By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
I don’t want to die. Not even a little. I don’t care if it’s the end of the world. Nuclear holocaust, chemical attack or flesh-eating zombies, I refuse to accept my fate. So what if death seems inevitable? So what if my years of smoking pot and watching TV have ?prepared me for nothing but certain doom in the face of catastrophe? I’m a Los Angeleno, dammit. As long as I have a car and a credit card, I have hope. And if there are only a few shopping days left till Armageddon, here’s how I’ll be blowing my bank account:
If anyone can teach me to outlive the cockroaches, Christopher Nyerges is the guy. Nyerges is a survivalist who has been teaching the art of staying alive for more than three decades. His class topics include primitive weaponry, building shelters, water purification, traps and snares, edible and medicinal plants, solar cooking and many more things that will come in handy once you can no longer call Domino’s for dinner. While Nyerges focuses on survival in the wild, I figure once civilization collapses the knowledge will apply. Classes are taught in areas of Griffith Park, the Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains and along the Pacific Ocean. Be forewarned, the classes do involve some hiking.
Nyerges doesn’t stay on the beaten paths and leads his students into the wilderness, where they can get hands-on experience with nature. I’m not a big fan of nature myself. It’s dirty. There are bugs. Classes are taught on Saturday mornings, when I am inevitably hung over. But even I managed to have a great time learning about the forest around me and how to keep from dying in it. Nyerges is a patient and attentive instructor, and he’s as good with the beginning-level student as he is with the seasoned outdoorsman.
Classes are often taught with the assistance of advanced students and fellow instructors, all of whom share Nyerges’ passion for learning to live in the natural world. Their enthusiasm for their subject is infectious. By the end of the day, I was squealing with delight while I blistered my hands making fire from a couple pieces of wood. If you don’t have time to wander the forest, Nyerges also writes about survival — he has published several books on the subject and is editor and contributing writer for the quarterly magazine Wilderness Way.
Order books and sign up for classes on Nyerges’ Web site,?www.christophernyerges.com, or call (626) 791-3217.
With doomsday coming, I’m going to need flashlights. Lots of flashlights. And long underwear. And some good walking shoes. And all kinds of things I haven’t even thought about yet because I’m used to living in a world with electricity and running water. Fortunately, there’s Adventure 16. A local chain of retail stores and a manufacturer of outdoor goods, Adventure 16 has been a valuable resource for outdoors enthusiasts in Southern California for more than 40 years. Stores are staffed with enthusiastic employees, and carry a variety of supplies for hiking, climbing and camping. Wandering among their shelves, I find all kinds of things I’m sure to need: Water purifiers! Camp stoves! Waterproof socks! Bear-resistant food containers! Will there be bears in the postapocalyptic world? Hard to say, but the store has an impressive variety of containers that can resist them.
There’s a small section devoted to outdoor gear for dogs, and the store allows canine customers to come sniff out the merchandise for themselves. I can bring my pooches here to be outfitted with all-terrain paw boots, “dog pack” saddlebags and canine goggles appropriately called “doggles.” For humans, there’s a large clothing department, and I’m happy to report that weather-resistant clothing is surprisingly fashionable. They have every kind of attire I could possibly need to dress for the hostile wilderness, from hiking boots to mosquito hats to antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant underwear. The packaging says this is the only underwear I will ever need, and for what it costs, it’d better be. The kind of high-quality outdoor gear Adventure 16 carries isn’t cheap, but many of the products (not the underwear) are available for rent at affordable daily rates.
11161 W. Pico Blvd., W.L.A., (310) 473-4574; 5425 Reseda Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 345-4266; 2533 Pacific Coast Hwy., Torrance, (310) 534-9683, www.adventure16.com.
Armageddon isn’t pretty. Fires, earthquakes, floods, alien invaders — whatever form it takes, there’s going to be a lot of rubble, injuries and chaos. You can’t call 911 for help during doomsday. And even if you could, they’d be a bit overwhelmed. Lucky for us, the Los Angeles Fire Department has developed a program to help civilians help themselves in a crisis situation. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program offers training in disaster preparedness and response for anyone over 18 in Los Angeles. The program teaches regular people how to put out small fires, perform light search and rescue, and organize response teams. Students learn disaster medical procedures, including how to control bleeding, open airways and treat people for shock. The training is taught in seven classes that take place once a week, for a total of 17½ hours. Amazingly, all of this is provided free of charge. Once training is completed, students become CERT members and can join a local battalion. CERT battalions give volunteer assistance to the authorities when needed, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world for regular people to be heroes. CERT battalions have helped out at everything from Christmas parades to forest fires, and provided everything from first aid to evacuation assistance. Whether it’s the apocalypse or just a very bad day, it never hurts to be prepared to help. CERT classes are taught year-round all over Los Angeles, and locations and schedules can be found on the CERT Web site.