Category Archives: emergency preparedness

This Plague of Days: Today’s taste

This Plague of Days 0328From today’s revisions:

She had been wrong to trust Chester, but the man with the long knife and the stolen Mercedes had taught her a few things:

First, there was fuel everywhere. Second, she was lucky to have a length of old garden hose in her hand to siphon gas. Third, she’d overestimated her ability to judge people. Fourth, life and death situations make English majors with unfinished masters theses in Elizabethan poetry feel awfully stupid.


Guest post: Survival techniques from the homeless

I’ve been injured this week so I haven’t been able to do all I need to do. Fortunately, I have back-up. Check out this guest post from a friend AKA Mark Leland:

 

Survival is an attitude. It requires applying that attitude to daily situations. Survival depends on preparation, experience and determination.

Depending on your occupation and circumstances, you can learn from others and take what works for you. There are limited rehearsals or do-overs in survival. Survival can be accomplished individually as well as collectively.

Daily survival means being serious and not relying on the government to provide for your success. Consider Zeke, the resourceful homeless person who lives between a coffee shop and a truck stop.

Zeke is a survivor.

Zeke has shelter, food, water and a purpose. He wears the same clothes for a year or more and  manages to survive the elements. He exists by relying on charity, recycling discarded items and scavenging.

Zeke survives in spite of a government who deserted him in an effort to cut costs. “DE-institutionalizing”  Zeke from medical and psychological support, meals, and comfort have forced Zeke to adapt to a society that scorns and often attempts to make him a criminal to survive. To assist your planning, apply Zeke’s example of survival to your situation, dependent on your resources and situation. 

Shelter, Food, Protection.

Zeke uses of a plastic tube-liner as underwear. As a barrier to the elements, it’s practical and efficient. Your go-bag (in your car, work or home) should contain plastic tube-liners. A cap, gloves and dry socks and a change of clothes are good ideas. A tarp and tent stakes and rope make a more permanent shelter. Plan to be exposed to the elements and prepare accordingly.

Rations, water and the ability to make your camp or shelter comfortable makes survival worthwhile. Protecting yourself in a crisis, being fit and training to defend yourself are also relevant. When law and order break down, survival is more important than manners or societal norms. Practice those at your peril.

The Red Cross as well as government and NGO websites have suggestions on how to be prepared for 72 hours. Consider how realistic that is where you live, work or travel.

Earthquakes, floods or national emergencies require you to be self-sufficient until you reach safety or assistance. The government is composed of people who are all facing the same challenge. They will not be immediately ready to aid you as they are concerned with their own situation. There is an unwritten rule amongst first responders that their safety comes first in order to assure public safety.

Action Steps

1. Make a plan.

2. Rehearse. Hike or camp with the go-bag you carry and a weekend with it will tell you what you need and what to leave out.

No plan survives first contact. Having a plan lets you react to circumstances more efficiently. A practical, well-rehearsed plan (whether it be simply being able to change a tire to knowing how to react to an earthquake; whether at home work or between the two) will assure you a better chance to survive in similar circumstances.

~ Mark Leland

Mark Leland is a pseudonym. Mark is an immigrant, first responder and has a degree in history and a degree in management. He is an avid firearms enthusiast and instructs other first responders in use of force. Mark is an advocate for his employee association and represents employees in matters such as harassment and discipline.

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Weight loss strategies for the zombie apocalypse

Some health researchers are pushing for a new metric to predict morbidity. Doctors generally check your weight against the Body Mass Index and no physical is complete This Plague of Days 0328without a check of your blood pressure. The proposed new measure is your waist circumference. This will probably become standard soon. The bigger around you are, the more diseases you can expect will come try to kill you.

Why am I posting this in ThisPlagueofDays.com? Disaster prep is useless if you aren’t up to moving out of the way of the hurricane. What are your chances if you have to wade through dangerous flood waters? What if no one’s around to help you load the back of the truck with survival supplies you had to liberate from Wal-Mart?

Ironically, if you’re gung ho and taste testing a lot of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), you’re probably overweight. MREs are packed with calories. The idea was to give soldiers energy. However, even soldiers in the field with all the running, walking and heavy toting they do, can easily put on pounds if they consistently eat the entire bag.

I encourage everyone to think in terms of sustainability (as opposed to pure survivalism.) Sustainability, conscience, recycling, cooperation, rational social engagement and treading lightly may even help us avoid some of the disasters headed our way. As with all global problems, the best and first thing you can do is to start with yourself. If you’re radically overweight, you aren’t ready, no matter how many cans of soup you have stored in the basement. I’m not ready, so I’m changing that. 

My steps to taking better care of myself so I can care for others longer:

English: Simplified graph of body mass index U...

1. Thirty minutes of intense circuit training with weights (preferably free weights) is more effective for weight loss than sixty minutes on the treadmill. Whatever you do, after ninety minutes of exercise, you’re inviting free radical damage and the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in. To quote Tim Ferris of 4-Hour Body fame, “ounces are lost in the gym but pounds are lost in the kitchen.” You can’t exercise yourself out of this mess. You have to cook your way out of it, too.

2. Fat doesn’t cause fat. Fat is your friend because it gives you satiety. We were sold high-carb, low fat diets for a generation and we’re fatter than ever. That way just made us hungry failures. Dump your packaged weight-loss products, fad diets, powders, pills and false promises.

3. Protein is fine. (Try steaming it. Do not roll it in batter and do not fry it.) Vegetables are awesome. Fruits are peachy, unless you’re a diabetic in which case you’ll have to attend to portion control and follow your doctor’s nutritional plan that’s tailored to you.

4. Sugar puts on flab. Avoid sugar. Eliminate sugar and you can go into healthy ketosis (burning ketones and losing weight.)

5. Simple carbs (breads, pastries, candies, cookies, pasta) put on fat. Avoid it and the cravings will lessen eventually. 

6. Up to six small meals through the day keeps your metabolism burning. Learn more about food and cooking. Educate yourself and you’ll have more delicious options. If you allow yourself to get bored with your new diet/lifestyle, you’ll fall back on bad habits.

7. Getting enough sleep helps you recover and energizes you.

8. More muscle = more calories burned each day. Build it.

9. Portion control. Try the Fitbit, SlimKicker or FitDay to track how many calories are going in and track energy expended. If you don’t write it down, you’ll get it wrong. You’ll always get it wrong, yet you’ll never eat less than you’re supposed to. You’ll always eat more than you’re supposed to. Write! It! Down! (Oh, and if you choose the Fitbit, please go to AllThatChazz.com and click the Fitbit link on the right to grab it so they send me a few dollars to support the blogs and podcasts. Thanks!)

10. Eliminate processed foods. They’re full of chemicals and crap and sweeteners that don’t help you and often make you want to eat more than you should. Non-foods are designed to make you want to eat more non-foods.

11. Instead, eat lots of green, leafy vegetables with as much variety in color as you can. (Preferably organic and wash it well.)

12. I watch portions on everything but vegetables. I can eat as many salads as I want  (no croutons) and I use a little Greek yogurt for salad dressing. Seeds are good. Use caution when adding nuts. They’re awesome nutrition in small doses. They’re too much of a good thing if you eat too many and you can get to “too many” very quickly.

13. Daily walks outside and more friendly social interaction is good for you. If not, you’re a pasty-faced, Vitamin D-deficient Unabomber.

14. Start thinking of food as medicine to fuel your machine. Don’t live to eat. Find hobbies and pleasant distractions to fill the void.

15. Do not eat mindlessly in front of the TV. By the end of Game of Thrones, you’ll wonder where all the chips went. Stretch in front of the TV or while reading if you need to veg out.

16. Think like a thin person and be that. Thin people don’t go back for thirds.

17. Plan ahead for meals. If you don’t know what you’re eating at your next meal, you will wing it and you will make bad choices on the fly. Don’t just write down what you did eat. Write down what you will eat.

18. Sunday is a good day to get your cooking done for the week. I cook chicken breasts ahead of time. Baggies and Tupperware and freezer space are your friend.

19. Drink more water to flush your system. While exercising or in hot weather, drink more. (How much to drink is still surprisingly controversial. There’s a lot we still haven’t figured out.)

20. Be kind to yourself. Make sure you take time for you and make your new lifestyle a priority as an example to your children and so you’ll be happier. Put your exercise on the family calendar, just as you would a doctor’s appointment. It’s equally important and may help you avoid future doctor’s appointments.

21. Desk worker? Get a treadmill desk or a standing desk. Move more. Sedentary people die young. Fat, sedentary people die younger, receive fewer promotions, are thought (unfairly) to be less intelligent, are often socially isolated, lead less interesting lives, have less money and aren’t as happy. It sucks, but you know it’s true.

22. Focus on what you should do instead of what you shouldn’t do. Do that, and you’ll be less likely to let your appetite drive your life. I lost a lot of weight. I gained it back when I started to think about how deprived I was. Deprived of a brownie now is better than feeling deprived because you feel too self-conscious to go to the beach all summer.

23. Get over entitlement. When I feel down, I “deserve” a treat. When things go well, I “deserve” a reward. Treats and rewards were always chocolate croissants. Under those errors in thinking, when isn’t a good time to chow down? 

24. Scrub your environment of things that tempt you. If there are no chocolate croissants in the house, I can’t eat them at midnight and hate myself when the acid reflux hits at 1 a.m. If you don’t bring it into the house, you can’t eat it. Therefore, don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and stick to your shopping list. A little discipline now, more sex later.

25. Focus on the positive so someday soon, you’ll like your mirror. Dignity is a great appetite suppressant.

26. Love yourself now. Overweight or underweight, taking better care of yourself is an act of love for yourself and others. If you decide you’re going to to hate yourself until you’re thin, you’ll eat more to self-medicate over those negative feelings. Don’t do that.  You want to live and live better. You want to be able to play with your kids more actively now so they won’t remember a childhood that was couch-centric. Exercise now so you can play on the floor with your grandchildren. I want you to live! I need the readers! Live, dammit! Live!

27. Put yourself out there. Report to someone. No matter what commercial diet plan you follow, they’ll pretty much all work, from Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers to Dr. Bernstein. The one thing they have in common is you report your progress to someone on a regular basis. Accountability helps. Dare it.

Weight loss and continued weight management is a key survival tool, even if the optimists are right and the apocalypse never comes. A heart attack is your own private apocalypse.

Still not sure? Please consider all those cans of food you’re stocking up on as you prepare for an earthquake. They are full of sodium. Get in better shape and lose the excess weight now and you won’t be trying to fill a prescription for blood pressure pills in the midst of a crisis that paralyzes your city.

This is the program I’m following. I feel better, look better, sleep better and I’m getting zombie ready. This approach might not be for you. There are thousands of diets out there. Find the one that works for you, get back in control and get help. I didn’t start to get under control until I realized I was an addict and I had to make the big decision. Your better, safer life is one good decision away. The trick is to keep making that good decision, minute to minute, each day. Good luck! I feel for you. I’m working on it, too.

Me B&W~ Robert Chazz Chute is the podcaster behind All That Chazz and Cool People Podcast. He is the author of eight books and This Plague of Days, a soon-to-be-released post-apocalypstic serial about a boy with Aspergers leading his family to safety during a plague that ravages the world. His websites are ChazzWrites.com, AllThatChazz.com, CoolPeoplePodcast.com, onlysixseconds.wordpress.com, and ThisPlagueofDays.com.


Billionaire Survivalists? Prepping isn’t just for poor hippies anymore

Preppers are assumed, often, to be paranoid losers. However, contingency plans are smart, not dumb. A lot of smart people think so:

 

An aerial view of the flooding near downtown N...

An aerial view of the flooding near downtown New Orleans. The Superdome is at center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Disease experts tell us we’re overdue for a devastating world pandemic.

 

Economics experts tells us we’re no safer from economic collapse than we were in 2008. None of the the banksters who cratered the economy and stole billions went to jail. They’ll do it again. (Can we even afford to bail them out again or next time will the money go to people, not banks? Will we do the smarter thing and do what Iceland did and send the bad guys to jail? I hope so.)

 

Despite what Exxon tells us, they’re preparing for global climate change disasters, along with the UN, FEMA and the Pentagon.

 

Climate scientists predict extreme weather patterns will continue.

 

You don’t have to believe in a zombie apocalypse or become an NRA member to be a prepper. You believe in weather, right? In case you missed it, the destruction of a good chunk of New Jersey happened recently. Much of New Orleans is still a shambles. Expect more trouble as the planet continues to heat up.

 

Oh, and then there’s a bunch of billionaires who are spending big money to get ready when the poop hits the ceiling fan. Read about that on Salon here.

 

Only in the mainstream media, it seems, is being prepared for emergencies seen as a paranoid delusion.

 

 

 


Wash Your Hands!: The most reliable preventative against spreading disease

Person washing his hands

Person washing his hands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a guest post coming next week about go-bags. I’m hoping the buddy who is a SWAT expert who consults for my crime novels will favor us with post about getting zombie-ready, too. Before we get too much deeper into this blog, though, I have to write this post. It is at once a hopeful idea and a deflating one. Here’s the key thing you need to know to prevent the spread of disease:

WASH YOUR HANDS!

Every day we touch our faces, our mouths and eyes hundreds of times. We do it after touching doorknobs and shaking hands and borrowing a pen. The vectors of disease are everywhere, waiting for us to make this mistake. It’s such an easy fix, yet lots of people fail to do it. Sometimes I think the human race is too dumb to live and we’ve just been lucky so far. Here’s why…

How to

Use hot water and soap (and not anti-bacterial lotions if you can help it.) After you wash your hands, the best preference is to shut off the tap with your elbow or, after you dry your hands with a paper towel, turn off the tap with the same paper towel. Don’t grab the bathroom door handle with the hand you just washed and then go share popcorn with your date. Use the paper towel again, a sleeve, a glove or wait for somebody else to open the door.

Why to

I don’t have OCD. I just know how much fecal matter is on handles, ATM keys and your money. The germs on money is akin to used toilet paper. If a food handler tries to serve your food with the same dirty hands they used to take your money, do not eat it and tell the manager to retrain his or her staff.

Why does this information bring me up and down at the same time?

Because it’s the same advice given to revolutionary war soldiers to help prevent the spread of disease. Washing your hands was initially a radical idea and the doctor who first proposed the practice to decrease the incidence of infant mortality in his hospital was persecuted for it (and eventually ended up in a madhouse.)

SARS

During the SARS crisis in Toronto a few years ago (in which 44 people died), hand washing was the prime directive. That’s depressing because that was the best advice they had at the time and still is. After the invention of the microscope and vaccines and amazing medical technology, the best we can do is still ordinary hygiene you should be doing anyway. And many people don’t. We’d call them selfish pigs, though that’s an insult to pigs.

What’s worse?

I waited a long time for a surgeon to show up to give me some stitches. He’d just driven in to the office from home. Before he touched me, I asked that he wash his hands. Yes, he was going to use an anti-bacterial and wear gloves etc.,…, but first I had to ask him to do the basics. He looked mildly irritated, but he complied, so fine. No infection for me.

I knew another health care practitioner who went to the bathroom but felt he was too busy and important to wash his hands before going off to see patients. I witnessed this once personally. Even after getting berated for his negligence and disrespect, I’m sure he probably gets away with it when no one else is around to call him on it. 

Mount your defences

To protect you and your family, get in the habit if you aren’t already. Wipe down germy surfaces (kitchen counters, doorknobs, cutting boards)  with hot, soapy water, vinegar and water or organic cleaning products so food-bourne bacteria doesn’t make you sick. Wash your hands for your benefit and for the health of others.

Until better medicine comes along, basic hygiene is still the first defence against the coming plague.


To prepare for the end, start with a new beginning

English: Schematic of a deadfall or cage trap....

English: Schematic of a deadfall or cage trap. The schematic was based on a schematic found in the book “SAS Survival Handbook” by John Wiseman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last episode of this season of The Walking Dead captured the problem perfectly: If you’re going to survive, you have to depend on other people and bring them together. The notion of the lone survivor is a dangerous and common fantasy. Preparedness has greater value than toughness. Community will save you and being a loner will kill you.

Sure there are mountain men out there who do survive alone…sort of. The problem with the lone survivor model is first you have to eliminate the psychotics and schizophrenics who are running around in the woods, but not really out of a rational choice they made. Next cut out the people who don’t slip in and out of civilization for supplies and rely on technology (bullets, radios, canned food, MREs, etc.,…). Those animal traps last forever, but unless you’re fashioning a wooden trap, somebody smelted the steel somewhere and at some point you might want to use a little WD40 instead of beaver skin grease.

Who does that leave? That family in Russia who spent generations out in the cold eating bark and didn’t know about World War II. Not optimum for most people. Still think you’re a tough guy? Who’s going to do the hunting and gathering when you twist an ankle or come down with a fever?

I think I’ve established how we need people, but what does emergency preparedness really mean?

Start with yourself: How’s your cardio? Can you change a tire without getting winded? Do you know how to do something useful other people don’t know how to do? One of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels is World Made By Hand. The hero is a musician (so he can provide entertainment) and but he’s most valued as a carpenter. The novel chronicles the conflicts that rise when a community is forced to go it alone, pool resources, trade and adapt to changing times in a world without an oil supply. (Check it out. Lots of interesting ideas in there, including the benefits of an outdoor kitchen when summer heat waves come.)

One of the lessons my family of survivors in This Plague of Days learns too late is that they’re better off working together, not just among themselves but with whoever else is left. Instead of defending just your home, you’ll do better and live longer working collaboratively to defend a neighborhood. The SAS Security Handbook has it right: the young and the very old are good for watching for strangers and dangers. Everyone else is on patrol duty. Instead of spending thousands of dollars fortifying your home to make it safe for a short time, get to know your neighbours, establish a sense of community, get some exercise and develop skills. Become a person of value to your community. When your wood stove burns your house down, you’ll have somewhere to go.

In building a network of friends and allies, you’ll be healthier. One of the predictors of a long and happy life is to be embedded in a caring, compassionate community. When one of those lone survivors shows up looking for supplies and trouble, he’ll be met with a group. And instead of shooting him, maybe he can show why he should be taken in. You don’t build a future out of endless violence. That’s civilization falling, not getting back up.

~ I’ve written eight books. My post-apocalyptic/plague/coming-of-age/Aspergers thriller, This Plague of Days, will be published soon.


Get ready for the world flu pandemic now

Are you and your family ready for the coming world flu pandemic?

This Plague of Days III

Coming soon.

If you’re one of those guys who got into survivalism for the guns, you’ve already got enough guns (assuming you have the standard one arm per shoulder.) You don’t need more guns, dude. You need more seeds, and not Monsanto seeds!

If you want to stay off law enforcement’s radar, protect your family, stay safer and get real,

STOP sounding like a war-hungry, militia-loving, government-hating gun fetishist.

START thinking and talking in terms of off-the-grid sustainability and responsibility.

If you’re interested in This Plague of Days, my coming serial about a world flu pandemic as seen through the eyes of a boy with Asperger Syndrome, you might enjoy some of my research materials:

Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss

World Made by Hand: A Novel by James Howard Kunstler

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes by Cody Lundin

Survive! Ultimate Edition by Les Stroud 


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