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How to Survive

“We’re not all a bunch of 20-year-old Navy Seals,” says Cody Lundin. “You want to keep your strategy as simple as possible.” Generators are impractical—they can break down and gulp gas, which may be difficult to buy. Water is far more critical. Map the location of sources like ponds, streams, or even city fountains in advance. Set buckets on the roof or windowsill to catch rainwater, then use the tub and a drained water heater to store the surplus. Boil or use bleach to treat water if possible (two to four drops per quart; soak 30 minutes; if it doesn’t smell like chlorine, repeat). Try the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) method if not: Fill clean two-liter bottles and expose them to a full sun’s UV light for at least six hours. Cloudy? Go two days. For food, skip fancy freeze-dried meals and stock cheap canned goods, which can be eaten without heating. Keep a two-burner propane camping stove, which can last months on one tank. If seasonal temperatures pose a problem, think of your house as a series of microclimates. Sleep in the sunniest, south-facing room in the winter, and cover windows with blankets at night to trap warmth. In hot regions, sleep in the shadiest, lowest room in the house and hang space blankets in windows to block the sun’s radiant energy. Remember, a blackout will wreak havoc on ATMs and make noncash transactions impossible. Keep cash on hand for emergencies and stockpile tradable goods like batteries, candles, or even extra food. “My one pound of rice is more important than your gold bullion if you’re hungry,” Lundin says. (!!) In truly dire circumstances, the survivalist suggests you try pest control. Cities abound with easy-to-catch protein. Lundin’s weapons of choice: Victor brand rodent traps.

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