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By Kellene Bishop

germ-cartoonSalt and pepper shakers, currency, and microwave touch pads are the enemy—at least if you’re trying to keep your family healthy and well—especially during the flu season.

We really do take cleanliness and sanitation for granted, folks.  I think the only reason why some things are on my radar is the result of my time spent living in the Philippines. So for that, I’m grateful!

Let’s talk about some major germ spreaders we encounter in our home and out in public.

  • Public—Salt and pepper shakers. Think about it. Have you EVER seen someone cleaning them? I’ve worked in restaurants plenty in my life, including as a manager, and I can tell you that I’ve never cleaned the outside of those. Refilled them, yes. Sanitized the outside, no. You’ve got artifacts younger than the germs on those things.
  • Public—Condiment jars. Same with the salt and pepper shakers, although errant kids are less likely to stick their dirty fingers inside and play with them. So if you do use the jars at your table, use a napkin on your hand to protect yourself from the germs. And please, don’t use the same napkin to wipe your mouth.
  • Public—Door handles. Again, you simply don’t see those ever get cleaned. Sure the glass gets wiped down periodically. But the door handle to any mall, office, etc. is a festering pool of germs just waiting for you to
    Photo c/o dsc.discovery.com

    Photo c/o dsc.discovery.com

    give them a good home. So, what do you do? Well, ideally make use of someone else opening the door whenever possible. If that’s not available, I always tuck my hand under my shirt and grab the door handle that way. Yes, I did say “always.” I am especially adamant about doing this in the restrooms as well, even when I go into a stall. I KNOW what someone was doing before they touched that handle. I’ve never seen someone clean the handles specifically. And even if they did, they get nasty each time they are touched. (Am I starting to sound like a germ-ophobe?) So, when I go into a stall, I use my shirt to close/latch the door. When I leave the restroom, I use the paper towel that I just dried my hands with. In those pesky restrooms which only give you the option of “blowing your hands dry” I still use my shirt on the handle.

    Speaking of restrooms, when a sink has handles that you have to turn on and off yourself, it kind of defeats the purpose of cleaning your hands when you have to touch the same handles that everyone has touched right after they’ve done their business. So if it’s not an automatic water flow, then use a paper towel or your elbows if necessary. (It’s not quite as bad as being a contortionist.)

  • Public—Shopping Carts. I’ve started seeing more and more grocery stores offer sani-wipes at the entrance of the store for customers to use to clean off their shopping cart. Question: Do you take the time to use them? Even if all you’re going to pick up is a few things, don’t lift that basket handle without cleaning it.  I’m all for cute babies and kids. But I’ve seen what they put on their hands. This gets on the handles. You wouldn’t pick up someone else’s poo with your bare hands, so why would you put your bare hands on that shopping cart? Sorry folks, but yes, it is indeed very much the same thing.
  • Photo c/o esquire.com

    Photo c/o esquire.com

    Public—Currency. Believe it or not, money is the WORST offender in spreading germs. I’ve heard of money launderers, but I don’t think they are actually cleaning the money. Your only defense is to make sure that you sanitize your hands whenever you touch it. This is one reason why I prefer to use my debit card instead of cash. I rarely have cash in my wallet. Now my husband knows why.

  • Public—“Sign here, please.” Those pens and signature utensils that are used at the check stands are rife with germ invaders. Again, have you EVER seen those cleaned? This is why I always have my own pen with me to sign documents, etc. And yes, I do clean it regularly. For the credit card processing machines, I either use my own pen with the ink retracted, or my finger on the screen.

Whether you’re a clean freak or not, you still have a great deal of germ farms in your home. Be mindful of keeping the cupboard handles, door handles, microwave touch pads, table edges, and toilet lids clean.  Ignoring that pesky bathroom carries more with it than just seeing the dark ring develop in the tub. That dark ring is also full of dead skin particles and old germs that are living it up in a warm, wet location. If nothing else, spray your tub down regularly with a daily bathroom cleaner. And by all means, wash your hands before you eat–pah-leeze!

Germs Are Not for Sharing illustration by Marieka Heilen

Germs Are Not for Sharing illustration by Marieka Heilen

While this all may seem excessive to some, keep in mind that germs grow and become more powerful when they are allowed to flourish. Yes, some germ exposure for our bodies is good in order to build up our immune systems. But unfortunately, a lot of the germs we’re exposed to nowadays are from feces. (I know. Gross, right?) I have yet to find even a back jungle culture that exposes their members to feces germs in order to make a man stronger. It’s great if you are mindful of sanitation. But unfortunately others simply are not. Even if they wash their hands after using the restroom, they are still inevitably exposing themselves to the germs of others who do not. I’d much rather be safe, rather than sorry, wouldn’t you?

As you may have guessed by now, I carry with me hand sanitizer as well as my own pack of sani-wipes for those instances in which they aren’t available. Start thinking like a germ and you and your family may actually ride out the flu season unharmed.

Well, gotta go. I just had a sudden urge to go clean the handles all over my home.

Germ Warfare – Part II

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Paying attention can get you some great laughs, memorable moments, or vital warnings. Yesterday I was driving behind a police car and noticed that he had a license plate border that said, “Actually, I prefer bagels.” I got a much needed laugh off of that one. Glad I was paying attention.

Photo c/o globalcrisisnews.com/

Photo c/o globalcrisisnews.com/

Most Americans are unaware at just how tenable the financial culture is in our nation right now. But seriously, to not know it is simply a matter of not paying attention. It’s not like we have to trust in some kind of a prophet to see for ourselves. There is a bounty of evidence right now that begs for our attention so that we can be prepared for an inevitable challenge. This evidence spells out the critical need for us to get our own homes in order so that we can survive through the looming financial crisis.

In 1962, the “Cuban crisis” suddenly left the grocery shelves of stores nationwide empty overnight. Yet there was plenty of warning ahead of time to those who were paying attention. These persons had the ability to be independent of panic and price gouging. Yet did anyone pay attention to a looming financial crisis a year in advance of the triggering incident?

Didn’t Americans wake up to what they thought was a routine day on December 7, 1941? Unfortunately there’s some evidence military didn’t pay attention to and we were tragically caught unaware. 

While the “great depression” erupted in a matter of hours, its effects reached millions of Americans for years, in spite of numerous warning signs. Unfortunately, the indicators of today’s looming financial collapse are more rampant and indicate a much more severe collapse than that of 1929. Here are the reasons why I state as such.

1)     Financial Crisis Clue #1: A new batch of over $12 billion (yes, that’s a “B”) of pay option arm mortgages are coming due this fall. We’ve seen how those due dates have affected the market thus far. With unemployment rising, finance restrictions getting tighter, and the mortgage market being so stale, this is NOT going to be a pleasant ride, folks.

Australian Lacrosse Team Quarantined in South Korea Because of Swine Flu. Photo c/o theage.com.au

Australian Lacrosse Team Quarantined in South Korea Because of Swine Flu. Photo c/o theage.com.au

2)     Financial Crisis Clue #2: Flu outbreak. You do realize that one simple interruption in our nation’s transportation industry will cause a serious financial domino effect, right? There are over 250,000 trucking companies in the U.S. alone. The majority of them are “small businesses.” Just as you live hand to mouth, so do business owners. The trucking industry is no exception. We are due for quite the outbreak of this Swine flu this fall. I’ve never seen a more real potential for a quarantine in the last several decades as I do now. We’ve been warned of a possible quarantine as recent as the first of this month. I’m certain that the delays are being extended as long as possible holding out hope that it won’t be necessary due to the financial domino effect it will have. Other countries have begun some quarantine procedures, costing them over 5 billion dollars a day in lost commerce. I don’t think our economy is healthy enough to endure such a financial hit. The transportation industry is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at the effect a quarantine would have on everything else that doesn’t get paid as a result of consumers not being permitted to go to work. Then look at the businesses that could fail as a result of employees not being able to go to work. Look at the travel industry, hospitality, gasoline, groceries, utilities, credit, entertainment, etc. The cost of a quarantine on our nation would be immense and just by itself bring about a huge depression that would take us 7 years to recover from.

3)     Financial Crisis Clue #3: Hyper inflation. This year the U.S. needs to sell the equivalent of 1.5 times its national deficit amount in the form of foreign investments in order to survive the present financial set back. Unfortunately, we’re almost into August and we haven’t succeeded at that yet. This year our deficit is “only” $1 trillion. However, next year it is $3 trillion. If we aren’t able to raise enough foreign investors for the $1 trillion this year, how are we to expect to raise 1.5 times our projected deficit for 2010—a process which USUALLY begins the quarter preceding the year the investments are needed? When hyperinflation occurs, the only solution is to raise taxes, print more money, or sell foreign bonds. They’ve already raised taxes. We aren’t being successful in selling the bonds. So, what happens if we print more money?

emperor's-new-clothes4)     Financial Crisis Clue #4: Currency value is highly questionable. As I’ve attempted to explain previously, national currency only has value in a fully functional economy.  It only has value when there is a healthy balance between supply and demand. As we see in our news on a regular basis, we’ve long surpassed the criteria for a functional economy. I firmly believe our economy is as dysfunctional as Jon and Kate Gosselin’s marriage. Since the Federal Reserve refuses to publish the M3 report anymore which tells the American people just how much currency is in circulation at one time, we are seriously in store for an “emperor’s new clothes” scenario.  The fact that we don’t know how much money is in circulation does not change the fact that we’re seeing significantly higher amounts of currency being exchanged than ever before. The reason why our government has been staking claim to so much land (in spite of the fact that it’s unconstitutional) is so that there is more “collateral” for our foreign bonds. Fort Knox is empty, folks. Even food commodities which we have had in store in abundance in decades past have been exported in desperation to bring cash flow into our country’s government. The clouds are getting awfully dark in this warning, folks.

5)     Financial Crisis Clue #5: Credit crisis. Why in the world would credit card companies—who know full well that the economy is in serious trouble—start increasing minimum payment requirements to more than double the amount they’ve been in the past? What kind of financial sense does that make? Surely they will lose customers in doing so, or cause bankruptcies due to the irresponsible pool of consumers they cater to, right? So why would they make such a seemingly desperate move? It has to do with the fact that their money isn’t as valuable on the international trade markets any longer. As a result, the credit companies themselves have over extended themselves and thus have to cannibalize their source of income in order to bail themselves out. In addition, if you were to go to a grocery store consistently and find them out of milk each time, wouldn’t that start affecting your confidence in the availability of milk? You might start hoarding it when you did find it, or suspect there was a problem with it. The same is happening with money. Consumers are finding the “money shelves” bare at banks, credit companies, and lending companies. This directly affects consumer confidence so they are not parting with their “milk” quite so easily. Consumer confidence has a HUGE effect on currency value.

Utility Bills Could Bankrupt You. Photo c/o co.fort-bend.tx.us

Utility Bills Could Bankrupt You. Photo c/o co.fort-bend.tx.us

6)     Financial Crisis Clue #6: Credit crisis affects power companies. Most power companies purchase their power in bulk. They are able to do so based on their credit ratings through contracts known as power purchase agreements (PPAs). However, as the credit crunch in our nation becomes more obvious, even power companies are losing their stellar credit ratings and thus have difficulty renewing power purchase agreements, or at the very least, negotiating the best prices. This means, of course, that the power costs are going to go up this fall when many of these agreements are up for renewal. Couple that with the Cap & Trade “TAX” and you have a recipe for yet another financial disaster. It could come to the point where an employee literally cannot afford to drive to work. Your utility costs could bankrupt you. If this type of domino effect occurs, not only would there be a financial collapse, but several utility companies could go bankrupt with no one and nothing to rescue them. Imagine a power company sitting there looking like a ghost town.

Well, I think that suffices for now, folks. My purpose in sharing this with you is to give you yet one more reason why those of you who are preparing for “something” AREN’T crazy, and why the rest of you need to wake up and take advantage of the good times to get ready now. It sure would be a shame if the times of plenty lulled us into a sense of numbness to common sense, wouldn’t it? My friends, I beg you to please wake up and pay attention to the looming financial crisis and prepare accordingly. When this occurs, currency will be useless. Items which have an inherent value to them such as food, medical supplies, fuel, etc. are the only thing that will be worthwhile. Right now you can still obtain such items with our questionable currency. But how long will that last? Is that really a gamble you’re willing to make on your family’s life?

Wake up and smell the currency folks. The financial collapse is indeed looming.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

 

By Kellene Bishop

 

prepareA frequent reader of our site once commented that she felt I may be a bit “paranoid.”  I truly wasn’t offended by such a label.  I’m sure for individuals who aren’t as zealous in their preparedness efforts as I advocate, it would be reasonable for “outsiders” to perceive mindful individuals to be “paranoid.”  However, I did correct her that I felt that I was merely “aware” rather than paranoid.  I’m convinced that such awareness has had a significant impact on my emergency preparedness efforts.  So today we’ll be educating you on just what it is that you should realistically be prepared FOR.  A combination of natural disasters and the consequences of viable attacks on our nation are addressed here.  This information is not coming from a mind obsessed with science fiction and any biblical influence has been eliminated.  Rather this information is derived from a great deal of research. 

 

EMP Attack: Understand that such an attack is not hyperbole science fiction.  We presently use EMPs in various parts of our life, just not on a large scale.  Remember watching the “Ocean’s 11” movie?  They accomplished their robbery by using a simple EMP device.  An EMP (Electric Magnetic Pulse) is actually a likely enemy attack on the U.S.  While it is considered less heartless than a nuclear bomb or a bio-bomb, it’s launched in very much the same way.  If an EMP bomb is launched in your area, then it will essentially “fry” all electrical devices that are not stored more than 6 feet under ground.  In a viable book I read recently, it estimated that only 6 EMP bombs launched onto U.S. soil would completely obliterate life as we know it.  Think about it for a second.  If everything electrical in our nation was debilitated, how would your life change?  The banks wouldn’t be able to function.  Airplanes won’t be able to travel.  Cars post-1978 would indeed be useless (unless they were “hardened” specifically for such an event as the military does to many of their vehicles.)  I hope you like riding a bike under such circumstances. 

 

 

A massive scale EMP attack wouldn’t create a simple power outage.  It would destroy power grids all over the nation to the point that they would have to be rebuilt from scratch.  (Kind of hard to do without power to rebuild them, eh?)  Trucks would not be able to transport your foods and other valuable supplies.  Stores would be emptied.  Most everyone would be without a job of any kind, without access to money, and they would be forced to truly live off of the land and their emergency preparedness supplies.  Are you ready?

 

earthquakeEarthquake: While you may feel that you are in a part of the country where you have escaped such a disaster, you may want to rethink that premise.  While it’s clearly no secret that California and Alaska are well known areas for earthquakes, there are actually areas in the U.S. that are more apt to experience even stronger shakes.

 

In the Rocky Mountain area, much of Utah and Idaho can expect a “doozey” of an earthquake anytime now.  And since most of Utah is developed along the mountains, the majority of Utah is right on a fault line.  Now, for those of you in “God’s Country” a.k.a. the Midwest, don’t be deceived into thinking that you’re safe.  In all actuality, you may be in an even more likely earthquake zone than California or Alaska is right now. 

 

Few citizens are fully aware of the New Madrid fault line affecting Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Mississippi.  The New Madrid fault even affects some parts of Iowa and Arkansas.  In 1811, a succession of 4 full strength earthquakes occurred, followed by horrific aftershocks.  As a result of the earthquake, huge fissures opened in the earth and spewed “volcanoes” of silt and bedrock all over the area as well.  Today, this same fault line has the potential to create an 8.0 seismic sized earthquake in the next 5 to 10 years which would seriously affect the heartland of America. 

 

new-madrid-fault-line1When the earthquakes in 1811 to 1812 originally hit this area, their effect was felt across roughly 50,000 square miles.  In comparison, a somewhat “more famous” earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 only affected 16,000 square miles.  As a result of the bedrock make-up in this earthquake zone, the aftershocks of the 1811 earthquake rang church bells as far north as Boston, which was over 1,000 miles away.  In contract, the San Francisco earthquake was felt “only” 350 miles away.

 

More information on earthquake potential in your area can be found here.  http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/states/?old=state_largest.html

 

If you are able to survive an earthquake, assume that access to the norms of life will be seriously interrupted for a long period of time.  As a result, you will be forced to live off of what you already have on hand that hasn’t been destroyed.  Now multiply this reality by millions of hungry mouths to feed.  Heaven help us if a catastrophic earthquake occurs in the midst of a bitter winter as well.  Are you ready?

 

jordanelle-damFlood: Once an earthquake has hit an area, it can bring about extensive flooding.  For example, here in Utah where I reside, an earthquake study has been conducted in which the Jordanelle River Dam is expected to be breached, thus flooding down it’s natural course into the Deer Creek Dam area.  Such a domino effect would subsequently cause extreme flooding as high as 4 stories in the Utah Valley area, particularly Provo.  This same scenario can be applied to states all throughout the U.S.  We’ve already seen first-hand the flooding disasters that have plagued Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and other coastal areas in recent years.  But have we learned from them?  Are you any more prepared for such an event today than you were in 2005? 

 

Understand that flooding doesn’t happen solely because you are in a flood zone.  If you are near a large body of water, even if that body is a lake, a relatively small earthquake can propel water beyond its borders and as high as 30 feet.  Receiving a large amount of water in such a short period of time is a recipe for a disaster.

 

For more information on the presence of a viable flood threat in your area, check here: http://www.usgs.gov/hazards/floods/

 

nuclear-attackNuclear Attack: In the event of a nuclear attack, the fatalities would be horrendous.  If you survived such an attack then you would indeed need to plan on sequestering your family away from the fallout of the nuclear ash.  A basement is ideal.  If the attack hit even 1,000 miles away from your home, you would still need to avoid any water or plants exposed to the outside air, and tape up your windows with tarp to prevent sickening air from coming into your home.  Since other countries are unwilling to give up their nuclear weapons, a nuclear attack is a plausible scenario for which we should all be mentally prepared.  Bone fractures, cancer and radiation poisoning are all common affects of a nuclear bomb attack.  Do your research on how to handle such ailments as you should assume that medical assistance will be far away.  (We’ll cover these remedies in another article, FYI.)

 

barter1Economic Collapse: I’m not talking about hard economic times.  I’m talking about our currency becoming worthless.  Unfortunately, this is the most viable of all disasters, folks.  Paper currency is only worth something so long as others are willing to accept it.  Unfortunately our paper currency is no longer backed sufficiently by gold as it was originally intended (at least I’d like to think that that was the virtuous goal originally).  Additionally, our nation is no longer being provided an accounting of how much currency is in circulation (Google “M3 Report”).  This makes for a very ripe possibility of an economic collapse.  If it is finally discovered that our money is worthless, then all commerce, travel, and society as you know it will cease to exist.  No one will accept your money, regardless of how much of it your bank account says you have.  Your presentation of cash for purchases will do little to acquire necessary goods.  Your money will be useless.  As a result, a devastating ripple effect will be felt throughout the entire world as other nations who are heavily invested in the U.S. dollar will suffer unfathomable consequences.  While you may have power and gas and food, you will be unable to purchase any more with currency.  Instead, expect to pay for such goods via trade of hard assets such as gold, silver, wheat, and ammo.  The goods you’ll have access to will be strictly what others have on hand as no one will have the necessary hard currency to produce more of what we buy. 

 

I hope that this brief exploration gives you a little bit more “color” as to what kinds of realistic events you should prepare to overcome now.  We’ll cover the remedies for each event on a separate basis in future articles. 

 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

 

Should you save money in this economy in preparation for a disaster?  If so, how much?  What kinds of currency denominations should you have on hand?  Should you buy gold and silver?  These are questions that readers frequently e-mail to me.  And while I will address several of these questions in this article, understand that ultimately the best monetary preparedness you can practice is to first prepare yourself mentally for the consequences of unforeseen events.  Doing so will inevitably provide you with logical actions to prepare accordingly.  Overall this topic actually requires extensive discussion, so we’ll explore it in more than one piece.  For today we’ll discuss the most broad “monetary” recommendations in order to prepare and to AVOID making disastrous monetary mistakes in anticipation of an emergency.

 

money-wheelbarrow-depressionAn economic collapse or a natural disaster will obviously have an effect on the acceptance, issuance, and availability of money.  Think about it.  If all of the sudden your community, state, or even nation is disrupted due to an EMP attack, do you really think that anyone is going to give a flying flip about a useless piece of printed currency?  The real question is, “how do you appropriately prepare for such events and possess mutually valuable wares to ride it out and survive?” I believe in a two pronged approach to preparation.  Store what I know I will need, and then store items that I know others will need so that I can obtain the items that I didn’t foresee. 

 

Should you put some cash aside in your home in preparation for a sweeping emergency?  Yes.  But don’t go overboard.  Within days, if not hours, of a national disaster or an economic collapse, your money will be useless.  Absolutely useless.  (And in the event that currency is ever recognized at that level of insolvency, then hoarding it during a crisis in hopes that it will rebound is also unrealistic.)  I would not recommend you having more than $1,000 cash on hand and be sure that you have it in small increments of 10’s, 5’s, and 1’s.  Don’t have this money on hand with the intent to use it to save your bacon once the disaster has actually hit or in lieu of storing what you will need now.  If you need that cash to purchase emergency supplies because you were caught unaware, you’ll be hard-pressed to actually spend $1,000 successfully as there will indeed be a rush on the stores.  Mark my words.  You can plan on there being insufficient amounts available in the stores or limited acceptance of cash in the event of either of these two disasters, suitable for you to spend $1,000.  The $1,000 cash recommendation is for unforeseen circumstances in which you are fortunate enough to still have it accepted, not to correct your lack of foresightedness in the face of a disaster.  

 

silver-coinsYes, you should indeed have some gold and/or silver on hand.  This currency has never been recognized under any circumstances as being useless.  However, if you are going to invest in such, I would recommend you acquire smaller coins and pieces instead of “dollar-sized” coins.  You can also collect regular U.S. coins that are pre-1967, as they were still made with some “real” metals in them.  These will ultimately have trade value in an emergency situation.

 

“Currency” as you know it today is NOT what you should be focusing on for an emergency.  Food items, skills, and other hard asset wares are what you should be accumulating if you truly want to be prepared for an emergency.  With the exception of a job loss, and striving to eliminate your debt overall, I am 100% convinced that the best way you can “save” for a rainy day disaster is to have useful preparedness items on hand. Items such as wheat, rice, water, ammo, clothing, shelter, diapers, and fuel will be more valuable than anything the Federal Reserve could ever print out.  I am so convinced of this, that I would blatantly recommend that those who are saving a set amount of money each month in a bank account to instead actually lower their monthly savings amount and increase the purchase and acquisition of emergency preparedness wares.  If you find yourself in need of an item or food you can either trade for it or work for it.  Educate yourself on skills that are not common in our society now as the result of the abundance which we now enjoy.  The skills of a seamstress, carpenter, cobbler, blacksmith and cook will be much more valuable in a time of distress.  With such skills you can always acquire that which you need in exchange for your labors.

 

Bottom line, currency is not what you want to focus hoarding for an emergency.  Rather it is a much wiser choice to store that which currency can presently obtain.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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