plan463x348Two different takes from well-known actors, both of whom have starred in films with apocalyptic themes. The quote from Cage implies that humans have a responsibility to take steps before it’s too late, while Dunst’s quote reflects a more laid-back, devil-may-care attitude. The truth is, with 7.45 billion humans in the world with a median age of 30.1, there are going to be a plethora of opinions on the end of the world, survival strategies, and prepping for the unlikely or inevitable! Consider this—in 2015, there were 10 extreme weather events in the U.S. alone that killed 155 people, at a cost of more than $1 billion each. Believing in a zombie or political apocalypse is not a prerequisite for creating a simple survival kit.

Power-Related: You would be hard pressed to find adults who have not experienced a power outage, even if relatively fleeting. If you have experienced severe weather, you likely know how hard it is to live without electricity. Kit necessities run the gamut from low tech to state-of-the-art, including candles, matches, flashlights, disposable lighters, battery-powered and solar-powered chargers, and rechargeable batteries. You could opt for the 5-Day SOLAR Powered Survival Backpack, the first all-in-one backpack that provides survival supplies, solar power, and long term food products.

Money: During a disaster, there is a good chance banks will be closed and ATMs may either not work or run out of cash quickly. Keep about $200 on hand in small bills in a safe place like a fireproof, waterproof metal lockbox.

Food: Perhaps you already have a well-stocked food pantry with long-shelf life foods. If not, here are a few foods that won’t take up much room and can be lifesavers in a pinch. Ready-made freeze-dried and dehydrated meals are not only a perfect option for camping, but also ideal for survival prepping. Freeze-dried food is lightweight, comes in handy Mylar packets, and can last as long as 30 years.

Water: You should store one gallon of water per person per day and need to plan accordingly. Clean drinking water may be scarce during a disaster. Lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, rainwater, and other bodies of water are potential sources, however, you cannot drink this water without filtering/purifying it. Of course it isn’t practical to carry around a large filtration system. Portable options include the Seychelle Water Bottle that removes up to 99.99 percent of pollutants for up to 100 gallons of great tasting filtered water, and the Katadyn Pocket, a rugged, long-lasting warrior—the only portable device that comes with a lifetime warranty.

Shelter: If you are lucky, you will find space in a community shelter. However, you may live in a rural area or discover all the shelters are full. You’ll thank your lucky stars that you purchased an all-weather sleeping bag and tent for that camping trip a few years ago. And if you didn’t, these are two items you should consider putting on your survival kit shopping list.

Basic First Aid Kit: It is a wise idea to prepare a basic first aid kit with bandages, alcohol pads, medical tape, gauze rolls, scissors, eye drops, hydrocortisone cream, antibacterial ointment. If applicable, set aside an extra set of eye glasses, contact lenses, a cane, hearing aid batteries, over-the-counter medications, and any personal items you may need. Preferably, you should have two kits—one for your vehicle and another one in your survival kit.

Personal Documents: If you are displaced, it is important to have copies of your photo ID, passport, birth certificate, and insurance policies readily available. It is a good idea to back up documents on a flash drive and store this in a fireproof, waterproof metal lockbox or off site, e.g. a bank safe deposit box.

If you are one of the 7.45 billion people on this planet who has a philosophy that falls somewhere in between “life is beautiful” and “the world is doomed—a fully stocked emergency survival kit might be the best option.

Selecting a survival backpack (also called a bug out bag) is a lot different than buying a backpack for a leisurely one-day hiking trip or for your teenager to take to school. Purchasing a high-quality emergency backpack to hold all your survival gear may spell the difference between life and death in natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and mudslides—or if you get lost in the wilderness on what was supposed to be a dream camping trip.

Most people look at basics such as fit, capacity, weight, durability, and price when purchasing a general-use backpack. While some of those features are also considerations for survival backpacks, experts suggest assessing the following 10 components.

Weight: The backpack should be lightweight but sturdy enough to hold essentials, which likely means it will have an adequate internal frame. The best backpacks ideally balance weight and functionality.

Padded Hip Belt: A cushioned hip belt stabilizes and softens the impact of a backpack, preventing sore spots on your hips and lower back that can impair mobility and survival.

Padded Shoulder Straps: Gear can get heavy very quickly after walking several miles. Adequate padded straps help distribute weight and lower the impact on your shoulders so you can keep on going.

Waterproof Materials: All that work you expended putting together your survival backpack may be for naught if rain ruins the contents. You don’t want to run the risk of moldy equipment and soggy food. The best backpacks are made of waterproof materials with proper ventilation.

Internal Frame: Backpacks are frameless or have external or internal frames. The latter is the best choice overall because the internal frame provides excellent load-support and the ability to transfer the load to your hips.

Capacity: This feature is important because you don’t want to run out of supplies, but also don’t want to overestimate and be weighed down with an untenable load. The rule of thumb is 30-50 liters capacity for 3 nights, 50-80 liters for up to 5 nights, and 70+ liters for extended trips.

Rain Cover: Some professional hiking and survival backpacks have separate, detachable rain-covers. While most packs already offer waterproof coating, some moisture often slips through zippers and small openings. You should buy an inexpensive rain cover if you anticipate wet weather.

Ventilation: Although most survival backpacks are waterproof and made from modern nylon and other strong materials, they make you sweat. High quality backpacks feature ventilation technology (e.g. a mesh back panel) to keep you cool and comfortable even in high temperatures.

Pockets: Outer and inner pockets are a necessity if you want to avoid rifling around in a massive backpack for loose items. Quick access to a flashlight, survival knife, and other small emergency supplies can come in handy in many situations.

Hydration Sleeve: A hydration reservoir is useful if you want to carry water in an internal, refillable bottle and drink it through a tube without having to open your backpack. Although this is not essential, it is a nice option.

hurricane-diasterThe latest natural disasters to impact the U.S.—Hurricane Matthew,Harvey & Irma—emphasized how important it is to create a family disaster plan. It seems like every time Mother Nature invokes its fury on communities across the country, there are people caught unawares. In some cases, people don’t have the resources to plan ahead, while in other cases, they rely on those in charge of their care to take necessary precautions, e.g. residents of nursing homes.

The most important part of disaster preparedness comes down to one word: planning. To start, consider emergencies most likely to occur where you live. The Red Cross suggests incorporating the following basics in any disaster plan for every member of your family including pets.

What to do in case you are separated during an emergency
Steps to take if you have to evacuate
How to communicate to loved ones so they know you’re safe

Basic Tips from the White House

Evacuation: If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan where to stay. Many communities have shelters, but you should have a backup plan because shelters often quickly reach capacity. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.

Disaster supply kit: Essential items include a first-aid kit, medications, a tool kit, matches, disposable lighters, flashlight, battery-or solar-powered cell phone chargers, personal care items, battery-operated radio, extra car keys, and critical documents. You might consider investing in a flash drive or hard drive back up with important data. This can be stored off site or in a fireproof box with your disaster kit.

Emergency Supplies: If you are not in an area advised to evacuate and decide to stay home, you still need to plan ahead. You may lose power, water and not be able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads. You should stock your pantry with long-shelf life foods and a minimum of one gallon of water per day per person. Don’t forget to have enough supplies on hand for everyone in the family including pets.

Family emergency communication plan: Families are often not together when disaster strikes. You may have children at school and elderly relatives in nursing homes. It is important to find out what emergency plans a school or nursing facility has in place and how they will notify you during natural disasters.

Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. FEMA offers a downloadable mobile app that enables you to:

Receive severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the U.S. with tips how to stay safe.
Upload and share photos of damage and recovery efforts to help first responders.
Locate and receive driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
Apply for federal disaster assistance with easy access to DisasterAssistance.gov.
Save a customized list of items in your family’s emergency kit and local emergency meeting places should disaster strike.
Receive preparedness reminders and safety tips for more than 20 types of disasters including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

Experts recommend discussing, practicing, and updating your plan a minimum of twice a year.


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