Top Things You Need for Survival in an Emergency
Anyone paying attention will realize that the world and the country are in chaos. The slow deterioration of the world’s financial structure puts everyone in jeopardy. The United States is threatening to cut defense spending just when it is needed the most. World nations almost on a daily basis are challenging our military power; they sense weakness and know the financial situation will have an effect on our military’s ability to respond. Lone hackers and nation sponsored cyber experts continually probe our infrastructure for weakness. It is not a matter of if, something happens, it is simply a matter of when.
One day you will awaken to a new normal. The planes will be grounded and trains will sit idle. The government will go into self-preservation mode, and citizens will be the last priority, you are on your own.
To Survive You Must Be Prepared
There are certain things you will need regardless of the disaster. Some people prepare for specific disasters, such as nuclear, chemical or biological attacks. However, surviving the initial attack is one thing, surviving in the days after are another. You will always need shelter, water, fire/energy and food and it does not matter what the situation is, you need these to survive. The essentials must be a priority and once you have the essentials, you can go about gathering items to improve the quality of your life or preparing for a specific crisis.
It is assumed you have one now, and you will need the tools and materials to maintain your home. Once the infrastructure is destroyed parts and materials maybe impossible to obtain. Sheltering in place is the preferred option.
You must be able to defend yourself because anyone with a shelter and supplies will be a target. Attacks from terrorist nations will typically be focused on large metropolitan areas and symbolic sites. This means there will be a mass exodus from large cities and other communities. You will encounter desperate, homeless people who will turn to violence in the name of providing for themselves and their family. You must have a home defense plan in place.
You need access to clean drinking water at all times, a water source that you control such as a dug or drilled well on your property. You may have a pond or even a small lake on your property but this does not mean you will be able to control it. Water will be a precious commodity and people will seek it out. You must be able to prevent intentional and unintentional contamination of your water source. Also keep in mind lakes and ponds not fed by underground springs can go dry in the summer months. You will need to collect gray water from roof runoff for crop irrigation and laundry. Once filtered and purified the runoff can also be used for drinking water.
Your source must be renewable and sustainable. Carrying a bucket of water from the pond or lake only works for a few days. You will need a way to pipe/pump water into your home. Solar powered water pumps and windmills are one option for pumping water or you can use elevated water storage tanks. Keep the tanks filled by low torque windmills. Once the water tanks are elevated, gravity will take over allowing you to have running water in the home.
To be prepared you should have at least a one-year supply of water. Having enough in the initial stages of the disaster allows you time to develop alternative sources. Calculate the amount needed based on three gallons/12 liters per person daily. The amount considers personal hygiene, two quarts daily for hydration, sponge baths, oral care and water for food preparation. Use food grade plastic barrels to store large amounts of water and if the barrels are filled, using tap water additional purification is not required. Water can be stored for years if sealed properly in the barrels.
Fossil-fueled generators would not be considered a sustainable nor renewable energy source, and are designed to meet short-term energy needs. Once the power grid has collapsed, resupply of fuels is not an option. Sustainable and renewable sources include wood, solar, wind and hydro energy if you have an adequate water source.
Solar panels are an option but the system must be designed for off grid use. This means you will need enough panels to supply your daily needs and not just enough to offset your current demand. Your home will need a certain number of peak sunlight hours each day as well. The system must have backup batteries to supply you on cloudy days and at night. The batteries also absorb surplus electricity that is generated. The average hours of peak sunlight daily in the United States ranges from 3.5 to 6.0 hours.
To determine the number of panels needed you need to know the yearly kilowatts your home uses, this will be on the electric bill. Once you have this figure divide it by 365 days to arrive at a daily use, then times that figure by 1,000 to determine watts needed. Once you have the watts per day divide that figure by the number of peak hours of sunlight daily to find the number of watts needed per hour. Panels are rated on how many watts they generate per hour. For example, if you need 500 watts per hour you would need five 100 hundred watt panels.
You will want to determine the peak sunrise hours for the maximum performance of your solar power production energy. Here is a great resource for determining the optimal daylight hours where you live.
Wind turbines and windmills are two more renewable and sustainable energy sources. The turbines generate electricity by using an electrical generator powered by the spinning blades. Windmills generally operate water pumps to keep watering tanks for livestock full or to fill water storage tanks for home use, and they are ideal for crop irrigation. Wind turbines will also need battery packs to absorb excessive electricity generated and then they are used to supply energy on days that have limited wind.
To be prepared have at a least a one year supply of food. This gives you time to get a garden started. You will need heirloom seeds and/or plants. Heirloom plants will develop seeds that can be harvested to produce an identical plant. Hybrid plants only produce sterile seeds. Your food source has to be renewable, which means you have to be able to gather the seeds for the next crop. You will need a garden large enough to produce a surplus beyond your daily needs. The surplus can be preserved for the winter months or off seasons.
Dehydrated foods have an extended shelf life up to 30 years in some cases, if left unopened. Dehydrated foods offer a large variety from which to choose to include meats, pasta, vegetables, fruits, gravies and soups. The food stores easily and each container holds a significant amount of meals reducing the space needed for storage. Dehydrated foods will require water in their preparation and heat source to boil water.
Canned foods are another option, but they require more storage space and the shelf life is roughly one year from date of purchase. The average person would need one can of protein, one of vegetables and one fruit per day. A family of four would need 12 cans per day for proper nutrition. This would take up storage space and it is recommended you use canned goods for quick meals to conserve on fuel or water. Canned foods can be eaten from the can. Have an adequate amount on hand but keep in the mind the storage space it would require to stockpile a year’s supply.
Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are another option. You can purchase military issued MRE’s or the civilian version. Each meal is approximately 1,200 calories and the average adult would need two per day. The shelf life is between five and seven years. Each meal is complete and typically includes condiments and eating utensils. The meals can be purchased by the case and can be stored in cold areas, such as the basement, garage or outbuildings as long as they are protected from rodent and insect infestation. The meals can be eaten from the package or the package can be submerged in hot water for heating the contents.
Hunting, fishing and trapping can be used to supplement your food supply. Keep in mind; hunting will increase because other survivors will also need a food source so hunting would not be considered a sustainable source. However, if the disaster decreased the human population by a significant amount animal populations may increase in the short term.
Livestock can be raised but you must consider water, feed and care for the livestock in your planning. Large animals such as beef or dairy cattle would require substantial acreage to feed them. Chickens and goats can be raised, and you can encourage ducks and geese to flock to your area by feeding them if you have a pond or lake on your property.
Shelter, water, energy and a food source are critical for long-term survival, and must be given top priority. It will take months after disaster strikes to begin developing alternative sources, so it is important you have an adequate supply stockpiled along with the tools, materials and equipment for gardening and raising livestock. You will also need the supplies and materials to preserve meats, produce and fruits.