Tag Archives: emergency prep

What About BOB? A Guest Post from Jordanna East

jordanna 1No, not the early 90’s movie starring Bill Murray. B.O.B. = Bug Out Bag Every household should have one. Our household has two. (But we also have some kick ass weapons, so when the lights go out, don’t try to steal our stash.) You might think you don’t need one. But you do. One only needs to think back a few years to confirm this. Hurricane Katrina is the obvious example that comes to mind, with the Boston Bombing Manhunt (and subsequent city lockdown) as the most recent. But think about Hurricane Sandy or the NYC blackout last winter, which was related to Sandy. The people who were prepared surely had the easiest go of it. Hubby-pants and I weren’t always so prepared. Then I read Run by Blake Crouch. Then Half Past Midnight by Jeff Brackett (Now that dude was prepared!). And most recently, Stephen King’s Under the Dome. (Chazz’s This Plague of Days is next!) These books will terrify the pants off you if you’re not prepared for tragedy to strike your area. So last year, Hubby-pants and I started watching Doomsday Preppers on TV. (We admit, some of those people are just plain and simple whack-jobs. Others were just trying to be prepared. We learned from the latter) We took notes, had our Amazon wish lists at the ready. And here’s what we ended up with:

  • FOOD – Not only did we invest in canned goods (and a dozen can opener tabs in case there’s no electricity), but our BOB’s are full of Emergency Rations. They’re kind of like RTE’s (Ready to Eat meals), but simpler, high-calorie, cracker thingies. Quick to ingest. No water or heat needed. Probably taste like pasture patties (AKA cow dung), but we won’t starve. And if we need to raid some stores, we have three-in-one utensils so we don’t have to eat with our hands. (We’re animal enough to scavenge around abandoned stores and homes, but we firmly draw the line at eating with our freaking fingers.)
  • WATER – We have a bunch of water packets. Lighter-weight than bottles, shelf stable for the foreseeable future. We also have water sanitation tablets in case we run out of water and have to visit the not-so-fresh Cooper River up the street.
  • SHELTER – If for some reason we’re driven from our house, we have a simple tent that drapes over a branch or line of rope to keep us out of the elements. We also have ponchos. (Those fold up into nothing. You should definitely get a couple.) And mylar blankets for warmth…or in case the sight of blood causes one of us to go into shock. (Which we highly doubt. We’re a tough pair of peeps.)
  • MEDICAL SUPPLIES – We have a fully stocked first aid kit and can do anything short of perform surgery. We plan on adding some Canadian antibiotics to our supplies, but as of right now we might just die of an infected scraped knee.
  • LIGHT & WARMTH – We have two LED flashlights and an LED lantern. All of which are bright as hell. Loads of extra batteries. As for keeping warm, we have a magnesium flint stick (to generate sparks) and waterproof matches with ready-made kindling. If we still can’t get the fire started, I’m fully prepared to spray aerosol sunscreen on it.
  • UTILITIES – Sometimes you just need “stuff.” So we have rope, binoculars, a collapsible shovel, duct tape, and various knives.
  • PROTECTION – We’ve all read enough books and seen enough movies and television shows to know that crisis brings out the best in some, the worst in others. If anyone tries to bully us for our supplies, they’re gonna be met with an axe, a machete, and a crossbow pistol. Boom! (We’d like to get some actual firearms, but golly-gosh they’re expensive!)
  • BOOK BAGS – This post is about bug-out BAGS, right? Well, of course we need something to put all our stuff in. We bought two durable book bags with lots of pockets and whatnot. The supplies are as evenly distributed as possible, in case we lose one. They’re heavy, but not too heavy for either of us to handle. We keep one in the front half of the house and one in the back so if disaster strikes we don’t bottleneck the hallway trying to get everything from one location.

  Of course, we’re still missing a lot of stuff, but we continue to add to our stash. It’s a start. If there’s a natural disaster, a city-wide lockdown, or a PLAGUE OF DAYS, we’re more prepared than most. Can you say the same about yourself?

Jordanna 2BIO Jordanna East readily confesses that she started writing a novel one day when she was broke and unemployed. Her cable had been turned off. SHE WAS BORED. So she sat down on her bed and started writing…and she hasn’t stopped. Though, now she has cable and pens her Psychological Thrillers at an actual desk. Blood in the Past is the prelude novella to her debut Blood for Blood Series, which follows three lives entwined by deaths and consequences, revenge and obsession. Blood in the Past is scheduled for release June 19, 2013.

 


Media Fails: Don’t trust them in a crisis

The bombing of the Boston Marathon taught us a lot:

1. Good people outnumber the bad.

2. People can respond well in a crisis.

3. Law enforcement can be excellent and relentless in the pursuit of justice.

And the media often sucks at this!

TV reporter John King went on CNN to say a suspect had been arrested for the bombing of the Boston Marathon. King spoke on camera with Wolf Blitzer (who repeated the word “exclusive” so often you’d think he was working up to an orgasm). King said reliable sources had captured a “dark-skinned man” they blamed for the attack. King was wrong, though CNN took their sweet time admitting the mistake. First was more important than right. As a former journalist myself, it was frustrating to watch the media raise a city’s hopes and then crush them (while contributing to the confirmation bias of racists.) It was a bad day for everyone and a black mark on CNN’s record.

The suspects were soon killed or caught and they were white. But the media mistakes don’t begin or end with CNN. For days it seemed that any picture of a dark-skinned person wearing a backpack at the marathon was reason enough to identify innocent bystanders as suspects. Identifying the wrong people for horrific crimes in photographs is dangerous business. A Saudi citizen was reported as a person of interest (a report the police quickly denied.) Newspapers printed pictures of suspects who were not suspects, leaving those pictured in fear for their lives twice over. What would these reporters say to the victims of these misidentifications, especially if they were murdered by well-meaning and misguided vigilantes? The potential damage outweighed any news value. The only reliable pictures were supplied by police investigators and the  FBI at the news conference which identified the prime suspects.

In the absence of facts and with too much time to fill, reporters quacked through their 24-hour news cycle with more speculation than reportage. Some right-wing radio personalities, including professional alarmists, conspiracy theorists and gold hawkers Glenn Beck and Alex Jones, took a little information and spun it out into free association diatribes meant to inspire fear rather than enlightenment. However, they are commentators, not reporters, so they’re free to get it wrong and reframe their mistakes so, somehow, they’ll appear right. That’s free speech. Real reporters aren’t supposed to have the luxury of being gullible and making things up.

Old-school journalists were about facts and used multiple sources to confirm stories before they delivered the news. When they got it wrong, they were supposed to be first with that admission and an apology. Now, due to competition and relaxed standards, they’re just about getting it first, right or wrong, even if they’re “first” by only a few seconds. CNN used to be America’s most trusted news source. Now the most trusted man in news isn’t in news. He’s in comedy and he’s Jon Stewart of The Daily Show.

 

When disaster strikes, most of what you hear is wrong

Amid panic, rumours take root. Sometimes it’s a child’s game of telephone, where messages get skewed in transit and really screwed up upon delivery. Speculation is often treated as fact. On September 11, 2001, it was reported that the attack on the Pentagon had been an exploding military helicopter. No one remembers that now, but it was a serious consideration for a short time. Sometimes law enforcement releases leaks to mislead their prey and the media are dupes or useful tools. That stuff only comes out when books are written and historians take over from the journalists.

On that horrible  sunny morning in September 2001, there was a brief brown out in my area. The TV was out and, as I listened to events unfold on my wind-up radio, I jogged  next door to ask the neighbors if their power was out as well. One fellow wondered if the power outage was part of the terrorist attack, too. Maybe that sounds silly now (and I went into denial rather than give the thought any weight) but in the moment? You never know how widespread a disaster really is. On 9/11, we sure didn’t see an invasion of Iraq coming, for instance.

What should you expect from media amid a disaster?

Rumour. Panic. Speculation. Worst-case scenarios. Fear-mongering. Hype. Worry. Sensationalism.

Be particularly wary when you hear repeated use of the word “exclusive”.

Media: You have earned our distrust.


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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