Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Whole Disaster Thing 2

The Whole Disaster Thing 2 - How It Can Happen.

Imagine this. You turn on the TV to catch up on the latest in the Middle Eastern situation. "Just like Saddam Hussein before him, the man who calls himself 'the prophet returned" has set light to the oil wells by which the countries that he considers to be his people have allowed Western morals and thoughts to infiltrate their religion and culture. Since he had access to nuclear missiles sold to his forces by many willing countries, his effect has been far greater..." 

You grab toast and boil the jug while the power's still on for the morning - power companies have got smart and are stretching existing oil-fired generated power with some tight rationing, so as to keep essential services on. The announcer continues.

"In an even that surpasses Chernobyl and Fukushima by a full order of magnitude, large swathes of the Middle East are now uninhabitable areas of melted sand glass. The radiation is expected to circle the globe over the next six months. 

"Meanwhile, closer to home, the last fuel tanker truck has stopped due to the need to conserve fuel, and deliveries of fuel are now at a standstill."

It's not a far-fetched scenario. In this situation, what will you do? Can you get to work by bicycle or on foot? Will work even have their doors open? What about shops? Have you got enough food to last a week or two of this while other avenues are found to bring food to your area?

A more pressing problem has also surfaced. The water supply has become a bit hit and miss. You've been doing the right thing and only flushing after number 2s, but it hasn't stopped others, because they hail from another State and they don't feel they owe this place a civic duty in times of emergency. The water supply is going to be gone in a few days according to reports.

What's the problem? The dams had plenty of water last time you went on a picnic out there, didn't they? And so they did. But it takes pumps to lift the water up to the height of the head tanks. Unless you're in a very lucky city in a valley under a dam. your water needs energy to lift to a useable height, and that takes fuel.

Lord knows how you'll take care of that whole flushing issue once water stops flowing.

It's also become a bit unsafe to go to work. There are always people who seize on the slightest excuse to start looting and stealing. (By the way, there's a good deal of evidence that seems to show that advertising and the sense of need it creates, fuels this looting behaviour. But I digress.) They also seem to see anyone else as legitimate prey these days, more so than before the Middle East situation.

If you knew a few more of your neighbours, you could form a pack and travel together. But this is the city, and your best friends live across town, out of town, and back home in the town you grew up in...

All of the above are problems you probably hadn't thought of, and don't really want to think of. It's okay - those of us that have, will be thinking of you. We won't actually help you, but we'll be thinking about you. Probably in the past tense. Sorry.

  • Don't forget that almost every war will start with attacks on utilities and infrastructure, and the military will have their hands full, emergency services will have their hands full, and even the local tradespeople will have their hands full.
  • We've experienced some devastatingly large fires here in Australia, and most have come under control mostly because they have either burnt themselves into a corner and then out, or because the weather changed to conditions less favourable to fire and more favourable to firefighters. I can only imagine what might happen on a day of gale force winds, with a major city directly in the path of one of these monster firestorms.
  • Even simpler and closer to home - you lose your job, your spouse loses their job, you haven't been able to pay water rates and energy bills, and now you're living primitive. This kind of a situation can last a few weeks, but in the economic climate we have where people outnumber jobs, it can quite easily stretch out into months or even years.

But imagine even a short glitch. Imagine fourteen days of problems. Do you think "they" will come along and fix everything that goes wrong in that fortnight?  Considering how emergency services are stretched when a disaster or multiple disasters exceeds 2% of the are of a country, how quickly do you think they'll be there for you when the whole country is in emergency?

I imagine that basic services will be restored on a sporadic part-time rationed basis within a week, but if you haven't thought about it, all the running water in the world won't save you when your toilet is blocked solid with shit and you can't get a plumber because a) the phones are all out and b) the plumber's busy trying to stay alive themselves.

This is why I follow prepper websites and read them. They're thinking about all of this stuff, and while their answer that works for them may not work for me, I can at least work out a strategy now while I have time to think. If I never need to use these strategies I can tell you I'll be very pleased, but if the time comes where I need to know about using a bucket outdoors instead of filling up my apartment or house with stench and disease, I won't need to come up with a strategy for crapping when there will be plenty of things that I will need to be devoting problem-solving skills to.

And lastly - even if it's only a week without power and running water, and everything is restored to normal after a week, I would still like to be able to continue with my life afterwards. I can imagine nothing worse than seeing my loved ones dying because I hadn't thought about how to keep a house sanitary without running water for a week. I'd probably hate having to recover from having an amputation because I stood on a piece of broken glass and then poisoned the wound with feces at home.

To me, these things make it worthwhile to think about things and have contingency plans. Continuing with my edict to keep things short and digestible, I'll continue with the next bit as a new post.

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