Best of the Drop — Global Threats

Let’s face it: The world is increasingly becoming a scary place. So to wrap up 2017, I want to revisit some pressing global threats in another “Best of” edition of the Weekly Drop.

Remember — no matter what happens in the coming year, the more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be. Which is why I suggest making emergency prep one of your top resolutions for 2018.

But for now, take a look at the information below. And be sure to send your spy and survival questions to
SPYfeedback@LFB.org.

Imagine waking up tomorrow and North Korea has dropped a nuke on us. What do you do?

— Michael S. 

When it comes to preparing for a nuclear attack, you should make many of the same preparations as you would for any other emergency situation — ahead of time. That’s why they’re called preparations. Stock up on food and water, and have a bug-out bag ready to go for each member of your family.

Most likely, if the U.S. were attacked with nuclear weapons, they would be aimed at military compounds or government buildings. The further you are from sites that might be targeted, the better off you will be. If a nuclear bomb detonates near your home, stay inside in a basement or shelter with no windows and as little exposure to the outside as possible.

Put as many barriers between you and the outside air as possible. Keeping the polluted air out and limiting what comes into your home or shelter is critical. This is why I recommend having plastic sheeting and duct tape in your emergency supplies so you can seal off a designated area.

You should be able to seal off a room completely for a minimum of 24 hours with all your supplies. Don’t go outside until it is safe to do so. Because you could be stuck inside for a long time, it’s so important to have an ample supply of food and water on hand.

Will respirators work if North Korea drops a nuke on us and I have to go outside? Or would a gas mask be better? 

— Charlie S. 

If you have to go outside after a nuclear attack, a full-face gas mask would be better than a respirator or small mask that only covers your mouth and nose.

But even if you’re wearing a gas mask, you should limit your outside exposure, because gas masks don’t work if they don’t fit perfectly on your face. Facial hair, for example, can prevent a gas mask from fitting properly, so you need to be cautious if you have to step outside — even with a mask.

Also, be sure to stock extra filters for your gas mask. And remember, filters do expire, so be sure to keep track of them along with all your other perishable emergency supplies.

How do you protect your electronics from an EMP strike? How do you build your own Faraday cage?

—Barry B.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strike would be one of the most catastrophic attacks to hit us. It would cause massive damage to multiple infrastructures and send us back to the Stone Age.

One of the simplest ways you can protect your devices is with a Faraday cage, which is basically just a metal box that will shield your devices from the EMP. A great example of one you can make yourself uses an ammo can — which are pretty easy to get ahold of, even if you don’t keep firearms (although I highly recommend you do).

Line the can with cardboard and then remove the batteries from your devices and wrap them in newspaper. Then wrap them in aluminum foil and finally another layer of newspaper. After each of your devices is wrapped, put them in a plastic bag inside the ammo can. Add another layer of newspaper to the top of the can and seal it shut. The last thing you’ll do is wrap the entire can in HVAC tape.

If you go the DIY route, you’ll want to have your Faraday cages premade. In the event of an EMP strike, you won’t be able to throw all this together in time to save your devices.

How would an EMP blast affect solar panels?

— Randy S. 

You’re in good company, Randy. A lot of people are worried about the effects of an EMP. Unfortunately, the truth is no one can say with 100% accuracy which items will be damaged and which will survive.

That being said, solar panels themselves would most likely survive an EMP. The potential problem is the wiring, the connection that charges the panels and the connection between the panels and any devices they are powering. I recommend using the best surge protector and wiring you can find and hoping for the best.

As I said, it’s impossible to say exactly what will happen to solar panels in the event of an EMP attack, but quality wiring and connections will, hopefully, increase the likelihood that your solar panels won’t be damaged.

So which do you think will come first: the financial collapse or the EMP attack? Or perhaps both will occur simultaneously?

— A.W.

Well, A.W., I’m no fortune-teller, but my guess is that we will see another financial collapse before we see a large-scale EMP attack.

The truth is many people believe that the U.S. economy is headed for a cliff and that we could see some major setbacks in the next few years. Any number of factors — both at home and abroad — could send our economy into a free fall. For example, the fact that our national debt is out of control — and still climbing — doesn’t bode well for the future.

I had the tactical pen I bought several weeks ago confiscated in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The interesting thing is that it made it through TSA screening in Cincinnati just fine for my trip to Texas. The TSA supervisor in Dallas smirked when I told him I bought it online from you and said that I should not believe the hype surrounding this product — whatever that meant. I knew then that I had made the right decision to purchase it. I sent a request to customer service for another order form, so I can purchase another. I will have to be more careful going through security in the future. Any additional tips I can use to answer TSA questions would be appreciated. The “it is just a well-made pen” argument did not sit well with that TSA agent.

— Dave Q.

The thing is, Dave, a TSA agent can confiscate any item they think is dangerous. Some agents won’t raise concern over a tactical pen while others will take it away in a heartbeat.

I don’t advise getting into a prolonged argument with TSA, because you really have no chance of winning — even if you’re right. If you’re ever questioned over your tactical pen again, just casually insist it’s a pen you use for writing.

When I travel with my tactical pen, I put the cap on the business end and throw it in my laptop bag with my other writing implements. It rarely even gets noticed. I’ve crisscrossed the nation with it and never had an issue.

My granddaughters are traveling with Students International to the Dominican Republic to support a Christian charity helping kids there. Can you recommend an electronic tracker for this situation, or do you have any other recommendations?

— Stephen B. 

The thing about electronic trackers, Stephen, is that you have to take into consideration their battery life and the network they operate on. What I mean is if the tracker uses a 3G or 4G wireless connection and the local network isn’t up to speed, the tracker’s battery life will drain even faster while it continuously searches for a connection.

Instead, what I recommend doing is tracking your grandkids with their cellphones. Look for a tracking app that allows you to be aware of where they are at all times. Since most people (especially teenagers) always have their cellphones charged and on their person, this is a good way to track people.

I hear from certain people that a meteor could land in the West or East Coast ocean, causing a tidal wave that will wipe out one-third of our nation. Do you think this could happen? I have survivalist friends who say I should go to the mountains to avoid this catastrophe. What do you say?

— Shirley T. 

Honestly, Shirley, I do not believe this is a realistic threat. But tidal waves (or tsunamis) are a thing that can happen for other reasons.

The most important thing to do in the event of a tidal wave is to get as high off the ground as possible. Ideally, you want to get at least three stories off the ground in a structure that is strong enough to withstand the rushing water, like a big building or parking garage.

Remember, a tsunami is a series of waves, so make sure you stay put until the danger is over. Don’t assume since one wall of water has passed that it’s safe. Also, once the waves have subsided, there will be tons of debris and contamination dangers, so get out of the area as quickly as you can.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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