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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 01, 2012

How to Survive a Natural Disaster

By Mark Sisson
106 Comments

With one of the biggest storms – Sandy* – in recent history having just ravaged the eastern seaboard of the United States, bringing flooding and power outages and downed trees and the kind of awe-inspiring displays of raw power that only Mother Nature can bring to bear, I got to thinking about Primal disaster/emergency preparedness. Obviously, regardless of the lifestyle habits we subscribe to, we’re subject to the same basic concerns as anyone else: food, water, warmth, light, shelter, entertainment. The food we eat is gonna look different, and we might try to look at the bright side of being without power, but not much else changes.

Food? Yeah, it’s important, but this post isn’t about food. And anyway, a couple years back, I published a tongue-in-cheek guide to surviving the apocalypse, and despite the humor, the recommended non-perishable foods and drinks from that post are still solid choices. The only items I’d add would be canned seafood beyond just sardines – like tuna, salmon, oysters – and kale chips. Because kale chips are that awesome. Oh, and try to get everything in BPA-free packaging. Avoiding endocrine disruption may not be your first priority in a disaster situation, but it can’t hurt.

I won’t go into the standard disaster preparedness checklist. That’s pretty basic stuff that you can find anywhere. Everyone knows the material items they’ll need to survive, the things you can buy at the store and keep in your basement or garage and forget all about until the day arrives. But in the event of a real disaster, whether it’s modern fast zombies, old school shambling zombies, or an unprecedented subtropical storm, there is one essential – and totally Primal – factor that many of us are in danger of overlooking:

The importance of having people nearby on whom you can rely (and they you).

In my experience, most discussions about disaster preparedness overemphasize the individual aspects of survival. You’ve got your bug out bags, your go kits. You’ve got your fantasies of building underground bunkers capable of withstanding a direct hit from a nuclear weapon, amassing as much ammunition as you can find, stockpiling an arsenal that would put Michael Gross from Tremors to shame, and lining your property with machine gun nests, bear traps, and a moat full of great white sharks, piranhas, and salt water crocodiles. Ultimately, these folks are assuming the worst – not just of the situation, but of the people around them – and end up preparing to face the coming onslaught all by themselves. It’s important to be self-reliant, but is it enough? Is it even possible? Are you prepared to move that fallen tree blocking your front door all by yourself? What about the extrication of your living body from the ruins of your house – think that’s a one man job? Can you wrap wounds, set bones, and fashion slings? Do you have carpentry, hunting, and masonry skills? If not, you might want to think about having a group of people upon whom you can rely (and vice versa). You might want to think about obtaining the one resource you can’t simply buy and store in your garage (without going to jail, that is): friends.

Friends can help each other hunt, forage, and garden. Ten pairs of hands (or guns, or minds, or sets of legs) are better and far more effective at doing the things required for survival. Ten guns can defend better than one gun. Ten pairs of hands can chop more wood, carry more water, build more things, and pull more weeds than one pair of hands. Ten minds can come up with a better solution for water purification or shelter fortification than one mind. Ten sets of legs can cover more ground and find more survivors and food than one set of legs.

We all have friends, of course. But in today’s world of Facebook, Twitter feeds, message boards, email, and mobile phones that allow instant connectivity with anyone and everyone anywhere, our friends often live far, far away from us. Or perhaps across town, which doesn’t help us if the roads are blocked and our cars are underwater. For friends to be helpful in disaster recovery, they need to be close. What about our neighbors – the people who we do have at arm’s reach? These are the people who will be able to help us when disaster strikes. These are the people with whom we’ll be able to share supplies and divvy up responsibilities. However, research shows that these people are increasingly not our friends. We might share casual words on trash day with them, but we probably feel awkward asking them to feed our cat and water our plants when we’re away.

When life is going as planned, strangers are fairly civil to each other. You bump into someone in the mall accidentally, you apologize. You see someone coming up behind you as you enter the bank, you hold the door open. This is basic common decency. Easy stuff. But when the world is falling apart around you, what do you do? Your innate sense of preservation kicks in. You grab your kids, your spouse, call your friends, your parents, and stuff the cat into a pet carrier. In other words, you don’t even have to think about saving you and yours; you just act. This is an incredibly Primal response.

When you expand your circle of “yours” to include the people who live around you – and they expand their circles to include you – everyone looks out for everyone. Everyone’s better off. Most importantly, each individual person is better off, because if you’re the unlucky one whose ceiling fell in or whose canned goods were washed away, your neighbors are that much more likely to pull you out and invite you in for some canned tuna and water. And you’re more likely to do the same for them. The beauty of it is that because these are now your friends that need help, you don’t feel “put upon.” You want to help them, because, well, they’re your friends and that’s what friends do. That’s what a tribe does.

Research even shows that in real life disasters, it’s not the government aid, the fire trucks, or the emergency responders that really help people survive in the immediate. It’s the friends, the neighbors, the community. It’s Paul from next door who you let borrow your tool set last year who’s going to pull you out of your collapsed kitchen, not the anonymous emergency responder coming from fifty miles away. A government worker isn’t going to know how many people live in the house across the street, nor will he know whose room is whose; you will. The official response is important, but we can’t rely on it (or ourselves) for everything.

Daniel Aldrich, professor of public policy at Purdue, has made the study of post-disaster resilience in communities his focus. After living through Hurricane Katrina shortly after moving to New Orleans, he noticed that the most successful pockets of the city were the ones with the strongest social ties. The federal response to the hurricane’s aftermath was infamously inept and initially nonexistent, and the folks who knew and liked each other survived and rebuilt their communities faster than the folks who had fewer ties, making this a prime example of the power of community, or what Aldrich calls social capital (PDF). The same held true for communities struck by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 1995 Kobe, Japan earthquake, and, I’d imagine, the many thousands upon thousands of tribes, neighborhoods, communities, towns, city-states, and enclaves hit by floods, fires, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other disasters throughout history and prehistory. Why else do you think humans are social animals? Why else would the tribal structure have been evolutionarily preserved if it weren’t helpful for survival?

So, folks, if you want to survive the next disaster, make friends with your neighbors. Get to know them. If you have a lemon tree, take a paper bag full of them over. Have a block party. Throw a barbecue. Pet their dog, feed their cat. Get yourself a tribe.

What do you think, folks? Do you know your neighbors?

*To all my east coast readers and anyone else affected by the recent storm, our thoughts are with you.

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106 Comments on "How to Survive a Natural Disaster"

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lockard
lockard
3 years 10 months ago

WHAT A REAL COMMUNITY – BUT THAT MEANS I MIGHT HAVE TO TALK TO SOMEONE FACE TO FACE – ITS SO MUCH EASIER TO JUST TYPE SO THEY CAN’T SEE MY REAL EMOTIONS AND IF I AM BUSY I CAN IGNORE THEM…..opps caps lock

Wayne
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t know any of my neighbors, not a single one. I guess I get caught up in the digital world and hanging out with my friends who live further away. At least I do meet my friends face to face.

Indiscreet
Indiscreet
3 years 10 months ago
Yes, it’s tricky nowadays. I live in London in a house that has been converted into five flats. Most of the other houses around are the same. I own my flat but all the others are rentals. The tenants come and go so I never get to know them. It’s vastly different from when I was growing up in my parents’ house during the 70s. They knew most of the people in our street. Life seems to be more transient now. I have real friends but they are spread around the country. Fortunately England isn’t prone to huge disasters (we’ve… Read more »
Groktimus Primal
3 years 10 months ago

Looks like I’m gonna be one dead sociopath!

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
3 years 10 months ago

Hansel and Gretel tactics!

John
John
3 years 10 months ago

I had the good fortune to move into my current home only a few days before Hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast. I was able to meet and help and be helped by almost everyone in my immediate area. It was a great experience.

Jessica Gold
Jessica Gold
3 years 10 months ago
Thanks for the post, Mark! Good one. Unfortunately I just moved into my cabin two days before the storm hit and I didn’t know anyone! In Mt Nebo, WV we got nearly 3 feet of snow (it’s still snowing!). I’ve been without power and unable to move my car for three days now, but thanks to living outside all summer (raft guide/kayaking instructor) I’ve been pretty accustomed to the routine. It’s been like winter camping in a really nice shelter 🙂 I’ve had plenty of food and propane for cooking but I’m sure as prepared as I was I would… Read more »
CrazyCatLady
CrazyCatLady
3 years 10 months ago

This would be a great time to go introduce yourself to your neighbors, and see if they need anything. And when you do, I bet they will feel bad for not checking in on you first!

JessieG
JessieG
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks! That’s a great idea 🙂

Casey
Casey
3 years 10 months ago

I agree with CrazyCatLady – this is a great time to go check on neighbors and get to know one another. It sounds a little crazy, but disaster really do bring people together.
Hope you come out of this without too much damage. Stay safe!

JessieG
JessieG
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks for concern! I was finally able to leave the house today… Went to Walmart looking for reading material. Lol. Nary a sudoku puzzle book to be found. Guess I’ll retread an old favorite… Or just prowl MDA archives 😉

lockard
lockard
3 years 10 months ago

i know your situation sucks – but being in the mt’s with 3ft of snow sounds like heaven to me

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 10 months ago

Whatever else you do, do not get reduced to searching for a working outlet to charge your phone as your #1 priority, as so many NYers have done. If you’re going to have a smart phone, BE SMART about it and get a solar charger to go with it for times like these. Better yet, save the cost of the phone and spend it on REAL emergency supplies, or even just a plane ticket out of there!

Alison Golden
3 years 10 months ago

Love this! Living practically on the San Andreas fault as I do, I have been prepared with my family disaster kit for years. We’d be one of the last to be got to by the emergency services living at the highest point in our city and I have imagined many times what it would be like to live through one. Primalizing my kit, and undergoing our local emergency training course have been my priority. But I need to know my neighbors better. Our street isn’t the friendliest.

JessieG
JessieG
3 years 10 months ago

I hear that. My area doesn’t seem the friendliest either. A lot of people here in the boonies of WV seem pretty wary of outsiders. Not sure how to circumnavigate the local culture…

Chris B
Chris B
3 years 10 months ago
Jessie, Having been thru this – fortunately with a husband raised in a mountain area who knew what to do – I can tell you the best way is to smile and be outgoing without being pushy. Definitely either drop by to “jes’ say hey” and ask how they’re doing, etc. Country folk are often gun-shy about outsiders who move in and then look down their noses at country customs, so if you make yourself casually accessible, they will come around. Also, maybe offer to help with small chores “so they can show you how it’s done” (this really works… Read more »
Jason
Jason
3 years 10 months ago

Mt. Nebo, WV? Why move there? I concur with what Chris mentioned. Wave, say hi, be polite, ask questions without being bossy. Friendly store clerks can be helpful. I’m from a small town 2.5 hours away and it never fails that in most every place there’s people who just sit around and talk. Might get some good tips and maybe some neighbors that way. I’m not that familiar with your area, but have been through Charleston and Beckley and a lot of the other wonderful rundown coal mine shantytowns. At least you’re far away from Jesco White. 😉

Potter
Potter
3 years 10 months ago
I’m from the Eastern Southern Coal fields of WV now. I got here after living the last 40+ years in Georgia and Wa. State. I have a job that takes me into the deepest “hollers” and putting my nose in others people’s business along with work for the govt. ( I work for “the welfare”.) You’d think that I would not feel safe with the WV reputation of being hillbillies suspicious of outsiders. The truth is, I feel safer here than in Wa. state and esp. in Ga. West Virginians are not full of false Southern hospitality. They are filled… Read more »
nadavegan
nadavegan
3 years 10 months ago

Not to nitpick, but the federal response in the aftermath of Katrina was among the fasest federal responses to a disaster. To your point, it was the local and state agenices that were non-existent in the early stages. In a crisis, local is better – rely on yourself and those close to you. There is no omnipotent organization that is going to do the work of crisis management for you.

raydawg
raydawg
3 years 10 months ago

And yet, you can hear all the stories about it, and see it dramatized in NOLA, and read about the evils that people in power did to their own.

Charles
Charles
3 years 10 months ago

I’m not sure if BPA-free cans are worth worrying over, since there’s a significant chance that the cans have had their bisphenol-A (BPA) replaced with bisphenol-S. From what I’ve read, bisphenol-S is at least as bad as BPA, and possibly much worse if claims that it degrades more slowly than BPA are true.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
3 years 10 months ago

I once tried to store mandarins and the juice they were in from a can in a styrofoam cup. Within hours the cup was leaking because the acids burned through it.
I’ve heard it’s best to avoid anything acidic that’s been stored in a plasic or plastic-lined container.

gibson girl
gibson girl
3 years 10 months ago

I agree totally! I camp in the summer and have gotten to know my neighbors over the years. Inevitably we face severe storms, and everyone checks on each other to take down awnings and batten down hatches even if the owner is away. I’d like to think that would happen in my neighborhood too. I only know the people next door and across the street. What I need to do get acquainted with the rest of the street!

Wayne
3 years 10 months ago

I bought a lot of food for the storm incase we lost power and the stores were closed for a long time. I got a decent amount of fruit since it doesn’t need to be refridgerated but now I am trying to go into Ketosis and I have all this fruit I shouldn’t eat. I don’t want to waste it so I guess I will delay going into ketosis. 4 bananas, 1 pear and 4 apples to go…

Harry Mossman
3 years 10 months ago

Great focus. Not another ho-hum list of things to keep in your garage, which every newspaper will be publishing now. I must admit that I am in the category of waving to neighbors when taking out the trash or bringing in the mail.

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
3 years 10 months ago

It’s never been discussed, but I’m sure many of my workout buddies and myself would converge at the YMCA. Most of us live within a mile, and it just seems like a natural meeting place. We don’t all know where everyone lives, but most of us know at least a few other people in the group. I guess we should actually talk about this!

Oh, yeah, I guess I’d check on the other people on my block, too. Unfortunately, they’re all in pretty crappy shape, and they’d probably be relying on me to do all the hard physical labor.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
3 years 10 months ago

Reminds me of camping this spring. The rest of the group (generalizing..) sat around inebriated, or just plain lazy, eating my food since they never bothered to get any for themselves, engaging in bullcrap and waiting for me to complete water runs. So I left that group.. and in good time too, the cops showed up that night.. and made my own campsite in another town.
It’s great to have friends but if they’re selfishly depending on you to take care of them, best leave them behind.

Logan
3 years 10 months ago

Fast zombies: I’m dead
Shambling Zombies: Bring it!

Chantelle
Chantelle
3 years 10 months ago

There is also benefit to having friends that are somewhat further away in a localized emergency. Then you have somewhere to go, and someone who might actually want to take you, your skills, and your pet cat in once you make the trek to where ever they are.

Jen
Jen
3 years 10 months ago
I live in AZ, where everyone pulls into their garage and shuts the door without making eye contact with anyone, let alone conversation. Luckily, a huge benefit of living here is that we don’t have to worry about snowstorms, ice storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados, earthquakes, or any other natural disasters. I live in the city, so I’m protected from wildfires. Being celiac, I wouldn’t live anywhere I could be a victim of a natural disaster. Oh, and I have a diabetic cat who needs twice daily shots, which just makes for more drama. I can’t imagine what a nightmare going… Read more »
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 10 months ago

In a pinch I suppose you could “go Alf”, HA!

Byrce
Byrce
3 years 10 months ago

I think the worst thing that could happen to AZ that is a posibility would be living without water…

Algboy
Algboy
3 years 10 months ago
I live in northern Az and being short of water is a concern (although I have 6600 gallons capacity in three tanks). I think that Phoenix peeps would be seriously FUBAR’d if the power went out — especially in the summer. Lordy, that could get ugly quick! I try to think like a Boy Scout. I’ve got water, food, junk silver, cash, tools, firewood, and — oh yeah — guns and loads of ammo. Booya! There’s always something we forget about. It could be your weakest link if you need it badly enough. Batteries, prescriptions, dog food, toiletries? Now what… Read more »
dave, rnar power
dave, rnar power
3 years 10 months ago

You forgot solar power. To start, get 3, five gallon gas containers. Then get a pure sine 1000 watt inverter. With this you can hook the inverter to your car while it is idling (outside of course) and hook up the inverter. This servers as your generator. Now just hook up your fridge and freezer and some lights….
Now start on your solap panels, charge controller and inverter.
Here’s how I did mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcKJX8kCZy0&feature=plcp

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 10 months ago

There seriously aren’t enough people around with Scout experience…or, sadly, even a manual!

Algboy
Algboy
3 years 10 months ago

I forgot to add that, being off-grid, we have a 4000watt PV array with a back-up Subaru inverter-series generator. We have lots of wind-up LED lanterns, flashlights, and SW radios, too.

But, there’s always just one more thing . . . .

Anders
Anders
3 years 10 months ago

Ahoy from Boston!
This post reminds me of my friend’s grandfather. If you were ever describing someone to him he would often stop you at some point and ask, “Would you want him/her in the wagon train?”
One of my favorite ways to think about people.

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
3 years 10 months ago

That’s a great question! And one to ask myself, too, of myself.

Vanessa
Vanessa
3 years 10 months ago
I spend a lot of effort making friends with the neighbors and we move very often, every three years or so (but within the Portland metro area). I also reach out to my boy’s classmates and teammates. Even in very friendly Portland people can look at me like I’m nuts when I wander over to introduce myself. It’s worth it though. They say that dogs and kids make the best ambassadors – I also put front yard gardening right up there. After a while of “working my neighborhood” I can barely get any weeding done when I’m out front.
Madama ButteredFly
Madama ButteredFly
3 years 10 months ago

Sounds like my mother. She’s on first name terms with 3/4 of the city.

Brandon
Brandon
3 years 10 months ago

Really good podcast. Actually been meaning to send the guest form to Mark since I think he’d be a good interview (the host is paleo and has had Robb Wolf, Lierre Keith, Dr. Ellis, and more on his show). But for this topic, it is superb. Besides “normal” survival stuff..food storage, generators, etc, he has a big emphasis on building community. Check it out.

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
3 years 10 months ago

Thank you–this sounds neat and realistic.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
3 years 10 months ago

My way of looking at it has been if I were going on a five-year voyage as Captain of the Star Ship Enterprise, would I want he/she/it as part of my crew.

Sarah
3 years 10 months ago
Great post. I live in an earthquake-and-tsunami-prone area and am fortunate enough to also live in a townhouse complex with a pretty strong social component. It could be better, but I know nearly all my immediate neighbours to the point of asking any of them to water plants and look after the cat. We’re in the process of doing up a strata emergency plan that will include a list of important skills (ie carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc.) and who has them. We have bbqs and impromptu cocktail parties (usually when the kiddos are all outside playing). I’m SO glad we… Read more »
CAn8ive
CAn8ive
3 years 10 months ago

My husband and I are members of our CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), the community is broken down into NERTs (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team), and there is a whole chain of command in place. Many times a year we participate in mock drills with mock disaster incidents staged, etc. It’s alarming that we see such little participation from our particular NERT. We need to hit up of neighbors to get with the program! Especially living in southern California earthquake territory!

Jay
Jay
3 years 10 months ago

I’m feeling guilty about complaints I’ve made when we have a dust storm in Phoenix, Az. Can’t imagine how all the poor folks on the East coast must be going though.
I am BLESSED!

Jay

Diane
Diane
3 years 10 months ago

Hi fellow Phoenician and Haboob survivor!

Casey
Casey
3 years 10 months ago
I always make it a point to get to know the elderly neighbors first, wherever I live. One summer, in my old neighborhood, we had a storm knock out power for two weeks right when temperatures hit above 100 degrees. It was a rough neighborhood with some gang activity, but even the thugs were out knocking on doors, checking on the elderly. It was good we did because a couple of them were in bad shape. That storm really showed me how a community can come together. Some neighbors were walking around with cups of water, making sure everyone was… Read more »
Joy Beer
Joy Beer
3 years 10 months ago

+1.

Good on you, Casey, for having the orientation to BE one of the ones who helps. Caring for others is what makes survival, or life, a joy.

trackback

[…] Nature can bring to bear, I got to thinking about Primal disaster/emergency preparedness. […] Mark’s Daily Apple Related Posts:5 Ways to Prepare for Hurricane Sandy or Any Other DisasterWhat Hurricane Sandy […]

Siobhan
Siobhan
3 years 10 months ago

This is a timely post because, although I didn’t suffer nearly as badly as many did as a result of Sandy, I did have problems. No power, road blocked due to fallen trees, one of which narrowly missed my home. On top of this my car decided to die. My neighbors, friends, and landlord stepped up and got me to work, provided showers, transportation, food, and yes, chainsaws to cut up those trees. I am astonished and gratified after this difficult week. I am a proud and humble member of a tribe.

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 10 months ago

Siobhan,
Off topic, but can you tell me how to pronounce your name? I am seeing it in more and more places and I can’t figure it out.

Heather
Heather
3 years 10 months ago

Hi, correct me if I am wrong, it’s a lovely Irish name and is pronounced, umm, shiv-awn.
🙂

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 10 months ago

Shivawn it is, then. Better than my guesses.

Scott
Scott
3 years 10 months ago
I live in a very small town of 1600 pop. Last year a micro blast wind hit the town knocking down trees and powerlines. There was an out-of-town construction company working the area. Immediately after the wind was over people were grabbing their chain saws and went to work cleaning up. Elderly folks whose electricity had been knock out were looked after. Within a few days all the broken trees had been cleared and moved to a vacant field to wait for the chipper to come and turn the limbs into mulch and compost. The construction company owners said they’ve… Read more »
Lynna
Lynna
3 years 10 months ago

Most of my neighbors are idiots.

Sofie
Sofie
3 years 10 months ago

People tend to be what you expect them to be.

April
April
3 years 10 months ago
Just move to Tennessee! We take care of each other around here! A few years ago, when half of our city (Nashville) was under water, everyone pulled together to help those affected by the flood. We even had too many volunteers! Many people in the country weren’t even aware that Nashville had an 1,000 year flood because there wasn’t much bad to put on the news. I agree. It is extremely important to get to know your neighbors. Unfortunately, it’s not like it used to be. People just walked down the street to visit their friends.
solstice
3 years 10 months ago

I really appreciated this post! We live out in the sticks, and while we don’t regularly have our neighbors over for dinner, we have gotten to know all of them over the past 8 years. They are all truly wonderful people and have helped us out just as we have helped them! Get to know your neighbors—it could be a pleasant surprise!

Sarah A.
Sarah A.
3 years 10 months ago

I really have no intention of getting to know my neighbors. Most of them don’t speak English and I Don’t want them knowing all about me and my business – and I frankly don’t care about them either.

Jane
Jane
3 years 10 months ago

gobsmacked.

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 10 months ago

blistering honesty is shocking where’ere it be found.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 10 months ago

Fences make good neighbors. Sandy blew my fence away. Drats.

Tyler Curley
Tyler Curley
3 years 10 months ago

One of my favorite posts to date Mark

raydawg
raydawg
3 years 10 months ago
Thanks to Sandy we still don’t have commuter rail to NYC, don’t have power, just have natural gas to power the stove and water heater, but not the heat as that’s electronically controlled. At night we read by LED lanterns, or listen to podcasts/music. We recharge these devices in the car or off UPSs. We turn off the UPS after an hour or so because they drain very quickly. Seems newer UPSs have fans in them that turn on when on battery power – they tend to drain in 5-8 hours with little load. Strange. One’s an android tablet so… Read more »
mars
mars
3 years 10 months ago

So sorry to read this rawdawg. Sending best wishes for fast return to normal life….

Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 10 months ago

+1

Defrog
Defrog
3 years 10 months ago

All too familiar with the nighttime songs of the gasoline generators!! Also getting concerned about the shortages. Sorry for your losses. It has been a year+ for us recovering from Irene, and the first few days/weeks were a hellish nightmare. Even from a distance, Sandy just seems so much worse, with the ocean impact on the infrastructure. Know that we are all sending wishes to the shore towns in the hopes that your recovery will be quick!

raydawg
raydawg
3 years 10 months ago

Oh believe me, I’m quite thankful to be safe and alive and in a house, from what I’ve seen around us.

Things are looking up. The rail is starting up, made it into work today. Just trying to not run out of gasoline before power comes back, else won’t be able to go to work unless I want to walk many miles to the train station.

Khainag
Khainag
3 years 10 months ago

Good luck fellow NJers!

Man I am so disturbed that Princeton University is going to try and have everything run like “normal” tomorrow… tons of staff and faculty are out of power still I think… we’ll see what happens. I’m disappointed that the university seems to have such uneven standards of care for the community…

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 10 months ago

You can thank government subsidized insurance for people locating in dangerous places, and government imposed price controls that prevent gas and supplies from having an incentive to go where it is most needed. Also government that decided to build islands in the ocean and then put in tunnels like they wouldn’t get flooded. Stupid.

raydawg
raydawg
3 years 10 months ago

We weren’t in a flood zone until in the last 4 years. Never had a flood until 2008. This is a new trend.

dave, rn
dave, rn
3 years 10 months ago

Hey,Mark, you forgot storage foods, Like Sardines, pemmican, canned vegitatables…

mars
mars
3 years 10 months ago

Awesome post! We are fortunate to know of our neighbors well, and we (7 families total) can definitely count on each other!

Bobert
Bobert
3 years 10 months ago

I think Mark has also been watching revolution.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
3 years 10 months ago

I think he might of read an essay on SOTT from a little while back, or one of the Worker Bees read it and suggested this idea.
No matter, all ideas come from somewhere.

Kelly
Kelly
3 years 10 months ago
Thanks for this post Mark. I’m in the DC area and got hit with a small taste of that storm. I am proud to say that with a couple of notable exceptions on our street we know are neighbors and they know us. Through all of the large storms, freakish weather and other horrific events here in DC, on our street we all have someone to turn to. My family is in MI, my husband’s in CA. It is comforting to know that if my cans get washed away somebody will feed my kids and me. It is a great… Read more »
shannon
shannon
3 years 10 months ago
I have about a dozen neighbors, and I know them very well. Almost too well. We have gone through some bad times together; had huge fights; reconciled, etc. My biggest problem with my neighbors revolves around sexual harassment. The older men in my neighborhood are really bad about this. I got most of them to stop, but one old alcoholic got very bad this past summer and harassed not only me and another woman, but a young girl. I have to avoid him completely now. It sounds great to say, “Know your neighbors,” but the truth is, getting to know… Read more »
Kitty =^..^=
Kitty =^..^=
3 years 10 months ago

How did you know I have a neighbour called Paul…?

Defrog
Defrog
3 years 10 months ago
Mark, timely topic! As NJ residents who had 4+ feet of sewer water to clean up in our basement after Hurricane Irene last year, my husband and I prepared for the worst as we heard about Sandy’s approach. With several homes being condemned by FEMA last year, our whole town braced for impact. We are fortunate to live in an area with a strong sense of community; our town even has a community-supported charitable organization that will help residents with mortgage/utility payments and food in the case of job loss or illness. People in town believe that this connectedness makes… Read more »
Henry Miller
Henry Miller
3 years 10 months ago

If you are preparing for the big disaster (end of civialization type), make sure your friends include not just your close neighbor, but also a farmer a long ways out there. Unless you and your neighbors can survive on your garden you will need someway to get food. The farmers with thousands of acres (non primal corn…) will not be able to tend that. However if you are friend they will let you plant a garden in their fields, set you up with a cow: you can survive on that.

TruckerLady
TruckerLady
3 years 10 months ago
I don’t know my neighbors, but my brother does. Of course, I’m there only 2 days per month. My community is a mobile one. Truck drivers go out of their way to help each other and fellow travellers. I keep a back-pack stocked and ready to go in case of emergency (earthquake, flood, marshall law, emp blast, etc). I have friends and family all over the US to rely upon, should the need arise. I have had first aid training and, thanks to BP, I am fit enough to save myself and others. Community is important, but its important to… Read more »
Chris
3 years 10 months ago
We experienced this first hand in the Queensland floods in 2011 (Australia). We didn’t have power for 6 days, which is probably a good deal shorter than what NY will have to deal with after Sandy. I can tell you from experience, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, once the power shuts down and your home/community is damaged, instinct puts you out there. You go looking to see if people are safe, and they come to see if you’re safe (even if they didn’t know you very well). You both ask if you’ve got enough food, especially where children and… Read more »
ssn679doc
ssn679doc
3 years 10 months ago

Well, since I can wrap wounds, splint fractures, have carpentry and masonry skills, can hunt, fish, farm, can and preserve food… my family is screwed if anything happens to me!

Michelle
Michelle
3 years 10 months ago

Great post, lots of food for thought.

Winster Grandey
3 years 10 months ago

Really nice and informative post, that too in the onset of SANDY, the disastrous cyclone. Keep on writing. Love your blog.

Jo
Jo
3 years 10 months ago

Great post! We moved to new neighbourhood 2 years ago and got a puppy. On our previous street, we only talk to 1 neightbour (who was constantly gardering outside). With the dog, I now know the morning and night routine of the entire street, all the kids’ names and most of the neightbours. What a difference! It’s nice to have a ‘reason’ to interact with people, especially when you’re naturally an introvert.

Coleen
Coleen
3 years 10 months ago

Great post. This is a wake up call to all of us socially isolated modern people. I’ve already started up saying hi to people, difficult when you’re not used to it. (I know!) Many people do not acknowledge greetings and some are downright hostile. But others are friendly and those are the ones I could take the next step and stop in my walk long enough for a conversation. Baby steps like my walking program was post surgery.

Khainag
Khainag
3 years 10 months ago

amazing. another example of why Mark and BP aren’t BS.

Sandra from NZ
Sandra from NZ
3 years 10 months ago

After the New Zealand earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 one University student, Sam Johnson, started up the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) which utilised Facebook and other media to co-ordinate thousands of university students to help with the manual shoveling of liquefaction off people’s properties (and many other tasks). What those students did was incredible and changed the perception many older people had of Uni students, from the beer drinking, partying types to hard working awesome volunteers. Take a look at their website, maybe someone could do the same for the Sandy victims.

http://www.sva.org.nz/index.php/svatheclub

Sandra from NZ
Sandra from NZ
3 years 10 months ago

To add to my post above, the SVA just held a concert with many top bands in Christchurch but there was a catch. You couldn’t buy a ticket, you had to do a certain number of hours volunteering to get a ticket. Another great idea, I think.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
3 years 10 months ago

That is a good idea. I used to wash dishes at a resource center for poor youth. It was normally a staff job but if I did it and occasionally did some sweeping they’d give me bus tickets.
Sometimes I’d take them to the city square and sell them to people waiting for the bus at a discount price. Everybody won.

trackback
3 years 10 months ago

[…] writes about one of the most, if not the most, important thing one should have if he wants to survive a natural disaster. Additionally, Mark hits home with his 9 ways you might be sabotaging your weight loss, a blog […]

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