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Bill and Brian On the Road – Episode 030

logoDo you know what might be the bigger danger to us and our families? No, it’s not any type of chemical, biological or nuclear weapon. It’s not a hurricane, a tornado or droughts. It’s not even an economic collapse.


Off The Grid Radio
Ep 030
Released: January 14, 2011

Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, and a very special show it is. Welcome to Off the Grid News – the radio version of I’m Brian Brawdy and today, with Mr. Bill Heid – a traveling Bill Heid. But Bill, we’re not going to start doing travel segments, you and I. I think our listeners absolutely need to hear your story about traveling in the southeast during the recent – I guess all you could call it is a 100 century type blizzard. So Bill, where are you? And give us an idea of what you’ve been subject to the last couple of days.

Bill: Well, right now we’re in southern Illinois, Brian, heading north. I guess we’re heading into another snowstorm. What we just experienced in the Leeds area, where Highway 20 takes you over from Birmingham to Atlanta, and that’s the area – the Leeds area – and that’s where my family lives and that’s where we celebrating a late Christmas. We just happened to get caught up in this thing. They got an ice storm and snow. I’ve never seen Alabama so white. We joke and say I don’t think we’ll ever see a totally white trip all the way back from Leeds back to Thomson, Illinois but we’re experiencing just that.

Brian: Bill, I know I was traveling the other day as well and it got to the point where in North Carolina and South Carolina, the snows and the storms were just so bad. At times I couldn’t see the road surface. Our producer, Jeremy Jennings, who’s back at our corporate office in Thomson, Illinois today – I’m in Florida, you’re in southern Illinois. Tell us what it was like for the local community, if they weren’t ready for that type of ice and snowstorm.

Bill: It’s different from what we’re used to because – and this is where I think we can all take a lesson – I liken what I think we’re going to experience sometime in the next 18 months perhaps to two years, to this, only times a hundred. What we saw down there was a lightweight version but a scary version nonetheless of what you can experience if you’re not prepared. Down here, in Alabama, what happens is things just shut down, which means you can’t get food, you can’t get a cup of coffee, you can’t get anything when this happens. Wal-Mart the night before, you couldn’t get batteries, eggs, milk, anything. When it starts coming, people see it. And as you know Brian, there’s only so many days worth of food, so it gets wiped out basically. If the road ever did get messed up, you wouldn’t get a whole lot of food back in those areas during that period of time.

Brian: Well, you know Bill – and I’ve been talking about it – each one of us has been on the road in the week, and part of what I’ve been doing is talking to audiences as I travel about how situations like this, in our country, in this day and age, I believe it’s just a couple of months ago even President Obama said “in the event of a nuclear attack, we’re not going to be able to get to you.” So now here you are in the current times, in our country, where there’s a snow and ice storm that cripples a local community to such a degree, nothing there is what you’re accustomed to, is it? Other than the closeness of your family and the like, everything else – in terms of the infrastructure – you’re relying on yourself, aren’t you?

Bill: You’re definitely relying on yourself and your own intuition. A very similar situation happened to us when we were in Belize not too long ago, get out because this hurricane’s coming, and given crowd psychology there won’t be enough tickets to get on that plane unless you want to experience a hurricane firsthand and stay in the gymnasium with thousands of other Belizeans from all walks of life. You’re going to have to take action now. So we took action in Belize very late at night, like 1:00 o’clock in the morning, we secured our tickets to get out of there. Same thing here – we saw the storm coming so we went to Wal-Mart a little before the crowd, though my wife got there as the crowds were getting there and she described the situation. But we bought enough groceries; we had quite a few people in the house – at my daughter’s house. So it’s something that we did have to prepare for. But let me tell you, Brian, just having an ice scraper, people looked at you like you were from another planet. “Hey Margaret, what’s that man doing?” It’s one of those things where we had the preparedness that comes from living a normal life in Illinois, down there it looked like we had really done our homework when we were just traveling.

Brian: In preparing for our show, Bill, I was saying to Ashley that here’s what happened to Bill and his family, and here’s what they’re up against. She turned to me and said “at least it’s Bill. Of all people, he knows how to survive.” Whether it’s off the grid because he’s planned for it or if it’s off the grid – an impromptu version of off the grid. Ashley was like “nope. Bill can handle it. He’s good. He knows what to do to survive.” But I would ask you, that’s what we want our listeners to be able to grow, to have that sense of confidence, so that no matter what hits that hopefully they would have the presence of mind, as your wife did, to go to Wal-Mart in advance of a storm. So you’re uniquely qualified as a survival expert even in a moment’s notice like this.

Bill: As it turned out, Brian, it wasn’t as bad – we didn’t lose our power. They were calling for a half-an-inch and it didn’t happen. We were able to get by without any stores being open for a while, which is not a big deal. We had to get way up into Tennessee before you could even find a McDonald’s that was open. I’m talking from Birmingham driving all the way up that far. It was quite an amazing thing. But I wanted to tell you, on Highway 20 – the highway I was describing earlier – that takes you from Birmingham around and over into Atlanta, it had totally locked up. No traffic coming or going. And it was spooky. There were groups of people walking up this interstate. So I’m driving over the bridge very slowly to get an idea of what’s going on and there’s people – it was like in “The Road” or “The Book of Eli” or something. It just seemed surreal to see people in small groups. Maybe it was truckers trying to get back to the waffle or omelet house or whatever it is to grab a bite to eat, but it just seemed bizarre, to see people walking up this isolated interstate.

Brian: Well, I tell you, Bill, CNN was reporting as recently as late last evening that in the Atlanta area – because they had the ice first and then the snow hit – but that people were abandoning their cars and walking out. Not that you and I would ever advocate that someone leave their vehicle in an emergency situation. We’re not saying “what a great way to handle it,” but to your point, even in downtown Atlanta the snows were so bad people were leaving their cars to head home on foot.

Bill: And we were talking to some people from the Birmingham area, obviously, that had lived there and they said the last time there was a storm like this was in ’93 and knocked things out for a week. He said before it was done, there were people actually cutting down telephone poles, power lines – not the big, iron power lines – but wooden telephone poles and so forth, just to burn in their house for people that had wood burners, just trying to get heat. Because when you don’t have any heat – you don’t have electricity, you don’t have heat, it starts to change your paradigm a little bit.

Brian: I tell you Bill, even changing of the paradigm here, it’s been in the high 30s but they’re forecasting a temperature of 30 degrees. And you go “Bri, it’s winter, it’s supposed to be 30 degrees,” not 30 degrees here in Tampa, Florida. I think a lot of people – some that listen to our shows, some that may not yet – are starting to look at everything going on around us, whether it pertains to politics, the economy, the weather, and going “what’s it gonna take for life to get back to what we’re accustomed to?” If you’re not thinking on your feet in the future, you’re going to have an uphill battle.

Bill: You are. And I think we were talking earlier about how do you get ready for stuff? How do you get ready for hard times? How do you get ready for emergencies? I think the key to it is to have a little callous already on your hands, we work for the farm community, and we work for a living so we know what it’s like to have calluses on our hands. I think being in the north, to some degree, while we caught the storm down in the south, it gave us some callous on our hands and a little bit of “we’re used to this. This is not a big deal.” So it’s not a big deal psychologically, it’s not a big deal for the kids, it’s not a big deal for anybody. We’re traveling with grandkids. If you can practice some things, you can have that callous, that preparedness callous on your hands, and when some hard times do come, then it’s not the end of the world.

Brian: Bill, what we’re going to do, if you don’t mind, I’d like us to stay together for one more segment. We’re going to run to a quick commercial break, because I think you raise a valid point. You practice in advance, and you and I have talked to our listeners about that before, but also having your kids and grandkids with you, that has to make you look at a situation, as it would our listeners, that same pause for a moment. When we come back in the second break, I’d like to talk to you, not just about survival if you’re an adult but what to do if you have some younger ones with you as well. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re listening to a very special edition of Off the Grid News – the radio version of our show. Today, Brian Brawdy in Tampa, Florida, and Mr. Bill Heid traveling in the wild, winter weather of the southeast. We’re going to go ahead and take a quick commercial break. When we come back, Mr. Bill Heid, from the road, here at

[0:10:13 – 0:14:38 break]

Brian: Welcome back to Off the Grid News – the radio version of I’m Brian Brawdy, here today as always with Mr. Bill Heid, traveling. Bill, what do you think about Jeremy, our producer? Jeremy Jennings, back in Thomson. I loved the segue out of the last commercial – the acoustic version of “The Weather Outside is Frightful.” You’ve had a dose of that here in the last 48 hours.

Bill: We had a dose of it, a pretty good dose. We’re actually singing that song because there was simply no place to go and the governor – Governor Riley – actually declared a state of emergency. Basically they told everybody to stay off every road and stay home. I think folks down there at least understand when the governor says that, it’s probably a good idea to that. You end up being a liability to yourself, to others, the police, the rest of the world. Just to tell you a little bit about the road conditions, what happened – as someone from Illinois I don’t see that often – the bridges … you always hear warnings about bridges and in this case – in Illinois we get a little bit of that but here it was profound. People would be driving and then, Brian, the unexpected. You and I are always talking about “expect the unexpected.” They’d get in the passing lane – we had one lane that was basically open as we were traveling out of Alabama. The other lane was full of slush because they can’t get to it. They don’t have any graders, snow plows, that kind of thing for this type of weather. So they just let it go and whatever nature melts off, that’s the blessing you’ve been given. What people would do, they would go in the other lane and they’d start to pass, and then they’d come over to a bridge or whatever and it would be full of ice and they would hit that ice and spin around, do a 360 or more, smash into the side rail. We saw probably a half-dozen of those situations. Just us traveling, where we got there seconds after those things had happened.

Brian: You know what, Bill? What I find fascinating about that – I had a similar experience getting through North and South Carolina when the snows hit. I said to Jeremy before the show that I had to turn the GPS unit on, bring it all the way in as close in as I could, just to tell that I was on the roads. There had been no plows out in front of me. When you talk about being, as you said calluses on our hands and from being from the north, we’re accustomed to heavy snows, we’re accustomed to somewhat crazy driving conditions. When you and I talk in our radio show, we’re talking about conditions that no one may be prepared for. Granted, as you say, we have those calluses in the north because we’re accustomed to snow. But what would happen in that situation if you didn’t have electrical power? There was no way for the governor to communicate that all the roads were closed. We’re talking about a situation that could one day present itself in our lives. If you think back to the recent interviews that we’ve had with either John Kappenman or people of his stature that are saying “some of these situations that you and Bill talk about, it’s not a question of if, but when.” How do we prepare to get those calluses on our hands for situations that none of us have experienced in our lifetime?

Bill: I think it’s important for everybody to understand, Brian, that by not doing anything you’re doing something. We’re always moving towards and end game and by not making preparations, whether you have a gas generator or you have one of our solar generators, whatever it would be, you’re always moving towards something. It’s always better to move towards preparedness, even if it’s gradual. We get so many people that say to us “I can’t do the big things. So what can I do?” Well, what can you do in a small situation? If you don’t have heat, you better make sure that you’ve got neighbors that you know. Most of us, in the world that we live in today – unlike the world 50 and 100 years ago, we knew our neighbors. We lived in a community. Today we don’t know our neighbors. That’s as much of a danger. That may be one of the largest threats to our country’s security as you could ever identify. Because not knowing your neighbors, in a time of emergency, could be a disastrous situation.

Brian: Bill, you raise a valid question, at least in my mind. One of our very first shows, I remember, we had a gentleman call in – if you could help me, I don’t remember where he called from – was it Costa Rica? Where he talked about there was a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

Bill: It was Guatemala.

Brian: Guatemala. And there’s a knock on the door in the middle of the night and all of a sudden he’s had an emergency plan for a half a dozen members of his family; now he’s got 12 people standing at the door. How do you adopt, in advance, that mindset – am I going to let those 12 people in and try to help them? You’ve got to look, as you were just saying, look at both sides of the coin. What are you going to do to your neighbors? If you’re one of those people knocking on their door, now you’re going to tip over their teacart, or they’re the ones knocking on your door. What are you going to do then? I think that’s a very valid thing to think about in advance.

Bill: And Brian, don’t you think a lot of people listening to this have tried to communicate to a loved one, to somebody in their church, maybe to the mayor of their town, that we could have difficulties. Maybe they could come from an economic crisis. I don’t know if you’re familiar with what’s going on in Algeria and Tunisia and places like that. Right now they’re having food rights because the price of food spiked tremendously. Those folks that are stuck on a limited amount of money, on a fixed income as we’d say, are out of luck because food prices spiked like crazy, so the streets are full of violence and mayhem – for basic goods, like sugar and some of the raw commodities that they use every day. So what you’ve got is a situation that if you’re not ready, and if you’re not ready with community, you’re probably not going to be ready. If there’s some situations where – you know, you and I love to say “you’ve got to call on yourself” – sometimes you’re outnumbered and you just can’t call on yourself.

Brian: That’s a great point, Bill. We talk about networks or associates. Taking care of yourself, your family and your neighbors. But that’s a very valid point. As cliché as it sounds, there’s strength in numbers. Are you saying that we should start to identify our own little teams of survival experts? Maybe families in a particular area or neighborhood? One family could help be responsible for one thing, maybe another family could be responsible for the firewood; another family for the water and food. Are you suggesting something like that maybe?

Bill: Definitely. We’ve all been given different gifts. I think if we team up with people in our geographic proximity and start to put together emergency plans … there was emergency plans when I was a kid. Then you’ve got some possibilities. Left there by yourself, I’m not Kato. I’m not Bruce Lee. I’m not going to fight off Chuck Norris or anybody. I’m not going to fight off the …. I’ll do whatever I can to protect my family, as I know you will, but let’s be honest, some of that’s a daydream. We saw that on the show that we were watching – the series that you were doing some reviews for earlier in the year. At some point, you better have an action plan. Without that action plan, I think you’re looking at a disastrous situation.

Brian: You’re right, Bill. You’re referencing back to the TV show – I believe, Jeremy, it was called “The Colony.” Let me know if I’m wrong. But you look at “The Colony,” they needed a set of rules for the entire team. People working together. And you raise a valid point. You and I have interviewed people, Bill, and we’ll save their names because they gave us interviews off-records most time, but they said that one of the things you can do in a survival situation is not let anyone else know you’re a preparer. You’re a prepper. If you have a food storage, if you have a water gathering plant, if you have this or that – do your best to keep it to yourself. Almost like backwoods bling. Don’t be advertising that you’re going to be able to survive no matter what, because folks will be looking for you when and if it happens.

Bill: We heard some of that with our missionary friends that are working with the orphanage in Haiti that we’re trying to help. Do you remember what they told us? If they smelled food, just smelling food, in a real crisis, people will come with machetes and your life will be over. That’s what happens when people get hungry.

Brian: Bill, we’re going to get ready to run to a quick commercial break and then we’ll both be back for the third segment of this very special edition of Off the Grid News. I want to talk about that and I want to go back again, Bill, to traveling with your kids and your grandchildren, because a part of any emergency plan needs to be you being able to focus on what’s going on in front of you. So if you take care of some of the amenities that the little ones are accustomed to – I don’t want to say “preoccupy” in a bad way, but you’ve got to lower the level of stress for them, that affords you the luxury of being able to face whatever fate throws at you. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be back after a short commercial break. Again, a very special edition of Off the Grid News – the radio version of our show. Mr. Bill Heid, on the road, recently surviving the major snow storm that hit the southeast. One quick commercial, and then we’ll be back.

[0:24:40 – 0:28:58 break]

Brian: Welcome back, once again, to a very special edition of Off the Grid News – the radio version of the I’m Brian Brawdy, here – I was going to say with impromptu survival expert, but you’re always ready to go – Mr. Bill Heid. Surviving one of the biggest, most paralyzing ice and snow storms in the southeastern part of the United States that we’ve seen in quite some time. Bill, I know you’re on the road, how are you doing?

Bill: I’m doing great. We’ traveling, again as I said before, heading up on 24 into Illinois and so far enjoying some decent roads. But we’re headed back into another snow storm before we get back home. We’ve got four inches of snow and blowing winds and stuff to deal with according to all the forecasts. Excited about that as well!

Brian: Every bit of the adventure. That’s what I kind of enjoyed about driving down. It wasn’t the easiest drive but it was an adventure. I wanted to ask you, Bill, about the concept – as you said to me in the break – about pockets of trust. Could you go ahead and elaborate a little more on what you meant about finding a network of family or friends or neighbors? To have someone collectively, to watch your back in an emergency situation.

Bill: I think one of the most important things – the point that I would make would be, if you listen to talk radio – occasionally we turn talk radio on and we see the attempts made to politicize this shooting. Of course the left pushes and of course I generally tend to listen to Patriot Radio and things like that. So the right feels obligated to push back with respect to the rhetoric. At some point, people tune out. Why? Because we don’t trust the media any longer. We don’t trust our government any longer. We don’t trust … we’re in a very similar situation with respect to justice – a lot of us don’t trust the judicial system. There was a case in ancient Rome – what probably collapsed Rome as much as anything was the lack of trust – that you could no longer get a fair trial. All of these things became a joke. When you get to that point, there’s periods of continuity and periods of discontinuity, historically. When you get to that point, you reach a period of discontinuity, where the amount of trust evaporates. It takes a long time economically to find pockets of trust, because that’s what builds up an economically sound civilization, where we’re able to trade with each other. When that falls away, what you’re dealing with is just brute, raw power, in many cases. So where’s the trust? If you’re going to go buy and sell with somebody, how do you know they won’t shoot you and take your stuff? Really, we’ve all seen those old movies, right? So it does come down to that. How do you find places – as we were discussing on the break – pockets of trust. You’ve got to start doing that now. You’ve got to start finding and identifying groups of people. Try to do it in the church; try to do it in places in geographic proximity. People that you can rely on when the going gets tough, because you’re going to have to depend on other people. This idea of interdependency, as a division of labor, breaks down and society breaks down, you have to re-establish it. You’ve got to re-establish it from the ground up. What’s at the base? What’s the pre-conditions of intelligibility with respect to this? It’s trust. That’s the ground layer upon which everything else is based, Brian.

Brian: Bill, as I’m listening to you say that, I think about, for some reason, the movie “300” popped into my mind. There was a line in the movie, I don’t remember exactly where it was, but they were talking about how those soldiers – all they needed to do was to trust the guy to their left. They didn’t focus on anything else. They trusted the warrior to their left to do what they needed to do. So even a group as cohesive as that one, it was all based on trust.

Bill: I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite movies, “Blackhawk Down” – one of the interchanges among the actors is at some point you forget the geopolitical reasons why you’re here, and it’s about the guy next to you, keeping him alive and him keeping you alive. I think in a situation where we get down to the nitty gritty, you’re going to have something very similar to that.

Brian: You’re right. I remember it exactly now. He had just got back, towards the end of the movie, one of the snipers was in the chow line with one of the lead actors and he says “however this works out, it basically comes down to protecting the guy next to you.”

Bill: Yeah. That’s what it’s all about.

Brian: So how can we do that, Bill? I almost thought today about you get into a bartering system. You get into highlighting different responsibilities in a group. Do we find a local chatroom? Do you go to your church? Do you go to your community organization? Do you go to your neighbor across the street and say “heaven forbid this should happen, what would you think about putting together a little team?” You think something like that?

Bill: I think it’s good to try to do those things now. And I think it’s good to find out ahead of time who you’d like to be in a foxhole with. I think that there’s people in your church – I’m sorry to say this, everyone listening – I think there’s people that are in your church that you probably don’t want in a foxhole with you. There’s no real polite way to say that. There could be people up the street that may not be church, to that extent, which could be people that you trust implicitly much more. I think why wait until the end? Why not get into situations and dialogues and start talking to people. I guess in a real crisis you never know how people are going to react until a tragedy actually comes. But just hearing people talk. If you talk with somebody about, for example, “Blackhawk Down,” what do they say to you when you talk about things like that? When you bring up a movie like that, and you make the comments that you and I were just making, what do they say back to you? You need to be a careful listener. You want to know the type of people who want to be self-reliant, who understand something could come out of nowhere – that black swan idea. Something could come and change our life.

Brian: You know, Bill, a lot of the one-liners that I have in my mind left over from my youth is, as a police officer, the term we used to use was “will this guy take a bullet for you?” If you knew you could trust that guy with your life, then all you thought about was protecting his life. Now I know that’s an extreme situation, drug dealing, that kind of thing, but when you said that it took me back to that time when I was a cop, and it’s will or will not that guy take a bullet for you? So what you’re saying is identity those people that you think you can count on when a situation gets a little hairy, and let them know that, in turn, the inverse is, they can count on you.

Bill: And I think wisdom has to prevail, meaning you don’t just believe what people say to you. Like in a lot of movies and in real life, I’m sure as a police officer, Brian, in New York, you had the effect – a lot of guys that talk a big game are just guys whistling in the dark. People that will carry a lot of bravado. These are some of the nuts that you hear people talking about – “I’ll do this and I’ll do that.” Well? You know what? You don’t know what they’re going to be like until the end. So people that pound their chest about how they’re going to do this and that about defending their family and so forth, I’m always wondering if those are the people we want in a foxhole with us.

Brian: That’s a great point, Bill. You know that old line – those that can, do; those that can’t, teach. And we’ve got to be kind of careful because you and I are always the ones hoping to try to teach people to do this. But I’m with you. It’s more of an intuitive sense than just listening to somebody talk and carry on. You can sense grit. If it’s OK with you Bill, because I know we have to run to one more commercial break, if we could do one more segment, I want to talk to you about grit. I want to get your quick comment on making sure that the grandkids were set as well. But then I also want to talk about the solar generator. I will tell you, traveling through Atlanta, hearing the stories of power lines down and power outages and the like, having the solar generator really gave me a sense of grit. And by that I mean, it allows me to go – even in an emergency situation, I know the sun’s going to come through, and when I need to be able to generate power – my PowerSource 1800 was already charged, so I knew I had a bunch of energy already stored. But in an emergency situation, having that setup of the solar panel, the 50 ft of cable and the power source, it really left me feeling a sense of grit. So we’re going to go ahead Bill, if it’s OK with you, run to a quick commercial break. Then, when we get back, talk about those three topics. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for staying with us in this very special edition of Off the Grid Radio – the audio version of If you will, we’ll be right back after this quick break, with Mr. Bill Heid. Traveling from the southeast this week, trying to make it home to Thomson, Illinois. Back after this commercial break.

[0:38:42 – 0:43:02 break]

Brian: Welcome back to Off the Grid News – the radio version of I’m Brian Brawdy, as always with Mr. Bill Heid. What’s different today is Bill and I are both out of the studio. Jeremy Jennings, our producer, is back in Thomson holding down the fort and bringing Bill live to you from the southeast. After one – Bill, I would have to think – one of the most paralyzing snow storms in that region of the country in quite some time.

Bill: Most people down here have never seen weather like that. A couple of them, as I had said, experienced ’93, but ‘93s even been a while. When you go from gas station to gas station and talk to people, a lot of folks have never seen weather like this, so it is kind of a shock to the system, as it were.

Brian: Not Charlton Heston in “Omega Man,” but that’s not what we’re talking about. Most of the times, when you and I are on, we’re trying to find ways of when the inevitable hits, how you and your family and your circle of friends can be prepared to face, no matter what, the future throws at you. Bill, could you talk to me quickly about the sense of grit? We had mentioned it earlier. And for me, having a solar generator, having some of the different things that you and I talk about at Off the Grid News and Solutions from Science, it really left me thinking that as bad as the roadway conditions could be, as bad as the storm could be, I didn’t have to panic because I knew I had the gear if I needed to rely on it.

Bill: That’s an important part. One of the things that I did pack – of course it was cold when we left last Thursday – we were heading down to what was 65 degrees at the time – but something intuitively to me said “take the gloves, take the hat.” So I had all my stuff on a very lightweight level. What that does, as you were making reference to, whether you have your hat and your gloves, or whether you’ve got this solar generator, whatever it is – I think it’s a little bit, Brian – and I know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is not a perfect thing. We could make a show and dissect it and tell you many exceptions to it. But I think when you covered layer one, and you’ve got that done, it allows your mind to think practically, strategically, whatever, to accomplish other things that need to be taken care of. By that I mean your family, your neighbors, whatever. If you’re messing around with food for yourself because you’re hungry, how well are you going to take care of your kids, your grandkids, your neighbors? Are you going to be able to implement the Golden Rule if you’re hungry?

Brian: And Bill, that’s the perfect – the perfect segue into what I’ve mentioned briefly now a couple of times – if you’re having to deal with children, kids, younger people, that are scared, that are tired, that are a little wound up, and you’re focusing on them and what could only be called, in an emergency situation, a distraction, then how good are you going to be? I know I’ve learned from you – we use board games. If you had a solar generator, you could power up the little Nintendo games or the DS games or the handheld games. You have a generator, you could power up your cell phone. And for no other reason, given them the cell phone to play with. Maybe they could play solitaire or listen to music. How important is it then to have a plan for the youngest ones in your family? So as you say, once you can make sure that they’re not going to be frantic, you can focus on the bigger picture of survival for everybody.

Bill: Well, I don’t think I need to go too deep into that, Brian, other than to tell you that when Wal-Mart closes, the supply of diapers runs out. So let your mind wander a little bit there. That’s just at a rudimentary level, but a lot of children have special needs as well, so you’re constantly worried about that. I think you make a great point – just the psychological problems that you have with having things being thrown into a new situation, and having what you used to be able to be relying on, all of a sudden it’s not there. It does give us a little bit of a feeling of emptiness, a feeling of wandering, like the world’s not put together. That’s true for adults as well as kids. Now, if you impart that idea to your children, because they don’t have the basics met, and they start to freak out a little because they see you not operating well, then you start a chain reaction of this. We’ve all seen it, it gets pretty ugly.

Brian: You know, and I think Bill, back to one of our earlier radio interviews that we did – it’s why I do drills with my children. We have that Friday night or Saturday night where we practice as if we had a power outage. Do they know where to get to the flashlights? What can we do with those flashlights? What if we lose the refrigerator? We have little snacks stuck away and we do all these other things, just to get them in the mindset of preparedness. Make a game out of it so that when it happens they’re like “no big deal. We lost our power. We need to do ‘this,’ or we need to do ‘that.’” And that frees up – we have that saying in the outdoors, if you panic, you perish. That’s the same thing as far as being thrown off the grid, if you will. That’s the same thing – if you panic, you perish – isn’t it?

Bill: Definitely it’s the same thing. Teach them important things. Food’s an important thing but I would say you’ve got to have water, you’ve got to have food. You can bundle up to a degree and overcome quite a bit. So as we move down the list, I think you want to have heat and then I think a lot of people probably should put wood burners in. Say you live down here, southern Illinois, Tennessee – you think you’re never going to get hit. There’s a lot of climatologists that are saying that we’re in for a cycle of cool weather – not global warming, as our former vice president would chide us on – but rather a period of cooling. This has happened before, many times, in history. Why not be prepared? Why not have a wood burner and spend the money? That’s part of it. The people that really believe aren’t the people that vocalize this stuff, they’re the people that pony up and spend the money – those are your believers. That might help your conversation with people when you start talking with others – and we talk about these little pockets of trust – who actually spent some money. Who put a wood burner out of preparedness? Those are the folks that you want to say “listen, maybe we should be doing some things together.”

Brian: You know? I thought of it the other day, I was traveling, and I was coming around this little cul-de-sac and there was a propane truck blocking the roadway. He was filling up someone’s propane tank. He came back to me and said “I’m sorry. It’s only going to be 10 minutes. He let the propane get down too low and it’s supposed to be 0 degrees tonight, so we got an emergency call to fill his propane.” Well suppose you can’t call? Suppose the cell phone isn’t going to work? Suppose even if you could get a hold of the propane company, all the drivers are out somewhere else, or they don’t even have any propane left to give you. You even have to have a fall back plan for your fall back plan.

Bill: Just to give you an example of what happens, a lot of times folks will describe this as trying to take the water that comes from a fire hydrant and push it through a garden hose, in terms of these supply/demand equations, when times are tough. Everything was closed and so you could imagine if one store was open? Let’s pretend that Papa John’s was open in Leeds, Alabama, which it was. Do you think you could call in and order a pizza? Their line was continually busy. That’s what you’re going to run into in any sort of survival situation. You’re going to run into busy lines.

Brian: I can imagine. And then what’s it going to be like if someone tries to cut in line? I watched it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bill. You and I talk about it often, on and off air, that you might be prepared for what the winter is going to do to an infrastructure, what an emergency will do to the buildings, but I will never forget how unprepared I was to see what that natural disaster did to the community. The folks that would have normally been gracious and polite and accommodating – when they have to go a week without food, without water, without electricity, without security – it’s a totally, totally different ball game.

Bill: I think we learned that again from our Dave, with respect to Haiti, people that are well-fed, people that are enjoying their life, basically, without a lot of inconveniences – that’s one of three, and then when you introduce these irritations and as the irritations mount, and they get tougher and tougher, it does separate the men from the boys. This separates the charitable people who talk charity when things are going well from the people that really end up being charitable when things aren’t going so well. There’s lots of history. That’s why I mentioned earlier that – I think you can look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and say that’s not necessarily true, there were people in Auschwitz handing over their last crumb of bread to somebody else that they thought was hungrier than they were

Brian: Sure. When you say that, it reminds you of the different types of folks in humanity, but that there is good in all of us. Some people, even in an emergency situation, are able to access it more so than others. Bill, unfortunately we’re out of time. Man, when we get a chance to talk about stuff that grabs both of our sense of passion, the time just flies by. Any closing thoughts before I close the show?

Bill: No. This has been a good show, Brian, and don’t think for a second – anyone – whether it’s Katrina or just this little thing that happened in the southeast – these are instantiations of crisis. Multiply them times 100 times, and that’s what you have when you have a large economic breakdown that is coming.

Brian: Bill, I’m with you. As always, my friend, it’s great to hear your voice. We should also say for our listeners, of course Bill has someone else driving his car. He’s not talking to us from the cell phone and driving at the same time. Bill, please be careful for the rest of your journey home and as always, thanks for hanging out. It was great hearing your voice and knowing that you’re OK.

Bill: Thanks Brian. Blessings. We’ll talk to you soon.

Brian: OK, my friend. As always folks, thank you so much for listening to Off the Grid Radio. A special thank you to Jeremy Jennings, our producer, who put this whole show together with both Bill and I on the road. Please be sure to email us with your questions, your comments, your critiques, at [email protected]. That’s [email protected]. You can find us on Facebook – and of course always follow us on Twitter at offgridnews. On behalf of everyone here at Off the Grid News and Solutions from Science, please – if you’re listening to this show – be careful, be prepared and we’ll look forward to speaking to you next time. Thank you so very much for hanging out with us here at

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