radiation

15 Fukushima-Style Nuclear Power Plants Located In New Madrid Fault Zone

“As Japan’s crippled Fukushima reactor continues to leak radioactive water into the sea, Americans are beginning to worry over potential health risks when radioactive particles reach the West Coast of North America next year.

Concern has been mounting after it was reported that subcontractors at the plant had admitted to having under-reported radiation and that dozens of farms that were initially considered safe had unsafe levels of radioactive cesium.

There have been unconfirmed reports of higher cancer rates among Fukushima locals…”

-The Voice Of Russia website, December 1, 2013

Enough of blogging about my local scene and financial topics. Let’s turn to preparedness now.

Back when I worked for a suburban fire department a few years back I used to do a good deal of the grant writing. From time to time we would be eligible for funds to upgrade the department’s/municipality’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities. As part of the grant approval process, we would have to identify potential threats to the community. I would always point out the danger (although somewhat remote) posed by earthquakes. Yes, the Chicagoland area does have its share of tremors- the last notable one being a 3.2 magnitude quake on November 4. When putting together those grant applications, I was always more concerned of rumblers originating quite a bit south of the Chicago-area, like southern Illinois.

Enter the New Madrid fault.

The other day, I happened to be reading an article on the “NewsWatch” section of the National Geographic website. Neil Lineback wrote on November 30:

The New Madrid (MAH dred) fault is one of the most dangerous in the world. Located beneath the upper end of the Mississippi delta, the fault extends from Cairo, Ill., to Marked Tree, Ark., a distance of 130 miles (220 km)…

According to an article from ABC News Radio Online (March 2011), a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault line today would be catastrophic, potentially affecting more than 15 million people in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The USGS reports that the people most at risk from a quake of magnitude 7.0 or 8.0, however, are the approximately one million people living in the Memphis metro area…

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also predicts that a major quake at New Madrid could displace 7.2 million people and destroy at least 15 major bridges.

Another problem altogether could result from the 15 nuclear power plants around the New Madrid region. All of the power plants are of the same or similar design as the ones that failed after Japan’s recent earthquake and resulting tsunami, according to ABC News.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I checked out that ABC News article Lineback was referring to. What ABC News Radio actually said was:

There are 15 nuclear power plants in the New Madrid fault zone — three in Alabama alone — that are of the same or similar design as the site in Japan experiencing problems.

Not good.

And for any first responders out there reading this blog post, you may be interested in what was also mentioned in the piece:

In September, FEMA’s associate administrator for Response and Recovery, William Carwile, told a Senate panel that FEMA has five regional groups planning for possible earthquake responses, but a major quake along the New Madrid fault line could displace 7.2 million people and knock out 15 bridges. The response would require 42,000 first responders from local firefighters to the Pentagon.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

42,000 first responders!

Located in the “Geological Survey Program” section of the Missouri Department of Natural Resrouces website is a page entitled, “Facts about the New Madrid Seismic Zone.” From that resource:

The NMSZ appears to be about 30 years overdue for a magnitude 6.3 quake because the last quake of this size occurred 100 hundred years ago at Charleston, Missouri, on Oct. 31, 1895 (it was a magnitude 6.7). A magnitude 6.3 quake near Lepanto, Arkansas, on Jan. 5, 1843, was the next prior earthquake of this magnitude. About 75 percent of the estimated recurrence time for a magnitude 7.6 earthquake has elapsed since the last quake of this size occurred in 1812.

The earthquake that severly damaged New Zealand’s second-largest city- Christchurch- in 2011 and killed 185 people was a magnitude 6.3 event.

Any police or fire departments in the New Madrid fault region have any funds available for “new hires”?

How about gear to protect against radiation?

Just thought I’d ask.

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

Sources:

“Are Americans safe from Fukushima radiation?” The Voice Of Russia. 1 Dec. 2013. (http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_12_01/Are-Americans-safe-from-Fukushima-radiation-0907/). 2 Dec. 2013.

Lineback, Neal. “Geography in the News: New Madrid Earthquake.” National Geographic. 30 Nov. 2013. (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/30/geography-in-the-news-new-madrid-earthquake/). 3 Dec. 2013.

“Potential Catastrophe: Earthquake Could Devastate Parts of US.” ABC News Radio. 15 Mar. 2011. (http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/potential-catastrophe-earthquake-could-devastate-parts-of-us.html). 3 Dec. 2013.

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Sun Fires Off More ‘X-Class’ Solar Flares

The Sun keeps churning out big solar flares these days. Karen C. Fox from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center reported on the NASA website earlier today:

The sun emitted a significant solar flare that peaked at 1:14 a.m. EST on Nov. 10, 2013. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

This flare is classified as an X1.1 class flare. “X-class” denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.

Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun’s normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum conditions…

This is the seventh significant flare since Oct. 23, 2013, with the largest being an X3.3 on Nov. 5, 2013.

I’m not too concerned about solar flares as I am coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. Ms. Fox pointed out back in a May 13 piece on the NASA website:

Solar flares can temporarily alter the upper atmosphere creating disruptions with signal transmission from, say, a GPS satellite to Earth causing it to be off by many yards. Another phenomenon produced by the sun could be even more disruptive. Known as a coronal mass ejection or CME these solar explosions propel bursts of particles and electromagnetic fluctuations into Earth’s atmosphere. Those fluctuations could induce electric fluctuations at ground level that could blow out transformers in power grids. A CME’s particles can also collide with crucial electronics onboard a satellite and disrupt its systems.

Fried electrical grids. Not good.

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

Sources:

Fox, Karen C. “Veteran’s Day Solar Flare.” NASA. 10 Nov. 2013. (http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/2013-Veterans-day-solar-flare/#.UoBMpeL4LS0http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/2013-Veterans-day-solar-flare/#.UoBMpeL4LS0). 10 Nov. 2013.

Fox, Karen C. “Impacts of Strong Solar Flares.” NASA. 13 May 2013. (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/flare-impacts.html). 10 Nov. 2013.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Escape From New York’ Preview

Season 2 of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series continues tonight with episode 6, “Escape from New York,” which airs at 9 PM ET. From the Nat Geo Channel webpage for the TV show:

With recent storms such as Sandy, New Yorkers now more than ever need to have escape plans in case they need to flee. NGC cameras follow three New Yorkers as they plot their routes out of the city, literally escaping the grid to reach safety.

Once again, the National Geographic Channel provided me with an advanced screening opportunity of the episode, and it didn’t disappoint. As a matter of fact, it really hit close to home as I too live in a large U.S. city (Chicago).

There were three preppers featured in “Escape from New York.” First up was Cameron Moore in Brooklyn, a college student studying for medical school. Cameron told viewers:

I’m preparing for a meltdown at the Indian Point Nuclear Facility.

Next up was Margaret Ling in Harlem, who told viewers:

I’m preparing for a catastrophic hurricane.

Finally, there’s Jay, a Wall Street bond trader, who explained:

I’m preparing for another terrorist attack.

All three preppers fear what might happen in New York City should TSHTF. From the show:

That’s why for these three New York preppers, at the first sign of trouble, survival comes down to one objective.

CAMERON: Get out of New York City.

JAY: Leaving Manhattan as soon as possible.

MARGARET: Grab my bag and just jet out.

They’ve also paired with a mentor to help them refine their plan. Krav Maga instructor Matan Gavish, preparedness expert Aton Edwards, and urban survivalist Shane Hobel. Now, over the course of one night, all three preppers will put their bug out plans into action for the first time and attempt to escape New York.

The first prepper introduced in the episode was Margaret Ling. In this segment, Margaret, who wears a backpack full of survival supplies every day, revealed that she was concerned about a major hurricane hitting the “Big Apple.” Ling told viewers:

I know I don’t want to be sent to a shelter. And I plan to get out of the city and make my way up to the mountains in upstate New York close to Canada. The last and worst case scenario is walking the entire distance to safety up in the mountains.

Margaret is paired with Krav Maga Academy founder and chief instructor Matan Gavish to help get her prepared.


“Doomsday Preppers: Lollipop Lolliprep”
Nat Geo Channel Video

The second prepper the show focused on was Cameron Moore. In this segment, Cameron shared his fears about an Indian Point Nuclear Facility meltdown and the potential for radiation escaping the facility. He informed viewers:

When TSHTF, I will bug out.

Cameron worked with International Preparedness Network executive director Aton Edwards to help him with his preps.

Finally, there’s Jay (no surname given). Jay was in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. And the Wall Street bond trader realizes New York City remains an attractive terrorist target. He told viewers:

I don’t think it’s going to end. I don’t think that we’re going to wake up all of a sudden one day and all of a sudden we’re not going to be a target to terrorists around the world. A dirty bomb is, without question, an option for terrorists out there.

From the show:

If terrorists detonate dirty bombs across Manhattan, as Jay fears, he’s instructed his wife Mindy and their 6-year-old daughter to get ready to flee the city.

Should TSHTF, Jay’s goal is to get out of the financial district and get back to his family as soon as possible. Jay paired up with Mountain Scout Survival School founder and instructor Shane Hobel to come up with a plan to make that happen.

With the three preppers coming from the same area of the country and attempting a simultaneous bug out, this particular episode was more like a TV special. A TV special for urban preppers. According to the U.S. Census earlier this year, more Americans are living in cities now than ever before. And perhaps it’s because I live in a major American city that I found “Escape from New York” particularly interesting. Although that bike “borrowing” bit was a little over the top. Still, good stuff overall.

And I applaud National Geographic Channel for not removing Doomsday Preppers from the air due to some in the press possibly trying to link preppers with last week’s school shooting.

Blamethrowers. Precisely what the world needs more of these days.

Enjoy tonight’s episode. For more information, please visit the Doomsday Preppers page on the National Geographic Channel website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Time of Reckoning’ Review

I recently watched the latest installment of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series, “The Time of Reckoning,” which aired Tuesday night, November 27. Episode 4 of season 2 featured the prepping team of Dr. Tom Perez, a retired chiropractor, and Steven M. Vanasse, a radiation safety officer, both from Houston, Texas.

Dr. Tom Perez

The first part of the show focused on the Perez family. Dr. Perez is married to wife Monica and the couple have thee children, Katarina (17-years-old), Thomas (12), and Matthew (6). According to Tom:

I’m preparing for a terroristic attack.

From the show:

Tom fears the dirty bomb- an everyday explosive like dynamite or TNT packed with radioactive material. Once detonated, its blast can spread radiation anywhere from a city block to several square miles. But that radioactive debris could lodge in buildings, and chemically-bind with concrete and asphalt, making decontaminating a city difficult and possibly forcing affected neighborhoods to be abandoned… A single dirty bomb could contaminate an area 30 times the size of the initial blast site which could cover up to 20 city blocks. The radiation would not be detected by human senses, and the effect of exposure could be immediate.

In the event of a dirty bomb detonation in Houston, the family would bug out to their 700-acre compound- “The Alamo”- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas.


“Doomsday Preppers: Doomsday Alamo”
Nat Geo Channel Video

Steven M. Vanasse

Later on in the show viewers were introduced to Steven Vanasse, Tom’s prepping partner. Steven is married to Gobriella Gubimelli and they have a daughter, Victoria Vanasse. According to Steve:

I’m preparing for a dirty bomb blast in the city of Houston.

In the event of such an attack, the Vanasse family plans on bugging out of Houston and meeting up with the Perez family at “The Alamo.”

Tom is the firearms expert. Steve is the radiation expert. And both are training the members of their young families to be preppers.

My thoughts about Doomsday Preppers “The Time of Reckoning”:

• Both the Perez and Vanasse families plan on bugging out of Houston in the event of a dirty bomb explosion. A number of viewers probably wondered why they wouldn’t just bug in, seeing that this type of weapon is intended to cause fear more than casualties and fleeing Greater Houston and a good portion of its 6.08 million residents could be very difficult- if not impossible- in such a situation. From the show:

Tom’s bug-out route bypasses over 3,000 miles of Houston’s highways, and once on the open road, they travel due west to their safe house- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas… It’s normally a 6-hour drive to Tom’s compound.

I’m guessing that drive would take significantly longer with a lot of other Houstonians on the road after a dirty bomb attack, and that Tom and Steve would rather not shelter-in-place because of the perceived danger from civil strife and other sorts of chaos that could happen in Houston after such an event. Considering the extent these guys have planned and prepped, I’d be surprised if bugging in wasn’t a viable option for them.

• “The Alamo” is an impressive bug-out location. When I first heard that Tom Perez had stockpiled 46,000 rounds of ammunition, I was kind of surprised at the large number. However, upon thinking the situation through (the Perez family alone consists of 5 preppers and their firearms) and being familiar with a number of recommendations being circulated in prepper/survivalist circles as to how much ammo should be stored for a SHTF event, that amount didn’t seem so astronomical anymore.

• On the other hand, when it was revealed that the Perez family only had 9 months of food socked away at the retreat, I was somewhat shocked. Considering all the preps Dr. Perez had already taken care of, I would have thought he’d have at least a year’s worth of food stored- if not more- at “The Alamo.” I’d seriously-consider buying more food before an armored car, as Dr. Perez said they were looking into at the end of the episode.

• When I heard Tom say:

I also have taken the liberty of contaminating 10 percent of my food and water supply if it is ever compromised. I am the only one that knows which supplies are affected.

I was initially surprised (concerned?) here too. But once I thought the situation through yet again, should this prepper network ever get dislodged from “The Alamo” by raiders, it would probably just be a matter of time before the unwelcomed “guests” get sick, giving the Perez and Vanasse families the opportunity to retake their retreat.

• I have to believe there’s a certain amount of distrust among the law enforcement community when it comes to preppers/survivalists. I thought it was a good idea for the Perez family to coordinate their preparedness efforts with local law enforcement. By doing this, not only did they establish a relationship with them- perhaps decreasing the chance they might be seen as dangerous “kooks” by the police- but they even received some helpful advice during their combined drill with the off-duty officers from the local sheriff’s department. For example, Deputy Ramon Gutierrez pointed out that the Perez family are less vulnerable if they stay in the limestone structures during an attack, and Deputy Forrest Spence emphasized family members need to be real aggressive when confronting a threat.

• I was impressed that Tom taught 17-year-old Kat, 12-year-old Tommy, and 6-year-old Matthew how to shoot, among other things. From the show:

Matthew, who’s been shooting since the age of 4, can hit a target from 100 yards away with his child-size sniper rifle.

Cutest little sniper you ever did see.

• Question- What’s up with Matthew’s boots? They look gargantuan on him.

• Another question- Is it just me or does Steven Vanasse look a lot like a younger version of actor Randy Quaid?

• The way the relationship between Steve and daughter Victoria played out in the episode was funny. Steve would say something about how proud he was of Victoria and how she’s coming on board with the prepping, and the young lady would indicate otherwise. In one scene, Steve brought her shooting for the first time at an indoor gun range. Victoria gave it a try- and it looked like she was a natural at it. Steve was just beaming about Victoria’s performance. Victoria tells viewers she probably won’t go shooting again. I had to chuckle when I saw that. A lot of my friends were just like that at that age. I was an angel, of course.

• The National Geographic Channel definitely got their shock value’s worth from this installment. If the Molotov cocktails and slaying of the goat weren’t enough (or Steve’s munching on its cooked eye), Tom Perez almost suffering permanent injury to his hearing from Steve firing his rifle in the hunting blind really took the cake. Cuidado, Esteban!

“The Time of Reckoning” was really interesting to watch, especially as Tom Perez and Steve Vanasse appear to be way ahead of most of their prepping contemporaries. This was apparent in the score they received from Practical Preppers LLC right before the show wrapped-up. But the episode was also painful to watch at times. Even more painful to make by the looks of things.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 8

I finally got the chance to watch episode number 8 of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers.

The show focused on three groups of preppers Tuesday night, March 27. In order of appearance:

Bruce Beach, rural Ontario, Canada
Bruce and his family have built a massive underground shelter in anticipation of an inevitable nuclear war. “We are not about survival. We are about reconstruction.”

Jeremy and Kelly, outside Salt Lake City, Utah
“I’m preparing for the collapse of society due to peak oil”

Bradford Frank, San Diego, California
“I’m preparing for a worldwide pandemic that will end life as we know it”

Here are my thoughts about episode 8 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Bruce Beach

Bruce Beach is a retired scientist who thinks the world as we know it will end by nuclear destruction. According to Bruce:

This is going to be a universal catastrophe. It’s that sudden. I don’t think there’s going to be a two-minute warning. There’s a distinct possibility that mankind can destroy itself. I think nuclear war is inevitable. In a catastrophe this size, 80 percent of the population will die during the first 2 years. The things that will kill them are social disruption, plagues, lack of food, lack of heat, exposure. It’s a random sort of thing as to who’s going to be saved and who isn’t.

Thinking this will be our fate, Bruce has been preparing for decades now to rescue humanity. From the show:

To save mankind from apocalyptic destruction, Bruce has taken it upon himself to build a haven for humanity. A unique place to sit out the end of the world.

Bruce and his wife Jean have constructed a 10,000 square-foot shelter that’s been designed to survive a nuclear war. Built in 1985, it’s intended to be an “underground orphanage.” Bruce explained:

Save the children. That’s a basic human characteristic. They’re our hope for the continuation of life for building a new and better world.

According to the show:

Bruce’s protected safe house is constructed from building blocks that many kids would consider familiar surroundings: 42 recycled school buses, linked together and buried under 18 inches of concrete and 14 feet of earth…

School buses can support over one-and-a-half times their weight, and can cost as little as $300 second-hand, making them a prepper favorite for bug-out vehicles, and even safe mobile homes…

It’s been estimated that if a global nuclear war occurred, up to a billion lives would be at risk in the months and years following.

Bruce revealed:

We can have 500 people in here, but have to have a number of people to watch over the children.

The underground shelter complex is named Ark 2- in honor of Noah’s Ark.

The extended Beach family contributes to the upgrade and maintenance of the facility.

Although Ark 2 is located in southern Ontario, Canada, Bruce pointed out that an attack on missile bases in the central U.S. could bring significant fallout to their area. Should this or a nearby nuclear blast be reported, the Beach family plans to head to the underground bunker, and start taking in young refugees.

And what about the children’s parents/guardians or any others who come to the shelter but are turned away? Ark 2 staffers plan on giving them “Go Away Kits,” packs that will help people live outside of the bunker. These kits includes radiation detectors.

According to the episode:

Bruce expects refugees would have to stay inside the Ark for weeks, maybe months, to avoid the worst of the radiation outside.

As such, his family has spent 30 years stockpiling “tons of food” to feed the inhabitants.

Now the show pointed out:

One of the hazards of living underground for an extended period, is making sure you have enough air to breathe. At full capacity, and without proper air circulation, Bruce’s 10,000 foot shelter would run out of oxygen in approximately half a day. So Bruce has devised a rather unusual, and cost effective, air circulation system. This strong line of garbage bags can distribute 300 cubic feet of air from the outside vents to different locations in the shelter.

They didn’t say if Ark 2 has nuclear/biological/chemical (NBC) filters for these vents. I would hope so, in order to prevent radioactive fallout from entering and contaminating the facility’s air supply.

It’s not just the Beach family who are involved with the complex. It was revealed that a network of Ark 2 preppers exists all around the United States.

These days, Bruce is busy working on an off-grid communication system, which he hopes to distribute to key members in the local community so that Ark 2 can have a link to the outside world, especially as it concerns information about supplies, radiation levels, and security when TSHTF. From the episode:

The secondary effect of a nuclear detonation is an EMP, a wave of electromagnetic energy powerful enough to bring down the grid. So they are building a ham radio system, widely used by preppers, because it relies only on naturally-existing radio waves to transmit messages, and can work independently from the electrical grid.

According to the show, a 1.4 megaton bomb detonated 250 miles above Kansas would destroy most of the electronics in the United States.

As the segment drew to a close, Bruce Beach left viewers with this:

The Ark is about our service to humanity. And whether or not I pass the Ark on to the grandchildren is irrelevant. What is important is that I pass on to my grandchildren is a dedication of service to humanity. So that’s what my life is about. What my legacy will be, I have no idea.

Jeremy and Kelly

Jeremy (no last name given) is the owner of a digital media company. He and his wife Kelly have a 1-year-old son, Zander. The young family are preparing for peak oil- and what it could mean for our society. From the show:

The term peak oil refers to the eventual decline in the supply of oil reserves. If oil becomes harder to get, the price will increase past the point where people can afford to buy it. The U.S. alone consumes 20 million barrels of oil every day, and global demand is projected to grow by a quarter by 2030.

Jeremy talked about his concerns with peak oil:

I think drastic changes could happen literally in a matter of a couple of years from now. All it takes is for the demand for oil to outstrip the supply, and we’ve been on the razor’s edge of that for a really long time. My worst case scenario is that oil exporting countries stop exporting, and gas pumps start running dry around America. Then that just has a cascading effect across our entire society. People won’t be able to go to work. And if you can’t go to work, then infrastructure starts to fail…

Once infrastructure starts to fail, we could eventually even see the grid go down. And if the grid goes down, society as we know it will be very, very changed.

Kelly recalled something that might sound familiar to a number of preppers:

My first reaction to my husband’s desire to start prepping was a little scared. I actually walked away, and was like, trying to ignore him, because I didn’t want to admit it. It took me about a year to finally come to terms with the idea of prepping.

Jeremy said this about his prepping:

I like to think of myself as a fairly-balanced person. And I don’t think this is an obsession. It’s just a precaution.

To deal with potential water shortages, Jeremy and Kelly look to their 450 gallon hot tub. From the show:

Jeremy and Kelly are able to ration their hot tub water by using the drainage tube. This allows them to preserve a precious resource. Having clean water is essential to survival. So in a grid-down situation, it is imperative to have a water purification system. The 450 gallons in the hot tub could hydrate Jeremy, Kelly, and Zander for about 8 months.

Jeremy is also concerned about infections and disease. He noted:

One of the concerns in the post-collapse world is the lack of access to medical facilities, antibiotics, things like that.

According to the episode:

80 percent of the active ingredients used in American drugs are made overseas. And without the fuel to ship them, emergency treatment would be in short supply. So Jeremy is leaving nothing to chance.

The Utah prepper revealed:

It turns out that the antibiotics used for fish tanks is actually the same antibiotics as are prescribed for humans, so you can actually get human antibiotics at a pet store.

The show added:

Common antibiotics like amoxicillin are marketed under different names for aquatic use. Fish antibiotics are a favorite among preppers to stockpile, because they are widely available without a prescription or pharmacist.

I’ve come across material on the web for and against the substitution of fish antibiotics for human antibiotics. Since you’re only talking about your health here, it would probably be wise to research this very carefully before heading down to the local pet store to pick up some fish antibiotics.

The show returned to the topic of peak oil. From the episode:

Experts disagree as to when we will reach the peak of oil production. Some estimate it will peak as soon as 2035. Jeremy believes it already has.

Remember, “peak oil” doesn’t necessarily mean the Earth is running out of crude oil. Rather, it refers to the maximum rate of the production of crude oil.

Speaking of oil, Jeremy and Kelly have in their possession a bug-out vehicle known as “The Beast.” It’s a military surplus M35 2 1/2 ton cargo truck that Jeremy bought for $3,500. Due to the size of the vehicle, it serves as the family’s transportation and shelter in a SHTF situation. Best of all, it’s has multi-fuel capability, meaning it can be run on regular gas, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, and used motor oil.

Jeremy is shown collecting used motor oil for “The Beast.” His goal is to stockpile 1,000-1,500 gallons of it.

Near the end of the segment, the family practiced a bug-out drill. During the exercise, Jeremy taught Kelly how to drive the “deuce-and-a-half.” Telling her to “man-handle” it on rough terrain, she “woman-handles” the truck instead, and lets out a priceless roar.

Bradford Frank

Bradford Frank is a psychiatrist who lives in sunny San Diego, California, with his wife Narin and daughter Alexandria. He’s concerned a pandemic will bring about TEOTWAWKI . Bradford said:

Sometimes people refer to me as Doctor Doom. I think that most people would look at me and say, “He’s a nut case. He a psychiatrist, he’s obviously crazy.” And that’s the reason I don’t talk to a lot of people about prepping. I went to Yale and studied infectious diseases. And, that’s where I started to get interested in influenza, and in particular, bird flu.

Bradford added:

Super influenza- a super bug- is not a completely new event.

From the episode:

He believes a new, extremely-contagious form of bird flu will transmit to humans, then spread through the population like wildfire.

The World Health Organization considers 100 million infections a conservative estimates for a global pandemic.

Bradford predicted:

People would become hysterical, there would be chaos throughout the world. It’s not a question if it’s going to occur again. It’s only a question of when.

As a physician, the California prepper has easier access to medicine than most others. He explained:

I am able to obtain antibiotics and other medications because I am a physician. I actually buy these in large quantities. So we have all these medicines. It’s a little bit hard to know what to do with the antibiotics if you’re not a doctor.

The show added:

After a pandemic, Bradford believes hospitals will become hot zones for infection. So he’s stockpiling antibiotics to ensure his family never needs to leave the house for medical care.

Bradford’s wife, Narin, is concerned her spouse is wasting money on preparedness gear and supplies. She revealed:

I told him you like to think all negative things. And scary things. And nothing’s going to happen.

Despite her objections, Bradford stockpiles food, including 1,000 lbs. of rice. From the episode:

Bradford considers rice the perfect prepper food, because it’s inexpensive, contains protein, and has a long shelf-life.

The Franks’ daughter, Alexandria, seems a bit more understanding of her father’s efforts. She said:

I don’t really know how I feel about my dad being so concerned about bird flu. He lets it go to his head too much sometimes, and I feel he can be a little neurotic. But, it’s good that we have a little back up plan.

The show revealed the family has enough food stashed away to last a year.

Viewers were provided some insight into Narin’s stance on preparedness. Narin is from Cambodia, and all her primary relatives were killed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. At 19, she escaped from one of their prison camps, and did whatever was required to survive.

Could talk of prepping be bringing back bad memories? She said:

I don’t need a lot of food. And I don’t need a lot of medicine. I know how to survive in a different way.

Maybe so. But not needing a lot of food or medicine doesn’t mean squat should an easily-communicable and lethal strain of influenza arrive at your door. And should its appearance result in societal collapse, Narin must remember she’s no longer 19 as well.

Bradford is concerned that the infected will target doctors’ homes in search of medicine. Subsequently, he replaced his home’s sliding doors with quarter-inch thick sheets of ballistic glass, which repels projectiles and bullets. And according to the show:

Some glass manufacturers are making “one-way” bullet proof glass, allowing for return fire at the exterior threat

Interesting. Will have to look into that one.

Because the potential exists for infection via his neighbors, Bradford secured an isolated bug-out location- a gem mine 2.5 hours from San Diego. He pointed out:

The number one protection in a global pandemic is being away from other people who may be infectious.

The prepper also revealed just how driven he is to survive this and other life-threatening scenarios. Bradford said:

I have just a very powerful survival instinct that would propel me to continue to scratch and claw my way forward.

Getting back to the cave, the underground shelter brought back bad memories for Narin. During her flight from the Khmer Rouge, she was forced to hide in one for 2 months.

As such, it might not work for the Frank family.

Plus, in the “Expert Assessment” portion of segment, Practical Preppers LLC offered up the following:

However, if you ultimately choose to bug-out to an isolated location, we do not suggest a cave. A cave is susceptible to moisture, which would destroy your food stores.

In the “Doomsday Preppers Update,” viewers were informed that Bradford was carjacked at gunpoint while on vacation. He said:

Things turned out well, and the perpetrators are behind bars. But I actually hope that this experience is a positive one for my family in helping them understand that bad things can happen even when you least expect them.

Overall, another good episode of Doomsday Preppers. More interesting ideas to explore. Plus, I liked the additional focus on spouses and family members in this installment. I have a feeling there’s a lot more Narins out there than Jeans or Kellys when it comes to embracing prepping and the advantages it gives the individual/family should a SHTF event take place. But that’s not meant to take away anything from Mrs. Frank, who, as a survivor of the Cambodian “killing fields,” is obviously one tough, resilient woman. However, based on her experience “living” in “Democratic” Kampuchea, one might think she’d be more open to being prepared for those unexpected life-threatening situations that come along every once in a while, like a murderous regime seizing power or global pandemic, for example.

Anyway, I wish these preppers success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Bunkers, Episode 3

It’s Wednesday, but no new episode of the Discovery Channel TV series Doomsday Bunkers will be airing tonight (second straight week).

FYI, I sent a little note out to corporate (Discovery Communications, LLC) regarding future episodes and upcoming air dates. We’ll see what they say. Of course, I’ll let Survival And Prosperity readers know if I hear anything back that’s worthwhile.

In the meantime, I still owe you my review of episode 3 of Doomsday Bunkers, “Tsunami Pod/Nuclear Fallout Shelter.”

At the beginning of the episode, which aired on March 21, Deep Earth Bunker was shown to be inundated with work. Floor Manager Jesse Saul was trying to deal with the significant backlog of shelters that customers- many of them preppers- had ordered and were waiting upon. It was revealed that springtime is particularly busy for DEB, when severe weather routinely makes the headlines. From the show:

In 2011, extreme weather accounted for $130 billion in damages with hundreds of thousands dead.

In addition, there was this:

And the most extreme preppers suspect the government is behind it.

Say what? Deep Earth Bunker owner Scott Bales explained:

Up in Alaska, there’s this thing called HAARP. HAARP stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project. It’s for shooting high frequency through antennas up into the ionosphere, and bouncing it back down. Originally built to talk to submarines deep in the water. A lot of my clients think the government is using it to control the weather.

I’ll have to take a closer look at that claim. In the meantime, more information about HAARP can be found at the project’s website here.

Loretta Sanders

The first client viewers met in episode 4 was Loretta Sanders, a prepper and former police sergeant. Sanders has a nuclear power plant 15 miles south of her home. According to the show, Indian Point Nuclear Plant, just outside New York City, is one of the most vulnerable reactors in the country. She explained:

This is ground zero. When they built it I guess they didn’t realize it’s 1 mile south of a connecting fault line. If there’s an earthquake and it starts to melt it’s going to be mayhem. The meltdown will take out this entire area. Most people will panic in evacuation. With 4 to 7 days the Joe Six-Packs of the world, without food or water, will break down your door, trying to find food. They’ll start to scavenge and we’ll revert back to hunting and being hunted.

The show revealed:

She’s prepared to do whatever it takes to protect her son Teddy, her daughter Marissa, and her growing stockpile.

Sanders added:

I’m prepping to live indefinitely. If the world changes permanently, I’m ready for that… I want to be able to get underground so I want Scott to protect me.

Scott Bales worked with Loretta to get her an underground bunker. He explained:

If an earthquake does happen, there’s going to be fallout- big time.

Bales pointed out that the former police officer’s shelter needed a nuclear/biological/chemical, or NBC, filter to prevent nuclear fallout from entering her bunker. According to Bales, the radioactive fallout will get hung up in the NBC filter.

He informed Loretta that it would take 4 weeks to complete her bunker. In the meantime, DEB would try to get permits to allow the transportation of heavy equipment/loads on roads near the installation site during the winter.

Envisioning the shelter’s design, Scott said:

If there’s a nuclear disaster, Loretta might have to go in this bunker for up to a year. So I have to make sure there’s enough space for her food and water supplies.

From the show:

Scott’s designing her a 2-unit, 600 square foot bunker. With sleeping quarters for 10, ample storage for her growing supplies, 2 500 gallon tanks- 1 for drinking water, 1 for waste. A full bathroom and kitchen. And most importantly, a state-of-the-art NBC filter to protect her from any fallout. Time frame, 4 weeks. Total cost, $150,000.

DEB staff went to work on the project, and Loretta Sanders was shown preparing for her new underground dwelling. From the episode:

A nuclear meltdown at Indian Point could contaminate over 1,100 square miles around the plant. So Loretta’s decided to buy land to install her bunker 3 hours north. But to get there, they might have to drive through looting, rioting, or worse. To survive, Loretta wants to learn how to turn her car into a weapon.

Enter Joe Autera, President, CEO, and Defensive Driving Instructor, Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute (VDI). According to the show:

As the prepper movement has grown, defensive driving schools like this one have seen an unprecedented number of civilians taking their courses.

Loretta received defensive driving instruction, and is subsequently shown plowing through a mock roadblock consisting of two vehicles parked end-to-end. Loved it.

The prepper, mother, and former LEO shared this with viewers:

This is why I prep. The government is not my first line of defense, I am. And as a citizen, that’s my right.

Unfortunately, Loretta doesn’t get her new bunker on time. Renee Bales, Scott’s wife and head of Accounting, informed DEB’s owner that the permits were denied because of “freeze laws,” with the trailer and bunker deemed to be too heavy. Scott is shown breaking the bad news to Loretta, which meant delivery of her steel shelter would be delayed 3 to 4 weeks until the roads thawed out. All in all, she seemed pretty cool with that.

Tsunami Pod

Another episode, another new project. Scott Bales told viewers in episode 3:

Last night, I came up with a great idea. Something to protect people from a tsunami wave. This is the ultimate product for a prepper. All of the people that live on the coasts have this fear. They’re wondering, “When is that wave going to come in and get us?” There’s nothing to protect you against a tsunami. Nothing. Except for our tsunami pod.

From the show:

Scott’s designed a floating steel orb, 10 feet in diameter, with room for 2 people. When the tsunami waves hit, the airtight ball would be lifted off a special stand, and kept upright through a concrete weight called a ballast.

The owner of DEB added:

Because you have ballast in there, it brings it to where they’re sitting right back up… This thing has to be waterproof, it has to be able to take impact, it also has to sit up straight so the passengers are sitting in an upwards position.

Scott assigned Scotty Free, Special Projects Manager, and Charlie Christie, Quality Assurance/Carpenter, to the project. It’s revealed that DEB budgeted $80,000 in parts and labor for the development of the Tsunami Pod, making it the most expensive prototype in the Dallas-based company’s history.

Before the project commenced, Scott Bales noted:

Scott Free is an older guy. Set in his ways. Precise. Charlie. Young. Moves very quickly. Adapts quickly. Charlie’s a builder, and Scott’s a fabricator. They’ll bump heads, but, with both of them together, they can figure out the tsunami pod.

Not without hiccups, Scotty and Charlie pieced together the Tsunami Pod prototype. They then pounded the pod’s steel exterior with a debris shooter, which is capable of shooting a 14-foot 2 X 4 more than 600 mph. Amazingly, the thing survived.

Next, Scotty and Charlie tested the prototype out in a parking lot. They discovered the pod’s ballast, which consists of 150 lbs. of concrete, needed adjusting.

The final test of the Tsunami Pod took place at a lake, where DEB staff could test the ballast once again and see if the prototype was watertight. Scott Bales explained:

When you do something in a ball shape, the water spreads itself out until it hits a resistance point just under the equator. You’d never want the water to go over the equator. If we added too much weight or this thing leaks, it’s going to sink to the bottom of the lake.

Upon dropping the steel structure into the body of water, it’s discovered that while it was watertight, the pod floated on its side. Apparently, Scotty and Charlie didn’t compensate for the weight of the door. Despite this oversight, the tests of the Tsunami Pod were declared successful. Scott Bales remarked:

I feel great that the Tsunami Pod is floating, and I just have to adjust some ballast. But this test is a success.

Weyland Smith

The second client viewers were introduced to was Weyland Smith, a Deep Earth Bunker salesman and prepper who resides in Homer, Louisiana. Weyland recently became a prepper while working with DEB. He explained:

One of my bunker clients had some basic ideas I’d never really had put in front of me before. Go to your local grocery store late at night- half the food aisles are empty. If something broke our supply chain, I know the store shelves would be empty in 3 days. My biggest fear is the drastic change we’ve seen in the weather. We all need to be better prepared. If I need something, it’s not going to always be at the corner store to pick up.

Being from Louisiana, Weyland has first-hand experience with what the aftermath of a disaster looks like. He called the refugees from Hurricane Katrina:

We really saw the level of unpreparedness that these people had. And to wade through the devastation afterwards. It really opened your eyes.

He added:

I’m still new at this prepping. I’m kind of learning as I go. And I’m now finally getting the one that I need.

Weyland talked about why he wanted an underground shelter. He said:

My bunker will serve primarily as a shelter in case of bad weather. The shelter that I bought is a steel, doghouse-style shelter. Double-welded, with a marine-grade coating, totally watertight. And it will be perfect protection for my family.

Deep Earth Bunker owner Scott Bales commented on the structure that Weyland chose. He said:

He’s picked out a steel shelter that’s big enough for his family, and some food and supplies. It will be great for short-term, emergency situations.

In the episode, Weyland Smith said he now realized he’d been prepping all along. Accumulating gear and supplies for different outdoor activities had given him a head start. Smith revealed that his wife already had 3 months’ worth of food canned. His goal was to have 6 months’ worth set aside. In addition, Weyland hunts and processes his own meat with his son, J.D. They’ve managed to sock away 3 to 4 months of meat already.

Weyland made this observation:

People in the rural areas will be much more likely to survive because they have the basic skills to take of themselves.

Near the end of the episode, Weyland opted to install his new shelter himself, and Scott Bales stopped on by to check out how he was doing.

Overall, I enjoyed episode 3 of Doomsday Bunkers. I have to admit- this TV series is growing on me. “Tsunami Pod/Nuclear Fallout Shelter” was interesting, informative, and funny- yet again. Loretta Sanders is a total hoot. I especially enjoyed that scene where she was cleaning her firearms. Not to mention her barreling that car into the “roadblock.” The production crew once again managed to keep the annoying “reality” TV elements to a minimum.

No time for drama WTSHTF, right?

Hopefully, more episodes of Doomsday Bunkers will air soon on the Discovery Channel.

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Thoughts So Far About Doomsday Preppers

Regular viewers of the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series might have been disappointed that only reruns were shown last night.

I was actually kind of happy to have a week off from writing-up episodes since they can be time-consuming. Not that I don’t like doing reviews of each installment, but it takes some time to put together something that I think might have value for Survival And Prosperity readers.

Seven episodes down. There more to go this season. Plus I see that they’re casting for a second season of the show. Good for Nat Geo Channel and all those associated with the production.

So far, I’m enjoying season 1 of Doomsday Preppers. The preppers featured on the weekly TV series seem not much different than the typical person I myself would run into on a Chicago street, they seem genuinely-concerned by the myriad of man-made and natural threats around them, and unlike many Americans, are actively doing something to mitigate these potential hazards.

Just what are those threats influencing the direction of their prepping?

Economic Crisis/Collapse- 8 “doomsday preppers” identified as primary concern
True Polar Wander (Polar Shift)- 3
EMP/Solar Superstorm- 2
Black Swan Event- 1
Climate Change- 1
Energy Crunch- 1
Food Shortage- 1
Major Earthquake- 1
Multi-Hazard- 1
Overpopulation- 1
Pandemic- 1
Radioactive Fallout- 1
Supervolcano- 1

Some time ago I came across a post on a survivalist board where some guy said something along the lines of he looked forward to TEOTWAWKI so that when he emerged from his bunker well-armed and well-supplied, the remaining women he encountered would not only adore him but “nay, beg me to father their children.” You’ve got to be kidding me (I think he was). Thankfully, none of the preppers featured on the Nat Geo Channel show to-date have come out and said they were looking forward to society’s collapse. Even though certain aspects of modern living might easily get under our skin, who in their right mind would really want such an event to happen? The amount of pain, death, and destruction that would likely accompany such a horrific scenario is beyond the comprehension of most Americans, and is something no sane human being would certainly wish for.

One more thing. A number of “doomsday preppers” indicated on the show that they put a lot of time into prepping. It’s one thing if you’re a beginning prepper and want to get things “up to speed.” However, if you’ve been doing it for a while and have a significant amount of gear and supplies socked away already, I’m wondering if it ain’t “Miller Time” already. At least for a bit. The last thing you probably want is your prepping turning into an obsession. Otherwise, you might just be short-changing yourself when it comes to other aspects of your life. And think about it. If TEOTWAWKI is really coming, wouldn’t you want to experience some things that would likely disappear when society grinds to a halt? I, personally, would like to do some more overseas travel before it gets much more difficult to do.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on Doomsday Preppers to-date.

What do you think about the show?

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