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In the event of a disaster, most people form together with compassion, unity and courage. However, It is extremely crucial to form a community group during a disaster. Major disasters will overwhelm local first responders, leaving your family vulnerable to major risks and threats. The best way to protect your family is to get your community involved during a disaster in activities that protect the whole community. Important Note: This article is geared toward building community groups after a disaster happens.
When a major disaster strikes you will need to manage your emotions. The initial shock and mourning of the disaster will bring on fear, anxiety and depression. It will bring on a sense of being overwhelmed and that things are not real and it will feel like a bad dream.
Depending on events, people will feel relief over their own family’s survival. However, guilt over others who have been hurt or perished will set in. This is why forming a community group is so important and it is the right thing to do. Helping others is the key to surviving during a disaster. When a major event happens it is important to help your “family first” and then become a community leader and teach others to be prepared and to protect the community.
The social norms are thrown out the window during major disasters. Look what happened during Hurricane Katrina, there was looting, pillaging and major chaos. People were not prepared for that type of disaster and panic and confusion set in and everyone was in it for themselves. People were robbing each other on the streets. When this type of chaos happens there is strength in numbers and having a community group formed together will bring more protection for your family and your neighbors families.
Once the initial chaos of the disaster settles in and your family is safe, canvas you’re neighborhood and look for people who need help and/or are willing to join you’re community group. I store extra provisions of food for the purpose of handing out to my neighbors as a “piece offering” and to ease their tensions of what just happened. This shows you care and it makes them feel comfortable joining you’re group.
I plan going up and down the entire block of my neighborhood to find people willing to join my community group. The size of you’re group depends on the size of you’re neighborhood. When you find enough people who can effectively watch over you’re neighborhood, find out how many families have weapons. It is important to find people who are willing to stand sentry watches. Similar to neighborhood watch programs.
A good way to protect you’re community during a disaster is to block access to you’re neighborhood with road blocks at each end with a couple of sentries (guards) checking ID’s of people coming into the neighborhood. If they don’t live there or have family there don’t let them in. Depending on where you live and the size of you’re neighborhood it may be difficult to find enough people to stand guard 24 hours a day. It may be easier to have a couple of roaming sentries walking the neighborhood confronting anyone that looks out of place. The choice is up to you’re particular community group.
Now you’re neighborhood is somewhat protected from utter chaos and looting. The community group can concentrate on the needy. From those who did not prepare for the disaster and don’t have enough provisions to feed their family. To those that were injured and need special care. Hopefully, most people in the neighborhood have enough provisions to feed their family for at least 1 week. If you need to get more food, leave the community in groups of four to find food. A group of four is small enough not to be noticed and large enough to protect each other.
In your outreach to form a community group “during” a disaster it is important to teach others to be prepared and to better cope with the situation you are currently facing. At this stage, planning is essential even if it seems like there is little time. Time is precious and your group needs to decide where to spend their time for the best investment. You’re goal is no doubt to have the best possible response to the situation.
The best response is:
Under the circumstances, if you satisfy the criteria above you are on you’re way to a sound post-disaster response.
General outline to forming groups in post-disaster scenarios:
In a post-disaster scenario, you should brace yourself for long term recovery within you’re community. The stress levels are high and the conditions are new; responses are limited; and there is significant chance of future, additional negative events such as continued flooding, fire, aftershocks, looting, chaos or disease outbreaks. The key is to manage you’re emotions and become the community leader and find like minded individuals who are willing to help protect those around them.
When a disaster strikes the normal services we take for granted will not be available, such as telephones, running water, and refrigeration to name a few. Additionally, first responders will most likely will be overwhelmed with the magnitude of the situation.
It is recommended that you have enough supplies to last you’re family (at a minimum) 72 hours. Basically, you must be self-sufficient until help arrives. It may be a while – so, having a plan and the necessary supplies to sustain your family is the key to surviving.
A 72-Hour Kit is essential for any short-term emergency or disaster. It very well could mean survival when the need arrives. There are numerous types of disasters: Floods, Hurricanes, Tsunami’s, Tornadoes and Earthquakes. And, don’t forget about the man-made disasters such as terror attacks and the looming global financial crisis either. Being prepared is not an option if you want to protect your family.
A basic 72-hour kit should include the following items:
Most people have enough food in their pantries to last three days in case of emergencies. However, if there is a major disaster such as an earthquake, you may not be able to get to that food easily. This is why a 72-hour kit is ideal in these situations. You will want store your kit in a safe area that would be easily accessible during a disaster. I personally store my kits in a cabinet in the garage near the roll up door. It would be fairly easy to get to even if the house is inaccessible.
Food & Water
I personally use the Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit. I recommend buying one of these for each member of the household. In reality, one of these could support two people if you wanted to skimp by and not spend too much money building your kit. Each of these kits cost roughly $55.00. For more info read this article on Survival Emergency Food Packages.
For water storage, I highly recommend at least a gallon or more of water per day per person. I personally use the Reliance Lifeguard – 7 Gallon Water Container with built-in Filter. I store at least one of these for each family member in my kit. The cost is about $35.00 for the Reliance. Additionally, each family member should use a Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier Water Bottle or something similar. The cost is about $22.00 for the Berkey.
Let’s face it, if there is a disaster – you’re home may not be safe to live in. Where do you stay? When things go south, I don’t want to leave my house unattended, I plan on putting up shelter (Good Size Tent) in my backyard. I personally have a Wenzel Klondike 16 X 11′ Eight Person Family Tent. I additionally have a couple zero-degree weather sleeping bags and blankets for the tent as well. I also have spare crates for my pets.
You need to make sure you’re back yard is big enough for the tent you use. I have a huge backyard and I know that this tent will work just fine. The price of this tent is around $212.00.
Other options are available: Tent Options
The reason is simple, during a disaster (god forbid) you may be treating broken limbs, large gashes from falls or even gun shot wounds.
You will want a decent quality kit, the ones I like are from the American Red Cross. A decent first aid kit will cost around $50.00. Don’t forget bug repellent and sun screen for your kit as well.
Tools & Cookware
When a disaster happens you will need a decent tool kit that is easy to pack up and take with you. I personally like the Denali 115-piece Home Repair Tool Kit. It comes with a decent carry bag and you can add other small items into it like a sewing kit, mini-flashlights, candles, multipurpose tool, paracord and a decent knife etc…
Another important item to have in your tool kit is a decent radio. I recommend one that is solar or hand-cranked and battery operated. I highly recommend the Ambient Weather WR-111B Solar Hand Crank Radio. It even has the ability to charge you’re cell phone and has a built in flashlight. This will keep you informed with what is happening in you’re area. When the power goes out you’re TV will not work unless you have a generator.
I highly recommend a Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove as they are small, compact and easy to pack away.
Additionally, I would recommend getting a small camping kit that includes Spoons, Forks, Knifes, Cups and a small pot. If you don’t mind the extra weight in your kit, I highly recommend the Coleman Speckled Enamelware Dining Kit. Additionally, you will need a decent mess kit (Pots/Pans). I recommend the Wenzel Deluxe Mess Kit.
Hygiene, Clothing & Medicine Items
There will not have running water in your house during a disaster. Even if you do you may not want to use it or bath in it. An important fact most people don’t know about, you’re local water plant needs electricity to filter the water and if there is no power then you’re water supply is contaminated. You may not be able to take a shower but you can take a sponge bath and at the very least brush you’re teeth using the emergency water you stored above. You will want to pack away Razors, Toothbrushes, Feminine items etc.
If you take prescription items you need at least a week supply (at a minimum) stored in you’re kit. I would put Aspirin, Motrin, Sinus Medication or anything else you may occasionally use in the kit as well. It is extremely important to store prescription items in you’re kit as the drug stores will most likely be shut down and looted after a disaster.
A change of clothes is highly important. Most people think they can just grab something on the way out. No, you will not have the time during an emergency to get extra clothing. The trick is to have the items stored away in your kit. Make sure you pack items for the climate you live. If you live in cold areas pack accordingly.
Documents, Cash & Entertainment
It goes without saying that you need to store important documents such as your wedding license, birth certificates, Photos, Mortgage/Title/Deed, Bank information, Insurance papers, passports, etc. in a fire safe lock box near or in you’re 72-hour kit. Most people forget about this and these items are very important. Additionally, I would put a couple of survival books and manuals for reference in the kit as well.
Don’t forget about entertainment during disaster relief. It may be days before things get back to normal. I personally have a few board games, a couple deck of cards and my favorite game Yahtzee in my kit.
A lot of people are afraid or don’t like Guns/Knives or any other weapons and believe they can survive without them. I’m definitely not one of those people. When the SHTF (S@#$ hits the fan) you will need personal protection. A decent firearm and survival knife is a must in any disaster situation.
When a man cannot feed his family, he will do anything to get to you’re food supply. The social norms are out the window in times of disaster. Just look at the recent disaster such as Hurricane Katrina. People were looting, raping, and pillaging. It was not pretty, and if you are relying on the government to protect you. You are in for a world of hurt…
I highly recommend either having a shotgun, rifle, and/or a pistol. I’m not going to recommend a particular brand or model. You will have to do some research and find out what works best for you. I also highly recommend you take a firearm safety class before purchasing a firearm. Most gun ranges have gun rentals for you to try before you buy.Firearms are not for everyone. There are other options available if you are not comfortable shooting a weapon.
The absolute best NON-LETHAL form of personal protection is Bear Repellent Pepper Spray. Bear Repellent has a greater range than most pepper spray and is more potent. If it can stop a bear in it’s tracks then it can stop any human instantly. The best part, it has a 30-foot deploy range keeping you’re attackers at a distance. I highly recommend Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent with holster.
A really good survival knife is important for personal protection and for general survival needs. such as cutting down tree limbs for firewood, skin/clean wild game, cut para-cord and a thousand other uses. My absolute favorite Survival Knife is the KA-BAR Fighting/Utility Serrated Edge Knife.
Another item to throw into you’re arsenal is a really good machete for chopping weeds or clearing campsites. I personally like the KA-BAR Black Kukri Machete.
Bug out Bags & Survival Bins
You need a really good bag or survival bin to store all the items for your 72-hour kit. There are many options available. I personally like the Maxpedition Doppelduffel Adventure Bag. It is large enough to hold most of you’re gear and it can be worn as a back pack if the need arrives.
Additionally, you may want a smaller back pack to go along with the Doppelduffel. Something you’re children or a spouse can carry easily. I really like the Maxpedition Condor II Backpack. These bags are durable and very well made. In my opinion they are the best bags for survival needs.
I plan on Bugging “IN” not “OUT” in a disaster. My back yard is big enough to setup camp if needed. Because of this I have a really big tent that will not fit in my 72-hour kit or Bug Out Bag. I store these big items in plastic storage bins available almost anywhere. Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon.com have them available at decent prices.
In this violent and unpredictable world we live in – being prepared is no longer an option. Being prepared can reduce anxiety, fear and panic should you find yourself in a precarious situation. Most disasters either man-made or natural doesn’t allow time for people to assemble even the most basic needs for our society. This is why preparedness planning is so important. Having a 72-hour kit on hand and ready to use at a moments notice could me the difference between life and death.
If you have any suggestions please leave a comment on this post. The article will provide you with the absolute minimum supply of gear you should have for you’re 72-hour kit. Like I said, this is a bare minimum from my point of view. You should adjust the recommendations to meet you’re needs. This is a great starting point for newbie preppers.
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By Rodney Butler
Water is one of the basic needs of life and among the most important elements of survival. It is essential for numerous reasons. It is needed for hydration and people have to drink water regularly in order to replenish the loss of liquid in the body and to quench the thirst. Water storage is an emergency essential to surviving any disaster.
Water is vital to a human body. Purified water is needed for optimum health and it is used for other important activities such as bathing, cleaning and cooking. FEMA and other experts recommend at least a two-week supply of water and food for emergencies. Keep in mind these are considered to be the minimum recommendations. I always try to keep at least three months of food and water for my entire family including my pets.
Water can come from rain, stream or through other sources. Additionally, Water is brought into our homes through pipes from local water stations. As a society, we have become dependent and rely on the water coming from the pipes in our home. This water supply will most likely be contaminated in a natural disaster. An important fact, did you know that water in your home is dependent on electricity? The water at the local water treatment plants cannot filter the water without power. Be prepared.
How much water is enough?
How much is enough? Well, that all depends on the size of your family. A general rule of thumb; each family member will consume on average a full gallon of water a day. Now you may be saying to yourself, I don’t drink a gallon of water per day. This may be true and in fact most people only drink about ½ gallon of liquids per day. This will include milk, juices, sodas etc.
However, keep in mind that in most disasters you will not have air conditioning, fresh air, sodas & juices will be luxury. Additionally, you will use water to wash, clean & cook. This all takes away from your on-hand water supply. With these considerations in mind, keep one gallon of water per member of the household and include pets as a member as well. For example, for a family of three people and one dog or cat you will need at least 120 gallons of water for a 30-day supply, 240 gallons for a 60-day, and 360 gallons for a 90-day supply. Wow, that’s a lot of water, but an essential element of life. Be prepared.
Homes can store water by using water storage tanks or containers. Some designs of water storage tanks can be used to collect rainwater. I personally use a rainwater collection system to collect water to use in case of emergencies for washing, cleaning, brushing teeth and general use. I do not use it for drinking water. There is nothing wrong with drinking rainwater if it is filtered to remove contaminants; I just prefer to use rainwater for general use. There are many rainwater collection systems on the market; however, this is the one I prefer:
A clean, sterilized water container can be used for water storage. Containers made of thermoplastic have been invented for long-term water storage. Since ancient times, people have invented containers from different materials for the purpose for storing water. I personally rely on the Reliance Lifeguard 7-gallon container with built-in bacteria filter.
I have six of these containers on-hand filled with tap water. They provide 42 gallons of emergency water for my wife and me. This will provide a 21-day supply of fresh water without the need to treat the water before consuming. I recycle the water in these containers every six months to keep the emergency supply fresh.
Additionally, I use two 55-gallon water storage barrels for long-term storage. This water will need to be treated with a water preserver concentrate and can be stored for 5 years before recycling. You can purchase 55 gallon barrels from Amazon using the link below.
Another element in my arsenal for water storage is personal water bottles with a built in water purifier. I highly recommend the Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier. Don’t accept imitations, the Berkey is the best. It eliminates up to 99.9% of contaminates including Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and E-Coli. I would purchase one of these for each family member. In emergencies, only drink water from these bottles regardless of where the water came from, as you can never be too safe. I always keep two of these in my bug out bag, as they are compact and light.
Emergency essentials such as Water, the element of life, should be at the top of your list when planning for disasters. A water storage container is one of the few important things that a family should purchase. Water storage containers are important for survival and a personal portable water purifier is perhaps the most needed item in a survival situation. Be prepared.
PS. Let me know your thoughts, comments and questions in the comment box. If you find my post useful please share using the buttons below.
By Rodney Butler