Be Prepared For Whatever December Holds with Supplies From Anchortex Corporation

Now that the election is over, a subset of Americans are very deeply concerned that the apocalypse is nigh, whether because of the classic ‘Mayan apocalypse’ of December 21st, 2012 – more accurately, the end of the Mayan calendar cycle of creation, although no actual prophecies exist regarding an apocalyptic event to take place on this date any more than a millenial celebration has any particular significance – or because their favorite politician lost their candidacy and cut off their credit cards in the middle of the night and they just realized they don’t have a job now, or because they get twitchy after reading one too many Youtube comments. We’re not here to judge, but we are here to make sure that whether you’re planning for the zombie apocalypse or just expect your neighbors might take their threats a little too far one day, we’ve got the supplies you need.

First and foremost on our list of things you need is a good set of bags and backpacks to keep your stuff in – something that’s light enough to carry while on the move, but won’t rip away in case you’re dealing with hungry hordes of Wal-Mart shoppers (the living or the undead kind). Personally, I prefer this optimized buttpack I picked up at one point — it’s likely to last longer than I will, inside and out, and it’s a great way to stash and carry gear in a simple grab-and-go pack (although mine looks about as well organized as a sock drawer at this point.) The multiple attachment points mean I can easily attach it to a larger backpack, and it holds to capacity without straining the seams.

Once you’ve got a sturdy bag to hold what you need, you should pack it with anything you’d actually need in an emergency – medications you regularly take, first aid supplies you may have repackaged from a professional kit, a Swiss army knife, paracord, signalling gear, light, a compass, materials for starting fires, and other items practical to your personal situation. Bear in mind that whatever goes in there has to be something you’re willing to carry around all the time if necessary – every ounce of unnecessary weight will count against you. Don’t forget that with the colder temperatures and worsening weather around the corner, any blackout situations would create a need for cold-weather apparel as well!

Above all else, if you are concerned about the possibility of a survival situation in the near future, preparation in advance is key — start researching your options now so that you can be prepared for any possibility to come.

Reflections on Hurricane Sandy

In light of Hurricane Katrina and the damage caused to New Orleans, the reputation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) seemed permanently tarnished, and it seemed impossible for the federal government to handle an emergency on a state-wide scale. And yet…

Seven years later, we on the East Coast (especially those of us in New York and New Jersey) have had the misfortune of being introduced to Hurricane Sandy. Though Katrina was a much stronger Category 4 storm, the reach of Category 1 Sandy was over one thousand miles wide, affecting seventeen states. The New York Stock Exchange was closed for two days in a row for the first time since 1888, though as all affected agencies had several days’ advance notice, no economic disaster unfolded. Subways flooded; the Jersey Shore and its islands were ravaged; power lines fell, trees were shattered, and fires were sparked from North Carolina to Toronto; thousands are still without power; dozens lost their lives.

In seven years, though, it appears that the art of disaster management has taken strong lessons from Hurricane Katrina – on a local level, on a state level, and on a national level.

On a local level, New Jersey communities had established hurricane preparation plans based on last year’s extreme storms, which they quickly put into practice, alerting residents up to a week in advance and preparing shelter, supplies, and bracing where needed. New York City Michael Bloomberg sent uniformed city workers to help evacuate NYU Tisch Hospital after its backup generator failed. Newark Mayor Cory Booker responded to citizen requests for help via Twitter.

On a state level, our governor Chris Christie was already arranging evacuations of the Jersey Shore days before the storm hit, declaring a state of emergency in advance and coordinating the response to the hurricane in the hours before and after it made landfall. While politically, Gov. Christie is often contentious, few can argue that he did exactly what a governor should do in a time of crisis.

On a federal level, when President Obama picked his replacement for head of FEMA, he chose an experienced disaster management expert by the name of Chris Fugate, previously a director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, to reorganize and improve the agency. In addition, FEMA had received high levels of funding in the wake of Katrina, in understanding that preparation for emergencies was not an ‘optional’ expense. When the hurricane was detected, instead of continuing political campaigning, the president decided to focus on actually handling the emergency and coordinating management efforts, focusing FEMA assistance and making contact with Governor Christie (as we’ve heard) on several occasions throughout the storm. Emergency workers are still conducting search and rescue operations as well as providing supplies and assistance to those in need.

As we recover from the biting chill of the hurricane winds, snows, and rain and pick up the pieces, we are glad that our government has learned the lessons harshly taught by previous storms.

Government Accountability Office Reports Major Expenses Due To Military Service Uniforms

A Government Accountability Office report released today reveals that while the economy may be forcing many government positions to tighten their budgets, military uniforms are one area where spending has been constant.

The report sheds light on a number of interesting details involving service uniform development over the past ten years, such as the Army Combat Uniform in current use. According to the report, the Army spent over $4 billion between 2003 and 2010 developing the new camouflage uniform, only to change the pattern in 2010 after a 2009 Army study found that the ACU pattern “offered less effective concealment than patterns chosen by the Marine Corps and some foreign military services, such as Syria and China” to troops serving in Afghanistan.

In addition to the new Operational Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern in use, the Army has been studying color variations – desert, woodland, and traditional – for future uniform options. Officials have estimated that it may cost up to $4 billion over five years to replace current uniforms and related protective gear if these changes go into effect.

The Battle Dress Uniform and Desert Combat Uniform were formerly used by all service personnel for camouflage, but since 2002, each service has introduced its own camouflage service uniform to distinguish itself from other services — which, as noted by Air Force Central Command during operations in Afghanistan in 2010, creates a risk of soldiers being distinguishable to enemy forces when engaging in joint operations. Currently, different camouflage pattern uniforms exist for the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force, despite the fact that they are often purposed for the same territory.

With cost-cutting measures being introduced at all levels of government, from cities laying off their entire police force to presidential nominees threatening to terminate support for cultural programs if elected, it’s a wonder that our military service uniforms seem to be developed more around spending money for service distinction than around making a singular combat-efficient uniform.

Winter Is Coming – Get Your Insulated Work Jackets Now

It’s that time of year again, when those of us who work or walk outdoors are reminded that they need a new coat to keep the wind and weather at bay. Fortunately, Anchortex Corporation has you covered, however, with a wide selection of insulated work jackets to choose from, as well as high visibility jackets for those who work near high-traffic areas.

Show Us Your Papers: Can You Prove You’re a US Citizen?

The hammer drops on Arizona SB1070 in ten days.

As you may know, Arizona has had a law on the books since July 2010 known as SB1070, which aims to reduce the impact of nonsanctioned immigration by requiring law enforcement officers to obtain proof that those they encounter while enforcing other laws are in this country legally. Parts of the law signed by Republican governor Jan Brewer have been in effect since 2010, but largely ignored on a city-by-city level. Now, however, with ten days to go before the law finally goes into effect, the ‘Show Us Your Papers’ law is still coming under fire from civil rights activists, men and women in police uniforms, and even avid anti-immigration proponents.

From a civil rights perspective, the law is seen as a possible threat to the rights of legitimate US citizens, who may suffer harassment from law enforcement that will do little to actually improve the immigration problem. Law enforcement officers, meanwhile, point out that this essentially exposes them to the potential for lawsuits if racial profiling is used as a factor in determining who may or may not be an illegal immigrant, and to lawsuits for inadequately enforcing the law if they do not begin racially profiling everyone they encounter on the job.

Even outspoken anti-immigration advocate and self-proclaimed ‘America’s toughest sheriff’, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, concedes that since the new law does not grant local law enforcement agents the legal power to detain suspected immigrants or make immigration arrests, it will have little real impact on his jurisdiction; Arpaio is already under investigation relating to alleged civil rights abuses, racial profiling, and unlawful arrests against political opponents, and violent crime has increased 58 percent in Maricopa County, compared to Arizona’s overall decline in crime rate by 12%, between 2002 and 2009.

While it remains to be seen what actual effect SB1070 will have, it seems clear that those who wear law enforcement badges will have a rough road ahead, as will those who live in or pass through the state of Arizona – lawfully as well as unlawfully.

Did You Know? Shelf Life on Chemical Protection Suits

If you work in an industry that regularly handles or utilizes toxic chemicals, you probably keep Level A hazardous material suits or Level B chemical protection suits on hand in case the worst happens and you need protection in the event that an environment becomes toxic or dangerous. What you may not know is that many common brands of chemical protective apparel have a shelf life – the maximum recommended time that these suits be kept in storage before being replaced. As there is no currently known standard for determining the shelf life of chemical barrier fabrics in advance, this is dependent on verifying whether the fabric degrades under the normal conditions present in a proper storage environment – stored away from direct sunlight in a cool, dry location that is not subjected to cold or hot extremes. In particular, some chemical protective barrier fabrics such as those used in common disposable apparel have a shelf life of as little as three years or less.

Kappler has rigorously tested their Zytron film composite fabric lines and determined that even fifteen year old Zytron 500 material, tested against dichloromethane (methylene chloride) suffers no breakthrough in exposures over eight hours long. Likewise, these aged fabrics have been tested for physical properties and been determined to still meet original manufacturing specifications. As such, the shelf life of all Zytron products is undetermined, but is proven to be at least fifteen years.

When using a chemical protective suit that is still within its valid shelf life, be certain to perform a visual inspection to verify that it is safe to use, and in the case of vapor protective (level A) garments, perform an ASTM F1052 pressure test to verify that they still qualify as Level A garments. It is recommended that suits that no longer pass the visual inspection and/or pressure test be downgraded to ‘Training Use Only’ and be replaced immediately.

It is the responsibility of the wearer to ensure that all components, including fabric, valves, visors, gloves, zippers, seams, and suit-to component interfaces are in good working condition, and provide adequate protection for the operation and chemicals to be encountered. Any suit which does not pass the visual and/or pressure test, should be immediately removed from service. Yearly inspections of suits are recommended to ensure that suits in storage will be ready to meet emergency needs when the situation demands, and to determine what replacements are necessary.

If you are preparing a yearly inspection, call Anchortex Corporation today at 856-768-5240 and mention this post to receive a 10% discount off of current web prices on all Kappler items, as well as to receive quantity discounts on other safety products and supplies that you may need to reorder in order to meet OSHA regulatory requirements, or if you prefer, you can submit your quote request through our online form.

Mobile Construction Laboratories Deploying in the Warzone

The US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force has taken another great step in advancing the development of battlefield technology with the deployment of mobile laboratories to Afghanistan outposts, bringing the scientists capable of developing solutions to problems to the soldiers who need the answers without the red tape involved in operational needs statements.

Each lab is based within a twenty-foot shipping container outfitted with prototyping machines, laboratory equipment, and manufacturing tools, allowing them to machine parts from steel, plastic, and aluminum in the field to develop prototypical equipment and immediately deploy it for testing and further development. Each laboratory deploys with two engineers and satellite communications equipment for conducting teleconferences with REF officials and engineers back at home, allowing for swift collaboration to solve problems.

These rapid-deployment laboratories can be transported by truck or airlifted by helicopter to wherever they are needed, and can provide tactical development support for problems ranging from military combat to emergency management. Each mobile laboratory costs approximately $2.8 million, not counting personnel.

New ASTM Standard WK38096 to Measure Transmitted Impact Force on Protective Clothing

A new ASTM standard for protective clothing is being developed by ASTM international, one of the largest international standards development organizations in the world. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems, and commercial transactions.

The proposed standard, ASTM WK38096, Test Method for Measuring Transmitted Impact Force Through Materials Used in Protective Clothing, is intended to measure the quality and performance of protective clothing in regards to transmitted impact force, but the subcommittee that is developing the standard is also seeking input from manufacturers of items outside of the standard realm of protective clothing, such as motorcycle gloves.

This new standard was initially proposed because of increases in hand injury for workers in the oil and mining industry, which has led to the development of gloves designed to protect against multiple hazards including transmitted impact force.

NFPA 1981 Revisions Expected After New Testing Reveals Weakness in Firefighter SCBA Gear

Another bit of bad news for firefighters, courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association; a recent batch of ‘live burn’ tests run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that several styles of widely-used self-contained breathing apparatus common to fire departments are prone to heat-caused lens damage. The NFPA is considering revisions to its testing process for firefighter personal protective equipment and clothing as part of its ongoing code revision process, and will be issuing new performance criteria in its next edition of NFPA 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services, which NFPA expects to issue later this year.

Fire Department Budget Cuts Leave Crews Shorthanded and Fires Unchecked

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that each piece of firefighting equipment sent to a fire be manned by a four man team, and that each town has a system in place to get fifteen firefighters to a fire scene in less than twelve minutes. Unfortunately, politically motivated budget slashing and austerity measures such as forcing volunteer firefighters to pay for their own equipment and fuel for fire trucks has had a major impact across the country, and even here in New Jersey.

ON May 5th, 2011, a six-alarm fire broke out that completely gutted Ferraro’s, a landmark Italian restaurant in Westfield, NJ. The Westfield, NJ fire department’s main firehouse is located just one hundred yards away from Ferraro’s, but its ladder truck, capable of pumping 1,100 gallons of water per minute, was not usable due to understaffing. The first ladder truck on the scene came from neighboring Cranford, NJ, and took a full twelve minutes to arrive.

Earlier this year, a house fire broke out in Westfield when only six firefighters were on duty; worse, three of them had gone to provide support to Springfield’s fire department. The three firefighters available could only fight the fire from outside because of New Jersey’s “two in, two out” rule, which states that two firefighters must remain outside for every two who enter a burning building, excepting to save a life. Without being able to enter the building and attack the blaze directly, extinguishing a fire can take significantly longer.

On May 23rd, the Westfield Fire Department was forced to wait fifteen minutes for firefighters from Plainfield, NJ to arrive before providing assistance to Ellen DiIorio and her husband, who had to be rescued by neighbors from a fire that destroyed her home. An emotional DiIorio later spoke before the Westfield Town Council, asking them to restore the town’s firefighting team to full strength. “I’m here to plead with you that we could have enough firefighters in Westfield to avoid a possible loss of human life,” she said. “I love the town of Westfield, and I loved my home, and I can never go home again.”

Vice Chairman of the Westfield Public Safety Committee Councilman Keith Loughlin (R), however, sees no problem. “I don’t consider us to have a manpower shortage,” he said. “We are adequately staffed.” Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky (R) agreed, pointing out that the town receives plenty of help from its neighbors. According to Loughlin, it costs the city $100,000 per year to hire a new firefighter, including training. This, along with declining revenue from taxes and decreases in state aid, has resulted in a hiring freeze and a 25% cut in the number of public workforce jobs in every role from firefighters to crossing guards to police officers to town hall custodial workers.

Westfield is currently applying for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) federal grant that would allow the town to hire four more firefighters for at least two years. However, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has expressed his opinion that funding for firefighters, police officers, and teachers be cut in campaign speeches; it is unclear how, if elected, his presidency will affect the SAFER grant system, and the town of Westfield, NJ.