What seniors can reasonably do
Hey Doug, thanks for the link. I think I like the idea of sitting down while riding! – the eliptical bikes look more like they're built for exercise and I get that on the eliptical at the gym. The reason for the bike is, as sand puppy says, for a time when gas is very high in price – maybe high enough so as to be unaffordable. There are solar panels you can get to charge the bike so then there is no dependence on fossil fuels for fuel at all. The transportation equivalent of being off grid. I don't think I would feel safe on a scooter as long as there are cars on the road. I did look them up on the web too. I would use the bike to get to town for groceries or for medical appts. not to bug out on – though I suppose it could be used for that. And, I don't really anticipate needing to leave either. Maybe I've read too many survival sites where they really emphasize BOBs and what to put in them. I have accumulated various items for them but hesitate spending the money for backpacks given our ages and health. Thus my question.
So it doesn't sound like you all are making BOBs a priority because you plan on staying put, and will rely on cars for transportation for the time being. I did get a bag for med supplies to put in my car and I have more medical supplies at home.
Sometimes I feel rather fatalistic you might say. So much is not under my control so if something happened on a global level – Fukushima explodes or NTE arrives or any other planetary catastrophe, so be it. I'm going to die sometime. Even with the preps I have now, I have more than the vast majority of people in this country. One day at a time.
Joyce, having spent the last decade of my working life dealing with community preparedness and public health I would like to make a few points about forced evacs. Most community and state preparedness plans do not involve forced evacs except in very limited and specific conditions. And many states do not have forced evacs, especially in the south. They are voluntary only, though strongly encouraged. Sheltering in place is used much more often, even for things you might think would involve evacs. Imminent flooding, forest fires and coastal impacts from hurricanes generally are the most common events involving evacuations. Train derailments and nuclear accidents (usually 20 miles out or less) much less common but also fall in the evac category. It is good to know what is in your county's plan and your state's evacuation policies. While I've seen folks worried about federal forced evacs, in most circumstances the feds are not involved during the evacuation stage but in the response stage. Even in a large pandemic where the feds would likely be involved early through the CDC, sheltering in place would be the response, not evacuation. The feds have limited power to force evacs. While that has changed some in the last few decades, it is still not that easy, especially should it be in a state where the State government might not be on board.
BOBs are useful if you live in metro areas, areas of potential impact of any of the above or you just feel you aren't in a safe place and have a better place to go should the SHTF. They are relatively easy to do and often the first place people start. If you do a lot of vehicle traveling they are very useful, especially in northern climates or in or out of metro areas that can become gridlocked in a sudden event. Having said all of that I think that sometimes people put too much emphasis on BOBs (especially the vision of strapping on a backpack and hiking to woods where no one else will be) and less on creating a homestead of sufficient resilience to withstand a fair number of slow and medium rollouts of sh…tuff and most events that are sudden and more critical like natural disasters. For those of us above the age of forty, imagining leaving home on an off-road vehicle or bike or on foot carrying everything you might need is enough to cause nightmares, regardless of how well we take care of ourselves. If you have grandchildren or parents it is really hard to see it being successful. The scenario is great for TV and movies, not so much in real life. I am much more useful to myself, my Mom and my neighbors if I am here and available to help respond and recover and not trying to hide from civilization in the woods. I am conscious of security and have reasonable means of enforcing it should I need to but I don't spend a lot of time envisioning zombie hordes. I am not scared of my neighbors, even those I don't know, and I have reached the age where I know what will happen, will happen. Be prepared and settle in for the ride and try to find joy even in the midst of mess. We not only can't be prepared for everything, trying to be can seriously impact any effort in enjoying life right now. My grandmother always advocated finding balance and the older I get, the more I understand just how important it is.
As far as TEPCO goes, you are far enough away in NC that you will be able to get away with limiting outdoor actvities for some period of time depending on wind patterns and you might need to limit air exchange in your home for a limited time but I doubt either of those will be necessary on the east coast. By the time it goes that far it will be defuse enough to just add to the cancer deaths not cause immediate deaths. Just don't buy "fresh" vegetables from the grocery that were grown on the west coast. This is where growing your own, putting it up and eating it will be the best response. The folks in Japan will not be so lucky.
Thanks for filling me in on forced evacs. It helps to hear from someone familiar with community preparedness. I also can't imagine strapping on a backpack and heading into the woods. I'd much rather face whatever comes in my own home and neighborhood, even if it means dying here versus taking a chance on the forest. Or at least I say that now!
And Fukushima? Not anything I can do about it. What will be, will be. I have stopped eating the canned tuna from Santa Cruz, CA I used to buy when living in Ca. and that I have ordered a couple of times after moving here – really any fish from the Pacific. I agree that growing and preserving my own food as much as possible is the best way to go.
I feel so sorry for the Japanese people.
First a question regarding the Fukishima nuclear problem – isn't the primary release of radiation via the leaking contaminated water? Is there a credible threat of significant airborne radiation? I live in the northwest, should I be worried about airborne radiation?
Regarding bug out bags, I currently live in a suburban setting in an area where high winds and fire mix to create some truly horrific wild and residential fires. I also currently live less than 1/2 mile from a major railway where I am sure that hazardous materials are routinely transported. My family keeps a bug out bag, just in case – but the chances of us ever needing to use it are, by our calculations, pretty darn slim. However, we agree that we'd rather make the investment in a bug out bag, than need one and not have it. In general, we have about 2-3 days worth of spare clothes, tolietries, dried and freeze dried food, some cash, and some pet supplies (we have 2 dogs that are our family). Meds and IDs would have to be grabbed as we exit the house. Our bug out scenarios all include loading dogs and stuff into one of our vehicles, driving a safe distance, and either staying with friends or getting a motel room until we can get back into our neighborhood. Rather obviously, our BUG OUT scenarios are all constructed around short term and rather localized events.
Events that happen on a longer time horizon or effect a wider geographic scale, might require a different strategy. My long term strategy, as mentioned by multiple other people above, is to move to a location where it is possible to become as self- and community -reliant and sustainable as possible. In my view, while any number of natural or human-made disasters could certainly happen at any time, most of us are already facing the effects of declining incomes, resource and energy shortages, and completely incompetent government. (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/employment-gap-between-rich-poor-widest-record-072956259.html).
I am pretty darn sure that as the years roll by, most of us will see our incomes and job opportunities continue to shrink year by year, constantly pay more for fuel and electricity, scrape to pay for food that continues to be priced out of reach, and suffer from "leaders" who refuse to cooperate or address real issues. It is my opinion that the descent into bone-crushing poverty for the majority of us will probably be slow, but it will be unstoppable. That is the "disaster" that I am preparing for – and no bug out bag or BUG OUT strategy will help with that. My family and I like to eat, so we have purchased and are preparing to move to a place with enough land and rain to grow a large garden, we will be planting our orchard next year, we are building an energy efficient home with solar PV, and we have a woodstove and plenty of firewood so that we can always stay warm. I guess, to sum it up, our plan is to "bug in" – be prepared for poverty (or whatever might come), but at a minimum be able to stay warm, dry, fed, and contribute constructively to our community. And hopefully, we will have a lot of fun in the meantime.
Sirocco re Fukushima, you might want to check out http://www.fairewinds.com and Arne Gundersen. Arne was formerly in the nuclear industry and has been reporting on Fukushima from day 1. Also, Dr. Helen Caldicott. She is a physician and anti- nuclear activist.
From what I've read, if I have this straight, the concern is with the Reactor #4 building with the spent fuel pool on top. In November, TEPCO will attempt to start pulling out the rods. The problem is the crane used to do that has been destroyed and there is no computer to assist. There is debris on top of the rod assembly. There is something like 1300 rods (?) and TEPCO estimates it will take 2 years to remove them. The issue here is that the rods have likely been damaged and in trying to remove them, a rod could break and fall or hit another rod which could cause a fire and even an explosion if a chain reaction begins. Great precision is needed to remove rods under normal circumstances. Trying to do it manually where workers can only work for brief periods before receiving too much radiation, is a nail-biting process. And, there is still a danger from earthquakes and hurricanes during that time. Arne describes the fuel assembly like a crumpled cigarette pack and you're trying to remove a cigarette without breaking it .TEPCO doesn't exactly inspire confidence in their competency. At any rate, I suggest checking these people out and what they say could happen. Unfortunately, it looks like some radiation already reached the west coast after the initial disaster. Cesium has been found in tuna and in seaweed in S. California. TEPCO has consistently lied about what happened. For example they said reactors 1-3 were in "cold shutdown" and now they admit that the cores of each one have breached containment and are sinking into the ground. The other issue is that the buildings are sinking because of so much water going into them to cool the cores and the pool on top of #4. The dirt underneath is unstable and even liquified in some areas. If building 4 moved, the rods would go. The pool holds tens of thousands of pounds of plutonium alone. A miniscule amount will kill an adult. Another problem is that in some areas, radioactive debris is being burned to get rid of it which sends it right into the atmosphere.
Really, the eyes of the world should be on Fukushima. TEPCO and the Japanese gov't have refused offers of help. Arne went to Tokoyo and took random samples from the city. He carried them back to the US and had them analyzed. Each one would be considered hazardous waste here and sent to a depository in Texas. The city is around 125 miles from Fukushima. The insanity is that Japan has been awarded the Olympics for 2020! Abe wants to turn around the Japanese economy and turning the reactors in Japan back on is part of his plan. So he downplays anything negative about Fukushima.
Sorry to ruin your day!
I have no background in public health and have not given any comprehensive thought or research to the issue of surviving fallout or a wind-borne radioactive dust cloud. So, with that limitation, I do know that water storage will be a essential to the *stay-indoors-for-two-weeks-to-a-month* strategy. But how much water do you need?
We can estimate water need by the general rule of 1.5 gallons per person per day. But this estimate depends on several assumptions: 1) You are not using water to flush toilets, 2) not taking baths or showers (yuk), 3) not watering your garden, and, 4) no family members or neighbors suddenly show up looking scared because they have NO FOOD OR STORED WATER AT ALL and they know that you do. [Several family members have advised that they think that my preps are "crazy," "paranoid," "unrealistic" and that they disapprove of the whole approach of "living life in negativity," but if TSHTF they will be right over!!]
This is a 300 gallon water tank (called an "IBC Tote") from Craig's List for sale in my area for $100 or so. They are used to transport food ingredients from one factory to another factory and then are discarded afterwards. New, they can be purchased for $375, used and dirty for $60, used and clean for $100 – $125. 300 gallons of water weighs just over 1 ton, so set it on a cement floor or outside on level ground. The valves on the bottom are not designed for repeated use, so filling and empting the tank should be done by putting a hose in through the top hole.
JasonW posted an article about a family going without running water for 48 hours. She uses the same 5 gallon container PP Prep recommends and tranfers water from large storage tanks in the basement to 5 gallon tanks with spigotts located at each sink. If I were not able to carry 5 gallon containers of water (40 pounds) up stairs due to a medical problem, I would want to get a small pump from the hardware store and a hose, otherwise a siphon will do.
Tractor Supply Company has a 325 gallon tank that will fit nicely in a basement or garage. But new at $600, that seems prohibitive for all but the most wealthy.
Well, that is depressing…
Joyce, your post about a possible catastrophic airborne radiation release as TEPCO tries to remove fuel rods in November, made me do some research. I found a couple of web sitse with similar content to the one (http://www.fairwinds.com) you recommend and read up on the situation a bit. What a mess!
(Warning: mini-rant to follow) It seems like the human race in general is both homicidal and suicidal. We are very busy killing each other, any animal that moves, and the planet. Logic says that we are part of a natural system, can't live without the natural system, and yet humans are destroying that system as fast as we can. The only logical outcome of human actions is the extinction of all or almost all life on Earth; we certainly will not survive ourselves (without massive and lasting changes).
Why do we put image before substance? Why is winning absolutely everything and morality irrelevent? Why is greed good and integrity/ethics only for losers?
Why do the 90% (or 99%) allow the 10% (or 1%) to rule us, ruin us, abuse us, kill us?
What is wrong with us??!! (That is a serious question)
Nature has one fundamental very clear law that all life is subject to, and humanity is breaking it every day. This law has developed over billions of years and it is this, nothing in nature takes more than it needs. And when something does it becomes subject to this law and dies off. There is a term for something inside the body that takes more than it needs, Cancer!
Often times when you go looking for what's wrong, you'll discover what's right.
I will start, even small actions are extremely powerful. LOVE! and that's not utopian.
Sirocco, RoseHip – it does make one wonder what will become of us. We are supposedly intelligent creatures yet manage to ignore the consequences of our actions. We pretend we are not inextricably connected to the web of Life. Our very existence depends on it, yet in our hubris we act as though our intellect will find a way around material limits. The rules don't apply to us.
Fukushima is a perfect example of human arrogance combined with incompetence meeting the forces of Nature. To me, that's why nuclear energy is so dangerous. And now we have this critical situation being managed by the same people who created the problem. While the world's attention is focused on Syria and other crises, the most important one of all is barely mentioned.
So . . . other than keeping my fingers and toes crossed for 2 years, there isn't anything I can do about it. Well, I pray.