Going back to the Basics: a Prepping 101 refresher course
With the influx of new members to the site, it’s possible that we’re overlooking some of the basics that were already covered before they joined us. That means it’s time for a review of the basics to prepping.
One of the first items we talked about was the Survival Rule of Three, the 10 Essentials and 15 Criticals. If anyone is an avid outdoorsman, they usually know of the 10 Essentials but maybe not so much about the 15 Criticals.
Why would we discuss something that is more geared towards outdoor activity?
When you plan for a BOB, there is an overlap between preparedness and outdoor survival. The overlap only occurs because the BOB is a pack that one would use for camping and hiking and will have similar items used for those activities. If your prep planning consists of a BOB that means you plan to evacuate due to the severity of the event. That also means that you will most likely be walking (hiking) and potentially spending time out of doors (camping). Becoming familiar with these subjects will greatly assist you when creating a BOB and an evacuation plan.
What is commonly overlooked when discussing the 10 Essentials is the actual container, bag, or pack that will be used to contain your supplies and essential gear. Starting at zero or before the #1 if you insist that zero isn’t really a number, we have the pack.
The pack you choose will depend on your budget. That does not mean that some will have overpriced packs and others will be stuck with a Hello Kitty daypack. This is not a competition. What this means is you need to determine what you are using this pack for and what is comfortable for you to spend. In this case, cost does not always equal quality. Later in this topic, there will be a discussion about prepping on a budget.
One of the best resources to find a quality, durable pack is either a local surplus store (become familiar with condition codes and the product you’re seeking if you go this route) or online resources like Craigslist and Major Surplus and Survival or some site that is similar. Keep in mind your budgetary constraints. A military surplus pack is durable and, in most cases, waterproof. However, don’t take it for granted that a surplus pack still retains the waterproof ability or that something is not wrong with it. That is where you begin your research. The surplus market is currently flooded with all kinds of packs from patrol size to long range duration size and style of pack. As this is a BOB, color options are up to you as most of the packs that make up the surplus glut are the failed camouflage pattern of ACU.
Surplus military packs will be in some kind of related military color, green, woodland camouflage, tan for the desert, black, etc. Up to you to determine what will work for you based on your plans, your body style and your operational needs and requirements.
Here we go with the basic list of the 10 Essentials starting with:
1. Fire. In any situation where you need to evacuate, at some point you’ll want to have a warm meal or warm up in front of a fire. The means to create a fire can be crucial. You need some kind of method to start a fire and preferably, more than one method, a back-up, of doing so. Matches, lighter, etc.
2. Fire Starter. Besides matches you need some other method to assist the matches with starting a fire. That means something like a fire nugget, used dryer lint, used dryer sheets and lint, toilet paper tubes filled with sawdust and sealed with wax, cardboard egg carton cups filled with sawdust and sealed with wax or some other proven method that will start a fire. Don’t forget your fire nugget, ferro rod, flint/steel, etc.
3. Map. Knowing where you’re going is important. Knowing your area is extremely important. In the event that you are forced to evacuate, you should know where you’re going and what lies ahead on your route of travel. One way to know if you’ll be traversing hills and crossing rivers is to consider making your own topographical map of the area(s) you’ll be moving through. Here’s a link on how to do that:
4. Compass. Map and Compass are two skills you should know how to use. They both work in conjunction with each other and come in handy in the event you don’t have a GPS.
5. Lighting. Flashlight, chemlights, some form of light. If you want to keep a flashlight in your gear, always store the batteries outside of the device. Going one step further, locate a hand crank flashlight so you don’t need to worry about batteries. Don’t forget to include an extra bulb. Chemical light sticks (Cyalume) can be located in most stores inside their camping, hunting, fishing section and also at some surplus stores. The best time to purchase this type of lighting is just after Halloween, November 1. The best method to transport them so they don’t get prematurely activated is to go the travel section of any store, usually located near the personal needs area, and purchase the round, travel tooth brush holders. Cyalume break and shake chemical light sticks fit quite nicely inside that type of container
6. Food. This one is kind of a duh. In the event of an evacuation, physiological changes happen to your body or what some might refer to as the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome. Your adrenal glands are pumping and your body is burning up calories. You need to replace those calories and that means fuel so food, energy bars, comfort food, MRE packets, etc, are something you’re going to want to add to your BOB. Don’t add in salty foods as those are thirst inducing and carrying large amounts of water will increase the weight of your BOB.
7. Shelter/clothing. Some of us live in a temperate zone where the temp changes won’t require us to wear parkas in the winter and shorts in the summer. But, not all of us live somewhere like that. Clothing can be shelter and shelter can be clothing depending on what the item is. A poncho can be both shelter and clothing. Add in a poncho liner if you went with a military surplus poncho/shelter half, you then have insulated clothing and shelter. Checking and inspecting the contents of your BOB will mean looking at the food you might have packed in there and replacing it when it nears its best by/use by dates, replace any batteries, and potentially replacing clothing that might be packed inside due to a change of seasons.
8. Sunglasses/protective eyewear. Yes, sunglasses. We have to look cool when we’re evacuating. Actually, sunglasses, if you were to purchase the tinted lens, 100% UV protective eye wear sold at some hardware stores in the outdoor machine section; you’ll be providing protection to your eyes not just from the sun but also from flying debris. One never knows what one might encounter so having some kind of wraparound protective eye wear is always a good thing.
9. First Aid. You never know what might happen so having a First Aid kit, tailored to your needs, is essential. Some of us are familiar with what is known as an IFAK or Individual First Aid Kit or Improved First Aid Kit. However, an IFAK is normally something that is small and falls into the EDC (Every Day Carry) realm of prepping. The inclusion of a comprehensive First Aid Kit is not something to overlook.
10. Knife or some kind of multi-tool. A blade is definitely essential as you will need it to cut rope, shave wood down into tinder, and generally be useful in your travels. When seeking a worthy blade addition to you kit, look for a knife that is a lock blade and/or a multi-tool where the primary working attachments/blades lock in place to prevent fold back injury. For more information, see the topic we did about Blades and the follow on topic about sheathes.
There you have it, the 10 Essentials. Of course, you can go more in depth with any of these items as this is just a very basic list. There is an overlap between these Essentials and the 15 Criticals as you’ll see.
Here are the 15 Criticals, these criticals work in conjunction with the 10 Essentials.
1. Clothing. Wait, this was already discussed above. Sure it was. But clothing is also shelter. Waterproof, durable outdoor clothing, outwear, is not to be overlooked. This can include a hat like a wide brimmed hat or a boonie hat, a poncho or even a Gore-Tex pullover. Don’t forget socks, they’re useful for more than putting on your foot. You can wrap items in them to prevent those items from making noise while moving or wear them on your hands as field expedient mittens. Dress for the weather. That is always important.
2. Footwear. Why this isn’t listed under the 10 Essentials, one will never know. Proper footwear needs to provide traction, support and protection. This means some kind of hiking boot or shoe. If you have weak ankles, get a boot that will provide support. Consider adding cushion insoles, foot powder and blister care. In the event that you are using your BOB, that means you’re most likely walking. Your feet are your primary source of locomotion. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you. It’s recommended that if you purchase boots, you go a half size up to accommodate boot socks which are thicker than ‘normal’ socks. Whatever footwear you decide to go with, make sure you wear them around the house with boot socks to break them in. You don’t want to wait until a SHTF moment to break in a new pair of boots.
3. Cooking Utensils. Within the 10 Essentials we have fire. But, how will you eat if you have no utensils? Of course hands were invented before flatware but who wants to shovel beans into your mouth with your fingers? Hit up your local camping store or a Wal-mart and get a set of camping utensils, knife, fork, spoon, to use. Back up those utensils with sporks from Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s or any other restaurant that offers plastic flatware. Don’t forget the taco sauce, hand-wipes, and ketchup from those same establishments. Zip-lock bags with small packets of condiments, flatware, and hand wipes are a welcome addition.
4. Sunscreeen/chapstick. No matter where you are, the sun will come out. Having adequate sunscreen for the tops of your ears, back of your neck, arms, legs, and nose is extremely beneficial. Don’t forget the chapstick for your lips. Split, dry lips are painful when eating and drinking. Lip balm aka chapstick can be found at the Dollar Store/Tree, usually in a 3 pack. For sunscreen, look at the baby aisle in any retail store and get the highest SPF rating and largest bottle they have. Or several small bottles if the price is within your budget.
5. Personal Needs. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘does a bear shit in the woods?’ This is a fact of life and another subject where the line between outdoor survival and preparedness blur together. You’re going to want to include toilet paper in your BOB as well as any other items that you require. Think feminine hygiene items, baby powder, hand sanitizer, garbage bags for the obvious reason, eye glass repair kits (note the plural as those kits also work for sunglasses and The Dollar Store has those kits, imagine that), deodorant, travel size shampoo, or if you want to go the extra mile, look for the waterless shampoo that some hospitals use. Don’t forget insect repellent and a sewing kit.
6. PPE: Hat, Gloves, Respiratory. Personal Protective Equipment. Sunglasses were mentioned, now we take that a step further. A hat to cover your head is required if the sun is out. Something wide brimmed and useful like a safari or boonie style that will provide shade and protection so you don’t sunburn your neck, top of your head or ears. It also keeps the majority of the rain off. Some kind of stocking hat comes in handy when the sun and temperatures go down. Maybe even a helmet depending on your plans. Sunglasses or tinted glasses that fit over your prescription glasses should also be on your list if you are a prescription eye glass wearer. For those of us who don’t wear prescription glasses, some nice protective glasses, 100% UV/UVA, will work. Not knowing what event precipitates your use of the BOB, proper eyewear that provides protection not only from the sun but from swirling debris is recommended. Gloves to protect your hands from cold, wind, rain or sharp objects could be worn or stored in your BOB. Obviously, winter gloves are handy but leather work gloves will protect your hands if you need to move something or enter/exit a building in a non-conventional method. That brings us to respiratory. When the wind blows, debris blows with it. If there is a dust storm or something similar, you’ll want at least a M95 mask to prevent breathing in that garbage. These masks can be found at most hardware stores, I know Home Depot has M95, M100, and M110 masks in their paint area.
7. Sleeping bag and mat. I know kind of a no brainer. A sleeping bag is essential but not part of the 10 Essentials. Go figure. Every BOB should have some kind of sleeping item. Sleeping bags, mummy configuration, work best as they are normally multi-climate and temp range. Only you will know what kind to get as only you live in your area and, due to your own research, know the weather there. However, if you included the poncho liner from Number 7 of the 10 Essentials, you’re actually set for a sleeping bag. Some kind of sleeping mat that is waterproof like an Iso-mat (also found at surplus stores), or even a yoga mat would work. This is something that you have to decide on your own what type of supplies you’ll be packing for sleeping.
8. Cutting Equipment. This is not a knife. These items might be a folding bow saw, a machete, a chain saw (this is a hand saw made from a chainsaw chain not the actual power tool), hatchet or ‘combat’ tomahawk. These items are in addition to the knife and multi-tool that you already have as part of the 10 Essentials. Don’t forget the sharpening stone/rod for these items and any knives you may have with you. Stay away from the wire ‘survival saw’ that some stores and online retailers offer. They break very easy and are hell on the fingers and hands.
9. Map and Compass. Wait; wasn’t this already covered within the 10 Essentials? This is the overlap/repetition I mentioned. This is a back up to the items you already have. Maps can get lost, torn, worn out. Compasses can break when dropped, get lost or even left behind. Having a back up falls under the ‘Two is one, one is none’ concept. Important items in your BOB will need to have a back up or replacement. Another map and compass is exactly that. Make sure that all persons in your group/family are familiar with a map and compass. If a family of four all carried a map and compass, that far exceeds the ‘Two is one, one is none’. A length of 550 cord tied to the compass and formed into a large loop can be worn around your neck to prevent a compass from being lost.
10. Spare parts. Things wear out and shit happens. Having some small kit with spare parts is critical to include. Some of these parts could be an extra flashlight bulb (that means in addition to the one already packed in your BOB), replacement Fas-tec buckles for your pack or other equipment, patch kits for shoes/boots, bicycle tire repair kit for your shelter half if you went with the military surplus poncho, additional 50 feet of 550 cord, another pair of sunglasses/protective/prescription glasses, duct tape and/or rigger’s tape (these rolls can be smashed flat. You can find duct tape at the Dollar Store/Tree and all you need to do is push or cut out the plastic spool in the middle and flatten the roll), batteries, etc. This would include anything you want to add that is not already mentioned that would assist in repairing any of the items you currently have packed or plan to take with you.
11. Shelter. Hold on, this was already covered. Wasn’t it? Sure it was. This is additional shelter material that you may include to provide a complete shelter. What that means is either you include another shelter half to connect both together or a family tent, or several small tents or tarps depending on the size of your group. As this is listed under Criticals and not Essentials, it’s your choice what, if anything, to add.
12. Communications. Communication comes in all forms but does not include a cell phone in this instance. Family Radio System (FRS)/GMRS is just one option as long as the batteries and units are charged prior to a need to use your BOB event. Extra batteries for these items fall under Number 10: Spare Parts. Signal mirrors, flare guns, and whistles are also a form of communication. Whatever you decide to go with, make sure you add in any additional equipment and training that will be required to operate and support the system.
13. Clothing. Hey, wait a minute, that’s the same as Number 1: Clothing. Yes, it is. But, this is item specific clothing for your immediate region and additional items you may have overlooked. Sure, hats can be considered clothing as well as gloves and somewhere in the 10 Essentials, there was a mention of, socks. Yes, socks. Extra, cushion sole socks can be used to wrap and cushion items within your pack. Not only are they useful for that purpose but, will wonders never cease, you can use them for their intended purpose. Besides, who wants to wear the same underwear for a week?
14. Oral Rehydration. This is an optional addition but one should at least consider this under the First Aid heading. Water is important but what if someone in your party, or yourself, gets sick? Vomiting and/or diarrhea are a guaranteed trip down the road to dehydration. In a SHTF event, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to pop on down to the local store and grab some Pedia-lite. That means you should have a method of rehydrating someone who has experienced vomiting and/or diarrhea. Here is a simple, proven recipe that can be whipped up at home or in the field using items you have in your BOB.
Preparing 1 (one) Liter solution using Salt, Sugar and Water.
Mix an oral rehydration solution using the following recipe.
1.Six (6) level teaspoons of Sugar
2.Half (1/2) level teaspoon of Salt
3.One Liter of clean drinking or boiled water and then cooled - 5 cupfuls (each cup is about 200 ml.)
1.Stir the mixture until the salt and sugar dissolve.
Oral rehydration will make the difference between life and death with many serious diarrheal illnesses. Please make sure you have this formula somewhere on your shelves and that you have adequate stockpiles of salt and sugar. Drinks like juice and Gatorade are fine to use with water until your stores run out. There are many other formulas out there; but this one is simple and easy with just three ingredients.
15. Tie up the loose ends. This is where we look back at the lists above and determine what was left out or overlooked. Water was not listed in either the Essentials or the Criticals. You may want to include a CamelBak reservoir or some kind of canteen that you can fill up before evacuating. You should also know all the sources of water you’ll be passing by on your evacuation route so you can refill. Some of these loose ends might be personal documents stored in a waterproof container. Passports and other forms of identification, banking info and paper money in small denominations along with some change, all stored in some kind of waterproof container. How about a survival candle? Or several candles depending on their size? Or additional firestarters? Sure, we have the means of starting a fire but a real fire starter? Using a ferro-cerium rod, matches, etc., to start a fire is one thing but having something that is guaranteed to work with any kind of kindling and have a use besides lighting a fire? How about a fire nugget? This is where you lean back, maybe scratch your head and ask wtf? A fire nugget is simple to make, in fact, once you get the hang of it, you can pump a few hundred in a day. Again, this is the blurry line between preparedness and wilderness survival.
The Fire Nugget
Here’s what you need to make fire nuggets. One package of tin foil (go cheap and get it from the Dollar Store), one jar of Vaseline petroleum jelly, one bag of medium or large cotton balls. Best of all, these supplies can be found at the Dollar Store/Tree. Unroll the sheet of tinfoil about 6 inches so you have a strip the length of the box but only 6 inches wide. Separate that strip into as many 4”x4” squares as you can. Open the bag of cotton balls and the jar of Vaseline.
Take 1-2 cotton balls and saturate them in the Vaseline until thoroughly coated.
Place that blob of Vaseline soaked cotton in the middle of one of the squares of tinfoil.
Carefully fold the tinfoil around the cotton balls until you have a square and it’s completely sealed.
Flatten if necessary but watch for squirting.
You now have a fire nugget.
To use, take a knife and make an X on one side. Using the needle nose pliers attachment that, most if not all, multi-tools have, spread open the tinfoil and slightly pull the cotton out to form a wick. Now, place the opened nugget where you want a fire, have your kindling ready and using matches, a lighter, or a ferro-rod, ignite the cotton. Place your kindling over the flame and build your fire from that point on. You can also use a fire nugget as an emergency candle. I’ve had one last for 4 hours in that capacity.
If you have any old 35mm film canisters or empty pill bottles, you can skip the tinfoil part and just soak the cotton balls in Vaseline and pack them into those canisters, removing 1 or 2 at a time when you need to make a fire.
As you can see, the 10 Essentials and the 15 Criticals have overlap and built-in redundancy. This takes into account breakage and losses. Remember Two is one, one is none.
Extra items or what some might call ‘snivel gear’ can be added to the list as needed or based on personal preference. These items are what you feel you need to make it more comfortable during your travel time. Think personal items, custom First Aid items, that kind of thing. The options are really limitless only based on what you want to carry. These items could be a shower curtain for shelter and/or water collection, condoms for water collection (non-lubricated work best), an extra flattened roll of rigger’s tape or duct tape, plastic pallet covers for shelter, and the list could go on and on.
That recaps the 10 Essentials and the 15 Criticals. This is a very general and basic list for those subjects. Remember, not everyone will need a BOB and not every event will require an evacuation. It’s up to you to know what happens, will happen, or has a very solid probability of happening in your area so you can prepare for those events. Choose the one event that is major to you and focus on that. But, be realistic about it. By doing so, you can prepare generally for all the other events. Key to remember, there is no possibly way to prepare for every event but it is possible to be generally prepared for most of the events that happen with some frequency or seasonally.
If you can visualize it happening tomorrow, why not prepare for it today?
Here is the Survival Rule of Three:
You can live 3 minutes without oxygen
You can live 3 hours without shelter
You can live 3 days without water
You can live 3 weeks without food
The Survival Rule of Three only applies to a real-world, survival situation. If you go back over the items listed in the 10 Essentials and 15 Criticals, you will see that as long as you maintain the minimum as listed, you’ll be within the Survival Rule of Three. Shelter, food, water, are all covered within the 10 and 15 with overlap to handle problems that may arise.
That brings us to the next subject within this topic:
Prepping on a budget
We all have a budget we need to adhere to, that is a fact of life. Preparedness or Prepping can eat into that budget quite a bit if you let it. If you google Prepping the information overload is incredible. To just look at some of these high-speed sites and see what they offer can make even the most frugal prepper’s mouth water with the anticipation of getting some cool, high-speed gear.
But, do you really need that gear or do you just want it because it looks cool?
Whoa there. Put the brakes on. We’re prepping with a budget in mind. That means that you don’t want to spend hard earned money on some ‘flash in the pan’ advertised gear that you can pick up somewhere else for far less. Side note: If any of your gear is from The Sharper Image, instant fail on your part.
What you need to look at are other sources that you can acquire gear and supplies from that don’t eat into your proscribed budget in an overly painful way. The less painful, the better. Also consider that you don’t need everything all at once and some items you can make yourself (fire nuggets and waterproof matches).
Prepping takes times, results are more long term than instant gratification.
I’m all for getting quality gear. Quality usually means that the item will last and there’s some kind of warranty behind it in the event it fails. Sure, following a major SHTF event, the likelihood of getting in touch with a company to request a warranty replacement is pretty slim. But, until such an event occurs, you’re set.
Personally, I like to consider myself a bargain hunter. I will browse pawn shops, garage sales and flea markets to locate gear for prepping. Craigslist is a good place to find items. The preference for Craigslist is to look under Sporting and/or Farm and Garden. Even the Free section is worth looking into. Of course, the odds of finding something like SOG, Leatherman or Gerber are about 50/50 but there is a chance that you can find something on there that will assist you with your preps. Side note, a ferro-cerium rod can be purchased in bulk from welding supply stores and will outlast and out-perform any conventional magnesium fire starter. Ferro rods, in a standard bundle, run less than $5.00. That bundle will see you through for decades. Not kidding. Once you cut them down into smaller sections, about 4”-6” in length, you’ll have enough to outfit your entire family, including all relatives, close and distant, many times over.
Another source to look at for basic preps is the Dollar Store. The name says it all. Everything inside is a Dollar, literally. Fire nugget making material can be found here as well as wooden stick matches and the means to make them waterproof. And it might cost you less than $5.00 to get all those supplies. You can even order bulk and pick it up at the store for a handling fee. Keep that in mind for some basic First Aid and sanitation supplies. That alone makes some items there worthwhile to include on your shopping list. Making waterproof matches is just as simple as making fire nuggets. A box of wooden stick matches and any kind of nail polish. Paint the striker heads with the polish and you’ve just made those matches waterproof. Store them in empty pill bottles or other such waterproof containers along with an emery board cut in half, these are also at the Dollar Store, same aisle as the nail polish, and you now have a means to strike that match without having a need to retain the cardboard box. Don’t forget year end clearance sales or going out of business sales at any retailer that carries hunting, hiking, camping supplies.
The point of this post is about budgeting and prepping and how those two topics have to come to a meeting point and work within their shared parameters. Prepping on a budget is simple and fun once you start thinking a little out of the box.
While mentioning out of the box, recently, I was made aware that there are sites out there that can ship you a gear/supply box monthly for a fee. We’ve discussed this previously though not in an official chat about how prepping is not a ‘one size fits all’ concept. No one company or person can sell you a program that contains all the info, gear, and supplies you need just because they’re a smooth snake oil salesman. The odds of those items, picked out by someone who does not live in your area, being in any way useful is pretty slim. Only you will know what you need. Only you are familiar with what happens in your part of the world, and only you know what you’re prepping for.
To me, and this is just my opinion for what that’s worth, is that you are the only person who really knows what level of preparedness you plan to attain. Signing up for some monthly subscription service that sends you what some stooge in a warehouse tosses into a box and slaps a mailing label on is not the way to go. No matter how well the company tries to sell their service or what they claim to offer in each box, the monthly financial expenditure for that service would be better spent on gear that you personally pick out and know you need. Do you really think that minimum wage Larry in shipping has a clue about what you’re prepping for? Does he have some inside access to your financial status that you don’t know about?
Of course he doesn’t.
You know what you’re working with and you know what you’re planning for. No one else knows unless they’re in your family or in your prep group. (yeah, future topic right there, forming a preparedness group.)
Please don’t needlessly waste finite financial resources on something that comes to you via a monthly subscription service no matter how good it may look.
To get the whole concept of prepping you have to literally understand just how far you can stretch your budget by not wasting it on some garbage. There is no easy way or shortcut to prepping, and signing up for some monthly subscription in the hopes that it will assist you with whatever is sent, is not the way to go. You have to learn how to be extremely frugal, how to spend a dime and get $.09 back in change.
If you have never visited a garage sale, rummage sales, estate sales or flea markets, start looking in the papers. Most of these events take place over a weekend. Pay attention to the ads, locations, and what’s offered if that’s in the ad. Learn the drive-by method of garage sales. If there isn’t product fully visible when you roll by, keep on rolling. Look for neighborhood garage sales. Not only are these prime locations to find camping gear, they are also prime locations to find items like grain mills, hand tools, fishing supplies, communications equipment, and even gun safes. They are also prime fodder to find barter materials. Don’t forget that the price on most items at a garage sale is negotiable. Barter with the person and see how low they’ll go. As you can guess, the subject of barter will be a future Survival Chat topic.
There is no rule that states as a prepper you are required to pay full price for any of your gear. Nor is there a rule that says if the item has been used and still in good shape that you shouldn’t consider it. Being frugal and prepping go hand in hand.
We all have a budget that we strive to live within. Bargain shopping is one way to do that. Get creative and understand what you’re looking for and where you might find it. Don’t discount Goodwill as they now have online auctions similar to Ebay.
That brings us to: the recap.
To recap what we covered. If you feel that you live in an area that will require you to have a BOB due to an event that will force you to evacuate, then plan for that instance and have a place to go. You can’t just shoulder your BOB and head out on a walkabout. You need to have a plan that lists locations that you will head for based on the severity of the event. Never put all your eggs in one basket. If you need to evacuate, have more than one location to head for. That only makes sense. Two is one, one is none. That means you need at minimum, three locations that you could go to in the event you’re forced to evacuate. (Guess what? A Bug Out Location, BOL, is going to be another future topic.)
If your planning does not include evacuation, then you should consider creating a home Emergency kit. An E-kit is basically a BOB for the house. You’re not picking up the house and carrying it with you and your home is not grabbing the BOB and running away from you. A home Emergency kit or E-kit is designed for those people who know that they won’t be required to evacuate and are going to shelter in place. First we have to understand the overall concept of Shelter in place.
Shelter-in-Place and the home Emergency Kit
In some emergency situations staying put might be the best option. Sheltering-in-place means to take temporary protection in a structure or vehicle typically your workplace or residence or even your car. I mention ‘temporary’ as in most cases, the aftermath of some disasters will severely compromise the integrity of a structure as well as roadways. Taking shelter in your car is an extreme last resort and very temporary at best. But, when TSHTF there may not be very many other options. (Vehicle emergency kits and a Get Home Bag, GHB, will also be a future topic for review.) This post is focusing on taking shelter in your residence.
Preparing your residence for this eventuality is your responsibility.
Obviously common sense comes to mind when one decides to Shelter in Place. Several factors also come into play if you decide to stay in place. Primarily, you need to be focused on whether the existing structure you’re in is secure enough or can be made secure enough to withstand whatever the event may be. There are actually three sub-categories within the Shelter-in-place definition.
Shelter up is where you fall back to the upper floors of the structure such as the 2nd floor or attic, in the event of flooding. That means that you should also have a way out of the attic or from the second floor in the event the flooding becomes a hazard to your staying in that location.
Shelter in is where you remain on the main or ground floor of the structure and attempt to create a barrier between you and a potentially hazardous atmosphere outside. The same method that is used to cut wood to cover doors and windows in hurricane prone areas can be used to cut plastic sheeting.
Shelter down is when there is a tornado or high wind warning and the safest location would be a basement or interior room with few windows and doors like a bathroom.
The problems with at least two of these methods are that the majority of your supplies will be on the main floor or basement of your residence and you’ll be cut off from them if the event lasts beyond the predicted time frame.
You will need to adjust your shelter-in-place procedures according to the type of structure you reside in. For example, if you live in a high-rise apartment, you will need to go to the base or ground level of the apartment complex or possibly the parking garage if so equipped, instead of staying in your actual apartment during a tornado alert (Shelter Down). If there is a basement laundry or storage area, that would be a good place to head to.
The Home Emergency Kit (E-Kit)
This is where a home E-kit comes into play. A shelter-in-place E-kit is a small kit that contains enough equipment and supplies to last you for at least 5 days (More is always better but space and weight considerations come into play with larger kits). What makes this particular kit different is that it’s designed for use inside a structure and would rarely, if ever, be used outside that structure. But, if you’re in an apartment building and evac in a shelter down event, you might end up sharing your supplies (unwillingly) with the sheeple that don’t have an E-kit.
Keep that in mind.
The major benefit of sheltering in place is the close proximity to the rest of your supplies and that in most cases the event that requires you to remain inside is normally short-lived.
Referring back to the core topic behind this group, there was a topic that was a list of items that could be gathered over a 24 week time frame (the 24 Weeks of Preparedness post). If you divided those items in half and placed half into sturdy containers, not cardboard boxes, you could move those containers with you if you had to shelter up or down. My preference for this is the Rubbermaid Roughneck containers as they have a smooth bottom, can be locked and slide on carpeting fairly easy. Of course any container will do as long as it’s easily moved and sturdy enough to handle the movement. Even a hard sided rolling suitcase or a trunk would work in this situation. This makes it quick and easy for just about anyone to be able to move supplies in a hurry requiring only some assistance to get them upstairs or down.
Some preferences go towards the use a gym bag, a military surplus duffle bag or some kind of pre-packaged kit. As with all stored supplies, you will need to check them every 3-6 months and change out expired, swollen or dented cans. Never store batteries inside any of the electrical devices like flashlights or radios that may be inside your home E-kit.
You should know how to turn off the utilities such as water, gas, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and close and secure all doors, windows, vents and other exterior openings.
Making a home E-kit is really simple. You’re not going to be storing too much canned food inside if any at all. The basics for such a kit could contain a hand crank radio, Cyalume light sticks, candles, matches for the candles, board games, a deck of cards, and maybe even some sleeping bags. Camping equipment like sleeping bags can be stored in the same closet as this kit. Any kind of alternate heat or cooking source should be a model that can be used indoors. If that isn’t in the budget, then for cooking, a balcony or backyard BBQ could work as long as you leave it outside when in use. Lists for home E-Kits can be found online and at the Ready.gov website. Expect the gambit to run from extremely basic, Ready.gov, to totally itemized.
This topic has been a basic review, stress placed on the basic part. More information can be found inside the Preparedness and Survival group and inside the Thinkbox. If a subject matter is not posted, please let us know what that subject is and we can schedule that for a future Survival Chat.
Below is a short list of suppliers. There is everything here from clothing to ammunition to vehicles and all things in between. This is by no means a totally comprehensive or all inclusive list. Feel free to add more as you find them. If there is a dead link in this list, please let us know.
General Accessories and Clothing
Crye Ind. Multi-Cam clothing and innovative load bearing equipment
Another site for high speed gear for the high speed operator
All kinds of goodies, mostly geared to the military professional
More high speed gear for tactical applications
Major Surplus and Survival, pretty much anything from disaster supplies to military surplus from around the world and the US.
Hunting, camping, etc
Primary focus is on ammo and weapon accessories
Food and Water
Long term food and water storage, freeze dried foods and more
Primary focus on MREs, MRE entrees
Water storage with transportation in mind, makers of the water bag
Premade Disaster kits and bulk suppliers
Kits designed for disasters also has items for CERT (Google this if you don’t know)
Custom kits for just about any type of disaster and environment
Custom emergency kits and supplies
Comprehensive, compact survival kits. (Mike Forte knows what he speaks of.)
Load Bearing Equipment
Creative load bearing equipment for personnel in tight spaces
Maglite accessories and LED upgrade kits
Chest tool harnesses and other equipment
See BlackHawk, US Cavalry, Ranger Joes, Brigade Quartermaster and others.
Knives, Prybars, Flashlights and other accessories
Custom knives, walking staffs and mini breeching tools
Long term lights and other self sufficient products
Flashlights, holsters and other goodies
Renewable energy flashlight, shake flashlights
High powered lights for just about any occasion
Custom breeching tools and prybars
Vehicles and Trailers
Importers of the Mercedes Unimog and other durable vehicles
Makers of a truly off- road capable trailer
Surplus dealer of vehicles, tires, trailers and more
Small trailers that can double as shelter
Real Estate (Think potential BOL)
Unique and secure real estate specializing in underground missile bases and similar properties
Remote real estate with preppers in mind
Remote, raw land for retreats (BOL)
FEMA website for informational purposes
International Preparedness Network, very informative book they publish and interesting links to other sites
Independent reviews of survival gear, techniques and equipment
Site where you can download a lot of information
Free, online disaster course offered by the University of Pittsburgh