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 "glass 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. Discuss with your pessimistic friends; they will find the negative side.

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.

Whether stranded on a desert island, deep in a dense forest, or facing a desolated city, there is one hidden peril that threatens our lives in all situations, and we can't outrun or hide from it; our own thoughts. Having a strong grip on our emotional state, and more importantly being able to control it, can mean the difference between life and death. Because we have become detached from our native habitat, we have no experience with being without our creature comforts and basic survival skills like fire-making. Being comfortable with learned primative survival skills and finding projects to stay busy will help keep the mind occupied on useful activities. Here are some other tips and tricks to surviving and keeping the mind healthy, rested, and in peak condition no matter what happens:
1. Do Not Blame Yourself
2. Reaffirm Yourself - Say good things about you; don't put yourself down
3. Address Your Emotions - don't hide them
4. Stay Busy And Be Creative - keep the mind active on solutions, not the problem
5. Stay Positive - think of the positive things and focus on positive outcomes
6. Maintain Yourself Physically - A healthy body keeps the mind sharp. Stay clean, warm, fed and hydrated.
7. Avoid Caffeine or "Energy Drinks"
8. Slow Down - take time to analyze and think things through
9. Remove Yourself from the situation - think of other things that are good
10. Fake It Til You Make It - whistle, hum, do whatever you would do if you were on cloud nine
11. Maintain Perspective - No matter how bad a problem you face, compare it to the big picture.
12. Have a Routine - Knowing that certain tasks are done at certain times of the day is calming
13. Focus on Breathing - breathe slowly, thinking about nothing but your breath
14. Have Fun - Small breaks to do fun things will do wonders to keep you sane.

The Will to Survive - The story of Ernest Shackleton and the Crew of the Endurance.
How does your brain impact your survival chances in the wilderness?
Tips For Staying Calm During A Disaster
How To Bug-in And Survive Long-term
Surviving Cabin Fever
[Video 1]    [Video 2]    [Video 3]

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.

Most of us wouldn't CHOOSE to be homeless. But we should never say "never"; life has a way of throwing us curve balls. If you do find yourself on the run to avoid persecution or capture or homeless due to natural disaster, financial ruin and lack of friends/family ties, this information will be crucial to cope (and survive) despite setbacks. Homeless people have learned a lot of valuable information about surviving in a broken world with limited handouts; that's why it's imperative we learn from them on how they're able to survive. [VIDEO 1] [VIDEO 2: LESS - Losing is Everything (the movie on TUBITV.COM)]. Here are some things to consider:
1 – Newspaper Is Your Friend for bedding, Insulation, Fire and Education.
2 – Sleeping On The Streets: Find a mattress, find a sleeping bag, find a friend, find shelter, sleep in open areas.
3 – Remain Hopeful: Recognize your talents and form a plan, make friends, receive help, and get on track.
4 – Look As Presentable As Possible: Try not to look homeless. Stay as clean and groomed as possible.
5 – Find Some Kind of [legal] "Hustle" to Make Money. This is where your individual talents can work for you.
6 – Dress For Survival: Layers are your friend to add or remove with changing weather conditions.
7 – Get A Stray Dog for company, warmth and protection.
8 – Keep Your Stuff On You At All Times to prevent theft by other homeless people.
9 – Stay Packed: Your situation can change at a moment's notice. Always be packed and ready to leave at any moment.
10 – Avoid Fighting Unless Being Attacked to prevent injury in an already difficult situation. But, defend yourself until you can run.
11 – Blend In with your surroundings. Lay low and don't get into trouble. Keep quiet about what you know and what you have.
12 – Stay Warm: Blankets, Fire, Shelter.
13 – Stay in Familiar Area to keep safe, reduce surprises and receiving food and handouts (homeless shelters), as you become familiar to passersby.
14 – Have Access To First-Aid to stay well and treat cuts/scrapes to prevent diseases.
15 – Choose Foods Wisely: Nutritious as possible, light-weight to travel, not accessable to critters.
16 – Carry Refillable Bottles to stay hydrated. Sanitize drinking water.
17 – Find and Wear good footwear: You could be walking quite a bit. Prevent blisters and keep feet dry.
18 – Always be aware of your surroundings to stay safe and recognize opportunities for resources.
19 – Travel along routes to give you the most protection from the elements.

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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.

EVACUATION and SHELTER are the two basic ways people can protect themselves from the effects of a nuclear attack. An enemy nuclear attack probably would be preceded by a period of international tension or crisis and outbreaks of hostilities in several parts of the world. This crisis period would alert citizens to the possibility of attack. That crisis period should be used for emergency preparations. A minimum of 2 weeks supply of food, water, toiletries, medications and other necessary items should be gathered prior to needing them. Keep vehicles fueled up. Store valuables and important documents, to be left behind, in a safe place. Review home security (locks and board-up) if you have to leave home. Discuss all plans and preparations with all family members. If possible, convert a designated area of the house into a shelter to avoid having to leave home. Other things to do and consider:
- Avoid, or escape, areas that could potentially be prime targets for a nuclear attack.
- Know (now) where local emergency shelters are located. Go there (w/supplies) if there is an immediate threat of attack.
- Take at least 2 weeks of supplies to the shelter.
- Listen to the news for updates.
- Leave children at school/daycare. You may not make it in time to pick them up. They will be protected where they are.
- DO NOT look at any nuclear blasts
- Get to the lowest level, and center, of the strongest nearby shelter and away from windows.
- If unable to find shelter, lay flat, face down, looking at the ground with hands on your head.
- After the shockwave, promptly seek shelter to avoid the coming fallout.
- Remove and seal clothing in a plastic bag to avoid radiation to the body.
- Wash your entire body, using soap and [emergency] water only.
- Wear clean clothes (multiple layers), leaving NO skin exposed from head to toes when outside.
- DO NOT go outside for at least 48 hours to avoid radioactive material/fallout.
- Limit outside exposure for the next three (3) months. It can take up to 90 days for material to decay.
- After being outside, shake clothes in a sealed area to decontaminate. Wash exposed skin.
[FEMA Nuclear Explosion Page]    [FEMA Nuclear Survival Guide]
Radiation Exposure Medications:    [Reference 1]    [Reference 2]    [Reference 3]
Other (free) Publications
Grab & Go Kit Considerations
Protecting Electronics from EMP
Using Sandbags for Nuclear Defense
How to Survive a Nuclear War: 10 Ways to Stay Alive

The movie, The Day After (watch here), is a frightening story of the weeks leading up to, and following, a nuclear strike on the United States and the effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.
[Plot Summary]    [Cast]

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.
Build a Survival Bunker or Safe Room

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 (32 oz) 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

Fuel (my favorites are Honda and Yamaha 3000 with electric start, inverter and noise dampening) or Solar/Battery (Goal Zero) Generator. Limit the number of devices you "need" to run in order to conserve the fuel or battery life needed to run the generator. For more details, read No Power? No Problem!

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

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


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 could 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. In a wilderness, or urban survival situation scavenging any useful items could mean the difference between a hot meal or starvation; carrying water or having to constantly hunt for it. While you can't carry everything, your imagination should be a guide to help determine what is "trash" and what is "treasure" and your heart should guide you to determine looting (stealing) from scavenging (gathering from abandonment). Unfortunately, we live in a world full of trash that we can turn into treasure (scavenge) as we find discarded items along the way; a water bottle, a nail, a trash bag, fishing line, etc. can all be useful items in a survival situation.

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 ?