THE PREPAREDNESS PAPERS
The information in the "Preparedness Papers" is FREE. Each "paper" has a PRINT button, so you can print and reference them "offline" as needed.
This is the final paper in this subject originally begun by Douglas P Bell in his 1992 papers.The original subject has been updated and hopefully improved.Sources have been suggested and addresses listed where we could. In Urban survival I we discussed air, water, water filtration, shelter, food, cooking and self defense ideas. In Urban survival II we went over getting rid of urine and feces, foraging options for plants and animals, generation of electricity, tools, personal and environmental sanitation. This paper will discuss individual preparations and skills and will offer sources for those in the city or out of it. This paper replaces SP92-11.
Do you have a sufficient supply of medical items and medicines; probably not, if you are like most of us. So this is one area you must be better prepared for.
First-aid Items: These are bandages, Band-Aids, tape, ointments and other assorted items. By and large you will need a complete first aid kit for each member of your family. Extra first aid supplies bought and stored in dry stable environments are also handy. Thankfully, this may be the one area that we do have sufficient supplies in and can store and keep fairly well.
Over-the-Counter Drugs (OTC): These drugs are very useful and recently a whole host of drugs have been deregulated and are now available without a prescription for everyone's use. Anti-histamines, stomach medication and headache drugs are some notable exceptions that have been recently deregulated. Sources for OTC drugs are your local drug stores and convenient marts. Some others are:
ALTERNATE MEDICAL SOURCES
By these I mean naturopathic or other medical treatments like homeopathic, etc. Many people like these alternate medical procedures. In many cases I have seen these medical alternate treatments work better than regular medicine. They are especially good in the treatment of long term pain situations and in treating bodily infections; everything form bacterial to viral infections, can be addressed and treated with these treatments. Sources: check your local bookstore or library for books and treatments using alternate medical procedures. Other sources include:
Ragnar Benson has a book out called the Survivalists Medicine Chest.It was originally written in 1982 and is fairly inexpensive through publishers like Delta, Paladin press and others. In this book Ragnar Benson listed a variety of supplies, medications and treatments that are available to anyone through the use of veterinary supplies. In fact many veterinary supplies are simply surplus human drugs sold in bulk form to veterinary supply houses and farmers through the mail. There are still some medications that are not available through these sources, but they are few and fairly specialized medications. Sources for Veterinary medications: check your state and local CO-OP dealers usually have a supply.
Check out Jeffers, P.O. Box, 100 Dothan, AL 36302 1-800-JEFFERS
If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pain or a host of other physical or medical problems it is very doubtful that you will find any over the counter drug, alternate or veterinary medication that will help you with these illnesses or medical conditions. In these cases going to a doctor and paying for an office exam and getting a prescription are your only alternatives. I know some say if you go to a doctor, feel him out and ask him to write you prescriptions for a cache or supply of your medication, your doctor will do this. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TYPE OF DOCTOR THEY HAVE GONE TO, BUT I HAVE NEVER MET ONE LIKE THIS. Most doctors are concerned about over prescribing medication especially if you have changing conditions like diabetes, blood pressure issues or chronic pain. Most doctors will want to see you at least monthly or quarterly to monitor your condition to help keep you healthy and keep from being sued. So what are you supposed to do to get additional medication for yourself to carry you through an emergency? Doctors may give additional medications for people going on trips overseas, so tell your doctor you are planning a trip and would like an extra few days on your prescription or need an extra refill to cover your medication for when you return or get back before the next visit. You can then cancel the trip or have something come up and reschedule your doctor's appointment for the regular time. Chances are the doctor will not recall the extra prescription or why he gave it to you. If he does you can tell him the trip fell through but that you hope to take it later on. More than likely you will get the regular prescription for your regular time. Sometimes doctors will give an extra prescription in case you can't make it in for your regular check up or if your regular check-up was rescheduled. BE CAREFUL DOING THIS; IF YOU ABUSE THIS PRIVILEGE YOU WILL LOSE IT! If you live near the boarder of Mexico, you can take your prescription over the boarder and get a pharmacy down there to give you up to a 6 month supply of the medication you have if you have refills for this amount on the prescription. You can then legally carry this drug over the border. One enterprising young man made photocopies of his prescription and went down to Mexico and came back with over this amount.The poor soul was caught at the border and was arrested for drug possession over the legal amount.
DON'T BE GREEDY; ONLY GET WHAT YOU ARE LEGALLY ENTITLED TO! REMEMBER, YOU CAN'T MAKE SURVIVAL PREPARATIONS OR BE TRULY READY IF YOU ARE IN JAIL! Many have advocated using your local drug dealer to buy narcotics from in the event of an emergency.DO NOT DO THIS! Narcotic drugs are illegal, habit forming, and in less than pure forms (like most street drugs) are dangerous to take (i.e. could cause death, disability, etc.). Again, being in jail is definitely not good survival sense since you can not be prepared to meet disasters.
GET IN SHAPE
Most of us are in less than ideal shape. In fact, many of us are down right out of shape. In order to survive properly and be prepared for any eventuality we need to get in shape. Let us start off slowly at first.
Walk: We need to walk daily; as much as we can and a little further each day. When you are walking a mile every day then go to the next step.
Basic Exercises: Remember to stretch out your muscles before you do any exercises, walking or anything else. By basic exercises I mean sit-ups, push-ups, leg-lifts and pull ups, along with your walking. A suggested schedule would be to walk daily. Monday after your walk, do 10 to 25 sit-ups. Tuesday walk only. Wednesday walk and do 10 to 25 push-ups. Thursday walk only. Friday walk and do 10 to 25 leg lifts. Saturday walk only. Sunday walk and do as many pull-ups as you can. Then, start over on Monday. Increase the number of your sit-ups, push-ups, leg-lifts and pull-ups as you can.
Your goal is to walk a mile in less than 8 minutes and to do your other basic exercises in another 10 to 15 minutes or so daily.Do not go over 100 push-ups, sit-ups, leg-lifts or pull-ups in any one day. Once you get to this point then you need to consider more advanced exercises.
Advanced Exercises: Basically these are the same 4 exercises you have been doing with a little twist.
Sit-ups do 1 to 3 sets or repetitions. The first one flat on the ground like you have been doing; the next one, against a gradient (a slanted sit up board), with a slight angle; the last with as great an angle as you can get. These boards can be made or bought at a variety of places including national shopping malls, etc. Push-ups are similar; 3 sets of repetitions; the first flat on the ground like you have been doing; the next from a low step and the last from a chair. I use a kitchen chair for myself and the last step going into the basement. Leg-lifts, 3 sets of Repetitions; first like you have always been doing it; the next with the lowest ankle weights you can do in it; the last set with the highest ankle weight set you can have on them. Lastly is the pull-up. If you have been using a bar get a set of rings like gymnasts use. Do regular pull-ups for the first set; for the next set attach a weight belt to your waist and do another set with the lowest weight you feel comfortable with; the last set is with the highest weight you can do pull ups with. Once you get into the more advanced exercises you are probably spending 6 to 8 minutes on your 1 mile walk. You are probably spending another 20 minutes every other night doing these exercises. These basic exercises have increased your strength and have started building up your stamina.
To further increase your stamina you must begin jogging or climbing up and down stairs. In the city, climbing stairs is usually easy to do as there are lots of buildings with stairs and most people take the elevators, leaving the stairs pretty much to your sole use. Going up and down a standard 10 story building is about like jogging ¾ of a mile. This exercise should take no more than 8 minutes to do, especially if you have done the basic and advanced exercises above and are in decent shape. Substitute your mile walk for stair jogging and work your way to going up and down a number of times.The goal is to do as much as you can. Figure 8 to 10 minutes for going up and down the stairs plus 20 or so minutes every other day for the exercises. You may decide you do not want to add any extra time to the days you exercise. If so, then do the multiple repetitions of going up and down the stairs on those three days you do not do any exercises. This will still allow you to keep your exercise time under or around 30 minutes a day.
IMPROVE YOUR MIND
The city offers unparalleled opportunities to improve your mind and increase your intelligence about most any subject.
Libraries: Are one excellent example of the opportunities that are available to city residents that are usually not as available to the suburban or rural residents of most areas. For instance, the New York Public Library is much more complete than most county library systems; probably including those counties that have major Universities in them. Not only does the New York Public Library have access to many more books in stock, but they can get access to other subjects and books through inter-library loans if they do not have the books on hand or on the shelves. Other city libraries may not be as large as the New York Public Library, but they are no small library systems themselves. Usually, they are on par with major university libraries throughout the nation. As a result almost any subject can be researched from these locations. Remember to take notes, utilize the copy facilities to copy interesting or important information, use the footnotes or other sources to get other books that might interest you for further study.
Schools: Most cities have excellent school systems. Many adult education courses are sponsored by universities, vocational schools, churches, city governmental agencies and other groups. The subjects of these schools are as diverse and varied as the schools themselves are and the prices of these courses is often a pittance and can even be free in some cases.
Medical Training: Most cities have active Red Cross chapters that have First aid and CPR training.
Most cities have schools or universities that offer EMT or Paramedic training. If you can afford the time and the expense, take this training. Some cities even have nursing colleges or medical schools for adults after working hours; another option to consider.
Vocational Schools: Just about every city has some form of vocational type of training school. These schools cover everything from auto mechanics, building professions training, welding, commercial truck mechanics training, body shop training, computer training, drafting training, office personnel training, to the more exotic courses like metal lathe training, gunsmith training, crane, bulldozer or other heavy equipment operators or maintenance training, etc. This type of training can be time intensive, but the costs are usually well within even the most tight budget.
Leadership/Camping Skills: These are offered through a variety of organizations. The primary one I am thinking about here is The Boy Scouts of America. They have excellent adult training in place, offer unparalleled opportunities to develop your leadership skills and most good troops offer a variety of chances to go camping or on other outings that might be of value to you. Most troops are looking for Adult leaders or committee members to help and attend meetings. Other groups that offer training and leadership skills are: The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, the YMCA or the YWCA, etc.
Amateur Radio Clubs: Cities often have a variety of clubs that a person could join to get additional education, learning and work towards a goal. Some examples you might consider: Amateur (HAM) Radio Clubs. Try to find one that is recognized by the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League). Their Address: 225 Main St., Newington, Ct. 06111-1494 and their phone numbers are (203) 666-1541 or 1-800-326-3942. They are usually very helpful in putting you in contact with the nearest ARRL sponsored or affiliated Amateur Radio Club in your area.
Computer Clubs: Many areas have these clubs and they offer an enormous pool of knowledge for anyone who needs or wants to learn more about computers. These clubs are often excellent places to get new programs, upgrade your equipment, get older equipment fixed if broken or just plain meet new friends. Ownership of a computer may not be required to belong to these clubs so do not let this stop you.
Hiking Clubs: Are an excellent way to get out of town and be together with people with similar interests to yours. You do need to be in shape for these clubs so get there.
Plant Identification Clubs: Nature centers or other clubs that get together regularly and learn to identify plants. These clubs can be a lot of fun and if you do not watch out you will learn something.Most cities have these clubs around, finding them might be a bit difficult since they usually do not have huge budgets and do not advertise a lot.
Flying Clubs: Learning to fly a plane is not too difficult or expensive. Getting your license does get a bit expensive as it entails renting a plane, buying gas, insurance, etc., to get your license. Single engine planes are easiest to learn on. Helicopters are usually more difficult and more expensive. You may just want to go to the club meetings for a while before you start learning to fly to make sure this is something you want to do.
Skydiving Clubs: Skydiving can be fun, an adventure and may be useful if you ever have to jump from a plane. If this sounds appealing to you then go for it. You can usually take the basic course and be jumping in tandem in a lesson or two. Prices are usually moderate. Adrenaline rush is very high.
Scuba Clubs: Scuba diving (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) is a lot of fun. Lessons are inexpensive and a license can be acquired for minimal expense. Buying equipment does or can get expensive. Used equipment can be found fairly cheaply if you shop around. Some trips are offered. Lots of fun and an adrenaline rush are moderate to high.
Mountain Climbing Clubs: These clubs are like hiking clubs. You will be with people that share your enthusiasm for outdoor activities and share your interests in climbing vertical mountain walls. Expense is usually minimal. Trips are offered. Can be fun with people who are of similar ability climbing mountain routes that are at the skill level your group is at. Adrenaline rush is moderate to high.
Skiing Clubs: Like hiking and climbing clubs, these can be lots of fun. Cost is moderate to high. Trips can be offered. Most ski slopes have various skill levels so your group can be more diverse. With the right group, this is fun. Adrenaline rush is moderate to high.
Star Watching Clubs: Astronomy clubs are lots of fun, but you need to be available during the night.Is good if you have a telescope of your own, but not necessary. This club can teach navigation using the stars; plotting positions using star fixes like mariners do today and have done in the past. This is an excellent skill to learn.
Zoo/Animal Clubs: Working with the Humane Society, or your local Zoo as a volunteer, is excellent work. You will learn a lot about animal care and may learn something about veterinary medicine by being around these people.
Investment Clubs: These clubs are to familiarize you with the stock and commodities markets. They often track stock or commodities for years before deciding to buy or invest. Many of these clubs ask you to put money up right away; steer clear of these clubs. If they will not allow you to get acquainted with them and their investment strategies before you put up money, you need to run, not walk, away from them. These clubs can offer excellent skills in evaluating investments and market conditions. You can then take advantage of these opportunities on an individual basis or you can go in with the investment group to make investments then. DO NOT BE RUSHED INTO GIVING MONEY TO THESE CLUBS. IF YOU DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH AN INVESTMENT, DO NOT PUT MONEY INTO IT. DO NOT EXPECT TO MAKE A PROFIT ON EVERY INVESTMENT. ONLY INVEST WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE!
As you can see Cities offer a host of opportunities that most suburban or rural locations do not. The clubs, schools, libraries and organizations listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. You could literally go from club to club every night of the week and not ever get home until well after 9 pm each night. You could go from club to school to library to club to organizational meeting to other meeting ad infinitum. All these clubs, organizations offer some form of KNOWLEDGE, SKILL PRACTICE OR SCHOOLING TOWARDS A LICENSE OR DEGREE. By utilizing these resources you are increasing your knowledge, skill and preparedness. You are improving you mind and your survival chances. Being in or near the city, offers one other advantage that we haven't discussed yet; physical resources.
Being in the city you are close to the world's largest source of physical resources. What are physical resources? Tools, equipment, parts, machinery, natural resources of glass, metal, wire, even some building materials themselves from abandoned buildings or buildings being salvaged, etc. If your city is on or near a major Rail line, chances are there are a lot of salvaged railroad materials for sale right now.
If your city is on a river or ocean front, there is a high likelihood that marine salvage is available; boats, wood and parts for boats are available. Most cities have warehouses that have thousands of parts in them that are for sale, etc. How do you find out what is available in your city. CHECK THE YELLOW PAGES. Do a little legwork and visit some places if they sell to the public. Find those places you like and buy from them when you need to or keep them in mind, for later if you need to visit them after a catastrophe.