Shelter from NBC or EMP

Since 1986, Utah Shelter Systems has been America's leading builder of shelters for nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) and by extension, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. They have been at this for decades, unlike the fly-by-night nuclear survival companies that have sprung up lately. Five years ago, Paul Seyfried (the owner of Utah Shelter Systems) did this podcast on this subject. What he says here is even more relevant.


Utah Shelter Sytemes
Today we are joined by Paul Seyfried, President of Utah Shelter Systems. Paul has been building shelters since 1986, and incorporated Utah Shelter Systems in 1998 along with his partner, Sharon Packer.
Utah Shelter Systems shelters can be constructed of either corrugated steel or steel plate and can withstand blasts up to the 150 psi range.  The shelters are manufactured in North Salt Lake, Utah and transported throughout the entire United States and Canada.
Paul joins us today to discuss civil defense in the US and in other nations, the continued threat of nuclear war, chemical attack and biological weapons.  He also explains the value of shelters for storm protection, storing supplies and more.  Shelters seem like an “extreme prep” to many but today we take a balanced view of their practical applications.
Join us today as Paul Answers Questions Such As…
  • Why build a shelter now, that the Cold War is “over”?
  • What are the main criteria for a proper shelter?
  • What can shelters do other than protect you in a NBC attack?
  • Why does Switzerland continue to build 100s of shelters monthly?
  • Why did the U.S. choose not to build shelters?
  • What other countries have shelter programs for civilians?
  • What are some current nuclear threats including EMP?
  • What are some current chemical weapons threats?
  • What are some current bio weapons threats?
  • What is the cost of a fully installed shelter?
  • What are some ways people can save cost or self build?
  • What is the best type of door for a shelter?
  • What equipment do you need for air handling?
The Swiss are the best in the world at building and using shelters. Find details here. And a brief discussion of the history of the nuclear threat may be found here.


How to Prepare for Natural Disasters

There are multiple ways you can prepare for natural disasters. For example, the Volunteer Mobilization Center Floor Plan to the left was developed after the lessons of many hurricanes in Florida.
It is an efficient way to vet people with skills (tree trimmers, nurses, first responders) from the curios and criminal. It is a good way to get personnel with necessary skills out to the disaster site and preventing those who are not skilled or who have criminal intent.
The greatest lesson of preparing for any natural disaster is to do the work BEFORE they arrive. For example, store enough water to make it through two weeks (Waterbricks).
Here are some resources to help you do so.
Protect Your Home
Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane
Prepare Your Home for a Tornado
Tornado Safety and Technology
Mike Smith, Meteorologist, Scientist, Weatherman
Creative Disaster Preparedness Checklist
Prepare, Power, Kids Zone
Why Prepare: Scenes from Hurricane Irma
Why Meteorologist Matter


Memorandums of Understanding are Critical

Prepare...Prepare...prepare for natural and man-made disasters...and it will pay off when disaster strikes, and strike it will.
We just had a major fire in Mount Airy. A huge warehouse went up...fast.
As with any disaster, there were many lessons to be learned from this event.
Here, I would like to note an oft overlooked prep that worked very well...the creation and signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) with businesses that we invoked for the fire.
We had MOA in place with several local business that we called on for supplies during the fire.
They delivered the supplies and things went much more smoothly due to that fact.

The Importance of Private Sector and Local Government MOA’s

Most emergency managers know about government to government memorandums of understanding (MOAs) that often include a mutual aid agreement. But what is often more critical is a memorandum of understanding between private sector companies (Wal Mart, Ace Hardware, tree service and debris removal companies, for example) and a local government.
Because when a disaster strikes, before first responders can get to the place where people are hurt, dying or disoriented, trees, cars and debris must be cut out of the way. Who can complete that task?
A skilled construction worker who knows how to cut through trees, cars and debris can. And how do you know what that person is and how to reach them?
Well, if you have a signed MOA in place with them, it is a matter of calling them and getting them on site to aid the recovery effort in the first critical 72 hours.
Now that social media is such an important part of our daily reality, you should incorporate that fact in the MOA. For example, include a space for everyone’s Facebook address and Twitter name address so you can communicate with them in those media in addition to the usual cell phone and email address.
I include a MOA template I created a few years ago for the Town of Mt. Airy where I live. I encourage you to get going on your MOA as soon as you can. In my experience, I had to go through the Town Council and their lawyer. Both added several years (not months) to the process.
The town lawyer likes “Whereas” and other archaic clauses that added pages and text and took a long time to rewrite. I like plain English, but the reality is that this is a legal document and the lawyers will have their say. They try to cover every contingency. Any disaster has multiple unknown contingencies, but they go about their work diligently hoping to protect the town from everything. It’s just the way it is.
Eventually, the local Town Council gave the MOA its approval. The Town Administrator and I identified numerous local businesses with whom we wanted to sign one. They were Wal Mart, Ace Hardware, two local tree removal companies (skilled construction workers), some local groceries, and the local utility. We signed a MOA with them and have it in place if and when an emergency hits.
This is a basic step that you can take to ameliorate problems before an event strikes. There are so many unknowns that add to any disaster. This is one positive step you can take to prepare the supplies, people, and expertise you will need to get through.

We offer several pages from our MOA in hopes it helps provide you with a template you can adapt and use in your local situation. Although it takes time, effort, and grit to get it written, approved and signed, it is well worth it. When you are hit, it can be the difference between frustration and action in the first critical 72 hours.

TOWN OF [Name]

Town of [Name] Emergency Contacts:

Mayor [Name, Phone, Email, Twitter]
Town Administrator [Name, Phone, Email, Twitter]
Town Engineer [Name, Phone, Email, Twitter]
Director of Public Works [Name, Phone, Email, Twitter]

             This Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") is entered into this (Date), between (Vendor or Contractor  ______________________________________________________, (hereinafter referred to as “Vendor”), and the Town , Maryland (hereinafter referred to as “Town”).
             WHEREAS, the Town in cooperation with other jurisdictions is responsible for providing for and securing the safety of its citizens and properties in the event of an emergency or disaster; and
             WHEREAS, the Town intends to use this MOU as a method to immediately secure on an emergency basis necessary goods, materials and services in the event of emergency or disaster; and
             WHEREAS, for the purposes of this MOU, an “emergency” or “disaster” shall be defined as defined in the Code of the [Town], Section 26-2A. and/or any natural or man-made event that has caused or threatens to cause imminent serious and/or widespread personal injury and/or property damage to citizens residing in the Town or in reasonable proximity to the Town, or to property located in the Town or in reasonable proximity to the Town, and which has been declared to be such by any appropriate officer of the governments of the United States, State of Maryland, Carroll County, Frederick County and/or the Town to include the Mayor of the Town; and
             WHEREAS, a declaration of an event as an “emergency” or “disaster” by any appropriate officer of government as described above shall be conclusive as to whether any such event was of such character so as to constitute an “emergency” or “disaster”; and
             WHEREAS, pursuant to the Code of the [Town}Section 26-2C., the Town is authorized and encouraged to enter into arrangements for standby services in the event of an emergency as defined in the Town Code. 
             NOW THEREFORE, the parties agree as the follows;
 1.                  The Town and Vendor hereby agree to jointly collaborate during an emergency or disaster occurring in the Town to provide the necessary goods and services needed to respond to such an emergency or disaster.
2.                  Vendor agrees to provide to the Town without advance payment the following equipment, goods, materials and/or services on an emergency basis needed to respond to an emergency or disaster:
Item(s) or Services
3.         The Vendor will thereafter promptly submit to the Town adequate documentation for the cost of goods and/or services provided. The Town agrees to reimburse Vendor the fair market price for such goods and/or services acquired and utilized by the Town to respond to the emergency. The Town shall promptly return to Vendor any such goods or materials that the Town did not utilize in substantially the same condition as such was received. The Town will reimburse Vendor the reasonable price of any such goods or materials even if not utilized to respond to the emergency if not promptly returned to Vendor in substantially the same condition as was received by the Town. In no event will the Town be responsible to reimburse Vendor for any goods or materials, although initially acquired by the Town to respond to the emergency or disaster, but which is promptly returned to Vendor in substantially the same condition as such was received by the Town.
4.   Nothing contained herein shall be construed to bind the Town to procure the goods and/or services outlined herein or to provide such to any area within the Town or outside the Town limits even in the event of an emergency.
5.   Nothing contained herein shall be construed to provide an exclusive right on the part of Vendor to supply materials, goods or services to the Town. It is expressly acknowledged that the Town has or may enter into similar MOUs with other vendors for identical or like goods and/or services and that the Town pursuant to any such Memoranda shall have complete discretion on determining from which vendors to obtain any such goods and/or services.
6.   The parties agree to comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations during an emergency of disaster. 
7.         This MOU is effective on [Date] unless modified in writing before that date. This MOU shall automatically renew for an additional 24 months.at the end of the initial term and upon the same terms and conditions as set forth herein, unless, at least 180 days prior to the end of the initial term, either Party provides the other Party with written notification of its intent not to renew.
8.   This MOU may be terminated by either party upon thirty (30) days written notice. Termination of this MOU shall not relieve the terminating party from any obligations assumed prior to the effective date of termination.9.   The following persons shall serve as the contact persons for any issues related to this MOU (please supply both regular and after hour contact information).
 a. All notices and invoices given under this MOU, except for emergency service requests, shall be made in writing.
 b. Each Party to this MOU shall identify single points of contact in support of the administration of this MOU for addressing of interagency issues that may arise hereunder and to whom notices provided or required hereunder shall be delivered.
c. Each Party will make certain that it has an updated list of staff contacts to facilitate communication and to resolve issues as they may arise.d. Each Party agrees to assign appropriate staff to serve as a single point of contact should any personnel changes occur.e. All notices shall be sent to the addresses set forth below:

Town:              [Mayor Name}
[Town Hall Address]                       
Vendor/Service Contact Information (complete all that apply):       

Business/Service Name:  ________________________________________

Business/Service Contact:  _______________________________________

Address:  _____________________________________________________

Email:  _______________________________________________________

Phone: ________________________________________________________

Fax:  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________________________________

Website:  ______________________________________________________

Facebook Page:  ________________________________________________

Twitter Name:  _________________________________________________

10. This MOU shall be governed and interpreted under the laws of the State of [Name].
11. This MOU may be amended only with the written consent of both Parties. Amendments may not change significantly the scope of this Agreement. 
12. Neither Party assumes liability for the acts or omissions of the other party or its agents. Nothing in this MOU shall be construed to extend the immunities of one Party and its agents to the other Party or its agents. 
13. Neither Party may assign any rights or interests nor delegate its duties under this MOU, in whole or in part, without the express prior written permission of the other Party. Without such written permission, any attempted assignment or delegation shall be wholly void and totally ineffective for all purposes. 
14. A waiver by any Party of any breach or default by the other Party under this MO shall not constitute a continuing waiver by such Party of any subsequent act in breach of or in default hereunder.
15. This MOU signed by all Parties constitutes a final written expression of all terms of this MOU and is a complete and exclusive statement of those terms.
16. This MOU contains the entire agreement between the Parties hereto and shall not be modified, amended or supplemented, or any rights herein waived, unless specifically agreed upon in writing by the parties hereto. This MOU supersedes any and all previous agreements, whether written or oral, between the parties.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this MOU on the date set forth above.

                                                                   THE MAYOR , MARYLAND
By:      [Mayor’s Name]
            [Phone #]



Have your MOA's up-to-date, signed, and ready.Here are some photos  and videos of the fire and its aftermath.


Data Situational Awareness

Every day you exercise situational awareness.
Maybe your son is about to do yard work. You remind him it is critical, as a red head, to put on and reapply sunscreen to avoid pain and skin cancer. As skin cancer can be prevented by wearing sun screen, applying sunscreen is an excellent way, or strategy, for preventing skin cancer.
The same strategy applies to your data. Like applying sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, you can apply a variety of measures to prevent your data from being stolen or compromised. I’d like to suggest you apply that common sense situational awareness you apply to other areas of your life to protecting your data.
Hackers are like the sun. They are out there 24/7 probing, locating data they can steal, and stealing it. Like the sun, they are a reality and you must deal with them. Also like the sun, they are not going away.
For your data situational awareness, be aware that hackers are always probing your device (tablet, computer, cell phone, etc.) but what they want is your data. Therefore, you must have a multi-layered strategy to protect your data from very real threats…like ransomware that can:
·         Prevent you from accessing Windows.
·         Encrypt files so you can't use them.
·         Stop certain apps from running (like your web browser)
All ransomware will infect your device and demand that you pay a ransom to get access to your computer or data. DO NOT let that happen. Here are some tips to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Ransomware: WanaCry Example

One of the most recent hacking probes occurred on Friday, May 12, 2017. It was known as WannaCry. It attacked computer system data on approximately 350,000 computers in more than 150 countries within the span of 48 hours.
WannaCry is a unique ransomware strain that exploits a critical Microsoft Windows Server Message Block (SMB) vulnerability to spread like a worm, lending to its rapid propagation after just a few hours of initial detection. The exploit spread across network shares, encrypted data on the shares and left users unable to access their data unless they paid a ransom in the form of untraceable Bitcoin currency.
Thousands of users turned on their computers that day to see the following message:
This massive ransomware attack was less successful than it would have been had they not sought their ransom payment in bitcoin. As criminals who use bitcoin to hide their activity to avoid being discovered, arrested and prosecuted, they assumed everyone knows how to obtain and pay them in bitcoins. Bad strategy on their part because, for all the computers they attacked the best estimate is that they only collected approximately $40,000 in bitcoin ransomware payments.
Although this attack eventually fizzled, we may not be so fortunate the next time. Hackers continuously analyse where they went wrong, redo their code, and send out a variation on the original ransomware several times after the original ones. Maybe you can take the steps suggested here before the follow up WannaCry code or other ransomware attacks your data.
You need a strategy to prevent data loss from ransomware and other attacks. Here are a few suggestions for how to get started.

Simple Ways to Prevent Loss of Data

·         Use strong passwords and change them frequently
·         Keep all your software up-to-date
·         Add the most recent software patches
·         Double check every email to confirm it is safe
·         Verify that you know the email sender before opening it
·         Verify any link in the email is safe before you click it
·         Back up your data (more below)

Back Up your Data

A basic strategy is to keep device, offline, or cloud backups of your data. And to be able to use your data, you will also want to back up your software programs at least once.
For ransomware attacks like this WannaCry, having backed up your data prior to the attack enables you to ignore it. If you have all your data backed up, you cannot be fleeced out of your money.
Adopting a strategy of redundant backup is a good practice. The table below lists several tools that will help you ensure that you can back up your data so it is available when you need it. Chose one or two that are most useful to your circumstances.

Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is taking services, including backup services, and moving to shared systems. Applications and services are accessed via the Web, instead of your hard drive. The services are delivered and used over the Internet. The cloud infrastructure is maintained by the cloud provider (such as https://aws.amazon.com/). This is a strategy that particularly applies for those who use their device and data outside their office.
Online Data Backup as a Company Service
There are many companies that will store your data at their data center on their servers, for a fee (such as Carbonite, Rackspace, etc.) and many other companies will backup and protect your data daily, for a fee online backup service that will automatically backup and synchronize your data across multiple devices.
An online backup service makes it easy to access data from a mobile office. Even if you have just one computer, this is a great way to ensure consistent backup and accessibility of your data after a system crash, ransomware attack, natural disaster, or other threats to your data.
External Hard Drive
An external hard drive is a storage device located outside of a computer that is connected through a USB cable or wireless connection. An external hard drive is usually used to store media that a user needs to be portable, for backups, and when the internal drive of the computer is already at its full memory capacity. These devices have a high storage capacity compared to flash drives and are mostly used for backing up numerous computer files or serving as a network drive to store shared content. External hard drives are also known as removable hard drives. Available online or in retail stores such as Best Buy, Wal Mart, or Staples.
USB Flash (Stick, Jump, Thumb) Drive
Insert to your device USB port. They are removable and rewritable. They are storage capacity has risen and their price has dropped. It is a good practice to keep one with your keys so you always have it available to copy files, especially in an emergency. USB sticks are constantly increasing in capacity and are highly useful for quick data backups. They are highly portable. Available online or in retail stores such as Best Buy, Wal Mart, or Staples.
Backup Ghost Computer
If you have valuable business or family data, you can invest in a backup computer or device. Keep all your data on two devices and if one goes down you will have another one with all your vital data. Computer prices have fallen so much in the past few years this is an option.

Do not risk being locked out of your data. Create a backup system NOW that includes archiving and routinely back it up. You can do this manually or automatically.

Auto Install or Manually Install Patches

Consider that those who applied readily-available Microsoft Windows patches on a regular basis BEFORE the WannaCry attack were protected. Other companies installed patches immediately upon hearing of the WannaCry malware and were protected. Both strategies worked, but is it always better to install the patches via auto install well in advance of an attack.

Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, and Other Data Protection

There are many excellent antivirus, antimalware and other data protection software packages available. Prices and features vary. Many free ones are available online. Here is a link to a few: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388652,00.asp

Don’t Fall for Phishing Scams

Phishing is a leading way that cybercriminals steal data. You receive an email that has an urgency to it. Inside the mail is a link that the sender urges the recipient to click. The link takes the user to a fake website and your data can be compromised. NEVER open a phishing email!

Power On

Final Tip: Data depends on devices (computers, tablets, laptops, cell phones, etc.) that depend on POWER. To make sure you can access your data, make sure you always have power by maintaining extra that transmit power to your devices by remembering to have these items working and available.
·         Mouse batteries.
·         Computer batteries
·         Power cords
·         Surge protector
·         Laptop batteries


Church Emergency Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place, and Lock-Down Plan

Christian churches are vulnerable to natural disasters and man-made attacks. All should have an emergency operations plan, evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lock-down procedure. 
Here is a procedure we have created at my church, St. Michael the Archangel in Poplar Springs, MD
We have a large number of children and elderly who would have to be evacuated in an emergency, and after two years of planning and testing, the plan below works for us. Adapt it to your unique church setting.

Church Emergency Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place, and Lock-Down Procedure

At St. Michael’s, we take the safety and security of all St. Michael’s parishioners, and especially the children, very seriously.  Central to our Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is this Emergency Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place and Lock-Down Plan and instructions. Please learn and know these instructions as you may need to use them during an emergency.
1.    Say a quick prayer.
2.    Call 911.
3.    Remain calm as others will look to you for strength and guidance.
4.    Notify your Zone Leader and your church leaders with details of the emergency.
5.    Implement proper protocols such as those below.
6.    If following the shelter-in-place protocol, verify everyone has done so.
7.    If following evacuation protocols, continue with the steps below.
8.    Do NOT use elevators.
9.    Have the children sit down and remain silent.
10.  Locate and bring your attendance folder and emergency pack.
11.  Take attendance and verify all your assigned children are accounted for.
12.  Report any injuries to your Zone Leader.
13.  Communicate your accountability status to your Zone Leader.
14.  Be aware of and assist the physically handicapped, elderly, or those with special needs.
15.  Follow the evacuation maps posted in your room or the gathering areas.
16.  To exit, proceed to the nearest safe aisle or hallway and then to the evacuation areas.
17.  While evacuating, inform and evacuate other personnel who may be injured or unaware.
18.  Assemble outside in the predesignated areas (see Zone Maps on the wall).
19.  Once you exit, do NOT go back into the building.
20.  Take attendance again and verify everyone is accounted for.
21.  Communicate your attendance report to the Zone Leader.
22.  Follow all instructions from the fire department, police, and church leaders.
23.  Ensure in the proper reunification of parents and children.
24.  The Incident Leader will account for the status of each zone.
25.  Zone Leaders will update the Incident Leader after exiting the building.
26.  Zone Leaders will update the Incident Leader of the status of all classroom Team Leaders.
27.  Only reenter the building if and when the all-clear is given by the fire department.
Caution: To keep the roads and intersections clear for emergency vehicles, instruct everyone to NOT go to their cars.  Vehicles could cause a delay in those responding to the emergency. 

ERP Team Leaders Check List
  1. Check off each task you complete and return this list to the Zone Leader.
  2. Remain calm, others will look to you for strength and guidance
  3. Bring your attendance folder.
  4. Bring your Emergency Pack.
  5. Ensure the proper protocols for conducting the Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place or Lock-Down are followed.
  6. Ensure all areas of your class/area have been fully evacuated or have Sheltered-in-Place.
  7. Ensure all children are accounted.
  8. Once in the Evacuation or Shelter-in-Place area, have the children sit down, remain silent and take attendance.
  9. Report your status to your Zone Leader, to include injuries and missing persons.
  10. Ensure the proper reunification of children and parents.
  11. Write down the name of each parent and child you reunite and give this list to the Zone Leader.