For most experts getting ahead of the problem is what saves lives during a crisis and that means being prepared. However, some people are not experts on survival and rarely think about the “what if’s” when it comes to any type of disaster whether it be a natural or manmade one.
Some people on the other hand are convinced they can handle problems as they come up. Then there are those that want to wait and see what the problem is before they begin searching for answers, but once the problem is at hand the solution needs to be at hand as well, you may only have a few minutes to decide.
What do you do and what will you need when a crisis is looming and you only have 20 minutes to gather your gear and evacuate the area.
The Alarm Has Sounded
The authorities have warned everyone that they only have 20 minutes before the crisis becomes deadly for many, you must evacuate and the clock is ticking. What is your first move?
Think survival at the individual level and forget about what the authorities or first responder can do for you. You are on your own for now and for the foreseeable future and 20 minutes is all you have to make your mind up and what you decide determines whether you will survive or not.
First you need to grab that backpack gathering dust in the garage you will need it to carry your survival essentials. Shelter is next and the clothes on your back are your first line of defense against the elements. If all you have, is a heavy coat in the closet then grab it for shelter even if the weather is warm and grab the tarp covering your boat, motor cycle or even the one covering your woodpile.
Tarps, ponchos, thermal (Mylar) blankets and any type of wet weather gear can be a shelter as well as garbage bags, all which can be easily carried. Tents are bulky and unless you have a small one, already packed tight with all the poles and stakes then it is best to find something that is not so heavy and can be stuffed into the pack.
Five minutes have gone by already and you need to pick up the pace.
Get 3 trash bags (can be used for water collection and shelter against the rain or snow in an emergency) and rifle the junk drawer in the kitchen for a can opener, flashlight, batteries and candles, along with matches and lighters. Pull two empty food cans (or use ones after eating on the trail) from the trash that can be used along with the candles for heat and for boiling water in, and for emergency cooking.
Place the candle in the bottom of the can once you are away from the area and poke several holes in the can with a multi-tool, nail or screwdriver that you grabbed from the toolbox in the garage. The holes are to provide oxygen to the flame. Set other cans on top to heat.
Water is essential but because of the weight, you cannot carry a significant amount with you so you must have the means to purify a water source you find in your environment and for emergencies, boiling is the best option. You will need that second metal can, small camp coffee pot or a small stainless steel bowl for boiling water. Another option is common household bleach but it can be difficult to carry in gallon jugs so if you can pour some off into a container that you can clearly label and carry you then have a second means of water purification. Carry as many bottles of water as you can and grab any empty bottles you have so you can collect water along the route for purification later.
12 Minutes Before You Need To Move Out From the Area
Food, and think high protein and not junk food. A jar of peanut butter and a box of crackers can sustain you for days. Small cans of tuna fish, dried meats and hard cheeses are high in protein. While food is important for morale and energy it is not your first priority, so make sure you grab the means for a shelter, water, water purification means and then food.
- Any type of cordage such as rope, string, twine and even tee-shirts can be twisted into cordage, cordage is need for shelter building, fishing, animal snares and lashing gear to your pack or body
- Coffee filters for emergency water filtration
- The best survival knife is the one you have with you and if you have a choice grab the best one you have otherwise any knife, axe or machete will do and to protect yourself and gear from being slashed by the exposed blade duct tape/tape the cutting edge to store in your pack or slip behind your belt
- Multi-Tool and/or a small set of pliers, wire cutters and any type of digging tool such as a small trowel or entrenching tool or even a screwdriver can be used to dig or pry with
- Duct tape
- Whistle, mirror for signaling
- Compass and maps of the area state and country
- Extra socks and under garments
- Fishing tackle, paper clips and pop can tops can be made into fishhooks and discarded water bottle caps, pieces of Styrofoam or plastic utensils can be bobbers and any shiny piece of metal can be used for lures and for weights.
- Personal protection
You Now Have Five Minutes Left
You now have shelter, water and the means to collect and purify a water source, along with some food for a few days anything else can be obtained from your environment. Double time from the area and looking back just wastes time so move forward with a purpose.
Ghostblogger is retired Army, and has taught survival training in and out of the military, for 25 years plus.