Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Month: April 2009

Mexico officials ask citizens to close nonessential businesses

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Officials in Mexico have asked citizens to close all nonessential businesses for 5 days. Besides the closing of businesses, citizens have been asked not to leave their homes unless its necessary.

Yahoo news posted the article that is being referred to – Mexico shuts nonessential services amid swine flu

This is just my opinion, but if the swine flu continues to spread, we can expect to see this kind of stuff on a global scale. What would it be like for cities such as New York to impose a quarantine or curfew?

Most Americans have never had to deal with this kind of situation before. What kind of civil unrest (and panic buying) would happen if cities across the USA were told to close?

Some of the “further down the road” considerations are items that we use in everyday life. Free trade as destroyed the manufacturing base of the USA. This means that when Mexico shuts down, so does a large part of the USA.

Houston, Texas supplies about 20% of the nations fuel. What would happen if Houston were put under a quarantine? And all citizens were asked to stay at home. The entire nation, if not the entire world would be affected.

Pandemic flu alert level reaches phase 5

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised its pandemic flu alert level to phase 5.   Source – Yahoo News.  Here is a link to the WHO website and press release – WHO goes to phase 5 on swine flu.

What does this mean?  It means that the outbreak can not be contained.

In response to this situation, the Survivalist Forum has opened a Swine Flu Forum section.  Please post any questions or comments that you have in that forum.

Cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the USA, Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. Confirmed swine flu related deaths have been reported in Houston, Texas and Mexico.

Swine Flu updates April 25- 27

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The past few days have been a whirlwind of “Swine Flu” events.

April 25 – Texas closes the high school where the students tested posivite for swine flu.  Around 75 – 100 people are dead in Mexico.  The 75 – 100 varies because different news sites are reporting different numbers.  So its a little confusing as to what the exact death toll is.

April 26 – Texas closes the entire school district where the positive students are from.  Death toll in Mexico nears 100.  Swine Flu is being reported in different parts of the world.  Mexico has cancelled all public events and ordered public places closed.

April 27 – Death toll in Mexico Soars (as one news site states it) to well over 100.  World Health Organization (WHO) raises threat level to 4, saying we are very near an pandemic.  Mexico ordered schools all across the nation to close. The US Government advises against unnecessary travel to Mexico. New cases are being reported in – Canada, Spain and Scotland.


World Health Organization releases information on Swine Flu

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The World Health Organization has posted a Swine Flu questions and answers PDF file on their website. Some of the information that the file covers – What is swine influenza, What are the implications for human health, Where have human cases occurred,,, and several other key points.

Go on over to the Swine influenza page on the World Health Organization website and download the file.

Texas Health Officials close school in an effort to stop swine flu

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In an effort to contain the outbreak of Swine Flu, health officials in the State of Texas have temporarily closed Byron Steele High School in Cibolo. This is effective immediately.

To read the whole article, see this School to Close and Other Flu Precautions Recommended news article on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

“The purpose is to reduce the risk to students, staff and the community,” said Sandra Guerra, M.D., a DSHS regional director and the public health authority for Guadalupe County.

To discuss the current situation with the Swine Flu, visit the Swine Flu Outbreak thread in the Survivalist Forum.

Center for Disease Control Podcast on the Swine Flu

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The Center for Disease Control has released an MP3 podcast with information about the Swine Flu. This audio file is about 4 megs. On dial up, it might take about 15 to download.

In this podcast, Dr. Joe Bresee – who is with the CDC Influenza Division – describes swine flu, discusses the signs, symptoms, how it’s transmitted, medicines to treat it, steps people can take to protect themselves from it, and what people should do if they become ill.


Follow this link to read a transcript of the swine flu audio file. That link also goes to where the audio file can be downloaded.

A special thank you goes to Dr. Joe Bresee and the Center for Disease Control for making this podcast available to the public.

Flu outbreak prevention

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Before we get started, the author of this article (Kevin) is not a health care professional. Do your own research before making decisions that affect your health. Links in this article are being provided for information purposes only.

The flu is a viral respiratory infection – there is no real treatment or cure. Once someone catches the flu, there is little that doctors can do for the patient.  One of the most important considerations about the flu, is to stop the spread of the disease.

The flu is spread through infected cough droplets.  The infected person coughs, which spews forth maybe millions of droplets that carry the flu virus.  Other people breath in those infected droplets.  And as a result, they become infected with the flu.

Cover your cough – One of the most important considerations is for people to cover their cough.  This can be done with your hand, shirt sleeve, cloth or tissue. 

This is the way I like to cover my cough – when you feel the urge to cough, use the non-dominate hand, place the web of the hand between the pointer finger and the thumb just under the nose.  The persons hand should form a cup, that is pointed downwards.  When the cough droplets are expelled through the mouth, they hit the inside of the hand and are forced downward, instead of straight out and onto other people.  Also, turn your head away from other people when coughing.

Notice that the non-dominate hand is mentioned – this is to stop the thread of the flu virus to door knobs and other items that people might pick up with their dominate hand.  If you meet a friend and shake their hand, you do not want to touch the other persons hand with the hand you just coughed in.

The Center for Disease Control does not recommend coughing into your hand. They recommend using your shirt.

But either way – cover your cough. Take every precaution possible to prevent exposing others to your cough droplets.


World Health Organization holds emergency meeting on swine flu

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Its been reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) has called an emergency meeting on the swine flu outbreak.

The Center for Disease Control – which is part of the United States Government – has confirmed seven human cases of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 inside the USA. Five of the cases are in California and two are in Texas. Besides the seven confirmed cases, there are nine more cases that are suspected of being A/H1N1.

The WHO emergency meeting is composed of a panel that will determine if the outbreak of swine flu constitutes a public health emergency.

More details later.

To discuss this article, visit the Swine Flu Outbreak thread in the Survivalist Forum.

Cases of Swine Flu reported in Texas California and Mexico

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The Texas Department Of State Health Services has posted a bulletin that 2 confirmed cases of Swine flu have been reported in Texas.

This is from the Texas DSHS website:

Laboratory test results received today from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the illnesses were caused by a swine influenza A (H1N1) virus. Preliminary lab data suggests that the virus closely matches the viruses from recent swine flu infections in human cases from Southern California.

End Quote

There is no need for panic, but there is reason for concern. This is supposed to be a new type of flu. Which is a mixture of flu viruses typically found in pigs, birds and humans.

As of when this article was posted, there are no deaths inside the USA that are directly related to this new type of swine flu.

For updates to this article, visit the Swine flu cases reported in Texas California and Mexico thread of the disaster preparedness forum.

On a personal note, what concerns me is that the human population will not have any kind of resistance to this new type of flu. For years scientist have been talking about Avian Flu – also known as Bird Flu. The main cause of concern with Avian Flu is that there is no vaccine, no treatment and humans do not have any kind of resistance to the disease.

Not being a health care professional, my main question is – does the theory of Bird Flu also apply to Swine Flu? If someone has an answer to that question, maybe they can post it in the forum.

Rivers around the world may be going dry

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A recent article on the BBC details how some of the world’s major rivers are drying up

Water levels in some of the world’s most important rivers have declined significantly over the past 50 years, US researchers say.

They say the reduced flows are linked to climate change and will have a major impact as the human population grows.

Areas across the southern part of the USA have experienced periods of drought in just the past couple of years.  In Texas, between the last part of 2008  and the first part of 2009 – 90% of the state was in drought condition.

Even if you believe that global warming is a myth, there is one thing that can not be denied – that the human population is growing.  As cities grow, so does the demand for water.  Keep in mind that most cities use river water as their main source of fresh water.  As the water levels of the rivers starts to drop, what do you think that will mean when coupled with rising demand.

Maxpedition Proteus Versipack Review Part 1

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  And from the first moment I handled the Maxpedition Proteus Versipack, I knew the pack is a solid piece of equipment.

One reasons why this buttpack was picked, I needed something to carry just enough gear for a day hike. My current fannypack is a little big, so I decided to downsize.

Not only is this a fannypack, but it has a grab handle on the top. So the pack can be carried by hand, or worn around the waist.

Maxpedition Proteus Versipack


Our fragile infrastructure

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If memory serves me right, sometime around 1998 somone in the Atlanta, Georgia was using a tractor with a post hole digger to put in a new fence.  The post hole digger cut through a major fiber optic line that provided service to Atlanta, Georgia and several outlying areas.

Estimates at the time were that about 250,000 people did not have phone or internet for about half a day.

On April 8th or 9th, Vandals cut four fiber optic lines.  Which caused a phone and internet outage for AT&T and Verizon users in the south Bay Area and Central Coast.

The infrastructure of the USA is about as fragile as it can get. When a couple of vandals can cut a fiber optic line, and shut down businesses across a whole state – something is wrong. This is a good example of how ill prepared this nation is for a real disaster.

On a side note, someone from youtube sent me this video with the following message – Government Test Run Folks!!! Meaning, that some people think that the government is doing stuff like this to see how people will respond to some kind of disaster. Or to see how people will respond to lack of communication with the outside world.

Not only has communications been shutdown, but ATM machines do not work, credit card machines do not work. Every day life has been disrupted with this one act.

Good quality ice chest

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After a disaster – such as a hurricane – part of the relief efforts usually include bottled water, MREs or canned goods and ice. The ice is supposed to help people preserve their cold or frozen foods. But, this ice is of little good if the person getting the supplies to does have a good quality ice chest.

It has been in my experience that Rubbermaid brand is almost the bottom of the bucket. I have taken a 34 quart Rubbermaid ice chest, put a couple of bags of ice in it. And the next day just about all of the ice is melted.

On the other hand, Coleman and Igloo both offer quality solutions. One of my ice chest includes a 128 quart Igloo 5 day. Your supposed to be able to be able to put ice in it, and when kept in the shade the ice is supposed to last 5 days.

Back in June of 2008 a buddy of mine got married at the beach. My wife and I loaded up the truck, hooked up the bar-b-q pit and headed to the beach to take part in the wedding. In the back of my truck was an Igloo 128 quart ice chest full of ice, drinks and a couple of frozen gallons of water. We got to the beach friday evening. The Igloo 5 day extreme ice chest was in the back of my truck all weekend, in direct sunlight and day time temps were in the mid 90’s. Sunday, when my wife and I loaded up to go home, there was still ice in the chest.


When dogs attack

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Over the past couple of weeks, several cities in southeast Texas have reported dogs attacking children. Lets not get into dog physiology and “why” dogs attack. Lets move past that point, the dog has attacked the child, the child suffered minor injuries and is alive and well.

My personal opinion, if a dog acts aggressive towards children – the dog should be destroyed. This usually means taking it to a vet and having it put to sleep.  When a dog attacks a child – parents, friends, relatives and law enforcement must ensure that another attack never happens again. If that means destroying the dog then so be it.

There are a lot of people that disagree with that statement. They will argue that it was a “one time event” and will never happen again. This makes me wonder about the people. Who do they care more about, the dog or the child?  This issue is addressed at the bottom of this article.

Then there is the health issue – does the dog have rabies? Has the dog had its rabies shots? Does the dog need to be tested for rabies? The questions about rabies will be decided by the local health officials, doctors and animal vets.


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