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The Ultimate Preparedness Manual

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The primary purpose of this manual is to motivate you to create and implement an Emergency Preparedness Plan.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON RISKS

FINAL THOUGHTS ON RISKS

FEMA also advises that an integral part of assessing your risks is knowing how you will be notified in the event of an emergency. Find out from local government emergency management how you will be notified for each kind of disasters, both natural and man-­made.  You should also inquire about alert and warning systems for workplace, schools and other locations. Methods of getting your attention vary from community to community. One common method is to broadcast via emergency radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or in rare circumstances, volunteers and emergency workers may go doorto-­door.

In some ways risk is also a matter of your perspective. Different people, different ideologies, even different governments perceive some risks differently. For example, some people think we are at great risk due to the effects of Global Warming, or we are on the brink of a world-­ wide energy crisis due to oil depletion, while others continue to doubt the veracity of such claims. For that matter, there are those that believe we are at risk of an alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse!

The point is, if you take the necessary and proper action to prepare for acknowledged risks, you will be better prepared for all risks... known and unknown!

OTHER RISKS

OTHER RISKS

An important part of assessing your risks and preparing for them comes with an understanding that not all the risks you and your family face are those involving physical damage or harm. Disaster planning also involves assessing your financial risks, and preparing accordingly.

You have no doubt heard the expression "save for a rainy day" - well what if that "rain" turns out to be a Hurricane, Tsunami, or major Blizzard? Are your personal finances set up to survive a natural disaster?

There are two aspects of financial preparedness. One is to simply make sure that you are prepared to get through a few days cut off from your normal financial infrastructure in the event of a natural disaster or crisis. The other involves more long-­term risk planning in the event of a personal economic crisis, such as extended job loss, or a large-­scale national or global economic meltdown.

Being prepared for the first part is easy. You need to make sure to have cash on hand and make sure it is part of your Disaster Go Bag. You will learn more about the specifics of the other contents of a Go Bag and Home Disaster Preparedness Kit in the next chapter. But as part of your financial risk assessment, assume that in the aftermath of a disaster you will not have access to banks or ATMs. Consequently, you need to be sure to stash some cash, probably at least $500.00 in your Go Bag, and do not dip into it -­-­ forget it is even there.

Also, as part of your short-­term financial disaster preparedness plan, be sure to always have your picture ID, credit cards, and medical insurance cards with you in your wallet or purse, or keep them in a routine place where you can grab them quickly. If you have a passport, know where it is so you can grab that quickly as well, and it's a good idea to also keep a copy of your passport in your Go Bag.

Set up your major monthly obligations. Mortgage, rent, insurance, utilities, etc. for auto-­payments is not only convenient it is a great way to insure that payments continue to be made in the event of an emergency. Some creditors will forgive debts in the time of a crisis, but you should not count on that to be the case.

The second phase of assessing and planning for a longterm personal or a widescale economic crisis is a bit more complex.

It does not take an earthquake to wipe the place you work off of the map and for you to suddenly find yourself out of a job. The best way you can prepare for a personal and sudden financial crisis such as job loss is to avoid debt and build savings.

There is sound advice for people of all faiths and belief systems concerning this issue from the faith-­based organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (LDS.org). It recommends the following ways to have financial reserves in preparation of disaster:

Avoid Debt -­ Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security. Avoid debt, with the exception of buying a modest home or paying for education or other vital needs. There is nothing that will cause greater tensions in life than grinding debt, which will make the debtor a slave to creditors. A specific goal, careful planning, and determined self-­discipline are required to accomplish this.  If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible. Some useful tools in becoming debt free are a debt-­elimination calendar and a family budget worksheet.

Distinguish Between Needs and Wants -­ We must learn to distinguish between wants and needs. You should be modest in your wants. It takes self-­discipline to avoid the "buy now, pay later" philosophy and to adopt the "save now and buy later" practice.

Use a Budget -­ Keep a record of your expenditures. Record and review monthly income and expenses. Determine how to reduce what you spend for nonessentials. Use this information to establish a family budget. Plan how much you will save, and what you will spend for food, housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, insurance, and so on. Discipline yourself to stay within your budget plan. A budget worksheet is a useful tool to help you with your plan.

Build a Reserve -­ Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.

Teach Your Family -­ Teach family members the principles of financial management. Involve them in creating a budget and setting family financial goals. Teach the principles of hard work, frugality, and saving. Stress the importance of obtaining as much education as possible.

Part of your short-­term financial risk assessment, needs to also include an evaluation of your insurance needs. Insurance may be the only way to rebuild or get yourself back on your feet after a hurricane, flood, earthquake or other serious natural or man-­made disaster.

The results of your Regional Risk Assessment will help clue you in to what coverage you should have. Be sure to check your policies. Often standard homeowners insurance does not include coverage for the disasters most likely to occur where you live. For example, if your home is on the beach in a hurricane zone, flooding and storm damage may be excluded from the policy. It is vital to purchase all extra coverage that may be required to protect your assets from natural disasters.

If you are the owner of property, be it residential or commercial, always insure the building and its contents at replacement-­cost, to ensure that everything will be restored at today's prices. Insurance can also be purchased for long-­term disability should you be injured during a natural disaster.

All of the above will help you deal with a personal financial crisis whether it is the result of a natural disaster, or a poor economy;; however that is with the assumption that things will eventually right themselves.

In today's unstable times there is a very real possibility that in your own lifetime you could face a global economic upheaval to rival or exceed that of the Great Depression. There are some very specific actions you can and should take to prepare for such an event.

These steps entail, but are not limited to:

    • Stockpiling cash.
    • Preparing for currency collapse with gold and silver bullion.
    • Asset protection.

Assessing Your Risks

Chapter 2 Assessing Your Risks

 
 

 

"A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."

- Proverbs 27:12

One of the most important things you can do to prepare is to assess your risks of what you may need to be preparing for. There are general preparedness skills and techniques that will serve you well in any emergency situation. But if you live on the coast of South Florida for example, you probably do not have to spin your wheels too much preparing for earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions - but you really should have a great Hurricane Survival Plan in place.

Risk assessment basically boils down to thinking about "what is the worst that can happen, and how likely is it going to happen to me." Governments, corporations, healthcare facilities and other entities vital to infrastructure, have a vested interest in understanding the risks to their operations. So the good news is that emergency preparedness organizations have invested a whole lot of time and research into compiling risk assessment data, and there are many reliable websites where you can access regional risk assessment maps, and find exactly what you could be facing where you live.

According to FEMA (Ready.gov) there are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard.

Identify the hazards that have happened or could happen in your area and plan for the unique actions for each.  Local Emergency management offices can help identify the hazards in your area and outline the local plans and recommendations for each.  By contacting the local emergency management office or local Red Cross office, you can find out what types of disasters are considered most likely to occur in a specific community. Once such risks have been determined it is important that you share the hazardspecific information with all of your family members and include pertinent materials in your family disaster plan. You will learn much more about developing a family disaster plan in the next chapter.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, (IBHS) says that no matter where you live, natural hazards exist that could significantly damage or even destroy your home or business. However, the severity and specific types of risks vary considerably by geographic region. A complete evaluation of your specific property location may be the most effective way to determine the true exposure. You can obtain a list of the natural hazards that may affect your area, and the potential of various man-­made risks by accessing IBHS' interactive map at DisasterSafety.org.

Risk assessments involve:

    • Determining when and where hazardous processes have occurred in the past.
    • Determining the severity of the physical effects of past hazardous processes.
    • Determining the frequency of occurrence of hazardous processes.
    • Determining the likely effects of a process of a given magnitude if it were to occur now.
    • Making all this information available in a form useful to planners and public officials responsible for making decisions in event of a disaster.

IBHS suggests that once you have determined the likelihood of a particular hazardous event occurring in your area, the next level of risk assessment is to figure out how vulnerable your home and property is to harm, and to prepare accordingly.

 

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Maybe you instinctively know that there are some foods that are better for you than others. But did you know that increasing the consumption of certain foods could boost your immune system, reduce stress, combat disease, and lengthen your life whether or not you may ever have to survive a crisis?

They are the group of foods collectively known as "superfoods." Some superfoods will come as no surprise. Remember how your mom always told you to eat your broccoli?  Seems she knew what clinical studies have now proven. Broccoli is one of the most potent superfoods there is. Others may surprise you such as beans and certain nuts.

What makes them so super? Superfoods may not dress up in tights and capes, but many of them are rather colorful and easy to spot. That's because one of the things that all superfoods have in common are phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the substances that give plants their color, their nutrition, and their disease resistance. Also it goes without saying that all superfoods are "all natural". You will not find anything processed or refined in a superfood. The other attributes that all superfoods have in common are antioxidants, high nutrition, and fiber. It's a triple punch that adds up to peak performance.

As a group, all of the superfoods contain key nutrients that have been found in study after study to maximize health. Yet these are the same nutrients that are lacking in the diets of most Americans. The superfoods are rich in Vitamins A, B, and C. Critical minerals such as folate, magnesium, and potassium are found in the superfoods, as are the "good fats" such as omega 3's and gamma-­linolenic acid.

Examples of superfoods include:

    • Green Tea - use hot water, but not boiling to preserve benefits
    • Tart Cherries
    • Goji Berries
    • Blueberries
    • Wheat Germ
    • Dark Chocolate - not milk chocolate - it must be dark chocolate to have any health benefits, with at least 80% cacao

 
    • Broccoli
    • Beans
    • Pumpkin
    • Spinach

Staying healthy and fit and increasing your chances of surviving a disaster is an ongoing process. A fitness and diet program high in anti-­oxidants will naturally boost your immune system and strengthen your resistance to flu and all pathogens. Learning how to cook healthy food, and how to cook food from scratch, are not only great life skills - they are survival skills.

Increase the amount of raw fruits and vegetables you eat on a daily basis, while trying to become less reliant on processed foods and modern preparation. Learn how to bake bread instead of buying it from the market. It's not that hard, it's healthier, and it may save your life in the field one day!

Besides getting in "Survival Shape" another part of improving your physical preparedness to face a disaster is to gain some additional skills that could come in handy. If you do not know how to swim, learn. Take a course in Yoga, Tai Chi, or other stress reduction techniques. These can help you cope before, during and after a disaster. Get trained in basic self-­defense. The more you can learn, and the more you can challenge yourself physically - the better you will be able to react in an emergency.

It is also a very good idea to learn CPR and basic first aid. Your local Red Cross Chapter (RedCross.org) gives many such courses. They can help you be better prepared in emergency situations, build confidence, and also are great way to meet like-­minded people and increase your network of friends -­-­ which is a good thing to have, in or out of a crisis!

While embarking on lifestyle changes to improve your overall health are generally considered sound steps to take, it is always advisable to consult with your medical practitioner before making any radical changes in your diet or exercise program.

Three ways to detox over the next two weeks include:

Cut Out the Alcohol.  It may be rough, but abstaining for two weeks will lower your triglycerides, and could help lead to weight loss. Also, drinking often goes along with eating junk food and salty snacks, when you cut out the drink you cut down on the junk.

Say Goodbye to The Sweets. Having a "sweet tooth" isn't just an  expression - it's a genetic reality. Our brains are wired to crave sugar. It's been found that sugar stimulates the same "pleasure centers" in the brain as morphine. But the "high" comes with a "high" price, such as "high" cholesterol and "high" blood pressure, since most of the foods laden with sugar, are also loaded with fat and cholesterol. The key to cutting down on sugar intake is not so much in cutting out the obvious foods like cakes and chocolate bars that is not where most of us get "sugared up" anyway. You need to avoid the "sneaky" added sugars like high fructose corn syrup that manufacturers load into all sorts of prepared foods, including breads, pasta, ketchup, and salad dressing. Sugar is not always obvious. Look for things on the label like sucrose, or anything else ending in "-­ose", dextrin, and malt, or corn syrup - these are all sugar. To wean your body off of sugar -­ try using spices such as cinnamon, or almond, or vanilla extract to sweeten foods and beverages. Feed your craving for sweets with fruits. The fiber and antioxidants will have added benefits and will (add) help you achieve your goal of Survival Shape.

Boot the "Bad Fats." You have heard the drill; there are "good fats" and "bad fats". The bad guys are the saturated fats, which are naturally found in beef and most animal products and full-­fat dairy products, and the man-­made bogeymen, trans-­fats and hydrogenated fats. You know how some products seem like they can stay on the shelf forever? Usually that's because of transfats. The problem is once the stuff gets into our bodies, it's very hard to get rid of them. As you have probably heard there are two kinds of cholesterol, one "good" one "bad". Saturated fats raise the "bad" kind (LDL). The nasty trans-­fats, not only raise the "bad" cholesterol, they decrease the "good" (HDL). Switch from cream to low fat, or skim milk, stop the "add-­ons" like mayo and butter. Of course the rich desserts have to go.

HEALTH

HEALTH

Next to being mentally prepared, one of the most important things you can do to increase your chances of surviving a disaster or crisis situation, is to keep yourself as physically fit as possible. The time to try to get in shape is not during a crisis!

Start with getting a complete physical by your doctor. Have your teeth thoroughly checked by your dentist. If you have any problems with your teeth, get them taken care of. Believe it or not a minor tooth problem can turn deadly in a survival situation.

The things you have heard about improving your diet for everyday health, are even more important if you want to increase your chances of survival during a crisis.

 

Getting yourself into "Survival Shape" is all about conditioning your mind and body for more optimum performance. And you can do this whether you are 25, 45, 55, or 75!

The benefits you will gain by beginning a proper fitness regimen will go well beyond increasing your odds of surviving a natural disaster - it will boost your odds of surviving an ever-­increasing toxic environment.

For athletes, "Peak Performance" means getting the most out of their bodies and themselves. That means setting clear goals, having a winning attitude - and putting only the best "fuel" in the engine as possible. With those three basic thoughts in mind, anybody can achieve peak performance at any age.

The best way to get healthy, and stay healthy is to start with as clean a slate as possible, and that means detoxification. Detoxification is the way to cleanse your body of accumulated substances from processed or junk foods and other toxins such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. That does not mean you have to go spend two weeks drinking grass at a retreat somewhere.  You may be able to achieve a meaningful "personal detox" by cutting down on the coffee, alcohol, saturated fats, and sugar. A classic detoxification diet goes hand-­in-­hand with a diet that will improve your health overall.

In other words, the same recommendations that can detoxify your body can also help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. A two-­week detoxification starts with drinking water, and lots of it, at least two to three liters a day. An easy way to accomplish this -­ try substituting a glass of water for at least two cups of coffee and/or soda per day1.

 
   


 

1 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 1114 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60004. (847) 818-­1800. http://journals.lww.com; See also, Alternative Therapies Magazine. P.O. Box 17969, Durham, NC 27715. (919) 668-­8825. http://www.Alternative Therapies.com.

PREPARATION IS POWER OVER PANIC

When getting yourself mentally prepared for disaster, always keep in mind that it doesn't take a major catastrophe or earthshattering event for you to find yourself in an emergency situation. As the saying goes "Sh*t Happens." Cars breakdown, power goes out, unexpected weather moves in... a simple wrong turn and you can be in dangerous and unfamiliar surroundings. The Central Indiana Wilderness Club (CIWClub.org) advises any would-­be adventurers out on any trek to "Win the Mind Game" by "knowing     what     you     know,     and     admitting what you don't", before venturing out.


They also tell all backpackers to always "STOP" -­

 

S=Stop    T=Think    O= Observe   P= Plan

That also applies to being prepared for any disaster, and not just ones that could occur on the trail.

Think of the hardest mental challenge you have ever had to face and overcome in your life. In any survival situation you will likely be confronted by problems far worse. Your mental attitude will be your greatest strength, but it could also be your downfall. You will have to defeat negative thoughts and emotions, and also conquer your greatest fears. You will never be further away from your "comfort zone." Being prepared to deal emotionally with a disaster before it occurs will help you to shift your mental processes away from despair, and take on a "I can handle this" attitude when a crisis arrives!

Modern society has conditioned your mind to expect instant relief from discomfort. If it's dark you just flip on a light switch, if you are hungry, you just run to the fridge, when you are cold, you turn up the heat.

But your mental conditioning can also be unconditioned. Your mind has a remarkable ability to adapt. You can turn back to your instincts, and retrain your mind to always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Fear is a very real human emotion. Fear is a natural reaction to a crisis. There is not a combat veteran, a police officer, a first responder, or anyone else that you might consider "brave" that would tell you they are "fearless" in combat or other life and death situations. The definition of courage is not the absence of fear but its acceptance and ability to use it positively when you can, and overcome it when you must.

Of greater concern than fear, is panic. Simply put, in a survival situation panic can be deadly. Panic is your uncontrolled need to forget everything and just try to run from your situation. Panic is triggered by the stress caused by fear of the unknown, a lack of confidence, not knowing what to do next, and letting your imagination get the best of you.

The Army manual describes several "stressors" in survival situations:

    • Loneliness
    • Fatigue
    • Cold/Heat

 
    • Hunger
    • Thirst

But if you look closely at that list and the causes of panic in the paragraph above it - you will find that there is one common way to overcome each and every one of those stressors - PREPAREDNESS!

Ideally, you can acquire preparedness by using this manual. You can face a disaster, or crisis situation, because you will have the knowledge, the equipment, and the skills needed to increase your confidence, manage your fears, and eliminate the need to panic.

What it really all boils down to is this: you may never be able to control the circumstances that have put you in a survival situation - but what you can ALWAYS control is your reactions to them. Being able to manage stress and avoid panic will significantly improve your ability to stay calm, remain focused and keep yourself and those around you alive during any crisis.

Learning relaxation techniques, assertive skills, and keeping a positive attitude will all help. But your greatest power over panic is the confidence that comes from the level of preparedness you will have by following the advice you will find in this manual. Keep it safe;; keep it close - and you may always know what to do.

ATTITUDE

ATTITUDE

Being mentally prepared to face a crisis is as important as any piece of equipment or technique that will be mentioned in this manual. A generation ago, being prepared was more than just the motto of the Boy Scouts;; it was a way of life.  Your grandparents knew it just made common sense to prepare for an unexpected emergency or disaster. Today, your friends and family may look at you like you're nuts. when you talk about the need for emergency supplies and a disaster plan.

That is because in recent generations we have become complacent. We have had ever increasing modern conveniences, making life easy, and have enjoyed long periods of relative financial ease. Rarely have any of us or our friends or neighbors had any problems with the availability of goods and essential services. When you read the headlines of terrible disasters in Japan, Haiti or even closer to home in New Orleans, but still take an attitude of "it's sad, but something like that can't happen to me." You may be taking the incorrect attitude as this can happen to anyone.

It is the unforeseen situation. And the sooner you prepare for it in your mind, the better you will be able to prepare all around.

Did you ever stop to wonder why in any given disaster, when a group of people face similar, dire circumstances, some make it while others perish? Skills and their relative level of preparedness are factors of course, but so is their mental attitude! Having the "survivor mentality" can often mean the difference between life and death.

How you deal with stress has a lot to do with your ability to survive in any kind of crisis. It isn't always the person with the greatest physical strength that is better at handling an emergency and more likely to survive. Being able to think clearly is your most valuable asset in a survival situation.

It has been proven time and time again how mental and emotional states are more important than physical skills in survival situations - just take a look again at the story of Tillie Tooter mentioned in our Intro. You can have the strength of an Olympic athlete, and the best survival gear available, but they will be useless to you if you allow fear and stress to takeover - and you sink into despair and a negative attitude.

When encountering extremely hazardous situations, your most crucial task will be to solve problems as they arise in order to stay alive. You must be able to recognize threats to your life, know their priority of significance,

 

and the severity of the threat to your life. Then you must be able to take the necessary action that will keep you alive. It is a physical fact, that when you are calm your brain can process information more efficiently, and problem solve more effectively - that is what is meant by "thinking clearly."

According to the U.S. Army Survival Manual, stress can inspire you to operate successfully and perform at your maximum efficiency in a survival situation. But it warns that stress can also cause even the best soldier to panic and forget his training.

The key to your own survival is your ability to manage the inevitable stress you will encounter in an emergency. You are a survivor when you work with stress instead of letting your stress work on you. Fear and panic are your greatest enemies. Unless you learn to control them, they can destroy your ability to make intelligent decisions and cause you to react to your feelings and imagination rather than to your situation.

And what does the Army manual say can "vanquish fear and panic?" Training and self-­confidence! And you don't need military level training to achieve that! What you do need is some basic training (such as the information provided in the Manual) but more importantly the self-­ confidence that comes from knowing that disasters can happen, and being properly prepared for them.

Section I

Survival Basics

"If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance.

Or better, one's chances of survival increase with each book one reads."

- Sherman Alexie

 

Chapter 1 

Mental and Physical Preparedness

 
 


 

"What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

- Napoleon Hill

One of the guiding principles of the   Ultimate    Survival    Project   is some people will do everything to survive, but everybody can do something." What that means is that there will always be those who have been specially trained in survival skills, whether that is from a military background, a chosen profession, or personal choice. But, being prepared for an emergency or natural disaster doesn't mean you have to be a Navy SEAL, or have access to unlimited resources, or have a degree in emergency management. With a little confidence, creativity and the right knowledge, you can be prepared and increase your odds of survival in any disaster or emergency.

SURVIVAL IS A STATE OF MIND

YOUR BRAIN IS YOUR MOST POWERFUL SURVIVAL TOOL!

The New Rule of Threes

There is something that everyone who has taken any kind of survival training has had drummed into his or her head, it's called The Rule of Threes.

A person can survive for:

    • Three minutes without air
    • Three hours without shelter
    • Three days without water

 
    • Three weeks without food

The idea behind the Rule of Threes is a simple one: so you know your priorities in any emergency situation. In the food obsessed modern society we live in, untrained people who find themselves for the first time in an emergency situation, often spend their time running around exhausting themselves finding sources of food, and suddenly it's nightfall, cold, raining, or snowing, and they are dead by morning without shelter.

SURVIVAL, IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCES,

STARTS WITH KNOWING AND SETTING YOUR PRIORITIES.

When you have finished this manual you will know the Rule of Threes and how to apply each of them in just about any emergency situation you may ever find yourself or your family in. But you will also have the confidence that comes from a New Rule of Threes:

    • Three minutes with this book and you will understand why you must prepare to survive;
    • Three hours with this book, you will start to understand how to survive;
    • Three days with this book and you will start to prepare to survive;
    • Three weeks with this book and you will survive!