The smells and gross sights people will face in a SHTF - Survivalist Forum
Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > >
Articles Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files


Notices

Disaster Preparedness General Discussion Anything Disaster Preparedness or Survival Related

Advertise Here
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-01-2018, 02:02 PM
zooeyhll's Avatar
zooeyhll zooeyhll is offline
The Power of the Glave
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Midwest (rural)
Posts: 1,960
Thanks: 5,729
Thanked 7,086 Times in 1,556 Posts
Default The smells and gross sights people will face in a SHTF



Advertise Here

I think that one of the most disorienting and difficult things that people will have to face in a SHTF, will be the powerful smells, odors, and sometimes sights; that will assail our senses.

Some background about myself: I'm a farmer in Nebraska. And for nearly 20 years raised livestock. Everything from beef cattle to hogs to chickens.

As is inevitable in my profession, you occasionally have animals die. I have had large cows die out in a pasture, in the middle of 90 degree July heat. And maybe not found the animal for several days.

I also drove a pickup truck for the local animal rendering plant, so I've seen lots of dead animals. And often not "freshly" dead, but considerably decomposed.

Even with all that experience, I still have to steel myself to get up close to a 1500 lbs steer in an advanced state of bloated decomposition. And have to fight back the up-chucking.

As bad as a dead farm animal is, a dead person is worse. I've talked to paramedics about my experiences with animals, and they've told me that the smell of a decomposing human body is much worse than any animal.

One paramedic told me of a incident where an elderly person had died in their home, and it wasn't discovered for several days, in the middle of July. The paramedics had to wear gas masks when removing the corpse. The person had died in their bed, and they ended up dragging the entire bed out into the lawn and burning it right there.

So---imagine a SHTF. Maybe a pandemic. You've got not one, but dozens of corpses lying about. In the streets, in homes, in back yards. It's 95 degrees and humid and July. Bloated, decomposing bodies covered with flies. Crawling with maggots. How will people of today's world---who freak-out at the sight of a dead mouse---be able to cope and adjust to something like that?

Consider what it must have been like before the days of flush indoor toilets. You had bedpans and chamber pots laying around in in the house, maybe under the bed. Filled with human waste, in the July heat.

How would we cope with that today? When we have flush toilets with blue sanitizer, going with every flush?

How many of us have smelled REAL body odor? The kind where someone hasn't washed for a week or more. Sweating all the time in the July heat? Our ancestors certainly did. Yet today almost everyone is used to a world where daily showers are the norm---sometimes more than once a day. And an ample supply of hand soap (guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs!).

A world where suddenly we no longer have the hygienic luxuries we take for granted today, will be a major shock.

My rant for the day...

P.S. I believe in days past, they often used quicklime to rapidly decompose bodies. How would you obtain quicklime in a SHTF world?

Also--I read that in the Middle Ages, they used charcoal in the castle privies for deodorizing. Would this work?

Thoughts? Opinions?
Quick reply to this message
Old 05-01-2018, 02:23 PM
Lugh MacArawn Lugh MacArawn is offline
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,669
Thanks: 1,255
Thanked 3,571 Times in 1,226 Posts
Default

Most people truly have no idea what decomposition smells like, particularly on a large scale. Part of my job involves dead body/deathscene clean ups. The summer months can be "odoriferous" .

Quick lime is not difficult to make. limestone or seashells is all that is needed. Care must be used however: high heat, vapor exhaust and possible chemical burns can occur - cooked lime is highly reactive to CO2 (and other compounds, hence the use for rapidly decomposing organic matter) and therefore does not store well. But, all you need to do is cook it again to get back to a usable condition.

Earlier times, much of the waste (bed pans, chamber pots, privvies etc.) were emptied daily and/or used for agriculture and industry. The old adage: He is so poor, he doesn't have a pot to **** in" comes from the tannery industry. People saved their urine in the night pot and sold it to leather tanners. They did not get a lot for it, but every penny counted. Urine, in particular, had more uses than feces. Urine was also used for cleaning and sanitizing wounds. Crap was, at best, spread on fallow fields, sometimes just burned or flushed down the river during rainy seasons and, at worst, simply left in piles to decompose.

With the current population, population densities and level of technology, any SHTF event (loss of those technologies) will be one heck of a smack in the face. From multiple angles.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 21 Users Say Thank You to Lugh MacArawn For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 02:45 PM
InOmaha InOmaha is online now
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 7,713
Thanks: 6,539
Thanked 25,167 Times in 6,297 Posts
Default

How many people could butcher and skin an animal? Around here, quite a few but most people even buy their chicken pre-cut or cooked. Chicken might be the easiest due to familiarity with whole cooked chicken and turkey. However, few have pulled out the internal organs and freed lungs from the ribcages.

You reminded me of the smell when cleaning feed lots, barns, and the neighbor's hogs when the winds shifted. That's what I imagine cities would smell like if the water stopped flowing.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to InOmaha For This Useful Post:
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-01-2018, 03:21 PM
Revision's Avatar
Revision Revision is offline
Don't start no mess
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 3,786
Thanks: 9,714
Thanked 11,908 Times in 3,175 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zooeyhll View Post
Thoughts? Opinions?
The smell of burning flesh should be prevalent, as I anticipate more bodies piling up than can be properly buried. And at that, I envision incomplete burns, as it is my understanding that it takes a lot of fuel to turn a body into cinders.

Couple more thoughts on smells... advanced stages of decomposition, along with accumulating human waste that no longer is whisked away in sewer systems, will actually help to mask the smell of food cooking, which will be one of the very few advantages of permanent stench.

Another "smell" consideration is body odor, or cigarette smoke, or deodorant, all of which can give away the presence of humans who may otherwise think they are keeping low profiles. Foul smells that help to cover up cooking will also hide the telltale scent of human presence.

People will be paying a lot more attention to which way the wind blows than they ever previously imagined. I think the overwhelming and overbearing stench will drive many people to distraction, i.e. to a point that they are not capable of carrying on with otherwise common everyday activities.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Revision For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 03:42 PM
grandma's Avatar
grandma grandma is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Eastern Canada
Posts: 5,784
Thanks: 12,749
Thanked 7,941 Times in 3,344 Posts
Default

I expect that dead bodies would be lesss than pleasant, but what I wasn't prepared for was the smell of the birthing process...that was a bit overwhelming the first time.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to grandma For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 03:43 PM
Eagle Scout Survivor's Avatar
Eagle Scout Survivor Eagle Scout Survivor is online now
Survivor
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: WI
Posts: 2,060
Thanks: 1,063
Thanked 7,411 Times in 1,223 Posts
Default

I have cleaned up 2 suicides at my previous job. Definitely a disgusting task that if not dealt with immediately it only gets worse.

Also fridges that quit working with food still in it after 2 weeks in July. Don't even think about opening it. The whole garage stunk of rotting fish for weeks even though we moved it without opening.

Or a house that has a burst pipe all year that all the walls are green with an inch of mold everywhere. Not a horrible smell but everything in there was ruined and made 2 of my crew got sick from the mold when we cleaned it out and had to take a week off.

Scavaging after a nuclear war that some people talk about are in for a real shock.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Eagle Scout Survivor For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 03:55 PM
NW GUY's Avatar
NW GUY NW GUY is offline
Born 120 years too late.
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 2,321
Thanks: 83
Thanked 6,755 Times in 1,766 Posts
Default

ALL TIME ABSOLUTE WORST gross out scene I ever had to deal with.

AND I have had some doozies... like the old lady who kept cats and when we found her they had been feasting on her for about 2 weeks in the summer. Nothing to it.

Had an old heavy set guy suffer a stroke or heart attack while frying up some food on his gas range. He dropped head first into the flames, crisped himself up for a while until a neighbor noticed smoke. From the navel up he was pretty well charred. From there down he was almost "normal" Piece of cake.

NOPE..what follows is my all time winner.

Call of unknown trouble at this small house. Relatives are out on the porch. Stopped to check in on nephew who they haven't seen or heard from for several days. It is Spring, so days do get warm but nights still get down there.

They said they opened the door and the smell kept them from going inside. It was BAD!!!!!

I went in and this..."person???" was laying on his back on his water bed... his set to HIGH water bed. SO this guy is so bloated and cooked... think crock pot.
NOW
Here is the real corker, the guy was a minor league player in drug world...
AND
because of the bloating and distortion of his facial tissues, it looks like he might have been shot right between the eyes..
SO
NOW it is a potential crime scene
SO
have to bring in a medical examiner. HE looks at the guy and says, "I have no idea but we better be safe and play it that way." (how to make a LOT of enemies, bring in a crime scene crew to something like that.)
SO, the CSI guys take one whiff, go back to their van and strip to their undies and don the paper suits so they can burn them later.
They finally finish, threaten to kill me later as they leave while waiting for the body to be removed.

NOW... the fun part.
Move the body. THe first ambulance crew there starts to pick up the body... and the meat starts to fall off the bone like a crock pot chicken..also releasing a whole new batch of smells never experienced in nature. It is so bad they both run out and throw up outside. THESE are guys who had seen everything...but never this. They call for reinforcements.
THREE crews work in relay between bagging and throwing up. It doesn't get to me so bad because I have had some interesting experiences from other parts of the world that really prepared me for stuff like this.

Takes them almost an hour to get the guy rubber bagged and by then he was just disjointed parts and meat.

CSI guys come in to tackle the water bed. By this time they have had it. There is no basement just a crawl space. They drill about six big holes in the floor and cut the water bed. Go back out while waiting for it to drain. We all know they will never be able to get rid of the smell unless they gut it to the studs. They remove the water bed bag and are gone.

I leave it to the relatives who only lock the door.
The house stayed vacant for about 3 years then suffered from "vandals" who started a fire inside and it burned to the ground.

There is NOTHING I have ever seen in nature that even comes close to that one.
Quick reply to this message
Old 05-01-2018, 04:06 PM
Aerindel's Avatar
Aerindel Aerindel is offline
Abnormality biased.
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Extremistan.
Posts: 6,421
Thanks: 8,045
Thanked 15,817 Times in 4,972 Posts
Default

Iím an emt. Dead people are nothing. Burnt, dismembered, etc. No big deal, they are dead, itís just meat.

Itís living, conscious people, burnt, dismembered, eviscerated, etc. that kinda suck.

But trauma isnít that bad even then. Itís the old crippled diabetics with rotting legs who you find after they have been stuck in bed for weeks that are pretty gross.

Hunting? Yeah, I donít enjoy that much. Torn bodies are more disturbing when your the one doing the damage.


People who donít shower for a week? Please. Thatís not even an issue in some parts of the US right now.

Chamber pots? Hell, I have a kid. No amount of poop bothers me at this point. Iíve stood at the shores of open sewers thirty feet wide in Sierra Leone and watched all the kids pull up their skirts of their school uniforms to wade through the filth.

And my kid,? That was a home birth. That was just plain awesome, not disturbing at all.

The important thing is, Iím not a superhero, I had no prior experience before I had to deal with any of these things. I knew what I signed up for, what I would see and experience and just dealt with it when it became real. Not only was this not a problem for me, I donít think it will really be a problem for most people. I think most people like to imagine they are disabled by grossness as a form of virtue signaling, I donít think most people will actually lose it just from ďgrossnessĒ if shtf is all around them.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 16 Users Say Thank You to Aerindel For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 05:14 PM
swamppapa swamppapa is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: N. central Ok.
Posts: 10,310
Thanks: 2,549
Thanked 16,959 Times in 6,473 Posts
Default

The sight that made me take a step back
We all know the body holds 5 quarts of blood
That will cover a lot of concrete
Guards called an medical on the weight pile
Come through the gate the guy had been shanked all the way around the abdomen his kidneys were on the cement , liver lacerated bled out it was a 20x40 area with a smooth icing of blood
I took a step back because I had new sneaker on that I had bought the night before.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to swamppapa For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 05:45 PM
zooeyhll's Avatar
zooeyhll zooeyhll is offline
The Power of the Glave
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Midwest (rural)
Posts: 1,960
Thanks: 5,729
Thanked 7,086 Times in 1,556 Posts
Default

Excellent (and horrifying) post. Yet all too true.

They say that the smell of a decomposing human body is different (and far worse) than that of any animal.

I live in a small rural community, and our paramedics are volunteers. They are farmers, people who have worked in packing plants, and hog confinements.

As I related in my original post, about finding the body in the house that had been there for days in the July heat. These guys on our town rescue team aren't wusses. But I heard that some of them came out of the house and started heaving and couldn't stop.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to zooeyhll For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 06:14 PM
bigg777's Avatar
bigg777 bigg777 is offline
Trapper
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 980
Thanks: 204
Thanked 1,682 Times in 636 Posts
Default

We will never become complacent or comfortable with the smell of decomposition, revulsion is an instinctive response to the smell of rot. It alerts us to danger and lets us know that we are not to ingest what is decomposing.

I've also dealt with dead, decomposing animal carcasses and it is never pleasant. The urban/suburban metrosexual crowd will be overwhelmed early on and slowly either evolve or die, that's just reality, however, we humans are the most adaptable species on Earth and many will overcome and thrive.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to bigg777 For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 06:37 PM
Lugh MacArawn Lugh MacArawn is offline
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,669
Thanks: 1,255
Thanked 3,571 Times in 1,226 Posts
Default

The bacteria in the gut of all carnivores smell different then that of herbivores. Humans have a different smell again, but not too dissimilar of carnivores.

Animal decomposition in a confined space is bad. It is a smell unlike anything you will find outside, even raw sewage. Most people just cannot handle it: mentally or physically. Occasionally there are actual physical reactions which are not linked to mental/emotional. The body seeks to purge these gases from your system by vomiting.

I have cleaned up bodies which have been rotting for weeks - and yes, they do come apart. There are pieces which stick to the floor, bed or furniture and pieces just sluff off. And then the maggots fall out. I have met few who do not get ill at that point. I have cleaned up raw sewage from basements and below grade rooms which had been stewing for weeks. We needed waders (hip and chest) because it was so deep just to get to check valves and open them to begin the draining. That is a nasty smell. Bacterial, and fungal, clean ups which went anaerobic - those usually generate the physical vomit reaction and it can be tough to hold it down. Even mixed chemical clean ups which produce odors not too dissimilar, not to mention toxic.

New guys I have trained get a true appreciation for the various respirator filters (and they absolutely love it when we determine supplied air or SCBA is needed) we use, real quick.

But, the mental filtering has to come from within. You cannot train people for that. You cannot provide a piece of equipment for that. To literally see an outline of skin remain rigid/vertical after a body is removed or see, and hear, the gases escaping from a bloated body or watch bugs scurry/wiggle out; some can deal with it. Most cannot. I have never "lost it", but I have come close. I have had guys partially vomit in there masks only to rip them off in a panic and THEN really start to vomit. If they come back, they now know NOT to remove the mask regardless - just hold their breath until they get outside.

Probably the worse one I had, involved having to chase rats away. That was somewhat disturbing. Not so much the chasing of the rats, but knowing this person had no one who cared about them enough that they laid there, in an apartment building, being eaten by rats. That bothered me a bit. Some of the murder scenes I have worked were depressing also. Movies are gory, but they do not impart the emotional impact of actually seeing where some hiped up methhead bashed his girl friend's head into a wall and then threw her across the room into the wall on the other side.

As Aerindel mentioned; the disabled folks, still alive, but smelling of rot, is depressing. And they do smell bad. Not "stinky dirty" bad, but "rotting flesh trying to stay alive" bad. It is a different smell again.

But, I am of the opinion, the physical can be overcome rather rapidly, just from repeated exposure, it is the mental and emotional which most have difficulty with. A certain detachment is needed. In some of the interviews of people from war torn areas, you can see where their limit was; their faces just go blank and their eyes kind of unfocus and search above the interviewer's head. That is the point where their minds could no longer process the mental/emotional parts and just shut off. I think there are far more people today who would reach that point much sooner, than people of not even a century ago.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to Lugh MacArawn For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 06:39 PM
swamppapa swamppapa is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: N. central Ok.
Posts: 10,310
Thanks: 2,549
Thanked 16,959 Times in 6,473 Posts
Default

Concerning decomp
My grandfather passed while running his bath he was sitting on the stool ( probably vasovagaled)
He would turn on an electric space heater in the bathroom
After not seeing him for three days
The neighbors called my dad
The way to get in to the locked house was through the bathroom window
Small enclosed area with overflowing hot water with a space heater for 3-4 days.

Didn't have to open the window to figure it out

It got worse
I inherited granddads' bedroom suite that was across the house from the bathroom
The odor woke me up one night. I didn't know what it was then I was 10.
Never get it completely out of your head once it's there.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to swamppapa For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 07:01 PM
dmas dmas is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,798
Thanks: 1,328
Thanked 4,084 Times in 2,247 Posts
Default

Don't know if it's urban myth but in cert class they said to kill smell by putting menthalatum under nose. Any comments?
Quick reply to this message
Old 05-01-2018, 07:15 PM
Area Man's Avatar
Area Man Area Man is online now
Bear Fighter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: North of the 45th Parallel, West of the 115th Meridian
Posts: 1,217
Thanks: 182
Thanked 1,834 Times in 729 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmas View Post
Don't know if it's urban myth but in cert class they said to kill smell by putting menthalatum under nose. Any comments?
Vicks Vapo-Rub under the nose doesn't necessarily kill the smell, but it attenuates it . . .

I think at some point folks will grow accustomed to the smells. I just think about the people who live near a pulp mill, or when travelling to a town with one. You get the aroma when you arrive, and it seems overwhelming, but after about an hour you don't notice it any more. The smell didn't go away, you just got used to it.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Area Man For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 07:15 PM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South Carolina
Age: 62
Posts: 6,581
Thanks: 14,354
Thanked 18,692 Times in 3,599 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmas View Post
Don't know if it's urban myth but in cert class they said to kill smell by putting menthalatum under nose. Any comments?
The Mentholatum really helps, doesn't cure the smell or gag reflex.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to 223shootersc For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 07:23 PM
swamppapa swamppapa is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: N. central Ok.
Posts: 10,310
Thanks: 2,549
Thanked 16,959 Times in 6,473 Posts
Default

Used mentholatum while working at the funeral home
As 223shoter wrote the wrenching still happens.
I couldn't be around cooking pork for a couple years after I left.
Bacon was right out you can't drown it in sauce.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to swamppapa For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 07:59 PM
T.$.Racing's Avatar
T.$.Racing T.$.Racing is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Chicago
Age: 31
Posts: 499
Thanks: 848
Thanked 760 Times in 322 Posts
Default

Sounds like the good ole' Plague Doctor mask should make a comeback post-shtf
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to T.$.Racing For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 09:11 PM
IceFire's Avatar
IceFire IceFire is offline
I have control issues
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southeast AZ
Posts: 5,189
Thanks: 5,872
Thanked 7,599 Times in 3,045 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Gardening Post or Thread 
Total Awards: 1
Default

When I used to have to do the "dead dog run" for the veterinary clinic in Germany (we would take all of the deceased animals, once the freezer was filled, to the "tiermehlfabrik"...the animal rendering plant). Two HUGE side-by-side "vats" with animals (including the "leftovers" from the slaughterhouses) in various states of decomposition.

We would put Vapo-Rub under our noses, spray surgical masks with perfume and put them on, and THEN go in to do our "drop off" (literally...we would have to go to the edge of the bins and drop the animals in). The smell was horrendous...ESPESCIALLY in August! Not only that, but the smell would permeate the car and our clothes. We'd have to shower as soon as we got back.

Still, I don't think the smell was as bad as when I worked in the hospital on the cardiac ward, and the lady at the end of the hall had a BAD case of gangrene. The smell would hit you as soon as you stepped off the elevator.

Butchering animals doesn't smell NEARLY as bad, although most people would have a problem removing the "innards."

Unless they are in a profession where they deal with such things, or those of some of the above posters, the vast majority of people would NOT be able to handle it. Heck, most folks can't handle the smell of other people's BO!
Quick reply to this message
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to IceFire For This Useful Post:
Old 05-01-2018, 09:30 PM
Justme11's Avatar
Justme11 Justme11 is offline
French Prometheus unbound
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Houston
Posts: 29,658
Thanks: 33,722
Thanked 73,857 Times in 22,012 Posts
Default

I would definitely wear a carbon filter respirator.
You would think people that worked in this field would have a respirator.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Justme11 For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks



Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Survivalist Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Gender
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © Kevin Felts 2006 - 2015,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net