Surviving Where You Are

Usually, during times of severe weather forecastings, I get inquiries about what I have in place to prepare. Here are my suggestions, but, as I have always encouraged, do your own research:

#1 ASSUMPTION: Focus on the assumption that ALL public utilities (water, sewage, electric) will be unavailable or contaminated and that you will not be able leave your house for a week or more. Calculate your needs based on what, and how much, you use on a regular basis then add to that by 10% just in case things get worse or friends/family need assistance.

#2 ASSUMPTION: I understand this may be contrary to those "glass is half full" thinkers but this will help prepare like your life depends on it, and it may. Assume things will get much worse than you can possibly imagine. Imagine every possible scenario and prepare accordingly.

Not having this one key component has killed more people in a survival situation than any other issue we can talk about. It's, probably, the single most important aspect of survival. Throughout history, man has endured the unthinkable. From great explorers being shipwrecked for years in the Antarctic to those who survived the unthinkable conditions in Nazi Germany, the will to survive can often help people live through conditions that most would consider impossible. The will to survive is a very powerful thing; being able to motivate yourself during a stressful situation is a critical aspect of survival. Maintaining a positive mental attitude is key during a stressful survival situation. Read more on this at

If you choose to take a hike or have to escape to the wilderness, it's likely that the pack on your back might not contain everthing you need to survive an extended stay. Here are 50+ Wilderness Survival Tips that could save your life or make the stay more comfortable and enjoyable.

Store supplies in a centralized, dry and cool location so they can be easily accessed when an emergency strikes and to regularly monitor and add to them throughout the year. Rotate expiring items with new and use expiring items first. The tendency is to get anxious and panic when an emergency strikes. Organizing will reduce stress by not having to guess where things are, what you have and what you need to replenish.

Survey your living quarters to identify security gaps or possible gaps in the roof or around windows and doors where water/rain can get in. I have always believed that you can't caulk (silicone) enough. Have extra caulk, rubberized tape (Flex Seal) and, of course, Duct Tape for emergency repairs.

Wood stove, fireplace or propane/kerosene heaters. A popular and safe propane heater is "Mister Heater". Make sure to have proper ventilation for all fuel/combustable heaters.

Cooling the Living Area and the Body

- 1 gallon per person per day for drinking and additional for sanitation. Use sparingly - ration.
- Purchase or fill water containers (every 6 months). Use only containers that were previously used for water (not milk or other products that can cause/retain bacteria)
- Turn off access to public water (to avoid contamination). Before an emergency event, fill sinks, bath tubs and containers
- Factory bottled water lasts about 1 year. Water in reused containers lasts about 6 months (add a few drops of bleach to preserve).
- Don't throw away "expired" water. Use it for washing, watering plants or other non-consumable purposes.
Water Gathering, Treatment & Storage
Water Collection from Nature

Canned or dehydrated foods and drink/milk mixes.
Cook on a grill (propane or charcoal) or over a fire or in a fireplace (wood).
Emergency Food Preparations

Generator (my favorites are Honda and Yamaha 3000 with electric start, inverter and noise dampening) or solar/battery. Limit the number of devices you "need" to run in order to conserve the gas needed to run the generator. The more devices plugged in to the generator, the less time it will run. Change generator oil at least once a year; more if used frequently.
No Power? No Problem!

Solar powered flashlights/lighting or a large supply of batteries. Candles. Use generator to run electricity as a last resort.
Battery-Less Devices

At least TWO 5-gallon filled gas containers with fuel stabilizer (Sta-Bil, etc.). Replace every 6 months by using old fuel in vehicles then refill gas containers
At least TWO 40-pound (grill-size) filled Propane Tanks
Charcoal for cooking fires and warmth (outside)
Kerosene or propane for heater

Emergency Medical Preparations

- Toilet paper and paper towels are always good to have in abundance.
- Used, but unsoiled, paper towels can be a toilet paper substitute as well as newspaper, magazines and clean rags cut into small squares.
- Plumbing issues may affect flushing a toilet. Consider a 5-gallon bucket, heavy-duty trash can liner and kitty litter as an alternative.
Bathe Without Showering
Plumbing Outage


Security & Defense Strategies

The whole idea behind being prepared is to have what you need, when you need it. In an ideal situation, regardless of disaster you would have all the food, water, and supplies to endure until such time order was restored, if such a time is ever going to come. However, there are any number of "what if" scenarios that could play out, preventing access to emergency supplies. Regardless of how it happens, you suddenly find yourself standing in front of a wreck of a building. Once upon a time, it was a convenience store. Near as you can tell, it isn't occupied by anyone. Odds are pretty good you could find at least a few canned goods, possibly a bottle or two of water. What do you do? More reading.

Learn The Secrets Of Urban Survival To Keep You Alive After Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, and Breakdowns In Civil Order.
Introduction Presentation by David Morris Purchase Book or Kindle (by David Morris) on

See Also:
Emergency Preparations 101
Bug Out or Stay Put ?