10 Step Guide To Surviving The Apocalypse

Any idea how you would handle yourself if the world as we know it was smited into oblivion? Research scientist Dr Lewis Dartnell tells us how to make a crack of surviving the aftermath

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1 | Don’t Panic

It’s the morning after the end of the world as we know it. Most of humanity has been obliterated. But, hey – things aren’t all bad.

There are plenty of resources left behind that you can scavenge to keep yourself going comfortably: mountains of canned food in the deserted supermarkets, underground lakes of fuel in petrol stations, countless abandoned cars and homes.

Night in the Playboy Mansion, anyone? 

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2 | Forget Fashion

Sure, you can take this opportunity to raid the entire contents of Selfridge's and be the best-dressed survivor on the planet.

But it’s time for pragmatism – you need clothes that wil help you in the weird new world you find yourself in. 

Hard-wearing trousers, layers of warm tops and a good waterproof jacket will keep you comfortable when spending a lot more time outdoors or in unheated buildings.

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And remember, the hospitals are in pieces so a broken leg isn’t really an option. Decent hiking boots are suddenly essential. 

 

3 | Be A Firestarter 

Like your primitive ancestors, fire is going to become your life-saver.

It’ll keep the cold away and mean you can rustle up dinner.

At first, there'll be plenty of lighters and boxes of matches lying around, but it won’t stay that easy for long.

You’ll need to learn to strike steel and flint, focusing sunlight with a lens or polished bottom of a drinks can, or even brushing the terminals of a 9V battery against some wire wool.

Unleash your inner caveman. You know you want to.

4 | Keep Your Friends Close

Civilisation has collapsed. Your days of mate-making over a pint are over.

Gangs and bandits will be roaming the land, and the best way to keep safe is to surround yourself with a group you can trust.

Working in a team, you’ll also be able to scavenge and find other survivors far more effectively. 

5 | Escape to the countryside

It’s time to leave your sophisticated urbanite set-up.

The cities will quickly become intolerably foul with the stench of decomposing bodies, plus with the power grid down and no gas or water supplies, modern buildings will become practically uninhabitable.

Countryside homes with fireplaces rather than central heating are where you want to be, with a natural water supply close by.

6 | H2-NO

Think like you’re abroad.

Do not drink the water.

It is now contaminated and could lead to disease, which, now there’s no NHS, could see you off – a real shame if you've made it through a nuclear Armageddon.

Scavenge all the bottled water you can, and make sure you sterilize what you find in rivers and ponds before drinking by boiling it, or even using diluted household bleach or swimming pool chlorine solution.

We never said the end of the world would taste good. 

7 | Wash Your Hands 

Basic hygiene matters.

Seriously.

Health education studies in the developing world have found that nearly half of all gastrointestinal and respiratory infections can be avoided simply by regularly washing your hands.

Soap can be made by hydrolysing animal fat or plant oil with lye – itself made by reacting soda (soaked out of seaweed ashes) and quicklime (roasted chalk or limestone).

Should have paid more attention in GCSE chemistry, no? 

8 | Get The Power

The national grid will fail very quickly, so grab diesel generators from road work sites to keep the lights and appliances running in your settlement.

In the longer term, as fuel becomes scarce, you can scavenge the alternators from abandoned cars to generate electricity from jury-rigged water wheels and windmills, and store it in deep-cycle batteries from golf buggies and mobility scooters.

Cross that bridge when you come to it. 

9 | Get Farming 

Eventually, the tins of beans are going to run out.

If you want a hope in hell of surviving, you need to learn to grow crops.

The largest seed bank in the world is located in West Sussex, just outside London – this will offer you a vital lifeline for restarting agriculture. 

10 | Be A Petrolhead

Once the petrol and diesal have run out, you can keep whatever vehicles you’ve obtained running with home made fuel.

Rendered animal fat or harvested plant oil reacted with methanol (wood alcohol, distilled from heated timber) and lye produces biodiesel.

But, for the love of God, be restained – this is not the time for showing off how quickly you can spin a car in a 360 degree spin. 

For more tips on how to rebuild our civilisation, see The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell, out 3rd April. Buy it here.

the-knowledge.org

Twitter: @KnowledgeCiv

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