Survival 103: Disaster Preparedness

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Survival 102: Applying Basic First Aid

Your home’s structure will determine how prepared you are

  • Highly insulated homes, especially insulated windows, will make handling extreme cold more bearable
  • Make sure that every load-bearing wall has strong foundations to keep it anchored in case of an earthquake

Keep everything inside your home to weather a natural disaster

  • Before anything, prepare a coin to measure your freezer’s status throughout a disaster
    1. Freeze a mug of water in the freezer
    2. Place a coin on top of the mug
    3. You will be able to tell if the freezer stopped freezing during the crisis
  • Store water in plastic containers
    • Avoid using containers that will decompose or break
      • Don’t use containers that had milk or fruit juice in them
        • Milk protein and fruit sugars are very hard to remove from containers, and they spawn bacteria easily
        • The best containers are 2-liter plastic soda bottles that have been cleaned with bleach
    • Store 1 gallon of water per person per day, and don’t forget pets
      • 2 quarts for drinking and 2 quarts for food preparation and sanitation
    • Keep at least a 3-day supply of water per person
    • Change the water out every 6 months
    • Alternately, store 4 to 6% unscented sodium hypochlorite bleach to purify the water
  • Store food in airtight containers
    • Store enough food to last 3-10 days
      • People eat about a pound of food per day, and more if they’re stressed
      • Store at least one ounce per pound of pet food for each day and for each animal
    • Don’t store rice, pasta and dry beans
      • They require a lot of water to prepare
    • Store food that’s ready to eat and won’t increase thirst
      • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables
      • Canned juices, milk, soup
      • Sugar, salt, pepper
      • High-energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
      • Energy bars
      • Ramen packets
    • Daily multivitamins
    • Special foods for infants, elderly, persons with special dietary needs
    • Include comfort/stress foods
      • Cookies
      • Hard candy
      • Sweetened cereals
      • Lollipops
      • Instant coffee and tea bags
    • Keep the right utensils near it to make it more easily accessible
      • Non-electric can opener or a utility knife
      • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
      • Plastic storage containers
    • Consume the food and restock it once a year
  • Clothing and personal care items
    • Several changes of clothes, along with 1 set of dress clothes
    • Deodorant
    • Extra sets of warm clothes (cotton isn’t good for cold weather)
    • Sunglasses
    • Lip balm
    • Camp soap
    • Extra blankets and pillows, which are good for warmth and drying off
    • Toilet paper
    • Comfortable shoes for everyone
    • Extra medications, extra glasses or contact lenses
    • Toothbrushes and toothpaste, since mouth infections are a major risk
  • Tools and supplies
    • Extra kerosene for heating
    • Ponchos and rain coats
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Light sticks, signal flares, camping lantern with extra fuel
    • Lots of duct tape, aluminum foil, rope, zip ties
    • Matches in a waterproof container, lighter, lighter fluid
    • A basic tool kit with screwdrivers, screws, pliers, hammer, nails, multitool, etc.
    • Knives & knife sharpeners, preferably a carbon steel over stainless steel
    • Camping axe
    • Paper, pencil, needles, thread
    • Water filter(s)
    • A lot of bug repellant
    • A wrench that can turn off the gas and water
    • Boric acid
      • Boric acid is great for killing fungus, tanning hides, antiseptic, insecticide and stopping fires
      • You can make a bomb with boric acid and aluminum foil in a bottle to clear ice, trigger potential avalanches or scare off wild animals
        1. Tear off about 20 strips of foil and ball them up
        2. Insert foil balls into bottle, then pour in up to 5 oz of boric acid
        3. Cap off bottle with a firm airtight cap
        4. Throw the bottle and wait 5-10 minutes, DO NOT check it if it doesn’t go off
    • Keep a clean plunger and bucket around to use as a washing machine if the power goes out
  • Bulkier items
    • Backup gas generator with extra fuel
    • Solar cells
    • A small fire extinguisher
      • Alternately, make fire extinguishers
        • Liquor bottle extinguishers
          1. Dissolve 1 lb of salt and 1/2 lb of sal-ammoniac in 2 quarts water
          2. Bottle in liquor bottles about a quart each
          3. Throw them onto flames when needed
        • Baking soda will kill any fire by throwing directly onto the flames
    • A tent large enough for your family
    • A firearm like a shotgun with shells and gunpowder or a rifle with extra ammunition
    • Hand-crank power source or other backup power source
    • Axe/machete to clear trees/bushes
    • Fishing pole/net
    • Cookware for boiling water and cooking
    • Grain grinder, either hand-powered or belt-operated
  • Communication/navigation tools
    • Battery-operated radio with extra batteries, or a crank radio
      • If you’re really interested in learning about it, get a ham radio
    • Emergency whistle
    • Satellite internet card for a laptop
    • Atlas
    • Watch set to Meridian time
    • Walkie Talkies with extra batteries and/or solar charger
  • Keep your important documents in a waterproof container in one location
    • A simple waterproof document container is a zipper-sealed bag with a piece of cardboard in it to keep the papers from creasing
    • Make sure you have all your documents together
      • Will, insurance policies, contract deeds, stocks and bonds
      • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
      • Bank account numbers
      • Credit card account numbers and companies
      • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
      • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
      • Backup hard drive/CDs of important files
      • Emergency communication plan
      • Emergency contacts
      • Survival handbooks
        • General survival books
        • How to forage and which plants are good to eat
        • Gardening tricks
    • Store cash in small denominations and traveler’s checks to last a week with it, in case the banks are closed
  • Pack everything together to be ready to quickly throw in a truck
    • Keep perishable items in a cool, dark location
    • Have them somewhere that would be relatively safe in an earthquake or flood like a closet, under a bed or in the garage
    • Put them in a large sealed container that preferably has wheels (e.g. a large newly purchased trash can)
      • Choose a size that fits your needs
      • A serves well
  • Layer everything together the right way (from bottom to top):
    • Anything that can withstand a lot of weight: copies of important documents, flashlight, radio, batteries, manual can opener, shoes, glasses, medications snacks
    • Blankets/pillows
    • Anything that needs to be cycled out: canned milk, food, water
    • First aid kit on top
  • Prepare waterproof leatherwear and shoes
    • Smear petroleum jelly into all the seams of the leather, then bake at 300 degrees for an hour
    • Rub a beeswax lubricating compound over any shoes and blow dry them for 5-10 minutes

Have a robust first aid kit and keep everything clean and stocked in backpacks

  • Wraps
    • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
    • Assorted sizes of safety pins
    • Assorted sizes of sterile gauze pads
    • Assorted fabric bandages and adhesive plastic bandages
    • Various roller bandages
    • Triangular bandages
    • First aid tape roll
    • Instant cold compresses
  • Sterilizing agents
    • Cleansing agent/soap
    • Moistened towelettes
    • Antiseptic cleaning wipes
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
    • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Non-prescription drugs
    • Pain relievers like chewable aspirin, acetominophen and ibuprofen
    • Anti-diarrhea medicines
    • Antacids
    • Syrup of ipecac and activated charcoal (to induce vomiting)
    • Laxatives
    • Hydrocortisone cream (to reduce swelling)
  • Tools
    • Scissors
    • Tweezers
    • Needle
    • Several pairs of latex gloves
    • Thermometer
    • Tongue blades/depressors
    • Medicine dropper
    • Latex-free CPR one-way valve face shield
  • Other items
    • Tissue papers
    • Dust masks
    • Sunscreen
    • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
    • First aid handbook
    • Mylar emergency blanket

Every one of your vehicles should also have emergency supplies stored in the back

  • Keep some extra food around
    • At least 6 bottles of water, cycled out every 4 months
    • At least 6 packs of beef jerky and a box of granola bars
    • Some hard candy
  • Keep some things to survive extreme weather
    • Thick blankets
    • Hand warmers
    • Gloves
    • Socks
    • Ski hat
    • Bandana
    • Hat, sunscreen
  • Keep maps and a Thomas guide on hand to navigate
    • Also put a compass in the car
  • Have a basic first aid kit
    • Bandages
    • Triple antibiotic ointment
    • Decongestant, painkillers
  • Keep a few tools available
    • Screwdrivers
    • Channel-locks
    • Crescent wrench
    • Heavy flashlight
    • Multitool
  • Have some attention-getting tools available
    • Whistle
    • Telescoping magnet
    • Road flares
    • Reflectors
  • Keep extra car maintenance items
    • Extra water & coolant
    • At least 1-3 quarts of oil and a funnel
    • Windshield washer fluid
    • Jumper cables and/or a car starter
    • An ice scraper & snow brush
    • An extra cell phone charger
  • Keep miscellaneous items that have multiple uses
    • Zip ties
    • Trash bags
    • pen, pencil and paper
    • safety pins, paperclips

When disaster strikes, don’t panic

  • Keep escape plans and disaster plans in mind
    • Every disaster is a uniquely different problem
    • Not all regions have the same disasters, so only be prepared for what can reasonably happen
    • Have Bug Out Bags for everything and give multiple meeting points for everyone in your family
  • Focus all of your energy on the next action you can do
    • You can’t do anything outside of yourself, so focus solely on that
    • This will test your ability to stay aware and meditate on the task at hand
  • Stay in condition yellow
    • Condition green is at peace, while condition red is full-on panic
    • It can best be described as “relaxed alert”

There are ways to increase your odds of surviving disasters when it strikes

  • In a disaster, your neighbors are invaluable
    • A disaster can often cut off any contact with response teams or resources
    • Connect with everyone who lives around you, since it will increase the chances of finding a team to overcome anything when a crisis comes
  • If the power goes out, take immediate action
    • Power off all electronic devices to ensure they’re ready for a crisis
    • Fill the freezer with containers filled with water to keep the fridge cool
    • Check that the land phone lines are still active
  • Don’t trust your tap water for drinking, since the water may become corrupted from the crisis or can shut off completely
    • If you see a disaster coming that can take out the water lines, fill up all of your sinks and bathtub
      • In a major emergency, bathtub and sink water can be boiled for drinking
      • You can take the water out of the back of the toilet, but the toilet bowl water is highly contaminated
    • Immediately turn off the water and sewage lines
    • After turning off the lines, you can store the water in your pipes by turning the water spigot up to its highest level
    • A great source of water is your hot water heater
      1. Ensure that you’ve turned off all electricity and gas
      2. Open the drain at the bottom of the tank
      3. Turn the water intake valve in the tank, then turn on the hot water faucet
  • Memorize the approximate shelf lives of food to prevent disease from eating spoiled food
    • If you ever need to, bugs are a great source of protein and most flying bugs are perfectly healthy to eat
  • Create a portable cooler for what you do want to store
    1. Put a smaller pot inside a bigger pot
    2. Fill the space in between with wet sand
    3. Cover the top with a wet cloth
  • Learn and prepare beforehand to make fire
    • Fire provides heat for shelter, cooking for food, a signal and an opportunity for sterilization
    • Learn the basics of making a fire
      1. Prepare the fuel
        • Every material that can be burned has a different flash point (the temperature that the material lights on fire)
          • High flash point objects take a long time to burn, but are very hard to ignite and are best for a fire that lasts several hours
          • Low flash point objects burn quickly, so stock up for a prolonged burn
      2. Prepare the kindling to start the fire
        • Make the kindling into a “nest” to allow the fire to start the fastest, with the ignition happening at the center of the nest
        • There are many types of kindling that can be improvised
          • Doritos or potato chips
          • Dryer lint
          • WD-40 fluid
          • Most aerosol products
          • Twisted bits of paper
        • You can create more advanced firestarters
          • Stuff empty toilet paper rolls with dryer lint
          • Place pieces of charcoal in a cardboard egg carton
          • Dip cotton swabs in wax
      3. Create an ignition source
        • This can be a spark, reflected light or simply a lot of focused heat
          • Use a magnifying glass to focus light on a point
            • Chip a clear piece of ice into a rough sphere, smooth it with gloved hands, then use it as a lens
            • Rub chocolate into the bottom of a soda can until it shines with a cloth
          • Use aluminum foil to focus light
          • Put a drop of water on the inside of a lens from a pair of glasses to focus sunlight
        • If you can plan ahead, keep matches available
          • Dip matches in hot candle wax to make them waterproof
          • Keep matches dry
            • Slip them inside a flashlight
            • Wrap them in aluminum foil
            • Attach sandpaper on top of a small plastic container and put matches inside it
          • To light a match in the wind, cut thin shavings toward the match head before lighting to make it flare up
    • Learn how to improvise candles and lanterns when you need
      • Use the inside of a lemon
      • Crayons with the paper still on them can burn for up to 30 minutes
      • Use an orange by soaking an orange in olive oil for 3 minutes, then making a wick out of the stem of the inside of it
      • Fill a travel container with any kind of oil and stick a rope or cloth in it, then seal it with wax, an upside down wrench socket or anything else non-flammable
      • Stab a thin enough rope through a can of shortening
  • In cold weather
    • If you’re stuck in the snow use cat litter, sand or the car’s floor mats to gain traction
    • Start any vehicles you intend to run at least once every 7 hours to keep away the frost in extremely cold weather
    • Don’t eat snow to hydrate yourself since it lowers your body temperature too much, melt the snow first
  • If you’re leaving your house
    • Board up all your windows and doors in a tornado or hurricane to keep high winds and water from destroying everything
Next: Survival 201: Preparedness For Government Over-Reach