Last month we ended our newsletter discussing the importance of independence and being prepared. This month, we feel it would make sense to follow up and expound on that notion. Mainly, in the context of emergencies and crisis situations such as the coronavirus pandemic and, specifically, making resources available to weather a period which could require physical isolation. It should be considered that the long-term impact of this pandemic event is somewhat unknown. Basically, we could deal with this all over again in the fall and winter. So, the quarantines, social distancing, unemployment, all of it – it is possible we have only heard the bell to end Round 1.
What we would like to lay out for you are priorities. What supplies might we need? What contingencies should be in place?
You should carefully decide for yourself the extent that you want to prepare, or how much of any given supply you want to store. Important to consider is that each person’s/family’s situation will vary. Your mobility, comfort level, and capability will differ from others. And since there is a fair amount of individual consideration prior to taking on this task and it is a good idea to take into account these factors when quantifying what (and how much) your situation requires.
Starting with necessities...
Water – your absolute priority.
Water is utterly our most vital supplement to sustain life. Our bodies can go weeks without food. It would not be a comfortable experience but without it we can still survive for quite some time on an empty stomach. When depleted of water, however, we are reduced to days depending on our environment and activity levels – and even that difference is not much. Simply put, your body needs water, and lots of it each day (approximately 48-64 fluid ounces a day for an adult), to just maintain a state of positive hydration.
A constant water supply is the most critical node of physical decline if it is lost. Preparedness and contingency plans should go beyond carrying filtration devices in your bags. Where can you resupply? What time of year is it? Are nearby creeks or rivers dry this time of year? We cannot stress this level of planning enough when it comes to water. Keep in mind that if you are spending your time hunting for resources, rather than quickly getting from point A to point B, you are behind the power curve. Do not set yourself up for surprises, failure, or wasted time recalculating due to a missed planning point.
Food – your second most important lifeline.
Storing food should be methodical and organized in a way that allows easy identification and rotation of items that are nearing expiration. If you decide to keep food storage (you should) it would be wise to store food items that are nonperishable, high in calories, and reasonably easy to transport in parsed, small, meal and snack-sized quantities (nuts, oats, jerky, and some form of trail mix works great – canned food is good too but avoid wasted weight whenever possible and stick to canned food that is high in calories). Milk, eggs, or anything that requires refrigeration or special storage conditions does not come with long term viability and degrades rapidly once it is removed from a controlled environment.
Toilet paper – toilet paper is not a priority. At all.
Medicine – and emergency medical supplies.
Getting an infection can be fatal while in austere environments. Imagine for a moment that you are chopping wood on your property, or in the middle of nowhere for that matter, to cook your food or boil some drinking water and you earn yourself a nice scrape/cut/gash/puncture wound. You must have supplies to be able to clean and dress that injury. Furthermore, somebody else in your group must have the ability to fix you up (and others) as well – we are talking about cross functional training. Do it.
For medical supplies, a quick list of essential “every day” items might be: isopropyl alcohol, sterile bandages, anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen or similar), antibiotics if you can get them through a prescription, bandage wraps for sprained or broken limbs, medical tape or reusable cord/twine, a medical grade sewing kit, and a tourniquet to stop bleeding (a bandage treated with a coagulant is good to have as well). Do not overthink it and try to imagine what you could encounter or need – allergies might be a consideration and your kit may include an antihistamine.
Quick note: these elements will sustain life, not preserve it. Understand what we are implying with this statement and keep tools at your disposal for that purpose as well.
Contingency plans… This is an important aspect, often overlooked.
Whether you follow the “2 is 1 and 1 is none” or the “Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Emergency” planning process, the fact remains that you are left with zilch if your first plan fails, or requires total abandonment, and a secondary plan was not considered, established, and rehearsed (either in your mind or physically rehearsed). At minimum, have a secondary plan in place for the critical nodes – water, food, med.
What we mean by this, by way of example, is that if the situation requires that you leave your dwelling (an action response commonly referred to as “bug out”), small portable rations of water (or even better, devices to capture and treat it to make it drinkable – such as a small portable filtration device), food, and medical supplies you can easily carry out the door in a moment’s notice are a good idea. Also, utilize other members of your party to carry that weight (e.g., your go bag shouldn’t be single “bag” just for you – it should be a set of bags, in which supplies are proportionally distributed among family members based upon their physical ability, capability, and comfort levels). Small children can carry items in small backpacks if those items are not too heavy.
If it is just you – great! The point we are getting at is maximize the resources at your disposal.
Another quick note: a situation calling for you to bug out is not ideal, but if hasty movement away from a threat or area is necessary, take a moment to fill your stomachs with as much water and food as possible. This will buy you a comfort buffer and a slight longevity boost while on the move.
CRASH COURSE: COMPLETE
Before we wrap this up, however, consider a point on the subject of “tools” that assist with the preservation of life mission objective – primary, secondary, tertiary, and emergency options should be in place. And do not skimp on tools. They must, first and foremost, be durable and reliable.
Lastly, this is an extremely nuanced subject and we have only covered the basics. There is a plethora of information out there and we would implore our readers to explore this subject further, employ basic principles of emergency planning, and make every effort to position themselves to be self-reliant during times of unexpected crisis. You are your own security detail and your own protectors. Adopt this mindset and live by it because in times of uncertainty all we can do is be certain of our plans.
Make no mistake, we are watching everything going on right now, looking forward with an objective mindset, and doing the same.
Be prepared and stay vigilant.
- AVRD, signing off