Wow. That zombie-apocalypse we just had was nothing like they showed in The Walking Dead, huh? Good thing you were prepared with those life-saving tips you read on that blog a while ago!
Ok, so the chances of a zombie-apocalypse might not be great, but the tips I’m going to share today aren’t just good ideas for dealing with the undead. They’re just general good ideas. In cases of natural disasters, economic collapse, or the run-of-the-mill alien invasion, being prepared never hurts. For example, if you were bound with duct-tape by kidnappers, how would you escape? If your house caught on fire right now, what one item would you grab? If you lost your income and the bank failed, how would you eat? Could you get out of town in an emergency? If you don’t know the answer to these questions (or if you don’t like your answer), pay attention.
1. Have a Grab-Bag
If your house burns down, or there is a flood heading your way, or if you need to out-run the genetically-enhanced apes headed your way, a Grab-Bag is a must. This doesn’t need to be anything crazy/fancy. It’s just the things you’ll need to survive for 72 hours (that’s why they are also called a 72 hour kit). For every person that is different.
***Let me interject here that what you need to survive for 72 hours is much different than how you would normally live for 72 hours. Your laptop/make-up kit/comic book collection do not make the cut.
So, here is a basic list of what you’ll need for your Grab-Bag to get you started:
- A backpack. Obviously. This is the bag part. It should be big and sturdy enough to support about 30 pounds of weight. A “backpacking” type bag with waist-supports (like this one) is preferred. These can get expensive though, and a good old Jansport is better than nothing.
- Non-perishable food to last you 3 days. I recommend MREs that you can get from your local army surplus store, or online. This can also be granola/protein bars, canned foods, dehydrated meals, etc.
- Water. It is recommended to have at least 1 gallon (or about 4 liters) per person. This is the minimum, as an average adult should drink 2-3 liters per day!
- One change of clothes. This should include worn-in pants, shirt, socks, and underwear.
- Light and heat. You’ll want to have a flashlight/lamp with extra batteries, and some water-proof matches. And here’s a tip for starting a fire: next time you do your laundry, save the lint that you wipe off the lint-screen. It makes great kindling!
- First Aid. Don’t bother buying pre-made first aid kits from the supermarket. They are way over priced and under stocked. Assemble your own with this list and you will save money and have better equipment.
- Tools. Items like a pocket-knife, Leatherman, etc, are sure to come in handy.
This is just the start of what you can include in your Grab-Bag. There are a lot more items that can go in there (like an emergency-blanket or a hand-crank radio), but this is a great start, and most of these things can be found around your house! For a helpful checklist, including some items not mentioned here, check here. With this step, you are already better prepared than 90% of people.
2. Store extra food and water
Not every apocalypse scenario will involve you running from your home. In fact, many could leave you stranded. Blackouts, terrorist threats, or terrible weather could mean you have to stay in your home for weeks on end without being able to make any trips to the grocery store. Now, aside from wanting to strangle your little brother after being cooped up in a house with him for that long, food and water will be very precious resources. Despite popular belief, Twinkies do expire, as do most foods. And if there is any problem with the city’s water supply, you’ll be surprised how quickly grocery store shelves are stripped clean of bottled water.
Start today storing non-perishable foods and plenty of water. Most foods you will be able to store for long periods of time will require water to cook, so store more than you think you would need to drink. You can either purchase pre-made food storage, or collect and organize your own. Exactly how much to store and how long you plan for depends on your personal and family situations, but there are plenty of websites out there dedicated to this topic. In fact, there were too many for me to include links to them all! Just try Google-ing “Food storage” and check through the websites to find out what your personal situation will need.
Not only will you be prepared for apocalypse type scenarios, but I have met several people who had food stored, and during the recession of 2008 had to live off of their stored food because of job-layoffs. So this can be a safety net for economic crises as well.
3. Never let your car fall below a half-tank of gas
I know a lot of people who have a “cabin in the mountains” that they will go to when the world ends. As great as your uncle’s cabin full of shot-guns may be, good luck getting there if you’re out of gas. In cases of mass-evacuation (anyone remember New Orleans in 2008?) not only are roads crowded, but gas stations are a nightmare, and hundreds of gas-less cars end up abandoned on the side of highways. Don’t be stuck in that situation!
For those of you thinking that this is too expensive, it isn’t. It just means that instead of filling up your whole tank every few weeks, you fill up half your tank twice as often. You’ll use the same amount of gas, and have the peace of mind of knowing that you can get out of town if you have to. Plus, you’ll be ready if the road-trip bug suddenly hits you. Vegas anyone?
As a side note, it’s always a good idea to know the back-roads leading out of your town or city. Major freeways are going to be at a standstill in case of evacuation, so try stuffing an old-fashioned map in your glove box. Take a weekend and have an adventure exploring new roads.
Get on it!
These tips may sound like the ravings of a paranoid schizophrenic, but they are actually great ideas for everyone! The apocalypse you face might not be zombie or alien related, but you could very well face foreclosure, natural disasters, unemployment, or other unfortunate but very real circumstances that turn your entire world upside-down. Everyone always thinks this stuff won’t happen to them, and I hope it doesn’t! But taking the time (and maybe a little bit of cash) today to prepare will pay off big time if “the worst” comes to your door.