Here’s Why You Really Need To Prepare Like A Survivalist Right Now

“People need to be physically prepared for an interruption in their normal lifestyle.”

Image by Government of Alberta/Flickr.

Eight years ago, I found myself taking refuge from the stresses and boredom of new motherhood by obsessively tuning into Discovery and History channel programs that predicted a far-off future so dire that it seemed like science fiction: East coast hurricanes might one day destroy the New York City subway system, while out-of-control wildfires would eat up entire California mountainsides.

Since then, weather records across the United States have been broken many times over. Several years of historic blizzards have buried the midAtlantic states. Both hurricanes and tornadoes have struck New York City. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, nearly drowned under more than 30 inches of rain in just two days — more than the entire state of California has gotten over the course of its five-year drought. And the summer and early fall of 2017 have brought us multiple “500-year” floods and fires, from Irma and Maria to the fires ravaging the Napa Valley.

As I write these words, the sky outside my small suburban home has turned an apocalyptic purple gray due to a wildfire raging across more than 2,200 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Environmental scientists, some of whom recently announced that our atmospheric carbon levels have “passed the point of no return,” have described our current period of time as the “Anthropocene.” Essentially, the cumulative effects of humankind’s industry and commerce on the planet have turned Mother Nature against us, possibly foreshadowing something called “the sixth extinction” — or our own demise.

While we wait for the world to deliver on the promises of the Paris Agreement, which could take decades, the new mantra of our era may very well be: Get prepared or get out of the way. Extreme weather is here and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. So what’s the best way to stay safe and calm in a meteorological disaster?

Get Into A Survivor Mindset

“If a person knows a storm is coming and they do nothing and then something bad happens, they’re a victim up one side and down the other,” says Tim MacWelch, a 20-year survival instructor of such notable folks as the United States Armed Forces, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice. He’s also the author of “How to Survive Off the Grid: From Backyard Homesteads to Bunkers (and Everything in Between)” and other books.

MacWelch recommends getting into a “survivor mindset” even if you don’t expect cataclysmic weather. “People need to be physically prepared for an interruption in their normal lifestyle, they need to be alert and able to receive information that can impact their safety and even lives, and they need to be ready to move out of harm’s way.”

MacWelch says he “leans toward a better safe than sorry” approach to preparation rather than waiting too long for updates from local authorities to decide what to do. Putting protection of self above property should be a key priority. “Things can be replaced, lives can’t,” says MacWelch.

All families should have a 72-hour survival kit containing food, water, medicines, a first-aid kit, a non-flame-based lighting source (hand-crank or solar-powered flashlights and radios are ideal), and a way to receive information via a radio of some kind in case the electricity goes out.

Make an Evacuation Plan

“When an emergency rears its ugly head, this reminds us that we’re not in charge,” says MacWelch.

One way to feel in control is to develop an evacuation plan, says John Drengenberg, consumer safety director of UL, a global independent safety science company. “Establish an emergency meeting spot,” he advises. “Make sure that children know exactly what to do in the event that you become separated.”

He and other safety experts also recommend establishing an out-of-town contact and meeting location in case family members become separated.

Avoid Unnecessary Damage

Other considerations, according to Deborah Holtzman, author of the books “The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety” and “Healthy Living,” include installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, running generators only outside a home (20 feet away from structures), and posting emergency telephone numbers, including local emergency services, near or on your phone.

It’s also important to learn how to turn your utilities off and on. In situations such as a wildfire or an earthquake, turning off gas lines, for example, could prevent explosions and leaks.

Do Your Research Early

Even if you’ve never experienced more than a gentle rain, chances are climate change will bring surprising weather to your very own doorstep, whether or not you’re prepared. But you can take action ahead of time. Many cities have a Reverse 911 system that allows you to register to have alerts sent to your mobile phone. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other sources of aid are just a few clicks away.

MacWelch says he finds it empowering to get prepared well in advance of a catastrophe. It can “remove some of that feeling of helplessness that a lot of people feel when they start to think about emergency planning” — or climate change itself. The urgency of a warming planet becomes more real for me by the minute, as a visible wall of flames rises into the night sky behind my home. But I admit my emergency plan and recently compiled survival kit have staved off panic.

For now.

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

Keep Reading Show less
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet