“The most important part of survival, is the mental attitude of the survivor. Without the will to survive, all your preparations are useless.”
This guide is a basic document. A place to start in constructing your survival plan. Follow this guide and in an emergency, you and those you care about will have ready access the things needed to live. Along the way, you will be making modifications to fit your specific needs. Use the formulas included to calculate the specific quantities, of food, water and other supplies you will need. The result will be a unique short term emergency survival kit, suitable for either a rural, or urban environment.
ABOUT ME: I was a law enforcement officer for more than thirty years. First in the southwestern United States and later in the southeast. I took part in search and rescue operations in the mountains and deserts of the southwest and assisted survivors of tornadoes and hurricanes in the southeast. As a teen, growing up in rural northern Michigan, I participated in most every outdoor sports activity around at the time. From hunting and fishing, to some of the more extreme outdoor winter sports. Between growing up in Michigan and becoming a law enforcement officer, the United States government provided me with a brief, but thorough education on surviving as a combat infantryman in Southeast Asia.
With experience surviving in four extremely different environments under my belt, I know a few things about survival. However, to insure that this guide is as current and thorough as possible, I have also included some recommendations of recognized survival experts and information from the latest U.S. Government FEMA 72 hour preparedness guide.
According to FEMA, “The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical. Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient – able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones – for at least three days following a disaster.”
WHAT TO EXPECT: During and after a natural or weather related disaster. You may find that travel is impossible. Downed trees, live power lines, and flooded roads may make it impossible to evacuate. Strong winds rip shingles and boards from homes, spreading tire piercing nails everywhere. You and your family will need to remain in a safe place.
WHAT IS A SAFE PLACE? The safe place you choose must be a structurally sound room or area near, or within you home or place of employment. It must be of large enough and strong enough to protect you and other survivors from exposure and allow your supplies to be accessible. If you live in an area susceptible to flooding, the safe area must be at an elevation which offers protection from rising water. If tornadoes are the concern, the area must be without windows and structurally capable of withstanding sustained high winds. For hurricanes, you may need both wind resistance and elevation. In some cases an upstairs interior windowless room, or an underground cellar might be ideal. (Appropriate safe areas for defensive and longer term survival will be addressed in a later article.)
WHAT SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT ARE NEEDED? Maintain these items in a cool dry place and rotate at least every six to twelve months:
a. Non perishable food: Maintain enough canned, freeze dried or dehydrated food to allow 2500 calories per person, per day. Remember to store food for infants and cooking and eating utensils.
b. Water: At least one gallon, potable water, per person, per day. Store in airtight containers, replace every 6 months. For longer survival periods, or if space is a problem, store as much water as you have space for and supplement using a commercial water purification device and/or use an adequate home made method, such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach. Avoid scented bleaches and those with additives. Use no more than 8 drops per gallon to treat water. NOTE: In extremely hot climates, or with infants or nursing mothers, add extra water. Also consider the special needs of any elderly person in your care.
c. First aid kit: Large enough to tend all survivors, In addition to antibiotics and disinfectants, stock plenty of bandages. Don’t forget necessary prescription medications, sunscreen, insect repellent and snake bite treatment supplies.
d. Fire extinguisher: Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires. Teach all survivors how to use it.
e. Crank powered flashlights – candles and matches: After an emergency, Do not use matches or candles until you are certain there are no gas leaks.
f. Rechargeable alternative power and communication devices: In emergencies cellphone towers may be destroyed, or the systems overwhelmed with anxious relatives attempting to reach persons in stricken areas. The highest emergency communications priority always goes to first-responders. All non-official calls may be temporarily blocked. A crank rechargeable National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, GMRS two-way portable radio may be your best communication and information resource. Some devices are capable of also generating enough power to recharge other small electrical devices, like cell phones. Also keep a small whistle for signaling rescuers if necessary.radio strap
g. Personal items: Keep moist towlettes, toilet paper and garbage bags in your kit. Depending on the season and the climate, store rain gear, extra blankets, clothing, diapers and shoes. Avoid athletic type shoes. The soft soles can be easily penetrated by nails, glass and metal debris. Personal care items like, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, sanitary napkins and contact lens solutions, should also be in the kit. ATMs may not work. Keep some cash on hand.
h. Alternative cooking resources: A barbecue grill, hiking or camping stove should be sufficient. Remember to store sufficient fuel for whichever, cooking device you choose. Also insure that there is adequate ventilation and there are no gas leaks before you use any kind of fire. Read and follow appliance instructions.
i. Pets: Stock adequate food, water and supplies for pets/livestock. If appropriate, work out a care plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Consider a means of identifying your pets, either with tags or micro chips in case you are separated from them during the emergency. Consider making arrangements with a veterinarian or a kennel to care for your pets, during an emergency.
j. Tools: Keep a small tool kit available. As a minimum you should have:
1. Adjustable pipe wrench and pliers for turning off utilities.
2. Shovel and broom for cleaning up.
3. Axe and Saw for clearing downed trees and debris.
4. Pocket knife, hammer and screw drivers for misc. minor re pairs.
5. Tape and Tarp or plastic sheeting for shelter and repairs.
6. Dust mask to help filter contaminated air.
7. Can opener (non-electric)
k. Optional Miscellaneous Items:
1. Generator and fuel
2. Chain saw
3. Heavy duty rope or nylon tow straps.
4. GPS or EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon)
5. Survival Knife with fire starter.
6. Satellite phone
7. Large cloth backpack or “Go” bag.
8. Books, playing cards and board games, to pass the time.