Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Random Ideas to Enhance Everyday Survival

By Timothy Gamble (July 23, 2019) 

This article isn't about wilderness survival, homesteading, or surviving some dread apocalypse. Instead, I share some random ideas that may enhance everyday survival.

Live as near to where you work as possible. Let's face it, most of us aren't independently wealthy, so we have to work for a living. Long commutes between home and work are common these days, but are a mistake from an everyday survival point-of-view. There are many advantages to living near your workplace - you can save time, gas money, and wear & tear on your car. In an emergency, you can get home quicker and more safely. You might even get a discount on your auto insurance, saving money you can spend on your preps, paying off debt, or building an emergency fund. Walking distance from work is ideal. Or only minutes away via car or public transport.

Know your way around your location, particularly the areas in which you live, work, shop, worship, and go to school. Also, know where the bad neighborhoods and high crime areas near you are, and how to avoid them. Know several escape routes from where you live should bugging-out ever become necessary or even mandatory. Have paper copies of directions and maps, in case GPS & Google Maps are down when you need them.

Always maintain at least one vehicle in excellent condition. Keep up with routine maintenance, get needed repairs done as quickly as possible, and make sure your tires are in good condition. Doing these things will mean less break downs and will save you money in the long run. Also, keep the gas tank topped off II never let my tanks dip down below the halfway mark. If possible to safely do so, keep at least one 5-gallon can of gas on hand for emergencies (rotate it on a regular basis). Even if you can't store the gas safely, keep an empty can on hand just-in-case. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, including items such as some food and water, first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, extra oil, and jumper cables or battery starter. For winter, include extra gloves and head/neck coverings. A warm blanket is also a good idea, as is a power bar for your phone.

Take commonsense precautions to secure your home and vehicle. Find ways to make it more difficult for bad guys to break in. Keep doors
Wedge Door Alarm
and windows locked. Make use of steering wheel bars and door alarms. Have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to protect your family and home from fire. Install a steel security door. Consider a security system or a doorbell with camera and monitor. Consider owning a handgun or home defense shotgun (legally and safely, of course, and get well-trained!). The Shooter's Bible Guide to Home Defense may provide more information.     

I use Aqua-Tainers for my water storage.
5) Store some water, and have a way to filter/treat water.  Water takes up a lot of space, but try to keep at least one week's worth on hand at all times. Two weeks is even better. Tap water may be available, but not safe to drink (just as the folks in Flint, Michigan). You may need to filter/treat your tap water.

Be smart when out in public. Pay attention to your surroundings. Be wary of people who look out-of-place, are loitering, seem to be paying close attention to you, or who act nervous. Shop in groups. Let people know where you are going and when to expect you back. Keep your phone fully charged. Use well-light and highly visible parking spaces. Before getting out of a car or walking out of a building, look out a window first to identify possible dangers. Don't get so involved with your smart phone that you ignore your surroundings. Always be alert.

Also, know how to not look like a victim. This is somewhat similar to being the gray man, but not exactly. Don't make yourself a target by wearing expensive, flashy clothes & accessories, or driving an expensive car.  Don't make yourself a target by appearing easy prey - always wear practical clothes and shoes, pay attention to your surroundings, and walk confidently, head up. Practice situational awareness, which is more than just paying attention, although that is the starting point.

Own some tools. Tools are wonderful inventions that allow us to do more than we could with just our hands. Everyone needs tools. Here are some recommendations: 
  • A good pocket knife is something most folks should carry (mine is a Swiss Army Knife, but pick whatever best suits your life and needs.). 
  • A multitool is a great addition to anyone's EDC and I highly recommend getting one (I always carry my Leatherman on my belt). 
  • A multi-bit screwdriver is also quite handy, so carry one in your bag, briefcase, or EDC kit. 
  • I've also found that a good pair of scissors is very useful to have on hand. Carry one in your briefcase or bag. 
Of course, you should a good tool kit at home, even if you live in a small apartment. For what to include, please see my article Basic Starter Tool Kit.

Practical, useful shoes are an everyday must. Not just shoes, but useful shoes. Shoes you can walk in, run in, climb in, and will protect your feet. So, not high heels, sandals, clogs, or flip flops. Not even wingtips. Sure, you may need these type shoes for work, but you should always have a pair of more practical shoes with you for when you need them. Perhaps keep them in your car? Or a spare pair at work? I'm lucky enough to not have to dress up for work, so my everyday shoes are hiking shoes, which are a great compromise between athletic shoes and work boots. Of course, I also have work boots at home for when I need them.

Self-defense is a skill everyone should master. It can be just as useful during good times as it will be during the zombie apocalypse. I recommend everyone take a good non-lethal self-defense course. A good self-defense course won't just cover self-defense, but also give info on avoiding dangerous situations. Finally, if you can carry a gun legally, do so. Know and obey the laws, get all the proper licenses and permits, get well-trained, and practice gun safety, of course. But carry if you can. 

Finally, never underestimate to usefulness of money! Seriously, everyone should have a small stash of cash hidden at home for emergencies, as well a an emergency fund stashed at your local bank or credit union. The amounts will depend on your particular circumstances and concerns, of course, but I recommend at least a couple hundred dollars cash at home, and at least six months of living expenses in a savings account. 

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