General Prep: Just Trying to Stay Alive
Note: This post is part two of the post series about the zombie apocalypse parenting class I attended at Babes in Arms Shop. Babes in Arms gave me a complimentary seat in the class.
All right, so, last time we covered the general overview. Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. Face it—this is what we all need to know if we want to have a hope of surviving the apocalypse. Or a really bad blizzard. You know.
Now. Even though we may be parents trying to survive the post-apocalypse (or whatever disaster you may be facing), we would, first and foremost, still be people trying to survive. You know, we’d still need food, water, supplies—everything that non-parents would need to survive a world that has just gone to hell.
So, before you even think about what to put in that diaper bag for little Junior, think about what you’re going to put in your survival kit. Because if you don’t survive, neither will Junior.
Your 72 Hour Kit
The 72 hour kit is the bug-out bag of sorts. It’s got your food and supplies for the first three days—or more if you think you’ll be barricaded in your house for longer.
When you put your kit together, think about what you’ll need for those first three days. Lindsay at Babes in Arms has a long and detailed list of what you need in your kit. It’s a great list. You should find something like it.
However, for those of you who can’t get in touch with Lindsay or another prepper/teacher like her, here’s a basic list from the Government of Canada:
• Water (at least 2L per person per day)
• Non-perishable food, such as canned food, energy bars, and dried food (replace food and water once a year)
• Manual can-opener
• Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and batteries). Replace batteries once a year to make sure they work
• Crank or battery-powered radio (and batteries), or Weatheradio
• First aid kit
• Extra keys to your car and house
• Cash in smaller bills and change for payphones (Char’s note: I don’t know how easy it is to find payphones now, though, so while you may have change, you may not be able to use it)
• Copy of your emergency plan and contact info
• Prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, food/water/medication for pets
• Additional water for cooking and cleaning (2L per person per day)
• Candles and matches or lighter
• Change of clothes and shoes for each family member
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each family member
• Hand sanitizer
• Garbage bags
• Toilet paper
• Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
• Basic tools (ie. hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, pocket knife)
• Duct tape
List from “Your Emergency Preparedness Guide” by the Government of Canada, pp 16-17
Lindsay made a good point: consider putting together a separate kit for your car or office. This one won’t be intended to get you through the first three days—that’s for your at-home 72 hour kit. Instead, this kit will be used to get you home.
After all, we can’t always assume the apocalypse will start when we’re at home. And it would seriously suck if you got stuck in your car (or worse, your office) with no supplies, but a fully-stocked emergency kit…at home. You know.
So. You’ve got all your food and water and all that good stuff for the apocalypse. Yay, you can eat! But if you don’t store it properly, it might go bad. Or rats or cockroaches or other fun stuff might decide to eat it for you.
Either way, it’ll be unpleasant for you. Moral of the story: store your food properly. To do this, make sure you keep canned, dried, or dehydrated food. And then store that non-perishable goodness in sturdy, tightly sealed, plastic buckets. Or Rubbermaid containers, whichever you prefer.
But! Don’t forget to put away spices and comfort food, for those days when you no longer want to eat canned beans. I’m just saying. (During the class, Lindsay also pointed out something called “appetite fatigue,” where you get so tired of eating the same thing, you just stop eating. Which will kill you. And that would totally defeat the point of all this survival preparedness you’re doing, now wouldn’t it? Exactly.)
Also, make sure you put a can opener in one of those buckets, because it would seriously suck if you cracked your food boxes open on one rainy apocalyptic day and realized you had no way to get into your food. Because they’re all canned. And you don’t have a can opener.
Make sure you put a water sterilization system in one of your food buckets. Because post-apocalyptic water just might kill you.
One more thing: make sure you have copies of all important documents in your survival kit, and have another set of copies at another location (ie. a friend or relative’s house). Have your documents, along with any survival plans and other notes, in a “survival binder.” Which is exactly what it sounds like: a 3-ring binder full of your survival stuff.
First Aid Kits
A very important part of your 72 hour kit/bug out bag/what have you will be your first aid kit. Well, okay, so all parts of your emergency kit will be important, but my point is, don’t neglect your first aid kit. After all, you don’t want to have enough food and water for three weeks, only to die from an infection you got from a paper cut, right? Because, wow. Holy irony, Batman.
Anyway. You can get wonderful—and wonderfully stocked—first aid kits from places like AMA (the Alberta Motor Association, not the American Medical Association, though they might sell first aid kits, too), Costco, and St. John’s Ambulance. Obviously these aren’t the only places you can get first aid kits, so buy yours wherever you feel most comfortable. Of course, you can always make your own. If you do, make sure you’ve got at least one (preferably more) of everything you can find in the most deluxe store-bought kit. The more the better, right? Especially when it comes to your health.
However, most first aid kits will always be missing something. Like, you know, medication. Sure, they might have an aspirin or two, but if you’re in serious pain, an aspirin isn’t going to do much. So make sure you put any medication you’ll need in your first aid kit. This means prescription medications, T3s, anti-inflammatories like prescription Voltaren, Percocet, etc. etc. Make sure they’re in your first aid now, because in an emergency situation, you’re not going to be able to run down to the pharmacy to get more.
If you use herbal or naturopathic remedies, make sure you’ve got a supply in your first aid kit as well. You’re not going to be able to go to your friendly neighborhood health and wellness to stock up on your herbal medication after the shit hits the fan. Well, you might, but it’ll definitely be more hazardous than it is now.
Also make sure you’ve got a defibrillator and a first aid book tucked away in your first aid kit. You never know when either of those could come in handy.
Oh, and, take a first aid course. Preferably a wilderness/backpacking one. This will get you the most prepared for emergency/survival first aid, and will probably be the next best thing to being a nurse or a doctor. (Also, it’ll be cheaper than going to med school. Hey, we’re all watching our wallets.)
And remember, in a post-apocalyptic situation, first aid will be a skill that can save your life. Those marauding bandits? Yeah, they get hurt too, and it’s a good bet they don’t want to die either. I mean, it’s why they go around stealing supplies and eating people. So when they stumble upon you and want to rape/kill/maim/eat you, make sure you scream “I KNOW FIRST AID!!!” as soon as possible, as loud as possible. Whatever saves your life, right?
Next week: the final post in the series! I’ll be talking about cold weather prep and survival parenting.