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Showing posts with label infrastructure collapse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label infrastructure collapse. Show all posts

Monday, February 25, 2013

Potential Devastating Solar Super Storm

A solar 'superstorm' is coming and we'll only get 30-minute warning,...they cause devastation, occur every 150 years, and the last one was in 1859. This is an article by Steve Connor on the news and science site.

A solar "superstorm" could knock out Earth's communications satellites, cause dangerous power surges in the national grid and disrupt crucial navigation aids and aircraft avionics, a major report has found. It is inevitable that an extreme solar storm – caused by the Sun ejecting billions of tonnes of highly-energetic matter travelling at a million miles an hour – will hit the Earth at some time in the near future, but it is impossible to predict more than about 30 minutes before it actually happens, a team of engineers has warned.

Solar superstorms are estimated to occur once every 100 or 200 years, with the last one hitting the Earth in 1859. Although none has occurred in the space age, we are far more vulnerable now than a century ago because of the ubiquity of modern electronics, they said. "The general consensus is that a solar superstorm is inevitable, a matter not of 'if' but 'when?'," says a report into extreme space weather by a group of experts at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.

In the past half century, there have been a number of "near misses" when an explosive "coronal mass ejection" of energetic matter from the Sun has been flung into space, narrowly bypassing the Earth. In 1989 a relatively minor solar storm knocked out several key electrical transformers in the Canadian national grid, causing major power blackouts.

Similar solar storms significantly increased atmospheric radiation levels in 1956, 1972, 1989 and 2003, the experts found. Professor Paul Cannon, who chaired the academy's working group on solar storms, said that the Government should set up a space weather board to oversee measures aimed at minimising the impact of solar storms. "A solar superstorm will be a challenge but not cataclysmic. The two challenges for government are the wide spectrum of technologies affected today and the emergence of unexpected vulnerabilities as technology evolves," he said. "Our message is, 'Don't panic, but do prepare'. A solar superstorm will happen one day and we need to be ready for it. "Many steps have already been taken to minimise the impact of solar storms on current technology… We anticipate that the UK can further minimise the impact," he added.

Minor solar storms hit the Earth on a regular basis, but these are far less powerful than the 1859 event named after the British astronomer Richard Carrington, which was the last true solar superstorm. A similar event today would put severe strain the electricity grid, where transformers are particular vulnerable to power surges, as well as degrading the performance of satellites, GPS navigation, aviation and possibly the mobile phone network, particularly the new 4G network, which relies on GPS satellites for timing information. "Satellites are certainly in the front line of a superstorm. They are part of our infrastructure and we have concerns about their survival in a solar superstorm," said Keith Ryden, a space engineer at Surrey University.

Friday, December 14, 2012

US Power Grid Vulnerable to Attack, Disaster and Collapse

US Power Grid Vulnerable to Just About Everything by Jen Alic of

As Washington hunts ill-defined al-Qaeda groups in the Middle East and Africa, and concerns itself with Iran’s eventual nuclear potential, it has a much more pressing problem at home: Its energy grid is vulnerable to anyone with basic weapons and know-how.

Forget about cyber warfare and highly organized terrorist attacks, a lack of basic physical security on the US power grid means that anyone with a gun—like disgruntled Michigan Militia types, for instance--could do serious damage.

For the past two months, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been tasked with creating a security strategy for the electric grid and hydrocarbon facilities through its newly created Office of Energy Infrastructure Security. So far, it’s not good news.

“There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid,” warns FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. This, he says, “is an equal if not greater issue” than cyber security.

FERC’s gloom-and-doom risk assessment comes on the heels of the recent declassification of a 2007 report by the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences on 14 November warned that a terrorist attack on the US power grid could wreak more damage than Hurricane Sandy. It could cause massive blackouts for weeks or months at a time. But this would only be the beginning, the Academy warns, spelling out an “end of days” scenario in which blackouts lead to widespread fear, panic and instability.

What they are hinting at is revolution—and it wouldn’t take much.

UrbanMan's comment:So what would happen if the grid went down starting widespread fear, panic and instability,....and as the article says, possible revolution?

Several immediate effects come to mind: lack of power for heating in cold winter months could potenially create tens of thousands of casualties - mostly elderly as well as create angry groups of rioters and looters, mainly youths and young adults to begin with.

The combined Army and National Guard could not control these mainly urban population centers as well as food supply depots, lines of comunciations and existing working power stations or protect the workers attempting to repair  the problem.  It would be a huge problem to provide power to run the plants that produce, package and ship the nations food supply. Look around your community and imagine no food for four or five days, about ten to fourteen days? What would your community look like?

So what is being done to mitigate risk? According to FERC, utility companies aren’t doing enough. Unfortunately, FERC does not have the power to order utilities to act in the name of protecting the country’s energy infrastructure. Security is expensive, and more than 90% of the country’s grid is privately owned and regulated by state governments. Private utilities are not likely to feel responsible for footing the bill for security, and states may not be able to afford it.

One key problem is theoretically a simple one to resolve: a lack of spare parts. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the grid is particularly vulnerable because it is spread out across hundreds of miles with key equipment not sufficiently guarded or antiquated and unable to prevent outages from cascading.

We are talking about some 170,000 miles of voltage transmission line miles fed by 2,100 high-voltage transformers delivering power to 125 million households.

"We could easily be without power across a multistate region for many weeks or months, because we don't have many spare transformers,” according to the Academy.

High-voltage transformers are vulnerable both from within and from outside the substations in which they are housed. Complicating matters, these transformers are huge and difficult to remove. They are also difficult to replace, as they are custom built primarily outside the US. So what is the solution? Perhaps, says the Academy, to design smaller portable transformers that could be used temporarily in an emergency situation.

Why was the Academy’s 2007 report only just declassified? Well, its authors were worried that it would be tantamount to providing terrorists with a detailed recipe for attacking and destabilizing America, or perhaps for starting a revolution.

The military at least is preparing to protect its own power supplies. Recently, the US Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $7 million contract for research that demonstrates the integration of electric vehicles, generators and solar arrays to supply emergency power for Fort Carson, Colorado. This is the SPIDERS (Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security), and the Army hopes it will be the answer to more efficient and secure energy.

Back in the civilian world, however, things are moving rather slowly, and the focus remains on the sexier idea of an energy-crippling cyberattack.

Last week, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) urged House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to pass a bill—the GRID Act--which would secure the grid against cyberattacks.

"As the widespread and, in some cases, still ongoing power outages from Superstorm Sandy have shown us, our electric grid is too fragile and its disruption is too devastating for us to fail to act," Markey wrote. "Given this urgency, it is critical that the House act immediately in a bipartisan manner to ensure our electrical infrastructure is secure."

This bill was passed by the House, but has failed to gain any traction in the Senate.

FERC, of course, is all for the bill, which would give it the authority to issue orders and regulations to boost the security of the electric grid's computer systems from a cyberattack. But it’s only a small piece of the security puzzle, and FERC remains concerned that authorities are overlooking the myriad simpler threats to the electricity grid. These don’t make for the easy headlines, especially since they are not necessarily foreign in nature.

UrbanMan's comment:  Survialists have to consider developing some type of power solutions. A minimum level would probably be small solar panels to charge batteries for FRS or other radios, flashlights, small lanterns, etc. Beware of some of the cheap solar panels kits. Most are made in China.

I have several small wattage ridig solar panel kits, all but one still in the box, and I will use for barter or I may rig into my Bug In location grid. Right now they are boxed in order to trade or to pack for Bug Out. 

And I have some individual solar powered motion detection lights that I have installed on the sides of my house for perimeter security, and if necessary can use for lights at night inside buildings as they are portable if you install these, with wing nuts rather than lock washers and bolts.

Solutions from Science offers some higher end solar systems that are still portable. This is solidly constructed kit. Getting what is advertised. Click on Solutions from Science to get more information on this solar generator.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The State of Today

I wanted to titled this "Urban's Man Rant", but a rant insinuates an emotional aspect to one's opinion. And I am stone, cold sober and rational looking that these issues.......not angry,...but a lot concenred, maybe somewhat scared.

It started the other night as my wife and I were watching "Revolution the television show". My wife commented to the effect that it seems like everyone is preaching armagedon and collapse, or, capitalizing on the general belief that things are going downhill and collectively we expect bad things to occur.

I told her she was right and that while you can fool some of the pople some of the time, you can't fool all of the people all of the time. And that people's intuition is stronger than their analytical skills.

Back to the television,.........I don't think I'll be sitting through another episode of "Revolution". The first few minutes showing years after a EMP event where the main characters have built a agricultural enclave on a suburban street (totally realistic and necessary) but then a militia group on horseback enters the community unannounced, no early warning systems, no barriers or obstacles, no weapons nor trained response left me wondering if the entertainment value would supercede the non-enjoyment of seeing un-realistic bad examples.

While my wife understands and supports our preparation aspects and the development of several families in our "survival group", she like many Americans usually decides to ignore analysis of the possible bad things,...she basically leaves it to me to plan and prepare.

I placed the television on mute to explain (again) what Electro Magnetic Pulse was and the possible sources or causes of an EMP event. While many of you believe that EMP is vastly over rated for it's effects it would have on the U.S. infrastructure, I assure you that it is not over estimated.

In a previous life I have done threat and vulnerability assessments on utilities facilities and some of the management was pretty open about how easy it is to bring down major power and telecommunications facilities,...but more importantly in the apsects of an EMP,....very difficult to re-build.

If the threat of EMP isn't enough, we have a good 1/3 of the world pissed off at the U.S.  Doesn't matter if the complaint is legit or not,. there are currently large scale anti-American demonstrations in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Mali, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even Austrailia. Political corruption is not only wide spread,.....but the perpetrators aren't even trying to hide it now. Openly disregarding the constitution in many cases. Reminds historians of the last great act of the Roman empire, and that was to loot the treasury.

This country is a year, maybe months away from more people being on welfare than not. Think about that once the treasury is empty.

The only way we are going to be able to survive as individuals and as a culture is to develop some type of team. Let me back up a bit. Meaning by beliefs not segregated by race or ethnic groups. This is a culture that aspires individual rights, a moral code and compassion for those who cannot help themselves. I have talked at length before on the necessity of developing a survival group. This does not mean that you have to live in a commune now, can,...but it is unrealistic for 90% of Americans. Your survival team can be just a network of alike minded individuals and families.

It's important to vet your people as to their ability to live together and get along. I would much rather have straphangers, with skills and without supplies or equipment, integrating into my team, than to accept some exceptional trained and prepared person who cannot act with the team foremost on his mind.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

EMP Threat in the News


With the surge in popularity of the book "One Second After", more and more news and dicussion can be found in all media concerning electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and the threat of EMP being the catalyst for our coming collapse.

The following information was released by the Heritage Foundation: By Michaela Bendikova and Jessica Zuckerman

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the U.S. would have devastating effects. On August 15, 2003, a major blackout occurred throughout the northeastern U.S. and Canada, offering a glimpse of what life would be like after an EMP attack. More than 55 million people were affected, but most services were restored within a day.

That would not be the case after an EMP. Damage to lives and property would be immense, and the ensuing devastation would continue for years, if not decades. Yet despite this substantial threat, the U.S. remains largely vulnerable to such an attack.

In order to raise recognition of the threat and begin a national dialogue, Congress should establish August 15 as National EMP Awareness Day.

When the Lights Go Out

A successful EMP attack-a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by a rapid acceleration of charged particles-would fundamentally change the world: Airplanes would fall from the sky; Most cars would be inoperable; Electrical devices would fail; Water, sewer, and electrical networks would fail simultaneously; and Systems of banking, energy, transportation, food production and delivery, water, emergency services, and even cyberspace would collapse.

UrbanMan's comment:  Take a minute to think about what those changes would mean - total infrastructure collapse - The End Of The World As We Know It.  Do you have a plan for what you are doing to do (immediate steps) with EMP hitting when you are at work?,..out shopping?,...or other normal life events?   

It would take years-possibly decades-to restore the U.S. electricity supply. Recovery abilities would be critically limited, and the country would be challenged to support current population levels. Millions would likely die.

Launching an Attack

One of the most effective means of delivering an EMP attack is detonating nuclear weapons at a high altitude. Energetic particles released during the explosion would disable, damage, or destroy all unhardened electronic devices within the line of sight of the detonation.

A rogue state would not need a long-range ballistic missile to deliver a nuclear warhead. Even short-range ballistic missiles carrying an EMP device or a nuclear warhead launched from a ship off the U.S. coast could impact millions. Today, over 30 countries, including Iran and North Korea, possess ballistic missile capabilities.

An EMP can also be created by a radio-frequency weapon. While comparatively easier and cheaper than a nuclear weapon mounted on a missile, a radio-frequency device must be detonated close to the target and does not produce as much damage.

Additionally, an EMP can be generated during a Carrington event, or space weather. In 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington observed an unusually large solar flare. It reached earth minutes later and had a significant impact on telegraphs, which shocked their operators unconscious. A solar flare of this magnitude today would have a much more devastating impact, as modern society depends heavily on electronic devices.

Rejected Warnings and Failures in Preparedness

While the U.S. government has been aware of the threat of an EMP effect since its 1962 Starfish Prime nuclear weapons test, little has been done to harden civilian infrastructure. Key military systems were hardened during the Cold War, but interest in the EMP threat dropped precipitously after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Recommendations of various congressionally mandated commissions, such as the EMP Commission and the Quadrennial Defense Review Panel, have not fully materialized, despite increasing U.S. civilian and military reliance on electronic devices.

Today, comprehensive threat assessments and scenario planning for EMP attacks remain underdeveloped. At the federal level, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to lack a national recovery plan in the event of an EMP attack. Similarly, an EMP event has not been included within the National Planning Scenarios.

These high-consequence scenarios form the basis of federal, state, and local disaster response exercises that are intended to help determine response and recovery capabilities and needs and address problems before a disaster occurs. Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of an EMP attack and the unique nature of the threat, an EMP event should be added to the list of scenarios.

At the same time, state and local governments also remain poorly prepared for an EMP attack. These vulnerabilities are magnified by the fact that the federal government also remains unprepared and would likely be unable to render assistance in the event of an EMP attack.

Take Action Now

Bringing attention to the threat with a National EMP Awareness Day would help, but awareness should be joined with action. In order to prevent and mitigate the effects of a potential EMP attack, the U.S. government should: Improve and restructure U.S. missile defense programs.

Improved command-and-control features and interceptors tied to forward-deployed radar would give the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor the ability to counter long-range ballistic missiles in the late midcourse stage of flight.

Additionally, the government should improve the SM-3's ability to intercept short-range ballistic missiles in the ascent phase of flight. Ultimately, the U.S. should develop and deploy space-based missile defense, the best way to protect the U.S. and allies from a ballistic missile threat.

Demand that the Administration develop a National Recovery Plan.

The EMP Commission emphasized that the nation should first improve the infrastructure on which all other sectors are dependent, specifically citing electrical power and telecommunications. This risk-based approach recognizes that certain infrastructure is key to post-EMP attack recovery. EMP should also be added to the list of 15 National Disaster Scenarios.

Determine which countries could attack.

The U.S. should produce a national intelligence estimate on which countries are pursuing EMP weapons and associated delivery systems and platforms or are already capable of launching an EMP attack. Preparing for an attack means understanding one's opponents and how they are incorporating EMP weapons into their strategic postures.

It is essential that policymakers have the most recent intelligence at their hands so that they can determine how best to respond to EMP threats as they arise.

Prepare and protect the nation's cyber infrastructure.

Cyber infrastructure is dependent on the power grid-which makes it a unique challenge in an EMP scenario. Thus, contingency planning should explore ways to keep the cyber system functioning without primary power; it should also explore ways to protect cyber circuit boards from the deleterious effects of a large burst of energy in the network.

As such, Congress should direct the Department of Defense and DHS to review their cyber systems, incorporating the recommendations of the EMP Commission, including identification of the most critical elements of the cyber system that must be hardened against an EMP attack.

The commission also recommends that preparedness planning account for the interdependency between the nation's cyber infrastructure and other elements of the broader infrastructure. Overall, the key to countering an EMP is to put barriers in place to prevent cascading failures in the nation's infrastructure.

Require more research.

In addition to raising national awareness, more research is needed on the risk associated with an EMP attack to ensure that the nation understands the full scope of the threat and how to close critical vulnerability gaps.

Protect the Nation

The U.S. has the technology to protect itself from the effects of a deliberate attack or space weather. It is a no-brainer that the government should pursue these options and "provide for the common defense." The nation should not continue to underestimate the threat of an EMP attack.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nuclear Survival Possible?

I received this e-mail from frankj: ”With the recent building of nuclear devices by North Korea and Iran plus who else we don’t know about, I am thinking that the chances of a nuclear attack from an Armageddon scenario to some localized attack maybe some damn terrorists given a bomb by Iranians all would spell a catastrophe. Some of my prepper pals say that we can about just kiss our butts goodbye in a nuclear attack because the fall out would kill about everything. What do you think the chances are for us to see a nuclear attack?”

UrbanMan’s reply: Frank, you are doing well to think about all collapse possibilities. Perhaps protection and survival plans for a nuclear event would be the hardest to plan and prepare for without a lot of resources,…read money. I think location is a key to survival in a nuclear event. Away from high value targets,…..away from fall out patterns from predictive wind patterns,…and away from refugee routes – and, there will always be survivors.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently published a study from the analysis of the specific implications of nuking the intersection of 16th and K streets NW. The key to the question, it seems, is the size of the bomb. Ten kilotons is considered “small” by nuclear weapon standards and would presumably leave survivors, according to the study. …Within a half-mile radius of the detonation, called the “severe damage zone,” buildings would be destroyed, radiation would be high and the survival rate would be low. The White House, Capitol and Mall would be destroyed. As little as three miles out, the impact would be less severe, including broken windows and minor injuries. But the real disaster would be nuclear fallout, the result of radioactive dust poisoning many in the District, Northern Virginia and Maryland.

I also found a government report on the potential of a nuclear attack on the National Capital Region. I am posting the easier to understand key points below. In any event, the first rule of survival is to understand the threat so you can develop a plan and counter measures.

Contamination vs. Exposure

Fallout contamination is salt- and sand-sized particles that contain unstable (radioactive) atoms that give off energy in the form of penetrating eadiation. Although contamination particles can be stopped by clothing and other barriers, the gamma radiation emitted by the unstable atoms penetrates through clothing, roofs, and walls and can deposit energy in living tissue. It is the exposure and absorption of this energy that is the primary concern and is measured as described below.

Roentgens, Rads, and Rems. Units of Radiation Exposure

• Roentgen (R): A unit of gamma or x-ray exposure in air. It is the primary standard of measurement used in the emergency-responder community in the US. 1,000 milliroentgen (mR) = 1 Roentgen (R).

• Roentgen per hour (R/h): A unit used to express gamma or x-ray exposure in air per unit of time (exposure rate) and the unit most commonly seen on radiation-detection equipment used by responders.

• rad: A unit expressing the absorbed dose of ionizing radiation. Absorbed dose is the energy deposited per unit mass of matter. The units of rad and gray are the units in two different systems for expressing absorbed dose. International unit conversion: 1 rad = 0.01 gray [Gy]; 1 Gy = 100 rad.)

• rem: A unit of absorbed dose that accounts for the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of ionizing radiations in tissue (Also called equivalent dose). Not all radiation produces the same biological effect, even for the same amount of absorbed dose; rem relates the absorbed dose in human tissue to the effective biological damage of the radiation. International unit conversion: 1 rem = 0.01 Sieverts [Sv]; 1 Sv = 100 rem.)

For the purpose of this guidance, 1 R (exposure in air) = 1 rad (absorbed dose = 1 rem (whole-body dose). Whole-body doses are calculated for the middle of the body (1.5 m off the ground and 70% of the body-surface exposure), also referred to as the “midline deep dose.”

Estimated fatalities and symptoms associated with acute whole body absorbed doses:

150 initial rad dose - 5 percent chance of dying within 180 days from radiation exposure.

300 initial rad dose - 30-50 percent chance of dying within 180 days from radiation exposure.

600 initial rad dose - 95 percent chance of dying within 180 days from radiation exposure.

It will be initially difficult for those directly affected to assess the scale of devastation. On a clear day, a mushroom cloud might be visible from a distance, but the cloud is unlikely to keep a characteristic shape more than a few minutes and will be blown out of the area in one or more directions in the first few hours.

The most critical life-saving action for the public and responders is to seek adequate shelter for at least the first hour. Another urge to overcome is the desire to flee the area (or worse, run into fallout areas to reunite with family members), which can place people outdoors in the first few minutes and hours when fallout exposures are the greatest.

Those outside or in vehicles will have little protection from the penetrating radiation coming off fallout particles as they accumulate on roofs and the ground.

Sheltering is an early imperative for the public within the broken glass and blast damage area, which could extend for several miles in all directions from a blast. There is a chance that many parts of the area may not be affected by fallout; however, it will be virtually impossible to distinguish between radioactive and non-radioactive smoke, dust, and debris that will be generated by the event.

Potentially dangerous levels of fallout could begin falling within a few minutes. Those outdoors should seek shelter in the nearest solid structure. Provided the structure is not in danger of collapse or fire, those indoors should stay inside and move either below ground (e.g., into a basement or subterranean parking garage) or to the middle floors of a multi story concrete or brick building. Those individuals in structures threatened by collapse or fire, or those in light structures (e.g., single story buildings without basements) should consider moving to an adjacent solid structure or subway. Glass, displaced objects, and rubble in walkways and streets will make movement difficult.

Leaving the area should only be considered if the area becomes unsafe because of fire or other hazards, or if local officials state that it is safe to move. Fallout is driven by upper-atmospheric winds that can travel much faster than surface winds, often at more than 100 miles per hour. Outside the area of broken windows, people should have at least 10 minutes before fallout arrives for the larger multi-kiloton yields. If the detonation were to happen during daylight hours on a day without cloud cover, the fallout cloud might be visible at this distance, although accurately gauging direction could be difficult as the expanding cloud continues to climb and possibly move in more than one direction.

Providing that atmospheric conditions do not obscure visibility, dangerous levels of fallout would be easily visible as particles fall. People should proceed indoors immediately if sand, ash, or colored rain begins to fall in their area.

At 20 miles away, the observed delay between the flash of an explosion and “sonic boom” of the air blast would be more than 1.5 minutes. At this range, it is unlikely that fallout could cause radiation sickness, although outdoor exposure should still be avoided to reduce potential long-term cancer risk. The public at this distance should have some time, perhaps 20 minutes or more, to prepare.

The first priority should be to find adequate shelter. Individuals should identify the best shelter location in their present building, or if the building offers inadequate shelter, consider moving to better shelter if there is a large, solid multistory building nearby. After the shelter itself is secured, attention can be given to acquiring shelter supplies such as batteries, radio, food, water, medicine, bedding, and toiletries.

Although roads could be initially unobstructed at this range (around 20 miles), the possibility of moving the numerous people at risk before fallout arrives is highly unlikely, and those in traffic jams on the road would receive little protection from fallout. At long distances (more than 100 miles), the additional time before fallout arrival might tempt people to evacuate.

However, cloud spread and difficulties associated with predicting possible fallout locations will make avoiding the hazard difficult, even when driving. Although people at this distance will not experience life-threatening levels of fallout, using the extra time to seek the best-quality shelter in the area can help reduce exposures and the long-term risk of cancer.

Stay Indoors.  People should expect to remain sheltered for at least 12 to 24 hours. During that time, the intensity of fallout radiation will decrease greatly, allowing for less hazardous egress from dangerous fallout areas. Unless a given shelter location is considered unsafe due to fire or structural damage, the length of time individuals should remain sheltered depends on instructions from regional emergency management agencies. For those in good shelters, such as a large concrete, brick, or underground structure, optimal shelter times will likely be in terms of days.

In the absence of specific guidance from authorities and adequate supplies of food and water, or for those who are in smaller 2- to 3-story structures or shallow basements, evacuation should be considered after 12 hours. Upon leaving shelter, the best course is to follow routes that take advantage of sheltered passages (subways, underground connectors, or through building lobbies) that lead away from damage and heavy fallout areas. Once clear of potential fallout areas, evacuees should seek a change of clothes (including shoes) and wipe or wash exposed skin surfaces.

Fallout consists of large particles that can be easily brushed off clothing and shoes. The radiation energy given off by fallout particles decays rapidly with time. For this reason early gross decontamination (brushing for example) is better than delayed thorough decontamination (such as a shower). An event of this magnitude will vastly overwhelm available response resources.

Get Clean.  Radioactive fallout particles can spread quickly and remain on the body and clothes until removed. Those in potentially fallout contaminated areas should take off the outer layer of clothing (including shoes) and wipe or wash exposed skin and hair upon leaving a contaminated area.

• Routes make a difference for early evacuees. The exposure impact of route choice is more significant in the first few hours.

• Shelter quality determines decision time. The better the shelter, the longer the time before action is required. For poor shelters, actions should be taken in the first few hours; inadequate shelter, 4–12 hours; for adequate shelters, avoid action before 12 hours unless instructed otherwise.

• Adequate shelter, stay in place. Extended shelter-inplace inside an adequate shelter is almost always preferred over an uninformed evacuation in the first 12 hours. The gains from an informed evacuation before 12 hours are marginal, while the penalty for an uninformed evacuation can be significant.

• Poor shelter, move or evacuate. Early evacuation (at 1 hour) from lower-quality shelters in the Danger Zone can be life-saving.

– Best Strategy For Poor Shelter: Informed evacuation after approximately an hour. However, without an informed route use next strategy.

– Good Strategy for Poor Shelter: Move to a better shelter. Analysis indicates that this can result in a significant reduction of casualties even as early as 20 minutes after detonation.

– Marginal Strategy for Poor Shelter: Uninformed evacuation after approximately an hour and then leave the area, do not move toward the detonation site or directly downwind.

– Bad Strategy for Poor Shelter Extended Shelter in Place.

• In aggregate, the existing Washington , DC structures offered better than adequate protection. If all residents adopted a shelter-in-place strategy, it would reduce the number of potential acute radiation casualties by 98% (there would be an estimated 3,000 fallout casualties out of the 130,000 potential casualties of an unsheltered population).

• For Regional evacuation planning, errors in identifying the centerline and boundaries of high-dose-rate regions can result in poor evacuation routes that eliminate the benefits of evacuation.

• Preplanned evacuation routes may not be the best evacuation route as they may follow the contamination centerline.

• The current federal guidance of sheltering for 12-24 hours in in a shelter is adequate.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

EMP Threat In The News

It is becoming more mainstream to talk about the EMP Threat. Recently on Fox News and on web based reporting, good explanations on how an Nuclear weapon or EMP attack over the central U.S. could potentially cause a blackout or infrastructure destruction to over half of the U.S.

EMP is of course an intense electro-magnetic pulse that will instantly destroy electrical circuits which is a by product of nuclear detonations but also several countries have been experimenting with EMP weapons designed specifically against the electrical infrastructure as opposed to physical destruction of everything.

For example a 1.4 megaton EMP bomb detonated 250 miles above Kansas would destroy most electronics in the U.S. See map below of anticipated effects radius or area. This of course will cause complete chaos and subsequent death from the total destruction of our electrical infrastructure as the entire U.S. economy is dependent upon this grid.

Actually, nobody knows the magnitude of infrastructure failure and destruction that an EMP attack would cause. All of the conjecture is based on modeling. Electrical grids going down for months - if not years; communications gone;

Reports by experts confirms that the U.S. is totally unprepared for an EMP attack and that Terrorists Groups and rogue nations like Iran are fully aware of what such an attack would do to the U.S.  Conservative estimates are that the U.S. would lose tens of millions of people in the first year and many more to follow
as the infrastructure that virtually powers every aspects of our lives would be down for years to come and in fact may never regain even parts of it's former capacity.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lights Out, For Real

News Report from the Associated Press,....HIGHLAND PARK, Michigan. (AP) -- As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes. It wasn't always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out -- bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

UrbanMan's comments: Highland Park being $58 million in debt and taking out two-thirds of the light poles, is only one of many inner city and adjacent communities that are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy,...their own local financial collapse, which from a security pint of view sets the scene that many other communities across this country may very well experience in the coming months. In Highland Park's case, financial woes have taken this city to cut back on electric bills plunging many of the city's areas into darkness, causing crime, notable break ins and home invasions, to increased obviously from the advantage the unlighted streets give the criminals in casing, selecting, approaching and taking down houses.

This caused me to re-look my suburban community, adjacent from only a few short miles from the heart of a urban environment, and the possible security consequences of all public utility lighting turned off. Not only public utility lighting, but if the electrical grid goes down, which it will surely have the probability of doing in a large chaotic SHTF scenario, what will this mean to me and my survival team as far as added security requirements as all artificial light from ambient sources, mostly houses, will be gone?

Heretofore areas that provided good observations of oncoming traffic, friend or threat, were now dark with even darker shadowed areas that would provide concealed approach routes to our site.

The absence of lighting and threat of darkness can be mitigated somewhat with a larger security presence, obstacles and LP/OPs, but knowing ahead of time what areas will provide natural concealment will not only allow you to plan for security measures but also may allow you to channelize threats to where they be more effectively handled.

Solar powered flood lights that can be used in the motion detection role or modified to be turned on at the flip of a switch can be a great tool for early warning or to create the illumination for which to engage threats with verbal warnings and/or protective fires if need be. The problem with the sensitivity of motion detection lights can be gotten around by disabling that feature and using an initiator such as a pressure activated or pull release activated mechanism to turn the lights on focused on the appropriate area.

I have four solar powered floodlights currently mounted on my house, one on each side. All are mounted on bolts with wing nuts so I can rapidly take them down if needed someplace else or in case of a controlled Bug Out. Solar powered lights with low wattage bulbs can also be placed outdoors during the day time and brought inside during the night to provide interior illumination.

Of course, a robust night vision capability backed up by 81mm Mortar Illumination rounds would be a partial solution as well.:)

The bigger question is here is what does the bankruptcy of urban municipalities mean? This is a trend with debt ridden cities and the debt ridden national government. With less and less money to pay for entitlement programs we are much closer to seeing a Greece type economic collapse here and with 45 million people or so on welfare and that number growing every day, the Occupy Wall Street protests could turn rapidly into riots in major cities especially with any type of event that marginally interdicts the food supply.