Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Will Radiation from Japan be a problem here?

Just in case you have been under a rock and missed the whole Japan quake/tsunami/nuclear plant meltdown in progress.

The 2 isotopes we should worry about are Iodine 131 and Cesium 139. I-131 being the nastier of the 2 since as it decays, it releases gamma radiation. This type of radiation penetrates just about anything quite easily except for bunkers etc.. I-131 is very damaging to mammalian cells, cause mutations to out right destruction. This is the main culprit for radiation sickness. Cs-139 emits beta radiation which isn't quite as nasty but can still cause problems over the long term, localized damage and even surface skin burns.

So back to the question...Should we in the US and more specifically Florida worry about possible radiation from this?
Probably not.
BUT we should still be careful and check things out for ourselves. Yes, I'm weird and have 2 radiation survey meters. Typical background radiation for my area ranges from 0.0007 to 0.0020 uSv/hr. But what happens if things change? What happens if certain natural and man made events come together? Suppose things continue out of control and more radiation is released? The key for us will be the weather. Will the radiation be swept up into the atmosphere and transported across the pacific and get dumped on us (most likely from rain)? The potential danger is, such an event could cause small pools of concentrated radiation.

Unfortunately, the US as a whole is badly prepared for nuclear radiation problems. The study shows:
The authors asked public-health departments about their preparedness to monitor the human health effects of any released radiation from these kind of incidents. Across the different methods of monitoring, between 70% and 84% of states reported having completed minimal to no planning. Some 82% of states reported no or minimal plans to collect biological or clinical samples to assess the impact of radiation exposure.

Probably one of the best books in dealing with a nuclear disaster is Bruce Clayton's 'Life After Doomsday'. Though it deals mostly with the impact and subsequent survival of nuclear war, the explanations of radiation effects, and necessary preparations still apply.
Hopefully, this won't become an issue, but it is always good to be ready, just in case.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Survival Rations...

Survival rations (SR) should be part of every preppers stock. SR's are different from your standard stock of food in that they provide nutrition in only the most dire situations. Mainstay 3600 emergency food rations are that type of food. Each bar provides 400 calories for a total of 3600 calories per package. The rations are US Coast Guard approved and they recommend 3 bars per day per person on land and 2 bars per person at sea. Thus each package provides a minimum of 3 days of nutrition per person. A case comes with 10 packages or 30 days worth of nutrition for 1 person. A case goes for ~ $53. The rations have a 5 yr shelf life. Each 24 oz package is about 5inx5in by 1in thick.
Ok, sounds semi-spiffy, but how do they taste? Not too bad actually...something similar to a lemon bar. The big aspect is that the bars do not make you thirsty, something many rations cannot claim, but key in getting a USCG approved ration.

Sanitation...the stinky problem.

I thought I would start the new year off with something usually overlooked....sanitiation during times of disaster. Many stock up on loads of TP and then really don't think about the issue after that. So what to do when the water stops running and the TP runs out? This is a subject many don't like to breach, but it a daily issue that must be addressed.

Sanitation after a disaster is a huge issue. The potential for disease outbreak is massive...the present situation in Haiti is a great example.
Bugging In:
People on sewer systems, especially low lying coastal areas face a serious issue. Though toilets can be flushed by pouring water into the tanks, when flushed it goes no further than your area lift station holding tank. With the power off these lift stations stop working and the holding tanks fill up. Either the waste will begin to flood the streets or it will back up into your house. Neither is a good option. Those on septic systems can continue to flush...though this is a huge waste of water.

If it is a short term disaster solutions are easy...probably the simplest is the 5 gal toilet. Available for purchase from several suppliers or you can make your own. This is also a good option for those bugging out via BOV.

A longer term solution is a 55 gal drum that can be constructed into a composting toilet if you are feeling really adventurous. Additionally a small septic system can easily be constructed.

A great book for waste composting...-The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, Third Edition - Joseph C. Jenkins .

Bugging out:
Ok so you have to bug out. If going BOV, most think heck I'll just pull over and go (which is exactly what the masses will do). This again sets up the potential for disease spread as well as water contamination. With the BOV you can carry a 5 gal bucket...but I suggest you have one with the bottom cut out...dig a hole and loo. But is is good to be responsible..a great book that addresses going in the wild and applies to any mode of bugging out.

-How to Shit in the Woods, Second Edition: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art - Kathleen Meyer

Holy Smokes I'm out of TP?! what?
Fortunately, someone has already done a study. Though a bit on the 'bold' side, they try several different substitutes...I'll let you read and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm a slacker...

Yea, I know I haven't posted in a while, and I'm lacking a decent excuse, but get ready...a bunch of reviews are coming, and I might even make an attempt at the dreaded video the very least it should be hilarious...or not.