I have received emails from folks asking what to do if a disaster strikes; most were concerned with "end of the world" scenarios. Well, if it's the end of the world, will anyone survive? If you do, you'll need a few skills, or at least a survivalist mindset. So I have decided to address this topic and make a few suggestions.
If you are like me and can't afford a defunct missile silo, or a remolded bunker as your posh holocaust getaway, then you might want to consider alternatives, such as the nearest root cellar and/or living by your wits.
I'm not saying that the world as we know it is going to end but disasters do happen. I am not going to hold my breath and wait for some 'alien craft' to snatch me up, then whisk me and my family to safety. No, surviving is going to be up to me.
So what do you do in case of a major calamity? Well first off, you need to be prepared and it helps if you know how to live off the land. If that isn't an option, then aside from a plethora of weaponry and a stockpile of ammunition, you are going to need fresh drinking water... and plenty of it. Figure at least 1 gallon of water, per person, per day. That's for drinking, not bathing. Yeah, your gonna get ripe after the first month, so let's hope this disaster doesn't last very long.
You can strain and boil water for drinking, or disinfect water. If you have water purifying tablets*, that is fine, if you can't light a fire. You will also need containers for your water. Clean one gallon milk jugs will do fine, just so long as you don't throw away the caps! Screw on tops are even better. If you thought ahead, maybe you have already purchased one gallon jugs of water, in bulk.
OK, so you have your drinking water, what's next? Food. MREs (meals ready to eat) are darned expensive but there are frugal alternatives. Canned goods right off the store shelves do have a shelf life but they can last from 2 to 5 years, so stock up. Hey, you can rotate them out and consume as needed now but replace with a fresh stock. Figure on at least 2-3 cans per person, per day. And please, don't forget the can opener. You know, one of those that requires no electricity.
Food stuffs that come in cans and sealed jars:
Vegetables (assorted, such as beans, corn, peas, asparagus, etc.)
Fruits (assorted, such as peaches, pears, cherries, etc.)
The list goes on...
Flour, cornmeal, rice and sugar stores well (kept dry) and so do some dried beans, pasta and potato flakes, though after a while, pinto beans get a bit hard. I suggest you have plenty of glass containers that seal tight. You don't want weevils, etc., unless you need the added protein.
Speaking of protein, dried meats such as jerky will be a big plus. So are peanuts, cashews and other assorted nuts. Make sure everything is stored in stout, sealed containers. You can also buy powdered eggs in a can. Check the expiration dates!
Okay now, your tummy is full, so don't forget the toilet paper!
Now where were we... Oh yes. Survival isn't just eating and enough water to sustain you, or TP to... well, you know.
To survive properly, you need clothing that is going to be of some protection. We aren't Bigfoots, so we need proper attire. Post apocalyptic wear calls for comfortable yet sturdy boots, tough pants such as jeans (not cut-offs) and long sleeved shirts. Oh, and don't forget a hat. You also might want to have some sturdy work gloves too. When chopping wood for a fire, you don't want blisters on your hands.
Why do you need a weapon after a major disaster? Aside from protection from pedators (including the two-legged kind), you might want to go hunting for fresh meat.
If it is winter, you are going to need blankets, parkas, and anything else that can keep you warm and protect you from hypothermia.
OK, so now we are properly attired, we also tools. Here's a list of necessities:
First aid kit (stocked well: see link below)
Spoon & fork
Camp stove (or learn to build a campfire: See link below)
Machete (also a weapon against zombies)
Guns and ammo (lots and lots)
Screw driver, wrench, sockets, etc. (in case you need to repair your transportation, or the generator you bought in case the electricity goes out.)
Hammer & nails
Shovel (for the latrine, etc.)
Um, if you have to be mobile, you will probably need a way to haul all this stuff, so you will need an vehicle, or at least a small wagon.
Unless you own stock in Exxon, I suggest you store up as much petrol (gasoline) as possible but not in your house! You also need batteries for the flashlight and lantern (unless it is a kerosene lamp, then you need... kerosene!)
If your house is destroyed and you can't get your neighbor to allow you to bunk with him in his cozy cave, then I suggest you pack a tent, or learn to make a teepee out of branches (the axe comes in handy here), vines and moss. If you are in the dessert, cactus may make a good fence but it's lousy building material.
Two, three or more heads are better than one and that equates to a lot more hands also, so if you have obliging neighbors, or find other survivors you can get along with, then there is more safety in numbers; more guns too!
If there is radiation, well, sorry. Unless you have one and can wear a radiation suit, 24/7, then just do the best you can, as long as you can.
If you have medical issues and take medications, see if you can stock up, at least a 3 month supply.
Remember, you need food, water, shelter and protection!
OK, so we can't all be Bert Gummer but we can make do with what we have, even if it is just a sharp knife and a will to live.
Here are some handy links for those who want to know more, plus complete lists of survival needs and "how to" links:
Other how to links (survival is dirty business. If you don't stockpile processed food, you have to do things the hard way. The following links are not intended for children!):
For some of you, my list is incomplete but you can build on what I offer and what you find through the links I have provided. There are many more sites and much more information on the internet.
I hope and pray such disasters never occur in our life time, or our children's, or your children's children but if it happens, be prepared. Survive. Rebuild.
* Denotes a site where you can purchase said item but since I do not promote advertisements, you will have to Google it.