Published on January 27th, 2021
Each and every minute of every day, we are bombarded with messages of “learn to return”. But, many times we have to ask ourselves what is necessary? How “prepared” do we need to be? After all, 80% of Americans live in urban cities with a population of greater than 100,000 residents. Yet, in many scenarios throughout the social media circus, we read stories about society imploding to unrest, or the zombie apocalypse caused by improperly cared for vaccines. So, from the real end of the spectrum, what do we need to be prepared for? Of everything I just listed, none of that. Strategies and skills necessary to survive outside our urban sprawl without our double mocha Americana with sprinkles are really what we’re looking at here.
Greetings my friends, family members, fellow Alaskans, and my fellow Americans, wherever you are. Welcome to the Alaskan Outlaw podcast, I am the Alaskan Outlaw. Today, I would like to take you on a journey in understanding how to be prepared. My hope is to prepare you for, by educating you of natural disasters. A little personal history of mine in relation to these, Growing up as a boy in Louisiana I survived both seasonal Hurricanes and infrequent Tornados where my parents acted in an appropriate manner for the times and got us all out safely. As I grew up, our family relocated to southern Arizona where seasonal Monsoon events forced residents to adjust accordingly. Finally arriving here in south-central Alaska, my married family endured earthquake events. Over the last year, like many of you, have been advised to hunker-down with many runs on our local grocery stores. These events have taught me plenty about the things necessary for survival.
Today I’d like to talk about disaster preparedness. There are three major natural disasters that we can be prepared for, so those are:
- Tornados, wind storms.
- Hurricanes, and flooding events.
Within these three events, the first differentiation between them is the early notification or warning we might get. With earthquakes, most often than not, there is absolutely notification, and therefore we find ourselves thrust into the actual survival scenario where the survival of the next five minutes is our objective. With a tornado, or wind storm event, you may have little notice, maybe minutes or hours, so our drills need to be practiced frequently, and with great deal of efficiency. Finally, hurricanes and flood events, you may have some time to prepare, hours or days in advance. So let’s think about for a minute, the worst-case-scenario for each of these event types. So, in today’s episode, I want to talk about natural disaster survival, versus Doomsday preparedness. One of my major concerns for many Americans is moving away from local radio and television broadcasts, typically with regard to weather. Many Americans are completely blind-sided when their favorite grocery store has been emptied overnight. This may have some powerful ramifications to any early warning that could be received.
So, we’ve covered our major event types that could intersect with our daily lives at any time, and I think that it is a really safe bet that we’ll be impacted by one of these events in our lifetimes. Now, I want to be clear and say, these discussions don’t include any of the preparedness for wilderness outings, or hikes. This is purely speaking about the urban towns and cities that many Americans call home. Let’s talk seriously about the fab-five. When talking about them, we need to understand how the events will affect each scenario. Just a review from the “rule of three” which is a crucial factor to successful survival.
Airway, and breathing. Obviously, with only a guideline of three minutes to get into an oxygen source rich enough to maintain our internal organs, this is our number one priority. So, let’s talk about how this could become problematic during an extreme weather event. While oxygen is most abundant in the lower atmosphere, there are many conditions that could cause serious issues. Air can become contaminated by many different contaminants during a substantial weather event. Sand particles, gas leaks, vehicle exhaust, burning embers, and smoke-filled air are all very likely during one of these types of events. There are many different threats contained within our air that can arise during a natural event, in addition, there are naturally occurring conditions that may make the air even more dangerous. As an example, a lack of breeze may stall a toxic gaseous cloud in one position, exposing that position to concentrated levels of whatever substance is contained. Or colder weather could trap a gaseous cloud closer to the ground for a longer period in-lieu of it dissipating, thereby exposing the residents trapped within it. What many individuals overlook is vehicles abandoned, left running. Their exhaust is not only heavier than air but lethal as well. Raw sewage may produce methane, which is noxious and potentially flammable.
All of this is the reason I encourage people to have protective masks. Although medical grades are under lock and key anymore, they are still available, as well as many templates available throughout the internet to make them. Be aware of what type of dangers lurk in your community, and plan to breathe it.
Finally, over the last year, if there is one thing we should have made note of, and that is biological conditions. This is where I classify the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the multiple evolved strings that have now spread around the world, in this additional subcategory. Especially in these modern-day times of misinformed parents who reject most vaccines, additional threats may be lurking throughout our air supply. Just something to consider when becoming prepared in these modern times.
Three hours after a significant event, the next order of business is shelter, and temperature control. We need a method to ensure that our current residence, whatever it might be, will be adequate for the foreseeable future. Regardless of whether your shelter is inside or outside your home. So, learning what’s involved in a home inspection, as well as basic construction methods, and being able to quickly evaluate the residence or the situation for its level of safety. Given each of the events above, our expectation should be doing anything without light, or heat, as the possibility of an electrical outage is large. So, now that we a basic understanding of shelter from the weather. In some cases, there could be an issue where the first floor of your home becomes uninhabitable, such as a flooding event. In this case, relocating to another residence, such as a hotel, or emergency shelter, or even the second floor of your home may be required. So, ultimately the major consideration when dealing with shelter is a method of moderating temperature. This can be critical depending on the severity of the weather at the time of the event. As the reality of the three-hour rule starts to take effect, whether it’s heatstroke or hyperthermia, the threat can become very real, very quickly. Being able to moderate with shade, or heat, as appropriate, becomes absolutely critical.
So, with shelter and an ongoing fresh air source secured, it’s time to move on to our next necessity of clean water, and hydration. While some stockpile bottled water, therein lies a danger depending on where it’s stored based on the expected natural event. So, when considering how these events could affect water is actually quite visible. When locations flood, everything from automobile wastes to toxic chemicals, to raw sewage, could end up in the water supply, thereby rendering the tap water (if it actually works) unusable. Thereby storing large quantities of water is ideal, after all, you need a gallon per person (and pet) per day, which means a house of four persons for three days is twelve gallons of water. Having a water purification system as a backup is a great idea, boiling and purifying water might do wonders for your stockpile. The other concern is consumption. Depending on the heat, or cold, additional water may be needed for use. Consider these additional requirements if you are residing in an extremely hot, or cold place. While FEMA tells us to plan for three-five days, I would suggest doubling that. In addition, think about if your family had to relocate for some reason, are the supplies handy to grab and go? The emergency shelter might not be established yet, and so you will need to be sure you can survive until then. While the general rule says three days, depending on the weather and temperature, this might expedite the need.
From the base rule of three, we have arrived at the final need of survival, and that is food and nutrition. According to that rule, we have three weeks to find food, although pets might get a little cranky after a couple of days. Be prepared. Think about having enough goods to feed your family group for about six days (give or take), as well as any pets. Also, be sure to not completely switch everyone’s diet during this very highly stressed event, some comfort foods will go along way in settling children, and pets. In addition, think about calories more than actual meals, maybe the kids could live on two cans of “spaghetti and meatballs” per day until you can start getting some normalcy back. Particularly for the twelve hours following the disaster, be completely independent, by being prepared. Another note is to consider any special situations here, a ton of freeze-dried pears are useless if no one likes pears. You will also want to go easy on spicy or salty foods for the first couple of days. While calories are important, should you find yourself needing to exert your body to survive, you will need to ensure that a large part of the ingested calories is protein-based. In addition, having a small dose of glucose as part of your survival meals will ensure you have the “burst” energy necessary to accomplish the task.
Moving on to my addition to the original “rule of three”, we can look at protective gear. While protective gear is not part of the rule of three, I feel that it is equally important to the items contained within that list. Protective gear can prevent a level of discomfort during and following an event, allowing you to focus on the more important task of securing those items necessary for survival. But, it also does much more. Having a level of protection between your body and the elements helps to maintain a healthy position that can serve many advantages. However, maintaining a healthy body, and reducing a possible infection from slight injuries, especially given the potential reduction of medical services following a large-scale event.
Survival really comes down to keeping one’s wits about you as you purposely step forward in getting out of dangerous positions into that position of safety. Survival is 90% mental prepared, 10% physical supply prepared. Survival comes down to being prepared and keeping in mind that your health in good shape throughout the event. You would be incapable of providing assistance to your family and your community should you fall ill due to a simplistic infection, especially if it could be avoided.
As always my friends, I am honored and humbled that you have chosen to spend this time with us here at the Alaska Outlaw. I look forward to talking with you next week, and please don’t hesitate to drop me an email with any questions you might have. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I encourage each of you to research the information I have provided so that you can make informed decisions about the things that you feel the need to be prepared for. Remember to stay true to what you stand for, keep your head on a swivel… Peace.