So you’ve had to abandon your home or BOL (or was not at it when the fan blades turned brown) and now you’re on the last day of your bug out bag, what now? The first thing you should do is STOP and take a minute to reflect. Check through your bag and see what’s still usefula nd what’s low or gone. For the most part everything inside your bag will last for weeks or even months if it has to. Your firestarter should still be in good shape, your emergency blankets are ok, you still have a tent….but what about your food and water? AAH yes! These are the real dangers. You still have heat, shelter, and light but without food and water, espeically water, you will die all warm and toasty.
Without food you’ll begin to feel hungry and run down in a day or two but you’re still ok for about another three weeks. Assuming you have a destination you’re trying to reach where you can resupply you won’t starve if you make it there in time.
Without water however you’re in much worse shape. You have 2-3 days before your body shuts down and you eventually die on about the 4th day. I have heard stores of people living 5 days, and even 7 without water but the average and the rule of thumb is 3 days.
What To Do
Examine your suroundings and weight your options. If your goal is to get where ever you’re going and you know for sure that you can reach it in 1-2 days, then start marching. Don’t stop except to rest at night. Try to conserve all the water you can by not sweating.
If you don’t have a place to go or you’re more than 2-3 days out for a BOL, then you need to start looking for water. If you’re in the wilderness look and listen for signs of water and head in that direction. Signs can be green spots of vegitation in the distance (you may have to do for it), naturally occuring valleys between hills, or something as obvious as a creek bed.
If your survival senario puts you in an arid enviroment such as a desert you should start planning now for your water, not after the shtf. Have a plan and a place to go and carry enough water to get you there otherwise you will surely die. If possible drive the area now while you can think and plan things out. It may be possible to cache some extra supplies in a hidden spot along your path, but you have to do this beforehand.
If you’re in an urban enviroment (which most will be) remember that there is probably water all around you, although it may not be drinkable. It would be hard to imagine a house without at least one can of pop or a bottle of water somewhere inside. Hopefully you will find someone who can spare a bit.
Spigots on houses (beware the owners), ditches, man made lakes, and swimming pools are all great sources. If all hell has truely broke loose then take refuge inside of an abandoned house and look for water in water heaters, the BACK of toilets (not the bowl), and sink traps. They will all hold some water. Just remember that this water will more than likely be contaminated so filter and boil it first.
Once your water is restocked either hunker down and build a temp base camp until you can locate food, or keep moving to your BOL. If you’re in luck your senario may be over by then and you can begin going back to a normal life. If not I hope you are learning self sufficient skills now as well as basic long term survival.
It’s getting close to the anniversary of 9/11 so I want to cover an important survival and preparedness topic that most of us overlook, I’m going to show you how to make a Work Emergency Bag (WEB) that you should store at work in the event of an emergency to keep you safe and prepared.. An emergency situation can happen at any time. It doesn’t matter where you are, you may be on your own and forced to improvise. Natural, terroristic, and man made disasters can force offices full of workers to evacuate. In big cities a disaster may also affect public transportation and congest the streets. Your workplace emergency kit should be in a single, easy-to-carry container in case you are evacuated from your workplace.
Discuss with your family what you may do in an emergency if they can’t reach you by cell phone and make sure you write down a list of emergency contact numbers. Evaluate where you work and how far you live from work. Coordinate with your trusted co-workers and exchange ideas for creating individual WEB’s ideal for your situation, urban area, and workplace.
Preparing Your Work Emergency Bag (WEB)
- Canvas Bookbag - Get a large, canvas, water resistant backpack with several compartments and padded shoulder straps. Attach a luggage tag with your name, address, and phone number.
- Water - Keep one gallon of water, preferably in a something easy to carry like a Camelbak or High Sierra Hydration Pack.
- Food - Your food stores should be simple and require no cooking. S.O.S. Food Bars taste great, are full of calories and nutrients, and store for up to 5 years. They’re cheap too!
- Flashlight - You need a small, powerful, and dependable flashlight. The Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight With S.O.S Strobe fits the bill perfectly. It’s one of my favorite flashlights and is super tough! Also the American Red Cross Hand Crank Weather Radio with Flashlight and Cell Phone Charger is a great combo item that can provide you with light, information, and power in one little package.
- GloSticks - Having a couple of glow sticks is a nice extra in most kits, but it’s important to have them in a WEB. Gas leaks could be everywhere in an urban enviroment and using a flashlight or other electronic device could spark an explosion. Make sure you grab a few as you’ll need a new one every night. The 12 Hour Emergency Glow Sticks (4 Pack) are cheap, made for emergencies, and glow very brightly.
- Emergency Radio - Having a way to communicate to the outside world and keep up to date with what’s going on is vital in an emergency situation. The best emergency radios are hand crank and the best one I have seen is the American Red Cross Hand Crank Weather Radio I mentioned above. It’s really a little marvel.
- Emergency Blanket - Mylar sheets (a.k.a. space blankets, emergency blankets) are lightweight, waterproof and very thin. They come tightly packed (they come in insanely small boxes), and should be left in their original packaging until you need to use them. They’re very hard to refold once opened and you’ll end up just stuffing it in your pack.
- Whistle - A whistle will allow you to make noise for hours if you become trapped. Yelling for long periods of time will dry out your throat and force you to use up your water, if you have any. The higher pitch will also carry better than your voice. The Storm Safety Whistle (a.k.a. the worlds loudest whistle) is the way to go. At $5 and some change it’s no dollar store toy, but neither is your emergency kit.
- PryBar - A prybar is a great tool for your kit and no WEB should be without one. Not only is it great for getting yourself out of a building, but it also makes a decent weapon against a would be assailant. The Big Ugly Emergency Combo gives you a prybar, hammer, and razor sharp axe all in one. A note here, there’s a cheapo chinese copy of the Big Ugly that you can find for about $5. Use it at your own risk, it’s a real work of crap and is known to snap very easily…the last thing you want your one and only prybar to do.
- Running Shoes And Socks - Most dress shoes are so uncomfortable it’s impossible to walk several miles in them. You could even end up with feet so blistered you simply could not walk any more. Don’t believe me? Try running a mile in them and see for yourself! Make sure you have some good athletic running shoes and socks in your bag ready to go or you’ll regret it later, don’t take this one for granted.
- First aid Kit - You can make your own first aid kit or buy a pre-packaged kit. A pre-made kit will usually cover a wide range of emergencies. The best thing to do is buy a pre-made first aid kit and then add to it with your own items.
- Poncho - A poncho is easy to carry and super light. Protecting yourself from getting wet is important and a poncho is all you need. Hypothermia can set in faster than you think and having wet clothes can be a death sentence in cold weather.
- Dust Mask - Make sure you pick up a pack of dust masks. As 9/11 proved there is ALOT of dust and smoke during most emergencies. A dust mask can protect your lungs from cancer causing particles such as abestos and also keep some smoke out too. The best masks form to fit your face and have a valve for breathing, such as the 3M Valved Dust Mask. You can also go for a full Civilian Gas Mask if you don’t mind the odd looks. I pack a full gas mask because I know those at Ground Zero would have given anything for a full mask. The odd looks by stranges mean nothing when the entire sky is grey with posionous dust and smoke.
- Maps - Ever tried walking miles home from work during a total SHTF moment? I bet not. Imagine for a moment your disoriented and in shock, and maybe hurt too. Everything is covered in grey dust (including road signs)…Can you remember to count how many roads there are or pick out any landmarks (which could have been destroyed too) until your next turn? If your work is in the city but your house is in suburbia, what if you have to get off the road and into the woods? Don’t count on your cell phone GPS working during an emergency. Not only could your providor be overwhelmed but an EMP or solar flare could render it useless. Pull up Google Maps and print out a map from your work back to your house. highlight the route and also note any important places, such as a hospital, police station, or some place where you can safely rest at night. If you can find a map of your building make a copy of it too, espeically any building with more than 5 floors.
- Cell Phone - You’ll probably have this on you already, just make sure it’s handy and charged.
- Cell Phone Charger - A dead cell phone is useless and luck always has it that it will be dead right when you need it. Plus a two day walk out of town can be enough to finish off your phone. The best cell phone charger works every time and can be used for more than charging a phone. Again the American Red Cross Hand Crank Weather Radio fits both these needs. Told ya it’s a real marvel.
- Money - Keep a few dollars in your WEB, about $20-50 in small bills. Make sure you hide your money in your bag somewhere. The cardboard bottom of your backpack is a great place. Fold your money up and tape it to the bottom of the cardboard, no one will think to look there.
- Moist Wipes - A pack of baby wipes works well. Make sure you don’t open them untill you need them or they will dry out.
- MultiTool Knife - You need a knife, don’t underestimate it’s uses. Getting a multitool instead of a tatical knife gives you a lot of options, like having a screwdriver and pliers. A good multitool can be expensive though, upwards of $150, but you can get a decent Leatherman (the creators of the multitool) for under $30 on Amazon that fits all your needs. This is another place where you wouldn’t want to buy a cheapo china-made version. You can put a good multitool through hell, but a chinese made one will bend or dull with just a few minutes use. Check out the Leatherman Pocket Multi-Tool with Leather Sheath for example.
- Extra Keys - Keep extra keys to your house and car in your kit. You should tape these to the same place you put your cash, the bottom of the hard coardboard piece in the bottom of your backpack. Make sure you don’t mark them in any way.
- Documents - Make sure you have some form of identification on you. Also grab any special papers or photos you may have at your desk.
Awareness makes up 90% of self-defense, the remaining 10% being physical techniques. With awareness, you can identify and avoid potentially dangerous situations. Without it, you become an easy target for a criminal or raider.
Colonel Jeff Cooper, a combat pistol instructor, developed the Color Code system, used by most military and police organizations, to differentiate different levels of awareness.
These color codes help recognize, evaluate, and avoid potential threats. They are used to measure rising threat and make most situations avoidable.
The following are the colors in ascending order of awareness of danger: white, yellow, orange, and red.
- You feel secure, whether or not you are actually safe.
- Awareness is switched off.
- You are unaware of your environment, its inhabitants, and their rituals of attack.
- All attackers look for victims in this state.
- You are cautious. You should spend most of the time in this state.
- Awareness is switched on.
- State of threat awareness and relaxed alertness.
- You have a 360-degree peripheral awareness of such environmental danger spots as secluded doorways, entries, and alleys, as well as such psychological triggers as adrenal dump and attacker ruses. Be aware of people, vehicles, behind large objects, dark areas, etc.
- You are in danger. You are aware of a potential threat.
- State of threat evaluation.
- Specific alert. A possible target has been identified. A particular situation that has drawn your attention and could present a major problem. Someone may be giving oral indicators such as direct threats or using suspicious language. Focus on the potential attacker.
- Check to see if there is an avenue of escape, potential weapons available, and if others around you are friend or foe.
- Decision is made to take action.
- You are in conflict.
- State of threat avoidance.
- Fight or flight. Flee, defend, or attack. You have evaluated the situation, and if there is a threat, you prepare to fight or run.
- Never stand or fight if there is a possibility of fleeing.
- Carry out decision to act made in Code Orange. You don’t have to think; no indecision on the course of action; you are prepared.
- If use of physical self-defense techniques is necessary, use the level of force appropriate to the threat. E.g., don’t treat someone who pushes you because he is rude like someone who is trying to stab you with a knife.
How to Use the Color Codes of Awareness
The color codes of awareness are a continuum of your awareness and readiness to defend. The objective is to constantly flow from one color to the next above or below, depending on the situation.
Never be in white. Spend most your time in yellow, even in places where you feel safe, such as at home.
Constantly be aware and alert, and shift from yellow and orange often as you notice potential threats and dangers. While walking down the street, practice imaginary shifts between the 2 colors. Practice thinking of ways to respond to potential attackers.
When in orange, notice what you can do to flee, defend, or attack if it becomes necessary, and make the decision to take a specific action if the situation escalates to red.
What would you do if that person walking behind you picks up the pace and makes a move toward you? What would you do if someone jumped out of the alley just ahead of you? What would you do if someone walking in front of you suddenly cuts your path and raises his hands toward you?
The Color Codes in Practice
Here’s one example of how the Color Codes of awareness could be used. A woman is walking to her car, carrying grocery bags. Being aware and alert in Code Yellow, she sees two suspicious men near her car.
She switches from Yellow to Orange. She decides on her self-defense options. They walk toward her and reach for her. She switches to Red, and executes her decisions: she throws the bags at them and runs back into the store.
Another example. You are walking and someone diagonally across the street stares at you for no apparent reason, with an angry expression. He doesn’t avert his gaze. You shift to Orange and decide to run the opposite direction and yell for help.
He starts moving quickly toward you, crossing the street without regard to traffic. You immediately shift to Red, and without thinking or deciding, run the opposite direction at the fastest speed you can, and either lose him or run into a police officer or security guard that can help you.
Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend information about how to survive in an emergency situation. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you. It is dynamic, hard to maintain, and easy to lose. Knowing what is going on all the time is very difficult for any one person, especially during a high stress survival situation. Therefore it is important that you know what behavior is effective in maintaining Situational Awareness.
Here are a few ways you can improve your situational awareness today before you need it in a survival situation:
1. Learn to Predict Events
The most effective aspect of Situational Awareness involves the ability to project the future actions of elements around you.
After you have been able to identify elements in your environment and can comprehend the situation, it is time to take your Situational Awareness one step further. Use this information to think ahead and determine how it will affect future actions and events in the environment.
2. Identify Elements Around You
The first step in achieving Situational Awareness is to become aware of the important elements in your environment. Start by noticing the threats that surround you. Then expand your awareness to other non-threatening elements.
This is the most basic level of Situational Awareness where you begin to monitor, detect, and recognize multiple situational elements. These include objects, events, people and environmental factors. Basic Situational Awareness also requires you to notice the locations, conditions and actions of the elements around you.
This may sound overwhelming, but do not worry. These are skills you already use on a daily basis. The first step is designed to help you expand and improve your perception of what is happening around you.
3. Trust Your Feelings
Disorder within your family or a gut feeling that things are not right can cause you to lose proper situational awareness. This clue is one of the most reliable because the body is able to detect stimulus long before we have consciously put it all together.
4. Limit Situational Overload
Overload causes distraction, increased errors, and high stress. Prioritizing and delegating tasks and minimizing surrounding distractions can improve survival during times of overload.
5. Avoid Complacency
Assuming everything is under control will affect your vigilance. When things are slow or tasks are routine complacency can occur. Continue to challenge yourself and those around you to be prepared for contingencies.
6. Be Aware of Time
Time is an important factor in mastering Situational Awareness. The pace of your environment is constantly being changed by the actions of individuals, task characteristics, and outside elements. When unplanned events begin to arise, be sure to make the necessary changes to your schedule and goals to help you survive.
7. Begin to Evaluate and Understand Situations
The next step in involves understanding multiple elements through the processes of pattern recognition, interpretation, and evaluation. Use this information to determine how it will effect your goals or in this case your ultimate survival. This will help you build a comprehensive picture of your immediate surroundings and a better understanding of Situational Awareness.
8. Actively Prevent Fatigue
Fatigue affects your ability to watch for possible danger or difficulties. Try adjusting your work routine and imposing sleep discipline to prevent wake cycles longer than 18 hours. Make sure you get at least 5 and preferably 8 hours per day of sound sleep to minimize sleep deprivation.
9. Continually Assess the Situation
When you are in a survival situation always be prepared for changes around you. Continually assess and reassess the situation to determine if you are giving yourself the best possible chance for survival. Learn what nature, the land, and new tasks are telling you, before you find yourself in a difficult situation.
10. Monitor Performance of Others
Be alert for changes in the performance of those around you caused by work overload, stress, and mistakes. When changes are needed, take action by speaking up and helping out. A weak link in your family could be the difference between success or failure in your survival.