Survivalism and You: Tips to Surviving in an Emergency

In various media, Earth is depicted as experiencing various calamities, both man-made and natural: from nuclear holocausts, landscape changing storms, and even the ultimate destruction to make way for an intergalactic highway in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Highway. While we might not be seeing any extra-terrestrial beings any time soon, storms and other natural calamities are going to happen, sooner than when people think. Climate change is a real occurrence, and the planet is affected in more ways than one. In line with that, we’ll take a few pages out of the Survivalism movement. Oh? Not familiar with what Survivalism is? Here are a few links to provide in-depth information on what it is:

Ok, let’s say you don’t have time to read through these links, in a nutshell, survivalism is: a movement which believes in preparation for any calamity, whether natural or man-made. This may seem extreme to some people, but survivalists aren’t hermits who live in isolated cabins waiting for the doomsday to occur. Survivalists are regular people, like you and me, you want to protect and sustain their families during emergencies.

While Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) stated that by “knowing where one’s towel is”, a person is in control of any situation. While I wished that were the case, we all know that we need more than a towel. Here are a few tips I’ve learned by reading through various survivalist websites and books:

First and foremost: DON’T PANIC. When an emergency situation happens, the last thing you want to do is run around screaming your head off. A cool and collected demeanor will get you through most everything. In fact, keeping a cool head during the first 90 seconds (which is known as the golden moment) of an airplane crash significantly raises the chances of survival. As the old British posters say “Keep Calm and Carry on.” Douglas Adams’ use of “Don’t Panic” was also dubbed by Arthur C. Clarke as the best advice that could be given to humanity at large.

The next concept we’re going to share with you is the Everyday Carry (EDC). EDC is a small set of tools that you carry on your person everyday which allows you to overcome common problems; some people also assemble EDCs which also consider and incorporate tools which will increase survival chances during emergencies. EDCs are chosen to be carried conveniently (whether in pant pockets or a small bag). There are numbers and numbers of communities which share their EDCs and comment on other people to make them better. My EDC is very simple: my wallet (where I put my house and bike-lock keys), a small emergency whistle, my cellular phone, and a multi-tool (it folds out into pliers, and it has a knife, Philips and flathead screwdrivers). I keep the phone and wallet in my pocket, while the multi-tool and whistle is strapped to my belt. Here are some pages where you can read more about EDC. There are also a few communities which I frequently check to read feedback and suggestions:

Example of an EDC - Credits to
Example of an EDC – Credits to

Another tip I can give you is to prepare a bug-out bag. We wrote quite a bit on a separate article, which you can read HERE. Some survivalists even plan even further, by creating a “Bug-out vehicle” which is like a bug-out bag but more supplies can be carried.

If you don’t have the time to read through the Bug-Out Bag article, a Bug-Out Bag is a set of prepared equipment which can independently sustain a person for a period of 72 hours or more. It contains the essentials such as water, food, clothing, shelter (tents, sleeping bags, or even simple tarps), and personal protection. Bug-out bags are very personalized and customized to the person’s environment and skills to effectively increase survival chances.

One great tip I’ve seen from the Canadian Red Cross site (found HERE) is to assemble a vehicle emergency kit. If you commute to and from work using a private vehicle, put some supplies you can use during emergencies (The site recommends the vehicle emergency kit for winter safety, but it can be applied to all environments.)

When assembling emergency supplies, do not be content with pre-assembled supplies you can purchase from stores. I have no bias against these products, they’re very helpful, but the items included in them are very general. What we need when assembling emergency supplies is to consider the specific areas we live in. Do you live in a secluded area such as a small cabin in the outskirts of town? You need to prepare transportation and increase the amount of food and water you store. Do you live in an area where dangerous wildlife is profuse? Prepare personal protection such as firearms (rifles and handguns, but take all safety precautions when dealing with dangerous items such as these and don’t forget to register your firearms.) In my case, I live in the tropics so my bug-out bag contains salt tablets, chlorine bleach, and sun block. Make sure your supplies are weather specific, there’s nothing worse than getting stuck in the outdoors without proper protection.

One thing I can’t stress more is DON’T PANIC. When an emergency strikes, don’t immediately bug out. Unless there is a clear and present danger in your area, don’t jump into the conclusion that you need to leave. Discretion is one of the best tools you have in your possession. This brings us to the next and equally vital tip: PLAN PLAN PLAN. The first thing you need plan for is emergency exits. Make sure any fire-exits in your house or apartment can be easily opened during an emergency. The next thing you need to plan for is meeting places, in case you get separated. Communication is important; make sure your plans are clearly laid out for your family. In fact, keep a printed plan in a visible place, along with emergency numbers.

We’re not being paranoid about posting such articles, but we’ve accepted the fact that climate change is real, and it’s messing up the planet. Just check out the news and you’ll frequently hear a variation of these words: “It’s been 20 years since we’ve experienced a storm/quake/tsunami/tornado of this magnitude.” It’s tragic, but we can reduce the tragedies by being prepared. I hope the article is helpful, and remember: DON’T PANIC.

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Stay green, keep safe, and keep smiling.

Juan Miguel Ruiz

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