Shakeout AAR

Well, as expected, the Utah Shakeout was a farce. The department with whom I was to drill, didn’t. They conducted a first aid in-service, not that the in-service was bad, but there was no drill. I checked in with the county’s EOC fifteen minutes after the “quake” (because it was during a break in the training). Dispatch wondered where we were, that is, why I didn’t check in immediately. I told her we were all dead. That concluded my involvement with the drill.

The real highlight of the day was meeting with the observer from the county. She had a long look at my 2-meter mobile rig, saying that she wanted something like that for all of the county campuses. I have no hope that it will ever happen, mostly because it should.

To summarize, after “drilling” with the county for a day, I reiterate: You’re on your own. No one is coming for you. The system can’t take care of itself. No way is it taking care of John Q. Public.

Utah gov announces earthquake preparedness week

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/article_78ba3218-40bb-11df-865e-001cc4c03286.html?mode=comments

The Associated Press Daily Herald | Posted: Monday, April 5, 2010 7:58 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has designated April 4-10 as Earthquake Preparedness Week.

A Web site provides tips on what to do in preparation for an earthquake and its aftermath.

The Utah Seismic Safety Commission says about 700 earthquakes, including aftershocks, occur every year in Utah.

Roughly 80 percent of the state’s population would be affected by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch Fault.

___

On the Net:

http://bereadyutah.gov

Know that this is just another effort to assuage the masses’ fears from the .gov. At best it will wake some people up to preparedness. At worst, folks that make “72-hour kits” prolong their lives by three miserable days.

The website above, http://bereadyutah.gov, is mostly garbage. Still, it might have some useful ideas.

Get that “72-hour” crap right out of your head. You’ll need a lot more than three days’ worth of food, water, toiletries, medicine, cash, etc. How much is up to you; but it should be enough to land you on your feet, without winding up at the FEMA/Red Cross camp shelter.

More craptasticness from Yahoo

So, Yahoo is saying to get your “disaster kit” in order. More pablum for the masses: “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of you.”

It doesn’t work that way. What did we learn from Katrina? You take care of yourself or you get an invitation to the Murderdome.

Read their tripe here: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/preparing-a-disaster-kit-2467090/

Preparing a Disaster Kit

The recent earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent fears over nuclear radiation have prompted many to turn to the Web for advice on disaster preparedness. Online lookups for “disaster kits” and “how to make a disaster kit” have both more than tripled during the past week.

In short, folks are wondering, what they should have in their kit? Opinions vary depending on what sort of disaster you happen to be preparing for. However, most experts, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Red Cross, agree that the following items are essential.

Water

This is the big one. You must have plenty of water. Just how much? FEMA, the disaster preparedness wing of the US Government, insists that you should have at least a three-day supply. A rule of thumb — have one gallon of water per person per day. If you happen to live in a hot climate, you’ll want to increase that amount. “Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed,” the site writes. Also, keep in mind that children, the elderly, nursing mothers, and people who are ill will need more water. Of course, you’ll want to store the water in non-breakable containers and keep an eye on the expiration date. Water doesn’t spoil in the traditional sense, but it can taste bad after a while.

First aid supplies

There’s no telling what you’ll be faced with in the wake of a disaster, but a few basic first aid supplies will certainly come in handy. Again, according to FEMA, you’ll want several bandages of various sizes, gauze pads, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, antiseptic, a thermometer, antiseptic, petroleum jelly, sunscreen, safety pins, and more. You’ll also want a good supply of non-prescription medication, including aspirin, anti-diarrhea medicine, antacid, laxative, and some poison control supplies. For a full list, check here.

Food

Like water, you’re going to want a healthy supply of non-perishable food should the unexpected happen. The American Red Cross writes that you should have a three-day supply ready in case you are forced to leave your home. And you should also have a two-week supply in the event that you stay in your home. Of course, the food should be easy to open and prepare.


Clothing and sanitation supplies

This mostly applies to people in cold-weather areas. Should disaster strike, have some warm clothes at the ready. You’ll want to have at least one complete change of clothes for each person. FEMA suggests a coat, sturdy shoes or boots, long pants, gloves, hat, scarf, thermal underwear, and rain gear. You’ll also want to have plenty of blankets, sunglasses, and various sanitation supplies like soap, toilet paper, detergent, and more.

Tools and special items

Just a few things you’ll want to have on you: battery operated radio and batteries, flashlight, cash, nonelectric can opener, pliers, compass, matches, signal flare, paper and pencil, wrench to shut off household gas and water, whistle, and map of the immediate area. Important documents like IDs, birth certificates, credit card information, prescription numbers, and extra eyeglasses are also good ideas. Again, this is just a partial list. For the full list, please visit FEMA.gov.

Learn it. Live it. Love it.

http://www.rural-revolution.com/2010/08/hoarding.html

All I can say is “Amen!” (unlike many blog entries, even the comments were golden). I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately. When folks call storing food “hoarding” it’s just so much sour grapes and shame. It’s simple, buy luxuries or lay up some extra needful things. Be prepared, or get caught flat-footed and hungry because you didn’t.

I read of folks in Houston in the hours before Rita’s landfall coming to a near riot because they couldn’t get plywood for their windows. Is it that hard to keep pre-cut pieces of plywood the garage, along with the bottled water and extra batteries? (ops, I guess it is).

My patience regarding the unprepared is wearing thin. Prepare for yourselves temporally and spiritually, or prepare yourself for a world of hurt at your local REMA or Red Cross shelter. One thing is certain: I won’t be there, and neither will my family.

Seventy-two hour kits, bug-out bags, and weight (Or, “How to assemble a list of ‘essentials’ so heavy it would give the Terminator a hernia”)

I’ve been reading a lot about seventy-two hour kits again lately. The lists of STUFF recommended by these so-called “authorities” (read: pointy-headed wogs that have never strapped on a pack in their lives) is astounding. There is no consideration given to weight or context. They take a one-size-fits-all approach, ending up with about two-hundred pounds of gear. Worse, these lists are copied-and-pasted throughout the blogosphere. Stop it. Stop copying and pasting without acknowledging reality. You’re going to get someone killed, hopefully just yourself.

Let’s consider weight. Yes, our military men and women routinely deploy with 120-pound rucksacks; and you know what? It’s entirely too much weight for a 20 year-old Ranger, who is so hard you could roller skate on him. If it’s too much weight for men that get paid to exercise, it’s too much weight for your average wheezing cube-dweller. Get realistic. For the last hundred years folks in the know have been advising our military (and armies throughout the world, actually) that forty pounds of gear is the extreme upper limit of what to carry for any extended period of time. Forty pounds, and that’s including your clothes, boots, rifle, and the weight of the pack itself. How much can you really carry?

Get your bag out. Now start as naked as you can get without scaring the dog and cat and step onto the scale. Add forty pounds to that weight. Boots, belts, and everyday-carry gear can really add up, can’t it? Now, go through your pack. Do you really need all of that? I am not going to begin to tell you what to carry, or to make a list for you. I hate pre-made lists. If you’re looking for that, go somewhere else. The internet is replete with asinine lists, with no context or purpose. Do not copy what you have not tested. Consider what you need to survive in the rule of threes. A person can survive:

  • 30 seconds without controlling serious bleeding
  • 3 minutes without oxygen
  • 3 hours without shelter in extreme hot/cold conditions
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

Prioritize and build your bag accordingly. It should all add up to about forty pounds (including your rifle), depending upon your physical condition.

Set limits that fit your physical fitness, age, location, companions, budget, and intentions. Where are you going? How are you getting there? This is why I say time and again, “Walking sucks”. Set your gear up in “lines”. Pre-pack everything so that you have it set up from what’s in your pockets, to what is in a pack or LBE, to boxes for the bed of your truck or trunk of your car, to a trailer or roof rack. Have plans for losing, stashing, or giving away all of it. That is, be prepared for going without the line below the one you’re currently using. If you lose your pack, use what is in your LBE. If you lose your LBE, use what is in your pockets. This is not an excuse to add weight to your person. Use what you have. If you don’t have the tool, you are. Use your skills and knowledge to make up the difference. Above all else say “And no more!” once you hit your weight limits, so every single tool is prioritized. Add the “nice-to-haves” to these other layers. Camp stoves, tents, heavy food supplies, extra first aid supplies, water, ammunition, wedding pictures, scrapbooks, whatever, it all goes here, in your car, truck, RV, pack mule, whatever. Keep your immediate-use gear light, handy, and pertinent.

I am not a fan of the “seventy-two hour kit”. First, there is no way of knowing how long you will be on your own in, or in the aftermath of, a disaster. My take is forever, or until the stores open again. You are on your own. No one is coming for you. FEMA and the Red Cross are not your friends. They will disarm you and put you at their mercy, feeding you what they feel like, when they feel like it. The ultimate goal of Survival Club is to live as close to the comfort level you are now for as long as possible. Let some other schmuck stand in line for an MRE and a cot in the corner of the Murderdome. If you are relying upon your “bug-out bag”, know what you’re doing and where you are going, in context.

Less Than Half of Essential Workers Willing to Report to Work During a Serious Pandemic, Study Finds

This might include everything from linemen, sanitation, and ER personnel, not just police, fire, and EMS.

http://tinyurl.com/39v6rjz

Less Than Half of Essential Workers Willing to Report to Work During a Serious Pandemic, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Sep. 30, 2010) — Although first responders willingly put themselves in harm’s way during disasters, new research indicates that they may not be as willing — if the disaster is a potentially lethal pandemic.

In a recent study, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that more than 50% of the first responders and other essential workers they surveyed might be absent from work during a serious pandemic, even if they were healthy.

The study, reported online in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, involved over 1100 workers recruited from six essential workgroups, all located in the New York metropolitan area. The workgroups included hospital employees, police and fire department personnel, emergency medical services workers, public health workers, and correctional facility officers.

The researchers found that while 80% of the workers would be able (i.e., available) to report to duty, only 65% were willing. Taken together, less than 50% of these key workers were both willing and able to report to duty. According to the lead author, Dr. Robyn Gershon, Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and Associate Dean for Research Resources at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Faculty Affiliate at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, “these data indicate that non-illness related shortfalls among essential workers could be substantial.”

In anonymous surveys, workers reported on their willingness to work during a serious pandemic; the percent willing ranged from a high of 74% (public health workers) to a low of 56% (correctional workers). The researchers found that motivation to work during a serious pandemic was associated with workplace safety measures and trust in the employer’s ability to protect workers from harm. Workers were also more willing to report to duty if their employer provided them with respirators and pandemic vaccine and had an established pandemic plan. Willingness was also tied to past experience; essential workers who had responded to a previous disaster were significantly more willing to report during a pandemic.

The researchers found that workers’ ability or availability to work during a serious pandemic was closely linked to their personal obligations. Referred to as “dilemmas of loyalty,” otherwise healthy essential workers might stay at home to care for sick family members or their children — if schools are closed. Organizational policies and programs that help workers meet their personal obligations will also increase workers’ ability to work. “Even something as simple as ensuring that workers can communicate with their families while they are on duty, can have a big impact on both ability and willingness,” reports Dr. Gershon.

Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made workplace pandemic planning and training materials readily available, the Columbia study did not find much evidence of preparedness. Only a small proportion of the workers (9%) were aware of their organization’s pandemic plans, and only 15% had ever received pandemic influenza training at work. As Dr. Gershon notes, “the study findings suggest that these preparedness steps are important in building worker trust. Workers who trust that their employers can protect them during a communicable disease outbreak will be significantly more likely to come to work and perform their jobs- jobs that are vital to the safety, security and well-being of the entire community.”

To help ensure adequate staffing levels, employers should focus preparedness efforts on worker protection and the development of policies that facilitate the attendance of healthy workers. The authors suggest a number of relatively straightforward strategies that employers can take to support employees’ response during pandemic outbreaks. These include:

* Prepare a plan to quickly and easily vaccinate essential workers and their families, so that when a vaccine is available it can be readily distributed.
* Discuss respiratory protection needs with public health officials. They can provide guidance on the need, feasibility, and use of these safety devices.

Guidance on planning is available from CDC-funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers, such as the one at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

It’s something to consider when planning for an emergency: you’re on your own. Period. Forget about the whole “just three days” garbage. Forget the cavalry. Forget FEMA and DHS. They’re not on your side. No, you may be on your own for a very long time- weeks to months for a pandemic. How can we plan accordingly?

If there are people in your families and neighborhoods that you would like to see working in the aftermath of a WCS-event (not just fire, police, and EMS, but also folks in sanitation, power linemen, nurses, ER docs, etc.) think about what you can do to help with their families. Everyone wants to say “I’m taking care of my family first”. I agree with that; but what can you do to help these men and women feel a little better about leaving their families behind? Would you help watch their children, assuming you didn’t have to work, too?

I think it would go a long way to helping our neighborhoods if we could all pitch in a little in that event. Let’s assume that 8+ earthquake hits in the SL Valley. If your neighbor is an ER nurse, wouldn’t you want him or her at work? If I had a job that I know would be on hold in the aftermath, I’d gladly help mind the kids, same goes for any good neighbor expected to work in the aftermath of an emergency.

I see this as an opportunity to strengthen communities and put in a little Christian service.

We’re on our own; but that doesn’t mean we have to live in a bubble.

Why prepare?

FEMA, again.

I noticed that yesterday I got one hit from someone searching “FEMA” on WordPress: en.wordpress.com/tag/fema. That search revealed some freaky-scary entries. I don’t know if I believe that FEMA is the tip of the spear for some New World Order/eugenics holocaust (best I can say is “maybe”). That’s mostly in the realm of unproven theory, along with wild conjecture. What I do know is how they’ve handled pretty much every disaster with which they’ve involved themselves. Frankly, they fucked  up. They are such a cluster, they could screw up a county fair. I don’t know about any secret motives to destroy the world, but I do know that I want absolutely nothing to do with them, before, during, or after an emergency.

I recommend all of you to adopt a similar attitude.

Nobody Cares

There has been some talk among government agencies, from FEMA to local city councils, regarding the possibilities of disaster, the preparations they think you should make, and what you can expect of them during (and in the aftermath of) a disaster. Hurricane Katrina taught us all valuable lessons about preparedness. Many of us also see looming financial disaster on the horizon. The coming Troubles may make Katrina seem mild and temporary in comparison. As our economy continues to implode, we may see it cause, and exacerbate, disasters. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our power grid especially is in an inadequate and dilapidated state. Further, cities and counties are experiencing a shrinking tax base and depleted coffers. They are cutting their spending or increasing their borrowing, or both, to continue operating. With this, their ability to prepare for, and react to, a disaster is sure to suffer. Response times are sure to lengthen as resources stretch to the limit. Already municipalities are cutting police and EMS budgets. This is not Chicken Little. This is the way it is- reality. There are preparations that you should make now, physically, mentally, and spiritually, to cultivate means for the individual or family to survive, and perhaps comfortably weather, calamity.

First, acknowledge the reality and gravity of the situation. Examine your mindset and face the facts. Do not wait for someone to rescue you. Do not expect help soon in the wake of an emergency. Make appropriate preparations now, and when disaster strikes, act immediately. Do not sit around expecting someone else to feed you, to get you to a safe place, to keep you warm, treat your injuries, and to protect you from evildoers. They who do are naive and self-deceptive, and may not live through the experience. Worse, FEMA, the Red Cross, and most other do-gooders for that matter, are about control. They want to control you; and if you find yourself in a FEMA or Red Cross shelter, their control is what you will experience. They will disarm you and leave you at the mercy of the other “refugees”, for good or ill. Remember the debacle that was the Super Dome (the “murder dome”). Take significant steps to ensure that your family is never within their influence. Seek to be self-reliant, especially during and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Make sure you and the members of your party have a plan, and the resources necessary to implement it.

Many so-called authorities on the issue, including governments, the Red Cross, and church groups recommend that individuals build  “seventy-two hour” kits, which contain supplies to ostensibly last one about three days. Their argument is that it will take three days at most for government aid to relieve disaster victims. Do not believe it. It is false hope, to assuage the masses. Now, please understand, I am not opposed to having a three-day bag, “go” bag, “bug-out” bag, “Get-out-of-Dodge” bag, or whatever you choose to call it. It is not the bag and its contents that represent the deceit, but its name, the notion that one should assume that help is three days away. The unthinking masses that have had little enough sense to put such bags together may be in for a shock if there is no help by the end of the seventy-third hour. To that end, I recommend that people not refer to these bags by that name. It promotes an improper mindset, and cultivates fertile ground for losing hope at the end of those three days. It is better to conclude now that no one cares. The sooner that one understands that the government or the Red Cross might not come to his rescue, the sooner that he will overcome his denial. Then he can begin making his situation better. A defiantly self-reliant attitude, coupled with a sure knowledge of survival, often separates the people that make it through from they that do not. Get it in your head that you are a survivor.

I am not advocating a “Lone Wolf” approach to preparedness. It is too difficult to go it alone for most people. A fit solitary man, with adequate resources, could probably make a go of surviving a short-term disaster. There were stories of single men walking out of New Orleans and the surrounding areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A man and wife with small children, however, would have obvious complications. Similarly, under conditions in which evacuation is not necessary or required, it is more difficult for one person to secure property, tend gardens, watch for looters, etc. The larger a person’s circle of trust is, the stronger his position. Choose friends carefully, because disasters, like wealth, do not change character, but reveal it. A mutual aid society, built after the structure of a neighborhood watch group would be a great benefit to prepared individuals and families in urban and suburban settings. Be careful regarding whom you reveal your preparations. An unscrupulous individual would certainly work to take advantage of your resources in these times.

One can easily make these preparations without drastically altering his lifestyle. Developing the proper attitude is the first step. Taking a step back and evaluating mindset and friendships is an important step in preparing for disaster, either natural or man-made. Planning and decisive action is often the difference between survival and not. Honestly evaluate your situation, consider ways to prepare independently, without the aid of the government or charitable organizations. Upcoming entries will address assessing risk, formulating and plan, acquiring resources, and cultivating productive relationships with like-minded individuals. With some small effort and prior planning, one can maintain a comfortable life even after many disasters.