Lately, I’ve been sharing mostly material on attraction and related self-improvement topics. But lately, the survival skills I learned in Emergency have been popping up a lot. Two great writers, who you all know and respect, are writing books related to survival and he-man skills–and their personal experiences acquiring them. (I’ll make sure to let you know when they’re out.) And in preparing my books for their e-release on Kindle and iBooks next month, I decided to add 50 or so extra pages of how-to information to Emergency for the hardcore.
So in the spirit of the Mayan calendar year of 2012, I thought I’d give you all a little list to put up on your refrigerator and start working on the basics of preparedness. Yes, this post just may save your life–or at least reduce your discomfort.
You may be asking: Preparing for what?
Answer: Whatever comes next.
Whether it’s just a water, gas, or power shortage of a few days, or something more serious and unexpected.
Lucky Thirteen Preparedness Tips For Beginners
- Store at least a week’s worth of water at home, which is a gallon a day per person.
- If you run out of water, there’s roughly forty gallons in your water heater and more in the back tank of your toilet. (This borders on TMI, but make sure a back-flow valve is installed and purge the water-heater tank at least once a year.)
- Have at least a week’s supply of canned food or food with a long shelf life at home–soups, peanut butter, jerky, vegetables, stews, MREs, canned tuna/salmon/chicken–basically anything that doesn’t spoil, and predominantly things you don’t need to heat to eat. (Don’t forget the can opener.)
- Have supplies for emergency lighting and first aid at home. A good flashlight and spare batteries are essential, and kerosene lanterns if you’re hardcore. (I find I rarely use candles, but instead scatter those little stick-em LED lights around.)
- If you live in a cold part of the country, make sure you have a kerosene heater (that’s approved for indoor use), a vent-free gas stove, or a wood-burning fireplace, plus enough fuel to get you through at least seven days. A few good blankets and cold-weather sleeping bags are also a good idea.
- Take the local fire department’s CERT (or NERT) class or your national equivalent of a community preparedness course. It’s the best survival primer you can get – and it’s free. Plus you get a cool uniform at the end.
- Have a home evacuation plan that includes a safe place to go, a rally point for family members who are elsewhere, and a go-bag with copies of important documents, a few days of survival supplies, and some cash ready to grab and go.
- Always keep your car tank above the half-full line, and an emergency survival kit in the trunk.
- Have a backup communication plan if phone lines go down or get jammed. In addition to a radio (Red Cross makes a great hand-crank-powered one that also includes a flashlight and cell phone charger), the best thing you can get is a ham radio license, because not only can you communicate no matter what happens, but you’ll know the news before it’s in the media.
- Be prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones, whatever that means to you. For some, it’s installing an alarm system, security lights, and bolts for the doors. For others, it means getting a class three license for a machine gun.
- Own a multi-tool (a Leatherman Wave or Surge work) and a good fixed-blade knife (I use an Esse-3), learn how to use them, and keep them close by. (Except when going through airport security.)
- Make friends with your neighbors, especially handymen, mechanics, doctors, and others with useful skills (apologies to accountants, agents, and lawyers). It’s good to have a network.
- And the most important preparedness tip: The biggest accidental injury we’re prone to is auto crashes. So always wear a seatbelt, but more significantly, make sure it’s in your lap not over your abdomen, where it can damage organs. Also, a lot of people inhale as they crash, and your chest can hit the steering wheel and your lungs can pop. So exhale (and good luck remembering that if you’re ever in an accident). Other things that’ll help you live longer: not smoking and owning a pet. And a lot of sex.