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Old 10-11-2012, 13:37   #46
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

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Quite true, but I've learned alot about systems onboard....and fixing them because nobody is out there to turn to. It can be frustrating but also enpowering,satisfaction of feeling that you can to a large degree be self sufficient.
Agreed Amnesia, but I guess that was my point. We've had many a discussion here on CF regarding how best to outfit a boat for distance cruising. To me, it's not a question of whether to have (or not have) a whole bunch of fancy do-dads. For me, it comes down to a question of how good is the item or tool, and how likely is it that it remain functional. The former is a factor of quality and utility, while the latter comes down to how good I am at maintaining and repairing said item.

As cruisers, we can make these choices. I can choose items or tools that I am able to sustain. People in cities cannot make this choice, at least not nearly to the same degree we can. Those who live in large cities have only a limited ability to be self-sufficient. It's not that these people aren't smart, or resourceful. It's simply that cities, almost by definition, cannot be self-sufficient. Resources must come into a city, and wastes must flow out. Stop either for more than a few days and a city quickly starts to implode.
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Old 10-11-2012, 14:53   #47
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

Very informative and timely thread... Living aboard for years and cruising in areas not serviced by all the bells and whistles folks in 'the big smoke' have these days is great training for self sufficiency.
We now live in a relatively remote mountain area and regularly lose power, phone service and the roads become impassable due to heavy snow several times a year. Wouldn't live anywhere else, frankly.
Self sufficiency is a way of life learned usually at an early age and honed as you go through a tough winter or two.
My heart goes out to the folks in New York, Long Island and the areas so badly affected by Sandy. Not only do they not have the tools and experience to deal with power outages and cell phone service disruption, they are totally dependent upon a government institution that recent closed 'due to weather', ie FEMA.
We still look upon days without power as a fun experience, who needs phone service anyway. Didn't use it much while cruising! Always had 'the net' to stay in touch with folks in the neighborhood.
I like Mike OReilly's observation... stop the inflow of goods in to or the waste out of a city for a very short period and everything comes to a shuddering halt.
One of the many reasons I don't live in one and don't particularly like to visit one either. Phil
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Old 10-11-2012, 15:36   #48
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

This thread though should not be reduced to city bashing. I think everyone who lives is a city should be aware of the risks. What I gain is what people are doing to plan ahead for the big one. How and when to get together and head out (or in). I (and my community) have enough food to last many months- hopefully a earthquake will not happen in the dead of winter. But if it does, we have enough resources to last until spring, and then take it from there.
I think the key is flexibility. Have a number of ways of dealing with the disaster. I think living on a boat should be one of those options, but if the dams break on the Columbia, my boat will not be there for me....
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Old 10-11-2012, 16:19   #49
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

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It already happened.
NYC kicked out utility workers who had driven all the way there from the Gulf of Mexico (Mississippi?) because they weren't union. Argh.
On a serious note, I wonder. The media would be all over this. Did I miss the coverage? I kinda stick with CNN.
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Old 10-11-2012, 16:34   #50
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

We are probably more prepared than most partly by planning and part by circumstance.

One reason we bought the second boat was to have a bug out boat handy. We keep it stocked and ready to sail. Inflatable in basement to use river to get to boat if roads blocked. Diesel gen in basement for house. Water bladders too.

We have the boat and a relatively remote cabin to go to surrounded by relatives.

But we live in center city Philly and am aware of how vulnerable the cities are.

I have been truly shocked at the lack of common knowledge many friends have. They are older professionals mostly and have very little clue how to do anything useful. Many have spent their entire lives living in a condo. They can't unplug a toilet or reset a circuit breaker. They are helpless as babes. When I ask them what they will do if the SHTF They will often answer "die." That is a little unnerving the first time or two.

When I get a physical Dr asks if I can walk two blocks without resting. Are people really THAT out of shape? Apparently so. Gauging by what I see at the super market or Wallmart, many cant even stand upright without support or motorized assistance.

AARP mag has add for special bath with door to make bathing safe again.

Far too many people are living on the edge even without a disaster, the disaster is the way the live their lives.
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Old 10-11-2012, 16:38   #51
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

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This thread though should not be reduced to city bashing. I think everyone who lives is a city should be aware of the risks. What I gain is what people are doing to plan ahead for the big one.
Hi Newt, I am in no way "bashing" cities. Sorry if it came across that way. But I do think one of the lessons (since that is what you've asked for) is that cities are not good places to be when "the big one" hits. They are too complex, too large, and too dependent on external services (both inflow and outflows) to be self-sufficient. The simple fact is, they aren't designed to be self-sufficient.

Individuals and smaller communities within urban areas certainly can do things to improver their own situations (as you have done). But that doesn't alter the reality that cities are bad places to be when all hell breaks loose.
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Old 10-11-2012, 17:27   #52
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Hi Newt, I am in no way "bashing" cities. Sorry if it came across that way. But I do think one of the lessons (since that is what you've asked for) is that cities are not good places to be when "the big one" hits. They are too complex, too large, and too dependent on external services (both inflow and outflows) to be self-sufficient. The simple fact is, they aren't designed to be self-sufficient.

Individuals and smaller communities within urban areas certainly can do things to improver their own situations (as you have done). But that doesn't alter the reality that cities are bad places to be when all hell breaks loose.
Funny thing, here on this side of the pond. The cities are relatively immune from power loss as most electrical supply's are underground. It's the rural areas that typically need support when the SHTF. Obviously cities are not food neutral.

Dave
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Old 10-11-2012, 17:44   #53
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Ugggh if the transformer is underground and the water level is above what was below ground how dies that work. Maybe if your 20 feet above sea level and you are all below ground power that would work.
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Old 10-11-2012, 18:55   #54
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Funny thing, here on this side of the pond. The cities are relatively immune from power loss as most electrical supply's are underground. It's the rural areas that typically need support when the SHTF. Obviously cities are not food neutral.

Dave
Hmmmmm... Where does the power come from? If not urban areas, then I assume it must be generated in the rural areas. So when the SHTF, and rural areas are affected, what happens to the generation capacity?
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Old 10-11-2012, 19:03   #55
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

or you just learn to do without... Phil
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:40   #56
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Hmmmmm... Where does the power come from? If not urban areas, then I assume it must be generated in the rural areas. So when the SHTF, and rural areas are affected, what happens to the generation capacity?
Very rare in a national grid to loose all grid feeds to a big city. Many cites that large also have power generation within its limits as well. What happens in rural ares is the wind and fallen trees take out the local power feeds. This tends not to happen in cities.

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Old 11-11-2012, 04:30   #57
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

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Funny thing, here on this side of the pond. The cities are relatively immune from power loss as most electrical supply's are underground.
I suspect that burying power cables is kinda socialist .
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:10   #58
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

Mike-no worries, I just want to keep us on topic.
We lost power yesterday from a huge snowstorm. (Over a foot and a half at my place) Layton has three different power generation pathways- but I bet it was just local with some downed trees. That said it was time to get the wood stoves started, and the generator for our frig's. We have been without power for 3-4 days at a time without a big problem yet.
In response to what Hpeer said: when I taught survival 7 out of 10 young men, when confronted with the challenge of living off the land just went into a cave and refused to do anything. The change was too great. I think we would be looking at massive deaths after a disaster without the red cross or national guard- because most people would rather die than change their lives.
As for doctors, they do ask about exercise. A significant number of patients cannot walk across the mall or the parking lot without being winded.
All these factors above make me think that civilization is headed for a major disaster, and that sailors are in a small minority that will survive.
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Old 11-11-2012, 15:40   #59
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

Read some where's of stats from WWII. Gonzales perhaps (
http://www.deepsurvival.com/) That 75% of downed pilots died within 24 hours for no good reason, the rest you can't kill with a stick. Mental attitude and depression cause failure.

Also it is hard to tell which type you will be.

Also, Ambrose in D-Day makes some interesting comments on personal reaction to stress.

Interesting reads.
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Old 11-11-2012, 16:27   #60
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Re: Lessons learned in Self-suffiency. Sandy and Katrina

Hi everyone, first post here and a timely one. I just got back to Hoboken a few days ago after being forced to evacuate due to a building gas leak in our very large midrise. A few quick comments that hopefully add to the discussion:

1. Our bug out plan is mostly for something like a dirty bomb or an earthquake where we absolutely have to leave the area. In general I believe leaving the city is a very bad idea due to the thin gas supplies in the hinterlands. The first sign of any trouble and people drain the local supply of gas before you can say 'where's junior's old tenspeed?' As a city dweller you don't want to be stuck out in unfamiliar territory with limited gas supplies. It's a long hike back. City people generally walk and we just continued to do that after the power and gas disappeared. Luckily, it's only a few blocks to everything we need: national guard aid stations, phone chargers and bars. Power, or not, many bars in Hoboken and Jersey City were operational immediately after the storm and were hubs of activity. Security was never an issue, ever, and if bad conditions continued we would police our own. Our building has several hundred very able people and is a formidable communal force if necessary. Don't underestimate the organizational power of urban dwellers, they band together quickly.

2. Many buildings in the city have diesel generators and we could have kept them running for days to keep the common areas functional. We were all very cozy in our apartments and would have never left if given the choice. I had my propane camping stove on my deck and large water supply and a good stock of rice, beans, wine and espresso roast coffee beans which I could have lived on for months.

3. Something to think about is that the government has continuity plans and in a widespread disaster area they generally start in the cities and work outwards. This is true even of utility companies. The people still without power are not in the urban core areas. We have plenty of gas now in Hoboken but the burbs are still rationing. One can argue either way on this but you might refer to the books on Brazil's economic collapse to find some evidence that being away from dense urban areas can become downright dangerous and fast.

All that said we all have biases that 'inform' our choices and one has to be ever vigilant against them. For that reason I think blanket statements about where one wants to be perched during a cataclysmic event are generally not very useful. Simply stated there are many times where you'd be much better off in the city and others, a pandemic for example, where it could get very ugly. There are lots of marinas in NYC though and if one had to get out quickly then sailing away is the best option. No gas required and no exit congestion.

Finally, no matter where you are many of your neighbors will be unprepared and you will have to gracefully deal with them. In spite of very lucid warnings 150 of my neighbors left their luxury cars in a garage already prone to flooding. i for one will be watching the tidal surge events even more closely than I have in the past.
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