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  • 5 Tips to Stay Safe During Civil Unrest

    Stay Safe During Civil Unrest

    Germany is encouraging her citizens to get their emergency prep together, just in case of more civil unrest and other catastrophes. Venezuela is running out of food, and residents are taking to the streets.  We’ve even seen riots in our own streets here in the United States. Political demonstrations have a more threatening feeling than they have in the past. These are just a few examples of the unrest happening throughout the world, and if things continue how they’ve been going, things might get even worse.

    When your streets turn ugly, there are certain steps to take that can help you stay safe. Hopefully you will never be in such a dangerous situation, but since things like demonstrations, riots, and civil unrest can happen abruptly, knowing what to do before it happens is crucial. These 5 steps can help you stay safe during civil unrest.

     

    1. Stay Tuned

    Literally. Information will be your best friend before and during a crisis situation such as civil unrest. Stay aware of any local situations that could escalate into riots. Know where the danger zones are and steer clear of them before unrest even hits its peak. The Survival Mom even suggests following rabble-rousers on Facebook or Twitter so when they publicize their events, you’ll know exactly where not to go. While a crisis is ongoing, keep your television and/or radio tuned to your local news station. Should the power be out, make sure you have an emergency radio (battery operated of hand-crank) so you will still have a way of gathering information.

     

    1. Collect Resources

    Pantry Stay Safe During Civil UnrestJust like any natural disaster or emergency, having the resources already on hand will be a tremendous help during times of civil unrest. Since there’s a good chance you will be confined to your home during these times, you will want to make sure you have enough food to get you through.

    Civil unrest is often associated with looting and riots. As such, grocery stores may be emptied or, if they’re not, they may be difficult to get to due to blocked streets and dangerous situations. Having an emergency food storage will allow you to stay inside until things blow over.

    Aside from food, collect alternate power and light sources, along with things to keep you warm, including sleeping bags and portable heaters. Power might get shut off due to demonstrations or riots, leaving you in the dark. Depending on the time of year, things could get uncomfortably cold. If you own a firearm, having sufficient ammunition to defend your home might also be in order. Be prepared for any situation.

     

    1. Stay Home

    One of the most important strategies in staying safe during civil unrest is to stay home. Home is generally the safest place to be during civil unrest. If you’re inside when riots or other unrest begins, don’t go out to get a better look. The last thing you want is to be involved in the chaos. However, should you find yourself outside of your house when unrest breaks out, stay away from the active areas and make your way back home as quickly as possible.

     

    1. Have a Safe Room

    Safe rooms are an important thing to have in your home, especially if you live in a high tornado or hurricane area. These disaster specific safe rooms can also be used to help protect you from not just natural disasters, but fire and looters as well. FEMA’s guidelines for safe rooms are mainly for natural disasters, but they can easily be upgraded for fireproofing and bulletproofing.

     

    1. Situational Awareness

    Being aware of your surroundings is important on a day to day level, but crucial during times of unrest. Keep your wits about you and your eyes and ears open. This means stay focused on getting out of a potentially bad situation. Keep your phone in your pocket (unless absolutely necessary), as focusing on a text or call can distract you from what’s really going on. Keep your focus on the present, at what is happening around you. This way, you can spot trouble before it escalates to an obvious level.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner Stay Safe During Civil Unrest

  • Venezuela Food Crisis: A Warning to the World

    venezuela-empty-shelves-via-abc-news Empty shelves in Venezuela - via ABC News

    Venezuela is on the brink of collapse. With food prices skyrocketing, people are struggling to feed their families. Crime is on the rise. Long lines of people wind endlessly around the supermarket in the hopes of securing just the bare necessities. Oftentimes they go home empty handed.

    Citizens are now revolting against the leaders that brought them into this mess.

    This report by the Washington Post shows just how delicate the situation is in Venezuela. Led by President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s socialist-inspired revolution used to provide plenty of government funding to “create a more equal society.”

    Looking at what’s happening in Venezuela now, that didn’t work so well.

    For a while, things were fine. People thrived, and much of that success was due to their strong oil economy. During the Chávez era, governments helped subsidize mothers in extreme poverty, helped people finish construction on their houses, and even help youth receive scholarships – all great things.

    Then the money dried up.

    venezuela-fridge-via-the-washington-post With high prices, food is hard to come by - via Washington Post

    Oil prices tanked, and the government-run supermarkets that provided the basics at subsidized prices are practically empty, and due to 700% inflation, even these subsidized supermarkets are forced to sell their goods at exorbitant prices. Food is scarce, many children don’t have the energy to even attend school. One Venezuelan journalist eats only one meal a day which consists of one egg. With empty supermarkets and no hope on the horizon, things are certainly not what the people of Venezuela had expected from their government.

    “We’re tired,” said one woman as reported by NBC News, “tired of hunger and humiliation.”

    Thousands of people from all across the country gathered in Caracas to protests against the worsening economic crisis. A coup was even attempted, but failed. People want change, because with change comes more access to food. PBS reported that Venezuelans are “losing hope that their government-controlled system will supply key items.”

    The situation in Venezuela is a warning to the United States – and every other developed nation. While the U.S. may not be in the same dire straits as they are, a look back can show just how gradual it was. Venezuela prospered for many years. Then, slowly, things worsened, until the food crisis arrived in full swing, increasing its intensity until food was nowhere to be found.

    How does one prepare for such a crisis? It can be difficult to predict something like this happening, especially during the good times. But it’s during the good times that we as a people must prepare for the difficult times.

    Food prices have soared in Venezuela. A dozen eggs now costs $150 on the black market, not much more than the official government pricing. This is where emergency food storage comes into play. No matter what the prices jump to in the future, your food storage maintains its value. In fact, it’s like an investment in that when food prices rise, you’re already prepared so you don’t have to spend $150 on twelve eggs.

    venezuela-inflation-chart

    Likewise, only eating a few eggs a day will get old fast. By stocking up with food, you can ensure you have the food you actually want to eat, rather than rely on the supermarket to provide you with the very basics, assuming the shelves haven’t been stripped bare by the time you arrive.

    Food prices spiking and many different stages of civil unrest can make acquiring food not just difficult, but nearly impossible. Take the time now – before a crisis – to prepare for any emergency scenario.

     

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  • Shelter in Place: Not Just for Natural Disasters

    Shelter in Place

    On March 28, 2016, the entire Capitol Complex and White House in Washington were put on lock down after there were shots fired by a gunman. According to reports, nobody was killed and the gunman was taken into custody.

    Those already inside buildings were told to shelter in place – nobody was to enter or exit buildings. Those outside were directed to find cover.

    We sometimes think we’ll only need enough water, food, and gear to shelter in place during freak snow storms, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. This scenario shows that people can be a cause for us to hunker down inside as well. While perhaps not as probably to happen as a natural disaster forcing you inside, it’s still something to think about.

    Ferguson Unrest - Shelter in PlaceCivil unrest can explode into riots in no time. Most recently we’ve seen unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, which led to rioting, looting, and violence. During times like these, the last place you want to be is out on the streets.

    Generally speaking, the need to shelter in place is generally for taking immediate refuge in a building or room because of hazardous materials in the atmosphere, severe weather, or anything else that would cause danger if you were to wander outside, including riots and civil unrest.

    Preparing to shelter in place is largely related to preparing for anything else. For example, if you have a two-week supply of drinking water just in case a hurricane roars through and contaminates your municipal supply of water, then you’re also ready with two-weeks of water if you should be trapped in your home for that long.

    Of course, two weeks is a long time to be trapped inside for any reason, and chances are it won’t be nearly that long at all. But the fact remains, it you’re prepared for disaster, you’re prepared to shelter in place.

    However, there are some extra precautions to take when sheltering in place. According to the CDC, it could also mean to seal the room, or prevent air from coming in. If you’re sheltering at home, make sure you choose a room in advance in which to take shelter. The CDC recommends a large room with as few windows and doors as possible. A room connected to a water supply is preferable, such as the master bedroom. This, of course, is if there are harmful contaminants in the air.

    Sheltering in place during civil unrest is different. These events can last for many days. For example, the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri went on for over two weeks. While you may not be trapped inside for the entire duration, there’s always the possibility that you could be.

    So, as was mentioned earlier, the preparations you make prior to these types of events will come in very handy should the need to shelter in place arise. Food, water, a 72-hour kit, alternate power sources, and any other gear you have can only help you if you’re stuck inside.

    And if you can’t leave, then you may also want to have some entertainment on hand, such as books and board games. Your television will probably work, but there’s no telling if your power could get cut during riots or snowstorms or whatever it may be.

    Prepare now for the unexpected, because it’s usually the things we’re not looking for that can cause the biggest distress in our lives.

     

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