Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vacation Time?

One of my friends recently asked for examples of why you might be separated from your wardrobe (and hence, why you should keep extra clothes in your car or Bug Out Bag). Fires, tornadoes, floods, and other disasters were all mentioned, but I was reminded of recent news articles and an old post of mine.

Back in September of 2016, I wrote about Unexploded Ordinance (UXO). Go back and read it for detailed information, but the TL;DR version is;
  • Humans have been using explosives in war for a long time.
  • Not all of those weapons went “boom” when they should have.
  • Live explosives are scattered all over the world.
  • If you find UXO, remember the Three Rs:
    1. Recognize the threat,
    2. Retreat to a safe distance,
    3. Report it to authorities.
There have been a few similar articles in the past couple of months, but while they registered in my memory, they didn't set off any alarms. UXO pops up somewhere in the world at least once a week, but unless someone gets hurt by it you'll rarely see it reported in the news: 
  • In April 2018, a large bomb left over from WW2 was found in Bologna, Italy. 
  • Also in April 2018, a Civil War artillery shell was found near Myrtle Beach, SC when a family was building a patio next to their house. 
  • The same month, a 500 kg (1100 pound) American bomb from WW2 was found in central Berlin, Germany.
The UXO found in Bologna caused the evacuation of about 10,000 people for most of a day while the disposal team removed it. The much smaller shell found near Myrtle Beach was removed without much inconvenience. But the bomb found in Berlin caused the evacuation of over 10,000 people from an area within 800 meters (half a mile) of the site, including the main train station. That meant no traffic in a circle a mile wide in a major metropolitan city. 

Some other things came to mind while I was thinking about this topic.
  • Since WW1 and WW2 were so widespread, a lot of the fighting took place in, on, and over the oceans. This means that any beach on any ocean has a chance of UXO washing ashore, especially after a storm has stirred up the ocean floor and moved the sand around on the beach.
  • Southeast Asia saw a lot of fighting in the last century, with an estimated fewer than 3% of the UXO being cleaned up in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. 
  • Many tropical islands saw action during WW2, including the smaller ones if they were strategically placed. 
  • Hawaii is still cleaning up training ranges 70+ years after the end of WW2.
These are all tourist areas with blissfully ignorant people trying to enjoy themselves while on vacation. What are you going to do if the local police have cordoned off your hotel or campground for a day or two while they deal with the leftovers of war? I pray that, since you're reading a prepper blog, you'll have the resilience of mind to take it in stride and switch to an alternate plan while watching the unprepared fumble about trying to deal with the unexpected. Gather as much information as you can (how long is it going to take, where are the boundaries of the exclusion zone, etc.) and find somewhere else to be while the bomb squad is dealing with something your grandpa (or great-grandpa) dropped 50-150 years ago.

If you are traveling for vacation, don't forget your preps or situational awareness. We can't afford to completely turn off our minds, even when we're trying to relax.

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