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  • Bolting to a Hobbit Hole: Preparing Your Home for the Saurons of Today

    Recently, we talked about millionaires prepping lavish bunkers for Armageddon. Now, we bring you more news about super rich people: Tech billionaires are building Hobbit holes – er, bolt holes, rather – in New Zealand.

    Why? That’s what we’d all like to know.

    New Zealand Hobbit Hole Riding distance to Rohan and a short Eagle flight to Mordor, this bolt hole can be yours for just $10 million!

    Apparently, New Zealand is the place to be during social collapse or nuclear war. The far-off country has the potential to be self-sufficient. It doesn’t have the social tensions that are predominant in Europe and the United States. And it’s far away from North Korea’s less-than-sane approach to nuclear weapons. Also, the view is incredible.

    But you don’t need a multi-million dollar underground castle (moat optional) in the far reaches of Middle Earth in order to be safe and protected from the chaos that comes with Sauron any end-world scenario. In fact, you can find safety and comfort in your very own home. All you need is a little preparation. And really, you don’t need a whole lot all at once, either.

    Take food, for instance. Food is important (as I’m sure you’re well aware). To get started, all you really need to do is make sure you have three days’ worth of food on hand. Canned goods, bread…that kind of stuff. After that, extend it until you have two weeks’ worth of food. Then a month. Then three months.

    Baby steps to preparedness. Of course, once you get into the more long-term storage, foodstuffs like bread won’t be a very good option, as it will go bad well before you need it. That’s why freeze-dried and dehydrated food is an effective option. Not only can you add variety to your menus (trust me, eating the same thing over and over day after day will get really old, really fast), but it will also last you years and years. So instead of replenishing your emergency food every few weeks, you can do one purchase and let it sit for 25 years.

    No matter where your home is, you can still find safety and protection in it. First, gather the gear you need should you be left without power or any other modern conveniences. Blankets, indoor-safe stoves, water barrels or filters, and a backup generator (just to name a few). Without power, the daily things you do won’t be doable. Make sure you can cook without power, stay warm without your central heater, and have water without a working faucet.

    Once you have the gear you need, you can build up your home safety from there, including personal defense items, safes, barricades, or anything else you think you might need. But remember, the essentials are your first priority.

    Sure, New Zealand is nice and all, but it’s not exactly necessary to survive an emergency. Your home can be your very own refuge from the storm if you make it so. Disasters come and go, but home will always be home when you’re prepared. After all, there’s no place like it.

    Written by Steven M.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Hobbit hole

  • 2016: A Year in Review

    2016_amatrice_earthquake A Year In Review Amatrice, a town in Italy, destroyed by the earthquake. Photo: Leggi il Firenzepost

    Raise your hand if you’re glad 2016 is about over. The year was so tumultuous that a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that killed at least 299 people in central Italy didn’t even make most U.S. news organizations’ lists of important events. (Neither did a magnitude-6.6  earthquake on October 30 that destroyed more towns in the same area.) In this Year in Review, we look at some of the more devastating events that happened in 2016.

    Disaster declarations began early in the year.

    On January 5, the governor of Michigan declared a state of emergency in Flint, Mich., because of lead-contaminated water. It was a man-made disaster. In 2014, the city manager decided to switch the city’s water supply to the Flint River. The more-corrosive water was not correctly treated and caused lead to leach out of thousands of miles of old pipes. After a year of cleanup, many Flint residents still can’t use tap water.

    A massive winter storm hit eleven eastern states beginning January 22. It dumped more than 30 inches of snow on seven states, caused six tornadoes, affected 103 million people and killed 55. Damage estimates range from $500 million to $3 billion.

    A seemingly-mild virus carried by a tiny mosquito next took over global headlines. The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 1. In most people, Zika causes few to no symptoms – maybe a mild rash or fever. However, in pregnant women, Zika can cause microcephaly other brain defects in their unborn children.  The first U.S. death from Zika was announced April 1, and the virus spread to Florida in July.

    March brought the first of many terrorist attacks this year in a reminder to be vigilant even in seemingly safe places. On the 22nd, two suicide bombers attacked the Brussels, Belgium airport and a third attacked a Brussels Metro station. Thirty-five people were killed, including the three bombers, and at least 300 were injured. More terror attacks brought violence to France, Germany and many other nations.

    On April 3, the Panama Papers were released. More than 11 million documents showed, first, how the wealthy hide their money from taxes, and second, sent a reminder to protect your own information. Yahoo in July and December announced two more security breaches of 500 million and a billion accounts.

    Leaving Fort McMurray A Year In Review Wildfires raged in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

    In May, 88,000 people fled a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The fire caused the largest evacuation in Alberta history and destroyed about 2,400 buildings. It might be Canada’s costliest disaster.

    In June, voters in the United Kingdom surprised everyone by voting to leave the European Union. Brexit roiled financial markets and served as a reminder that individual financial preparation is especially vital in a global economy.

    Even last year’s El Nino was not enough to break California’s staggering drought. Wildfires raged through the parched state in June and July. The Erskine fire alone killed two people and destroyed 285 homes. In all, the 2016 fire season saw almost 7,000 fires in California burn more than 565,000 acres and kill seven people.

    A July 30 flash flood in Maryland was only a harbinger of flooding to come. Massive storms across southern Louisiana in early August dumped more rain than Hurricane Katrina. Floods killed 13 people and caused $10-15 billion in damage. It was the worst disaster since Hurricane Sandy.

    And, oh, yes, there was a pretty big earthquake in Italy. In certain parts of the world, you expect certain things. You expect earthquakes in Italy and California. You expect tornadoes in Oklahoma. You expect hurricanes in Florida. Oh, wait. Hurricane Hermine, which made landfall in Florida September 2, was the first hurricane to hit the state in 11 years. It was a spitball compared with Hurricane Matthew, a category 5 monster that, in October, killed up to 1,600 people in Haiti and more throughout the Caribbean before making its final landfall in South Carolina. Damage is estimated at more than $10.5 billion.

    In November, some tiny country somewhere rejected a divisive mainstream candidate for a divisive outsider in its presidential election. Who knows what effect President-elect Donald Trump will have? Best be prepared for anything.

    Finally, December. And a Christmas winter storm that blasted through the central U.S.

    And don’t forget Super Typhoon Nock-ten, which slammed the Philippines the same day. Or the magnitude 7.6 earthquake in southern Chile that threatened a tsunami.

    May next year be a bit more peaceful for you, your family, and the world.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner A Year In Reveiw

  • Natural Disaster Seasons are Scheduled Year-Round

    When isn’t there a warning of some imminent natural disaster? It seems like some sort of devastation or disaster is scheduled each month, ready to knock us off our feet. Knowing when each disaster is more likely to strike can help us be better prepared, and with better preparedness comes greater safety.

    The following is a list of natural disasters the United States can expect on a yearly basis, along with applicable dates in which they are “scheduled.”


    Tornado season disaster seasonTornado Season: March – July

    Technically, tornado season differs for various regions. For example, the Southern States are in peak tornado season from March to May, whereas the Northern Plains and Midwest experience their tornado season around June and July. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that tornadoes can occur during any time and any month.

    To learn more about tornadoes, click here.


    Hurricane season disaster seasonHurricane Season: June – November

    Half the year is taken up with the Atlantic hurricane season, beginning June 1 and continuing through November 30, according to NOAA. Just like any of these scheduled disasters, some may arrive earlier than June or even after hurricane season has long since ended.

    To learn more about hurricanes, click here.


    Fire Season: October – January

    Fire Approaching House (NY Times) disaster season fire seasonFire season is a fickle thing. It depends on outside factors, such as recent precipitation and heat. But, October is generally the start of fire season and, depending on which part of the country you reside, could last through January.

    California, while still following these same guidelines, tends to be in the danger zone year round. “Where there’s drought, there’s fire,” says Slate. California has been in a state of drought for many years, making fires a likely threat.


    Earthquake Season: January – December

    Christchurch, New Zealand - March 12, 2011 disaster season earthquake season

    If you thought you had at least February off from any imminent disaster, this will come as bad news. Earthquakes happen every month of the year, in every state, and can happen at any time of the day or night. As of yet, earthquakes are unable to be predicted.


    There is no day or month that is immune from natural disasters. Because of this, being constantly prepared is vital. Sure, some natural disasters can be better predicted during certain seasons, making it easier to prepare, but remember, these disaster seasons aren’t always followed exactly. Hurricanes can come before or after hurricane season, tornadoes can form outside of tornado season, and fires can certainly happen year round. Also, there are other disasters, such as earthquakes, that simply can’t be predicted. Combined with blizzards and severe thunderstorms, there’s a full year of scheduled disasters waiting to strike.

    Fortunately, getting the basics can be quick and easy. Make sure you have what you need before disaster strikes. Prepare today for tomorrow’s emergencies.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner disaster season

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