Health

Resource Of The Week: The Great Northern Prepper’s ‘Prepper Resources’ Page

I recently stumbled on a preparedness blog- The Great Northern Prepper, “Where Preparedness is a state of mind as well as a style of life”- by ex-Marine and security contractor Richard Morgan.

The Alaska native has amassed a large number of prepping resrouces (in .pdf format) on his aptly-named “Prepper Resouces” page.

“Over 570 and counting!” according to Morgan.

The resources fall under the following categories:

-General Preparedness
-Homesteading
-Wilderness Survival
-Food Preps
-Water
-First Aid/Medical
-NBC- (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical)
-EMP
-Military Field Manuals
-Prepper Tech
-Gardening (lots here)
-Building Plans (tons here)
-Work Magazine
-Natural Disaster Preparedness

I took a look at a few of these .pdf files, and most were teriffic.

Anyone looking to populate a flash drive or other storage device with freely-available prepper resources in an electronic format might want to start here on The Great Northern Prepper blog.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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While Ebola Grabs The Headlines, Coronavirus Makes A Comeback In The Middle East

While I’ve been blogging about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (121 dead last last I heard), I’ve noticed a different virus that I’ve talked about before is making a comeback further east. Deema Almashabi and Oliver Staley reported earlier today on Bloomberg.com:

The government of Saudi Arabia is trying to reassure its citizens that the most recent outbreak of a respiratory virus isn’t a cause for alarm following 16 new cases, including two deaths, reported in the last nine days.

The Saudi health ministry sent text messages through local carriers yesterday asking the country’s 30 million residents to check its website, call a free hotline and check its official Twitter account for updates on the coronavirus, which causes Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome or MERS…

Almost 230 people are known to have been infected since the virus emerged in Saudi Arabia two years ago, and 92 of them have died, according to the World Health Organization. Much about the disease and how it’s transmitted is still unknown…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The first time I discussed the coronavirus on Survival And Prosperity, the attention hadn’t yet focused on the Middle East. Rather, it was on Europe. I blogged on February 18, 2013:

Novel coronavirus (NCoV). A SARS-like virus I’ve been hearing more of recently. And of particular concern to the World Health Organization (WHO). From a February 16 posting on the “Disease Outbreak News” section of their website:

The United Kingdom (UK) has informed WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV). This is the third case confirmed in the country this month and is in the same family cluster as the two recently confirmed cases.

The latest confirmed case does not have recent travel history outside the UK. The case is recovering from mild respiratory illness and is currently well.

The confirmation with NCoV in this case with no recent travel history indicates that infection was acquired in the UK. Although this new case offers further indications of person-to-person transmission, no sustained person-to-person transmission has been identified

As of 16 February 2013, WHO has been informed of a total of 12 confirmed cases of human infection with NCoV, including five deaths…

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.

WHO continues to closely monitor the situation.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

12 confirmed cases of this new coronavirus. 5 deaths.

The vibe I’m getting from public health circles is that human-to-human transmission of NCoV is pretty difficult, so there’s not much worry of a pandemic at this point in time.

Still, like the WHO suggested in their bulletin, it’s something worth keeping an eye on. People infected with the novel coronavirus have developed acute respiratory illness with symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, and pneumonia. There are no specific treatments for the illnesses caused by the virus.

By last summer, the coronavirus that now had a foothold in the Middle East was being called MERS, or MERS-CoV on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Coronavirus/Novel coronavirus/MERS/MERS-CoV- something to keep an eye out for in addition to Ebola.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Almashabi, Deema and Staley, Oliver. “Saudi Arabia Seeks to Ease Concerns After New MERS Cases.” Bloomberg.com. 15 Apr. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-15/saudi-arabia-seeks-to-ease-concerns-after-new-mers-cases.html). 15 Apr. 2014.

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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 Africa, Europe, Health, Middle East No Comments

CBO: Updated 2014-2024 Budget Projections Show Substantially Rising Budget Shorfalls, Federal Debt

That idea that the U.S. could someday resemble a “banana republic” might not be too far off the mark. From the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office website today:

As it usually does each spring, CBO has updated the baseline budget projections that it released earlier in the year…

Between 2015 and 2024, annual budget shortfalls are projected to rise substantially—from a low of $469 billion in 2015 to about $1 trillion from 2022 through 2024—mainly because of the aging population, rising health care costs, an expansion of federal subsidies for health insurance, and growing interest payments on federal debt. CBO expects that cumulative deficits during that decade will equal $7.6 trillion if current laws remain unchanged. As a share of GDP, deficits are projected to rise from 2.6 percent in 2015 to about 4 percent near the end of the 10-year period. By comparison, the deficit averaged 3.1 percent of GDP over the past 40 years and 2.3 percent in the 40 years before fiscal year 2008, when the most recent recession began. From 2015 through 2024, both revenues and outlays are projected to be greater than their 40-year averages as a percentage of GDP (see the figure below)…

In CBO’s baseline projections, federal debt held by the public reaches 78 percent of GDP by 2024, up from 72 percent at the end of 2013 and twice the 39 percent average of the past four decades (see the figure below). As recently as the end of 2007, federal debt equaled just 35 percent of GDP

Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences. Federal spending on interest payments would increase considerably when interest rates rose to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing would eventually raise the cost of investment by businesses and other entities, the capital stock would be smaller, and productivity and wages lower, than if federal borrowing was more limited. In addition, high debt means that lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges. Finally, high debt increases the risk of a fiscal crisis in which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire assessment and view the complete document on the CBO website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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WHO: ‘One Of The Most Challenging Ebola Outbreaks That We Have Ever Faced’

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been following that Ebola outbreak in West Africa for some time now. Here’s the latest from CNN tonight:

The Ebola outbreak in coastal West Africa is still contained to Guinea and Liberia, the World Health Organization announced Tuesday, despite rumors of the virus spreading to other countries.

Cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, Mali and Ghana, but the WHO says none has been confirmed. Rumored cases in Mali are still being investigated.

The number of suspected cases in Guinea has grown to 157, with 101 deaths. Sixty-seven have been confirmed as Ebola. In Liberia, 21 cases have been reported, including 10 deaths. Five of the cases have been confirmed as Ebola.

The outbreak has “rapidly evolved” since originating in the forests of southeastern Guinea. The city of Guekedou, near the borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia, has seen the majority of the deaths.

Twenty cases are believed to have occurred in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, according to WHO.

“This is one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks that we have ever faced,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In my March 24 post, I noted that Laurent Duvillier, a UNICEF spokesperson, warned in an e-mail that same day:

Risk of international spread should be taken seriously.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Meanwhile, U.S. public health officials don’t seem to be too concerned about the outbreak coming to our shores.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“WHO: Ebola outbreak one of ‘most challenging.’” CNN. 8 Apr. 2014. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/08/health/africa-ebola/). 8 Apr. 2014.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 Africa, Emergencies, Health, Preparedness No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 24: Restart And Recap

It’s been a few months since I last published a “Project Prepper” post.

Considering all the material I have that’s just waiting to be blogged about, I don’t envision another layoff like that one happening again soon with this or one of the other series of posts currently running on Survival And Prosperity.

Today, I want to recap the “Project Prepper” series so far.

At two dozen posts, key topics I’ve blogged about since October 2012- when the first post debuted- have included:

• Starting up the “Project Prepper” series due to an increased awareness of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to life and lifestyle where I’ve decided to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning by doing

• Relocating from Chicago to the suburbs with an eye towards eventually settling down in Wisconsin (moved from Chicago to the northwest suburbs in late spring 2013)

• Establishing a prioritized list of 6 “innate survival needs” that my preparedness education will focus on:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

• Starting and building the foundation of an emergency water supply

• Starting an emergency food supply

Now, in these two dozen posts I’ve talked about items I’ve purchased as part of the “Project Prepper” series. For example, the Scepter 5 Gallon Manual Venting Water Jerry Can with CRC (Light Blue/Military Style) to store emergency water.

Going forward, I’m adding a new page to Survival And Prosperity this weekend entitled “Gear And Supplies” where I’ll be listing gear, supplies, and other items talked about in this series of posts and elsewhere on the blog- and links for where to buy them- if I feel they might offer something to readers.

It’s nice to be back in the saddle again. Until next week…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Where Illinois Ranks In U.S. On Key Indicators In 2014 Compared To 4 Years Ago

“A state of distress”

That’s what the Chicago Tribune had at the top of an opinion piece that was published last Sunday on their website (was also in the Sunday paper too).

And it pretty much sums up what’s going on in Illinois when a comparison of where the state ranks nationally on various indicators is made to just a short four years ago.

From the Tribune on March 30:

Is Illinois better off in 2014 than it was four years ago? In 2010 we pored over a virtual library of statistics to assess where Illinois stood relative to other states and produced a chart much like this one. Today we replicate that exercise as closely as the data permit, with comparisons to Illinois’ national stature in 2010. By economic and jobs measures, Illinois has fallen further. By some education metrics, Illinois has improved. Our kids are still chubby…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Areas looked at included:

• Economy and Jobs
• Governance
• Health
• Education
• State of Mind

The word most often used by the paper to describe how they now stand in comparison to four years ago?

“Worse”

It’s an insightful- yet disturbing- read, which you can find here on the Tribune website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Friday, April 4th, 2014 Education, Employment, Government, Health No Comments

Doctors Without Borders: Africa Ebola Outbreak ‘Epidemic Of A Magnitude Never Before Seen’

I’ve been blogging about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for several days now. Here’s the latest from Saliou Samb on the Reuters website earlier tonight:

Guinea faces an Ebola epidemic on an unprecedented scale as it battles to contain confirmed cases now scattered across several locations that are far apart, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Monday…

“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country,” said Mariano Lugli, coordinator of MSF’s project in Conakry…

The warning from an organization with experience of tackling Ebola in Central Africa comes after Guinea’s president appealed for calm as the number of deaths linked to an outbreak on the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone hit 80.

The outbreak of one of the world’s most lethal infectious diseases has spooked a number of governments with weak health systems, prompting Senegal to close its border with Guinea and other neighbors to restrict travel and cross-border exchanges…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Médecins Sans Frontières is also known as Doctors Without Borders.

The Ebola virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) in humans, and has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent.

No specific treatment or vaccine is available for use against the virus.

I first blogged about the outbreak on March 24. And on March 28, I noted that the virus had spread from rural Guinea to the capital city of Conakry.

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Samb, Saliou. “Scale of Guinea’s Ebola epidemic unprecedented: aid agency.” Reuters.com. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/31/us-guinea-ebola-idUSBREA2U10E20140331). 31 Mar. 2014.

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Monday, March 31st, 2014 Africa, Emergencies, Health No Comments

Ebola Spreads From Rural Guinea To Capital City Of 2 Million

Earlier this week, I blogged about Africa’s biggest Ebola outbreak in several years. I’ve been following the ordeal almost daily, observing that government authorities claimed to have had the problem under control.

I should’ve known better.

Saliou Samb reported on the Reuters website early this morning:

A deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus suspected of killing at least 63 people has spread from rural Guinea to the capital Conakry, authorities said on Thursday, after West African nations branded the virus a serious threat to regional security.

Guinean Health Minister Remy Lamah told Reuters that four cases of the haemorrhagic fever – one of the most lethal infectious diseases known to man – had been confirmed in the capital and the victims had been placed in quarantine.

The spread of Ebola to Conakry, a city of some 2 million people, marked an escalation in the outbreak in Guinea, which ranks as one of the poorest nations on earth despite rich deposits of bauxite and iron ore which attract international mining companies…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“One of the poorest nations on earth”

That’s doesn’t bode well for Guinea and its neighbors. As I also blogged Monday, I understand the quality of a nation’s healthcare infrastructure plays a big role in containing the spread of something like Ebola.

Keeping a close eye on this developing story…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Samb, Saliou. “Deadly Ebola virus spreads from rural Guinea to capital.” Reuters.com. 28 Mar. 2014. (http://news.yahoo.com/deadly-ebola-virus-spreads-rural-guinea-capital-081308460.html). 28 Mar. 2014.

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Friday, March 28th, 2014 Africa, Emergencies, Health, Infrastructure No Comments

UNICEF On West Africa Ebola Outbreak: ‘Risk Of International Spread Should Be Taken Seriously’

Ebola haemorrhagic fever
Fact sheet N°103
August 2012

Key facts
• The Ebola virus causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) outbreaks in humans.
• Viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
• Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
• The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
• Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
• There is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals.”

-World Health Organization website

I first heard of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa late last night. When I went to check on the status of it right after lunchtime today, I found this on Bloomberg.com. Ougna Camara and Elise Zoker reported a short while ago:

Africa’s biggest Ebola outbreak in seven years has probably spread from Guinea to neighboring Liberia and also threatens Sierra Leone.

Five people are suspected to have died from the disease in Lofa county in northern Liberia, Bernice Dahn, Liberia’s chief medical officer, said at a briefing today. At least 86 cases and 59 deaths have been recorded across Guinea, the west African country’s health ministry said today. The capital, Conakry, hasn’t been affected, government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara said, after the United Nations Children’s Fund said the outbreak had spread there.

“The forest region where Unicef delivered the emergency assistance on Saturday is located along the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia with many people doing business and moving between the three countries,” said Laurent Duvillier, a Unicef spokesman, in an e-mail today. “Risk of international spread should be taken seriously.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Am I worried Ebola might spread to the United States?

Not really. From what I understand, the quality of a country’s healthcare infrastructure plays an important role in containing the threat. Jessica Firger reported on the Everyday Health website back on September 13, 2012:

“This is a terrible problem for Africa, and it’s also a global threat. Our modern transportation network makes this something public health authorities all over the world need to pay attention to,” says Dr. Thomas W. Geisbert, professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. “The likelihood of any significant outbreak in the United States is low because the health care system (or infrastructure) in the United States is better able to mitigate risk than Africa.”

Still, the public health authorities need to keep on top of this.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Camara, Ougna and Zoker, Elise. “Ebola Suspected to Have Spread From Guinea to Liberia.” Bloomberg.com. 24 Mar. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-23/ebola-spreads-to-guinea-capital-conakry-with-at-least-59-deaths.html). 24 Mar. 2014.

Firger, Jessica. “Could Ebola Spread to the U.S.?” Everyday Health. 13 Sep. 2012. (http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/0913/could-ebola-spread-to-the-us.aspx). 24 Mar. 2014.

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Republican Candidates For Illinois Governor Split On ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban?

This November, an election will be held for Governor of Illinois. The four Republican candidates for the office- State Senators Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, and businessman Bruce Rauner- were recently given campaign questionnaires by the Associated Press, in which gun rights was one of the topics.

According to the AP, two of the four candidates may support a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

From last Tuesday:

In a campaign questionnaire for The Associated Press, the four candidates — state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner — all said gun rights need to be protected but that some public safeguards should exist.

The four differed over assault-style guns — high-capacity weapons that have been used in some of the deadliest mass shootings. They currently aren’t illegal statewide, and a proposed statewide ban backed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn was pulled from consideration last year in Springfield…

Dillard, of Hinsdale, and Rauner, of Winnetka, both left open the possibility they would support a ban. Rutherford, of Chenoa, and Brady, of Bloomington, oppose such a ban

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

However, the Chicago Sun-Times website is reporting that only one of the four candidates may be open to an “assault weapons” ban. Natasha Korecki wrote last Thursday:

Three of the four Republicans competing in the gubernatorial primary say they believe all Illinois residents have the right to own assault weapons.

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner of Winnetka said Thursday night that they believe it’s a right…

Only Dillard sidestepped the question — saying he believed it was better left up to the federal government to decide…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

So what about Rauner? The Associated Press did think his questionnaire answer was “more vague” than Dillard’s. Turning back to their piece:

Rauner gave a more vague answer, saying he supports background checks that keep guns away from criminals and people with mental illness.

“Going beyond that requires a very careful balance between promoting public safety and protecting constitutional rights,” Rauner wrote…

Unless Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner actually come out and say they are against a state AWB, I would chalk them up as possibly being in support of an “assault weapons” ban if the political winds were blowing in that direction.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Governor candidates split on gun control measures.” Associated Press. 25 Feb. 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140225/News/140229532). 1 Mar. 2014.

Korecki, Natasha. “Owning assault weapons a right, three GOP candidates say.” Chicago Sun-Times. 27 Feb. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/25882530-505/owning-assault-weapons-a-right-three-gop-candidates-say.html). 1 Mar. 2014.

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H10N8: New Strain Of Bird Flu May ‘Replicate Efficiently In Humans’

H10N8. I’d never heard of this new strain of bird flu until tonight, when I came across the following from Michelle Roberts on the BBC website. From earlier today:

Experts are concerned about the spread of a new strain of bird flu that has already killed one woman in China.

The 73-year-old from Nanchang City caught the H10N8 virus after visiting a live poultry market, although it is not known for sure if this was the source of infection.

A second person has since become infected in China’s Jiangxi province.

Scientists told The Lancet the potential for it to become a pandemic “should not be underestimated”.

This particular strain of influenza A virus has not been seen before…

I felt compelled to alert Survival And Prosperity readers about this particular avian influenza due to its novelty and its ability to reproduce. Roberts added:

Scientists who have studied the new H10N8 virus say it has evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans.

The concern is that it could ultimately be able to spread from person to person, although experts stress that there is no evidence of this yet…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Although experts stress that there is no evidence of this yet.”

Let’s hope it remains that way.

I haven’t heard/read too much about H10N8 in the American mainstream media.

Nor does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website talk about this new strain of bird flu.

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Roberts, Michelle. “New strain of ‘deadly’ bird flu.” BBC News. 4 Feb. 2014. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26020015). 4 Feb. 2014.

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Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 Asia, Health, Natural Disasters No Comments

Study: Illinois Receives ‘F’ For Disaster Preparedness, U.S. Gets ‘C-’

This past Thursday, I blogged about how federal government funding for disaster preparedness and response at the state and local level has plummeted since 2008.

That afternoon, an article appeared on the Chicago Tribune website which talked about a report card that was released the same day from the American College of Emergency Physicians (the professional organization of emergency medicine physicians in the United States) that looked at emergency care on a state-by-state basis. Peter Frost discussed the 2014 edition of America’s Emergency Care Environment, A State-by-State Report Card and wrote:

An updated national report on emergency medical care awarded Illinois two “F” grades for its lack of protection for doctors against malpractice suits and poor disaster preparedness, dropping the state’s ranking to 45th in the nation for supporting emergency care…

The state also failed to keep pace with other states in improving disaster preparedness, dropping to 43rd in the nation from 9th in 2009. The report urged Illinois to increase the number of its health care professionals who participate in a disaster response registry.

“Our state continues to be a … difficult environment for medical professionals which increases the risk of our losing qualified physicians and medical professionals to other states,” said Dr. Edward Ward, president of the Illinois Chapter of the emergency doctors’ group. “This threatens access to care for our patients in Illinois every day but especially during a mass casualty event.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“F” for disaster preparedness. Real nice.

I pulled up Illinois on the ACEP Report Card. Frost was too generous. The “Land of Lincoln” fell from number 8- not 9- in 2009 to 43 in 2014. And here’s what was written about the “F” the state received for disaster preparedness:

While changes in a number of Disaster Preparedness indicators from 2009 may partially explain the significant grade drop, Illinois now ranks well below most other states in this category. In 2012, the state’s Department of Public Health sought legislation to enhance immunity for its health care responders during an emergency but was unsuccessful. Adopting liability protections might help the state increase the per capita numbers of physicians, nurses, and behavioral health professionals registered in the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals, which are currently among the lowest in the nation…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Surprisingly, our neighbors to the north and east- Wisconsin and Indiana- both were awarded “F” grades in disaster preparedness as well.

As for the United States as a whole in 2014, disaster preparedness dropped from a “C+” in 2009 to a “C-” this year.

Not good news in these tumultuous times. And I have a feeling the grades for both Illinois and the rest of the country will continue to keep slipping as federal funds are diverted elsewhere. Where does that leave the general public? Possibly without outside help any time soon for a good many of them in the event of a major disaster.

But wasn’t that the case anyway (Hurricane Katrina comes to mind here) when resources were more plentiful?

You can read the entire ACEP Report Card (.pdf format) on their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Frost, Peter. “Study ranks Illinois 45th in emergency care.” Chicago Tribune. 16 Jan. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-illinois-45th-in-emergency-care-20140116,0,1355455.story). 19 Jan. 2014

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DayZ Standalone: A Survival Video Game For Preppers?

Back in the 1980s, I used to play computer games. A lot. I’m not much of a “gamer” anymore. First, I don’t really have the time these days. Second, if I’m going to play a video game, particularly a simulation-type game, I want it to be related to something I’m interested in and to be as realistic as possible. Even though game development has advanced by leaps and bounds since the days I toiled trying to break the glass backboard on One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird, realism is still a tall order.

Enter DayZ.

From Wikipedia:

DayZ is a multiplayer open world survival horror video game in development by Bohemia Interactive and the stand-alone version of the award-winning mod of the same name. The game was test-released on December 16, 2013 on PC for Microsoft Windows via digital distribution platform Steam, and is currently in early alpha testing.

The game places the player in the fictional post-Soviet state of Chernarus, where an unknown virus has turned most of the population into violent zombies. As a survivor, the player must scavenge the world for food, water, weapons, and medicine, while killing or avoiding zombies, and killing, avoiding or co-opting other players in an effort to survive the zombie apocalypse…


“DayZ Early Access Launch Trailer”
(Warning! Graphic Violence)
YouTube Video

I know what some of you might be thinking.

“Oh great. Another violent, shoot-the-zombies-up time waster.”

Now, I’ve been following the development of DayZ into its current stand-alone version for several months now, and I don’t think those who’ve played the game would classify it simply as a zombie-killing production. It’s the somewhat realistic survival aspect of it that keeps gamers coming back for more. Again from Wikipedia:

The goal of DayZ is to stay alive during the conditions of the zombie apocalypse that has befallen the in-game world. The player begins on the coast of the map equipped with only simple clothes and a flashlight, and must begin exploring the large 225 km landscape to investigate locations such as houses, barns, and apartments to scavenge supplies. These supplies include food and water, which are basic keys to prolonging the players life. Beyond the bare bones of survival, players can find various forms of clothing, which not only allows the player to customise their character, but can bring the benefit of extra storage space for supplies. Also scattered around the map are a variety of weapons, allowing players to protect themselves from zombies or other players if necessary. Currently these are largely focused on a range of melee weapons, but a small number of firearms (more are to be implemented with future updates) are present, as well as various attachments such as bipods and telescopic sights.

Whilst travelling around the game players can also find various medical supplies, as the environment poses a range of threats to their character. This includes diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis, which can be caught by ingesting dirty water or rotten food and must be cured with the appropriate medicine. If a player is shot or otherwise hurt, items on their person may be damaged. The player may also start bleeding and must be bandaged quickly to minimise blood loss; excessive damage or blood loss will result in serious deterioration of vision for the player and can render them unconscious…

Planned features include being able to build bases in the world in which players can keep their items safe, with the possibility of security systems and programmable computers having been considered. The standalone game will build on the text and close range voice chat of the mod version by including a new whisper channel, which will allow players to communicate over a very short distance without players nearby hearing, as well as radios (based off the “ACRE” mod for ARMA 2), which will allow longer range communication, including the possibility of encrypted two-way radios and player run radio stations. A number of features which are not currently available but will be added in a patch some time during the alpha have been confirmed including vehicles, more zombies, animals and hunting, and cooking.

I’ve been watching a variety of YouTube videos made of people playing DayZ Stand-Alone, and I have to say I’m real impressed with what I’ve seen:


“DayZ Standalone – I Saved Someone’s Life!”
(Warning! Graphic Violence, Language)
YouTube Video

I can envision myself trying out DayZ. As to it’s worth as a survival simulator? Let’s be honest, folks. No computer game at this point in time could possibly hope to replicate the real thing. But consider what “Selco” over at the SHTF School blog wrote about an earlier version of the project:

So overall I can say it is nice try to give people feeling of how survival like this feels. You often feel desperate and have to be careful all the time. It is far from perfect but creates clearer picture of what survival is about than any movie I saw in the past…

Selco would know, being a survivor of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

For more information on DayZ and how to buy it, head over to the game’s website here. As I type this, it’s €23.99- or $32.66 in U.S. dollars- to join in on the fun.

Just remember DayZ is still in “alpha testing”- where the bugs are in the process of being worked out.

Even though that’s the case, over 1 million copies have already been sold since its December release.

Not bad. And as word gets out about this latest version, I wonder if preppers won’t be tempted to get their gaming on?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Selco. “Dayz – the first real survival game?” SHTF School. 4 Aug. 2012. (http://shtfschool.com/general/dayz-the-first-real-survival-game/). 16 Jan. 2014.

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H1N1 Flu ‘Widespread’ In More Than Half The U.S.

On December 29, I blogged that “I heard H1N1 mentioned for the first time this winter in the Chicago-area news the other day.” The local media mentioned that the influenza virus was popping up around the Chicagoland area.

A week-and-a-half later, reports are coming in of H1N1 “swine” flu being “widespread” in more than half the U.S. Jeffrey Kopman reported on The Weather Channel website this morning:

The calendar says 2014, but health officials and flu victims might feel like it’s 2009 all over again. The H1N1 flu strain — which was responsible for the 2009 swine flu pandemic — has dominated this season’s flu scene, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

The CDC reports that the flu is now widespread in more than half of the country, with many states reporting severe outbreaks. As of the last weekly flu advisory report, widespread activity has been reported in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington state and Wyoming.


The Weather Channel
“Deadly Flu Season Getting WORSE?”
YouTube Video

Readers can track H1N1’s spread going forward by viewing the most current U.S. flu activity map on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Kopman, Jeffrey. “Deadly H1N1 Spreading Across U.S.” The Weather Channel. 7 Jan. 2014. (http://www.weather.com/health/cold-flu-outlook/deadly-h1n1-spreading-across-us-20140106). 7 Jan. 2014.

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Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 Health No Comments

H1N1 ‘Swine’ Flu ‘Rapidly Spreading’ Throughout Chicago Area, South-Central U.S.

This weekend, I heard the H1N1 “swine” flu is back. In a big way.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with H1N1, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website Flu.gov:

H1N1 is a flu virus. When it was first detected in 2009, it was called “swine flu” because the virus was similar to those found in pigs.

The H1N1 virus is currently a seasonal flu virus found in humans.

Okay, let’s dive in. I heard H1N1 mentioned for the first time this winter in the Chicago-area news the other day. From the website of Chicago CBS affiliate Channel 2 on Friday:

A strain of the swine flu is rapidly spreading throughout the Chicago area.

More than 20 of the H1N1 cases have been detected at Loyola University Medical Center in recent days, including five on Christmas Eve.

Now, CBS 2 has learned, another 41 cases have turned up at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Doctors say there have been eight cases in just the week before Christmas…

But it’s not just the Chicagoland area that’s experiencing a jump in H1N1 cases. From the health website WebMD last Thursday:

This year’s flu season may be off to a slow start nationwide, but infection rates are spiking in the south-central United States, where five deaths have already been reported in Texas.

And the predominant strain of flu so far has been H1N1 “swine” flu, which triggered the pandemic flu in 2009, federal health officials said Thursday.

“That may change, but right now most of the flu is H1N1,” said Dr. Michael Young, a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza division. “It’s the same H1N1 we have been seeing the past couple of years and that we really started to see in 2009 during the pandemic.”

States reporting increasing levels of flu activity include Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, he said…

Here’s something interesting that you may not know about H1N1. From the WebMD piece:

Young noted that H1N1 flu is different from other types of flu because it tends to strike younger adults harder than older adults…

“This year, because it’s an H1N1 season so far, we are seeing more infections in younger adults,” Young said…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the following posted on their website regarding seasonal influenza:

Flu activity is increasing nationally and is high in some states. Additional increases are expected in the coming weeks. If you have not gotten your flu vaccination yet this season, you should get one now.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“H1N1 Presence Grows In Chicago.” Channel 2. 27 Dec. 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/12/27/h1n1-presence-grows-in-chicago/). 29 Dec. 2013.

Reinberg, Steven. “H1N1 Flu Spreading in South-Central U.S.” HealthDay. 26 Dec. 2013. (http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20131226/h1n1-flu-spreading-in-south-central-us). 29 Dec. 2013.

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Sunday, December 29th, 2013 Health, Medicine No Comments


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