Planning For Survival

                          By C.E. Teal

In light of recent events, such as the Persian Gulf War,  terror
ism, and economic instability, many individuals and families  are 
taking a fresh look at the dreaded "S-word," survivalism.

  As with any beginners, these people need some sort of plan  for 
these  uncharted waters. I hope that this article can  give  some 
useful  guidance to those new to the field, and perhaps some  new 
insights  to  others who have been left to their own  devices  in 
coming to grips with this virtually all-inclusive field.

   This plan consists of nine major points: 1. Determination;  1. 
Becoming/staying  healthy;   3. Allocating your Budget;   4.  De
veloping plans of action;  5. Have a "bug-out" kit;  6. Plan  for 
duration;  7. Get training;  8. Practice;  9. Don't advertise.

    The first requirement to insuring  your  (and your  family's)  
longevity  is  DETERMINATION. You must want to  survive.  Contact 
others upon whom you might rely  (and whom may likewise rely upon 
you)  in a crisis. This is not a game,  although games can play a 
part in the training aspect. If we are to survive as individuals,  
as  families,  as a society,  we cannot approach this as  a  one-
person  show. It will take cooperation of the highest order.  The 
stakes are literally life and death.

  Many people take the attitude that "If it happens,  I  wouldn't 
want  to live anyway, " This is an attitude which almost  guaran
tees defeat or death. A husband,  father,  or single mother  with 
this  attitude  is virtually condemning his or her  family  to  a 
similar fate.

  BECOME/STAY  HEALTHY. Every-one in the family or  group  should 
get  a  complete medical,  dental and vision checkup.  Find  your 
weaknesses  and  limitations so you may cope with  them,   before 
they take you by surprise Get caught up on immunizations such  as 
tetanus,  hepatitis,  and measles. If eyeglasses or contacts  are 
needed,   get at least one spare pair,  or save old ones.   Stock 
up on cleaning solution if you wear contacts. Work to bring  your 
teeth  up to the healthiest level possible. A toothache can be  a 
major  problem even in normal times when a dentist is  available. 
Imagine trying to make critical decisions while suffering with  a 
toothache when there may be few,  if any,  dentists in operation.

  Make sure your feet are in good condition. They may someday  be 
your only mode of transportation. Begin and maintain an  exercise 
program  which balances strength with endurance and  flexibility. 
Running,  swimming,  and stair climbing are all excellent  condi

 ALLOCATE  PART OF YOUR BUDGET. Acquire supplies as  your  budget 
allows. Be practical;  set priorities. For example: set aside $10 
per  month for weaponry  (including ammunition and cleaning  sup
plies,    ($10  per month for clothing  (if you  don't  have  the 
proper  clothing  already on hand. Three-piece  suits  or  tennis 
outfits have very limited survival applications) ,  another $10 a 
month for reserve food and medical supplies,  and so on. If money 
is tight, you can alternate purchases from month to month.

 The  important  thing  is to make some  sort  of  survival-based 
acquisition  regularly,  or at every opportunity. In making  sur
vival investments,  you should consider the following points:  a)  
Might you actually need it  (Does it serve a legitimate  survival 
need,  such as food) ? b)  Do you have the skill to use it  prop
erly,   and  would you be able to repair it  when  it  inevitably 
breaks down? c)  Will it need something else,  such as electrici
ty,  gas,  heat,  or water to operate? d)  How many/much will you 
need,   and  how  long do you expect it to last   (see  Plan  For 
Duration)  : e)  Is it practical for the conditions  you  antici
pate,  such as proper clothing for the climate?

  DEVELOP PLANS OF ACTION. You should discuss with your family or 
group  the  conditions under which you would  run   (Where?)   or 
stay;  whether to hide  (For how long?)  or fight  (Whom? How?) . 
Every  member  of the group must be in agreement with  the  final 
plan.  One  dissident  could destroy all  your  intentions;   for 
instance by "setting-out" the group to an adversary.

    You  should  also  develop "backup" plans  to  cover  various 
contingencies  such as those mentioned. Plan for  the  worst-case 
scenario and work down from there.

   HAVE  A  "BUG-OUT" KIT. Keep a short-term  (up  to  one  week)  
survival  kit  handy in case you must leave  NOW.   Remember  the 
priorities: shelter,  water,  food,  medical supplies,   weapons,  
communications. Ideally,  you should have several kits;  one  for 
each member of the family and group,  another one in each vehicle 
in case a crisis occurs at an unexpected moment  (as they usually 
do)  .  and a large cache of supplies away from the home,   in  a 
place  safe  from discovery or disaster;  in the event  you  must 
evacuate  your home quickly, as in the case of fire,   earthquake 
or war. Each of these kits or caches should be planned to supple
ment and extend the capabilities of the next smallest kit.

  Avoid  making your personal bug-out kit too heavy to run  with;  
you may have to carry it long distances,  quickly.

 PLAN FOR DURATION. Try to realistically anticipate how long  you 
expect  your  scenario may last,  and add a little  more  to  the 
estimate as a buffer against shortsightedness.

   Do  you expect your disaster scenario to last for days   (such 
as  waiting for disaster relief after a major storm,   fire,   or 
earth  quake) ,  months  (i.e.,  a major strike by  unions;   re
building after a disaster) ,  or years  (such as being caught  in 
the  clutches of a dictatorship,  foreign invasion,  or  persecu
tion) ?

   Try  to be realistic in your preparations. Plan for  the  con
sumption of food (calories per person per day,  plus other essen
tial  nutrients)  ,   water  (gallons per person  per  day,   for 
drinking,  cooking and sanitation) ,  ammunition  (as much as can 
be obtained,  with a suggested minimum of 500 rounds per  weapon) 
,  air  quality   (while in shelter,  or  masks  for  outside)  ,  
medical  supplies  (including prescription medicines) ,   and  so 

 Some  of  your  scenarios may look unlikely in  the  context  of 
present  conditions,  but it only takes an open-eyed look at  the 
world,   the nation,  or the neighborhood,  to see the  potential 
for  frightening  situations to rapidly develop which  would  not 
allow  time for preparation after the fact. For  instance,   note 
that many people reacting to a disaster often converge on all the 
nearest  stores for provisions such as food,   candles,   bottled 
water,  batteries,  and so on. Frequently,  the crowd gets  impa
tient,  not wanting or waiting to be left without essentials  for 
themselves  or their families. Occasionally, rioting and  looting 
begin,  feeding upon itself as the unprepared start to panic.

  Your  aim must be to store adequate supplies for  all  intended 
members  of your group for the longest time that you will  likely 
be  on  your  own,  with self-sufficiency being  your  goal.  The 
federal government recommends having at least three to five  days 
supplies  on hand,  to sustain you until relief agencies can  get 
into  action.  The more serious the crisis,  the longer  you  may 
have to wait for outside help.

  If  you are able,  lay in extra supplies for a  few  additional 
persons who will, most likely,  show up either on their own,   or 
with members of the group ("My mother was visiting at the time; I 
couldn't  just  leave her") . As pragmatic as you must  be,   you 
must also not surrender your humanity completely. Otherwise,  you 
are no better than the predators you may be fleeing.  Of  course,  
there  is  a practical limit to how much you can be  expected  to 
cope with. Examine your own conscience on this issue.

 A  plan  must also be drawn up to deal  with  waste  management. 
Essential  "luxuries"  such as toilet paper,  soap,   and  proper 
means  of disposing of human waste and garbage with become  major 
issues  during a survival situation. Goods and services  we  have 
always taken for granted may no longer be available.

  You must also plan to cope with your people's emotional surviv
al. The abrupt change in lifestyle,  the day to day fight to stay 
alive,  will take its toll psychologically if not treated quickly 
and  continuously.  Find things to alleviate  boredom,   such  as 
games  or  projects.  Give every able person in the group  a  job 
they will be responsible for. Even children can be instructed  to 
secure trash,  act as lookouts,  or help with food preparation or 
gathering  supplies.  Also attempt to continue with their  educa
tion,   albeit with a different emphasis. Find duties  which  re
quire  a person to study the situation and come up with  a  solu
tion. Hold meetings to keep everyone current on what's happening,  
and conduct frequent and regular classes for everyone in survival 
arts. Keep your people,  and yourself,  busy. Despair may be your 
worst enemy.

 GET TRAINING. Your group should learn how to use weapons  effec
tively.   Safety,   maintenance,   handling  malfunctions,    and 
marksmanship  are all of equal importance in a survival  context.  
Because this is an area where mistakes can be fatal,  instruction 
should  be sought from qualified professionals, such as  the  Na
tional  Rifle Association.  Also,  everyone should study  unarmed 
self-defense  under  a  qualified instructor;   one  who  teaches 
combative,  not tournament techniques.

  Tactics are another important area of study. Learn how best  to 
utilize  your weapons under various conditions and  environments,  
such  as snow,  rain,  or at night. There are  several  reputedly 
good  schools for this type of study.  There are also many  books 
such as military manuals which can be of help, if accompanied  by 
lots of practice.

  Study first aid diligently,  as this is one of the most  essen
tial areas of self help study. The American Red Cross has  excel
lent,   inexpensive courses on CPR and basic and  advanced  first 
aid.   Everyone  should  be encouraged to take and  pass  such  a 
course.  A study of improvised medicines and first-aid  equipment 
would  also be useful. Some community colleges  offer  non-credit 
courses  in  herbology,  folk medicine, and edible  wild  plants. 
There are many very good reference books on the subject.  Another 
variation on this theme would be the study of medicinal minerals. 
You might seriously consider taking an Emergency Medical  Techni
cian  course   (or  a Paramedic course if already  an  EMT)   and 
joining  a volunteer ambulance corps. Not only would you be  con
tributing  to  a  vital community function,  you  would  also  be 
gaining  practical,   real-life,  hands-on  experience  which  no 
course  can  give by itself. Remember,  in a crisis,   your  body 
does  what is has been trained to do. The untrained  reaction  to 
crisis is usually panic Practical experience aids tremendously in 
overcoming the panic which accompanies disaster.

  Fieldcraft is another valuable area of study. Learn the differ
ence between, and uses of,  cover and concealment.  Learn how  to 
survive  in rural or urban wilderness,  how to find or  construct 
proper shelter,  how to gather food and collect and purify water,  
the use of correct sanitation procedures,  basic land navigation,  
and much more.

  PRACTICE. Conduct realistic simulations with your equipment and 
your  people to gain valuable experience and  confidence  working 
together.  Get  the bugs out while it's relatively  easy.   Learn 
what works and what doesn't.

  Go  to  the firing range often,  preferably when  you  or  your
group  can  use it without onlookers.  Practice  on  human-shaped 
targets,   using  tactics.  Train in firing techniques  for  real 
world  situations  (such as varying weather  conditions,   target 
distance  and  size. Learn different firing  positions,  practice 
in-house techniques,  etc.) .  Always rigidly enforce appropriate 
safety procedures while training with weapons.

  As  an EMT,  you can work on an ambulance or in  the  emergency 
room  to  practice and to accustom yourself to the  suffering  of 
others.  It's certainly not pleasant,  but it is crucial in  over 
coming the shock of seeing something happen suddenly,  perhaps to 
someone  you  love. This allows you to get on with  treating  the 
patient rather than wasting valuable seconds in panic. With prac
tice,   reaction  becomes almost automatic,   and  confidence  is 
gained. Without practice, hard-earned skills are gradually lost.

  You should try to incorporate your survival skills into  every
day life,  making it a normal part of your existence.

Don't,  however,  carry it to extremes, such as walking around in 
public wearing cammies with a 10-inch knife on your belt. Be dis
creet.  Shooting  and  hand-to-hand  practice,   ambulance  duty, 
making  your own clothes,  and canning your own food;  all  these 
skills  and more will not only add to your  survival  repertoire,  
they  will enhance the quality of your life,  as you become  less 
dependent  on "the system" and more confident in your own  abili

  Learn  the  strengths and weaknesses of your  equipment,   your 
people,   and yourself. Without practice and effort you are  just 
wasting time and money, and someone close to you could die  need

  DON'T  ADVERTISE. Keep your actions and intentions as  low-pro
file as possible. You could risk discovery and the loss of every
thing you have been working for,  or wind up with a lot of people 
on  YOUR doorstep in a crisis;  people whom you  cannot  support,  
and  who  may have no positive survival value. If you  intend  to 
support dependents,  prepare for them with your supplies.

  One  last  thought.  Because predatory people  are  out  there,  
firearms are an essential element of survival planning.  Unfortu
nately,   they  have been abused frequently enough  to  give  the 
whole  survival  movement  a bad reputation in the  eyes  of  the 
general media,  who too often seem to be looking to discredit and 
ridicule  the movement. Survivalists should respect firearms  and 
view  them  as  tools to protect what  they  have:  their  lives,  
families,   homes,  and provisions;  not as weapons of  conquest. 
The  more  you  prepare,  the more ready you must  be  to  defend 
against those who don't.