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Earthquake Survival

Earthquake Survival 693 494 Greg Ellifritz

I have an entire chapter in my book titled: SURVIVING EARTHQUAKES, TSUNAMIS, AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS.

 

You should know in advance if you are traveling in an earthquake-prone country.  If you are, it is prudent to identify nearby earthquake emergency shelters in advance.  These shelters are often pre-identified in tourist areas and hotels.  Pay attention to the signs so that you know where to go should the ground start moving.

The international symbol for a safe area in the event of an earthquake is a sign with a green cross-hatched design.

 

If you are caught outside a shelter area, cover your head/neck with your arms to protect yourself from falling objects.  It goes without saying that you should avoid areas that have heavy objects overhead.  Remove anything hanging on the wall near your bed so that you aren’t crushed in your sleep.  If you are inside a building, take cover under a very heavy table against an inside wall or in a sturdy (load bearing) doorway.   Move away from windows.   If you are in a mall or larger department store, stay away from the tall display cases and larger panes of glass. Crowded venues like sporting arenas should be avoided.  The panicked crowd will likely cause more injuries than the earthquake itself.

 

As soon as you recognize that an earthquake may be happening or is immanent, find adequate shelter and gather both your first aid kit and a bright flashlight/headlamp.  Those items will likely be the first things that you need should your sheltering structure be damaged by the quake.

 

If the electricity goes out, don’t use open flames for cooking or for light.  There is a good chance that natural gas lines have ruptured in the quake.  You really don’t want to blow yourself up.

 

Expect aftershocks.  Some of these will be as bad as the initial earthquake.  Be alert for the possibility of flooding or tsunamis after an earthquake.  If you are in a low-laying area or coastal region, move to higher ground.

 

Want some more information?  Read my friend Daisy’s article:

How to Survive an Earthquake (and Its Aftermath)

 

 

 

Condoms for Travelers

Condoms for Travelers 636 848 Greg Ellifritz
I’ve had some questions from readers about the strong recommendations in my book to bring condoms from home when traveling.

 

Condoms are notoriously difficult to find in developing countries.  The locally-made rubbers that you can find will have a much higher breakage rate than condoms manufactured in the USA, Europe, and Japan.

 

Condom sizes are also different from what you might find in the USA.   Condoms in Asia and South America are sized several millimeters smaller in both length and diameter than their counterparts in the United States.  Asian “large” size condoms are sized smaller than the “regular” sized condoms found in the USA.

 

Additionally, if you are latex sensitive, you are unlikely to find any non-latex alternative condoms in the developing world.  You will stay much safer from sexually transmitted infections if you bring condoms from your home country.

Then you have issues like this:

Police seize 324,000 used condoms being washed ready to be resold

Thousands of used condoms recycled for illegal sale

 

Bring condoms from home if there is even the slightest chance you might need one.

 

Condoms (the unlubricated ones) also work well as emergency water carriers in a survival situation.  It’s useful to carry a few on your travels, even if you don’t plan on using them for their intended purpose.  You can fill a condom with a tremendous amount of water.  If you use this water transportation method in a survival situation, place the condom full of water inside a sock for protection during transport.

 

Don’t tie the neck like a balloon.   It will be difficult to untie when you need to get to the water.  Use a piece of string or cloth to tie off your emergency water carrier instead.

“Painful urination? You may have a sexually transmitted disease.”
Sign on Brazilian restroom wall. Wear a condom.

 

 

 

 

Travel Log- Colombia

Travel Log- Colombia 300 225 Greg Ellifritz

*My Travel Log series describes various past travel adventures and provides perspective about living and traveling in different countries.  This particular segment covers a trip through Colombia in 2012.

 

I just spent the last couple weeks doing some adventure travel through Colombia.  It had been one of the few South American countries that I hadn’t visited.  While there I checked out Bogota, Medellin, Santa Marta, the Tyrona National Park, and Cartagena.  I paraglided for the first time, hiked, swam, body surfed, and attempted to experience as much of the local culture as possible.

 

Colombia has changed drastically from the days of FARC and Pablo Escobar’s narcotraficantes.  It is one of the safer Latin American countries I’ve visited.  The people are very pleasant and the police are professional.  I would highly encourage those of you with an adventurous spirit to check the country out.  If you are interested in a local guide, shoot me an email.  I can heartily recommend the services of a friend who is a professional tour guide down there.

 

Since this website is primarily about self defense, firearms, and training issues; I’ll stop rambling about my travel adventures.  I will share some photos that you might find interesting….

 

From the National Police Museum in Bogota, some guns you’ve probably never seen:

 

The most obscure collection of break-top revolvers I’ve ever seen.

 

The local slang for this one is “chongo”…a home made pistol. One of the reasons why gun control laws will never be effective.

 

Custom stainless steel Iver Johnson Enforcer with an M-2 full auto switch

 

A 28 gauge revolving shotgun

 

Since we are talking guns, you may be interested to know what the locals carry.  The national police carry SigPro 9mm pistols in Blackhawk Serpa holsters.  More than half of the National Police (there are no local police forces) in Bogota also carried Galil (an Israeli version of the AK-47) rifles.  The cops in Cartagena carried M-16 A-2s as a supplement to their Sigs, but the M-16 had an empty magazine inserted and a visible yellow empty chamber flag!

 

All the cops are also armed with a PR-24 style baton, handcuffs, and a radio.  That’s it.  Most of them carry empty spare magazine pouches at the small of their backs.  I never saw any cops with full magazine pouches.

 

Explosives Detection cops on random patrol in Bogota. Note the empty mag pouches on the belt of the cop on the right.

 

The national police around the Presidential Palace carry HK G-36 rifles instead of the Galil.

 

I saw several citizens walking the streets of Bogota with pepper spray in hand and even saw one young man working the front desk of a hotel with an ASP baton sticking out of his jacket pocket.  Security guards were almost always armed with 4″ S&W revolvers, although I saw a few 3″ round butt J-frames on some security guards’ belts.  All the security guards had cartridge loops sewn to the outside of their nylon belt holsters.  The loops were full of round nosed lead .38 special ammo.

 

According to the police with whom I spoke, it is relatively easy for a citizen to get a gun permit down there.  The guns are limited depending on geographical location.  In the cities,  people can get permits only for handguns.  Rifles and shotguns are not allowed.  In the rural countryside where hunting is common, “almost everyone” has a long gun, but pistols are prohibited.

 

Medellin, Colombia

Travel Longer

Travel Longer 150 150 Greg Ellifritz

I like this post from Where in the World is Nina.

She writes an article titled 17 Tips to Help You Travel Longer, covering quality strategies for extending your stays in foreign countries.

Check it out.

 

 

 

Civil Unrest

Civil Unrest 768 576 Greg Ellifritz

Civil Unrest

David Reeder shares an excerpt from the chapter on civil unrest in my new book.  You can find Choose Adventure on Amazon.com.

 

Exploring Montevideo, Uruguay