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#276058 - 08/03/15 01:08 AM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
JeffMc Offline
Member

Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 129
Loc: Northwest Florida
I think that a lot of people who want to be reasonably well prepared for disaster, but aren't into it as either a sort of major hobby or as part of an overall lifestyle, question how much preparation makes sense to them, in terms of time, effort, expense and opportunity costs. Everybody will have to find their own answers.

To me, the standard 3-days food and water recommendation should be a rock bottom minimum goal for everyone. A two-week supply would be much better, especially if supplemented with useful skills and items beyond the bare basics. I would consider a well-rounded three month or more supply enough to make a typical family well-prepared. Beyond that, you might possibly be heading into survivalist hobby or lifestyle territory, where the sky's the limit.

But there's another consideration. A careful study of modern history reveals, I think, that the stories of the survivors of all sorts of calamities and disasters are, for the most part, the stories of refugees. Essentially, the best way to survive is often simply to either not be where the Really Bad Thing happens, or to GTFO as soon as possible thereafter.

That may mean leaving pretty much everything behind. So, your carefully planned and located bugout shelter or basement full of expensive long term foods and supplies may become an anchor around your neck if it causes you to stay when you should have fled. As Robert Burns told us, "the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."

If that's so, it suggests to me that perhaps material survival supplies ought to be limited to whatever you may be able to take with you, at least for part of your journey, or else that you would have and use anyway in your normal everyday life.

It implies several other things, as well. The importance of having good situational awareness, for one. The value of possessing portable skills and preferably portable assets, for another.


Edited by JeffMc (08/04/15 02:59 AM)

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#276062 - 08/03/15 07:44 AM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: JeffMc]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Jeff, that was a truly excellent post, very much down to Earth.

I guess we all have our preconceived notions about the possibility of a TEOTWAWKI situation and what one could do to survive that sort of thing. Reinforcing your home and hoarding lots of water, food and supplies sounds like a good strategy. But historically speaking, large-scale natural or man-made disasters tend to overwhelm entire societies, let alone invididuals.

There are definite merits in keeping some gear and supplies ready just in case. But at the end of the day, what good will a basement full of canned food do if the world as you know it really falls apart?

IMHO the only universal resources that will work anywhere, anytime are your skills (self-explanatory), physical shape (hard to accomplish anything if your body lets you down) and social network (long-term survival has always been a group thing).

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#276064 - 08/03/15 11:16 PM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: JeffMc]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 856
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: JeffMc
...

But there's another consideration. A careful study of modern history reveals, I think, that the stories of the survivors of all sorts of calamities and disasters are, for the most part, the stories of refugees. Essentially, the best way to survive is often simply to either not be where the Really Bad Thing happens, or to GTFU as soon as possible thereafter.

That may mean leaving pretty much everything behind. So, your carefully planned and located bugout shelter or basement full of expensive long term foods and supplies may become an anchor around your neck if it causes you to stay when you should have fled. As Robert Burns told us, "the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."

If that's so, it suggests to me that perhaps material survival supplies ought to be limited to whatever you may be able to take with you, at least for part of your journey, or else that you would have and use anyway in your normal everyday life.

It implies several other things, as well. The importance of having good situational awareness, for one. The value of possessing portable skills and preferably portable assets, for another.


For a total collapse (economic, war, tolitarian or ineffectual central goverment, etc) I think that the survival stories you don't hear about are the most relevant ones. The ones who had the situational awareness to accurately assess the situation, and the assets to get out ahead of time. And when I say get out of the way, I'm referring to fleeing the country or region.

For interesting read, check out the US Foreign Service Office emergency plans for employees and their families. They have to occasionally evacuate the entire staff, and their families, in short order. They, IMHO, have nice checklist for what to take and do for when things go bad.
http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c1991.htm


Portable skills, particularly if they are high value skills in your destination, are good for sustaining a living. Note the number of H-1B visas issued for technology professionals.

But, as Jeff mentioned, portable assets are also valuable. Being able to transfer assets out of harms way is is the difference between penniless refugee and established immigrant. IMHO, the days of sewing gold coins into your coat are largely gone. With all currency being fiat currency, foreign currency bank accounts in stable countries have become today's international "portable assets".


Edited by Mark_R (08/03/15 11:29 PM)
_________________________
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

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#276066 - 08/04/15 02:58 AM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Tom_L]
JeffMc Offline
Member

Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 129
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: Tom_L
...

IMHO the only universal resources that will work anywhere, anytime are your skills (self-explanatory), physical shape (hard to accomplish anything if your body lets you down) and social network (long-term survival has always been a group thing).


You bring up a very good point. A social network is an incredibly value resource. I have worked all sorts of disasters all over the country and overseas, and I have observed two key facts.

First, the true first responders aren't the professionals or trained and organized volunteers; they are your neighbors, friends and family. Second, those who are part of an existing cooperative social network, whether it's organized around a school, church or civic group, an extended family, good neighbors who know and help one another, or just a circle of friends in and outside of the impacted area, generally seem to fare best in the immediate aftermath of disaster. They tend to be the ones who first have someone looking for, checking up on, and helping them out very early on, and that can make a big difference.

At minimum, having a reliable person serving as a point of contact outside the affected area is a very useful resource for accounting for victims, organizing assistance, and facilitating problem-solving. If your POC has your Power of Attorney and copies of your vital documents like insurance and financial papers, so much the better.

I also completely agree with you that in a long-term situation, survival will be greatly enhanced for those in a strong, mutually cooperative social network or group.


Edited by JeffMc (08/04/15 03:04 AM)

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#276068 - 08/04/15 04:10 AM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Tom_L]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 1004
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Quote:
There are definite merits in keeping some gear and supplies ready just in case. But at the end of the day, what good will a basement full of canned food do if the world as you know it really falls apart?


It can keep you fed until you can get a garden planted and provide the containers to store the produce for the winter.

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#276070 - 08/04/15 12:31 PM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
...based on the assumption that your shelter survives intact and no outside factor at all interferes with your noble attempt at sustainable long-term farming.

Unfortunately, that is rarely (if ever) the case. The problem with natural and man-made disasters on a really large scale is that they tend to turn the entire society upside down. Your home, belongings, food stockpiles, the entire infrastructure might be gone in the blink of an eye.

Not just your home, the entire region might no longer be a safe place to live any more. Maybe only for a limited period of time (think Katrina or the recent Nepal eartquake) or maybe for years on end (Chernobyl, civil war in Syria). You might be dealing with rapidly spreading epidemics, rampaging violence, loss of your beloved ones and all your belongings.

Fortunately, humans are an adaptable species and most of the time we manage to fix things somehow as long as we stick together. In any sort of disaster outside help is always extremely important - in terms of supplies, rescue personnel and rebuilding resources. Without that sort of assistance, your chances of long term survival drop toward zero regardless of your skills and stockpiles at hand.

In case of a total long-term collapse however, your best bet is getting the heck out of there. In a warzone like Syria these days you either take sides and fight or let go of everything and escape while you still can. Anything else is likely to get you killed quickly, including any attempt to sit out the bad times by keeping to yourself on your well stocked homestead.

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#276079 - 08/04/15 09:36 PM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Tom_L]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 1004
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
I agree. It all depends on the situation. If it's over a small region, you're right it may be better to be elsewhere. If it's national or worldwide, you may not be able to do any better elsewhere depending on the cause.

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#276085 - 08/05/15 01:51 AM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 869
Loc: wellington, fl
Originally Posted By: Jeanette_Isabelle
I don't understand how the knowledge of canning could be helpful. I can't can food if I don't have food to can.

That knowledge is not helpful for now either. Let me explain. The space used to store canning supplies can be better utilized to store food.

Jeanette Isabelle


The consistent pattern of my survival planning behavior Is that I prepare for threats that allow me to do things I like to do anyway. I like knives, so I prepare for disaster by acquiring or making knives.I like guns, so I acquire guns. I notice that lots of folks on the forum are pretty sure that disaster can be averted by skills in knot-tying, vegetable gardening, food storage, and identifying edible insects: they show remarkably little interest in guns or knives. To each his ever lovin', blue-eyed own.

Fearless Leader has devised truly ingenious collections of survival supplies for airplanes. These address the problems of a small aircraft forced down on land or sea in a comprehensive, redundant and creative fashion. And none of these kits could have saved Steve Fossett or JFK junior. Disasters are by their nature unpredictable. I chose to prepare for statistically unlikely disasters because it gives me a (laughably spurious) sense of control over the terrifying uncertainty of daily life. I store food, and I don't have to think about the 17.5 million families in this country who are food insecure right now, absent disaster.
And I get to play with stuff that I like.

So, prepare for disaster exactly as you wish to do so. At some level, all predictions of the future utility of disaster planning are arbitrary, and, as history shows in hurricanes and earthquakes, in Louisiana, New York, and Haiti, probably misguided.
_________________________
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

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#276086 - 08/05/15 02:45 AM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3425
Loc: USA
I find myself, respectfully, not entirely in agreement with nursemike. While my knowledge and planning are necessarily imperfect, I try to have a reasonably good grip on the most likely disasters where I live (Large Amounts of snow, damaging weather, loss of utilities) and I've prepared reasonably for same. I've tried to assemble a fairly eclectic variety of knowledge, skills and equipment for bringing my family through the most likely scenarios. For myself, a positive mental attitude comes from having built these things up and the experience of some potentially disastrous situations.

Could I do more? Sure. I'd love to lose some weight, train for and complete a Goruck Challenge, get WEMT certified, and just plain go hiking more often. But for all that I spend more time shooting than I strictly need to, my plans aren't entirely arbitrary.

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#276090 - 08/05/15 01:42 PM Re: A Total Collapse [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2458
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
Realistically all I can prepare for is a three-month disruption. Without my medications, I'll end up here:



It sounds like the best plan is to get out of Dodge but where do we go?

Jeanette Isabelle
_________________________
“Trust me, this is not gonna end well!” — Pleakley, Lilo & Stitch

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