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Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Love the Whole World...



... and all it’s craziness
Boom-de-ah-da, boom-de-ah-da
Boom-de-ah-da, boom-de-ah-da

Remember that Discovery Channel commercial? Well, if you want to love all the craziness, now is the time, especially if you live in the Eastern U.S. Not only did they get a fairly strong earthquake last week, they are also dealing with Hurricane Irene clawing its way up the Eastern seaboard. Both the earthquake and the hurricane are not as bad as they potentially could have been, but bad enough.

The earthquake was interesting, not so much for it’s occurrence (in fact, earthquakes happen in the eastern part of the continent with fair regularity) but for what it says about the geography of eastern North America. The earthquake, while reasonably mild in terms of intensity, propagated over a wide area due to the rocky nature of the terrain. Now imagine that same earthquake but stronger. The magnitude was 5.8, but imagine it ten (6.8), a hundred (7.8) or a thousand (8.8) times stronger. It’s rare, but it could happen.

Less unusual, but still rare is Hurricane Irene. This is the first hurricane to make landfall in three years, and the first in decades to claw its way up the eastern seaboard. It has killed at least eight people and left two million people without power. The category of this storm? A One, and a weak Category One at that, although it is a very large storm in area. But now consider what would happen if Irene had held up as a Category Three as it was previously, or even gained intensity as it ran northward?

Luckily, both earthquake and hurricane have been mild, and are atypical events. At least that’s what we like to think. In reality, over the span of geological time, they are regular, not at all unusual events. It is merely our personal, short time line that makes them seem so, but bigger and badder things are in fact inevitable across the planet.

As the commercial said: “ The World is just…awesome.”

It is indeed. Make sure you’re prepared just in case some of that awesome happens where you live.

Boom-de-ah-da!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tornado Warning For Many Ontario Area

Tornado

Issued at 6:59 PM Wednesday 24 August 2011

Importance:

High

Recommended Action

Recommended Actions: Emergency Management Ontario recommends that persons in the area described above IMMEDIATELY shelter. Everyone in this area should immediately move indoors, and away from doors and windows, preferably into a basement area if that is possible. Do not pick up family members from schools, daycares and institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. Plans are in place to protect them. People currently outside this area are advised not to enter this area until further notice. If it is safe to do so, pets and livestock should be removed quickly from outside. Do not call 911 for information about this emergency. Remain tuned to this station for further information and instructions.

Description

THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO HAS ISSUED A "RED ALERT" DUE TO A TORNADO WARNING IN STRATFORD - MITCHELL - SOUTHERN PERTH COUNTY - LISTOWEL - MILVERTON - NORTHERN PERTH COUNTY ONTARIO.

Area Description

STRATFORD - MITCHELL - SOUTHERN PERTH COUNTY - LISTOWEL - MILVERTON - NORTHERN PERTH COUNTY

Issued By:

Emergency Management Ontario

Are You Ready For Hurricane Season?

This may not apply to all Canadians, but for those in Ontario and anywhere east, please pay attention.
Hurricane season is now in high gear.  The first major storm, Irene, is expected to reach cat.4 in the next 24 hours and seems to be poised to skim up the eastern coast of the US towards Boston.  This DOES NOT MEAN that the Maritime provinces are in for a direct hit...please pay attention to your own sources to determine the severity in your area.

Now would be the time to check a few things such as plywood for windows, non perishable food & drinking water, off grid cooking, heating, & lighting sources.  Likely, there will be rain, wind, & lightning as Eastern Canada gets the tail end of Irene.  Please do not wait until the last minute to be prepared.  Now is the time to double check your preps, not just for this storm, but for the remaining season.

Most importantly, don't panic, use your head as much as you use your preps.  Keep an eye on local weather as well as storm reports on the mainstream media and be safe!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Times They Are A Changin'

I'm not sure exactly what day it was, but something told me that the time to kick the preps into high gear had arrived.  Maybe it was the "back to school" specials. Perhaps corn on the cob season began.  Maybe even that it was a little less bright out at my 5:30 AM alarm clock time.  Whatever it was, one thing is for sure...fall is almost upon us. 

As usual, a short summer will soon be giving way to a brisk Canadian fall and then on to winter.  This should signal most of us to kick it up a notch.  Do a thorough inspection of your home.  Clean the chimney, boost up the insulation, and caulk up all those cracks around the windows.  Start looking for sales on ice melter and be sure your snow shovels are in order.

Now is also a good time to tear apart the bug out bag.  Check electronics & batteries, food items, water condition and think about putting the warmer clothing in.  Get the hats, mitts, and scarves ready to pack into the bags, not to mention checking out the boots.  Replace what you need to and check the usual forums and blogs for a reminder of what you may have forgotten.

If you have wood for a backup heat system, make sure you have enough on hand.  Buy or cut up more as needed.  Winter storms can leave you wanting, so backup gensets should be tuned up and tested out.  Not to mention refreshing the gasoline by using your stored fuel and stocking up on fresh, treated gas.

If you start checking the sales flyers, you will notice that late season crops will be coming on sale soon.  Great time to check your canning supplies & dehydrator.  Not only do food preferences tend to change as the temperature drops, but you will be needing more calories soon too.  Hearty soups, stews & caseroles will be replacing BBQ steak & salad before you know it.

Now I don't want to be a killjoy, and I am sure there will be plenty of nice summertime days to come before the leaves begin to hit the compost pile.  But I want everyone to realize that there is a lot of prep work to do for the coming cold.  Get started now, before you get caught with your snow pants down.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Interesting Times



“May you live in interesting times’ is how a supposedly ancient Chinese proverb (or curse) goes. It means that the most interesting period of history are often those we’d least like to live through. But many of the ‘dreamers’ in survival and preparedness think that the interesting times are those that they yearn for, an opportunity to be the person of their dreams, a rugged survivor, a pioneer, maybe even a leader of a new society.

They are damned fools. Periods of unrest and upheaval are certainly interesting to read about, but can be damned hard to live through. Disease, crop failure, war, and civil unrest can be all too random in operation. You might be the best prepared person on the planet, but it does not mean you will survive the guy that sneezes in the elevator. You may be the best armed family on the block, but a pilot dumping a bomb on you to keep his damaged plane flying doesn’t care what a cool MBR you have. You might be the best martial artist in the city, but a cinder block dropped off of a roof in a riot will fracture your skull as easily as the next person’s.

It is an old Clausewitzian truism that no plan survives contact with the enemy. Clausewitz understood that once the action starts that the fog of war, the random factors that are unforeseen and unforeseeable will start creating situations and results unanticipated by the best of planners. It may sound like I’m saying that it’s all too random, so why plan at all?

In fact, planning and preparing is all you can do. Unless you can foresee the future, there is a good chance that if the world falls into crisis, it will not happen as you or I expected it to occur. The likelihood that your plan will play out as you expect will be very small indeed. But the fact that you do have a plan will make it possible for you to assess the situation, decide on changes in your plan, and then to analyze the results to see if further changes are necessary.

The important thing is to be flexible in your thinking, in your preparations, and in your plans. There is no guarantee that you will survive a particular crisis, no matter what you do. The point is that prepping will make the odds of you coming through the best they can be. Personally, while I believe in Lady Luck, I’m not willing to leave it in her hands entirely.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sometimes it seems so simple & easy.  On top of posting here on the Canadian Preppers Network, I am a regular poster on the forum site as well.  Add to that a prepper blog of my own and a weekly podcast on the Prepper Podcast Radio Network, and I think that I contribute my fair share of info to the world with regards to being prepared.

So why does it remain so difficult to get the message across to the average joe at work, the curling league, etc?  People in general want to believe that life as we know it will continue no matter what.  No one ever thinks that the way we live today could be gone tomorrow.  The scenes on the news from Japan just to name one, don't seem to have any effect.  Too many people walk around the earth with the "it couldn't happen to me" attitude.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of trying to convince people that they should be ready for an emergency situation, if not an actual disaster.  If I ask a coworker if they could feed themselves for even a few days if the grocery stores were to not open, they reply..."sure, I can do take out for a while".  they just don't seem to get it.  Simply put, I think a small disaster would do people some good...maybe wake them up a little.

All this makes me thankful that there are quite a few people out there (I mean you) that actually get it.  And I'm not talking about TEOTWAWKI...just a couple days without power.  Now I'm not wishing for a tornado to wipe out anyone's home, nor do I wish ill on anyone, but sometimes I think it takes hard times to make people realize that IT CAN HAPPEN TO THEM!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Watching for Storms



Well, wasn’t that an interesting week? Major drops on stocks across the world, a downgrade of the US bond rating from AAA to AA+, and the continued debt crisis in Europe. Is it the end of everything? Is the shit hitting the fan? Should we bug out now?

Not hardly. By and large, the crises gripping the financial world haven’t come home to roost quite yet, although I would guess that some are winging our way. The sheer size and inertia of the world banking system means that a lot of the crud happening now may take days, weeks or months to have an effect on Mr. and Mrs. Average Canuck.

In fact, while analysts wring their hands about the US downgrading by Standard & Poors, the ‘slack’ may already be out of the stock market and little more may happen. On the other hand, Monday may see a bloodbath in financial circles. No one really knows for certain. Not that it will cause an immediate collapse of any kind.

The problem is that it’s one more straw. Events keep loading up, and we are looking at a possible confluence of events that might cause more problems than the sum of the parts. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before in history. A little reading will teach you that this has happened before. Economic collapse plus crop failure plus Mother Nature have combined countless times in countless variations to cause hardship for the human race somewhere. We’ve always bounced back.

The problem now is that where once a disaster in one part of the world left the rest of us unaffected, that is no longer the case. Epidemics are no longer constrained by distance, economic collapse by isolation, or political unrest by indifference. In our highly globalized and interconnected world, what happens there sooner or later has an effect here.

No need to panic, but there is a need to watch out for a number of problems combining to cause one that one perfect storm of events. Keep prepping, don’t obsess over the perfect plan, just keep working at getting better prepared. As I’ve said elsewhere, don’t get so caught up polishing the handrails that you forget to launch the life boat.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Space Weather & What It Means

You may have been hearing about all the solar flares & geomagnetic storms & all that jargon lately, but where does one get this info and just what does it all mean?

Well, here is a link to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html

Now for the what does it mean...here is a link to not so much of an explanation, but more of a what will it do type of page.
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/index.html#GeomagneticStorms

So before you go stuffing your laptop into the Faraday Cage...check it out for yourself...
Today's solar flares probably won't produce much more than a few pretty lights.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Handicapped Prepper, on Pets in a Disaster

While gathering information for this post I talked to a few people about what they would do with their animals in an emergency.  I got responses ranging from letting them go free to dispatching them before an evacuation to a 10 minute dissertation on why an emergency couldn’t possibly happen to them.  Ah ... yeah.  Good luck with that!

Photos by Andrew Frelick

So, I turned to my personal guru, the fount of all knowledge, the great and omnipotent, the purveyor of all things factual - the internet.  And I read several articles and watched many videos on the subject because honestly, I didn’t know what to do either.  I am no expert by any stretch.  The amount of useful information on the internet is staggering, and I would like to share some of what I found.  There are lots of links for you to check out!



The sites agreed on one thing for sure.   Put a sign or decal on the house.   This sign should have written on it the names, number and kinds of pets in the house – for example 2 budgies; Henry and Sally, 3 cats; Scamp, Buffy and Mittens and 1 dog: Rex.  This alerts emergency workers who to look for if you have to leave any pets behind.  Also, if you have to leave without your pet(s) don’t leave your animal confined in a carrier or tied up.  They stand a better chance of survival if they are mobile. And please don’t just set them free to fend for themselves.  Setting animals free is not recommended.  It is dangerous for them and dangerous for rescue workers.  Your pet may be completely docile and loveable at home with you, but in a disaster pets are scared to death, hungry and sometimes hurt.  No one can predict what behaviours will exhibit in those circumstances.




If you leave the house with pets in tow (which is recommended) simply write evacuated across the decal so the animal rescuers can move on without wasting time looking through your house, or the rubble of your house.  




New meaning for the term, ‘doggie bag’?

Another item agreed on is a bug out bag for each pet because unless your critter is a service animal helping you with a disability it likely won’t be allowed in a people shelter.  So, depending on the situation, he may have to be left at an animal shelter or with a friend who lives in a safe place.




Stock the doggie bag with health information, water, food for a week, toys – generally much of the same things you would put in your own.  There were several lists available on the net and they vary somewhat in specifics, but there is one example HERE from the BC SPCA ..... and HERE on a personal blog.




There is a very detailed article by the Humane Society of Canada that you may be interested in adding to your reading list.  It was written mindful of terrorist attacks, but you can insert your disaster word each time it says ‘terrorist attack’, and the advice is valid.  Skip through to sections on pets.

The American SPCA includes details for birds, reptiles and pocket pets in their disaster plan.
I’m going to close with this video slide show of some of the pets left behind during Katrina.  Maybe it will be motivational and remind folks to include family pets in prepping plans.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: The Omnivore's Dilemma



I haven’t reviewed a book on this blog yet, but I’ve just read one that I think everyone should read. It is called The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollon. It is an examination, or as the book says, the natural history of four meals. Fancy words aside, the book takes a deep look at several of the ways we North Americans eat.

The first area of the book looks at processed food by way of looking at the ubiquitous role corn plays in the food system. The second and third look at factory organic and small organic, while the fourth meal concentrates on foraged and hunted food.

There are a number of things in this volume that should be of interest to those of us involved in preparedness. The first section of the book alone with its look at the lengthy and convoluted supply chains and intensive processing required to create ‘modern’ foods should be a wakeup call with regards to both food security and food quality.

Even the organic ‘factory’ farms get a good look, and while we are all told how much better organic is, you’ll find that it is again a business of a few large corporate entities that are as vulnerable as the conventional food system is to disruption, and only better for the environment in a qualified way.

The third section of the book was of the most interest to me with its look at ‘small’ organic farming. The model under examination attempts to keep outside inputs to a minimum, and seems the most sustainable of the models discussed.

The fourth and final section I found interesting to a lesser degree, but even it had some interesting points to make about the skill sets needed in foraging and hunting.
You aren’t going to find a lot of how-to’s or definitive paths to follow in this book. What you will find is material that may lead you to question how we eat now, and how we may (or may not) eat in the future. It is thought provoking material that challenges some of our basic assumptions about how we produce our food.

If all this book does is make you do something about having a more secure food supply, then it will be well worth the read.