Include a document pack in your bug-out-bag

If your home is severely damaged after an earthquake or waterlogged from a flood, all your identity, insurance and asset documents could be lost. Even if your home stays intact, there may not have time to gather these should you have to evacuate for any reason. One often overlooked item of a emergency kit or bug-out-bag is a document pack. This is where you can keep copies of all your important documents, along with contact numbers and photographs of your family. Remember to place these in a waterproof bag. (If possible, they should also be in a fireproof bag but unfortunately, I have not seen these for sale in the Philippines. If anyone knows where these can be purchased, please let me know.)
Image of an emergency document pack for your bug-out-bag
Emergency document pack containing important documents
Example contents for your emergency document pack include:
  • Passports and ID cards
  • Medical history, immunization records and list of medications
  • Photographs of each family member with names
  • Birth, baptismal and marriage certificates
  • Social Security and TIN numbers
  • Property deeds
  • Insurance documents
  • Bank account, financial details and investments
  • Wills and trusts
  • Emergency plan
  • Address and telephone number listing
  • City map and route to your bug-out location
  • Cash in large and small notes
Remember that this pack will contain confidential information. If lost, these could be used for identity theft or fraud. One way to protect against this is to write certain things in code. For example, you can include dummy numbers to obscure your real bank account number or code words for important locations. This way, even if Manila is faced with a complete disaster or catastrophe, you can at least make it easier to rebuild your life. You will have less difficulty proving who you are to the authorities and you'll have a record of your assets. Continue Reading

A Prepper’s Beans, Bandages & Bullets

Article by Pinoy Prepper, Emergency Research Center "Lamang ang Handa sa Hindi!" Prepper Definition:
Prepper (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle
Source: Rule of Threes
  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food and you will die
These are your survival priorities. Remember them well. Do not eat food unless you have adequate water. In an emergency – you will generally have three options:
  • Lockdown
  • Shelter-In-Place
  • Evacuate
In any of the three cases above, you will need basic supplies:

BEANS – Food and Water

"We are 9 meals away from chaos" – Preppers predict that peace and order will be at risk after the population misses 9 meals. That’s only three days worth of meals. While it’s true that you may live several weeks without food provided you have water, that’s on the assumption that your are just lying down or sitting still. During a survival situation you may have a lot of tasks to perform. Walking from one place to another is one of them. Walking burns calories and you will need an appropriate amount of food to replenish your energy source. You may well be constantly avoiding hordes of hungry people. Remember the pack of kids begging for money at street intersections? Imagine this multiplied by the thousands. People begging for food and stealing what’s available. Plan your food stocks well. Consider nutrition, weight, portability and palatability. Your food stocks must be nutritious. This means most junk foods are out. Since you may end up carrying your food stocks, weight is a premium. This will take most canned goods out of the equation. Remember, you cannot eat if you do not have an adequate supply of water. Water is heavy as 1 liter weighs approximately 1 kilogram (weight to volume is dependent on temperature, water quality, etc). For this reason, have alternate means to purify your water. You can buy water filters or make simple ones that will filter out the coarser suspended particles. You can find details elsewhere in this book. In a pinch, you may have to resort to SODIS. Solar Disinfection is a UN approved method which involves any clear bottle, filling it with questionable water (filter the water first if its cloudy) and exposing it to the sun for a whole day. SODIS works by exposing the microorganisms in the water to ultra violet light in our sun’s rays killing them in the process. Use clear glass bottles for SODIS, only use clear plastic bottles if glass is not available. WARNING: SODIS will not keep toxins out of the water - use filters for this purpose.<.em> Store enough water for drinking. Avoid using the water for bathing! People can live without bathing.

BANDAGES – Medical Skills, Equipment and Supplies.

Its not enough to have a deluxe Medical kit with the latest bells and whistles. A Prepper should have enough first aid knowledge to handle medical, dental and mental emergencies. Emergency Childbirth is one of the must have skills in the Prepper’s medical tool kit. If you have to read the manual during an actual emergency, its too late! Learn life saving skills such as managing shock, controlling severe bleeding and performing CPR. Along the way, learn and practice basic first aid skills such as bandaging, splinting, and wound care. The time to learn is now, before it’s too late. To control severe bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound until the bleeding visibly stops. One of the best improvised dressings one can use is a feminine napkin. This direct descendant of the battle dressing absorbs blood effectively and can thus perform an admirable job of controlling bleeding when coupled with direct pressure. To manage shock – watch the face. If the face is pale or bluish, raise the feet. This will make the blood from the extremities flow to the vital organs such as the brain, heart and lungs. Keep the victim warm by covering him/her with a blanket, jacket or other material. In as much as your pets will need to have their own supplies of food and water, don’t forget to learn first aid for your pets. You can even learn how to do CPR for man’s best friend - your dog!

BULLETS – Skills and equipment to defend oneself.

It’s not enough to have a gun and ammunition. One must be proficient in its safe and effective use. The same applies to knives, spears, sticks, bottles, stones, bows & arrows. Learn basic self defense moves. It is better to master one technique than be spotty with a thousand. Learn and practice your skills with different people. In self defense, familiarity breeds contempt. Remember: Trained fighters are predictable; but the world is full of dangerous amateurs!

BUGGING OUT – (Evacuating)

EDC (Every Day Carry) These are the items you carry on your person on an everyday basis. EDC’s are predicated on the premise that an emergency may strike at any moment, any time, any day. My EDC is my wallet, I have adhesive strips “band aids”, a large safety pin that I use for repairs, first aid, lock picking, and a host of other McGyver stuff. There’s also a survival multi-tool with a dozen uses and of course, cash. Bring a flashlight – the small LED button lights are marvelous. Bring a lighter – nothing beats a lighter for starting fires. An emergency situation is not the place to start learning how to light a fire. Rubbing sticks together or striking stones to make fire takes some time to learn. Study now. Learn how to start a fire with a battery (your cellphone has one – but only use it if a fire has priority over communications) and a staple wire. BOB (Bug Out Bag) My bug out bag is my 33 liter capacity laptop bag which contains my pocket survival kit, ten mile cloth bandanna, monocular, hoody wind/rain jacket, trauma medical kit and a host of other goodies. This bag goes with me to corporate meetings (my netbook, flash drives and peripherals are in it) as well as three day jaunts to the province, training courses, jungle treks and the rest of my Prepper activities. BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) Depending on where you live and your situation, your bug out vehicle may be a 4X4 monster truck, a family sedan, a dual purpose motorcycle, a mountain bike or a cariton! Consider the fact that in a bug out situation the usual routes will be clogged with fellow evacuees. Recall images of Hurricane Katrina in Florida and Louisiana – highways filled with so many cars they looked like giant parking lots. Figure out your PACE – Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency routes. Have at least two and at best four routes out of your area. Consider waterways for your bug out. If you have the means, consider air travel as well. Otherwise, be prepared to hunker down and Shelter-In-Place in your home, office or school.

Pinoy Prepper’s Observations:

Its not the rich Prepper with the latest bells and whistles who will make it through a long term disaster. It’s the street dwellers who live on survival mode on a daily basis. It’s the person with the kariton poking through the garbage and cooking with the tin can you threw out months ago. It’s the street folk who are used to this environment. They know where the best pickings are, where to find water, how to prepare what food they forage. They live without most of the things we “civilized folks” take for granted. No bed, no bathroom, no water, no closet full of clothes, no laptop, no aircon, heck, no electricity! The point being raised here is the fact that we have to train and condition ourselves to survival conditions. Anybody who is comfort oriented will have a hard time surviving the big one. If you can’t sleep without air conditioning, can’t go to the corner convenience store without your car or can’t walk a city block, think again. You have to toughen yourself up for an emergency. Think about this… Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks. Exercise! More than half of us chair sitters are going to die of a heart attack let alone a major emergency. If push comes to shove, can you walk 10 kilometers (that’s not far – runners run that distance)? Drink water from a nearby stream? Sleep under the stars? Can you live without your aircon? Cellphone? Car? Comfort food? Starbucks? Facebook? - if you can’t, have another think. Establish your priorities. Have you made peace with your maker? Do you have faith in your abilities? Are you trained? Do you have the skills needed to survive? This is what Prepping and being a Prepper is all about. Continue Reading

The diaper bag as a baby bug-out bag

A diaper bag is one thing that parents of an infant always bring when out of the home. As part of our preparedness planning, my wife and I decided to upgrade our baby's diaper bag to a fully-fledged bug-out bag. The reason for this is that since we're carrying an extra bag anyway, we might as well include some items needed for a baby's emergency kit. The bag hangs off our stroller so the added weight isn't any real inconvenience. My wife wrote an article on her new blog describing her suggestions for what to put in your baby bug-out bag:
  • A minimum of 20 nappies/diapers or enough to last 3 days. These should be kept in a resealable plastic bag to prevent them from getting dirty or wet.
  • Nappy wipes. This is essential for when there is not enough water to wash with. It's better to save clean water for drinking.
  • Small changing mat
  • At least 3 sets of baby clothes, preferably ones that are small, light and suited for hot Manila weather like sandos (vests). A blanket can be used when the weather becomes cooler (see below).
  • 1 or 2 soft towels/blankets to keep warm in cooler weather, and which are also useful for baby to sleep on
  • 1 small, wide-brimmed cloth hat to protect baby from harsh sunlight
  • 1 baby grooming kit with nail scissors or nail cutters, nail file, thermometer
  • 1 small bottle of ethyl or isoprophyl alcohol
  • 1 foldable travel umbrella to protect against rain or sun
  • Oral rehydration salts, which can be purchased at your local drugstore
  • Large clean plastic bags which can be used to lay down as a hygienic sheet, to carry things, and to protect important belongings from dirt and moisture.
  • Bottles and dry formula milk for bottle fed babies
  • Baby's favourite toy or security blanket. This will help to amuse and lift baby's spirits, which can also provide a much-needed mood boost for us parents.
  • Any special medications or creams your baby may need
Bug out bag contents illustration You can read her article at Bubu and mama: Baby Bug-Out Bag Continue Reading