There are many things around us which we often have control over. However, one aspect of the world around us which we can not control, or even predict at times is the weather and nature’s elements. Yet, we can arm ourselves with the knowledge and equipment to aid in situations which can be classified as emergencies or disasters. Our methods for reacting and adapting to outdoor elements, adverse weather conditions, and our overall ability to withstand disaster begins with the proper education. By understanding what to expect, how to mentally prepare yourself, and the proper processes for survival, what could be a very stressful and overwhelming situation for some can be a very well executed plan for you. Many Americans as well as individuals living abroad enjoy the beauty, the feeling, and the adventure in outdoor activity. With millions of hikers, trekkers, and campers around the world, it is a common occurrence to see a family or group of friends spend time in nature. Outdoor activity can be exhilarating or relaxing depending on the type of activity that one chooses to partake in. Regardless of the events which occupy one’s time outdoors being aware of how to handle the unpredictable of an emergency or natural disaster is imperative. Survival skills and proper preparation completes the equipment necessary for any outdoor time spent.
Who Benefits from This Guide
Not only should campers, trekkers, hikers, and other outdoorsmen be privy to information on the proper equipment, methods, and procedures to handle emergencies or natural disasters but everyone from the retired to students enjoying urban life should as well. Proper preparation and planning, regardless of your background or location can mean life or death in matters of natural disaster, emergency, and survival. Contrary to popular belief, survival skills are not an innate ability for most people. Survival skills and the ability to react calmly and effectively in an emergency or natural disaster is something that needs to be acquired and stored for a lifetime, in the event that it is needed. Physical and mental preparedness are the first aspects to arm yourself with in times of a crisis.
Whenever a disaster strikes the first thought that comes to mind is quickly moving away from the area in which things seems to be happening. Whether it be running, biking, or driving to safety, the ability to move about with ease plays a major factor in one’s ability to escape danger. This is the primary reason why being physically prepared for outdoors and natural disasters is important. Often times necessities and other items required for survival will need to be carried in backpacks and worn to safety. Additionally, impromptu tasks such as creating a shelter from local resources or even locating, hunting, and preparing food may be required. If one is physically inept, these necessary tasks will become much more of a burden than they should be. It is very important in an outdoor or natural disaster situation to have as many factors working in your favor as possible. Maintaining your well being prior to encountering an unfortunate event can make the difference between life and death in a survival situation.
Next, insuring that you are mentally prepared is just as important as important as being physically prepared for the outdoors or a natural disaster. Many have heard the phrase, “mind over matter” which means how you process a situation mentally can help to overcome it or endure it physically. In the unfortunate event that you find yourself facing a natural disaster or emergency, panic and anxiety can impair better judgement. Therefore, it is important to cultivate the proper mindset for these types of situations in order to face them with confidence and handle them with planned precision. Chaos typically ensues when one lacks calmness and organization. By arming yourself with the knowledge to handle emergency situations and natural disasters it is easier to remain calm in the worse type of situation. Additionally, the proper mindset also goes hand-in-hand with positive thinking. Regardless of how a situation may look, repeating positive thoughts to yourself while in the midst of it can lead to favorable results, increase calm, and help moral for those around you who are also going through it.
This guide for “Facing Disaster with Confidence” will equip you with the tools necessary to laugh in the face of disaster and breathe calmness into emergency situations. By understanding what to do in a variety of situations, having an outline for resources that will be needed in unfortunate conditions, and obtaining confidence through knowledge this guide will enable you to take on anything without fear. From preliminary steps for preparedness to stabilizing an area with food, water, and shelter there is nothing you will lack in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. Additionally, our POG Bug Out Bag is sure to provide you with the items necessary in order to maintain safety, well being, and the highest level of comfort to be expected in a crisis, with all of one’s essentials in one central location. We also feature here, the blueprint for creating the ideal 72-hour survival backpack, intended to withstand any natural disaster, on land or sea to accommodate the modern day adventurer or prepared citizen. Upon completion of reading this guide, you can look forward to obtaining knowledge on:
• Preliminary planning
• Recognition of an emergency situation
• All information regarding our coveted POG Bug Out Bag and 72-Hour Survival Backpack
• Maintaining well being and safety
• How to handle various natural disasters
• How to procure water, shelter, and start a fire
• Wilderness survival tips
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION FOR PREPAREDNESS
Recognizing An Emergency Situation
The very first sign of an emergency situation can most often be heard on the radio or seen on television and social media. The National Weather Service has professional meteorologist and other staff in place to determine when weather changes will occur as accurately as humanly possible. There are satellites and other weather tracking devices in place all over the world which determine specific signs of drastic weather or unpredictable conditions which can be detected much earlier than human experience in the industry can. Thus, allowing more time for planning and preparation. Additionally, there are various smartphone apps which connect to The National Weather Service and can be set to deliver alerts in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Although looming weather conditions often happen at random, there are specific times of the year, where certain areas are more prone to nature’s harsh effects, which have potential to be a very dangerous emergency situation. For example, there are specific areas on the west coast of the country which are more prone to earthquakes and wildfires due to a lack of rainfall. Therefore, there are often television warnings, radio announcements, and other forms of communication to relay to the public when an emergency situation or natural disaster is on the horizon. Additionally, you can also look out for the environmental changes that take place prior to a natural disaster.
Environmental Changes in an Emergency Situation or Natural Disaster Happens
When a natural disaster happens in any area of the world, there are noticeable visual changes that will occur in the environment around you which will give a sure sign of looming danger. In the event of a natural disaster involving flooding there will be definite rainfall that will accumulate water in high and low-lying areas rapidly. In the event of natural disasters such as earthquakes, there will be preliminary signs such as tremors. Tremors are low grade earthquakes in which noticeable vibrations are felt in the ground below you. Often tremors occur sporadically and increase in intensity as the earthquake becomes more severe. For emergency situations such as tornadoes and hurricanes there will be a significant variance in the way that the sky appears.
Often similar to the appearance of the sky in a severe thunderstorm, conditions will typically worsen following dark clouds, lightning, thunder, and heavy wind as well as heavy downpours of rain. All of which are nature’s way of warning the world that conditions are about to become worse. If you happen to find yourself in the midst of an upcoming blizzard, the main environmental sign to look out for is heavier snowfall, typically reducing visibility in a matter of hours. The wind speed increases when a blizzard is on the horizon as well. Often adding to the reduced visibility. Other general changes that occur in the area surrounding you in an emergency or natural disaster can be determined by the time frame in which the accumulation of snow or rainfall occurs, accompanied by the rapid reduction of visibility in short distances. However, with the proper preparation you will be ready to face any natural disaster or emergency situation.
In order to properly prepare for an emergency or natural disaster, the very first thing that should be considered is the most probable natural disasters in the area in which you live. Understanding the climate, terrain, and environmental attributes that could possibly contribute to an emergency situation will lead to proper planning. For example, if you live in a dry area, planning for a flood would not be very practical. Therefore, if you are a new resident to an area or have not been privy to the environmental temperament of the area in which you live, it is important to acquire this information first. Next, perform a light assessment of everyone in your home or the people in which you plan to evacuate within the event of any emergency. In the assessment take into consideration the various skills and attributes each person around you has that would contribute greatly to survival and well being in a natural disaster or emergency. By delegating certain tasks to those individuals who are more efficient at completing them you create a more stable plan, and most importantly a more effective survival system. Although one can endure an emergency or natural disaster with the same planning and preparation, it definitely helps to have others with you who can assist in survival tasks, and provide comfort with their presence.
Once you have established the type of natural disaster or emergency which you may face, you can then plan the best evacuation route or escape plan. Within this stage of preparation you should be aware of the primary and secondary roads nearby, as well as any of these routes which may close in an emergency. Additionally, physically driving through the route in which you plan to take can also give you a good idea of things such as how far you can travel before you reach a gas station or emergency assistance facility if necessary. Most importantly, when planning your evacuation route choosing a safe, secure, and readily available destination is key. You should consider any factors which will hinder you or your family’s safety and immediately evaluate other choices if it seems you may be in harm’s way. Destinations which are designated for evacuees is most commonly recommended. These facilities have the structure, amenities, and space necessary in order to accommodate an emergency situation or natural disaster. Ensure that you have the proper equipment in a well organized place such as a POG Bug Out Bag which is intended to carry essentials necessary for survival and well being during emergencies.
One of the most underestimated aspects of handling an emergency or natural disaster is the ability to remain calm. The best way to maintain a sufficient level of calmness during an emergency is to stick to the planning and preparation which you set forth prior to the incident. By moving strategically opposed to abruptly, you diminish the feeling of anxiety which can lead to careless mistakes and forgetfulness. During a natural disaster or emergency it is imperative to stay as focused as possible, regardless of how the circumstances may seem. The confidence that you have in your own planning and preparation will go a long way in the face of adversity.
Emergency Survival Supplies
In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, a major portion of proper preparation is ensuring that you have the essential supplies, such supplies can be placed in a neat and secure place like a POG Bug Out Bag. We will go into specifics of the POG Bug Out Bag in the next section. However, generally in the midst of natural disasters there are several things which are necessary to maintain well being, safety, and a little comfort. Additionally, contingency planning should be performed as well. Contingency planning is simply being able to determine possible dangers on the journey ahead in order to maintain safety and be equipped to handle them. In performing contingency planning you become aware of factors such as dangerous animals, poisonous insects or reptiles, and other natural or physical elements which will be present in the area in which you will be going. Following this awareness, you will be able to better equip yourself to overcome these obstacles, either with small weaponry such as knives, or natural elements found in nature which can repel things you wish to not come in direct contact with. The most common emergency survival supplies consist of: a medical kit, a compass, a flint or matches for fire starting, a beta light, and a knife. A few items which can also be added to this list are sleeping bags, flares, water, non-perishable foods, and a few additional pieces of clothing to accommodate the climate expected.
What To Do When Disaster Strikes Your Environment
Whenever there is an emergency situation or natural disaster time is of the essence. Therefore, when faced with imminent danger, the main focus should be putting the evacuation plan which you previously constructed into action as quickly and efficiently as possible. The first step should be to gather all of the necessary supplies and important documents of everyone with you. Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, marriage license, and military paperwork should be packed away for easy retrieval in an emergency evacuation. There should also be a planned method as to which person will secure all necessary items and equipment prior to having to execute the evacuation plan. Once each person has done their part in the retrieval of goods and reports back to the predetermined location with their designated items, the car or POG Bug Out Bag should be packed or stored for departure. If the emergency or natural disaster came about while you happened to be out in the wilderness, the first course of action is to seek shelter. Safe places in nature consist of areas such as ditches during tornadoes or hurricanes. If you encounter a flood situation shelter in nature should be found in a high level area or space.
Preparing Your Home in a Natural Disaster
When a natural disaster strikes in any area your home should be fully protected and secured for disaster prior to you evacuating to a more secure location. The most effective preparation process depends greatly upon the natural disaster in which the area is facing. If you are facing an emergency such as a tornado or hurricane, ensure that your roof is up to par to withstand the winds which will accompany the weather conditions. Another factor to be considered is avoiding as much window shatter as possible. By applying tape across windows and glass doors in a large ‘X’ fashion will help prevent major shattering in most instances. Also, securing loose items outdoors such as lawn mowers, lawn figures, or plants and other items which aren’t stabilized will minimize the chance of those items being caught in the wind and causing damage. If you happen to face the emergency of a wildfire, having dual pane tempered glass windows, and class A roofing materials can actually prevent your home from severe damage. In natural disasters such as floods securing items in the home can be tricky due to the nature of the emergency. However, general precautions can still be made. By storing items such as electronics and valuables on sturdy platforms such as cinder blocks you can prevent them from being damaged by initial flood waters that may enter the home. Lastly, if you are on the brink of an inevitable earthquake, the best preparation for your home is to secure large furniture, appliances, and any freestanding accessories in the home such as entertainment centers or bookshelves.
Now, we all know that planning should not be done the day of an emergency or natural disaster, which is why progressive planning is key. Progressive planning is basically completing the stages of planning using forward thinking but current action. Knowing the area in which you live and the natural disasters in which you will be prone to is key to progressive planning. This allows you to anticipate the type of damage the disaster may cause, which will lead to more efficient planning and preparation. A lot of the damage ensued by natural disasters can be minimized by preventive maintenance of your home and preliminary preparation. The proper roofing and windows can save a ton of money and time on repairs post disaster. Also, planning an escape route or evacuation plan is necessary. In the time of emergency you need to have a clear and concise plan to your evacuation location, as well as an alternative route in the event of a road closure. It is also best to travel to and from the evacuation location several times to familiarize yourself with the surroundings and landmarks along the way. Additionally, in the process of progressive planning the packing method should be considered. Tasks should be delegated to family members to secure specific items that will be taken during evacuation. Additionally, specific locations should be deemed as places where the emergency luggage or backpacks will be stored in the home for easy retrieval.
Maintain an “I WILL SURVIVE” Mentality
A large portion of an individual’s chances of surviving in an emergency or natural disaster weighs heavily on their mindset. More specifically, their determination to make it through the situation alive and well. The power of the conscious and subconscious mind are very important in an emergency situation. Your conscious mind processes what is known about the situation, such as the effects the disaster could have on you, your home, or your environment. Your conscious mind can also pick up on emotions such as fear and anxiety, which become counterproductive attributes in a time of crisis. However, this is where your subconscious mind kicks in and saves the day and also your life! Your subconscious mind receives and processes whatever you tell it. Therefore, if you tell yourself that ‘you will survive’ and repeat it enough to make it a constant thought no matter what you can see or physically feel around you in the situation that confidence and assurance creates a more successful journey. What you believe within will manifest itself in your reality. Harboring negative thoughts or feelings of trepidation will become a hinderance to your judgment and overall thinking process. This is why maintaining an ‘I WILL SURVIVE’ mentality will indeed guide you to survival with clear thinking and concise action.
POG BUG OUT BAG/72-HOUR SURVIVAL KIT
What is a POG BUG OUT BAG?
A POG Bug Out Bag is an essential item for all emergencies and natural disasters. A POG Bug Out Bag is a portable kit that carries all of the items that are necessary for survival in various conditions. A POG Bug Out Bag is basically your life saver in a time of crisis. The items typically contained in a POG Bug Out Bag can often maintain a person for up to 72-hours following evacuation. Some longer lasting POG Bug Out Bags can equip an individual with enough essentials and supplies for much more than 72-hours however. These types of Bug Out Bags are larger in size enabling more items to be stored in them. POG Bug Out Bags are the main component in a disaster or emergency to organize all of the items that will keep you alive and well while away from your normal environment. From first aid care items to essentials for hygiene and health, everything that you will need in the world of survival can be easily stored and carried with a nice, durable, POG Bug Out Bag. POG Bug Out Bags are manufactured in a way that withstand the elements of nature while maintaining non-perishable food items with ease. Because bringing several pieces of luggage in an emergency situation is uncommon and also time consuming, a POG Bug Out Bag is the compact and sturdy alternative to house all of your emergency and survival needs.
POG BUG OUT BAG Essentials
When gathering the essential items for your top rated POG Bug Out Bag, there are a few things to consider. The main factor that should be taken into consideration is that the choices you make in regards to what you pack will either be a great help to your survival or unnecessary weight. Additionally, unlike choosing a backpack or piece of luggage for travel the size of your POG Bug Out Bag should be decided after you have made a definitive list of items which will be packed. This will enable you to have the perfect size Bug Out Bag for the items that you need. Another advantage to using this method for Bug Out bag sizing is that it maximizes the space available and makes your load more efficient if you find yourself having to maintain survival in nature. The essential items which should be included in a POG Bug Out Bag consist of several different necessities to maintain well being during emergency situations. The first item needed is water and possibly other forms of hydration. There may not be a water source easily found or a method to obtain clean drinking water in a survival situation so preparation is key. A collapsible water bottle or canteen can be used to contain water and make easily accessible storage options. Other necessary items such as water purification tablets, or a life straw are also important to have in your POG Bug Out Bag. Other essentials to pack include, food and preparation materials for food, a small amount of additional clothing, a tarp or sleeping bag, a form of heat or component to create fire, hygiene materials, tools, a self defense mechanism, a form of lighting, a first aid kit, and most importantly a communication device such as a cell phone.
POG BUG OUT BAG Tips
Whether you are evacuating because of an emergency situation by car or on foot, it is best to maximize the space that is available in the POG Bug Out Bag in order to increase your chances of survival during the crisis. In regards to the water supply that you plan to store in your POG Bug Out Bag, keep in mind that the average person needs a least a single liter of water per day. This quantity should be multiplied by the number of people who are with you, this way everyone remains properly hydrated. If you are concerned about maximizing space, and are nature savvy enough to locate water from a natural water source opposed to packing water, a lifestraw is an easy and compact tool to use for water purification.
The food supply that will be included should consist of a variety of tasty non-perishable items that at the most will only require water to fully prepare. The quantity of these items should be able to sustain you and your family for at least 72-hours. If you choose to hunt your food in the wilderness, metal cookware should also be included in your equipment. Other small items are necessary for food preparation and consumption as well. Items such as: a can opener, a sporks a metal cup (which can be used for cooking and eating), a snack for energy such as a protein bar, and lastly if you are intended to hunt your meals a portable stove would also be a great idea.
The additional clothing that you take with you in your POG Bug Out Bag should not consist of this seasons full wardrobe line-up. Only essential clothing should be packed. Articles of clothing that are too big and bulky can weigh you down if you are forced to walk any long distances. Therefore, simple items such as a rain poncho, which has multiple uses, working gloves, a hat, a lightweight fleece jacket, hiking socks, underwear, pants, and a long sleeve shirt that is typically light weight will be all of the clothing and accessories necessary. This 72-hour survival kit will ensure that you have all of the items necessary for at least three days in the wilderness or away from home due to a natural disaster. Your survival kit items should fit comfortably in your POG Bug Out Bag and sustain you and your family until you reach other forms of resources.
Nature’s Signs of Water
One of the major necessities when evacuation is in place because of a natural disaster is water. The proper hydration is essential in maintaining well being. Dehydration, or the lack of proper hydration can lead to serious health risks which could possibly cost your life if not treated. Being in the wilderness or away from home makes the ease of obtaining the proper hydration a little more difficult. Or does it? Actually, Mother Nature has its own way of pointing to where water can be found out in the wild. At times, even native wildlife can lead you to the best water sources available. Additionally, some plants and other vegetation only grow in certain areas, which can also connect one to a consistent water source to aid in survival. A few things to look out for when you are on the hunt to quench your thirst in the wild outdoors are: the types of animals in the vicinity, the types of birds in the vicinity, and also the types of insects that are in the vicinity.
By paying attention to your surroundings, you will be able to quench your thirst much quicker than you think. The main indicator of water being nearby if you find yourself in the unpredictable outdoors is animals grazing. Carnivorous animals will not be included in this indication of water. Because they are meat eaters, much of the water that is retained inside them comes from the prey in which they feed on. Other animals which are herbivores such as deer or cattle are a sure sign of water being nearby as they desperately need water as much as humans to maintain their well being and proper hydration. Next, birds who feed on grain like substances for survival such as finches are another sure sign of water nearby. Finches as well as pigeons often seek and find water at two main times of the day, in the early dawn and late dusk. This helpful hint also gives you a heads up on when to look out for these specific types of birds in order to lead you to your next water source. Last but not least, insects which are found in nature can also lead you to water sources. Certain insects, just like mammals need water to survive. Bees for example, are the main insect indicator of water being nearby. Also, if you plan to use your magnifying glass to scope out the small details of nature, you will find that ants will also lead you to a water source. If you happen to see a line of ants heading upward on a tree are more than likely moving towards a reservoir of water. Therefore, maintaining constant awareness of your surroundings will lead you to one of the essential components for survival, without even dusting off your compass for directions.
Various Water Uses
When away from home due to an emergency or natural disaster water can serve many different purposes. Of course hydration is water’s main job for evacuees and those stranded in the wilderness. However, aside from that commonly known use water has several other uses to aid in survival. Water can be purified either with purification tablets or a life straw and used for cooking. Many great soups have been prepared in the wilderness with water obtained and stored from nature’s very own resources. Additionally, similar to the routine in the comfort of your home, water can be used for cleaning. Clothes can be cleaned in a small container of water to rid fabric of major dirt and stains from the events of outdoors. Water can also be used as a sterilization method. By placing water to fire in a metal container or pan and allowing it to boil will allow items such as eating or hunting utensils to be sterilized by the boiling water and reused safely. Water should be preserved and used wisely however, despite its many benefits and uses in the wilderness. It is also very important to remember that water used for sterilization purposes and cleaning purposes should be stored separately from drinking water and water that has been purified for cooking. Always practice safe and effective storage methods for your water in order to keep you and your family safe from illness.
Another factor which can cause illness are the various water hazards associated with natural disasters. Severe storms, mudslides, and floods tend to bring all of the good and bad elements of water to the surface to move about in the water freely, making it hard for clean water to be found without performing a purification process. There are multiple waterborne diseases that derive from these types of disasters that can be harmful to anyone who is now aware of the safety risks associated with ingesting water found following the above mentioned disasters without proper precaution. Because most natural disasters such as earthquakes are both geologically and and biologically triggered, there is often more than one risk factor. Things such as Hepatitis A and E, Diarrheal disease, and leptospirosis are all commons illnesses associated with ingesting contaminated water. For natural disasters that cause major flooding like that of Hurricane Katrina where dead bodies may also be prevalent in the water found in the environment, new illnesses and diseases present themselves due to the decomposition factor being exposed to the water directly. Therefore, if you find yourself in any form of natural disaster you can avoid these risks by first obtaining the proper immunization as directed by your primary physician. Additionally, once in the midst of the natural disaster, the element chlorine is inexpensive and easy to find. Chlorine can be used to minimize the spread of waterborne diseases and possibly save your life by preventing exposure to harmful elements.
When weighing shelter options in order to determine which will be best for the emergency or natural disaster in which you are facing you should consider several factors. The very first aspect that should be considered is the type of natural disaster that lies ahead. Your shelter should be able to withstand the brunt of nature’s effects. For example, you wouldn’t want to build a shelter without a stable foundation if you are to be facing strong winds. The next major factor which should be considered is the climate and terrain of the area in which you are seeking shelter. Places such as spurs, valleys, and the tops of mountains or hills should be avoided. Additionally, a general rule of thumb with the outdoors is that cold air typically sinks to low lying areas, and hot air rises. Keep this in mind in relation to the time of year in which you may be exposed to the outdoors so that you can plan to avoid temperature changes that could lead to discomfort. The last factor to consider when faced with having to set up shelter outdoors is the location. If you are pressed for time due to the weather conditions worsening rapidly, and you find yourself unable to explore to locate the best possible area in the vicinity simply try to find a stable area near water. By being near water, you give yourself the advantage of being in close proximity to other elements which can be useful such as wood. Now, there are numerous forms of shelter which can serve as sufficient protection from the elements of outdoors as well as provide comfort.
Hasty shelters, root shelters, bough shelters, natural hollow shelters, sapling shelters, shelter sheets, and stone barriers are all common types of shelters used in the wilderness of areas with moderate temperatures and pretty consistent terrain. Other forms of shelter are categorized by the climate in which they can be used. Arctic shelters, Tropical shelters, and long term shelters are all climate specific forms of shelter which can be used to accommodate areas with prevalent snow, tropical temperatures and weather conditions, or an unplanned need to have an extended stay in nature. When considering any shelter type, factor in the materials which will be necessary to construct it, how you will obtain those materials, and the amount of time it will take to finalize for use. Shelters can be constructed for long term use or a temporary use. In the event of an emergency, shelter can be constructed at several different times throughout a journey, as long as the resources are available.
Tips for Shelter in Natural Disaster
Depending on the natural disaster in which you are facing, it is best to plan ahead as much as possible by understanding the materials which will be required, as well as how you would go about obtaining them prior to an emergency situation taking place. However, natural disasters which involve strong winds and rain can creep up to locations in record time, preventing a lengthy planning or staging process. If this happens to you, most of these natural disaster situations can be endured with a simple hasty shelter. By using a wind and rain blocking component to maintain dryness and sustain body heat, shelter can be obtained in areas with gradients by simply turning away from the wind and blocking the elements.
TIP: Always pack a rain resistant poncho and blanket. These items can be used as a wind-breaking component.
If find yourself in the midst of a tornado and need shelter that will withstand nature, a hasty shelter would not do the trick. A tornado’s wind power is too much for a hasty shelter. However, by locating a hollow area in the ground, you can maintain protection and warmth by simply laying in the space with your head protected. This will prevent flying debris and other harmful objects from striking you and also allows the tornado to pass over you more easily if it happens to be headed in your direct path. If there may be flooding involved, ensure that the hollow area chosen has a method to releasing any downhill water which may accumulate during rain periods. Additionally, a roof can be composed by using strong tree branches to cover the width of the hollow. This will provide an increased level of protection and warmth.
TIP: Before seeking shelter in a hollow, determine if the area is in a uphill or downhill position. This will eliminate the worry of rain water accumulation in a tornado and its various weather elements.
If the natural disaster which you are facing is related to fire, there is no shelter outdoors which would completely keep you safe from harm. However, if you find yourself near a wildfire, the only mechanism for safety is a fire shelter. They are easily packed and shaken out for use when needed. Often made of an aluminum component in order to protect individuals from fire and maintain clean breathable air, these pieces of equipment should be an essential item to have with you upon evacuation if you are prone to a wildfire disaster area with little to no precipitation.
TIP: Fire shelters can be easily stored in your POG Bug Out Bag among other essentials.
One of the most frightening natural disasters are earthquakes. When the ground below you is not stable everything around you begins to collapse as well. However, if you find yourself in the midst of a tornado, no worries, there is a protection method for you as well. In the home, you can either stand in a doorway or under a sturdy table or desk that is away from windows. This will keep you protected from fallen objects that may become a risk factor and shattered glass from the trembling as the ground separates. In nature, simply drop to your hands and knees to avoid injury falling and then, protect your head with one hand while holding onto the most stable object in close proximity to you with the other hand.
Tropical shelters are very quickly made in often times because the resources used to make them are in abundance in the type of terrain and climate where these shelters are used. However, they come with some handyman work in order to be effective.
TIP: Because of outdoor organisms such as leeches, any tropical shelter should be constructed above ground level slightly to prevent injury or hard from the other living things that occupy that particular space.
Arctic shelters are among the most unique shelters in the world. These shelters are only found in polar area. If you are not looking to seek shelter in a nearby cave or hollow, there are other alternatives. For example, snow trenches and igloos can be used as an Arctic shelter in order to protect from blizzards, snow storms, and other cold climate natural disasters.
TIP: Always have a parachute packed in your POG Bug Out Bag if you live in a predominately cold area which is prone to the above mentioned natural disasters. Parachutes can be used to create a snow house or provide an additional layer of insulation to maintain body heat when unpacked and placed under the area in which you sleep or sit.
Last Minute Shelter Options
Unfortunately, the most common shelter in time of an emergency is a hasty shelter. Hasty shelters are typically the result of a natural disaster catching an individual by surprise while out in the wilderness. In order to have a successful hasty shelter, the main thing to consider is a wind-breaking component. Hasty shelters do not require wood or a foundation, simply something to block wind and rain from immediate contact in areas such as cliff overhangs or gradients. It is best to sit in these areas with your back to the opening or direction of the wind with the wind-breaking component shielding you. These shelters are often used in hurricanes and severe storms as immediate protection from harm.
What to Expect When Returning Home from An Evacuation
When returning from a natural disaster or emergency situation, it it normal to be filled with anxiety or fear of what may or may not be left of your home and belongings. However, remaining positive and proper planning before the incident occurred can lead you back to minimal damage. The neighborhood will most likely be a little chaotic with families trying to assess damages and losses. Additionally, depending on the natural disaster which took place there may be some external damage which accompanies certain weather. For example, if you recently survived a hurricane, tornado, or severe storm, moderate to heavy roof damage make have occurred. Therefore, you should expect this form of damage if you were not able to undergo preventative roof treatment for disaster prior to the incident. Alternatively, if you happened to have survived flooding, an earthquake, or a wildfire there may be damage to the framework and foundation of the home aside from other things. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, homeowners insurance will have resources for you to choose from which will best accommodate you in preparing for disaster and minimize repairs.
Traditional Fire Building Essentials
Fire is one of the essential components of survival. Fire can be created by more than one process if you happen to find yourself in the wilderness and have need for one of the benefits of fire, whether it be for heating or cooking. Depending on the area in which you take shelter, you will have some methods to create fire which will be easier than others. Additionally, the terrain, climate, and other weather factors such as wind will play a major role in the materials in which you may have to use in order to maintain a fire. Some components such as brush may not be found in every area of the wilderness. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the various ways in which a fire can be created in order to sustain you and your family or fellow campers/evacuees. When planning to make fire in the wilderness, the very first aspect to consider is the weather conditions and climate. Next, you should consider the availability of resources needed to construct a fire. Typically, the main items needed for dire building are tinder, kindling, and fuel. Building a fire is not the most difficult task. However, understanding the components for fire building is essential.
The first component necessary for fire building is tinder. Tinder is basically an outdoor element that can easily ignite with even the smallest of sparks. Examples of great resources for tinder include: wood shavings, dry grass, cotton fluff which is often found in clothing, pine needles, bark from trees, and even fungi, just to name a few. Alternatively, if none of these items are in the vicinity of your emergency campsite, the could of the air can also provide assistance with tinder. Bird and bat droppings are a great resource tinder, as well as the dust produced from wood wasps after they have completed the boring process in nearby trees. The next essential component to build a fire is kindling. Kindling is actual wood fragments or branches that help increase the flames of the fire so that additional resources from nature can be added to maintain the fire. Any element similar to branches or twigs are great to use for kindling. However, keep in mind that the best burning wood should not come directly from the earth due to the moisture factor. Always draw kindling from standing deadwood resources so that no moisture will be present. This will allow more consistency and longevity for the fire. Lastly, the fuel used for your fire can consist of the same resources as used for kindling. Additionally, using heavier wood creates a larger amount of heating. Once you have all of these components, you are ready to create a fire!
Methods to Create Fire
Contrary to popular belief, there are several methods to create a fire. Because there are various scenarios which one could find themselves in, Mother Nature has provided different methods to construct the fire in order to sustain you in a survival situation. The methods to start a fire include: star fire method, lens method, flint and steel fire method, battery lighting method, ammunition powder method, fire bow method, and the fire plough method. Let’s take a look at each of these in greater depth.
The star fire method to create a fire simply requires two large pieces of wood, preferably logs to be ignited where the ends meet. Then, by pushing the top log inward you can increase the fire. If the fire happens to diminish at any time, repeating this method will reignite the fire with ease.
The lens method to create a fire consists of the heat from the sun and the direction of a magnifying glass or similar item, to ignite various forms of tinder. The magnifying glass is to be placed directly between the sun and pile of tinder in which you wish to ignite and then simply allow Mother Nature to work. The heat from the sun paired with the elements of the magnifying glass will in a very short time ignite most forms of tinder. Thus creating a simple constructed fire.
The flint and steel method to create a fire requires a little more physical commitment. For this method a simple flint stone would be struck repeatedly over a pile of tinder until of the resulting sparks ignites a fire within the tinder.
The battery lighting method requires the battery from a car (if you happen to have driven to your emergency campsite) to be removed. Once removed simply attach wire or other metal element to the terminals on the battery to create a spark on a pile of tinder. The spark(s) will soon ignite a fire in the tinder below it.
The ammunition powder method will require the gunpowder from bullet to be discharged and used with a form of tinder to ignite a fire. The gunpowder will need to be placed over the tinder and then ignited by the flint and steel method. Therefore, this process is actually a combination of two different fire starting methods.
The fire bow method is the most time consuming of all fire starting methods. This method requires a hard wood spindle and soft wood base to be used to ignite a fire. The hard wood spindle will create friction by vigorous rotation until a light smoke appears which will be followed by fire. This is not a quick process for fire starting, therefore if you find yourself in need of an immediate fire this method is not recommended.
The fire plough method requires a flat piece of wood, and a cylindrical piece of wood to
Ignite a fire. There would need to be a groove cut into the flat piece of wood with a knife before any other steps are taken. Then, the cylindrical piece of wood will need to be vigorously pushed back and forth in the cut out groove of the flat piece of wood in order to ignite a fire.
Now that the various methods of creating a fire have been outlined, it is extremely important to be aware of the best safety practices to follow in order to protect yourself, your family, and the area around you.
Whenever fire building is in place, the main focus aside from the need of fire is proper safety. The main factor to consider in regards to safety is the location of the fire. A fire should never be started in an area that could possibly allow the direction of the wind to carry it beyond the area designated for the fire. Additionally, all fires should be attended to at all times. Also, there should be a water source or access to water readily available near where you set up camp, in the event of a fire emergency. Lastly, keep any items which you do not plan to use for kindling away from the fire, as these items could potentially catch fire and raise safety concerns.
Procuring Food in the Wilderness
When in a survival situation having nourishment in the wilderness is not only necessary, but essential in order to maintain the energy and well being to safely return home. Food in the wilderness can consist of everything from edible and nutritious plants, to animals, birds, and even specific types of fungi that is often seen in nature on certain trees. Alternatively, there are also insects which can be consumed and assist in providing protein and kill hunger if consumed in multiples. Plants which can provide nourishment and subside hunger pains while in the wilderness include:
In regards to finding meat in the wilderness, there are several signs from Mother Nature to let you know that you are in the right area to hunt and feed off of healthy wild game. If you pay close attention to your surrounding you will notice the habitats, walking paths, and even the feeding signs of wild game. This will lead you to a nice meal if properly captured. Signs such as dens, burrows, tracks, and even animal droppings in your surroundings can lead you to where mammals will be located. Another definite sign of mammals will be feeding signs. Some common feeding signs to keep an eye out for include bark missing from trees in either long shreds or torn off in pieces. This is a sign of deer, sheep, goats, and other similar animals in the vicinity. Sheep and goats often leave their own personal signature on trees with their teeth marks, whereas animals such as squirrels leave their mark on trees as well, but are often found much higher than the naked eye will able to see at first glance. Additionally, ants in the melanophus family are one type of insect which can also be a decent meal, along with locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets. All of the resources for food mentioned should be properly cleaned or prepared, prior to consumption. Let’s take a look at a few tips on food preparation while in the wilderness fighting for survival.
Food preparation methods
There are several methods to prepare food in the wild outdoors. The method in which you choose will depend mostly on the resources in which you have available. The time that you have to prepare the food is another big factor. At times a natural disaster is right around the corner and you need to consume some sort of food in a hurry for added energy. At other times, you are simply retiring on a campsite for a restful evening in order to continue a journey in the coming day. Regardless of the situation in which you find yourself in, there is a food preparation method which is best for you. Steaming, roasting, boiling, grilling, and even baking can be accomplished in the wilderness with the proper time and resources. Items such as metal ammunition boxes can be cleaned and used as a makeshift oven in a survival situation. By being closed and accurately heated, this piece of storage equipment can be used to prepare delicious meats. Items such as mesh wire can be used to assist in grilling various foods outdoors. Additionally, many leaves and vegetables found in nature or fish that are caught can be steamed by being hung over a metal container of boiling water. Another innovative and alternative way to prepare food when there are no utensils available is to use a clay substance to encompass the food. Then, place the clay wrapped food directly onto your fire. The clay will maintain consistent heat for what you are preparing, and in minutes create a fully cooked meal. For any meat which is prepared, it is best to cut it into small cube shaped portions for easy cooking. Fish can easily be wrapped in leaves and either stewed or cooked over a fire with the clay method for best results. Lastly, any shellfish, worms, or roots that are prepared should be boiled thoroughly prior to consumption.
Food storage methods & safety
If you are fortunate enough to locate enough food for you and your family that lasts for more than one day, proper storage is key. Wild animals can smell and sense meat and other food. Therefore, for your safety and the well being of yourself and those who are with you storing foods properly will keep unwanted wild animals from coming in close contact with you. Additionally, considering you are away from home where there is proper refrigeration available, storing foods properly will help preserve them for later use without causing illness. A few other tips to keep in mind:
Do not leave any food unattended
Never leave food or trash inside of a tent or shelter
Keep all food stored away in a cooler or bear canister; if neither are available securing it in a bag and hanging it from a tree will at least keep animals from being able to retrieve it
Discard all trash away from your campsite
Keep hands clean with hand sanitizer or warm water and soap
Clean and cook food away from the campsite to minimize odors
Never use the same surface for cutting raw meat as cutting other foods
Keeping these things in mind will help keep your area secure and free from unwanted wildlife as well as preserve your food, and keep you from illness and disease through improper food handling. The next important aspect of survival is maintaining well being and safety.
WELL BEING & SAFETY
First Aid Necessities
Overdoing a first aid kit just like many other aspects of preparation for emergencies and natural disasters will only weigh you down and waste space. Therefore, it is imperative to have what you anticipate needing, opposed to every item available for medical care and treatment. All of these items can be easily stored in your POG Bug Out Bag for easy retrieval in the event of an emergency. The first item needed is a form of blood clotting agent such as a wound seal powder. You will also need a form of burn salve in the event of a heat injury. Additionally, gauze, bandages, an antiseptic solution, and a pain reliever are also essential to have. All other first aid items will vary depending on the climate and type of elements in which you may be exposed to. For example, in extreme cold climates you will need first aid items for things such as frostbite. In extreme heat you will need first aid items to treat heat related injuries if they are to come about as well. Aside from maintaining your well being and having the resources to care for yourself in the event of an injury, maintaining you and your families’ safety is equally important. Let’s take a look at some ways to protect yourself from the creatures of the wild.
When you are forced into new territory of the wild outdoors, there are many different creatures and animals which you may come in contact with. Therefore, you should be prepared to protect yourself. Many hunters and outdoorsmen have a collection of hunting firearms which they can be taken with them in the event of an emergency. However, if you are not a frequent outdoorsmen or hunter, here are a few methods to stay safe in an emergency situation or natural disaster.
Keep a small to medium size knife in your pocket or axe attached to your POG Bug Out Bag for easy access in the event that it is needed
If you are licensed to carry a firearm; keep a loaded firearm in a holster on your hip, also for easy access
Either you or someone with you should carry a large stick or trekking pole. This will not only serve as additional balance if met with uneven or uphill terrain, but this can also be used to ward off some small animals and creatures of the wild.
SURVIVING NATURAL DISASTERS
Hurricanes are a mixture of strong winds which can reach over 70 miles per hour, also feature heavy rain, and severe thunderstorms which can wreak havoc on areas across the world. If you intend to remain at home during a hurricane, windows and doors should be properly boarded with plywood and nails to secure them and protect you. You should have all of the necessary supplies such as flashlights, water, batteries, food, GPS system or map, and protective clothing stored in a POG Bug Out Bag in order to access necessities easily in the event of a mandatory evacuation. If you are planning on evacuating immediately to a Red Cross Shelter or other designated safe haven, it is recommended that you begin evacuating as soon as you receive a hurricane warning. If you live closer to the coast evacuation should begin prior to a hurricane warning to ensure you reach your destination safely.
The best method for surviving a deathly tornado is to seek safety in shelter if possible. Any interior rooms or hallways in your home are the perfect safe haven during this natural disaster. Additionally, finding added coverage for your head and body such as a table or other sturdy piece of furniture will keep objects from striking you or falling down on you and causing harm. If you happen to be outdoors when a tornadoes touches down, seek safety in a low lying area such as a ditch, lay on your stomach, and cover your head. Often tornadoes will pass over low lying areas, therefore this is the best method to remain safe if a tornado happens to touch down while you are outdoors.
Earthquakes are very scary and dangerous. However, if you find yourself in the midst of a major tremor, it is recommended to simply remain where you are. Protect your body from injury by dropping down to your hands and knees and cover your head and neck as much as possible with one hand. Then, with the other hand hold on to the most sturdy item that you can find nearby in order to maintain balance during the shifts in the ground. Following these steps will help you survive the frightening effects of an earthquake.
Blizzards are often very dangerous and typically advise individuals in a blizzard situation to not attempt evacuation and ‘weather the storm’ in a car or on foot. However, if you happen to get caught in your car during a blizzard the main thing to do is ensure that your exterior exhaust pipe is free from snow. As you run the heating in your car from time to time a clogged exhaust pipe can lead to harmful gases being pushed into the car instead of being properly released, and can cause great illness. Ensuring the exterior exhaust pipe is free from snow is a consistent factor to watch out for during a blizzard. Additionally, you should remain in the car, turn the car off, remain properly hydrated, and maintain body heat as much as possible with blankets, clothing, and even others in the car. If you happen to be caught in a blizzard on foot, maintaining hydration and warmth is key. Dress appropriately with several layers of warm clothing. Also, if you happen to run low on water, melted snow can be a form of hydration to sustain you until you reach safety. By simply placing snow in a container and keeping it near your body will help melt it and give you a natural refreshment.
Flood disasters are very serious. Although many feel they can maneuver through flood waters it is not recommended. Upon warning of a flood you should evacuate immediately. If you happen to have any lawn figures or outdoor furniture you should retrieve them immediately and store them on a second floor or attic if possible along with other valuables within the home. Ensure all appliances and electronics are unplugged from wall outlets and power strips. However, do not attempt to unplug any items if you find yourself in standing water within the home. Evacuation is the only option when faced with flooding. Your evacuation plan and procedure should already be in place in place prior to a flood warning. Therefore, it should only take moments to gather your POG Bug Out Bag and head for safety. If you find yourself on flooded roads, do not attempt to drive through them. Flood waters can often be deeper than they appear to the naked eye and can cause your car to stall. This is the reason for at least two alternative routes if you live in a low lying area which are prone to flooding.
You typically do not need to grab your POG Bug Out bag and head for safety in the event of a power blackout, unless the outage caught you by total surprise and you have no supplies to sustain you. If this happens, simply grabbing a flashlight and walking a short distance to a neighbor’s house should do the trick until power has been restored. It is actually a better safety practice to remain calm and stay at home during this type of emergency. However, having water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, and first aid supplies is imperative. Additionally, ensure that you are dressed properly to keep you comfortable in the seasonal temperature that is currently taking place and have additional clothing handy if you happen to need it.
The main precautions in the wilderness involve simply being aware of your surroundings and managing your space accordingly. Although there are some very intimidating animals and creatures in the wilderness, they are often attracted to humans by things such as food scents, trash, and even friendly feeding of smaller animals can attract their larger predators. Additionally, the awareness of plants and foods that are poisonous in the area in which you are located prior to embarking on the journey is also very important. Lastly, be fully aware of the climate, potential emergencies, medical care methods that can be performed in the area in a split second if necessary.
It is very important to understand the terrain in the environment around you. Gathering tinder for a fire, procuring food, locating a water source, and avoiding injury and illness all relate to the terrain of the area in which you find yourself. Additionally, the area in which you make a temporary campsite must be on the proper terrain as well. No one wants to make a bed on a rocky or uneven portion of the earth. Therefore, knowing the terrain is significant in regards to comfort and survival. For example, tropical regions will have various types of rainforests, saltwater swamps, and freshwater swamps. All of which present different food options, shelter options, and precautions to take in regards to dangerous animals and insects. Polar regions will typically require snowshoes and can present difficulty creating fire. Additionally, mountainous areas often have sparse vegetation and can be challenging to journey through due to the uneven terrain. Therefore, all aspects of the area in which you are located or plan to venture to should be considered in order to maintain survival in various elements.
Bug Out Plan/Bug In Plan
A bug out plan is basically a strategy to gather necessities in order to evacuate an area to reach safety from an emergency or natural disaster. A bug out plan will also consist of a POG Bug Out Bag which will keep necessary items organized and stored properly in order to weather storms or face the wilderness with ease. A bug out plan will begin with understanding what emergencies you may face. Next, the planning of more than one destination is recommended in the event the natural disaster or emergency you face had one or more routes blocked due to flooding or other issues. Then, timing is everything. It is very important to know how long it would take you to gather your POG Bug Out Bag and reach all possible destinations for safety. You should have an alternative method for navigation. For example, if you are planning to use a GPS, also have a map. Or, if you are using a map, also have a compass.
Bug in plans simply require all of the essentials for survival to be available within your home. These items include: water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries, additional clothing, alternatives for disposing of human waste and trash, and a POG Bug Out Bag, in the event the disaster or emergency requires evacuation. The very first aspect of bugging in is to make sure that the perimeter of your home is secure to withstand the natural disaster in which you are facing. Next, it is important to formulate a regular process of performing tasks for everyday survival. Tasks such as preparing food, handling personal hygiene, and cleaning can keep morale at an even level and maintain a peaceful environment in the midst of outdoor chaos.
Get Home Bag (GHB)
A get home bag or GHB is simply a bag which stores all essentials to make it back home safely from an emergency evacuation or natural disaster. Everyone in your family needs to have a GHB, including children and elderly family members. The perfect GHB should include the following:
Food (enough to last at least 3 days)
Small camp stove
Water bottle (stainless steel is recommended for its multiple uses)
Energy bars or similar food to maintain stamina
Communication device (cell phone and a radio is recommended)
Urban survival is much different than that of the wilderness. There are different elements and variables to consider with urban survival that are not present in the wilderness. Opposed to brush and rivers, there are buildings and bridges. Homes should be secured with security systems opposed to boarded windows to avoid break ins and prevent vandalism. In preparation for an emergency you should keep the visibility around your home maintained in a way that burglars and other unwanted guests have no hiding room or areas to remain unseen. For example, if you have bushes or shrubbery around your home keep them cut in a way that you can still clearly see through them and around them. Additionally, if you happen to have a basement which has a door that leads to outdoors, ensure that the door there and any accessible windows are as secure as your main and rear entry ways. Confirm that all locks are fully operational and secure prior to leaving your home, and installing additional locks is recommended if you feel it necessary to maintain the safety of your home.
Techniques for Self Defense
In an emergency situation, urban survival also consists of being able to defend yourself from attacks. Self defense is a great way to protect yourself a stranger who is forcing his way into your personal space or attempting to take something from you. Self defense tactics include:
Aiming for body targets (eyes, nose, ears, throat, neck, stomach, and groin)
Using hammer fist (used to pound down on areas of the body that temporarily weaken attacker)
Using palm strike (has a stunning effect which could allow easier escape)
Using palm edge (used to chop areas of the neck to force release of grasp)
Using forearm (can be used to strike attacker in the face)
Using elbow (used to strike the stomach area or side to force release of grasp)
Biting (causes immediate release of grasp in most instances)
Screaming (alarms others around of an attack; deters attackers)
Head butting (used to force release of grasp and allow a getaway)
Self Defense Weapons
There are also certain weapons which are considered self defense weapons. These weapons are not deadly, but intended to deter an attacker from pursuing you further after they come in contact with these items. Some self defense weapons include:
Pepper spray (spray substance that is blinding when in contact with the eyes)
Stun gun (non-lethal method of immobilizing an attacker)
Tactical pen (used to defend in the same method as knife without a blade)
Tactical flashlight (high beam of light used to blind attackers)
Self defense keychain (method of alarming others in the vicinity of an attack)
In the unfortunate event of an abduction, it is imperative to stay as calm as possible and try to take in the details of your attacker, your surroundings, and any landmarks. If you happen to be blindfolded or have some other method preventing your sight, try to listen for sounds that can give clues as to where you are or where you are being taken. At times, attackers will tie up their victims or gag them. If you find yourself in ties or gags, it is important to remain as calm as possible and follow these steps:
Leave room between your body and the chair in which you are tied to in order to allow space for freeing yourself from the ties when possible
Maintain a sufficient amount of space between your knees in the chair; this also helps in escaping when possible
If tied on the ground move your body in a way that keeps enough space between your hands so that you can maneuver your hands over your buttocks and untie knots around your hands with your teeth.
Any blindfolds can be removed by rubbing your face against your shoulder to lift it from the eyes
Gags can be caught by clenching teeth which will allow more space for the gag to be removed when possible
By executing proper planning and preparation, no emergency situation will catch you by surprise. Remaining calm begins with the confidence in knowing that you can handle the situation, and preparedness builds that confidence.