Poor Man Survival
Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…
A Digest of Urban Survival Resources
Consider preparing in case the cold of winter bites hard
A couple of years ago the northeast had an ice storm that knocked out power for days and made life frigid and miserable for thousands of people. But everyone got off easy compared to the "Great Ice Storm" of 1998. From eastern Ontario to New York and New England, snow, freezing rain and ice fell and accumulated for more than 80 hours straight.
Millions of people were without power, heat, or running water for up to two weeks or more.
This was not a nuclear strike, a terror attack, a lockdown, a hurricane or a tornado. It was just plain ol' weather — of a kind that can happen any time. It snuck up overnight and just kept on coming.
Only ½ inch of ice accumulation causes widespread tree and power line damage and makes it almost impossible to drive on any road without spiked tires or chains. An inch or more of ice caked on everything in sight is devastation.
How would you cope in frigid temperatures without electricity, running water and little to no heat, in some cases for 15 days?
Winter is just around the corner, and that should be a reminder to all that staying warm in an emergency situation is about "survival, but it's also something anyone susceptible to cold would be prudent to prepare for.
People stay warm by generating and retaining heat and/or gaining it from an outside source. Heat is lost through radiation, conduction, convection and evaporation.
- Proper clothing is essential to minimizing the effects of heat loss. Most thick outer garments, such as heavy coats or layers of lighter-weight clothing, minimize radiation loss. Radiant barriers constructed of shiny material and sandwiched with nonconductive layers will reflect body heat inward.
- Conduction can be prevented by separating two extremes — the cold air outside from the warm air near your body — with an insulative layer. Most coats, natural and synthetic, offer resistance to conduction through air pockets in the insulation.
- Convection transfers heat via air currents. Convection is experienced when one opens his jacket, allowing the heated air from the body to escape through the opening.
- Heat loss also occurs when water evaporates. Our bodies continually give off moisture in the form of perspiration. If our clothes become damp with perspiration or from another source, evaporation quickly removes heat from our bodies.
In an emergency situation, try not to work so hard that your clothes become wet with perspiration. Remove layers and work more slowly.
If it's raining, avoid the chore that would put you in the rain, if possible, but to be prepared, you want to have a good, solid raincoat or poncho and do all you can to avoid getting wet. Some of the lightweight but very rainproof jackets the outerwear manufacturers make are ideal to wear over other clothes and allow freedom of movement should you need it.
Finally, starting a fire can help both physically and emotionally. Keep some strike-anywhere matches in a waterproof container, or be sure you have some other fire starter handy. Good choices are butane lighters, flint and steel, a 9-volt battery and steel wool or a magnesium fire starter. My friends at My Patriot Supply have a variety of great products that can get a fire started in almost any environment.
It's also a good idea to have some type of tinder in a waterproof container. Cotton impregnated with petroleum jelly and kept in a 35-mm film canister is a great tool.
Peggy Layton recommends storing winter boots for everyone in the family as well as good shoes to walk or hike in. Just in case you have to walk a long way, make sure they are comfortable and heavy-duty. Also, she looks for wool blankets because they are so warm. You can use them inside a sleeping blanket or on top. They are getting hard to find, so you might have to ask for them.
Thomas Miller reminds us of two other considerations:
- Emergency Heater — If you have a fireplace that's great, but one of the best alternative sources is an indoor-compliant propane heater than runs on small propane cylinders like small grills run off of. The heater and gas cylinders are both pretty affordable and should be heavily thought about if you live in a place with cold winters.
- Containment — When there is not a supplemental heat source, or to consume fuel, there is a need to contain the available heat as much as possible. Containment can be accomplished by consolidating into one or two rooms. The windows and doorways should be covered with heavy blankets (another need for wool) or even extra mattresses. The floor should be covered as well as possible with mattresses, rugs and blankets. When choosing a room to consolidate into, one that is small or has your fireplace is the best choice.
He adds: "In my own opinion the next ideas are a bit crazy
but it has been suggested that if you are interested in getting your body
acclimated for the coming drop in temperature, you can take ice baths and eat
cold foods. I guess it may work but I can promise you that you will never find
me doing the polar plunge and eating ice cream simultaneously. I'll stick with
the basics outlined above."
Yours for the truth,
Editor, The Bob Livingston Letter®
11 Ways To Light Your Home When The Power Goes Out
Imagine you're relaxing on the couch with your phone or tablet - perhaps reading an article on Urban Survival Site - when lightning flashes against the windows followed by a deafening crack of thunder. An instant later the lights go out and your home becomes dark and eerily quiet. What is the first thing you would do in this situation?
Hopefully, you have an easily accessible flashlight in each room so you don't have to go digging through drawers and cabinets in the dark. But if it's a long power outage, you don't want to use flashlights the entire time. At some point, most people get out the candles, but there are many other options.
In this article, I'm going to cover all the most common ways to light your home when the power goes out...
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