Reptilian Associates Survival/Disaster Preparation (former Y2K page)

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May 2008 - I'm going to make time to revise this thing REAL SOON NOW.

A lot of this stuff is dated and needs to be relinked to versions still archived on the Wayback Machine if available, some needs to be tossed. However, I think much of what's here is still useful, just remember if a link is broken, use the browser Copy Link command, go to The Archive Project (aka The WayBack Machine) and find it there.

The latest bad news? The US government food reserve cupboard is bare. They have enough wheat stored to make 1/2 loaf of bread for every American. No stored milk, cheese, butter.

Breaking News:

Lessons learned from New Orleans. Remember what you've heard about keeping 3 days of survival/disaster prep supplies from practically every emergency/disaster relief organization in existence?

This is against a background of prompt Federal disaster relief mobilization of the sort that's happened in every major US disaster within living memory.

Up to now. The evidence is obvious that FEMA's been gutted, that it's headed by an incompetent and unqualified crony of President Bush (URL later) and what's left of it is now being disastrously mismanaged for political reasons. Prediction (9/5/2005): The FEMA director is going to be the sacrifical goat on this one.

In the event of a major regional disaster, whether natural or man-made, better figure you're on your own.

I am not sure what this means yet, but I'd suggest turning that "three days" of disaster supplies into at least 2 weeks (perhaps 4) and figure out your own evacuation plan now, if your place is blown down or flooded out, your supplies may be inaccessible to you until after you dig out afterwards, assuming you can. Don't assume that there will be evacuation assistance if a major storm event is on the way. Do this now, don't wait until a disaster alert followed by everyone hitting the grocery and department stores with the same idea in mind.

Do you live in the part of the USA affected by hurricanes? The NWS has predicted (URL later) the biggest hurricane season in history. Yes, that was supposed to be last year. Wild weather is getting more and more common. I predict that this will continue for the next two or three generations. The obvious candidate as to why is global climate change. Ever seen a Category Six hurricane? I think we'll be seeing them within a generation, perhaps within a decade. Like to see one close up? My recommendation to those of you who live in hurricane country is to MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Put together a "bugout" kit, not only containing short-term supplies, but copies of your most important paper documents and computer data... a hard drive mirror is nice, but bulky and fairly fragile, my archives are on DVD-Rs as well. DVDs rarely break when dropped. You can find how-to articles on Windows and Linux backup to mirror hard drives and DVD here. Mac users probably can use the Linux procedures in the list of articles this URL will pull up, though you may have to find Mac OSX versions of dar and rsync. Note: Linux users should check the above link anyway even if disaster doesn't worry you, there's a stack of practical Linux how-to articles written for newbies at that link.


Avian Flu
Yes, I've noticed the news about the possibilty of an avian flu pandemic comparable to the 1917 world influenza pandemic which killed a significant percentage of the world population. It is correct that we have no natural immunities to this flu version. I'll do a section sometime soon, but in the meantime, here are related links: General stuff on disaster/survival prep below, some of it is relevant to this situation like stuff on sanitation and what kind of food supplies one should put away for the event that local travel is restricted and one can't get to the store for a few days or weeks. Start here.

Well, it looks like America's long term energy plan is going to be to postpone the consequences of "peak oil" long enough to get energy via a long cycle of military intervention in foriegn countries, mostly in the Third World, and that global climate change is going to be ignored. Until we run out.

The news has been bad enough for long enough that it's time to think individual preparation about widescale disaster again. That's what this page is about.

There's enough interesting disaster potential here that I probably should revise some page content... I may be restoring some of the old Y2K content for people to think about in terms of long-term planning for less-energy intensive long-term lifestyle change. Read The Long Emergency? It's a relatively optimistic description of the "if current energy utilization trends continue" scenario.

Bowever, while some of the global warming problems (weather is going to get wilder and weirder every year) are now inevitable, the worst of the economic and climate effects of current trends may be avoidable if we think outside the box with respect to replacing fossil fuel energy.

I'd rather do something about the problem than simply resolve to live with the consequences. The great majority of us won't like them.

In my opinion, THIS is what we ought to be doing instead of a society-wide lemming imitation or alternately, follow the "conventional" wisdom about lower energy lifestyle.

My real problem with the "conventional wisdom" approach is I believe that this will merely postpone disaster at a very high cost, not prevent it.

Worse, I believe that our pursuing the "conventional wisdom" will waste resources which are desperately needed to solve the real problem, replacing fossil fuel with cheap, abundant, and safe energy. Yes, I said cheap, and I have reason to believe this possible. I believe that we need start converting our energy infrastructure to use the most feasible alternatives NOW while we can do this by spending dollars, not lives.

While the survival and disaster stuff needs upgrading, I am concentrating on getting the word about alternatives to our current disastrous course of action about energy, discouraging stupid energy (there are still people trying to sell us hydrogen energy) ideas... and working on new alternative energy technologies which might make a marketplace solution to the problem available. So that (and of course, the search for R&D funding) is what I'm putting my time in on right now and into the indefinite future.

However, even the content that's here should provide you with plenty of starting points with respect to individual survival and disaster planning.

If anyone would like to work with me to develop content, catch me in e-mail. What I'm looking for is expertise in relevant areas, writing skill (professionally published preferred), and a minimum of html skill... i.e. simple html markup in a text editor.


The probability of massive Y2K trouble is safely passed. The worst problem I had was a massive hangover. This page in its original form has served its purpose. I'm retaining the page content here which appears to me to have use for the future. Content solely relating to Y2K has or will be deleted sooner or later. This page is going to have a chopped-up look for a while. [several months later] The page still needs more revision, sorry I haven't had time yet.

However, if you want to protect yourself against the latest round of terrorist threats, this should be a good starting point. If biowar or a natural epidemic gets serious, having a few weeks of food stashed in the pantry so you don't have to worry about meeting your infected fellow citizens at the grocery store might be a good idea.

[written in Feb 2003] As I write this, anti-aircraft guns are in the streets of Washington, DC , the nation's "terrorist alert" status is either orange or red, and FEMA is telling people to go forth and buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to defend against biological and chemical agents. You may find information on disaster prep that's a bit more useful here.

The original Y2K information that was on this page has been moved here. I'm keeping it up for archival / historical purposes, that page will not be updated. Anyone who still needs computer Y2K remediation information, or who is wondering what kind of advice was given to people and organizations before the rollover should go to that page. No guarantee that any of the links will be intact, of course. You might be able to find some of them via the archive site at http://web.archive.org/

The final comment about Y2K is Y2K hubbub forgotten, but lessons remain from CNN.

What's here is survival and preparation information.

Table of Contents

Personal Disaster Survival Planning
No-boil - no chemical water purification method.

Without safe water, you're in deep trouble. I saved a copy of the simple how-to linked above to my netbook. No boiling, or chemicals, just expose water in UV-transparent (PET plastic or glass, for instance) bottles to sunlight... details at the URL... it tells how long and how to tell if the water needs filtering first, and I'm sure any reader of this can improvise a filter if need be.

Being able to *easily* get safe water when the water supply isn't working could be a real life-saver or you've gotten to a place where there is no safe public water supply. Carrying an clear plastic bottle isn't exactly weight-intensive.

Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Terrorist Attack

Personal Disaster Survival Planning

This the first info I've seen that's actually of use to individuals on this. I plan to supplement this later. This is by and large, correct... the guy who reposted this to a security mailing list I'm on did this for the same reason why I'm sending this out. I'm posting this on my emergency/disaster prep page pending getting more detailed info.

The soundbite summary... if you aren't on the spot marked "X" for an NBC (nuclear - biological - chemical) attack, you are probably OK. If you are... unless it's a nuke, the chances are in your favor... but read this to maximise your chances anyway.

"Real" Deal about Nuclear, Bio, and Chem Attacks

Since the media has decided to scare everyone with predictions of chemical, biological, or nuclear warfare on our turf I decided to write a paper and keep things in their proper perspective. I am a retired military weapons, munitions, and training expert.

Lesson number one In the mid 1990's there were a series of nerve gas attacks on crowded Japanese subway stations. Given perfect conditions for an attack less than 10% of the people there were injured (the injured were better in a few hours) and only one percent of the injured died. 60 Minutes once had a fellow telling us that one drop of nerve gas could kill a thousand people, well he didn't tell you the thousand dead people per drop was theoretical. Drill Sergeants exaggerate how terrible this stuff was to keep the recruits awake in class (It is because I was a Drill Sergeant too). Forget everything you've ever seen on TV, in the movies, or read in a novel about this stuff,it was all a lie (read this sentence again out loud!)! These weapons are about terror, if you remain calm, you will probably not die. This is far less scary than the media and their "Experts," make it sound.

Chemical weapons are categorized as Nerve, Blood, Blister, and Incapacitating agents Contrary to the hype of reporters and politicians they are not weapons of mass destruction they are "Area denial," and terror weapons that don't destroy anything. When you leave the area you almost always leave the risk. That's the difference; you can leave the area and the risk; soldiers may have to stay put and sit through it and that's why they need all that spiffy gear.

These are not gasses, they are vapors and/or air borne particles. The agent must be delivered in sufficient quantity to kill/injure, and that defines when/how it's used. Every day we have a morning and evening inversion where "stuff," suspended in the air gets pushed down. This inversion is why allergies (pollen) and air pollution are worst at these times of the day. So, a chemical attack will have it's best effect an hour of so either side of sunrise/sunset. Also, being vapors and airborne particles they are heavier than air so they will seek low places like ditches, basements and underground garages. This stuff won't work when it's freezing, it doesn't last when it's hot, and wind spreads it too thin too fast. They've got to get this stuff on you, or, get you to inhale it for it to work. They also have to get the concentration of chemicals high enough to kill or wound you. Too little and it's nothing, too much and it's wasted. What I hope you've gathered by this point is that a chemical weapons attack that kills a lot of people is incredibly hard to do with military grade agents and equipment so you can imagine how hard it will be for terrorists. The more you know about this stuff the more you realize how hard it is to use.

We'll start by talking about nerve agents. You have these in your house, plain old bug killer (like Raid) is nerve agent. All nerve agents work the same way; they are cholinesterase inhibitors that mess up the signals your nervous system uses to make your body function. It can harm you if you get it on your skin but it works best if they can get you to inhale it. If you don't die in the first minute and you can leave the area you're probably gonna live. The military's antidote for all nerve agents is atropine and pralidoxime chloride. Neither one of these does anything to cure the nerve agent, they send your body into overdrive to keep you alive for five minutes, after that the agent is used up. Your best protection is fresh air and staying calm. Listed below are the symptoms for nerve agent poisoning. Sudden headache, Dimness of vision (someone you're looking at will have pinpointed pupils), Runny nose, Excessive saliva or drooling, Difficulty breathing, Tightness in chest, Nausea, Stomach cramps, Twitching of exposed skin where a liquid just got on you.

If you are in public and you start experiencing these symptoms, first ask yourself, did anything out of the ordinary just happen, a loud pop, did someone spray something on the crowd? Are other people getting sick too?

Is there an odor of new mown hay, green corn, something fruity, or camphor where it shouldn't be?

If the answer is yes, then calmly (if you panic you breathe faster and inhale more air/poison) leave the area and head up wind, or, outside. Fresh air is the best "right now antidote". If you have a blob of liquid that looks like molasses or Kayro syrup on you; blot it or scrape it off and away from yourself with anything disposable. This stuff works based on your body weight, what a crop duster uses to kill bugs won't hurt you unless you stand there and breathe it in real deep, then lick the residue off the ground for while. Remember they have to do all the work, they have to get the concentration up and keep it up for several minutes while all you have to do is quit getting it on you/quit breathing it by putting space between you and the attack.

Blood agents are cyanide or arsine which effect your blood's ability to provide oxygen to your tissue. The scenario for attack would be the same as nerve agent. Look for a pop or someone splashing/spraying something and folks around there getting woozy/falling down. The telltale smells are bitter almonds or garlic where it shouldn't be. The symptoms are blue lips, blue under the fingernails rapid breathing. The military's antidote is amyl nitride and just like nerve agent antidote it just keeps your body working for five minutes till the toxins are used up. Fresh air is the your best individual chance.

Blister agents (distilled mustard) are so nasty that nobody wants to even handle it let alone use it. It's almost impossible to handle safely and may have delayed effect of up to 12 hours. The attack scenario is also limited to the things you'd see from other chemicals. If you do get large, painful blisters for no apparent reason, don't pop them, if you must, don't let the liquid from the blister get on any other area, the stuff just keeps on spreading. It's just as likely to harm the user as the target. Soap, water, sunshine, and fresh air are this stuff's enemy.

Bottom line on chemical weapons (it's the same if they use industrial chemical spills); they are intended to make you panic, to terrorize you, to heard you like sheep to the wolves. If there is an attack, leave the area and go upwind, or to the sides of the wind stream. They have to get the stuff to you, and on you. You're more likely to be hurt by a drunk driver on any given day than be hurt by one of these attacks. Your odds get better if you leave the area. Soap, water, time, and fresh air really deal this stuff a knock-out-punch. Don't let fear of an isolated attack rule your life. The odds are really on your side.

Nuclear bombs. These are the only weapons of mass destruction on earth. The effects of a nuclear bomb are heat, blast, EMP, and radiation. If you see a bright flash of light like the sun, where the sun isn't, fall to the ground! The heat will be over a second. Then there will be two blast waves, one out going, and one on it's way back. Don't stand up to see what happened after the first wave; anything that's going to happen will have happened in two full minutes.

These will be low yield devices and will not level whole cities. If you live through the heat, blast, and initial burst of radiation, you'll probably live for a very very long time. Radiation will not create fifty foot tall women, or giant ants and grass hoppers the size of tanks. These will be at the most 1 kiloton bombs; that's the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT.

Here's the real deal, flying debris and radiation will kill a lot of exposed (not all!) people within a half mile of the blast. Under perfect conditions this is about a half mile circle of death and destruction, but, when it's done it's done. EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse and it will fry every electronic device for a good distance, it's impossible to say what and how far but probably not over a couple of miles from ground zero is a good guess. Cars, cell phones, computers, ATMs, you name it, all will be out of order.

There are lots of kinds of radiation, you only need to worry about three, the others you have lived with for years. You need to worry about "Ionizing radiation," these are little sub atomic particles that go whizzing along at the speed of light. They hit individual cells in your body, kill the nucleus and keep on going. That's how you get radiation poisoning, you have so many dead cells in your body that the decaying cells poison you. It's the same as people getting radiation treatments for cancer, only a bigger area gets radiated. The good news is you don't have to just sit there and take it, and there's lots you can do rather than panic. First; your skin will stop alpha particles, a page of a news paper or your clothing will stop beta particles, you just gotta try and avoid inhaling dust that's contaminated with atoms that are emitting these things and you'll be generally safe from them.

Gamma rays are particles that travel like rays (quantum physics makes my brain hurt) and they create the same damage as alpha and beta particles only they keep going and kill lots of cells as they go all the way through your body. It takes a lot to stop these things, lots of dense material, on the other hand it takes a lot of this to kill you.

Your defense is as always to not panic. Basic hygiene and normal preparation are your friends. All canned or frozen food is safe to eat. The radiation poisoning will not effect plants so fruits and vegetables are OK if there's no dust on em (rinse em off if there is). If you don't have running water and you need to collect rain water or use water from wherever, just let it sit for thirty minutes and skim off the water gently from the top. The dust with the bad stuff in it will settle and the remaining water can be used for the toilet which will still work if you have a bucket of water to pour in the tank.

Finally there's biological warfare. There's not much to cover here. Basic personal hygiene and sanitation will take you further than a million doctors. Wash your hands often, don't share drinks, food, sloppy kisses, etc., ... with strangers. Keep your garbage can with a tight lid on it, don't have standing water (like old buckets, ditches, or kiddie pools) laying around to allow mosquitoes breeding room. This stuff is carried by vectors, that is bugs, rodents, and contaminated material. If biological warfare is so easy as the TV makes it sound, why has Saddam Hussein spent twenty years, millions, and millions of dollars trying to get it right? If you're clean of person and home you eat well and are active you're gonna live.

Overall preparation for any terrorist attack is the same as you'd take for a big storm. If you want a gas mask, fine, go get one. I know this stuff and I'm not getting one and I told my Mom not to bother with one either (how's that for confidence). We have a week's worth of cash, several days worth of canned goods and plenty of soap and water. We don't leave stuff out to attract bugs or rodents so we don't have them.

These people can't conceive a nation this big with this much resources. These weapons are made to cause panic, terror, and to demoralize. If we don't run around like sheep they won't use this stuff after they find out it's no fun. The government is going nuts over this stuff because they have to protect every inch of America. You've only gotta protect yourself, and by doing that, you help the country.

Finally, there are millions of caveats to everything I wrote here and you can think up specific scenarios where my advice isn't the best. This letter is supposed to help the greatest number of people under the greatest number of situations. If you don't like my work, don't nit pick, just sit down and explain chemical, nuclear, and biological warfare in a document around three pages long yourself. This is how we the people of the United States can rob these people of their most desired goal, your terror.

SFC Red Thomas (Ret)
Armor Master Gunner
Mesa, AZ

Unlimited reproduction and distribution is authorized. Just give me credit for my work, and, keep in context.
--

BIOLOGICALS

This is outside my field of expertise, this is the sort of thing I do as a journalist with research. So feel free to point me at better resources. The following should cover both "natural" and man-made epidemics. Unless you are around ground zero of a biological warhead/bomb, the situation should be the same regardless of origin, but a natural epidemic can kill you just as dead as the bioweapon.

Remember that in order to catch a bacteria-based or virus disease, the particles containing the infectious agent must come in contact with your respiratory system or a bodily surface before you can get it. Barrier clothing, (surgical mask / something like a surgical gown, i.e. an outer layer of clothing that can be discarded or sterilized / gloves and an antisocial disposition are probably adequate for dealing with most epidemics whether natural or manmade. If the vector is insect, a hat with mosquito netting (something could probably be improvised from nylon stockings) to cover your face completely is in order.

If you have visitors, sterilize surfaces they might have come in contact with. HEPA filter units and UV sterilizers if you can afford them are your friends, but wear gloves and barrier garments when you change filters or do other maintenance and treat the filters as biohazardous waste), sterilize any surfaces you clean. Unless your area gets a direct hit with a biological weapon, you probably don't need to continuously clean the air coming into your house. In general, the problem with biowar agents is that one has to keep the organisms alive long enough to infect anybody. Also note that you're going to have to do your own preparation for this, the Feds won't have the supplies to fix everyone up and this is something by definition you don't want to be in a community shelter for except as a very last resort and assuming one is available to you.

Stay healthy in general and keep a supply of any medication you depend on, you'll want to go to public places (like hospitals and stores) as rarely as possible.

This kind of situation is unlikely to last more than a few weeks. We know much more about health and sanitation than we did in the days of things like the Black Plague. More to the point, a sufficiently nasty biological agent is going to kill its hosts too rapidly to optimally spread itself.

In general, the recommendation for decontaminating people externally for both chemical and biological agents is soap and water, for objects, a 10% solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water) will work for both.

From Water Systems Protected from Bioterrorism Agents-US Conference of Mayors
"Based on the recommended EPA procedures, pouring 1.5 cups of household laundry bleach into a 1 gallon container of water and adding water up to the 1 gallon mark will make a solution of sufficient strength to inactivate anthrax spores on surfaces. The solution must be applied to contaminated surfaces for 5 minutes before rinsing."

Here is a Kuro5hin discussion of the post, where some interesting points are brought out, including where to get USAMRIID's MEDICAL MANAGEMENT OF BIOLOGICAL CASUALTIES HANDBOOK. Biological coverage in the above isn't all that great, those who would like something better should download and read. No guarantees as to whether the URL will be available, the Feds have been removing from public access all sorts of things lately.

Why Duct Tape?. The recommendation for duct tape may have a lot more to do that one of the Republican National Committee's large contributors also makes 46% of the duct tape used in the USA. Business is now booming in that factory.

Note that if you're building a shelter specifically against bio/chem agents, the basement is the wrong place. Unless your home in the kind of area sheltered from the wind where chemical and biologicals stay persistent, any threat should be over in a few hours. Of course, your mileage may vary, if you try this and it doesn't work, your responsibility. If you find a better idea or you build one and can give me plans with dimensions or actually get a chance to test this under lab conditions against real agents, please let me know. I'm not that concerned at this point personally, I'm in a rural location.

This isn't a specific recommendation, but if the bad guys (whoever they are) manage to get enough into the same area to be a real threat, it occurs to me that one might be able to build a ventilator around a swamp cooler by draining it, cutting the wires to the water pump, then using an HEPA filter and filling the rest of the cooler with granulated activated charcoal of the sort sold for aquariums in fine-mesh nylon bags... i.e. a way to recycle panty hose or nylons. Put the stuff in a plastic bag so they won't absorb ordinary air pollution and rip them open when you need to, you might work up some sort of rip-cord arrangement in the bag(s) so you can rip them open by pulling the rip-cord. Note that electricity might go out in this sort of emergency, so think in terms of replacing the motor with something lower-powered and in terms of battery backup. This gives you breathing air, a lot more comfort than a gas mask, and a slight positive pressure that should make any arrangements you make towards sealing a room or your house much more effective.

Most of what's recommended for purchase are things every household should have anyway for more common disasters like earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, floods, and longer than usual non-Y2K power outages. You might want to save this page to disk and read it at your leisure, especially if you're at work right now.

If you know things I don't, please catch me in e-mail. If you have conspicuously good or bad experiences with resources I point you at, please let me know.

This section assumes that major services which are interrupted around you will be either be restored within a few days or a week or two or that your area will be receiving disaster relief from areas less affected within a few weeks at worst.

In the past, we've been able to figure on a "worst likely case" of 3 days before disaster relief efforts from outside a major disaster both get to the disaster area and actually get everywhere they need to go. We can't figure on this anymore.

I had a worrisome conversation the other day with a former administration official about homeland security. My complaint was that things remain futile and stupid, with airport security checks confiscating tweezers and engaging in other pointless but inconvenient measures, while real antiterrorism efforts remain weak. He agreed, but said that there was another problem. So much effort is being put into anti-terrorism efforts (futile or not) that the United States is now less prepared for major natural disasters than it was a few years ago. If we face a major natural disaster this year, he said, it's likely to turn out badly.

By the way, according to FEMA, anyone requiring any type of life support that uses electricity should register with your local Emergency Management office -- regardless of possible circumstances, presumably to make your power the first priority for restoration in case of a power outage. If it were my life, I'd arrange for a solar panel and/or generator and/or large battery pack, "first priority" might mean a few days in a hard-hit area. Or, your registration might be on a computer that got wiped out when the power went down.

The kind of disaster situation I think most people should prepare for is a few days of power outage, possibly taking down the water supply, and phones followed by months of occasional brownouts and blackouts. In general, I suggest you prepare for a 1-2 month camping trip in an area where power probably won't be available. If you've got an RV, you've probably got everything or just about everything I'm suggesting except food and extra water.

Some of the following is based on experience, the stuff I either had access to or wished I had access to when I got to experience a major earthquake a few years ago.

Also, whatever you get, get spare parts whenever you can. Remember that the whole point of disaster preparation is to be ready in case you can't get it at a store. A word to the wise should be sufficient. (spark plugs, fan belts, fuses, radiator hoses, a tire or two, bulbs, batteries... whatever is most likely to fail on whatever you depend on)

This is pretty much what FEMA and other groups say you should keep around your place in case whatever natural disasters are common to where you live (earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes) strike. Doing as I suggest means you'll be ready for the natural or manmade disaster which will be coming for you sooner or later, or you'll be ready to go camping. Here is more by FEMA on emergency preparation. Also here is brief advice on long-term food stockpiling.

The reason why organizations who advise people on how to prepare for disaster say 3 days is that this is how long it generally takes disaster relief from unaffected areas to come in. Since this situation cover a larger area than anything anyone has ever seen (like the whole world), more extensive preparation is in order. The emergency organizations themselves or the methods used for transporting aid may themselves be too caught up in Y2K problems to be able to respond normally to your disaster. Aid might come in weeks or months or possibly, never depending on where you are and how hard your area, region, or country got hit.

There is a case for believing that the end of civilization is possible for any number of reasons. Those who don't believe it are invited to discuss this point with the dinosaurs, if you can find any. The people who consider this worth preparing for recommend survivalist level preparations, up to and including a retreat way back in the hills stocked with years of food and supplies needed to make long-term subsistence farming possible. They might be right, though I don't agree with them. As for civilization coming to a permanent end even if we get a "dinosaur-killer" asteroid of our own, there are too many people who enjoy the comforts of civilization to lightly walk away from it and there are too many tools which will allow its repair, at least at minimum functional levels to make it reasonable to take for granted that everything is going down forever.

Here's a survivalist oriented link, but a moderately realistic one, they advocate that you also plan for the case where year 2000 happens and society survives pretty much intact. Warning, the site owner is Religious Right, so take the practical how-to information and ignore the political and religious propaganda. y2kchaos This is good advice for many of the better Y2K information and preparation sites.

What should your local governments should be doing about possible Y2K problems? Obviously, all government agencies should do whatever Y2K fixes are necessary so that they will be able to continue doing business in 2000. As for their response to Y2K based emergencies due to infrastructure breakdown, the most important thing they should be doing is arrangements to continue emergency services in the event of loss of electric power and telephone communications. This means emergency generators (emergency service dispatch, police / fire stations, critical city hall functions, and some spares in case hospitals, etc. run short) and weeks worth of stored fuel that does not require electric power to dispense from tanks. Warehousing non-perishable food and putting together emergency soup kitchens not dependent on utility power would be intelligent. Emergency shelters, especially in cold weather areas with heat make sense. If you decide to check with local elected officials to see what the state of your community Y2K preparations and they're totally clueless, refer them to this article from Money Magazine. Also, try them on this Business Week article. This is also a good starting point for dealing with business people who are new to this. A community organizing site I haven't checked with is Napa Y2K, this might give you an idea about how one community is organizing.

The real problem with these measures is that local communities are simply not up to the task of housing all of their inhabitants in emergency shelter in the event of a regional power outage. The best they can be expected to do is to provide shelter for the elderly, homeless, and others who can't prepare for disaster themselves. Sheltering everybody in emergency shelters isn't all that great an idea to begin with. A cold-weather emergency shelter is the ideal way to spread epidemics. (1/2000: I still believe this. Emergency shelters are also crowded and uncomfortable. If you prepare as I recommend, you won't need to go to one in the event of an emergency unless your house takes a direct hit from the tornado or whatever.

You can find a budget / bill of materials for an emergency command center designed to function under emergency conditions here. The main difference between this and ordinary emergency facilities design is that I made a serious effort to optimise for minimum power consumption. It's an Excel spreadsheet.

Food Storage / Preservation Links

I'll put in more links as I find them, I'll also put links to commercial long-term food storage food providers around here.

  • links to a collection of survival, food storage, related FAQs
  • links to current versions of the misc.survival Prudent Food Storage FAQ, water treatment & storage, and emergency breastfeeding FAQs
  • STORING DESIGNER AND CONVENIENCE FOODS should help you with the non-specialized stuff you can get at the grocery store.
  • Here is a much more complete list of shelf lives of just about every kind of food likely to be at your grocery store. (I think glitchproof is down, the contents may be mirrored, I'll look if I ever heve time.
  • This is the Usenet newsgroup rec.food.preserving FAQ. Mostly info on canning, dehydrating, pickling, meat / fish / vegetable curing and smoking, distilling. Looks interesting. Download this, it'll take you a while to read.
  • Check out a textbook on food storage from the Utah State University Extension. Download it. It requires you have the Acrobat Acrobat reader installed, but if you're reading this via any commonly used Web browser, you've probably got it. It's a common-sense approach to food storage, oriented towards storing what you actually eat. It's about a megabyte, so it'll take you a few minutes to download,
  • Food storage list for 4 people / 90 days.
  • Home freeze-drying MAY be practical, check here and the Walden Foods discussion of freeze drying.
  • Walden Foods discussion of emergency food planning; how much and what: click here. This includes spreadsheets designed to tell you if the food you plan to store meets RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) standards on nutrition required to maintain good health. The Walden Foods site is indeed as good as I've heard, explore it!
  • Here is Misc.Survivalism's Food Storage FAQ, also at this page in downloadable zip format. (yes, do download it!)
  • Lumen Foods offers a wide range of soy protein based meat / dairy substitutes both packaged as meals and in synthetic meats which "have the look, taste, and texture of a wide range of meats " which are economical and have long shelf lives. Their meal packages have things like Chicken A La King, Beef Stroganoff, Sweet 'n Sour Chicken at prices like $48-70 for 250 serving packages. I'd get one of their sampler packages first, after a disaster begins is a very bad time to discover that you hate the food you purchased. Also remember that you'll need water and heating facilities to prepare these meals. Making sure you like foods before ordering them in quantity is important if you're buying unfamiliar products in quantity.
  • Food Storage shows the LDS (Mormon) 1 year food storage plan, a 72 hour emergency evacuation kit (different emphasis than the one above), specifics on first aid supplies, and suggested extensions for the basics shown. Read this carefully. What appears to have been left out of the LDS 1 year kit is a grain mill to grind grain into flour and an oven (camp type reflector oven or RV, though a home gas oven probably can be made to work on propane) that is not dependent on utility availability. Also check into Mormon / LDS canneries in your local area. Here is a list current as of 7/1998. Due to Y2K demand, they were limiting availability to non-Mormons. Hopefully, they are now again happy to offer non-Mormons advice and assistance in preparing food for long-term storage (the cans, the oxygen absorbers, etc.) at incredibly low prices, one person who used them quoted 57 cents a can.
  • Given that it is getting increasingly difficult to find places which have current stock of long-term storage foods, people are turning increasingly to renting a nitrogen tank for a do-it-yourself approach to packaging in the oxygen-free manner required for long-term storage. While finding nitrogen tanks is easy and nitrogen is cheap, the problem with this is that not enough of the oxygen is displaced to keep molds and other things from growing all the time. So throw in a small oxygen absorber when you fill your storage containers with food and nitrogen. You can get them from the Glitchproof link immediately above. (more detailed information when I've got it)
  • More food storage.
  • Here's some more detailed disaster preparation information. While the site has more religious orientation than I would prefer, that goes with the traditional "survivalist" scene. Advice on a 3 day emergency evacuation kit, water storage, food storage / what to store for 2 weeks (might make a good start on Y2K season preparation), The onsite story about the White House sending a huge order to a dehydrated food vendor is suspect, the White House has direct access to military non-perishable food and probably has already laid in a few tons. These people have gone through major disasters, the site owners live in hurricane country.
  • Finally, remember to lay in a stock of multi-vitamins for everyone in the household and take them regularly. Medical care may not be readily available and therefore, you are going to want to stay healthy, even if your diet isn't as well balanced as it should be.

Firearms

If you plan to buy guns, get them NOW. If possible, buy from private parties guns which you are reasonably certain have not been stolen. If you can avoid getting your name run through government databases of armed people, i.e. potential subversives, it's a good idea. It's only within the last couple of hours (4/23/1999) that I've come to this conclusion. The one exception is if you live in a state that has a "must issue" concealed carry permit, the convenience of being able to carry a handgun probably outweighs the fact that you'll wind up in a state database.

Here's a SF Examiner story about the second batch of gun control laws in the wake of Littleton. One of the proposed bills was for banning sales of all guns without the specific approval of the Secretary of the Treasury. Also note that some of the bills have GOP support as well. I've heard about recent lawsuits against firearms manufacturers by major cities (San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley) attempting to make them financially responsible for misuse of firearms. These lawsuits are intended either to drive gun manufacturers out of business or force them to drastically increase their prices out of reach of the average citizens.

If you are to the political left of Hitler and you are still wondering if you need a gun, or concerned about "political correctness", check out Shadowgov.com as a prime example of why. Their main purpose is to set up a parallel government to that of the United States, and to take over should the US colapse. After that, they want to start by making it a capitol crime to perform or advocate the right to: abortion, gay and lesbian relationships ... Whether you like the above or not, acting on the idea of hijacking the mechanism of governmnet to impose religious tyranny should be opposed by just about everyone, by armed force if need be. In the event that the Feds shut down, either temporarily or permanently, we may not be able to depend on them or police to keep people like that in their cages.

Y2K came and went without incident, and we STILL have to be concerned about defending ourselves, this time against terrorist threats. Expect new gun control laws intended to "protect" us against terrorists. Since terrorists buy illegal guns you can't get at your local gun shop, don't expect that making it harder for you to buy guns is going to help you protect yourself. The time for you to buy a gun if you ever intend to do so is right now.

The common thread here is "do you believe that the government can protect you if you do what they want you to do?" If you believe that they can, why are you here? The bottom line here is new laws will make your purchase of firearms much more difficult.

GET GUNS WHILE YOU STILL CAN.

Besides, I've heard a lot of reports that say that there are supply problems with respect to popular makes, models, types, and calibers of various firearms. You may be lucky enough to have access to gun dealers who are in stock on what you're looking for. If you wait, that dealer might not be in stock for a few days, weeks, or months. This page isn't intended to discuss Littleton or gun control. Now for some practical advice.

The survivalist firearms FAQ.

Here is a sane book on armed self-defense written by a SWAT team instructor I know. It's a work in progress, but what's there is very, very good. I'm encouraging him to publish when complete.

For a first-time buyer, for around the house, a 12 gauge shotgun, pump or automatic, using #6 or #8 shot... is a good choice; i.e. enough to blow a big hole in the target, not enough to blow holes through multiple walls, and easy to aim. If you expect to be using it outdoors more, get #4 buckshot. Get a 20" deer slug barrel if you have the option. The shorter barrel makes for easier handling and a test report I've seen says you don't give up that much range. The good thing about a pump is that it has a certain psychological intimdation value, the ker-clack of a round being loaded into a pump action shotgun chamber will get the attention of potential targets. Also, if you're rural, it will knock over medium size game and birds, which might be helpful if the food chain really gets fubared.

Handguns can be a good thing... 9 mm is very popular these days. Warning, they take lots of practice. If you live in a state where concealed carry permits are available, seriously consider getting one. (Of course, if law and order really break down, concealed carry permits won't matter much, you might want to be visibly armed anyway..)

You may find a laser sight helpful, the prices are dropping. If you do, get extra batteries, preferably rechargable via solar recharger if this can be managed. If you already shoot, you know what you like and why. . . have fun . . . and may you never have to use it on a live target. Laser pointers probably can be mounted in scope rings. I saw one at a local 99 cent store for $7.

Rifles are best suited for distance shooting. They make the most sense in a situation where civilization is going to be down for a while and you need a tool capable of "reaching out and touching" someone or something at quite a distance. The something might be a cute little bunny rabbit who plans to eat your food crop before you do, a marauder, or a deer you thought might look good on your dinner plate. For "vermin" and cheap practice, get a .22 semiautomatic. More p owerful assault rifles (Ruger Mini-14, AR-15, AK-47, SKS are examples, the last one is fairly cheap) really are good at killing people. . . and deer. Think about a scope-sighted bolt-action hunting rifle for serious hunting. More later. . . after all, this is supposed to be a computer-oriented page.

If you get a gun, make sure you are willing to use it if necessary (a threat to your life / safety and/or those of others, or to shoot dinner) and get enough gun range time in to make sure the lead will go where you intended it to go. Be polite and friendly at a gun range, no matter how insane the political discussion. the person who can tell you how not to keep hooking your shots to the right will probably be a friendly, nice member of the Religious Right. The good news. A gun doesn't care about your religion or politics. For gun related information, check out the National Rifle Association site. Whatever you think of their politics, these people do know guns. What they can tell you may keep you alive someday. Useful information can also be found at www.recguns.com. I've seen it recommended for information on gun choice and defensive shooting.

Year 2000 Books

Remember that you should be able to get some books listed here through public libraries, etc., you don't have to buy what you see here to become informed. Of course, if you do buy via Amazon Books what you see listed here via link from this page, I get a commission. At this point, I've been too busy researching online to do any print reading on Y2K, so if there's something you've seen you think others need to know about, please catch me in e-mail. What's here is based on what appears to be competent recommendation. For reviews and ordering information, see below.

    While I do plan to link any book listings you see here individually to Amazon Books to allow you to see book reviews and related information and to allow you to order the books conveniently, you can use the search form below in the meantime:


     

    This form will, of course, find anything that's at Amazon Books, not just my recommended reading list. Note that they are adding music and video to their products. For authors, the format is last name,first name. For books, simply type in the title.

    If you're finding yourself overwhelmed with the amount of info you are collecting on whatever you work on, here's a text-in-file search utility for DOS. It supports Boolean searches and will search the files in an entire directory tree (including root) if you ask it to. LOOKFOR.COM Note: It won't work if you used doublespace on your HD... It can be made to work straight out of Win3.1 with the creation of a modified DOS prompt .PIF file, and can be made to work from Win95, though you'll have to work a little harder to handle the 8.3 character filename DOS format the program uses.

    New guestbook coming soon.

    Return to Home Page. Note that if you came directly to this page from a search engine or whatever, if you go to my home page, you'll find information on topics ranging from computers to mainstream / alternative news to . . . if you liked the way I selected information here, check it out.

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