Short Term Contingency Planning – 3 days to 3 weeks
What are the things that make put you and your family in survival mode for the short term? How prepared are you for these contingencies?
In 2017, we saw a lot of weather events that pushed people out of their homes. Hurricanes in the Gulf and forest fires in the West. These are the most likely survival scenarios that people will encounter in the coming year. We can review the decision to bug out or bug in for a disaster at https://www.americansocietyofpreppers.com/blogs/Should_I_Stay_or_Should_I_Go%3F
the bottom line in this contingency is that you are prepared to move your family out of the affected area for a period of time. Let’s look at this in our four phases:
- Whatever notice you may have of circumstances that require you to evacuate – what final preparations do you need to complete? Hopefully you are not part of the mob bum rushing the grocery store but all family members need to return from their daily routine to start getting ready.
- Every family member has a packed bug out bag with most if not all of the supplies you would need for three days on the road and / or you have a larger bug out kit already in your vehicle or ready to toss in your vehicle if you have to make the move.
- Shelter – you can keep out of the elements – dry and comfortably warm. Include changes of clothes, wet weather gear, cold weather gear in this section.
- Water – canteens or containers filled with drinking water or some capability to treat water you can find on the road
- Food – three days or more of rations
- Food Prep – the ability to prepare or cook food as needed (initiate a fire, tinder, fuel)
- Hunting Gathering – the ability to get more food on the road (this might be cash or credit cards)
- Mobility – your vehicle(s) or means to move (bicycles or over land by foot)
- Navigation – knowing where you are going (preferable to a pre-identified safe haven / unaffected area)
- Communication – assume the cell phone system still functional but what if it isn’t? How would you get your news?
- Defense – weapons and ammunition
- Medical – your hygiene, medical, and first aid / trauma kits
- Essential documents and money/credit or debit cards or barter items
- A plan – where you would go, how you will get there
- If you don’t have your bug out kit set aside or your bug out bag is not complete, your plan to sweep through your house and gather those last minute necessities
- Review your decision point to bug out – what are the criteria? How do you process incoming information to make that decision?
- Load up for movement
- Make the last sweep of your house to turn off utilities and secure it once you depart.
- Move to your destination
- React to situations on the route (hopefully you have contingency plans for most expected situations)
- Establish conditions at your destination that allow you to sustain yourselves
- Monitor those conditions that permit you to go back home
- Execute the move back
- Repair any damage to your home
- Replenish supplies
- Prepare for next situation
One element common to these most likely scenarios is that you will have some warning that permit you to react. But there are several no-notice scenarios that may not permit you to move such as a tornado or earthquake or what I consider the most dangerous scenario – a chemical, biological, or nuclear event. For 2018 – I think that a nuclear event with North Korea is a distinct possibility. So in these cases, you are going to bug in until the threat has passed.
For a tornado – you should have a storm shelter or basement where you can ride out the storm. Either your bug out bag and other essentials are already in the shelter or you grab these as you move to the shelter. Time is of the essence in this case.
For an earthquake – you might just be moving outside your home into the yard. Based on the possibility of aftershocks, you might be camping right outside your home for several days.
For my worst case North Korea nuclear event. You might be bugging in for several weeks until radiation levels drop down to safe levels Again, let’s go through our four phases
- You have a prepared shelter that is pre-stocked for 3 days to 3 weeks. You might be able to grab your bug out bag but the preferred situation is that your bug out bag is already in your shelter. Check out https://www.prepper-skills.com/blogs/Secure_Underground_Retreat_-_SUGR and https://www.prepper-skills.com/blogs/Thinking_the_Unthinkable_-_Nuclear_Survival
- Shelter Checklist
- Shelter – can protect you from the threat – remember 2 feet of concrete or 3 feet of packed dirt provide the same protection from radiation (exposure is reduced by 1024 times). Most of the fallout will be on the ground in 24 hours (assuming clear conditions). Good news is that you shouldn’t have to worry about radioactive material landing on you after 24 hours or breathing it in. The bad news is it in on the ground….
- Duration – your shelter needs to be able to sustain you for two weeks. In general, radiation diminishes by a factor of 10 every seven hours. Most areas affected by fallout are habitable after two weeks (radiation has been reduced by a factor of 1000). This may vary depending on whether the blast was an air burst or a ground burst - Air bursts have less radioactive debris and in general, those radioactive elements have shorter half lives. Ground bursts could make areas un-inhabitable for longer periods. We will assume in this scenario that it was an air burst.
- Field Sanitation – you will need to plan on how to eliminate waste while in the shelter. It is ok to walk out of your shelter to relief yourself but you will need to decontaminate before you come back in (in the first 24 hours, this consists of removal of outer garments and rinsing off with water. After 24 hours, you only need to rinse off or remove items that came in contact with the ground). Might want to consider some plastic jugs for your #1 waste – avoids a trip outside.
- Water – you should plan to pre-stock the shelter with 14 gallons (or more) for each person. This is drinking water with some limited use for cooking and cleaning.
- Decontamination– any time you make an excursion outside your shelter, you should put on protective gear or be able to rinse off any thing that came in contact with the ground before you re-enter the shelter (the idea is that the water rinses radioactive dust off your body and down the drain). You might need a source of non-potable water (such as rain catchment barrels) for this purpose
- Hygiene – personal hygiene will most likely consist of towel baths. Have plenty of wet wipes on hand if you can or a small basin and some wash clothes. You can shower up once radiation levels have fallen to nominal levels.
- Food – shelter is pre-stocked with two weeks or more of rations per person
- Food Prep – the ability to prepare or cook food as needed (initiate a fire, tinder, fuel) see next item
- Ventilation – your shelter does not need to be air tight. After 24 hours, most of the fallout is on the ground and unless there are high winds and lots of dust, the air is breathable. And you need to get fresh air particularly if you are cooking or heating – you don’t want to risk carbon monoxide poisoning
- Power – you may need heat and light in the shelter. While I like solar powered or crank powered lanterns and lights – you may need to stock up on battery powered lights / flashlights for this scenario. Use only as necessary to conserve power. You may want to fit your shelter with a skylight or some means of using natural light – be prepared to rinse this area off several times in the first couple of days to prevent fallout from settling on top of it and compromising your radiation shielding. If you are burning wood for heat – it would be preferable if your wood pile was protected from fallout
- Communication – How would you get your news? Purchase a crank powered emergency radio
- Defense – weapons and ammunition
- Medical – your hygiene, medical, and first aid / trauma kits (note these are all different items)
- Entertainment – if your shelter has power then you can settle down to watch all those shows you already DVR’ed. Otherwise put some board games, cards, or books in your shelter. Last resort – staring contests or arguing and bickering. Personally, I am going with some board games….
- Upon notification move to the shelter, this is not a sprint to the shelter since the fallout takes 24 hours to settle on the ground. But if you get even a small dusting while moving to your shelter, decontaminate before your enter.
- If you get a chance and have time, put anything you intend to use later under cover (avoids letting fallout settle on top of your belongings).
- Establish a routine in the shelter and try to avoid cabin fever
- Monitor those conditions that permit you to leave the shelter
- First 24 hours, radioactive particles may still be airborne
- After 49 hours, radiation levels should be reduced by a factor of 100
- After 2 weeks, radiation levels should be reduced by a factor of 1000
- After 14 weeks, radiation levels should be reduced by a factor of 10,000
- Decontaminate your property (rinse off anything exposed to the elements)
- Restock and replenish supplies
Note that the nuclear scenario is more complex and requires a significant amount of planning in advance. We will cover larger scale and longer-term impacts in the coming articles.
In Summary: your immediate prepping goal should be to establish your ability to bug out for a disaster to an unaffected area for 3 days to 3 weeks and to be able to bug in a fallout shelter for two weeks or more.
De Oppresso Liber