Our focus today is emergency survival planning. Preppers often lean into long-term planning. They build on strategies for the stashing and storage of long term durable goods, and shelf-stable supplies. It’s understandable. Many of the scenarios imagined require more than 3 days’ supplies until rescuers arrive. The hard reality is that a catastrophic event is likely to leave us on our own, and relying on ourselves and perhaps the few who surround us for our very survival. We have a lot to cover in this regard, and together we will!
For today’s class notes, we’re going to focus on a much shorter survival time horizon. In order to survive across long stretches without aid or assistance, we must first survive the acute phase of a serious crisis.
Remember the Rule of 3’s.
* You cannot be more than 3 minutes without breathable air.
* You cannot be more than 3 days without drinkable water.
* You cannot be more than 3 weeks without food.
In order to survive in the longer run, you must survive the first 3 minutes, the first 3 days, and the first 3 weeks.
Building on the Weekend Homework, let’s take the opportunity this week to look at the steps you can take to improve your survival odds in the early phase of a disaster. The goal is success.
Let’s get to it.
You cannot be more than 3 minutes without breathable air.
In the Age of Covid, paper masks come to mind, but these are relatively ineffective by comparison to other options. You might consider and research N-95 quality disposable masks alongside more durable equipment including emergency escape respirators, cartridge-based reusable respirators, supplied-air systems (SAR), and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
Be sure that you have access to your protective equipment. In an emergency that compromises breathable air, your PPE will serve no good purpose sitting in a box in the attic or garage.
You cannot be more than 3 days without drinkable water.
Water is essential to life. Those who are without it become refugees within 3 days. Periods of crisis are complicated enough by virtue of their very nature. Never complicate further any crisis when complication can be prevented with a few preventative steps. Remember! Water is essential to life.
Always have clean water in good supply, and close at hand. Keep a solid stash of bottled water, and rotate through its use much the same way you would rotate through the shelf-stable foods kept in your home pantry.
Add water filtration straws to your BOB or go-bag.
Keep emergency filters and the equipment needed to boil water. Be sure you have a gas powered burner as a back-up to electric appliances. Always know how to use your equipment safely, be sure it is in good working order, and have replacement parts or back-ups. A portable camp-stove is a very good option.
Have a supply of unscented bleach and water-purification tablets on hand as well.
The CDC has helpful information and instructions which make an excellent review: Making Water Safe in an Emergency
You cannot be more than 3 weeks without food.
Shelf stable food is sustaining through a time of crisis – physically, and psychologically too. There are also many options available from storage strategies used for familiar foods found in a typical grocery store to “just add water” meals packaged for much longer time horizons.
You might use a Food Saver system to vacuum pack your stores, or want to try dry oven canning to extend the shelf-life of dried beans.
Food grade buckets with good quality screw-top lids combined with silica gel packets and oxygen absorbers are good solutions.
A number of long term survival food suppliers package complete meal plans in stackable containers for ready and convenient use. Just tuck ‘em away until you need ‘em.
Also a couple of supplemental suggestions… Keep salt on hand, and dried herbs for flavor. Try to achieve diversity of food for balanced nutrition and a variety of flavors. Tasty snacks are helpful alongside full meals. Calculate the amount of food you’ll need generously. Emergency situations often call for a lot of physical activity, and the expenditure of calories. How about your pets? They count on you for their very survival, and must be considered in your preparedness planning.
Be prepared as well to help others. You may need the capacity to help someone outside your immediate household. Disasters come with tremendous loss – of life, of property, of survival supplies. Even those who are prepared may suffer losses, and may need the help of others willing to help them build or rebuild their survival bridges from catastrophe to recovery.
Preparedness should not be a lifestyle pursued by the few, but instead by the many. It should be as much a part of our thinking and planning as is morning coffee or the weekend BBQ. Preparedness should be part of and ingrained within our culture. We have done a great disservice to ourselves, and generations to come, in not making it so. It’s time to turn this around, and make true the course of human civilization.
It’s time to get started.