If you’ve just barely managed to access this site on a smartphone from some distant cell tower that is still standing, has power, and a connection to the internet, this guide is for you. I’ll ask my regular gearhead readers to bear with me as we address the current disaster, we’ll get back to gearhead fun and games in future posts. That said, gearheads, your gearhead hints and tips for surviving disaster are most welcome in the comments. We gearheads are a resouceful bunch- I wouldn’t be here but for my gearhead grandfather who made an improvised incubator out of a shoe box and a light bulb to keep my premie mother alive and later brought my 105 degree fever under control by simple expedient of filling the bathtub with lukewarm water and putting me in it. Or the Moto Guzzi riders who cleverly survived a flash flood at their national rally with not even a single injury.

A century ago, folks survived without electricity, central heat, plumbing, and even cell phones… And they did OK. And if your in an NYC apartment with the a window blown out, no power, and no water pressure, you’ve still got a bunch of resources that folks a century ago would have lusted for. Protection from the weather? You’ve probably still got a room or three that’s secure, and you can close up that busted out window with garbage bags if you have to. Heat? It’s fall, and the buildings are still retaining a lot of heat- Put on your jackets and keep warm. Electricity? It’s all over the place, in batteries and UPSs and cars… Heck, if you got a car with a tank full of gas you should be good for at least a week by running the engine intermittently to recharge the battery.  No car or battery powered radio? Your radio with the power cord really runs (unless it’s an antique) on low voltage DC. Check the fine print on the back of the radio and the power cord and see what DC voltage you need… Then, making sure you get the polarity right, make up a pack of batteries to supply the proper voltage. Just put the batteries in a line with the + ends touching the – ends of the next and tape or whatever them all tightly together and wire the output into your radio, then tune across the dial, get some real news, and get off of Facebook.

‘Bout now your probably looking for some fully functional plumbing. Well, there’s water all around you- a couple gallons in the toilet tank for a start and many more gallons in the nearest water heater. And some of that water the storm blew in is probably still around- That water filled flower pot on the porch will do just fine for flushing the toilet. For drinking, you’ve got whatever beverages are in the fridge and the contents of the water heater if worst comes to worst. Food? Well, the contents of the freezer are gonna spoil if the power doesn’t come back on quick anyway, but how to cook with no electricity or gas? Well, you or one of your neighbors probably have a grill, campstove, or some kind of nonburnable container you can put some firewood in and make a cooking fire. Time for a neighborhood BBQ!

Which brings us to my final point- You’re probably in a big city with hundreds of neighbors, and if you don’t have whatever you need, they probably do. Between us, we’ve got everything we need to survive until the not really “essential” services are restored. So work together, and we’ll get through this “adventure” just fine. Oh, and that smartphone you’re reading this on… Unless you’ve got a means of charging the batteries, shut it off and take out the battery (zombie cellphones never shut off, they’re flirting with cell towers when they sleep) and save it for emergencies.

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