How can you best avoid being caught in the egress gridlock of sheeple?
The best answer to that problem is having the critical information
first, allowing you to bug out prior to everyone else. If you are ready
to go, or ready to do what you need to do, a few hours or even minutes
may be all the edge you need.
The information age is becoming the instant information age, but the problem becomes filtering out what you don’t want (too much information, then again you can just watch major media and let them filter out what they don’t want you to see). New advances in web search tools in conjunction with email alert systems seem to be the way of the future, and for many types of useful information, are here now. The original concept of alert systems in nothing new. Remember those several weather alert radio cubes from Radio Shack in the 1970s? Even back in the late 1980s surfers in California could pay for a service that would page their phone pagers (this is before practical cell phones even) and alert them that in their area, surf’s up!
Listed below are several things you can do with email and web access for free. You critical problem is, how many hours a day or night are you away from your emails. You don’t want to log on in the morning to see a seven hour old alert you needed. The best 24/7 solution seems to be the ever present cell phone, especially if you could use an always-on distinctive ring for selected emergency incoming text or email messages/warnings. Clearly your cell phone is going to be your email link, your PDA, your MP3, personal important data, and your personal phone number that stays with you for life. So with the means to know or shortly alert yourself of danger, the final issue seems to be that there really is not a 24/7 alert system that goes beyond the mere public information sources I list below. This I believe is an open area, so I therefore offer this concept to the readers of SurvivalBlog and the results of some polling I have done on it.
Image a Survivalist paging system that on a 24/7 basis monitors serious threats regionally (where you were), and if something of a certain level of significance (risk level) came up suddenly, people in that area are immediately alerted by their cell phone (as well as email). In a fictional work I am presently writing, I pursue this concept with a 2009 example of just such a service. This service monitors everything below, international news wires, ham radio communications, certain police and fire bands, and as any professional investigator will tell you, has some inside sources in high places as well as thousands of cooperative people ready to give tips if they hear something. Most notices are sent by e-mail, but in that urgent moment, the customer’s cell phone is paged with a text message describing the warning which overrides the no ringer function. A Confidence Factor Index (CFI) is given with it, in the form of a percentage (1 to 100) of how sure the service administrator is as to the veracity of the information, based on an established set of criteria. Note that we live in a "gray" world [with nothing 100% black or white], and thus 100% certainty is not possible until after official, after-the-fact confirmation, and even then there may be doubt. Based on some polling that I did, I set the fee at $1 per month for that service (the service does other things too). A real service would have to figure the elasticity of demand on this versus how few would want it. The survival community is small and stingy, but the one buck per month seemed to be what a lot of people could part with, for a service that could of course, save your life by giving you the edge. Obviously in the story, it does, or at least helps quite a bit. Again, aspects of this idea are already up in a running in the general news service world.
Here is an example of a progressive news service that is already set
up for wireless, especially if your cell phone is also your PDA: http://www.news.com.au/alerts/?from=ninews_leftnav.
Meanwhile, the NOAA also
has a new weather center for cell phones. See: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/wml
Listed below are some free Internet services you can use now. Enjoy
these, and please e-mail mention of any additional ones that you find
Alerts to your email you can set for free now:
Terrorist Alerts http://www.terroristwarning.com/
News Alerts by CNN, you can control why area of news: http://edition.cnn.com/youralerts/
News or Web alerts using your own key words: http://www.google.com/alerts (try doing “Bird Flu”, you won’t believe how many you get each day)
Severe Weather Alerts: http://www.weather.com/services/alerts.html?from=servicesindex
Weather, Alerts for your area: http://www.weathercenter.com/personalforecast/ (or find a station in your local area, this is an example)
Earthquakes in your area: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/products/services.html#email
Conditions in Space: http://www.sec.noaa.gov/alerts/
Examples of things that you can monitor on original source
Current National Weather Information: http://www.weather.gov/
National Weather Radar: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/radar/
Earthquakes - http://earthquake.usgs.gov/
The Jet Stream: (where is fall out going) http://virga.sfsu.edu/gif/jetstream_init_00.gif
Near Earth Object Program: (Asteroid/Comet Watch) http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/
Space Weather: http://www.sec.noaa.gov/
World Tsunami, Volcano, Earth quakes: http://map.ngdc.noaa.gov/website/seg/hazards_pacific/viewer.htm
As an example of real time video cameras you can log into:
Volcano camera on Mount. St. Helens http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/
If you wish to look to the government for help (actually this is some good stuff):
Homeland Security: http://www.ready.gov/
FEMA's web site: http://www.fema.gov/
White House page: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/homeland/
US Dept. of Defense: http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/homeland/
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/ (Be sure to check for your local, county, municipal, and state sites too)
Some Nuclear sites:
Nuclear Targets from Bruce Beach: http://www.radmeters4u.com/list.htm (Newcomers to Survivalism should be aware of this classic site)
Nuclear Power Plants and current operational status in USA: http://www.animatedsoftware.com/environm/no_nukes/nukelist1.htm#MN
Having access to critical and timely information and alerts, as well as looking ahead and staying aware can give you the edge to be one of few, the proud--not one of the many, the crowd. - Rourke (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat)
JWR Adds: I think that Rourke's idea has some merit. The crowds of grossly under-prepared refugees clogging the highways, attempting to escape Houston as Hurricane Rita approached were a prime example. Traffic was backed up for 8+ hours and many cars ran out of gas. This incident was ample evidence that a few hours extra notice could very well make a big difference in Getting Out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) successfully. In a nuke scenario, the highways near a blast will probably look like a parking lot in short order--due to EMP effects and/or cars running out of gas, leaving many folks stranded on foot.
OBTW, I've said it before, but it bears repeating: I am NOT an advocate of living in a city or suburb and counting on the ability to G.O.O.D. at the 11th hour! If you must live in the Dirty Big City, then at least show the foresight to pre-position 90% of your logistics at your retreat. Odds are that you will only have one trip Outta Dodge! It would be a shame to have to leave most of your gear at home!