Catherine Hooper's Blog
Dahlia Lithwick’s Survivalist Seder
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 19:57

Dahlia Lithwick (of Slate, NYT and NPR fame) had an interesting Passover with her family this year.  Her husband, who is something of an amateur prepper, had the idea to ask all of their Seder guests to “pack a ‘bag’ of your necessities [as] if you had to pack up and leave your home as our ancestors did.”

Of course, there were some grumblings...mostly from the kids...but it seems like a great idea for teaching basic preparedness.  We loved the quote at the end of the article as well:

Freedom and terror are close cousins...we sit silently and uneasily next to them all year long.”

What's In That Cargo Train?
Friday, 18 April 2014 10:00

Freight and cargo trains carry a wide variety of bulk material. Some of that material is hazardous. Federal law protects the railroads from local or state oversight, but it also keeps these agencies in the dark when a derailment or crash occurs.

If a hazardous cargo derails, this can spell disaster for highly populated areas.  The federal government is working on a risk management system for the railroads, but still has not addressed the problem of better information sharing with local officials (especially in the area of emergency response).

Thinking Like the Dutch
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 16:29

The Netherlands is famous for it’s system of dykes and levees that have kept the North Sea at bay for centuries. Recently, after a series of severe floods in the 1990s, they’ve adopted a different strategy in the areas of the country with the highest risk for flooding. Instead of trying to keep the water out, they have developed a series of plans to let the water in.

One of the masterminds of the plan, Henk Ovink, is helping to construct a water management plan for the eastern seaboard of the United States (in conjunction with HUD), particularly in areas that we’re devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

The technical details of the plan are interesting, yet simple, and focus above all on resiliency.  However, the challenge is overcoming the American (and in the Netherlands, Dutch) mindset of “keeping the water out.”

Family Disaster Un-preparedness
Friday, 11 April 2014 18:34

The Motherlode blog at the New York Times focuses on families. One of the editors, KJ Dell Antonia, recently visited the third annual National Preppers and Survivalist Expo in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After a weekend of speakers and workshops, she reached the conclusion: my family is not prepared.

Many families reach the same conclusion.  However, most do not take the next step. This is the reason that Black Umbrella exists. Much in the same way a physical trainer encourages you to get in shape, we encourage families to get prepared...and we stick around until they are!

More Power Grid Security News
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 19:50

It seems like all the recent bad news about the nation’s power grid security and preparedness is finally affecting the power companies thinking (as well as Congress). Power providers are scrambling to meet the security challenges and escape the ire of regulators. Hopefully the upswell in press and media coverage around this issue causes some positive changes in grid security.

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Catherine Hooper
President and Founder

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New York, NY 10022

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