Preparedness

USGS Updates National Seismic Hazard Maps

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I occasionally blog about the threat posed by earthquakes. So when I saw earlier today that the U.S. Geological Survey had recently updated their U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps, I wanted make sure readers knew about it. From the USGS website this morning:

To help make the best decisions to protect communities from earthquakes, new USGS maps display how intense ground shaking could be across the nation.

The USGS recently updated their U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps, which reflect the best and most current understanding of where future earthquakes will occur, how often they will occur, and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result.

While all states have some potential for earthquakes, 42 of the 50 states have a reasonable chance of experiencing damaging ground shaking from an earthquake in 50 years (the typical lifetime of a building). Scientists also conclude that 16 states have a relatively high likelihood of experiencing damaging ground shaking. These states have historically experienced earthquakes with a magnitude 6 or greater.

The hazard is especially high along the west coast, intermountain west, and in several active regions of the central and eastern U.S., such as near New Madrid, MO, and near Charleston, SC. The 16 states at highest risk are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

While these overarching conclusions of the national-level hazard are similar to those of the previous maps released in 2008, details and estimates differ for many cities and states. Several areas have been identified as being capable of having the potential for larger and more powerful earthquakes than previously thought due to more data and updated earthquake models

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For more information about the recent updates made to the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps- and to view the maps themselves- go to the USGS website here.

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

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

Source:

Petersen, Mark and Robertson, Jessica. “New Insight on the Nation’s Earthquake Hazards.” USGS. 17 July 2014. (http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/new-insight-on-the-nations-earthquake-hazards/?from=title). 17 July 2014.

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Downtown Chicago Could Receive Resilient Electric Grid

Some good news coming out of Chicago concerning the protection of its electric grid. From area electric utility ComEd yesterday:

ComEd to Partner with AMSC on Superconductor-based Resilient Electric Grid System
Homeland Security Project Seeks to Increase the Resiliency and Security of
Chicago’s Electric Grid

Devens, MA, and Chicago, IL – July 16, 2014 – AMSC (NASDAQ: AMSC), a global energy solutions provider serving wind and power grid industry leaders, today announced that ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) and one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, has agreed to develop a deployment plan for AMSC’s high temperature superconductor technology to build a superconducting cable system that will strengthen Chicago’s electric grid. The Resilient Electric Grid (REG) effort is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s work to secure the nation’s electric power grids and improve resiliency against extreme weather, acts of terrorism, or other catastrophic events.

“Modernizing our region’s electric grid is part of ComEd’s vision to strengthen power reliability and to connect our customers and this region to the 21st century digital economy,” said Anne R. Pramaggiore, President and CEO, ComEd. “We view this project as a natural extension of the infrastructure improvements and technological upgrades that have been under way for the past two years as we develop and deploy the smart grid. Linking our critical urban infrastructure to this superconductor system would provide added reliability, resiliency and security to Chicago’s Central Business District, an essential economic engine for the state and region.”

The current design of the grid infrastructure in many U.S. cities makes restoration of power after a catastrophic event time-consuming, costly, and unpredictable. Led by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the Resilient Electric Grid is a self-healing solution that provides resiliency in the event that portions of the grid are lost for any reason. The ComEd installation would be the first commercial application of this advanced technology in the United States

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Nice to hear a project protecting downtown Chicago’s grid is in the works, although to be fair, only three miles of superconductor cable is supposed to be laid.

If you’re outside the “Loop” you’ll be lumped together with the rest of us mopes in the Chicago metropolitan area.

The lights are flickering. Gotta run.

You can read the entire press release (.pdf file) on the ComEd website here.

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

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Jim Rogers: Some Currencies, Real Assets Could Shine When Coming Bust Arrives

Enough about Chicago already. Let’s talk money.

Last time I blogged about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers, he shared this warning regarding the ocean of liquidity that’s been created by unprecedented money printing via the world’s central banks:

When it ends, we will all pay a terrible price.

That was the end of May. And now?

Disturbingly, he’s singing the same tune.

Elena Torrijos reported on the Yahoo! Finance Singapore website yesterday:

He doesn’t know when the party is going to end, but he believes when it does, “we’re all going to suffer very, very badly”. He said the US would also fare worse than it has in previous economic setbacks because the country’s debt is now so much higher than before.

“So the next one [economic bust] is going to be much worse… so be worried, be careful and be prepared,” he warned.

Everybody should have a game plan, he said. “Learn how to cut back if you need to, even learn how to sell short. Short sellers are going to earn a lot of money the next time around,” he pointed out.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Singapore-based Rogers suggested certain currencies could initially offer refuge when the “bust” arrives. Torrijos added:

He believes some currencies are going to do well in that time of turmoil. “The Chinese renminbi, for instance, will probably continue to do extremely well over the next few years. I even own the US dollar at the moment. The US dollar is a terribly, terribly flawed currency, but at the moment I own it because when the turmoil comes many people will flee to what they see as a safe haven,” he said.

When invariably central banks start printing money to pump prime their economies, he’s not sure which currency he’d flee to. “Maybe the renminbi, maybe gold, probably real assets, because once the floodgates open even more, the value of paper money everywhere is going to go down a great deal,” he said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

What about commodities- something with which the former investing partner of George Soros is so closely identified with? Back on December 3, 2013, Rogers appeared on The Lang and O’Leary Exchange, a Canadian business news television series which airs weekdays on CBC Television and CBC News Network. He told host Amanda Lang:

This is going to end badly. We’re all floating around on a sea of artificial liquidity right now Amanda. This is not going to last. No, no. And when it ends, the bull market in commodities will probably end too. But, the bull market in a lot of stuff will end.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; 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.)

Source:

Torrijos, Elena. “Jim Rogers reveals his Singapore investment strategy.” Yahoo! Finance Singapore. 14 July 2014. (https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/jim-rogers-reveals-his-singapore-investment-strategy-153319907.html). 15 July 2015.

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America Unplugged: Season 1 Finale Thursday

I just got done watching a recent episode of America Unplugged, the new survival-themed television series that’s been appearing on Thursday nights on the Sportsman Channel (blogged about here). As usual, it was real good. In case you weren’t aware of the show- from the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based national television network’s website:

Hosted by former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, America Unplugged is a new series that takes viewers on a cross-country journey to meet the folks that are unplugging from society. Each of the eight episodes provides a riveting look at the excitement and danger of living off the grid. The terrain, wildlife, and food sources are as varied as the people who choose this lifestyle. But they are all motivated by the same thing; they want to live free, as they pursue their own version of the American Dream.

Regrettably, I received an e-mail from the folks over at the Sportsman Channel earlier today which said tomorrow, Thursday, July 10, “is the last show for this season.”


“One-Hour Season Finale”
Sportsman Channel Video

Darn. I’ve been looking forward to watching America Unplugged whenever I can.

Cade Courtley (who just recently penned a survival guide) has done a solid job hosting the series- as expected from his previous work on Surviving Disaster. The parties who’ve been unplugging from the grid have been pretty interesting and likeable. I’m learning a thing or two about the self-reliant lifestyle from each episode. And the drama exhibited in survival-themed TV reality shows has been kept to a minimum in this production- at least in the installments I’ve seen.

I’m really hoping the Sportsman Channel brings America Unplugged back for a second season.

In the meantime, catch two all-new episodes tomorrow, Thursday, July 10, beginning at 8 PM ET/PT on the Sportsman Channel. Click on the banner ad below for more information about the TV series.

AU'14_300x250_thursdays_v6

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

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On TV: America Unplugged

Cade Courtley. Now that’s a name I haven’t heard for a few years.

Back on December 23, 2010, I informed Survival And Prosperity readers about a survival-themed television series- Surviving Disaster- that had aired on Spike TV the previous year and whose episodes had been uploaded on that channel’s website. I blogged:

From the network’s 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…

I added later:

I’ve watched several of the episodes, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Courtley is a fantastic host…

And now Cade’s back as host of a new survival show- America Unplugged- which debuts tonight, June 5, at 8 PM Eastern Time /Pacific Time on the Sportsman Channel. From the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based national television network’s website:

Hosted by former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, America Unplugged is a new series that takes viewers on a cross-country journey to meet the folks that are unplugging from society. Each of the eight episodes provides a riveting look at the excitement and danger of living off the grid. The terrain, wildlife, and food sources are as varied as the people who choose this lifestyle. But they are all motivated by the same thing; they want to live free, as they pursue their own version of the American Dream.


“America Unplugged”
YouTube Video

Sounds and looks very interesting. Here’s what’s on tap for the next two Thursdays:

Week of Jun 02: THU 8:00PM/THU 11:00PM/FRI 12:00PM
Scott Hunt – All New
Robotics Engineer, Scott Hunt, prepares for his family’s survival in the event of a Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) in South Carolina.

Week of Jun 09: THU 8:00PM/FRI 12:00PM/THU 11:00PM
Robert Allen – All New
A close up look at Robert Allen’s tactical military training techniques as he moves his family toward independence in Arkansas.

Scott Hunt of Doomsday Preppers and Practical Preppers-fame. Met him at that Food Insurance conference I attended in Dallas last spring. This guy knows his stuff.

Interested in watching America Unplugged tonight? 8 PM ET/PT on the Sportsman Channel. Click on the banner ad below for more information about this new TV series.

AU'14_300x250_thursdays_v6

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

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Project Prepper, Part 28: Buying My Parents Some Emergency Preps

A couple of years ago, my parents in the Chicago suburbs lost electricity for an extended period of time after severe weather pummeled the area. I heard from them the morning after the event, and they weren’t doing so well. Without power on an extremely hot and humid night, the two of them fumbled around in the dark and hardly got any sleep. My Mom informed me that it was especially brutal on my Dad, who is an octogenarian with all sorts of health issues- mobility being one of them. During that conversation, my mother told let me that I should be prepared to evacuate him if the electricity didn’t come back on that evening.

Evacuate meaning carrying him down from their fourth floor condo unit in a building without working elevators.

He’s kind of heavy (225 pounds), so I wasn’t really looking forward to this task. Thankfully, the electric company got the power restored to their building before I had to attempt this.

Shortly after this incident, I asked my parents if they wanted me to help them prepare for the next time this happened. Shockingly, they were actually receptive to this.

Alas, I wasn’t able to assist them right away. So the next time I brought the subject up, Mom and Dad weren’t interested.

I guess this is pretty common according to the emergency management pros. An emergency/disaster strikes, and those affected initially talk about being prepared for the next major crisis. But then they never follow through. And the next emergency/disaster happens.

Seeing that the Chicago area just wrapped up its winter of 2013-14 a couple of weeks ago (there was an unmelted snow pile still on the ground two suburbs over in early May!), and severe weather often rolls through during the transition from winter to summer, I recently purchased some basic emergency preparedness gear from Amazon.com for my parents anyway (I didn’t want them to go through another hellish night like the one they experienced a couple of years ago). This included:

Coleman Twin LED Lantern

This lantern would be their main source of emergency lighting in a blackout. From the Coleman website:

Light the night your way with the Coleman Twin LED Lantern. Extra-bright at up to 390 lumens, this lantern lets you see far and wide while four Cree LEDs, which never need to be replaced, provide effective, efficient, energy-saving light when you need it. The rotating dial offers customizable light settings from low to high. Long runtimes—299 hours on ultra-low and 85 hours on high—will have you back home before you need fresh batteries. Its weather-resistant construction delivers reliable output, even in wet and windy conditions, and its base unscrews for quick access to the battery chamber so you can change them virtually anywhere, anytime. Powered by 8 D-cell batteries, come out of the dark with the Coleman Twin LED Lantern.

The twin LED lantern costs $36.44 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Coleman 4D XPS Classic Personal Size LED Lantern

For when either of my parents go to a different room from where that twin LED lantern is situated. From Amazon.com:

The Coleman 4D XPS Classic Personal Size LED Lantern sheds 190 lumens of light, thanks to the super-bright Cree XLamp XR-E LED. The Lantern is Coleman XPS-compatible; it will run for up to 60 hours on High, 25 hours on Low, on 4 D-cell batteries — or use the optional 6V rechargeable battery pack (both sold separately). A diffuser tube provides a perfect beam pattern. The Lantern is weather-resistant to withstand the elements, so it’s great for camping and other outdoor use.

The personal LED lantern costs $19.98 on Amazon.com as I type this.

O2COOL NEW 10″ Battery Operated Fan with Adapter

I bought two of these (one for each parent). From the Chicago, Illinois-based O2COOL website:

Features Include:

• Dual Power sources: Plug-in with the AC adapter (included) or use 8 D-Cell batteries (not included).
• Powerful 2 speed 10-inch blade.
• Convenient built-in handle.
• Stable horseshoe base.
• Tilts for directional air flow.
• Compact folding design makes it great for travel; easy to carry and store.
• Perfect for camping and outdoor activities.
• Up to 40 hours of battery life.

Each portable dual power fan costs $26.85 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Yeah, I know these devices require a bunch of “D” batteries (which I already picked up and installed a couple of weeks ago). But my parents won’t use these lanterns or portable fans if they’re too “complicated” to power and operate.

I also picked up two 3.5-gallon WaterBrick water containers (discussed here) for my parents as well from a different vendor. I figured in addition to helping my parents cope with a blackout, I could help them deal with a boil-water advisory like the one that hit nearby Deerfield, Illinois, last summer.

A single WaterBrick costs $20.02 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Finally, my parents had some existing preps at their condo. Besides a variety of flashlights, I bought them a black Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp similar to the one I own and use (discussed here, $19.38 on Amazon.com).

And while not an emergency radio, my Mom picked my Dad up a Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio. It’s handy and I can think of a ton of uses for it- besides getting information in an emergency. Plus, the price is definitely right ($12.97 on Amazon.com).


“Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio”
YouTube Video

I’ll still be sending them over a “real” emergency radio soon.

So a little bit of a detour in my “Project Prepper” series of posts. But definitely worthwhile.

Once I get back to my parents I’ll take some photos of these preps and share them with readers.

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

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2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season began yesterday. And back on May 22, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told us what we could expect for the next six months. From the NOAA website:

In its 2014 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a near-normal or below-normal season.

The main driver of this year’s outlook is the anticipated development of El Niño this summer. El Niño causes stronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. El Niño can also strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems coming off of Africa to intensify into tropical storms.

The outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season. For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 8 to 13 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These numbers are near or below the seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, based on the average from 1981 to 2010. The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico…

While the forecast is rosy, I wouldn’t let my guard down.

Those living in potentially-affected areas should pay a visit to the National Hurricane Preparedness Week page on the National Hurricane Center website to help prepare against these severe weather events.

You can read that entire 2014 Atlantic hurricane season forecast on the NOAA website here.

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

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Monday, June 2nd, 2014 Emergencies, Preparedness, Weather No Comments

Jim Rogers: ‘We’re All Going To Pay A Terrible Price’ When ‘Artificial Ocean Of Liquidity’ Ends

Tonight, I want to talk about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. The former investing partner of George Soros- who I recently heard is worth approximately $300 million (Soros $23 billion)- recently shared his thoughts about the global financial system and potential investment opportunities.

On May 27, Nina Xiang of the China Money Network contributed the following on the Forbes website:

Legendary investor Jim Rogers has been warning about “the ocean of artificial liquidity” as a result of the unprecedented money printing by central banks around the world for quite some time now.

But with the U.S. stock market at an all-time high, his cautionary words seem to have hardly been heeded…

“When it ends, we will all pay a terrible price,” says Rogers…

Read it as an advocacy for an alternative attitude that is unpopular at the moment: the attitude of awareness that we are in this “artificial period” and it will end one day; the attitude of fearfulness that there will be more turmoil in the next ten years; the attitude of preparedness, that includes stocking up some extra food, a spare flashlight, and gold coins — instead of gold bars — for when the time of emergency comes…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Jim Rogers: We Will All Pay A Terrible Price For Today’s Artificial Liquidity”
YouTube Video

Note that in the Chinese Money Podcast that was uploaded onto YouTube the same day as that Forbes piece, Xiang and Rogers talked about regional conflicts and the Singapore-based investor predicted:

I would suspect that sometime in the next ten years, the world’s going to have a bigger conflict.

On May 26, the text of another interview with Jim Rogers was published on the website of The Economic Times (India). Rogers, who correctly predicted the commodities rally that started in 1999, talked about the following investment opportunities:

• Gold and silver- “If it goes down, I assure you I will be buying more gold and more silver.”
• Crude oil- “Remember, all the other known reserves in the world are in decline, even if the supply from the US is rising. Everywhere else, there has been declining reserves, because there have been no great oilfield discoveries in over 40 years.”
• Sugar- “I am bullish on sugar.”
• U.S. dollar- “I own the US dollar and have not sold any. In fact, probably I would have bought some more, if I weren’t talking to you.”

Rogers concluded this discussion by sharing that:

I am still trying to find some more things to buy in Russia, maybe some Chinese shares and maybe some more Japanese shares…

Nice job by The Economic Times getting this information from Rogers.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; 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.)

Sources:

Xiang, Nina. “Why We Should All Take A Moment To Listen To Jim Rogers.” Forbes. 27 May 2014. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ninaxiang/2014/05/27/why-we-should-all-take-a-moment-to-listen-to-jim-rogers/). 29 May 2014.

“Will be excited about investing in India if Narendra Modi delivers: Jim Rogers.” The Economic Times. 26 May 2014. (http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-05-26/news/50098911_1_jim-rogers-commodity-space-gold-imports). 29 May 2014.

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Latest Prediction Of What California’s ‘Big One’ Might Look Like

Recently, I’ve talked a bit about what some earthquake experts suspect might happen to California when the “Big One” strikes.

I blogged about Dr. Lucy Jones, the “Earthquake Lady,” in December.

Then I wrote about Dr. Katherine Scharer and a disturbing $200 billion national economic loss projection in March.

A couple of days ago, I came across the following on The Week website. Frances Weaver reported on April 19:

Today, geologists say, there’s a 99.7 percent chance of a Big One of at least magnitude 6.7 striking California within the next three decades, with Southern California most at risk. Fears that a big quake is imminent in Los Angeles were stoked in March when two earthquakes, including a magnitude-5.1 quake in La Habra, cracked walls, triggered landslides, and sent furniture flying. “Sooner or later there’s going to be the Big One,” says U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Kate Hutton.

How bad would it be?
“You would see buildings collapse, you’d see people trapped, you’d see roadways collapse,” said Kelly Huston of California’s Office of Emergency Services. “You’d see widespread destruction.” Under the USGS’s crisis scenario for a magnitude-7.8 temblor in Southern California, the soil-filled Los Angeles Basin would turn into a violently trembling Jell-O, causing major highways and airport runways to buckle, water and sewer pipes to crack, electrical and gas lines to sever, and thousands of fires to break out across the region. Those blazes could then be whipped into a frenzy by the Santa Ana winds. Fiber-optic cables running across the San Andreas would be torn apart, and infrastructure would take months, if not years, to repair. The hospitals would be swamped by 50,000 injured people, and at least 1,800 would die….

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Truly disturbing. And according to Weaver, it’s a fault line other than the San Andreas that could be more costlier and deadlier. She added:

What about other fault lines?
Though seismologists have long dreaded a San Andreas–based quake, experts now fear that a tremor on the Puente Hills fault line could cause as much — if not more — damage. Running from the suburbs of northern Orange County straight through the densest neighborhoods of the Los Angeles Basin, a 7.5 quake on the Puente Hills line would affect millions — including downtown L.A.’s 4 million residents alone — killing up to 18,000 people, causing $250 billion in damage, and leaving as many as 750,000 households homeless, according to the USGS. “This is the fault that could eat L.A.,” said USGS seismologist Sue Hough…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis )

$200 billion national economic loss projection?

Make that $250 billion if ground zero for the “Big One” happens to be on the Puente Hills fault line.

It’s a seismic feature I’ve never heard of until now, but it’s making headlines these days in the midst of all the recent shaking going on in North America. Rong-Gong Lin II reported on the Los Angeles Times website on March 29:

Experts say a major, magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the fault could do more damage to the heart of Los Angeles than the dreaded Big One on the San Andreas fault, which is on the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California…

The Puente Hills fault could be especially hazardous over a larger area because of its shape. Other local faults, like the Newport-Inglewood and Hollywood, are a collection of vertical cracks, with the most intense shaking occurring near where the fault reaches the surface. The Puente Hills is a horizontal fault, with intense shaking likely to be felt over a much larger area, roughly 25 by 15 miles…

One reason for the dire forecast is that both downtown L.A. and Hollywood are packed with old, vulnerable buildings, including those made of concrete, [USGS seismologist Lucy] Jones said.

Lin added that scientists believe the Puente Hills fault has a major earthquake roughly every 2,500 years. Unfortunately, they don’t know when the last major trembler was.

Here’s hoping Californians- particularly those in the southern portion of the state- are not only keeping abreast of all this info (I understand Puente Hills was only discovered in 1999), but acting on it as well.

Thankfully, I know of a few who are

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

Sources:

Weaver, Frances. “When will the Big One strike California?” The Week. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://theweek.com/article/index/260116/when-will-the-big-one-strike-california). 12 May 2014.

Lin II, Rong-Gong. “La Habra quake a reminder about dangerous Puente Hills fault.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/29/local/la-me-0330-quake-puentehills-20140330) 12 May 2014.

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Chicago Reader Article On Urban Survival Training

I’ve loved the Chicago Reader ever since my sister introduced it to me when I was back from college during Thanksgiving 1992. I don’t get the chance to read it that often anymore (used to pick up a copy almost every week at the local Chicago Public Library branch before I moved), but it looks like it’s still chock-full of interesting stuff. Connie Vaughn wrote on the Reader website back on April 24:

A few Sundays ago I took a break from sorting and labeling canned goods under the floorboards of my Rogers Park condo, watering a variety of heirloom seeds in my urban window garden, and killing and gutting park squirrels to attend the C.U.M.A. Urban Survival Training Course at Dan Ryan Woods-South.

OK, I’m lying about the canning and the seeds and the squirrel gutting. My entire urban-disaster survival plan relies on two half-full bottles of Vitaminwater in the fridge, the running gear that lives in my gym bag, and my United Airlines MileagePlus Visa card.

Fortunately for people like me, the C.U.M.A. (Combined Universal Martial Applications) course is for real. Founder and instructor Waysun Johnny Tsai (pronounced “tie”) applies his 34 years of experience in over a dozen martial arts—including kung fu, boxing, BJJ, freestyle wrestling, Kali, urban survival, improvised weapons training, edged weapons training, Muay Thai, and street fighting—to “combatives” (i.e., real-world defense instead of competitive fighting) and then, more broadly, to survival. Tsai trains law enforcement, military, and security personnel—he also designs knives—but now his survival class is becoming of greater interest to people who want to know what to do in the event of a natural or man-made disaster like the next Hurricane Sandy, Katrina, or 9/11. “Survival is a fight,” says Tsai…

I’ve come across the C.U.M.A. Survival School website before while researching Chicago-area prepper/survival training, and I’ve made a note to blog about it down the road. In the meantime, check out what Vaughn had to say about the class she took on the Reader website here.

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

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5.56 NATO And .223 Remington Lethal Enough?

Anyone read that article on The Washington Times website about the Russian military’s new gear that’s being “shown off” in the Ukraine? It’s quite interesting. Rowan Scarborough wrote on April 20:

“They’ve got better equipment than they had five years ago,” said Scott Traudt, an executive with Green Mountain, a Vermont gun manufacturer. “They’ve got new grenade launchers that are awesome. The helmets are better than our helmets. The body armor is better than our body armor. They’re doing a lot of things right. I’m pretty amazed at it.”

However, it was something said later in the piece which really grabbed my attention. Scarborough added:

U.S. soldiers have complained that their main rifle and round, the M4 carbine and its 5.56, lacked lethality in Afghanistan against a Taliban enemy that does not often wear body armor. Without a shot to the head, the enemy could take several 5.56 hits and keep going, soldiers said in surveys…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

5.56 x 45mm NATO or 5.56 NATO was originally chambered for the M16 rifle and is a standard cartridge for NATO and many non-NATO armies. It’s similar, but not identical to, .223 Remington. Both are used extensively by American shooters, including preppers/survivalists.

Now about that part in the article where U.S. soldiers are complaining about 5.56 NATO and its “lethality”- should preppers/survivalists and others using the same or .223 be concerned their ammunition also won’t be lethal enough when it matters most?

Here is some more insight on 5.56 lethality from people who know a thing or two about the subject in a combat zone…

First, there’s this from a U.S. Marine scout/sniper who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and submitted the following to The Truth About Guns website regarding a firefight in Fallujah, Iraq. He was using an M-16A4 with a heavy barrel, improved trigger, and scope- as well as standard 5.56 ammo- in the following action:

This bad guy took a knee and started to aim his RPG at our building. I fired once, hitting him square in the chest. The man stumbled a bit but regained his balance and steadied his weapon. I fired again, again hitting him. But this time, it did not faze him and he was able to touch off that grenade. The explosion rattled the building and injured a Marine below me on the second floor.

The bad guy dropped the RPG once he fired it, got up, and ran down the alley away from me. He still had the AK on his back. I fired again, twice, both times hitting him in his upper thoracic region. He was not phased. My L-T was shooting at him while yelling at his sniper (me) to kill him!

The man started pushing himself up a short wall near the end of the alley way. The wall was maybe 4 1/2ft tall. I decided to take a head shot at about 125yds. I centered the cross-hairs, and squeezed. JUST as the round broke, the man ducked his head, the bullet entered his brain housing group just at the base of the skull, effectively removing the back portion of his dome. I skull capped him.

He stumbled over the wall and fell down behind it, out of my view in the dead space. For a split second, I thought “there…” until I saw him RUNNING away from me, brains leaking from his head! As soon as I saw him, he fell down and did not get up again. It took 5 well aimed rounds to put this guy down. Granted, he was most likely on something, but it still took 4 in the chest, and one head shot to stop this guy. I was not the only Marine to be involved in something like this. Who is to say that an attacker in the U.S. is not “on something?”

Now, is the .223 (5.56) a deadly round? Absolutely! A .22lr is deadly in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. Is it effective? In this Marine’s opinion, no. The .223 is a varmint round, meant to kill targets no larger than a rabbit or coyote…

Then there’s this from the Daily Mail (UK) website from just over a year ago that talked about Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) jettisoning the 5.56 NATO cartridge. Mark Nicol reported on March 16, 2013:

The rounds currently issued as standard to SAS troops for their rifles are 5.56 mm calibre. In future, the troopers will be given 7.62 mm rounds – which are almost twice as heavy and designed to kill with a single shot.

Last night, a regiment insider said: ‘The shoot-to-wound policy was based on the assumption that once he was wounded an enemy combatant would stop fighting, and so would his comrades to give him first aid.

But this backfired against the Taliban. The 5.56 mm rounds did not take a big enough chunk out of them, allowing fanatical insurgents to keep on fighting despite their wounds. As a result, more SAS soldiers were shot and badly wounded.

‘The need for a heavier round was highlighted in the regiment’s post-Afghanistan report. Tests are now taking place on at least three rifles specially designed to fire the 7.62 mm rounds.

‘The difference in killing power between 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm is startling – the heavier rounds pack so much more of a punch.’

Nicol added later in the piece:

Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army commander, said: ‘The 7.62 mm round is a good, meaty bullet and will drop your enemy with a single hit. The 5.56 mm cannot compete with it for stopping power and, according to many soldiers, the round has fallen short in Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘Insurgents who would have been fatally wounded by a 7.62 mm have been able to continue fighting and endanger the lives of our soldiers.

‘This is a positive step and I hope other regiments give consideration to returning to 7.62 mm rounds in the infantryman’s standard rifle. It could save lives and win battles.’

So should preppers/survivalists and others using 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington be concerned their ammunition lacks lethality?

In the past, I understood these calibers were- if anything- at least adequate in lethality. I also thought firearm proficiency and shot placement skill had a lot to do with stopping the threat as well.

I don’t think I’m wrong in believing the latter (user ability) is still important.

Readers- care to add your two cents?

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

Sources:

Scarborough, Rowan. “Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear.” The Washington Times. 20 Apr. 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/20/tactical-advantage-russian-military-shows-off-impr/?page=all#pagebreak). 29 Apr. 2014.

Farago, Robert. “Marine: .223 May Not Be Lethal Enough for Civilians.” The Truth About Guns. 9 Jan. 2013. (http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/01/robert-farago/marine-223-may-not-be-lethal-enough-for-civilians/). 29 Apt. 2014.

Nicol, Mark. “SAS to use bigger bullets to kill enemy outright after claiming ‘shoot-to-wound’ policy put their lives at risk.” Daily Mail. 16 Mar. 2013. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2294631/SAS-use-bigger-bullets-kill-enemy-outright-claiming-shoot-wound-policy-lives-risk.html). 29 Apr. 2014.

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Al-Qaeda Still Desires To Kidnap Americans, Other Westerners

“Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan and encourage kidnappings of U.S. citizens and Westerners…”

-U.S. Department of State website, “Worldwide Caution” last updated April 10, 2014

Al-Qaeda is desperate to kidnap Americans. Reuters reported Saturday:

The al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on Muslims to kidnap westerners, particularly Americans, who could then be exchanged for jailed jihadists including a blind Egyptian cleric convicted in 1995 of conspiring to attack the United Nations and other New York landmarks.

In a wide-ranging audio interview, the al-Qaida leader expressed solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is facing a violent crackdown by the army-backed government in Egypt, and urged unity among rebels in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the Zawahiri tape, but the voice resembled that of the al-Qaida leader.

“I ask Allah the Glorious to help us set free Dr Omar Abdel-Rahman and the rest of the captive Muslims, and I ask Allah to help us capture from among the Americans and the westerners to enable us to exchange them for our captives,” said Zawahiri, according to the Site website monitoring service…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular observers of the terrorist group will point out this isn’t the first time the Al-Qaeda leadership has called for the kidnapping of “Westerners.” Chelsea Carter reported on the CNN website back on October 28, 2012:

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is calling on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, citing the success in the abduction of American aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan.

In a two-part, more than two-hour video posted on jihadist websites, al-Zawahiri called for the abductions as part of a vow not to “spare any efforts” to free Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

“God the great and almighty granted us success to capture the Jewish American Warren Weinstein,” al-Zawahiri said in the video posted Wednesday, according to the terror monitoring group SITE Intelligence.

“We are seeking, by the help of God, to capture others and to incite Muslims to capture the citizens of the countries that are fighting Muslims in order to release our captives.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Traveling abroad anytime soon? It’s probably wise to exercise a good deal of situational awareness and take a number of other precautions before and during the trip.


“STRATFOR: How to Travel Safely – Tips from a Former Agent”
YouTube Video

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

Sources:

“Al-Qaida leader urges kidnapping of westerners to exchange for jihadists.” Reuters. 26 Apr. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/26/al-qaida-ayman-zawahiri-kidnapping-westerners). 28 Apr. 2014.

Carter, Chelsea. “Al Qaeda leader calls for kidnapping of Westerners.” CNN.com. 28 Oct. 2012. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/27/world/asia/al-qaeda-kidnap-threat/). 28 Apr. 2014.

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Resource Of The Week: Three Standout Episodes From The Survival Podcast

I’m aware of the amount of material that’s come out the last few years about prepping, and wouldn’t be surprised to hear that many people looking to get started in preparedness may feel somewhat overwhelmed, wondering just exactly where to start.

I have an idea where they might want to begin.

Enter The Survival Podcast, which I designated a “Resource Of The Week” way back on March 4, 2011.

I’ve been listening to modern survivalist Jack Spirko’s podcasts whenever I can for a few years now, and three episodes in particular really stand out in my mind as potentially terrific resources for beginning-to-advanced preppers/survivalists:

Episode 1056, “Zero to Prepared- Fast, Simple and Low Cost- Part 1”
(January 17, 2013, 1 hour 8 minutes)

Episode 1057, “Zero to Prepared- Fast, Simple and Low Cost- Part 2”
(January 18, 2013, 1 hour 33 minutes)

Spirko writes:

Today may seem like a basic beginners show but I will bet even the seasoned prepper will gain something and if nothing else will be better able to help others get started. Prepping doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, what it must be is specific to a set of goals, today we talk about simple ways to make that happen.

Episode 1330, “An Evaluation of Prepping for the New and Seasoned Alike”
(April 9, 2014, 1 hour 49 minutes)

Spirko says:

Today I want to discuss more “how to think” about prepping is more important in your planning and implementation than the “what” of prepping. Any good prepping plan should begin with a risk analysis. Any established plan should be tweaked from a starting point of a risk analysis. Note the clear commonality!

Great stuff by Mr. Spirko- as usual. All three episodes could have a lot to offer many preppers and survivalists of different levels- and most anyone listening really. They have for me with those “Project Prepper” series of posts.

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

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Severe Weather, Tornadoes Predicted This Weekend

I’m rather concerned about severe weather- including tornadoes- a number of meteorologists have been warning about since yesterday. From the Weather Channel website tonight:

As is typical of spring, the threat of severe weather is ramping up from the Plains into the Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and parts of the South through early next week.

This weekend, the next weather system will begin to kick into gear and spark multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes from Saturday through at least Tuesday. In fact, we could see an outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes on multiple days…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And then there’s this from Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist, on AccuWeather.com this evening:

A multiple-day outbreak of severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, is set to begin this weekend. The outbreak is likely to be the worst of the season so far and may end up being one of the top severe weather events for the season

People will need to keep a close eye on the weather, watch for rapidly changing weather conditions and pay careful attention to severe weather and tornado warnings as they are issued.

Now is the time to review tornado safety measures with your family…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Not to be a worry-wart, but I think Sosnowski is on to something here. Please keep a close eye on the weather for the next couple of days. Get a weather radio (I bought a Midland WR-100 a couple of years back- and love it) if you don’t have one already.

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

(Editor’s note: The Midland WR-100 is discontinued. The Midland WR-120B looks like its replacement- and a very good one according to Amazon.com reviews .)

Sources:

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Project Prepper, Part 27: Transferring Pre-Owned Gear, Supplies To The New Everyday Carry Bag

In my last “Project Prepper” post, I blogged about the Everyday Carry bag and putting one together for myself after two decades of carrying something along the lines of one.

Today, I’ll be talking more about transferring pre-owned gear and supplies to the new EDC bag.

Last Wednesday I wrote:

Tomorrow, I’m going to start transferring items from my old bag to the Patagonia Half Mass. In a future post I’ll blog about Everyday Carry items going into the bag.

Well, that transfer is done, and the canvas FOX Outdoor Courier bag has been retired from front-line service after a good six years or so for the Patagonia Half Mass that’s been designated to be my new EDC bag.

This morning, I busted out another old bag of mine which I purchased about a decade ago. The yellow Eddie Bauer gym bag- which is usually kept in my vehicle- contains not only items for a roadside emergency, but emergency preparedness gear and supplies which I started accumulating post-9/11. When added to the case of bottled water, old sleeping bag, and extra clothing/boots I would store in my car’s trunk (not at the moment however as I change things up for this series of posts), I’d have the tools, gear, and supplies to tackle a number of emergencies- possibly for a couple of days if required.

The last time I really went through the bag- adding items and replacing expired supplies- was back in 2010.

Until today- when I started pulling a 3-day supply of emergency food and a disposable rain poncho from it for the new EDC bag,

I also added items to the new bag which I’ve recently acquired and set aside until now, such as a foldable water-resistant baseball cap, portable unisex urinal bags, and a LifeStraw personal water filter.

Now, I still need to do some thorough research and put together a comprehensive list of Everyday Carry items I think should go into this bag. But based on what’s been transferred from these two older bags, I think I have a pretty good foundation on which to build on.

EDC Bag Tranfer

Note the Doomsday Preppers toilet paper on top of the old Eddie Bauer bag

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

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