One of our contributors, Zac Ward, shares his take on surviving a disaster that occurs when you’re away from home. Whether you are at work or running errands, always be prepared for any emergency that may arise.
“Natural disasters do not wait for you to get home before they happen.”
I have met many folks that have a pretty nice setup where they live. They can survive with ease for quite a while before having to leave the homestead. But,what if disaster strikes when you are away from home?
As I learned from experience when I went through the Northridge Earthquake in Southern California in 1994, natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods often occur when you are away from home.
Develop a Survival Mindset Ahead of Time
There is a list of priorities you must make in advance so that under the stress of any emergency event, you act in a clear, decisive manner.
Staying calm, evaluating your situation, and using what you have on hand are the keys to surviving a disaster when you are far from home. This is often referred to as a “survival mindset.”
This is why preparing your mind is the most important part of your prepping!
How to Survive a Disaster When You’re Far from Home
Possible Disaster Scenario:
You need to leave your well stocked home and go to the city 50 miles away for important reasons. Like all smart folks you load your “BOB” (bug out bag) in your trunk and head into town.
The building you have to go to has a parking garage, but you elect to park on the street, as parking in the garage could trap you in the event of an evacuation. (You live in a state that is prone to earthquakes) The building is a secure one, so you have to leave all metal objects in your car with your BOB.
Once you are on the 21st floor, nature strikes. There is an earthquake and the world erupts into chaos.
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Assess Your Situation
When you are able to finally get to a window and view the devastation, you notice your car, along with the others on the street, is damaged beyond repair. What’s worse, you can’t access your trunk to get your BOB.
Then, you realize you are 50 miles from home with nothing but your wits.Walking 50 miles is no small feat and time is of the essence. You also know that within 3 days the National Guard will be everywhere and you need to be at home safe and sound before the city is locked down.
What Are Your First Priorities in Surviving a Disaster Away from Home?
Water, shelter and food, in that order, are your priorities.
Foraging in the rubble will be considered looting once the authorities arrive, so you have to act fast. These are all common items you will have no problem finding in the rubble or empty buildings on the first day of the disaster.
You will need:
- A bag to carry your supplies, such as an empty garbage bag, abandoned backpack, etc.
- Three bottles of water per day (9 total)
- One – two blankets, or some type of coverings to serve as a sleeping bag/bedroll.
- A large piece of plastic, tarp, rain poncho or anything that can serve as a shelter, along with rope or string to secure it to something, if you can find it.
- 1 roll of toilet paper, napkins, anything that can be used for sanitation.
- Three meals a day for the duration. As for the food you gather for the trip, I recommend at least 3 cans of canned food if you can find it, and more if you can carry it. Canned food doesn’t have to be cooked and the water content will help with hydration. An empty can will serve as an excellent cup and can be used to boil water if you can make a fire. How do you open the cans without a can opener? *Check out this tutorial for a survival can opener.*
- Lighter or matches in case you are able to start a fire.
Walk until dusk and make a simple camp.
Wake up, eat a meal, break camp and head for home. Be sure to eat and drink your food for that day but no more.
Repeat day two and arrive at home out of supplies, but safe and alive.
The Importance of Survival Skills
Obviously this is just one possible scenario, but natural disasters often happen without warning, and many times when you are at work or away from home. Arming yourself with the knowledge and survival skills needed to handle emergency situations means you have a better than average chance of surviving a disaster.