Travel

47 Chicago-Area Expressway Shootings Year-To-Date

While I was watching the local news at lunchtime today WGN-TV (Chicago Channel 9) reported that the in-bound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) was closed due to yet another shooting (people in two vehicles firing at each other- one crashed).

Reporter Sarah Jindra remarked during the live broadcast that she thought this latest incident marked the 46th time in 2016 that a Chicago-area expressway was closed due to gunfire- compared to 38 last year- but that she was also awaiting confirmation from the Illinois State Police on these numbers.

A couple of minutes ago, Jindra reported via Twitter that the Illinois State Police said this was in fact the 47th time Chicagoland expressways have been shut down this year due to shootings, and posted the following numbers for comparison:

Expressway Shootings
2012- 9
2013- 6
2014- 19
2015- 37
2016- 47 (through 12/5)

Once again, the trend is not Chicago’s friend here.

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

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Monday, December 5th, 2016 Crime, Public Safety, Transportation, Travel, Vehicles Comments Off on 47 Chicago-Area Expressway Shootings Year-To-Date

Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

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

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

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

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

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

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

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In Print: Blockade- The Diary Of An Austrian Middle-Class Woman 1914-1924

Slowly but surely, I’ve been bringing back those different series of posts I started running in November 2010. It’s been a while since I published an “In Print” piece (December 2014), but truth be told, I’ve hardly had time to read any books (to completion) for quite some time. Seriously. That’s changing, and a number of titles I have in my possession will be presented and discussed in future “In Print” posts. Some real good material there too.

This week’s “In Print” selection is entitled Blockade- The Diary of an Austrian Middle-Class Woman 1914-1924, which was written in 1932 by Anna Eisenmenger. I’m not sure exactly how I heard about the “diary,” but I’m glad I did- as were others. You see, I had just finished reading it when I posted the following comment on the blog area of the SHTF School website (produced in conjunction with well-known Balkan region war survivor/prepper/survivalist “Selco” and “dedicated to urban survival and preparedness”):

“Suggest someone who is dear to you to read real life experiences.” Selco, I recently read a book (diary actually) from around your part of the world that I found relevant and intriguing- Anna Eisenmenger’s 94-page “Blockade – The Diary of an Austrian Middle-Class Woman 1914-1924,” available for free on archive.org. “Diary of an Austrian woman who lived through World War I and the interwar years in Vienna. She witnessed the devaluation of the currency and the government controls on food, fuel, and travel. Her sons were wounded in the war and one turned to extremist ideals in the wake of the war. Interesting personal view of a sometimes overlooked historical period.” Eisenmenger talked about a range of topics, including asset protection, bartering, civil unrest, food shortages, health issues, urban versus rural when TSHTF, and going to extremes to save one’s family.

In response to a question of how to download the diary in a “readable format,” I added later:

If Selco and gang don’t mind me posting it here, below is the link on archive.org to the page where Mrs. Eisenmenger’s diary can either be read (page top) or downloaded (page right). I opted for the .pdf version, which worked fine in my Acrobat Reader. If the link gets stripped, you can go to archive.org, enter “Blockade The Diary” in the search engine (not that “WayBackMachine” box) and the link to the page where you can read/download it should appear near the top of the search results. Hope this helps. I found the diary insightful and sobering. Hard to believe it was published in 1932 as it reads like a modern manuscript…

https://archive.org/details/Blockade-TheDiaryOfAnAustrianMiddle-classWoman1914-1924

Selco and others were grateful to me for pointing out this free resource, with one blog reader going so far as to write:

Thank you so much for recommending this book. What a great read and if I was part of a prepper group, this book would be recommended reading…

No problem. And now I’m recommending it to Survival And Prosperity readers.

You can use that link to Blockade I shared with the SHTF School folks. I just tested it and it’s still “live.”

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

(Editor’s note: Info/link added to “Resources” page. Tomorrow though as I’m beat from doing chores at the family’s place in Wisconsin earlier today and driving back to Illinois.)

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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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Monday, January 12th, 2015 Communications, Emergencies, Essential Reading, Government, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Public Safety, Technology, Travel, Weather Comments Off on NotifyChicago: The City Of Chicago’s Emergency Alert Program

Al-Qaeda European Passenger Jet Attack Plot Latest

On November 30 I blogged about the Sunday Express (UK) reporting Al-Qaeda was plotting to blow up five European passenger jets before Christmas.

Monday a FOX News Alert elaborated on the supposed plot:


“Experts warn of ‘spectacular’ Al Qaeda plot for Christmas”
FOX News Video

Two things to keep in mind while watching the video featuring FOX News terror analyst Walid Phares:

1. Phares warned:

Al-Qaeda is determined to do something to compete with ISIS against us.

As I blogged back on August 29:

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste.

2. Phares suggested the plot could just be a deception, and Americans should look out for mass shootings and other terrorist acts right around Christmas

I’ve been warning about a terrorist attack in the form of a mass shooting for a while now on this blog, the first time being way back in April 2011. It’s a real threat in my opinion.

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

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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 Europe, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Preparedness, Public Safety, Religion, Terrorism, Transportation, Travel, War Comments Off on Al-Qaeda European Passenger Jet Attack Plot Latest

Al-Qaeda Targeting 5 European Passenger Jets Before Christmas?

And just when you thought Al-Qaeda had been relegated to the tabloids comes this from the website of the Sunday Express (UK)- a British tabloid. Donal MacIntyre reported Sunday:

EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda plot to blow up 5 passenger planes in Christmas ‘spectacular’

TERRORISTS are plotting to blow up five European passenger jets in a Christmas “spectacular”, security experts say

The warning comes as Whitehall officials admit that a terror strike on the UK is now “almost inevitable” particularly with British jihadis returning from fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

An airport security source told the Sunday Express: “We’ve been told that five planes are being targeted in a high profile hit before Christmas. They’ve been waiting for the big one.

“We have many scares but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines. The threat is still alive and real.”

According to MacIntyre, the plot was uncovered by U.S. intelligence.

Take the above for what it’s worth. That being said, I blogged back on August 29:

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste.

Still feel the same way as 2014 rapidly comes to a close…

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

Source:

MacIntyre, Donal. “EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda plot to blow up 5 passenger planes in Christmas ‘spectacular.’” Sunday Express. 30 Nov. 2014. (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/541725/REVEALED-Al-Qaeda-plot-to-blow-up-5-European-passenger-jets-in-Christmas-spectacular). 30 Nov. 2014.

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Sunday, November 30th, 2014 Europe, Government, Middle East, Public Safety, Religion, Security, Terrorism, Transportation, Travel Comments Off on Al-Qaeda Targeting 5 European Passenger Jets Before Christmas?

Jim Rogers Details Russian Investments, Shares Outlook For Developed Economies

While searching for the latest activity from the “crash prophets” this morning I came across an insightful piece on well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers on FT Alphaville. Izabella Kaminska reported on the Financial Times (UK) daily news and commentary blog today:

Rogers’ Russian investments now include stakes in fertiliser maker Phosagro, airliner Aeroflot, a Russia ETF and the Russian stock exchange, but he said was looking to expand into different sectors as well…

Rogers’ bullish view on Russia contrasts significantly with his outlook for Europe, Japan and the United States. Regarding Japan, Rogers proposed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was doing “terrible things” to Japan and advised young Japanese to leave the country as soon as they possibly could to avoid losses. However, in the short-term, he believed there were also opportunities in the stock market as a result of the extraordinary central bank action.

Regarding the Eurozone, Rogers said he didn’t own any euros, nor did he want to because he would rather buy Russia.

As ever, his outlook for developed economies remained bleak on the basis that central banks had debased the currency and that government statistics were lying about the true state of inflation in the land…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of Survival And Prosperity that the former investing partner of George Soros has been investing in Russia (blogged about in May here).

Rogers shared with the Financial Times his reasons for selecting the above Russian investments. Good stuff by Kaminska and FT Alphaville, which you can read in its entirety here.

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.)

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 Agriculture, Asia, Banking, Crash Prophets, Currencies, Europe, Exchange-Traded Funds, Farming, Government, Inflation, Investing, Natural Resources, Stocks, Travel Comments Off on Jim Rogers Details Russian Investments, Shares Outlook For Developed Economies

Jihadists Conducting Recon Of British Parliament?

Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States. Sunday morning I was reading the “Travel” section of my Chicago Tribune when I spotted the following under “World watch”:

United Kingdom: Authorities warned of potential terrorist threats against the Houses of Parliament in London, prompting calls to close the Palace of Westminster to the public. The ISIS-related threat was announced after British intelligence learned of suspected jihadists visiting Parliament for tours in recent weeks. The Palace of Westminster, where the House of Lords and House of Commons meet, is Britain’s most iconic structure, with the attached tower and Big Ben clock being the nation’s most recognizable symbol. Military police are refreshing their training to prevent a terrorist attack, and tourists should follow local media for updates when planning to visit Parliament…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Kids. Big Ben. Parliament. Allahu Akbar!


“European Vacation- Roundabout”
YouTube Video

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

Source:

Burlison, Dani and Habegger, Larry. “World watch: Threats may leave London travelers outside Parliament.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/travel/ct-trav-1102-world-watch-20141029-story.html). 4 Nov. 2014.

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Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 Europe, Foreign Policy, Government, Middle East, Military, Public Safety, Religion, Terrorism, Tourism, Travel, War Comments Off on Jihadists Conducting Recon Of British Parliament?

Chicago-Area Security Heightened After U.S. Terrorism Warning

I saw a segment last night on the Channel 9 (Chicago) evening news regarding the City of Chicago’s response to that security bulletin issued by the FBI and DHS the other day. From the WGN TV website:

A renewed terror warning in the U.S. is prompting security concerns in Chicago.

While acknowledging the city may be a potential target, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stresses local and federal agencies are on the lookout for any terrorist activity.

The head of Cook County’s Department of Homeland Security says there is no sign of a specific, credible threat against the urban area. But in Chicago airports and across the region security has been heightened

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In the news segment, Michael Masters, Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, stated:

I think it’s important for people to realize that our first responders are training everyday on the types of threats and issues we see going on around the world.

Reporter Julian Crews added:

Cook County’s homeland security chief says the region is prepared to respond.

Here’s hoping he’s right.

You can watch that entire segment- which also includes comments from former Secret Service special agent Arnette Heintze and DePaul University professor and terrorism analyst Thomas Mockaitis- on the WGN TV website here.

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

Source:

Crews, Julian. “Renewed terror warning in U.S. prompts security concerns in Chicago.” WGN TV. 24 Sep. 2014. (http://wgntv.com/2014/09/24/renewed-terror-warning-in-u-s-prompts-security-concerns-in-chicago/). 25 Sep. 2014.

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Thursday, September 25th, 2014 Essential Reading, Government, Preparedness, Public Safety, Religion, Security, Self-Defense, Terrorism, Transportation, Travel, War Comments Off on Chicago-Area Security Heightened After U.S. Terrorism Warning

Chicago-Area Firefighters Survive Hurricane Odile, Escape SHTF Aftermath

“What we went through this weekend, the way we had to get ourselves out, the looting, the vandalism- it was like something right out of a movie.”

-Jim Kotrba, Hoffman Estates Fire Department, in a September 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune article

October 2005. I was in my office at a fire department in the northwest suburbs of Chicago when a firefighter/paramedic by the name of “Mark” stopped by. He had just returned from his honeymoon in Cancún, Mexico- early. The well-known resort had just been pummeled by Hurricane Wilma. “Mark” and his new wife paid attention to the growing number of warnings about the incoming maelstrom, and decided to pack up and leave the popular tourist destination two (?) days before it struck. I remember him saying the airport was pretty much a ghost town despite the ominous weather forecasts. In case readers don’t remember Wilma, here’s what the couple missed. From The Independent (UK) website on October 23, 2005:

Hurricane Wilma pounded the beach resorts and fishing villages of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula yesterday, whipping up 120mph winds and creating a 10ft storm surge that sent sea water racing through the lower floors of some of Cancun’s most luxurious beachfront hotels…

Cancun’s beachfront hotel district, constructed on a narrow peninsula, was completely evacuated yesterday. But in the city itself, only a small number of residents and tourists – 50,000 or so out of a local population of 700,000 – left on buses before the storm arrived. The others, including an estimated 30,000 foreign visitors, huddled in shelters and downtown hotels, where food and drink was due to run out yesterday.

With electricity cut off in advance as a safety precaution, the shelters – mostly in schools, hotels and gymnasiums – were hot, sweaty and crowded. Scott Stout, an American spending part of his honeymoon on an indoor basketball court in Cancun beneath a leaky roof, told the Associated Press: “After one more day of this, I believe people will start getting cranky.”

Weather experts in Mexico and the US said that Wilma’s unexpectedly long sojourn over the Yucatan meant that in effect local people were undergoing several hurricanes, one after another…

Fast forward to 2014. And the last several days in particular. More members of the fire service from that neck of the woods went to Mexico for a wedding-related event, and also ended up the victims of bad timing. Unlike “Mark” however, these firefighters didn’t make it out of town before a different hurricane struck. Becky Schlikerman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 17:

A group of 16 northwest suburban firefighters are stuck in Mexico after a hurricane ravaged the resort area of Cabo San Lucas.

The group had traveled to a beautiful oceanfront resort for the destination wedding of longtime Hoffman Estates firefighter Tom Mangiameli. About 50 friends and relatives traveled abroad, according to Mangiameli’s sister-in-law, Sharen Mangiameli.

The wedding was to be Saturday, relatives said. On Sunday, Hurricane Odile made landfall as a monster Category 3 storm.

Since then, electrical and water services have been out.

Tom Mangiameli and his group are still at the Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, said Sharen Mangiameli, 55, of Naperville.

“There’s no food, there’s no drinking water and there are looters coming into the hotel,” she said. “One of my nephews has been texting saying when they try to leave the hotel they’re being attacked by the locals who are looting.”

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Tourists and residents alike dealt with grave conditions in the aftermath of the hurricane. Pedro Juarez Mejia reported on the Agence France-Presse website on September 18:

Residents of Mexico’s Los Cabos resort armed themselves with guns and machetes in hurricane-battered neighborhoods to defend their homes from looters, as troops were deployed.

The government sent extra federal police and soldiers to the Baja California peninsula to counter widespread looting that erupted after Hurricane Odile tore down homes earlier this week…

Chaos took over this week as hundreds helped themselves to food, water, televisions and any goods they could grab in supermarkets and retail stores after Odile knocked out power and flattened homes.

But now residents fear their houses are next, amid reports of armed and masked gangs roaming neighborhoods.

Dressed in white and holding everything from bats to machetes, sticks and rocks, residents burned tires and wood…

Rodrigo Sanchez Villa, a lawyer for a hotel group, told local radio that masked gangs were pillaging shops, hotels and houses in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

“The situation appears to be getting worse all the time. A lack of security is being added to the problem of shortages of food and water and the lack of local authorities,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Sound like it’s been a nightmare down there over the past week or so. Thankfully, this group of Chicago-area firefighters eventually escaped the carnage in Cabo San Lucas. John Keilman wrote on September 18 on the Chicago Tribune website:

One person in the wedding party found a transportation company that was willing to send six buses to the resort to ferry the group to the airport, Kotrba said. The buses arrived before dawn Thursday and parked away from the resort, while the group sneaked out of the lobby to avoid attention.

“There were hundreds of people in the lobby,” Kotrba said. “If the buses had been seen, there would have been a riot.”

And upon their return to the U.S., the firefighters’ tale of survival was being shared. Becky Schlikerman and Tina Sfondeles reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 18:

Sandwiches were handed out, then they ran out. Generators kicked in, then died because of lack of fuel and flooding.

“We were at the point where we made rope from a life preserver that was out by the pool and basketball nets and we started to build a little system to lift buckets of water from the waste buckets to flush toilets,” [Daniel] Pearson, 43, of Carpentersville, said from a Phoenix airport Thursday night.

“We had no cellphone service, food and water,” Pearson said. “We did whatever we could make do with. I have no dignity left. I took a bath in a fountain.”

Pearson is a former U.S. Marine. He spent nine months fighting in the Gulf War. And he has fought fires for 18 years. But he wasn’t ready for this.

I was in survival mode. I don’t think I was scared. It just got to the point where we had 48 people. What am I supposed to do? When we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis. And I think that last line should have read “What am I supposed to do when we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?)

In addition to using iron boards to defend themselves, that Keilman piece noted the firefighters set up their own security system, with some men sleeping in the hallway outside their rooms and confronting anyone who walked through.

All this reminds me of something the English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin once said about survival:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

I’m grateful these firefighters and the rest of their party made it back to the United States safely. And I wish all the best to the newlyweds.

After learning about their harrowing experience, I’m thinking it’s probably not a bad idea for overseas travelers to bring/put together a small emergency kit if/when it makes sense, adding emergency supplies in the event of some looming threat.

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

Sources:

Gumbel, Andrew. “Hour after hour, Hurricane Wilma batters Cancun.” The Independent. 23 Oct. 2005. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hour-after-hour-hurricane-wilma-batters-cancun-512143.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky, “16 suburban firefighters stranded in Mexico after hurricane.” Chicago Sun-Times. 17 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/29951882-761/16-suburban-firefighters-stranded-in-mexico-after-hurricane.html#.VB83fZV0zIV). 21 Sep. 2014.

Juarez Mejia, Pedro. “Residents grab guns to deter looters in Mexico resort.” Agence France-Presse. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://news.yahoo.com/residents-grab-guns-deter-looters-mexico-resort-230317288.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Keilman, John. “16 firefighters returning from Mexico after being stranded by hurricane.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/schaumburg-hoffman-estates/chi-16-hoffman-estates-firefighters-stranded-at-mexican-resort-20140918-story.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky and Sfondeles, Tina. “Firefighter recounts harrowing aftermath of hurricane in Mexico.” Chicago Sun-Times. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/29970010-418/firefighter-recounts-harrowing-aftermath-of-hurricane-in-mexico.html#.VBxvp5V0zIU]). 21 Sep. 2014.

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014 Communications, Crime, Emergencies, Firearms, Food, Gear, Natural Disasters, North America, Preparedness, Sanitation, Security, Self-Defense, Tourism, Travel, Utilities, Water, Weather Comments Off on Chicago-Area Firefighters Survive Hurricane Odile, Escape SHTF Aftermath
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RSS Chris Hill’s Other Blog: Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes

  • List Of Offshore Private Vaults Updated
    The list of private, non-bank vaults outside the United States (offering safe deposit boxes/lockers at a minimum) located on this blog’s sister site- Offshore Private Vaults- has just been updated. Safe deposit facilities now open for business have been added under the following countries: -Hong Kong (Smart Secured Storage) -Liechtenstein (Liemeta AG, Triesen) -United Kingdom […]
  • Related Reading: The Telegraph Looks At Latest Security Technology In Bank, Private Vaults
    I’m back after several days spent on matters related to the research business (focus: specialized asset protection) I’m in the process of rolling out. Despite the “spring break,” I compiled a good deal of material to blog about in the near future. Getting back into the saddle then… “How to rob a bank” This headline […]
  • Next Degussa Numis Day To Take Place March 30, 31
    Rare numismatic coins often find their way into safe deposit boxes. And Degussa, a leading international player in the precious metals world which also offers safe deposit boxes (for customers) at branches in Germany, Singapore, Spain, and Switzerland, has posted information about the next Numis Day (first blogged about here) at their Geneva and Zurich […]
  • Related Reading: Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom Top U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 ‘Best Countries’ Rankings
    Here’s an annual survey one might consider when selecting an offshore safe deposit box location. U.S. News & World Report just released its “Best Countries” rankings for 2017. Kevin Drew reported Tuesday morning on the American media company’s website: Switzerland is viewed as the No. 1 overall country, according to a survey of more than […]
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    Monday evening I read an interesting article about London, England-based precious metals showroom/safe deposit box service Sharps Pixley (first blogged about here). Margareta Pagano wrote on the website of The Spectator (UK) this past weekend: When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. And when the going is seriously tough- as it may be […]