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Long Term Survival, Primary Priorities

Long-term survival situations last longer than 7 days and go indefinitely. Planning for long-term survival is therefore more costly and more involved than short-term preparations. Since we have no idea what kind of situation we might face or for how long it is prudent to maintain our focus on essentials. There are many advocates for complicated and expensive preparations that include solar and wind powered electricity generation. They advocate underground bunkers located in the middle of nowhere. For the average person these preparations, although ideal, are too far out of reach for our personal budgets. If you can undertake such preparations then it may be advisable to do so, but I will keep the focus of what this information addresses to what the rest of us can do, and that's quite a bit.
Long-term preparations differ from short-term preparations in a variety of areas but the most important difference is that short-term situations tend to be 'mobile' in nature. That is, you will probably not be stationary for an extended period of time. Long-term survival situations tend to be 'static.' In long-term situations we focus our preparations toward staying in one place, usually our homes, for an extended period of time. During this time we can expect basic services such as: water, food supplies, sewage, law enforcement, natural gas, propane, heating oil, electricity, etc, to be intermittent at best. This is a plan for the worst situation. Take care of the essentials before addressing nonessentials.

  • Water: Your planning should be based on your water supply. Water storage is your first priority, even before food! First decide where you will store your water. If you have a basement under your house then this is your first choice. If not then in closets, under beds, etc. Second, decide what to store water in. Your three basic options are: many small potable water containers, large barrel-type potable water containers and large potable water 'bags.' Do not store water in empty plastic milk jugs or similar containers, they are designed for short-term use and will disintergrate after a short time. The benefits of small containers designed for water storage is that they are easier to stash in various places around your home. The drawback is that you will need many of them which makes them a more expensive solution. I recommend either barrels or the large bags. The barrels must be designed for potable (drinkable for humans) water as should the bags. The water bags are designed to store and transport large volumes of water. They can be stored on strong shelving or under beds and are very durable.
    As most people understand, we cannot simply pour water in the container and leave it sit. It is a wonderful environment for bacteria to thrive and cause us great harm when we drink the contaminated water. The old fashioned method is to add some chlorine bleach to the water before sealing. In a pinch this is fine, but it raises health concerns of its own. There are a variety of chemical treatments on the market, but most are not recommended for long-term use. Iodine is fine for short-term but long term use will cause thyroid problems. The most promising methods use
    oxygen to purify the water. Water filters are recommended for backup purposes. Food: I recommend storing enough food for 6 -12 months per person. There are a number of companies that produce long shelf life foods for storage. This is not an inexpensive approach, but the food will keep longer than what you can buy off the grocery store shelf and aids in the planning and decision making about what to store and how much. The do-it-yourself person can buy large volumes of rice and beans and store them in air tight containers. The rice and beans provide you with basic nutrition, but remember that you could be eating it for a year! Plan to put away other foods like dried fruit. Please do not rely on your freezer, power will not likely be available in a disaster. MRE's could add variety and they have a long shelf life. But they are expensive (Typically $6-8.00 per meal). Shelter: Most of us will assume that our house will serve as our shelter for long-term purposes. If you have a basement then this will be the family long-term shelter. In cold climates it won't be warm, but it shouldn't freeze without heat. In a warm climate it will be a welcome place to get out of the heat and it is a natural storm shelter. If you do not have a basement you may want to consider a small cinderblock type shelter sunk halfway into the ground with soil bermed the rest of the way up the walls. The idea is a safe haven in the event of tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. If this too is out of reach then designate rooms in or near the center of your house to ride storms out in. If possible, reinforce the ceilings, walls and doors of these rooms for added protection. Whatever you designate as your long-term shelter is also where you will store the bulk of your supplies. Warmth: In other than tropical climates you will need to find warmth, particularly at night and when wet. There is some movement by market forces to include hand warmers in survival kits. These 'warmers' are great and when your cold any warmth will do. But, after saying that, I must advise against them. They take up room, only last a short time and only serve to add cost to your kit.
    Fire, as most of you understand, is the best way to not only stay warm, but to dry out wet clothes, signal potential rescuers and cook food. There are a number of ways to approach starting a fire. Whatever your choice, include a backup and remember that it needs to serve you when it is soaked, you are soaked and your fuel is soaked! A good and inexpensive start is
    waterproof matches. But don't over stock on them. They tend to get old and the match heads seem to disinigrate with age and/or a lot of movement (the expensive varieties may differ, but there are better ways to start fires for the money). There is a growing selection of magnesium alloy fire starters on the market these days and most will do the job even when subjected to moisture. When buying one, price is of a secondary consideration behind ease of use. I consider them essential to every survival kit! They will keep lighting fires long after your matches are gone.
    Lighters, butane or other, are not recommended. They are suceptible to moisture and may leak in your kit. To overcome these hurdles requires more money than I would advise spending.
    Your method of starter is only half complete until you add tinder to your kit. Tinder is the finest material used atthe beginning of your fire. It must be dry and very fine. It must ignite quickly from a spark and burn just long and hot enough to start the progressively larger materials you will build your fire from. Some people are enterprising and resourceful and have devised a way of preparing their own tinder for their kits. The latest method for homemade tinder is to take cotton balls and load them lightly with petroleum jelly. This will provide an easily combustible tinder that initially resists moisture. Some have made numerous tiny tinder swabs and packed them into drinking straws and then plugging the ends with untreated cotton for storage in their kits.
    If you prefer to buy some
    tinder on the market there are some very good products to choose from. Some of these products actually burn while floating in water! First Aid: A first aid kit being a must in a disaster goes without saying, but what should be in it? Unless we are speaking of a barebones pocket or fannypack survival kit then please make sure to have more than the basic 'bandaid' box. On the other end of the spectrum you don't need a paramedics first aid kit unless you have a large party depending on it. Most manufacturers put together passible first aid kits. Choose one that will fit the size party you anticipate may need it. Don't buy based on price, but quality!
  • Essential medication: Anyone in your party who is dependent on medicine for their life should have extra medication stored in the kit and rotated regularly with fresh medicine. You be away from medicine sources for an extended period of time and an oversight here could be severe later. Remember, we must do what we can, but should you become seperated from your medicine or other necessities in a disaster, God will still be your sufficiency when you seek refuge in him.

These links provide information for:
[Short-term Survival, Primary Priorites], [Short-term Survival, Secondary Priorities],
[Long-term Survival, Primary Priorities].
These 'priority lists' are not exhaustive teaching on the subject of survival. There are many fine books that have done that. This is simply a starting point for Christians in their preparations for what we know is coming.

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