People Need to Have Respect for the Wild Places

These are stories about people who went “for the day” into the wild. They are lucky to be alive. I won’t even touch on the people who broke legs, etc. and had to be rescued. Just the folks who got lost. I used to read these stories all the time, but I think the last time I wrote about one was in 2007.

Wilderness is not like walking across your favorite city park. Wilderness is dangerous.

First up, grandsons “abandon” their grandfather on a trail at Mt Washington. Hiker rescued from Mt. Washington may have to foot the bill.

He will likely be billed because lack of preparation = negligence.

Because they wanted to reach the summit, which they did, but then they returned by a different route. Their 80-year-old grandfather was in early hypothermia when he was rescued. He had no supplies, not even correct clothing for the trails.

“People think it’s a walk in the park,” said [Lt. Mark Ober of Fish and Game], noting there have been 150 deaths around Mount Washington since the 1800s.

“They don’t understand that it could be 70 degrees (21 degrees Celsius) at the base and it will be 12 degrees (minus 11 degrees Celsius) with blowing wind and snow potentially at the summit.” he continued.

The two grandsons may face criminal charges. (Sadly not for Felony Stupidity.)

I will only mention the New Jersey hiker who perished on Mt Washington. You can find stories easy enough if you want to.

Then there is a case in California. ‘Don’t Leave Your Partner,’ Lost Hiker Says Following ‘Terrible’ Night in Angeles National Forest.

“It was terrible. I was sleeping over a rock with a towel over me … I was freezing,” Andrews said

Finally we have the guy missing for 6 days. Hiker missing for 6 days in Arkansas woods details fight against ants, prayer for survival.

No supplies. He did manage to stay near water.

McClatchy, 38, had planned his hike in the in the Caney Creek Wilderness region, near Mena, Arkansas, for weeks. But somehow the Dallas native managed to get off the beaten trail and disoriented. He texted his mother June 1 to say he needed help, but due to spotty cellphone service he couldn’t reconnect with her.

Don’t go into a wilderness area, even for a day, without some basic supplies. Don’t leave people by themselves. Don’t count on cellphones. Maps and a compass can be replaced by a decent GPS. (Not your phone.) Be sure the batteries are good. You want batteries for days. (As the last guy on our list proves.)

And what are basic supplies? Fire-starting equipment would be on the top of my list. Some food and a water filter might be a good start. But go ahead and fill up the backpack. (Tent, sleeping bag, whatever) A first aid kit. And remember, “Two is one, and one is none” when it comes to things that might factor into your survival.

And don’t be stupid about Wilderness.

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California’s Camp Fire: The Breakdown in .gov Communications in Paradise, CA

They had drilled into people, “don’t evacuate until told to do so,” but most people never heard the order to evacuate, so a lot of them died in their homes or in their cars when they finally decided to stop waiting for the order. Escaping Paradise | California Wildfires: The New Normal. (From ABC 10 out of Sacramento.)

This is a long video – 20 minutes or so. But it is pretty good. And it highlights a couple of important lessons.

So the county (or city) had a plan. Call people via robocalls to tell them to evacuate. They never anticipated evacuating the whole town. The system was overloaded. And then the phone lines started to burn. They never used the Emergency Alert System (radio and TV). They never used the Wireless Alert System (Cellphones). Both of those are run by FEMA, which says no alerts were passed onto them.

The lessons?

First, FEMA says have a radio to listen for instructions from your local authority. But if the local authorities aren’t going to communicate via radio, what the hell is the point? How many of the hand-crank-charged AM/FM/Weather band radios have been sold? Most cellphones include AM/FM radio circuitry – which has been disabled. (Apple and the rest want to sell you their music service, so why provide free music?) If your local authority isn’t going to use EAS or the Wireless alerts, why are we paying for them? (Aside from the fact that it is a .gov jobs program, that is.) This lesson is for the .gov mostly. Use the news media. Use FEMA. That’s why they’re in place. For the rest of us, don’t believe that you always have all of the information. And really, really, don’t place too much trust in the .gov. They’re just as confused as you are.

Second, when you believe your life is in danger, don’t let other people make decisions for you. You’re an adult. Make your own decisions. Don’t follow the herd. I would say also don’t feel guilty that you survived and someone else didn’t, but that is easier said than done.

Finally, when you decide to run, run. Don’t walk. At least for the first part of the journey. Nothing you own is worth your life. And if your instincts are telling you to run, pay attention to the “run” part.

Coda: This is cellphone video of a guy evacuating during the fire. Language warning. He is freaking out because the fire is right on top of him.

And this is a compilation of drone video of the aftermath. Mostly burned structures. It is interesting to see one or two houses standing when everything else in the neighborhood has burned.

“What we do best is to stand there and look ugly.”

This situation around the fires in California reinforces something that many have known, but the majority seems to blissfully deny. Civilization is a fragile thing, and most are unprepared for even a partial collapse. Hellbent bikers provide security to Camp Fire evacuees at Chico church.

These evacuees aren’t street savvy, [Hellbent 823 chapter President Matt “Straws” Strausbaugh] said, “Two weeks ago their lives weren’t going in a direction that involved living in tents on the street.”

So the first task for the Hellbent club was to remove anyone who was threatening victims, causing trouble or scaring the children. Then, Strausbaugh said, “We switched from eject mode to protect mode.”

They had never contemplated the fact that they might have to stand up to addicts, and people threatening them or their children. And they were completely unprepared to do so when the situation arose. Enter the bikers, who take pride in standing up to people.

Craig Dunbar, with Hellbent 82 North, rattled off some of the dozen-plus clubs that have been volunteering their time and protection services. Their names are as colorful as their jackets; a few include the Jus Brothers from Oroville and Stockton, Sons of Hell out of Redding and the Street Outlaws from Red Bluff, Notorious from Chico, Henchmen and Hessians from San Joaquin, Curb Crawlers from Yuba City, Hells Angels from Sacramento and Dunbar’s fellow Hellbent brothers from Vallejo and Sacramento.

And he makes care to mention the Resurrection Motorcycle Club from Paradise, who nearly all lost their homes but have still been assisting with security.

Prepping for a disaster is as much about the idea as it is about having supplies. The “good citizens” mentioned in this piece are mostly unprepared – no supplies, no plans, no grit.

They didn’t know to try and keep the IV drug users away from their kids. The bikers found people shooting-up and discarded needles near where that kids were playing. The good citizens aren’t used to thinking about security; they take the security offered by society for granted.

People say that Thomas Hobbes was an unrealistic pessimist. But I think the state of that church/shelter before the bikers reestablished some level of order was exactly described by Hobbes’ State of War.

During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.

To this war of every man against every man, this also in consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the cardinal virtues.

No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

Hat tip to Wirecutter.

Where Is This Authority Specified?

Nanny state has to tell you how to live your life. Sheriff bans alcohol sales after Hurricane Michael. ‘People need to not focus on drinking.’.

Officials in Bay and Gulf counties have banned the sale and distribution of alcohol until the state of emergency is over — except for residents of Panama City, whose leaders voted Thursday to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., according to al.com.

What. The. Fuck.

And the sheriff in question should be told to get packing come the next election. In the meantime he needs to focus on people actually breaking the law. People just lost everything, and you don’t think they might want a drink. You heartless bastard.

Hat tip to Wirecutter, who notes…

Banning the sale of a legal product? Seriously?
One more reason to add alcohol to your preps.

How Long Should You Expect to Wait For Help From the .gov After a Disaster?

It is strange to see an article about prepping in Wired. The Science Behind Home Disaster Preparedness Kits Is a Disaster.

Wired is a Left-leaning publication, so they are all upset that “You might be telling people that they have to rely on themselves and their neighbors and not the government.”

Everybody from the Feds on down agrees you need to be prepared. But not many are.

Government agencies don’t have the money to send a fire truck to every house after an earthquake or hurricane. People have to be able to help themselves.

But what to put in the kits, how many days to plan for varies widely.

A couple of years ago things got even more complicated. In 2016 the Washington Military Department, essentially that state’s National Guard, ran an exercise called Cascadia Rising. The idea was to simulate a response to an earthquake and subsequent tsunami emanating from the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Pacific Northwest, subject of a much-read New Yorker article from the previous year. “Cascadia Rising was a massive eye-opener,” says Karina Shagren, spokesperson for the Washington Military Department. “We realized there would be pockets of communities that won’t receive help for several days, if not several weeks.” Washington’s coastal communities would lose the bridges that connect them to the rest of the world. They’d have to wait for help by air or sea.

Washington State now recommends that you are prepared to be on your own for 14 days. The Federal .gov is still saying “more than 3 days.” Most people aren’t even prepared for that.

Wired gets wound up in Social Justice, worried that poor people can’t afford to prepare. But canned food, if you rotate through things you like doesn’t have to cost any extra. You don’t need to buy expensive dehydrated food. Yes, if you need to evacuate, cans are heavy, but do your kids have a wagon? Do you have a non-electric can-opener? Do you already own some sturdy walking shoes? A backpack?

The article even makes some valid observations.

Is there stuff you should probably definitely have access to in your home? Sure. Copies of personal identification documents. Prescription medications. A good whistle. Lightsticks. Water purification tech. A crowbar. (The time you need a crowbar is the time you really, really need a crowbar.)

Water purification is key. You can survive quite a while without food, if you aren’t trying to march 20 miles a day. But you need water. Continue reading

Hurricane Florence: You Should Be Prepared

If you live in hurricane country, you should have been prepared in March, but since probably less than 10% thought about it, now would be a good time. Hurricane FLORENCE: Public Advisory Number 43

This is looking like a major hurricane, and there are days for it to strengthen.

Satellite data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday night, and is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.

The image is from GOES East satellite imagery tropical storm floaters. It is from 10 Sep 2018 at 2:30 UTC. It is a collection of long-wave infrared images given the Rainbow Image Enhancement. (It is one of the better views at night, when visual spectrum isn’t such a good choice.) Click to enlarge.

People won’t prepare. They won’t evacuate when told to do so. They will remember the last tropical storm, or category 1 hurricane and think it wasn’t that bad. It’s what people do. And maybe this storm will swing north out into the Atlantic. (They can’t predict the weather, not between now and Friday.) Or maybe it will be Helene that strikes the Eastern Seaboard as a major hurricane. Or maybe none of them. But it isn’t if, it’s when the next storm will hit. Which is why you should be prepared.

When Hurricane Gordon Comes Ashore in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi or Florida…

The fact that no one is preparing, or getting the hell out of Dodge, will be all Trump’s fault. (Either that or it will be Bush’s fault.) Tropical Storm Gordon Public Advisory.

Gordon is currently a tropical storm. At 1500 UTC it was about 145 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi river, heading northwest at 15 miles per hour.

The GOES satellite imagery shows that the storm is strengthening.

Even though they are predicting up to 5 feet of storm surge in some areas, no one will evacuate. Even though a huge swath of territory could experience as much as 8 inches of rain (and the flash flooding that goes with that) no one will evacuate. Because I sort of remember a hurricane in Texas, but did it really do that much damage? And besides, evacuating so much WORK.

If (when?) someone is in trouble because they didn’t prepare or evacuate, it will be all the .gov’s fault and in particular, Trump’s fault. (Or Bush’s fault.)

If and when Gordon becomes a hurricane in the next 24 hours, it will be the 4th Atlantic hurricane this year. (The 3rd which is a category 1 hurricane, is currently churning in the Atlantic.)