Survival Skills: Urban Style (Sort Of)

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OK maybe it’s not urban at all, but it’s not exactly run-out-in-the-middle-of-a-forest-and-live-with-bears either.  It’s an idea that interests me for two reasons:  basic personal care is the first one.  The second resulted from my contemplating the number of natural disasters hitting America this past year; survival on some fronts might be something we have to consider sooner rather than later.  The county near mine is a federal disaster area from recent flooding.  My own county is in a state of emergency, though my house is completely dry and the yard is a bit soggy at most.  I’m lucky.  These sorts of things are happening more regularly and it seems best to prepare for the worst.

Now, I’m not a backwoods living kind of girl, my Appalachian home notwithstanding.  I have no interest in marching into the woods and going back to the land.  I’m more interested in the kinds of things I’d need to make sure I’m taken care of without spending an arm and a leg and what I’d need to do to maintain certain hygiene and survival standards if big disaster were to hit.

First, though, I think “skills” need to be defined (and I would LOVE to hear other people’s input).  I think some of these are homesteading skills, but I suppose others would be more specialized.

In a disaster scenario, I want to be able to have a bath periodically.  I know this shouldn’t be as high on the list compared to, say, drinking water.  But I want a shower!  On a recent camping trip (one I consented to out of pure love, not love of nature), I was treated to a solar shower.  If the tarp is put right and the bag has been in the sun long enough, it’s not too bad!  And the typical solar shower, which is really just a plastic bag with a nozzle/shower-type head, actually holds enough water to get you wet enough, rinsed a few times, etc.  The water gets nice and warm.  Now, being naked in the tarp with the wind whipping around isn’t exactly a sauna.  But the water is warm. I should probably get a little solar shower kit and put it in the basement.

I’d need to know how to create simple household cleaners as well as simple products or methods to own to cure a range of things on my own.  I’ve heard vinegar is wonderful for cleaning.  I use it in the washing machine as fabric softener and it does a great job.  I’m not utterly convinced yet it cleans counters, bathrooms, etc. like I’d want.  But I’m getting there!  As for light medical cures…you got me.  Apparently I need to stock vinegar and booze so I can clean up and still forget that I’m hurt.

I’d need to know how to feed myself without electricity or gas, possible.  I suppose there is always the simple little charcoal grill.  That’s not too hard to manage.  A freezer of meat will stay cool for a while.  Cooking it is another matter.  Is there a better way other than a charcoal grill?  Or I suppose a gas grill as long as you can still get the gas canisters.

Oh, and water!  I’ve read about dosing toilet tank water with bleach.  Is that legitimate?!  Seems suspect.  I suppose it couldn’t hurt to have some gallons of drinking water put back into the pantry?

What else are we missing here?

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One response »

  1. Well. My best friend came from Salinas, virtually atop the San Andreas Fault. Her dad was home alone (while her mom was here in Px) when a big earthquake struck. Closed roads in and out of town, shut down water and power.

    Elmer, it develops, kept the whole neighborhood going for the better part of a week.

    To start with, he had a camper, which he kept supplied with water and propane. And camp food. And to end with, he had stocked up water and propane in the house. He and Ella liked to put up fruits and veggies, so the pantry was full of preserved foods.

    A camper’s fridge runs on propane, so he had at least a small place to store serious necessaries (such as meds) that need to be kept cold.

    Vinegar actually has some disinfectant properties. A good all around cleaner is about 50-50 rubbing alcohol & vinegar, with a couple tablespoons ammonia added. This is approximately the same thing as Windex, without the blue dye.

    One should have a camp stove, a propane grill, a Coleman lantern, a couple of flashlights, lots of extra batteries, a container or two of gasoline for the car, several five-gallon carboys of water, iodine tablets for water purification, a fully stocked first-aid kit, an effective painkiller, canned and dried foods, extra pet food, soap, toilet paper, and…yes, a shotgun or pistol, depending on your proficiency. Cigarettes and alcohol for trading could come in handy, should an emergency turn into a chronic thing. A generator would be good, in some circumstances.

    But…it’s hard to imagine how you’d ever pull all that stuff out of the rubble that resulted from those tornadoes. Lordie! What a horror show!

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