Notes for Friday – October 24, 2014

Silent Key: I just learned that Ken Holladay (K6HCP) passed away last Tuesday, following a long battle with cancer. Ken was the “K” founder of the rightfully famous KLM radio, amplifier, and antenna company. He later continued on as a designer and was associated with M2, Mirage, RF Concepts, and of course JK RF Designs. Many of Ken’s linear amplifier designs are legendary in the Ham radio world, and some are still produced by M2. My condolences to his widow, Jacqui, as well as to his other family members and to his many close friends, like Leland “Mel” Farrer , K6KBE (the “L” founder of KLM), and Michael Staal, W6MYC (the “M” founder of KLM). I should also mention that the Ham world also lost Everett Gracey (WA6CBA)–another co-founder of Mirage–who passed away on August 26, 2012 at age 90. It is sad to see the Ham generation who got their start in the 1950s and early 1960s now passing away. Many of these gents were fantastic innovators and instrumental in bringing radio into the digital age. – JWR

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Identifying and Protecting Yourself and Your Family Against Hazardous Chemical Materials Incidents, by a Marine in Missouri – Part 2

There are many different levels of protection out there. Military gear is specifically designed for CWAs. There are three general levels of protective equipment– level A, level B, and level C. Military gear is somewhere in between level B and C because it is designed for specific chemicals.

Level A gear is fully encapsulated, typically a chemical-resistant plastic suit with a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) or provided air through a pressurized air system and a hose. This provides both splash and total vapor protection. However, the downfalls to this nearly complete protection are:

  1. It is cumbersome to wear,
  2. Depending on the chemical, you will have a certain time the suit is effective. Chemicals will eventually burn through Level A,
  3. SCBA only lasts 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the person, so you have limited down range time,
  4. If you have a hose system providing air, your movement and effective distance is curtailed,
  5. The gear is EXPENSIVE and the suit itself is only for one-time use, although the SCBA can be re-used.

Level B gear has either a splash resistant suit or something similar to what firefighters use that provides flame protection, and an SCBA or hose system. (Firefighter’s specific gear is typically referred to as “bunker gear” and is designed for fires.) The same limitations affect level B as level A gear, with the addition of much more limited splash protection. Also note, both Level A and Level B gear have self-contained air sources, not field protective masks, so you CAN be sure that the air is good to breathe (assuming your gear is working correctly).

Level C gear has much less protection, but it is much easier to work in. You still would probably have some limited splash protection (a plastic suit), but now you would be using an Air Purifying Respirator (APR), which is what most people think of as a “gas mask”. APRs filter air; they do not provide it. So, if the chemical depletes or displaces oxygen, you cannot use an APR. In addition to this, any one type of filter is not necessarily good for every type of contamination. A mask you purchase online with a filter, often times an Israeli one or perhaps somehow you get your hands on an M-17, M-40, or M-50 or a civilian equivalent, can only filter certain chemicals out. In fact, some chemicals will go right through these filters, while others can degrade them over time, and still others can even react with the filters in a bad way! What all of this means is that there is no reasonable way for you to protect yourself against all of these types of chemicals with one suit type and with one particular mask and filter.

One note I would like to discuss, for those who desire to purchase a mask with a filter (other than the fact that none of them will protect against everything), is this: When I have looked through some sites where you can buy old military masks, I have not found anything stating with any sort of credibility WHAT type of chemical any particular filter is good for or when the filter was made. There are military publications that say what American filters are good for and how long they are effective, but I have not found anything unequivocally saying what other military’s filters are good for and how long they are storage safe. The only exception to this is when I go to an industrial manufacturer site; an example of this is 3M, though I have never bought a mask of theirs and am not getting any money from them, so I’m not making a recommendation. With these industrial filter and mask combinations, the manufacturer has details on what exactly they will filter out. If I were to purchase a mask for a specific reason, I would trust a new manufactured mask with provided specifications and capabilities more than a used military mask and a 30-year old filter. Remember, we test our masks in the military regularly and discard millions of dollars worth of expired equipment every year to ensure our stuff works right. Who knows if that is happening at places you can purchase masks from!

One more issue I would like to briefly discuss, before I go into my recommendations for what you can reasonably do to protect yourself, is detectors. I am NOT going into specifics on these because I cannot make a recommendation unless I know what chemicals one would be looking for. I have gone over two great tools used by HazMat personnel– the ERG and the NIOSH. There are many more references out there; considering there are hundreds of thousands of chemicals available, the two small references I recommended only contain the most likely chemicals one would encounter. For a truly effective response, HazMat personnel rely on vehicle identification and placard identification only as the first step in figuring out how to mitigate a response. Once an incident has been identified and people have been evacuated out of the initial evacuation area, the work really begins. HazMat teams would take a set of detectors down range to check for the many variables which could present themselves in a hazardous environment. Again, there is no one magic detector you can purchase to actually provide confirmation of the type of material one is dealing with. Consider this; you have a labeled vehicle and from looking at it you think you know what the threat is, but does everyone actually follow the laws perfectly? Absolutely not! There could be dozens of other chemicals in that vehicle. In fact, in certain cases only the most dangerous chemical is labeled, and that practice can be legal! This is why publications such as the ERG are good for getting a general idea of what could be out there, but it is NOT good as a definitive determination of any given incident. HazMat teams need to have detectors capable of reading the oxygen level, explosive levels, corrosives, radiation, and something to actually determine what chemical was released. (You would use observation to determine likely chemicals, then bring detectors capable of verifying the presence of those chemicals.) There can be false positives; there can be mistakes in taking readings; and certain equipment has threshold values for determining chemicals that may be above dangerous levels. In certain situations, detectors need to be what is called “intrinsically safe”; in other words, they do not produce a flame or spark, which would be bad in an explosive environment. (Not all detectors are intrinsically safe; in fact, some use fire to detect things.) In other words, it is not practical for you to try and stock up on a detector to protect yourself from every possible chemical going through your area. You have to have a background in HazMat and know the specifics of an incident to determine which devices are appropriate for the mission, and that is not possible to instruct in a short blog article.

Actions

So it might seem like I am presenting a no-win situation. There are thousands of tons of chemicals being transported over our roads every day, so what can you honestly do? First, I would recommend that you use the basic guidance I gave you at the beginning– download the ERG and become aware of what is going through your area. I would not recommend trying to purchase a mask to defend against a chemical spill (just IMHO), unless you do a LOT of research on what is in your area. There are just too many variables, and a false sense of security is just as bad as no security. Granted, if you want to specifically be prepared for CWAs, a mask may be helpful, although, I’d suggest CWA protection is not as straight-forward a task as it sounds. I could easily write another article on that. Also, if you know of one specific chemical threat in your area, for example maybe you have a chlorine plant nearby, you could purchase a mask with a filter designed for that chemical as an escape tool, but I’d purchase no more than that. Again, if you KNOW of a specific chemical, you can get a mask designed FOR THAT CHEMICAL and only use it as protection as you are EVACUATING, in the event of an emergency. The best set of recommendations, and those we preach to our teams for setting up a command post (which needs to be in a safe area so we can coordinate a response), is the following:

  1. GET OUT of the initial isolation distance, if there is an incident.
  2. Get UPWIND of the incident (where the wind is coming FROM not going to).
  3. Get UP HILL of the incident. If there is a large spill or release of a liquid, it will go where gravity allows it to go.
  4. Get UP STREAM of the incident. Again, liquids could flow into waterways, if they are not contained. Downstream is a bad place to be.
  5. Do NOT try to mitigate or clean up a spill. (We DO tell our teams to mitigate. This 5th recommendation is for non-HazMat folks!)

If you are in an accident with a semi-truck, or there is a train derailment near you, get out of the immediate vicinity; do not try to be a hero with chemicals. If this sounds like you should be prepared to bug out to a safe place for a period of time that could take up to days or even weeks if you live in an area with lots of chemicals being transported, then you got it! There is not much else to do in this type of incident. However, if you know the threat before something happens, you can come up with a reasonable plan to incorporate with your family so everyone has a better chance of staying safe.

This site is designed to help people consider, plan, and train for catastrophic events. It also encourages us to be as capable as possible on our own and to work together with others—forge groups of good Christian friends who are like minded to help each other out during catastrophes. With a chemical spill, I would recommend to any of you that this is one area where you do need to pay attention to local responders. (Your local fire department probably has a HazMat team; this is especially true since 9/11.) I would suggest that a threat such as this is one of the few times where I would agree with a mandatory evacuation coordinated by local responders of a specific area for a specific time, and if you have a group of like-minded individuals you plan things out with, I would recommend explaining the situation to them so you can all plan to respond to an event like this if the threat is present in your area. I completely understand that mandatory evacuations go against what many of us consider reasonable government authority. However, unless you have a lot more knowledge than I do (because sitting at home, I would NOT be able to give much more advice than this to my family to save us), deciding that you should not evacuate with a situation like this could be a dangerous and deadly decision. This seems to be one of those situations where you should trust people with the training to mitigate the situation, because there is not a magic bullet to clean up or protect against a serious hazardous materials spill. We all reap the benefits of these chemicals, which are on our highways and railways; anything you have that is produced uses chemicals at one point or another, and those chemicals have to be taken from the plant to the factory. Your pool water chemicals, your drinking water purification (assuming you’re on city water), your mechanics’ solvents, and your manufacturing chemicals are all very dangerous when they are transported in bulk on the road. We live in this society and appreciate the benefits of these chemicals, and for the most part they are very safe, but if a catastrophe happens where these chemicals are released, the best way to deal with them is to get out of the area, uphill, up wind, and up stream. It takes a large team of specialists to deal with a hazardous chemical incident safely, and there is no reasonable method I can think of to provide to anyone to be completely self sufficient and protected against any myriad possibilities of hazardous chemical incidents.

Letter: Flies

Hugh,

It’s fall in Vermont, and that means cluster flies are back. Cluster flies enter buildings through the tiniest cracks imaginable; they work so hard getting in and then the next thing they do is beat themselves against the windows trying to get out. (This sort of parallels some people’s lives.) I normally have a company come out and spray the entire outside of the house to kill off the flies, but I didn’t get around to it early enough. Luckily cluster flies are more of a nuisance than a health issue. They do not lay their eggs in people food; they lay eggs in the ground, and the larvae feed on earth worms. In different situations, flies can be a major heath issue. To eliminate my cluster fly issue I recently purchased an industrial fly catcher from Paraclipse. I bought their Fly Patrol model. It’s just your basic UV light and fly paper trap with one neat idea incorporated into it– the fly paper is in a cartridge that gets rolled up very slowly, so fresh paper is exposed. When the unit signals that it’s at the end of the roll, just pull out the roll and put a new one on. It comes with a “decorative” enclosure that they show in their photos hanging on a wall. The unit is anything but decorative. The entire unit is ugly, and the sight of the flies on the paper is gross. However, the unit works wonders attracting and keeping the flies in it; I don’t have any fly issue inside my house now. I keep the unit outside the common areas of the house, so people don’t see it. The price for the complete unit is $156. Extra cartridges are about $10, and replacement UV bulbs are $13. (I don’t know how long the cartridges last yet.) If you have a flying insect problem, it might be worth a try. – C.L.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Our SurvivalRealty.com spin-off site has been expanded and now includes “by state” agent listings. Check it out. Also, if you know of any real estate agents with rural or off-grid properties, please let them know about this unique advertising opportunity. (Remote properties that are considered “hard to sell” by most agents find eager buyers at SurvivalRealty.com.) The ads for agents are just $25 per month, and the initial two month trial period is free.

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Why I Will Not Submit To Medical Martial Law. “Ebola SWAT Teams?” – T.P.

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I’ve been asked by several consulting clients and readers about topical disinfectant solutions that are effective at killing virii (viruses). Some of the best solutions contain dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride or dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride. One variety that contains both chemicals is sold under the brand name Sanifect-128, made by Interflow Industries. This is the brand of decontaminating solution sold along with the HAZARiD hand-held misting machine. Just one ounce of this solution is added to a gallon of water. It can then be sprayed, swabbed, or misted onto surfaces. Think of it as Lysol on steroids. This solution and the HAZARiD misters are sold by a number of Internet vendors, including two SurvivalBlog advertisers: Ready Made Resources and Safecastle. – JWR

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By way of SHTFplan.com, Glen Tate offers this letter for those who think that you will prepare for them: “I’ll Come To Your Place When SHTF” – No You Won’t – T.P.

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I haven’t tried this, but SurvivalBlog reader P.S. suggested this nifty little solar lantern.

Notes for Thursday – October 23, 2014

I’ve been pleased to see such positive reviews for my latest novel, Liberators, which was just released on Tuesday. Here are some highlights from the reviews:

  • Publishers Weekly called Liberators the “…rousing fifth after-the-apocalypse thriller [installment in the novel series]” and also mentioned that “Supporters of the ‘prepper’ movement…will lap up every detail.”
  • One of the co-editors of Total Survivalist wrote: “My overall assessment is this book was excellent. I tried not to get into spoilers but there is a lot on bugging out by vehicle as well as by foot. Additionally many interesting lessons for potential insurgency situations as well as more general survivalist ones were present. Furthermore I found it a very enjoyable read with characters you can really relate to and root for as they go through the events that unfold. This is probably the best book in the series.”
  • Jeff Soyer of North Country Review of Books gave Liberators a three star rating overall, and a four star rating for Writing Style.
  • Mark Rubinstein of The Huffington Post called the book “…another entertaining and thought-provoking novel, describing steps people can take in the event of a global collapse.”

The novel debuted at #1 in Amazon.com’s Science Fiction-Dystopian novels category, #1 in their Mystery novels category, and at #1 in their Action & Adventure, War & Military novels category.

Barnes & Noble is reporting “Delays” in shipments of the book, but Amazon still shows the novel “In Stock”. However, I expect them to also sell out temporarily (with a lull for re-ordering.) It is notable that they are already rationing copies for people who place large orders, by sending just partial shipments with delayed shipping dates for the balance of their orders, so get your orders in soon.

Once you’ve finished reading it, I’d appreciate seeing your brief reviews–good, bad, or indifferent–at Amazon.com and BN.com. Thanks. – JWR

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Identifying and Protecting Yourself and Your Family Against Hazardous Chemical Material Incidents, by a Marine in Missouri – Part 1

We live in a society that depends on hazardous materials to create the technological wonders and comforts we expect for everyday life. Whether you take your kids to a swimming pool or drink any sort of city water, you knowingly or unknowingly depend on large amounts of chlorine to ensure the water is safe. Anywhere there is a mechanic shop there are chemicals required to lubricate, clean, and repair materials; some of those chemicals are potentially dangerous or deadly. As you drive down the highway you see thousands of semi-trucks carting loads of materials that could be more deadly than a chemical warfare agent. Trains transport the same cargo as semi-trucks in larger quantity, sometimes dozens or hundreds of different chemicals in the same train which could have terrible consequences if there were to be a derailment. You may even live near a chemical plant that creates these materials, and you have no clue what type of dangers could be presented in the event of an emergency.

This article is by no means designed to scare you or to encourage you to try and protest against these chemicals being used, produced, or transported through your area. Chemical transport is regulated, your local fire department has at least basic training, if not hazardous materials response capabilities, and quite frankly it is a good thing that we have these wonderful technologies to make our lives better. However, it is prudent to have some basic knowledge on how to recognize various chemicals, which are traveling the roads and railroads near you and to have an understanding of proper precautions to take if there is an emergency. One more clarification is necessary, and I will re-iterate this at appropriate points in the article: there is no single solution or mask or suit or detector you can buy to make you and your family completely safe in the event of a hazardous materials incident. If anyone ever tells you that a particular mask or filter or suit will be the perfect protection for everything, they are misleading you and are attempting to provide you with information that is both incorrect and terribly dangerous.

I am a CBRN defense specialist in the Marine Corps with 16 years experience. I am qualified at the hazardous materials technician level through the Marine Corps; I have gone through the Army’s Technical Escort course; I have done many training exercises in Level A, B, and C protection; and I regularly instruct this information to Marines and soldiers. All of the information I will present is available in some great open source publications. (I will discuss two very good and easily readable references I would suggest you become familiar with.) By no means can reading this information in an article EVER provide anyone enough know-how to actually respond to a hazardous material incident. This article is intended to provide the reader with an awareness of what is out there and what reasonable steps you can take if you are faced with a hazardous materials incident.

The best reference, IMHO, you can use to become aware of the hazardous materials around you is the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). This book is published every four years by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The current ERG is the 2012 edition. This book will NOT tell you everything about a chemical; it is designed to provide initial safety recommendations for a hazardous materials incident. I would also suggest that unless you plan on becoming part of a volunteer fire department or get a job as a HazMat tech, there is no need to go any further that the precautions outlined in the ERG; it would not be feasible to outfit yourself with enough gear to really be safe and stay in the area or clean something up, and quite frankly, you would run up against a plethora of laws and regulations if you attempted to do any more than just protect yourself and your family from the threat of an incident. I will use the 2012 ERG page numbers to explain how the publication works. Be aware that these numbers may change in subsequent editions (2016, 2020, etc). The ERG is divided into five sections with some information at the end of the publication for using the manual. The non-bordered white pages (1-19) are general information to include some basic transport container designs, DOT hazard placards, and information on other warnings one might see on vehicles, trains, tankers, and pipelines that transport hazardous materials. The yellow bordered pages (20-89) use DOT ID numbers (which would be labeled on the placards shown in pages 6-7) to identify chemicals and provide you with the guide number (orange highlighted pages) to look for safety distances and response recommendations. The blue pages (90-157) use the actual chemical name to provide you with the guide number to look at for safety; in addition they provide the DOT ID number for the chemical. The orange highlighted pages (158-283) contain the various guide numbers. Each guide number is related to a group of similar chemicals. These guide numbers give you information concerning fire and explosion risk, health risk, general public safety response, protective clothing, recommended evacuation distances, what to do if there is a fire or spill, and first aid measures. The last section has both white and green labeled pages (285-355). This section is a basic initial hazard area recommendation for use by responders if the chemical identified has a green highlight in either the yellow or blue pages. Any chemical highlighted green has a specific danger of having the potential to have a downwind inhalation hazard. It uses the DOT ID number and guide number to provide initial isolation (safe distances) and protection (follow on safe distances for downwind hazards) for both small and large spills. Just so you know, HazMat responders would use the green pages as an initial guide; there is a LOT of hazard plume plotting software available to teams that can provide much more accurate distances. After the green section, the ERG has a user’s guide as well as some general discussion on protective gear and emergency numbers to call in case of an incident.

So how could the ERG be used by someone who is not a first responder or HazMat technician responsible for actually mitigating the issue? The best thing this guide does is to give you a basic understanding of how to recognize what types of vehicles transport various types of chemicals where you live. Using this guide you can keep an eye out for semi-trucks and trains in your area, notice the shape of the trailers or train cars (pages 8 and 9), and get a general understanding of what is transported. If you do this over time, you will have a good general idea on the types of hazards in your area, if there were to be an accident, earthquake, or something that could cause these vehicles to release the material they are transporting. For example, on page 9 of the ERG, one of the illustrations is of the DOT 412/TC 412/SCT 312 type trailer which is designed to carry corrosive liquids. If you take a look at the picture and then compare it to what you have seen on the highway, you can determine that any time you see a smaller diameter cylindrical semi-trailer with multiple visible ribs circling the trailer, you can generally assume that vehicle is carrying a corrosive of some sort, maybe an acid. In addition to looking at the design of the trailer, you can look at pages 6 and 7 and see various DOT placards that are required on hazardous shipments. One or more placards will be on the back or side of a trailer; the placard will be of the same design shown in the ERG, and it will have a four-digit number specifying the chemical. For instance, if you noticed one of those DOT 412 trailers, you would probably see one of the placards labeled 153 on page 7—a black and white placard with a test tube pouring a liquid on a hand and a piece of material. One possible number you may see written on that placard could be 1789. If you look in the yellow pages, you can see that a DOT 412 trailer with a placard number 1798 is probably transporting either Hydrochloric acid or Muriatic acid (page 38 of the yellow pages), and the guide number for those chemicals is 157. If there were an accident (or just to know the potential danger), you could then flip to guide number 157 in the orange pages (page 252) and see the various potential dangers from that cargo. However, you would not use the green pages in this instance because there is not a danger of a significant downwind inhalation hazard past the isolation area recommended in the orange pages; you know this because DOT ID number 1798 was not highlighted in green on page 38. You can take the time to look at the various transport vehicles in your area, tally them down, and identify just what potential hazards you may have going through your area with the ERG. A nice thing about the ERG is that it is publicly available online, and you can order physical copies of them through the DOT website. This is a good site to go to access the ERG. You can also use a search engine to look for the ERG and be directed right to a PDF copy of it.

Another good publication is the NIOSH guide to Chemical Hazards. This guide is put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It provides specific pertinent information about hundreds of widely used chemicals, including trade names for the chemical, physical description, chemical and physical properties, personal precautions, respirator recommendations, any other types of chemicals which could cause a reaction to this chemical, how the chemical would get into your system, and first aid. The NIOSH guide is a bit more in-depth and uses a lot of acronyms and key words that you would have to familiarize yourself with, but all of the information can be found in the front of the book in pages vii-xxx. Although this is a great book for information and can be found online for free. There is one point I would like to make about this guide. If you decide to look through the guide, you will find hundreds of different chemicals, most of which have the potential to be transported through your area. However, there are also certain chemical warfare agents listed that would not be transported through your area. As you look through the guide, you will notice that each of them have very different protection requirements. This is important to understand. I have noticed through conversation with both civilians and military personnel that there is a clear misunderstanding of how protection works with chemicals. On the military side, many people assume that MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) gear and an M-40 or M-50 series field protective mask will protect against anything. This is not the case! Military chemical over-garments and field protective masks are specifically designed for chemical warfare agents. Chemical warfare agents (CWAs) are specific chemicals (blood agents, blister agents, nerve agents, and choking agents) that have long shelf lives, can be weaponized, and are used in large quantities on the battlefield. In recent years, there has been an awakening in the military to the threat of Toxic Industrial Materials (TIMs). TIMs include industrial chemicals (what I am discussing in this article), industrial biologicals, and industrial radiologicals. Military gear and its equivalent, which is often the stuff you can buy online, is not necessarily capable of protecting against all of these threats. Also, one quick note on the military-style gear you can purchase online: there are shelf lives with all military gear. I imagine that a lot of the old military gear you can get online may very well be past its shelf life, so it may not even be completely effective for what it was originally designed for.

Letter: Costco Emergency Foods

I know you all recommend Costco Emergency Food. I don’t know if you’ve been monitoring them, but about Tuesday they had sold out of at least three items. Just 24 hours later, it was 11 sold out. (I counted.) Now it’s almost all sets. All of the expensive sets, including the $4-5K pallets, have sold out. It’s worth noting to your readers. As they sell out, they’re initially putting “sold out” over the product, then removing it totally from the website. – P.K.

Hugh Replies: Costco is a tough cookie to base buying trends on. Their purchasing model seems to be different than most stores. I don’t disagree that people are starting to wake up, but Costco would not be the store that I base that statement on. I do not have behind-the-scenes purchasing information, but over the years I have seen products come and go. They want to carry whatever sells, but they also look for deals in their purchasing. They don’t seem to be concerned that any particular product is available all the time; in fact, I have seen them delay product on the shelves for several months because they can get a better deal from the manufacturer.

Economics and Investing:

Fear of Ebola Now Creating Weakness in U.S. Stocks?

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Permanent Damage to US Economy-Michael Snyder. – J.W.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Chris Martenson- How The Federal Reserve Is Purposely Attacking Savers – This is a little slow to develop but a nonetheless a great article.

Slump in Mortgage Rates Fails to Rally Home Buyers

David stockman- Wall Street Is One Sick Puppy—–Thanks To Even Sicker Central Banks

19 Very Surprising Facts About The Messed Up State Of The U.S. Economy

Odds ‘n Sods:

This gives new meaning to the term “Chicago Democratic Machine Politics”: Voting error? – MtH

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I missed seeing this when it was first posted at The Prepper Journal: Is it Crazy to Worry About the Golden Horde?

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As vulgar as it sounds, desperate people do desperate things. It’s something to remember as you prep: Pakistan has lots of problems. Now add cannibalism. – T.P.

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Remember, these are the situations that “suspend” your rights: Special report: America’s perpetual state of emergency. – SMZ

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Thoughts from Frank and Fern: Wakey! Wakey! The Wolf Is At The Door. – Avalanche Lily

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“It is indeed a singular thing that people wish to pass laws to nullify the disagreeable consequences that the law of responsibility entails. Will they never realize that they do not eliminate these consequences but merely pass them along to other people? The result is one injustice the more and one moral the less.” – Frederic Bastiat

Notes for Wednesday – October 22, 2014

Today, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Survival is Attractive, by L.M.

As a young, single female, I guess I’m probably the furthest in most eyes from the typical profile of a self-sustaining person who prepares for anything. I am a 26 year old regular girl with no military family or background. I never really liked camping or the outdoors, and I don’t even live in an overly remote or homestead-type community.

I grew up just like most every other girl– cheering, having sleep-overs, and generally being as naïve as most girls are, unfortunately. I’m not unusually strong or unique; I’m just a girly girl. I’ve always shopped and been focused on fashion, Facebook, and flirting, like most girls. I had no idea there was any other type of girl, honestly. It wasn’t until the turn of events over the last 5-10 years that I started to question much of what is happening around the world and specifically here in the U.S. I started to read and ask questions and have what I call “an awakening”. I started to find that trouble is everywhere and that it would be common sense just to have provisions, even for a weather-related or local emergency. So began my journey, even with the odds perhaps stacked against me, as I had virtually no one agreeing with my new awareness, no family support, and have even occasionally dated guys who thought it was paranoia. Needless to say, I didn’t keep these chaps around long!

My intention in writing an article is simply to share what I have learned, the resolve and strength I have gained, and the skills I have developed in hopes that it just may inspire or encourage anyone out there who feels they are in a similar situation with their back against the wall.

My journey started with the changing of my mindset from being entertained and consuming and spending to one where I was being educated and planning and taking action. I started of course, like many, to store away clean water at my small house, to research and order long shelf-life food, and to acquire some outdoor gear that could help me survive in the event of a catastrophe, hurricane, earthquake, or even terrorism. I’m not the prophet who knows when and how this may go down, but I know I am now greatly prepared for anything that can be thrown at me– whether a natural or some unnatural thing in this crazy world.

Next, I built my own survival bag. Some call it a bug out bag or a 72-hour bag. I still don’t exactly know why the term bug-out is even used. (Ha ha.) I tailored my bag to me, as a lady, with the guidance of articles on SurvivalBlog.com. I quickly started to understand what and why each piece of gear is needed inside it. I thought through the types of items needed to pack inside in order to have tools to enable me to survive in a crisis.

I have used frugality to add weekly to my collection of gear, and I go regularly with a few other awakened friends to practice, camp out, or generally hone our basic outdoor skills. We go actually practice using the gear we have gathered, so we know how to use it and ways to adapt new skill sets. We always schedule a monthly time to use our sidearms at a range and have even taken tactical classes for women, so we are more than capable of dealing with home threats.

We are also moving in the direction of establishing a property, so as to be able to sustain and live through troubles without so called bugging out and being on the move, further risking our lives to violence or death. From all my reading, it is clear that having a fortress is far superior to walking through unknown areas with a backpack. This takes time and money, and because of my decisions to live more lean and unplug from needing so much junk and entertainment, I am succeeding in getting this ball rolling.

The primary topic I really am excited to share is the absolutely phenomenal opportunity that has been developing. I had the vision to start a private meet-up for other women, primarily. I wanted to connect with them and open their minds to see where they stood on views and action in preparing their lives and homes. I did not limit it to single females, mainly because I want to help more people, and there aren’t tons of these that prepare anyway. For the ones that do, I am certainly finding them. Many of these have busy husbands and some come from households with fairly prepared men, but the gals have little to no knowledge, experience, or confidence in these areas. I’m no expert, but I am currently ahead of the game from these in our group, and they are so hungry and open to soaking the knowledge and first-hand experience that I am so enthusiastic about sharing freely with them. We meet and share ideas and generally get to know each other and build friendships that are turning out to become life-long type trusts, like a sisterhood. We have some focused topics each time we meet, such as how to cut costs currently and free up our budgets, improving our mental toughness, creativity in preparing, and investing in appropriate gear for our families.

Other topics range from small gardening and first aid for our families to knowing how to deal with accidents and injuries, gun safety, and readying kids and spouses. We are having such a wonderful time helping each other grow and learn in a safe, fun environment. I am convincing these gals that survival is attractive and for them to take ownership of their role to have a very prepared household, whether that means as a single, like me currently, or as a married woman with many children. The idea is catching like wildfire!

I almost always bring along something tangible that I can introduce them to and explain how it works, showing them step by step the ropes. Last week’s prop was a water filtration system, which I was able to build cheaply by following some fairly easy advice from SurvivalBlog. I went by a local grocery bakery and asked if they had any empty food grade, white, 5-gallon buckets from baking supplies. They had one, and I had to return twice to get what I was after. Now I have accumulated around 15. I went home and got started. First, I cleaned them thoroughly because they had chocolate icing in them! After, a good bath, I drilled a hole in what I will call the bottom one. This is at the bottom for a spout or faucet to go in to dispense filtered water. Spouts are found easily online. I used Amazon and paid $3.95 each. Next, I drilled four small holes in the bottom one’s lid so water could drip down from above. I placed the top bucket on the bottom’s lid so I could drill both simultaneously. This gives you the opportunity to mount one to four water filters in the top reservoir bucket. I chose Berkey carbon elements. These are around $50 a piece and are also available on Amazon. I used two for the 5-gallon protocol. The holes you don’t use with a filter need plugging so unfiltered water can’t just drip down. Rubber plugs are also cheap to order from the Internet. Fill the top reservoir with tap water or pre-filtered water and give it a few hours and you will have clean, chemical free, gravity-filtered drinking and cooking water for home, camping, or in a truly devastating catastrophe, should we lose water or electricity or whatever cause of lack of resources. This is my primary water filtration system for home, and I don’t need to drink dirty chemical-filled tap water anymore, nor do I fall for the scam of bottled water, most of which is mere dirty tap water, and from own personal tests we find it has a lot of hardness and chemicals still in it. I don’t use water pitcher filters either. Nothing measures up to the standards of these water units we are building.

Soon, we plan to cover sprouting, organic gardening from heirloom seeds, and other builds, like lamps, heaters, stoves and an A/C unit with the same ole trusty 5-gallon bucket as a base.

The empowering we are experiencing is such an awesome blessing, and it is quite the rush if I do say so myself to learn so much as a young woman and pass it on and see it change other womens’ lives, especially in the way of confidence. This is invaluable. I really am thriving by doing this, and I am so grateful to be right here right now. Men are begging to get in on what we are doing now, because we are gaining so many skills, or maybe they are attracted to kick-butt women who know how to survive!

My mantra to people, especially women is always:

  • You are capable and strong.
  • Never make any excuse for why you aren’t prepared for a changing world we live in.
  • Start taking action today and watch how much fun you will start having.
  • Help each other. Connect with others, especially women who can relate with you. There’s support there.
  • Be resourceful. There are common items everywhere that can be used to prepare.

Letter: Watching a Snake Eating its Own Tail

Mr Rawles,

I’m reminded today of a line from your Patriots series describing the crunch as “like watching a snake eating its own tail.”

Today’s economic news is exactly that– Terror of Ebola and rising interest rates forces investors to dump their dollars into treasuries, artificially lowering interest rates and creating a new housing bubble. This fear in turn leads to a “reconsideration” of raising interest rates and ending bond purchases by the Fed.

In the interest of moderation, I intend to withdraw the majority of my 401k Monday and pay off the mortgage on my retreat, leaving only enough to cover the tax implications. This is a bloody mess with no end game but a collapse of the dollar. It’s time for fervent prayer, topping off storage food, and getting ready. Reading your archives, you did an admirable job of warning the masses in March-September 2008. Perhaps it is time to start ringing the bell with the same urgency? If it falls on deaf ears, so be it, but at least you used your bully pulpit for a good cause….?

God Bless – J.K.