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Surviving Other Disasters

      There are a few other types of disasters and dangers to cover: Biological and Chemical Disasters, Power Outages, Severe Winter and Summer Storms and then a short Summary.

Biological and Chemical Disasters

     Biological and chemical weapons have increased with the advance of technology and are much more common today, often in the hands of those who are against freedom and liberty. Most biological and chemical agents are air-borne and, therefore, will have similar spread patterns to nuclear fall-out. Preparedness is also similar, as you have to stay away from direct contact with the outside air, although you do not need a layer of earth or concrete between you and the contaminated air. Disease pandemics are less urgent, and can be dealt with through local health care systems or natural health remedies.

     If you have been advised of a biological and chemical weapons attack, and you do not have a fall-out shelter available, you will have to "shelter-in-place" as described in the next section and find some way to seal all cracks and openings in your home to make it air tight. If you do not have time to do the whole house, at least do the one room really well where you are going to "shelter-in-place". Ideally it will have an adjoining sealed toilet. It will also be good to have protective clothing available, just as for nuclear fall-out. Refer to the Protective Clothing section of Nuclear Accidents or Attacks for more details.

     Biological and chemical agents may be water-borne as well. If the water is contaminated, you will need to know where to turn off the main water supply in your home, and have survival water available as described in the Home Survival Preparedness section below.

Power Outages

     Power outages can occur for many reasons, including winter storms or summer rolling brown-outs. Short term outages are usually just an inconvenience, and an opportunity to see how dependant we have become on TVs, computers, lights, and a host of other electrical appliances and equipment. It's even more inconvenient when you get caught in the shower in the dark, or in a high-rise lift or elevator! I could go on, but you get the point.

     The main problem for everyday living when the power outage becomes extended is food storage. Here are some points to consider, and more details are included under the Food in the Home Survival Preparedness section below.

After a power outage:

  • Refrigerated food will stay cold longer the less you open the door, obviously.
  • To minimize the number of times you open the fridge or freezer doors, put a list of contents on them.
  • Covering the freezer with a blanket will increase insulation.
  • Refrigerated food should generally be consumed within 4 hours.
  • Food in the freezer will normally remain safe for 2 to 3 days.
  • Food that still has ice crystals in the middle is usually still safe to eat.
  • If frozen meat or dairy is kept at room temperature (above 4 C or 39 F) for longer than 4 hours, it must be thrown away and not cooked or eaten.
  • After power has been restored, do not re-freeze thawed food.
  • Spoiled food can cause major health upsets. If in doubt, throw it out!

Winter Storms

     If you are in an area that gets severe snow or ice storms, you will normally have plenty of warning from the media. Be prepared to be able to survive for several days indoors without electricity, as snow and ice storms can cut off access roads, down power lines and trap you in your house. Never touch downed power lines, even if hanging in your pathway. They may still be live. See the Home Survival Preparedness and Winter Survival sections for more details on being prepared.

     If you have another building that you will need to access during a winter storm, be extremely careful, and install a rope or line that you can follow if there is a blizzard outside. Also be sure to tell someone of your intentions before you go.

     If you are in your vehicle and get hit by a blizzard, it is usually best to pull over and wait it out. Try to get under a bridge or overpass. Stay in your car. If you are short of gas, don't let you car run all the time. Start it up and let it warm the car up and then turn it off. Let some fresh air into the car occasionally by opening the window slightly on the down-wind side of the car. Keep moving occasionally to keep your circulation going, and don't fall asleep. You may die of hypothermia. Also don't over-exert yourself in trying to shovel away snow etc., or you will start sweating and can then get extremely cold once you stop. Call for help if you have a cell phone and you think you need help.

Summer Storms

     Thunderstorms can be deadly, even if you are indoors. Make sure you are not on the phone or in the bathtub or connected in any way to something that conducts electricity. Plus, lightning can strike several miles away from the main storm or rain area. If you are outdoors, don't shelter under something like a tree that conducts electricity and can easily get struck. If in the open, try find a ditch or low area. Rather crouch down low than lie flat, as a ground charge can injure you.


     There are more disaster situations we could cover, but by now I think you have seen that there is a lot in common in the different kinds of disasters above. Once you have developed an awareness of preparedness, you can use that knowledge to adapt it to just about any situation. As mentioned right in the beginning, your best survival tool is common sense.

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