Record setting rainfalls of up to ten inches in Duluth, Minnesota led to massive flooding. Across the country, massive wildfires in Colorado forced 30,000 residents to flee their homes. If preppers are asked about fire and water, they’ll probably look upon them as resources—we learn how to make fire, and we learn how to store and purify water. But, when nature hits us with them, they can be major disasters.
Even if we’re far removed from a disaster, watching it unfold shows us the importance of making fundamental emergency preparations. We can use the disaster as a jumping off point to educate our friends and family about the need to prepare. Here are just a few lessons from these disasters:
► Have a basic bug out bag and be prepared to flee. Some Minnesotans could only reach their homes with boats and chose to stay with family or at a motel until the waters receded. Colorado’s fire doubled in size in a day, forcing a mass evacuation. These residents didn’t need hardcore bug out bags, but having a few basics ready to go makes life easier.
► Keep in touch with authorities with radio or TV. Many preppers keep small radios, like the Baofeng UV-5R, in their bug out bag. Public updates on changing conditions can help us decide our best course of action—flee or stay put. The authorities provide important information about what resources are available to help us during a disaster and what resources are available to help us clean up after a disaster.
► Store drinking water and learn about water filtering and purification. Authorities in Minnesota warned residents that their well water might be contaminated from the flood. They advised drinking bottled water or boiling water to kill bacteria. They offered free well testing kits to test for bacteria.
Having a few cases of bottled water and moving them to the second floor is only prudent if a flood is imminent. While stored potable water is best, if it runs out, preppers know how to boil, chemically treat, distill, or filter water to make it potable.
► Learn about respirators and N95 masks to protect your lungs. Colorado residents fleeing the fire had water-soaked bandanas around their mouths and nose to protect their lungs from smoke. Even residents far away noticed the smell of smoke. Forest fires can suspend ultra-fine particles into the air, which can travel hundreds of miles. These particles are often classified as Particulate Matter 2.5 or PM 2.5, because they’re less than 2.5 microns or micrometers in size.
N95 masks filter out 95% of particles greater than 0.3 microns in size. N100 masks filter out 99.97% (HEPA). These are not a perfect solution, because many smoke particles are below 0.3 microns. More effective filters or respirators put more stress on the lungs, because you need to suck air through a stronger filter.
► Learn skills, become adaptable, and know that you can only really rely on yourself during an emergency. OK. This lesson’s maybe a reach, but when the flood hit Minnesota, many zoo animals perished under the rising water. Two notable survivors were the seals and the polar bear, both of which are known to be very good swimmers. Six sheep, four goats, and a donkey that counted on others to keep them safe didn’t make it.
Just Some News, Documentary Links (sites and stuff I’ve been reading/watching)
Arizona Dust Storm Hits Phoenix Area (storm word of the day “haboob”)
I’m familiar with the idea of “peak copper” and rising copper prices, but I think this is the first I heard about “penny hoarding.”
Surviving The Dust Bowl (an American Experience documentary on youtube; 50 minutes; might want to have young children avoid the brutal jackrabbit hunt at 23:31. A great historical documentary.)
Propagation of Shrubs from Softwood Cuttings (a bit late in the season, but good info for next year)
A good step-by-step instructable about propagation from cuttings.
In the chapter about personal-self defense, I discuss the pros and cons of taking up boxing. On the medical downside, I forgot to list the risk of memory loss.