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When Modern Technology Goes In the Tank


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The fiber optic lines were cut to Kerrville, Comfort, Center Point and other parts of the Hill Country around 1 p.m., most cell phone and land lines went down, including 911 centers throughout Kerr County.


The Kerr County Sheriff's Office sent officers in marked cars throughout the county to deal with any emergencies that might have arisen. Residents in Kerrville maintained access to emergency services via land lines, while out-of-city residents were not able to reach dispatch and were encouraged to seek help at EMS and volunteer fire department locations throughout the county. ( source : Can You Hear Me Now ? By Conor Harrison The Kerrville Daily Times Published March 24, 2010 )


Talking to my wife on the phone yesterday, when the phone line went completely dead. Above, is the reason why.


All 911 emergency services were shut down, credit card machines stopped functioning, cell phones became useful only as paper-weights, and computer's no longer had internet access.


Quite an experience...


Also was an experience that shows how quickly what we take for granted can come to an end, even if temporarily.


You might notice that the article states that people were encouraged to seek any required help at volunteer fire stations --- problem with that is most of those fire stations are not staffed, and there was no way to contact the personnel.


The local hospital also sufferred from this event, as any Medical Personnel required could not be contacted.


As much as we enjoy the luxury of modern technology, this event points out why it is important to be self-reliant, and maintain knowledge of how to function when what we take for granted, stops.



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Yes, it was a bit un-nerving. Within the city limits of Kerrville, not as bad, since emergency vehicles were positioned in strategic locations. Outside the city limts...well...if you had a heart attack, or an accident...sorry bud, you would have been SOL.


Several folks were stranded along the roadsides with broken down automobiles, unable to contact anyone.


Most of the stores and banks shut down, since all computer communications were cut-off.


Nationwide, or even in a "big" city...Yikes ! Can only imagine what would happen, and it isn't pretty.



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Can only imagine what would happen, and it isn't pretty.

And it is precisely through imagining it that one can effectively prepare for it. The following is not news to Kerr, since we have talked about preparation for the "unthinkable" often. But it is just offered as my experiences that made me what I am today, and helped me consider survival in such situations...I had two experiences in my life that convinced me you are your own best solution to survival in extreme situations (and I do not really consider loss of capabilities we did not have in the 1700-1800s all that extreme):


1) Boy Scouts, whose motto is, of course, "Be Prepared". While the camping trips and "survival skills" were really pretty light, the whole merit badge process allowed you to "merit" in anything, and there is a Wilderness Survival merit badge that gives much deeper capabilities than the basic camping outings a troop would go through. Another important aspect of Boy Scouts, which my dad always reinforced to me if I wanted to be an engineer, is the ability to TEACH YOURSELF. My dad always told me that the most important part of an engineering education is not learning about a specific branch of engineering (i.e. aerospace vehicles, in my case), but the discipline that comes with understanding how you can teach yourself anything.


2) Outward Bound will really open your eyes to what you are capable of, and especially FORCE you to fend for yourself when you have no "luxuries" such as electronic communication. This was the event that really changed my life, and convinced me that I should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be considering survival as a basic talent, that must always be honed and polished. Some people make fun of me because I have "strike anywhere" matches in a waterproof case in the glovebox of my truck, and 8 cans of tuna stored in another storage box under the back seats of my truck...amongst other key surival equipment. You go on an Outward Bound experience and you will likely do the same. I know that I can live out of my truck (including basic first aid capability) for quite a long time if something happened. I also have stashes of food, water, and equipment OUTSIDE my home in SoCal and my place in Colorado.


I recommend Outward Bound to ALL young people, especially those who lack confidence and/or look like they may be developing a "dependent" personality. If you can tough it out, it WILL change your life and bestow you with survival skills and, more importantly, survival THINKING!





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You hit it dead-center.


In addition to the lines being cut, the rumor's about what happpaned was that it was a terrorist attack, and all communications in the entire state went down.


Actually, it was some idiot on a back-hoe digging a trench in the wrong spot, not a terrorist, and his swift move did not wipe out the communications of the entire state.


As said in the quoted article, "most" lines, not "all" lines went down. Thanks to the rumor's, those lines that were not cut, were over-loaded by people in a panic.


As Rainman pointed out, a little bit of training and preparation goes a long ways.


How many people carry customized tool boxes in their vehicles ? or have customized first-aid kits available ? Each customized having specific items for the particular make and model vehicle to be used in an emergency, and the first-aid kits put together with the needs of the particular family members in mind ?


Even prepared, the event was somewhat scary. I can only guess how the un-prepared must have felt. And to be blunt, if it came down to survival on a man to man basis, sorry folks, looking for those who did prepare might not be such a good idea. I believe Rainman knows what I am saying here.


Doesn't take that much time to prepare, so there aren't any excuses for not doing so.



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the rumor's about what happpaned was that it was a terrorist attack, and all communications in the entire state went down.

As with all capabilities, communication has its upsides and downsides. This is the downside of communication (unfounded rumors). This type of communication is what allows flat-out untrue statements to gain traction, even though there is no evidence to support them. (Anthropogenic Global Warming anyone?)


Even prepared, the event was somewhat scary. I can only guess how the un-prepared must have felt.

The desire to reach out and communicate with others in a time of stress is something that is a learned behavior. It comes from the natural upbringing of a parent instilled in the child. But it is not necessarily a good learned behavior. One of the things Outward Bound teaches you in such situations is to stop, quiet the mind, center yourself and consider what YOU need to do FOR YOURSELF to prepare for continued survival. Shelter, food, and water come first. THEN comes the communication plan. And of course, electronic communication is not always the first means, as it may not even be available. When you are isolated, one decision a person must make (there is no single "right answer") is whether to stay put or whether to move out. Each one has its own guidelines for a communication plan.One reason that meditation is such an effective means for quieting and centering oneself is because it ceases communication external to yourself. This allows the mind to focus on the self and the situation they find themselves in without external interruptions or distractions. You will often find that when you do this, your eventual communication plans will likely be a lot more effective.


I am rambling now, but I am passionate about this stuff! Not sure if I told you, Kerr, but I have finally decided the main thing I want to do with my CO property: Raise and train Search & Rescue Dogs. I have PLENTY of land to do it, and I am in VERY close proximity to many EXCELLENT training grounds (water, forest, desert).





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No, never knew about the search and rescue training of dogs until now. Wow...awesome plan, and I know that you would do an excellent job with such an endeavor.


One area of interest for me has been obtaining and learning how to use a Ham Radio. In an extreme emergency, it would be nice to have as many Ham radios operating as possible. The Law Enforcement agenices fell back onto radio communication when the lines were cut.


Since it is a small town, they were able to set their vehicles in strategic locations not only to have their presence reassure people, but also they set up a secondary comunication system county wide through the use of the radios in their vehicles.


About the meditation and training through Outward Bound, I completely agree with what you presented in your posts.


If all power went out for an extended amount of time, our neighborhood already has plans in place. We have a community water well that would be the first place to be secured. We know who has what...as in generators, welding equipment, and some other necessary supplies.


We know how we would need to alter the pump of the well to operate with wind power, and as a neighborhood effort, wouldn't be all that difficult to do.


The area here is set-up with limited access as it is, so the few access points would be blocked and protected. A small community would become even smaller.


Now, the odds are that such plans as extreme as these will not come to pass, but still was something discussed, just in case. Something that everyone as an individual should consider, what to do if faced with different scenarios, and as you so aptly pointed out, Rainman, not to jump to conclusions nor be so easily swayed by rumors.



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