three quarter
By Armi Dee

When you have MCS, a disaster will obviously be harder for you. The air quality from forest fires or people cooking outside coupled with air purifiers not working due to electric being out means a lot of possible exposures. Most dangerous is not having a safe human waste disposal system. Diseases spread from feces by flies, on skin or in water. In flooding many toxic chemicals coat the land as we saw in Katrina.  Katrina, along with Sandy, also  taught us that the Red Cross and FEMA will not arrive for at least  a week. The food they do bring will not be organic or allergen free. Their trucks and generators will make the air worse. Police (and sometimes other emergency workers) often stay home to protect their families.

This guide is for when there is no water, no power and no food shipments. Please check all herbs before a crisis.  That’s part of being prepared. Most important will probably be allergen free organic food and pure water,  followed by a safe toilet and O2 tank.  The US government no longer says prepare for 3 days without food and water. Now they suggest 7. I grew up without electricity or running water and so aside from my air purifiers and cook stove, electricity is the least of my concerns.  What we do know is that individuals and communities who are prepared survive much better.

Make sure your neighbors know you exist: I put a card in their mailboxes with my name and phone number and an explanation that our masks are for our protection (asthma we often say), as we are not contagious. Some people with MCS are on the online front porch forum to stay involved with local actions. If possible you probably won’t want to go to a shelter. If your structure is safe and no direct harm is expected to come your way,  your letter from your doctor about MCS needs (see Resources) or a brochure may help if emergency crews suggest you leave.

Renter’s Insurance is worth the price. ($100 a year is ours.) Check what is covered for water damage. Irene sadly made many people aware they had no flood protection. Take photos of all valuables you own and email them to yourself and/or save to a disc elsewhere. If you have MCS you already know that environment is being destroyed. Our natural habitat is gone. We of all communities need to take Climate Change and chemical spills seriously and prepare.

OUR MASTER LIST

  • Fill car with gas asap!
  • Water Purification and Sterilization Method (we have Big Berkeys)
  • Gallon Distilled Water each day for each person – 18 gallons of unopened distilled water
  • O2 canister with tygon tube and ceramic mask (will explode in fire)
  • Solar battery recharger and the batteries that go with them
  • Extra regular batteries in case there is no sunlight
  • Plug-in electrical cord into car’s lighter to charge emergency cell phone, laptop, etc when driving
  • Solar and Crank Radio and Light
  • Toilet Seat
  • Can Opener
  • At least $100 cash (ATMs may still be down when stores are open)
  • New masks and filters
  • Heavy Duty Garbage Bags
  • Duct Tape
  • 5 gallon plastic bucket
  • Castile soap
  • Rain Barrel (buckets and window screens)
  • 9 days food (really, 30 days would be best)
  • Ultrabright flashlight
  • Layers of dry clothing
  • Sturdy Boots
  • Sturdy Work Gloves
  • Tent – off gassed
  • Tarps – off gassed
  • Mosquito Netting
  • Glad Rags for period
  • Solar Cooker – make shift
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • Several 1 Quart Mason canning jars
  • Scissors
  • Good work knife
  • Full tank of gas
  • LED flashlight per person
  • Shovel
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Paper and Mechanical Pencils (Writing, Art)
  • Sponges
  • Trash Cans
  • Wide Brimmed Hat to prevent sunburn
  • Sewing Kit
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Little battery powered fans
  • Washboard Drying Rack
  • Hemp Rope and Twine
  • Dice and Yahtzee Instuctions – there will a lot of down time
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Detailed Map of Local Area
  • Copies of birth cert, passport, social security card, insurance documents, stored safely with a friend or family or in a fire proof box
  • Proof of any animal companions’ vaccines
  • Pet food
  • Kitty Litter
  • Blankets
  • Letter from doctor about MCS
  • Pepper Spray with Neon Dye (Emergency Protection; it will make us sick if used, too, but usually people leave you alone if you are confident and point the canister and explain what it is)

Medical Kit:

  • B12 methyl injections
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Probiotics
  • Glutathione pills
  • Ibuprofen (pain)
  • Antibacterical ointment – honey or garlic juice
  • Bendedryl (allergic reactions and tranquilizer)
  • Omprezole/Proloesec (heart burn)
  • Slippery Elm (heart burn and burns)
  • Amoxicillin (sold as FISH-MAX FORTE over the counter at aquarium/pet stores; for Lyme which is best treated asap when a tic bites)
  • External body fungus – garlic, oregano, turmeric
  • Herbs for diarrhea – activated carbon, cayenne pepper, strawberry root, poplar/shaking aspen or birch inner bark, sumac inner with outer bark (diarrhea with a lot of discharge)
  • Usnea and cranberry for bacterial infections, also bee balm
  • Baking Soda Epson Salts (to soak strained muscles and for detox bath)
  • Herbs for wounds, bites and burns in oils, salves or dried and made into poultice – cayenne, yarrow, plantain, garlic, all heal, birch inner bark
  • Vit C, Elderberry, Zinc for immune boosting
  • Hand sanitizer (thyme and lemon)
  • Bandages made from Heart of Vermont percale
  • Large safety pin (for bandages)
  • Duct tape
  • Ecobutterfly Cotton Fleece for bleeding
  • Q tips
  • Organic Cotton Balls
  • Cotton eye pads and a patch
  • Tweezers Tick Remover
  • Saline solution (rinse out eyes)
  • Thermometer
  • Lip balm (we melt 1 part beeswax to 2 parts olive oil in a double boiler)
  • Herbs for indigestion – Fennel Seed, Ginger, Cardamom Seed, Basil
  • Neti pot
  • Sea salt and baking soda for Neti Pot
  • Herbs for constipation – Flaxseed, Magnesium

FOOD AND WATER LIST

In a crisis you will need good food. If I am going to buy decent (ie pricey) food, it has to be something I will eat when the expiration date hits and I restock. That means organic with no PBA lining in the cans. If you can eat fermented foods and dairy, you’re ahead of the game if you have crocks of probiotic-filled fruits and veggies along with homemade kefir, yogurt and cheeses. (Fermentation is an ancient form of preserving food without electricity. )

These, enough to last for nine days, suit our needs:

  • Dried Atlantic Dulse
  • Canned fruit from Native Forest
  • Canned Crown Price Atlantic salmon
  • Canned Wild Planet Wild skipjack light tuna
  • Honey Cokes for Mom instead of coffee
  • Organic rice cakes
  • Organic rice snaps
  • Organic Raisins
  • Pacific Organic Chicken and Wild Rice soup
  • Santa Barbara Olive Co. California Large Pitted Ripe Olives, 6 Ounce Tins (Pack of 12) (has PBA)
  • Organic Peanut Butter
  • Organic Coconut Water
  • Organic coconut oil

Preparations as Soon as You Think a Disaster May Hit

Fill all  perscriptions so you have enough for at least two weeks.

Usually it’s best to stay home if you can. If you have to leave, perhaps go at night (less traffic) with all you need with you, including extra gasoline, ID, medications, etc, with a planned destination where someone is expectating you. Don’t surprise them if you can help it. Plan two routes to travel in advance in case one is blocked. Expect gasoline to be gone very quickly.  Check the route’s weather before you leave, because low roads may be washed out and fires may be moving. Make sure you have a spare tire and can change it.

If you know that the power is likely to go out, crank up the fridge to the highest setting. The food will last longer when the power goes out. Every time you open the fridge door you are letting cold escape. Don’t open. Take out fresh veggies and fruits and store in the coolest place in your home. Eat them and any baked goods within the first few days.

In cold weather, put frozen foods and some fridge foods that are Ok to have freeze in the snow bank outside your door. Remember that water expands when frozen, thus bursting glass bottles. I freeze lots of bone broth in mason jars. The trick is to put the liquid in the jar, with a couple inches at the top for the expansion, with the LID OFF into the freezer. When it has frozen solid in a few hours, the lid goes on. Do the same in freezing cold.

A lot of people do not know that when you break the seal, water goes “bad” within a few days. If you fill jugs with water, they will be stale in 3 days. All sorts of diseases and parasites hang out in water. That’s why places with flooding (and especially heat) have to worry a lot about water borne diseases, especially from feces and spit. (Urine is pretty clean.) If you can guess that there will be a water failure, plug and fill your bathtub and as many jugs and buckets as you can with water.

FOOD SAFETY

One of the main sicknesses during a Collapse will be diarrhea/dysentery from tainted food and water. First and foremost is cleanliness. Prepare meats away from all other foods. Wash hands with soap after urination or a BM, before handling food, before eating, before checking someone’s wounds. (For wounds you really should have protective gloves – find out now which you can tolerate the best and get a box.) You should be washing your hands in all the above situations anyway. If you drink infusions, you can heat them in the sun as above or put them in a hot car for several hours. Your water must already be clean.

A cast iron Dutch oven and a solar cooker can work miracles if you live where it is sunny. An old, bigger size satellite TV dish covered with aluminum foil at an angle to catch the sun’s rays with the Dutch oven in the center does the trick. You can make stews, breads, roasts, you name it in a Dutch oven. There are temperatures that raw meats need to reach to be safe to eat, so having a meat thermometer is necessary if you’ll be eating meat. Food Temperature (°F)

  • Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160
  • Turkey, Chicken 165
  • Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145, sit for 3 minutes
  • Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole 165
  • Poultry breasts, roasts, Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165
  • Duck & Goose 165
  • Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165
  • Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145, sit for 3 minutes Fresh ham (raw) 145, sit for3 minutes
  • Precooked ham (to reheat) 140
  • Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm
  • Egg dishes 160
  • Leftovers & Casseroles Leftovers Casseroles 165
  • Seafood Fin Fish 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
  • Shrimp, lobster, and crabs Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque.
  • Clams, oysters, and mussels Cook until shells open during cooking.
  • Scallops Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm.

SAFE WATER

The Berkey purifies and sterilizes water! Worth the investment. Sterilizing water means at least 1 minute at a fast boil. Putting glass jugs of water on mirrors or aluminum foil for 8 hours in the sun will sterilize it. (If you use plastic, you’ll be heating up plastic with the water and get a load of chemicals.) The UV rays will sterilize the water, with the reflective surfaces making it even hotter. Shake the bottles for 20 seconds which helps the process by releasing oxygen. Another option, but one that may cause persons with MCS to have severe health trouble, is 8 drops bleach in a gallon of water.

Save “Grey Water” for flushing toilet or watering plants. (Grey water is the water in which you washed dishes or clothing using a nontoxic soap.) Rain buckets are easy to make. Big clean bucket with a secured (keep wind from blowing it off) window screen over it to keep out leaves and animals. (Water with a dead animal in it is deadly.) 38 states are in a water shortage so rain barrels ought to be built into houses at the end of rain gutters, but they aren’t. I don’t live in a state with a water shortage so it’s not a top priority for my family. (Note: In some states rain barrels are illegal. In drier states there was sometimes a fear that someone may horde the water and sell it, so the public would not have access. A noble law then but obsolete today.)

TOILETS

Easiest=Indoor Toilet (but don’t use if the main sewer line is down): While your toilet won’t flush when there is a water and electric issue, you can have a bowel movement and then pour into the bowl 2 gallons of water (not sure if low flow toilets are the same). The toilet will flush, sending the feces into the sewage/septic system. You can use water from washing your hands or dishes with organic castile soap (“grey water” – not fit for drinking or cleaning, but won’t destroy your garden). Make sure to save your grey water because it has many uses. However: If the main sewer line is down, you cannot do this. Backflow will occur. Yes, it is as gross as it sounds. And could kill you.

Outdoor Hole in the Ground Toilet: Human feces and spit are the disease spreaders. Urine is usually pretty clean. Choose one place where a hole/short trench is dug and have wood for people to stand on. Move the hole as needed. If you have kitty litter with nothing chemical like fragrance in it and/or baking soda, you can toss some in to help with your own ammonia stink. Make sure, like your cat, to cover your feces and urine with soil after use. For safety, you have to make sure your feces will not get in the water supply. You don’t want to start a Cholera outbreak. I don’t want you to either, so follow the rules: No latrine within 200 feet of your water supply; No latrine where rain water runs off; No latrine near where you eat or prepare food; Dig hole in a raised area; Having it a sunny place will help decomposition; Always add dirt from the hole-digging over the feces and urine (NO FLIES! They can carry your feces to your food.); Fill up the hole when you are done with it; Make sure others know about any unfilled holes so they don’t break their ankles.

Using Your Inside Toilet Differently: If you cannot go outside, get all the water out of the toilet bowl that you can. Double two very strong garbage bags to line the bowl with the bags. With duct tape or another strong tape, secure the bags on the outside of the bowl. When the seat goes down, it should be covering the bags at the rim of the bowl. Use as a toilet, throwing in kitty litter/baking soda for the smell, and change the doubled up bags every 2 or 3 days. Always put the lid down to keep out flies.

Making a Toilet: No matter how you do this one, you really might need a hand with balance as there are no grab bars, the toilet isn’t secure and the ground is uneven and/or muddy. For many reasons you don’t want this toilet to fall over!!! You can take a toilet seat and put it on a 5 gallon plastic bucket or something else very strong. Heck, you can cut a hole in a wood stool and put the toilet seat on it (or not) and stand it over the latrine hole. If you use the 5 gallon white bucket (or something similar) idea, line the bucket with doubled up strong garbage bags, fold over the edge and tape securely with duct tape or another strong tape. When you put the toilet seat on top, it should be like the “Using Your Inside Toilet Differently” toilet. The difference is that the bucket is not bolted to the ground and the seat is not secured. That means two things that can slide or flip as you try to get on or off. Also I don’t know how much weight a 5 gallon bucket could support with the weight on the top edges. So again, you may need two people, one to watch the seat for slipping and bucket from falling and another strong person to help transition you from wheelchair or walker, who can lift you up if the toilet is collapsing.

NOW WASH YOUR FRIGGING HANDS! Have someone pour some (preferably safely hot) clean water in your cupped hands or, if alone, pour some into one hand with some eco-safe castile soap and run them together and get under the nails. Also wash them before preparing food or eating. Even if you were “just in the garden.” WASH YOUR HANDS.

Herbal Sanitizing Wash: Thyme and lemon are antiseptics.  Other herbs you could add are sage, rosemary, oregano and cayenne peppers, the meat preservers, and antifungal garlic. You need a strong infusion of the herbs and lemons. Boil clean water and then toss in a lot of the thyme and lemon slices. Cover for 4-12 hours and strain. It’s now ready to use. If there is no way to boil water but your car is burning up hot inside, you can put a glass Mason jar (or old clean mayo jar) in the car or make sun tea, helped along with a mirror/aluminum foil beneath or behind it.

FIRST AID

Wounds and Burns: For 1st (sunburns or burns red and dry and hurts when you touch them) and 2nd (seem moist with redden blisters, swollen, weeps clear or white fluid) degree burns you of course run under cold water or keep the burned areas submerged in cold water for 10-15 minutes. Don’t use ice. Draw the heat off. Do not remove any skin. Remove jewelry since there is swelling. Don’t lance any blisters unless very large. Apply moist dressing.

Honey is the greatest thing for burns and wounds. Honey is antibacterial, so it makes a protection seal over clean wounds. If you use honey on a burn, cover with clingwrap or other water proof dressing, taped down. If the bandaged area fills with fluid, change the dressing. Worse the burn, the more changes. Change at least three time a day. Leave no exposed area unhoneyed. Don’t wash of honey, just add more layers. Honey and water could make it a fun place for germs to hang out, so just honey.

External Herbs for Burns: Aloe, Birch inner bark, Chamomile, Cranberry, Slippery elm, Vervain poultice removes heat; Yogurt and milk; And of course honey.

We have organic cotton balls and organic cotton fabric scraps and a fabric medical tape I can tolerate. For heavy bleeding we have Glad Rags organic cotton menstrual pads. To stop bleeding you can use a clothe wet with yarrow tincture as a poultice or just use the yarrow directly, or cinnamon and for a major bleeder, cayenne pepper. Most cuts will stop bleeding with direct pressure and not need those three herbs. Clean wounds with honey or raw garlic. Dress wound with whatever your “gauze” (nonfuzzy fabric) that works for you) and change daily, each time adding more honey or garlic. Wounds can be cleaned with sterilized water as well. (Boil water at least one minute.)

Wound External Herbs: All heal, Birch inner bark, Chickweed, Cranberry poultice; If inflamed and gangrene, Golden rod ½ a roasted onion on the wound or animal bite; White oak inner bark, Yarrow for stopping bleeding, Cayenne Pepper for extreme bleeding, And of course honey.

Sprains and Strains: Sprains are often the ankle, wrist, knee or finger. Usually has bruising, pain and swelling. (Whenever there is swelling remove jewelry.) Sprains are treated by the famous RICE: Rest (don’t put weight on it), Ice for 20 minutes a day several times a day for first day or two, then make a Compress wrap to decrease swelling and support joints (it’s too tight if there is numbness, tingling or pain), Elevate the sprain over head to prevent edema (stuck fluids). Strains involve the muscles and tendons, usually the back.

Sprain and Strain External Herbs: All heal – joints, broken bones, out of joint, Wormwood –joint pain, strain, sprain, Birch –over worked muscle, Mullein leaf – realigns broken bones (esp if were set wrong before) & lubricates connective tissue, Plantain leaf – sprains and strains, Rue – joint injury, sprains, Yarrow – violent bruising, Willow poultice – Sprains and pain (If you react to asprin, don’t use willow), Epson salt soak – Strains and overworked muscles. I make salves or oils out of some of these. The oil I use is grapeseed since it goes deep down. If I am making a salve or oil for skin issues I use organic olive oil. Grapeseed is for when I want it to get to the deeper layers.

Snake Bites: The real use of Echinacea! We don’t live where there any poisonous snakes, but there are kits available.

Insect Bites & Stings: With bee stings carefully use tweezers (a first aid kit necessity) or gently scrape out with fingernail the stinger to stop the venom from building up. (Wasps do not leave their stingers.) The poisonous spiders here are brown recluse and black widow. Wash spider bites well, apply ice 10-15 minutes for swelling and pain, and go to bed. No heat on a brown recluse bite! Take antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection as the body fights this off or Echinacea and vit C. To repel mosquitoes, coat exposed skin with crushed juicy garlic. To repel moths use rosemary, tansy, rue and/or wormwood.

External Insect Bite/Sting Herbs: Baking soda – bee stings, spider bites; Plantain – bee stings, spider bites, mosquitoes; Aloe – Bee stings, spider bites; All heal – bee stings; Black cumin – bee stings, spider bites; Feverfew – bee stings, spider bites; Turmeric in olive oil – spider bites; Joe Pye Weed – spider bites; Chickweed – mosquitoes and most itchy skin; Ginger bath – mosquitoes; Fenugreek tea external – mosquitoes and most itchy skin

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac External Use Herbs: Baking soda paste, Epson Salt bath, Chamomile compress, Cleanse with apple cider vinegar, Burdock root pout ice, Plantain poltice

Internal Diarrhea/Dysentery Herbs: Activated Carbon, Cayenne Pepper (the “go to” for diarrhea from bad food and water, many herbalists travel with this,) strawberry roots, erigeron/fleabane myrica/bayberry (bark of the root, leaves, berries as tea) poplar/shaking aspen or birch inner bark, sumac inner with outer bark (diarrhea with a lot of discharge), white pond lily root, yellow dock root (especially for the elders, infants and nursing women), gum acadia (especially for chronic dysentery in children), marshmallow, cloves, bistort, silverweed tea, peach flowers, leaves, twigs or bark wild rose petals, mullein leaf tea, warm ginger tea, sweetfern/spleenwort (subacute diarrhea), fireweed/willow herb, butternut inner bark, and probably a ton more. (These come from Matthew Wood’s 2 Earthwise books.)

Worms (yes, worms may make a comeback) cause secondary infections often because the body is weak from battling the worms. Worms are contagious so always wear gloves and wash hands. The anus has worms and people may scratch and get them under their nails, especially in their sleep. Herbs I have read that work and were staples back when Western humans had worms a lot are: fever few (threadworms), black cumin (parasites), strong white oak, poplar, or shaking aspen inner bark infusion, and thyme (hook worms and other parasites).

REHYDRATION DRINK during bad diarrhea
• 1 Liter safe water
• 6-8 teaspoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon potassium chloride
• Pinch of baking soda
. Then eat bananas, rice, applesauce and plain toast or crackers.

My antivirals are larix, lemon balm (bad for hypothyroid), lometrium, and monolauren. Usnea, known mostly as a great natural “antibiotic,” is also antiviral and antifungal. I have viral infections more than bacterial. For infections from bacteria like urinary tract/bladder infections or pneumonia I go to usnea and cranberry. Cranberry is common for UTIs but can help with other stuff. Vit C, elderberry, garlic, ginger and zinc are important for immune boosting so I use asap with most medical problems.

Keep skin fungal infections clean and dry. Only use herbs you know in advance you can tolerate! External herbs for skin fungal infections: Turmeric – all Thyme – for athlete’s foot; White pond lily Root – for ringworm; Chapperal – for nail fungus, ringworm, athlete’s foot; Aloe vera – for athlete’s foot, ringworm; Cornmeal mixed with water soak – for nail fungus; Garlic – for athlete’s foot, ringworm; Oregano – all; White Oak inner bark – all; Joe Pye Weed – all.

Calmative herbs are for helping digestion, which is why we add them to recipes. It is not just for the flavor. Those herbs can be made into a tea for indigestion if you know you can tolerate them. Indigestion herbs: Black berry root or leaf Basil, Cinnamon – dairy and deserts; Cardamom seed, Fennel, Dill, Caraway, Anise, Ginger, Lemon juice with baking soda in water, Marjoram, Nutmeg – Rich foods and dairy (toxic in high amounts); Spleenwort/sweet fern, Sage – meat.

COLD WEATHER/NO HEAT

Most folks living with MCS can only wear organic cotton and cotton is called the Death Fabric by emergency workers. When it gets wet, it steals heat from your body. So stay dry. If you do a little exercise to get warm, don’t sweat or if you do, change into dry clothing. Drinking warm drinks helps keep up the internal temperature. More spicy foods also can help, but don’t have so much cayenne that you sweat. 70% of your body heat leaves via your head and neck so keep those warm and covered. Keeping your groin and neck and chest warm I’ve read are the key places so if you use well sealed Mason jars with hot water, put them there. If with someone, naked bodies under blankets are the best way to stay warm.

For heat waves, gather several of the small personal fans that some churches give out on hot day services and use solar charged batteries. Put a cold cloth on your forehead. Don’t go in the sun. Stay hydrated. The rehydration drink above may help. The Resources page has more information about heat.

SOCIAL

Society probably won’t break down any more than it has in your own area already.  Most people stay home. This includes many police officiers and sometimes emergency services. If people are herded into a prison-like dome with  no food or care, uninformed of what is happening, in terror they tend to turn on one another.  Lesson from Katrina. However Sandy and Irene showed what normally happens: People with very different ideologies and personalities bond to ensure survival. The evolutionary need  of “safety of the tribe” is strong.  A friend who was an EMS in Haiti post-earthquake, at a Sandy shelter far before FEMA (bringing allergen free foods), and had her town seperated from the hospital due to flooding in Irene has studied this in practice and theory. People suddenly remember they have neighbors they have not talked to in 7 years and check in on them. In the shelters people work to meet the needs of the differently abled. Homeless persons often have a lot of wisdom due to living in a post-Collapse state all the time.

If you have prepared you won’t need to fight at Cosco for the last can of tuna. Many prepared people have a commodity to barter. Bosnia and Sandy taught us that cigarettes, booze, condoms and caffeine were the most in demand: the addictions. You can get free condoms at many colleges and free “quit smoking” patches and gum from local programs. A friend has 50 lbs of green coffee beans she can roast. Honestly, because trying to work with people in coffee withdrawal having nic fits sounds awful, and because in crisis humans tend to mate for comfort, having these goods for the community is a sound idea. For safety’s sake, I don’t think I’d help people get drunk.

Expect children to be bored. Very bored. This usually adds to stress. Many families include games in their emergency supplies. If you cannot be near ink like boardgames, cards, etc., try dice. Adults may find themselves suddenly using dice not seen since college and playing D&D.

The “crazy cat lady” image some with MCS have works in their favor if there is looting.  People usually just loot their own impoverished neighborhoods’ shops. Homes are not normally targets. Lock the door and don’t show signs of being home. Weapons are tricky since they can easily be taken away from someone and most harm those with MCS. A confident voice (with a canister of pepper spray) that does a broken record “Get the fuck off my property NOW” has worked  for me in other situations.  But in general violence happens only in rare situations, usually due to the community losing its autonomy and power, like in Katrina. As for “zombies” coming in hordes from the cities, it hasn’t happened yet. Again, people like to stay put.

KNOW YOUR LOCAL DISASTERS: When I lived in L.A. we had boots under the bed in case an earthquake hit at night, shattering the windows. I knew how to turn off the gas line and bookcases were fixed to the walls. Every area has its traditional disasters. Know yours. Forest fire? Hurricane? Tornado? Earthquake? Blizzard? Tsumani? With Climate Chaos, weather is much less predictable due to the rising tempatures heating up the winds that bring in cold and hot fronts. Fracking is causing earthquakes in areas that never had them.  The Pacific Northwest was slammed with radiation from Japan.  Pollution doesn’t know state or national boundaries, as acid rain taught us in the 1970s. However, general preparedness with whatever is needed for your region’s most common current disasters is still the best way to plan.  I say “current” because a lot has changed bioregionally even in the last five years.

I highly suggest the book The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is NOT on the Way by Joseph and Amy Alton. Many with MCS cannot get medical care now and have to live without doctors and this book has been very helpful for my family.

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