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
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
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.
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.