The Real Shocker in August

  I trust that you are doing well after the horrible August we had. In one month, we had two hurricanes wreak havoc through the Caribbean, Texas and Florida, forest fires ravaged the West and Canada, an 8.1 earthquake struck Mexico, the sun launched some of the largest solar flares towards us in years, and North Korea launched a missile over Japan in its most provocative action yet. Quite an eventful month! But there is one event that happened in August that hardly got any attention, and it’s by far the most shocking, “Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.” I have talked many times about Ted Koppel’s book “Light’s Out” because it outlines the single largest vulnerability of the USA; our electric grid. Never before in history has a nation been so completely dependent upon electricity as we are. We live in a fantastic world of automation. Food and safe water are so plentiful that we never have to
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How To Help Others During an Emergency Without Putting Yourself at Risk

  TODAY I WANT TO address an important concern that many people have; “In an emergency, how do we help other people without putting ourselves at risk? I want to help my neighbors and my friends, but if I give them my stored water or other supplies, which I worked hard to save up, I could blow through my 30-day supply in a matter of a day or two. These are people I know and I care about, so I can’t just turn them away. Even the ones that I don’t know are good people in need. What to do?” I think this is one of the most overlooked aspects of being prepared. Yes, you can prepare yourself and your family, but the vast majority of people have not prepared, nor have they ever even thought about the need for being prepared.  Let’s be honest. You don’t want to turn away your neighbors, your friends, your family, your business associates, and their young children and elderly relatives. We are hard-wired to help each other. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s what makes our society strong. And if helping others is not compelling enough, consider that your family will
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How Prepared Are We As a Nation?

  This past week I had an opportunity to attend a government conference on emergency preparedness in Atlanta, Georgia. In attendance were many local emergency response planners from across the US, as well as officials from the CDC, FEMA and other government organizations. I talked to many people and got some great insights into how prepared we are as a nation, both good and bad. Here’s what I took away from this event… GREAT PEOPLE. I was very impressed with the people I met. We have to be grateful to the highly qualified, committed people who are working in this field. They take their jobs seriously, are well trained, and are more than willing to support other areas around the country as needed. HUGE AND COMPLICATED. As a small business owner, I sometimes forget how huge our country is. Keeping the country prepared and ready for an emergency is a massively complex job; the number of government departments involved, software programs, product stockpiles, distribution challenges and tens of thousands of people. OUR GREATEST STRENGTH. We have a number of things that contribute to the preparedness of our country, from the great people, to the excellent training programs and even our
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Why Be Prepared?

  Why is it a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected? It’s my belief that, for the sake of your family, you should be prepared for the unexpected. Not out of fear, but out of an awareness that the systems that we all take for granted could fail. We live in an extremely fine-tuned, specialized and interconnected world. This is our strength and our weakness. Here’s what I mean… FINE-TUNED: Businesses have become extremely efficient. It doesn’t make sense for them to keep a lot of inventory. You’ve heard of “just-in-time” inventory? Grocery stores, for example, don’t keep much inventory on hand. For the most part, what you see on the shelves is what they have. The computers simply have the products delivered at the exact time it’s needed. This is great for the grocery store’s profitability, but if there is a problem that prevents the trucks from delivering the food, the shelves will go bare in a day or two. So what could prevent trucks from delivering the food? A cyber-attack on computer systems, a black out, earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster, interruption to gasoline supplies, civil disruption, war, terrorism, and countless other events. SPECIALIZED: Do
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Get Your Priorities Straight!

  Every once and a while someone will question one of my recommendations. Let me give you a few examples… “I don’t want to buy bottled water because plastic is bad for you.” “Why do you recommend chlorine for treating water in an emergency? It’s poisonous!” “Why not just use a UV light to purify the water? It’s easier and can do a whole gallon in a few minutes.” This is a crucial point for you to understand, WHEN AN EMERGENCY HAPPENS YOUR PRIORITIES MUST CHANGE, IMMEDIATELY! Face it, you are spoiled. So am I. We have such tremendous infrastructure and it makes our life so easy. We go through life never having to think about the safety of our water. You never have to think about basic survival. You have lived your entire lives this way, so of course you don’t think about it. But if the power goes out for an extended period of time or an earthquake strikes; if the infrastructure fails, and you aren’t able to get safe drinking water, and you’re not able to get medicine or medical assistance, your world has changed. Ready or not, you are now in survival mode, and the first
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The Hierarchy of Water Needs

  A very important point to understand about purifying water in an emergency is that you don’t have to purify all of your water to the same degree. I call this the “Hierarchy of Water Needs”. Think about the different uses for water… At the top of the list is drinking water for infants, newborns, young children, the elderly and immune compromised people. Do you remember the cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993? Over 100 people died from that incident, and most of the deaths were the very young, the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. Use only the highest purity water with absolute certainty of biological protection, or in other words, use distilled water or a large name bottled water, such as SmartWater or AquaFina. Avoid other types of water if at all possible. Also at the top of the list is water for medical purposes. See the previous recommendations regarding water quality. Next, and still extremely important, is drinking water for adults. It’s very important that you protect yourself from the different types of contaminants that can be in your water. This is especially true in an emergency situation, because the infrastructure that keeps us safe can
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A Clarification of My Position on Bottled Water

One of my core recommendations for being prepared for a water emergency is to have an adequate supply of bottled water on hand. Bottled water is very important, for reasons I will share. But every time I recommend bottled water I inevitably get some people who respond and proclaim that bottled water is the devil and I must be getting money from the bottled water industry for promoting them. I also hear from people who don’t like their water coming in contact with plastic, and there are other people who complain about the brands that I recommend. I want to set the record straight and cut through any issues you may have with bottled water. And also, before we go any further I want to say that no, I don’t receive any money from the bottled water industry. So with that out of the way, here’s what you need to know. WHAT DO I RECOMMEND? In brief, I recommend that you store one gallon per day per person for at least fifteen days. I recommend the small, half-liter plastic bottles and my preference is AquaFina brand. To see my specific recommendations, go here. WHY DO I RECOMMEND BOTTLED WATER? Bottled
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What Happens If You Go Without Water?

  This is an entertaining short video from the guys at SciShow about the importance of water in your body. Please watch! (No, that is not me on the video. )     Disasters happen. If the power goes out in your city for an extended period of time, your tap water could be dangerously contaminated for a long time. Without a supply of safe drinking water you can quickly become ill and not be able to protect and provide for your family when they need it most. The Survival Still can save your family, if you own one BEFORE an emergency happens!
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What is the Difference Between Pasteurization, Boiling and Distillation?

  There is discussion on the internet about pasteurization of water in an emergency situation. In this article I want to clear up any confusion between boiling and pasteurization, because they are not the same thing, and I want to compare both methods to distillation. Let’s start by comparing boiling and pasteurization. While there are some similarities, they are not at all the same. One similarity is that they both involve heating water, but the difference is the temperature to which water is heated and the length of time it is held at a specific temperature. Mankind has been boiling substances much longer than we have been pasteurizing substances. To my knowledge, no one person has been given credit for discovering the process of boiling though many have studied it. Let’s just give credit to early man or God since there are some examples of boiling in nature. The process of pasteurization, on the other hand, is named after a famous French Chemist, Louis Pasteur. He did much of his research pasteurizing wine and is also famous for anthrax and many other germ-related research. He is the one most responsible for the germ theory for infectious disease. We shall continue here by defining the
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The Real Impact of The San Andreas “Big One”

  LATER THIS MONTH a new movie will be released called “San Andreas”, starring the Rock. It’s about a massive earthquake striking California. I have not seen the movie, obviously because it’s not out yet, but I have seen the trailer. Of course, the Rock saves a pretty lady while the helicopter that he’s in flies away just before getting crushed by a falling building. The special effects make it fun, but I want to talk about what would happen in real life if, or more accurately WHEN, the big one strikes the West Coast, because this is a real event that will happen someday. Just to clarify, I am not a geologist, but my father is and we have discussed this scenario in depth. First, let’s discuss how earthquakes are measured. There are small and large earthquakes and everything in between. There is a standardized scale from 1 to 10 (and higher) to measure the energy released. Each number assigned is a ten-fold increase in magnitude, which means that a magnitude 7 quake is ten-times as powerful as a magnitude 6 quake. What are we talking about when we say the Big One? A “Big One” could be 7.0
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