To figure out how much and what types of survival gear to buy you need to figure out what is the most critical issues that could prevent your chances of survival in your region, or leave you cut-off from critical infrastructures. In many cases having a well thought out plan of action is more important than specifically which gear and how much.
If you live near the Mississippi It’s flooding and hurricanes. You would need life preservers, rafts, and other flotation devices. You may need to devise an emergency plan to evacuate to higher ground that does not involve cars or mass transit.
A hypothetical urban scenario has no time limits. As we saw in hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, law and order did not return to the poorer regions of New Orleans for some time.
According to Joan Brunkard, PhD, Gonza Namulanda, MS, and Raoult Ratard, MD in a 2008 study for the U.S. government approximately 986 deaths were attributed to the hurricane. Most from drowning and trauma associated with hurricanes.
The methods used were by accessing Katrina mortality data of 2007, not excluding Louisiana
and out-of-state death certificates for deaths from August 27 to October 31, 2005.
The researchers wrote,
“Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team’s confirmed victims’ database. We calculated age-,
race-, and sex-specific mortality rates for Orleans, St Bernard, and Jefferson Parishes, where 95% of
Katrina victims resided and conducted stratified analyses by parish of residence to compare differences between observed proportions of victim demographic characteristics and expected values based on 2000 US Census data, using Pearson chi square and Fisher exact tests.
Results: We identified 971 Katrina-related deaths in Louisiana and 15 deaths among Katrina evacuees in
other states. Drowning (40%), injury and trauma (25%), and heart conditions (11%) were the major causes
of death among Louisiana victims. Forty-nine percent of victims were people 75 years old and older.
Fifty-three percent of victims were men; 51% were black; and 42% were white. In Orleans Parish, the
mortality rate among blacks was 1.7 to 4 times higher than that among whites for all people 18 years old
and older. People 75 years old and older were significantly more likely to be storm victims (P .0001).
Conclusions: Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest hurricane to strike the US Gulf Coast since 1928. Drowning
was the major cause of death and people 75 years old and older were the most affected population cohort.
Future disaster preparedness efforts must focus on evacuating and caring for vulnerable populations,
including those in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and personal residences. Improving mortality reporting
timeliness will enable response teams to provide appropriate interventions to these populations and to
prepare and implement preventive measures before the next disaster. (Disaster Med Public Health
As dedicated and on top of it as emergency professionals are, they always require co-ordination with town, state, and national agencies. This takes time and can sometimes leave people temporarily stranded.
Stockpiling clean drinking water would be a necessity since the sewers will have overflowed contaminating the drinking water.
If you have drug addictions or addictions to nicotine or caffeine consider the effects of having to go through withdrawal in a survival scenario. Consider how it would negatively impact your ability to make sound decisions and actions towards you and your family’s survival. Take solid steps to wean your way away from any chemical dependencies that you may have.
In Cody Lundin’s latest book “When All Hell Breaks Loose”, he tells of an experience with survival skills and withdrawal,
“A friend of mine who teaches primitive living skills put together a “primitive living” experiment on her land. Several people, all well versed in the hard skills it takes to live from the land , joined her for the event. For months prior, each prepared what they felt would be required to give them a fighting chance. They dried deer and elk meat, made baskets, buckskin clothing, extra footwear, hunting and fishing implements, pottery cookware, shelters, and on and on the list went. When the experiment finally commenced, more than 75 percent of the people washed out before the first week was over, many due to headaches suffered from caffeine and nicotine withdrawal! My friend ended up alone with her eight-year-old daughter for the next several weeks.
Taking a full honest inventory of our spiritual, mental, and physical fitness is one of the smartest things you can do. If you’re a fat, lazy alcoholic how long will you last when the shit hits the fan? Only you can make the decision to fully make yourself fully prepared on a personal level.
Create a Support Network
Reach out to neighbors nearby and in the vicinity and discuss how you can agree to assist each other in an emergency situation. This could be a regularly convening group, or something informal. Maybe you could rehearse hypothetical survival situations. Reach out to your local Red Cross organization and see if they can provide cheap training to interested individuals.
Not having the support of the “tribe” is a huge disadvantage.
In the same story mentioned above the woman finds it difficult to gather the necessary calories in her experiment.
“Regardless of her knowledge and the fact that she was on her own turf, she was unable to advance beyond eating and using the stores she had initially prepared for the experiment. She couldn’t gather enough new calories to break even with what she started with, let alone store a surplus for the coming weeks. This trial was conducted in late summer in northern Montana, a land where calories were not going to get any easier to find as autumn hit and winter followed.
As she recounted her experience, she stated that the reason she failed to make any progress toward a self-sustaining lifestyle was because she had to do everything herself. In the case of the mountain men, doing everything alone flat wore them out, leaving them more susceptible to the dangers of their daily life. In other words, they died young from the sheer harshness of their solitary lifestyle. For all of you rugged individualists out there, take heart and listen to the wisdom of the tribe. Consider creating a support system with like-minded individuals who live nearby.”
The Rule of Threes (or Fours)
Here is a list of priorities know as the Rule of Threes (or Fours)
If You Panic You could be dead in 3 to 4 seconds
If You Have no oxygen You could be dead in 3 to 4 minutes
If You Have no Shelter You could be dead in 3 to 4 hours
If You Have no water You could be dead in 3 to 4 days
If You Have no food You could be dead in 3 to 4 weeks
If You Have no tribe You could be dead in 3 to 4 months
The excerpt of Cody Lundin’s book was taken from Chapter 10, “How Much Stuff Do You Need…and For How Long?, page 78 and 79. It is available on Amazon here: