Re-reading Emergency

The book Emergency by Neil Strauss is about one man’s journey to be self sufficient in the event of an emergency.  He goes to great lengths to learn the skills to survive in the wilderness and in an urban environment, as well as put together enough contingincies plans and supplies to get himself to a safe place if he ever finds himself in a post-Katrina like situation where the system falls apart.

Some of the things he learns about:

  • knife skills
  • hand-to-hand combat
  • urban survival and evasion
  • wilderness survival and tracking
  • motorcycle riding
  • First aid and emergency response
  • how to fly
  • how to sail
  • how to obtain a second passport
  • how to use a gun
  • how to identify edible plants

I read the book almost three years ago and it prompted me to think about how prepared I was if something should happen.  At the time living in a high rise in Vancouver thinks could have gotten bad quickly in the event of an earthquake.  Re-reading it now that I have a house with a backyard in a new city has given me a bunch of things to think about and projects to work on this summer.

We are nine meals away from rioting.

If the food supply was ever cut off and people were unable to get food at the grocery stores it would take just 3 days for the general public to start rioting.  If the food supply disruption was due to a larger scale natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood or earthquake then power, sewer, water could also be disrupted and the rioting and looting would start much sooner.  If toilets stopped flushing what would you do?  If gas and electricity were gone for more than 2 days would you be able to stay warm and have food?

I learned that government policy in the event of a natural disaster is to not put additional lives at risk by immediately sending in support.  Policy is to let the dust settle and then come in with the cleanup later and support the rebuilding effort.  So if something does happen you need to be able to get yourself to safety without relying on the government for help.  In some situations it’s best to stay home until things clear up, in others the best thing to do might be to get out of dodge before things get bad.  Having the knowledge and plan to handle these situations is like life insurance.

In survival training there is the rule of threes.  For all your needs – food, shelter, energy, and water – you should have 3 sources to secure each at any one time.  An example for water could be 1.  your city water supply, 2. a couple of gallons of water in storage, 3. a nearby pool or stream.  (in an emergency plan for 1 gallon of water per person per day).

Last night I reviewed my BOB (bug out bag) and made a list of items to pick up to complete it.  I did some research on First Aid courses and will be signing up for the standard 2 day course from St. John Ambulance.  I also plan on building a couple of raised gardening boxes in the backyard and will be reading some books on permaculture to figure out what to plant in them, as well as a rain water collection barrel to water them.  I’m looking for a good fire safe, updated my encrypted data file and reviewed my computer’s privacy settings.  And, later this year I will sign up for a firearms course to get my license.

Yet again this book has been a kick in the ass.