Having a survival plan is about taking care of yourself, your family and the people (and pets) that rely on you. It’s about being independent and self-reliant. It’s also about planning ahead so that you can calmly and effectively deal with any emergency.
Preparation is more than just stockpiling food or water. It’s being prepared for a wide range of possibilities and taking the steps now to ensure you have sufficient supplies, tools and the information you need to create your own options.
It’s about covering all the basics. Because once you have the basics in place, adding in the extras for your own particular situation is so much easier. With these 10 essentials, you will be well on your way to creating your own successful survival plan.
10 Essentials for a Successful Survival Plan
When something happens, your first instinct is to make sure all of your loved ones are safe and accounted for. Checking in is as easy as picking up your cell phone.
But what happens when the cell towers are damaged or destroyed? Or you lose power or internet access? You can quickly find yourself out of touch and isolated.
Have other options available. Landline phones can function without electricity (but be sure to have a plug-in phone: the wireless phones may require electricity.) Radios, including hand-crank radios, two-way, CB and HAM radios can give you access to the outside world.
2. Gathering Plan
Emergencies are unexpected and usually seem to happen at the worst possible times – when everyone is away from home. Depending on the situation, you may need to gather your group at your home or join them at another’s. You may need to go out and find them or help them to evacuate from their current locations.
Create a separate plan for different emergencies. In addition to locating and gathering your group, also include alternate plans, routes and gathering places as needed.
Clean, healthy drinking water is essential. When creating your plan, estimate at least a gallon of clean water a day per person for drinking and washing.
Unless you have access to your own well, you are most likely dependent on a public water source. If that source is damaged or you lose access, you need options to locate, store and purify water from other sources.
At the first hint of bad weather, bread and milk seem to magically disappear from grocery store shelves. Even then, it may take at least a week or longer for fresh supplies to be re-stocked.
In a true emergency, when supply lines are damaged or shut down, you need at least a 30-60 day supply of food in hand, including cooking equipment and fuel.
Estimate at least 1500 – 3000 calories a day per adult (depending on size and activity level). Remember to add in some vegetables and vitamins, too. A year’s supply of multi-vitamins and vitamin C can help to fill in the gaps in your rations.
5. First Aid
Hospitals, clinics, and medical personnel are quickly overwhelmed in a crisis. If roads are out or damaged, it may be nearly impossible to access medical treatment.
Learn basic first aid as well as the main medical issues (and emergency treatments) for your group members. Obtain a comprehensive first aid manual and create a first aid kit.
Consider what you would do if the power went out and stayed out for over a week. At some point, the batteries on your electronics would run down.
Determine alternative sources of power (and possibly different gear) for lighting, cooking, and heating. Have additional sources of fuel on hand. Look into alternative methods for charging equipment and generating power such as solar and wind power.
For when you can’t flush…
Proper sanitation and hygiene is the first line of defense against the spread of disease. When water mains are damaged and the sewage system is no longer functioning, the potential for a serious health crisis increases.
Have a system in place for personal hygiene and sanitation as well as options for disposing of waste and sewage. Like the easy to use bucket toilet, portable toilets and composting toilets provide a welcome alternative when the plumbing is down.
8. Home and Personal Security
In the case of weather-related or natural disasters, you may have enough warning to secure your home in advance. Whether you stay or you are forced to evacuate, having a plan (and the materials) in place to secure your home can add greatly to your peace of mind.
But the aftermath can bring its own challenges. In addition to any initial damage, intruders or looters may contribute to an already dangerous situation.
Having a plan for both your own personal safety and the safety of your loved ones is essential whether you’re at home, in a shelter (or bug-out location) or on the road.
9. Evacuation Plan
While hunkering down is usually the best option, there are times when you must evacuate. Before leaving, plan where you will go and how you will get there. Make sure you have other plans as well. Know alternative locations and routes in case the roads are blocked or impassable.
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be helpful to plan several different methods of travel, including boats, bikes and that old stand-by – walking out.
10. Wilderness Survival Skills
Even if you live in the city, it can be helpful to know the basics of wilderness survival (especially for your local environment and terrain).
In case you have to evacuate and find yourself stranded on the road, or forced to travel by foot, knowing the basic skills of navigation, obtaining food and water as well as creating a shelter and fire can give you the advantage you need to survive.
With these 10 essentials in place, you have the basics for a successful survival plan. By planning and preparing in advance, you’ll have the confidence and peace of mind you need to handle any crisis you may face.