New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winter Preparedness & To-Do's

What could possibly need to be done in the winter? Plenty, yet most of the actual preparedness stuff should have been completed with your Fall To-Do's. If you haven't completed those yet, time is running out, so to be prepared, you better get a doing!

This rather long "little ditty" covers:

  • Why prepare for winter storms with a map of Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters 1980-2009
  • Long range winter weather forcasts for the U.S. for 2011-2012 (and yes there is a type-o on these years in the document. I am human after all)
  • Some interesting "Did You Know?" facts
  • Terms for winter watches and warnings and what each means
  • Different kinds of snowfall and ice
  • Winter and cold weather risks, in general, to humans and animals and what you can do about them
  • Personal, animal, pet and livestock safety
  • How to dress for winter (no not fashion tips, survival tips)
  • Winter fire hazards, prevention and safety
  • General safety for snow, ice, heaters, fireplaces, space heaters and holiday and the like
  • What to do before, during and after a winter storm, including how prevent and handle frozen pipes
  • Winter vehicle preparation, safety, driving tips, including what to do if trapped in your vehicle during a blizard
  • A list of resources

Although this is a rather long read, it is full of all my personal experience from living in "big snow" country (both urban and rural) as well as information from the pros on the various subjects. Between this article and the Fall To-Do's, there should be nothing you are not prepared for with the up coming winter season.

Winter Preparedness & To Do’s

and don't forget your Fall To Do’s - Preparing for Winter

Don’t Live Paranoid
Live Prepared!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) & Emergency Alert System (EAS)

LinkAnyone who knows me accepts that I do not trust ANY government, yet alone my own, any farther than I can spit. Yet these people also know that I despise sensationalism and lying by omission. So even when I don’t like someone or something, I want the whole truth and nothing but the truth out there. With that said, please read on and arm yourselves with the power of knowledge.

Growing up in the sixties and seventies, I remember radio and TV airplay being interrupted by "tests" run by the Emergency Broadcast System: "This is a test..." After reading the articleDid You Know Feds Will Temporarily Cut Off All TV and Radio Broadcasts on Nov. 9?”, it made me realize that I haven't heard these tests for quite some time and that there was a lot of information missing in this article which got me thinking and researching what was missing and WHY hadn’t I heard these broadcasts in awhile?

The Emergency Broadcast System was initiated in 1963 during the Kennedy Administration, to allow the president to address the entire nation in an emergency. The EBS was later further expanded through an interagency effort with the FCC, FEMA and the National Weather Service (NWS), to permit the system to be used for state and local emergencies.

Although the EBS system was established for national messages, many broadcasters and local officials recognized that the system could be used to notify listeners about local emergency situations. As of the beginning of 1996 the FCC had received 20,341 reported activations of EBS (since 1976). Approximately 85% of these activations were for weather related emergencies. The number of activations was most assuredly higher as stations were not required to report their usage of the system.

The system was never used for a nuclear emergency, though it was activated more than 20,000 times between 1976 and 1996 to broadcast civil emergency messages and warnings of severe weather hazards.

In 1996 a law was passed to replace the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) with the new fangled digital Emergency Alert System and EBS was officially retired in January 1998 (isn't there always an upgrade?). This resulted in a temporary (of several years) suspension of the mandatory tests.

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national warning system in the United States put into place in 1996-98, superseding the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) and the CONELRAD System.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed the Emergency Alert System (EAS) so officials can (supposedly) quickly send out important emergency information targeted to a specific area.

This new system provides access to broadcast stations, cable systems and participating satellite programmers for the transmission of emergency messages (and less obtrusive weekly tests). The EAS uses digital codes developed by the National Weather Service (NWS). NWS offices can originate coded messages that are area specific and will only activate EAS decoders and send emergency warnings to people in the affected geographic area.

EAS has become part of IPAWS - the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, a program of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). EAS is jointly coordinated by FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Weather Service (NWS). EAS equipment must be FCC certified for use.

In 2004, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on whether EAS in its present form is the most effective mechanism for warning the American public of an emergency and if not, on how EAS can be improved, such as mandatory text messages to cell phones, regardless of subscription. As noted above, rules implemented by the FCC on July 12, 2007 provisionally endorse replacing the SAME protocol with CAP and allow governors to compel universal activation of the system within their own states.

Executive Order 13407 of June 26, 2006 Public Alert and Warning System “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) and the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended (6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.)( and established, as policy, the requirement for the United States to have an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people.

FEMA is designated, within the Department of Homeland Security, to implement the policy of the United States for a public alert and warning system as outlined in Executive Order 13407 and has established a program office to implement IPAWS. FEMA and its federal partners, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service and the DHS Science and Technology Directorate are working together to transform the national alert and warning system to enable rapid dissemination of authenticated alert information over as many communications channels as possible.

Once the nations radio and cable broadcasts went digital (satellite was already digital) in November of 2010, the FCC officially announced plans and procedures for national EAS tests On February 3, 2011, which will involve all television and radio stations connected to the EAS system, as well as all cable and satellite services in the United States. The national test will transmit and relay an EAS test message from the White House. The date for the first national EAS test is November 9, 2011.

So do our laws, bills and executive orders allow the U.S. government to:

  • Round up civilians and put them camps? – Yes. Has any past or current administration taken advantage of these loopholes to do so – NO.
  • Take control of the U.S. internet – Yes. Any past or current administration attempt to do so – NO.
  • Take control of U.S. broadcasting services – Yes. Any past or current administration attempt to do so – NO.
  • Take our property, homes and land – Yes. Any past or current administration attempt to do so – YES and they have, just NOT on a large nationwide scale.
  • Use multi-national cooperative military to “secure” the U.S. – Yes. Any past or current administration actually do so – Not unless you count NATO and other similar alliances and treaties.
  • Practice any of these “activities” – Yes and just about every past administration has done so, including the current.

So B.S. aside: No administration has taken wrongful advantage of the loopholes in our laws, executive orders or bills to actually do this and despite how much I detest our current government, there is no strong indication that it is planning to do wrong now. Personally I don’t think anyone populating our government (at any level) today, is stupid enough nor has the guts to start another American Revolution. They are not strong enough YET and they know it, so they won’t risk losing what power and control they already have.

Bottom line: We can run stupid and scared
or we can arm ourselves with knowledge
to run prepared.

Read more detail on this evolution of EBS to EAS


Monday, October 17, 2011

Good or Bad – Famous or Infamous - It's Halloween!

Halloween, celebrated on October 31, is a mix of ancient practices, rituals, festivals and European folk traditions that over time have blended together to create the holiday we know today.

Major contributors to today's Halloween, are:

  • Celtic holiday of Samhain
  • Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day
  • Roman festival of Feralia
  • Spain’s El Dia De Los Muertos 3 day celebration October 31-November 2. Also celebrated in Latin America and Mexico
  • England's Guy Fawkes Day

Halloween straddles the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death and is filled with mystery and magic; is it any wonder that it is a time of celebration and superstition?

Here are some great Halloween Fire & Safety Tips from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and the Red Cross:

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
  • From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights! Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, and heaters.
  • It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
  • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
  • If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
  • Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
  • If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
  • When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which may cover your eyes.
  • Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, and brooms and the edges of your cape!
  • Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
  • As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And speaking of streets, the corners are the place for trick or treaters to cross no mat¬ter their pace.)
  • You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! Between parked cars is no place to hide, be sure that you’re seen whether you’re a clown or a bride.
  • Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
  • You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
  • Have a grown-up inspect your candy when you’re done trick-or-treating to remove open packages and choking hazards before eating.

I personally am going to add:

ALL Adults should drive with caution on Halloween as many costumes are “dark” and hard to see. With the advent of electric cars, many “trick or treaters” will NOT hear these new fangled vehicles approach and may step out in front of them. This also means to leave your “texting and driving” until you return home or pull to side of the road to perform your functions.

Be Safe, Be Smart while enjoying the festivities in the dark!

Read on to discover the history behind jack-o-lanturns, costumes, candied apples, haunted houses, fright nights and more.

PS - On Sunday, November 6 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time ends in the United States. It used to end around the last Saturday night/Sunday morning before Halloween, which was a boon for trick-or-treaters. However, with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it was extended daylight-saving time (starting in 2007), from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. (Previously it was from April to October.)

Live On to Prep Another Day ;-}


Monday, October 10, 2011

Native American Preparedness

On September 19, 2011 FEMA officially launched is Ready Indian Country Preparedness Campaign. I wonder what took them so long?

FEMA Ready Indian Country
LinkFEMA Tribal Policy

Now I personally don’t trust ANY government any farther than I can spit – however there is some good information on the Ready.Gov web site to get people of all kinds going on being prepared. Although the Red Cross with its more detailed and specific information, is my top pick for government sanctioned type sites.

Although the government mostly replicated the text and only changed the images to various downloadable PDF’s from their Ready Indian Country site, the information is still good and worth it in my book. The government has attempted to ‘customize’ its PDF’s to regions, although for some reason they completely ignored the natives of Hawaii.

To native and other peoples alike, understand that the U.S. government still has not figured out that spiritual beliefs play an important role in preparedness (and everyday life) – so don’t be disappointed when you can’t find any of that kind of information in their documents.

For those of you that are interested, here are some links:

Brochure for Tribal Leaders

Readiness Planning

The FEMA Tribal Regions

Southwest Region
Southwest Individual/Family Brochure
LinkSouthwest Poster

Alaska Region
Alaska Individual/Family Brochure
Alaska Poster

Northwest Region
Northwest Individual/Family Brochure
LinkNorthwest Poster

Northern Plains Region
Northern Plains Individual/Family Brochure
Northern Plains Poster

Southern Plains Region
Southern Plains Individual/Family Brochure
LinkSouthern Plains Poster Link
Northeast Region
Northeast Individual/Family Brochure
Northeast Poster

Southeast Region
Southeast Individual/Family Brochure
Southeast Poster
Some other sites of interest are:

Native American Congress of American Indians Dept. of Homeland Security-emergency
State and Urban Area Homeland Security Strategy: Guidance on Aligning Strategies with the Emergency Preparedness Goal (2005/07/22)
Tribal Participation in the State and Urban Area Homeland Security Strategy

National Native American EMS Association

Although this is a California ‘institution’, they have some good information and may be able to offer “how-to’s” for getting something like this going in your area.
Native American Alliance for Emergency Preparedness-NAAEP-Indian Health Clinics Terrorism and Emergency Preparedness


PS – If anyone has links to some good Native American Preparedness sites let me know and I will add them to my blog ;-}

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oh No! The Power is Out – Now What?

There are really only three reasons a “residential” person would want to generate power:

  • They live away from the electric grid.
  • They wish to be electricity independent and this includes lowering or eliminating their electric utility bill.
  • The gridded power has gone out for one reason or another.

Off-the-grid enthusiasts look at generating their own everyday power needs that can be anything from complete electrical self-reliance to just generating and storing enough electricity for a few hours and they deal with energy storage too. Off-Griders generally look at solar, wind, hydro and geothermal for energy generation. This article is NOT about energy independence – It is about Emergency Energy.

The greater majority of us fall into the power failure category, especially since electricity has become a necessary convenience to a large portion of the population. To many of us any power outage longer than a couple of hours is much more than just an inconvenience, it feels threatening too!

There are a good number of things that can cause a power failure from an accident, brownouts, high usage rolling blackouts and severe weather, to some kind of electromagnetic disaster.

These kinds of incidents have us thinking about alternatives to gridded power and for most urbanites that means some kind of Home Emergency Electrical Generator.

Emergency Power is typically for 3-7 days. Some industries have emergency back-up power for up to 10 days. Very few, if any look beyond that.

Understand that "whole house" emergency generator power is NOT the same as full scale off-the-grid. You still have to unplug and turn off non-essential appliances and devices. If you are truly looking for a full-house-no-change-in-personal-electrical-usage system then you need to look at Alternative and Off-grid systems, even if you only plan to use it in emergencies.

There are many kinds of emergency electrical generators for home or residential use from portable to stationary, from back-up power for the entire house, to just minimal back-up power for a few key appliances and devices. Each generator type has its own pros’ and cons’ and uses different types of fuel to generate electricity.

Options and accessories are many. Keep in mind just what kind of electrical outage you are preparing for. If you are looking at some kind of wide spread CME or EMP, then the more digital your generator and accessories are, the more you will need a Faraday Cage for each piece to guarantee the generator and its devices are operational. If you are just worried about several days of rolling outages, then how much you need to power while the grid is down will be one of the most important points you are looking for.

Key decision makers for us are usually the overall cost, followed by ease of use and maintenance.

Choosing a generator can be tricky because every home is different. Something that you may have had in your previous home may not work in the home that you are in at the moment.

Most importantly these generators are NOT something you can purchase, store and only worry about when the power goes out. They need regular maintenance no matter if they have been in use or not. The fuels utilized have various shelf-lives and risk factors too.

Bottom Line: Every power generator is NOT ideal in every situation!

Read more about some essential things to consider to ensure you get the right generator for your needs.

"Keep On Preppin"