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Thread: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

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    Default Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    Introduction

    People living an urban life may have got used to state and civil services taking care of many of their day to day needs. Garbage disposal men come each week and remove the rubbish, most houses have a range of services that includes: electricity, water, sewerage and gas. Most have good communications (internet, telephone) and the TV always works! Trains and busses take many people to work and back each day, food can be picked up from shops, cars can get fuel at service stations on demand; the list of urban conveniences is long.

    When these things break down or cease to provide the intended service, they can be described as “inconveniences”. How do you go about dealing with these problems, without needing to be helpless or dependant on others?

    Interruptions to any of these services can range from mildly inconvenient, to extremely problematic. Short lived individual problems are usually mildly inconvenient, but when prolonged, or in combination with other problems can become extremely difficult and stressful.

    You may be one of those people who have started to look more deeply into what you are told on the news and in other media and started to realise that the pace of change in the world is increasing. The once safe havens of the “first world” are assailed by natural and economic challenges. You may also have thought or be thinking about the possible impacts these may have on you and your dependants and community.

    It is hard to ignore the massive impacts that some of the phenomena are having, for example: the state of the world oil supply and its associated economics, the other worldwide financial problems and the shifts of economic power and the distortions and changing consumption patterns that arise out of the apparent human need to fuel the change.

    Put this together with large natural environmental upheavals such as tsunami, cyclones, bush fires, drought, abnormal rainfall, earthquakes, floods and landslides and it is clearly evident that nothing is certain anymore.

    Travel is becoming less convenient and more expensive. Some foods are in short supply in “first world” countries. In Australia, during the last quarter of 2008, signs appeared in some Australian supermarkets both apologising for and explaining why there are supply problems with staple foods like rice.

    However this article is not about TEOTWAWKI. In fact, if you know what that acronym means, then you probably don’t need to read further. If you didn't know that it means “The End of the World as We Know It”, you probably want to read on, but this is not a survivalist treatise, it is not about doom and gloom. The cause of the disruption is largely irrelevant, it is still inconvenient when it happens.

    Most people think that they will be looked after during emergencies of the nature discussed here. That may be true. Often your countries do help; you always see them out after storms and floods helping to clear up. They are often really good, but they can get stretched during bigger scale disasters, when that happens, they have to prioritise - and that might mean they may not have the time or resources to help you. However, there are some simple things you can do that will reduce your dependence on others - and then it won't matter so much that your rescuers are too busy to help you.

    Even if you do nothing, you should at least think these things through!

    Example scenarios to consider planning for

    Following are some imaginary scenarios, which could be quite possible.

    The idea is to consider these possibilities and what your response would be to each one. Do you have a plan to cope in each case? Have you prepared? Will you wait for it to happen and sort it out there and then, or hope that someone will come and save you? Do you own some really simple and inexpensive items that could help you cope?

    Scenario: Supplies that you want have run out in the shops

    You run out of soap or toothpaste, contact lens fluid, it doesn't matter what, you run out of something you need on a regular basis and it isn't in the shops!

    The list of things you can run out of, with the potential to really be irritating is quite long. Each person's list will be different. Life without toilet paper is unthinkable for many people!

    You can make a list of things you really can't do without and ensure you don’t run out. You could choose to implement a "first in first out" stock control system, but even if you don’t, having some spares of essential items may one day save you from being inconvenienced.

    An alternative approach is to consider your list of "essential" items and learn what it is really like without them - can you find alternatives? Can you make do? That way at least you know in advance if you could cope - and it helps sort out the priorities about what is really important. Have you ever, for example, seriously considered what you would actually do without toilet paper?

    Combination scenario: Energy shortage - cold weather - fridge content spoiled

    The energy supply to your domestic air/water heater fails. Often gas heaters have backup electrical immersion heaters, for this exercise pretend it is broken, and it's going to be a few days before it will be fixed.

    The electricity was cut off and has still not been restored after 3 days, your fridge and freezer is now at room temperature, and the food in them is not going to keep for long.

    The kid's electrical toys don’t work, the internet is down and the TV isn’t working. You have gas heating or a wood burner but it relies on an electrical fan or pump. It is winter, it is very cold and the lack of light in the evening is getting to be very irritating.

    Here are your problems broken down: heating, lighting, suitable food, cooking (if you don't have gas), and entertainment. Think about each one - how are you going to get through this one? Do you have any alternatives? Perhaps you have a small stock of candles or oil lamps, or battery powered torches? At the extreme, you could even use a small petrol generator.

    Camping gear is very useful in this scenario - especially cookers and lights that run on bottled gas. In Australia, depending on location, you may not need heating, just extra clothes, but if you do, what are your options? Are they: kerosene, propane (aka LPG), butane or petrol etc or firewood?

    Furthermore, consider what you would do if the electrical power went out for: 4 hours, 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, or … longer. You may not know how long it will be down for. Initially the phones will stay working, but after a few days the phone company's batteries may become depleted - you could lose your ability to use the phones. Cell phones are the same or worse, because you might not have a way to recharge them when the battery runs down.

    Sometimes in prolonged shortages, and assuming the electrical distribution grid that gets the power from the power station to your house is working, most supply infrastructures will implement rolling power-cuts. This is where you get power for some parts of the day, but then it goes again on a regular basis – thereby sharing out the power amongst all the consumers.

    Note: if you are going to use devices that burn fuel like oil lamps and candles – make sure you have a fire blanket or fire extinguisher and that everyone knows how to use them. Also ensure that your smoke detectors are working and that the batteries in them are good.

    In winter, where you live it may get cold. Without heating this can be a nasty experience, especially if you are used to a warm house. Even if you have gas, your system may rely on electricity to pump either hot air or water through your heating systems. Find out if this is going to be a problem. Do you have effective indoor clothing? Do you have extra blankets for your bed or a thicker doona (duvet)? Do you have thick wool socks and warm house shoes that you can live in to stop your feet feeling really cold! A warm hat is essential when it gets very cold – you might even need to sleep with a hat on! Consider thermal underwear, good quality thermals are expensive, but when you get cold - there is nothing like it.

    Scenario: Fuel (gasoline/petrol) shortage

    A major refinery and fuel depot has suffered massive storm damage and is not operational. The sea-ports were already congested. It has been 3 days, the gas-stations are dry due to panic buying and your car is nearly out of fuel. You may have to walk 6 miles to the transit station just to get to work. Everyone else has the same problem including cabs and taxis.

    Now what? Firstly it will help you to be fit and used to walking distances. Ensure you have good shoes, and don’t overlook the role that socks play here. Socks for walking are usually tougher and generally made of wool or have a high wool content. Another option would be a push-bike. No many people have these nowadays and so now might be a good time to think about that, since they wont be available when you need them.

    Scenario: First aid

    You are 4 days into a petrol/energy crisis. To make matters worse, you cut yourself preparing food and it is a deep cut! You try to stop the bleeding but it is hard to stem the flow of arterial blood. You know its arterial blood because it is bright red. If you didn’t know that then you need first aid training.

    Do you know what to do? Worse, an ambulance is called, they are overwhelmed and can't get out to you - they try to tell you what to do over the phone! Not much good unless you have the right equipment.

    First aid training is a must and some basic first aid equipment must be on hand. If you have sharp knives in your house, and most people who cook do, then you should also have first aid supplies and know exactly where they are and how to use them. (Also remember about burn treatment, if you have fuel based fires – including candles!)

    Scenario: Sudden lack of lighting in the dark.

    You are walking along a quiet road at night at new moon on a cloudy night. There is a sudden area wide power cut - the streetlights go out. All the ambient light sources from nearby houses go out. It is really dark.

    After 10 minutes or so, your eyes will be adjusted to the dark. You might just be able to make out where the road goes.

    In the case above, a simple LED key-ring torch can save you some problems and some can provide several hours of light. Failing that you may have to wait for a passing car's lights to show the way - but watch out these can damage your night vision - and night vision takes a long time to become optimal, and if you stop it working you are in the dark once again. Tip: close or cover one eye when lights are coming and wait till they pass.

    Scenario: House fire during blackout

    You are 4 days into a prolonged electrical power cut you are using candles or oil lamps for lighting. An accident starts a minor fire in your house. The smoke detectors go crazy. Do you have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket within 10 meters of any part of your house?

    Are you going to wait for the fire brigade to save what is left of your house? How are you going to call them, the phones are down because of the power cut!

    Do you have all your critical documents (insurance, house deeds, licenses, passport, etc) in a bag ready for a fast exit? If not, a more expensive option but worth considering: do you your documents in a fire proof safe? Do you have any essential backups of your computer – or can you afford to loose it? A fire proof data-safe may be a worthwhile investment.

    Scenario: You are a car user, but you have no car to do the shopping with

    You can’t use your car – for various possible reasons, it doesn’t matter why. You have to walk to the shops, assuming they have what you want, how will you get it home?

    Do you have a shopping trolley or a backpack to carry your shopping home? Do you have some food to get you by for a few days so you don't even need to get to the shops?

    Scenario: Stuck on a train

    You are on a train, on the way home. The train stops, the lights go out. After about 30 minutes someone who has web access on their phone finds out that it's going to be another 4hrs before the train can move again. You are starving hungry and were already getting a bit thirsty

    Do you have some water in your bag? Maybe you have a couple of snack bars?

    Someone faints and needs water – do you have any to give them?

    Do you carry a basic first aid kit?

    Scenario: Prolonged outage of mains water

    Most people in cities, especially here in Australia, know about drought and water restrictions. 3 years in 10 on average are drought years. Recent news stories indicate that this risk is now up to 1 in every 3 years. The taps in the main cities have never run dry but there is a first time for everything.

    Chances are you have never thought about this and it is very serious! This is probably the one "inconvenience" that could kill you - you need drinking water, or you can be dead within three to four days and from what I have read it's a horrible way to leave.

    Consider the scenario where the main’s is still cut off after 7 days! You have to queue up for hours to fill containers at a stand pipe or from an emergency water tanker. Do you have some convenient sized containers that you can carry when full of water all the way down the road? If this keeps up you won't have any clean clothes left, drinking and cooking are priority for rationed water. What about that toilet? A useful item in this scenario is a small trolley that you can put water containers on and roll them back to your house. Remember water is heavy, ensure that it is rated to carry the weight you will use it for, for example: two big camping jerry cans full of water can weigh up to 50Kg (110lbs)

    There are lots of things to think about here: immediate problems are alleviated by having some water stored away somewhere. Aim for 3 days supply at 4-10 litres per person per day.

    A water supply emergency would probably receive high priority from the government and water companies, but how much are you prepared to bet on that?

    Based on what you are able to lift, purchasing of one or more 10 or 20 litre water containers and filling with water, could make all the difference on the first day. When empty you now have a convenient vessel to fill at the standpipe/emergency water truck. Alternatively how much does it cost to put aside 6 x 1.5 litre bottles of water from the shops for emergencies? Not much. If you can lift it, supermarkets often sell bulk "spring water" containers - 12-15 litres capacity. These are excellent for our purpose as the water is quite pure, well sealed and keeps a long time.

    What are the alternative water supplies that you could use? If the situation isn’t too bad, then water trucks will come round, but what if they don't? What will you do when your reserves run out? Is there a river or spring nearby? Learn about natural water and the precautions you need to take. Find out about waterborne pathogens and how to get rid of them. Boiling works but if you can't do that there are other methods such as filtration and chemical sterilization, these techniques are beyond the scope of this essay – but easily researched on the internet.

    Scenario: Prolonged power cuts means that you cant use credit cards

    Your only way out here is cash. This gets complex as most people would not want to store more than a few hundred dollars in cash in the house, and insurance rarely covers much cash.

    Check the terms of your insurance policy to see what is allowed and plan accordingly.

    If you have a locking fireproof safe (see above), it may be security rated enough to allow the storage of more cash – again check your insurance policy.

    Scenario: You are at work. During the day some event causes gridlock, also trains are suspended and all traffic is at a standstill, it won’t be moving for many hours.

    How do you get home? If you can’t, do you have the basic necessities to endure a night spent in the office? A basic overnight kit in your office draw will make all the difference. For example: Toothbrush, Razor and perhaps a wash kit; it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.

    It is at times like this when a little stash of food bars/drinks can make all the difference.

    GEAR

    These lists are not extensive. Start by considering the list below as a minimum, but you might want to add more depending on your planning you wish to do and your current situation and living circumstances.

    Here is a basic recap what you might need in your house:

    • Small store of drinking water - either bottled with a use-by date, or filled by you with mains water and refreshed regularly.
    • 10L or 20L water “Jerry” cans. Ensure these are food grade material and have not been used for anything else other than drinking water.
    • Some means of heating food (eg: gas powered camping stove)
    • Some lighting solutions that don't depend on the mains electricity or gas. Eg. candles, LED lights, flashlights etc. Aim for enough batteries for 3 days. You can also get solar rechargers for household rechargeable batteries
    • Battery operated FM radio – this might be the only way to get news. If you have more money, get a radio that can do shortwave as well. Expensive option: hand cranked radio.
    • At least 3 days (or more) of easy to prepare long life or non-perishable food (canned, freeze dried etc).
    • First aid kit(s) – including burn kit, and depending on your area: snake-bite kit.
    • Fire extinguisher(s) / fire blanket - preferably both
    • Effective indoor cold weather clothing
    • Walking shoes
    • Shopping trolley / Backpack
    • Some cash (safely stored)
    • Fireproof safe for essential documents
    • Backups of your computer


    Gear - outside the house

    Every Day Carry

    Let’s recap what you should carry on your person when you are out and about in an urban environment:

    • Water bottle (never let it get empty)
    • High energy snack bar(s)
    • LED torch
    • In summer consider carrying a small tube of sun-screen, and ensure you have a hat. (In case you need to be outside in the sun for prolonged periods – maybe due to extended walking).
    • Small folding knife (blade length less than 7cm, non-locking and not automatic to avoid problems with law) with tools (can-opener, bottle opener, scissors, tweezers, toothpick etc) ... A standard size Swiss Army Knife is perfect.
    • Wherever you are - always make sure you have access to comfortable walking shoes that you could easily walk a few kilometres in. If you wear high heels to work, this may mean you need a spare pair of shoes at work or in the car in case you need to walk home.

    CAR KIT (urban setting)

    All of the above, plus these suggestions

    • Larger supply of drinking water
    • Appropriate tools for your car
    • More comprehensive First Aid kit including burn treatments
    • Some food
    • Tissues/Toilet paper/Baby Wipes
    • Torch
    • Blanket
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Waterproof tarpaulin or groundsheet
    Those of the positive polarity are of service when by action or thought or even intention, another entity or the self is freer to seek his or her own path than before the intended service was performed. --L/Leema

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    Great post John!!

    Full of very informative tips and perspectives. Very usefull.

    We all had to learn very quickly in 1998 here...the ice storm leftmany out of power for 3 weeks and more..

    4 out of 5 of the major power lines that fed montreal, were down.



    http://windupradio.com/icestorm.htm

    We al pulled together,,,it was an experience of growth for many people.


    Thank you John for helping to give people tools to cope.

    love,
    celine

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    Avalon Member Operator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    Great thread John ..

    For people who want to practice/experiment with this ... try to continue life without spending money.
    How many days can you go on and stay in good shape ... try to set a record for yourself.

    This will immediately give you sense of feeling people must have that live from 1 or 2 dollars a day and that while you
    are still comfortably 'camping' under acceptable circumstances. They often don't have that either.

    I am not kidding, seriously everyone should try ...

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    If you dont mind arm power...

    this is better then a battery radio


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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    That was fantastic information John. Operator, I think everyone should practice this, I do. It is very frightening to wonder where the next drink of water or mouthfull of food is coming from. Shelter is ofcourse a paramount concern, there is more risk to life from the elements than not having a drink today....

    Celine, I love that radio, do you own one???
    Love. peace and Blessings to you all.

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    Thanks.

    One of the easiest things and something that is pretty interesting is to switch the house power off for two days - say a weekend and see how that goes. Very instructive...

    John..
    Those of the positive polarity are of service when by action or thought or even intention, another entity or the self is freer to seek his or her own path than before the intended service was performed. --L/Leema

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    John,
    Love the post, can't wait for version 1.05. Urban Survival is a very big interest of mine, and I will take some notes/lessons from your post. In regards to personal transportation a bicycle would practically be an absolute necessity.
    Thanks again.

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    Here's some links on how to make a clay pot fridge which can keep fruit,vegies and other items fresh if you have no power

    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pot-in-a-Pot-Refrigerator

    http://practicalaction.org/zeerpots

    http://www.google.com.au/search?q=cl...ed=0CDsQqwQwBA



    here's a link which shows how to make a solar cooker

    http://www.solarcooking.org/plans/
    Last edited by ponda; 1st February 2011 at 05:56.

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    There are also BUG OUT BAGS videos, or BOB for short. There are many youtube videos as to what you should save in your house for both urban and wilderness survival. I’m making a BOB video in a few weeks. I’ve bought 50% of my stuff, still need a few other things. Most BOB videos just go over what they have on their bags. My video will be of information gathered from all the videos put into one.

    Where I got my things from, Why I got them, Price, Weight, Durability, etc etc. Also tips on how to and where to get them cheap without braking your wallet.

    I can’t wait! But I want to make sure I have everything all at once instead of doing part by part. I’ll keep you posted.
    ~From Mexico With Love~

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    It looks like the general unpreparedness of people is starting to gain some attention. I saw this today:

    http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/l...isasters/25709

    Quote 'Learned helplessness' leaves people in major cities unprepared to cope in natural disasters
    By Margot O'Neill, Wednesday October 23, 2013 - 08:12 EDT

    Emergency experts say a learned helplessness has left Australians in major cities unprepared to cope in natural disasters.

    With the increasing impact of extreme heatwaves, storms, fires and floods, experts say traditional reliance on emergency services and recovery support such as cash handouts needs to be urgently reviewed if Australia is to better survive both the effects and escalating costs of such disasters.

    Emergency expert Lewis Winter from Charles Sturt University says Australians need to prepare themselves for a situation where emergency services are unable to help them.

    "What people have got to know is that they're on their own, literally on their own," he said.

    "We can't have a truck or a car at your door when you ring triple-0 in a disaster situation."

    Experts say people should be prepared to look after themselves for at least three days after any major disaster.

    But Mr Winter says most people have no plans in place.

    "If we turn off power and water, how long will you be able to survive?" he said.

    "When we put to people, 'Can you survive for 72 hours without external help?', the reaction is their jaw drops."

    Climate-related disasters could break a city in a number of ways; a prolonged, extreme heatwave followed by a catastrophic fire in outlying bush suburbs could disrupt water and power supplies for days.

    Such a disaster could mean a loss of refrigeration, no tap water or air-conditioning, as well as transport failures and traffic chaos.

    Mr Lewis says cities are particularly vulnerable to these failures.

    "We are more vulnerable in our big cities because we've got transport, we live in high rises, evacuations - talk to people about Katrina, in New Orleans, getting people out of the city," he said.

    In 2009, a heatwave in Melbourne killed more people than the Black Saturday bushfires.

    Triple-0 emergency lines were overwhelmed, hospitals overflowed and the ambulance service was near breaking point after 12 days of temperatures above 28 degrees Celsius.

    Of those, there were five consecutive days over 30C and three consecutive days over 43C.

    Cash handouts 'part of the problem'

    Jim McGowan was the deputy chairman of the Queensland state disaster management group from 2007 to 2011 and says despite three days' warning, Brisbane residents failed to take the appropriate action during floods in 2011.

    "When flooding was occurring, people went to the grocery store and bought frozen goods," he said.

    "Frozen goods are the first things that you have to throw out. You want people to understand that they've actually got to live without the capacity to flick on the light switch or the electric stove or the gas stove.

    "People misunderstand what is likely to occur when they are affected by the disasters."

    Mr McGowan says the expectations on emergency services are also unrealistic.

    "In urban areas there's a view that warnings have to be targeted directly to individuals," he said.

    "In the case of Brisbane floods people knew that they were coming for three days and yet at the end of it people said they weren't warned.

    "I think the new level of warning goes something like, 'I want to know that the flood is going to come to the third rise of the back steps of my house'."

    Mr McGowan warns that the Government's emphasis on cash handouts after disasters is part of the problem.

    "Some of the more recent concentrations on hardship payments and those things have actually started to increase the learned helplessness that many feel during these issues," he said.

    Just 14 per cent of compensations payouts after the Brisbane floods was spent fortifying homes against similar disaster in the future.

    Governments also fail to invest in adaptation; the Productivity Commission found damaged infrastructure is mostly rebuilt as it was.
    Those of the positive polarity are of service when by action or thought or even intention, another entity or the self is freer to seek his or her own path than before the intended service was performed. --L/Leema

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    I have been thinking about this and I'm not stock piling because that would be creating the situation. However, I have to keep in mind that if there is any Disaster or the Agenda of the dark forces kick in and wish everyone to struggle. I have to be keen. So I have started to put a bag or so together that will allow me some basic security if things go wrong. I know tins and packaged stuff will help I have researched army basics that can be put into a bag and I want to know would it be safer to live n the mountains or be in the city?

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    United States Avalon Guide: Here to help
     
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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    If you plan to "bug out" during a short term emergency, you must bug out to where your supplies are located. Otherwise you are likely to be seen as a threat to those at your "bug out" location. People must plan ahead. Short term emergencies can be navigated with sufficient planning, supplies and skills. Long term emergencies may not end well for the survivors.

    Much thought has been put together in my blog for navigating short term emergencies with hope that it will help others with their planning.

    Large cities may become extremely violent when banks close, there is no food and the trucks stop rolling.

    Your first plan should answer the question "How do I get clean water?". Longer than 3 days without clean water and you will not need any other plans.

    My wish is that you become inspired to take action. Inspiration feels good, fear does not.
    Last edited by Ron Mauer Sr; 11th August 2019 at 20:29.

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    Default Re: Basic preparations for “Urban Inconveniences” (V1.04)

    Quote Posted by Angels1981 (here)
    I have to keep in mind that if there is any Disaster or the Agenda of the dark forces kick in and wish everyone to struggle.
    In my opinion, you can and should consider eliminating the notion of Dark Forces from your mind when thinking about these inconveniences - this will avoid any accidental "wake" from misplaced attention.

    Things don't always go to plan. Having some basic planning and materials in place simply makes life easier when things go awry.

    I know some people want to do it, but I am not advocating stockpiling in this thread.

    Stockpiling has its place, but it is more advanced and beyond the means of a lot of people.
    Last edited by Anchor; 12th August 2019 at 11:02.
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