Monday, April 06, 2009

Are You Prepared?

You don't have to be a doomer to be prepared. Evidently a lot of folks are worried enough to start taking personal action. I don't think this is a Texas phenomenon although, based on Asia Times article, they may be more motivated than the rest of us.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

What we need to be prepared for is hyper inflation and difficulty in acquiring ordinary goods and services, including, possibly, electrical power.

Good preparations could include:

1. Prepping your dwelling for much greater energy efficiency. The more money you spend up front, within reason, for things like GEOTHERMAL HEATING SYSTEMS,or at least a new boiler; super-efficient appliances, really good insulation, thermal windows, will pay you back many X even given current energy prices. However, these improvements may mean the difference between life and death in a real energy crunch.

2. Stockpiling non-perishable food (6 months supply per person), water (three week supply per person), sanitary supplies (cat litter, heavy duty plastic bags), and cold-weather clothing of all sorts. I'm hording sweaters, long johns, coats, socks, boots. Don't EVER toss a warm coat no matter how tatty it is. A pile of old coats can save your life if the heat fails in sub-zero weather.

3. A battery-pack generator sufficient to run your fridge for a few days is good to have. Might want to get a solar panel to go with it, to recharge it when the weather allows. Emergency medical supplies, absolutely, which includes a big supply of whatever prescription medications you need.

4. Get to know your neighbors, and form informal co-op pacts with friends, relatives, and neighbors. A big stockpile of food and toilet paper isn't just for you - you can take care of relatives and friends in a crunch, too.

5. Guns and ammo- maybe it's just me, but they come last. A closely knit community is greater security than a weapon. How many hands do you have to hold weapons with if you and your little family group are being besieged by a ruthless predatory gang of 15 or 20 people? Guess what, you lose! Now, if you are a rural householder, you probably need to have a weapon anyway, because you are so isolated in a remote rural keep and law enforcement is so thin. But here in town, I tend to feel that they endanger the owner more than anyone. But it is your call-if you really feel the need and are adequately instructed on the use and care of a weapon, fine.

Making all these preps costs some money, and that means diverting money from pricey clothes and gadgets. But that doesn't mean not getting a battery powered computer with a wireless connection, and a battery powered radio, plus numerous flashlights. More power outages lasting longer could be a major feature of life on the way down the slope, given how frayed the grid is. Let's hope our electrical utilities get to work on the "smart grid" and make adequate preparations themselves, which I doubt, given the number of week long outages my mother's city, St. Louis, has suffered in the past two years.

Chicago is woefully unprepared, either the city or individual citizens. We are very complacent here and take comfort and cheap utilities for granted. I'm staggered by the number of older condo buildings in RP and Edgewater that are A)running 80-year-old converted coal boilers that are costing 4X as much gas as a new one would or b)have heat-leaking old curtainwall or aluminum-framed windows dating to the 60s that leak heat like a sieve.