Thursday 21 July 2016

Being Prepared Part IIIa !

Hello All
How are you doing folks?  Are you depressed enough yet!? My daughter  reckons that the posts are a bit strong but she has read nothing yet!
Yes things can get worse, you don't have to believe in global warming to admit to the increased energy in the weather (whatever the reason!) As gardeners and smallholders we are "obsessed" by the weather as it informs our decisions and preparations (will it be dry and warm enough for us to collect  the honey today? Will it be dry enough for long enough to cut, dry and collect hay? Will there be enough rain to fill the water buts? etc) . We have noted changes over the years and have made changes to how we plan and garden . Another issue that is ever present in people's minds, even in good old Britain, is civil unrest and other disturbances. Let's face it, as the population grows, so does the likelihood of Civil unrest, food  and oil shortages and the like.

In this post I was also going to discuss how to prepare for the unexpected turn of events in our finances and domestic life, such as unemployment, illness etc. However this doesn't really flow after the focus of last two posts, so I will address these subjects later and press on with practical preparedness .....
Before I press on, thanks to Tricky Wolf at Fast SOS for the quote, nay mantra..
The rule of 3; 3 mins without of air, 3 days without  water,  3 weeks without food. Easy to remember eh? This can help you prioritise what you might need for a few days to a couple of weeks should you need to leave your home and survive. Obviously you will need to calculate for how many you will be and if you intend to take your animal friends with you

So far, I think you will agree, much of that I have suggested is really good old common sense and can be practiced by anyone whatever their circumstances, be they living in a high rise flat in the city or a farm. In this post you will need a little more space and to spend some money.
Let's start with  a "Grab Bag"  If you live in a small space you will need to find room for a bag measuring say 24" x 14" x 20" Look around your space and see if you can jiggle stuff around to make room for this bag, which you will need to be able to reach in minutes - no point in it being in the loft that is reached by a ladder you have to fetch. On top of the wardrobe or under the stairs is good for example. If you travel a lot you might want to increase the contents of your Car Kit to transform it into an Emergency Bag to ensure that if you break down in a remote place or at a time of severe weather you can be as comfortable as possible and safe.
 The Grab Bag will enable you to leave your house efficiently and quickly and give a modicum of comfort if something like flooding, high winds, lightening strike, civil unrest etc leave your house suddenly uninhabitable. The contents of this bag will vary somewhat depending on your topography, but will contain some essential items. The basic list below can (and will I am sure) be challenged by other Preppers.. No problem, none knows it all (especially me!)
As a minimum-
Three days supply of non-perishable food. (includes animal food if you are taking pets with you.)
Battery-powered or hand crank radio.
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air.
Plastic sheeting and duct tape to make a shelter.
"Wet wipes", rubbish bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Multi-tool -Including can opening facility
Lightweight waterproofs
Lightweight change of clothes.
Local maps
Paper and pencil/pen
Mobile phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Water - As a minimum you should have a 2 litres of water per day for at least three days. This will be purely for drinking.

Tell everyone in the household where the bag is and when it should be used.

I hope that you notice that these preparations are achievable by "Townies" as well as those is rural areas who are likely to have more space.

So the Grab Bag gives you a bit of a safety net if you have to leave your home for a little while. What if the situation lasts longer or is more life threatening?  Cue the "Bug out Bag"! This an American name and I suppose "Disaster Bag" would be more British , though even that sounds a little emotive for us! 
The contents of  the Bug Out Bag is more comprehensive than the Grab bag and is often one of two - one as a Grab Bag at home or in the car and the other hidden at a given place away from home.  I shan't pretend to have assembled a Bug Out bag so I have copied and pasted one of the many UK entries that I Googled when looking for information. ---
A splitting axe
Survival Hatchet Compact High Quality axe for cutting smaller logs and banging in
Bug Out Bag – 50 lt capacity or above
Enough food and water to last for 72 hours.
Water for washing, drinking and cooking. Minimum of 2 litres per person per day for drinking plus an additional 2 litres per person per day for cleaning and hygiene
Toothbrush – this is an essential item
Non-perishable food –MRE’s
Water purification and filtering equipment
Anti diarrhea tablets, insect repellent and insect bite/sting cream
Cooking supplies – drinking/cooking canteen
Cooking stove – an essential alternative to a basic camp-fire is essential
Fire starting tool – water repellant matches
Cotton wool tinder – a few ladies tampax are ideal.!
A disaster plan including location of emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes, etc.
A survival handbook – pre studied, but with full survival information
Map of your area
550 Paracord
Camping equipment, this must include sanitation supplies
Clothing suitable for your climate – include spare boots/shoes [waterproof]
Sleeping bag – Mylar emergency blankets
Medication – allow for much more than the standard 72 hrs
First Aid – Emergency First Aid survival Kit
Your personal medical records and information on your personal medical requirements
Radio – either solar powered or crank-operated
Torch or glow sticks [torch, battery operated, solar powered or cranked operated]
Weapons – suitable for personal protection
Cash [credit cards etc may not be usable in a lot of situations]
Positive identification, such as drivers license
Birth certificate and/or passport
Fixed-blade survival knife and a pocket / multi-purpose tool
Rope/String – paracord – duct tape
Plastic sheeting – different sizes
pellet gun, catapult or other hunting equipment
Wire for binding and snares
Compass – especially if going though woodlands etc.
Radio – Solar powered or Wind Up Type Preferred
Fishing line and equipment
Resealable, waterproof freezer bags [to keep documents, money etc dry]
Gorilla Tape – ideally camo print, this has a 1001 survival uses
The above is an overview of essential survival supplies – it is not the definitive list by any means and you must adapt and change it to suit your personal requirements.

 This post is long enough, so I will close and continue with part II of part III  (part IIIa ?) - practical things to do and learn, in my next post. I guess that as smallholder with an interest and some skills in self reliance  I will feel more comfortable with this. Hope you will join me and keep those ideas coming.
PS Any beekeepers having a good honey year too? Honey from two hives collected, spun and strained into buckets last night yielded 56 pounds of honey and one of those colonies was a swarm in May.  Nine more hives to go!
PSS I wonder why 450 people from Russia decided to visit my one day last week?!


  1. I'm afraid I'm much too scatty and inefficient to organise anything so 'survivalist'. My bag would probably contain plenty of money and my passport.

    1. I've never attached the word "scatty" or "inefficient" to you Cro. You run a smooth ship over there!

  2. We had to leave our home in the flooding in 2007. We were not able to go home for 3 weeks. I now have 2 B.O.G.s in the top of the hall cupboard. Although we dont live there any more and our new home is on the top of the hill... But just incase

    Can I add a few things to your list? Work glove. Heavy duty work gloves. The amount of debris we had to move was immense. Flooding is high on my radar.

    I will also add, 2 pairs of clean underwear and socks. A pair of heavy soled shoes/boots that are easily accessible. After slogging through water, I wanted to change my pants and socks. In an emergency in the church hall where we all were hearded to, I would not have cared if anyone had seen me sat in my pants. No different from on holiday with a bikini. There are more indepth things to have copies of (print them double sided to save on weight, you dont want to carry a book!) insurance details, emergency contact numbers, land line and mobile. to call family and friends to tell them you are ok. We had a family from down south come and get us. We were very lucky.

    For most of my stock pile and information on emergency preparedness, I use the Latter Day Saints Website. No other religion preps like the Mormons!

    And my go to blog is Survival Mom. That is where a lot of my stockpile details came from.

    I think you will find there are more preparedness people out there than you imagine. I cant wait for other peoples ideas. It is quite different what people think they need in the UK to the USA or Canada. I am intrigued what others think of that I dont have.

    I am LOVING this series of posts. I am a little afraid to show people my prep, one they will think I am crazy and two, I dont want them to know... its a weird thing to talk about. I have hidden it from the builders...

    1. Thanks for the additions to the list Sol. I know what you mean about letting people know you are being prepared. The worry is a mixture of not wanting to be thought weird and wanting to ensure the stash is secure Come the Day. Thanks for the info re the Latter Day saints. I had forgotten about them.

  3. We have done something similar for years, we call them "72 hour packs " referring of course to the 3 day thing you mention at the start. If you google 72 hour packs you will find a lot of info and ideas. You can even find pre made ones but that of course negates the FRUGAL aspect of having one.

    1. Thanks for that Anon. Please join in on the next posts as you clearly "get it"!

  4. I also had a lot of Russian visits this week, scary isn't it ;) Though of course they could be taking all your advice, they must be very clever reading English though. Notice you have included animals, I'll take my dog but not the three hens....

    1. I had even more Russian hits last week. I have no idea why. I would struggle to know which animal to take ..The dog, the cat, the parrot! not to mention the hens, bees and sheep (though they are at least more self-sufficient)

  5. I put prepping in the title of one post and had loads of hits from the US from it! I've never got bags sorted but maybe I should, most of what I need is in my van but not food. Every year I try to move forward a bit more with preparedness.

    1. I know you do Kev. You are very much the sort of person I would want on my team Come the Day.x

  6. Loving these posts about preparing for uncertainty. When you were talking about the grab bag my thoughts were on clothing (I could not be without clean underwear) because over the winter my friend had to leave her house quick due to flooding and only managed to grab a few bits.
    You have thought of everything for almost every eventualty and has got me thinking about potentials of the area I live in.

    1. Oh yes.. underwear! takes very little room too. Glad you are enjoying these posts.
      Thanks for joining in.

  7. Loving these posts about preparing for uncertainty. When you were talking about the grab bag my thoughts were on clothing (I could not be without clean underwear) because over the winter my friend had to leave her house quick due to flooding and only managed to grab a few bits.
    You have thought of everything for almost every eventualty and has got me thinking about potentials of the area I live in.

  8. I think it is very important to be prepared, for anything. I hope to be a little more so. Did I mention we call our soon to be ready to use cellar store room our Doomsday Prep Room? After watching Doomsday Preppers on TV we had to call it that. My mum used to have what we called the Holocaust cupboard (no disprespect meant at all) and all we ever seemed to have in it were spare tins of kidney beans!

    1. Having a cellar store is such a boon! I often watch programmes like Doomsday Preppers, while often struggling to identify with the participants, but them I'm a 70year old British woman not a huge hairy American/Canadian male! Please share your preparedness ideas.

  9. Great idea. Hello from your new follower in France (not Russia !)

  10. Writing from the States, where I've survived a few nasty hurricanes in the last 10 years, my best tip is that CASH is a prep, too! I'm in Louisiana, and when an area really loses electricity, no bank machines work, and for that matter, banks were closed for weeks at a time. We all needed cash for prescriptions, gasoline, etc. After one hurricane, I didn't get full electricity back on for 9 months, as my house was the only one on that line. A temporary line was installed the night before Thanksgiving in the 3rd week in November, when the hurricane was the last day of August. The temp. line finally took care of a fridge and telephone only, so was still using flashlights, and going to work every day by then. At that location, I was lucky as I still had a gas stove so I could cook, but I had to circumvent an electric starter to do so. Another problem with big natural disasters is the flood of people who come in to steal...and profit from it! All the best, ldc

  11. one thing to add to a grab bag is documents. seems silly, but if the reason you are leaving is one of the more likely scenarios such as house fire or flooding, having photocopies of all your personal ID's, passport, bank details, photocopies of insurance details/deeds to prove you are who you say you are, you own what you say you do and have relevant details to make an insurance claim if necessary will really help in the aftermath of any even that forces you to grab the bag and go. Preppers go by the thinking that help will arrive either within 3 days or not at all, that is why bugout bags usually cover 72 hours because historically any local event will receive aid within a 3 day timescale, anything outside of that is likely to be a widescale disaster and will be a long term survival event that requires a totally different skill set and will turn the game on its head