Where would you be and what would you do?


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Those of us from the US, and old enough at the time, all remember where we were on 9/11. I'm sure people from other countries remember certain events like this.

What I wanted to open up to the forums here was the chance to, narratively if possible, explain, from your perspective and place in life; Where would you be and what would you do if suddenly the world was without power, and wherever you are winter is coming? This is a major life changing event, no one will ever be the same. You will never be the same.

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This would be a very scary situation. If this was an unexpected event I would probably assume it was a regular temporary blackout and fish out a couple flashlights, if they no longer worked I would assume dead batteries and light some candles.

If it was during a school day, once the realization of a more permanent problem kicked in I would need to get my daughter from school and hope the chaos that ensued would not make that impossible.

If I was at work I would realize the full scope of the "event" a lot earlier though I would probably be locked in and unable to reach my family, which would be horrible.

Assuming I was with my family, and the permanent nature of the problem was known, urban areas would probably deteriorate to the point that it would be dangerous to stay in any sort of populated area, those with farms and ranches would probably be better suited to staying self reliant. The food in my two freezers/pantries would last a few months unless someone took it from me, I have ammo to hunt/protect myself but it would be improbable for someone in my area to sustain a family year round in the current environment, though stray dogs would look tastier and tastier as the time went on. In the desert, potable water would be the largest concern before food shortages became a problem.

The more I think about the situation the scarier it seems it would be.

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Initially, I think there would be a lot of confusion. The first days and couple weeks, people will hope that things are under control.

After the initial hope subsides, and people burn through their food supplies, the cities will become chaotic. Civilization as we know it, will begin to crack.

Police officers and military units will be forced to make a decision of trying to keep the peace, or protect their families. Mass AWOLs and failure to reports will ensue.

People will be raided, beaten, and killed for any supplies of value.

Then, the people in the near-urban rural areas will be encumbered with refugees from urban areas. Those not prepared to defend themselves will be overwhelmed.

We're always 9 meals away from anarchy.

It's each person's responsibility to take care of themselves, and their families.

I'm not going to go into detail about my exact "What would you do" but suffice it to say, I've prepared for the above.

Sorry to be so bleak, but anyone who thinks that any government can handle supporting infrastructure with something like "The Event" is in for a solemn wake up call.

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Well to start I will state what I think will happen if this scenario is to come into play. First I think people will be confused and to ignorant to see what is happening they will stay put and try to reason things, within a few minutes without power planes will fall from the sky and cars will stop. People will then start to get scared flock stores and try to get to safety with there family's. A few days in people will start to riot the police will be low on supply's and the sewage and trash from peoples homes will flood the street. About a week to two weeks in you will start to see bandits and raiders, you also see the morgues over flowing thus hospitals having to burn the corpses. After the fourth week cities will most likely be deserted and you will see shanty towns form in the suburbs. lastly with out power and a stable government people will start to get ill and die off most likely form dysentery from unsafe drinking water and even the common cold, after that i think you get the point.

I live in PA near the Appalachian mountains so I have a better chance of surviving at first I would think. I would first get the people that live near me and try to band them together and try to unite the small amount of people that I have around me (about 150 at most) I would also try to meet some of my Amish that live near me and see if I could make some friends among them. I would then see if I could make people turn there back yards into gardens/farms. water is not an issue because I have a well and meant is not hard to get seeing that we have too many deer here.

When I get the area that I live in self sufficient I would try to expand a bit and get more people into the group maybe starting to rebuild society. But the coolest thing on my to do list is to find some crazy smart guy to turn my cars and any thing that can be powered into a steam powered thing... so I could have cars and pumps pretty cool ah.

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What I would do depends very much on where I would be, and how far in the future this is.

Here and now, well, here isn't a good place to be. Boston is far too close, Providence as well, and this whole area never really slips from suburban to rural. There are more mouths to eat than farmland to feed them here, and that's a simple, bleak fact.

Here and now... I would go marauding, to steal a term from television. My overwhelming drive would be to get out of this death spot. I love my house, and here would be a wonderful place to survive... if not for all the people who lack any idea of how to do it. Winter here is mild. With my cold weather gear hungry people would be the biggest threat, and I would have to rely on being a good rifle shot I expect.

If I survived long enough on the move, presenting the image of a danger rather than a prize, then I would probably want to come back here in the spring. Much of my garden is perennial, and seeds are a low volume, low mass carry. Not that I would really expect to survive the insanity of millions of adult sized children, suddenly hungry for the first time in their lives, lashing out in anger at a world they never understood.

If I were back up in Maine, I would bunker down. If I get my house built first, well, then I really don't care. My dream is to live in a way that doesn't need society, if only for the sake of my blood pressure and not being constantly frustrated with people and their insanities. If I pull that off, and don't need society, well, then I don't need society, and it's collapse may not be a good thing for me, but its also not all that terrible either. I'd be OK.

I can make methane from, well many many things. That's gas cooking, and home sourced power for an internal combustion engine. I've built a steam engine from an air compressor before, so there's an external combustion engine if that's easier and I don't manage to get a stirling engine, which I want just because they're cool.

A steam powered truck that I could fire with wood is another thing I would love to have, if I ever find the time to build it. The gadget freak in me loves the idea, as does the cheap bastard who fondly remembers 56 cent a gallon gas. The part of me thinking about this, right now, points out that there's no electronics involved in it, or supplying it. The paranoid part of me says that it's probably illegal.

Food in the wilderness isn't a problem. Even in winter there's food in the woods, and especially the swamps, if you know where to look, and I don't just mean eating critters. Food at any house of mine is even less of a problem. Vegetable gardens and orchards are too much fun not to have.

Of course, that isolated Maine house is a pipe dream right now. Could I afford to build it? probably, but the problem with isolation in our present world is that it's very hard to make money there, and property taxes do not care if you can afford to pay them or not.

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For me it would kind of go something along these lines.

(Part 1)

So when I was younger I grew up in Arkansas, that's a misnomer really, since by the time I was 3 I'd moved five times, you see my dad was in the Air Force. He was a good enough guy, just probably not what my mom thought he was, since they where only married for 8 or 9 years. My mom did the best she could to raise us, with my sister and grandparents stepping in to help when and where they could. Growing up in rural Arkansas isn't really all that bad, as long as you lose your draw when you talk to people so you don't immediately sound like an idiot to them when you talk. The farm life wasn't to bad, digging in the dirt and watching plants, and animals grow is really rewarding, if not hard work.

So fast forward several years...

Every day is generally about the same nowadays. I wake up, I go to work, I come home and spend time with the wife. I'm not complaining, this is a good life. There are plenty of projects for me to do around the house, I love spending time with my wife, and working in IT is a rewarding field most of the time, despite it's face palm moments. We have a small garden in the back, and compost everything that we can to make for better soil. We live just outside of Dallas though, so we never had a need for something like a generator around here, and the winters aren't that cold, they can be in fact really mild compared to the Rocky Mountains that I used to live in just a year ago. I do still have a lot of cold weather equipment that I used while living there for the high mountain region.

Honestly though even with all that in place we weren't ready for something like "The Event". It hit hard. I mean really hard. Power lines caught fire and transformers exploded, some of the people outside dropped to the ground like they'd been shot, Planes falling out of the sky, and the nothing worked. No cell phones, no cars, no way of getting a hold of my wife or family, and let me tell you when your this close to the city and an airport it's pretty scary. Those of us at the office I worked in that lived over the initial hit decided pretty soon that we needed to get back home. We're in communications you see, our building is partially shielded, but when everything stops working, and you don't hear any sirens, you figure things out pretty quickly, especially with the mess going on outside.

So we waited, fire seemed to be burning the sky endlessly. After several hours we knew we had to leave. It seemed, at least then it did, that the worst of it was over. There was still some water pressure on the lines so we filled up what containers we could and divided them out as evenly as we thought possible. Some of us had some snacks from the refrigerators and cabinets, we hed emptied them out. It was all going to go bad anyway. We all left that day, walking to our respective homes; I still wonder if everyone made it home okay. I only know the fates of the people heading in the same direction that I was.

The chill in the air hadn't been to bad after walking for a little while you almost forget about it. Of course there is always the dark, made worse by fact that the moon wasn't out, the whole way there it was like you were walking with black out shades over your eyes. Luckily we had a few lighters and matches tucked away within the group, enough that we could see the signs. So we kept to the road, our feet clomping on the pavement and the few conversations within the group the only sound we could hear other than the crackling of a few houses that had caught fire when the lines went up. We knew that there wasn't anything we could do for them, we all wished there had been.

When we could we picked up the random stranger walking along the highway with us. It didn't matter who they were or what they used to do at the time, we were all still in shock from the goings on of the day. We only stopped every now and then to see people off to there home, we were picking new people up here and there. Having a larger group, I suppose, is what kept some of the crazies away. Those that thought they would help themselves to whatever they wanted once they figured out that no one was coming to help or to stop them. At the time though, I don't really remember a lot of that going on, everyone was to busy helping; That or they were locked up in their respective houses trying to wait the whole thing out.

By the time I got home, I'd walked through every horrible situation I think I could have thought up, over and over again I ran these situations over in my mind. I unlocked the door to my home and called out to my wife... No answer... I went room to room, sometimes bumping into a few things here and there. I called out again; Still no answer. "Her parent's house." I thought. "She must have gone there. It's closer to were she works anyway... That or she stayed at school to watch over some of the kids she teaches." I started walking again, I had to find her, it was just so dark and so much ground to make up between me and her that night.

Just so much dark. Had I known then though that the long dark was just starting...

(Part 2 some other time)

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If the long dark comes while I am still living in Barcelona, surviving the winter will be fairly easy. After living with -40°C winters in Canada, +10°C is really not that intimidating. There are many low-tech towns and villages across Spain, such as this communist utopia. I suppose, people will flock there. Overall, it seems to me that Spain would be one of the best countries in which to find yourself in that doomsday scenario.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Pack up my wife and child with my bugout bag and start walking to my brother-in-laws house in Quincy, Ca.

I would kill anyone in my path in order to protect my family.

I have enough ammo for my 30-06, 12 gauge, and .40 hangun to make it the 81 miles on foot. Once there, I would imagine we head south together.

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Given these conditions, I would assume that nothing technological works, right?

"Anomaly" conditions? Ok then!

Being that I'm quite a few miles from my family here at work, and say it happened while I was gone like this, I would go to my Jeep, strip it of the needed items loosely stored, then go into the boxes in the rear and retrieve my survival satchel and long-distance bug-out bag, and get to hoofin'!

Now it's a long way to the house, like, and entire day's hike given my current condition and injures, so assuming this didn't happen at 630AM, I'd shelter-in-place where I could, and move out in the direction of the ladies the next morning.

My wife already knows what to do if there's a "cataclysm", so she should have been gathering basics into smaller bags for storage in the larger family stash, and I would retrieve my towable farm wagon from my garage, load it all up, strap the harness on and get us all moving.

This is with the assumption that my save house is not compromised in any way, but if it is, we would just stay put, shelter-in-place in the condo (our new one is under construction), and work on a long term plan given what info we can find out.

The safe house is past the storage unit that I use for some of my firearms, so I would grab some more weapons, ammo, etc, then move on...

Hopefully I'm the one that looks "crazy" at this point, because this would be within 24-48 hours of the event, so many people would still be in denial, frankly... And hopefully I can make it to a primarily defensible location before anyone figures out that there's a serious long term hell coming!

It's just all theory, but I've thought about it a lot, I have the provisions, safety gear, defense gear, secure locations, and food stuffs that this would be a major transition but not a disaster for me and mine!

Thanks - T

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  • 8 months later...

I am not a nuclear engineer, nor do I play one on TV, but...

The thing that really scares me about the Event? The nukes. Nuclear generating stations do have redundant backup power systems. These are generally enough to keep the reactors cooled for some time in the event their outside power fails. But ultimately, nuclear power plants are grid-dependent in the medium term. And once cooling to the reactor core and spent fuel rods is lost, bad things happen. Even the spent fuel rods in the storage pools need cooling for several years once they've been removed from the reactor. Even SCRAMed, the reactors still need cooling.

In an Event-type scenario, with little warning and all electrical equipment being fried, within days to weeks we'd be seeing Fukushima-type accidents at the 100+ nuclear power reactors in North America; there are 320+ more in the rest of the world. Since there would be no outside help coming, this would become uncontrolled meltdowns. And a few weeks or months later, as the water in the spent fuel storage pools evaporated, there would be a risk of first fuel rod fires followed by uncontrolled criticalities and possible meltdowns, outside the reactor containment structures that were what saved Japan's bacon during Fukushima.

While the dangers of radiation have been exaggerated in popular media, anywhere downwind of a nuclear power plant would be a bad place to live following an Event. Up north, where the game is set, would likely be the safest place to be from a radiological contamination point of view. You'd still be getting some (with 420+ plants cooking off, the contamination would probably get everywhere, eventually, but it'd be a lot less than if you were living in the Midwest or on the East Coast.

So where would I be headed in such a scenario?


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  • 5 months later...

Well if it happened tomorrow I would likely be at home. I live in central Ontario (Canada) and so I would be very worried about the winter coming. My apartment wouldn't hold up to the cold with out power. I'd pack all my warm clothes, food, tools (knives, axes, saws, ect) and sleeping bags/blankets. I'd get in my car and drive out to my friend's cottage. It's winterized and off the grid. It's well hidden and also it's decently close to a town so I could do scavenging runs during the day. I don't have any guns but if I made a fairly short 2 hour drive I could pick up my composite bow which would help long terms for hunting.

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Ideally, I would find a food source and continue as usual. My house's central heating is already based off of a wood/coal stove in my front room (all the pipes run into a boiler box welded onto the back and the heat circulates round the house through the radiators). There are plenty of trees where live and loads of scrap wood in the back garden, so I won't go cold.

Once that is sorted, I'd reckon I'd try to investigate what happened, try and see what laws of physics have been broken and whatnot. Once I've sorted that out, I'd try to restore power, to the best of my ability, however my practical skills on building stuff are restricted to a NVQ level 2 in fabrication engineering, so I'm not sure how I'd manage.

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Unfortunately I couldn't live out my dream survival scenario->Northern Minnesota/Southern Canada because work has taken me to Germany.

In this situation, I'll probably die quickly from starvation and civil unrest like everybody else once the government unravels (probably about 12 hours in...). There would be no way home, and there are too many people here in Europe, awesome thought it may be.

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A lot of these situations still require technology in some way. Either cars, solar energy, some kind of technology. Anyway with the "event" in mind anything electronically based, or post 1960's technology, or anything not heavily shielded are destroyed by this "event". A lot of the survival techniques would have to be revised based on this idea.

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