What’s Ahead In 2015

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, brought to you by the SURVIVE IN PLACE Urban Survival Course.  The first, and still best, guide to get you prepared to survive short and medium term disasters in your current home, whether it’s because of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or pandemic.  To learn more, go >HERE< now.

It’s a new year, and for that we can be thankful, but that doesn’t mean that last year’s backlash won’t be a concern in 2015. Today’s article touches upon why we should be concentrating on preparedness (double-timing efforts, actually) and offers a “cheat sheet” on what you need to be prep-ready.

Today is Diva’s last weekly article.  She has been writing for Survive The Coming Collapse every week for the last 2 1/2 years and it’s been a great ride!  We look forward to her doing articles from time to time moving forward.

Is Ebola Really Under Control In The United States?

One of the things that we shouldn’t loose sight of is Ebola. It’s true we haven’t heard a thing about new Ebola cases in the U.S. since Ron Klain was named Ebola Czar, but does that mean we’re out of the woods?

Fox News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson dropped a bombshell on a December 21st newscast when she reported the CDC confirmed that they are currently monitoring 1,400 possible cases of Ebola in the United States. When she asked where this information was on the CDC’s website, she was told, ” We aren’t putting it on the web.”

The term “possible” was not defined by Attkisson, and I recommend that you watch the Fox broadcast on YouTube to reach your own conclusion. The lesson we can take from this information is the need to continue putting aside personal protection equipment (PPE) based on the CDC’s updated protocol as follows:

  • Nitrile Gloves (get plenty, as they must be doubled up)
  • Disposable Tyvek Zip-Up Coveralls
  • *Disposable Full-Face Shield
  • *Particulate Respirator–N-100’s filter out smaller particulates than will N-95 respirators.
  • Disposable Surgical/Bio-Safety Hood
  • **Alcohol-Based Hand rub
  • Bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide & Disinfectant Wipes–used to disinfect Personal.
  • Rubber Boots

* A Full Face Respirator is a step up from N-100 particulate respirators and full face shields, but the price starts at around $140.00. Filters must be changed between each visit to an isolation room at the approximate cost of approximately $15.00.

** Water will be in short supply in grid-down. Consider storing alcohol based hand-rub, rather than depending upon soap and water.

Wars and Rumors Of War

Since the shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, tensions are high on the streets of America. No matter where you stand on the recent shootings, the backlash has landed squarely on our nations police force. What was once a risky job proved much riskier, when on December 20th, the execution style murder of two NYPD officers occurred at the hands of an Islamic gunman identified as Ismaaiyal Brinsley.

(Ox’s note:  The framing of law enforcement as a different class of people sets up the “us vs. them” mentality that is fueling many of the current protests.  Police are citizens who happen to have a high-risk/low (tangible) reward job to do.  To be clear, this “different class” problem has roots on both the LE side and the non-LE side.  Regardless, when knuckleheads take out frustrations on LE, it pushes LE into a corner, isolates them, and puts them in a position where they have to view their fellow citizens differently.  If/when ONE LE over-reacts, or even uses appropriate force with fatal consequences, citizens become more afraid, posture more, view LE as a different class of people, and the disfunctional cycle continues.)

Looking at the situation square in the face, it appears the media is more comfortable dropping the ball on Ebola than they are ceasing to stir the pot of continued tension that began with the Ferguson shooting.

Abroad, the United States is spread thin between the Middle East, sending our troops to West Africa to fight Ebola, and Russia’s threats to bury us economically. For the immediate future, it appears that plummeting oil prices have otherwise occupied Russian officials while they try to head off a run on the banks. However, if oil prices continue to plummet, the U.S. economy could easily join them.

The recent cyber attack against Sony not only cost the corporation over $200 million in damages, it highlights the fact that our nations technology-driven infrastructure is highly vulnerable.  As preppers we should be prepared for cyber attacks on a much that take down the grid–meaning our food supply,  medical services, emergency services,  the stock market, financial institutions, municipal water, and natural gas and fuel supplies (in other words, all forms of transportation).

The Nations Food Supply

According to a November 6th L.A. Times report, written by Veronica Rocha, the recent rainstorm made only a slight dent on the ongoing California drought.

The following is an excerpt:

The drought eased across the board throughout California, but it was not a dramatic change, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor map.

The map shows the percentage of the state in a severe drought — the third harshest on a five-level scale — improved from 95.04% to 94.42 percent.

The percentage of California under exceptional drought conditions — considered the most extreme –improved from 58.41% to 55.08%.

Bottom line: the nation depends upon California growers to supply affordable vegetables, fruits and nuts, and the pain of this drought is felt at the checkout stand.

California produces 99 percent of artichokes grown in the United States, 90 percent of tomatoes, 44 percent of asparagus, 20 percent of cabbage, 75 percent of carrots, half of bell peppers, nearly 90 percent of cauliflower, 95 percent of broccoli, 95 percent of celery, 90 percent of avocados, 74 percent of lettuce, and 83 percent of spinach.

The nation is just as dependent upon California growers to provide 86 percent of all lemons, 33 percent of oranges, 84 percent of peaches, 92 percent of all strawberries, 91 percent of grapes, and 97 percent of plums.

California growers provide 99 percent of all almonds produced in the U.S., 99 percent of walnuts, and 98 percent of pistachios.

To say that we depend upon California for our food supply is an understatement, and with projections of continued drought in California, now is a good time to stock up on canned fruits and vegetables, or fresh if you home can or dehydrate your storage food.

What We Can Do To Prepare

We may not have the power to control what 2015 delivers, but there’s plenty we can do about preparedness. And it starts with the basics.

If you have put of preparing because of finances, I have good news. Prepping doesn’t have to involve charging your credit cards into oblivion. The expensive bells and whistles like a generator, or a chain saw, or a 4-wheeler would be admittedly nice to have, but the fact is, they represent only temporary fixes in the event of a protracted crisis. Why? Fuel has a relatively short shelf life and it’s not renewable. The best direction to take if you have limited cash reserves is to cover the basics before giving in to temporary luxuries.

See if you have what it takes to survive a crisis.

  • Water should be your #1 priority. This entails finding a dependable source, having water containers to haul the water in, and if the water source is a sufficient distance from your home, investing in a pull cart is a smart move–a 7 gallon jug of water weighs a little over 58 lbs. and you’ll probably be hauling way more water than you think you will. Any open body of water should be considered contaminated after a crisis strikes. You must have a way to purify that water, whether that be by boiling it or running it through a quality water purifier like a Berkey, Katadyn or a Sawyer.  The best authority text on this is: urbandisasterwaterpurification.com/
  • Food comes next. Whether you store MRE’s, bulk food, canned goods, or a combination thereof. What type of food you choose should be decided, in part, by your living conditions. If you live in the city, food odors should be avoided. . . they’d be a calling card for looters and opportunists. Consider canned food and MRE’s. Those who live in the country or suburbs may not have the same safety concerns.Indecision often leads to procrastination, and don’t let that be you! Start small, putting aside extra food aside one week at a time as money allows.  You will need a way to heat or cook the food. A camp stove will get you by, but you should also plan ahead for a time when the fuel runs out. Personally, I’d recommend a wood-burning rocket stove for back up, unless you live in a rural location where an open fire pit would be possible, and even then, expect to have nearby neighbors drop in. Hungry people will be driven by the smell of a pot of beans simmering over the fire.

    It’s possible even a one-year food supply will not be sufficient in a prolonged crisis. The solution is having heirloom seeds put aside. The seeds from the fruits and vegetables grown from heirloom seed can be dried and saved for the next growing season.  Preserving the overflow from a garden, or hunting, will need to be preserved. Unless you are set up for home canning or have a root cellar, consider learning how to dehydrate food. Look online for DIY food dehydration, which can be set up for inexpensively, and buy a book on how to dehydrate food properly to avoid food molding and having to be tossed out.

  • Medical Supplies are a must-have. Start with the basics and work up from there. To get a feel for what you may want to put aside, read a previous July, 2012 article, Get Started With Life-Saving Medical Supplies For $50.00.
  • Hygiene products should also be planned ahead for. It isn’t realistic to expect to take daily showers should the grid crash, but sponge baths and the ability to wash your hair is a reasonable expectation. Put aside the basics like shampoo, body soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, and razors.Don’t forget toilet paper–there is no such thing as too much toilet paper! And to go with that toilet paper, either have a portable camp toilet and a shovel to bury wastes, or put aside the materials to build an outhouse. Forget rules and covenants once a widespread crisis hits, but do expect to have plenty of neighbors over.You will need to have a large tub, laundry soap, an agitator to wash laundry and dish soap to wash dishes–bot of which can be washed in the tub. Add clothes line and clothes pens to your must-have list and you’re good to go! All of these items, with the exception of the tub, can be purchased cheaply at a Dollar Store.
  • Heat, if you live in a northern climate, can’t be ignored. A wood heat stove, or a fireplace insert or a wood cook stove will offer needed heat, even if your home is large. Just cordon off the surrounding area close to the heat source you’ve chosen with floor to ceiling blankets.
  • Lighting isn’t critical for survival, but it’s something few of us would choose to be without. Consider flash lights, headlamps, oil lamps, or long-burning candles, but realize that they will be temporary should a crisis last long-term. Solar lights are a more permanent solution, but they will not throw the light sufficiently enough for tasks like sewing and mending, or to read by. Be sure to have black-out fabric to block light from spilling through windows! Otherwise, you’ll be an instant target.
  • Transportation can cost thousands if you let it, but after that expenditure, there will always be fuel to worry about. Short of owning a horse, which would be everyone’s dream soon after fuel supplies dry up, but few of us have the land or the pocket book to support one. A bicycle, along with plenty of extra parts and tires and patch kits and a dependable manual air pump will get you by. A bike carries the benefit of zero dependence on fuel and they are relatively cheap to begin with.
  • Communications can be as simple as 2-way radios, or it can be an investment in the hundreds to thousands of dollars if you decide on a top-of the line Ham Radio set-up.  The lest you will need is an emergency radio to keep informed during an emergency.

If you found holes in your preparedness plan, now is a good time to check out David’s Survive in Place Urban Survival Course. If things continue to go the direction they have been, preparing for the difficult times ahead will be the best investment you’ve ever made!

David’s survival course will walk you through the tactical side of preparedness as well, which is not always covered in depth in many preparedness books.

Do you feel comfortable with your level of preparedness, or do you still have must-haves left on your prep list? Please sound off with your comments below!

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva

Comments

  1. I would use out dated IV solution, after checking for clarity. I strongly recommend checking clarity on any in date solution. Knowing that the fluids are out of date I would only use them if I had no other option other than death of the patient.

    No manufacturer or medical professional will use or suggest the use of out dated medical anything due to legal considerations, don’t ask it of them.

    If a five gallon bucket, as thick as it is, will allow oxygen to pass through it over time, how quickly do you think something might find a way through the thin bags that IV solutions are stored in. Heat, light, age, and oxygen deteriorate plastic. If micro cracks develop then pathogens can pass through.

    Diva,

    Thank you! I have thoroughly enjoyed your tenure here.

  2. As always, great article. My only negative comment is about the police and the “us vs. them” mentality. I recognize the great personal sacrifice police officers make to serve the public but they’re not helping themselves by becoming more militarized by the day. We the people are beginning to feel “they” think “we” are guilty until proven otherwise. Shoot first and ask questions later is becoming too common.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Keene,
      Militarization of our police is a huge concern. Yet, in the community where I live here in North Idaho, I haven’t experienced the mentality of us vs. them. That could be because violent crime in the vicinity is not prevalent. Everyone, and I mean everyone–even the grandma down the street-is armed in this and most outlying communities. The fool that tries a home invasion will probably not make it out to the other side. And neighbors have each other’s backs. The tension that exists seems to be most prominent in large cities where violent crimes puts everyone at risk on a regular basis. I have met up with corruption in Alaska of all places, never here. I wonder what police feel about the militarization of their departments on a personal level. . . in fact, that would be a great article! Many of the police I know personally began their career in law enforcement because they actually cared about others. Could that have changed? Most likely weeding the good from the bad would need to be done on an as-case basis. In my area, we have one particular family that has everyone on edge. Their fights are legend, and the F word seems to be used as a verb, adjective, noun and pronoun. The police are there for checks on a regular basis and I have spoken with them on several occasions about it. They want them out of here as bad as the rest of us do, but even so, there hasn’t been an abuse of power. I sincerely pray that should police across the nation have to make a decision between the communities they protect and the “Powers That Be” that they would stand for fairness. Then again, I am a Pollyanna when it comes to people in general : )

      • Well said Barbara, I’m glad I finally left Alaska. Mike R.

        • Survival Diva says:

          Mike R
          Would love to compare notes. I was born and raised in Alaska, but it has changed to the point I no longer recognize it. The Matsu Valley has become a bedroom community for Anchorage. I go often to visit my daughter. The change there in only 10 years is disheartening. Telketna, thank goodness, is holding on and has kept the heart of Alaksa.

          • Compare notes , hmmm , went up there on a ferry in 2007 with a friend. She didnt stay very long. Went back to Idaho, I stayed. I have learned a lot.

  3. Survival Diva,
    Thank you for your weekly contributions to this website’s forum the last 2 1/2 years. The information in your articles is greatly appreciated, and it has stimulated good discussion in the comments. Farewell until you return with a guest article.
    Wishing you a new year full of health, happiness and prosperity.
    P.S. You can still offer your wisdom in the comments.

    • Survival Diva says:

      JCM,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, and I’m sure I will be here as a reader often, and will make a comment or two. I’m told by family that I can sometimes make too many comments…Ha Ha! I wish you a blessed New Year.

    • JCM;

      I’d like to chime in with you on expressing my appreciation to Diva for her many words of good, sound advice. I know that she has changed my outlook and prepping plans for the better on many levels. I don’t think it an exaggeration to say that her knowledge and willingness to share it WILL save lives as we move forward. What better accolade could you have than that! Godspeed!

  4. left coast chuck says:

    Back to the saline shelf life question. Answers.com flatly states 60 months and then goes on to state that is about five years. I always thought 60 months was exactly five years. They don’t give any reason for the flat 60 months. I think the reason for the hedging on various sites is the question of how it has been stored and without control over its storage method, it gets contaminated quickly and thus become unsterile. McFee’s answer demonstrates part of the problem. It is that if there is air in the container, it can contain pathogens and one does not want to be injecting pathogens into the body. If a victim needs saline solution for dehydration or for blood loss he really does not need an injection of blooming pathogens. It is easy enough to prepare sterile saline solution for immediate use, so I can see that laying in a couple of gallons of saline solution might not be necessary. It is my personally held opinion and remember, I am not an MD, never played one on TV or in the movies and don’t even call myself “doctor.” However if one prepares saline solution as if one were canning peaches or tomatoes, there is a good likelihood that the integrity of the saline solution would be maintained. In the current world, plastic bags are much cheaper than glass Mason jars and can be handled more roughly than glass jars. Their expected shelf life is relatively short and so plastic is the storage medium. I suspect that if there were a demand for sealed glass jars for long term storage the shelf-life would be much extended. No more on this topic from me.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Left Coast Chuck,
      I’ve enjoyed this thread. It is important. I think you have something here with “home canning” saline under sterile conditions.

  5. Joseph-Lee Morehouse says:

    Informative article like always , give me more questions than answers , which is a good thing.
    We have several medical train persons in our group and they have been training us on basic medical knowledge and we practice what we learned than a pot luck luncheon.
    A issue that our group is having maybe you could touch on it in the future again We have individuals and small group of people that know of our group and want to join but when we feel them out nearly always they are looking for a safety net in case things go bad but they bring little too nothing in skills to the group , most are not willing to learn new skills saying they don’t have time.We have a hard time finding persons that are willing to be part of a self sustaining group that can rely on each other. I’m at a lost at times with these people.
    Any way Good article look forward to more sound advise-Like the potato battery.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Joseph,
      The MOST important thing is to let discernment lead you. It will tell you whom you can trust and whom you can’t. Anyone who says “I don’t have time to learn” is a poor candidate for a group. They are a member of the sheeple brigade and will be a drain on your resources without giving back. Another trait to avoid are those who have self-interest at the core of their reason to join a group. Prepping is selfless by necessity on many levels. We give up all those bells and whistles, vacations and more to prepare for those we love. Anyone who leads with “ME” isn’t worth your time. Always remember, anyone who you share your preps with WILL be banging on your door. In a perfect world, your group would have an alternative location to go to, somewhere unknown to those in your neighborhood. You have mentioned the drugs and violence in your area, which is concerning to me. To have the capability of bugging out to a place unknown would keep you and your group much safer. I’ll be sending prayers that may be possible. In the meantime, always use discernment. It will serve you and your group well : )

      • Joseph-Lee Morehouse says:

        Thank you.
        It would be great to have a bug out location to leave too,but financially not possible , our fall back plans are fortification , holding our ground and building allies with like minded people if possible.
        The holidays have been harder this year we had 6 murders in the last month and 2 home invasions with in 6 block radius of where I live , police are also targeted this year as well 3 police cars have been shoot at and one of our officers home has been shot at , as it stands no officers have been harm.
        I’m looking to a better year for my group.
        God Bless.

  6. Could you folks arrange it so we could print or download your email Letters if we so choose to- Or portions there of? There have been several times I’ve wanted to print out a newsletter to show to someone without a computer. But couldn’t. I am sure I’m not the only person who has wanted this option too. I’d appreciate it. Thank you for all of your hard work you have given to your followers.

    • left coast chuck says:

      You should be able to copy and paste the newsletters into the text edit function of your computer. You should also be able to edit them to a certain extent although hard formatting is difficult to overcome.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Carlyn,
      Your question was brought up before. The best solution is to make a copy–left click and drag to highlight the article then right click and select copy. On a new doc, right click copy and the article will be available to print. If you prefer, instead of dragging the curser to highlight the article to paste it on a new doc, you can hit the control and A key at the same time, which will highlight the article, which can then be copied onto the doc.

  7. SECURITY – in one or multiple forms to preserve what you need.
    And don’t keep all your eggs in 1 basket.

  8. left coast chuck says:

    Why would saline solution have a short shelf life as described in your meds list? Salt has an indefinite shelf life. Many of the salt mines where we get all our domestic salt from are tens of thousands of years old and other than cleaning the salt of extraneous material, nothing is done with it but to dig it out of the mine. Distilled water, if stored in a sterile glass bottle has an indefinite shelf life. Adding salt to distilled water should not shorten its shelf life. Logic tells me that saline solution would have a longer shelf life than almost anything except the gauze in bandages. If one has questions about the sterility of salt, it would seem to me bringing the saline solution to 175º F would and then bottling the boiled solution in a sterile bottle would eliminate any worries about it’s becoming contaminated, especially for wound irrigation. Am I wrong in my thought process? Am I missing something?

    • Survival Diva says:

      left coast Chuck,

      I noted that saline drip had a short shelf life because medical research done for the article advised it. However, I understand that the shelf life of pharmaceuticals is often years past the expiration date. I ran across several warnings when I researched this for the article; concerns pointed to contamination of saline. This is a gray area that should be left up to the individual.

      • left coast chuck says:

        Diva: Thanks for your reply. Yes, most shelf lives are shorter than real life. There are so many variables for storage that mfrs. must put the earliest date on the product rather than the farthest date. Same with pharmaceuticals. They aren’t necessarily useless, they just may not be as effective as when newer. Then too, with a short shelf life, the mfr stands to gain. After all, if the product was good for 1,000 years, you wouldn’t need to buy a new one, would you? A 2-year shelf life insures frequent turnover.

    • left coast and Diva;

      I asked our son, a firefighter and paramedic, the same question about shelf life of bags of saline. Basically, there is some (perhaps unfounded?) concern over integrity of the bags — NOT of the saline solution itself. Heat, light and oxygen contribute to degrade plastic over time, like happens with a lot of other things (pharmaceuticals, food, etc). If you have some i.v. bags of saline, be sure to store them in a DARK, cool environment — best if stored in sealed Mylar bags after tossing in a few oxygen scavenger bags. Don’t worry about the saline itself. It should last as long as the oceans have lasted!

      If you are in a grid down situation and really needed i.v. saline for massive blood loss, I certainly would give it a try. What’s the alternative? Letting the person bleed out?

      • Survival Diva says:

        Bob R,
        Good advice and thank you for checking into this. I was on one site where a nurse was asking about the shelf life of saline–many bags had been donated and she planned to bring them with her on a humanitarian mission. They were past their expiration date. The site was specifically for the medical community, yet no one really had a concrete answer to her question of whether she could safely use them or not. It can get confusing.

        • Reltney McFee says:

          Ref IV saline solution, there are a couple of layers of concern. The physical integrity of the bags is one concern. The sterility of the contents is another. While the manufacturers attempt to make the solution absolutely sterile, the fact is, that after a span of time has passed, you will be able to culture out micro-organisms from even the most pristinely stored IV solution. Pathogens have even been cultured from the oxygen humidifiers (“bubblers”) after several days. Nothing there, to start with, but the oxygen bubbling through, sterile water, and light.

          • Survival Diva says:

            Reltney,
            Thank you for the information. This issue really has been confusing, even after extensive research, and your input helps : )

    • left coast, Diva and Reltney;

      I’ve been thinking about this situation since the blog was posted. With respect to making your own “sterile” saline, you have overlooked the issue of the growth of microorganisms in whatever “sterile” bottle you use to store what you made, as well as maintaining any semblance of sterility once the bottle is opened. From a reality point of view, my guess is that whatever you make in your kitchen is no where near as sterile as what is made commercially and stored in the plastic hang bags. As long as the bags are not opened, are stored properly and are not in any way physically compromised, I would far prefer to take my chances with the “outdated” commercial bags than with any home brew. At worst, if you are concerned over possible trace growth of microorganisms in the commercial bag, then place the bag in the sun for a few hours before using the contents with the ASSUMPTION that the UV rays of the sun can penetrate the bag sufficiently to kill the microorganisms. Also, keep in mind that not all microorganisms are pathogenic to humans.

      FWIW.

  9. left coast chuck says:

    While solar lights seem to provide a long term solution to lighting, the solar light will only last as long as the battery can take a charge. After the internal battery of the solar light is no longer able to take a charge, the solar light will not function and there will be no replacements. Whether the battery will last one year with constant use or 5 years is impossible to tell without actual experience. If a battery is not used, but the light is stored until the first light no longer functions, will the stored battery still work? Again, I think we can only speculate on the answer. The real answer is renewable resources such as beeswax candles, tallow candles, vegetable oil lamps, all of which can be produced at home if one has the knowledge. Rather than espousing short term solutions, this web site would serve its readership better if it gave information on long term solutions such as how to produce oil from corn, olives, soy, how to make tallow and tallow candles, how to fashion beeswax into beeswax candles. Solar lights are great and with no other ambient light, we will find that they are adequate night time illumination. In most cases they certainly emit as much light as a single candle. Our forefathers got by with lots less light than we think is minimal. They would have thought a 20 watt incandescent lamp a true marvel and the light such a lamp emitted a source of brilliant illumination.

    • Too true. Anyone considering relying on batteries should consider the Edison (nickle-iron) Battery.
      They can consider home made Potato (copper-zinc) Battery (pennies before 1982 are 95% copper. After 1982 they are 97.5% zinc.).
      It is possible to use capacitors as a storage device – charge with solar and discharge thru a low power LED. Not sure – but might be what the shake and crank lights used.

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