The first thing I recommend you to do is to get a survival handbook. I recommend the "The SAS Survival Handbook" by John Wiseman because it covers many fields equipment, different kinds of disasters, traps, first-aid, signaling and much more. Read the book and make notes of the most important parts. After you’re done with this book I recommend that you make a Risk Assessment. What are the dangers that you may face in your everyday life? Are you living in a zone where earthquakes can be a problem or be affected by hurricanes, flooding or other dangers? Check with your regional or local government agencies if they have any risk assessment that is public that you can use for ideas. All risks vary from person to person and the risks that you face must govern the steps that you have to take to reduce them.
Put In Case of Emergency (ICE) telephone numbers in your cell phone so your family/friends can be contacted if anything would happen to you; make sure that your family does the same. It can be a good idea to keep pictures of your kids, family or partner in your wallet so that you can show pictures of them if they went missing and you have to ask people if they have seen them. If you have kids teach them what to do if they get lost or separated from you.
Start with getting a medical check at a doctor and check your teeth at a dentist. If you have any problems with your teeth get them taken care of. In a survival situation this can become a great problem and even a lethal danger. Think about what you are eating and reduce the intake of candy, soft drinks, fast-food, sweeteners and other unhealthy parts of your diet. Start exercising at least 3 times a week, find an activity that fits you and that you like doing. Diabetes, over-weight and heart disease isn’t things you want in your normal life or a survival situation. If you do drugs (harmful drugs like heroin), smoke cigarettes or drink too much alcohol, try to cut down or stop completely.
Get an overview of your immunizations. A vaccination against Tuberculosis (TB) and Hepatitis A and B can be useful to have in a survival situation. A booster for Tetanus is also a good addition. There are regional diseases that there are vaccinations against, talk with your doctor for a recommendation.Start learning New Skills
I recommend that the first skill that you learn is first aid and CPR, take a course from a professional instructor, this may save your life or someone else’s. What kind of skills that you develop is a result from what kind of Risks that you are preparing for and what interest that you have. Try to develop different kind of skills, everything from how to make a fire, shelter, fixing problems in your home, languages, camouflage, psychology, swimming, navigation, hand to hand combat, hunting, fishing and so on. Make a plan for what you want to learn and what you think is most important.
Before you start to acquire lots of equipment make an inventory of what you already got and organize it so that you can find it. If you can’t find your equipment if there is an emergency it’s not of much good. Make sure that your home is as clean and well organized as you can keep it. Store all you important papers like id-card, passports, insurance, vaccination cards in a safe location. If the power goes out it can be good to have a medium stash of cash so that you can pay for things without your VISA card.
[ ] Fire Alarm and Fire Extinguisher
[ ] First Aid Kit
[ ] Painkillers, Anti-diarrheal, Fluid replacement and other drugs that you need.
Equipment to Start a Fire
[ ] Matches, Lighters, Fire Steel and Tinder
[ ] LED Flashlight or Headlamp
[ ] Candles (long burning type)
[ ] Oil Lamp or Lantern
[ ] Chemical Lightsticks
[ ] Batteries and Fuel.
Radio that operates on batteries so you can receive messages from Government Agencies in case of a blackout. A model with dynamo works even if your batteries run out. A Citizen Band (CB) or HAM Radio is even better.
Things That Will Help You Stay Warm
[ ] Extra blankets or Sleeping bag
[ ] Warm Clothing
[ ] Heaters of Different Kinds.
• The ability to prepare food without electricity
Multi-fuel Stove, HeatPal, Kelly Kettle, Esbit, Trangia, Jetboil, Gas Stove or Wood Stove and some cooking vessels. Make sure that you include fuel and spare parts.
• Water containers in different sizes so that you can store and collect water.
• Map of your local and regional area plus a compass.
A high quality Survival Knife is an excellent tool, a fixed blade knife with full tang like the Fällkniven F1 and S1, the ESEE Knives ESEE-3 or ESSE-4 some of the best you can find. Swiss army knives has many functions and are excellent for everyday carry, check out the models from Wenger and Victorinox. Multi-Tools from Leatherman, Gerber and SOG are also very useful. If you get a knife make sure that you learn how to handle it safely and how to sharpen it.
Make sure that you have water for minimum 72 hours stored. Calculate 5 liters of water per person and day for the first week. After that you will need up to 20 liters of water per day and person for cleaning and cooking. If you add water purifying tablets and store your water dark and cold it will last up to 6 months. There is excellent water purifying equipment to buy on the market, but it often has a high price.
Store food for one week that don´t have to be stored cold. Store what you normally eat and just buy some extra of this food.
The Economical Aspect
Equipment is only a small part of being able to cope with a crisis situation; your financial situation is also a critical aspect. If you have a solid financial situation you will have a much easier time to deal with everything from natural disasters to unemployment. Get an overview of your situation, what incomes do you have and what is your expenditures? Make sure that you start saving some money to get a reserve for unexpected events like un-employment and other events. Also make sure to reduce unnecessary spending and see if you can cut costs by getting other suppliers of electricity, telecommunications etc. It can be a good idea to invest some of your saving in to physical gold or silver.
Test ALL equipment so you know how to use it and make sure that it works. There is basically no upper limit to how much money you can spend on preparedness, find items that work situation and fits your budget. Good equipment that you have is better than a perfect equipment in a store. This should get you the ability to manage a smaller crisis.
Get to know the crisis management system in your country, a very important part in getting prepared for a long term crisis is to understand how the crisis management where you live works on a local, regional and national level. This varies from country to country but I suggest that you get to know how’s in charge, the chain of command, different kinds of organizations like state and non state actors. Look up the telephone numbers for the different agency’s so you know here to call them if something happens. Check out the organizations WebPages.
What kind of special capability exists in your area like hospitals, fire department, police, military, civil emergency management? Is help near or do the help have to come from the outside during an emergency? Think about what kind of help these agencies can provide in the scenarios you been thinking about in your Risk Assessment.
Continue to develop different kind of skills that you believe can be important. Also start learning skills that you aren’t normally comfortable with. If you’re afraid of heights, take a climbing course, if you’re afraid of the water, learn how to swim, sail a boat or how to use a kayak, if you fear assault learn self defense. It’s important that you start to challenge yourself so that you get use to coping with situations that you normally couldn’t handle, a crisis or survival situation will not be easy to cope with.
Keep working on your health, learn how to cook healthy food and try to learn how to make everything from scratch. Learn how to bake bread instead of buying the finished stuff. Learn how to do prepare food in the field or at the stove that you have for emergency use. The social part is another major part of having good health. Your relation with your partner, friends, family and workmates are an important part that you must work on continually. If a crisis happens you want people around you that you can trust. And you don’t want to regret never having that talk with your family/friend or partner. Be true to yourself and make the thought calls before something happens, not after because you realize what you almost lost. Ask yourself what makes you happy and do it – you might just get one life so make sure that your not just surviving for as long as you can – live it as well. Make the most of the life you have.
Food and Hygiene
Expand your food storage so that you have enough food for a couple of weeks. A Dutch Oven is a cast iron cooking vessel that allow you to prepare most food over an open fire, the Muurikka is a steel wok plate that you can use to prepare food over an open fire. Get some kind of emergency toilet that you can use if the water stops working. Also store some soap, shampoo, hand disinfection, bleach, toothpaste, tooth brush, dental floss and washing powder. A water purification filter is a great item to have if you have to purify water that’s contaminated.
Every Day Carry (ECD)
Think about what items you carry with you every day and how these can help you in an emergency situation. Is the clothing adjusted for the climate you live in? Can you walk longer distance in the terrain that you have around you in the shoes you wear every day?
Other items that you should wear is a watch, a good bag for your stuff (I like the bags from Maxpedition, Pelican and Fjällräven myself). What items you should carry depends on where you live and what you do. You have to decide from your own situation what you might need.
Pocket Survival Kit
A Pocket Survival Kit intended to provide an everyday resource to handle various problems, if you do allot of outdoors activities like camping or hunting it can also provide a basic safety. If you have read the "SAS Survival Handbook" you know what you can keep in it. There are preassembled kits that you can from BCB and other companies, common items include matches, a fire steel, compact BIC lighter, snare wire, wire saw, sewing kit, button compass, safety pins, whistle, candle, small led lamp, a compact knife, fishing kit, pencil, water purification tablets, condom, painkillers and anti diarrhea tablets.
Evacuation or Bugging Out
If you like in a place where you might have to evacuate because of a dam break, flooding, nuclear meltdown, forest fires, earthquake or tsunami I suggest that you prepare for this possibility. Make a plan that takes the threats that your planning for into consideration. Having a bag ready with some basic equipment can provide a useful tool to cope with this type of events. These are sometimes called a Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) bag, 72 hour kit, grab-bag or Bug Out Bag (BOB). Make sure to have water, something to shield your from the elements, equipment to make a fire, some form of light, map of your local area, compass, medicines that you might need plus a small first aid kit and a little food. If you have to leave by foot make sure that you have good hiking boots that you been using for some time and good clothing for the climate you live in. Make a plan for how to contact your family and friends if this would happen.
Thin foil can be great for preparing food over a fire or barbeque. Make a hat for self distance if the prepping starts to take up to much of your time