20 Basic Survival Preparation Tips
20 Basic Survival Preparation Tips
Courtesy of Hardened Structures
Evacuating your area (getting out of town quick):
1) Have a bug-out pack or bag for each family member and even pets. Bug-out bags are pre-packaged support bags or backpacks designed for loading into your vehicle and getting away from your present location when minutes really count.
Items to consider in a bug-out bag (one stingy adult for 7-10 days and not in a cold winter environment):
- Three sets of underwear and sox
- Wool sweater and warm hat
- Light wind-proof jacket
- Durable pants
- Two long sleeve shirts
- Pair of durable shoes
- Poncho/rain gear
- Basic bathroom kit, roll of toilet paper
- Back-up medications and prescription glasses
- Four large trash bags (many uses)
- Stick matches and joke type birthday candles
- 8-12 MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) and hard candy
- Light towel, baby powder (for dry showering)
- Feminine hygiene products if applicable
- Sheath or utility pocket knife
- Wool blanket or sleeping bag
- Gallon or more of water per person (if possible)
- Water purification tablets or filter system
- 100 feet of military grade 550 nylon cord
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cash in $10 bills (gold coins for barter)
- Portable hand-crank radio
- Firearm(s) and ammunition
- Important papers,I.D.s, wills, insurance, birth certificates, passports, etc.
- Note pad, pencils and pens
You must prepare for the fact that roads in and out of your area may be blocked by traffic, wrecks or worse, so the best bug-out container is a pre-packed backpack so you can walk out of the area if you must abandon your car. Have a map.
2) Keep your car's fuel tank at least half way full. If possible, safely store 5-10 gallons of auto gasoline at your residence (outdoors, not in the garage) in approved gas containers. Change gasoline every few months and remember, in a crisis the gas stations will be jammed, out of service or $50.00 a gallon.
3) Know several evacuation routes. Have a basic destination a way and a plan how to link up with your family members. Depending on where you are and the situation it may be best to avoid strangers from seeing you.
4) Have an emergency travel bag with you always (this is NOT as comprehensive as your home based bug out bag). This is a smaller supply of items you keep in your car. Consider you are on a vacation trip and an event occurs stranding you miles from home or civilization. Odds are you will have basic clothing and personal items in your luggage.
Your emergency travel bag (a back pack is best container) might contain:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- 100 feet of military 550 cord
- Handgun (where legal) and 100-200 rounds of ammunition (may become barter) for each gun. We recommend the.22 long rifle caliber for overall versatility.
- Hunting knife
- 3-6 MREs, hard candy
- Quart of water per person
- Small portable radio (extra batteries)
- Chemicals to purify water
- One roll toilet paper
- Four large garbage bags
Make this kit as comprehensive as you wish but this kit is to supply you and yours with self defense, food and water augmented by the personal items you may already have packed with you.
Basic Residence Survival Tips:
1) Know where all of your residence's gas, electric and water shut-off valves are and have the tools to shut them off.
2) Develop a neighborhood watch/protection program. There is safety in numbers to defend your family and your house and prepare your neighborhood in the event of civil unrest. This may mean strategic blocking of your area's streets, armed defense planning and fire-fighting plans, etc. This is especially important in urban environments; however civil unrest will extend far outside of the inner city as time passes.
3) Have firearms (and ammunition) and know how to use them. For most home-defense situations a pump-action shotgun with buckshot will prove effective.
4) Have a 60-day supply of food. The best survival food is the food you usually eat. Most canned foods have a posted 3-5 year "use by" date but may keep longer protected from extreme heat or cold.
Basic choices might be:
- Tuna and sardines
- Canned pasta
- Canned chicken
These are meals in a can. Canned foods are insect and rodent proof and can be eaten cold (they are already cooked). Once opened, you can heat them over a candle in their own can juice which will provide much needed liquid. Juices and canned fruits have a much shorter shelf life.
Rotate your food stock throughout the year and as you use it and replenish with new purchases. Any food that might be getting near the expiration date may be donated to food banks for a tax write off. If needed, ration carefully from the beginning of the survival event. You can easily survive on one 303 size can a food per person per day if necessary. Last, don't forget food for children and pets. Freeze dried and dehydrated foods, dried beans, etc. will keep for years but require water to rehydrate them.
5) Maintain a good supply of paper plates, plastic utensils, and disposable aluminum foil pans as you may not have the water for washing. Also have a back-up supply of toilet paper (and shovel for digging a backyard outhouse if water is gone). Garbage bags are very handy too. Other supplies might be candles, matches, an extra can opener or two, batteries, etc.
6) A gas barbecue grill is a real asset. Have an extra tank or more safely stored outside in garbage bags for weather protection. Your bbq grill can cook, heat canned food and boil water, making it an excellent backup for electrical power or gas loss. Always keep it outdoors.
7) Know how to locate water. You can live without food for a couple of weeks (sometimes much longer), but you will die in a very few days without water. To find water, check toilet tanks (not the toilet bowl), water heater, pools, etc. In an emergency while water is still available you can fill sinks and bath tubs (drains will leak). Any of those plastic storage tubs you may have for clothing, etc. make excellent water storage containers. Fresh water goes bad so learn how to maintain and purify water with common household bleach (a valuable item to have as it also works as a powerful sanitizer). If you buy water, the one-gallon jugs in your supermarket have at least a year storage life if kept cool; check the expiration dates.
8) Medical and First Aid supplies for at least 60 days. Many people do not maintain back up medications, pain killers, stimulants and sleeping aids and other legally obtained drugs. In addition a first aid kit that can handle larger injuries is an important item for any family. Get trained in basic First Aid at the least.
9) Keep some cash at home in case the banks shut down. As mentioned for the bug out bags, gold coins may make for excellent barter (not retail purchases) if things get that bad. Have copies or safely stored originals of valuable papers (wills, insurance, etc.) located where you can get them any time and quickly.
10) Have one or more hand crank, battery operated radios. Keep the batteries out until needed. Keep the radios wrapped well in aluminum foil and store in military surplus ammunition can for protection against electronic interference such as the effects of EMP (electronic magnetic pulse). Most batteries hold a charge for only 2 to 3 years.
Hardening Your Residence:
While serious hardening with bullet-resistant materials may not be feasible, there are things you can do to prepare your house in the event of civil disturbances and many disasters where you should not go outside such as in an atomic fallout situation or volcanic ash.
1) Advanced planning for civil unrest is important. First, all the previous recommendations apply. Have good locks on your house. Make sure any glass windows near your doors will not allow access to internal hand operated dead bolt locks. Have plenty of outdoor lighting.
Have good, solid, exterior doors with good locks. Keep high bushes away from windows and doors or cut them down during the emergency. Have a sturdy storm door to your front entrance. Consider applying tinted film to your front windows. It limits visibility into your house in daylight; it acts as both a heat and cold insulator and can resist or stop items thrown at your windows. Set up retreat rooms in your home that can act as basic panic rooms (bathrooms are excellent). Be prepared to defend your house. Be prepared to fight a significant house fire. If you have a swimming pool have a gas-powered pump you could use to fight a fire should your regular water supply be cut off.
2) Residence contamination: Move your disaster supplies into the house with you. Get your supply of water in place. Have duct tape and plastic sheeting that you can apply to the insides of windows, doors, fireplaces, and even use to isolate off a safe room or area. Close off vents and air conditioning. Cover stove and fireplace dampers and clothes dryer vents. From time to time you will need fresh air in a sealed room or carbon dioxide will build up to a deadly point.
3) Learn to recognize signs of danger. Tsunami, fire, floods, etc. Then plan how you will resist or escape from the particular threat(s) in your area.
4) Don't be a hero. It is not heroic to die in your house defending it from a forest fire. Apply this thinking to other threats. It is ok to be a hero to save lives though.
5) Legal stuff. Some day order will be restored (hopefully) and anything you may have done during the emergency situation may be held against you in a court of some kind.
6) Read, learn and live. There are many books and sources for survival. Keep your plans simple and practical for your situation. Then put the plans for you and your family into use. Remember, planning for survival after things go south-is too late.