Sooner or later, the you-know-what is going to hit the fan. It might not be as bad as zombies or a government collapse (or both?). It might not be a worldwide chimpanzee uprising. A network of computers might not be readying themselves to take over the planet like Skynet (computers are totally preparing to take over the planet like Skynet). Probably, the proverbial sticky brown stuff that hits the fan for you will be thanks to a natural disaster.
If the planet gets struck by a meteor the size of the USS Midway, we’re all dead meat. If the government collapses and riots ensue, you’re probably better off hiding in your basement safe room with a good supply of hermit gear, and that’s another article. Zombies? Better hope they’re “Walking Dead” zombies and not “I Am Legend” zombies. In the far-more-possible event that you’d need to leave your home because of fire or flood or the biggest goddamned storm in the history of the universe, you can be (and should be) prepared. This plan also works for evading Godzilla and King Kong.
Get a big, sturdy backpack and load it with everything you need to live for at least three days. Basically, you’re going to carry your home on your back like a hobo for a while. Survival will be about preparedness. You should be able to grab the bag and go in minutes. Here’s the stuff you should have ready in the pack:
- Cash – Banks might not be open, ATMs might not work, stores might not be able to use their registers, and if you need to buy a bottle of penicillin from your neighbor, he’s not going to take American Express. Don’t store all the cash in one place if you really need to bail; put some in your front pocket, some in the bag, some in your shoe, and maybe even stuff some in your undies. Make sure to have small bills and change too.
- Beef Jerky – It’s high in protein, compact and light, and doesn’t spoil. If you’re a vegetarian, you could substitute lentils or walnuts or something, I guess… I’m goin’ with the jerky!
- Ramen Noodles – They’re lightweight and compact, plus you don’t even actually have to cook them if you’re desperate.
- Water Purification Tablets – Alternately you could purchase some sort of device, but the tablets are cheaper and lighter. Your body needs a lot of water. It needs even more water when you’re
running from zombiesevacuating from a natural disaster. You can’t carry enough water for three days, get the tablets.
- Water – About a gallon is a good start for one person. Save the containers for re-use.
- First Aid Kit – Don’t go with the cheap, plastic box of crap from the drug store. You know, the one with the bandaids and four aspirin? Spend a little money and get something useful, like the Forge Weekender Kit. You could also do it yourself, using the American Red Cross’ list of suggested contents.
- Duct Tape – For too many reasons and possibilities to list.
- Butane Lighter – Alternately you could use waterproof matches or a 9 volt battery and steel wool.
- Map – Because if the cell phone towers are down, Google can’t help you!
- Extra Clothes – Keep ’em lightweight and durable.
- Rain Poncho – Keep it at the top of the pack or in an outside pocket for quick access.
- Sleeping bag – Once again, lightweight and durable.
- Some Rope and Wire – For various purposes.
- Two Tarps – For use as a makeshift tent, one for a floor and one for a roof.
- Hat – For sun protection, plus you’re hair’s going to look terrible anyway.
- Camping Knife – Utility and possibly protection.
- Disposable Wipes – For wiping and washing. Toilet paper is bulky and water might be scarce.
- Radio – So you can keep up with what’s going on.
If you’re a gun person, have a gun ready to go, but be ready to use it immediately if the need arises. If you’d rather not carry a firearm, be prepared for the fact that people you encounter might. There are advantages and disadvantages both ways, and this is an article about preparedness, not gun control. If zombies do come, though, you should totally find a shotgun.
Always make sure to keep your car gassed up if you have a car. Also, study small side streets, alleys, and even flat back yards where you can drive out in case of pandemonium. The freeways will be useless, anyone who’s seen Hollywood movies knows that. Seriously, though, to get an idea do an image search for “hurricane Katrina evacuation” and you’ll see what I mean. You don’t want to be stuck with all those lemmings on the interstate highway, you want to be taking the road less traveled. Also, it’s good to keep some emergency supplies in the car, and some extra water. Oh, and make sure the spare tire is good! If you’re using some other means of transport (motorcycle, boat, bicycle), make the appropriate preparations so that it can be ready to go immediately.
Have a destination in mind. If you’re bugging out with family or friends, make sure they are on the same page as to where you’ll meet up. Once again you should keep in mind the idea of the “road less traveled”. Emergency shelters are an OK last-ditch plan that’s better than dying, but you don’t want to be sleeping on a folding cot in a gym, right? (Or pooping on the floor in the Superdome) Have a better place in mind. If you’ve got a vehicle, getting as far away as possible is a good idea. If you’re on the coast, go inland. If you’re on a flood plain, head for the hills. If you’re in a burning forest, get away from the trees.
Most importantly, if you need to go, GO! Hesitation can get you stuck on the highway. Hesitation can get you trapped by a rapidly-spreading fire. Hesitation can drown you in a flood. Many of the people who perish in a disaster or a fire do so because the problem got deadly faster than they thought it would. Water doesn’t have to be very deep to drag you down and drown you in a current. In Oakland, California in 1991, a fire spread to destroy 790 structures in one hour and at its peak was destroying a house every eleven seconds. GTFO!
gas mask image purchased from 123rf.com
traffic image public domain via FEMA