- Hurricane Fiona might strengthen, hitting Turk and Caicos and continuing towards the Bahamas.
- Germany’s natural gas storage is nearly at 90% but will be enough for one winter only.
- Almost one in five US households has medical debt.
National Preparedness Month Challenge
Each Tuesday and Friday throughout September, the news roundups will feature a section of TP’s beginner’s checklist and introduce a conversation topic or a challenge to work on. After reading the highlighted section in the roundup, follow the instructions, and join us on Discord to discuss and get support. Read the introductory post and the previous topic here.
Today’s topic: Get Home Bags, Everyday Carry, and vehicle supplies
What happens if an emergency strikes while you’re away from home?
You clearly can’t walk around with a heavy bag all of the time, so the key is to keep the right kinds of supplies where they naturally fit within your life pattern — most people’s daily patterns tend to be pretty consistent and predictable, so use that to your advantage.
- A badly bleeding and clearly drunk student is stumbling around an alley alone on a cold Friday night — a real scenario handled by a The Prepared reader who used the info learned in this guide!
- Your subway car loses power in between stations.
- You witness a serious car accident while driving home in rush-hour traffic. It might take emergency services 10 to 15 minutes to arrive.
- You’re cornered by two muggers while walking home from your friend’s apartment at night.
- A shooter attacks random people while you’re in the shopping mall.
- An earthquake strikes while you’re at work. Your car is in the parking garage and you work in the city about 30 minutes away from your suburban home.
- Kim Jong Un decides to interrupt your well-deserved spa day by sending an ICBM to the neighboring city.
For most people in modern societies, that means a combination of:
- A Get Home Bag (GHB) in your vehicle trunk, work locker, office, or wherever else it can be safely stored in a way that’s near you for as much of a typical day as possible.
- Everyday carry (EDC) items you keep on your person at all times, either on your body or in a daily-use pack, such as a school backpack or purse.
- Car supplies. Even if you keep a GHB in your trunk, it’s a good idea to keep additional gear specifically for vehicle problems.
Bonus reading: Confused by SHTF, BOB, EDC, VEDC, and all other acronyms? Here’s a guide to the most common prepping words.
For the challenge:
1. Finish reading the section about EDCs and GHBs.
2. For the next couple of days, pick one or two of the following to work on:
- Go through your EDC, GHB, or VEDC: What needs to be replaced (dead batteries, expired food, seasonal clothing, etc.)? What needs to be tuned up (sharpen and oil a knife, etc)?
- Build a GHB or VEDC for a family member or friend. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy; whatever you put together is more likely than not going to be better than what they currently have.
- Read the EDC checklists. What you can change with your current setup?
2. Join us on Discord anytime after 12 pm ET in the #national-preperadeness-month channel for discussions and support. If you’re not on Discord, feel free to comment below.
Economy, supply chain, energy
The Fed is likely going to hike interest rates this week. Here’s a breakdown of how that may impact your credit card, car loan, mortgage, student debt, and savings.
Inflation is forcing more Americans to pile up credit card debt. The report shows that 59% of Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year carry a credit card balance from month to month. Americans owed $887 billion in credit card debt as of June 2022.
Study: Almost one in 10 Americans and one in five US households are in medical debt. Medical debt doubles your chances of being unable to afford food, rent, mortgage, or utilities. Medical debt was just as common among middle-class Americans as those with low incomes. Medical debt was the lowest among military health insurance, at just under 7%. The average medical debt was about $2,000 for an adult and about $4,600 per household.
Could you or your family afford an unexpected medical bill (or any other unexpected bill)? One of the rational reasons to be prepared is to be able to deal with common emergency situations, such as an unexpected medical bill. Here is a guide on how to build an emergency fund.
Ukraine is in short supply of glass panes for windows. Explosions have shattered so many windows in Ukraine, and glass is in short supply. After its biggest glass factory was bombed in 2014, Ukraine has relied on Russian and Belarussian imports. But since this war started, those trade links are gone. According to the UN, millions of Ukrainians are living in homes “ill-suited to provide sufficient protection from harsh winter conditions.” Ukraine has a long winter, nearly half the year, with wintry weather from mid-October to mid-March, and temperatures can go down to 10 below zero.
Europe’s energy crisis is forcing factories to cut production and furloughing workers. Industrial production in the euro area fell 2.3% in July from a year ago, the biggest drop in more than two years. Half of Europe’s aluminum and zinc production has been taken offline.
Report: Germany’s economy minister says natural gas storage is nearly at 90% but will be enough for one winter. The challenge for Europe will be to re-establish the storage come spring of 2023.
Electric vehicles could rescue the (US) power grid with V2G charging. By 2035, the batteries in California’s zero-emission cars could power every home in the state for three days and rescue the grid when necessary. V2G (Vehicle-to-grid charging, or bidirectional charging) is still in its early days but is an exciting use case for EVs. The article focuses on California likely because it pledged to sell zero-emission cars quite soon, but the concept is applicable to EVs in general.
FWIW, EV Adoption in the US is happening faster than predicted, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Climate change, extreme weather
Cat. 1 Hurricane Fiona left most of Puerto Rico without power. About 1.3 million residents were impacted, and power was restored initially for about 100,000. Full power restoration could take several days. Click the link in the tweet for the latest forecast:
Here are the 5am AST Monday, September 19 Key Messages for Hurricane #Fiona.
Life-threatening & catastrophic flooding continues for #PuertoRico due to heavy rains from Fiona's outer bands, expected to persist through the afternoon.
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 19, 2022
Do you know how to deal with a blackout? If you’re thinking of either going fully off-grid or just want to know how to power your electronics during a blackout, here’s a handy off-grid power 101 for beginners.
Typhoon Merbok pounded Alaska, pushing homes off their foundations and tearing away protective berms. It’s not unusual for storms to form here, but Merbok built up over unusually warm water. Waves reached 50 feet over the Bering Sea, and storm surges sent water levels into communities at near record highs. Merbok hit just when indigenous communities in the region were stocking up on food for the winter.
A Buoy in the Central Bering Sea north of Adak, Alaska, is reporting 51.8-foot waves, a rare feat from a buoy. The buoycam images below are from one in Western Aleutians, south of Amchitka Island, Alaska, which is reporting 30 foot waves. https://t.co/0ySgjot6NP pic.twitter.com/cw39V8CmDI
— Breaking Weather by AccuWeather (@breakingweather) September 16, 2022
Typhoon Nanmadol slammed into Japan, killing at least two. Nanmadol is one of the strongest typhoons to ever make landfall in Japan. Officials have ordered 9 million people to evacuate.
— Siraj Noorani (@sirajnoorani) September 18, 2022
Tips on how to survive a hurricane:
- Even if you already have your home supplies organized and/or the car is packed, pay special attention to keeping your bug out bag nearby. If you have to run away quickly, like if the house blows over, your BOB is the one thing you should grab.
- Stay on the bottom floor unless water is rising.
- Keep away from windows, glass doors, and skylights.
- Try to surround yourself with strong walls and/or multiple walls that can shield you from shrapnel.
- Don’t take a bath or shower, you can get electrocuted.
- If you expect flooding or see it approaching, kill your electricity at the main breaker before water gets in — this can reduce the risk of electrocution.
- Don’t go outside in the eye of the storm. It’s tempting, but the back wall can come up suddenly, taking winds from 0 to 200 mph in a flash.
Taiwan was hit by a 6.9 earthquake. Just a reminder that things can fall over your head. This is why one of the first things you can do to prepare your home for an earthquake is to reduce dangerous things that will fall.
Non-structural elements are JUST as important as how the building is built. This appears to a failure of the lighting & drop-ceiling at a Taiwan gym from the M6.9 quake. These can still *seriously* injure someone. #taiwan #earthquake https://t.co/P37mD9aBMF
— Brian Olson (@mrbrianolson) September 18, 2022
A 7.6 earthquake also struck Mexico‘s Pacific coast. At least one dead. Mexico had just finished a nationwide earthquake drill an hour before the shaking started. Mexico had more than 50 earthquakes larger than M6 in the past forty years. Here’s a good explainer of why:
In the past 40 years Mexico has had 50+ earthquakes larger than M6 and more than a dozen M7 or larger earthquakes. But why? pic.twitter.com/n6ZAliIpRP
— IRIS Earthquake Sci (@IRIS_EPO) September 19, 2022
2022’s supercharged summer of climate extremes: How global warming and La Niña fueled disasters on top of disasters.
Another year of La Niña means the world is hurtling toward $1 trillion in weather-disaster damages by 2023. The floods, droughts, storms, and fires will destroy more homes, ruin more crops, further disrupt shipping, hobble energy supplies, and, ultimately, end lives. Read the report from Bloomberg, which also looks at La Nina’s recent impact across the globe.
Repeated El Niño events could spark big ecological shifts. Five major El Niño events per century could lead to fewer fishes that thrive in cold water and more terrestrial birds in eastern coastal ecosystems.
Is the pandemic over?
⚠️Hell no—Not even close.
🔹 Excess mortality still exceeds THIRD global cause of death!
🔹#LongCOVID itself is a pandemic crisis
🔹Evolution of new virus variants not done yet
🔹Transmission still very high
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 19, 2022
Few children under five have received Covid shots, worrying health experts as fall and winter approach.
US survey: Scheduling times for new patients have increased by 8% since 2017. The number of days a patient has to wait for an appointment in four specialties — ob/gyn, cardiology, orthopedic surgery, and dermatology — continues to rise. In cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle, people had to wait an average of 26 days for a new patient appointment. By 2034, primary care physicians are expected to fall short of demand by up to 48,000 physicians. In 2034, the US population over 65 is expected to grow by 42%.
Opinion: The uncomfortable nexus between poop and privacy. Wastewater surveillance is a valuable tool in the fight against infectious disease, but it carries risks of its own, including the potential for undermining privacy and for being put to use for purposes outside of public health, such as in law enforcement.