Matt here- We see it all the time in the news but never really realize the impact of what it actually means in our own life. Ever wonder what it would be like without power? How about with out running “clean” water or better yet with out water at all. How about even surviving without shelter.
No matter if it is a natural disaster or man made, there will be a point in everyone’s life where you are without power or with out any of the basic survival needs. In the late 80′s we lived without power for weeks due to Hurricane Hugo. Bet you didn’t realise that without power you can’t make ice and all of your food in the fridge and freezer will go bad in about 2 days. I remember it well, we had a neighborhood BBQ just to cook off the food before it spoiled.
Just like every hurricane we see the damage on TV, we say ahh those poor people and then the toaster pops up and the microwave distracts us from the news. And in just a few days there is something else on the news that changes the focus and we easily forget the people still struggling. Without getting into politics too much, I feel the nation has become reliant on someone else to come to their aid. As an Eagle Scout of about 25 years – I got mine at 13 and half – I still remember the Scout Motto – Be Prepared.
Be Prepared does not mean – Wait till some one helps you, or make sure you know who to yell at for food and shelter. It means get it yourself ”before” something happens to you or your family. Get your life in order before the order is taken from you. Before mother nature or deranged people take away what you know to be safety and security.
Being Prepared does NOT take a lot of time, nor does it take much money either. The other thing is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out either. When any human is put in a survival mode – most likely their inner caveman will come out when they realise their hair dryer or their cell phone stops working. At one point or another we have all seen an episode of the TV reality show Survivor. Without basic supplies and basic tools the human body will shut down. So how do you do it? Where do you start?
Start small, but be consistent. Make it a goal that every paycheck or every month you purchase at least one thing to add to your survival kit. Start with a Backpack. You need something that can store items, that is easy to grab, and can be carried easily. A box is nice but a backpack is much better. If something happens where you need to hike for safety or hike for help it is best to bring your survival bag with you at all times.
Once you assemble a bag for yourself, make sure you continue to build on that. Each person in your family should have their own bag that they can carry. If you have children, make sure you pack age appropriate supplies. Like a 5 year old shouldn’t have to carry a fire starter, but should have their favorite toy thats is small and their favorite blanket or something to help them feel safe. Also if you have young children, there is no reason why they can’t carry their own small backpacks with diapers and powdered milk and baby wipes.
Below is a list of items to start off with. Whether you know how to use it or not is not what you need to worry about right now, you just need to have these basics to survive.
Emergency Backpack – any will do, but one big enough to hold many items, rugged enough to withstand abuse. They can start as low as $10
Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10) ( on sale for as low as $6.99 for a pack of 10 and free shipping) An emergency blanket can help not only keep you warm but will help you get warm. Just like a wrapping of aluminum foil will keep the heat in on your picnic lunch, it can help you if you are becoming hypothermic. And can be used to flag down help!
Firestarter – No matter the season, a fire will help with warmth at night, to signal for help, and what many do not realise it will help you feel secure. Why not a lighter? The gas in the lighters can leak, evaporate, and in heat might combust.
Waterproof Windproof matches – Having a fire is a key to surviving as well as a way to signal for help. And with something that is high on the list it is best to have backups in order. A good match that will light when wet and also you don’t have to worry about wind is a key to any good fire.
Water Filter – A good water filter will help you simply live. A human on a normal day needs between 2-3 liters of water per day. In survival circumstances you are working hard, hiking and stressing your body so much that you need much more to live. A water filter straw is only about nine bucks and should be one of the first things in your kit.
Water Purification Tablets – Water is a must in a survival environment. Having more then one backup is key to coming out healthy and alive. Water purification tablets are one of the most reliable ways to make sure your water is save to drink.
Survival Rope – Paracord – Why do you need rope? The real question is what can you not do with rope? Use this to tie up a signal for help – Fishing line – Anchor – boot strap – Backpack strap – First aid brace – Use it on a stick to help start a fire – Sewing thread – Tourniquet in First Aid – Snare to catch food – Hammock – Trip line and more…
Survival Knife – From the ole 80′s movie Crocodile Dundee – That’s not a knife – This is a Knife – Use it to cut food, cut cords, chop trees for a fire, shave wood for tinder for a fire, break glass, clear a path, make a shelter, and more….
There is always something else you can add to your Survival packs like hand wipes to feel clean, toilet paper for the comfort of home but make sure you zip it in a plastic bag. Also don’t forget the snacks like trail mix for the protein and carbs, a good protein bar collection for energy, and a can of chicken chunks or tuna or some meat or your favorite meal in a can. Mainly you want to think of storage. Think of how long it will last and how often you actually will rotate the food or perishable items out of your survival bag.
One thing that many people forget about is to save your memories. If there is a disaster that wipes out your home, what about all of the family pictures that you see people rummaging through their torn down home to save! Take the time after the kids go to bed and scan or take digital photos of all of your memories. Over Christmas one year I scanned every old photo album, every birth certificate, and every colored elementary picture I brought home when I was a kid and my mom saved. Scan, photograph or copy every thing that you can. Save it on a Solid State Drive, or High capacity SD card or USB memory stick. Why only those and not a normal and cheaper hard drive? Hard Drive have spinning parts that are more likely to break and malfunction then a chip inside of a USB drive or SD card. They have no moving parts, they are lighter weight, and are easier to carry with you. This way you can always replace a home, but the memories you will always carry with you. Now once you make one, make sure to make a duplicate copy and store it at your relatives home. Just incase your’s is destroyed or lost you still have a backup in a separate location.
Make sure you put your survival bag close by where you can grab it and go. We have ours on the outside, front edge of our garage. So if there was a fire in the house and we all ran out, it would be easy to grab it from the garage. Just remember that in an emergency you will not have time to plan out where and when you will need to grab it.
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