This week’s mailbag covers everything from global dangers to threats that hit a little closer to home.
Read on to find out what you should do in the event of a nuclear attack (including what supplies to have if you have to go outside afterward), how to download and install my go-to virtual private network (plus why it’s important to have a VPN in the first place) and the best way to protect your home from top to bottom.
Here we go…
Hi, my name is Sal and I have been a subscriber for some time. I live in Hawaii and experienced the false missile launch alert to my cellphone last Saturday at 8:07 a.m. I love the content you guys send. I am asking if you would, in light of this experience, send information on what to do to help survive such an attack. To date, nothing from the state of Hawaii has been broadcast to the public on this subject, other than that we are to shelter in place. Thank you, and please let me know what you suggest.
— Sal L.
When the government issues a nuclear attack warning, immediately get inside. Ideally, you want to be below ground, so get to a basement or an underground parking facility if you can. If that isn’t an option, find a windowless room in the center of the building or go to the room with the fewest windows.
Surviving the initial explosion is only the first thing you have to worry about…
Radiation from a nuclear blast is extremely dangerous, although it dissipates rather quickly. The more barriers you can put between you and the outside world — and the more time you can stay indoors — the better your chances of survival.
At the very least, you should remain indoors for 24 hours after a nuclear explosion, but the total time will vary depending on how close you are to the detonation site and which way the wind is blowing. This is why it is critical that you build up at least a 30-day supply of emergency food, water and medical supplies.
If you absolutely must leave your home after an attack, I recommend wearing an Israeli gas mask and waterproof gear. But remember, the key to surviving a nuclear attack is to limit your exposure, shield yourself and simply wait for the fallout to decay.
I work from home. I am a writer. And I have been hacked before. We used McAfee for internet protection, but switched last month to Trend Micro. We have one big computer with two screens and an iPhone. We are planning to get a second iPhone. Do you know of a private network that would protect us better?
— Luisa P.
Absolutely. I recommend downloading a virtual private network (VPN) on all your devices. The one I personally use is TunnelBear. You can add up to five devices including laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones.
Not only is this service reasonably priced, but it offers the strongest encryption standard, making your encrypted VPN data less detectable to governments, businesses and ISPs. Best of all, TunnelBear does not log any customer activity whatsoever.
At your suggestion, I have downloaded TunnelBear, but I am unclear how to invoke/use/enter it. Any tips appreciated.
— Thomas G.
Once you downloaded and install the program on your device(s), you simply need to launch it — just like you would any other program. You should see an icon that will allow you to turn TunnelBear on or off. When you switch it to “on,” you should see a window pop up that says you are now using TunnelBear to browse the internet.
If you’re still having trouble, you can also visit the TunnelBear website, where they have step-by-step directions and support.
We just received three flashlights. I think you call them the survival flashlights. What battery do they use? What type of battery do you recommend?
— Samuel F.
If you purchased three of the SEAL Torch 2000s, each takes three AAA batteries or one 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
Quality batteries are just as important as the flashlight that uses them. I prefer to use Panasonic eneloop batteries in my flashlights. These rechargeable alkaline batteries can be reused over 2,100 times — so they’re a great investment for all your battery-operated devices.
All this talk of home security… Most folks will spend lot of money on electric security devices, along with heavy steel bolts to lock their windows and doors. What they often miss is securing their basement windows. I studied locksmithing and can tell you the easiest entrance to any home is by way of the basement window. Even if the alarm is set, you are still inside. Belongings can then be brought to the basement and removed the same way you obtained entrance. Also, there will be no sign of breaking in.
— John P.
You are right, John. It’s important never to overlook a window or door even if you think it’s too small or not an ideal point of entry.
I definitely recommend installing window sensors as part of your home security system on every single window (and door) in your home. I would also install motion sensors in your basement — especially if it’s not somewhere you typically spend a lot of time.
Finally, if you have windows that slide (up and down or to the side), I suggest placing a piece of wood in the window track to prevent the window from being opened from the outside.