Low Fuel Reserves in Australia

In the past week the new Australian federal budget has been released to the public and there’s been some shocking discoveries. Such as very low fuel levels with only up to 20 days of petrol left for the entire country.

The other stats are:
• 22 days of crude oil
• 59 days of LPG
• 20 days of petrol
• 19 days of aviation fuel
• 21 days of diesel remaining

Link to News Article

Not that I know what these stats even mean – why would the government store fuel? I always thought it was the independent companies that had to import it themselves and then sell it at the fuel stations.

However if these reach 0, or of they even get close to 0 there will be chaos in the streets with people rioting over fuel and being fist fights over a liter. I don’t know how this happened but people are starting to panic and from what I’ve seen, they’ve been grabbing the biggest fuel can they can find and heading to their nearest fuel station and filling it to the brim. Not that taking fuel home is going to help you if it runs out, people will see you as a target having an extremely obvious moving vehicle among other paperweights.

There’s been a number of fuel stations I’ve passed lately that have been sold out of 91 Unleaded, 95 Unleaded, 98 Unleaded and E10. It made me instantly panicked when I headed to my local fuel station to fill up as I only had 1/8th a tank left and there were sold out signs on every bowser.

I eventually managed to find some fuel at another station the next day, but having that little and wondering how I would get to work the next day if I couldn’t find any really makes me reconsider my preps…

I’ve always had a bike on my to-buy list but never got around to it, and if I buy one that’s at least one mode of transport I could get to work if there was no fuel, not that I’d be worried about getting to work if that does happen though due to bigger problems on the horizon.

If the fuel supplies run out, the trucks stop. If the trucks stop, the food stops. If the food stops, sanity stops. Thus the collapse of a nation occurs and all a prepper can do it bug out or bug in until it’s solved.

Thinking about how I would prepare if this disaster were to happen, I came upon only two reasonable solutions. Either buying a bike and not relying on fuels altogether – which wouldn’t be much point as I’m sure jobs would dissipate quickly. The other option would be to store additional water and purchase more food before people see it as a luxury when transport stops.

Not that I believe this will happen because I’m sure a desperate government with the people on their backs would likely over compensate and store a lot more fuel then necessary – at least until the next budget is released and people see they’ve slipped back into their old ways.

Yellowstone Earthquakes and Eruptions

There’s been a lot of hype around Yellowstone lately with its increased activity and fears it may blow into the first modern super eruption which could cause the next ice age. There is also an ongoing eruption at Hawaii at the moment where people are being evacuated due to the slow flowing lava heading into towns and destroying houses which doesn’t help the doomsday theorists waving their arms and saying these are signs. I’m no seismologist and haven’t been to Yellowstone but I have seen the Supervolcano movie by BBC One which pretty accurately goes through what would happen if this monstrosity were to erupt. The effects were widespread across the globe with few survivors near the epicenter of the disaster and a LOT of ash everywhere preventing travel, plant growth and plummeting temperatures. If you wish to watch it I’ve added a link to it below on YouTube.

Supervolcano 2004 BBC One

There’s a lot of great information throughout as it’s a documentary style movie, such as knowing only a few inches of pumice can collapse a roof and half of that if it’s wet, as well as its effects on our bodies if breathed in. It’s a far fetched movie for this event to ever occur in our lifetime at the scale it’s depicted, but great for fine tuning your preps if you live near an active volcano as it may contain information you never knew.

I’m in Australia where there’s almost no danger of any volcanos or earthquakes to be of much concern, the nearest volcano to Brisbane is in New Zealand and that’s a little smaller than Yellowstone. However there’s never any reason to slack in your preparedness duties as even the most remote possibility of an event could still happen. I recommend looking into volcanic disasters and buying one extra item this week to compliment your gear if you don’t have one of the following:

• Air Filter Mask or N95 Mask and spare filters (For rock particulate)
• Goggles (If you don’t have a full face filter mask)
• Road Flares (For visibility during any disaster)
• Duct Tape (To block car air vents)
• Heavy Duty LED Flashlight (To see and signal through the thick ash, 2,000+ Lumens Recommended)
• Radio with NOAA Weather Station

You might also want to take a look at this list of countries ranked by natural disaster risk, I was surprised to see that Australia was rated higher than the UK, US and Canada at 4.22% chance.
Interestingly the highest is Vanuatu at 36.28% and the lowest is Qatar at 0.08% risk.
Country Natural Disaster Risk

Another very useful map is The Global Risk Map where you select what natural disaster you want and it will display the current risk or the history of that disaster in an area you specify.
Global Risk Map

Stay prepared!

Folding Sporks – A Terrible Idea

I don’t know what genius thought of making folding cutlery where the handle folds onto the bottom of itself because when you try to eat with it the whole thing just snaps back into the folded position when enough force is applied (Which isn’t much). This occurs a lot more when you’re digging into tougher foods and as a result you often get food on your hands when it folds unexpectedly, plunging your thumb straight into it. Yes, I’ve tried sliding the bracing bar down to the end but it doesn’t help much at all, it should lock into position if you do.

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Fig1. – The Sea to Summit spork.

Obviously the designer never tested the product and then sent it to market. This isn’t just Sea to Summit though (They are great in general), but everybody else seemed to follow suit and now you’re hard pressed to find one that folds the correct way. Wouldn’t it be much easier to design it correctly in the first place so when you’re scooping the ice cream from the bucket it presses against the bend instead of folding with it? Or perhaps it’s my fault for not just buying a regular spork… Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any similar experiences.

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Fig2. – The spork folded – in the wrong direction.

Bug Out Maps

It’s essential for preppers to have a good map they can rely on while bugging out, whether that’s the good old paper maps or something more modern and digital like apps where you can make changes on the go and takes up less space and weight. A digital topographical map is your best bet when venturing into unfamiliar grounds during bugging out as it provides endless features you just can’t get on a paper map, however the most important factor in a digital map is that it must be available offline. Lately I’ve been downloading quite a lot of local maps in a few different mapping styles, such as Google Street Maps, Google Topographic Maps and Microsoft Earth Maps. Each has their own benefits when bugging out which I discuss in more detail below.

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Fig1. – Google Maps Region of Brisbane.

Google Street Maps
These maps are generally used for road navigation and turn by turn direction, the Zoom Level of 19 lets you go much deeper than the topographic map to provide a great view of individual house numbering and what sorts of facilities are nearby. These maps are obviously most useful in the cities and pretty useless in the country or other remote locations. They display some great locations such as power and water plants as well as things to avoid such as prisons and detention centers. They could also assist in helping you loot locations in SHTF by knowing where the water treatment plants, police stations and hospitals are that may be tucked away.

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Fig2. – Google Topo Region of Brisbane.

Google Topographic Maps
These maps are perfect for hiking as they display the terrain height and how much of an ascent or descent it will be from point to point as well as helping you find local landmarks to assist in the navigation process. The zoom level isn’t as high as the Street Map at Zoom Level 15 but it’s still excellent for hiking with.

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Fig3. – Microsoft Earth Region of Brisbane.

Microsoft Earth Maps
The most unique map showing satellite pictures of the landscape from space. This is amazing to find features not shown on the other maps such as small ponds, undiscovered buildings, and even telling what types of trees are in an area! The zoom level is very high and boasts the same level as the Street Maps coming in at Zoom 19. However all this comes at a cost of a greater filesize when downloading areas, I would say that these photo maps are about 6 times the size of the other two.

If you don’t know how the zoom levels work they start at zoom level 1 which is a shot of the entire globe as 9 tiles, then zoom level 2 you have the whole globe at 25 tiles, then level 3 at 81 tiles, level 4 = 289 tiles, level 8 = 66,049 tiles, level 13 = 67,125,249 tiles and level 19 having a whopping 274,878,955,521 tiles! There must be some massive servers out there somewhere to hold that many tiles. This is also why you select a region to download, it would be impossible to download the whole world at level 19! Not to mention you would only use the tiniest percentage of that area and downloading the entire earth would include the majority of ocean and Antarctica which are both useless. Although the struggle as being preppers we need to think of every possibility and this often requires us to download a large amount of area for bugging out and finding new routes if the internet no longer works. Personally I’ve downloaded the entirety of Australia using the Google Topographic Map, but to do this I had to use a rather low zoom level to fit it all in.

My application of choice for downloading tiles is Mobile Atlas Creator 1.8. This version lets me utilize the Google and Microsoft Maps which have been removed from the newer version of the program due to complaints of excessive server usage – which I can definitely see why. I used to have Backcountry Navigator as my go to mapping app which I loved, but it’s more expensive and I couldn’t get any good maps for it, even though it has my favourite map type – QTOPO which is Queensland Topo and the state I live in. QTOPO is even a lot more accurate than Google Topo but alas it wasn’t included in the MOBAC map source list.

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Fig4. – The differences between the three map types.

There’s a hard download limit of 500,000 tiles in MOBAC as well (in all versions), so if you want a large area you either have to go up a few zoom levels or do multiple separate downloads. You can however select a few areas (less than 500K tiles) to download in one go which helps a little, but this is eventually blocked by another limit if you go over 5 Million tiles or something like that. (I’ve never checked the actual tile limit for that so it could be anywhere from 2 Mil to 10 Mil tiles)

So putting these maps back into Alpine Quest I combine these different layers to create a flexible map which can change based on my location which is very useful. If i’m in a city I pop on the Google Street view for higher detail and when i’m in the country I use the Topo and Earth shots to see what’s around me and the terrain features. The best features I adore about Alpine Quest is the ability to leave waypoints anywhere I desire, mark areas, draw routes, measure distances, measure slope angle, attach pictures to waypoints and even get alerts when you’re in range of a waypoint. Give it a try if you’re looking for a great mapping tool, and try out Backcountry Navigator as well to compare the differences between them and see which one has the features you need.