Man-Made Disasters

Project Prepper, Part 37: Getting Back Into Shape

As I approach another birthday, I smile when I think back to the early nineties when a friend and I would head down to Chicago’s lakefront and regularly jog a good portion of the 18.5-mile Chicago Lakefront Trail for exercise. I was in my late teens at the time, and in the best shape of my life.

Day Off Jogging Lakefront Car Show (Summer 1991)

Day Off Jogging
Lakefront Car Show (Summer 1991)

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Fast forward to today. I’m nowhere near the same kind of shape I was almost a quarter of a century ago. Not countering the effects from years of living a sedentary lifestyle and working in front of computer screens for hours on end has taken a toll on my physical fitness.

That being said, I decided some time ago that as part of the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I’d work hard at getting back into shape. From the beginning of my ongoing education about prepping, I realized not being “fit” could be a serious hindrance to what one’s trying to achieve by prepping. For example, let’s say I’m employed in an office building in a major U.S. city, and I’m prepping for a significant emergency/disaster that could happen while I’m at work. If the event occurs, there’s a good chance I may end up needing to hoof it out of that location (possibly within a certain amount of time) in order to reach safety. If I’m not up to the task physically, I could be in real trouble.


“911 WTC people in chaos taking shelter – with sound part1 – archival stock footage”
YouTube Video

So I’m going to get back in shape. I’ll be putting together the regimen of exercises in the coming days. As for the standards I’m shooting for, I’m leaning towards those embraced by Blackwater, Inc. Founder and former CEO Erik Prince talked about them in his recently published book entitled Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror:

Our employees may have been retired from the military, but Blackwater didn’t hire your typical “retiree.” After the eight-week Moyock training programs that turned those veterans into diplomatic security professionals, our final physical fitness test standards required men to run one and a half miles in less than ten minutes, forty-five seconds; execute twelve pull-ups in a row, seventy-five push-ups done in two one-minute sets, and seventy-five sit-ups in two one-minute sets; and drag a 175-pound dummy eighty feet in under one minute

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Now if I could just find a 175-pound dummy…

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking right now. I am certain about one thing though. It’s imperative I get back into shape pronto, not only because doing so allows me to explore prepping more fully as part of these posts, but also because I’m at that age (40-something) where looking after my health needs to be more of a priority than it has been in the past.

Until next time…

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

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Glenn Beck: ‘Something Bad Is Coming Our Way… Here’s What I Would Suggest You Do’

Echoing what Damian McBride, a former special adviser to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, tweeted Monday was Glenn Beck. The American television/radio host and producer, political commentator, author, and entrepreneur told listeners yesterday on his radio program:

I believe there is something in our collective conscience, I believe there is something that is telling people all around, all around the globe, something bad is coming our way. And I think everybody feels it. So here’s what I would suggest you do. I would suggest that you have, you pay attention to what is in your 401(k). You make sure that there is some sort of stop on your 401(k) so you can’t just lose everything on your 401(k). That if you do have stocks you call your broker today and make sure that you have some sort of stop at 5 percent or 10 percent or whatever else you’re ready to risk. I would highly suggest that you have enough cash for a week. This is not the big crash. I just don’t believe that. Maybe it is- I don’t believe that. I’m always bad on timing, so seeing that I feel like it’s not, it probably is. However, there is going to come a time when things just stop working and they shut everything down. And they stop a run on the bank and everything else. And I don’t think we’re there. But, I would suggest that you have a week’s worth of cash on hand. And the only reason why you should have a week’s worth of cash on hand is in case they do at some point close the banks just to be able to stabilize the situation. Because that will happen at some point. I don’t think it’s happening today, but that will happen at some point. So you should have a week’s worth because what happens is, we have seen this happening now recently in other countries where they just limit the amount that you can take out. And so everybody just gets $200, you know, every couple of days you can have $200, but that’s it. I would just make sure that you have looked at your food storage, and your 72-hour food storage. If you’ve had gold or silver or whatever it is that you feel good about, you have those things on hand. Have you replenished your ammunition in your guns? How are you doing with God? Those are all the doomsday things to do, but if you have any of those unchecked on your list, I would make a point to start doing them today, because we are headed for trouble.


“Something Bad Is Coming | “The Glenn Beck Radio Program”
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Good Article On British Preppers

“Damian McBride @ DPMcBride- Aug 24
Advice on the looming crash, No. 1: get hard cash in a safe place now; don’t assume banks and cash points will be open, or bank cards will work”

“Damian McBride @ DPMcBride- Aug 24
“Crash advice No. 2: do you have enough bottled water, tinned goods & other essentials at home to live a month indoors? If not, get shopping.”

“Damian McBride @ DPMcBride- Aug 24
“Crash advice No. 3: agree a rally point with your loved ones in case transport and communications get cut off; somewhere you can all head to.”

“Damian McBride @ DPMcBride- Aug 24
I’m presuming the Central Banks will intervene to stop this market slide but that will just make the eventual, inescapable crash even worse.”

-Tweets from Damian McBride, former special adviser to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, as global stock markets continue to plunge this week

Earlier this evening I came across a good article about British preppers on the website of the Mirror (UK).

One of the reasons I call the piece “good” is that the author, Jeff Parsons, reported on prepping without the typical bias and ridicule found in most other mainstream media works on this subject.

The Mirror Online met with a “survival expert that tells it like it is”- Steve Hart of the British prepping website ukpreppersguide.co.uk- who proceeded to explain the activity as:

Prepping itself is just another form of insurance. People have life, car or pet insurance for the “what ifs” – this is just looking at a “what if” from a slightly different perspective.

What if a serious earthquake hits? Or a tsunami or a volcano or even a bio-terrorism attack?

Funny. That’s pretty much how I’ve come to describe prepping as.

The article is an interesting look at preppers “across the pond”- with some basic prepping tips thrown in.

You can read the entire piece over on the Mirror website here.

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

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The Survival Podcast’s Jack Spirko On Nationwide Riots

If you’ve been following the news the last couple of days, you’re probably aware of the renewed tension in Ferguson, Missouri, on the first anniversary of the riot there. Back when I started this blog in 2010, I suspected civil strife would pick up due to worsening financial conditions and other developments.

Regrettably, I think Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m not the only one who sees more civil disturbance on the way. Modern survivalist and host of The Survival Podcast Jack Spirko has been issuing warnings as of late. And I’ve been listening attentively. Back on May 20 I blogged:

Speaking of The Survival Podcast, I was listening to a different episode (number 1566, “What the Baltimore Riots Say about our Future”) some time back and took note of some advice host Jack Spirko shared with listeners. He warned on April 28:

You know those trendy areas in downtown that everybody thinks are great places to live as a hipster, because you can walk to the donut shop and the coffee shop? Sooner or later in most of our big cities those are going to be burned to the ground. Don’t live there. Don’t live there. One more time, don’t live there. Get out of the urbanized areas. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. You’re better off anyway…

Spirko added later in the podcast:

I wish I had better news for you. I wish I could tell you that this is an isolated incident. But here’s what I believe. The potential for this type of a riot exists in every major city in America. And it actually would be relatively easy to set them off like fires. It really would. I think the right people, with the right messaging, the right agitation, the right insiders, could cause a riot like this in any city with a population over 500,000 in America today. And quite a few smaller venues too. I really do. That should scare the shit out of you. But the response should scare you even more. It’s not going to be pretty. That’s why you need to be prepared…

Spriko wasn’t about to leave listeners “hanging” on this topic, so on July 29 he released episode 1614, “The Danger Of Nationwide Riots.” From that show:

So here’s what I think you need to do for your own protection. Number one, you need to be at some level of in touch with your local law enforcement. Sheriff’s department, local PD, whatever. You need people that will tell you what they know if things are starting to go sideways. And they will know when they start to go sideways long before a TV says so. You need to be paying attention to chatter with a police scanner or a scanner app or something like that in your general community on an ongoing basis. Just once in a while. Couple times a day just checking in to see what’s going on. Some local PDs have like online now where you can go online and see all the police activity…

The closer you live to a city, the more you need to have a plan to eventually say, “As much as I want to stay and defend my home, it’s not worth it, I’m leaving.” And I know the survivalist mentality is strong in our community. And I will stay here, I will pick up my guns, I will do no harm to anybody, but if you come here and take what I have, I will lay you flat out. I know that is in you, because it’s in me. I mean, that’s how I feel. And in many instances, it’s the course I would take. You can do whatever you want until you mess with me or my neighbors and then it’s on bitches. But you have to think about the result. If your home’s burnt to the ground, that’s what insurance is for… And I would rather rebuild my life with fire insurance, than I would want to try to rebuild my life from behind the bars of a penitentiary, which is a place you may end up if you take that stance. There may come a time when you have to, where you have no choice… I mean what you need is a neighborhood banded together. You’ve seen the signs after hurricanes and stuff- 20, 30 friggin’ rednecks with guns. “You loot, we shoot.” Usually that is enough to defer and cause avoidance. But the closer you live, the less likely that is to be. So the closer you are in, the more you need to have a plan to bug out, which you should have anyway because hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, they are also reasons you might have to bug out. Illnesses, pandemic… There’s times getting out of the way make sense.

You also have to have a good, solid bug-in plan. The bug-in plan is the most important plan you need for this. For most of us, we do not live in the streets where these types of things actually happen. The spillover into suburbs, etcetera will be limited. And it will be more like one-off type things. It will not be wholescale rioting. The safest course of action for most people is going to be for a month or more to hunker down, live off of what you have, go out as little as possible, coordinate with your neighbors, coordinate with what’s left of local law enforcement, and wait this thing out if it happens. It’s going to be the most sane, rational thing that you can do. It going to be the only way no matter how good your intentions are you’re not going to be part of one of the groups pouring gasoline on the fire. So the bug-in plan is important, which means all your basic preps- food, water, energy, medical, health, etcetera. It means if you live in a city that is particularly vulnerable to this and you work where they will be a problem, or you’d have to cross the problem to get to work, this is the time now to start talking to your boss about and say, “Hey look, if something did go sideways in this town, don’t you think it would make sense if we had ways for our people to work remotely, so that the company’s operations can continue, but nobody’s life had to be at risk.”

You need to be tied in to your neighbors. You need to have agreements with your neighbors… There’s some neighbors you really can’t go deep with them about this, but you just need to know them. What’s their name? What’s their spouse’s name? When do they work? When do they come home? What are they like? So when this stuff starts to go sideways, instead of telling them it may go sideways, it’s going sideways right now, let’s work together to protect our neighborhood. You need to be part of your neighborhood, part of your community. Whether it’s a rural one or an urban dense one, doesn’t matter. You need to know as many people’s names as possible.

You need to be trained in self-defense and you need to be armed. In spite of what I said about the fact that you could get into a situation where if you defend yourself you could be prosecuted, there’s a point at which that goes out the window. When you legitimately feel that your life or the life of a loved one is being threatened, and lethal force is the only alternative, the time to use it is two-and-a-half seconds ago. But you can’t go back two-and-a-half seconds so the time is now…

But overall what you need is a plan… I don’t know anything about you individually, okay? So in the end, you have to say to yourself, “Self, this is something that could happen. If it did, near me, what would we do, and when would we act.” In other words, when would we say, “Okay, nobody is going to school or work.” What would be the level of danger that we would have a clearly-defined border, and once that occurred, how long could we be okay? How long would we be alright?… If we did leave where would we go? What would be our basic rules of engagement? When would we act? Who would I contact first in the neighborhood? What would I say? You just need to mentally run the scenario in your head. Not to the point where you start to fear from it or have apprehension from it. Just to the point where if it does occur, it’s not like, “Holy shit, what do I do now?” like you’ve never thought about it before. See, that’s the big thing I want to leave you with today… What matters is that you’ve mentally drilled into yourself that there’s something I can do and these are the things that I would do. That’s what makes you able to adapt and survive.

Whew. Wise words from Spirko on dealing with a disturbing event that I predict Americans will be experiencing more frequently in the coming years.

You can listen to episode 1614 in its entirety here, and episode 1566 here, on the The Survival Podcast website.

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

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Chicago Magazine Article On Area Preppers

This morning I read an article on the Chicago Magazine website that focused on Chicago-area preppers- particularly those in the suburbs. Rod O’Connor spoke to preppers residing in Downers Grove, Glenview, and on the North Side for his piece, in which he observed:

The prepper movement has climbed out of the bunker and established itself, quietly, along affluent streets in Chicago, its suburbs, and beyond…

The article is a pretty good read. Finding it difficult to get a suburban prepper to interview, O’Connor wrote:

Preppers are, not surprisingly, a paranoid bunch. Locating people willing to speak with me about their habits was more challenging than finding vegans at a gun range…

Obviously, a little bit of discretion with such matters goes a long way in protecting preppers and their loved ones in a SHTF scenario. But O’Connor also needs to realize that preppers are only too familiar with the numerous hack-jobs perpetrated by the mainstream media at their expense.

From my experience, it’s rare that these individuals are given a fair shake by the press. Instead, ignorance, inherent bias, and sensationalism often shine through in the various MSM articles/segments.

By the way, if you do read the piece on the Chicago Magazine website, I penned the following comment in response to a blanket claim by another commenter that preppers are “selfish” and “paranoid”:

A popular misconception. As a regular observer of the prepping “movement,” there’s no shortage of preppers who have adopted a “give until it hurts” mindset when it comes to helping out neighbors/strangers in a poop hits the fan scenario. It’s discussed often in various prepper forums (“What should I be stocking up for my neighbors/others?” and “What’s the best way to get my neighbors/others food and supplies without putting myself and loved ones in danger?” are pretty common questions). In addition, those in public safety might disagree with the notion that preppers as a whole are “selfish.” In a neighborhood-wide or larger emergency, police, fire, and other public safety agencies might not have to aid citizens (preppers) that had the foresight and follow-through to prepare for such an incident, thereby freeing up responders to help others in the community who for some reason or another weren’t prepared. Selfish? How about carrying out their civic duty? Like “L O” points out, Ready.gov and other emergency preparedness-related government initiatives implore Americans to sock away at least 72 hours of emergency food, water, and other supplies. When it comes to prepping, plenty of practitioners look at it this way. Americans insure their health, their vehicles, their residences, etcetera. Why not insure one’s standard of living, at least as best one can in a significant emergency/disaster? Not such a “paranoid mindset” if you ask me.

Like I said, the Chicago Magazine article is a decent read- particularly if you’re from the Chicagoland area. You can view the entire article on the publication’s website here.

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

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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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Survival And Prosperity
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA

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