With a potential global pandemic, a cyber attack on the grid, contaminated water, and the possibility of a horrifying terror attack at Disneyland, this was the kind of week that proves the scenarios preppers have been warning everyone about aren’t really farfetched at all.
Survival Saturday is a round-up of the week’s news, tested products, and recommended reading material for folks who are interested in being prepared.
This Week’s Products
As more and more information comes out about our municipal water system, it’s time to get serious about your water preps if you haven’t already.
Do you carry a portable water filter? A great on-the-go filtration system is this Berkey Sport. I like the fact that it doesn’t look like you’re carrying around a filtration device – it just looks like a normal bottle you bought from home. The magic is, if you refill it from someone else’s tap, you get the security of knowing your water is being filtered through a Berkey system. At a price of less than $15, it’s not that much more expensive than a water bottle that doesn’t contain a filter. This one filters 640 bottles full of water, and the filter can be replaced. The Berkey Sport reduces harmful microscopic pathogens: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E-coli 99.99999% and other pathogenic bacteria. As well, the element is impregnated with proprietary “absorbing” media that promotes ionic “absorption” of pollutants within the micro-porous element, such as aluminum, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury and other dangerous heavy metals. Each member of my family has one, and we stock up on spare filters, too.
How is your emergency water stored? I love these stackable “water bricks”. They are 3.5 gallons each, so they’re easier to lift than the huge 5-10 gallon jugs. As well, these water bricks stack neatly and securely, which means you can get a lot more water stored in a lot less floor space than with other methods. If these are in the budget, then it’s time to stop awkwardly piling jugs and mismatched containers and invest in some high-quality storage for your more important emergency resource.
This Week in Preparedness
Sebring, Ohio is the next Flint, Michigan. Residents of the small town have been subjected to high levels of lead in their tap water for several months now. This article indicates that yet another cover-up has occurred and sufficient information was not given to residents so that they could protect their families from the contaminated water. While this is indeed infuriating, we should all now be aware that we can’t just sit here passively expecting the government to protect us from things like water contamination. You have to take matters into your own hands and learn to test your tap water yourself. This is what sets the preparedness community apart from other folks – our willingness to step up and take responsibility for our families.
Another massive cyber attack on the power grid quietly occurred last week. Just as temperatures in Israel began to drop on Monday, it was discovered that a virus placed by hackers had infected the power grid. Officials were forced to shut down the grid, leaving many without power. Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz said that this was one of the biggest computer-based attacks ever experienced. ‘We had to paralyze many of the computers of the Israeli Electricity Authority. We are handling the situation and I hope that soon, this very serious event will be over… but as of now, computer systems are still not working as they should. This is a fresh example of the sensitivity of infrastructure to cyber attacks, and the importance of preparing ourselves in order to defend ourselves against such attacks.” From your mouth to Washington’s ear, Mr. Steinitz. Keep in mind that it was only a few weeks ago when it was discovered that hackers from Iran had accessed American power grid networks. If only 9 of our 55,000 substations went down, our country could be facing up to 18 months without electricity. Many theorize that a grid failure on that level would mean the death of 90% of Americans within the first year. For a refresher on what happens without electricity, reread the novel One Second After by William Forstchen, and hope it’s fiction rather than prophecy. (Here’s some more information on how a cyber attack could affect us.)
Is it a coincidence that a mosquito-transmitted epidemic is occurring where GM mosquitos were released? Call me crazy, but back last summer when they released a bunch of genetically modified mosquitos in Brazil to “suppress dengue fever” I thought it was a pretty bad idea. Now, a virus that has little effect on adults but is triggering a terrible birth defect in babies is spreading rampant through the country, and guess where the epicenter of the outbreak is? That’s right – the area where the GM mosquitoes were released. Mothers who caught the Zika virus during pregnancy gave birth to babies with varying degrees of microcephaly. The babies have very small heads because their brains stop developing normally. The damage is profound and the children will need care for the rest of their lives. Dr. Albert Ko from Yale University says that it isn’t just babies with microcephaly that have been damaged by the Zika virus – he noted an uptick in cases of children with normal-sized heads who have neurological lesions and eye lesions. The World Health Organization says that Zika is spreading “explosively.” Even though we like to think our country is immune from horrible things like Ebola and Zika, we’re not. There are currently 36 confirmed cases of Zika in the US, including 4 pregnant women. (Here’s what you need to know about the Zika virus.) There has, of course, been no announcement of a link between Zika and those harmless GM mosquitoes.
Did something horrible almost occur at Disneyland Paris? Last week, a man was arrested at Disneyland in Paris. Somehow, despite France’s strict gun control policy (note my sarcasm), the man was carrying 2 guns, a box of ammo, and incidentally, a Quran. Regarding the Quran, one political writer is really upset that was mentioned. John Haltiwanger, the senior politics writer for Elite Daily, tweeted:
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) January 28, 2016
(You should go read the hilarious replies to Haltiwanger’s ridiculous tweet HERE.) In my humble opinion, it certainly would be mentioned if the guy had a Bible, because people in the media waste no time pointing out someone’s “extreme” Christian beliefs. Just so you guys know the rules of the game, it looks like only Muslim beliefs and behaviors are beyond criticism. Back to the story at hand, no further details were released regarding whether this was actually about to turn into a terror attack much like the one outlined in the new book, Failures of Imagination.
Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath When a mainstream media figure writes a book about the fact that a lengthy down-grid situation is not only possible, but likely, folks should really pay attention. The media notoriously makes preppers look foolish for such notions, but now, Ted Koppel, a long-time television anchorman has written just such a book. As far as the prepping part is concerned, you are unlikely to learn anything from this one. However, I think Koppel’s book is an important one that may help get more people on board with preparedness before something truly awful actually occurs. If you have a family member or loved one who is riding the fence about whether or not prepping is a rational course of action, this just might be the thing to push them over to our side. (ORDER HERE)
The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Given the state of our municipal water supplies, it is wise to ramp up your water preparedness and take control of your supply. This book is not just for down-grid disasters. It contains vital information that you can use right now to keep your family from experiencing a situation like the one of those unfortunate families in Flint and Sebring. (ORDER HERE)
Prepping for a Pandemic: Life-Saving Supplies, Skills, and Plans for Surviving an Outbreak: As the Zika virus begins to spread exponentially across the planet, it should remind you a lot of the dangerous potential of Ebola. The planet is far overdue for a pandemic, based on historical patterns. This fantastic book by Cat Ellis outlines the steps you should take to prepare for a pandemic and provides detailed information about a variety of different illnesses that have the potential to spread like wildfire. This is one that you absolutely must have on your prepper’s bookshelf. (ORDER HERE)
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For more great round-ups, check out two new features for this website:
The Self-Reliance Weekly Report is a collection of strategies, made up of the articles, books, DIYs, and products that I found useful on my own little prepper’s homestead.
Between flooding on the West Coast and massive winter storms on the East Coast, it seems like Mother Nature was out to get many of us this week! No matter what’s going on with our home, of course, we still have a responsibility to our livestock, for producing our food, and for maintaining our self-reliant lifestyle.
Welcome to Foodie Friday, frugal food edition!
Read the most important food news so that you can actually be aware of what is in the products they peddle at the grocery store. Then, try out some tasty new real food recipes and get the latest food preservation tips.
This week, we’ll talk about how to survive rising food prices. By producing, preserving, scratch cooking, and stocking up, we can provide healthful, delicious meals at a fraction of the price that others are paying.
Anything to add to Survival Saturday?
Do you have any news links you want to share? Now’s the time! You are absolutely welcome to post your links in the comments below. Thank you so much for all that you add to this website 🙂