Catherine Hooper's Blog
Pentagon’s Zombie Apocalypse Plan
Friday, 16 May 2014 19:48

If you were worried about the zombie apocalypse, worry no more.  The Pentagon has released details about CONPLAN 8888, commonly known as “the six steps our military will take to fight the undead.”

The full text of the plan is hosted on Scribd.

MERS in the US
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 20:52

CIDRAP is reporting that several Florida health workers have come down with flu-like symptoms after treating the second US case of MERS.  MERS is a highly contagious coronavirus that originated in the Middle East and has been frustrating healthcare workers with its transmission rate and high fatality rate.

Check out NPR’s MERS 101 article for a quick overview on the virus.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently classifying MERS as “urgent,” but not a global health emergency.

You can take a look at Black Umbrella’s previous coverage of MERS here:

Additionally, we HIGHLY recommend signing up for CIDRAP’s newsletter, as it’s considered the best source for infectious disease news.

The Economics of Flooding
Friday, 09 May 2014 15:00

The economics of flooding are simple. The most desirable real estate locations are often next to large bodies of water. Climate change is causing rising ocean levels, stronger hurricanes and the potential for more flooding. If this risk isn’t mitigated, trillions of dollars are at risk.

VICE Motherboard discusses a new paper that evaluates the cost of mitigating NYC’s flood risk.  It compares the cost of mitigation via improved building codes and standards versus a system of flood barriers and levees (the first is cheaper).  The authors found that a hybrid strategy combining the two plans to be the best course of action.  The important takeaway is that there is absolutely an economic rationale for conducting widespread preemptive mitigation in at-risk cities like NYC.

Resilient Neighborhoods
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 22:08

G.L. Hodge is the administrator of Providence Baptist Church, located in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in San Francisco.  As administrator, Mr. Hodge has spearheaded a culture of disaster preparedness at the church, which now sits as the epicenter for the entire neighborhood’s disaster preparedness planning.

Hodge’s idea isn’t novel.  After Hurricane Katrina, the neighborhoods that bounced back quickest were the ones that worked together before disaster struck.  Hodge notes, “We know that if we work together before a major catastrophe, we will be able to work together during a major catastrophe.”

The hyper-local approach to resilience and disaster preparedness is getting an official nod of approval, as the city’s newly crowned “earthquake czar” as designated Providence Baptist as an official neighborhood support center in the event of a disaster.

Urban Escape & Evasion
Friday, 25 April 2014 18:23

Inflight magazines don’t always feature the most compelling stories, but we were pleasantly surprised while browsing Hemispheres on a recent United Airlines flight. The magazine has a great account of OnPoint Tactical’s Urban Escape and Evasion class.

The class, taught by Kevin Reeve of OnPoint, teaches the art of escaping just about any scenario you can think up. It was originally conceived as a training program for special forces after an incident in which Israeli soldiers were left behind following a night raid. The current iteration of the class is accessible to civilians, as well as military and LEO.

Black Umbrella staff attended Urban E&E way back in 2010 and we can’t recommend it enough.  If you do any international travel or have a basic interest in preparedness, the class is absolutely worth taking.

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Catherine Hooper
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