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How to Survive Disasters

Beyond the Willamette Valley

"And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands."

--Genesis 41:46-57

Survive Disasters: What to Prepare For

What Kind of Disasters

Every survival list will be different because they are designed for different disasters. You cannot make a kit to survive all possible disasters.

Look at your national or international television or Internet news over the past several years and you will see many of the following in the headlines. Study your local history and past disasters that have happened where you live and work. Study what life was like before electricity and modern plumbing came to your area.

I have focused on the Willamette Valley (in Oregon), so in your preparations you must factor in the variables mentioned below.

Regional Factors

  • geography
  • weather
  • wind patterns
  • soil type
  • access to drinkable water
  • population density
  • distance from military installations
  • amount of land you own
  • crime level
  • population diversity
  • local politics
  • gun laws

Survival Items Most Affected by Regional Factors

  • water storage
  • amount of food on hand
  • seeds
  • clothing
  • personal protection/self defense
  • nuclear radiation protection (applies the same to most US areas except for the area of the Oregon I live in, due to spread of possible targets and wind patterns)

Examples of Major Disasters

vary depend on your location but include:

  • biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological terrorism or foreign country attack;
  • disease outbreaks including avian flue;
  • water born severe storms which are called either: hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms, cyclonic storms, tropical depressions, or cyclones;
  • earthquakes and volcanic eruptions;
  • global famine;
  • global climate change/global warming with sea level rises affecting most of the population which lives near the sea;
  • running out of natural resources like drinkable water, fertile soil, or oil (which is the basis of modern civilization);
  • space based threats including asteroid or comet impacts, cosmic radiation, pole shift;
  • economic problems like worldwide depressions, hyperinflation;
  • major communications infrastructure breakdown like entire grid power outages or major satellite failure

More Common and Personal or Local Disasters

primarily need financial/related preparation:

  • loss of job or incomes,
  • loss of retirement or investments,
  • loss of transportation,
  • death of family member,
  • diagnosis of serious/chronic illness,
  • house or building fire,

primarily natural/related disasters:

  • local power outage,
  • local flooding,
  • roads blocked due to winter weather,
  • unusually high or low temperatures,
  • getting lost in the wild,

primarily social/related problems

  • riots for various reasons,
  • getting kidnapped or burglarized,
  • going into the wrong neighborhood,
  • stuck in airports or overseas,

primarily medical/related problems

  • exposure to toxic chemicals,
  • getting severely injured due to an accident while alone

Survival Items Most Affected by Disaster Scenario

  • location of gear (on person, car, suitcase/backpack, current residence, doomstead)
  • skills to learn
  • amount of land to own
  • amount of cash on hand
  • fuel
  • electrical power supplies (batteries, generators, solar panels)
  • amount of food on hand
  • personal protection/self defense

Survive Disasters: Answering Objections

Disaster Preparation is a Kind of Insurance

Some people think to prepare for disasters leads to desiring they come true so you are proved right. But most people who prepare do so for the same reasons people buy different kinds of insurance. People buy life insurance, still hoping they will live, medical insurance, still hoping not to get sick, and car and house insurance still hoping to not to lose their possessions.

The Government Will Not Save You

Some people are willing to rely solely on the government to protect and provide for them in case of disasters. Based on my understanding of how the military operates from my own Army enlistment, based on what happened in reports of survivors of Hurricane Katrina, and hearing disaster plans from the local FEMA office, do not expect the government will help you at all and definitely not until 72 hours have passed at the very least.

In most situations when the power goes down (including water and sewer) for a few days, and food is not delivered for a couple days, riots will break out and the response from the police will be to contain you, not to offer you help. If you have to go to a relief center, be prepared for your personal belongings to be stolen, you will not be able to carry anything for personal protection, even kitchen or swiss army knives which you will never get back, and expect to encounter violence from people who may or may not be part of the government.

Prepare Ahead of Time

If you are planning to wait until the last minute, most people will be doing the same and realize that when the trucks stop coming, there is only enough food for everyone stored in local stores to provide for people for 3 days. Within hours of the disaster, everything in every store that could possibly be of use to you will be totally gone. This happens all the time in hurricane country even when people know it is that season and they have been hit in the past, they still wait until the last minute.

Do not count on having access to any sort of power and expect that you will not be able to use credit cards or toilets. Keep cash on hand in addition to your supplies and keep low denominations because local vendors will likely not be able to give change and instead round off items for sale to the nearest dollar.

God Wants You to Be Prepared

Some people also believe that to have faith in God means that they should depend on miracles to survive, but the Bible teaches in Genesis with the living example of the patriarch Joseph, as a leader under the Pharaoh in Egypt, that we should save a little extra each year for the lean years.

Preparation will Vary According to Your Situation

Preparing will involve different things for different people. Some want to live off grid and live off the land with no power. Others will merely have a a few weeks supply of food on hand. There is no one list because everyone's situation is different.

Survive Disasters: Survival Kits

Bug Out Gear

This survival kit, called a Bug Out Bag, is designed for survival for several days and contains everything necessary to get you to your permanent retreat, a place in a rural area where you intend on spending a long emergency situation with your family or group of friends, like a farm or ranch. This should be able to be carried by you on foot, as you have to assume that you will not be able to get gas for your car at the time of the disaster.

Doomstead

A doomstead is your permanent retreat. You want to have a piece of land that one member of your group owns, preferably with a number of acres of land in which to weather out a major disaster. You want to be able to get plenty of fresh water, have good soil, mild weather, a homogeneous population, and have low population density.

What to Stock up On

Save as many open pollinated seeds, plastic sheeting/containers, metal tools, soap, warm clothing, fresh water as possible as these are not easy to come by in disaster situations. The following items are relatively inexpensive now but are worth more than gold in times of disaster.

Seeds are the most important thing to save, because they will provide you food in the future, but the seeds that are in your local stores, although cheaper, are hybrids and you cannot grow plants from the seeds of hybrid plants for the following years. You can find open pollinated seeds online.

Plastic sheeting is useful for many things especially waterproofing and sealing rooms from nuclear/chemical/biological contamination, plastic containers can be used to store food and water. Plastic is not easy to produce without modern technology.

Metal tools are very hard to make without access to lots of energy and/or advanced machinery that is hard to get, expensive, and too heavy to carry.

Soap is essential to staying healthy and can be made fairly easily, but is very toxic and dangerous to make.

Warm clothing is important because even if you have mild weather, the climate throughout the world may change quickly and there will be more extreme storms because of global warming.

Fresh water is essential for life and is not always easy to collect from rainwater, in the midst of a disaster, especially if it happens in a dry area or during the summer.

Learn Valuable Skills

The key to survival is to have the know how to be a useful member of society, where you can provide a critical service, that is in high demand. You need to plan on not having access to power.

Farming would be the best skill as we would need 50 million farmers to feed America without access to modern, oil-based technologies.

You can get books on self defense, medicine, plant identification, water storage, gardening, butchering, preserving food, cooking, tanning leather, leather working, sewing, carpentry, paper making, brewing beer, and blacksmithing through Amazon.com and at your local bookstore.

Resilience

Don't put all your resources into any one thing. Spend some on disaster supplies, save some in cash on hand, save some money in the bank, pay off debts, and lower monthly expenses by canceling unnecessary services.

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