In 1998, after the Clinton regime spent five years eviscerating our intelligence and military capabilities, The Patriot Post strongly encouraged that our readers prepare for emerging threats -- particularly terrorism against domestic targets. We emphasized that individual and family preparedness is the critical foundation of community recovery efforts in any crisis, and published our first preparedness recommendations.
In October of 1999 The Patriot Post noted, while we did not predict ANY critical failures at the dawn of the year 2000, Y2K was a catalyst for a renewed interest in preparedness to mitigate the emerging threats to continuity of commerce and government posed by terrorist groups targeting the U.S. To facilitate that preparedness, we published a three part series on family and community preparedness.
In Part 1 ("Who Ya Gonna Call?"), The Patriot Post stressed that the emerging terrorist threats are a strong rationale for preparedness. In Part 2 of this series (excerpted below), The Patriot Post emphasized that individual, family and community preparedness is the critical foundation of regional or national recovery efforts, noting that no level of government has the ability to provide the basic needs of an entire region of the country for more than seven days. In Part 3 of this series (reprinted below), The Patriot Post provided a detailed preparedness assessment so our readers could determine their level of readiness and take appropriate action.
Part 2 -- Why prepare?
Obviously, after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, our countrymen are aware that catastrophic attacks on our nation can occur with little notice, and, thus we need to be prepared.
Our homeland is now a frontline in the war with Jihadistan, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists with global reach, inhabited by al-Qa'ida and other Islamists who are targeting the U.S. The "Islamic World" of the Quran recognizes no political borders. While orthodox Muslims (those conforming to the teachings of the "pre-Medina" Quran) do not support acts of terrorism or mass murder, very large sects within the Islamic world are indoctrinated with the "post-Mecca" Quran and Hadith (Mohammed's teachings), which call for "Jihad" or "Holy War" against all "the enemies of God."
Hence why The Patriot Post terms this enemy without borders "Jihadistan," or "nation of holy war." Al-Qa'ida terrorist cell networks and, equally threatening, thousands of "American" Islamist sympathizers, now combine to represent Jihadistan's "enemy within."
"The American people must understand this war on terrorism will be fought on a number of fronts, in different ways," said President George Bush after 9-11. "The front lines will look different from the wars of the past."
There is an overriding public assumption, even among many elected officials at local and state levels, that the central government is prepared to respond to the emerging terrorist threats and provide the major material assistance for recovery. In fact, the central government is NOT prepared to respond, other than to provide coordination and some initial relief efforts, and the central government has very limited material stores to support recovery. At present levels of response readiness -- civilian and military -- there are very limited food, water and energy delivery systems for a contaminated region. And our medical capabilities are limited to the provision of basic needs for a few thousand victims under the best circumstances.
So, while we don't like to answer a question with a question, when answering "Why prepare?" we invoke the theme song from the movie "Ghost Busters" -- "Who ya gonna call?" -- particularly if the primary technique for protecting your family is sheltering in place?
Given the imminent threat of catastrophic terrorism, we again encourage our readers to prepare your family and, if you can muster the resources, your church or community, to be self-sustaining in the event your region is targeted by terrorists.
The ABCs of NBCWMD
While the attacks of 9-11-01 were devastating, they were very limited in their scope. As weapons, fueled commercial aircraft are capable of killing only those citizens who are within a perimeter of a few hundred yards from the point of impact. The attacks were not a threat to lives across the nation or even in a major region. However, our intelligence sources tell us that far more devastating weapons are, or soon will be, at the disposal of Jihadistan's domestic al-Qa'ida terrorist cells. Specifically, we are referring to nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
As President George Bush stated in his 2003 SOTU: "It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."
The next tier of attacks, we estimate, may be similar to 9-11 in that there will be multiple targets and that the attacks will occur in a narrow time frame for maximum effect. However, we expect them to differ in that they may not be conventional -- that is to say the next attacks will involve NBCWMD with the objective of substantially disrupting continuity of government and commerce over wide geographic regions.
The highly technical detonation of a nuclear weapon can kill regionally, but currently, nukes are the least accessible of the NBC trio. However, we note that the al-Qa'ida terrorist cells would not hesitate to detonate a fission weapon in a U.S. urban center, and they already have the technology and materials necessary to detonate a radiation dispersion device ("dirty bomb").
The relatively low-tech use of biological weapons -- particularly the spread of viral killers like smallpox or the distribution of anthrax via many delivery mechanisms -- can kill large numbers of Americans. There is increasing evidence that Iraq has already supplied al-Qa'ida terrorist cells in the U.S. with biological weapons.
Though chemical weapons are also low-tech and the most accessible of the NBC trio, they tend to be very limited in their application and thus, limited in scope.
Take Action Now!
While Jihadistan's first weapon of choice in a "holy war" against the United States would be nuclear, based on current accessibility a weapon from Iraq's biological inventory would be their second choice -- a communicable disease or the use of an agent like anthrax to shut down regional government and economic sectors. One primary method for mitigating the spread of a biological organism is sheltering in place -- quarantine. Adequate preparation for sheltering in place also prepares your family for terrorist attacks that disrupt the delivery of goods and services.
What follows are the basic steps necessary to protect and provide for your family in the event elect to shelter in place, or a crisis interrupts the distribution of goods and services for an extended period of time. Preparing to protect and provide for your family is prudent, and it is not difficult. We encourage you to take the simple steps outlined below.
Part 3 -- Preparedness Plan
After careful deliberation, the USEPRPC recommends that every individual or family be able to sustain itself for a minimum of six weeks (considering that most households have the ability to be self-sustaining for all occupants for up to two weeks). Don't forget your contingency plan for how to get home from work.
To begin this process, you'll need to take an assessment of your home provisions and family requirements, and how dependent those provisions and requirements are on functioning power and communication grids and the normal distribution of basic necessities. Some items, such as food, are obvious; others are not. Tour your home with a notebook, and list, room-by-room, those items that are essential if you could not restock them for up to six weeks (considering that most households have the ability to be self-sustaining for up to two weeks). You may also want to prioritize your list so you can stock up on high priority items first. To help you logically think through this process, here are the most important areas of consideration.
Establishing your family emergency response plan
One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for emergencies is to develop a household emergency response plan. Learn about the natural disasters that could occur in your community from your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter. Learn whether hazardous materials are produced, stored or transported near your area. Learn about possible consequences of deliberate acts of terror. Ask how to prepare for each potential emergency and how to respond. Talk with employers and school officials about their emergency response plans. Talk with your household about potential emergencies and how to respond to each. Talk about what you would need to do in an evacuation. Plan how your household would stay in contact if you were separated. Identify two meeting places: the first should be near your home -- in case of fire, perhaps a tree or a telephone pole; the second should be away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Pick a friend or relative who lives out of the area for household members to call to say they are okay. Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room. Post emergency telephone numbers by telephones. Teach children how and when to call 911. Make sure everyone in your household knows how and when to shut off water, gas, and electricity at the main switches. Consult with your local utilities if you have questions. Take a first aid and CPR class. Local American Red Cross chapters can provide information. Official certification by the American Red Cross provides "good Samaritan" law protection for those giving first aid.
Reduce the economic impact of disaster on your property and your household's health and financial well-being. Review property insurance policies before disaster strikes -- make sure policies are current and be certain they meet your needs (type of coverage, amount of coverage, and hazard covered -- flood, earthquake) Protect your household's financial well-being before a disaster strikes -- review life insurance policies and consider saving money in an "emergency" savings account that could be used in any crisis. It is advisable to keep a small amount of cash or traveler's checks at home in a safe place where you can quickly gain access to it in case of an evacuation. Be certain that health insurance policies are current and meet the needs of your household.
Consider ways to help neighbors who may need special assistance, such as the elderly or the disabled. Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. Service animals for those who depend on them are allowed.
Prepare to Shelter in Place. Sometimes disasters make it unsafe for people to leave their residence for extended periods. Winter storms, floods, bio-threats like pandemics or terrorist attacks may isolate individual households and make it necessary for each household to take care of its own needs until the disaster abates. Sheltering in place is a critical preparedness capability, particularly if there is a biological threat that requires quarantine. (See Mark Alexander's column, "Pandemic kills ??? million worldwide...".) Your household should be prepared to be self-sufficient for three days when cut off from utilities and from outside supplies of food and water. Stay in your shelter until local authorities say it's okay to leave. The length of your stay can range from a few hours to a few weeks. Maintain a 24-hour communications and safety watch. Take turns listening for radio broadcasts. Watch for fires.
Water is critical for survival. An average consumption of water per person, per day is one gallon. This is for drinking and food preparation. The average person should drink between two and two-and-one-half quarts of water or other liquids per day, but many people need more. This will depend on age, physical activity, physical condition and time of year. An additional one gallon per person is estimated if you include washing of dishes or clothes. It is surprising how much water we use because we expect it to always be there when we turn the handle. Carbonated beverages do not meet drinking-water requirements. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.
Water can be stored several different ways. At the time of an emergency, you can fill clean bathtubs with water. If you have a swimming pool its water can be considered for use in an emergency. Also, water can be stored in 55-gallon clean, food-grade drums available at chemical companies or even in rinsed-out 2-liter soda bottles. If you store water for a long time, you'll need to safeguard it against bacteria by adding scent-free bleach to the water. A 2-liter bottle of water needs 4 drops of bleach; a 55-gallon drum needs 10 teaspoons of bleach. If you are using water from a tub or pool, boiling the water before consumption would be best if you have a power source. If you have a water source available, purchase of a water purifier may be a wise investment. They range from $35 to $300 depending on the volume you wish to purify before changing the filter. Choose a water purifier that can filter up to 0.002 microns. And remember, in an emergency, swimming pools provide a source of water that must be filtered, and your home hot water heater provides a source of ready to use water.
In addition to stored water, other sources include: Melted ice cubes. Water drained from the water heater faucet, if the water heater has not been damaged. Water dipped from the flush tanks (not the bowls) of home toilets. Bowl water can be used for pets. Liquids from canned goods such as fruit and vegetable juices. With appropriate purification, water runoff from roofs can be made potable, and swimming pool water can be used for cleaning.
After water provisions, food is the next most important concern, and will take careful planning. Don't expect to stock up on necessary food supplies the day after a crisis occurs. Because of "just in time" inventories, stores no longer maintain more than one or two days of shelf inventories. In other words, the shelves will be empty in the first hour of a crisis. One method for accumulating a food surplus is to purchase extra quantities of your family's favorite foods -- preferably on sale -- when doing your regular grocery shopping. Be sure to purchase food types that will store well. A cool, dark place is best for food storage and will extend its shelf life by almost double. Canned food can usually keep up to two years, however, if you purchase food you already like and eat, then rotating your food putting the newest purchases to the back will keep your food at it's best when you need it. Having extra pasta, rice and beans, canned meats and vegetables will require storage space, but these basics are essential in an emergency. Don't forget infant formula. Those who want food that lasts longer may consider dehydrated, freeze-dried foods or MRE's (meals ready to eat). These are generally available in camping stores or catalogs. They are expensive, but their shelf life is 10-15 years. Of course, existing perishables and pantry foods should be consumed before long-term stores.
Consider the establishment of a safe room in the event of a chemical or biological attack. Have duct tape, scissors and plastic for doors, windows and vents for the room in which you will shelter in place -- this should be an internal room where you can block out air that may contain hazardous chemical or biological agents. To save critical time during an emergency, sheeting should be pre-measured and cut for each opening. If sheltering in place is not necessary, have a plan with your neighbors or extended family to combine your families into one or two houses so that you can work together.
4. POWER AND HEAT
Take inventory of heat and power sources in your home. If your central gas or electric heat system is not operational, do you have a fireplace and wood to burn? If possible, the installation of a wood-burning heater in your fireplace provides an excellent alternative heat source. Make sure you have the obvious -- extra warm clothing and blankets. Without electricity, what source of power would you use for lights, cooking, or running essential equipment? Consider the basics such as batteries for flashlights and propane for outdoor grills or camping stoves. Should you purchase a generator to power your refrigerator or the electric blower on your wood heater? Keep in mind, your emergency planning committee recommends enough supplies to sustain your family for at least six weeks.
5. HEALTH AND MEDICATIONS
If you or a family member have specific medical needs or medication requirements, check with your doctor about having enough supplies on hand for an additional six weeks. Be sure to check for expiration dates on medications and rotate your supply so that you use the ones with the most recent expiration first. You should maintain a good supply of basic antibiotics to treat secondary infections as many deaths related to pandemics are caused by secondary rather infections rather than the primary virus. Consult with your physician about appropriate antibiotics and other medicines for problems such as infection, urinary and digestive problems, etc., and have plenty of the basics -- vitamins, antioxidants, ibuprofen, aspirin and other basic remedies. Also, purchase or put together as comprehensive a first aid kit as possible along with an instruction book to administer first aid in an emergency. Get hard copies of your medical file, x-rays, etc. so that you or someone else can have a comprehensive knowledge of your medical history. Another consideration in this area is supplies for sanitary needs: diapers, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, etc. If the water is working, waste disposal may not be a problem. If water (incoming) is a problem, putting undrinkable or wash water into the toilet may still allow it to "flush". If you wish to think beyond this possibility, consider purchasing a portable toilet (camping item).
Your kit should contain at a minimum:First aid manual, Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes, Assorted sizes of safety pins, Cleansing agents (isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide)/soap/germicide, Antibiotic ointment, Latex gloves (2 pairs), Petroleum jelly, 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6 each size), Triangular bandages (3), 2-inch and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls each), Cotton balls, Scissors, Tweezers, Needle, Moistened towelettes, Antiseptic, Thermometer, Tongue depressor blades (2), Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant, Sunscreen, Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lens, Aspirin and nonaspirin pain reliever, Antidiarrhea medication, Antacid (for stomach upset), Syrup of ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the poison control center), Laxative, Vitamins.
6. COMMUNICATION AND TOOLS
Most people think of radios when the power is out and hopefully that will continue to be a good source of information. Be sure to have a battery-operated radio and a large store of batteries. Keep a set of handheld two-way radios on hand and a NOAA weather band radio. You will also need to keep on hand a well supplied household tool box, available for purchase if you don't maintain your own house.
Gas pumps don't work without electricity. If you could not obtain gasoline for a period of time, what would be the alternatives? In a catastrophic emergency, you probably would be making few, if any trips anywhere unless you needed to relocate to a safer destination. Discuss with your family and friends what they plan to do in an emergency.
8. COMMUNITY AND ENTERTAINMENT
Talk about emergency preparedness with your church leadership and neighbors. You can pool your resources and abilities to help each other. Above all, encourage neighborhood preparedness and avoid the "bunker mentality." Opt instead to be prepared for assisting others who may not have taken the necessary steps to prepare as outlined in these recommendations. The Patriot Post Advisory Committee has an abiding faith in the good people of our great nation -- our ability to come together to serve one another in times of tragedy or crisis. Plan for life without television or computer if you can! Remember board games and cards? Some of this emergency thinking can actually lead to family togetherness!!
9. ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
Self-Defense -- before all else, the ability to defend your family and community is essential. The Patriot Post advocates -- consistent with the Constitutional mandate for the militia -- that all households should have at least one knowledgeable user of firearms and the appropriate arms and ammunition. In a major threat condition, combine your families or neighbors into a central location so that you can work together for security and safety.
Currency -- Banks may be closed. What will you use for negotiable currency? We suggest the acquisition of hard assets in negotiable forms. Un-circulated silver dimes, quarters and half-dollars are an easily recognizable form or currency with intrinsic value.
And a final note
Remain vigilant -- a patriot first -- in any national crisis. There is great opportunity mischief of all sorts when a society is under duress.