Pensacola, Florida
Friday December 19th 2014

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The Local 9/6/12

Pensacola: How to Survive the End of the World
by Edwin Banacia

Maybe it’s just me, but the 24-hour news cycle has made the world a scary place. Hell, at this point, I’m even almost afraid to vote. It is quite possible that the world is indeed not any scarier than it was years ago, but now that we’re inundated with a constant bombardment of information, we’re more informed and aware of worldwide calamities. There was a time, not long ago, when a nuclear holocaust was our nation’s most collective fear. But, in the aftermath of two wars, tsunamis, terrorism, massive earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, record breaking hurricanes and the European financial calamity, it is not a stretch of the imagination for one to start thinking about worst case scenarios. Ultimately, if it ever does hit the fan, and the dollar isn’t worth the paper it is printed on, then what?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a doomsday prophet or a paranoid guy burying cans of Spam in my backyard. But, you must admit, this thought has crossed your mind once or twice. I’m no expert and anyone can spend an entire night online searching and making notes. But, here are some of the things I think could be useful to survive an awful REM lyric come true when it’s “The end of the world as we know it.”

First, most experts agree that skills will be important when currency isn’t. Sure trade goods will be imperative too, but resources are limited and when those are used or consumed, skills remain. In urban areas, when there’s chaos, sewage will
be a problem. With that, sickness will follow. Having a good natural remedy book around will be massively useful. To me, I’d think that food is a pretty high priority. Obviously having some hunting or trapping skills will give you a leg up. But, a quick Google search on this and you’ll discover, you better know how to field dress and properly butcher an animal or you could get your entire family sick. We’re lucky here in Northwest Florida. There’s a lot of wild game not far from the heart of our city and a plentiful ocean. Hunting will require ammunition and that’s not an unlimited resource. Learn how to build simple fish traps, squirrel traps and larger game traps. Becoming an expert hunter overnight is impossible, but books are incredible. Stock up on hunting and farming books. Read a manual on mechanics or electrical engineering. Keeping these books and manuals nearby mean that you may not be an expert today, but you have the tools available to become one tomorrow.

If you have pets, be prepared that after your neighbors have gone hungry for some time, your pets quickly become targets. Keep them close but stockpile as much pet food as possible. Don’t forget about your little furry friends.

Let’s talk medicine. If at all possible, it’d be a great idea to stock up on antibiotics. Can you imagine a world where you can’t get Penicillin or aspirin? At the least, you should have a large first aid kit; the more kits, the merrier. Most won’t think to stock up on sanitary napkins or condoms and although some could view these as luxury items, I’d imagine they’re great trade goods. In an apocalyptic scenario, no one can survive alone. Those who work and trade with their communities have a better chance of survival. A simple trade good such as coffee could score your family some water purification tablets. When importing goods is no longer possible, the items that you have that aren’t available locally such as coffee, which is mostly produced in South America, become inestimable in value.

We live on the Gulf Coast. We’re surrounded by salt water. When there’s no electricity, you’re going to need salt and a lot of it. Salt is nature’s preservative. Remember what I said about skills? Learn how to desalinate salt from water and you’re now invaluable. This could also be useful, in an emergency, to attain drinking water, although, I’d recommend digging and installing a hand pump too.

Some experts will tell you to stock up on fuel, but if you really think about it, eventually you’re going to run out of fuel anyway. I’d rather have an inventory of car batteries to power the radio. I can’t imagine how horrible it would feel to not at least have some type of contact from the outside world during this horrendous life chapter. Any survival expert will tell you that morale is very important. Your radio, a few board games and some great books can help keep your family’s spirits high.

Now that you’re thinking about survival, here’s what I’ve learned. Whatever you do to prepare, it won’t be enough. There will be items you need, skills you don’t have and disasters you can’t control. As for me, will I be making a quick run to my local Sam’s Club? I don’t have time today so maybe tomorrow, although, to be honest, that’s not looking so good either.

About “The Local”:  Ed is a local bar owner, local bar patron and former music industry executive.