READY: Shelter, Water, Food, Safety, Medical Needs : LUSENET : Millennium Salons : One Thread

This note from Mitchell Barnes:

Mick Winter and Bill Dale were discussing:

"But if what Mick had to say made sense to you too, start thinking about it... What would make a good "package" to hand to someone who showed up with that shocked, "Oh my God!" look on their face?"


Shelter, Water, Food, Safety, Medical Needs.

All prep by perforce must be site specific. There will be no one single civic or personal prep template that will be of universal application.

Each of the above needs must be analyzed and common sense brought to bear as to the response appropriate for that site and people using the site.


The needs for Shelter will be widely variable. One's location North or South will largely determine temperatures. However, these might be overridden by location near large bodies of water. Do you normally receive "lake snow", hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstormes, etc? What is your present living situation? Do you live in a highrise, condo, separate house with yard, zero-lot-clearance oyster-bed housing, barracks, public housing, tent, cave, etc? Based upon your own assessment of your own situation you will have to come to terms as to whether or not _you think you will be able to stay in your domicile if ...... (fill in the blank with your fave scenario, but let's use the 3 week with no power scenario for conversation's sake).

If you feel your present home is adequate for shelter, bravo. If you feel that one or more of the other points cannot be met at your present home/shelter you need to consider courses of action. These could range from "camping out" in a prearranged shelter area, to moving in for a duration with an ameniable relative who has a better situation, to selling and moving your home, to doing nothing because the whole thing is overwhelming.

Shelter is shelter because it keeps the elements from you and your's bare skins - good roof, windows, blankets, alternate to electricity or gas or fuel oil utility dispensed heating, because it has a known uninterruptable clean or cleanable water supply or has room for considerable water storage, because food can be grown and/or food can be stored - food can be cooked, because your house and extended neighborhood would actually be safe during very bad weather or civil disorders.


People's Water Needs will be site specific. Again depends upon local water systems, whether or not one already has a well, whether or not one has an alternate method for daily water pumping if utilities are out for the "3 weeks". Ancillory to water is sewage. Think through the permutations of possibilities - do you think you will have usable septic? If not, better plan because your shelter just lost some of its Pro points.

If you plan on using a stream or river as alternate water source have you considered who or what is upstream from you? Putting bleach into boiled, strained clean water won't do you a bit of good if some chemical plant dropped some highly toxic product into the watershed upstream.



Wheat..........150 pounds..........$18.00
Rice............25 pounds............7.00
Beans..........100 pounds...........28.00
oil.............4 gallons...........20.00
Salt...........2.5 pounds............2.00
Sugar..........100 pounds...........20.00

Lentils..........25 pounds
Corn.............50 pounds..........11.00
Oats.............50 pounds...........7.00
Barley...........25 pounds...........8.00

The top list, a very basic boring group of food, but will keep one alive, about $100 per person/year. The lower list are other grains which will round out the flavor part of the diet. One pound of wheat is one loaf of bread. These amounts of grain I arrived at by using a scale. For your spartan diet - want more bread, less rice, or perhaps more beans and less wheat - adjust. Remember that most grains can be sprouted for an even higher nutrition yield.

I submit this list because I see way too many $750-$1500 per/person/year food prep lists, and that is _way too expensive for many/most of the people in my poverty ridden area. You don't have to spend a great deal of money in order to eat well. For those of you who object that those prices listed are unrealistic, think again, these are real prices that I paid for these items, get creative if you are paying more than $6 or $7 for 50 pounds of hard red winter wheat, same goes for the corn, oats, and barley. For instance I feed C.O.B with molasses to the goat herd - that is corn, oats, and barley steamed then rolled and crimped with the molasses added as a very subtle sweetener - 70 pound bags of COB w/M run about $8.00. COB looks, smells, and tastes very similar to some of the expensive "trail mixes" used as breakfast food for people.

I addition I would suggest some garden, again depending upon your site and necessaries availability. These can run the gamut from a farm to Baglehole1's idea for small civic gardens.

For those who think they are going to rely on hunting and fishing to supply food, please consider the following:

All too often when discussing Food Chain interruption I hear the response, "well, I'll just go shoot a deer, I'm a good shot." Inevitably, these are people who are currently refusing to store grains and don't have a good garden.

When I say there aren't enough deer, inevitably I am told there are a lot of deer.

Enough to feed even a small town for more than a week? Even if you add if wildfowl? Horses, cattle, goats, dogs, cats, rats, mice, frogs, newts?

If the Food Chain goes down that means no refrigeration more than likely. So the animal is going to have to be consumed within a few days.

The Calif Sierra deer dress out, for ease of computation, at about 100 pounds of meat. Your dogs get the innerds, if your dogs haven't been eaten yet, after that, you get the innerds. You eat 3 pounds of meat a day, we will say.

Some fast and dirty computations:

Inefficient way: 1 person
100 lbs spoiled in 10 days.....eaten 30 lbs.....wasted 70 lbs

Efficient way: 3 people
100 lbs spoiled in 10 days.....eaten 90 lbs.....wasted 10 lbs (or less)

It would appear then that one deer for 3 people every 4th day.

3 people.....7.5 deer a month
..............90 deer a year

Village of 75 people .............187 deer a month
............2250 deer a year

Greater Sacramento urban area - 2 million people
...............5 million deer a month
..............60 million deer a year

Greater San Francisco Bay Area - 7.5 Million people.



Without stepping into the quagmire of guns and self-protection, people are either going to see that they already have guns and ammo and want more ammo, or they are going to want to get their first shotgun, or they are going to opt for the "non-violent" route.

However, in terms of whether or not your Shelter is safe, one should analyze one's location and come to grips with whether or not your Shelter would be safe if civil disorder gets out of hand. Then a decision must be made.

Another aspect of Safety comes to my mind - tying directly into Shelter. Fire. How prepared are you for fire? Certain living configurations are more prone to out-of-control fires than others - dense two-story wooden frame houses in mid-city would be more prone to disasterous fires out of one's personal control than a house sitting by itself with well dressed fire perimeters with a metal roof on the house and 10,000 gallons of water in a storage tank.

Another aspect of Safety recently rose it's head for me personally. Do you have neighbors who are going to "bunker" it? If so, now is the time to work the politics, not later. You need to decide now if you want to join if asked, you need to decide now on your course of mutual inter-action with the "bunker" group - each of you could become the other's "outside perimeter".

Another aspect of Safety are those which have to do with Public Health. It is fairly easy to construct a realistic scenario in which "plague" style health problems emerge as major factors in each of our lives. If "plague" due to bad water, sewage, stress, etc. takes hold how are you going to keep you and your's free from plague or if not that, how are you going to nurse and quarantine those who are sick? Have you planned to have a separate building used as a hospital? A separate room? What will you do if someone dies? What will you do if someone is contagious? What will you do if a woman has a breach labor? What will you do if confronted with a compound fracture, or a real bad tooth, or an intractable earache?

An aspect of Safety which blends into Health concerns is that of personal cleanliness of body, clothing, bedding, and Food Prep areas. Have you given thought to protocol for outhouses? Unsanitary conditions not only from lack of toilet paper, but from flies during the summer?

Do you have the means to generate hot water within 1/2 hour, have you plenty of soap?

One last aspect of Public Health Safety is Mental Hygiene. If we use the 3 week without Utilities scenario, or greater, one should be prepared for the let down after the camping euphoria wears off. Not having light, hot water, TV, electronic games, perhaps transportation on demand, movies, fast food, etc will take their toll on everyone. Tempers will be short. Children, teens, and young adults will each have their own problem areas.


Medical Supplies.

We have a large group of Dr. prescription drug users in the USA. Many of these drugs should not be quit cold turkey, but if necessary can be tapered off.

Antibiotics, sulfa drugs, etc. could become quite valuable in certain situations. Is your local EMT, Fire Dept, etc. ready? Do you have a medical doctor, veteranarian, or dentist who lives in your area?


One of the last things to consider when doing personal and civic prep is caloric intake.

Clarifying the wild animal meat numbers above.

The assumption was that the person had no stored food, because those are the people I encounter who actually say that they can just go hunting.

Jerky was something I had thought of originally, but that is only viable if there are other sources of food available. If not, the meat will be eaten before it can ever be made to jerkey. Use your arithemetic or mine, after more than a partial handfull of people the whole carcass is stripped every few days. For more than a handfull of people, there are no deer herds left, nor any other animal in a very short period of time.

I gave considerable thought to the amount of meat per person per day. I think that you who consider 3 pounds a day a lot, on just a meat diet, need to take another look. One of the important things about y2k prep which I've noticed is that most people mis-plan for are the amount of calories necessary, because they do not realize the amount of work it is going to take in order to live in a hard hit scenario.

Under normal life, I can easily get by with 1200-1400 calories a day. When I do fall ditching work on our 2 mile dirt road, the calorie intake _has to go up. In '95 I did firewood daily for several months, which entailed cutting the tree, sectioning it into rounds, splitting, and loading - all except loading, using a tractor or cat, gas chain saw, and hydraulic splitter, my calorie intake pushed up toward 5000 calories a day - without weight gain (I'm 6 ft, 170 lbs). The air temp avg was low 50's, and I was dry - working 6-8 hours a day.

Remember those old time stories of the huge meals served three times a day to the farm workers? They ate that much because they _had to.

I grew up on one of those farms, 6-8 farmhands plus 5 family members fed 3 times a day. Huge garden, our own icehouse, and smoke house. 4 am - cooking started. with the 10 loaves of bread, 12 10inch berry pies - every day! The garden was over .25 acre. There were many hundreds of canning qt and half gal glass jars in the basement. Chickens were killed 25-30 at a time. The geese flock numbered over 50. It took two six burner wood stoves to cook the meals upon (figure out how much wood that took!).

That era passed, because of automation. By the 60's, the 3 of us in the family, each, ate over .5 pound of meat a day, plus all of the canned goods, breads, and baked goods, frozen stuff, etc. which had become normal USA diet. And this was just on a cattle ranch, where the energy output wasn't nearly as high as in an off grid farm.

If you are planning for a hard hit scenario don't assume your calorie intake will remain as it is.


The point of this ramble is that there is _no silver bullet prep list for people to follow. Period. And the extent and type of preparations are determinate upon one's situation and perception of how hard y2k might hit _self and family. We must stop looking for someone else to define how bad y2k might be for us. We must stop looking toward authority figures to tell us what to do. We must become responsible for ourselves. Pick a hit scenario, drop off or only lurk on the yada yada discussion groups proliferating on the internet, prepare for that hit scenario. It is real simple. And it is fullfilling.

For those who want to piggy-back a civic lifestyle change onto y2k prep, fine. But don't lose sight of the fact that this is prep for y2k, not a new social order. These ideas from Ectopia, et al, have been around for a lot of years now, many from the mid-1800's & earlier, being very little more than recycled Romanticism, let's not drive people into overload do-nothing while pushing an admirable social agenda. If it is appropriate in your neighborhood community, fine, but if not, be prepared to back off and let people prep their own way. Example is still the best way to teach.

Time is passing.


-- Bill (, June 07, 1999

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