Man-Made Disasters

Quote For The Week

“Meanwhile, fears of universal disaster sank to an all time low over the world.”

-Isaac Asimov (American author and professor. 1920-1992)

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

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Illinois Adults Invited To Enter Contest For Free Weather Alert Radios

Illinois residents 18 years and older are being offered the chance to win free weather alert radios in a contest launched yesterday by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA). From an April 22 press release posted on the Ready.Illinois.gov website:

‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest promotes awareness; 100 radios to be awarded

SPRINGFIELD – The recent devastating tornadoes in northern Illinois were a heartbreaking reminder of the tornado risk in Illinois. To increase awareness and use of an important severe weather alerting tool, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) today launched an online quiz for a chance to win a weather alert radio.

The ‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. The contest will run from April 22 – May 22. This is the third time IEMA and IESMA have sponsored the statewide contest.

“It’s important for people to have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, particularly at night when most of us are sleeping,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Weather alert radios will sound a tone when a warning has been issued for your area and give you information about the approaching hazard. Similar to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, a weather alert radio can give you precious time to take safety precautions.”

A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be announced in late May. The radios were purchased by IESMA as part of an effort to increase the use of the devices in communities throughout Illinois.

“IESMA is excited to team up with IEMA for this valuable awareness contest,” said IESMA President Kevin Sargent. “Each region of the state is affected by some type of extreme weather each year. This year is no exception with the tornado outbreak in central and northern Illinois earlier this month. IESMA believes many lives are saved each year by people being able to receive severe weather warnings from NOAA weather alert radios. Please take time to participate in this contest for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be given away.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials encourage individuals and businesses to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties. When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

More information about severe weather preparedness also is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

I just completed taking the online quiz as part of this year’s “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest. The five-question quiz is easy- but be sure to read and digest that information provided on the “Weather Alert Radio Contest” page first.

I’m a big fan of weather alert radios. Even if you don’t win one through this contest, I highly-recommend going out and getting one of these devices anyway if you don’t already own one.

Good luck! And Survival And Prosperity thanks the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) for holding this contest once again.

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

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Camp Independence 2015 To Take Place On May 16 In Winamac, Indiana

Last night, I informed Chicago-area readers that I knew about two preparedness/survival-related shows planned for May next door in Indiana. The first of these is the Indiana Prepper & Survival Expo (May 2-3, Valparaiso), which I blogged about late Tuesday. Today, I’m going to talk about the second gathering. From the Live Free USA, South Town Chapter, Meetup.com page for the event:

CAMP INDEPENDENCE 2015

Americas Oldest And Best Preparedness Gathering!

Tippecanoe River State Park, Winamac Indiana
Tepicon Hall

Survival, preparedness and self-reliance classes, workshops and outdoor programs for the whole family conducted by some of America’s best instructors in this beautiful state park.

Set up camp and stay for the weekend with us!

You will find many people arrive Friday evening, and stay through Sunday morning. The group campfire is a great way to socialize and network with the many other members of Live Free USA chapters.

Tent sites are available through the DNR website. Look for sites near Tepicon Hall, if possible, for easiest access. Cabins are available on a first come basis. Lunch is available at reasonable prices. Reserve your spot NOW, before the sites fill up! The last 2 years of this event we have completely filled the park!

Advanced Registration Before May 5th: Individual $20.00*, Family $25.00.
Registration after May 5th or at the site: Individual $25.00*, Family $35.00*

LIVE FREE MEMBERS RATE: $10.00 Individual, $15.00 Family (for Live Free Member Rate, you must be a PAYING MEMBER of Live Free USA. Memberships are at a nominal cost (see below), with many benefits available for the small annual fee.

See us, or visit Live Free USA

Mail checks directly to: Live Free USA, P.O. Box 3295, Munster Indiana, 46321…

Reading that Meetup page, this year’s Camp Independence- which started in 1968- is scheduled to take place from 9 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, May 16. Tippecanoe River State Park is located 58 miles south/southwest of South Bend.

For more information about the event, head on over to that Meetup.com page here.

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

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Indiana Prepper & Survival Expo To Be Held May 2-3 In Valparaiso

Chicago-area blog readers- I know of two preparedness/survival-related shows planned for May next door in Indiana. The first of these is the Indiana Prepper & Survival Expo, billed as the “largest preparedness and sustainable living event in Indiana.” From the Prepper Shows USA website:

INDIANA PREPPER & SURVIVAL EXPO
Porter County Expo Center
Valparaiso, Indiana
May 02 – May 03

Live Free USA is proud to announce the first major preparedness expo in NW Indiana since the 1980s. This event affords the opportunity for regional vendors to display and sell their products and services. Preparedness and self-reliance practitioners will be able to purchase a wide variety of equipment while building their skills and networking with like-mined families. A full schedule of speakers on disaster preparedness, emergency response, and sustainable living will be available.

A “Meet up Tent” will afford great ways to network or join regional groups. A farmers market will also be on-site.

Live Free USA has worked hard to bring this event to NW Indiana. We will have major exhibits and speakers there and opportunities to join and attended additional events and training.

For full information go to: WWW.Wisconsinpreppersexpo.com
or call 920-573-5903

There’s a typo in that website address. The expo website is actually located here.

The event also has a Facebook page, where I learned admission is free.

I’ll talk about that second Indiana prepper show tomorrow…

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

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Illinois Emergency Management Agency: Develop Post-Disaster Communications Plan With ‘Text First, Talk Second’ Approach

Severe Weather Preparedness Month is almost over here in Illinois. But the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is still passing along valuable information to state residents on what to do when a disaster occurs. From a press release on the Illinois Government News Network website yesterday:

‘Text First, Talk Second’ Often Best Way to Contact Loved Ones When Disaster Strikes

IEMA Encourages People to Have Plan for Communicating with Family Members, Friends during Emergencies

SPRINGFIELD – When disaster strikes, your first instinct probably is to call loved ones to make sure they’re OK or let them know you’re safe. It’s likely everyone else affected by the emergency is thinking the same thing. In these instances, telephone lines can quickly become overloaded, preventing not only your call from going through but also blocking critical 911 calls.

During Severe Weather Preparedness Month in March, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to develop a Family Communications Plan that includes the “Text First, Talk Second” concept.

“Communicating with family and friends immediately after a disaster is important,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We’re encouraging people to plan now so they’ll know how to reach their contacts in the chaotic aftermath of a disaster.”

Joseph said short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through to your loved ones than a phone call when phone service is disrupted. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.

Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion during an emergency. You can also use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to post your status to let family and friends know you’re OK.

While Text-to-911 is on the horizon for emergency communications, it currently is available only in limited areas of the U.S. If you need to contact 911, do so by landline or cell phone unless your community has notified you that this service is activated in your area.

Additional emergency communications tips include:

• Keep all phone calls brief by conveying only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
• If you are unsuccessful in completing a call using your cell phone, wait ten seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
• If you lose power, you can charge your cell phone in your car. Be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place, not in a garage.
• Another resource for letting friends and family know your status after a disaster is the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well Registry at https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php.
• Your communications plan should identify an out-of-area contact and household members should carry that information with them at all times. If a disaster occurs when you are separated, it often is easier to call outside your immediate area. Family members can call the contact to provide location and coordinate reunification plans.

For more information about developing a family communications plan, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Great advice regarding that “Text First, Talk Second” strategy.

Even I can text on my vintage “dumb phone” with its Shaun of the Dead ringtone.

To find out more about IEMA, you can visit their website here.

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

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Chicago Tribune: ‘As Many As 40 Oil Trains Come Through Chicago And The Suburbs Each Week’

My girlfriend likes the popular getaway destination of Galena, Illinois (never been there myself). So she was concerned last week when breaking news appeared on the TV screen about a BNSF Railway train carrying 103 tank cars laden with crude oil derailing and exploding in that northwest part of the state.

Luckily, the incident occurred in a sparsely-populated area (no injuries reported).

But it’s been revealed that the tank cars that burst into flames had already been retrofitted with protective shields to meet a higher safety standard than federal law requires.

Richard Wronski reported in my Sunday paper (the Chicago Tribune) yesterday:

The fiery train derailment Thursday near Galena should serve as a wake-up call for the state and the Chicago area to be better prepared in the event of a similar incident in the metropolitan area, officials said…

Had the incident occurred in the city or suburbs, it would have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and caused enormous damage, officials said…

Documents filed with the state and obtained by the Tribune last year show that as many as 40 oil trains come through Chicago and the suburbs each week

Few Chicago-area fire departments have enough firefighting foam and equipment to respond effectively to the kind of roaring infernos that have resulted from tank car derailments, the Tribune reported last year…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Well that’s disturbing to read (hat tip Wronski and the Tribune for digging this info up).

As regular readers may remember, my girlfriend and I moved out of the city a year-and-a-half ago to one of the northwest suburbs, where a set of railroad tracks (frequently used by freight) is located about a half-mile away.

This event has indeed been a “wake-up call.” I really need to investigate if a potential hazardous materials incident exists with that rail line. And plan accordingly.

Chicago-area readers might want to do the same if they haven’t already.

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

Source:

Wronksi, Richard. “Galena derailment should put Chicago on alert, officials say.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-crude-oil-train-derailment-met-20150306-story.html). 8 Mar. 2015

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How To Survive A Mall Shooting

If you’ve been following the news the last couple of days, you might have heard about the threat by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab against a particular “family” of shopping malls (blogged about this Sunday). The more I thought about the potential for a mall shooting, the more I wondered if there was anything out in cyberspace that might assist readers in surviving an active shooter situation within this type of environment. Enter SPIKE’s TV series Surviving Disaster from a couple of years back (blogged about here). In particular, the episode entitled “Mall Shooting.” For those of you who’ve never heard of the television series, from the SPIKE website:

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

If Cade Courtley looks familiar, it may be that you recognize him from another survival TV series called America Unplugged that recently aired on the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based TV network The Sportsman Channel (blogged about here– good stuff). Or it could be from a different project of his.


“Who is Cade Courtley?”
YouTube Video

Getting back to Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” from the SPIKE website:

A highly trained terrorist cell takes over a crowded mall in a military style siege. Navy SEAL Cade Courtley shows you how to survive a firefight using SEAL Team tactics and take on this well armed enemy by constructing improvised weapons, smoke bombs and night vision gear.

It’s been a few years since I watched the 42-minute production. But I think it still has a lot to offer should readers ever find themselves in a similar predicament. For example, I jotted down the following from the first part of “Mall Shooting,” after the terrorists had commenced their attack:

• Don’t play dead
• Spread out
• Priority is to clear the “kill zone” as fast as possible
• Move away from the kill zone, from cover to cover, avoiding mere concealment if possible
• If no clear exit nearby, escape through the back of a store to the fire-escape hallways
• If the exits from the hallways are blocked/booby-trapped, search for a different escape route from the mall, utilizing those “you are here” maps if necessary
• One possible exit could be the loading dock area, which might be difficult for the terrorists to seal off and a potentially-good spot for law enforcement/other rescuers to gain entry into the facility

Now, some of this might sound “basic” to a number of readers. However, Courtley did cover more “advanced” topics like:

• Individual/group movement (keep at least a foot off of walls because bullets could ricochet down their length)
• Obtaining makeshift weapons and gear from within the mall
• Ambushing terrorists
• Operating an AK-type rifle acquired from the bad guys
• Constructing a makeshift silencer for the captured firearm

There’s plenty more material in Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” which you can view in its entirety over on the SPIKE website here.

Personally, I hope readers never have to utilize this information. That being said, I’m real glad SPIKE TV and Cade Courtley put it out there for the general public.

Know of other “how to survive a mall shooting” resources? Feel free to share it with everyone via the comment section.

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

Courtley’s SEAL survival guide…

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NotifyChicago: The City Of Chicago’s Emergency Alert Program

Back when I was living in Chicago I remember reading that the city had a system in place where residents could receive alerts about emergencies going on.

I never signed up for the program, but if I were still living at my old pad on the Northwest side today, I’d give it a try.

Enter NotifyChicago. Via the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management & Communications web page, under “Notification Program Overview”:

NotifyChicago

Notification Program Overview

Welcome to NotifyChicago, the City of Chicago’s tool for providing residents with direct emergency and non-emergency information. NotifyChicago is a city service that supplies residents with text messages and/or e-mail alerts for incidents/conditions such as severe weather emergencies, hazardous materials, traffic impacts, etc. Preparedness and being informed is key in an emergency. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) urges residents to subscribe to receive alerts sent directly to mobile phones or email accounts to stay informed. Signing up for NotifyChicago is FREE. However, depending on your service plan, you may be charged for messages and data on your devices. Contact your mobile service provider for details on costs in your plan.

How Does Notify Chicago Work?

In the event of an emergency, the city’s designated personnel will send text messages and/or e-mail alerts directly to the registered phones or email accounts using this NotifyChicago system. Non-emergency alerts may be issued for traffic disruptions to keep public informed of related major street closures or events impacting traffic. Those registering for texts/emails can choose to receive both emergency and non-emergency notifications or just emergency notices. Once registered, alerts will be sent to the mobile phone/email address designated as situations arise…

NotifyChicago sounds like a terrific tool for a Chicago worker, resident, and visitor to have access to during an emergency. I tried to find out if Cook County and the State of Illinois had similar emergency alert programs, but didn’t see any advertised on their respective web sites (I plan to investigate more).

Interested in finding out more about NotifyChicago? Head on over to the program site here.

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

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Resource Of The Week: 122 Of The Best Prepper Websites On The Internet

Back on February 1, 2013, Michael Snyder, publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream blog, and The Most Important News website, named Survival And Prosperity one of “50 Of The Best Prepper Websites And Blogs On The Internet.”

I was grateful to hear that someone thought so highly of the blog.

I was humbled again recently when I learned Mr. Snyder designated it one of “122 Of The Best Prepper Websites On The Internet.” He wrote on December 18, 2014:

Getting prepared for the chaos that is coming to America in the years ahead is not that complicated. Help is out there – if you know where to look. And it doesn’t have to be expensive either. In this article, I have put together a list of 122 of the best prepper websites on the Internet that will teach you how to prep for free. The great thing about the prepper community is that there are always highly skilled people that are willing to freely share their knowledge and experience with the general public…

Snyder is right- The great thing about the prepper community is that there are always highly-skilled individuals willing to freely-share their knowledge and experience with people like you and me.

Check out Michael Snyder’s “122 Of The Best Prepper Websites On The Internet,” starting with his sites. Not only do I read a number of them on a regular basis, but I’ve also met a few of their publishers in person. Good people who really care about America, if you ask me.

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

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Sky News Investigates Preppers

Our cousins across the pond are taking a particular interest in preppers these days.

Last week, it was the folks over at The Economist (UK).

This week, it’s Sky News.

Dominic Waghorn investigated preppers for a report entitled The Doom Boom which aired on Britain’s Sky News last night. The U.S. correspondent started with:

I’ve reported from around the world on countries coping with adversity. In America, I’ve witnessed terrorist attacks, extreme weather, civil unrest. But I’ve never felt society here is on the brink of collapse. And yet it seems, an increasing number of Americans do. I want to find out why, and what they’re doing to get ready.

Waghorn then met with several preppers (a few of Doomsday Preppers-fame), including:

• Holly Blevins
• Jay Blevins
• Catherine Bryson
• Jamie Bryson
• Braxton Southwick
• Colton Southwick
• Kara Southwick
• Rylee Southwick

Sky News did a pretty good job with the report. It wasn’t the usual hit piece many have come to expect from the mainstream media with regards to preppers.


Sky News: The Doom Boom
YouTube Video

However, some in the preparedness industry who viewed the production may have been a little irked with the association of fear and providing goods/services to the prepper community. Consider the following from Waghorn:

And for those who trade on fear, business has never been better.

Larry Hall has made a name selling to people with a lot of money, and a lot of fear.

Fear is big business in the U.S., but doom and bloom has spawned an industry worth millions.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, there was this exchange between Larry Hall of Luxury Survival Condo (who also featured in a Doomsday Preppers episode) and Waghorn:

WAGHORN: Because there’ll be people I suppose who look at this and think, well, the whole prepping industry has become an industry and you presumably have made a fair amount of money out of this. And in a sense, what people like you are doing is peddling fear and profiting from it. What do you say to people like that?
HALL: Well, again, I don’t think it’s fear. I think it’s awareness. I think that fear has a negative connotation. I don’t think I’m peddling fear. I think I’m peddling preparedness. And there’s a big difference.

“I’m peddling preparedness. And there’s a big difference.”

Nice. And that may be the case with Hall and a lot of other vendors in that industry. But no doubt there are those “peddling fear” these days, so it pays to be aware of that.

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

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Project Prepper, Part 31: How Much, How Long For Survival Needs?

The other week in the “Project Prepper” series of posts I talked about where the project stood after two years in the works. I blogged:

I decided my preparedness education and activities will focus on a prioritized list of six “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast). This includes:

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

I went on to discuss the status of each “need.”

While working the past two years on meeting these “needs,” questions arose about “how much?” and “how long?” For example, concerning water- do I settle for just having 72 hours of an emergency supply on hand (like what Uncle Sam recommends)? Or do I aim higher, taking into consideration potential emergencies I might realistically encounter living here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago?

I knew settling for “just enough” wouldn’t cut it. As I wrote the other week concerning water:

At present, my girlfriend and I have close to a week-and-a-half supply of emergency water each (based on federal government guidelines of one gallon per person per day). Even though this is significantly more than Uncle Sam’s 72-hour recommendation, I’m not comfortable with this amount.

And regarding emergency food:

Taking advantage of price drops and gift cards, my girlfriend and I scored a relatively-inexpensive 1-week supply of high-quality freeze-dried meals each. Like with the water though, I’d like to increase that amount commensurate with the potential emergencies I’ve identified.

Mountain House Classic Buckets

Mountain House Classic Buckets– breakfast/lunch/dinner for 3.5 days per bucket

Thankfully, after listening to the November 19, 2014, episode of The Survival Podcast, I now have a better idea of “how much?” and “how long?” might be required to tackle those needs. Incorporating Spirko’s suggestions from episode 1468, “The World Won’t End but Your World Could,” with his six “innate survival needs,” we have:

1. Security

2. Water- 30 days for all needs (drinking, cooking, bathing, etcetera)

3. Food- 30 to 60 days without complete boredom (variety of food that we already eat and actually think is tasty)

4. Shelter- Ability to keep home “sound” after suffering non-catastrophic damage

5. Sanitation and Health- Ability to deal with wastes for 30 days. Ability to treat basic injuries and illnesses.

6. Energy- Ability to deal with initial power loss in 5 to 10 minutes. Then, power for 14 days to cover basic needs and comfort.

I’m a lot more comfortable with these targets. I just have to remember that any preps will have to be for two adults (girlfriend and me).

Still, I want to review potential emergencies/disasters we realistically face here in the Chicagoland area/Midwest/United States, and “tweak” the above accordingly.

More next time…

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

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The Economist Magazine Investigates Preppers

“Some Americans find survivalists sinister. After Adam Lanza shot 26 people in a school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, the media made much of the fact that his mother was a gun-stockpiling prepper. Yet there is no evidence that preppers in general are more dangerous than their compatriots. On the contrary, when natural disasters strike, it is useful to have neighbours who know how to stormproof a house and have bandages to spare.”

The Economist website, December 17, 2014

Late this morning, I stumbled on an article on The Economist website about preppers. I just finished reading “Preparing for the apocalypse: I will survive,” and thought I’d blog about it a little. The author (couldn’t find a name attached with the piece for some reason) did a pretty good job writing about preppers/survivalists, not falling victim to the usual stereotypes/generalizing echoed in a comment on the article. From “walrusandthecarpenter”:

Preppers are people who are unhappy with their life and can’t wait for the end of the world to come and the tables to turn. They are excited for it to happen.

Me? I like my smartphone. I have a first aid kit though.

“I like my smartphone.” What a goof.

Like I was saying, the author did a pretty good job (points deducted for trying to link those Westboro folks to preppers) with the material. I found what James Wesley, Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com-fame had to say particularly interesting. From the article:

So how might TEOTWAWKI come about? The biggest threat, says Mr Rawles, is a huge solar flare. The last big one, in 1859, known as the “Carrington Event”, disabled telegraph lines. A similar disaster today would “fry the circuitry” of electronic devices and take out the power grid “from end to end”. It would take years to reactivate. Perhaps 60% of the American population could die, predicts Mr Rawles…

I’ve seen some put that die-off figure at 90 percent.

There was also this about present-day preppers:

Survivalists vary politically—just as they are dispersed geographically—and their views colour their apocalyptic imaginings. Many are conservatives, worried about crime, terrorism and hyperinflation and sure that the state cannot be relied upon to protect ordinary citizens. But a fair number are environmentalists, convinced that the planet can only take so much abuse before it becomes uninhabitable. The movement is broad enough to encompass anyone who suspects that disaster is looming, for any reason. It used to be mostly “Bible-believing Christian conservatives”, says Mr Rawles, “But now we have a lot of alfalfa-munching Birkenstock-wearing leftists.” He adds: “The more the better.”

One more reason for me not to bash specific political ideologies/parties- except when they really ask for it, of course.

(Editor’s note: Any former readers of Boom2Bust.com out there remember when I used to savage “Dubya” and Hank Paulson? Thinking of that reminds me this giant economic mess belongs to both sides of the political aisle.)

Jason Charles, a New York firefighter of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here), is also featured in the piece.

You can read the well-written article in its entirety on The Economist website here.

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

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Islamic State May Now Have A Dirty Bomb, But What About A Nuke?

“Militants in Iraq have taken hold of nuclear materials at university science facilities near the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi government has said in a letter to the United Nations.

But two U.S. officials told CNN on Wednesday that the small amounts of uranium aren’t enriched or weapons-grade, prompting only minimal concern…”

-CNN website, July 10, 2014

I remember reading about the Islamic State getting their hands on that nuclear material near Mosul this summer. And I also remember the American response to it happening- which was basically “who cares?”

Now, I distinctly recall what I was thinking when I heard the news:

The caliphate is going to build themselves some dirty bombs.

From the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission website:

A “dirty bomb” is one type of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) that combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. The terms dirty bomb and RDD are often used interchangeably in the media. Most RDDs would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness – the conventional explosive itself would be more harmful to individuals than the radioactive material. However, depending on the situation, an RDD explosion could create fear and panic, contaminate property, and require potentially costly cleanup… A dirty bomb is not a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” but a “Weapon of Mass Disruption,” where contamination and anxiety are the terrorists’ major objectives

A “weapon of mass disruption.” Cute.

On Saturday, the Daily Mirror– a British tabloid- ran the following:

Islamic State fanatics have built a dirty bomb, it has been claimed.

The fighters are said to have made a device using radioactive uranium stolen from Iraq’s Mosul University after seizing control of the city last June.

And this week they were boasting of the damage it would cause if blown up in London, although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here…

If the bomb does exist, militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here.”

“Militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.”

Not sure I agree with those statements. First off, you don’t need to “transport” the components required to construct a dirty bomb. There’s a good chance the bad guys would be able to source that locally in the U.K.

Second, going back to that NRC statement about dirty bombs being “weapons of mass disruption” rather than “destruction”- it’s my understanding that Iraq and Syria are way past being “disrupted.” Why would the Muslim extremists waste such fear-inducing devices there? New York City makes more sense as a potential dirty bomb target. Think Wall Street during the business week or Times Square on New Year’s Eve. That’s what I’d be trying to prevent if I were still in government and in the counter-terrorism field.

So the caliphate may have a dirty bomb. Not shock there if this turned out to be true considering the relative ease of constructing one. More of a concern should be the Islamic State getting their hands on a nuclear weapon. Why’s that? Because these guys have proven themselves to be hard-chargers and probably wouldn’t hesitate to detonate the damn thing among their enemies. Joe Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation, penned on the Huffington Post website on November 28:

It is impossible now for ISIS to build a nuclear bomb from scratch. Doing so would require large, industrial facilities to enrich uranium, billions of dollars and gigawatts of energy. But if they could get the highly-enriched uranium — about 100 pounds would do, about the size of a soccer ball — it is possible that they could assemble the equipment and small technical team to build the bomb.

Jeffrey Lewis described in the superb documentary, Countdown to Zero, how few people are actually required to do this and how little it would cost. But it does require a sophisticated operation. ISIS has the capabilities required.

We have never encountered a terrorist group like ISIS. Their demonstrated brutality and willingness to kill large numbers of innocents is shocking, but is now the kind of terrorism that we have become familiar with over the past 20 years. ISIS adds three capabilities that catapult the threat beyond anything seen before: control of large, urban territories, huge amounts of cash (perhaps as much as $2 billion), and a global network of recruits.

With these assets they could illicitly acquire the nuclear material for a bomb from vulnerable storage sites in Russia or Pakistan, and possibly nuclear expertise as well

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Remember that phrase “if you build it, they will come” from the 1989 film Field of Dreams?

It’s seems like “if they build it, they will blow s**t up” as it concerns these particular jihadists.

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

Sources:

Dorman, Nick and Doyle, Neil. “British ISIS fanatics have built a dirty bomb and boast of the damage it could inflict on London.” The Mirror. 29 Nov. 2014. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-isis-fanatics-built-dirty-4721561). 2 Dec. 2014.

Cirincione, Joe. “Preventing a Nuclear ISIS.” Huffington Post. 18 Nov. 2014. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-cirincione/preventing-a-nuclear-isis_b_6180120.html). 2 Dec. 2014.

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Project Prepper, Part 29: Recap

It’s been some time since my last “Project Prepper” post. As such, I’m going to do a recap today about what this series of posts is all about for those who don’t already know.

On October 24, 2012, I wrote:

Back in early 2007, I decided to launch a blog that warned anyone who would listen of a coming U.S. financial crash.

By 2010, many Americans had tasted the type of carnage I predicted three years earlier. And it was at this time I decided to take my blogging in a new direction, from simply warning about the coming storm to providing information and possible solutions for coming out on the other side of the maelstrom in decent shape.

For almost two years on Survival And Prosperity, I’ve addressed that information component. As I see it, the writing is on the wall concerning where our economy and larger financial system is headed. As such, it’s time to really focus on potential solutions- those things that might help protect and grow self and wealth in these uncertain times and down the road.

Enter “Project Prepper.”

Once in a while I blog about preppers/survivalists, and as a result, I’m often mistaken for one. The truth is, I’m not a “modern survivalist.” I’m just an independent researcher and blogger currently focusing on economics, finance, investing, and personal safety.

That being said, as a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning and doing, which I’ll call “Project Prepper.”

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you.

By doing this, I’ll also be able to make more progress in providing readers of this blog those possible solutions I talked about earlier in the post.

Will I end up being a “prepper” at the end of it all? Who knows? If anything, I should be able to glean a good deal of useful knowledge from this venture.

Knowledge which I hope to share with you…

More next week as I talk about where “Project Prepper” currently stands after writing the above a little over two years ago.

Been working on personal safety as part of Project Prepper

Been working on personal safety as part of Project Prepper

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

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Hacker ‘Guccifer’: Chicago And Unnamed Pennsylvania City To Be Nuked In 2015

According to the infamous hacker known as “Guccifer,” someone’s got Chicago and an unnamed Pennsylvania city in their crosshairs for a nuclear detonation next year. Andrew Higgins reported on The New York Times website on November 21:

The English-speaking prison psychologist, who attended my meeting with the hacker, rolled his eyes as Mr. Lazar started reading his explanatory text in good but heavily accented English. It was a compendium of wild conspiracy theories involving so-called Illuminati, a secret cabal that he believes runs the world. Most of the conspiracies were old hat, like ones relating to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by Al Qaeda. But others, such as an alleged plan to set off a nuclear bomb in Chicago and an unnamed city in Pennsylvania next year, were clearly his own work.

The psychologist said he had heard them all before but nonetheless had no doubt about the state of Mr. Lazar’s mental health. “He is not really crazy at all”…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That claim about the Pennsylvania city also being targeted is a new development in the story. I blogged back on November 11:

The recently-apprehended hacker known as “Guccifer” (Marcel-Lehel Lazar, an unemployed 43-year-old Romanian) is in the news today for something he told The New York Times while meeting with them. Andrew Higgins reported on the Times website yesterday:

Before agreeing to answer questions from The New York Times in prison, where he shares a cell with four others, including two convicted murderers, he read out a lengthy handwritten statement that he said explained the purpose of his hacking.

A potpourri of conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and alleged plans for a nuclear attack in Chicago in 2015, it said: “This world is run by a group of conspirators called the Council of Illuminati, very rich people, noble families, bankers and industrialists from the 19th and 20th century.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Guccifer is reported to have accessed the private e-mails of numerous top military, political, and intelligence leaders around the world- including e-mails of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s family.

So is the Romanian hacker just trying to save his skin somehow with such claims, or did he really uncover such a plot to nuke Chicago and the Pennsylvania city while engaged in criminal activity?

Hopefully, Higgins is able to get more info out of Guccifer going forward- if there’s anything to get.

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

Source:

Higgins, Andrew. “The Man Behind the Hacking: Talking to Guccifer.” The New York Times. 21 Nov. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/times-insider/2014/11/21/the-man-behind-the-hacking-talking-to-guccifer/?_r=0). 26 Nov. 2014.

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