Short term emergency survival kits should be available in all households to cover the basic daily needs of a family over a period of at least a few days.(72 Hrs)
Consider being unable to leave your home after a storm takes out power lines, or floodwaters block access to local services.
Unfortunately, short term disasters are all too common these days and most people are still under prepared, under-resourced or just want to bury their heads and hope it'll not happen to them.
Worse, many people think that local government agencies will quickly turn up and make everything ok.
Unfortunately, if past times teach us anything, this certainly isn't the case.
In disaster scenarios, emergency services are going to be pretty hard stretched and will need to prioritise their response which may not include you for a while!
Now some of you will, like us, have already have prepared for a multitude of possible situations that may be risk factors in your own particular areas of the country.
Many more people, unfortunately, will have not!
So here's the plan!
We've got survival gear and equipment all around where we live. We've gear in my truck and food stores that'll keep our family safe at home for months.
What we've also done, is make up some short term kits that if push comes to shove, we can use as bug out gear should we need to move away from our home, if it's not safe to stay.
Here's what we've got and why.
Ideally, we'd like to stay in our home. We've got most of everything we need, so it makes sense to stay if it,s safe.
We have stuff around also in case we need to effect repairs to a point.
We have a family size tent but that would be difficult to carry, even with the component parts spread out amongst us.
It would work ok as a good temporary home if it wasn't safe to stay in our house.
We also have some tarps we have put aside in case it's not safe to stay indoors and we have to make more shelter near to our home.
We can also use these to build an emergency shelter if we have to move away. They're a bit on the heavy side so are not ideal for carrying long distances.
There are may types of temporary shelters you can buy, its a trade off between something that is robust enough to do the job, and light enough to be able to carry.
We have a couple of SOL 2 Man Emergency Bivvys if we have to do an emergency bug out.
They're light and compact – not the Ritz of camping tents – but will be ok short term.
We have a few 100ft hanks of paracord in our kit. I don't think you can ever have too much. There're a thousand uses for paracord, and you'll do many of them in a survival situation. In this case though, they're used for tying up shelter material.
You'll need nearly a gallon a day per person ideally, this includes water for drinking, cooking and hygiene – however, start carrying a gallon of water about for a day and you'll soon realise that this is just impractical.
Whilst we have a good water source on our property – we've also put a lot of smaller bottled water packs where we can get to them in a hurry.
It's going to be a lot easier to quickly share out a few bottles of water amongst you, than trying to fill up water bladders or old soda bottles when you are in a rush.
There's a lot of stuff around about how much water you should consume – most of the consensus appears to be around 3 litres a day for adults – that is in total drinks per day.
Obviously, if you are in a hotter climate – you would need to have more.
Carry some bottled water and a secondary means to make found water safe to drink. We've got some purifying tablets as well as a couple of Lifestraw water filters in our kits.
You'll also have to assume the possibility that the domestic water supplies may be contaminated – you'll have to have some means of making your water safe to drink.
You can manage to go without food for a few days if you are stuck in the wilderness in an “up against it” survival situation.
However, being hungry sucks. It affects your morale and reduces energy levels when you really need optimum performance.
You'll need to be on your game, for all your families sake, so you'll need to have a supply of good food to eat.
You'll need about 3600 calories of food a day per person (Adult Male) and make sure before you need it, that it's something that you and your family will eat.
While I'll eat most stuff – some of my family members are a little more fussier! (They won't be!)
Emergency food bars go some way towards your daily needs, are easy to pack and have a pretty long shelf life.
MREs and the civilian backpackers equivalent also have a decent shelf life and don't take up a lot of space.
Cans of tuna are a good source of protein and are easy to store.
Baked beans are cheap and a good source of fibre and protein.
Peanut butter is also high in protein and fats.
Ideally, you will want foods that don't require cooking although if you can get to cook, it's a huge boost to morale being able to eat a hot meal.
It's a bit of a trade off with dehydrated or freeze-dried foods as you will need to reconstitute them with water and cooking before you can eat.
You should have enough food for everyone to last 3 days and more. Although we have more than enough at our home for much longer – we still have a couple of 72 hour packs set aside that're easy to carry out if we need to in a rush.
You'll need a change of clothing to last at least 3 days – weather appropriate.
Pack clothes that can be layered up and avoid cotton – you know this!
Cotton will wick away heat from the body when wet so ditch those jeans and get a decent pair of outdoor pants.
Hypothermia is NOT a good look!
Wool will retain some thermal insulation when wet although its best not to let it get that way.
You'll need water resistant jackets or coats and some decent outdoor footwear like boots.
Sleeping bags and fleece type blankets will also help you to keep warm
Keeping yourselves safe is paramount.
Times of disaster bring out the best and the worst in people so being able to protect yourself and your family has to feature high on your priority list.
We all have the right to protect our families and homes from harm and the opportunists looking for an easy meal or worse.
To me there's nothing that says this better than being armed and the threat of being prepared to use lethal force.
Tazers and pepper sprays have their uses also.
First Aid kits
Other aspects of safety include having a decent first aid kit. Having enough meds to last through short term emergencies should be planned for by keeping some in your kits.
It may be a while until its safe to get more.
Its essential that personal hygiene needs are not overlooked in your survival kit.
You may need to have some sort of temporary toilet facility set up if you are staying at you home and if utilities are out of service.
Make sure you have some toilet paper both in your stay at home kits and in any bug out gear – keep it in a zip lock bag.
Having some hand wipes will save water. Bleach and disinfectant for keeping toilet areas clean will go a long way to preventing the onset of illness.
Wash hands often using hand sanitizer.
Being able to keep in touch with other family members not with you is a must. In disaster situations, have pre arranged meeting places in case cellphone networks are out.
Its a good idea to have a couple of new unused disposable phones in your emergency kit so you know you'll always have access to one in emergencies.
Also if one network provider is down, there may be another network still operating.
Get an alternative method of comms like radio transceivers. Check that they work regularly and be aware of local and state laws.
Its pretty easy to get a HAM Radio licence more information from here http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed
Get to knowing what's going on in your area by listening out for information on the various disaster networks if they are available.
Have a written list of all the local Emergency Numbers you might need and keep them handy. I have a copy of mine laminated in my survival kit as well as on my phone.
We've put the foodstuff into a couple of 48 Quart cooler bags.
They can stay ready sealed without having to go through other packed gear and are left alone except when its time to rotate the stuff in them.
Other gear we have in our own personal bags.
Its all pretty ready if we need to leave in a hurry.
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