Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Earthquake Preparedness in Portugal

Hi there,

I was impress with your story about the pregnant woman ho was robed and then shot in the face... I guess I would never understand what that feels like, until it hits you very near, like, it´s not Mexican drug violence you know is far away... its in your neighborhood

I have being following your blog (and others) for one or two years now, just collecting information about preper and survival stuff. I guess I´m pretty new to the subject. But I have to say that your perspective about the subject of reality (society, economy, safety, your standard day-to-day life, etc) collapse is, for me, more real than other stuff I´ve been seeing. I never forget you telling that wen economy collapse, you kiss your wife and go to work the next morning.

A lot of things you say make sense to me.

Hi again, my name is Joao, I am a designer and a teacher and live in Lisbon, Portugal. I live in a nice rent house with my wife and two baby daughters. I start seeking for information after the Haiti and Chile's earthquakes. Two hundred years ago Lisbon suffer a huge 9.5 quake that literally wipe out the city. Yes, two hundred years is big time, but there is something of a repetitive pattern among quakes, I guess... you never know. But I got thinking that if something like that happen again I didn't know what to do. So I start looking for information that would help me, just in case.

I got a bog out bag, plan route and strategic place to meet with the wife if we are apart, we even got establish a place to leave a message in case of one of us need to leave the strategic place

...but then it was not just the earthquake phobia, I start to acknowledge that the earthquake could be also economic and social... but I play it cool, I don't want to stress to much my wife

I don't know what kind of mail this is, but I just want to give you my support, and tell you if this small country goes down the pipe like all hods point to, your blog have made a difference! at least to me and my family. You give a realistic approach to a scenario that tends to be very real.

now I have a "technical" question: how was gun laws in Argentina before the collapse? here in Portugal laws are very strict, and you have two ways to deal with it if you want a gun for protection 1- you go through and incredible bureaucratic process until you give up, or until they say your not very qualified to have a gun (been there, give up), 2- you go to the black market and you buy whatever your money can buy. I really don't want to go under the law so... no guns for protection. How you dealt with this subject? if you don't have access to a gun to protect your house, how can you build a defense system properly?

more than the technical question I want to send you my support, and hope that you and your family, your daughter specially, go trough this times of pain safe!

keep going!

sorry about the english, I tried my best!

Hi Joao, don’t worry, my English isn’t the best either. :-)
Thanks for the nice words, I’m glad you find my blog useful.
About your question, Argentina is probably still one of the best countries in Latin America in terms of gun laws. After the 2001 crisis the Leftist took control and are pretty “communist” minded about gun laws. According to them civilians shouldn’t be allowed to own firearms. Typical authoritarian BS.

You can own pistols, shotguns and rifles, but no semi auto rifles bigger than 22LR with detachable magazines. Here, you have to go through a lengthy bureaucratic process as well, but I did it all so as to get my gun user license.
Joao, my advice is to do everything you can to get a weapon. It is indeed a priority and I wouldn’t insist on it if I didn’t believe it. Do every bureaucratic set but make sure you have some sort of firearm, even if its simply a double barrel shotgun. A handgun would better but at least some sort of firearm is better than none at all. In most countries shotguns aren’t that hard to get because of their use in sporting and hunting.

Specially if you worry about earthquakes, self defense is of particular importance. My cousin lives in Chile, she was there with her family during the quake. Expect people to become desperate very fast, specially because they don’t have water and will go nuts soon. You bug out bag should include a solar charger for your cellphone, a spare battery is your cell phone admits removable batteries. A couple led flashlights (that use a single battery) and about 20 spare batteries. At least one of the lights should use commonly available batteries such as AA or AAA. In your pack include a spare set of clothes, food ready to eat, a sleeping bag for each family member an tent, and most of all at least a couple liters of water per person ready to go. You want copies of your documents, contact phone numbers and some cash (think a month’s worth of groceries worth of cash) This should be the minimum content for a BOB designed for an area where earthquakes are top priorities. Don’t forget the firearm, keep it close and ready. If you can keep a dedicated firearm for your BOB attacked to it with at least 50 shells. In Chile there was a lot of looting and vandalism, being armed became of extreme importance. Again, do not underestimate this. If you can't get one or in the meantime, get a big butcher knife, bayonet or machete, but its a distant second best choice to a firearm.

Sounds like you have a good plane worked out. A secondary location in another city not that far away would be of great importance. Consider friends or relatives.
Take care and good luck!


PS-Check the Earthquakes tab on the left column, scrolling down, for more information.


Nolan said...

I know it may seem almost too obvious to state openly, but see what level of earthquake your residence/workplace can handle. All the prep in the world won't help if you are smashed under the roof of your house or place where you work.

Also, some very brief research leads me to think that if you are worried about earth quakes in Lisbon, then you need to worry about Tsunami and all that accompanies those.

Jack said...

Weapons in an anti-gun country:

*Join a target shooting club or hunting club for access to weapons and ammo
*Black power guns may not be as regulated and can come with multiple cylinders for modern ammo and/or fast reloads
*Zip guns (homemade guns using pipes, etc.)
*Bow & Arrow / Crossbow
*Flare gun from your 'boat'
*Sticks / canes / staffs
*Pepper Spray
*Wasp Spray
*Mag lights (for blinding and striking)
*1 million candle power spot lights for blinding (battery can be charged up in almost any car)
*ASP style expanding batons
*Baseball bats
*stun guns
*sling shots
*spear guns
*carribiners as brass knuckles
*carribiners as handles for impact weapons
*Improvised impact weapons (i.e. metal water bottle, or heavy duty lock, or large heavy key rings that can be used with a braided 550 cord and/or carribiner handle)

Jack said...

Forgot a couple:

BB gun
Pellet gun
Paintball gun

All of which can put some serious hurt on you, especially if you get shot in the face or eye.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Massachusetts, which also has a long bureaucratic process for obtaining firearms.

It takes about 6 months from start to finish to get your license. Maybe 4 months, if everything lines up correctly.

My advice is to just stick with it until you get your license.

DaShui said...

He FerFal,

Would you give the same advice to some middle class guy in Mexico City? Not rich enough to pay bodyguards, but rich enough to be a kidnapping target? The only way for the average Mexican to own firearms is illegally, even though they have a second amendment, modeled after ours.

FerFAL said...

DaShui,can't tell you to do anything outside the law, guess its up to each one to consider the pro and cons of doing such a tihng given their own situation. Make a choice and live with it.


Anonymous said...


This is way off topic but...My wife, I, and 28 y.o. son (who speaks Brazilian Portuguese somewhat) may be visiting Portugal in November. I assume that we will land in Lisbon. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you have about what to see and where to eat, what I should know as a tourist, and other thoughts you have. I figure a fellow prepper knows what's going on!

If you are so inclined, please email me at


Ferfal, hope you don't mind my piggybacking on your site!


Anonymous said...

Huh? After doing some reading online I was under the impression the people of Mexico could legally buy and have at home a .22 cal. pistol for self-defense as well as shotguns for hunting.

I seriously doubt all the advertisements I see in U.S. magazines such as Field and Stream or Outdoor Life for hunting trips to Mexico to shoot ducks, dove and wild boar are strictly for foreign visitors only.

It seems like there's some serious misconceptions about what it's like living in Mexico.

I understand there's only one gun shop in the country, but guns are not banned there.

Another misconception held by many people is that Mexico is full of drug related violence. Search the author, Fred Reed, he lives there and has written that life there is on the whole very peaceful and a nice place to live, as have others. They don't seem like the lying type.

I was there twenty years ago and I felt safer in the back alleyways of T.J. and Matamoros at midnight than I do in a U.S. mall in the middle of the day today.

A lot has changed since then I'm sure, but there's also a lot of propaganda and demonizing going on now days too.

I pushed the threat from an earthquake to the back of my mind even though I've discussed it before in the past, it's easy to forget about them.

I live on the New Madrid fault line in the Midwest part of the U.S. and I have felt minor earthquakes. Because they are so minor it is easy to forget about the threat they pose.

They seem like they are not dangerous at all, that is until I recalled the history of the New Madrid fault line, that thing has done some serious damage in the past to this area.

I keep a crowbar in my toolbag in my car and I have one at home. That is the only prep I have that is specifically geared towards surviving an earthquake.

I guess my other preps such as water and food are what might be called, multitask.

Anonymous said...

"Weapons in an anti-gun country:"

I thought of one while eating from a street vendor's cart.

Sqewers - used for cooking and grilling - made from either metal or wood, they might be used the same way pencils and pens can be held as a knife? Some metal sqewers have a loop on the end a finger could slip into to keep it from sliding back. You might break your finger using it that way though. But I suppose it's better than nothing? They could fit
in many places in a car to be used for self-defense while inside the car? Perhaps wrap some paper or tape on the end as a handle?

I didn't see scissors on the list either.

I wonder if last ditch self-defense is part of the reason why the teachers of my youth always had a pair within easy reach inside the top drawer of their desks? The teachers were in an anti-gun, anti-self-defense environment, Psft, as if they were bait?