Learn how public transportation works in your area and utilize it, as it could be an asset one day. Also, learn about anything that is public, from restrooms and shelters to tornado shelters. Timing could be an issue, and it could become the closest shelter for a variety of situations. Parks also have water supplies. Know where the water fill ups are. I personally know of some local spots that have hand pumps, which while it is not a secret, few people will think of immediately during a loss of utilities.
Having a few memberships can be a huge asset should you become displaced. The YMCA, for instance, has showers you could use without any trouble simply by having an affordable membership. You could also utilize that membership to enhance your strength. A library membership can get you easy access to shelter and information. A self-storage unit can be utilized as a cache, although it’s expensive.
Basic first aid is a must, and in the city we should be more cognizant of airborne threats. Considering the case example of the Bhopal disaster and also addressing tear, chlorine, mustard, nerve gas, and sternutators, here are some guidelines to survive a gas attack:
- Stay calm. During mask training in the army in the gas chamber, I took slow breaths while the guy in front of me panicked, yelling, and generally accelerating his heart rate. He suffered much worse than I did.
- Climb. Gases are heavy, so if you cannot quickly clear the area by way of vehicle or because of congestion, get as high as possible; climb a tree, stairs, bus, or hill. Gasses will be most concentrated in low areas and ditches. Also, you will have more air flow higher up.
- Cover your face with a wet cloth. Wet a cloth with water or use your own urine but do not expose any skin to the gas to do it, as your clothing will provide a barrier. Once the area is clear cut clothing away carefully, and as with many chemical exposures (including poison ivy) take a COLD shower as this will close your pores and reduce exposure to the chemical.
Many people in the Bhopal Disaster had much worse symptoms because they panicked in the streets and tried to run away. Had they simply gone to a higher floor in a building they would have greatly reduced exposure without attempting to flee. If you understand the topographical layout of your community, you will also understand where the valleys are. Avoid these in the situation of a gas disaster. This also illustrates a reason to avoid subway systems, because they are ideal targets of gas attacks (and nearly every other type of terrorist attack). While speaking on this subject, there is another airborne threat– CO, or carbon monoxide.
CO is unburnt carbon caused by a variety of heating sources and generators. Having a generator is a little like owning a gun; if you don’t use it properly and respect it, it can kill you. Hundreds of people die from CO poisoning every year. It takes minutes of use for a generator to produce lethal levels of CO, which is again heavier than air. So, if you use one, try to keep it 12 feet away from your buildings, down wind and downhill, and utilize CO detectors. You spent the money to purchase the generator, so be sure to read about recent deaths caused by generators with CO poisoning.
I’m amazed how I never hear about owning a phone book as a prep item. This big yellow book has an absolute wealth of information inside of it, and it is completely EMP proof. The next time you get a free phone book, absolutely do not throw it away. Make your own book and your own pamphlet for yourself and your loved ones. Keep critical information in this pamphlet, like the number 184.108.40.206 (SurvivalBlog’s IP address), Ham radio frequencies, the steps to reprogram your handheld, which you should be able to do yourself along with adding additional frequencies. You might have other things in this pamphlet, like problem-solving steps. Don’t be afraid of adding the very basics, because in a situation where your adrenaline is pumping and let’s say you just lost a loved one, your mental capacity and memory is going to be deficient. If you decide you must have a password or security code in this, be sure to encrypt it with a simple key or add nulls to it. You should have a physical phone list and address book of all your friends and family.
I have had the unfortunate need for a lawyer more than once recently. Because I had a lawyer, the individuals who threatened legal action against me backed off. I’ve discovered in my area the retainer for a lawyer is between $1,000-2,500 dollars, and so far I’ve gotten 80% of that back. In these instances, I lost access to my bank and lost income, so I had to have a separate plan to deal with the legal situation. Keep some legal minded phone numbers in your wallet, and understand some of the legal specifics behind the activities you participate in. Marriage, parenting, driving, sailing, shooting, or panhandling, everything is governed by laws. Understand how laws work in your area with the understanding that the law and ethics are not the same. You can behave ethically and still have legal problems.
I’m going from the law straight into lock picking. In generalized research for this article, I read instances of Jews defeating handcuffs and escaping. Also, there are other legal reasons to use lock picking. Learn the law of your area, and make your own decision. Having a kit can be useful, and practicing is certainly something you’ll want to do. Once you understand how locks work, you’ll have a useful skill, even without having a lock pick kit. Further, understanding how locks work will help you utilize them in a more effective manner.
Let’s say your garage door key code is 3456, you can offset the numbers by two, so it becomes 25678; the number two helps you remember the offset. Or, you could just add some numbers like, 134561. Use a code as well. Don’t label it as garage PIN; label it as safety deposit box. Then store this inside your wallet. I’ve known people who forgot their garage code because they never used it, until they needed to. I have a combination lock at work, where I have engraved an encrypted solution to the lock. Remember, nothing is uncrackable; somebody could figure out my encryption, but it’s a combination lock, which are easily defeated anyway. In this manner, you can store keys that to the casual observer would not reveal too much information. Never write down a password or PIN without encryption.
Every Day Carry
If you do not have it on you, it will not help you in the situation you’re in. Most people have seen the Austin Powers carry list before he leaves. I go through a similar routine– keys, wallet, phone. Regarding keys, on your key set do you have two dozen keys you don’t use? Get rid of them; replace them with a FOB of sorts. If you have a prescription, you could carry a dose right on your keychain. I carry two pain relievers. Also, a little compass for days where the sun is not shining is great. A little penknife on your keychain and a light source is a bonus item. At this point you haven’t added any weight or bulk; you’ve simply made your keychain more useful. Use the same method with your wallet, which you want to keep slim. Pull out those extra credit cards. Yes, drop them in the shredder. Now you have made some space to put a laminated card with contact information on it. If you get arrested, they take your phone, so put some numbers on this card of people who could bail you out, like your lawyer, who you already have on retainer. Perhaps include a number to return the wallet should you lose it with a reward amount to sweeten the pot for somebody to return all those IDs and credit cards, which are no longer in there. Want to get crazy? Put a little map in your wallet, just one page of a critical area you could be lost in. This is an especially good idea if you are visiting a new area. You also might have random information, like the number 220.127.116.11 (SurvivalBlog’s IP address), local Ham frequencies, emergency numbers, and perhaps a basic encryption card.
Car Repair Kit
On my recent camping trip out of state, I drove an un-tested 94 Forerunner. I learned quickly why they call it a slowrunner or “6.slow”, and I ended up having to use the kit I brought with me. The already slow vehicle had a spark wire come loose from a broken clip. Five cylinders of slowness, no available Internet, and 80-degree weather demonstrated the need for preparation and forethought. Finding a car shop only to discover they closed in 45 minutes and would not even look at the car, I eventually applied my own limited knowledge of the car and peeked under the hood and checked the wires when I discovered the loose wire. Upon the advice of a friend in discussing the trip, I had added a length of plain insulated wire to my car kit, which I used to lash the loose wire into place. It remained attached for the remaining 5-hour trip home. So, in your car repair kit, start with tire repair/maintenance and build from there. I recommend the following:
Tire Repair/Maintenance Items –
- Tire plug kit
- Air pump – I’ve been using a $12 Slime compressor for several years now; it is light duty, so don’t run it continuously for too long.)
- Spare tire
- Scissor jack
- Tire iron
- Cheater pipe (2-3 foot long pipe large enough to use on tire iron scissor jack)
- Air gauge
For Your Car’s Electrical System –
- Jumper cables
- Extra fuses
- Lengths of 12-gauge insulated wire*
- Wire clippers
- Needle nose wrench
- Wire brush (to clean those terminals)
For the Mechanical and Miscellaneous-
- Socket set (with allen set, and assorted flat and star bits)
- Adjustable wrench vise grips
- Duct tape
- Box cutter knife
- Mechanics gloves
- Tow straps
- Ice scraper
- Haynes Service manual (specific for your car!)
- Pipe clamps
Other Items to Think About-
City dwellers certainly have a lot to consider during a Schumer event. Knowing basic survival skills could be what separates you from misery or even death. I really hope this article gives you some creative ideas on what skills you can practice that could both entertain and enlighten. Thank you for reading SurvivalBlog and contributing to our community.