Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Community Building Tip: Survival Needs

For my current set of tips, I've decided to use the one I wrote based on how to make your hometown more like Bluehill in Terramagne-America. I took a close look at the town's positive features with an eye toward replicating them here with local resources.

* Survival resources. While the aim is for everyone to have a job, even in T-America is doesn't always work out that way. So they have a generous assortment of social services, some governmental, but most nonprofit or religious. Those places work together and try to create a network robust enough to catch people when they fall. They even have a public bathhouse. Pick any charity you like and support it, or find an unmet need and start something new. Giveboxes are barely harder to start than Little Free Libraries, and a good step up if you already have LFLs.

To do this step, research where in your locale people can find each type of survival need or basic need, cheap or preferably free. (Lack of survival needs tends to kill people, often quickly. Lack of other basic needs causes misery and impairs ability to function in society, either of which can lead to survival failure.) You may contribute toward improving any extant resource, or work to fill gaps with no resource at all. Know these resources for your city, state, and nation so you can use them or refer other people if needed.


Air -- Does your community have reasonably clean and safe air? Here is a daily air quality index for the United States and a database of global cites. If so, good. You can still promote clean air worldwide. If not, take local steps first. How green is your town? Plants clean air, so the more, the better. Here are 50 ways to clean the air.

In case of a health crisis, where can a person go for emergency oxygen? Terramagne-America puts an oxygen-tank sticker in the window of establishments that have to stock it, like dental offices or aquatic facilities, and places big enough to have a well-equipped first aid room with oxygen. Posting a notice of this resource costs nothing and can save lives. Ideally, make a list that can be handed to people who have a newly diagnosed lung issue (like asthma) or condition that may affect breathing (like pregnancy). Regrettably my search for how to find sources of emergency oxygen in town turned up nothing,. so if you want to improve air safety, this aspect seems to need work everywhere. There are classes about emergency oxygen if you want to increase your first aid training, an excellent goal if you spend time with very young, very old, or lung-compromised people.

Water -- Does your community have relatively clean and safe water? Check by zip code or state. Is there water bill assistance? Are there enough public water fountains, accessible to children and people with disabilities, and preferably also with a spout to fill water bottles? Do you know where to find them? Does your town distribute free water to the needy and at public events? If so, good. You can work on improving global water. If not, focus on local water improvements.

What is your community's flood risk? Here are some ways to reduce flood risks. Landscape your yard and community with rain gardens and bioswales. Use swamp filters to clean runoff flowing into your waterways.

What is your local drought risk? Check current drought conditions for your city or zip code. This paper discusses drought risk and mediation. Landscape your yard and community with native plants and/or xeriscaping.

Food -- Does your town provide access to free and affordable food? Where are the nearest food banks? Where are the nearest soup kitchens? Do they stock fresh foods? What about other food assistance? Search emergency food assistance by state. These foods are cheap and provide decent or good nutrition.

Do you live in a food desert? These places may have few or no grocery stores or affordable healthy food. Browse a map of food access. Use this toolkit to improve healthy food access in your community.

Do your local events serve junk food or healthy food? Around here, mostly I see things like hot dogs and deep-fried Twinkies; occasionally I'll spot a food truck selling bison. Terramagne has hawkers screaming "Peas and Cheese! Muttar Paneer!" and "Pickle-on-a-Stick! Fresh live food!" and "Fruit Kabobs! Plain or spicy!" at events. Compare what to eat and avoid at events. Do your local events accommodate food allergies and other special needs? Around here I've started seeing signs at outdoor events for "no outside food allowed." They might as well read "crips keep out."

Can people grow and/or pick their own food? Find community gardens, U-pick farms, community-supported agriculture, and farmer's markets near you. Launch a community garden in your town. Start a yardshare in your area.

Shelter -- Does your community have enough affordable housing, emergency housing, storm shelters, and homeless shelters? Learn about rental assistance.

T-America requires towns to have enough housing for the souls on board, within a reasonable margin of what their demographics can afford. Find affordable housing. There are steps for cities and individuals to expand affordable housing. Here is a handbook on affordable housing.

T-America requires municipalities to have enough emergency shelters to protect their citizens from foreseeable disasters, which vary by type from one place to another. These are often located under bus stops, public bathrooms (which may themselves be above-ground shelters), and parks. Trailer parks all have to have shelters because trailers are deadly in storms. These often form a row of hills that are planted with native species. L-America may have few or none, leaving people to die. Find storm shelters near you. You can build or buy a storm shelter.

T-America has robust resources for homeless people. L-America has a sea of homeless people and not enough shelters. Find homeless shelters. There are ways to help the homeless, but make sure you know what they really need. You can start a homeless shelter. You can also simply offer crash space to friends in need. For a while we were nicknamed "the Central Illinois Pagan Homeless Shelter." Promote housing first programs.

Clothes -- Can people get free or cheap clothes in your area? Browse a list of clothing banks. Some specialize in business attire. There are ways to get free maternity clothes or free children's clothes. Find a collection bin near you. You can start a givebox or a clothing bank.

Fire -- Does your community have grills in the public parks? Know how to use them. Learn how to make a disposable grill. Here are lots of camp stoves you can make and some cooking ideas. Do places still stock free matches? It's getting rarer, but there are many more things you can light than cigarettes. You can waterproof your matches. Here are some ways to get free candles. For cheap candles, seek blackout candles, shabbos candles, or tea lights at a grocery store or dollar store. Know how to build a fire and light it. You can buy or make a tinderbox for firestarting supplies.

Practice fire safety. Protect yourself from house fires. Protect your community from wildfires. Raise fire prevention advocacy; use the menu to navigate sections. Consider fire-safe landscaping, but be aware that this destroys much wildlife habitat. Do not build anything flammable in high-risk fire zones, and encourage your community to zone those areas against building there. You cannot change the laws of thermodynamics, but you can stay the hell out of their way. Make a fire escape plan for your home or business. Accommodate disabilities: wait for rescue = stay and die = NOT an escape plan! Secure your own safety and know how to assist people with disabilities.

Sleep -- Does your community have free or cheap places to sleep? If not, you can start a hostel. Various services help you host travelers.

Drowsy driving kills people. T-America allows people to sleep at rest areas, parks, and often large parking lots when the facility is closed. L-America allows sleeping in some places, but bans it in many others, apparently preferring to die in preventable crashes. Encourage your state to add more rest stops and allow sleeping there. Plus there's a war on homeless people sleeping anywhere. See above regarding appropriate shelter.

Practice sleep hygiene. Does your community support this? Look for caffeine-free beverages in vending machines, public buildings and housing with natural light, and quiet. Does your city have a problem with noise pollution? Use soundproofing in public and private places. Are there quiet rooms? If not, start some.

T-America considers sound management a crucial aspect of building design, especially multi-family housing. A noisy environment makes people miserable and starts arguments. In Gray's apartment, the outer layer of each wall is drywall, the inner layer is plastic honeycomb, and the middle is filled with ordinary insulation. A honeycomb panel may be open, or sealed between two solid layers for a more effective sound baffle such as used in these buildings. The studs are slightly offset so that alternating ones support each face of the wall, minimizing sound transmission through solid objects. All light switches, power outlets, and other apertures are also offset. The doors are sealed to minimize acoustic leaking. The floors and ceilings are shielded with different materials to prevent noise transmission between floors. Sound carries somewhat, but it muffles down to something akin to white noise; you can't really make out words, music, or what the neighbors are doing. This results in a much quieter, calmer living situation for everyone and thereby reduces conflicts. L-America is less careful about this, although it's getting somewhat better, because people won't pay extra for peace and quiet. T-American folks will.

Defense -- How defensible are your home and your community? Consider above issues regarding storms, fires, and other disasters.

Do you know self-defense? There are many schools to choose from. Here are some basic concepts. If you are disabled, you can still kick some ass. Consider Defensability or Criptaedo. Are there self-defense classes in your area? If not, you can start a self-defense class.

Basic first aid -- How well is your community equipped to deal with illness and injury? Here are basic first aid instructions for physical and emotional complaints. T-America offers many first aid classes free or cheap, and consequently has about 10% of the population as citizen responders. Take classes in first aid.

How available are first aid supplies in your area? Every home, vehicle, and facility should have a kit suited to its needs. Larger facilities should have a first aid room with a trained staffer. T-America has these things everywhere. You can buy or make a physical first aid kit. Make an emotional first aid kit too. Don't forget the tea. This is one reason T-American restaurants and waiting rooms often have a basket of tea bags beside the hot water.

Continue to Other Basic Needs.
Tags: a little slice of terramagne, how to, recurring posts
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