Part I: Short Term
Today’s post will be the first article of a three part series that will help you build your own emergency survival plan. We’ll discuss strategies for short-term survival, long-term survival and how to get started in preparing to execute these plans.
Before we start, one caveat: the most important advice about building your own survival plan is to consider your needs, your abilities and your environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Our goal is to simply give everyone options to consider and discuss with your family as you build your own plan.
The Short Term…How Long Can I Survive At Home?
When devising a short-term survival plan, where you live will determine how long you can shelter in place and survive. For example, if you live in a small urban apartment, you won’t be able to store enough food to survive a long time and your shelter may be easily compromised.
FEMA recommends a minimum of three days provisions of food and water at home. We here are skeptical of that number—it seems like the bare minimum. For serious emergencies, we recommend at least a month of food and water. Let’s talk about these two vital survival needs now.
Short-Term Food Storage
So you need to store a month or more of survival food, where do you put it? If you have the space, you’ll want to keep your emergency food separate from your everyday food. You’ll want to keep it in a place that’s easy for you to get to, but hidden from plain sight to deter theft. Finally, survival food lasts longest when stored in a stable, dark, dry and cool environment—like a root cellar.
Even though it’s for short-term survival, your emergency food should have a long shelf life, because it may be many years before you have to depend on it. Our emergency survival food was developed to last up to 25 years, and you don’t need a root cellar to make it last.
In a short-term survival situation, you’ll want enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning—especially if the municipal source is shut off or contaminated. If you’re staying put, you won’t need to drink as much water as you would if you were active, but you still want to secure at least a gallon of water per person per day. It’s always better to have too much than not enough.
Water takes up a lot of space, so if you can secure a source of fresh water, a filtration system is your best bet. In the event of an emergency, you’ll want to filter as much water as you can get from the tap, but a well, stream or lake are great backup options.
Our Alexapure Pro filtration system can filter up to 5,000 gallons on one filter and removes 99.9999% of impurities from any fresh water source. That will more than get you through any short-term crisis. Plus, it requires no electricity to operate, so you can have clean water even if the grid goes down.
- To get through a short-term emergency, you’ll need to have some essential gear on hand. Here is a short list of items for you to consider:
- First Aid Kit
- Battery or crank-powered radio and a NOAA radio
- Manual can opener
- Trash bags, moist towelettes and plastic ties for waste sanitation
- Local maps
- Wrench, pliers or multi-tool
- Means of cooking without utilities
- Fire-starting gear (matches, lighters, ferro rods, etc.)
- Candles or a battery-powered lamp
- Emergency whistle
Part 2, The Long Term
Creating a Well-Rounded Survival Plan: Part 2—The Long Term
This is part two of our three-part series on well-rounded survival. In part one, we discussed strategies and preparations for short-term emergencies that last anywhere from 72 hours to a month. This article will focus on preparing for survival in emergencies that could last many months or even years.
Again, it is important to note that everyone’s preparedness plan will be different—based on individual needs, abilities and environment. Our goal here is to give you something to think about as you build your own plan.
The Long-Term: Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?
The first thing you need to consider when devising a plan for the long term is to assess how long you can shelter in place before you need to move on to a more sustainable location. Even if you have enough supplies to shelter in place for a long time, you should always have a back-up location you can move to if something goes wrong.
Many people choose to have an alternative shelter that is less than one tank of gas away. However, you won’t always be able to depend on traveling by car to your next location. So, you should have other options if driving becomes impossible. If you have to walk for several days, you should map out waypoints en route to your destination where you can shelter safely.
The ideal alternative location is one where you can live off the land and not be detected or attacked by others trying to survive. Ideally, this is a rural setting, with plenty of cover and visibility. Mountains, valleys and forests all have unique advantages in a survival situation. Choose what’s best by what’s closest to you now.
Once you’ve chosen your location, you’ll need to figure out food and water for the long-term.
The Long-Term Food Equation
Once you settle you’ll want to start thinking about establishing sustainable food sources as soon as possible. However, before you can consider that, you need to make sure you have enough food to survive until those new food sources become available. If you’re growing food from seed, expect to wait at least 40 days and up to 120 days for them to be ready to harvest. So you should plan to have at least three months of food to get by before you can sustain yourself.
Our Survival Seed Vault has a great variety of heirloom seeds to ensure a sustainable, nutrient rich source of food. To learn more about growing a survival garden, check out our full blog series on that here.
Once you’ve planted a garden, you should also try to hunt, fish and forage. Each of these skills deserves their own articles to discuss deeply. Foraging is probably the easiest, and our Edible Wild Foods Playing Deck is a fun way to get started.
Finding a consistent, renewable source of water will be just as, if not more, critical than producing sustainable food—without water, you won’t grow much food or survive long enough to find it. Again, you should have enough water stored to survive until you find a good water source, but it’s harder to tell how much you’ll really need to store. Even if you have a filtration system, eventually those will become ineffective, and the municipal supply will be long gone. So consider how long it might take you to find water very carefully.
Renewable water can be found easily if you know a few skills. First, rainwater collection is easy to set up with buckets and barrels, and it’s perfect for watering plants. If you plan to drink collected rainwater, it’s a good idea to treat this water, either by filtration or boiling.
Next, you’ll want to survey the natural features of your new home to search for fresh water. Are there valleys or canyons around you? There might be a stream, creek or river at the bottom. If you spot big animal tracks (besides predators like wolves or coyotes), follow them downhill and you will most likely find water. Low-flying, non-predatory birds are typically headed toward water as well.
If your new home is near farmland, chances are there will be a well near the house or barn. Make sure any well you find is abandoned, as you don’t want to be caught “stealing” from another survivor. Although, meeting other survivors could be the start of a thriving community, as long as there are no hostilities.
If you live near the sea, you’ll need to go inland to find fresh water or you’ll need to know how to set up a still to remove the salt. One idea is a Aquamate Solar Still. Aquamate Solar Still utilizes solar radiation to distill and collect pure drinking water from sea or impure water. The still will produce 500 to 2000 ccs (1 to 4 pints) of water per day and has been used by military and civilian services throughout the world for the past 40 years.
However you collect water, it’s safest to treat it before drinking. Another option is the Sawyer Products SP194 Two Bag Complete Water Purifier System the ultra purification system physically removes viruses from water. This system allows you to effortlessly purify 4 liters of water in as little as 10 minutes. Use this system for one person or a group of people. The larger filtration systems is Our Alexapure Pro™ water filtration system has a filtration capacity of 5,000 gallons, so with a few extra filters, you will be able to remove 99.9999% of impurities for several years.
Survival Is Only The Beginning
Once you have executed both your short and long term survival plans, and you have what you need to survive indefinitely, you can start to think about “rebuilding” or getting back to normal. This might be a nice topic for another blog series, covering clothes making, raising livestock, architecture and construction and so on. Stay tuned.
What would you add to your kit? View more… here or below sources.