You need more than a firearm to survive a natural disaster. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes present their own unique sets of difficulties. This begs the question: What gear is essential to survive any disaster?
Don’t underestimate the importance of water. Even if food is scarce, you can keep going if you have a good, clean supply of water. The climate, your state of health and your level of physical fitness dictate how much water you need. Here’s an excellent World Health Organization guide to help calculate how much water you might need during an emergency.
There are some steps you can take to ensure you have an adequate water supply. Fill the bathtub in your home with water and cap the drain if a disaster is imminent. The water lines in your home might be damaged or the water could be turned off. It’s never a bad idea to keep some extra gallon jugs of water stored. These, of course, are handy if you are stationary. But what if you are forced to relocate? Mainstay Emergency Drinking Water Pouches are a great option. A LifeStraw is essential if you don’t have access to filtered water. If you don’t already own one, go get one.
Food is obviously vital to maintaining strength. Your energy won’t last without food, especially if you are a healthy eater and consume food often. At least three days of non-perishable items are recommended. A food supply already packaged and ready to transport is optimal.
I like to stock up on beef jerky. This modern equivalent of pemmican is easily stored and not dependent on the climate. Get yourself some Mainstay Emergency Food Rations. Another solid choice is the emergency food products produced by the Wise Company. These products have a shelf life of 25 years. If you store food that must be cooked, be certain you have a way to prepare it.
Pets are a responsibility I don’t take lightly. If you have a pet, have food to last at least a week or two.
I am a stickler for first-aid gear. This gear prevents a minor cut from turning into a major problem. It’s shocking how many folks don’t have a first-aid kit in their homes! A kit should include:
- Sterile bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Roller gauge
- Elastic wrap bandages
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Non-latex gloves
- QuikClot (an emergency item worth adding)
If you or a family member has diabetes or some other health condition, make sure to pack personal medications. Try to keep the prescriptions fully up-to-date and filled. Ibuprofen for aches and pains and treatments for cough, cold and diarrhea are good to have as well.
Stock up on plenty of quality lights. I have several TRUGLO lights. Sure, these devices aren’t rechargeable if the power goes out, but they can come in handy. I have a supply of spare batteries for them. Small pen lights are valuable too. Avoid cheap plastic lights. These are not rugged enough for emergency use. Usually the bulbs go out if the lights are dropped. Get something worthwhile and have one for each family member.
Clothing and underwear are important. Blankets do not have to be large (depending on the climate) but should be considered useful. After all, the hottest desert is chilly at night.
Food and water are essential, but tools can be lifesavers. I keep a quality hatchet in my ready bag. I might have to use the hatchet to prepare food or make a hasty shelter from brush or small trees. A bit of foliage and a light blanket do wonders for keeping out the cold and rain.
A flare pistol can be useful. After reading about folks who either died or were stranded for weeks, a flare gun is a good bet. After all, it weighs but a few ounces. It doesn’t have to be industrial grade like a ship’s flare gun to get the job done.
A whistle is a good thing to have, assuming it’s a quality one.
It is best to have ready-made-up supplies of toilet paper and a brush or comb. A few personal items in the bag will keep the emergency from being downright miserable.
Think hard before abandoning the homestead. Unless your life is in danger where you are, remain in your shelter. There is a limit to what you can carry. But if you are forced to go mobile, make sure your food supply, water and equipment are easily transportable. Think ahead to ensure you will be ready to face any natural disaster and have the right supplies and gear on hand.
About Bob Campbell
Bob Campbell is a writer for Concealed Carry Magazine with a degree in criminal justice. Bob has been a firearms writer for decades, writing for Concealed Carry Handguns, Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, SWAT Magazine, Law and Order and Black Belt, among others. He has written 15 books primarily focused on handguns and training, including The Accurate Handgun from Gun Digest. In addition to serving as a peace officer and firearms instructor, he has also written curriculum at the university level.