1. Yep, moisturizer really can save your life. Dry chaffed skin is far more likely to crack and breakdown giving an infection a direct route into your body. A cheap moisturizer used daily will keep skin supple, and in good condition meaning it will be less likely to split and crack. In a collapse situation we are all going to be doing much more manual work than we are used to and keeping your skin in good condition will be an important method of infection control.
2. Stay five pounds above your optimum weight. I know many will disagree with this but science backs up the theory. In times of stress and trouble the body’s basic metabolic rate increases meaning calories are burnt off quicker than would usually be the case. Couple this with the possibility of bugging out where you may be covering good distances on foot, or bugging in without the ability to cook food for a few days and rapid weight loss will occur. Losing weight fast can lead to weakness and lethargy at a time when you least need it. Carrying just a few pounds extra means your rapid burn of calories will not affect you as quickly and you will therefore be more able to cope with the situation at hand.
3. Carry plain, refined sugar with you at all times. Sugar when poured directly into an open wound aids healing and assists greatly in keeping the wound clean. Grab a few of those little sachets the next time you are in a fast food joint or coffee shop, they may well come in very handy at some point and they never go off.
4. A slice from the inner tube of a bicycle tyre makes an excellent tourniquet. In addition,a very small piece cut from it will readily burn, lighting even if soaking wet making it an excellent emergency firestarter.
5. Never use a ‘space’ blanket on someone who is cold. The silver surface prevents heat from getting to them. Cuddle up and wrap the foil around both of you to retain body heat. An excellent use for these blankets is to put them behind a very small fire and allow them to reflect the heat back at you. All the heat that would have been lost from the back of the fire is no contained and thrown out towards you.
6. Keep up to date with household chores. I appreciate this doesn’t sound important but if you intend to bug out being able to put your hand on what you need at exactly the time you need it is imperative. For those who are bugging in starting a disaster with a working knowledge of where everything is and a pile of clean clothes is preferable to running around like a manic tripping over stuff because you need to find some warm clothing.
7. Learn a little about kitchen chemistry. For those of us who are lead deprived getting inventive is a defense strategy. For times when a gun is not a viable option having something ‘silent but deadly ‘ in your arsenal may well come in handy. Many kitchen cleaners cannot be mixed together as they produce gases or liquids that can explode. Read the ingredients you have stored away in your cleaning cupboard, the bottles will tell you what not to mix them with. Did you know wasp nest destroyer and a lighter makes a very effective flame thrower?
8. Read up on the room within a room concept. We all know that heating one room may well be the most sensible thing to do if the grid goes down and plentiful fuel is not available. By building a room within a room, either by using a tent, cardboard boxes or anything else you have to hand you can huddle inside it at night, or even during the day if things get really bad. The temperature inside the ‘room’ can be 20 degrees C higher than outside of it. Using it at night means you save an awful lot of fuel, freeing it up for cooking etc.
9. Tune into your sense of smell. It can get you killed, or it can save your life depending on how you use it. After a few days of having no services people will start to smell, you need to avoid this, not because your family will object, they will smell as bad as you do and won’t notice. Keep yourself as un-smelly as possible so that you can smell others coming. Believe me, if you have a widow open slightly, upstairs preferably, you will smell a group of unwashed bodies approaching. I doubt the average marauder will have the common sense to stay downwind. If you have to leave your home wear no body spray,perfume or deodorant, nothing that says you have supplies of such things. Outside you need to blend in, not smell nice. Don’t make yourself a target, even the smell of soap would make you a target amongst the unwashed.
10. Practice portion control. Watch who does what within the group. Just because cousin Billy has a big appetite doesn’t mean he should get more food. Food should be portioned out according to the level of activity undertaken. if Billy is doing no manual work he gets less food in order to keep up the strength of those who are doing manual work. Aunt Cissie may be fussy, but she’ll have to get over it, she’ll eat when she’s hungry enough. It may be difficult to imagine refusing an older relative whom you have been taught quite correctly to respect, but there are new rules in a crisis situation and she will just have to fall in with those rules like everyone else.
11. Vitamin D is vital for healthy teeth and bone formation in children and to stave off osteoporosis and bone weakness in older people. Primarily our vitamin D is topped up by sunshine. Chemicals in the body get together and synthesize the majority of the vitamin D we need to stay healthy. To avoid rickets and bone weakness exposure to sunshine is a must. Even weak sunshine helps and in winter natural light is way better than nothing at all. Five minutes in front of an open window letting natural light/sunshine fall onto your face and arms will help prevent weakness. If you can get outside safely do so.
12. Wash your hands. With a family or even a survival group cooped up together in what may be close quarters preventing infection is paramount. Stomach upsets, colds,flu and a host of other things spread far easier when you are living in cramped conditions. Water and/or baby wipes should be available at all times and should be used after using the toilet/toilet substitute, handing soiled clothing of any kind, assisting the sick and before preparing food.
13. However cold it gets have some ventilation. This is vital as burning any kind of fossil fuel will release carbon monoxide and the chances are some of your group will not be waking up again. Odourless and colourless there is no way to detect a build up of the gas without a monitor of some kind. Many of these are cheap and non-mechanical, they change colour in the presence of the gas. keeping a window open just a little, or opening a window on and off throughout the time the fire is burning will reduce the danger.
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.