Safety Tips

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riot police

By Joshua Krause – Ready Nutrition

Human beings have a peculiar duality. We love to imagine ourselves as rugged individuals, but we’re extremely susceptible to herd instincts. We are after all, social creatures, and our instinctive need to “go with the crowd” has helped us survive and thrive in a world where going it alone can be a death sentence. Unfortunately, that same urge often drives us to do things that are violent, stupid, and ultimately self-destructive.

That sort of behavior was on full display in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve, when a mob of around 1000 people, many of them refugees from Middle East, lit fireworks, robbed and assaulted pedestrians, and groped dozens of women (at least two cases of rape have been reported). They essentially formed a gauntlet of several mobs that passengers coming out of the Cologne train station had to fight through.

Frankly, it’s shocking that such an event could happen in Germany, a country that is (or at least was) prosperous, stable, and orderly. It just goes to show that no nation is immune to mob-like behavior, even when there is no natural or man-made disaster to inspire these acts.

The politics surrounding this incident have been thoroughly discussed already, so there’s no need to tread that ground again. Instead, I want to talk about what you can do to protect yourself, if you ever find yourself wrapped up in a belligerent crowd. Here’s what you need to know:

The Borg

When faced with a mob, the normal rules of human behavior are thrown out the window. That’s because you’re no longer dealing with a group of individuals. When people join the mob, they stop thinking for themselves, and start acting in the interest of the group, even when it doesn’t necessarily benefit them as individuals. What you’re really dealing with, is one person with many bodies. This is what makes the mob so cohesive and dangerous, but as you’ll see in a moment, it’s also its greatest weakness.

Don’t Fight the Crowd

Any situation that involves dangerous people is going to spark your fight or flight response. With a mob, both of those options could end disastrously, though fighting a crowd of people is arguably worse. You’re not going to win that fight. In some cases, brandishing a weapon might convince members of the crowd to snap out of their groupthink, but it’s often the case that a mob can’t be reasoned with, even if their lives depend on it. Inhibitions are low for members of the mob (even without the influence of drugs and alcohol, which are often present) and these people feel safe, and sometimes invulnerable. I don’t care how much of a badass you are, you can’t fight everybody. If you try going toe to toe with a mob, they’ll tear you to pieces.

Don’t Run From the Crowd Either

The moment you try to flee the mob, it becomes blatantly obvious that you are not a part of the mob, and are thus a target. This is where the uniformity of the crowd becomes its weakness. The best advice I’ve heard on escaping a mob comes from this article from offthegridnews.com. Rather than fleeing, start acting like everyone else in the crowd so you don’t stand out.

Then, slowly drift away from everyone else until you reach the edge of the mob. Eventually you can duck out and hide by slipping into an alley way or store front. If the mob starts moving into a different direction, go with them, but at a slower speed. Eventually they’ll just leave you behind.

Stay Calm and Aware

In case you haven’t noticed already, normal human instincts don’t serve you well in this situation. If anything, it’s normal human instincts that cause mob violence in the first place. Since your fight or flight response will get you in trouble, it’s important to remember that you have to stay cool, and be aware of your surroundings. In a sense, everyone in the mob has tunnel vision. They’re very focused at the task at hand, whatever that may be.

If you keep it together, you’ll have a significant advantage over them, because you’ll have so much more awareness. You’ll see gaps in the crowd that you can drift through. You’ll see where the mob is moving to before any individual within the group knows it. You’ll notice when the police arrive before they do. And more importantly, you’ll see opportunities to escape while the mob is preoccupied or distracted. So stay calm, blend in, and drift away before anyone notices you. It’s not guaranteed to save you in every situation, but it’s still the best way to escape the grasp of any mob.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: Here’s How to Protect Yourself From Mob ViolenceAbout the author:

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

 

 

 

 

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By Courtney Spamer

The stage is set for a tornado outbreak this Sunday with Chicago and Indianapolis in the danger zone.

A powerful cold front will continue to ignite severe thunderstorms across the lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. These storms will be capable of producing torrential downpours, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes.

The setup will be particularly high for the formation of tornadoes across northern and eastern Illinois, far southeastern Wisconsin, Indiana and southwestern Michigan.

The violent thunderstorms and tornadoes have already started to erupt in and around northern Illinois, then will spread eastward through Sunday afternoon.

Cities at greatest risk for devastating tornadoes include Racine, Wis., Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, and Champaign, Ill., Indianapolis and South Bend, Ind., and Kalamazoo, Mich.

An isolated tornado could also damage areas around Davenport, Iowa, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Louisville, Ky., Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit, Mich.

The eastern suburbs of St. Louis will be more susceptible to any isolated tornado than the western suburbs.

With lives and property in danger, residents and visitors should not take this situation lightly and heed all severe weather-related watches and warnings.

RELATED: RADAR: Track Sunday’s Severe Storms, Tornadoes Latest Watches, Warnings Important Tornado Safety Tips to Follow

Those in attendance at Soldier Field watching the Chicago Bears host the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday afternoon are strongly urged to follow the above advice. The line of violent thunderstorms and tornadoes is expected to cross Chicago as the game is in progress.

Even if Chicago narrowly misses the severe weather, lightning will likely still be around and force players, coaches and fans to seek shelter.

It will be windy and showers and thunderstorms will be around as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Cleveland Browns, but the threat for tornadoes will come to Cincinnati after the game.

The tornado danger will wane Sunday evening, but the same cannot be said for the damaging winds. That danger will shift eastward across the Northeast Sunday night through Monday.

The front will continue moving westward early this week, bringing thunderstorms into the Northeast for Monday. Although the destructive winds will continue with the front, the threat for severe weather and tornadoes will end with the weekend.

In the wake of the tornado threat, cold air will fill the Great Lakes and Northeast, dropping high temperatures as much as 20 degrees in two days.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed to the content of this story.

FEMA - 44985 - Flooded area in Iowa

This article is brought to you by our friend Andrew J. Jackson over at Prepography ”The Art & Study of Self-Reliance”

Hurricanes and floods are dangerous natural disasters.  Once the storm has blown over and the floodwaters have receded dangers still persists.  Here are the Top 10 Safety Tips for After the Hurricane or Flood adapted from the Centers For Disease Control suggestions.

1. Don’t poison yourself or anyone else

Apparently after a disaster a lot of folks use equipment they aren’t familiar with to provide electricity, heat or clean up and give themselves carbon monoxide poisoning.  Carbon monoxide is an ordorless and colorless gas put off by many types of combustion engines as well as cooking and heating appliances.  To keep yourself safe read the instruction manual for all your appliances and don’t use equipment like generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline or charcoal burning equipment inside of buildings or within 20 feet of a door, window or vent.  Additionally, don’t leave any vehicles running inside buildings or garages.  Use a carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup (in case the power is out) and leave the house immediately if is sounds or if you feel dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.  Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect poisoning.  See Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After a Disaster  for additional information.

2. Stay out of the floodwaters

Don’t reenter the area until floodwaters have receded and there is no rainfall forecast for your area or upstream.  Don’t drive vehicles or equipment through floodwaters and avoid bodily contact with floodwaters due to injury (tripping, lacerations, etc.), drowning, disease and pollution dangers.  Wear a life jacket if there are still floodwaters in the area.  See Flood Waters or Standing Waters  for more information.

3. Watch out for critters, big and small

With the multitude of tick and mosquito borne diseases (including a spike in West Nile infections this year) make sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin (Information Regarding Insect Repellents).  Watch out for larger critters as well.  Wild animals and strays may act aggressively and/or carry diseases including rabies (Rabies Exposure: What You Need to Know ).

4. Avoid unstable structures

Keep away from damaged buildings structures. Leave the area immediately if you feel or hear the structure shifting, vibrating or any unexplained noise until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other government authority. Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises the signal the the structure is about to fall.

5. Watch out for electrical hazards

Stay away from downed power lines.  Even if they appear ‘dead’ they could be energized by the power company coming in to restore power or even by your neighbor who didn’t install his generator correctly.  The same holds true for the power in your house or building.  If you are working in your flooded basement and the power is suddenly restored it could be a life changing experience…for your family.  Always turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse panel (if it’s safe to do so) that has had water damage and don’t turn the power back on until a qualified electrician tells you it’s safe to do so.

6. Watch out for fire hazards

Without power you may be tempted to burn candles or kerosene lanterns.  Exercise extreme caution if you elect to do so.  A safer alternative is the new LED technology lanterns which last forever and don’t put out all that (often) unwanted heat.  Never leave cooking appliances or wood burning fireplaces/stoves unattended while they are in use or until they cool down.  Keep the right type of fire extinguisher handy if there are any open flames.

7. Wear the right protective gear

Wear the right protective gear for the type of work or cleanup you are doing.  This may entail wearing  a hard-hat, safety glasses (or goggles) heavy work gloves, boots (waterproof, steel toe, steel shank, etc.) or hearing protection.  If hazardous materials or certain molds are present you may also need to wear protective clothing or a respirator.  If you aren’t sure about what you’re dealing with call a professional.  See Prevent Illness after a Natural Disaster and Prevent Injury after a Natural Disaster for more information.  More specific information on post disaster mold issues can be found here.

Flooded House

8. Take care of yourself

You’ve just suffered a terrible loss, but hopefully it was only property that you lost.  Don’t add ‘injury’ to insult by trying to do all the cleanup work yourself…especially if you aren’t accustomed to manual labor.  Here are a few of the things to keep in mind during your cleanup process:  drink plenty of water, don’t strain yourself by lifting objects too big to handle, don’t work alone, and take frequent breaks (especially if it’s hot).

9. Practice your first aid skills

Hurricanes and floods leave all kinds of pollutants and diseases behind.  Before you head into the area make sure that you are up on your tetanus shot and any other vaccinations that your doctor recommends)  If you break your skin (cut, scrape, blister, etc.) stop working  and take care of it.  Clean by washing with soap and clean water before applying an antibiotic cream and protect the wound from further contamination.  Keep the wound clean and dry and changing the dressing often until it’s healed.  If you have a more serious injury; any remaining health concerns; or if the wound gets inflamed, swollen, turns colors or starts to discharge then seek immediate medical attention.

10. Clean yourself

Stop frequently and wash the nastiness off.  Use soap and clean water or an alcohol based product (remember no smoking while using these).  Wash your hands as frequently as is feasible and avoid touching your face, food, etc. unless you have just cleaned your hands.  For more information see the CDC’s Hygiene and Handwashing site.

For more information from the Centers for Disease Control on post hurricane and flood safety visit their website.