about the followers’ relationship with earthquakes, he responds that he’s noticed “people who have some kind of obsession,” singling out one follower who compulsively retweets the bot. “I’ve also noticed a lot of the followers are prepper types,” Snitzer says, “but by no means a majority.” Based on demographic data Snitzer provided, it also seems many followers (64 percent of whom are male) have a healthy sense of humor. Among the other Twitter accounts they most often follow are Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and The Onion.

The earthquake in Nepal is no laughing matter for those like Miller, who are preparing for a similar disaster here. In March, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that the likelihood of a mega-quake — defined as 8.0 magnitude or greater — striking California in the next 30 years is seven percent. The USGS also reported that multiple faults could rupture simultaneously and that earthquakes could jump from one fault to another. On prepper forums, Nepal has inspired seriocomic debates about how such devastation would affect the Golden State.

“How big of a quake do you guys think it would take to cause california [sic] to become its on [sic] island due to the san adres [sic] fault line?” one commenter asked. Another, already envisioning marauders in the streets, declared, “In the end our only friend will be a bayonet, and the will to use it without remorse.” Some pointed to the recent unrest in Baltimore as a case study in social breakdown. “What have we learned? We need more ARs [assault rifles]. That’s for damn sure.” It’s worth noting that the subject of guns is complex and factious among preppers. It’s the one thing Miller refuses to discuss, except to say, “Everyone in my family could shoot you at 500 yards.”

It’s been a quarter-century since a major earthquake shook San Francisco. (Miller summed up the 1989 Loma Prieta quake like this: “You haven’t experienced an earthquake until you’ve been in a waterbed and felt that fucker roll you over.”) Although critical infrastructure upgrades have been made — especially on bridges and BART tunnels — and while retrofitting continues apace, much work remains. An investigation by NBC Bay Area found that a third of the region’s acute care hospitals are at risk of collapsing during a strong trembler; 55 percent of state levees are considered “high hazard”; and 474 area bridges are structurally deficient. Moreover,San Francisco Public Press reported that at least 5,000 residences in San Francisco still need to be retrofitted.

Preppers everywhere live by the credo of “not if, but when.” As one online prepper counseled his fellow doomsday watchers, “Some people don’t like being labeled as ‘survivalists,’ but I think it’s much better than being labeled ‘refugee.'”

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Could A Tiny Five-Man Company Provide The Army’s Next Pistol?

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Posted by Bob Owens on April 28, 2015 at 5:54 pm

St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Tim Barker just did a story on the small Milstadt, Illinois company that some people seem to think has a real shot of being a serious contenderfor the Army’s Modular Handgun System contract.

At first glance, it seems absurd to suggest that a small company on the outskirts of St. Louis could be a serious player in the race to provide the U.S. Army with its next handgun.

This is, after all, a major event in the realm of military weapons — having happened only twice in the past 100 or so years. And it’s expected to draw the attention of the industry’s most powerful names, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Ruger and Glock.

And then there’s tiny Detonics, a five-person operation in Millstadt that fashions itself more tech company than gunmaker.

They’ll be facing deep-pocketed competitors with lobbyists, squads of marketing and public relations staffers, and friends in Congress.

“There’s just no comparison to what these large companies have in the way of resources,” said Bruce Siddle, Detonics’ chief executive.

But what his company does have, he said, is a gun that would give the military what it craves — a weapon with a modular design offering easy customizing to fit different hands as well as different missions. The ideas behind it even prompted a 2013 invitation from the Army’s modular handguns group, which asked for a presentation on the company’s efforts.

Barker contacted me about this article, so feel free to read the whole thing to see my comments.

There is still another industry day ahead to answer questions about the contract, and it appears that an official Army RFP is still several months down the road, providing the Army doesn’t kill the program entirely as they have other small arms contracts in recent years.

What I can tell you at this time is that the STX is the only truly modular, all-metal handgun in contention at this time that meets the MHS requirements, and that’s not a small thing.

[Photo By David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com]

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Disconnecting from the Electric Grid is Closer than you Think.

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Tesla Energy

Powerwall

Powerwall is available in 10kWh, optimized for backup applications or 7kWh optimized for daily use applications. Both can be connected with solar or grid and both can provide backup power. The 10kWh Powerwall is optimized to provide backup when the grid goes down, providing power for your home when you need it most. When paired with solar power, the 7kWh Powerwall can be used in daily cycling to extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar into the night when sunlight is unavailable.

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Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3500 for 10kWh and $3000 for 7kWh. (Price excludes inverter and installation.) Deliveries begin in late Summer.

Powerwall specs:

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  • Mounting: Wall Mounted Indoor/Outdoor
  • Inverter: Pairs with growing list of inverters
  • Energy: 7 kWh or 10 kWh
  • Continuous Power: 2 kW
  • Peak Power: 3.3 kW
  • Round Trip Efficiency: >92%
  • Operating Temperature Range: -20C (-4F) to 43C (110F)
  • Warranty: 10 years
  • Dimensions: H: 1300mm W: 860mm D:180mm

Highlighted Powerwall Distribution Partners

Treehouse
TreeHouse, a sustainable home improvement store, is collaborating with Tesla to sell Powerwall. “For the first time, running your home on a battery will be affordable and easy,” says TreeHouse co-founder and president Jason Ballard. “I think in the near future, having a battery in your home will be as normal as having a water heater or a dishwasher.” Ballard added, “This just takes us one step closer to being able to power homes completely without the use of fossil fuels.”

Fronius
Fronius and Tesla have partnered on a global level to offer Powerwall in combination with the Fronius Symo Hybrid inverter as a seamless solution for residential PV systems. For new PV installations, homeowners can use the Fronius inverter to operate both the PV and Powerwall, which reduces the overall system cost. For homeowners that already have solar PV, the Fronius inverter can be added to the system (AC coupled) or replace the existing inverter (DC coupled), and the Fronius solution will function with any type of solar energy system. This makes the Fronius plus Tesla solution a highly flexible solution across the globe.

Fronius is a leading inverter manufacturer in the global market, with nearly 1 million inverters installed worldwide. Fronius is known for both innovation and high quality, with 1,008 active patents and 23 years of solar experience. Its products are exported through 22 international Fronius subsidiaries and sales partners/representatives in over 60 countries. The company is a multi-industry leader in the fields of energy storage, battery charging, and welding technology. Fronius and Tesla are pleased to expand a current successful relationship into the realm of energy storage.

SolarEdge
SolarEdge, a leader in the global PV inverter market, and Tesla partnered for the joint development of a PV storage and backup power solution for the worldwide residential solar market. Building on SolarEdge’s proven DC optimized inverter proven and Tesla’s leading automotive-grade battery technology, the solution will require only a single SolarEdge inverter to manage both PV and storage functions. The system is designed for efficient, outdoor installation and includes remote monitoring and troubleshooting to keep operations and maintenance costs low.

Founded in 2006, SolarEdge provides an intelligent inverter solution that has changed the way power is harvested and managed in solar photovoltaic systems. The SolarEdge DC optimized inverter system maximizes power generation at the individual PV module-level while lowering the cost of energy produced by the solar PV system. Since beginning commercial shipments in 2010, SolarEdge has shipped more than 1.3 Gigawatt (‘‘GW’’) of its DC optimized inverter systems, including over 220,000 inverters, its products have been installed in PV systems in more than 73 countries, and more than 100,000 systems are monitored in its cloud-based monitoring portal.

Green Mountain Power
At Green Mountain Power we are thrilled to bring Tesla’s innovative home battery storage to Vermont as part of a radical transformation of how energy is generated and used to empower customers to save money and increase reliability and resiliency. As Vermont’s energy company of the future, we are turning the old utility model on its head, and offering products and services to help Vermonters use less energy and one day rely on the grid as a backup system. GMP is focused on a future that moves away from dirty inefficient sources of energy to a clean, sustainable and cost effective energy future. Powerwall will speed up the pace of change and keep Vermont on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Tesla Energy for Businesses

Based on the powertrain architecture and components of Tesla electric vehicles, Tesla energy storage systems deliver broad application compatibility and streamlined installation by integrating batteries, power electronics, thermal management and controls into a turn key system.

Tesla’s energy storage allows businesses to capture the full potential of their facility’s solar arrays by storing excess generation for later use and delivering solar power at all times. Tesla Energy for Businesses anticipates and discharges stored power during a facility’s times of highest usage, reducing the demand charge component of the energy energy bills.

Energy storage for business is designed to:

  • Maximize consumption of on-site clean power
  • Avoid peak demand charges
  • Buy electricity when it’s cheapest
  • Get paid by utility or intermediate service providers for participating in grid services
  • Back up critical business operations in the event of a power outage

Highlighted Tesla Energy Businesses

Amazon
Launched in 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a robust, fully featured technology infrastructure platform in the cloud comprised of a broad set of compute, storage, database, analytics, application, and deployment services from data center locations in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Ireland, Japan, and Singapore. More than a million customers, including fast-growing startups, large enterprises, and government agencies across 190 countries, rely on AWS services to innovate quickly, lower IT costs, and scale applications globally. To serve these customers, AWS is committed to operating in the most environmentally friendly way possible. In addition to the environmental benefits inherently associated with running applications in the cloud, AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure footprint. Today, three AWS Regions are 100% carbon-neutral, including US West (Oregon), EU (Frankfurt), and AWS GovCloud (US).

“We’ve been working closely with Tesla for the past year to drive innovative applications of high-capacity battery technology in data center applications with the ultimate goal of reducing the technical barriers limiting widespread adoption of renewables in the grid,” said James Hamilton, Distinguished Engineer at AWS. “Batteries are important for both data center reliability and as enablers for the efficient application of renewable power. They help bridge the gap between intermittent production, from sources like wind, and the data center’s constant power demands. We’re excited to roll out a 4.8 megawatt hour pilot of Tesla’s energy storage batteries in our US West (Northern California) Region. This complements our strategy to use renewable energy to power our global infrastructure.”

Target
“As part of Target’s support to our communities, we’re excited to partner with Tesla on a pilot test at select Target stores to incorporate Tesla Energy Storage as part of our energy strategy,” said David Hughes, senior group manager, Energy Management, Target. “Tesla’s cutting-edge technology offers unique benefits to powering these stores, most importantly relieving stress from the electrical grid at peak times, furthering Target’s investment in designing and operating energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.”

Jackson Family Wines 
Jackson Family Wines (JFW) is a collection of premium and luxury wineries best known for its acclaimed Kendall-Jackson Winery. Sustainability is intentional at JFW; we have taken a two-fold approach to energy management at our wineries by improving operational efficiency across all levels of our organization and reinvesting those savings in onsite renewable energy systems.

With Tesla’s stationary energy storage solution, JFW can significantly mitigate energy use around four areas that account for the most consumption in our winemaking process: refrigeration/cooling, lighting, compressed air and process water treatment. Each battery pack will draw electricity from the grid or our onsite solar arrays during times of low demand and store it for later use to smooth out energy spikes.

EnerNoc
EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software helps customers make the most of Tesla’s energy storage systems by integrating them into an overall energy management strategy. EnerNOC’s software easily integrates with any site that has a Tesla energy storage system, optimizing battery usage during high price periods and enabling customers to utilize batteries for demand charge management and demand response.

Tesla Energy for Utilities

Advanced Microgrid Solutions (grid resource adequacy)
“Tesla’s bold approach to advancing battery technology will change the way we build our cities forever” -Susan Kennedy, co-founder and CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

OnCor (microgrid)
Oncor realizes the electric industry is changing as well as our customers’ needs for electric service. Oncor believes the only way to prepare for customers’ future needs is with a flexible, adaptive electric grid which can only be accomplished through the use of technology like advanced meters, smart grid and electric storage. Tesla has long demonstrated its ability to be a technology leader which is why Oncor has looked to Tesla for grid-scale storage. Oncor looks forward to working with Tesla to make sure the electric grid meets all customers’ future needs.

Southern California Edison
Edison International is proud of its efforts to help create a market for battery storage systems and its work with Tesla to bring this technology to customers. Southern California Edison (SCE), the regulated utility subsidiary of Edison International, has developed the nation’s largest battery storage system and has contracts in place for an additional 264 megawatts of storage, including projects using Tesla batteries. SCE is working with Tesla on three demonstration projects that can help drive down the cost of battery storage systems for residential and business customers, as well as EV drivers. These demand response demonstration projects will test communication capabilities and explore rebates to customers who allow SCE to manage their battery charging in order to increase the use of renewable energy while ensuring continued grid reliability.

SoCore Energy, a subsidiary of Edison Energy, which is Edison International’s portfolio of competitive businesses and equity interests in emerging companies, is working with a client to design and install Tesla batteries at two of their retail properties in Southern California. The sites will feature Tesla battery units that will be charged with electricity from the grid during nonpeak hours at night. The two battery systems will be able to store up to 400 kilowatts and 600 kilowatts, respectively. SoCore Energy is working with its client to identify additional locations for potential battery installations. SoCore Energy is not the same company as Southern California Edison, the utility, and SoCore Energy is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

AES (solar paired at a utility level)
Tesla Motors’ commitment to battery production will help meet the growing demand for energy storage; as a launch partner, we are particularly pleased to leverage the home battery product across our distributed energy platforms. AES has been providing grid-scale energy storage solutions for seven years, building on more than 30 years of experience serving utilities with power solutions that improve lives.The AES Advancion™ digital control system for energy storage manages best-in-class batteries and other components for both centralized and distributed storage systems. In addition, AES’ world-class capability in engineering, installation and operations and maintenance enable turnkey energy storage solutions from KWs to hundreds of MW for utilities and end customers.

Tesla Press Release

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How to Survive Civil Unrest and Riots

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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.

 

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These Suburban Preppers Are Ready for Anything

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.”

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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Gear to help you survive the first 24 hours after disaster strikes


By Allison Barrie

Published February 26, 2015

First 24 kit. (Taurus)

If disaster struck, how would you survive the first 24 hours?

A new, lightweight, rugged kit contains key tools that would certainly give you an advantage.

Taurus has created a solution to improve your chances in pretty much any crisis you could encounter; from a natural disaster to a zombie apocalypse. The First 24 Kit contains smart components to help people survive the first 24 hours of any crisis and make their way to safety.

The kit includes: a revolver, a knife, a flashlight, emergency signals, fire starter kit, a compass, some 550 Para cord, as well as a battery caddy and batteries – all contained in a robust, practical case.

Revolver

More on this…

War Games: Surviving a disaster

So many judges carry this revolver for self-protection into the courtroom that this weapon is known as the “Taurus Judge.” It chambers both 45 Colt Ammunition for longer distances and .410 2-1/2″ shotshell for short distances. As the company says, this “Taurus Judge is one decision-maker that lays down the law.”

This compact has a matte stainless steel finish and weighs 29 ounces.  It is fully customized with fiber optic front sights, fixed rear sights and the Taurus “Ribber Grips.” The barrel length is 3 inches and it has five round capacity.

The Taurus Judge also features the Taurus Security System designed to provide instantaneous defense. There’s also the option of simply turning a key to render the pistol inoperable. In this mode, the pistol is secured and cannot be fired or cocked – even the gun’s manual safety can’t be disengaged.

Knife

The CRKT Sting Survival Knife, crafted by knife legend A. G. Russell, and customized by Aimpro Tactical, is a fixed blade tactical knife with two edges.

The 3.197-inch blade starts out as alloy, similar to that used in Samurai swords, but is then amped up even more by hot forging and precision grinding into its final, nearly indestructible, form. For corrosion resistance, a black non-reflective powder coat finish is added. The handle is also hot forged 1050 carbon steel.

The handle is contoured for a comfortable fit for both gloved and bare hands. It weighs 3.9 ounces, and when the blade is open, the length is 6.85 inches.

It comes with a custom nylon-stitched reinforced sheath and a strapping option for gear or a clip for belt, pack or boot attachment.

The knife is a smart choice for a survival kit. “Strap it down and take it into any situation. It’s ready to battle with any environment,” says CRKT.

Flashlight

Brite Strike’s EPLI (Executive Precision Lighting Instrument) flashlight won the NRA’s 2013 American Hunter Gear of the Year – enough said.

It looks like one of those expensive pens seen in boardrooms, but it functions as a water and shock-proof sate of the art flashlight.

Crafted from high-grade aircraft aluminum with a graphite-anodized finish, the EPLI is a slim, just over five-inch long, penlight.

The low setting is just right for your average camp needs. Its special design produces a very bright beam that creates light similar to natural daylight.

But in the event of danger, the third setting can emit a blinding strobe to help deflect the threat.

The strobe setting can also be used to set an SOS. It takes standard AAA batteries and uses state-of-the-art power management to maximize light duration to more than six hours on lo mode.

Emergency Signals

APALS, or All Purpose Adhesive Light Strips, also made by Brite Strike, are basically next-generation replacements for chemical light sticks.

Military special operators were keen to have reliable, long endurance, combat identifiers. APALS were designed as a solution to improve a warfighter’s signaling options.

The APALS can be seen at up to a mile and have three modes: fast strobe, slow strobe, and steady.

They are waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof and can be bought in flexible, lightweight, 1.6-ounce crushproof 10 packs that easily fit in a cargo pocket. This innovative packaging approach is important because chemical light sticks have a tendency to accidentally become activated – this design eliminates that risk.

Highly robust, the strips are designed to operate in the most extreme conditions, from the Arctic to the desert, and provide more than 200 hours of runtime.

This kit includes three colors: red, white and green.

Fire Starter

Fire is always fundamental to survival. Zippo’s new bright orange Emergency Fire Starter Kit included in the First 24 makes lighting a fire impossibly easy. It has a reliable flint wheel ignition to light its water-resistant Waxed Tinder Sticks. Everything stays dry inside the Zippo case thanks to its smart design with a water-resistant O-ring seal.

550 Survival Para cord Bundle

The kit also includes 550 Para cord, a lightweight nylon rope that has a breaking strength of 550 pounds or more. Para cord dates back to World War II parachute suspension lines. In a survival setting, Para cord has innumerable useful applications, from securing things and building harnesses, through to using its strands to make fishing line.

As you’d expect from any self-respecting survival kit, there is also a compass, more specifically a 20mm Spherical Survival Compass.

It also includes a Power Pax Slim Line Caddy, originally designed for pilots. The Caddy holds six AA batteries and can be dispensed with one hand. AA batteries are included in this comprehensive kit.

Case

All of these essentials are contained in the SKB Series 1209-4 Waterproof Utility Case, the final component of the First 24. The dimensions are 12 inches long by nine inches wide with a depth of four and half inches.

It has both a waterproof and dust tight design. In addition to impact damage resistance, it is also resistant to UV, solvents, corrosion and fungus. Taurus provides the case in tan.

Altogether, the First 24 goes for $1,499.

Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at wargames@foxnews.com or follow her on Twitter@Allison_Barrie.

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Long Term Food Storage


Preparing an Emergency Food Supply, Long Term Food Storage

One never knows when emergency will strike.  Hurricanes, floods, snow storms, and civil unrest all have the potential for disrupting services and food supplies we have all taken for granted.

Put a plan together for what you should do if emergency strikes.  Prepare yourself by gathering water, supplies, and emergency items and consumables you may need.

Emergency items should be stored in a place that has easy access, and can be gathered in a hurry if necessary.  If you have a basement or garage make a shelf or specific area for emergency items.  If you don’t a closet works as long as it is organized and items are easily reached.

Putting Together a Disaster Supply Kit

Items to include in a disaster supply kit:

  • Medical supplies and first aid manual
  • Hygiene supplies
  • Portable radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlights and lanterns with extra batteries
  • Camping cook stove and fuel
  • Sterno cans
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Blankets and extra clothing
  • Shovel and other useful tools
  • Money in a waterproof container
  • Infant and small children’s needs (if appropriate)
  • Can opener, utensils, cookware

Some items have expiration dates so be sure to check periodically. In a crisis, it will be most important that you maintain your strength. Eating a well balanced meals can help you do this. Here are some important nutrition tips.

  • Plan meals to include as much balance nutrition as possible.
  • Eat at least one well-balanced meal each day.
  • Drink at least two quarts of water a day. You will need more in warm climates.
  • Take in enough calories to meet the demand.  Vigorous work will require more calories.
  • Vitamins and minerals in your stockpile will assure adequate nutrition.

When deciding what foods to stock, use common sense. Consider what you could use and how you could prepare it. Storing foods that are difficult to prepare and are unlikely to be eaten could be a costly mistake.

unapprovedfoodcontainer UN Approved Food Storage Container

One approach to long term food storage is to store bulk staples along with fast preparation food sources.  A variety of canned and dried foods also make it easy for preparation.

Bulk Staples and dried sources such as wheat, corn, beans and salt can be purchased in bulk quantities inexpensively and have nearly unlimited shelf life. If necessary, you could survive for years on small daily amounts of these staples. Pre-prepared meals such as (MRE) can cost more per calorie delivered but make preparation much easier.

The following amounts are suggested per adult, per year:

Item                    Amount*

  • Wheat                        240 pounds
  • Powdered Milk            75 pounds
  • Corn                            240 pounds
  • Iodized Salt                    5 pounds
  • Soybeans                    120 pounds
  • Fats and Oil***            20 pounds**
  • Vitamin C***               180 grams

Stocking Foods for Infants

Special attention would need to be paid to stocking supplies of foods for infants. Powdered formula would be the least expensive form of infant formula to stock. Commercially canned liquid formula concentrate and ready-to-feed formula may also be stored. Amounts needed would vary, depending on the age of the infant. Infant formula has expiration dates on the packages and should not be used past the expiration date.

Parents should also plan to have a variety of infant cereals and baby foods on hand. Amounts needed will vary depending on the age of the infant.

Foods to Supplement Your Bulk Staples

You should add pre-packaged foods such as dried foods, mixes, and supermarket foods. Cured and canned meats are a good selection. A variety of rice, beans, and corn are nutritious and long-lasting. Ready-to-eat cereals, pasta mixes, rice mixes, dried fruits, etc. can also be included to add variety to your menus. Packaged mixes that only need water and require short cooking times are good options because they are easy to prepare. The more of these products you include, the more expensive your stockpile will be.

mylarbage Mylar Storage Bag:  Can be vacuum sealed or ironed closed using O2 absorbers

Consider storing the items listed below. Amounts are suggested quantities per adult per year.

Flour, White Enriched 17 lbs
Corn Meal 42 lbs
Pasta (Spaghetti/Macaroni) 42 lbs
Beans (dry) 25 lbs
Beans, Lima (dry) 1 lb
Peas, Split (dry) 1 lb
Lentils (dry) 1 lb
Dry Soup Mix 5 lbs
Peanut Butter 4 lbs
Dry Yeast 1/2 lb
Sugar, White Granulated 40 lbs
Soda 1 lb
Baking Powder 1 lb
Vinegar 1/2 gal

Approach long-term food storage as follows:

1. Buy bulk staples as previously listed.

2. Buy your everyday stock of canned goods until you have a two-week to one-month surplus. Rotate it periodically to maintain a supply of common foods that will not require special preparation, water or cooking.

3. Find dried meat sources. Although costly, this is an excellent form of stored meat, so buy accordingly. (Canned meats are also options.) Another option is to purchase dry, packaged mixes from the supermarket. Consider stocking some of the items listed as examples below. Amounts are suggested quantities for an adult for one year.

All dry ingredients or supplies should be stored off the floor in clean, dry, dark places away from any source of moisture. Foods will maintain quality longer if extreme changes in temperature and exposure to light are avoided.

Grains

Bulk wheat, dark hard winter or dark hard spring wheat are good selections for storage. Wheat should be at least #2 grade with a protein content of at least 12% and moisture content less than 10%. The best option for all dried grains is to be stored in 5 gallon food grade containers with air tight lids and mylar liners with O2 absorbers. If the wheat has not already been treated to prevent insects from hatching, wheat may be treated at the time of storage by placing one-fourth pound of dry ice per 5 gallon container in the bottom and then filling with wheat. Cover the wheat with the lid, but not tightly, for five or six hours before transferring the grain to a mylar lined and sealed container. Other grains to consider storing include rye, rice, oats, triticale, barley and millet. Pasta products can also be stored in 5 or 6 gallon containers with mylar liners. Milled rice will maintain its quality longer in storage than will brown rice. Many of the grains may require grinding before use. Many health food stores sell hand-cranked grain mills or can tell you where you can get one. Make sure you buy one that can grind corn. If you are caught without a mill, you can grind your grain fairly well by using a blender.

Dairy Products

Store dry milk in an air-tight container with mylar liner. Dry milk may be stored at 70oF for 12 – 24 months. If purchased in nitrogen packed cans, storage time for best quality will be 24 months. Other dairy products for long term storage may include canned evaporated milk, pasteurized cheese spreads, powdered cheese, and ghee (purified butter).

Other Foods or Ingredients

Iodized salt can be stored in its original package since moisture is the only detrimental thing for salt. Dried beans, peas, lentils, etc. provide an inexpensive alternative protein source and are easy to store in plastic containers with mylar liners and oxygen absorbers . Unused open food boxes, cookies and crackers can be placed in plastic bags, and keep them in air-tight storage containers for use in the near term. Empty opened packages of sugar, dried fruits and nuts into airtight food storage containers to protect them from pests. Inspect all food containers for signs of spoilage before use. Commercially canned foods are safe to eat long after the “use by date” provided the containers are not bulging, leaking or badly rusted. Quality may diminish with long term storage and be aware of changes in flavor, color and texture.   For best quality rotate canned goods at least every two to four years.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Possible deficiencies in the diet in emergency situations can lead to long term health issues. Families should store and use in rotation 365 multi-vitamin/mineral tablets per person. Careful attention should be paid to expiration dates on packages.

Shelf Life of Foods for Storage (Unopened)

Here are some general guidelines for rotating common emergency foods to ensure the best quality of the products.

Use within 1 year:

  • Powdered milk (boxed)
  • Dried fruit (in metal container)
  • Dry, crisp crackers (in metal container)
  • Dried Potatoes

Use within 2 years

  • Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
  • Canned fruits, fruit juices and vegetables
  • Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Hard candy, chocolate bars and canned nuts
  • Vegetable oils

May be stored 5+ years* (in proper containers and conditions):

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Baking powder
  • Soybeans
  • Instant coffee, tea
  • Cocoa
  • Salt
  • Noncarbonated soft drinks
  • White rice
  • Bouillon products
  • Dry pasta
  • Vitamin C
  • Powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans)

References:

1. Federal Emergency Management Agency. June 16, 1998 Update. Emergency Food and Water Supplies (FEMA-215). Washington, DC.

2. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 1998. Emergency Preparedness Manual.

3: Preparing an emergency food supply, long term food storage: University of Georgia

Judy Harrison, Ph.D.:Associate Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist

Elizabeth Andress, Ph.D.:Associate Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist

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Fema Words of Advice


Are You Ready?
A Guide to Citizen Preparedness



Federal Emergency Management Agency
Washington, D.C.

Dear Citizens,

We live in a different world than we did before September 11, 2001.We are more aware of our 
vulnerabilities, more appreciative of our freedoms and more understanding that we have a personal 
responsibility for the safety of our families, our neighbors and our nation.

Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness provides practical information on how your family can 
prepare for any disaster.It includes up-to-date hazard specific safety tips and information about 
preparedness and protection.In addition to information on most natural and technological disasters, there 
are new chapters on "Animals in Disaster," "Extreme Heat­­ (Heat Wave)," "Landslide & Debris Flow 
(Mudslide)," "Emergency Water Shortages," and newly updated information on terrorism. 

We know that disaster preparedness works.We can take action now that will help protect our families, 
reduce the impact an emergency has on our lives, and deal with the chaos if an incident occurs near us.
These actions are at the heart of everything we do at FEMA, and they are the reason President George W. 
Bush established Citizen Corps, a nationwide initiative encompassing public education, citizen training and 
volunteer programs.FEMA's vision of a nation prepared is best achieved by your participation in 
community and family preparedness so that we are all better protected for every disaster. 

Contact your local emergency management office for information about specific hazards in your area and 
to volunteer to help make your community better prepared.

We know that disaster can strike at any time. We all have a personal responsibility to be ready.

Sincerely,

Joe M. Allbaugh
Director
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Wrong Ideas About Emergency Preparedness


1) Must Find Food First.

The answer is WRONG!  While food obviously is important for living long term.  You may not like it, but you can live weeks without food.  Our ancestors while hunting and gathering through the forests, didn’t have grocery stores and starbucks.  You can survive for 21 days on average without eating.  You may get unbearable to be around and be weak, but you’ll be alive.

Shelter and Water are the most important things to find first.  In some climates, shelter may not be harsh as others, but if you get cold and wet, your life immediately in danger. the average personal consumption should be at least 1/2 gallon per day.  In hot climates more and in cooler climates you can survive with less. Remember the rule of 3: You can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.

2) Just pitch a tent anywhere, that’s just fine.

Nope…Wrong answer  You need not only protect yourself from the elements, but stay warm at night.  The ground is really hard for all of us modern day, mushy, weak and feeble humans.  Now if you’re a hard core back packer, or backwoods, live off nature kind, you may have an advantage.  But most of us are used to sleeping in a bed with the TV on.  You need to stay Warm and Dry.

3) Don’t drink all your water

Save some for later, is absolutely a bad idea.  If your thirsty drink.  Dehydration and sun stroke is very difficult to recover from quickly.  You will be out of commission fast.

Don’t gulp it down, but if you’re thirsty then you need to drink water and use that time to search for other water sources.  Remember water can and should always filtered, boiled, or treated with chemicals to purify it.

4) Go it Alone 

Wrong…  We are an communal  species.  Form a small group with family, neighbors, and people you trust.  The reason society has worked and continues to work is that different people bring different skills to the ready.  We need eachother

5) The animals will get you.

There are only 200 or so cases of people being killed by animal attacks each year in the United States, and this is out of the millions who spend a lot of time outdoors. If you’re stranded you’ll be hard pressed to even find a wild animal, let alone one that is out looking for humans to eat. 

6) Oh look a Cactus

You can’t drink from cacti.  Arid areas and desert vegetation contain very little water even after a heavy rain. Whatever liquid they do have is not drinkable and may actually contain compounds that are extremely unhealthy.

Keeping hydrated is the most important factor when stranded.  To conserve your supplies and energy.  Stay cool.

7) Drink Cool Fresh Water from a Stream

Yes and No… Even the best most refreshing mountain spring could be carrying pathogens that could make you double over and wish you were dead. However if that’s your only water then drink it. There’s a much greater risk of death by dehydration than by a stomach bug. If you do risk it and end up getting sick you’ll likely still live long enough for you to get to help.  Personal water filters, boiling water, or simply bleach can reduce this risk.

8) I think it’s this way

Many people believe that they’ll be able to find they way back if they just start walking. If there’s a chance of rescue, as there will be in most national parks and hiking trails, then the best option by far is to sit tight and wait for help. Walking off in a random direction will drain your water and energy reserves really quickly and could result in injuries. If you do have to move around in order to find/make shelter, keep to the shade and breath through your nose rather than your mouth to conserve fluids.

If you find yourself stranded and begin walking, leave some way of letting others know which direction to went.  Rocks piled up in an arrow for example will work.

9) Fire

Without experience and learned techniques, it is very difficult to start a fire without some kind of accelerant.  If you’re out hiking, then carry water proof matches, lighter, or a modern fire starter.  In an emergency it is possible to start a fire with friction (sticks rubbing together), but you should practice before it’s an emergency.