Monday, May 25, 2009

Disaster Survival Kit

Someone recently emailed me for advice about assembling a disaster survival kit. I thought my reply might be of interest to some of you. (Edited to protect the identity of the recipient)

My dear Frodo,

Sorry for the delay in answering. I used to have some really good links to sites that sell survival items, but that was a couple of crashed hard drives ago.

Your survival kit is, I assume, something that you would use in your home in the event of disruption of services due to either man made or natural disaster.

For a home survival kit, you would want
  1. a minimum of 2 wks supply of food & water (3 months would be much better)
  2. a means to cook your food (camp stove, grill, etc.) and fuel (also matches or lighter)
  3. camp toilet or chemical toilet (extra toilet paper)
  4. emergency lighting (kerosene, propane, battery powered or candles) with extra fuel/batteries & matches
  5. Good flashlight in addition to emergency lighting (batteries)
  6. weapon & ammo for protection (firearm and/or bow & arrows, which are quieter)
  7. emergency radio & extra batteries (or crank)
  8. well-stocked first aid kit (First Responder training might come in handy, as well)
  9. personal hygiene items -- a big factor in keeping up morale (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, handi-wipes, razor blades, feminine hygiene items, if needed)
  10. Plywood to cover windows in case of glass breakage
  11. basic tools to clear your property of debris (chainsaw, crowbar, etc.)
  12. Comfort items (music, chocolate, coffee, tea, etc) -- again, for morale (and/or barter)
This list is not exhaustive, and you will have to determine the priority of the items. You will find a much more complete list in Pugsley's The Alpha Strategy.

That's for in-home survival. In case your home is too damaged to be safe or you are forced by authorities to evacuate, you will want to keep a "bugout-bag" in the trunk of your car or somewhere handy so you can grab it in case you have to bug out.

This might include:
  1. A Bible
  2. 3-5 days' supply of food/water
  3. a backpack style burner to heat soup or water for stew, etc. (extra fuel & matches or lighter)
  4. stainless steel cup, pan & plate
  5. good flashlight & spare batteries
  6. a GOOD multi-purpose folding camp knife (like the ones the Boy Scouts used to carry; not a Dollar-Store Chinese special) and a camp ax, (collapsible saw & machete would be nice, as well)
  7. personal hygiene kit
  8. first aid kit
  9. roll of duct tape
  10. nylon cord (a "bit of rope" to keep Sam Gamgee happy)
  11. handgun & ammo
  12. sleeping bag or blankets
  13. a change or two of socks & underwear, boots or walking shoes, a complete change of clothes, in case you need to flee in your PJ"s
  14. Cold weather gear (may be optional in southernmost areas of the Shire)
  15. 5 gallons of Petrol -- they call it gasoline in Rivendell ;-) -- in a safe container
There are other considerations, like water purification for both home & away. If you think you might end up having to survive in the wilderness, you may want to think about a tent.

If you could afford it, a motor home properly stocked & accoutered (electric generator, etc.) would be better than a bugout bag, but in addition to the expense, it would certainly attract attention (and that very deadly sin, envy)

That brings me to a great book if you're thinking about post-crash survival: Gary North's Successful Investing in an Age of Envy.It's out of print, and he has not put it on his free books site. But it is a good source of investment, survival & mindset material.

Well, most of the above came off the top of my head, so don't rely on it alone. There are some good lists for survival kits out there, but ultimately you have to make your own decisions in terms of your priorities and your budget.

I started thinking survival in the early 1970's, and, although we are much better prepared than ever before, I still see us as woefully underprepared. Nevertheless, we are better off than just about anyone we know.

A lot of it has to do with mindset. We know what we've been through, and what we think of as inconvenience, many would think of as loss of absolute necessities.

With sincere regards,
Uncle Bilbo

P.S. Dr North says, "Keep your convictions visible and your assets hidden."

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