Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Light During Emergencies and Survival Situations

During a crisis situation there is many situations when different sources of light can become important tools to help you survive. This can be the case during shorter black outs or longer black outs caused by natural disasters such as storms or earthquakes. After a natural disasters or accidents there can also be a need for lights in order to perform search and rescue work, another important function for light is the ability to signal for help and attract attention. The development with LED light has greatly increased both the light output and energy efficiency of headlamps and flashlights increasing both the battery time and light output. They also have a very long life span and are much more resistant to shocks and hits. The introduction of digital regulators enables modern light to have functions such as different light outputs and functions like strobe and SOS signaling.

Different kinds of Flashlights are one of the best sources of lights you can find. Fenix and 4Sevens are two of the most successful new companies that manufactures flashlight and headlamps, Fenix has different flashlights that use different kinds of batteries like the 123A, AA, AAA and D-Cell. The main advantage with an AA or AAA battery flashlight is that batteries are both cheap easily accessible. The C123 batteries has a higher voltage than the AA and AAA batteries so they can often give a higher light output, the main disadvantage is that they are much more expensive than the AA batteries and harder to come by. The lights are also waterproof and come with spare parts.

Some interesting models are the small LD-10 that uses a single AA battery, the Fenix L0D / LD01 / EO1 that uses a single AAA battery and the TK-41 that uses 8 AA batteries and have an output of 800 lumens. Fenix also makes some models that can use the 18650 rechargeable li-ion battery like the TK-11, TK-15, TK-30 and TK-35. The TK70, TK60 and TK50 are three models that use D-Cell batteries and resemble the D-Cell flashlights from Mag-Lite in form but have a significantly higher light output. These lights are relatively heavy but can be excellent as light for your Home or as a light in Vehicle.

4SevensThe company 4Sevens also makes some high quality LED flashlights similar to the models produced by Fenix like the Quark AA2, the Quark MiNi AA, Preon 1 and the Preon 2 pen light.

Surefire is an American company that for a long time was one of the leading brands in flashlights using CR123 batteries and xenon lights that outperformed most other brands on the market. These lights had an outstanding light output compared to many other brands with the disadvantage that they had short battery time and that the lights became very warm when activated. Like other companies Surefire has started to phase out their models with normal light bulbs and starting to replace them with newer models using LED technology. The main disadvantage with the light from Surefire is that most models use the rather uncommon and expensive 123A batteries. The 6PX Pro and G2X Pro are among the best models.

Maglite is another American flashlight manufacturer that produces some relatively cheap flashlight with a high quality. The larger D-cell Maglite flashlights have a quite large size compared to many other brands but this enables the flashlights to be used as a very effective self defense weapon. I suggest that you don’t buy the older models with normal light bulbs and instead go with newer models that used LED:s. Maglite also have two new models: the XL100 that uses three AA batteries and the XL50 that use three AAA batteries.

Other Companies
There are also other interesting companies that make high quality flashlights like Sunwayman, iTP Light, Olight and NiteCore

Some flashlights are designed so that the reflector on the flashlight has an angle of around 90 degree from the main body of the flashlight. This makes the flashlights particular good for attaching on a molle vest or the shoulder straps on a backpack. Streamlight has a model called Sidewinder that has a main LED diod and some smaller diods with red light, blue light and infra red light that uses two conventional AA batteries. This light also has Strobe function. The Sidewinder also come in a more compact version: The Sidewinder Compact that use a single 123A battery, this light can be used as a headlamp or be mounted on a helmet. Fenix has the model called MC-10 that uses a single AA battery, various light output and a strobe function. The Texas based company ZebraLight makes a number of compact angle lights that uses a single AA battery. These lights are very compact and excellent for Every Day Carry. They also come with headbands so that they can be used as headlamps and clips so that they can be attached to vests or backpacks.
Shake Lights and Dynamo Lights
Shake Lights and Dynamo Lights are flashlight that has built in rechargeable batteries that can be charged by either shaking the light or turning a dynamo handle. These lights often have a limited power out, short battery time and low quality. However they have the advantage that you never risk running out of batteries and often a rather low price.


Headlamps have the main advantage that they can be used without the use of your hands allowing you to perform other tasks like repairs, giving first aid or starting a fire in darkness without having to hold a flashlight in a hand. For some regular flashlight there are headbands that fill the same function. One very good headlamp is the Silva L1 that uses either 4 AA batteries, but it can also use 4 C-cell batteries in a belt pack. The Petzl E+ Lite is a very light headlamp that takes up very little space in a pack or in a survival kit. This headlamp has three small diod and one red diod, variable light output, a signaling mode and a small hard plastic cover. The TACTIKKA XP is another excellent Headlamp from Petzl that use three AAA batteries and comes with a number of different colored lenses.  

There are also more powerful headlamps with rechargeable battery packs that is very good for more professional users or night time orienteering. The Petzl Ultra series and Silva Alpha series are two examples. Some other interesting models to check out are the Fenix HP-20 and Fenix HL-21.

Lanterns and Oil Lamps
Lanterns and Oil Lamps is excellent sources of light during an emergency situation. Most models can be used with different forms of fuel like kerosene, lamp oil or even lighter fluid. If you’re going to use the lantern indoors I recommend special lamp oil that has a weaker fragrance then regular kerosene. There are also different types of lanterns that use gas containers for fuel. I personally prefer kerosene and oil lamps. I would suggest that you use the same kind of fuel that you need for your stove. For example if you have a Jetboil stove that uses gas then you should go for a gas powered lantern, if you use a multi fuel stove then it’s better to go with a lantern that uses kerosene or lamp oil. The main disadvantage with these kinds of light sources is the risk of accidently starting a fire and the risk of CO poisoning if you use them in enclosed spaces. Make sure that you don’t place them in areas where they can fall to the ground and break, and safe away from children. A fire alarm, fire extinguisher and fire proof blanket are important items if you have these kinds of lights. If you have an oil lamp, make sure you use them in your everyday life and not only during emergencies or blackouts. If you’re using an oil lamp or kerosene lamp store both fuel and extra wicks.

Candles are an excellent source of light that have much less fragrance than kerosene and oil lanterns. There are different kinds of special long burning candles that have a burn time of several hours. UCO makes a number of special candle lanterns that’s excellent for camping and emergency situations. The original model uses candles that have a burn time of 9 hours and there is also an additional kerosene/lamp oil conversion piece that can be inserted so the lantern that use both emergency candles and lamp oil. Candles just like kerosene lamps present the risk of fire so it is important that you only place candles at safe places and that you use some kind of fire resistant holders. Fire resistant holder can be improvised from tin cans, glass jars and other items.

Chemical Light Sticks
Chemical lights sticks is plastic cylinders filled with chemical that mixes when they are broken and then generate light without creating heat. They are also waterproof and relatively cheap to buy. These items are valuable to have in your home, vehicle, first aid kit both for signaling and for light. The main disadvantage is that if they are sensitive to shocks and must be securely packed so that they don’t break. They don’t have the same light intensity as emergency flares but don’t have the same danger of accidently starting fires, most of the produce light somewhere between 6 and 12 hours after they have been activated.

Emergency Flares
Handheld emergency flares burns and creates strong light that is very useful for signaling for help in a survival situation. The main disadvantage is the risk of accidently starting a fire when using the flare and the risk of burns. But on the other hand the flare can also be useful to start a fire during an emergency as well as for signaling. Aerial flares can be particular useful on marine vessels for signaling.

I suggest that you try to go get equipment that uses the same kind of batteries, so that you can use the same batteries for you flashlights, headlamps, GPS, emergency radio etc. What kind of batteries you should choose depends on your budget and situation. Lithium batteries have a very high capacity and performs better in cold weather than normal batteries but are much more expensive. Rechargeable batteries in general have a smaller capacity than high performance batteries but can be recharged many times; there are solar chargers for rechargeable batteries that can be useful duuring longer hiking and hunting trips or during long term emergencies.

Key Chain Lights
Today small led lights that’s fits perfect on a keychain can be bought for a low price. These models may not have a very powerful light output but have a rather good battery life and have the main advantage that they take up very little space and that you always can carry one with you, making them perfect for Every Day Carry or as component in a Pocket Survival Kit. More high quality key chain light can be bought such as the rechargeable model Skylight from Exped that uses solar panels to recharge, the Nano Light and Key-Mate from Streamlight and the Photon Micro Light, Photon Micro-Light II, Photon ReX Rechargeable and the rechargeable Skylight LED lamp with solarpanels from Exped.

Light Discipline
For the most times lights is a useful thing during survival and emergency situations both to provide the possibility to see during nights and the ability to signal for help. However there are situations when lights can attract unwanted attention; however this is mostly a problem in high risk areas or conflict zones. If you’re reading a map during the night you can use a poncho, jacket or tarp to cover the map while reading it. Red filters give flashlights a softer light that don’t attract as much attention and help to preserve the night vision. Night visions goggles are very good items that allows you see in low light settings without producing light that can give your positions away, the main disadvantage with these items is that they are very expensive.

Other sources of light during a survival situation can be regular lighters, matches, fire, a cell phone display or a campfire. A generator can provide power for your regular lights, freezer, radio etc during a black out. How many lights you should get and what type depends on your personal situation. In general I would advice that you have at least two different forms of emergency light sources in your home and a flashlight or headlamp in your car. Go with items that fit your budget, if you’re running during the nights get a headlamp instead of a flashlight and use the oil lamps and candles in your normal life, the items should fill a function not only for emergencies but also for everyday life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Introduction - Westfalia and Sibi Totique

I’m a man around thirty year of age the lives in the northern part o Scandinavia. I have always been interested in hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, outdoors activities and survival. I’m currently studying for my master degree in political science. In my Blog I try to combine the best from my interest in survival with the perspectives I have gained through my studies. It’s my hope that by using this perspective I can add something to new to field of survival and crisis preparedness. The name that I have chosen for my alias is a name game for Westphalia, or more exactly the Peace of Westphalia 1648 that marked the end of the Thirty Years War. This peace marks the beginning of the modern international system with sovereign states for many scholars.

The name of the blog Sibi Totique is Latin and can be translated to “For Himself and Everyone”. This motto was used by Benedict Arnold for a store that he used to own. Arnold was a central figure during the American Revolution. In the beginning of the revolution Benedict played a very central part in the struggle for independence only to later betray the cause that he initially fought for. Had Arnold died when he was wounded in the Battle for Saratoga he would most likely have been remembered as one of the greatest patriots in American history, but instead he is now forever remembered as a traitor to the cause. For me Arnold represent both the best and the worst of human nature; Hero, Traitor and Patriot. An imperfect man that represents the best and worse in all of us, I do not agree with everything Arnold did but I do think that something can be learned from the motto Sibi Totique.

I initially started the Blog because of the lack of possibility to edit older posts on the Survivalistboards. My goal with this blog is to take a deeper look at the threats and risks that exists in today’s world and present different perspectives and solutions for these problems. The information on the blog will always be free for those how would like to access it. If you would like to make a reference to any of the information on the blog I would like that you present where you have found this information. I hope that that the people how read this blog will be able to find some of the information useful and that you will gain some new perspectives and ideas. The Information on this page only represents my own opinion and not the opinion of anyone else. Suggestions for different subjects that you would like me to cover on the blog are always welcome. Feedback, good or bad is also welcome. I would also like to thank those how have been reading the blog and giving me feedback as well as the members of the Survivalistboards from how I learned much new knowledge. In a long perspective it is my goal to link the different chapters that I written on the blog together so that they will form a Free Online Survival Guide.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Natural Disasters – Volcanoes

One of the most visually impressive natural disasters is volcanoes. Volcanic eruptions can send burning lava, ashes and fire through the air. Some of the dangers from a volcano are Pyroclastic bombs. A volcano can send balls of molten lava for great distances that can kill people suddenly far away from a volcanic eruption. They can be hurled over 10 miles from a volcano, killing people and starting fire to buildings. The heat from a volcano can cause snow and ice on a volcano to melt very fast and create a landslide of water, mud, rock and volcanic ash, this is often called lahars. A volcano sometime created a cloud of hot gases and pulverized volcanic rock that can travel at very high speeds down from a volcano destroying everything that it affects, this is often called pyroclastic clouds. This is one of the major dangers from a volcano and is a danger that it very hard to escape if you still find yourself in proximity to a volcano in case of an eruption. The gas that’s emitted from a volcano can both be irritating but can reach a concentration so high that it can be lethal. In some cases a major volcanic eruptions can cause devastating tsunamis that can kill people far away from the eruption. Ashes from volcanoes can severely damage infrastructure and block roads, airports, rivers and railways.

79 The volcano Vesuvius in Italy had a devastating eruption. The two roman cities Pompeii and Herculaeum was destroyed and it is estimated that as many as 25.000 may have died in the eruption. Pyroclastic flows, lava and volcanic ashes destroyed the towns. Some of the skeletons found in Herculaeum have been found buried with the former inhabitants frozen in positions from their everyday work. This is one of the most famous volcanic eruptions in history.

1792 Unzen in Japan had a devastating eruption that resulted in a tsunami killing more than 15.000 people. This is one of the worst disasters in Japanese history.

1821 A devastating eruption took place on Iceland. The eruption covered over 500 square kilometers with lava and enormous amounts of gases and volcanic ash affected large parts of northern Europe. A large number of cattle died and famine followed. Around 20% of the Islands 50.000 inhabitants died from the following famine. A previous large eruption had taken place 1612.

1883 The Volcanic eruption on Krakatau in Indonesia resulted in the deaths of 35.000 to over a 100.000 people from both the direct effects and a devastating tsunami that was created by the explosive eruption that could be heard for over 3.000 km away. The Tsunami devastated many islands and coastal areas, none of the around 3.000 people living on the Island Sebesi survived.

1902 Mont Pelee in the Caribbean had a devastating eruption. The eruption caused a pyroclastic cloud that totally destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre and it was first sad that only two persons in the city that had around 30.000 inhabitants survived. Many wounded died later from the burns contracted by the pyroclastic cloud.

1980 Mount St Helens in the state of Washington had a devastating eruption that released as much energy as a 24 megaton nuclear weapon. The volcano lost 400m in height from the eruption that killed 62 people, two of them volcanologists. There was also extensive damage to the infrastructure in the area and road was blocked from the volcanic ashes released from the eruption. The area surrounding the volcano had been evacuated, a action that seriously reduced the loss of human lives.

1982 a volcanic eruptions at El Chichon in Mexico created a pyroclastic cloud that traveled downwards from all sides of the volcano and destroyed a number of villages, killing around 2000 people.

1985 the Nevado Del Ruiz volcanic eruption resulted in around 24.000 dead in Colombia. The Volcano melted ice and snow that resulted in devastating lahars that hit the areas and valleys surrounding the volcano. The lahars almost completely destroyed the city of Armero and more than half of the population was killed. A similar outbreak in the same location had taken place in 1895.

1986 in Cameron, Africa 1700 died after the volcanic activity at the Lake Nyos released high amounts of Gas. A high number of life stock died as well but there was no physical destruction like usually is associated with volcanic eruptions.

1991 The Japanese Volcano Unzen had another eruption that resulted in around 40 deaths.

1993 Galeras in Colombia had a sudden small eruption that resulted in the deaths of 6 scientists and 3 tourists.

2002 Mount Nyiragongo in Zaire, Africa had a eruption that sent lava flows through the city Goma. 45 died and over 100.000 homeless became homeless.

2010 A large volcanic eruption from a volcano under the glacier Eyjafjallajokull on Iceland has created a large cloud of volcanic ash that has resulted in severe problems for air traffic in large parts of Europe.

Risk and Survival
Volcanic eruptions is unpredictable events that can take place after thousands of years giving residents that surround them a sense of false security. If you live near a volcano I suggest you should take actions to understand the different kinds of risks that you may be facing. What history does the volcano have and what has these events resulted in? How are warnings given from local government agencies? Most volcanoes in the world are monitored by experts so eruptions can often be foreseen and the areas evacuated.

It’s very hard to shield from the devastating effects that a volcano can create so it is very important that you leave the area if you are in the proximity of a volcano when a warning about coming eruptions is given. It is common that people instead move to the area in order to see the visual effects of the eruption and thereby putting themselves in harm’s way. Volcanologists may often provide information that saves others but they are a group that especially find themselves at risks and deaths are common. Always takes warning serious and don’t wait to evacuate.

· During an evacuation scenario a Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag can be useful tools to help you deal with this type of situation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Natural Disasters - Tsunami

Tsunamis are enormous waves that can devastate coastlines and cause massive damage to both infrastructure and humans. Around 200 tsunamis were recorded from 1900-2000. The most common cause of a Tsunami is an earthquake under the sea. But all earthquakes do not result in tsunamis. Tsunamis can also be created by other sources than earthquakes like volcanic eruptions, landslides and impacts by space objects like asteroids. The water above the earthquake absorbs the energy and creating a tsunami. On the open ocean a tsunami wave is often not higher than a few meter, but when it reaches more shallow water of a coastline the wave can reach a height over ten meters. A Tsunami travels very fast over the open ocean, so the time before it strikes coastlines after an earthquake takes place can be short. A tsunami wave is not a short big wave but a very long wave that can cause devastation for up to half an hour before it goes away. The effects of Tsunamis are increased since a very high part of the human population in the world lives near coastlines. It’s also very common that people from other countries visit warm countries as tourists and spend their time near the beaches and coastlines.

Timeline and Historical Examples
During the 1755 Lisbon earthquake the city was not only affected by a devastating earthquake, tsunami waves also added to the destruction. Many from the city fled to the beaches only to be struck by these waves.

1883 There was an enormous volcanic eruptions on the island Krakatoa. The Eruption almost destroyed the entire island and the debris from the eruption created tsunami waves that killed many people far from the eruption. Over 30.000 are believed to have died from the eruption and the tsunami waves.

1896 A powerful earthquake took place outside the coast of Japan. The earthquake created a powerful Tsunami that killed around 25.000-30.000 people, destroyed around 10.000 homes and left many wounded.

1958 an earthquakes created a powerful tsunami that reached an enormous height in Lituya Bay, Alaska. A combination of factors resulted in the wave reaching a height of 520m in the bay.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake caused a tsunami that killed people in a number of place including Chile, Japan and Hawaii. 2000-6000 died and there was damage for hundreds of millions of dollars. Around 60 of the deaths were in Hawaii.

1964 the powerful earthquake on Good Friday resulted in Tsunami waves in Alaska that killed around 130 people, most of them for the tsunami waves. The tsunami also caused damage for millions of dollar in Canada.

1995 a Tsunami hit Japan resulting in around 6000 dead. The Tsunami was caused by an earthquake measuring 6,8 on the Richter Scale.

1998 an earthquake outside of Papua New Guinea caused an tsunami that killed around 2200, Many villages was destroyed and around 10.000 became homeless.

The 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean was caused by an earthquake with and magnitude of 9,1. The earthquake that caused the tsunami was the one of most powerful earthquake that’s ever been recorded. 13 countries were hit by the tsunami. Over 200.000 were killed as a direct effect, around two million became homeless and there was massive damage to infrastructure and the fishing industry. The exact number of dead will never be known, many of the dead may never be found as they were washed out into the ocean.

Survival and Preparedness
Some regions encounter tsunamis relatively often and have very well functioning systems for early warning. The Pacific Tsunami Warning System that is located on Hawaii is one example. If you live in an area where tsunamis are common make sure that you know how the warning systems operate. In some places high walls have been constructed to protect densely populated cities near the coat lines. A typical sign of tsunamis is that the water level in the ocean suddenly withdraws below normal low water levels. This is a typical warning sign and must be taken seriously at once. If a tsunami is about to hit you must get to the highest most stable ground that you find immediately.

During many of the historical tsunamis the damage caused has been relatively low compared to other natural disasters, but the 2004 event in the Indian Ocean was a drastic exception. In this case the damage caused was enormous and it took some time before the extent of the damage became clear for the people in charge of different national and international crisis management agencies.

The location of your home is a very important part if you live in an area that can be affected by a Tsunami. If your house is likely to be affected in case of a major tsunami, where do you seek cover and how will you get there? A house near the ocean may have a very nice view but the danger from possible tsunamis and hurricanes should be taken into account. These plans should be a part of your personal Risk Assessment.

Even if you are not directly affected by an Tsunami it can still cause disruptions to communications, transport and infrastructure. Having some basic items as your Every Day Carry or a Get Home Bag may provide you with the basic needs that you might need, light and some First Aid Supplies.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Natural Disasters - Earthquakes

Different types of Natural Disasters results in the death of thousands of people every year. This will be the first in a series of posts that will cover some of the Natural Disasters and the effects they have. In order to create a broader understanding of the risks involved a timeline with some historical examples will be presented. Among these natural disasters few can cause as much death and devastations as earthquakes. One very problematic aspect of earthquakes is that they are events that can occur only on a few times over many years. When they takes place they can have an enormously destructive effect and with no or little warning.

Earthquakes are normally generated because of earth movement along fault lines. The area surrounding The San Andreas Fault Line that passes through California is an especially high risk area in the United States. The cause for earthquakes has only recently been discovered and today the high risk areas for earthquakes are known. The forces from an earthquake can destroy building and infrastructure like roads, bridges, the electrical grid, sanitation and water supply. This can cause secondary effects like fires and outbreak of epidemics like cholera. The collapse of building and falling items is the most common cause of death resulting from an earthquake, around 90% of all deaths result from this.

There are some common scales that are used to measure the effect of earthquakes: The Richter Scale is one of the most well know. The Richter Scale is logarithmic, the difference between a level 4 and level 5 is ten times in strength, the difference between 4 and 6 is a hundred times in strength and the difference between 4 and 7 is a thousand to give some examples. The Movement Magnitude Scale is a more modern scale used to the magnitude of earthquake. The Mercalli Scale of Earthquake Intensity is a scale with the twelve steps that describes the destructive force of an earthquake where I on the scale normally aren’t felt by people and where XII equals almost total destruction. The epicenter of an earthquake is the geographical point where an earthquake is centered.

1755 An earthquake occurred on the first of November, “All Saints day” in Lisbon, Portugal. Many of the people in the city were in the churches when the earthquake hit. The churches were not built to withstand an earthquake and collapsed. Many of the building were destroyed and a devastating fire that lasted for days followed. Many fled to the shore for safety but were hit by tsunami waves created by the earthquake. Additional earthquakes would follow that further worsened the situation and laid many towns to waste. It’s believed that somewhere between 10.000-100.000 people lost their lives in this disaster.

1906 on April the 18th a devastating earthquake hit San Francisco. The earthquake rated 7,8 on the Richter scale. The devastating fire followed that lasted for three day, fighting the fire was also hard because of the lack of water. Over 3.000 died and around 250.000 people in San Francisco became homeless as a result.

1923 The Great Kantō earthquake hit Japan. 100.000-150.000 died from the devastating earthquake. The disaster took place during lunchtime; many used fire to prepare food a factor that worsened the fires that broke out. Around 2 million became homeless.

1964 One of the most powerful earthquakes in modern took place in Alaska on “Good Friday” March 27. Only around 100 people died from the earthquake in the low populated region.

1970 The worst natural disaster in the history of Peru too place in Nevados Huascaran. The earthquake triggered a massive landslide and 60.000-75.000 died as a result. Over one million people also became homeless.

1976 One of the worst earthquakes in history took place in Tangsan, China. Around 250.000 died and around 150.000 were injured. A combination of unsafe buildings and soil condition worsened the effect of the quake and left many of the survivors homeless.

1976 a devastating earthquake hit Guatemala. Around 22.000-23.000 died, over 70.000 was injured and thousands were left homeless after the earthquake that hit during the early morning when many were still asleep in their homes.

1976 just under 10.000 died from an earthquake in the Philippines

1978 a massive earthquake took place in Iran. The city Tabas was affected the worst, 75% of the people living in the city died leaving only around 4000 alive. Almost all of the healthcare personal and doctors died in the city adding to the desperate situation. Around 25.000 died in total.

1985 around 10.000-15.000 died from an earthquake that affected Mexico City. Mexico City is particular vulnerable to earthquakes because of the ground that the city rests on that easily can move during earthquakes.

1988 over 25.000 died from an earthquake in Armenia, then a part of the Soviet Union. The earthquake took place during the winter and many died from a result of the severe cold when their housing was destroyed. The city of Spitak was almost completely destroyed.

1990 Iran was affected by a powerful earthquake that resulted in 40.000-50.000 dead, around 60.000 wounded and many thousands homeless.

1993 just under 10.000 died from an earthquake in Marashtra, India

1995 around 6.500 died from an earthquake in Japan, most of them from the city Kobe. Around 200.000 buildings were destroyed along with major damage to the infrastructure. The poor district in Nagata Ward held many of the casualties from the earthquake, a combination of unsafe buildings and flammable chemicals used in for manufacturing of shoes worsened the situation in this area.

1999 a powerful earthquake hit Izmit in Turkey. Poorly constructed buildings and poverty worsened the effect of the earthquake that killed somewhere around 15.000, injured over 40.000 and left over 600.000 homeless.

1999 around 3500 people died from an earthquake in Nantou, Taiwan

2001 around 20.000 died from an earthquake in Gujarat, India during the 51st celebration of India’s Republic Day. Over 150.000 were injured and around half a million became homeless.

2003 a major earthquake affected Bam in Iran. The earthquake resulted in over 25.000 dead and around 30.000 injured. The effect was worsened because it took place during the night when many were sleeping. The United States offered assistance to Iran that was finally accepted, this was quite controversial because of the tension between Iran and the US after 9/11 2001.

2005 a major earthquake took place in the Pakistan part of Kashmir that left around 80.000 dead. India and Pakistan managed to cooperate despite the tensed situation between the countries over Kashmir and India helped to provided disaster relief.

2010 On the 12th of January a devastating earthquake took place in Haiti that may have been the deadliest earthquake in history. The death toll is now estimated to be around 200.000-300.000 people, with an additional 300.000 injured and over one million homeless. Haiti had long series of problem with poverty, internal conflict and unsafe building that worsened the effect of the earthquake.

Survival and Preparedness
The time when an earthquake takes place in critical, during night people are much more vulnerable when people are sleeping in their beds and vulnerable to collapsing buildings and falling items. If you live in a risk area for earthquakes the location where you live and the building where you live is critical for your security. Housing that’s not earthquake resistant may literally become a deathtrap. In general housing in low income and poor areas are affected the worst since they often can have a lack of maintenance and less secure building codes. The slums in urban areas or low income countries are classic examples. High Income Countries are often much less affected than low income countries that both have a more vulnerable infrastructure and less resources to manage a disaster. Aftershocks after a first earthquake can cause already damaged building to collapse.

Other secondary effects can be that law enforcement can’t control the situation in an area; plundering, looting and general lawlessness can follow. Normally countries from all around the world will send Search And Rescue Teams (SART) to an affected area, but this is almost like sending an ambulance from oversea. Most of the victims trapped under collapsed buildings will be dead before the SART will arrive. So even they can save some individuals this is a very costly operation that often don’t give big results. The local resources are often the resources that can make the biggest difference. After a few day international organizations like the UN, aid agencies from different nations and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO:s) will start to arrive. These organization will do what they can to help but if you ever find yourself in the aftermath of a major earthquake you must understand there may be a long time before help arrives and that the needs will be greater than any can master in short period of time.

· Make sure that there is no heavy items that can fall down and cause damage, especially over or around your bed.

· The access to water and sanitation may be limited and the risk of epidemics is high – especially for cholera. Having some water stored, an emergency toilet, hand disinfection, water purification filter, water purification tablets, bleach and a first aid kit can make a big difference.

· For search and rescue after a disaster items like flashlights, headlights, heavy duty leather work gloves, protective footwear, helmet and so on can be good items to have. If you would like to be a resource after a earthquake or other disaster I recommend that you join a CERT team, some kind of first responder unit or the Red Cross so that you can get some professional training. A fire extinguisher and fireproof blanket are effective items in cases where earthquakes results in fire.

· In some cases warning of coming earthquakes can be given by government agencies. If you receive a warning take some extra action, fill up some extra water containers and check your equipment. Taking down items for shelves like books and hanging items can also be a good idea.

· During some cases it may become necessary to evacuate and affected area, a Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag can be useful tools to help you deal with this type of scenario.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Survivalist Boards

I would like to take the opportunity to recommend the forum The Survivalist Boards (SB). This forum is most likely the largest survivalist and preparedness forum on the web with thousands of members from all over the world with the motto “Endure, Adapt, Overcome” . The Forum contains threads about most survival related topics, advice and reviews on equipment and many other topics. The Forum is organized in different categories with General Information, Man-Made and Natural Disasters, Wilderness Survival, Urban Survival, Financial Information, Farming, Health and Firearms. The forum also has special sections for women, general discussions and jokes. The Forum recently introduced the “The Dark Side” where very few restrictions for language and content, a section disliked by some and loved by others. There is information on SB that would interest most people how are interested in survival and crisis preparedness, the only down part is that it can be hard to find the relevant post and threads when much information tend to be flooded in the large amount of posts and threads. Kev the founder of SB also has a channel on You Tube  and a Blog  where he present reviews on survival equipment and survival advice.

This month Survivalist Boards is holding a competition with Safecastle Royal Buyers Club  for its American and Canadian members. The value of the products is around 6000 dollars and the prices ranges from water purification filters to books, emergency ration, knives, solar chargers and grain mills. Safecastle is one of many stores that have started to specialize in selling equipment for survival and crisis situations, other stores is for example Red Barn and The Ready Store. This seems to be a rapidly increasing market where many high quality items can be found. The internet stores often provide low prices, however I recommend that you look for reviews on equipment and if possible check it out at a regular store before you make your purchases.