Natural and man-made disasters do not discriminate. Storms, fires, winds, etc., will destroy any and everything it can. If you live in the city, especially one with a dense population and even denser housing and/or business areas, you are probably in one of the worst positions imaginable. If a devastation were to roll through your stop and grounds, hundreds of thousands of people would be fighting to the death for the resources you all share. Here is a quick starter guide for a city slicker who might need to survive.

  1. Buy storage bins and bags and/or build storage space.

Most city housing does not come packed with the convenience of various storage space. So your solution, first and foremost, is to buy or build storage space. Why is this important? You want to be able to either grab and go, or keep your stock pile of emergency in one dry, cool location. Creating more storage space also allows you to collect more, thus increasing your reserves.

  1. Buy a “Go-Bag”

As we outline in a previous post, get a go bag large enough to hold the contents explained here. Being a city slicker, you might not be able to come up with all of the items we recommend to have in your go-bag. That is OK, you can start NOW! It is definitely possible to slowly acquire things such as a basic first aid kit, a durable flashlight, and a water purification device. These three items are quick, cheap, and simple. Once this bag is complete in its entirety, leave it in an inconspicuous area that is easy to access.

  1. Learn basic survival skills

Western society has evolved in such a way that information, food, supplies, etc., are convenient to get. What will happen if at an instant, this convenience is stripped away. Stop worrying about the cost to resurface your pool deck. Do you know how to grow your own food? Have you ever made your own clothes? Are you familiar with fixing and maintaining your vehicle? These are basic survival skills that are absolutely crucial should anything happen in your city.

  1. Research survival centers

After major “natural” disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, hundreds of people nationwide have begun to discuss, encourage, and teach others about important survival skills and commodities to keep. Instead of scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc., take 30 min. to look at the literature out there about survival. It might just save you and your families life.

Keep visiting us to get more ideas and information for your survival!

A disaster might knock on your door at any time and without any warning. Waiting until the last minute to stock up on essential food supplies is not only a bad idea but puts your family in jeopardy. Short-term disasters can seem like an eternity and major disasters can wipe your bloodline out for eternity. NASA tells its employees to stock up on survival foods and to brace their ‘Family Preparedness Program’, in case catastrophe strikes. I have a buddy who runs a fence installation company that’s been prepping for over a decade. He suggests that it’s best to keep your survival food list as simple as possible and include products that both have a long shelf-life and are high in calories. Here’s a list of the top food items you can stockpile, so if you ever encounter an emergency situation where you have to survive in the wilderness for a few days, you’ll be ready.

  1. Brown Rice

Not only is brown rice rich in vitamins and minerals, it also contains a high quantity of protein and calories. It tops the chart in great survival foods as it is dry, non-perishable and has a sufficiently long shelf-life of about 3 months. If you are in a long-term emergency, where you need to cut down fuel consumptions, you can cook brown rice hot cereal that is also packed with around 600 calories, 12 grams of proteins and is quickly prepared in as little as 5-8 minutes.

  1. Peanut Butter

Surprisingly, peanut butter has an abundance of fatty acids, proteins, essential minerals such as iron and copper and can last for up to 5 years if stored properly. During a disaster when you can afford only limited food intake, a few tablespoons of peanut butter can effectively help you survive. For best practice, only buy natural and organic jars of peanut butter.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate can help you battle lethargy, tiredness, and headaches. Dark, concentrated bars can be stored for over 2 years, and can act similarly to caffeine by keeping your mind alert in the evacuation scenario. Finally, if the U.S. Dollar loses it’s value in the event of a disaster, you can always barter with it! 🙂

  1. Canned Alaskan Wild Salmon

This is a very convenient food item as it can be eaten right out of the can without cooking and is rich in Omega 3s fats and protein content. Being a great source of vitamin B12, phosphorus, riboflavin, and thiamin, this assists in promoting better heart health and a good brain.

  1. Cornmeal

Cornmeal is the best choice among the other varieties of all-purpose flours, due to its dense carbohydrate and oil content. Also, in power loss situations, scrumptious tortillas and corn bread can be made using cornmeal on a simple solar oven. Once sealed and stored, this can keep fresh for about 8 months to 2 years.

  1. Quinoa

If long term food storage is concerned, Quinoa is an outstanding alternative to plain rice. It can blend well and can be used for thickening cereals or simply as a breakfast cereal. It is one of the few plant-derived foods that contains all 9 essential amino acids. When sealed in a plastic bucket, away from extreme temperatures, it will never expire!

  1. Oats

Oats provide a steady supply of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, and fiber. If stored properly, these can last for more than 25 years! These are very nutritious and worth stocking up on for emergency situations.

  1. Beans

A variety of beans can be chosen to add flavor to your otherwise bland meals. They are also a much cheaper alternative to storing pounds and pounds of meat. Kidney beans are a good source of proteins, calories, iron, magnesium and all other nutrients that help keep your body functioning appropriately.

  1. Jerky

Jerked meat or simply jerky is nothing but lean meat dried to an extent that it slows down the overall degradation process. Dried meat has been used over the years by Native Americans and primitive tribes to sustain themselves in harsh conditions all over the world. Not only can this be made in a pinch in the wilderness, its ease of consumption, portability and long storage durations make it a staple survival food.

  1. Pemmican

Pemmican is also a Native American food recipe that can be derived from the jerky itself. To make a traditional Pemmican, dry the jerky till it becomes brittle and pound it to achieve a finer texture similar to that of sand grains. Mix it with hot, rendered fat and you are ready to go. The best thing about Pemmican is that it’s enriched with calories and even a small quantity of it can sustain a full-grown man for one day. The downside is that it does not taste that great. But hey, survival foods aren’t supposed to be luxury items!

Life is truly unpredictable and a potential disaster; human or man-made, can strike us unannounced. It is our personal responsibility to prepare for such situations and have robust survival preparations in place to ensure safety for ourselves and loved ones. One such survival preparedness tool is a Go-Bag, one which you pack today and wish that you never need in future. A go-bag is essentially a sturdy bag that consists of personal emergency supplies to be used by an individual if they have to undergo a hasty evacuation in the face of a disaster. Although every individual will have a personalized checklist of items to stock their go-bag with, based on their living conditions, climate, and the number of people accompanying them, here is a list of some items that are undeniably a must for every Go-bag:

  1. Water Purification device: As per the guidelines issued by the American government, a normal human being, on an average, requires at least 1 gallon of water per day for sanitation and drinking purposes combined. Whatever amount of water one may carry, it is bound to end one day; this is where water purification devices come into play. There are many options, such as a compact purification tube, purification tablets or even a LifeStraw. These devices can remove almost 99.9999% of the bacteria and can filter up to 1000 liters of water.
  1. Food: The next essential item in the survival list is food supplies that can last almost a week. To compensate the weight, it is recommended to keep high quantities of Ready to Eat meal packets that are high in calories. Concentrated chocolates, nuts, and even dehydrated meat are great options for your Go-bag. Small instant coffee packets can also be included since caffeine helps a great deal in keeping your mind alert in an evacuation scenario.
  1. Clothing: Selecting the proper clothing to pack can be a difficult choice. You should base decisions off your body shape, durability, climate encountered and fitness level. Since space occupancy is a major concern, always pack lighter and more compact clothing sets such as travel ponchos and foil blankets. It’s a great idea to swap out clothing options every six months to be prepared for the immediate and impending seasons.
  1. Handgun: Self defense is undoubtedly an item of high importance. If you ever get involved in an “it’s either Them or Me” situation, it better be you. Make sure you have a firearm that you have used before and are comfortable shooting. Also, make sure you have plenty of ammo for the gun, otherwise you’ll be carrying around a useless paperweight until you come across some more. Don’t worry about whether you have a permit or not. If you’re in a situation where you have to grab your Go-bag, odds are pretty good that government and regulatory agencies will not be too concerned with how much heat you’re packing.
  1. Long gun: A rifle or a shotgun can be included as a part of a multi-layered protection system, depending on the person’s shooting skills and training. Shotguns are a great option, but rifles give more versatility. If you find yourself caught in the wilderness and needing to resort to hunting to live off the land, a rifle becomes a great all-purpose firearm to have. For small hunting ranges, .17 HMR Cartridge can be used whereas a .22 Magnum Cartridge can be stocked for reasons such as its affordability and range.
  1. A fire piston: Being able to start your own fires is an incredibly valuable skill, and can oftentimes mean the difference between life and death. Luckily for us, intelligent folks from ancient times used science to invent a tool to start brush fires without the need for lighter fluid. The concept stems from increasing the pressure in a chamber of air to heat it up enough to ignite a piece of tinder. You can make one yourself with some inexpensive items or buy one online. It requires some effort to learn how to build one; but once built, they are incredibly easy to use and can be packed compactly.
  1. Cash: It is an obvious fact that banks will be closed and you will not be in a position to withdraw cash in the event of a catastrophe. Due to a potential lack of electricity, electronic transfer of money might also not be possible. Hence, having a decent amount of cash in your Go-to bag for basic amenities such as food, fuel, and transportation becomes absolutely indispensable. Pack a mix of large bills and small bills. Small bills to use as currency/barter if it’s a temporary disaster and larger bills for national disasters where it may take more time to restore the economy.
  1. Sanitation Supplies: In order to keep yourself safe from infectious diseases personal hygiene and sanitation should be accounted for. Toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, and sanitary napkins (for women) should be packed securely in the Go-bag. Leave the combs, gels, and razors at home.
  1. Radio: Accurate information and emergency broadcasts can be a real life saver in times of a crisis. Nowadays, radios can be powered by built-in generators so that they can be used anytime without worrying about wasting battery. Radio may become even more essential if power grids, cell towers, and internet access become a thing of the past.
  1. First Aid Kit: Any personal prescription items and basic medications should be included in the first aid kit box. Items that can help you tend to wounds or injuries such as bandages, painkillers, scissors, surgical wraps, etc. should all be included in your kit.
  1. Flashlight: Another great tool to have on hand. Select flashlights that have LEDs and are of a high lumens, so they will last longer and shine brighter. Pack an extra one for backup and emergencies!
  1. Documents: Keep  current or expired ID’s in a sealed waterproof pouch/case. These will help in accessing your bank accounts and claiming your assets once the disaster has passed. They also help the government in identifying the number of people evacuated from a certain area into safety.

I think as our first post, it almost seems customary to have an article about physical fallout shelters. Yes, they are a real thing, and available to regular people like you and me. As long as you own a home or a property with mineral or digging rights, and can afford the costs of designing, building and installing one, you can have a personalized bunker or shelter right where you live.

But before we get into a discussion on fallout shelters though, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page of what fallout, or nuclear fallout, is. Fallout refers to the remaining radioactive material that hovers in the sky after the initial blast and shockwave from a nuclear bomb detonates. This dusty material, once ordinary objects that were vaporized by the blast to become highly radioactive and dangerous, starts to literally ‘fall out’ of the sky, and contaminate everything it touches. If the initial blast of a nuclear bomb won’t kill you, this stuff definitely will. The purpose of a shelter is to minimize our exposure to the radioactive material until it has decayed to a safer level.

It’s important to note that I used minimize above and not eliminate. Some of these particles are almost impossible to stop completely with modern technology. So the best thing we can do for now is reduce the radiation as much as possible until safer levels return to the atmosphere.

There are three main types of radiation particles that float around after a blast occurs: alpha, beta, and gamma. Alpha radiation will be the least of your worries, while gamma radiation will be the worst. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Alpha particles are the equivalent of a helium-4 nucleus (2 neutrons, 2 protons) and travel extremely fast. Although they travel quickly (over 33 million MPH), they pack a small punch. They can only travel a few inches through air, and can easily be stopped by other objects, including your skin. Your real risk to contamination here is if you had direct exposure to the fallout particles.

Beta particles are a little stronger than alpha particles. They travel faster and penetrate further (about 10 feet in air), but all in all, still don’t pose too much of a threat to humans. The primary risk here again is if you touched the fallout particles, or if you happened to ingest them and they started to decay inside of you. Fun fact: they are actually used in extremely small quantities in science and medicine very commonly today.

Lastly, we have the ever-reaching gamma radiation. These bad boys are why we even have shelters in the first place. With the tiniest wavelength than any other wave in the electromagnetic spectrum, gamma particles pack the most energy. They pack so much energy that even the best shelters can still be penetrated by them. Luckily, though, the protection they provide can reduce exposure to less than one one-thousandth of unshielded exposure. So, are they worth it? Absolutely!

But how exactly do these shelters provide protection from radiation? Well, radiation contamination is all about penetration. If you can prevent penetration by absorbing them, you can prevent the decay from reaching you. These particles are most easily absorbed by objects with a lot of mass and a lot of density. Radiation shields are measured in terms of halving thickness- the amount of thickness a material needs to reduce the amount of radiation going through it by one-half. So far, lead has been the best shield for gamma rays that we know of, with a halving thickness of about 4 inches.

But you’ll notice that most bunkers and fallout shelters are made of steel or concrete instead of lead. This is most likely because lead is a soft metal and can be poisonous itself, while iron alloys can be extremely strong and not dangerous to work with. Steel has a halving thickness of 10 inches. Another important halving thickness to keep in mind is that of dirt, which requires about 3 feet. This is important because your bunker will be underground, covered in dirt. If your bunker is not far enough underground, it may be exposing itself to more radiation than is deemed acceptable.

What is acceptable?

According to most industry experts, ten halving-thicknesses is required to attenuate even the strongest levels of radiation. It’s also important to have at least one 90 degree angle from the entrance to the sheltered living quarters. Gamma rays are unidirectional and do not bend around corners well, like sound waves or light waves do. So another great protection in a bunker is to have a vertical entrance downward followed by a right angle turn to a horizontal passageway into the living quarters.

So how do I choose a bunker that will do the job?

Unfortunately, a fallout shelter is not something you can just get your money back for if it doesn’t work properly. This is a matter of life and death. When considering investing in a bunker for your home, here is a list of some must-haves when selecting the right one:

  • rounded shape geometry
  • 90 degree turn
  • a combination of materials that produce at least 10 halving thickness
  • able to withstand blast, earth movement, EMP, initial & fallout radiation (all types, especially gamma), fires, & biological and chemical gasses
  • air filtration system (to keep out radiation, chemicals, and biological agents

After doing our own research, there are many companies to choose from. But the only one we’ve come across that has done live nuclear bomb testing on their products is Atlas Survival Shelters. They have made thousands of survival shelters over the years, and although we are fortunate enough to not have tested it ourselves, we are confident it will work properly when the time is right.

We hope that brings you to the end of our first article. If there’s anything you feel like should be added, please comment below or contact us here.