Thursday, October 27, 2016

Obsessing on a Tangent

My interests have suddenly taken a hairpin turn.  I was reading a friend's manuscript recently, and the plot involves a mid-winter cross-country trip avoiding cities and hotels.  The character was listing all the things they would need (tents, sleeping bags, camouflage parkas, food, etc) and suddenly I found myself on the internet, researching survival methods and disaster preparedness.  The term covers everything from natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, tornadoes) to civil unrest/war (no government) and EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attacks that bring down the power grid across the country.

It seems that a lot of people really believe The End is Nigh.

There are preparedness groups on Facebook for every area of the US and probably every country (I haven't checked).

Some people (Preppers) have stockpiled enough food /water/supplies for 3-6 months.  I find this a little extreme.

However, I do live in a tornado-prone area (north central Texas), so I have 2 Go-bags.  One in the apartment, and one in the car (just in case.)

 My go bags include a change of clothing, meds for a week, a complete first aid kit, 2 bottles of water and a few granola-type bars, a collapsible umbrella & poncho, and copies of all of my important paperwork (ID, Insurance cards, etc), a weather radio and flashlight (torch), face/dust masks, and a couple of candles & box of matches.  I need to add a biking helmet in case of falling debris, and a few flares for roadside emergencies.

Many would call that a VERY stripped down version of a prep-bag, and I would agree.  However, I'm not prepping for civil war or the Zombie Apocalypse.

What about you?


  1. I have zero preparedness here in Britain where the most likely disaster is flooding from river over flow.We live on a hill near the Tyne River but also near the North sea,which gives ample vent for the rain swollen Tyne; interesting to see what gets washed down onto our beaches after a big storm. We have lots of food just because I like to and candles for dinner every night (with the silver - I stopped 'saving for good' a decade ago.

    The Mormons advise a year's worth of food, but I am not into dehydrated stuff. There is a sense of adventure, of escaping the trappings of society and the rules in considering self sufficiency. I think that is the actual appeal rather than the reality of the grinding and ceaseless work involved in true self sufficiency. I think of it as make believe and were it not for the guns generally involved, I'd say it was harmless...and it borders at times with thrift.

    That said, haing lived 35 years in tornado alley and 4 in earthquake territory (not to mention growing up during the cold war), I see the sense in basic precautions like food, water, candles, blankets, the usual. I think your go bags are brilliant. I confess they exceed most of my efforts.

    At 60 I take my Mom's position on nuclear holocaust: I would just hope to be among the first fatalities.

  2. Shelley - You know, we really do have a lot in common! Tornado alley & cold war childhoods are now added to the list of commonalities.
    I agree that most people who consider going "off grid" don't really think about the reality of the amount of work it actually takes. As for stored provisions - my tiny pantry holds enough for a couple of weeks (heck with the Mormons!) but that's it. I love using my "good" things as well, and have a stockpile of candles for all occasions.
    It must be amazing to live near the river and the sea, with the swiftly changing skies and the treasures washed onshore. I think beach combing would be an avid hobby if I were there.

  3. Yes, I love where I live. River, sea, beaches, park,metro, bus service, community centres, nearby villages, heaps of history, architecture, markets in market squares, dark nights and light nights, pubs, pedestrian pavements and crossings, cycle paths, hedgerows full of blackberries and sloes, rosehips and elderberries. There are loads of other things like free prescriptions over 60, free university lectures, free museum entrance, national trust properties, but it is mainly the things I can walk to that really appeal.

  4. Ah, that all sounds so wonderful! So very different from OK & TX.
    Now you've done it. I can see another trip across the pond in my near-ish future, and this time it will be outside of London (lovely as it was).