Wharton published a great piece the other day regarding the slow collapse of our infrastructure today. It brought to mind a long festering point regarding those of us who are foolish enough to believe that we can survive and thrive in an urban environment should the so called ultimate melt down occur. It’s amazing how many people seem to think that the government will take care of the infrastructure, even though the majority of it beyond the roadways is privately held property.
Power lines, railways, underground gas lines, many water conduits and more are not government owned, in spite of the fact that they are heavily regulated and controlled by the government. So what will happen to them as time goes by, and will they still operate should we experience that which we preparedness fanatics expect to occur?
The quick answer is that they will continue to become more corrupted and eventually fail should any maintenance cease on these infrastructure systems. Already we are seeing more and more problems arise even with the intensive care these systems receive today. In Maine alone over the past few days with the passing of Tomas the storm we had over 60,000 people without power due to the storms damaging effects. Imagine if there were no crews to make immediate repairs! Over 60,000 people would have been plunged into a 19th century lifestyle against their will. How many of them would have been prepared for that outcome? I’d put money on there being less than a handful of people that could have survived if that scenario had played out.
This week a sewer line was damaged spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage in West Palm Beach, Florida. A couple of months ago a gas pipeline blew up San Bruno, California. Eight people were killed and nearly 50 homes were damaged and/or destroyed as a result of that blast. Two months before that an oil pipeline burst open in Michigan spilling over a million gallons of crude oil into an open waterway. These are just a few incidences of major proportions, and all were taken care of, but what about when no one is there to clean up the mess or solve the problem?
As this nation gets deeper and deeper into the whirlpool of financial failure, it will cost more and more to repair these systems, all privately owned. The realities of the economic situation will force these owners to try to cut corners to keep operating costs low while still making a profit, and because of that the systems will degrade in many cases to the point of no return.
So what can we do to prepare for this eventual collapse? We can do a great deal, actually. As always the best advice is to get the heck out of dodge before it is too late, especially if you have family to tend to. Cities can be fun and exciting places to visit, but they will become an inescapable trap when the collapse finally comes, and come it will. Beyond getting out of the city, you must learn to provide for your own infrastructure.
Water is of course the base of the SaWaFo pyramid, so that becomes your prime consideration. If you are on a public water supply you run the risk of being cut off from your supply, or worse, having that supply becoming contaminated somehow. Have a drilled well installed if you can, and install a solar power unit to power the pump. Consider also installing a large storage tank as a static backup supply. Place the tank into a shed, or build one around it and make sure it is insulated whatever climate you live in. insulation will keep the water cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Also consider a storage tank if you are on a public supply line. A storage tank can keep you in water for a long time -if big enough- when the public water supply quits.
Electrical supply lines are becoming more and more unstable as utility companies continue to cut back on maintenance of the lines. Get a portable generator, or install an automatic stand by generator for those periods when the lights go out. A good idea is to obtain some kerosene lamps, and install a wood stove or two for heating in the cold weather. They can be used for cooking as well, remember. As an alternative Kerosun, Omni and other companies make kerosene heaters that work extremely well for those spaces where you cannot utilize a wood stove, and you can also cook on the tops of some styles as well. Just make certain you have plenty of ventilation as they do produce carbon monoxide and consume oxygen.
The streets and highways may become impassable for many reasons so get yourself some alternative transportation. A four wheel drive vehicle can get you quit a few bad spots, but sometimes you may have to resort to something else. Pedal power will always work as long as you have legs that can do the work you need to do, so buy a good solid bicycle for everyone in your household. They don’t rely on liquid fuel so are not susceptible to gas shortages. In the meantime, you can also outfit them with small gas motors that will turn them into a mini motorcycle for when gas is available. A trailer added to the back allows you to tow the little ones, or extra freight as the need arises.
Communication is one area that we can never fully prepare for. The best alternative is to get a ham license and utilize the ham radio networks for communication. Low power requirements mean you can power up a set with a small inverter powered by your car, or a small generator. In a pinch they even sell hand cranked generators that will provide you with enough juice to get and share all the news you can use.
The list goes on and on, but if you get creative and use your imagination now, you will be able to survive the coming times by preparing to adapt your lifestyle to life without any public utilities or other infrastructure available. Remember that only you can make you a survivor!