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Be Prepared to Survive

By Kris Torrey

In the event of economic crises, sweeping natural disasters, or other massives disruption of the political and social order, will you be prepared to survive? Yes, if you follow the author's advice.

If you want to be prepared to survive, the three main things you'll need to stockpile are food, water, and medicine. But a number of other items might come in handy too.


Have you heard the news today? Energy crunch, money crisis, shortages, and predictions of worldwide famine within two years because the population of the earth is exceeding the productive capacity of the land.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family? How can you be prepared to survive? One of the best insurance policies to own in these times is a year's supply of food. (Ideally, the planning should include other necessities too, since warmth, cleanliness, medication and so on may also be essential to your own survival and that of your loved ones.) Once you prepare yourself to live for a twelve-month period without any income, you'll find that you're ready for strikes, floods, earthquakes, power failures, unemployment, tornadoes, war, epidemics, riots, etc. The feeling of security is fantastic!

The main theme of any survival program is "Rely on yourself." In a true emergency or panic, grocery stores would be out of staples in a few hours and completely emptied of food in about two days. Their wholesalers' supplies would be exhausted within a week.

And don't expect public or private social agencies to step in and fill the gap. The Red Cross has limited resources that are already overtaxed. Even the government and the many service organizations it sponsors may not be willing or able to subsidize everyone during a large-scale disaster, and certainly not during a depression. Here, then, is a step-by-step plan to offer you the best chance of getting through the worst the future can hold.

Water Caching

Water is the first and most basic need for survival. You can live for weeks without food but only two or three days at the most without this precious fluid. In the event of nuclear disaster, terrorist sabotage, tornado, chemical and bacterial warfare or accident, the public water supply may become contaminated. Therefore, your own cache is of prime importance.

You should have on hand one gallon of good drinking water per person per day for a period of two to three weeks. This is a survival ration which precludes bathing, dishwashing, shampooing and other uses which are not absolutely essential. If you live in an arid climate, you may feel more secure with a larger reserve. If your home is in a remote area and has a deep well, you might get by with less. Whatever your situation, though, the establishment of a water cache is very important and very inexpensive. Do it now!

Storage of a water supply is extremely flexible. Some people use tanks, or purchase five-gallon jerrycans. The most inexpensive scrounge method I've ever seen anyone put together consists of making daily rounds to laundromats to collect empty Clorox jugs (plastic containers which have held various other products may allow harmful or distasteful residues to leach into your reserve.) The bottles are filled from an indoor tap, identified as "DRINKING WATER" with a Marks-A-Lot or other felt-tipped marking pen (remove the paper label first) and squirreled away in odd nooks and crannies around the house wherever space permits. If four drops of any 5 1 /2 or 6% hypochlorite bleach such as Clorox or Purex are added at bottling time, the liquid will remain sweet for years ... except for a flat taste which is easily cured by aeration before use.

If you can your garden produce, the jars—as they are emptied—may be filled with water for storage and thus made useful the year round. Should you choose to hot pack such containers and close them with caps that seal, don't add chlorine. The canning procedure will eliminate any bacteria.

Medicine Storage

The second pressing need in any survival program is for an advance supply of drugs for those who must take medication on a regular basis. This group includes heart patients, epileptics, diabetics, women who must—for health reasons—avoid pregnancy and all others whose lives might depend on a store of medicine. Visit your doctor and explain to him that—in case a strike of pharmaceutical company employees or truckers, or a civil disturbance, should temporarily deprive you of your supply of drugs or access to their source—you would like a standby reserve.

Whatever you do, do not store away the extra medication your doctor arranges for you. Use your regular supply, then the reserve . . . which, in turn, has just been replaced with your next prescription. Thus, you'll always rotate your stock to keep the drugs fresh. If possible, use this method over a period of time to build up a year's supply of medication and make sure you have at least two weeks' reserve to start.

Short-Term Food Supply

The third priority in your survival program is a food supply of at least two weeks' balanced diet. The very best advice on this subject available at present is the U.S. Department of Agriculture Home and Garden Bulletin No. G77, Family Food Stockpile for Survival, available free from the Office of Information, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although the publication is very much slanted to the home fallout shelter enthusiasm of the late 1950's, the information it contains is solid and applicable to present situations. The booklet covers storage and replacement of foods, sample meals and menus, cooking and serving equipment, storage and purification of water, and record keeping. © All Rights Reserved