Video update from USAToday.com EDT March 25, 2014
With the grim news of at least 24 dead in the mudslide that occurred in the state of Washington, I realized that I had never written about mudslide survival. This surprised me, as I, myself, could easily be a victim of one. We’re part-time residents of beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with a home on a mountain overlooking the town and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As such, we live on a slope. How much of a slope? Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to fall off our deck (and not just because of our resident black bear).
The mudslide in Washington was huge, about a mile wide with an extensive debris field. In some places, the debris is 30 feet thick. Our thanks, by the way, to the emergency personnel who tirelessly dug survivors from the wreckage.
A mudslide, sometimes called a “debris flow”, is a landslide with a high water content. Mudslides act like a river that, if the mud is thick, has the consistency of wet concrete. Mud, rocks, trees, and other large objects are carried along and can cause homes to collapse and a huge amount of traumatic injury to residents. In the U.S., 25-50 deaths occur on average as a result of landslides.
Periods of heavy rainfall or snow melt saturate the ground and cause instability in sloping areas. Areas prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters are especially susceptible. Humans contribute to this susceptibility with poor planning: Roads cut into hills and mountains and scenic mountain retreats (like ours!) make mudslides more likely. River or brookside retreats at the base of a hill or mountain (in the “holler”, as we say in Tennessee) are also vulnerable.
HOMES ARE VULNERABLE EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT ON SLOPES
Before building that dream home:
Beware of steep slopes, natural or man-made runoff conduits, or eroded areas.
Have the county Geological Survey specialist assess your property for possible mudslide risk.
Consider flexible pipe fittings (installed by pros) less prone to gas or water leaks.
Consider building a retaining wall in likely mudslide channels.
Avoid areas that have experienced mudslides in the past.
Plan out an evacuation route.
Have a battery-powered NOAA weather radio.
Have a medical kit with items to deal with both traumatic injury and water sterilization.
Mudslide prone areas will begin to show signs that trouble is on the way:
Cracks develop in walls, flooring, paving, driveways, or foundations.
Outside structures (for example, stairs) begin to separate from buildings
Doors and windows start becoming jammed.
Utility lines start breaking.
Fences, trees, and utility poles start tilting.
Water starts accumulating in strange places
Roads and embankments along slopes start breaking off at the edges.
The Terrain starts to “bulge” or starts slanting at the base of the slope.
DURING THE EVENT
Turn on the NOAA radio and listen to warnings as they are reported.
Warn your neighbors!
If a mudslide is imminent, get the heck out of there if at all possible with the understanding that roads may be washed out. Stay away from mudslide areas; further mudslides may still occur.
If you stay home, get to the second story if you have one.
Watch for and avoid downed power lines.
As the slide passes through, get under a table and curl into a ball, protecting your head.
If you’re trapped in the mud, survival rates go up if you can form an air pocket around you. You can survive with water for 3-4 days if you had to.
No, not the website...just my wife and I. We're downsizing.
My wife and I are currently moving everything we own to a smaller place in town, after 4 years out on the open range. It's strictly a cost saving measure, but the benefits we are getting in return are quite measurable. While we'll be "in town", the edge of town we're at, literally, is the EDGE. Due east of our new place, the next paved road is approximately 70 miles away, over the high Wyoming desert. The main river in the area is about 200 yards away, and we're safely above flood stage.
So, what does this mean to you, the SurvivalRing site visitor and user? Not much, as the site is located on servers across the nation, hooked up to huge pipes attached to the inter-webs. During the move, my main desktop system and network will be down, affecting CD/DVD production mode and some of my other creative outlets, until early next week. If you purchase a 13 Disk set of my library in the next week or so, know that I will get your order, and will ship once "The System" is all reconnected, booted, and humming.
Why the move? Less time commuting, more time with my spouse, savings of $600 or more a month in gas and rent, and no more having to ride my 970 pound road bike up a half mile of snail snot if the weather turns the dirt road to mush from passing rain storms.
I'm going to miss the old place...it was the perfect BOL. 1000 feet up a hill from a 13,000 acre lake, million dollar views of TWO mountain ranges, deer, pheasant, geese, duck, chipmunks, squirrels, and other small furry mammals, and a wildlife habitat across the back fence. In this economy, it still takes money to live in the boonies...and although I've got five years with the state, it's not enough to justify the expense of staying out there. Of course, when I go hunting, that habitat is still as good as it gets year round. And I know it a lot more than most, since I explored it for 4 years...
Looking forward to downsizing in every way, and going to start leaning towards "minimalization" in many life areas during and after this move. It's just time.
After nearly 20 years of doing without family vacations and assorted personal unnecessary purchases, and after nearing five years as a state employee of Wyoming with great benefits (good vacation time buildup, great insurance, etc), we've enjoyed two vacations in 7 months. Both were to visit family, and both were extremely frugally planned and pulled off. These vacations were absolutely bare minimums of transportation, NO eating out, NO getting souvenirs, or other normal vacation activities.
Grandson Hudsin, in front of the Lamar, CO Train Depot (an Amtrack stop)
In both vacations, my wife Annie and I watched every penny, kept every receipt, took the minimum stuff needed for the trip, and considered it an almost off the grid experience away from everything. Both trips were to visit my daughter in Lamar, Colorado, and both times, my son flew out from Nashville to take a break from his music work and other active lifestyle activities as a 20 something in one of the most dynamic cities in the country.
While dear daughter and son-in-law don't live off grid, their location and property is pretty rural. No home internet, but their own well water, and a good solid home. For me, visiting them is doing without internet access for days or a week at a time. Like us, they don't run A/C unless they have to...and the first week of June there were two 112 degree days in a row. It's been year's since I've dealt with that kind of heat, and one of the reasons we now live in the cooler climes of Wyoming.
So, what kinds of events can I share with you about actually taking time to take a break from your every day life to find peace and solitude for creating magic moments of creativity? Having a place to go where you know someone (a relative or close friend) really helps. Having a plan for what you'd like to accomplish with your time off from work is another. I have long lists of household chores I need to do, and I get to many of them a big chunk at a time. Vacation time is special, and means planning truly worthwhile things to accomplish in that small window of the time/space continuum.
For me, it was practice what I preach. Do good things. Help others. Develop goals that can help more than just myself. Don't waste money. Barter. Give more than a full measure if helping others. Show love. Mean it. Develop skills every stinking day. Do something new. Stay safe.
It was my hope to really pull together a LOT of my own ideas, snippets, thoughts, dreams, and future projects, and sort them out and prioritize them for more efficient follow through and real objectives. In this, I got a lot done, but not as much as I wanted to. But, positive movement occurred, and I was able to relax and think on so many great things that I'm going to be working on in the near future.
My new trailer...
While on vacation this summer, I traded a lot of computer geekage for two trailers, a couple of folding chairs, an antique barrister bookcase, and a couple boxes of books...OLD books. In exchange for cleaning and securing a plumbing office computer, setting up a website, and taking dozens of pictures of the contents of a newly purchased old building being converted from church to a plumbing business space and warehouse to sell the pews, desks, and older items on Craigslist, I took home a pickup bed style 1 ton trailer, a much smaller homemade trailer that I'm going to convert into a trailer for my motorcycle, two steel folding chairs, and a glass doored antique bookcase.
...an antique bookshelf...
I also spent a lot of time with my four grandkids, my son Kenny, and daughter Laurie, including a lot of time swimming in the Arkansas river trying to cool off. Saw some bad weather from the massive heat wave, to 80 mph wind gusts from thunderstorm outflow boundaries, to the actual lighting strike that caught the forest by the river's side on fire for many hours, shutting down half the town with moving emergency equipment and fire fighters. Gas prices were up much higher than springtime, and was our biggest expense for the trip. We did bring down about 120 pounds of beef from our beef cow we purchased in the spring, to feed the crew over the vacation and leave my daughter's freezer full after we left.
All in all, a much needed break from work, a not really wanted break from the internet, and some quality family time with those I love the most. We finally stopped a while to actually smell the roses. We even got to practice using some of our prepper skills in various aspects of this trip, such as first aid, bugout buggy loading, roadside repairs and adjustments, dealing with wildlife we don't normally worry about, and a few psychological and physical needs and therapy for a few little things. I have to say, one of our best family vacations yet.
...a forest fire on the river bottoms 400 yards from my daughter's house, started by a massive lightning strike...which I witnessed...
What to take away from this story? Even in a down economy, with very little savings, using what tools and skills and food storage we have, and most definitely planning ahead with all the family involved, we were able to travel across two states, help each other, trade some skills for some tangible items, and have loads of fun using nothing but our wits, our abilities, and the tools and resources at hand.
Would this kind of trip be possible in a time of great unrest and civil disturbances? Maybe, but probably not as safely. There were and are many backroads, and fuel issues might be the worst. Current trends indicate that bad times right now are going to keep getting worse, as our selfish leaders lavish everything on themselves, and continue stealing from our future. I suggest if you're overdue for a family get together, soon is better than later to make it happen. And, think about the older generations as well. Visit...while they're still around to share with you...
On Monday night, an EF-5 tornado tore through communities near Oklahoma City, causing massive devastation in the cities of Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma. First responders have been working since the tornado made landfall to rescue survivors from the massive destruction within the impacted area. The tireless dedication and work of these crews is truly remarkable and has saved lives.
THE OKLAHOMA TORNADOES: HOW TO GET HELP
Individuals and families impacted by the storms and tornadoes can apply for assistance in one of three ways:
Have a story to share about your tornado experience or want to learn from others?Weigh in here.
THE OKLAHOMA TORNADOES: HOW TO HELP OTHERS IN NEED
As President Obama said in a briefing after the devastation occurred on Monday "we're a nation that stands with our fellow citizens as long as it takes. We've seen that spirit in Joplin, in Tuscaloosa; we saw that spirit in Boston and Breezy Point. And that’s what the people of Oklahoma are going to need from us right now."
Here's how you can help:
Do not self-deploy to disaster areas. For trusted organizations to donate money or learn about ways to serve visit:
Please join FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, and officials from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for a FEMA Think Tank conference call on May 28, 2013 from New York City.The call will provide the opportunity to listen to the stories of disaster survivors and international emergency personnel to gain perspective from their experiences and resilience.
WHAT: FEMA Think Tank Conference Call
WHO: Richard Serino, FEMA Deputy Administrator and Akhil Iyer, UNICEF Deputy Director of Office of Emergency Programmes
WHEN: Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 1:00PM – 2:30 PM (Eastern)
Here we are on Day 5 of Mission Xmas 2012. It's three days past Doomsday, and we're safe and sound in the far southeast quadrant of Colorado. No cable tv, no home internet, no close
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. Blessings to all of you. From Rich, Annie, my kids, and these special grand-kids.
neighbors...just my family, son in law, two ugly outside dogs, and my youngest grandson enjoying each others company...making up for a year of being busy with everything else.
This moment is the first extended time on the internet since we left Wyoming. Using DSL at son-in-laws plumbing shop, while he's out on a christmas eve call, and cleaning up over 600 emails, checking my sites, downloading backups, and generally seeing if the rest of the world is still around, or a smoking heap of debris. Good news on the site, while backing things up I found two hidden backdoor files in places they shouldn't be...now they're gone...the work on this will never end. Sigh.
Tonight, our decades long christmas tradition of home made pizza for all, followed by another holiday movie (we watched "Scrooged" last night). Thinking "White Christmas".
Tomorrow, a quiet humble day, few gifts this year (very few...the economy hit us extra hard), so we'll enjoy planning for the new year.
Musician son Kenny had BIG news...and I mean GLOBAL big. Can't and won't say...just that It Is The Big Time. When (and hoping not if) it goes, I'll tell ya then. Suffice to say, HAPPY as hell for him...he has worked his ass off to get where he is.
For now, got to get a few more things down, and downloaded to the laptop from the site. Lots of new posts, uploads, pages, and features coming to SurvivalRing in 2013. (lol...typed in 2012 first...my first year error...). Weatherman says we'll have a white christmas here tomorrow (2 to 4 inches, coming this way from Denver). Fun...been a while since we've had one of those...
Until then, everyone stay safe, enjoy your holiday cheer, make as many people smile as you can that cross your path in the coming days, and say a prayer for all those friends and family members we've lost this year, and those taken away from us in so many horrible ways so recently.
It's those of us who keep going on, keep climbing over and detouring around the rubble and chaff in our lives, that never give up...that will make the future better in every possible way, no matter how much evil, misery, or decay gets thrown in our faces.
We continue...we persevere...we rise back up...we go on. Always....ALWAYS keep moving. We will win...THEY will lose.
Never forget that.
Cheers to all,
Rich & Family
After over 2 weeks of living hell, the SurvivalRing website is back to most of what it was before the hack of Monday, October 15th, in the wee hours of the morning. There are still going to be quite a few odds and ends MIA...(that is, "Missing In Action") while we work on so many little things. So, what is back, and what remains to be fixed?
Where we are...
The SurvivalRing Community Center ( at http://www.survivalring.org/SR_forums ) is back online. Thesoftware is installed but all previous posts lost...downloads that were in the Forums are backed up, and will be re-uploaded in the coming weeks.
The main SurvivalRing website, with all the categories, pages, links, page content and post content, have been recovered, and are now back online and available. What will be missing (for the short term) are mostly page or post images that were originally uploaded on the day that post or page was created. Some images are lost...most can be found or replaced...sorry.
Most of the download file sets (thousands of PDF files in a multitude of areas) have been re-uploaded. Some will still need some coding (yet to be done) to bring them back to life in the download page location where they formerly were. This will get done in the near term future.
The website (before the attack) used a variety of programs to offer the posts, pages, downloads, feeds and other offerings that SurvivalRing ran on to offer the full set of useful information it has become known for. This programs will be re-uploaded and reinstalled over the coming week.
After a full review of every single table in every single database, I've found that we lost precious few main site features in this hack, specifically the SRCC Forums posts that existed prior to 10/15/12, and one of my original blogs, started back in 2004...known as Cosmic Echoes (formerly located at http://www.survivalring.org/WordPress ). Both of these databases were wiped. SRCC is already reinstalled, updated, and ready to reboot. Cosmic Echoes will come back, most likely. I shared "edgier" content on that blog.
A lot of "little things" still need to be found, repaired, fixed, or replaced. As I go through every page of every site on this server, I'll fix these as I find them. I'll just call this "job security".
Updates and additions...
You'll notice a few things here or there on the SurvivalRing site that were not there before this terrible turn of events. For example, the old look of the site has been updated to a slightly different, slightly wider website layout. This offers opportunities for me to fix little bitty things much easier.
Security is updated as well. The SurvivalRing has been moved to a more secure server, and an SSL (secure socket layers) certificate purchased so that any and all browsing of the website can be done with encryption to any visitor. This will also help lock out the bad guys as well.
One click backups of the ENTIRE SurvivalRing website are now set up, and will be done on a regular basis. Backups of the website on other servers across the country will also be set up in the coming weeks. Cloud access is in the works as well...especially for the bigger downloads. Stay tuned for more on this.
What's to come...
Membership sections will also be coming soon, with free, and paid levels. Register an account and you'll have access to all the free downloads. Don't register, and you won't see very many downloads at all. Paid accounts will get access to the digital specialty files I have created, the online versions of all my CD and DVD multimedia disks, and downloads of CD and DVD images (so you can burn your own copies). More bonus items will be added to the site as time allows, after SurvivalRing is fully operational again (all missing files fixed or repaired).
Why member levels? To help support the actual cost of running this website, purchasing new content, updating or replacing hardware or software, and all the infinitesimally small myriad needs of running a huge, content and techno heavy website year after year.
Membership areas also keep the bad guys at bay, and offer some protection for the honest users, while keeping the leeches and script kiddies at bay.
So...that's where we stand.
You'll notice the new SurvivalRing theme has a somewhat patriotic slant. A couple of reasons for that...this election cycle defines where we, as a nation, are headed...and we need, more than ever, to remember our roots.
Also since the asshole hackers were tracked back to Islamo-facist foundations, I wanted to rub the "Americans will always stand back up after getting knocked down" meme in their infantile, hate laden faces. In other word, you hacker/cracker morons "hit like a girl"...and always will.
Bottom line? We're back....and when finished, we will be better...faster...and much stronger. Keep hitting me, and I'll keep getting right back up.
Finally, a message to the particular hacker that claimed responsibility for the destruction of my work...by deleting nearly everything I've worked on for so many years now...over 15 years now.
"Fuck you, tr0jan32...and the camel you rode in on..."
Nothing in this world is permanent...including YOUR HACKS.