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Archive for September, 2013

Being Cut Off From The World

 
Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 4.38.00 PMImagine a bomb going off on interstate 10 in Arizona on both sides of Tucson. Imagine the same thing happening on two alternate state highways that combined provide the only link between that city and the outside world. At the same time, the train line that connects Tucson to the north and south is blasted apart. Every possible item imaginable that does not get locally grown or produced will quickly disappear from shelves. Water, food, clothes, gas, oil, furniture, appliances and even toys or books will suddenly stop flowing in to that city. Tucson is like many cities in the western United States.
 
Growing exponentially but completely unable to sustain itself unless goods are shipped in on a consistent basis. If transit points are shut down, the city is completely shut off and people will be in immediate and grave danger. It only takes a coordinated attack that is easier and more realistic to pull off than 9/11. A handful of bombs can paralyze life for a million people who have little or no options in terms of escape. This horrible scenario is one of many that are within the realm of possibility as we continue to fight wars, insurrection, social problems and a host of other groups and ideologies that threaten our very way of life.
 
What would happen to those who do not have enough drinking water? What would happen to those who forgot to fill up their gas tank or pantry? This will happen one day, and you need to be prepared to hole yourself up in your home or turn away if you are on the road. Living conditions in the West are far different than anywhere else. Wide open spaces, harsh terrain and a lack of food and water all make supply lines crucial to life out west. Towns are dozens of miles apart, many communities rely on water being shipped in or channeled by canals. Most communities have a minimal amount of reserves that include food, gas and other basic supplies.
 
If a terrorist attack or even governmental action were to stop a town dead in its tracks, people would run out of supplies with in a couple of days. Cities throughout history have been under siege. Even if they had strong fortifications to protect its borders from attack, just the ability for the enemy to force residents to stay home and live off of their savings was enough to win wars and conquer new territory. Our way of life does not normally include storing a lot of things for a rainy day. We get what we need when we need it, and there are few exceptions to this practice.
 
However, if something unthinkable happened and a city like Tucson was cut off from the rest of the country, occupants would quickly panic and realize they will starve and go thirsty a lot sooner than many people think. Panic would increase, police will be stretched to the max and civil unrest would soon turn this city in to a war zone. Even with people arming themselves for protection, neighbor would turn against neighbor as resources begin to dwindle, and a nightmarish scenario of unrest and disorder would quickly become the norm.
 
Having enough supplies on hand as well as a bug-out-bag or safe area to hole up in the wilderness may be your only options to avoid imminent danger when this event occurs. Whether it happens in Tucson, Las Vegas or Albuquerque, cities all over the west are vulnerable to isolation and not being able to sustain themselves. People will panic, turn against one another and lives will be in danger. Medical supplies will run out, power will most certainly be cut off and people will be on their own, literally.
 
The same could happen due to a natural disaster as well. There doesn’t need to be a terrorist attack in order to make roads impassible and cut a city off completely from the outside. People will need to survive on what they have, and that may not be enough for many. Having supplies, a way to protect yourself along with a way of escape are all things that can help you to survive if you become trapped.
 
This could happen to any city at any time, and it will occur with little or no warning. This means that people will have few options when it comes to getting the things they need to survive at the last minute. Being prepared and ready for this or other contingencies is the first step toward having options that can contribute to your safety, well being and chance for survival. Remote population centers in the country are more prone to disastrous problems after a serious crisis happens. Make sure that you have the necessary supplies, gear and game plan to respond appropriately when this happens to you.
 

The Sun – Our Friend And Foe

 
Energy from the Sun gives us everything that we need in order to survive on this planet. Warmth, weather, moving air, plant growth and a host of other benefits are tied in to the consistent energy that the Sun provides. However, the Sun is also a powerful tool of destruction that could just as easily scorch the planet and destroy life in the blink of an eye as well. From time to time, the Sun spews hot gases, intense energy waves and powerful solar winds out in to the solar system, and some of these bursts can be devastating. Fortunately it is unlikely that the Sun will disperse enough energy to fry the planet until it is about to extinguish itself in a few billion years, but smaller outbursts can make for huge problems here at home at any time.
 
One of the biggest threats that the Sun poses to us is a coronal mass ejection or CME, which is a high energy burst that slams in to our protective magnetic field and atmosphere. The particles that are within this burst of energy are capable of frying every piece of electronic equipment in its path, from satellites to cell phones and pocket calculators. Anything that is turned on at the time of a CME is surely going to become zapped and rendered useless. This is not new or sensational news. In fact, scientists have been warning of such an event for a very long time, and unfortunately we are more at risk than ever before.
 
As our dependence on technology is greater than ever, and almost every aspect of our lives is governed by computers, from the car we drive to the ATM we use, we can be in serious trouble the next time a CME heads our way. The best response to such an event is to shut everything down, and it has happened before. Power companies turned off distribution and transmission points. Corporations have shut down networks and cable and satellite providers discontinued service in order to protect their equipment from being fried. There are CME events every couple of years, and we have been fortunate that by the time the reach the earth, they are either weaker than anticipated or the magnetic field has been able to protect us.
 
However, there will be a time when this energy burst will be strong, focused and targeted on this planet and many of us will not be ready. Some events can last for days, and can you imagine not being able to do anything at all until the energy storm passes lest you risk destroying anything that you own which is electronic? Consider how communication, power, transportation, medical services, food distribution and even your ability to cook or use refrigeration will be severely impacted. This is one natural event that should be on the front of everyone’s mind, and somehow we are more focused on preventing another terrorist attack instead of an energy wave from space that can do much more damage.
 
There are ways to shield equipment from these high energy bursts, but every day goods are not usually protected. This is one survival scenario that all of us should prepare for and consider, but it is not easy simply because we will not be able to smell, taste or really see it when it happens. There may be stronger northern lights in the sky, but that’s about it. However, this event, if and when it happens will paralyze modern life for days if not weeks. Fortunately, these events can be predicted, tracked and measured. There is ample time to receive warnings, prepare and endure the event, but as with other disasters, waiting until the last minute to grab supplies is not really the smartest thing to do.
 
Panic, fear and a lack of understanding will drive people to stores and banks. Shelves will be empty, fuel will be gone and banks will close because they will run out of money. If you want to avoid the chaos, danger and simple inconvenience of enduring the crazy mad-dash to get supplies, be prepared now, at all times. The good news it that a CME is not poisonous, violent or contagious, and the only thing that will be impacted is anything electric.
 
However, this means you will be living in the dark ages for a prolonged period of time, and your survival kit and gear needs to include tools that will be useful in these circumstances. Crime, violence, civil unrest and a lack of resources will all contribute to the danger that we all will face during a severe solar storm. You may need to flee your area until order is restored, and you may need to leave well before the storm arrives in order to have the ability to be mobile. Be prepared.