Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


A Few Questions for the Monday Morning Quarterbacks

  • Do you have a "go bag" or "bug out kit?"

  • Do you have enough drinking water stowed away to last your family for a week?

  • Do you have an alternative source of power, batteries or a generator?

  • Do you have a battery powered or dynamo powered radio so you can get information?

  • Do you have several flashlights, all with good batteries and extra bulbs?

  • Do you have a basic first aid kit stocked and ready to go?

  • Do you have spare prescription eyeglasses?

  • Do you have a place to bug out to, in the event that you have to evacuate?

  • Do you routinely keep your car topped off with gas and serviced regularly?

  • Do you have a firearm and are you competent in its use?

If the answers to these questions are "No," you just might want to take a few moments to assess your own preparedness before blasting the federal government for their response to Katrina.

The federal government cannot ever meet the needs of everyone affected in a widescale disaster like this one. Any organization big enough to respond rapidly to a crisis of this magnitude would be exceptionally unweildy and inefficient, not to mention budget bustingly expensive, particualrly when tragedies of this scope only happen once in a lifetime.

The only way to be able to effectively respond to catastrophe is if every citizen, even those affected, are willing and able to do their part.

The Bug Out Kit
Let's start with the big out kit. The first and most important item is a place to go. Talk to friends, neighbors and relatives. Put together a list of places to go to, both locally and remote. Make sure they know that, in the event of an emergency, you are coming, because it's highly likely that you will not be able to get in touch with them after the deal goes down.

Next, pack the bug out kit with everything you might need for a 3-4 day trip. Travel conditions are likely to be horrendous, and what might usually take 3-4 hours may take as many days. Pack some extra seasonally appropriate clothing. (Yes, this means you'll have to re-pack your kit twice a year. Isn't your family's safety worth a couple of hours every six months?) Add several gallons of drinking water, at least one gallon per family member. Add non-perishable food items that need no preparation. Trail foods like beef jerky and trail mixes sealed in airtight containers will do just fine. The idea is not to pack food to live on, but to survive on. Presumably, your bugout destination will have a ready supply of food when you get there.

Next, add in all the items you may need to survive for 4-5 days on the road. Blankets, flashlights, pocket knives, portable radios, gas cans, a siphon, a first aid kit, any prescription medicines your family needs, matches, lighters, water purification pumps or tablets, books and/or games, and anything else you might need to survive 4-5 days on the road.

The kit should be sized to fit easily in the trunk of your car, and should be kept there. This prevents you from giving in to the temptation to raid items from it as you need them around the house.

The Car
Now that we've mentioned it, let's examine what we need to do to keep it ready. This is very simple and requires only two steps. First, keep it serviced. Change the oil, align the steering, rotat the tires, and so on. Performing routine maintenance will amke sure that when you most need your car, it will be there for you. Second, keep the tank full. When the shit hits the fan, there will be no gas, and you won't want to wait in the lines to get it, so keep it full.

Standing Your Ground
Either you're too stubborn to run (me), or you can't for some reason. What measures do you need to take to ensure your survival while the disaster runs its course? Well, let's start with the basic components of the bug out kit, and expand on them.

I live out in the sticks and get my water from a well. I've got alternative means to power my well pump to keep water flowing should the power go out for an extended period of time. Folks on city water don't have that luxery, so it would be a good idea for them to either install a water storage tank (50-100 gal.) or lay in a good supply of bottled water. Increase your food stores. You don't have to go nuts, but make sure you always have a pantry full of canned foods and other non-perishables. Have an alternate means of cooking. A coleman stove will run for a long time on a 20lb cylinder of propane. Samre goes for lighting. Kerosene lanterns and Coleman lanterns give off plenty of light and are cheap to run. Just make sure you have several cylinders of propane/kerosene.

Expand the medical kit to include anything you might need. Add suture needles and thread. Ask a vet friend for antibiotics to treat infections. Keep a good supply of aspirin, Tylenol or the pain reliever of your choice on hand. Children's chewables come in very handy as well. Keep several tubes of antibiotic ointments on hand as well. Get a good first aid handbook. Take a course in first aid and CPR. You may have to be your own doctor for awhile, so learn as much as you can.

Be Prepared
Get in shape. Learn to start a fire without matches. Take stock of your family and the skills you have. Decide which skills you would need to survive for a few weeks if necessary, and get family members to learn them. I can't tell you everything you need to know, because it depends a great deal on where you live, and the nature of the emergency.

Defend Yourself
This one will really piss off some folks. If you follow the advice given here, you will be better off than 99% of the people around you and they will hate you for it. We don't want to think that our friends and neighbors will turn oon us, and most times they won't, but your neighbors will surely take me out and mine will do the same for you. If you don't believe me, look at New Orleans and what's going down there. Some people will do anything when they're hungry; other need no justification, just opportunity. You will be a target, and unless you are prepared to defend yourself and your family, you will pay a steep price.

Buy a gun. Learn to shoot it. Buy another one. Keep one loaded and available at all times once the bottom drops out. Have one in your bug out kit. Have plenty of ammunition on hand for each of your guns. As for what guns to buy, on that, I'll defer to others with more expertise, as it will depend greatly on your situation.


Now, let's take stock of where you are. If disaster strikes, you are prepared. You have a way to evacuate, and if you decide to ride it out, you have food and water for a couple of weeks, enough to last until help arrives. You will have heat, and light, and hot meals. You will be able to defend yourself. In short, you are taking are of yourself to the best of your ability, while waiting for help to come from outside. You're not a victim; you're a survivor.

And all for the cost of a few hours planning and training, and a few hundred dollars in equipment and supplies.

It's a bargain at any price.
Posted by Rich
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