- An emergency fund. Cash works wonders in most disasters. It can get you a ride out of town, fill up your gas tank, get you some food, buy you an airline ticket to a better place, etc. To do: get your emergency fund together now. I used to recommend $1000 but now I have upped it to $5000.
- Basic survival skills. No matter where you are, can you get/make/barter for/steal/hijack/or otherwise acquire: water, food, clothing, shelter, medication? To do: if there were a disaster tomorrow, where would you get water (the most vital of necessities in a disaster), food (second most important), clothing (pretty vital), a place to shelter from the elements (ditto), and critical medication? Make a plan for this and an a back up plan as well.
- Material goods. This can be important for your survival comfort (on the other hand, in many disasters you are often left with what you are wearing on your back and no more, anyway...). Once you come through the initial disaster, some basic material good will come in handy. Do you have: a BOB? Basic camping supplies (even if you live in the middle of a city)? Firearms? Booze (actually useful in multiple ways after a disaster)? Tools? To do: start to acquire a small collection of each of these items.
- Knowledge. The good thing about knowledge is that once you learn something it is yours to keep. You can't lose/have stolen/have confiscated the things that are in your head. To do: read widely. And conduct experiments as necessary. Reading/studying/practicing should encompass: camping and survival, basic medical care, navigation, how to drive anything that moves, how to grow/forage for/hunt for/fish for your own food, how to process said food, how to make your own electricity, how to make your own medicines, how to defend your home and your person, etc.
- Friends. No man is an island and in a crisis situation, some extra pairs of hands will come in mighty handy. Obviously you should still prepare on your own but cultivating a group of people who could band together to help each other before/during/after a disaster is quite useful. To do: help others with general things and expect them to help you in return. This is the fastest way to see who you can count on in an emergency (if they won't help you with simple, everyday tasks, how useful with they be in a disaster?). The more you have in common with said people, the better (ie: those you hunt with, fish with, camp with, participate in shooting/exercising/other survival-related events with, the better).
- A prepared home. Did you know that most common survival situation you are statistically likely to encounter is common, every day disasters like a house fire, domestic violence event, health crisis, etc. To do: while it is great to practice with your handy dandy night vision goggles on a scheduled recon mission of the city park, you actually will be better served to spend some time at home getting your home prepared (all safety items should be in place--fire extinguisher, smoke detector, etc), your people prepared (if there are internal issues in the home that could lead to a dangerous situation such as domestic violence, that needs to be rectified ASAP), and your health prepared (exercise and eat right and you may have a chance of hauling your ass out of a crisis on your own. If you don't do this you will most likely be left behind hoping someone will come along to save you).
- Advanced survival skills. This is where things get fun. Anyone can forage for food but how many people can go out and bring back a gourmet salad (something like this). Anyone can construct a rudimentary shelter during a storm but how many people can make this? Anyone can point and fire a weapon (well, almost anyone) but how many people have this kind of training? (note: I don't know anything about this particular school, they just had a nifty list of skills to use as an example). To do: get as many practical, advanced, survival skills under your belt as possible.
- People skills. Oddly enough, much of survival isn't like you see in action films with the hero single-handedly walking into a situation and fighting his way through a gauntlet of gunfire, physical violence, and high-speed chases. Much of survival has to do with people skills. Can you talk your way into getting help as quickly as possible? Can you size up a person's intent quickly and accurately? Can you talk your way out of a brawl before it starts and diffuse a tense situation? Can you be a physical threat if necessary? Can you lead a team, especially under high stress conditions? To do: brush up on your people skills (if necessary, use books, classes, and actual practice to get this done).
- Get the hell out of dodge skills. Sometimes you can do nothing but flee if you want to save your skin and live to fight another day. To do: plan multiple evacuation routes from your home and work, have the means to evacuate if necessary (everything from a car that works, plenty of gas, a place to stay far away from your home, etc), have a BOB or at the last a small "go bag" that you always carry with you, have the foresight to leave BEFORE it becomes impossible to do so (don't even get me started on those people who hang around home until a hurricane is minutes away before they call 911 for help, never mind that the news has been telling them to evacuate for DAYS).
- A heightened sense of awareness. Again, much of survival is just being aware of whatever situation you happen to be in. If you live in an earthquake zone, you should know this and be prepared for such an event. If you are heading down to a seedy bar, you should not be surprised if a fight breaks out and someone pulls a gun (why would you want to be there anyway?). If you are in a public building, you shouldn't have to wonder where the emergency exits are if the fire alarm goes off, you should already have ascertained this information as a matter of habit. To do: actually practice being more aware of your surroundings/situation.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
10 Things That Every Survivalist Needs
I use the word "survivalist" in the most all-encompassing way, meaning that anyone who wants to/plans to survive a fairly good sized disaster falls into this category. As a survivalist, you need these ten things if you want to have a chance of coming out the other side of a disaster in a rather whole manner.