Emergency Preparedness in the Copper Basin

My concerns for safety and security in the Kearny area.
No matter what plans you make; changes in your family, living conditions, and location means you need to re-evaluate your plan. What you store, how you store it, and where you store it depends on your plan, your living conditions, and financial security.

01 March 2011

Do you really know how to Forward e-mails?

Do you really know how to forward e-mails?

You might be asking yourself "What does this have to do with preparedness?" It's a valid question and here is the valid answer: If you can't protect yourself and others from spam, how can you protect them from anything else? If you are too lazy to take electronic security seriously then you are most likely to lazy to be taking other forms of security seriously too.

This was written by a System Administrator for a corporate system. It is an excellent message that ABSOLUTELY applies to ALL of us who send e-mails. Please read the short letter below ..

Do you really know how to forward e-mails? 50% of us do; 50% DO NOT!

Do you wonder why you get viruses or excessive amounts of junk mail (Spam)? Do you hate it? Every time you forward an e-mail there is information left over from the people who received the message before you and sent it to you, namely their e-mail addresses and names. As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds. All it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every e-mail address that has come across their computer. Or, someone can take all of those addresses and send junk mail to them or sell the addresses to spammers in the hope that you will go to the site and they will make five cents for each hit that they sell. That's right, all of that inconvenience over a nickel and because someone included visible e-mail addresses in his or her Forwarded message!

How do you stop it? Well, there are two easy steps:

1) When you Forward an e-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top). That's right, DELETE them. Highlight them and delete them or backspace them or cut them --whatever it is that you know how to do. (If you don't know how to perform at least one of these simple operations. LEARN!) It only takes a second. You MUST click the "Forward" button first though; then you will have full Editing capabilities for the body and headers of the message. If you don't click on "Forward" first, you won't be able to Edit the message at all.

(I find this a great time to correct spelling and remove, those pesky "send this to 10 friends and your wish will come true" false promises. If the message is very messy, drop it into Word or WordPad/Notepad or whatever word processor you use. Editing within a word processing program is much easier than performing editing operations within the body of an e-mail message.)

(2) Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, DO NOT use the To: or Cc: options for adding e-mail addresses. Always use the BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy) option for listing the e-mail addresses of the folks you want to send the message to. This way the people you send to only see their own e-mail address and no one else's. If you don't see your BCC: option, click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it. It's that easy!!!

When you send to BCC: (and leave the To: line blank) your message will automatically say "Undisclosed Recipients" in the "To:" field of the people who receive it, providing extra security and privacy to all the people in your Address Book.

(3) Remove any "FW:" in the subject line. You can re-name the subject if you wish or even correct spelling.

(4) ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual e-mail you are reading. Ever get those e-mails that you have to open 10 or 15 or 20FW: pages to read the one page with the information on it? By Forwarding from the actual final page you wish someone to view, prevent their having to open multiple e-mails just to see what you sent. (Many people will not open all those emails for fear of getting a virus; so your message may go unread.)

Have you ever received an email that is a petition? It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to Forward it to a number of people or your entire Address Book. The email can be Forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and email addresses.

FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses contained therein. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient(s). Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and email address on a petition - and, again, you will protect the privacy of those in your Address Book and provide them additional security against viruses and spammers.

Regarding petitions: Be aware, that the government (federal, state, and local) and most legitimate organizations completely disregard email petitions. In order for a petition to have value and be acted upon, it is necessary to have LIVE, verifiable signatures, usually with the signer’s legitimate mailing address.

So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses by working together and respecting the privacy and security of one another.

Finally, here's an idea!!!
Let's send this to everyone we know (but PLEASE strip my address out first).
This is something that SHOULD be forwarded.

03 January 2011

The Lowly .22

Today I'm ignoring other post ideas and I'm going to say something about the .22 caliber rifle.

If you don't have one, you're wrong!

That's all...

Well, no, that's not all. Why do I believe you should have a .22 rifle? Because it is inexpensive and useful. I don't have one, I have 2! The same model as well. Interchangeable parts are nice. I also have lots and lots of .22 rounds.

Now to the reasons. First, it is inexpensive. And so is the ammo. And if you need to shoot mangy dogs or drive off pesky varmints, the .22 is much cheater than most other 'varmint' loads. After all I can buy .22s for about the cost as 40 .223 rounds and since I'm not sniping groundhogs at 600m I get the same results...

You can hunt with a $115 .22 rifle.
You can keep critters out of your garden with a $115 .22 rifle.
You can train yourself and others in basic marksmanship with a $115 .22 Rifle.
You can even protect yourself with a $115 .22 rifle.

Sure, you can do all this with your $4000 AR, but why? Why not have a nice, easy to maintain .22 rifle in the closet(by closet I mean gun safe) that will enable you do do many of the exact same activities where you would use the more expensive rifles and ammunition.

Think about it. Now if you don't have a .22 rifle, go buy one at your choice of stores (except Target, how ironic is that...) and be sure to stock up on bricks of ammo.

02 May 2010

Seed Banks

This is not an advertisement for or against seed banks, only some things to think about for your own emergency preparedness.

I've seen and hear commercials for emergency seed banks for a while now and there is a big misconception in the public about them. Here is a link to an article that is quite alarmist in it's description of seed banks and why we need them: Don't be alarmed!

The biggest problem with these seed banks is that they are not controlled by you! What good are seed banks that are controlled by the very institutions that are manipulating world markets for their own ends?

This brings us to personal seed banks. There are plenty of sites on the interwebs that will happily sell you personal emergency seed banks, but buyer beware. Not all seed banks are created equal.

When considering a seed bank there are a couple of things you need to consider. First is "Are the seeds hybrids or Heirloom? You might be wondering what the difference is. It's simple: Heirloom varieties produce fruits and vegetables with seeds that can be replanted the next season to grow more fruits and vegetables, while the seeds from Hybrid plants will not produce more food. So while hybrid seeds may produce wonderful vegetables and fruits this season, the seeds from those those fruits and vegetables either will not produce at all, or will produce a weak version. This is how seed companies mean it to be. They can't make money if you can just replant every year.

Here is a website for a heritage seed bank that is advertised on several conservative talk shows. The seed banks look pretty pricey, but when you start comparing them to 'over the counter' seed packs, they aren't so bad...

The 2nd important issue to consider is are the seeds suitable for your climate, soil, and water. It does you no good to have 300 corn seeds that can't grow in the Arizona heat. Look for varieties that are 'native' to Arizona.

The 3rd issue with seed banks is where do you store it. Do you hide it in a wall, bury it in the back yard, stick it in with your food storage? Would you want to take it with you if you had to leave your home due to an emergency or forced evacuation? What are you going to store the seeds in and how long can they be stored?

The last issue to consider when buying a seed bank is: What the hell are you going to do with it if you don't currently have a garden? All the seeds in the world do you no good if you have never planted a garden, especially in Arizona. So start now! You don't have to till 20 acres, you can always start small and simple. Square Foot Gardening Is pretty simple and removes the need to till up and prepare your soil for years before you can actually grow anything. Another simple form of gardening is Strawbale gardening. You can start small with both and build up over time.

Well I'm done. I only hope this wasn't too confusing...

19 November 2009

First aid kits

If you don’t have a personal first aid kit, you should have one.  You should have one in your car, one in your camping gear, one at work, one you carry with you at all times.  Having a single personal first aid kit as an essential emergency preparedness tool is the very minimum you should have.  Having one personal first aid kit per family member is very important, since it is easy to become separated in an emergency.
But more important than having a first aid kit is knowing how to use what is inside.  You can have the best first aid kit on the planet, but if you don’t know how to use it, that wonder of modern salesmanship does you no good.  You need to train in first aid so that you can use what you store.  This doesn’t mean you should become an EMT, but you should know enough to perform basic life saving on an injured individual.
When shopping for a first aid kit there are 2 basic types advertised: Boo boo kits, and Custom kits.
Boo-boo kits are small, portable first aid kits you find in that you find in pharmacies and big box stores like Walgreen’s or Wal-Mart.  These are not much more than fancy boxes of bandaids with a few other items thrown in.
Custom kits are available on many websites, from military wannabees to outdoor adventure.  Many of these kits are either fancy boo-boo kits or very advanced (and extremely expensive) kits aimed at professional paramedics.

A Balance:
So what you need is a balance, you need the equipment and tools that you have trained with and you need the common first aid supplies that are fine for everyday use.  My first aid kit is a 16inch gate mouth tool bag I bought at Wal-Mart, it includes things like bandaids, single use triple anti-biotic thingies, 70SPF sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitizer, Nitrile gloves, aspirin, acetaminophen, and assorted pills for sinus headache, diarrhea, heartburn, gas, and motion sickness.  I also have 2’x2’ and 4’x’4 gauze pads and 4’x’4 wound toppers.  I have 2 pair of scissors, eyewash, saline wound irrigation, a couple of chemlights, and usually a flashlight, (my flashlight seems to be AWOL at the moment.)  I have been trained in the use of everything in my bag and some items I don’t have.  So pack the items you know how to use and then get more training and improve your first aid kit.
Training doesn’t have to be expensive, take the Red Cross first aid classes if available.  Buy some books on the subject.  (I suggest FM-21-11 First Aid for Soldiers for beginners and the ST 31-91B US Army Special Forces Medical Handbook for the more advanced.  The former covers everything from putting on a bandaid and lancing a blister to splinting broken limbs and gunshot wounds.  The latter goes even farther into delivering babies and diagnosing common battlefield diseases.)  You could even help the Boy Scouts by buying the First Aid merit badge books and teaching Scouts at the same time.  There are plenty of opportunities.

03 September 2009


Here in the copper basin we live in a desert. We either have to much water or to little water, rarely do we get just the right amount of water. This leads to one of my biggest concerns, drinking water. What would we do for drinking water if there was a sustained loss of electricity? How much water is in those big tanks above Kearny and just how long would it last, even under restricted usage?

What? You say you have your own well? That's wonderful, but will it run without electricity? Do you have a water tank or just a pressure tank? A well without the ability to get the water to you is just an expensive hole in the ground.

Sure we have the Gila and San Padro, but just how much effort would be required to get that water from the river to your house and would you really like to drink it?

My family has around 100 2-liter bottles filled with tap water for short term emergencies and we also have a 55-gal ABS drum full of tap water for cooking and cleaning. But that wouldn't last more than a couple of weeks of sustained use. I can 'shower' using 2 2-liter bottles, can you? Do you even have water stored for emergencies?

This doesn't even take into account flushing the toilet. Scary thoughts when so much is going on in our world and fewer and fewer things are under your direct control any more.

I don't have a solution for my water problem yet, but i'm still looking and my mind is always turning this problem over. But you should be thinking about this as well because your solution to your water problem may not be suitable for me and my water problem.

26 February 2009

It's not a 72-hour kit

The concept of a 72-hour kit is to provide necessary items in an emergency situation when you have to leave your home without prior notice. The reason for leaving isn't important.

This isn't about the 72-hour kit.

This is a kit of useful items to be stored in your vehicle for as variety of situations including accident (yours or someone else's), mechanical difficulties, or poor judgment.

The List:
  • Water: Arizona is a desert and being stranded anywhere without water can be a death sentence. We can get a long without food for a couple of weeks, but as little as 1 day without water can be the end.
  • Reflective Triangles: warn other drivers of difficulties. These should be used according to the instructions of the package.
  • Flares: warn other drivers of difficulties or signal potential rescuers. While other drivers may ignore triangles, burning fire in the road is a different matter. Use flares sparingly and only when other items just don't do the trick.
  • Ductape: useful in making emergency repairs of many types.
  • First Aid Kit: For performing first aid on others. Your kit should be based on your skill at first aid. It doesn't do any good to have first aid supplies you can't use.
  • Flashlight: so you can see in the dark. Remember to keep extra batteries and a spare bulb.
  • Basic tools: Cressent wrench, Channel locks, Vise grips, hammer, screwdrivers, jumper cables.
This is by no means a comprehensive list and the items you keep in your vehicle should be based on your needs and abilities. Remember, this isn't just for when you have an emergency, but to assist others in their emergency.

How you store your kit is also important. Letting your stuff roll around freely in the bed of your truck will probably mean useless gear when you need it. I suggest a wide mouth bag or duffle for loose items like tools, and ductape. A first aid kit should be in it's own secure container in an easily accessible part of the vehicle, like the glove box or under a front seat. Flares are sensitive to damage and should be stored in a hard sided container.

Once you have you chosen kit assembled and stored in your vehicle be sure to inspect it regularly. Water should be replaced on a regular schedule. Other items may have expiration dates. And items like ductape will lose their usefulness after a few seasons of hot and cold. Do not risk your life on items that you haven't seen in 3 years, check your gear at least yearly to make sure everything is there and in working order.

The reason:
In Arizona it is the law that the first person to arrive at the scene of an accident must stop and render aid. This doesn't mean pulling an injured person from a vehicle and performing life saving first aid, but you are required to stop, even if it's only to stand up the road a ways and warn people that there has been an accident. We should be prepared to render aid as we can, even if it's only giving a stranded motorist a drink of water and helping them change a tire or patching a radiator hose with ductape and filling the radiator so they can drive to the next town.
You can save a life with even simple actions, but you can't help if you are helpless yourself.

A story:
I was on my way back from the valley one day when I came across a van at the top of the divide between Kearny and Superior. They had overheated and were stuck at the top of the pass and needed water. For some reason I hadn't replaced the 2 gallons of water I normally carry for just such an emergency and couldn't help them. All I could do was drive into town and notify DPS that people were stranded there. If I had had water they would have been good to go, but because I had let it slide, they had to wait for other help.

The Idea for this post was supplied by Jerry Magee.

06 February 2009

Overall Preparedness

No matter what plans you make; changes in your family, living conditions, and location means you need to re-evaluate your plan.

As children grow older, their needs change. The supplies needed to care for an infant are significantly different from those of a 3 year old or a 15 year old.

When you move to or from an urban area, your needs change.

What you store, how you store it, and where you store it depends on your plan and your living condition and financial security.

Should I stay or should I go? Going.

Fleeing the Scene:*

If you live where natural disasters like flooding or wildfire is a regular threat, you should be prepared to move your family to a safer location. This safer location can be a friend or neighbor's house, a family member's home, a hotel or motel, or a church building.

Leaving your home does not always mean leaving your community. Plan for various scenarios including moving to higher ground, moving to a safe area within your community, moving to your family to a nearby community, or relocating to a distant community. Before moving your family, be sure that you can legally move to a safe area, some areas may be off limits to civilians during an emergency.

Each plan should include a list of:
1) Who is going.
2) Where they are going.
3) What you are taking with you.
4) How you are getting there (Vehicle & Route.)

Each plan should be brief and concise. Spell out in plain language what each family member is responsible for. An unclean plan is worse than no plan. Don't use your sister's cousin's roommate's plan. Your plan should be based on the needs and resources of your family.

Once you have your plan you should:

A) Share it with others.
  1. All children in the family should know where to go in case of emergency. Will you pick them up from school or work, do they come home, or do they go to a specified rally point? Be sure everyone knows where they are supposed to go.
  2. Notify family members or friends if your plan involves staying at their house. Going to stay at your mother-in-laws place during a flood? Make sure she knows this so you don't show up to find her gone because she fled the scene.
  3. If your plans change, let those involved know about the changes. Nothing makes people worry when you don't show up because you changed your plan and went somewhere else.
B) Be sure of your destination before you leave. Again, if you show up at a house where they have been evacuated you will not be a happy camper.

C) Make sure you can get there. Since road and traffic conditions can change quickly.

D) Have at least one alternate route to your desired destination.

E) Be prepared to stay. Even if you are invited to leave, circumstances may arise that make your destination undesirable.

  • The natural disaster that affects you is also affecting your destination.
  • Your destination is being affected by a different disaster, caused in part by your disaster. Refugees can be a disaster for an unprepared area.(think Murder-Dome during Katrina.)
Remember that as your family changes, so do your needs. Update your plan at least yearly.

*This is not an official Gov't term...

Should I stay or Should I go? Staying.

This is a discussion about Sheltering in Place.

Sheltering in Place is a concept that revolves around staying in your home during an emergency. Since your home is where you have all your stuff, it is the best place to be during a crisis. This is the most desired response to Natural or Man-made disasters. When Sheltering in place each family stays in their homes during the disaster.

To shelter in place you need to prepare to do so. This means having the materials to survive for 3 months or more. This includes, but is not limited too, food, water, commodities, fuel, and clothing. This does not mean boarding yourself in your home like it is some kind of Apocalyptic bunker, but providing a safe and comfortable place for your family.

Sheltering in place does not include mulishly staying put despite encroaching dangers like fire, flood, mudslides, looters, or disease. There are times when we must leave no matter how much we may believe we can tough it out.

Any personal and family preparedness plan should include plans to shelter in place and to leave because the nature of a disaster may require you to leave and to leave without your accumulated goods.

What do you need to shelter in Place? Well that all depends on yo0ur family. Make a list of what your family consumes in food and commodities (like toilet paper) in a months time. Now triple it. This is the basic requirement.

There are other things you might not think of like power or fuel. How are you going to prepare or cook your food without electricity or gas? Both of these could be cut off for a long period of time during an emergency, even if your immediate area is not directly effected.

Do you have enough drinking water for your entire family? Do you have enough water for food preparation and cleaning up? The likely hood of having potable water if the electricity if off is a factor on how much water you need to keep in your home.

Food should be food your family eats regularly. Most canned food has a shelf life of 5 years and frozen food is good until it's not frozen any more. Dehydrated food is hit or miss, try something before you invest in half a ton.

Commodities like toilet paper, bath soap, kitchen soap, other cleaning agents will all store in out of the way places and you never know when you won't be able to get more.

Remember that as your family changes your needs will also change, so update yearly at the very least.