Discussions

I live in the Sacramento Valley and have given it a fair amount of thought.  I think the original ARKStorm 1.0 study did have inundation maps, but the published maps were too low-res to see where we live in detail.  You might be able to get the data but I wouldn’t be savvy enough to make use of it if I could find it.  Generally, our house is about 100′ above the Sac River elevation at the same latitude.  I think it’s reasonable to expect we’ll be above water.  Whether we’d be able to get groceries or have functioning public utilities would be another issue.  I work in healthcare and would have a hard time leaving town in the midst of a regional disaster, but I would try to get my family and our camper over the mountains to Reno or somewhere.  I think the best prep is getting FEMA flood insurance.  The up-side of FEMA flood maps underestimating risk is that the insurance is pretty cheap unless you live in a swamp or immediate flood plain.  The ARKStorm 2.0 article you referenced said they were going to do more work including inundation mapping, but I think you can learn a lot by studying local topography and seeing what happens with more ‘typical’ atmospheric river storms. I wouldn’t trust the weather media either.  When your weather is really boring 300+ days/year, anything out of the ordinary is given the same crisis-level attention.  I think flood risk here comes in 3 varieties.  One would be local weather events which are hard to predict (inches of rain in a few hours with localized flooding).  Levee and dam failures are also unpredictable (Marysville flood in mid 90’s, Olivehurst in mid80’s, Oroville dam near-failure 2017).  Bigger flooding events should give some warning.  You can watch the snowpack levels, river/reservoir levels (water.usgs.gov) and rain accumulation forecasts (I use the Windy app).  Big snowpack, full rivers and lakes with an impending warm rainstorm in late Winter/early Spring means you should be on the lookout.   CA is tricky — too low and you risk flood.  Too high and you will burn.  There are some areas that seem to balance the risk of both but it’s a narrow band.  Definitely look into FEMA flood insurance.

I can’t say that I’ve done exactly what you are doing, but I have some experience in other types of solar projects.  We bought our house’s grid-tied system through a local Consolidated Electrical Distributors office.  Locally they have staff who help design on- and off-grid systems and then sell you the parts.  I think they have offices nationwide (assuming you are in the US) although I don’t know if that’s a service they offer everywhere. Outback and Renogy both sell package solutions with Outback focusing on relatively large projects and Renogy generally a smaller scale.  I don’t know what their customer service is like.  I don’t see a value in name-brand panels.  They tend to be 25% more expensive and may function 5% better. Regarding RV sized systems, we have a GeoPro 19bh travel trailer with a somewhat modified system.  It has 2 no-name 12v 190w panels in parallel ($200 each) and a GoPower PWM charge controller ($150).  We have two Interstate 6v golf cart batteries wired in series.  The good Interstate ones are ~$150, but you can get a cheaper version for less than $100 at Costco.  That gives us roughly 100 Ah of usable storage (ie 200Ah total).  The fridge, lighting, and TV are all 12v which is great.  I’ve heard the inverter it came with is inefficient, but we haven’t ever used it.  I’m not very excited about the GoPower controller, but don’t see a reason to replace it.  Our battery monitoring system is just turning everything off, looking at the voltage and guessing.  Over 12v is good. Not sure if any of that is helpful.  Even if you don’t DIY it, I think there is a lot of value in understanding these systems.  A 12v system isn’t as complicated as the folks at Renogy would like for us to think it is.  Regarding your pressure cooker, I found a video on YouTube of a guy using an RV system to run a mini-instapot.  It took 17Ah out of his batteries to cook a chicken.  That’s a lot less than I expected.

A lot of what to look for is regional and depends on your preferences. We live in-town in Northern CA. I agree that 1-5 acres would be great, but we couldn’t afford that in a location where I could still ride my bike to work and walk down the street to get coffee which are things I value. Additionally, in Northern CA, if you aren’t in town you are frequently at risk of either flood or wildfire, so there are disadvantages to being out where land is cheaper.  We are in a boring neighborhood with cookie cutter houses and small lots. In general, layout, space, and sun/shade are huge considerations if you can’t sprawl out. Some top thoughts from our situation: Fancy architectural things like nooks, dormers, and hipped roofs make things like rain water catchment and solar more difficult Where is your gas connection relative to your electrical panel? Having them nearby makes putting in a gas generator a lot simpler. Do you have several feet of wall space for batteries and a transfer switch near your service panel if you want to do that? Similar regarding space for water catchment barrels and how to get them elevated enough to get the water where you want it without having to pump or carry buckets. Do the house have two sources of heat if winters are an issue (ie central heat and fireplace)? How the sun passes by a house is important in many ways including keeping it cool in a summer power outage, harvesting solar, and gardening.  I’m still experimenting with where to shade and where to plant, where we want trees etc. General energy efficiency will help you make the most of functioning off grid Again, it all depends on where you are looking.  Here fire is a huge concern and if we were even 20 feet lower in elevation flooding would also be a concern.  Hurricanes and earthquakes not so much of a concern.

As others have said, there are some really solid sources out there but there is also a lot of garbage.  I’ve been elbow deep in this, watched a lot of people die (slowly, painfully, and alone) and seen the healthcare system in this area on the verge of collapse.  I had misgivings about the new technology and the fast rollout, but when I was notified that I was eligible in mid-December I didn’t think twice about scheduling an appointment to get my first dose.  The risk of being a stethoscope-length away from 20 people a day with COVID prevented me from falling into my usual trap of overthinking things. High vaccination rates among the elderly here have dramatically reduced our inpatient COVID census.  Now we are seeing a handful of people under 65 who are often very sick but didn’t think COVID was a big deal or thought they wouldn’t get it.  The reality is that it’s still spreading just as fast in groups with low vaccination and prior exposure rates, potentially faster and with more virulence as the new strains get a foothold here.  I’ve seen over and over again that people think they are safe since they don’t know anyone with COVID.  The way this spreads, frequently by the time you have one close contact with COVID, everyone you know will have it. I’m not sure if that helps.  I don’t have much of a stomach for 99% of the online and news media discussion of COVID and vaccines, but from what little I have read, there is a dearth of opinions from people who really have up close experience with this. I guess that as someone who has, I wanted to let you know my side of it. 

I wouldn’t give up on a propane camping stove and think it’s still the only real option.  A single burner hot plate or electric kettle will pull about 1500W, which would require one of the larger Yeti power stations and deplete it quickly.  Both at the same time or two burners would exceed their max output.  I looked at the CA Burn Ban rules and it’s mostly about open flames.  All of the bigger propane stoves I’ve encountered are contained.  I would of course suggest using it on an non-flammable surface with a few feet around it.  We are currently without our gas range and are using a two burner propane camp stove on the porch (concrete) and I have no concerns.  Between that and our propane grill we can cook just about anything. I don’t take the gas appliance bans very seriously for the near future.  I also don’t l live in the bay area which seems to be where these are popping up.  I think it will be the thing to do in a decade or so if/when our power is primarily renewable, we have lots more batteries, and the grid is more reliable.  For now though I think more electric appliances will mean more gas burned at plants miles away and then sent here through an inefficient and unreliable grid (though I admit I haven’t and can’t do the math to prove it).  There are many other code changes that could be made to move to a lower-carbon future, but they are boring, technical, and don’t grab headlines.

I won’t claim these are the best but they are what I use with the pros and cons as I see them.  Of note, I’m an Android user.  Most Android phones have a built-in microSD slot, and most mapping apps (including those below) will allow you to store offline maps on an SD.  A $10 SD can store a LOT of maps. Maps.me, probably my all around winner.  It’s free if I remember correctly and you can download their maps by region.  It’s not the most powerful but it’s really easy to use.  Their basemap (OpenStreetMap) has roads, waterways, railroads and a few other things but no topography.  I’ve used it in the US and several other countries and found it to be good enough.  I have the western US downloaded and would download maps of wherever I was traveling back when that was a thing. Gaia GPS:  Far more powerful but also harder to use.  Premium membership is $40/yr.  You can select from MANY basemaps (USGS, USFS, Satellite imagery, their own version of OpenStreet, and more) and download whatever area you select.  It can layer basemaps, but I’ve found my phone is too slow to do that effectively.  Because the maps are far more detailed, the file sizes are much bigger and you can’t quickly pull down a region as you can with maps.me.  I have the area around me downloaded, but what I really use it for is hiking and will pull relevant maps before each trip.  The premium membership gets you access to really nice trail maps of national parks which is what really sold me on it.  When you are using USGS or USFS basemaps you are subject to all their limitations Google Maps:  Google maps basemap is surprisingly good and seems way more accurate than federally produced maps.  I have been on some mountain bike logging road adventures using downloaded google maps, but I stopped using it since I got Gaia.  Still, it’s free, and you can download a good map of your area with very little effort. Takeaways:  Maps.Me makes it easy to download hundreds of miles of decent map with just a couple taps.  Hiking in the mountains requires more info but the cost is decreased usability with Gaia.  The NPS maps are however well worth the premium membership if you spend any time in national parks.   It will depend on what you need from an app.  From a prepping perspective, Maps.Me seems like it would cover the majority of needs reliably and with the least cost and effort.

These would be my top tips, mostly related to traveling abroad in ‘developing’ countries. Most of my bad encounters have been with animals.  That has led me to principles: Don’t [email protected]$ with monkeys Keep a couple smallish rocks in your pocket.  The action of throwing a rock at a dog is one that transcends language and culture.  I’ve found that dogs in developing countries are often more aggressive at first but also more easily cowed. Following animals, I’ve had more trouble with foreigners than locals.  That usually happens late at night in areas known to be party hubs for tourists.  Relatively easy to avoid. Beyond that, I usually keep a small amount of money in my pocket and the rest hidden.  If I get mugged I can give them $20-40 US equivalent and hopefully walk away.  I always use cheap phones anyway, but if I had a fancy phone at home I would get an ~$80 unlocked gsm phone for international travel.  In the modern era I download local maps of wherever I’m going (I use Maps.me). I always wear something with a zipper pocket.  When making big moves or going to an ATM I’m very focused and pay more attention to what’s around me.  I try to make it a direct trip.  From one hotel to the next with as little as possible between, or to the ATM and back, no side trips.  It can be a challenge but I think it’s important to know something about where you are going.  It makes being there more interesting and rewarding, but it also helps make sense of all the things you see around you.  Are there any elections or national holidays coming up that might be disruptive?  Reuters and BBC are good for news, and I think all countries have English language news sources if you really want a deep dive.  I’ve often felt safer in other countries because violence may be more prevalent but is less random than it is here.  The violent actors (outside of big cities at least) have an agenda and causing drama with a tourist would only cause problems for them.

I would suggest not getting lost in the big picture and focus on simple skills that will be vastly more useful than being able to set up an operating room with Doritos bags.  “First aid” is not definitive care.  I also think your time would be better spent practicing basic skills than trying to unwire a deep-seated response you have.  One of the reasons people who work in stressful situations train so much is so you can turn your brain off (to a degree) and do what you’ve practiced a thousand times.  Here are a few tasks that would get you through a lot of injuries: Wrap a roll of gauze around an arm or leg efficiently and without making a mess of it, then tie it back on itself. Splint a wrist, forearm, elbow, ankle, lower leg and maybe knee using a SAM splint, 1×4 board, and maybe sticks (actually very difficult to do well) Tie a sling and swath with a cravat and/or shemagh. Learn how to use a tourniquet (maybe not that likely to be needed but a popular skill and easy enough).  Use a popsicle stick to splint a finger All of the above are fairly easy but take some repetition to get right.  None of it involves any gore.  If you ever are in a situation to use those skills in real life, you might surprise yourself and just do what you’ve practiced without giving it much thought.   I just watched some youtube videos on how to apply a bandage with rolled gauze and most were pretty bad.  This one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V8dCfJp2M8 is a fairly standard way to do it.

This is a big topic but unfortunately likely to be important to our children if not to us.   COVID-19 is a bit of case study in what would happen since we don’t have any particularly effective antivirals for it.  Remdesivir is being used but it’s not very impressive, nowhere near the efficacy of amoxicillin versus standard bacterial infections.  We looked into convalescent plasma with some benefit, are using lab-built antibodies that we infuse in people very effectively, and with the new mRNA platforms are cranking out targeted vaccines very quickly.  On the optimistic side, all of those techniques should work against bacterial or fungal infections when there are no antibiotic options.  The downside is that they are incredibly expensive when compared to producing even though most expensive antibiotics.  I foresee an expansion of these techniques in rich countries and leave poorer countries out in the cold.  I think it will also be one more step toward bankrupting our health insurance system in the US, and likely expand the class divide.  These issues will not be good for global or domestic stability. There is some good data for honey in wound care, and even an OTC product, medihoney that has passed all the FDA testing.  I’ve read that tea can be used for eye infections.  There are a lot of folk remedies, some of which seem to work on local infections.  Once an infection becomes systemic however, there isn’t much you can do other than hope someone fights it off.  I think that if using systemic silver derivatives or high dose vitamin C really worked, someone would have found a way to patent it and charge $$$. I can’t not throw in a brief defense of prescribers.  As much as people in health policy and administration say we value antibiotic stewardship, our (US) system is built in a way that heavily encourages excessive antibiotic use.  When making treatment decisions in real time with incomplete information, there is little to no penalty for erring on the side of caution and huge penalties for choosing less aggressive options.

Layering is definitely the key for me.  I would gauge the weather and what I was doing, how long I would be out etc and then head to the closet and start grabbing things.  The keyword for the mittens seems to be “shell mittens.”  Mine are Outdoor Research from a long time ago.  I can’t find them now.  Not goretex, just treated nylon.  Still waterproof.  All that stuff is buried in a closet but if I were to buy it all again I might get these things from REI: https://www.rei.com/product/136791/rei-co-op-liner-gloves https://www.rei.com/product/136764/rei-co-op-fleece-gloves-mens https://www.rei.com/product/136770/rei-co-op-minimalist-gtx-mittens This may be the current version of my mittens: https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/revel-shell-mitts-271551 Not a specific endorsement for REI, but it’s easy and gives the general idea.  It’s not cheap but in the end costs about as much as single pair of fancy gloves but is more versatile. The liners are just thin gloves that wick moisture away.  I think my are polypropylene and most are some polyester variant or wool.  Fleece gloves can get a little damp.  The liners are built to move moisture out and keep your skin relatively dry.  I was out one sunny day when it was around 15F and my hands were getting damp.  I took the mittens and fleece gloves  off and could see tiny drops of moisture coming out and freezing in a little coating on the liners.  Then of course I basically had frost on my glove which wasn’t helpful but it looked cool.


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I live in the Sacramento Valley and have given it a fair amount of thought.  I think the original ARKStorm 1.0 study did have inundation maps, but the published maps were too low-res to see where we live in detail.  You might be able to get the data but I wouldn’t be savvy enough to make use of it if I could find it.  Generally, our house is about 100′ above the Sac River elevation at the same latitude.  I think it’s reasonable to expect we’ll be above water.  Whether we’d be able to get groceries or have functioning public utilities would be another issue.  I work in healthcare and would have a hard time leaving town in the midst of a regional disaster, but I would try to get my family and our camper over the mountains to Reno or somewhere.  I think the best prep is getting FEMA flood insurance.  The up-side of FEMA flood maps underestimating risk is that the insurance is pretty cheap unless you live in a swamp or immediate flood plain.  The ARKStorm 2.0 article you referenced said they were going to do more work including inundation mapping, but I think you can learn a lot by studying local topography and seeing what happens with more ‘typical’ atmospheric river storms. I wouldn’t trust the weather media either.  When your weather is really boring 300+ days/year, anything out of the ordinary is given the same crisis-level attention.  I think flood risk here comes in 3 varieties.  One would be local weather events which are hard to predict (inches of rain in a few hours with localized flooding).  Levee and dam failures are also unpredictable (Marysville flood in mid 90’s, Olivehurst in mid80’s, Oroville dam near-failure 2017).  Bigger flooding events should give some warning.  You can watch the snowpack levels, river/reservoir levels (water.usgs.gov) and rain accumulation forecasts (I use the Windy app).  Big snowpack, full rivers and lakes with an impending warm rainstorm in late Winter/early Spring means you should be on the lookout.   CA is tricky — too low and you risk flood.  Too high and you will burn.  There are some areas that seem to balance the risk of both but it’s a narrow band.  Definitely look into FEMA flood insurance.

I can’t say that I’ve done exactly what you are doing, but I have some experience in other types of solar projects.  We bought our house’s grid-tied system through a local Consolidated Electrical Distributors office.  Locally they have staff who help design on- and off-grid systems and then sell you the parts.  I think they have offices nationwide (assuming you are in the US) although I don’t know if that’s a service they offer everywhere. Outback and Renogy both sell package solutions with Outback focusing on relatively large projects and Renogy generally a smaller scale.  I don’t know what their customer service is like.  I don’t see a value in name-brand panels.  They tend to be 25% more expensive and may function 5% better. Regarding RV sized systems, we have a GeoPro 19bh travel trailer with a somewhat modified system.  It has 2 no-name 12v 190w panels in parallel ($200 each) and a GoPower PWM charge controller ($150).  We have two Interstate 6v golf cart batteries wired in series.  The good Interstate ones are ~$150, but you can get a cheaper version for less than $100 at Costco.  That gives us roughly 100 Ah of usable storage (ie 200Ah total).  The fridge, lighting, and TV are all 12v which is great.  I’ve heard the inverter it came with is inefficient, but we haven’t ever used it.  I’m not very excited about the GoPower controller, but don’t see a reason to replace it.  Our battery monitoring system is just turning everything off, looking at the voltage and guessing.  Over 12v is good. Not sure if any of that is helpful.  Even if you don’t DIY it, I think there is a lot of value in understanding these systems.  A 12v system isn’t as complicated as the folks at Renogy would like for us to think it is.  Regarding your pressure cooker, I found a video on YouTube of a guy using an RV system to run a mini-instapot.  It took 17Ah out of his batteries to cook a chicken.  That’s a lot less than I expected.

A lot of what to look for is regional and depends on your preferences. We live in-town in Northern CA. I agree that 1-5 acres would be great, but we couldn’t afford that in a location where I could still ride my bike to work and walk down the street to get coffee which are things I value. Additionally, in Northern CA, if you aren’t in town you are frequently at risk of either flood or wildfire, so there are disadvantages to being out where land is cheaper.  We are in a boring neighborhood with cookie cutter houses and small lots. In general, layout, space, and sun/shade are huge considerations if you can’t sprawl out. Some top thoughts from our situation: Fancy architectural things like nooks, dormers, and hipped roofs make things like rain water catchment and solar more difficult Where is your gas connection relative to your electrical panel? Having them nearby makes putting in a gas generator a lot simpler. Do you have several feet of wall space for batteries and a transfer switch near your service panel if you want to do that? Similar regarding space for water catchment barrels and how to get them elevated enough to get the water where you want it without having to pump or carry buckets. Do the house have two sources of heat if winters are an issue (ie central heat and fireplace)? How the sun passes by a house is important in many ways including keeping it cool in a summer power outage, harvesting solar, and gardening.  I’m still experimenting with where to shade and where to plant, where we want trees etc. General energy efficiency will help you make the most of functioning off grid Again, it all depends on where you are looking.  Here fire is a huge concern and if we were even 20 feet lower in elevation flooding would also be a concern.  Hurricanes and earthquakes not so much of a concern.

As others have said, there are some really solid sources out there but there is also a lot of garbage.  I’ve been elbow deep in this, watched a lot of people die (slowly, painfully, and alone) and seen the healthcare system in this area on the verge of collapse.  I had misgivings about the new technology and the fast rollout, but when I was notified that I was eligible in mid-December I didn’t think twice about scheduling an appointment to get my first dose.  The risk of being a stethoscope-length away from 20 people a day with COVID prevented me from falling into my usual trap of overthinking things. High vaccination rates among the elderly here have dramatically reduced our inpatient COVID census.  Now we are seeing a handful of people under 65 who are often very sick but didn’t think COVID was a big deal or thought they wouldn’t get it.  The reality is that it’s still spreading just as fast in groups with low vaccination and prior exposure rates, potentially faster and with more virulence as the new strains get a foothold here.  I’ve seen over and over again that people think they are safe since they don’t know anyone with COVID.  The way this spreads, frequently by the time you have one close contact with COVID, everyone you know will have it. I’m not sure if that helps.  I don’t have much of a stomach for 99% of the online and news media discussion of COVID and vaccines, but from what little I have read, there is a dearth of opinions from people who really have up close experience with this. I guess that as someone who has, I wanted to let you know my side of it. 

I wouldn’t give up on a propane camping stove and think it’s still the only real option.  A single burner hot plate or electric kettle will pull about 1500W, which would require one of the larger Yeti power stations and deplete it quickly.  Both at the same time or two burners would exceed their max output.  I looked at the CA Burn Ban rules and it’s mostly about open flames.  All of the bigger propane stoves I’ve encountered are contained.  I would of course suggest using it on an non-flammable surface with a few feet around it.  We are currently without our gas range and are using a two burner propane camp stove on the porch (concrete) and I have no concerns.  Between that and our propane grill we can cook just about anything. I don’t take the gas appliance bans very seriously for the near future.  I also don’t l live in the bay area which seems to be where these are popping up.  I think it will be the thing to do in a decade or so if/when our power is primarily renewable, we have lots more batteries, and the grid is more reliable.  For now though I think more electric appliances will mean more gas burned at plants miles away and then sent here through an inefficient and unreliable grid (though I admit I haven’t and can’t do the math to prove it).  There are many other code changes that could be made to move to a lower-carbon future, but they are boring, technical, and don’t grab headlines.

I won’t claim these are the best but they are what I use with the pros and cons as I see them.  Of note, I’m an Android user.  Most Android phones have a built-in microSD slot, and most mapping apps (including those below) will allow you to store offline maps on an SD.  A $10 SD can store a LOT of maps. Maps.me, probably my all around winner.  It’s free if I remember correctly and you can download their maps by region.  It’s not the most powerful but it’s really easy to use.  Their basemap (OpenStreetMap) has roads, waterways, railroads and a few other things but no topography.  I’ve used it in the US and several other countries and found it to be good enough.  I have the western US downloaded and would download maps of wherever I was traveling back when that was a thing. Gaia GPS:  Far more powerful but also harder to use.  Premium membership is $40/yr.  You can select from MANY basemaps (USGS, USFS, Satellite imagery, their own version of OpenStreet, and more) and download whatever area you select.  It can layer basemaps, but I’ve found my phone is too slow to do that effectively.  Because the maps are far more detailed, the file sizes are much bigger and you can’t quickly pull down a region as you can with maps.me.  I have the area around me downloaded, but what I really use it for is hiking and will pull relevant maps before each trip.  The premium membership gets you access to really nice trail maps of national parks which is what really sold me on it.  When you are using USGS or USFS basemaps you are subject to all their limitations Google Maps:  Google maps basemap is surprisingly good and seems way more accurate than federally produced maps.  I have been on some mountain bike logging road adventures using downloaded google maps, but I stopped using it since I got Gaia.  Still, it’s free, and you can download a good map of your area with very little effort. Takeaways:  Maps.Me makes it easy to download hundreds of miles of decent map with just a couple taps.  Hiking in the mountains requires more info but the cost is decreased usability with Gaia.  The NPS maps are however well worth the premium membership if you spend any time in national parks.   It will depend on what you need from an app.  From a prepping perspective, Maps.Me seems like it would cover the majority of needs reliably and with the least cost and effort.

These would be my top tips, mostly related to traveling abroad in ‘developing’ countries. Most of my bad encounters have been with animals.  That has led me to principles: Don’t [email protected]$ with monkeys Keep a couple smallish rocks in your pocket.  The action of throwing a rock at a dog is one that transcends language and culture.  I’ve found that dogs in developing countries are often more aggressive at first but also more easily cowed. Following animals, I’ve had more trouble with foreigners than locals.  That usually happens late at night in areas known to be party hubs for tourists.  Relatively easy to avoid. Beyond that, I usually keep a small amount of money in my pocket and the rest hidden.  If I get mugged I can give them $20-40 US equivalent and hopefully walk away.  I always use cheap phones anyway, but if I had a fancy phone at home I would get an ~$80 unlocked gsm phone for international travel.  In the modern era I download local maps of wherever I’m going (I use Maps.me). I always wear something with a zipper pocket.  When making big moves or going to an ATM I’m very focused and pay more attention to what’s around me.  I try to make it a direct trip.  From one hotel to the next with as little as possible between, or to the ATM and back, no side trips.  It can be a challenge but I think it’s important to know something about where you are going.  It makes being there more interesting and rewarding, but it also helps make sense of all the things you see around you.  Are there any elections or national holidays coming up that might be disruptive?  Reuters and BBC are good for news, and I think all countries have English language news sources if you really want a deep dive.  I’ve often felt safer in other countries because violence may be more prevalent but is less random than it is here.  The violent actors (outside of big cities at least) have an agenda and causing drama with a tourist would only cause problems for them.

I would suggest not getting lost in the big picture and focus on simple skills that will be vastly more useful than being able to set up an operating room with Doritos bags.  “First aid” is not definitive care.  I also think your time would be better spent practicing basic skills than trying to unwire a deep-seated response you have.  One of the reasons people who work in stressful situations train so much is so you can turn your brain off (to a degree) and do what you’ve practiced a thousand times.  Here are a few tasks that would get you through a lot of injuries: Wrap a roll of gauze around an arm or leg efficiently and without making a mess of it, then tie it back on itself. Splint a wrist, forearm, elbow, ankle, lower leg and maybe knee using a SAM splint, 1×4 board, and maybe sticks (actually very difficult to do well) Tie a sling and swath with a cravat and/or shemagh. Learn how to use a tourniquet (maybe not that likely to be needed but a popular skill and easy enough).  Use a popsicle stick to splint a finger All of the above are fairly easy but take some repetition to get right.  None of it involves any gore.  If you ever are in a situation to use those skills in real life, you might surprise yourself and just do what you’ve practiced without giving it much thought.   I just watched some youtube videos on how to apply a bandage with rolled gauze and most were pretty bad.  This one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V8dCfJp2M8 is a fairly standard way to do it.

This is a big topic but unfortunately likely to be important to our children if not to us.   COVID-19 is a bit of case study in what would happen since we don’t have any particularly effective antivirals for it.  Remdesivir is being used but it’s not very impressive, nowhere near the efficacy of amoxicillin versus standard bacterial infections.  We looked into convalescent plasma with some benefit, are using lab-built antibodies that we infuse in people very effectively, and with the new mRNA platforms are cranking out targeted vaccines very quickly.  On the optimistic side, all of those techniques should work against bacterial or fungal infections when there are no antibiotic options.  The downside is that they are incredibly expensive when compared to producing even though most expensive antibiotics.  I foresee an expansion of these techniques in rich countries and leave poorer countries out in the cold.  I think it will also be one more step toward bankrupting our health insurance system in the US, and likely expand the class divide.  These issues will not be good for global or domestic stability. There is some good data for honey in wound care, and even an OTC product, medihoney that has passed all the FDA testing.  I’ve read that tea can be used for eye infections.  There are a lot of folk remedies, some of which seem to work on local infections.  Once an infection becomes systemic however, there isn’t much you can do other than hope someone fights it off.  I think that if using systemic silver derivatives or high dose vitamin C really worked, someone would have found a way to patent it and charge $$$. I can’t not throw in a brief defense of prescribers.  As much as people in health policy and administration say we value antibiotic stewardship, our (US) system is built in a way that heavily encourages excessive antibiotic use.  When making treatment decisions in real time with incomplete information, there is little to no penalty for erring on the side of caution and huge penalties for choosing less aggressive options.

Layering is definitely the key for me.  I would gauge the weather and what I was doing, how long I would be out etc and then head to the closet and start grabbing things.  The keyword for the mittens seems to be “shell mittens.”  Mine are Outdoor Research from a long time ago.  I can’t find them now.  Not goretex, just treated nylon.  Still waterproof.  All that stuff is buried in a closet but if I were to buy it all again I might get these things from REI: https://www.rei.com/product/136791/rei-co-op-liner-gloves https://www.rei.com/product/136764/rei-co-op-fleece-gloves-mens https://www.rei.com/product/136770/rei-co-op-minimalist-gtx-mittens This may be the current version of my mittens: https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/revel-shell-mitts-271551 Not a specific endorsement for REI, but it’s easy and gives the general idea.  It’s not cheap but in the end costs about as much as single pair of fancy gloves but is more versatile. The liners are just thin gloves that wick moisture away.  I think my are polypropylene and most are some polyester variant or wool.  Fleece gloves can get a little damp.  The liners are built to move moisture out and keep your skin relatively dry.  I was out one sunny day when it was around 15F and my hands were getting damp.  I took the mittens and fleece gloves  off and could see tiny drops of moisture coming out and freezing in a little coating on the liners.  Then of course I basically had frost on my glove which wasn’t helpful but it looked cool.


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