Coping: A “Snap Collapse” Exercise

I have written about this long ago, but it is worth doing again, I suppose:  Now that we’re on the cusp of a weekend, with absolutely no warning whatsoever, go home and did connect your landline, turn off your power at the main breaker, and shut off your water.

The cell phone battery comes out, too.  In other words, a complete two-day exercise of being disconnected from the grid and all municipal services.

I can assure you, at the end of this simple “personal preparedness test” your thoughts about prepping will be different.  But don’t stop there:  Assume you have a bigger problem than even no water or power (or cell phone) to help you.  Now toss in a small cloud of radiation working its way through your area.  That’s when the real fun begins.

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We have been thinking a lot about this kind of contingency – for the past 10-years, Ever since we moved to the East Texas Outback.

The writing I’ve done about the “Seven Major Systems” of life (food, shelter, communications, environment, transportation, energy, and finance) were not just ‘spur-of-the-moment’ ideas.  They arose from our serious prepping for “come what may.”

In coming weeks, we will be keeping our reports at a 1,000 word limit on the free side of this site.  No such limits on the site, of course.  And not out of any malice.  Rather, we have a ‘lot to get done.’

No matter what happens in life, there’s always that “one more thing” you discover.

For example, isolation is something you need to practice for.  In a two-day snap drill, it won’t be a big deal, at all.  But when you consider the ‘black sy’ or grid hard-down for a year (and longer) it comes to the forefront.  America is hooked – worse than heroin – with the concept that General Motor’s called the freedom of the American road.

It wasn’t just applicable to highways.  99% of folks are super-conditioned to the joys of an on-demand society.

When something goes bad, the “fix” is only a phone call away.  Isolation isn’t a factor when you have unlimited bandwidth coming into the home.  Water’s not a big deal, until the toilets don’t flush and you discover that sugary soda pop isn’t a thirst-quencher.

When you read about such things, it all sounds so obvious and so easy.  But when the reality of no transportation (as one aspect) sinks in, what are you going to do?  How do you handle the “snap exercise?”

The first bridge to cross is the decision to “Stay or Go?”

See, one way to address the no power, no water, no cable, no cell exercise is to get in the family car and drive to your “back-up location” – which we assume you have.

This would be a friend in a different city who you could call on the phone at a moment’s notice and say “Snap drill:  We will arrive at XX:XX time.”  Most people don’t have such a place, or especially a like-thinking location where the person you  call is all set to receive you (and your loved ones) with no notice and for an indeterminate length of time.

That way, assuming you have enough gas in the car to get there, congratulations, this is one solution to the snap drill.  Relocate to a well-provisioned backup.

The obvious flaw to this is the gas gauge when you get into the car and study the options.

For us, we MIGHT be able to lean on friends in Oklahoma or Arizona.  The former would could get to on one tank of gas, but it would have to be nearly a full tank.  That location is 3/4th’s of a tank distant.  Arizona?  We would need more gas than we (presently) have on hand at the ranch.  So we would stay.

Isolation isn’t something we’re worried about, nor do supplies bother us, much.  We have hydroponics supplies and a greenhouse, such that if the “exercise” was not fictional, we could get some edibles coming in after a fairly short delay; maybe 90 days.  And we have storage foods, of course.

But when you pull this exercise, since you want have television to watch, check the pantry for food and figures how many calories and for how long?  Then look at stocks of toilet paper and such.  It’s a time of sad realization for most folks.

Canned goods are great, but really, how many days worth do you have on hand?  How do you keep – and use – all that food in the freezer?  Do you have solar panels and inverters laying around you could bring up on line in an hour or two?  I doubt it – if you’re average.

Now it becomes Monday and you get to put the power back on.  How much food spoiled?  Did you run out of anything?  Prescriptions from the doc are on hand for how long?  And do you have a “coming off drugs” plan in your back pocket?

This may all sound far-fetched and unthinkable.

But three months back, the prospect of all-out war with China was also unthinkable.  Not that it is #1 in my concerns list for today, but we see how the market is reacting already and this China warning over Korea which we covered in the news section, well THAT is something that could pop quickly even though we don’t expect that war until the 2023-2024 area based on historical rhymes.

There is that small possibility that the market has already hit its all times highs and we won’t get the one last gasp rally in the next week and a half. Either way, look how long it was from the market peak in 1929 until the Germans were in Poland: 1939 so 10-years.  That was to the all-out war starting.

Germany, however, was pressing on with remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936 in a manner that suggests what China is already doing in the South China Sea.

Which gets us to this morning’s bottom lines:

A “Snap Exercise” is a very much worthwhile problem to attack for a weekend..

The “historical rhymes” don’t dictate further events, but they do suggest which forks and branches history will track into the future.

As in Earthquake planning, where you will want to have assorted lengths of PVC pipe, fresh tubs of prime and hot-set glue and ways to recover from water and structural damage, we see the need now to have the duct tape and plastic sheeting on hand just in case.

Whether the problems ahead domestically come from NK or Chinese inbound, or whether it’s from the black skies/grid hard-down, doesn’t matter at the personal response level.

Proper Planning prevents piss poor performance.  And as we see it, it’s the cheapest life insurance policy you can buy.

Send in your personal results, if you dare.

Write when you get rich,

24 thoughts on “Coping: A “Snap Collapse” Exercise”

  1. S&P is looking like a weekly top reversal taking out prev all time high and closing lower for the week ???

  2. My list always starts off with Water then food and shelter. Everything after that is an add on. Do you include water under the food category? Most people do not have access to water, no hand well, hand pump system, pond, lake or a stream. Water is always the first thing that I look for as without it, time becomes very limited.

  3. just finished the fuel pit and loading 500 gal road diesel. Interesting on how difficult it is now to find bulk delivery of fuel. 20 yr ago not a problem, now those services are gone, consolidated, regulated, little used. Now just the cover to do and it is one project completed, very pleased with that. At least I can say I’m further ahead than I was for Y2k. Still need more time, anyone got some for sale? I’m buying. Personal opinion is that what is ahead is not going to be fun by any stretch and long term, so do the best you can, almost anything will help.

  4. Hey George, Before I ever read your site I was a preper and to be able to adapt all well and good but what has always scared the crap out of me is the people have done nothing to prepare
    for even the slightest emergency just look at what happens when storms hit the gulf states even with fed disaster help. In a long term situation those people will be the greatest danger because their will to survive will be just as great and the only way they will be able to do it is to rob and kill the people who have prepared, and of that group liberals will be the worst because they believe it is owed to them!

  5. George,

    On a small-scale I actually tried your “snap Collapse” exercise recently.

    I live in a townhouse complex that boasts a very good maintenance crew, so when my hot water heater crapped out on me back in June my immediate impulse was to just pick up the phone and have a new one installed pronto. Instead, I decided to rough-it and see what it would be like to just not have the simple convenience of hot water for a few days… my own little prepper-drill.

    Day One was fairly easy: a couple of minutes in the microwave solved most needs. Since I also decided not to use my dishwasher, cleaning dishes in cold water became a new thrill: whereas I would usually rinse off any residual grease/oil from cookware with some scalding tap water I no longer had that option and ended up with a sink full of pretty nasty dishwater in no time. Took twice as long to wash since I had to use two sinkfuls. But, so far not much serious impact on my comfort level!

    Day Two snapped me back into reality when I jumped into my morning shower; still groggy from sleep I had forgotten my spartan intent and was zapped with what I swear were ice crystals spewing from the shower head… and I use a needle-spray, to boot! Gave a whole new meaning to “invigorating, let me tell you. Multiple oaths and about 90 seconds later I had completed my morning ablution, a significant cut from my usual 10-minute steamer. And, all the rest of that day it seemed like I needed hot water constantly – when of course, I actually didn’t.

    Ultimately I stretched this exercise out to a full four days before giving in and picking up the phone to the crew. They apeared within 45 minutes and spent the next three hours installing a new tank [only took them that long because new city codes required flexible tubing for all connections and it was quite a retrofit – must be due to all the fracking EQ’s we’ve had in these parts but still seemed idiotic to me] while I danced around impatiently eyeballing the shower in the adjacent bathroom. Once I finally climbed in [after another two hour wait for the water in the tank to actually get hot] I felt downright born-again and ready to worship at the feet of the thermal Norse Gods, if there are any!

    Overall, I would liken the experience very similar to the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

    Since this was a self-imposed torment, I could deny it as only a temporary thing. Soon enough I found myself angry at wanting to endure it in the first place and then bargained with my sweaty, smelly carcass that surely three days was plenty to do this to myself. The depressive stage kicked in when I realized that someday this could be the new-norm, but thankfully it only lasted a few hours when a couple of Bourbons nudged me nicely into the final acceptance phase.

    It was quite a little learning experience about my long-established comfort levels and how taxing it would be to have them suddenly altered, even in the short-term!

    I highly suggest your readers try their own ‘snap collapse’ drill and establish their own baselines. They are sure to surprise themselves and learn a great deal about true coping in the process.

    BTW: for several days afterward, I found myself wandering down to my utility room just to make sure that little green “everything’s Okie-dokie” light was still blinking away on my new hot water tank. After all: SECURITY IS A STATE OF MIND!

    • Coldwater camping on the shores of Lake Superior for a week comes to mind. There is nothing quite so comforting and civilizing as a warm shower. That is why I have a solar hot water system, and retrofitted the AC powered pump to a solar PV panel and battery, so the hot water is grid independent.

  6. Your mind amazes me! I live in a big city, and I have no way of prepping. However, at one time in my life I’ve lived through what you’re describing. I think that most of what has happened to me could be attributable to luck (for lack of a better word). Most people’s world run the same way. That doesn’t mean one should act foolishly.

    • Pitch a tent in the back yard & live there for the weekend. I hope your young, it is a lot of work.

  7. “This would be a friend in a different city who you could call on the phone at a moment’s notice and say “Snap drill: ”

    LOL LOL LOL kind of like a fire drill.. yet you yell fire.
    My father had a plan for after his death. almost everytime we seen him he would go through the steps.. take us to where the papers were.. the safe the combination to the safe.. it was routine .. then he died.. now I knew the combination.. even had it written down.. knew where all the papers were but in the moment I didn’t it took a short while to get the confusion to clear.. in a true catastrophic event.. there would be that moment of confusion.. then the transportation in a true emp.. there wouldn’t be cars.. my guess is if you have a car that would be immune to an emp you don’t drive it daily. what if your in the toilet out to eat on the other side of town… in a city.. that is a nasty place to be in the country the same thing.. the cities are already tribal oriented..where each section is controlled independently by some gang or organization, gated communities. In the country you are isolated from those that can help rebuild. For government.. they have their bunkers way out in the middle of nowhere.. and if lets say Yellowstone erupted.. would that extra case of beans really help.. I believe it is better to have a long term community plan.. now other countries do that regularly the USA no.. we are independent minded.. which would divide the country in my opinion.

    • In my experience people in the city AND the country do have community plans. It starts with neighbors and builds from there. Millions of people will have the chance to RISE to this occasion. We focus too much on the destructive nature of people (rightly so), yet we have had numerous examples of the uniting of people during disasters. Once the lights go off and the power shuts down, that’s when the road meets the pavement. Community is anywhere you are at any time.

  8. Worked in the nuke industry for 20+ years and still keep a set of calibrated radiacs on hand. Would love a portable gamma spectrometer and beta counter but can make a good swag(scientific wild ass guess) with what I have.
    To get a hot shower w/o power take a new 2 1/2 gallon garden sprayer and replace wand with hand sprayer. Fill with 1 1/2 gallon cold water and 1 gal boiling water(heat on campfire etc). You have enough hot water to wet down, soap off and rinse. Much better than a sponge bath.
    James Johnson, ex-nuke
    P.s. Texas has its own grid, more robust than the massive multi-state conglomeration the rest of US has. If there’s no tsunami to take out refineries a think Texas will get their grid back first.

  9. I’ve been searching about nine years for a solar battery charger system. A solar panel that will fit into my one south-facing window and power a standard charger for 1-4 AAA-D NiMH cells in any combination. I’m amazed that nobody sells such a system. Oh, all the pieces are available, but most of us don’t know exactly what pieces are needed. It seems this system should sell for around $150 (30w solar panel). I am considering spending up to $500 prototyping such a system. Someone who actually knows the technology could likely spec the system right off of Amazon. Charging a cell phone would be nice, but not essential. The NiMH cells are for LED flashlights and lanterns and for radios.

    • Check out the Luci Lantern (solar) from Basspro or Amazon. Fifteen bucks, and well worth it. I havent used a flashlight for a long time, except for large distances.

  10. George like yourself I have off grid capability (8000 watt invertor, batteries). An EMP attack would cook the modules on the back of the panels, charge controllers, and the invertor. Do you have any suggestions for EMP protection of your off grid system?
    Mark “Red Dog”

  11. Good Afternoon, George-
    How will the crypto-currencies fare and how usable will they be when the grid goes down?
    Having some silver coins, as well as some silver counterfeits, maybe something to add to your various lists.

    • Counterfeits? Well that’s a good way to make a quick disappearance when you run into those that know the difference. Honesty will get you further – or just keeping your mouth shut.

  12. According to a story om the US and NK are already talking through back channels at the UN. Really? So correct me if Im wrong but didnt the Japanese Ambassador tell the President that they had no intention of attacking the US just before the attack at Pearl Harbor?

    “Trust no one.” Fox Mulder The X Files.

    • And didn’t our esteemed President, FDR, at the time, get the warning that Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor and did nothing so that America would enter the war? Yeah, Trust No One, or as Jim Marrs liked to say, “Always Question Authority.”

  13. My BS meter is blinking red and the needle is farther east than the rising sun.

    I don’t believe you.

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