Posts Tagged ‘infrastructure collapse’

The newspapers and television stations we get our current news from have a propensity to label every storm that comes down the road the greatest disaster since whenever. It is true that we have some terrific storms, but how do we really classify them as disasters? Many of the so-called greatest disasters of today become minuscule in tragedy compared to disasters of yesterday.

Hurricane Katrina was called the worst disaster since whenever, but the reality is that the hurricane that wiped out 1,836 people back in 2005. But the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane  caused more real damage, taking many more lives than Katrina did. The damage was just as extensive, but because costs have risen so much over the decades due to the decline in the value of currency worldwide, Katrina cost much more in cash to recover from.

Do not take me the wrong way here, Katrina was a tragedy, but in real terms, it was in fact a tragedy that really might have been prevented. However, that was then, Sandy Hook has come and gone and we wait with tingling buttocks the next media fed disaster of the century.

Let us look at our own disaster levels, and prepare for them by creating plans for each of the different levels of disaster. I have developed a personal tiered system of five levels of disaster/preparedness that we should be ready for. You can develop your own system as you see fit, but please develop prepping goals that help you achieve a permanent survival plan in case the worst does come to pass.

Here are my five stages:

  • Stage 1; Stage 1 is the simplest, and least stressful of prepping events. This would include any situation involving no more than one night without your usual or normal infrastructure in place. This could involve a thunderstorm creating a blackout of just a few minutes to a 24-48 hour time frame. At this point, you will be consuming the food in your refrigerator first, as it is likely to thaw and spoil in just a couple of days.

 

  • Stage 2; Stage 2 is a little more complex, with your infrastructure being interrupted for up to one week to a month. By day three you should have cleaned out your refrigerator, and begun to consume the contents of a deep freeze if you have one. Store bought canned and dry food in your pantry will be consumed at this point. You will want to save MRE’s and long-term food supplies for stage three and beyond. Batteries will likely have been used up by this point, and you would be on alternative lighting such as oil lamps, etc. cooking will be done with camp stoves, so you would need plenty of fuel on hand for this stage.

 

  • Stage 3; Stage 3 is a duration of from one month to a six months or so. You would have consumed all fresh foods long before the beginning of this stage, and would be utilizing your short-term storage foods such as canned goods and may have begun your MRE  program. Availability of foods and fuels in the marketplace is no longer an option, as there likely is no marketplace to speak of. Your fuel may be gone, and you would be utilizing wood for heating and cooking. The smart prepper would have developed a solar lighting scheme to recharge batteries for lighting and other needs.

 

  • Stage 4; Stage 4 is a period of from six months to one year. This is the time frame in which you would have mentally sat back and taken stock of the fact that we are really screwed, it is not just a bad dream. Short-term food supplies will be running low, and you will begin consuming your long-term food supply. A good prepper would have seen this coming and realized early on that your short and mid-term supplies would need to be rationed to avoid running out too quickly. By now you will be at the barter stage to obtain needed supplies as the government is obviously  dumber than we gave them credit for being.

 

  • Stage 5; Stage 5 is a period of survival lasting from one year to two years out from the initial disaster. You finally figured out that you were right all along, and there is no going back to the way things were. You will be on your long-term food supply, and will by springtime have planted that survival garden you thought you would never need. There are no jobs, no money, and transportation is now 100% people powered. Bicycles and animals provide the means of getting anyplace faster than walking. Your long term food is holding out, and in the fall, you will harvest and prepare for storage your food needs for the entire following year.

 

  • Stage 6;  Stage 6 is no longer a survival stage. If you have made it this far, you will find that this is the new normal. It had been over two years since the disaster that created the situation you are in, the government, the economy, and society have all crumbled into a sort of 18th century mentality. Roving gangs have moved from the depleted urban areas and are now roaming the countryside to take what they want. You have banned together with your neighbors to form militia groups for protection from these marauding gangs. You have found that life truly sucks, but that is OK, you will weather the storm.

 

That is a brief rundown of the stages of disaster preparedness. Most of us only have to put up with an occasional stage 1 setting, and a few of us go on to a stage 2 setting. Very few people ever come close to a stage three in these days, but it could happen. We owe it to our families to prepare for the worst, but pray that it never happens.

Happy prepping folks!

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!

My advice to those of you who dwell in the truly urban areas of this nation has always been to get yourself gone, ASAP! Yesterday isn’t soon enough. I know there are large numbers of people who plan on trying to survive what is to come in these urban centers, and there have been several TV shows and movies that show us how simple it will be to take control of a large population center and make a go of it. Unfortunately, this is make-believe. It’s all made up by a scriptwriter and producer, brought to life by a director.

There are many facets of life in the city that are not discussed on these shows, and by not addressing these issues you are merely adding new dangers that you really should not have to be dealing with in an end time’s survival scenario. The city’s infrastructure is a huge burden, and with no one to foot the bill, how do you propose to keep the infrastructure in shape? Roadways will crumble if not maintained, especially under the stress of repeated earthquakes. Who will take care of the roadways? The infrastructure under the streets will also decay and collapse, so if you think simply tooling around in a four wheel drive truck will work, think again. Water and sewer pipes will burst, and any remaining liquids in them will pour forth under these streets undermining the pavement and creating sinkholes that will swallow many vehicles whole. You’ll have a harder and harder time of getting around with a vehicle, and eventually you won’t be able to travel anywhere without great difficulty.

Where do you intend to get your water from? The public water supply will cease to function without power to force the water through the system. Chemicals needed to make safe water for drinking will not be available as there will be no supply houses to obtain them from. And even if there are supply houses that may remain open, who will manufacture these chemicals? Who will test the supply to make sure it remains safe to drink? Then there is the delivery system itself. Sometimes the source of your water supply can be miles away from the city requiring huge outlays of manpower and cash to maintain the mainline piping, sometimes referred to as aqueducts. And don’t forget the hundreds of miles of local delivery piping that lay just under the surface of your streets. Failure to keep these systems safe and secure could lead to contamination of your water supply, not to mention the waste incurred by not repairing the leaks that will occur.

How about electrical power? Where is that going to come from? Very few communities can boast of having their own power generation capabilities, and those that do have them, particularly those with hydro-power will fare better than others. But if we fail because of an EMP or similar event the grid will be useless for distributing power, and according to some analysts it could take a decade or more to get the grid up and running again. Your choices are few in this matter. Fuel will become available in decreasing quantities and you will have to resort to pumping out storage tanks if you wish to run portable generators. Some people seem to believe that they will be able to rely on natural gas, and that too is a fallacy in a widespread breakdown. The natural gas wells need to have someone keep them running, as well as the compressors installed at intervals along the pipelines to keep the gas up to pressure. How do you intend to do that from your secure little enclave of urban survivalists?

There are many more issues that we fail to adequately address in our planning that can cause complete failure to what we want to envision our end time world to look like. Sanitation, communication, transportation, food sources and many more areas need to be fully investigated before we come to a complete understanding of what we have to look forward to in the coming times. Unfortunately, many of us insist that the picture we see is the correct picture, and many times the picture we see will be so distorted by our own pride that we could end up getting people hurt, or worse, killed for no good reason. We like to believe that we can shelter and survive in our snug little city type dwellings, but this is a false dream. The odds of winning a survival scenario in such a setting are so heavily weighed against success that it isn’t worth the effort.

Leave the major population centers for the warlords and gangs that will rise up after the fall of law and order. Ignorance will prevail by brute force and eventually their numbers will be reduced through their own stupidity. True, they will migrate to the countryside and rural communities to forage for that which they are to ignorant to obtain on their own knowledge, but if you have followed my advice and set up small communities of like minded people you will be able to withstand their assaults, provided they can even find you. And if you have followed my advice, they won’t

The primary aspects of survival can be found as what I call the SaWaFo pyramid. Safety, water, and food are the three pinnacle points of need for survival. Water is of course the most vital, but without these three you will not survive long term, no matter what the situation is. Safety, water, and food, are your primary needs, and not necessarily in that order. In a city you have reduced opportunity to find clean potable water, reduced opportunity to plant and grow necessary food and fuel crops, and at the same time an increased level of threat and reduction of a safe environment due to the risk of other people desiring what you have. At least in suburban areas you’ll have greater opportunity for water and food, even though the proximity to the greater population centers increases the potential risk.

Rural is the way to go, no matter how you want to look at the issue. If you find a locality with other like minded people you can band together for defensive purposes, and have plenty of room for crops, fuel plants and clean water from drilled wells.

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