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Survival ... Plumbing?

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  • Survival ... Plumbing?

    When one thinks of necessary survival skills, such things as medical training, supply chain management, radio communications, small engine maintenance/repair, water purification, NBC protection, gunsmithing, et. al may come to mind. And those all are most certainly important. But have you considered plumbing? It is directly related to water (in) and waste (out). Right now when things are fine, it is easy enough to buy the parts at the hardware store and make the fix. Or one can pick up the telephone and have such things repaired by a licensed plumber. However, this may not be an option during a disaster.

    What got me thinking about it was a couple of minor jobs I did recently on our house (installed something in a shower and fixed a toilet), but also I'm rereading the book Earth Abides and I got the place in which they are handling the water issue. I also recall the fictional book Alas, Babylon gets into how the survivors handled the water and plumbing situation. I recently bought a book on the subject (home plumbing) and am reading through it now. I've also considered taking a course on the topic, if I can find one at the community college.

    Have you considered these skills? What steps have you done to be prepared? Thanks for sharing.
    Jerry D Young likes this.
    "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

  • #2
    I haven't really given it much thought, but I guess that's because I have no worries in this area. I have many years of assorted construction experience as well as five+ years in hospital maintenance. My side job is as a handyman, which frequently involves plumbing repairs. I re-plumbed my kitchen, and completely built a 900 square foot addition on my house, including a bathroom and utility room. This summer, finances permitting, I intend to get an emergency hand pump system for our well. I then want to plumb in an adapter so that I can pump water into my nearby frost-free faucet and pressurize our home system. With that system in place I would be able to spend some time doing hard physical work in order to have running water inside my house (until the pressure tank ran low and it needed to be pumped up again).

    Besides plumbing I can do framing, finish carpentry, electrical, roofing, and some concrete work. You're right that plumbing (and other construction skills) would be valuable in a long-term survival scenario. I'm definitely glad that I already have those skills and don't need to learn them for emergencies. That leaves more time for me to study the long list of other skills that I still lack or need to improve. Maybe someday I'll actually get good at automotive repairs, or master gardening, or learn more primitive logging skills, or start to study blacksmithing or archery...
    ASurvivor likes this.

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    • #3
      I have the skills, but no longer have the tools. So I also have alternatives for most plumbing related needs so I will not lose the capabilities that plumbing provides.

      Just my opinion.
      Jerry D Young

      Prepare for the worst and hope for the best and always remember TANSTAAFL
      (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - Robert A Heinlein)

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      • #4
        In a disaster type of situation, we are going back to nature. So basically what you would need is a shovel. You dig a hole not too deep. Then you relieve yourself and leave it in the ground. Then you gently cover the waste with a little dirt and you are done. The hole can be used again and again, as long as you cover up the waste with some dirt so it doesn't smell. No plumbing courses needed to do that.

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        • #5
          I agree with the person above me, we should go back to basics. I mean, why do we need to have plumbing skills if we can simply dig holes and do our thing there. There's isn't much difficulty with that except with the annoying smell that can be fixed easily.

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          • #6
            Plumbing involves more than just disposal. A large percentage of it involves water supply, both for drinking and sanitation. I agree that waste can be buried, but unless you want to spend a good amount of time fetching water it is nice to be able to provide for a decent supply. In a primitive situation I can get by with collecting water and filtering it with my LifeStraw if I need to. At home, I would rather do what is necessary to keep running water indoors, regardless of circumstances.
            Diane Lane likes this.

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