No, the staff at Gunslinger Research isn’t trying to turn all our readers into survivalists or preppers. We wanted to briefly touch on basic emergency preparedness, because we believe that being prepared for everything, not just violence, is part of a tactical mindset. We believe that being prepared is more of a mindset rather than a series of expensive purchases. This being said, some guidance on how what to purchase and how to pack it can be found here.
Let’s talk about your home, whether it is a isolated cabin on thousands of acres or an apartment on the 42nd floor of a high-rise. We hope you are already equipped for the basics: food and water for 3 days, some kind of heat source for those readers in colder climates, and some kind of first aid kit. Basic options are a couple cases of water, and fixings for PB&J sandwiches, some cans of soup/stew, and other foods that are able to be eaten cold, or a basic heat-n-serve option. Make sure it is stuff you eat on a regular basis, and rotate your stock so it is fresh should you really need it. Barbecues, camp stoves, and fire pits are all good ways to prepare food should you be without power, just make sure you have fuel for those heat sources. Wood stoves, appropriately rated kerosene furnaces, are all ways to heat your home, just ensure you confirm that you aren’t risking carbon monoxide poisoning (when in doubt ask your local FD or the manufacturer. )
When it comes to your vehicle, think ahead. If all you are doing is driving around town, make sure you fill up no later than just before your fuel light comes on. If you are doing a road trip on major expressways, with lots of fuel stops, fill up no later than a quarter tank remaining. If you are traveling in the winter, or on an isolated route, fuel up at half a tank. Fueling up at these fuel levels mean that you have plenty of idle time to stay warm or cool should you get stuck in traffic. Throw some basic food in your vehicle. Beef jerky and sunflower seeds are a personal favorite. A 6 pack of water bottles per person doesn’t take up a lot of room, and will keep you comfortable should you have to wait for 8 hours or more should you really get stuck. A basic first aid kit should be kept in the vehicle, and some method of helping people get out of vehicles at an accident scene are highly recommended. I decided against buying anything special, as I realized that my hitch receiver with a 2” ball will go through any window…it’s not going to be pretty, but it serves a purpose and I already need it for towing.
If you are going out camping/hiking/etc, food and water are vital. Bring enough to give yourself leeway should you get stuck out on your excursion due to weather, injury or helping others. I like to have a 30% back up, so if I’m going to be out for 3 days, I bring enough for 4. A quality water purifier is a great tool, or coffee filters and a camp stove will get rid of larger contaminants and kill bacteria. If you are going for more than 3 or 4 hours, or a very rough terrain hike, bring gear to be able to stay overnight. It does add weight and bulk, but you are covered if there is some kind of emergency.
First aid kits do not need to be complicated. The basics of first aid are: air goes in and out, blood goes round and round, and any deviation from that is a bad day. A couple of gauze pads and a stack of triangular bandages will get you through the vast majority of first aid situations. Add in a tourniquet, some antiseptic wipes, a couple of good quality peel and stick bandages, and you are good. First Aid is exactly that: providing the initial care to get the ill or injured person to proper medical help. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, it just needs to cover the basics.
Remember, when it comes to all kit, you need to proficient with what you have. Take a first aid course, get comfortable with changing tires, topping up fluids and basic maintenance and care of your vehicle. Give your home heating and cooking options a try every now and then. If you have all the gear but don’t know how to use it, it’s more of a danger than a help.
Finally, remember that emergency preparedness is a mindset. Take 5 and think about what you have at home right now. Could you survive 3 days with it? 5 days? What makes sense for you in your personal situation? Plan around that. Next time you are out on the road, ask yourself if you could comfortably stay parked on that highway for 6 hours? Think about your last hike, and ask yourself if you would need a rescue party or if you would have survived overnight? Take that information, and put together a quick plan to be prepared for most emergencies, not just sudden violence.