Monday, June 20, 2011

Food: Urban

Should you find yourself stationed in an urban environment, you probably lucked out in terms of acquiring food. People have food everywhere so, since I'm assuming the population has decreased significantly, you're going to have some options. However, depending on your disaster and specific location, certain options may or may not be more fruitful. For example, if people had time to prepare for the disaster, there will be both more people still around and less food in residencies. In that case, look for grocery stores to take food from. Remember, fresh produce, meat, and milk are the first foods to go bad, so make sure you either eat them first or find somewhere where you can store them for some length of time because the grocery store most likely will not have electric power. If there is not a noticeable number of people still in the area, I would recommend staying in the grocery store. The reason I don't recommend it when people are around is that they will probably converge there as well, and if you take residence there you may be perceived as a threat. But I'll leave social interaction for another post.

A key to remember, especially in an urban setting: know what is worth the effort! Don't risk the dangers of urban decay for minimal or dimly-perceived rewards. Only spend effort on something if you will be rewarded with more energy than you spent. As a corollary to that: don't unnecessarily risk your life! It's your biggest asset! If you're not sure if you should do something risky or move on, remember the rule of threes. An average human can survive for about three minutes without air, three hours without protection from the elements, three days without water, and three weeks without food. It varies slightly per person, but that is a good guide. Keep it in mind if you happen to need to decide between scaling the side of a building and going a few days without food. Your well-being will thank you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Food: Immediate

So the world just ended, but you're still hanging on. Here are the first steps you should take to keep your belly (reasonably) full.

The first thing you should do is assess your current resources. How much food do you already have readily available? By doing so you gain vital information regarding if/how soon you must move, and therefore if you can remain stationary from the get-go or if you have to go nomadic to find food.

Depending on where you are and your resources available, you would be better off eating certain foods as soon as you can. Foods that spoil quickly should usually be eaten first, while canned and packaged foods can be kept for extended periods of time.

I have heard that it is a good idea (and I would agree) to keep an MRE or similar self-contained ration in your car/house in case of an extreme emergency. The MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) is the current US military field ration. It stays good for about three years and can be bought on the internet or at military surplus stores. They kind of have a reputation for tasting really bad, but I've eaten one and it was pretty good.

Keep one just in case you find yourself without food when disaster strikes. Don't rely on them exclusively, but only until you can find other sources of food. Once you're relatively stable, then you are going to have to venture out and find food. Depending on your environment, this might necessitate taking different actions. These will be discussed in later posts.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Food: Introduction

After my Water post, a post on food would naturally follow. However, I feel like a single post would not be able to do the whole topic justice. Therefore, I'm going to split it into several posts: Immediate, Urban, Wasteland, and Frozen. Immediate will be in regards to your food right after apocalypse; the other three in regards to long-term survival methods in each of those three environments.

Monday, June 6, 2011


My last real post was on depletables, so I figured I should continue on that theme with the topic of water. As I said in the Depletables post, the two depletables you cannot avoid are food and water. Water especially, because you will not survive three days without water. Now, based on your situation, there may be a greater or lesser availability of water. Despite that, however, having sufficient water must remain a top priority.

The first thing to keep in mind is if you intend to be stationary or nomadic. In terms of water availability, being stationary would simplify things, simply because you could base yourself around where the water is. Being nomadic, you would have to constantly be aware of where your last water source was, how much water you have left, and where your next source of water could be. However, being nomadic you could also more easily adapt should your current water source be depleted. Each option has its gives and takes.

I intended for this blog to have unconventional suggestions for unconventional situations. Collecting water in traditional survival environments (woodlands, wetlands, tundra, etc) is something covered pretty well in traditional survival guides, so I will not repeat that wisdom here. There is one environment, however, on which I would like to comment: the urban setting.

The first thing you should do is find everything that can hold water. After that, proceed to fill all of them from hoses, faucets, etc... It is unclear how much longer the water will be there, and it's the cleanest water you're going to find, so I would recommend capitalizing on as much of it as you can. Do not wait until this water has run out before you search for a different source; stay a step ahead. However, depending on your apocalypse and the level of decay in the urban area, a non-pure urban water source could be as, if not more, dangerous as natural water sources. If there is any apparent risk of there being man-made contaminants in the water, avoid it; it is not worth the risk on your life. If the water seems to be contaminant-free, you still need to purify it. You could use the traditional methods of boiling, filtering, or using water purification tablets, but there are a few methods which could be more available in an urban setting.
Bleach: Using bleach to purify water for drinking is a method that comes highly regarded. Clorox distributes bleach during disaster relief for this purpose. 8 drops to the gallon is sufficient to kill any malignant bacteria that may be lurking in your water. That is quite a small amount of bleach, considering that it's sold in massive quantities. Furthermore, I don't think one would be hard-pressed to scavenge bleach in an urban setting. However, bleach loses its strength over time, so after a while you'll need another purifier.
Alcohol: In ancient Greece, they didn't drink wine for the sole purpose of getting intoxicated. Someone really early on noticed that when people drank water they would sometimes die, but if they drank wine, even if it was mixed in with the water, they would not. Thus, wine became their staple beverage. There is no shortage of alcohol in cities, and it does not lose strength over time, so pouring even a small amount of wine into your water will go a long way in protecting you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Wow, I forgot about this for a while. It was a combination of school, laziness, and lack of creativity. Rest assured, however, that I will post something interesting tomorrow and with regularity afterwards.