Tag Archives: ecology

Nuclear war and famine

(News & Editorial/Nuclear war and famine)

 A.  Nuclear war would ‘end civilization’ with famine: study
10 Dec 2013, Phys.org, by Shaun Tandon
Pasted from: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-nuclear-war-civilization-famine.html

Nuc war missile

[Indian Army personnel display an Agni-ll nuclear-capable missile during Indias Repbulic Day parade in New Delhi in Janauary 2006 (AFP)
newvision]

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan would set off a global famine that could kill two billion people and effectively end human civilization, a study said Tuesday.

Even if limited in scope, a conflict with nuclear weapons would wreak havoc in the atmosphere and devastate crop yields, with the effects multiplied as global food markets went into turmoil, the report said.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility released an initial peer-reviewed study in April 2012 that predicted a nuclear famine could kill more than a billion people.

In a second edition, the groups said they widely underestimated the impact in China and calculated that the world’s most populous country would face severe food insecurity.

“A billion people dead in the developing world is obviously a catastrophe unparalleled in human history. But then if you add to that the possibility of another 1.3 billion people in China being at risk, we are entering something that is clearly the end of civilization,” said Ira Helfand, the report’s author.

Helfand said that the study looked at India and Pakistan due to the longstanding tensions between the nuclear-armed states, which have fought three full-fledged wars since independence and partition in 1947.

But Helfand said that the planet would expect a similar apocalyptic impact from any limited nuclear war. Modern nuclear weapons are far more powerful than the US bombs that killed more than 200,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

“With a large war between the United States and Russia, we are talking about the possible — not certain, but possible — extinction of the human race.

“In this kind of war, biologically there are going to be people surviving somewhere on the planet but the chaos that would result from this will dwarf anything we’ve ever seen,” Helfand said.

The study said that the black carbon aerosol particles kicked into the atmosphere by a South Asian nuclear war would reduce US corn and soybean production by around 10 percent over a decade.

The particles would also reduce China’s rice production by an average of 21 percent over four years and by another 10 percent over the following six years.

nuc war wheatThe updated study also found severe effects on China’s wheat, which is vital to the country despite its association with rice.

China’s wheat production would plunge by 50 percent the first year after the nuclear war and would still be 31 percent below baseline a decade later, it said.

The study said it was impossible to estimate the exact impact of nuclear war. He called for further research, voicing alarm that policymakers in nuclear powers were not looking more thoroughly at the idea of a nuclear famine.

But he said, ultimately, the only answer was the abolition of nuclear weapons.

“This is a disaster so massive in scale that really no preparation is possible. We must prevent this,” he said.

President Barack Obama pledged in 2009 to work toward abolition but said that the United States would keep nuclear weapons so long as others exist. Nine countries are believed to possess nuclear weapons, with Russia and the United States holding the vast majority.
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B.  Nuclear famine
How a Regional Nuclear War Will Cause Global Mass Starvation
Pasted from: http://ippnweducation.wordpress.com/nuclearfamine/

Climate scientists who worked with the late Carl Sagan in the 1980s to document the threat of nuclear winter have produced disturbing new research about the climate effects of low-yield, regional nuclear war.

Using South Asia as an example, these experts have found that even a limited regional nuclear war on the order of 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons would result in tens of millions of immediate deaths and unprecedented global climate disruption. Smoke from urban firestorms caused by multiple nuclear explosions would rise into the upper troposphere and, due to atmospheric heating, would subsequently be boosted deep into the stratosphere.

The resulting soot cloud would block 7–10% of warming sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface, leading to significant cooling and reductions in precipitation lasting for more than a decade. Within 10 days following the explosions, there would be a drop in average surface temperature of 1.25° C. Over the following year, a 10% decline in average global rainfall and a large reduction in the Asian summer monsoon would have a significant impact on agricultural production. These effects would persist over many years. The growing season would be shortened by 10 to 20 days in many of the most important grain producing areas in the world, which might completely eliminate crops that had insufficient time to reach maturity.

nuc war cornThere are currently more than 800 million people in the world who are chronically malnourished. Several hundred million more live in countries that depend on imported grain. Even a modest, sudden decline in agricultural production could trigger significant increases in the prices for basic foods, as well as hoarding on a global scale, making food inaccessible to poor people in much of the world. While it is not possible to estimate the precise extent of the global famine that would follow a regional nuclear war, it seems reasonable to anticipate a total global death toll in the range of one billion from starvation alone. Famine on this scale would also lead to major epidemics of infectious diseases, and would create immense potential for mass population movement, civil conflict, and war.

These findings have significant implications for nuclear weapons policy. They are powerful evidence in the case against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and against the modernization of arsenals in the existing nuclear weapon states. Even more important, they argue for a fundamental reassessment of the role of nuclear weapons in the world. If even a relatively small nuclear war, by Cold War standards—within the capacity of eight nuclear-armed states—could trigger a global catastrophe, then the only viable response is the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.

Two other issues need to be considered as well. First, there is a very high likelihood that famine on this scale would lead to major epidemics of infectious diseases. Previous famines have been accompanied by major outbreaks of plague, typhus, malaria, dysentery, and cholera. Despite the advances in medical technology of the last half century, a global famine on the anticipated scale would provide the ideal breeding ground for epidemics involving any or all of these illness, especially in the vast megacities of the developing world.

Famine on this scale would also provoke war and civil conflict, including food riots. Competition for limited food resources might well exacerbate ethnic and regional animosities. Armed conflict among nations would escalate as states dependent on imports adopted whatever means were at their disposal to maintain access to food supplies.

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C.  Regional nuclear war could devastate global climate
11 Dec 2006, EurekAlert.org,  see Joseph Blumberg at blumberg@ur.rutgers.edu
Pasted from: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-12/rtsu-rnw120706.php

[The Fat Man mushroom cloud resulting from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rises 18 km (11 mi, 60,000 ft) into the air from the hypocenter, August 9, 1945. (Wikipedia)]

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Even a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more, with environmental effects that could be devastating for everyone on Earth, university researchers have found.

These powerful conclusions are being presented Dec. 11 during a press conference and a special technical session at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The research also appears in twin papers posted on Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, an online journal.

A team of scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder); and UCLA conducted the rigorous scientific studies reported.

Against the backdrop of growing tensions in the Middle East and nuclear “saber rattling” elsewhere in Asia, the authors point out that even the smallest nuclear powers today and in the near future may have as many as 50 or more Hiroshima-size (15 kiloton) weapons in their arsenals; all told, about 40 countries possess enough plutonium and/or uranium to construct substantial nuclear arsenals.

Owen “Brian” Toon, chair of the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a member of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at CU-Boulder, oversaw the analysis of potential fatalities based on an assessment of current nuclear weapons inventories and population densities in large urban complexes. His team focused on scenarios of smoke emissions that urban firestorms could produce.

“The results described in one of the new papers represent the first comprehensive quantitative study of the consequences of a nuclear conflict between smaller nuclear states,” said Toon and his co-authors. “A small country is likely to direct its weapons against population centers to maximize damage and achieve the greatest advantage,” Toon said. Fatality estimates for a plausible regional conflict ranged from 2.6 million to 16.7 million per country.

Alan Robock, a professor in the department of environmental sciences and associate director of the Center for Environmental Prediction at Rutgers’ Cook College, guided the climate modeling effort using tools he previously employed in assessing volcano-induced climate change. Robock and his Rutgers co-workers, Professor Georgiy Stenchikov and Postdoctoral Associate Luke Oman (now at Johns Hopkins University) generated a series of computer simulations depicting potential climatic anomalies that a small-scale nuclear war could bring about, summarizing their conclusions in the second paper.

“Considering the relatively small number and size of the weapons, the effects are surprisingly large. The potential devastation would be catastrophic and long term,” said Richard Turco, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, and a member and founding director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment. Turco once headed a team including Toon and Carl Sagan that originally defined “nuclear winter.”

nuc war cloudWhile a regional nuclear confrontation among emerging third-world nuclear powers might be geographically constrained, Robock and his colleagues have concluded that the environmental impacts could be worldwide.

“We examined the climatic effects of the smoke produced in a regional conflict in the subtropics between two opposing nations, each using 50 Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons to attack the other’s most populated urban areas,” Robock said. The researchers carried out their simulations using a modern climate model coupled with estimates of smoke emissions provided by Toon and his colleagues, which amounted to as much as five million metric tons of “soot” particles.

“A cooling of several degrees would occur over large areas of North America and Eurasia, including most of the grain-growing regions,” Robock said. “As in the case with earlier nuclear winter calculations, large climatic effects would occur in regions far removed from the target areas or the countries involved in the conflict.”

When Robock and his team applied their climate model to calibrate the recorded response to the 1912 eruptions of Katmai volcano in Alaska, they found that observed temperature anomalies were accurately reproduced. On a grander scale, the 1815 eruption of Tambora in Indonesia – the largest in the last 500 years – was followed by killing frosts throughout New England in 1816, during what has become known as “the year without a summer.” The weather in Europe was reported to be so cold and wet that the harvest failed and people starved. This historical event, according to Robock, perhaps foreshadows the kind of climate disruptions that would follow a regional nuclear conflict.

But the climatic disruption resulting from Tambora lasted for only about one year, the authors note. In their most recent computer simulation, in which carbon particles remain in the stratosphere for up to 10 years, the climatic effects are greater and last longer than those associated with the Tambora eruption.

“With the exchange of 100 15-kiloton weapons as posed in this scenario, the estimated quantities of smoke generated could lead to global climate anomalies exceeding any changes experienced in recorded history,” Robock said. “And that’s just 0.03 percent of the total explosive power of the current world nuclear arsenal.”

[Below, I’ve provided some visual examples of the sort of things you might want to incorporate into your cupboard, pantry, basement and/or under your bed during early 2014, think of it as insurance. Mr. Larry]

nuc war food stores

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A guide to cushioning system collapse

(News & Editorial/A guide to cushioning system collapse)

 A. Crisis Reality: “Within An Hour the Stores Were Emptied”

guide shelves
22 January 2014, The Daily Sheeple, by Mac Slavo at SHTFPlan.com
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/crisis-reality-within-an-hour-the-stores-were-emptied_012014
When toxic chemicals spilled into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia a couple of weeks ago we got another glimpse into what the world might look like in the aftermath of a major, widespread disaster.

There were several lessons we can take from this regional emergency and all of them are pretty much exactly what you might expect would happen when the water supplies for 300,000 people become suddenly unavailable.

Lesson #1: There will be immediate panic

Studies have suggested that the average person has about three days worth of food in their pantry, after which they would be left with no choice but to scrounge for scraps once their food stores run out. We saw this scenario play out after Hurricane Sandy, when thousands of unprepared people lined up at National Guard operated FEMA tents and temporary camps. That’s what happens when there’s no food.

With water, however, it’s a whole different matter.

Food we can do without for weeks, but lack of water will kill us in a very short time. The events following the Charleston chemical spill highlight just how critical fresh water is to maintaining stability.

A reader at The Prepper Journal web site shared his firsthand account of the events as they played out. In a situation where water supplies are poisoned, whether by accident or on purpose, the anatomy of a breakdown accelerates significantly from three days to mere minutes:

Just yesterday that ban was lifted, but what if this had happened in your town? Would you be able to live comfortably with no water from the tap for 5 days? The news reports that I read stated that there was plenty of water and the stores never ran out. That is in direct contradiction to what Steve tells me:

Immediately after the announcement, the stores in the area were rushed for any bottled water products. Within an hour the stores were emptied.  Do not let anyone tell you that everything was nice, peaceful and everyone conducted themselves gracefully.  There were fist fights and scuffles for the last of the water.

After the order was issued no one could give any answers as to when drinkable water would be available.  Those with water were either hording it or selling it at enormous prices.

48 hours after the ban,  water began to be distributed to the everyday person.  Hospitals and nursing homes received the first shipments.  By the way the hospitals (except one) were not taking any new patients).  If you got hurt or injured you were on your own or had to travel an hour away for treatment.

What if the spill was more serious or the supply of water non-existent? Would you have enough water on hand and the means to disinfect new sources to take care of your family? It is news like this that illustrates for anyone paying attention the importance of storing water.

If you live an area affected by a water supply contamination and have no water reserves, this report suggests that you have less than an hour to stock up. And during that hour there will be panic with the potential for violence being highly probable.

Lesson #2: Security forces will be deployed to maintain order This is a no-brainer, but nonetheless worthy of mention.

We saw it after Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina – thousands of troops and militarized police deployed to prevent looting and rioting. The fact is that when the water and food run out people will be left with no choice but to rob and pillage. It becomes a matter of survival. Crowds will unwaveringly stampede to get to the resources they need. They’ll stomp over you if you happen to fall on the ground in a rush, because when the herd starts running nothing will stop it.

Imagine how these people will act when they are desperate for food food and water:

There is a reason the government has been preparing military contingency plans and simulations for events that include economic collapse or a massive natural disaster. They know what will happen if millions of people are left without critical supplies.

In Charleston, after water supplies started being delivered to grocery store chains, local government and the companies themselves brought on hired guards to keep the peace.

The Elk River event was limited in scope, affecting about 300,000 people in an isolated area, thus it was not that difficult of a situation to contain as FEMA and government could throw all of their resources and assets at the problem.

But imagine a scenario that involves multiple large metropolitan areas simultaneously in different regions of the country.

There are simply not enough personnel (or supplies) to respond to such a situation and maintain order.

Lesson #3: Despite hundreds of billions spent, the government is ill-prepared It took emergency responders five days to get water to the Super Dome in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Following Sandy, FEMA had enough food and water to provide the absolute basic necessities to about 50,000 people.
In Charleston it took at least two days to get water supplies moving.
If this were a massive catastrophe it could be weeks before help arrives.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has itself warned that it is not equipped to handle large-scale emergencies. It’s for this reason that they strongly recommend a minimum two week supply of food and water.

guide fema
Considering that the majority of Americans have maybe three days worth of supplies, how many millions of mouths would need to be fed three square meals a day if we experienced a multi-city event?

It was recently reported that FEMA has in its possession about 140 million “meals ready to eat.”
In 2011 a FEMA/DHS organized National Level exercise simulated an earthquake on the New Madrid Fault in the Mid West. The simulation revealed that 100,000 people would be killed almost immediately, and another 7 million would be displaced from their homes.
They would only have one place to go – government managed FEMA camps. Those seven million people eating just two MRE’s per day would  consume FEMA’s entire emergency food reserve within 10 days.
Then what?
You probably already know the answer.
Prepare now, because the last place you want to be in is in the midst of crisis-driven panic.

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B.  Report: Supplier Survey & Trend Analysis of Preparedness and Resiliency Provisions
30 Sep 2012, learntoprepare.com, by Denis Korn
Pasted from: http://learntoprepare.com/2012/09/report-supplier-survey-trend-analysis-of-preparedness-and-resiliency-provisions/

Here is my perspective on current trends relating to food products for shelf stable food reserves and resiliency provisions in general.
In the 37 years I have been in the natural foods, outdoor recreation and emergency preparedness industries as a retailer and manufacturer, I have experienced a number of fluctuations and factors that have influenced the availability and pricing of foods and supplies for preparedness. A number of current factors and converging events are affecting the preparedness marketplace today and potentially in the near future.

In addition to my own present-day observations and experience as a retailer of food reserves and preparedness products, I have very recently surveyed a number of suppliers, processors and manufacturers for their assessment of current conditions in the marketplace.

Here are my appraisals, reports, and insights regarding the state of the industry:

  • The numerous and diverse potential scenarios associated with emergency and disaster preparedness is so pervasive in contemporary culture, that a broad spectrum of citizens have begun to take some form of action. Others are acutely aware of the probable dangers and are waiting for a significant triggering event to act.
  • BOB1 foodIf a serious event were to occur, fence sitters and those who have done nothing to prepare would overwhelm preparedness suppliers, manufacturers and normal outlets. Products will be sold out or long lead times will prevail. The nature of the triggering events will determine the availability of preparedness supplies for both the short and long terms.
  • Preparedness niche companies and their suppliers have a limited supply of goods on hand during normal business activity. At all levels of the supply chain there is a restricted amount of products available. Y2K, hurricanes, international disasters have all been testaments to disruptions in certain product availability. A wide spread and prolonged emergency will have a devastating effect on the availability of goods and services. This is especially true of specialty food processors.
  • The main stream media will not accurately depict the real state of affairs regarding the current conditions in our society. This relates to politics, the economy, financial issues, government action and inaction, weather effects and anything that would be valuable for citizens to know so that they can prepare in advance for shortages. Information is significantly manipulated, controlled and fabricated. This includes what you hear and what you don’t hear.
  • The current drought has had some effect on food prices and availability but not a catastrophic one. The increases in costs have already been factored in as it relates to commodity futures. Corn, soy beans and wheat were the crops most affected by the drought, as was potatoes and to a smaller extent other vegetables and fruits.Internet- food, FD #11 cans
  • A record corn crop was initially anticipated, so the effect of the drought could have been worse. NOTE: 40% of the corn crop goes for ethanol.
  • Currently the price of most beans has dropped some due to good yields in North Dakota where 2/3 of the nation’s beans are grown. Availability of beans and other grains is good.
  • Rice prices and availability is stable.
  • Freeze dried food processors are very busy and are experiencing an increasing demand for fruit and vegetables from non preparedness manufacturers. This is causing shortages in some products. The drought has not substantially affected fruit and vegetables.
  • There has been a shortage in some “ready” or “no cooking required” ingredients that are necessary for entrée and blended recipes. Many of these ingredients use non freeze drying technology to enable a no cooking requirement.
  • Quality domestic food ingredients are becoming more difficult to source. It is essential that consumers do diligent research to establish trust with reputable manufacturers. Many current preparedness food packers have succumbed to using lower quality imported and processed foods.
  • Currently, other vital preparedness provisions – electronics, medical, tools, water filters and such, are in adequate supply. Last year at this time there were shortages.
  • Prices have risen in many sectors due to a multitude of factors such as transportation, packaging (paper prices have seen a steep increase), cost of benefits to employees, fuel, raw materials, regulations unfavorable to small business and lack of credit. Prices are expected to continue to rise, and with any new detrimental financial event they will rise dramatically.
  • As shortages continue lead times for fulfillment will increase. I see this currently occurring.
  • The current debilitating state of our nation and the attitudes of despair of our citizens are unprecedented in my lifetime.
  • I and others see a substantial spike in demand for preparedness food and supplies from possibly right before to definitely after the November election. Negative reaction to the outcome of the election will be momentous – no matter who wins. We will soon know how serious the reaction will be, what form it will take and what governmental actions will be executed.

Conclusion:
Currently food products – with increasing lead times – and other supplies are available. However, there are a multitude of very volatile factors that could trigger a substantial increase in demand of preparedness supplies. A very difficult question to answer, although it discussed frequently is: How will a crisis effect fulfillment of essential goods and services?

During Y2K there were specific dates as to a potential problem, and specific remedies that could be addressed and possibly implemented. When citizens realized that problems had been addressed, demand for preparedness goods subsided. It was the unknown consequences of a potential computer calamity and the perceived resolution of those problems, which triggered the fluctuations in demand and supply.

The unknown consequences of the myriad of potentially devastating scenarios being discussed currently are not so easily resolved nor are the timing markers so easily recognized. There is so much uncertainty associated with current events that folks are either in denial or on edge waiting for a significant triggering event before they act. And when they do, preparedness suppliers, warehouse retailers and numerous provision dealers will be inundated.

I and numerous other observers of current events don’t ask if a catastrophe or serious events will happen – but when? Then we ask:

  • 1. How long will it last?
  • 2. How devastating will it be?
  • 3. How will the population cope with a dramatic lifestyle change if scenarios are dramatic?
  • 4. How many will be prepared?
  • 5. What will those who are not prepared do, and who will they rely upon?
  • 6. What repressive and draconian measures will the government implement?
  • The unknown consequences of the myriad of potentially devastating scenarios being discussed currently are not so easily resolved nor are the timing markers so easily recognized. There is so much uncertainty associated with current events that folks are either in denial or on edge waiting for a significant triggering event before they act. And when they do, preparedness suppliers, warehouse retailers and numerous provision dealers will be inundated.

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C.  The #1 Preparedness Question – What’s Your Scenario? (Why?)
13 Oct 2012, learntoprepare.com, by Denis Korn
Pasted from:  http://learntoprepare.com/2012/10/the-1-preparedness-question-whats-your-scenario-why/

This is such an important question to answer when engaging in preparedness planning that I felt it necessary to examine it more carefully. It is the first question in my 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning, listed under 12 Foundational Articles for Preparedness Planning (as you can see I like the number 12).

Before I proceed with this topic I want to share some insights on the current state of fears and concerns I hear people discussing.

guide disaster formsIt is no secret that the societal, financial and moral issues of our time are wreaking havoc on the lives of most Americans. While at each election, the parties proclaim their election to be the most important of the era, what we currently are experiencing is that this statement is finally true. Not that the outcome will necessarily change the fundamental problems underlying our society and its governance, but that the results will indicate how really difficult true transformation will be. I am very passionate about my concerns for our country and the future for my children and grandchildren. I have never seen such blatant in-your-face displays of revolt, rage and lying by those who are ignorant, self-serving and delusional (a strong word yet in my opinion accurate).

Our leadership, corporate ethics, cultural morality and attitude towards truth, human compassion and right action has been so corrupted and dishonored that it will take a Divine act to significantly transform us and set us on the right path. Earnest prayer is essential! Over the course of the next few months we will see how difficult it will be during the times that lie ahead, and as it relates to this blog site – how can we be prepared?

Steve Wynn, a very successful developer and casino operator, was asked for his assessment of the current business climate. His answer included this statement, “…And I have to tell you, Jon, that every business guy I know in the country is frightened of Barack Obama and the way he thinks.” This response mirrors my experience in talking with many small business owners, and is an exact duplication of the circumstances surrounding the 1980 election between Jimmy Carter, incumbent and Ronald Reagan, challenger. The business climate was terrible (I was in the outdoor recreation and preparedness industry as a business owner at that time), and whatever one’s political viewpoint, the perception of a pro-business and competent President was critical in turning the decline around. This is not a political blog, so I will not dwell on the politics. However, I cannot turn my back on the obvious – too much is at stake.

The perception of the capability and aptitude of our leadership to instigate real change will have a dramatic effect on the course of events in the short term. For the long term, the fundamentals must be transformed.

Let me be frank, I am a small business owner who has owned various businesses for 41 years, and if we don’t elect leadership who will instill confidence and trust and initiate real reform for We The People during these darkest of days – we’re screwed!

Here is the entire question #1 of the 12 Crucial Questions:
What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies?
This is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough. While many people find it difficult to honestly assess potential uncomfortable and “fearful” possibilities, wasting time and resources on inadequate and ineffectual provisions can be detrimental to your health or possibly your life. Don’t be caught up in slick advertisements, fraudulent claims or irrelevant personality endorsements. I have seen them all – do your due diligence!

  • What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life?
    Now starts the process of being specific and increasingly focused. Honesty is essential – this is no time for wishful thinking and denial.
  • Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?
    An actual physical list is vital in answering this question. Here you will begin to determine specific provisions you will need. You will have a broader perspective of available items required for your scenarios.
  • Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?
    Depending on where you live, temperatures, rain, snow and other weather conditions can vary significantly. Cold weather preparedness is especially important. The anticipated duration of your scenario might require preparing for multiple seasons and conditions.
  • Is your family more susceptible to certain emergencies?
    Depending on where you live or where you might need to relocate will determine unique potential issues. Possible hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, tornadoes, fire, riots, loss of electricity, lack of water, lack of essential medications are just some events that might affect your preparedness planning
  • How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine? Work or livelihood?
    If you scenarios are relatively minor and isolated, then of course there will be a minimum of inconvenience. If however, your scenarios are more impactful, severe, regional or nationwide and of longer duration, then you are looking at a significant disruption in routine and possibly a substantial lifestyle change.
  • How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm?
    Many folks don’t welcome the notion that a significant emergency or disaster will create a dangerous environment with animals, gangs or groups of ill-intentioned people who can inflict injury. Where you live will determine the degree of concern. Those who are responsible for their own welfare and the protection of their family will need to reflect on this question with seriousness. Protection devices are numerous and diverse, consider the appropriate response for your anticipated scenarios.

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 D.  9 Survival Items You Should Always Have In Your Car
10 June 2013, OffTheGridNews.com, written by: Travis P- Extreme Survival
Pasted from: http://www.offthegridnews.com/2013/06/10/9-survival-items-you-should-always-have-in-your-car/

In my home I have over a dozen firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, shelves and shelves of food, enough water to drink for weeks, and a two rucksacks packed to last seventy-two hours should this all be compromised.

Now how useful is all this if I’m not home when things fall apart? It’s no good to me at all if I’m thirty miles away and traffic is halted… or if a hurricane hits and I’m stranded. In addition, if a bridge washes out or I crash in the middle of nowhere, I might need a survival kit. As I discussed in last week’s article, I almost always have either a shotgun or my concealed handgun on me or in my car or truck, but what about other supplies? A lot of things can happen, and my survival gear may not be at hand.

So is the easiest answer to simply throw one of those seventy-two-hour bug-out bags in my car or truck? Well that’s a good idea, but not very practical for riding around with every day. These rucks are pretty big, and they won’t work well with strollers, car seats, work stuff, and trying to fit myself and others in my vehicles, and I can’t toss it in the bed of my truck without worrying someone will swipe it.

So that’s where the “get home bag” comes into play. Some people may see it as a smaller bug out bag, but I much prefer calling it the “get home bag”. The main difference between the get home bag and my bug out bag is size. My two bug out bags will last my family 3 days comfortably and can be stretched to five days if we have a good water source. My get home bag is more customizable in terms of food and water, and how long they need to last.

I’ll address those two first.
Food and water are critical, and the situation will vary on how much you need. So first I put a 24 count case of 20 ounce bottled water in my trunk. It fits perfectly on the floor, under my son’s car seat. That room is wasted anyway since he is rear facing. It doesn’t leave room for the mentioned stroller or tools, but there is enough for the case of water.
I also have a Camelbak hydration system, and a Nalgene bottle. I can fill both up and carry as many additional water bottles as I believe I’ll need for the trip home. I have loved these hydration packs ever since the first time I was issued one in the military. It’s an excellent way to carry water, easy to carry, and leaves your pockets and pack free for other things.

For the food portion, I keep six civilian versions of the military MREs. I have plenty of access to military MREs, but the civilian MREs are much better tasting, last longer [5years as listed at Amazon-Mr Larry], and I know the date of production. They also pack more stomach-friendly foods than the military versions. I field strip the MREs and tape them tightly together with duct tape for compact packages. I also have quite a few bags of sealed beef jerky and high fat protein bars. This all fits in easily with the spare tire in the trunk of the car.

So now that my food and water are in place, I can take or leave whatever I need. Remember this isn’t to last you forever, just enough to get you home. I feel I’ve over-packed, but it fits well so there is no point in taking anything out.

Now, as I write this, I’m building the actual get home bag portion of this. I didn’t buy anything special to build this; I used what I had laying around. I will honestly probably buy a few things for this kit in the future (and drive my wife a little crazier). Most of the items are extras I hang on to, but quality items none the least.

First off, my personal number one rule of survival is to always have a knife, and a good knife at that. I packed a Spyderco Enuff Sheepfoot. The Enuff Sheepfoot is a small fixed blade with a sturdy Kydex holster. I like Spyderco knives, and this little one wasn’t much use in my tool box, so into the bag it went. Next I tossed an extra small, folding knife in the bag (it’s a small, cheap Smith and Wesson folding knife).

Next was twenty feet of paracord, braided to make it more compact. Also known as 550 cord  (for its resistance), 550 could also be the number of uses it has. A good strong cord can do anything from make snares to fashioning a lean-to.

Next up was a good strong, metal framed, LED flashlight, and a Gerber headlamp. Neither of these are expensive Surefires, but they’re dependable and water resistant. Along with these are, of course, extra batteries to keep them lasting a few days. I may add a cheap crank flashlight to this mix as well.

One of the most important series of items is the medical supplies. This is a basic individual first aid kit. I packed a compression bandage, two triangle bandages, a cinch tight, some band aids, Betadine solution, gauze, and a burn dressing. I also included a flask of liquor (high proof), for cleaning wounds and if necessary, for starting fires.

Speaking of fires, I packed a good outdoor lighter, water resistant matches, and a cheap fire starter. Three different ways to start a fire is a good place to start. Fire can cook and purify water, as well as act as a signaling device.  It’s just as important as water because it will purify water too. On this note I’m also packing a military metal canteen cup in which to boil water. I’m also packing a packet of a dozen Micropur tablets, each capable of purifying a liter of water.

I have a few miscellaneous items to toss in there as well. First are two rolls of tape, one electrical and one duct tape. Tape is another item that has a million uses. I also threw in a D ring, just because you never know. I also tossed in three glow sticks—blue, yellow, and red—that will each last 8 hours. These can be used for signaling as well as lights. {I’d add a few items the author of this article hasn’t mentioned, ie.: cheap thermal blanket, poncho, insect repellant, gloves and stocking cap or brimmed hat, depending on time of year and location. Also more apt to carry a 1/2 lb or larger canister of Bear grade pepper spray, than a gun, for this two hour to over night emergency. Mr. Larry).

Now the last piece of gear I’m bringing is probably the most important—the gun. I had a hard time choosing a weapon; I decided that the weapon needed to be concealable, adaptable, and powerful. I ended up choosing the Taurus Judge. I chose the Judge for a few reasons. First off, it is powerful enough to deal with any man or critter I will encounter. I can also load a variety of different shots for close range snake dispatching and small game hunting. I packed a box of Federal .410 handgun No. 4, a box of number 7, and 15 Winchester .45 colt Winchester PDX, and ten double-aught buck. I have a total of 75 rounds for this weapon. This weapon will compliment my everyday concealed handgun, a .45 acp 1911 Commander, with two eight-round magazines.

Of course I packed my favorite holster, a Blackhawk Serpa, with a paddle attachment. I love the Serpa for the Judge. It holds the weapon high, is easy to conceal, and it also holds the heavy weapon really well.

The actual pack I use is a military surplus “butt” pack. The butt pack was used on 782 gear as a patrol pack to carry food, tarp, or whatever a soldier needed on patrol that day. I rigged mine up with an old two-point sling to act as a messenger bag (aka “man purse”). The butt pack is tough and lightweight, just big enough to fit everything, and still stays small and convenient.

The small get home bag is a pretty handy little bag to keep in any vehicle. The bag is perfect for a short survival situation and cost me nearly nothing to build. It takes up only a small amount of room in my trunk, or behind the seat in my truck. Like my bug out bags, I’ll be changing and upgrading it constantly, and it will become a permanent addition in my vehicle.

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The amount of gold or silver savings you should have

(Survival Manual/7. Warehouse / The amount of gold or silver savings you should have)

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What to Do When – Not If – Inflation Gets Out of Hand.
4 Sept 2012, Financial Sense.com, by Jeff Clark
Pasted from <http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/jeff-clark/what-do-when-not-if-inflation-gets-out-hand&gt;

“The cheek of it! They raised the price of my favorite ice cream.

Actually, they didn’t increase the price; they reduced the container size.

I can now only get three servings for the same amount of money that used to give me four, so I’m buying ice cream more often.

Raising prices is one thing. I understand raw-ingredient price rises will be passed on.

But underhandedly reducing the amount they give you… that’s another thing entirely. It just doesn’t feel… honest.

You’ve noticed, I’m sure, how much gasoline is going up.

Food costs too are edging up.

My kids’ college expenses, up.

Car prices, insurance premiums, household items – a list of necessities I can’t go without. Regardless of one’s income level or how tough life might get at times, one has to keep spending money on the basics. (This includes ice cream for only some people.)

According to the government, we’re supposedly in a low-inflation environment. What happens if price inflation really takes off, reaching high levels – or worse, spirals out of control?

That’s not a rhetorical question. Have you considered how you’ll deal with rising costs? Are you sure your future income will even keep up with rising inflation?

Be honest: will you have enough savings to rely on? What’s your plan?
If price inflation someday takes off – an outcome we honestly see no way around – nobody’s current standard of living can be maintained without an extremely effective plan for keeping up with inflation.

It’s not that people won’t get raises or cost of living adjustments at work, nor that they will all neglect to accumulate savings.
It’s that the value of the dollars those things are in will be losing purchasing power at increasingly rapid rates. It will take more and more currency units to buy the same amount of gas and groceries and tuition. And ice cream.
I’m not talking science fiction here.
When the consequences of runaway debt, out-of-control deficit spending, and money-printing schemes come home to roost, it’s not exactly a stretch to believe that high inflation will result.

We need a way to diffuse the impact this will have on our purchasing power. We need a strategy to protect our standard of living.
How will we accomplish this?
I suspect you know my answer, but here’s a good example. You’ve undoubtedly heard about the drought in the Midwest and how it’s impacted the corn crop. The price of corn has surged 50% in the past two months alone.
Commodity analysts say the price could rise another 20% or more as the drought continues.

While the price of gold constantly fluctuates, you would have experienced, on average, no inflation over the last 30 years if you’d used gold to purchase corn. Actually, right now, it’d be on the cheap side.
When you extrapolate this to other food items – and virtually everything else you buy – it’s very liberating. Think about it: gold continues its safe-haven role as a reliable hedge against rising inflation.
I believe that those who save in gold will experience, on average, no cost increases in the things they buy and the services they use.
Their standard of living would not be impacted.

I think this kind of thinking is especially critical to adopt when you consider that supply and demand trends for gas and food dictate that prices will likely rise for a long time, and perhaps dramatically.
So how much will you need to make it through the upcoming inflation storm and come out unscathed?

Like all projections, assumptions abound. Here are mine for the following table. I’m assuming that:
•  The price of gold, on average and at a minimum, tracks the loss in purchasing power of whatever currency you use, and that it does so from current prices. Given gold’s history, this is an easy assumption to make.
•  Gold sales, over time, capture the gain in gold and silver so that your purchasing power is preserved. (This doesn’t mean I expect to sell at the top of the market; I expect we’ll be selling gold as needed – if gold has not itself become a widely accepted currency again.)
•  We pay taxes on the gain. This will decrease our net gain, but there should still be gains. In the famous Weimar Germany hyperinflation, gold rose faster than the rate of hyperinflation.

To calculate how much we’ll need, I looked at two components, the first being average monthly expenses. What would we use our gold and silver for? From corn to a house payment, it could be used for any good or service. After all, virtually nothing will escape rising inflation. Here are some of my items: groceries, gas, oil changes and other car maintenance, household items, eating out, pool service, pest service, groceries and gas again, eating out again, vitamins, movie tickets, doctor appointments, haircuts, pet grooming, kids who need some cash, gifts, and groceries and gas yet again. Groceries include ice cream, in my case. How many ounces of gold would cover these monthly expenses today?

And don’t forget the big expenses – broken air conditioner, new vehicle, vacation… and I really don’t think my daughter will want to get married at the county rec hall. How many ounces of gold would I need to cover such likely events in the future?
The point here is that you’re probably going to need more ounces than you think. Look at your bank statement and assess how much you spend each month – and do it honestly.

The other part of the equation is how long we’ll need to use gold and silver to cover those expenses. The potential duration of high inflation will dictate how much physical bullion we need stashed away. This is also probably longer than you think; in Weimar Germany, high inflation lasted two years – and then hyperinflation hit and lasted another two. Four years of high inflation. That’s not kindling – that’s a wildfire roaring through your back yard.

So here’s how much gold you’ll need, depending on your monthly expenses and how long high inflation lasts.

Every corn-based product on the grocery shelf will soon take a lot more dimes and dollars to buy. But wait – what if I used gold to buy corn?

If my monthly expenses are about $3,000/month, I need 45 ounces to cover two years of high inflation, and 90 if it lasts four years. Those already well off or who want to live like Doug Casey should use the bottom rows of the table. How much will you need?

Of course many of us own silver, too. Here’s how many ounces we’d need, if we saved in silver.

A $3,000 monthly budget needs 1,285 ounces to get through one year, or 3,857 ounces for three years.

I know these amounts probably sound like a lot. But here’s the thing: if you don’t save now in gold and silver, you’re going to spend a whole lot more later.
What I’ve outlined here is exactly what gold and silver are for: to protect your purchasing power, your standard of living.
It’s like having your own personal financial bomb shelter; the dollar will be blowing up all around you, but your finances are protected
.

And the truth is, the amounts in the table are probably not enough. Unexpected expenses always come up. Or you may want a higher standard of living. And do you hope to leave some bullion to your heirs?
It’s sobering to realize, but it deserves emphasis: if we’re right about high inflation someday hitting our economy…

Most people don’t own enough gold and silver.
If you think the amount of precious metals you’ve accumulated might be lacking, I strongly encourage you to put a plan in motion to save enough to meet your family’s needs.

We have top recommended dealers in BIG GOLD, ones we’ve vetted that are trustworthy and have highly competitive prices. We also recommend a service that will deduct whatever amount you chose from your bank account and buy bullion for you automatically. And now, given how concerned we’ve been about the inflation that’s coming, we’ve actually started our own service. You can check it all out in the current issue of BIG GOLD, risk-free. I can tell you that purchase premiums are incredibly low, due to a proprietary system that bids your order out to a network of dealers that compete for your business. We’re already using it, and the response from other investors has been tremendous.

Whatever plan you adopt, my advice is to make sure you have a meaningful amount of bullion to withstand the firestorm that’s almost mathematically certain to occur at this point. And now you know exactly how much gold you’re going to need.

See this article at:

<http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/jeff-clark/what-do-when-not-if-inflation-gets-out-hand&gt;

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Experiences in living without electricity

(Survival Manual/5. Energy/ Experiences in living without electricity)

Tempers flare over 6 days of Connecticut power outages
4 Nov 2011,  Associated Press, By Michael Melia
<http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OCTOBER_SNOW?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-11-04-19-00-14&gt;

Hartford, Conn. (AP) — Tempers are snapping as fast as the snow-laden branches that brought down power wires across the Northeast last weekend, with close to 300,000 Connecticut customers still in the dark and the state’s biggest utility warning them not to threaten or harass repair crews.
Angry residents left without heat as temperatures drop to near freezing overnight have been lashing out at Connecticut Light & Power: accosting repair crews, making profane criticisms online and suing. In Simsbury, a hard-hit suburban town of about 25,000 residents, National Guard troops deployed to clear debris have been providing security outside a utility office building.
At a shelter at Simsbury High School, resident Stacy Niezabitowski, 53, said Friday she would love to yell at someone from Connecticut Light & Power but hadn’t seen any of its workers.

“Everybody is looking for someplace to vent – not a scapegoat, just someplace to vent your anger so somebody will listen and do something,” said Niezabitowski, who was having lunch at the shelter with her 21-year-old daughter. “Nobody is doing anything.”
The October nor’easter knocked out power to more than 3 million homes and business across the Northeast, including 830,000 in Connecticut, where outages now exceed those of all other states combined. Connecticut Light & Power has blamed the extent of the devastation partly on overgrown trees in the state, where it says some homeowners and municipalities have resisted the pruning of limbs for reasons including aesthetics.

The company called the snowstorm and resulting power outages “a historic event” and said it was focused on getting almost all power back on by Sunday night. [Note what should already be obvious, ‘historic events’ happen, that’s why you should be prepared. Mr Larry]
For some residents still dealing with outages, no excuse is acceptable.

In Avon, a Farmington Valley town where 85 percent of customers were still without power on Friday, town manager Brandon Robertson said he faulted CL&P for an “absolutely unacceptable and completely avoidable” situation. He said the high school that is being used as an emergency shelter was still running on a generator. Although public works crews had cleared most of the town roads, he said, more than 25 still were blocked as they waited for CL&P crews to clear power lines.

“Our residents are angry. We’re angry,” he said. “It’s just really shocking.”
The person who has taken the brunt of the public scorn is CL&P’s president and chief operating officer, Jeffrey D. Butler. He has been appearing with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at daily news briefings, but he was left to face a grilling by the media on his own Thursday night when the governor left the room after criticizing the slow pace of power restoration.

Butler said he was sorry so many residents have been left without power for so long during the chilly nights. He said Friday that his own house in the Farmington Valley has been without power since a generator failed, and he urged customers to remember the extent of the damage. [Basically, if it’s much more than the average storm, the public may have to fend for themselves. Mr Larry]
“People need to keep in perspective the magnitude of damage,” he said.

The outages have driven thousands of people into shelters in New England and have led to several deaths, including eight in Connecticut.
In North Brookfield, Mass., an 86-year-old woman was found dead Thursday in her unheated home, and her 59-year-old son was taken to a hospital with symptoms of hypothermia, subnormal body temperature. The local fire chief said it was unfortunate they had not reached out to authorities or neighbors for help.

In New Jersey, authorities said fumes from a gasoline-powered generator are believed to have caused the deaths of an elderly couple discovered hours before electricity was restored to their home in rural Milford, near Pennsylvania, on Thursday evening.
For many without power, the past week has been a blur of moving between friends’ homes or hotel rooms with occasional visits to their own houses to feed pets and check, in vain, for electricity.

Glastonbury resident Alison Takahashi, 17, said she has bunked with friends and, for a few nights, with her parents in a hotel 45 minutes away, the only opening they could find after the storm. She said her brother, a high school freshman, also has moved like a nomad between friends’ homes all week, heading to the next when he worried he’d started wearing out his welcome.

“The cellphones are our life lines right now,” said Takahashi, a Glastonbury High School senior. “It’s the only way to know where everybody is, and if you forget your charger and your phone is dead, you can’t reach anybody.”
Some Connecticut residents have vented their frustration through dark humor on the Internet, turning to social media websites to ridicule the utility – often with profanity. One person tweeted: “Really (pound)CL&P? A hamster on a wheel would be a better power source.”

A few particularly irate power customers have taken their anger out on utility crews.
CL&P spokeswoman Janine Saunders said some hostile customers have approached the crews, but she declined to provide details. A police officer posted outside the utility’s office building in Simsbury along with a National Guard soldier said line crews had been threatened and they wanted to make sure people could complain without letting things get out of hand.

The utility urged the public via Twitter not to harass or threaten the line workers.
Saunders said the utility understands what people are going through and has stressed to customer service employees that they need to be empathetic.
“If people want to vent, call us, see us on Facebook,” she said. “We’re doing our best to try to respond to people and answer questions in those medium. But let the folks out in the field do their job.”

In Massachusetts, where tens of thousands of customers were still without power, the National Grid said in a statement that there have been “only a couple isolated incidents” and that most customers have been thanking crews for their work: “They are demonstrating their appreciation by bringing crews coffee and food.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick asked state utility regulators on Friday to conduct a formal investigation into how the state’s major power companies prepared for and responded to the outages.
In Connecticut, CL&P has promised to restore power to 99 percent of its 1.2 million customers by Sunday night. Butler, the president, said more than 1,740 crews were working and the utility was prioritizing schools and polling sites for elections on Tuesday. [Prioritize schools and polling sites ahead of homes?]

Simsbury resident Chris Gauthier, 47, said he was frustrated the power lines weren’t maintained better before the storm, but he said he was too busy to worry about who to blame. Every day, he wakes up before the rest of his family to start a fire in his den’s fireplace. He and neighbors were clearing a dozen fallen trees around his house with hand saws Friday as National Guard troops removed debris from the street.
“I have better things to do than dwelling on who’s to blame and stuff like that,” he said. “There are trees to clear and these guys (his three children) to feed and keep warm.”

First Selectman Mary Glassman, of Simsbury, said many homes are still not reachable by car because of downed trees and power cables, and officials are concerned for the residents’ safety as people in cold houses resort to driving across power lines to seek shelter elsewhere.
“We’re concerned people are getting to their wits’ end,” she said.

Some business owners already were planning to pursue compensation from CL&P for their losses.
In Canton, Asylum Hair Salon owner Scott Simmons filed a negligence lawsuit against the utility to make up for $1,000 in lost business from Saturday to Wednesday. He said other businesses owners who still don’t have power are taking a much bigger hit.
“I just think it was completely mishandled,” Simmons said of CL&P’s response to the outages.
A CL&P spokeswoman declined to comment on Simmons’ claims.
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B.  Life Without Electricity in a Semi-Tropical Climate
May 13, 2011 , Lynn M.
<http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/05/life_without_electricity_in_a.html&gt;

We are preppers. I love reading the prep/survival books. There’s so much information out there and so many people involved in prepping now, there’s just no reason to not do it! We learned from experience that you can never be over prepared. Since 2004 I’ve learned how to store food for the long-term, how to filter water (okay, I’ll give credit to my Berkey on that one), I’ve learned about bug out bags and how to build a fire with a flint, but what I learned the most from was living for more than two weeks without electricity after hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma. Even though we were only thinking hurricane preparedness then, we were still leaps and bounds beyond most of our neighbors.

The obvious things that one can’t miss are non perishable food and water. You’d be surprised how many people wait until a hurricane warning to stock up on these basics. Once a hurricane is within 3 days of hitting, the stores get crazy and empty out. Shopping during that time is no longer an option for us, we’re prepared far in advance. The only food I can see getting right before a storm is bread (although we stock up and freeze bread when it’s on sale) and fresh fruits and veggies. When a warning is issued water is the first to go, then canned soups, tuna, Spam, etc. Let me tell you folks, eating soup when its 98 degrees with 98 percent humidity is not appetizing. We have to think about what we’d normally eat and work with that. I stock up on canned meats and fruits and veggies. We have an extra freezer stocked with meat. Unfortunately, during Hurricane Frances the storm lingered for 3 days over our area. We could not run the generator during the storm. The power went out immediately and all of our meat was lost by the time the storm passed. So stocking up the fridge and freezer’s a great idea but in the end you could lose it all. We regularly eat tortillas of all kinds, so I have a stock of masa and a tortilla press. Tortillas can be cooked on a skillet over a grill in no time at all. Speaking of the grill, we have at least four ways of cooking outside and only two of those require gas. We have many propane tanks (I’m not even going to tell you how many, it’s almost embarrassing!). But we also have a charcoal grill and a fire pit, with wood stocked up for fuel if needed. The wood needs to be covered or brought in during a storm so it doesn’t get soaked or blown away.

So food and water, obvious, but how to live without electricity? Well folks, that’s where the rubber meets the road. The everyday little things soon become a chore. Take brushing your teeth for instance. When no water comes out of the faucet it’s a little more complicated. Not only is there no running water, but because we are on city sewer (and remember, no electricity) only minimal waste can go down the drain. Basically because whatever you put down the drain could potentially come back into the home once the power goes back on. This happened to several neighbors, but not us. The water that we store is not just for drinking. After a storm we take a 5 gallon bucket and fill it, halfway or so, cover it and put it on the back porch. This is where we get water to brush our teeth and wash ourselves. All the dirty water is poured into a corner of the yard.

We did allow for toileting inside but only flushing when necessary. Again water is needed for flushing and you can see our supply dwindling as I type. Washing not only ourselves but dishes also needed to be done outside. We set up a table and again a 5 gallon bucket of water for our outdoor wash area. We used a lot of paper and plastic but some things still needed to be cleaned (pans, pots, etc). Whenever possible I used just cold water, soap and bleach, but with very grimy stuff we’d boil water on the grill and wash dishes in that. I added bleach to every wash load just to keep the germs minimal. That’s just breakfast folks. Now, I’m going to admit, after a few days my husband hooked the generator up to the water pump and we were able to bathe and have water from the outside faucet but it’s very hard water, normally used for irrigation only. It’s not potable but can be used for bathing and washing. Again, it had to be done outside which was fine because we actually have an outside shower. Only cold water though. We were able to have a little warm water by hooking up a hose to the faucet and laying it on the roof. The heat from the sun warmed what was in the hose. It was good for a quick shower and I do mean quick.

A normal day was extremely hot and humid, we were inundated with biting flies and mosquitoes and we were typically dirty and very tired. Having decent screens on the windows was crucial as they were open all of the time. Bug spray helped but it made us feel dirty and grimy. I was not up on hand washing clothes at that time and the laundry pile was a nightmare. If I have to go through it again I would do things differently. I’d have two 5-gallon buckets, one for washing, one for rinsing and a hand washer. They look something like a plunger and are sufficient for hand washing shorts, underwear and tank tops. I’d also re-wear whatever possible so not to create so many dirty clothes. Now you may be wondering why we didn’t just hook up the generator to help take the edge off of the misery. We actually had the generator hooked up most of the time. It ran the fridge/freezer and a window air conditioner at night. Generators are great but they’re expensive to run and it’s important to be of the mindset that you may be entirely without electricity. Even the gas stations took several weeks to get up and running.

Being that the inside of the house was miserable, we spent a lot of time on our porch. It’s actually more of a deck, with privacy fencing surrounding us but no roof. My genius husband rigged a shade screen from material we had stored. That worked for giving us a shady area in which to clean and eat but it didn’t help with the bugs. I now have two mosquito nets stored away. If we have to do this again my husband can surely hang those to give us a protected area.

In the end we made it. My neighbors made fun of me when I washed our dishes outside but when the power came back on sewage didn’t back up into our house. We both missed a lot of work but managed to feed our family of four (my husband, myself, young teen daughter and a handicapped adult) and keep us clean and entertained. We played games at night before it got too dark. Bedtime came early. I put cute bandanas in our hair to keep it back and my daughter loved that. We put stickers on ourselves so as we tanned up (in the sun much more than usual) we had silly designs all over. We had a stash of special snack foods and kept our spirits up by joking around and not taking everything so seriously. When the power came back on after the first storm we had been over two weeks living primitively. I have to admit, I cried.
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C.  How do you live without electricity
Issue 73 Jan/Feb 2002, By Anita Evangelista
<http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/evangelista73.html>
It’s going to happen. Sooner or later, the power will go off, and you won’t know when (or if) it will come back on. This doesn’t have to be the work of evil-doers, either. It could be a sudden ice storm that brings down the power lines. It could result from other severe weather such as a tornado or hurricane, or from a disruption caused by faulty power company equipment, or even something as simple as a tree branch falling on your own personal segment of the grid. The effect is the same: everything electrical in your home stops working.

For most modern Americans, the loss of power means the complete loss of normalcy. Their lifestyle is so dependent upon the grid’s constancy that they do not know how to function without it. How do you cook a meal if your gas stove has an electric ignition? How do your children find their way to the bathroom at night if the light switches don’t work? How do you keep warm if your wood heat is moved through ducts by an electric fan? What do you do with a freezer full of expensive meat? How do you find out what is happening in your area with the TV and radio silent? What will you drink if your water comes from a system dependent on electrical pumps?

These are questions that both the Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency are asking people to seriously consider. Both of these agencies have suggested that preparations for three days without power are prudent commonsense actions that all Americans should now undertake.

We’ll look at these issues in the broad context of living without access to the grid, whether you’ve chosen to separate from it or whether the choice is made for you by outside forces. What you can do now to mitigate your difficulties if the power goes off in the future, and what you can do then to help keep your situation under control, will be the focus of this article.

Remember, too, that an important principle in all preparations is that you maintain as much “normalcy” in your lifestyle as possible. For example, if television is part of your relaxation and unwinding process, don’t assume you can easily do without it. The closer you can keep your daily routines to “the norm” for your family, the more easily you can deal with power outages.

There are five primary areas that are easily disrupted if the power goes off. Each of these is critical to daily survival, as well, so when making preparations for emergencies keep these in mind. In order of importance, they are: light, water, cooking, heating/cooling, and communication.

Light:  While living on our Ozark farm without the grid, we spent some time rising with the sun and going to bed when the sun set. This would probably have been a pretty healthy way to live, if everyone else in the world did the same thing. Our children’s bathroom needs didn’t stop when the sun went down, our neighbors figured that nighttime visits weren’t out of the ordinary, and those midnight raids on the pantry for crackers and peanut butter turned into fumble-fests. Sometimes the barking of our livestock guardian dogs meant strange predators were too close for comfort, somewhere in the countryside darkness. Light is the most important item on our Big Five list because without light we are not able to efficiently carry on the other activities of daily living.

The most simple and familiar form of emergency lighting is a flashlight. Do you have one that you could find in the dark, right now? If so, congratulations. You are among a very small percentage of Americans. Better yet if you have one for each member of your family, with fresh batteries, plus three extra sets of batteries for each flashlight. That should be your minimum “safe” number. Store your flashlight where you can quickly reach it in the dark night—under the mattress of your bed, for example. Each child old enough to walk should also have his or her own flashlight, and be taught how to use it.

Flashlights range in price from the 79 cent cheapie to the fancy multi-function $80 special. Consider a small 2-AA battery flashlight with a halogen bulb. These cost about $4-5 each, give an excellent clear white light, and are easily portable in a pocket or purse. Additionally, when we discuss communications later in the article, the most common battery used in these devices is also the AA, so your life will be simplified if you stick primarily to one type of battery and don’t have to buy various odd sizes for different needs.

Batteries wear out rapidly if your flashlights are used continuously: figure two changes per week of regular use. Alkaline batteries last longer, give a more powerful light, but cost more than regular batteries. Most rechargeable batteries are suitable for flashlights, but should be recharged when the light begins to dim a little. Don’t let them get completely drained. This means you would need several sets of rechargables for each flashlight (some would be recharging while you use the others).

Recharging can be done by means of a charger plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. These DC-powered rechargers can be found at auto supply stores and at Radio Shack for about $30 or less. Solar rechargers work slower but produce the same results for about $30.

Candles are available, slightly used, at garage sales and thrift stores (5 cents to 10 cents each or less), and some outlet stores like Big Lots have new candles for 25 cents. We have a cardboard box weighing 35 pounds that is filled with various sizes and shapes of candles. This would be about a year’s supply for my family. We’ve acquired them gradually, every time we found them inexpensively. They never go bad! Candles are easy to use and familiar. Most of us can adjust to using candles easily. The light is soft and wavering. You’ll need at least three candles if you hope to read by the light. If you have small children or indoor pets, care must be taken where you place them. Metal candle holders that hang on walls are probably the safest. Remember to place a heat proof plate underneath the holder to catch drippings. Save your wax drippings, too, to make more candles later.

Oil (kerosene) lamps produce a steadier light than candles. Department store oil lamps cost about $10 each and come in attractive styles. Lamp oil is about $3 per liter. A typical lamp will burn one to two cups of oil per night, so you would use about two liters each week per lamp. The light from these lamps is not quite adequate to read by unless it is placed very close, and the light does waver a little. A single lamp can provide enough light in a room so that you don’t bump into furniture, but two or three may be needed to provide good functional light. As with candles, if you have children, these lamps need to be placed securely and out of reach. The smell of burning oil (kerosene) can get heavy in a closed room so keep ventilation open. Keep an extra set of wicks ($2) and chimneys ($3) in case of breakage.

The Cadillac of oil lamps is the Aladdin Lamp. These run from $60 up to several hundred each. The light given off is as good as a 60-watt bulb, clear, and unwavering. You can read or do needlepoint by the light of one lamp. These burn the same oil or kerosene as typical lamps, but because they burn hotter, there is much less odor. Position these lamps so that they cannot accidentally be overturned, and so that the intense heat coming from the chimney won’t ignite something. Purchase an additional “mantle” (the light-giving portion of the lamp – $3), and chimney ($15), as backups.

Solar powered lamps ($80-$120) are typically small fluorescents, and can be run off of battery systems. It may take more than one day of bright sunlight to recharge these lamps, so you may need several—one to use, while others are recharging. The light is white and clear, good for area-lighting, and rather difficult to read by. Have extra fluorescent bulbs on hand, too.

Water: If you live in a town or city, the loss of power to homes and businesses probably will not immediately affect your water pressure, but it could affect the purification process or allow reverse seepage of contaminants into the lines. If, instead, your water comes from an electrically-powered home water pump, your water stops flowing the moment the power does. Either way, with the loss of power comes the loss of water (or, at least, clean water). Water that is free of bacteria and contaminants is so crucial to our survival that it should be a special concern in your preparations.

The easiest way to guarantee quality water is to store it right now. The important question is: how much? Both Red Cross and FEMA suggest a minimum of one gallon per day per person. This is an absolute minimum, and covers only your real drinking and cooking needs; bathing is out of the question.

The typical American currently uses around 70 gallons a day, taking a nice long hot shower, flushing the toilet several times, washing a load of laundry, letting the water run while brushing teeth, and for cooking and drinking. In a short-term emergency situation, only drinking and cooking water is crucial, but if that short-term incident drags out to weeks or months, daily consumption would rise to include bathing and clothes washing. And this presumes that the family has prepared a sanitary “outhouse,” so flushing isn’t needed. In that case, 5-10 gallons per day per person would be a more reasonable amount, with a weekly communal bath becoming the routine.

One to three-gallon jugs, direct from the supermarket, run about 60 cents to $2; these store easily under cabinets and counters. A few tucked into the freezer will help keep things cold if the power goes off. You can also store water inexpensively in large, covered plastic trash cans; they hold 36 to 55 gallons each. Refresh the water every two weeks, so it will be ready in case the power goes off. Kiddie swimming pools—a 12-foot wide, 36-inch deep pool holds 2500 gallons and costs about $250—also make excellent above-ground holding tanks. Buy a pool cover, as well, to keep bugs out.

Farm supply stores often sell “water tanks” made of heavy grade plastic. These can be partially buried underground to keep water cooler and less susceptible to mold and bacteria. These run about $1 per gallon of holding capacity, so a 350-gallon tank new will cost $350. Plan to filter and purify the water before use.

Collecting water can be done by hand with 5-gallon plastic buckets if you live near a river or stream (it must be filtered and purified before use). You can also divert rainwater off your roof, through the rain gutters and downspouts into plastic trash cans. If you live in the Midwest, Northwest, or East Coast, rainfall is adequate to make this your primary backup water source. West Coast, high desert, and mountain areas, though, won’t have sufficient rainfall to make this a reliable source.

A drilled well with an electric pump can be retrofitted with a plastic hand-pump for about $400 – $600. These systems sit side-by-side with your electric pump down the same well-shaft, and can be put to use any time the power is off. Typical delivery is about 2 gallons per minute, and pumping strength varies from 11 to 20 pounds—a good but not exhausting workout.

Water can be purified inexpensively. Fifteen drops of bleach (plain unscented) per gallon of water costs less than 1 penny, and ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide (3%) per gallon will also destroy bacteria. Twenty minutes of a hard, rolling boil will, too. Bleach is effective against both cholera and typhoid and has kept American water supplies safe for decades. The chlorine taste can be easily removed with a charcoal filter system (such as Brita Pitcher or Pur brands for home use, about $30).

British Berkefeld water filters, along with various other brands, are more expensive ($150-$250), but can filter and purify water indefinitely. Both eliminate bacteria, contaminants, and off-flavors. We’ve used a “Big Berkey” for four or five years, and it is a very reliable gravity-fed system. When shopping for filters, if they only offer “better taste” they won’t protect you from bacterial contaminants.

Noah Water System’s travel companion will work great in case of a power outage, or your water supply becomes undrinkable. The Trekker is a portable water purification unit. With the Trekker you can get water from any river, lake, or pond. It’s small enough to carry like a briefcase.

Cooking:  A person can survive indefinitely opening cold cans of beans for meals, but it wouldn’t be a very satisfying existence. In times of crisis, a hot meal goes a long way toward soothing the day’s troubles. The simplest way to heat a meal is the Boy Scout method: a couple of bricks or rocks set around a small outdoor fire, with the bean can propped over the flames. It’s low cost, and it works. However, the cook doesn’t have much control over the outcome.

Outdoor cooking of all kinds, including grilling and barbecuing, all work during emergency situations, provided you have the charcoal or wood (and matches!) needed to get the heat going. These are familiar methods, too, so family members don’t have to make a huge leap to accept these foods. It’s difficult to cook much more than meats and a few firm vegetables over open heat like this, though. Also, never use these devices in a confined space, as they emit carbon monoxide.

Campfire” cooking can lend itself to some baking, if you also have a cast iron Dutch Oven—a large, heavy, cast iron covered pot. Place a well-kneaded pound of bread dough into a heavily-greased or oiled Dutch Oven and put the cover in position. Make a hole or pot-sized well in the ash near the fire, and line this with glowing coals. Put about an inch of ash over the coals, and place the Dutch Oven into this. Now, pile about an inch of hot ash around the oven and cover with glowing coals, then another layer of ash to keep the heat in. Uncover and check your bread in about 35 minutes, it should be done.

Propane and butane camp stoves are so much like ordinary home stoves that there is no difference in the cooking results. Portable RV 2-burner propane stoves are often available used—mine cost $5 at a garage sale—and can even do pressure canning because the heat is consistent and reliable. A typical 20 pound propane cylinder, the kind used for barbeques, costs around $50 new, and a propane fillup is about $12. This will last for nearly a month of daily use. You’ll also need a feeder hose and pressure regulator for the stove, which can be prepared by your propane dealer for $20 or so.

Butane stoves are also portable and run off of a cylinder of the same kind of butane that is used in cigarette lighters. These stoves are $80-90 new, and cylinders are $5 and last for 8 hours of cooking.

General camp stoves (around $65 at department stores) operate on “stove fuel” (basically, propane in a small 1-pound cylinder – $3). A cylinder lasts for around 8 hours of cooking. You can also find camp stoves that will cook off of unleaded gasoline, and there are some that are “multi-fuel,” using either kerosene or gasoline—handy in case of a shortage of one fuel or the other. Use outdoors or on a covered porch to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in your home.

Solar cooking is another option, if you have plenty of unobstructed sunlight and someone who is willing to adjust the cooker to face the sun every half hour or so. A solar oven need be no more fancy than a set of nested cardboard boxes painted flat black on the inside with tempura colors, a sheet of window glass, and some aluminum foil glued to cardboard panels. Total cost for this, if you can scrounge leftover glass and cardboard, is about $1.

A solar oven design made with cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, and a piece of window glass. Interior of the box is flat black paint.

Place your food in a covered lightweight pan inside the box, prop it so the entire interior is exposed to the sunlight (about a 45-degree angle), cover with the sheet of glass (and tape the glass so it won’t slide), then prop the aluminum foil panels so that they reflect more sunlight down into the box. Move the box every 30 minutes so it maintains an even temperature. It will get hot fast, easily up to 325 degrees, and hold the heat as long as it faces the sun. Remember to use potholders when removing your foods! Our first solar oven had a black plastic trash bag as a heat-absorbing inner surface; it worked superbly until the plastic actually melted.
[I bought a Global Sun Oven with Thermometer for about $250. It’s a very efficient oven, cooking chicken and loaves of bread in the same amount of time as the kitchen stove’s oven. Google ‘Global Sun Oven’ or bring it up in Amazon.com; the manufacturer has a video showing its use. Mr Larry]

Keeping foods cool if the power goes out can be as simple as looking for shade, even under a tree. Some Ozarkers have partially buried old broken freezers in the shade of backyard trees, storing grains and winter vegetables inside. During the winter, your parked car will stay at the same temperature as the outside air—below freezing on those cold nights—so you can store frozen goods there safely. During the daylight hours, the car interior will heat up, though, if it’s in the sun. Park it in the shade of the house, or cover the windows and roof with a blanket to keep the interior cool.

Kerosene refrigerator/freezers are alternative appliances that will continue to function with the power off because they are “powered” by kerosene. Their cooling and freezing capacity is exactly the same as a regular refrigerator, and they come in the same colors. Typically, they are a little smaller than conventional ‘fridges and cost up to $1500, but they’ll last for decades with care.

Portable battery-powered refrigerators that keep your foods 40-degrees cooler than outside temperatures are available at most department store sporting-goods sections ($90). These run off of both DC and AC power, so they can be plugged into your car battery through the cigarette lighter outlet or into a solar power system.

What about that freezer full of expensive meat if the power goes off? First step is to cover the freezer with blankets to help retain the cold. Then, find dry ice (if everyone else in your town hasn’t already bought out the supply). Blanket coverings will keep a full freezer frozen for two days, and the addition of dry ice will prolong that to three or four days.

If power stays off, it’s time to eat and time to can the meat remaining. Canning low-acid foods like meat calls for a pressure canner ($90), canning jars ($6 for 12), a source of consistent heat (like a propane RV stove), and some skill. In considering your time requirements, it took me two days of steady canning to put a 230-pound pig into jars. Each quart jar holds 3 pounds of meat.

Heating and cooling: It’s a funny thing that even though we know winter is coming, we put off cutting our wood until after the first really cold night has chilled the house below comfort levels. But with the instability in the world today, it is sensible, and reasonable, to prepare well in advance of season changes. Putting in supplies a year ahead of time is a traditional farm practice, and it gives a cushion of safety against uncertain conditions.

Woodstove heating is more common, and comfortable to use, than it was two decades ago. New wood heaters run from $100 to several thousands, depending on materials, craftsmanship, and beauty. Better stoves hold heat longer and may have interior baffles that let you use less wood to produce more heat. Even so, the most basic metal-drum-turned-stove also works to heat a room or a house.

Heating a 3-bedroom home that is moderately insulated will use about 8-12 cords of wood throughout the winter. The size of a cord  is  about 8′ x 8′ x 2′, roughly a pickup truck bed loaded even with the top of the sides. Prices will vary between $65 per cord to $150, depending on the region and type of wood. Hardwoods, such as oak and walnut, and fruitwoods like apple and pear, burn better and longer than softwoods like poplar. Don’t use resinous woods, such as the pines, cedars, and spruces for the main heating—only as firestarters—because they burn too hot and fast and generate creosote. Better home insulation and better quality hardwoods will decrease the amount of wood you need to use.

If you plan to secure and cut your own firewood, be willing to acquire a good-quality chainsaw—any that cost below $200 will only give you grief. Keep an extra chain on hand. Use safety precautions, too: wear ear and eye protectors, heavy gloves, and don’t chainsaw alone. Cutting your own wood will decrease your heating costs significantly, but increase your labor. It typically takes us a full week of constant work to put up a winter’s worth of wood.

Woodstoves require heat-proof surfaces surrounding them, an insulated chimney pipe (about $90 per 3-foot section), and some building skills in order to install. Installation costs can equal or surpass the cost of the stove itself. Chimneys need to be thoroughly cleaned of the black crusty buildup, creosote, at least twice each year (and more often if you use the stove continuously).

Propane heaters that don’t need venting to outdoors are a relatively new product. A plain one ($200) can be mounted on the wall in the home’s main room, or more fancy models that look like built-in fireplaces complete with fake logs ($450) are available. You will need a propane tank, regulator, and appropriate copper lines, but these will all be installed by your propane company for a small charge. Propane has varied widely in cost from year to year, but typically runs around $0.95 to $1.30 per gallon.

Kerosene heaters ($120) are freestanding units that burn kerosene in a way that is something like a lamp—it uses a wick system and flames to provide heat. These are best used in areas that can be easily ventilated, because of the potential for buildup of carbon monoxide. Kerosene has a strong odor, as well. Kerosene costs about $1 per gallon or less (in quantity).

Solar heat can be “grabbed” anytime the light from the sun hits your house. Even in the dead of winter, the south-facing walls will feel noticeably warmer than the shaded north-facing ones. You can “store” the sun’s heat in any surface. Ceramic floor tiles, for instance, are excellent at retaining heat. So will a flat-black painted covered plastic trash can filled with water. If these surfaces are exposed to sunlight, say, indoors next to a south-facing window, they will absorb heat during the day. At night, with the window curtains closed, the surface will release heat slowly and steadily into the house.

One of the most efficient ways to heat is something else we have forgotten in the past 50 years—close off rooms that are not being used. If doors aren’t available, you can hang curtains in doorways (or even tack up a blanket, in a pinch), and keep your heat restricted to the room you are actually in. In an emergency situation, you can curtain up a room and set up a tent-like “den” for the family to snuggle in under blankets. Body heat alone will keep the den’s interior comfortable.

A “shepherd” or “camp” stove offered by Cabela’s catalog. It has a detachable shelf on the right, detachable five-gallon hot water tank on the left, and an oven sitting above the stove body. The whole thing breaks down and is portable. It cooks very nicely, too. Costs about $500 for all components, excluding stove pipes, and it can be bought piecemeal. The light in the upper left-hand photo is a lit oil lamp, placed to give light when using the stove.

Cooling a residence during a hot summer requires just as much thought and advance planning as winter heating does. Battery and solar-powered fans help keep air moving, windows can be shaded by fast-growing vines and pole beans, and—planning way ahead—fast-growing trees like poplars can be planted on the house’s south side to shade the yard.

In areas where wind blows routinely in the summer, you can soak a sheet, ring it out, and hang it in front of a breezy window. The air passing through the window is cooled as it moves against the wet sheet, and helps to cool the house. Remember that heat rises, so make it easy for too-hot air to escape from the attic and upper floors by opening windows and vents.

Communications: In a time of distress, keeping in contact with family and knowing about local and national situations is important to maintaining both continuity and confidence. In general, telephone systems are on a different system than the electrical power grid, but they can be disrupted if there are earth movements or as the result of terrorist activities.

During the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, we kept informed about the damages by watching a 4-inch black and white TV set (bought used for $25) that was plugged into our car battery through the cigarette lighter. At night, we heard reports from the BBC via a 4-AA battery-powered shortwave radio ($70 from Radio Shack). I consider these two devices—shortwave and TV—the required minimum communication/ information devices during a crisis, especially if the phone system is down.

Satellite internet hookups, using a battery-powered laptop, could be an excellent communication tool, both for accessing news and for staying in touch with friends and colleagues by email.

Citizens Band (CB) radios are excellent tools, as well. These portable devices can be carried with you into the field and used to stay in contact with neighbors and family when you are away from the house. Basic models run $60—you’ll need at least two—and ones with greater ranges and features are more costly. They’ll run on 6 to 8 (or more) AA batteries.

“Family Radios” are FM-band devices that have a short-range, about ¼ mile ($60 for a pair). These are handy for keeping family in contact during outings, when traveling in a caravan, or when one member needs to go out to the barn during a storm. They run on 2 AA batteries.

Keeping things normal: Even though circumstances may change in the world, we can choose how we wish to react. We can live in a state of helpless anxiety—or control what we can. We can control our responses, in part, by maintaining as much normalcy in our lives as possible.

If your family relaxes in the evenings with a video, plan to continue doing that. Acquire a battery-powered TV/VCR combination, and make sure you have enough power sources to keep that going for at least two weeks. (If things get dicey, you can wean off the system in two weeks.) A cassette player or CD player with external speakers can provide relaxation and entertainment, and they run off of AA batteries as well.

Children have difficulty adjusting to sudden changes in their environment, so if you expect them to play board games if the power goes out, they should be comfortable with board games now. Keep routines consistent, arising at the usual time in the morning and going to bed as you have in the past. Prepare familiar meals with foods everyone enjoys. Have “fun foods” and goodies on hand. Remember to reach out to your neighbors and older folks who live nearby, and provide extras to help them, as well.
Use the knowledge you’ve gained, and your experience with non-electric living, to make your neighborhood a more secure and adaptable place.
.

D.  How To Survive Without Electricity after Doomsday 2012?
22 July 2009, blog.2012pro.com , by Gerard Le Flamand
<http://blog.2012pro.com/2012/how-to-survive-without-electricity-after-doomsday-2012&gt;

How to survive in a situation when some major crisis occurs and leave everybody without electricity for months or even years?
The electricity has only been a common household item in the last 50 or so years. Before that, people have survived for ages – so a lack of electricity for any duration of time is something that can be overcome. But for most modern Americans, the loss of power means the complete loss of normalcy. Their lifestyle is so dependent upon the grid’s constancy that they do not know how to function without it. How do you cook a meal if your gas stove has an electric ignition? How do you keep warm if your wood heat is moved through ducts by an electric fan? What do you do with a freezer full of expensive meat? How do you find out what is happening in your area with the TV and radio silent? What will you drink if your water comes from a system dependent on electrical pumps?

These are questions that both the Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency are asking people to seriously consider.

There are five primary areas that are easily disrupted if the power goes off. Each of these is critical to daily survival, as well, so when making preparations for emergencies keep these in mind. In order of importance, they are: light, water, cooking, heating/cooling, and communication.

Lighting: It wasn’t too long ago that people were active during the day and simply went to sleep when the sun went down. Candlelight dinners were the norm. So candles or oil lamps and matches are one option. Stock up on oil and have enough candles to get you through the catastrophic event. However they are limited in quantity. After doomsday in 2012 you probably will need to learn how to make candles or lamps by yourself from the natural products.

Another option is to purchase a couple of solar or mechanically powered torches. For example, solar-powered lamps. They are typically small fluorescents, and can be run off of battery systems. It may take more than one day of bright sunlight to recharge these lamps, so you may need several—one to use, while others are recharging. The light is white and clear, good for area-lighting, and rather difficult to read by. Have extra fluorescent bulbs on hand, too.

Water: If you have a rainwater tank, no electricity means that pumps would not work to bring the water to your tap. Sure, having a generator would be handy for a few days, or as long as you have fuel. The easiest way to guarantee quality water is to store it. The important question is: how much? Both Red Cross and FEMA suggest a minimum of one gallon per day per person. This is an absolute minimum, and covers only your real drinking and cooking needs; bathing is out of the question. Another question is: how to get fresh water then the storage is empty? You will need to find a source of water (it must be filtered and purified before use).

Cooking:  You could quite easily cook a meal using a little portable gas stove – either a barbecue style apparatus. But you’d obviously need gas. Outdoor cooking of all kinds, including grilling and barbecuing, all work during surviving situations, provided you have the charcoal or wood (and matches!) needed to get the heat going. Never use these devices in a confined space, as they emit carbon monoxide!

Not having electricity brings the added difficulty of food storage. The old-time refrigerator is a round hole three feet deep. Dig it in your yard (or special place in your bunker) line it with plastic and place a hard cover over it. This hole will keep food from spoiling due to its lower temperature. Most foods would have to be non-perishable, pantry items. For meats you could salt and dry them (also the life important skills after doomsday 2012 ). You could plant some fruit trees and grow your own vegetables (& herbs).

Heating and cooling: All of the heaters obviously need fuel. It can be woodstoves, propane heaters, kerosene heaters…
One of the most efficient ways to heat is something else we have forgotten in the past 50 years—close off rooms that are not being used. You can minimize the heat lost in the closed room (or bunker) so you actually wouldn’t use that much fuel on heating.

Solar heat can be “grabbed” anytime the light from the sun hits your house. Even in the dead of winter, the south-facing walls will feel noticeably warmer than the shaded north-facing ones. You can “store” the sun’s heat in any surface. Ceramic floor tiles, for instance, are excellent at retaining heat. So will a flat-black painted covered plastic trash can filled with water. If these surfaces are exposed to sunlight, say, indoors next to a south-facing window, they will absorb heat during the day. At night, with the window curtains closed, the surface will release heat slowly and steadily into the house.

Communications:  It would be very hard to maintain the communication between a large numbers of people simultaneously without electricity after doomsday of 2012. Communication relates to our phones, cell phones, televisions and the internet. Radios would be the primary source of communication, as they were before television. There are some radios that you can buy which rely on solar or mechanically generated power to operate.

(End of post)

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Filed under Survival Manual, __5. Energy

Food and water during SHTF

 (Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Food and water during SHTF)                  

RainManPost SHTF Food for thought
13 Sep 2013, TheSurvivalistBlog.net, by M.D. Creekmore
Pasted from: http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/post-shtf-food-for-thought/

This is a guest post by M. Dotson and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

We are in the post SHTF era, current timeframe, late spring/early summer. Electricity and water are still available and flowing for now. Stores have been picked clean and the population is beginning to get hungry. Most people aren’t working, but looking for food. The inner city population have begun the exodus out of their normal haunts in search of food. Their population is thinning due to the few police and determined resistance from homeowners, but they still present a huge danger. I don’t know how close I am to being right in this, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Pick this scenario apart so we all learn from it.

From your perspective…You and yours have managed to escape the immediate danger. You have bugged in with your food, weapons and knowledge in Suburbia, USA. Your kid and spouse has shown up at your door with their kids and the spouses parents wanting refuge. The kids in-laws cannot stay. You tell them they can stay the night, but they have to move on in the morning.

Next morning the electricity goes out. No problem for now, but how long will that last? You pick up your cell phone to call the problem in to the electric company. Great! They’re working on it, but there are issues everywhere you’re told. It may be a while before service is restored. After breakfast, the in laws of your kid make their teary goodbyes and leave.

Break out the handy-dandy solar cell phone recharger and set it outside in the sun. Check the landline phone and it’s still working. Starting to get warm so let’s get a drink of water… uh oh, no water now. No problem, you break out a jug of water from your stores to quench your thirst.

Curious, you move up and down your street, knocking on doors trying to find out if this water outage is local to you, or the immediate area, or the suburb, or the town. You don’t know all your neighbors, just the ones next door, a few doors down or across the street. Most people have left by now searching for food. Very few people come to answer the door. The few who do don’t know you and demand you leave their property immediately.

Returning to the house you enter a heated argument between the kid and their spouse. It has escalated to your spouse, as well. Why did the in laws get sent away? They have no place to go. That’s why they came here. You didn’t have to do that, there’s plenty of food. You’ve been preparing for years!! Wonderful!

It’s starting to get hot. The AC is off and everyone is cranky and sweating like crazy. Your bodies, used to the wonder of AC, has difficulties adjusting your core temperature and is trying to find balance. You’re hot and the only thing the body knows to do is sweat. AC is also the same thing that drove people inside so they didn’t get to know their neighbors on those warm summer nights. Folks used to sit on their front porch, go for walks or visit friends who had some cool lemonade. AC took care of that.

You have plenty of water, but with all the sweating, it’s going at an alarming rate. The toilets got flushed early in the day and now are not functional other than a container. Lid down, door closed and a towel at the bottom of the bathroom door to keep the smell down. You plan to use the water from the hot water tank to flush once a day. Urinate in the back yard. Girls over there behind the tarp, boys over there by the tree. There’s about 40 gallons of water in the tank. Takes about 3 or 4 gallons to flush the commode so you have ten days or so. Surely the water will be flowing again by then.

You call to find out when the water will be coming back on. You’re told that the electric water pumps will return to service when the electricity comes back on. When will that be? When the lights come on at your house you may get water then. The person hangs up on you angrily. They’re in worse shape than you. They didn’t prepare for this. Their kids are hungry, too, and they are only at work on promises of overtime pay when all this stuff settles down in the next day or two.

Several days go by and still no water or electricity. You have to make plans for the sake of your family. Flushing water from the hot water tank is low. You decide to raid the homes next to you, if the occupants are gone. You don’t consider it stealing, per se. The occupants aren’t going to use it, the only damage you’ll do is to break a window to gain entry and you’ll pay for that in silver or food. By now the water in the tanks is cooled off enough to supplement your drinking water supply. It’s going to rain so everyone is ready with a bar of soap, boys on one side of the house, girls on the other. You set out buckets and pans to catch as much as possible. You use suspended tarps to channel rainwater into anything that will hold water. You get to flush the toilets early today.

‘You gave up calling anyone because no one is manning the phones. The cell phone don’t work now – no service. The only service available to you is the landline and it’s worthless. It’s beginning to smell terrible in the house. The trash is piling up. You don’t want to waste water cleaning out all those empty #10 cans of food. You really don’t want to pile them outside to give away the fact you have food, so you put them in the garage. You have some solar ovens to cook with, but they don’t work so well on cloudy days. So, you make some rocket stoves out of the cans and use cardboard for fuel. Takes care of some of the smell and most of the combustible trash. You have to open windows to let the smoke out.

f&w food1You’re beginning to see activity in your neighborhood. Men are roaming the streets picking over the remains hoping to find some food. They’re kicking in doors in the middle of the night and taking what they can. Your house has been approached several times, but your faithful dog has alerted you every time. You met force with force. You’ve shot at a few and even hit one pretty hard judging by the blood trail you found the next morning. Makes you feel kinda queasy knowing you may have just killed a man, but it was him or you and you were protecting your family.

Late one night you hear your dog howl in pain. Running outside you see men have used a fishing rod and treble hook with a piece of meat. The dog ate the meat, they set the hook and had reeled the animal where they could club him to death. He was going to be several meals, otherwise they would have just used antifreeze or some other poison. You fire several shots to scare the men off.

You wait til morning to bury your friend. While digging the grave a shot rings out and a bullet misses you by mere inches. Retreating to the house, you post your family to have a 360 degree view of the outside of the house and surrounding area. A window is smashed in with a brick and the glass has lacerated your wife pretty badly. She’s bleeding profusely so you have to stitch her up. You break out the first aid kit, clean and dress the wound. You worry about infection. She’s in a great deal of pain and lost a lot of blood so all the self-defense training she has with guns, knives and clubs is pretty much useless for the time being.

More bricks come into the house through the windows. You see a man and open up on him, dropping him in the street. A shot is fired in your direction and ricochets off your homes’ brick siding. You holler out to the assailants that there are children in the house, you have no food and to leave you alone. You’re told to come out with your hands up, get into your vehicle and leave, now. You won’t be harmed.

f&w food2From my perspective….I’m hungry. I’ve been hungry before so used to it. I grew up poor and got mean quick. I was in a gang for a while but they’re mostly gone now. Only a few of us left. The only food we’ve been able to find is when we kick in doors out in the suburbs. Even then food is scarce. We caught a cat once and cooked him. Tasted like crap, but it filled the belly. One of the guys’ grandmothers used to live on a farm so she told us how to do it.

One night while ‘shopping’ at a house one of my guys got shot pretty bad. He died a few days later. We knew where the shot came from so we got to watching the place. Two men, two women, and a couple kids…piece of cake. They also have a dog, a big sucker. Gotta get rid of him before anything else. Hey, I know! I watched Swamp People once where they catch alligators with a big fishing hook. I bet it’d work on a stupid dog.

Went to Wal-Mart and got a big fishing pole. I found out they make some fishing hooks with three points called treble hooks. Then we found an old dead rat and chopped some meat off him for bait, just like in the show. I threw the bait into the backyard. That stupid dog found it and ate it whole. I reeled him in like a fish. He howled a couple of times, but we clubbed him good to shut him up. The old man of the house came running out shooting and yelling at us. We had to run. I didn’t think the dog would howl…the alligators didn’t.

Next morning I was on the roof of a house so I could see into their back yard. The old man came out with a shovel to bury the dog. I shot at him, but missed. My crew was watching the house from the street so we pretty much had the place surrounded. One guy threw a brick into a window. He heard a woman scream in pain. He didn’t know if had hit her or cut her with the broken glass, but everyone grabbed bricks and started throwing them into the windows.

Some shots came from the house and one of my guys went down. He didn’t move again. The old man is a pretty good shot so I open up on him, but miss again. I guess I should have practiced more. I ain’t too good a shot, but he has to be lucky all the time, I only have to be lucky once.

The old man yells out the window he ain’t got any food, but I know he’s lying. I can smell cooking food coming from his house now. I’ve smelled the odor of his cooking fire and seen the smoke coming out of his windows. Let’s see what happens if I offer him a deal….

 .

 B.  Hard core water conservation for when the taps run dry
21 Feb 2014, The DailySheeple, by Lizzie Bennett (Undergound Medic at http://undergroundmedic.com/)
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/hard-core-water-conservation-for-when-the-taps-run-dry_022014

f&w water

At this point drought conditions are devastating crops and even causing shortages of drinking water in California. Texas has also recently experienced a crippling drought that killed tens of thousands of cattle who had no access to drinking water. There are things other than drought that can cause a massive and rapid reduction in the amount of water we have available to us. Water will be a major problem post-collapse, we all know this, and we store water accordingly but we can never, ever have enough stored water to keep us going indefinitely. We are going to have to become very savvy about how we use what we have whilst still trying to maintain enough to drink, to maintain basic bodily hygiene and to prevent major contamination in our homes. This is going to be a major challenge, possibly the biggest challenge we will face in a collapse situation and anything we can do to seek out our supply will be a major boon in what will surely be very difficult times.

We all know the rule of three, three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. Assuming the air is good enough to breathe water becomes the first thing on the priority list. As much of this precious liquid as possible needs to be saved for drinking so what measures can we employ to make our water last longer and go further?

We all know a good bit about water conservation, showering with a friend, a brick in the toilet cistern and turning off the tap when cleaning out teeth, all saves on our usage. I am interested in what we can do when lowering our usage of what comes out of the tap is not enough, because nothing is coming from the tap.

Rainwater collection methods usually centre around a water butt collecting what comes off the roof, and this is the most effective way of collecting rainwater, but there are other ways. Every drop of rain that lands on your car, the pavement or anywhere else that’s not harvested for watering edibles, drinking or washing is wasted. Children’s paddling pools should be set upon any ground not used for growing, cheap car washing sponges can be put on  shed roofs, brick walls, children’s  play  equipment or anywhere else that will be hit by rain showers and these can be wrung out giving a decent amount to use elsewhere.

People living in low rainfall areas need to be much more mindful of having everything in place for when rain does occur than those of us living where it is pretty much guaranteed  on a regular basis. A decent rain storm or even a heavy shower can prove a Godsend if you are ready to collect it in any way you can.

Little of the rainwater that lands on a tree actually waters the roots of that tree, the branches cause it to drip onto the ground some distance from the trunk, and as little edible produce is grown in the shadow of a tree again the water is wasted. Plant edibles that like cooler shadier conditions in these areas to make better use of the land and the water that drips from the branches. Small raised beds work well as the soil is often impoverished in these areas. All varieties of lettuce do well in cooler conditions and their soft leaves prefer some shade.

Paper plates and plastic cutlery are often sited as they reduce the amount of water needed for washing up. This can be taken a step further by using dry sand to clean out saucepans and skillets as many people in desert countries do. Dry sand is put into and rubbed around a scraped out pot absorbing liquid and acting as a scourer to remove debris. Cleaning done the pot is left to dry out at which point any sand left behind is easily dusted out.

Removing the trap under the sink and placing a bucket underneath means no water at all is wasted transferring from one receptacle to another. A sponge stuffed up the pipe will filter out any debris. You can do several things with this water:

* Flush the toilet (with bleach added)
* Wash down outdoor areas soiled by pets (with bleach added)
* Water the garden
* Soak heavily soiled clothes to remove the bulk of the dirt (with laundry soap added)
* Mop hard floors(with bleach added)

Gardening is going to become the mainstay of survival post-collapse.  The growing season also tends to be the warmest time of year and much of the water we put on the garden is lost to evaporation. Weep pipes that allow water to constantly seep through their sides reduce this, but not enough in a situation where every drop saved may make the difference between life and death. Watering plants where they need it, under the soil is optimum, and this is very easy to achieve cheaply.

Connect a regular hose pipe to a water butt, this can be filled with grey water that has been previously used, or be allowed to fill with rainwater, or even a mixture of both. The hose should then be laid in a trench some six inches deep around the plants you are aiming to water.  That done, cut the hose and make small holes on both sides of it, covering the entire length that will be buried. Using a funnel fill the portion of the hose that will be buried with grit and that done block the open end. Put the hose back in the trench and cover with soil. Turning the tap on the butt (slowly) will allow water to be delivered underground, the grit stops the wet soil from getting into the hose and blocking it. This method prevents water being lost to evaporation and significantly reduces the amount used for irrigation. The same method can be used with a funnel in the end of the pipe allowing for manual watering.

A similar set up can be used in the centre of a group of fruit bushes or near trees. Dig a hole the size of the large lidded buckets that are often used to store rice and grain in. It should be three inches shallower than the bucket so it stands proud making refilling easier. Make some small holes in the bottom, a heated fine knitting needle works well. Put an inch of grit in the bottom and top that with a couple of inches of damp sand, dry sand would just fall between the grit and leach out. Put the bucket in the hole and fill with water before putting the lid on. The water will slowly seep out keeping the roots watered but saving an immense amount as you have not had to wet the top eighteen inches of soil before it gets to them.

A smaller version of this can be made using soda bottles. Make a hole in the cap, fill with water and invert into a hole in the ground, this supports the bottle as well as getting the water deeper into the soil where the plants can better utilise it.

Much is made on survival programmes of building a solar still to produce clean drinking water, and the principle is great and it works. Problem is it takes up a lot of space, has to be dismantled to get to your half cup of water, and there is more condensate on the underside of the plastic than is in your cup. A soda bottle still is far easier, takes less space, involves no digging and is easy to move around.

Take several soda bottles and cut them in half. Set the bottoms aside. Make a few vertical cuts about an inch long from the cut edge of the top section of the soda bottle, this will enable the top to fit easily into the bottom of your still. Put a small container of whatever liquid you are going to evaporate into a small container placed in the bottom of the soda bottle and then slide the top section into it, making sure the slits you have made go down inside the bottom section so water does not seep through them.

Condensate will run down the inside of the bottle into the reservoir…the bottom section of the soda bottle. Just like any other solar still you are never going to have enough to take a bath but when every drop counts it is a way of getting a drink from dirty water.

Anything you like can go into the central pot to be evaporated, coffee grounds, grey water, rain water even urine will evaporate giving clean drinkable condensate. Larger stills will work using organic matter such as grass, leaves and even faeces, all will produce safe drinkable water that requires no boiling or treatment before consumption. Knowing that anything organic, even water from a polluted stream, or stagnant water you have found, can be utilised for a still, is something that could prove very useful long term in areas that are rain deprived, but have sunshine in abundance.

If you are fortunate enough to have trees they too can provide you with drinking water. Strong clear plastic bags, such as large zip locks slipped onto the end of a leafy branch and duct taped or tied with string to hold them there and seal them will cause a decent amount of water to collect in the bag if left over night. To harvest your water make a small hole in the bag near where it is taped/tied and tip the bag up collecting the water as it trickles out. Fold the bag over the hole and hold the fold closed with a paper clip, taping the hole will rip your bag when you go back to it. The water droplets left on the inside of the bag will act like liquid in the still and will form even more condensate than the tree produces on its own, adding to the amount you collect the next day.

Dew collection may sound ridiculous, but it can produce quite a volume of liquid. Most of us have walked through dew covered grass at some point and come out of it wet up to our knees. Laying a sheet or large towel over dew covered grass will collect  enough moisture to have a sponge bath. Rolling across the grass and then using the wet towel may be the nearest thing to a shower we can get if the water supply is compromised.

Where water is concerned nothing should be discounted. We need to think laterally regarding its collection in order to procure as much as possible for drinking. Methods of getting clean drinkable water without having to use fuel to boil it before consumption is the optimum as that also may be in short supply.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just suggestions that may help trigger ideas that would work in your own locations. Innovation is going to be key to surviving in a post-collapse society. Thinking about these things now may well save your life in the future.

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How to keep warm at home

(Survival Manual/Prepper articles/ How to keep warm at home)

A.  Ice Storm Survival Preparedness
Posted on 14 December 2012, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, Submitted by: Ken Jorgustin (MSB)
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/weather-preparedness/ice-storm-survival-preparedness/

warmathome ice storm
An Ice Storm is a unique weather phenomenon that immediately paralyzes a region, much more so than a major snow storm. An ice storm is so debilitating that you risk your survival and life simply by walking out your front door.

Just prior to nearly any forecast of a major storm, people rush out to the grocery stores, which quickly run out of lots of food and supplies. How does this happen? Its pretty simple really… just think about your own habit of going to the grocery store… you probably go on the same day of the week, right? Let’s say you normally go Friday, someone else goes Saturday, yet another always goes on Tuesday, etc. When a storm is forecast, people disregard their normal schedule and many of them run out to the store during the same day just before the storm. Bingo… the store shelves go empty. The lesson is to NOT have to run out – keep enough at home to begin with. Not only that, but an ice storm will completely prohibit you from running that errand as soon as the fist liquid begins to freeze into ice.

EXPECT more dumb decisions. As it is, a certain percentage of people make dumb decisions, but for some reason just prior and during a storm, there are more of them making poor choices. There will be more accidents (automobile and otherwise). People rushing around, nearly panicked. Out for themselves. It’s really quite amazing to witness. So the best advice is to stay out of their way, and better yet, stay at home!

If you are stuck at home for days with the rest of your family, it will become increasingly likely that you will all get bored or stressed out. Think ahead of time for things to do. Have books to read. Games to play. Projects to accomplish. Be extra nice so as to reduce the possible stress around everyone.

Ice will quickly bring traffic to a crawl or complete halt. Cars may become abandoned and roads completely impassible. Even though you may have a 4×4, keep TIRE CHAINS in your vehicle. A 4-wheel drive will do no good on ice, just like a 2-wheel drive vehicle. Chains however will add biting grip to your tires (even 2-wheel drive vehicles) and may be the difference to get you home. They are easy to get… just ‘size’ them according to the tire model/size that you have. Oh, and once you get them, be sure and familiarize yourself with putting them on one time in your driveway, when the weather is nice, so you know how to do it!

One major danger and risk is that the power often goes out during an ice storm. The weight of the build-up of ice on the power lines and tree branches is enormous (more than you may think). Once a critical point is reached, these lines and limbs will start crashing down. Even worse is that it will be nearly impossible for repair crews to do their job until AFTER an ice storm. This means that you may be without power for a LONG TIME.

During the winter, being without power is an entirely different deal than a summertime power outage. Even a relatively short term power outage in the winter can be deadly. Your home will likely lose its ability to heat. Pipes may freeze. You may freeze. It is crucial to consider an alternative method for keeping warm. Safe portable indoor heaters are available. Of course a wood stove is a no-brainer.

Remember this, whereas during a power outage resulting from a snow storm may allow you to drive to another location which has heat or power, during an ice storm you will NOT be able to safely travel. This makes it all the more important to have a means of keeping warm in your home during a power outage.

Plus, there are all of the other aspects that go with getting along without power…

For your vehicle, keep tire chains, tow strap, salt/sand, shovel, ice scraper, snow brush, a safe gas can, extra gloves, extra hat, blanket, 72-hour kit with food (or at least some power bars, etc.), road flares, LED flashlight, car charger for cell phone, and whatever else you think may be good to have just in case…

A few additional preparedness items for home include LED flashlights, extra batteries, solar battery charger, portable battery powered AM/FM Shortwave radio, a weather radio, a safe indoor cooking stove, enough food, some stored water in case municipal tap water pumps go dead, generator, extra fuel in safe gas cans, car charger for your cell phone, and most important of all… enough hot chocolate!

If you have large trees or limbs over or near your home or roof, be very aware of this. A falling tree can easily slice into a house and kill you. Consider trimming large limbs that may be a risk. At the very least, I would not sleep or spend much time in a room underneath such a danger zone.

Conserve the power on your cell phone. Shut it off except for when you are going to use it. Cell towers are often repaired well before the power comes back on, so bear that in mind.

If you are ‘out’ and you hear a forecast of icing, do your best to get where you are going to go, BEFORE the event. Your ears should perk up when you hear the word, ICE.
Be prepared.

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B. How to Winterize Your Home
15 Dec 2012, The Ready Store,
Pasted from: http://www.thereadystore.com/diy/5657/how-to-winterize-your-home?utm_source=rne_mon_20121217&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=monday&utm_content=main

Previously, we talked about what you could do to prepare for a power outage during the winter. But how can do you winterize your home to be ready for the snow and cold weather?

Here are a few points to consider as the winter weather descends upon us. Check out these points and then add your insights below. Your tips could save people money and time as they prepare.

Reverse the fan
One thing that most people don’t think about is reversing the ceiling fan. Hot air rises and you’ll want to make sure that the warm air that is collecting around your ceiling is being pushed back down into the room to heat everyone.

Clean the gutters
The last thing you’ll want to do in the middle of the winter is climb up on your frozen roof on a cold ladder and take out soggy and frozen leaves from your gutters. Cleaning your gutters allows cold water to quickly get off your roof and not collect.

Insulate
Besides making sure that your house is well insulated, make sure that there aren’t any large cracks or leaks in your home. Those cracks can let hot air out and drain your heating bill.

You’ll also want to make sure that the seal around your windows and doors is tight. Many people even consider putting bubble wrap or other clear plastics around their window during the winter to allow light to come in and cold air out. You can even sew your own door draft stopper.

Planting a windbreakers
This probably isn’t something that you can do quickly or easily but you should consider planting evergreen trees close to your home. This keeps a buffer of tree between your house and the cold wind outside. The evergreen trees will also force cold winds up and around your house.

Programmable gadgets
One new trend is consumers who are installing timers on their heating systems or water heaters in order to only run during certain times of the day. This allows you to only heat when you need it – saving you money!

Shut the door
Many times it’s just more efficient not to heat a room. If there is a storage room that you aren’t using – just close the vent and the door. That allows you to focus your heating on the rooms that you use on a regular basis. You’ll have to make sure that without the vents open the room doesn’t get too cold that you have a busted pipe.

Use your large appliances
When it gets cold outside, clean the house. The heat that the washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven and other appliances put off will heat your home when it’s cold. That means you’ll want to make sure that your appliances are in working order.

Make sure you have an auto emergency kit
While you’re out and about during the winter time, make sure that you have the proper equipment in your car. That means having jumper cables, food, water and other items that will be necessary if your car breaks down in a winter storm.

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C.  How to Stay Warm with Less Heat
4 Dec 2012, TheOrganicPrepper.ca, by Daisy Luther
Posted from: http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/how-to-stay-warm-with-less-heat-2-12042012

warmathome cold day

I live in an older house.  It’s not too fancy, but it features things like wood heat, an independent water supply and a million dollar view with a frugal price tag.   In the Northern winter, however, I notice exactly how drafty and chilly our little house is!  The breeze off the lake also increases the nip in the air.  With an older wood stove as our only source of heat, the rooms more distant from the stove move from chilly to downright COLD.

From a prepping point of view, using less heat allows you to extend your fuel supply. If you are totally without heat, greater measures would need to be taken than the ones listed here.  For some SHTF heating ideas, this article has some fantastic and inexpensive tips.

I rent so it isn’t feasible to insulate or replace the windows and wood stove with more efficient models. So, in the interest of non-tech solutions, here are a few ways that we keep warmer without plugging in the electric space heaters.

warmathome dress warm Keep your wrists and ankles covered.  Wear shirts with sleeves long enough to keep your wrists covered and long socks that keep your ankles covered.  You lose a great deal of heat from those two areas.

Get some long-johns.  Wearing long underwear beneath your jeans or PJ’s will work like insulation to keep your body heat in.  I like the silky kind sold by discount stores like Wal-mart for indoor use, rather than the sturdier outdoor type sold by ski shops.

Wear slippers.  You want to select house shoes with a solid bottom rather than the slipper sock type.  This forms a barrier between your feet and the cold floor.  We keep a basket of inexpensive slippers in varying sizes by the door for visitors because it makes such a big difference.  Going around in your stocking feet on a cold floor is a certain way to be chilled right through.

Get up and get moving.  It goes without saying that physical activity will increase your body temperature.  If you’re cold, get up and clean something, dance with your kids, play tug-of-war with the dog, or do a chore.  I often bring in a few loads of wood to get my blood flowing and get warmed up.

Pile on the blankets. If you’re going to be sitting down, have some layered blankets available.  Our reading area has polar fleece blankets which we top with fluffy comforters for a cozy place to relax.

warmathome sleep warm

Use a hot water bottle.  If you’re just sitting around try placing a hot water bottle (carefully wrapped to avoid burns) under the blankets with you.

Use rice bags.  If you don’t have the readymade ones, you can simply place dry rice in a clean sock.  Heat this in the microwave, if you use one, for about a minute, or place in a 100 degree oven, watching carefully, for about 10 minutes.  I keep some rice bags in a large ceramic crock beside the wood stove so they are constantly warm.  You can put your feet on them or tuck them under the blankets on your lap.

warmathome warm room

Insulate using items you have.  A friend recommended lining the interior walls with bookcases or hanging decorative quilts and blankets on the walls to add an extra layer of insulation. It definitely makes a difference because it keeps heat in and cold air out. If you look at pictures of old castles you will see lovely tapestry wall-hangings – this was to help insulate the stone walls, which absorbed the cold and released it into the space.

Layer your windows.  Our house has large lovely picture windows for enjoying the view.  However, they’re single pane and it’s hard to enjoy the view if your teeth are chattering.  We took the rather drastic step of basically closing off all the windows but one in each room for the winter.  We insulated by placing draft blockers at the bottom in the window sill (I just used rolled up polar fleece – I’m not much of a sew-er.)  This was topped by a heavy blanket, taking care to overlap the wall and window edges with it.  Over that, we hung thermal curtains that remain closed.

 Get a rug.  If you have hardwood, tile or laminate flooring, an area rug is a must.  Like the blankets on the walls, this is another layer of insulation between you and the great outdoors.  We have no basement so our floor is very chilly.  A rug in the living room protects our feet from the chill.

Wear a scarf.  No, not like a big heavy wool scarf that you’d wear outdoors – just a small, lightweight one that won’t get in your way and annoy you.  This serves two purposes.  First, it covers a bit more exposed skin. Secondly, it keeps body heat from escaping out the neck of your shirt.

Burn candles.  Especially in a smaller space, a burning candle can raise the temperature a couple of degrees.

Cuddle.  Share your body heat under the blankets when you’re watching movies or reading a book.

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Life After The Collapse, Part 2 of 2

Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After The Collapse, Parts 2 of 2)

J.  De-nationalization
Along come racial conflict, the disintegration of our nation-state will begin. It is not impossible to control large areas of land using primitive means. Look at China and Russia. They had their ups and downs, the enlargement than the contraction of the areas they were able to control. But over centuries they could keep large areas under one rule. The US might not be able to do so. This will mostly hinge on oil availability. And perhaps the ability to utilize the railroads. The East has the water transportation system, which might also be used for troop movement. Even with some neglect, as seen in all sectors of our infrastructure, the upkeep will be minimal. And the bulk of the population is on some waterway. But military transport is largely oil based. Whereas in World War Two we moved large troop numbers by railroad and merchant marine, it is doubtful we can duplicate this again. The support system has been neglected to a large extent. Nevertheless, if you have a railroad nearby you are hoping will help support your community come road transit breakdown, it is possible it will be nationalized and used for military use. Not guaranteed, but a possibility. Even if the military uses every possible means of transporting themselves to trouble spots, most likely their numbers will be too small. I can’t see an immediate withdrawal of overseas troops to quell local troubles. By the time they are shipped home, the civil unrest will be too large to contain. Assuming of course things get bad enough that kind of unrest takes place. Which I think is a safe bet. They might successfully subdue some areas, but not all. Long term, one area after another will become unruleable. Add in severe economic trouble, disease outbreaks due to failing health care and sewage main breaks along with water contamination, troops needing to help against huge crime upsurges, an unhealthy dependence on high tech needing foreign parts and a total mechanized military, the trouble of depending on troops to fight fellow citizens and even the inability to properly feed and reequip soldiers and I can almost bet on the military being too inefficient and undermanned to keep the peace.

      This in no way should give you peace of mind regarding military suppression and martial law. You could very well be effected. This is a long-term outlook. Short term, you could find yourself battling police forces, the military, criminal gangs, local militia, or more than one at a time. Which should worry you. Not only because it means you might get killed, but because trade will stop or become disrupted and you might find yourself with a dwindling stockpile of ammunition to protect yourself. If China stays around as a viable power, you might see them eager to help out the disruption and arm whatever group they see as helping their interests (which is the destruction of the US as a military power able to challenge them), but that is not a sure enough thing to base your choice of a personal firearm on. In other words, the steel cased ammo that feeds an SKS or an AK-47 may or may not still be available.

Unless you can stockpile as much as you think you will need beforehand. This projected resupply problem is why I frown on semi-automatic weapons. They are superior as fighting weapons in a lot of aspects, except logistics come collapse. Now, as much as I disagree with the direction our country has taken away from a Constitutional Republic, rest assure that if and/or when the government is unable to keep the Union together come collapse, local tyrants are not going to be any better and most likely will be a lot worse. Local strong men won’t even acknowledge there is any rule of law other than that from the barrel of a gun. And they won’t see anything wrong with wringing all the wealth from the citizens without regard of their long term health. And since they don’t rule from far away they will be much more effective in their suppression. So, while it will be nice to see the current group of thugs lose power, their replacement will be much worse.

So, after you get done suffering economically as everything you know and are used to (cheap energy, welfare state, your currently employable skill ) is done away with, after a short depression followed by hyperinflation kills any savings and dwindles your emergency supplies, you’ve just seen the warm up of the collapse. Oil will start running out or become unavailable from overseas. Food won’t be delivered and many people will start to go hungry. The military will try to contain unrest with brute force. The ghettos will spew violent criminals and race dominated wars. The US will start to break up. Infrastructure will collapse. Water won’t run, the toilet won’t flush. Disease will spring up everywhere, to include a lot of resurgent tropical or Third World diseases. Perhaps even a few man made ones to use against dissident areas. Neighbors will try to turn you in for rewards, crime will explode as authority recedes. If you don’t die now from mugging, kidnapping or home invasion, you might be gang raped and die later of AIDS. Both male and female. This is the start of the huge die-off.

K.  Die off
Die off’ will be due to a lot of different things. Disease. Hunger. Exposure to the elements without heat or cooling. Crime, which includes losing all your stored food and equipment. Combat with police or the military. Widespread death will happen. The global carrying capacity of a non-oil, primitive agrarian society is less than a billion people. And this number is assuming the entire population knows how to survive without petroleum. Since a lot of areas have completely lost their roots with nature, that figure will initially be less. Say half a billion. Globally. However, it is the nature of things that when a die off happens, the numbers of survivors fall sharply below the natural carrying capacity to begin with.
Rome went from the center of a vast civilization, a metropolis of its day, to little more than a village after collapse. Mayan cities went from large urban centers to overgrown jungle ruins with a few paltry settlements set on their fringes. China always had its farmers as the center of its civilizations and fared better, although in recovery its population figures did fall sharply. Populations are built up, having conquered farmlands to swell its numbers. Centralization helped the numbers increase. But when the lands carrying capacity was surpassed and there were no more victims to plunder, population took a swift downturn. Crime, disease, starvation and warfare took its toll. This process has been likened by others as a bottle of alcohol being brewed, and I can’t top that description. A sugar rich environment aids a rapid increase in the culture, who eat up the available food. When a critical mass is reached and the culture dies off to almost zero. There is no more food left. We are left with a bottle of spirits, which is a good thing. In the human environment, you are left with a corpse ridden field with just a few survivors remaining. In our case, the die off will result as the remaining oil is not sufficient to feed the swollen population. Most die off from hunger and the remaining few take the little available fertile soil and relearn organic farming on a decentralized level. Animal population are another illustration. In an example from others, a herd of caribou is introduced on an island which has overgrown with lichen due to no known “predator”. With this rich food source, the caribou population goes from a few pairs to hundreds or even thousands. The natural replenishment rate of the food is, say, a hundred. But once too many animals are there, once the plants no longer feed everyone, almost all of them die from hunger and just a dozen or two remain. Then it takes time to bring the population level up to that optimum hundred. Once the oil level declines just enough on a permanent basis to cease feeding all six billion, Humans, will see die off far below the level the globe can naturally feed with solar energy alone. Oil doesn’t have to run out, just fall below today’s needed level.

L.  Survival preps
This is where survival preparations come into play. You aren’t storing enough provisions to live forever. For most, a daunting if not impossible task (to say nothing of preparing for multi-generational survival). What you are doing is trying to prepare to survive the die-off period. Food stores are only part of the picture anyway. You must survive the conflict that accompanies the die-off. People will not stay at home, meekly waiting a slow death as the cupboards stay bare. Towards the end there will be no more strength to fight for what they need. But initially, they will try to take what they need to survive.

This is why a retreat out in the boonies is so often advised. It is far from the perfect answer, of course. Day to day employment and provisioning is necessary. And few have the means of buying this kind of land anyway. You can find remote land. The West is full of vast areas seeing no settlement other than near water sources. But the “perfect” retreat, with fertile land, woods for fuel, and available water is rare and expensive. I advise what I call junk land. The crap no one wants and is nothing more than a patch of dirt. You won’t pay much more than a thousand or two for it. But it has a poor road leading to it, no surface water or shallow water table, infertile soil and most likely in an economically depressed area. You can actually use these flaws to your advantage since few people will be nearby. It isn’t a farm, ready to feed you and your family. It is merely a legal squat so that in the initial collapse you won’t be harassed for camping on public land or private property or on the side of the road. Your supplies will keep you alive, not the land. After the troubles have subsided you can move to better land, into a settlement to barter any skills you have, or take up banditry or become a nomadic herder. No good answers, but if you are poor to begin with you don’t have a lot of options to pick from.

      It is impossible to guess the time period of collapse and die off. Some maintain it will be a long drawn out process. An emergency, shortages, ad hoc solutions. A traumatic period, then a leveling off as people adjust to the new way of doing things. Then, further resource depletion and more emergencies. More depopulation until the “new” level of resource availability is met. A period of relative calm until another spasm of die off, adjustments to the next level of food availability. Etcetera. This could very well happen, as illustrated by the two hundred year Mayan decline or the three centuries it took Rome to fall. I’m far less optimistic. Back then, a primitive level of agrarian existence was practiced, even as farms became bigger with conquest or water sources were centralized. Come overpopulation and soil depletion, you merely saw enough famine to adjust to less population, that which matched less fertile soil or limited water. Today, most soil is already infertile, only producing because of oil inputs. Farms are far from population centers and transportation is required. Instead of ninety percent of the population farming, there is only a few percent, in the single digits. Most farm areas have water availability issues, such as California seeing drought decrease mountain snow melt off or aquifer depletion in the middle part of this country (Texas, Nebraska, etc.). The adjustments needed will be much larger than in the past. There is far less knowledge of farming than in the past (we concentrate on the industrialized First World throughout). There is far less farmland available than in the past, due to artificial fertilizers and mechanized farming growing so much more per acre. I foresee a much bumpier, more rapid decline than in the past because of all this.

M.  Types of preps
Survivalists come in all shapes and sizes and they usually rival the different sects of Christianity in their dispute over doctrine. There are primitive Stone Age adherents, short term ‘weather disaster preppers’, ‘nuclear fallout shelter occupants’, ‘back to the landers’ only concerned with growing their own food, Yuppie Survivalists intent on recreating every luxury of their middle class existence in Armageddon mode, hoarders of gold and silver that will buy their salvation, modern day desert hermits who will survive through a collapse unknowingly due to loss of contact, or, my favorite, ‘frugal preppers’ that can prepare on almost nothing as their needs have been pared down to the bare minimum. I can’t say which group has the most chance of arriving intact on the other side of die off.
•  The Stone Age practitioners are least vulnerable to technological collapse, but any number of poor marksmen with modern firearms can invade their territory and kill off all large game leaving him nothing to eat but berries, insects and small rabbits. Will there be enough skins to get him through winter, or is he far enough away to thrive?
•  The short-term preppers don’t stand much of a chance with limited supplies unless there is an instant die off such as an asteroid strike, Yellowstone volcanic eruption or nuclear exchange and he can pick and choose supplies lying around as in a poorly budgeted B-movie.
•  The nuclear crowd is well equipped to survive only one type of disaster. Or will the local tax man except MRE’s in lieu of property tax during an economic depression?
•  The ‘back to the landers’ are well equipped to feed themselves, their arriving family and perhaps a neighbor or two. Unfortunately most of their plans need to have a strong government capable of keeping the lawless forces away from them so they can continue to till the soil unmolested. Plus, they usually owe a mortgage on their perfect farm and are thus susceptible to economic downturn.
•  The Yuppie Survivalists are the school most taught by authors of best selling preparedness books. That is because the breed will buy anything that promises to save them in complete comfort. Authors and salesmen follow the money and sell to these people. The ones who can’t stand the thought of any decrease in their standard of living. Instead of stocking candles for illumination they will buy $800 worth of solar panels, 12v auto lamps and a few hundred bucks in marine batteries to see with while off  the grid. Their whole preparedness plan is just like this, spend one hundred times the needed amount for tools because they can’t let go of their soft and comfortable lifestyle.
•  The precious metal advocates are not wrong because “you can’t eat gold”. Precious metals will play a vital part after the recovery. They are wrong because they think money alone, even in a safe inflation proof form, will help them survive. They only look at the aftermath, forgetting one must travel a ways through treachery to get to a society living once again on a gold standard.
•  Desert rats that are not at the end of their hoard of beans and bacon can blissfully ignore the world crashing around them as they are alone in the wilderness and protected from the folly of their fellows. Unfortunately, they only postpone the day of reckoning when they must come in for resupply.
•  Frugal preppers are not the most enlightened nor the smartest. This school of survivalism is not any more perfect than most other types. Except for one critical factor. It allows anyone, even those of the most humble economic means, to prepare as much as possible for the coming collapse. This is why it should be much more attractive than it currently seems to be. Especially during the current economic collapse when job losses are epidemic, credit continues to contract causing companies that were just a year ago sound and prosperous to see so many problems beset them.

These go hand in hand, where companies have no choice to salvage some stock value and continue to give their top echelon workers a “merit” based raise or bonus at the end of each quarter. Before, when cutting costs was the path to efficiency during boom times, workers were habitually laid off. Today, vastly increased numbers are given pink slips regardless of the long term effect this might have on productivity. Panic mode is in full bore and where once the left over work force was compelled to handle the increased work from fired coworkers, now the trimming is so close to the bone it is doubtful the companies can survive. Before, another competitor bought off the suffering company with cheap and plentiful debt. Now, entire industries will all but disappear to a fraction of their former selves to claim the reduced demand of cash negative and credit impaired customers. States and all other levels of government are also seeing their ability to borrow suffering, and since they can’t print money like their brothers at the Federal level they will have no choice but to ax civil servants. Government will not be the safe haven for workers it used to be during downturns. Therefore, everyone should be very wary of being able to keep their jobs and thus their mortgages, credit rating, SUV’s and other badges of a middle class lifestyle. You would think a cheap way to insulate against calamity with an affordable stock of food and protection and alternate energy would be most welcome by frightened workers. Alas, the herd instinctively runs to the big money boys, the Yuppie Survivalist teachers and suppliers. Just as they did during the 1970’s.

      If you are one of the few that sees the futility of spending twenty grand on an arsenal, a quarter million on a remote farm and five grand per person on freeze dried field rations, welcome to frugal survivalism. Anyone can have the basics for under a grand. That includes food, shelter, protection, filtered water. Another three grand will see you safely on your own paid for land in a more permanent shelter.

To briefly summarize; The basics consist of a store of whole wheat kernels bought from a feed and grain store (untreated by vet medicine), stored in five gallon poly buckets. A $25 cast iron grain grinder. A moron proof way of constructing your own 13,000 gallon water filter for just $50. A used WWII surplus bolt action thirty caliber rifle, usually on sale under a hundred bucks. There is a bit more to it, but in essence by preparing at a bare bones level anyone can afford to stock a years worth of emergency rations and protect it adequately. The cheap homesteading method is to buy a piece of junk land (usually on E-Bay) on little more than a grand and park a trailer or build a very small cabin on it for the same amount. Most off-grid expenses such as a generator or well or septic can be bypassed cheaply. Remember, preparations only get you through a die off period. Even spending half a million on a remote farm and protecting it with your home grown militia toting semi-automatic carbines and eating MRE’s will do little to increase your chances of survival due to the rest of the world surrounding you and wanting to interfere with your existence. You should clearly see this as you read further. There will be strategies to diminish this threat, but all in all inexpensive functional tools will see you through as well as the much more expensive ones. Mindset will be far more important. Just ask yourself, do I want the help of dirt poor rednecks that learned at the school of hard knocks and are barely equipped. Or do I want a bunch of pampered Yuppies loaded with the most expensive tools who are unaccustomed to almost any hardship outside of the corporate boardroom along for the ride?
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II.  Life after the collapse

A.  How far will we collapse

The last time an individual possessed all of the needed skills to survive was during the Stone Age while hunting and gathering. Since the Agricultural Age began almost no farming community has existed without outside trade. Before, an individual could survive physically if separated from his tribe ( psychologically was a different matter ). After, a farming community separated from trading with others could not survive, in most cases. If a local source of salt was available, and if there was an ore deposit nearby then semi-independence was possible. But, by and large, since we tied ourselves to the land we have needed to trade to survive. There were few areas were all the necessities of life were available, so trade allowed far more marginal lands to be settled. For instance, a dry rocky area was perfect for olive groves and produced almost no grain or meat but did have an abundance of oil. Another area rich in soil that yielded a surplus in grain could trade for oil, something they had little of. One area had forests of nut trees. Rather than fell the trees and plant on soil ill suited for anything else, the nut surplus was traded for other foods. Today, it makes sense to grow coffee on hilly areas (or cocaine, but that’s a different story) and trade it to the Americans, who have an over abundance of corn that is a staple of your country. The corn was cheaper (pre-Bush ethanol debacle) grown up north by mechanical means and shipped south than could have been achieved on those steep hillsides. When man was first growing crops and domesticating animals, there were few people and some really choice spots to settle down and grow. As the globe has filled up, trade has become more and more important as people live in far from choice spots. Trade is essential now, even for the barest necessities of survival. Almost no one outside a few nomads still living primitive lives can live without trade.

Why is this important? Because trade is impossible without a functioning economy, trust, rule of law and energy for transportation. All of these things are ending. The US has been living off of creating debt, inflating its currency, bullying its partners into nearly giving away their goods, and little else for some time. Our GNP is no longer a measure of manufactured goods being shipped overseas but of a measure how much the bankers borrowed from China and loaned to consumers through credit cards, how many dollars were created to “buy” our oil from Third World countries, how much houses were inflated in worth to create derivative sales to pensioners in Europe, and other computer manipulated, magically productive activities that only could come true with a healthy sprinkle of Pixie Dust. As our economy unravels, trust in the form of credit is being destroyed. Without trust, no trade takes place. As it is, credit is contracting wildly right now. And there is no end in sight, as everyone else is seeing how manipulative and dishonest our financial community has been. They are starting to show caution to our future promises. The rule of law, or law and order, is breaking down. African pirates holding ships hostage is only one sign of the coming unrest. Month long protests in once placid First World countries.

Energy for transportation is, as already discussed, on a downward trend. Add it up and it spells the eventual halt in trading. At the point where an international police man is impotent, trade falls to a low level, where only luxury goods are profitable, where only precious metal is accepted, and where the bulk of necessities revert to whatever can be produced locally. At that time, we are back in another Dark Ages ( Post Oil Dark Ages ). Mass migrations will occur, as the many uninhabitable areas are abandoned. The rest die off, their area unable to support more than a hand full. After Rome fell, and trade stopped, areas formerly pottery centers of the empire were reduced to being unable to produce anything other than crude approximations of their former wares. Specialists were supported by wide-spread business. They turned out quality and quantity. Once trade suffered, the factories almost reduced to ruins, the specialists departed or killed, the area known for high quality low cost pottery was unable to do little more than turn out misshapen lumpy, poorly glazed pale imitations. This is what the collapse of trade does. Specialists can’t ply their trade, centralization and economics of scale falter. Poorly made inexpert handcrafts take products places. Now, add in our dependency of oil. We are untrained in manufacture due to our dependence on machines. We are unschooled in many modern basics such as chemistry or engineering due to hyper-specialization. We are on the down side of the Oil Age. The collapse can go mighty low once the perfectly aligned parts are disrupted.

      Even if you can get an expert to join your group of survivors, they won’t have oil to run their machines. Or any machines, susceptible to parts failures. Or basic supplies to practice the modern arts due to trade disruptions. Add in the need to eat, and hostile surrounding forces. You all don’t stand a chance, and neither does our modern society. Things will turn primitive really fast. Knowledge alone is no guarantee a process will be practiced. It takes skill, practice, parts supplied from centralized factories far away, a strong defense force to protect against bandits. We all take progress for granted. But destruction is much easier. It takes two minutes with a match to burn down a million dollar mansion that took a year to build and several decades of toil to pay for. And destruction is only curtailed by the forces of law and order. Which will be hard pressed to achieve either. After a certain point is reached, the collapse continues until there is almost complete ruin and almost no one left alive. And where the technology level is far below that once practiced. We will return to a primitive agrarian society, and as our modern tools fail there will be only primitive replacements. Some areas will still pump and distill oil ( on a small level ). Some areas will mine and smelt the metal from the ruins. But it will be unavailable to most due to a collapse of trade and a shrinking of borders.

B.  Lifeboat communities
A nice concept, lifeboat communities. Get a bunch of modern hippies together and start a community that practices all those neat concepts that circumvent the need for oil. French Intensive organic gardening, alternate energy, super insulated buildings, integrated crop/livestock production, old time skills, etc. The first problem with these is that they are very expensive to start, as currently envisioned. It is one thing to put up some mud/straw walls and thatched roof, get a few chickens running around and making your own candles. It is quite another to build straw bale 2,000 square foot houses, greenhouses, import specialty livestock, install solar panels, sink hundred foot wells, convert a truck to bio-diesel, grow specialty crops for the French chef in the towns $75 a plate Yuppie Greasy Spoon, pay property tax and a mortgage on the land, etc. No one is going to get together and do it cheap and primitive, but high dollar and comfortable. Thus, very few go past the planning stage. Then, once your community is up and running, you have a nice big target painted at your front gate. Look, we grow crops here. We can survive the end of oil. Won’t you come on in an conquer us and make us the serfs to your royal personage? Lifeboat communities are not exactly security conscious. They attract the idiots that gazed at Al “I invented the Internet” Gore with a twinkle in their eye and tried to save the world by changing their regular lights with made in China by political prisoner labor fluorescent bulbs. They are not heavily armed with anything more than guilt over their opulent middle class lifestyle paid for with a taxpayer supported job as environmental consultants. Yes, their heart is in the right place. So was Jimmy Carter’s, and he made some colossal blunders.

      Unless you can get together a group of militia that likes to grow organic lettuce, forget lifeboat communities. They could have been the spark that carried knowledge through the coming darkness, if they hadn’t been plundered during the first food shortages. Wishful thinking and fantasy is what led us to this problem of oil dependency in the first place. Wishing upon a star to make it all go away isn’t going to work either. Power will trump righteousness. They might be just what the world will need, but some lazy, vicious greedy punk is going to exploit them quickly. It won’t matter if it is the current mayor or sheriff, a former drug gang or a new home grown power. The natural order of things is for a gang of criminals to exploit the work of others in exchange for “protection”.

C.  Organic farming
Organic farmers are not as vulnerable as lifeboat communities. They are not advertised in New Age magazines, nor do they give interviews to the local TV station for filler in-between the weather and sports scores. They are decentralized and widely scattered. They can include, more often than not, an armed owner. And they are the only way to farm after the oil stops running. Unfortunately, this does not come with a Get Out Of Jail Free Card. Just because you have a skill does not automatically make you precious and invaluable after the collapse. The local ruler can, indeed, force you to share your skills whether you want to or not. And likely not on your terms. When twenty horsemen approach you with an offer you can’t refuse, it might not be wise to do so. They can take family members hostage, burn down your house one night, snipe at you, horse whip you until you concede, etc. You are tied to the land. You can’t run away. This is the problem with farming. It leaves you as a stationary target. It is justifiable when you gaze with pride at a productive field. You created a means to sustain your family out of nothing. Hard work, a large investment. All for nothing when law and order break down and local tyranny triumphs. Unless you are isolated and have a lot of armed men with good logistics, you will not survive on your land unmolested.

      When slavery is mentioned, you usually think about a muscled black hoeing cotton. Grunt work. But look at history. Most advanced civilizations had highly skilled slaves. They were craftsmen, and they were teachers. They were not protected from slavery because they had skills. They were much more valuable than mere field hands, true. That fetched them a higher price at auction. And allowed them far better treatment. But they were still slaves. But you won’t even be that unless you are lucky. You will merely be a serf. Tied to the land. You won’t face as bleak of a future, since modern organic farming is a much better producer than ancient farming. You won’t starve as easily. But you will produce the food for your owner, and you had better do a good job because he will take his cut. You want enough to eat and sell for some small comforts, you grow as much as possible. Organic farming won’t keep you free, just better fed. It will increase your odds of a full stomach. Just not as a free man. That said, this might still be one of the few good options open to you. We will cover the other viable trades likely available after the collapse, but if you don’t realistically see yourself capable of performing them ( or don’t see your family holding up under their demands ) farming might be your only option. It is the only one most of us can practice now. If you have access to land, farming now has several benefits. It reduces your stress from your daily job, reduces your stress about the future, saves you money as times get tough, allows you to eat much healthier at a time when medical costs are making health care an unaffordable luxury, and will see you nicely through the Depression and the initial collapse phase. There is a reason that farming holds such an allure. It is better than money in the bank, which is a tool that only works in good times. Feeding yourself is tailor-made for bad times. Just beware of its long-term consequences when we enter a true dark age.

D.  Population shifts
Another bit of bad news for you to worry about is population shifts. Come collapse, the population will move. Even if little or no automotive transport is available, expect huge population shifts as people flee to perceived safety. Americans have always been nomads, shifting locations to better serve their financial interests. It is bred into us, as normal as breathing. We are not like most other societies, where staying near our safety net meant life or death. There have always been nomadic cultures. But they have been the exception for the eight thousand years we have lived by agriculture. It has paid to stay put. The Mongols were only able to live in areas of rich grasslands. The Gypsies have always been marginal in numbers, and more of a gang of grifters moving away from their victims. The Bedouin were confined to their desert. There is always a place for nomads, as they bring mostly agrarian wasteland into production to the benefit of all. But they are not the majority. The stationary farmers are. So American society has been somewhat unique in its mobility. Largely, this was the process of filling up a huge area that had never been “mined” of its wealth. We killed off the Indians and moved in wave after wave of people taking advantage of unexploited resources. After that was done, we lived the same life but now by living off the accumulated riches of our exploitation. We slowly started living off of our seed corn, the accumulated principle of our savings. That is now over and done with and the decline of our civilization has started, but the huge numbers of autos, the large amount of oil we take from others by trade or force, all this still gives us the illusion of the wealth we had and we still feel free to move around. A perpetual band of Okies seeking the illusive Golden State.

The point being, Americans are still very much in the habit of thinking riches (or at least safety) are just over the horizon. Most will turn into unknowing refugees with very little provocation. Expect several large waves of humans. To the warmer South and Southwest after heating oil, natural gas or even electricity are no longer available to keep them alive in the winter. To navigable rivers and waterways as all other forms of transportation fail. To those areas serviced by hydroelectric power or that have the potential to once again be dammed. From cities to the surrounding areas to farm the land. Away from highly populated areas to almost anywhere else regardless of its suitability. And from infertile areas to farms or potentially farmed areas. Thus, after waves of crimes, you can see waves of refugees and then waves of immigrants. You need to be aware if your area is a target, since all your careful plans can be disrupted if too many walking mouths move in next to you. To help visualize the scale of this, just think of Hurricane Katrina. Half the city of New Orleans took up permanent residence in other areas. And most of those people were life time welfare recipients with no skills and poor attitudes, thinking the government owed them a living and that crime was both recreation and if incarcerated their lifestyle would improve. Some areas such as Houston Texas were negatively affected by this influx of useless demanding refugees. Now multiply these tens of thousands at least several thousand times, and make it nationwide. This is what you can look forward to. Without much law and order, with no welfare system and not enough food even for the locals already there.

Warmer areas are naturally going to attract those needing to survive winter. There are plenty of hardy folk, braving out winters by storing up wood and food during summer. They like to live this semi-independent style as their ancestors did. But for every one modern pioneer, there are tens of thousands who live in normally frigid areas yet have no idea how to live with the cold. They go from natural gas heated dwellings where they wear the thinnest clothing, scurry hurriedly to their petroleum warmed cars and drive to work where central heat continues to comfort them. They expose themselves to a mere few minutes of cold a day, a thick synthetic jacket covering their torso, with tennis shoe clad feet, bare hands and not much else differentiating their clothing from what they wear in the summer. They are totally dependant on fossil fuels and a functioning infrastructure during the winter. They won’t be able to adapt to lack of oil. They will head south. Modern homes are largely not made to withstand the cold without petroleum inputs. Nor are southern dwellings made to be inhabited without air conditioning. This itself could be a life threatening situation, but that will seem a minor problem when the southeast reverts to its true habit of killing off its population with tropic diseases. On top of disease caused by improper sanitation, expect the return of things such as malaria. The northerners will discover their new home is a pestilent swamp which, without modern pest control and drug deliveries, will kill them off as quickly as the cold would have up north. The southwest will offer nothing more than starvation as the power fails and irrigated farms dry up as the water is no longer available. Even if a few wells still stay in production, the new population will overwhelm its capacity. If the newly empowered Mexican Rights advocated don’t go on a White killing spree as they quickly try to give back several western states to Old Mexico ( they will soon find it was the Yankee wealth that was coveted, not more desert, something Mexico already has enough of ). And water availability, already a life and death struggle, will just get worse with no oil and new state un-cooperation.

Most of the US population already lives close to a waterway. Partially, this is a holdover from when water was the only reliable and affordable transportation. As trade is essential to life, the waterways will take on increased importance. If certain areas still have desirable farmland, such as the plains states ( that which can be sustained by rain alone and not irrigation ), you might still see depopulation if their links to other areas are severed. At first, rail will hold an advantage over road freight, being much more energy-efficient. But in time, as infrastructure fails and fuel dries up ( as well as spare parts ), rail will fail and ancient waterways will become the only way to move goods. In the newly primitive state of existence, the level of technology will dictate this. Ocean front inhabitants may or may not see a continuation of trade. It depends on location, if they can offer an outlet to needed goods. For instance, Southern ports might be viable if tobacco becomes a new cash crop again. Los Angeles should not survive. It has little natural water available and is a thoroughly modern port. Unless the Long Beach port continues to receive container cargo from China, what is the point of it? Unless, somehow, paved over areas are exploited for their oil pumping potential, you will see very little L.A. has to offer that others need. And if water can’t be imported from the Sierra’s ( assuming its snow pack doesn’t shrink too much), forget the crop potential from the San Fernando valley. Even if they continue to grow, expect fighting over its resources to disrupt things anyway.

Sacramento has potential, with its delta watering crops and that outlet to the Pacific. But, expect levee breaks and flooding. What is currently there will be vastly altered. Yet, the thing to keep in mind about California is it is so overpopulated it will have major conflicts from now until it is largely depopulated. It will not be a pleasant place to live. Far down the future, after modern life and its supports have been erased, most freshwater and some seawater areas will be where most of the population live. Without pumping water by artificial means, man must accept those areas Mother Nature offers to live. For trade and for the life water makes possible. And a last word about population shifts and California. Much is made about the Golden Hoard, the masses of refugees moving from California out to all other surrounding states in times of disaster. The same can be said about the northeast corridor. Huge numbers of people with no means of support after oil. They won’t have any good place to go. But they will go there anyway, as anyplace will seem advantageous compared to the gang warfare, the militia fights, the cannibals and the racial conflict. The mass starvation, out of control fires, the water supplies being disrupted. Beware the arrival of these desperate people with insatiable demands and nothing to offer. Hope your community has an easily blocked, minimal amount of entrances.

In the 1970’s, as commercial survivalism reached its zenith, too many books to recount gave the same good advice. Get out of the cities, the urban areas, the ghettos. They told you to pick any city over a certain size on the map and then draw a circle around it for three hundred miles. This was the death zone.
You didn’t want to live anywhere near an area a car load full of gasoline and Angry Armed Minorities could travel to in the event of a disaster. The three problems with this advice were that,
1)  the cars could only travel along roads so that a lot of those drawn circles were still habitable,
2)  if you avoided all circles, there was maybe two areas you could retreat to and they had no stores or water for a hundred miles, and
3)  as the car loads of hostiles drove towards you, mechanical difficulties and the fact that not everyone had a full tank of gasoline meant that the immediate areas surrounding a city were much more dangerous than those a little bit further along (in other words, the danger dropped rapidly).

This did expand your options slightly, enabling you to choose a spot closer to work or affordable housing. But of course, this only addresses the immediate danger in the event of calamity. I think most philosophies were heavily influences by the Cold War, nuclear weapons and their fallout and the ability to live normal until the very end. This is simply wishful thinking, but to this day the ‘bug out’ is discussed and adhered to as a viable strategy.

Recently, after the nation as a whole has switched over to ‘just in time’ inventory where as soon the continually moving replenishment system hits a snag supplies dry up as no one carries excess inventory, hurricanes have shown how roads turned into instant parking lots and gas deliveries are severely disrupted. That alone should keep people from trying to work in one place and live a self sufficient lifestyle elsewhere. Yet, they simply carry more gas cans and map out alternate routes on minor roads. But, regardless of short term problems, the long term is what we are concerned about. Even out of shape people can walk at least twelve miles a day (the California missions were located twenty miles apart along the coastal chain, telling us this was the norm for encumbered travelers back before cars). It won’t take that long before all areas that are deemed desirable see the refugees show up there. So, if you do get caught up in mapping evacuation routes and population centers, follow the roads rather than a drawn circle surrounding a city. You are a lot safer, at first, away from the cities, even closer than three hundred miles. But in the end, those on foot will find your area if it is desirable. My strategy is to live far away from everyone, where few will want to go. Of course, it has its own set of problems.

There is a potential monkey wrench in the normal perceived flow of refugees. Global warming. Now, I hate Al Gore. I’m convinced that he didn’t contest the skewed Florida election results so the Supreme Court could crown Bush the new king in record time. As a result he was rewarded financially in a rather handsome manner (W. Bush is a total moron that needs help completing a coherent sentence, proof positive moneyed interests were behind both his election and the Gore buy off). After the election, he becomes, in effect, new global weather czar. He and his traveling circus travel the globe (in carbon spewing planes) trying to alarm everyone about global warming. He made a lot of money on his lecture circuit. So much so that he can drive his huge carbon spewing SUV’s from the airport to his huge country home, using more polluting natural gas to heat his several thousand square foot office space each month than the average American uses to heat their dwelling all year. So I am not totally sold on the concept of global warming. Rather, I should say I have problems accepting global warming is man-made, or that we can do much about it. When there is money to be made, place your hand firmly over your wallet. The scores of scientists genuflecting before their new idol, lashing themselves with branches, their mouths foaming in ecstasy as they proclaim everlasting devotion and fidelity, all this leads me to wonder if global warming isn’t full of crap. We do have the new solar cycle starting, promising colder weather as sunspot activity is down sharply. Yet, colder weather can lead to less moisture. And those pictures of retreating glaciers are pretty convincing. In the end, unfortunately, you must decide these things for yourself. No one, especially not me, can know enough about your circumstances to guide you through more than superficial preparedness. It is all fine a well to give advice on the basics such as food, water and weapons. It is quite another to give advice that effects your family. No author knows your circumstances, so all the posturing, positions and philosophy must be taken with a grain of salt. We present an argument, you decide if it has merit. Myself, personally, put enough stock into the possibility of rising sea levels that I never bought property in Florida. I left there for Nevada, higher and drier and so many less population. I made the right decision, for me.

Now, come rising sea levels, if they indeed occur, you are going to have the opposite problem of refugees. Rather than heading towards warm climates, they will be headed away from them. Or, headed from warm and wet climates to both colder climes and those warm but dry such as the southwest. I love the desert, personally. Mostly the fact that it is quiet and peaceful and lacking of hoards of slack-jawed mindless humanity. If this eventuality occurs, you might wish to be far away from seawater flooded areas. You look at a sea of starving humanity in refugee camps and you think of passive people glad to get their small cup of gruel every day. That is not what American refugee camps will look like. They will be short on weapons, since the politically correct police will disarm before allowing entrance, but attitudes can’t be checked at the door. To a man they will be belligerent and nasty, hostile and demanding and full of a sense of entitlement. They will demand full supplies (food cooked by others and available menu fashion to allow individual choice) and will put forth no effort for it. In fact, I would wager that in the act of wiping themselves after the digestion process in complete, they rue the effort involved on their part in that. The refugees on the road will have the same attitude. Our government long ago chose to pacify the mobs by allowing them to live off of a lavish welfare state. At the same time the government, as it was doing to everyone else, encouraged a sense of outrage at others. The divide and conquer routine. The young resent the old for their Social Security. The poor resent the rich. The ghetto dwellers resent anyone working. It works great to deflect anger from the government while also forcing a dependence on them. It is a win/win for those in power. After the system comes unglued, it spells trouble for the survivors. You have untold multitudes unable to take care of themselves and quite willing to band together to take what is yours. They are, after all, an exploited minority and deserve to be taken care of since they were oppressed and unable to fend for themselves

(as a good example of this, look to whites in South Africa today, after the blacks took over and started to loot the old western nation ). Fear their arrival as waves of refugees….”

If you’d like to read the entire book, Life After the Collapse by James M. Dankin
Click here to order the eBook version: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-dakin/life-after-the-collapse/ebook/product-4419799.html
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End of article (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After The Collapse, 2-2)

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