What Is the World Coming to?

In New York City, yesterday’s morning commute was interrupted by an attempted suicide bombing…

In Southern California, out-of-control wildfires fueled by Santa Ana winds are forcing residents in Los Angeles and the surrounding counties to evacuate…

In Puerto Rico, only about 60% of the power grid has been restored, leaving many vulnerable citizens in the dark…

And who knows what will happen tomorrow — or where. That’s why it’s important to be prepared. Your life — and the lives of your loved ones — depends on it.

Now, let’s take a look at this week’s must-read articles.

1. Fire Preparedness: Evacuations, Prepping and Plans in Wildfire Areas

Yesterday, NBC News reported that, as a result of the fires raging across Southern California, “More than 800 homes and structures have been destroyed and 98,000 people have been forced to evacuate, according to Cal Fire [California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection]. The ongoing blazes are threatening 25,000 homes.”

But West Coast residents aren’t the only ones who should include fire preparedness in their emergency plans. Wildfires can happen anywhere — especially if you consider that nearly 90% of wildfires in the U.S. are caused by humans.

Check out this piece from The Prepping Guide, which runs down the 13 critical items to have in your fire preparedness kit. It also suggests six things you can do to prepare your home and family ahead of wildfire season and four ways to defend your property even if the surrounding land is engulfed in flames.

2. State Department Proposes New Travel Advisory System

If you’re looking to expand your horizons and travel more in the coming year, be aware that the State Department will implement a new travel advisory system starting in January.

According to the above article on TravelPulse, “The new system, instead of categorizing each nation by travel advisory or travel alert, will issue a travel advisory for every country in the world. Each advisory will then be classified into one of four categories.”

Click on the link above to see what each of the four categories means for you as a traveler and what factors contribute to a nation’s advisory level.

3. What to Do When You Lock the Car and Throw Away the Key

I’m willing to bet that at some point or other we’ve all locked our keys in the car — inevitably at the most inconvenient time. And unfortunately, most car door locks are nearly impossible to pick with traditional lock picking tools without destroying the lock.

Jiggler keys, on the other hand, can open the doors on some older-model vehicles. If you purchase my Escape & Evasion Training Lock and Lock Pick Set, you’ll also receive a 10-piece set of stainless steel jiggler keys that work on both pin tumbler and wafer locks.

Please be advised I have a limited number of these sets to give away… and considering this message will go to over 500,000 readers, the training locks, lock pick sets and jiggler keys I have on hand won’t last long. Click on the link above to claim yours now.

4. Don’t Buy Anyone an Echo

When looking for that perfect gift for the geek in your life, it might be tempting to check out home automation hubs like the Amazon Echo or Google Home — especially since these futuristic devices have become more affordable, with increased functionality. Unfortunately, the risks of owning one of these gadgets just might outweigh the benefits.

This post from Gizmodo puts it simply: “By buying a smart speaker, you’re effectively paying money to let a huge tech company surveil you.” Not only that, but home automation hubs like the Echo are also extremely hackable and prone to bugs.

If you do decide to take a chance on one of these voice-activated devices, I strongly recommend investing in a product like Dojo (which plugs into your router and manages threat detection and prevention for your entire network), eero (which protects your entire network, including all your internet-connected smart devices, similar to Dojo) or the Anonabox Pro (a hardware box that connects to your router and sets up the VPN at the network level).

The bottom line is if you take adequate steps to protect your entire home network, something like the Amazon Echo or Google Home could be a useful addition to your household. If you don’t, you’re opening yourself — and your home — to all sorts of threats.

5. End-of-Year “To Do” List for Preppers and Survivalists

There are 20 days left in 2017, which makes it a great time to take inventory of your emergency supplies. Fortunately, fellow prepper Tim Gamble has posted a handy to-do list for just this purpose.

Take a look and see how much you can get done by the time the ball drops on Dec. 31, because who knows what 2018 will bring…

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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