Survival Strategies. Urban versus Rural settings.

Published on May 5th, 2021

Following the underlying principles of survival, we must consider the many necessities of long-term survival through many different possibilities. So, to begin our discussion about survival strategies, we must first separate our survival plan into the objectives. By defining each of the scenario objectives, we are better positioned to develop emergency plans for each of the scenarios. Ok, so what are these “scenarios?” The major method of classification for events is the elapsed time until life could return to pre-event standards.

  1. Let’s talk about the “weekender”.
  2. Now, the week-long event
  3. Now, the month(s)
  4. Finally, years or ever.

With a basic understanding of scenarios (based on time), we will then develop individual plans for necessary needs;

  1. Refreshing, or ensuring secure, clean air.
  2. Methods to ensure secure housing and/or shelter.
  3. Resupply of food, clean water, sanitary items.
  4. Transportation methods

Over the next thirty minutes, we’ll talk about developing plans for each of these scenarios. Obviously, each situation will be different, and depending on the details, much of this conversation should be covered by our emergency plans. 

So, we’ll start with the Weekender, and this is a potential storm that takes out power and prevents travel. We have these frequently here in Alaska, so I call it the “weekender” which could mean being out of power, and trapped at home for several days. Typically, life will return to normal fairly quickly, as power is restored, and roads become clear enough to move around on. The long-shot here is about four days, and typically the largest challenge will be the ability to maintain the shelter temperature.

Our next scenario is that week-long event, maybe even two. This becomes a little more challenging as you have food/water situations that may present themselves, in addition to the environmental temperature conditions from the weekender. This is where you may actually get into some rationing of foodstuffs and/or clean water. Again, a big factor here is the temps outside. If it’s super cold there will be ongoing warming/cooling issues that you will have to contend with. Occasionally do we see these in the urban area, however, stepping off the beaten path here in Alaska, one can quickly find oneself in this situation. So understanding the potential is a critical element to successful survival.

The next up is the month-long natural disaster. Now, urban Alaska sees very few of these types of situations, however, I read about and study them frequently during extended storm seasons in the Gulf of Mexico, or even the forest fires of California. The plan for the resupply of water and foods should definitely be a part of this, but, just as importantly, knowing where to store those supplies. Obviously when the residence is in a flood plain, storing supplies in the uppermost section of the attic is probably a good idea. For those of you in “tornado alley”, you may want to consider burying your supplies to make sure they are going to be available when the immediate event is over.

Finally, we identify those moments when we may experience years to recover if the community ever does. Hurricane Katrina slamming into the gulf coast of the United States. It took months for the water levels to go down, and months later until the roads were passible again. Now, I’m not saying you need to have years of supplies on hand, should the stars line up again and another Katrina comes ashore. We should all have plans that include resupply, whatever that happens to look like.

Greetings to all my friends (both: new and old), my family, my fellow Alaskans, and my fellow Americans, and welcome to the Alaska Outlaw podcast, I am the Alaska Outlaw. Today I hope to be your guide in helping us to establish some strategies for survival. According to several studies, about 85% of Americans are not prepared for a natural disaster lasting longer than three days. So, if you can honestly look at your supplies and say that your family would be successful for more than a week, consider yourself among the 5%. You have increased your chances of surviving successfully exponentially. This is critical.

Your primary tool for getting out alive, and surviving a natural disaster, regardless of what it is, is your mind. Having the mentality to survive is 85% of the battle. So, in the process of getting all the resources, we talk about together, make sure you keep your mind sharp on practices to get and keep you safe. That really is the difference between success and failure. Giving yourself the best chance for keeping the brain sharp when under pressure comes down to a really easy “cheat sheet” that you write down clear and concise steps to success. This means when the brain is overloaded by powerful hormones, you will still be able to put one foot in front of the other towards success. While it doesn’t hurt to exercise the steps from time to time, again your best strategy is to get your cheat sheet made up and stored within easy reach. To this point, let’s consider ensuring that we make some critical decisions for both: us, and our families.

  1. We need to ensure that if we are in a structure, it’s safe. Checking to make sure the structure can withstand some additional stresses, depending on what our large event was.
  2. We need to ensure that we are uninjured, and our family is safe and healthy.
  3. Full check on the “fab five” ensuring they are all covered.
  4. Dividing up the workload and assign tasks to family members as per age dictates.
  5. Recon local area to check availability. This is also the time to inventory what services are, and are not, available.

Many would have us believe that surviving for more than the FEMA minimum places us in that odd group called the “preppers” from that old TV show, and they are wrong. The idea behind being prepared for a week is that your family can reduce the necessity of the first responders, and the emergency aid that usually shows up within a day or two of the catastrophe. It means that your family is not at the mercy of others for your continued existence. Those critical first hours and days are what divides the survivors from the victims. By staying buckled down, taking care of our family, you can remove the potential of getting into a situation where the victims are feeling helpless. Helpless people have a tendency to become violent, and violence means that all your hard work of being prepared will go to waste if you’re hurt or killed or a family member is. The other aspect of this mentality is that by holding on with your own stores for the first couple of weeks, the logistics necessary for replacement items are now established and it’s much easier to get the items your family needs to be successful. It really is that simple. This is the reason we create food and water stores.

So, in a plethora of previous shows, I’ve spoken about some critical elements of stockpiling resources. At the risk of duplicating my earlier messages about this, the idea here is actually quite simplistic. Our strategy here is to ensure that we have enough resources “on-hand” to ensure we can continue to function effectively until the excitement calms down from any large-scale event. Covering the “fab five”, then expanding our lists to include other personally necessary items that we deem important. So, while this may be somewhat contradictory to maintaining a lower-cost profile, once one has the basics, you can slowly expand until you’re fully supplied. The idea here is that you are trying to eliminate the need for any outside resources until things have settled down. That is the ultimate goal. Eliminate the need for outside help as long as possible. Obviously one of the major factors here will be the seasons. With winter and summer increasing the potential needs, while fall and spring can be more moderate. The next portion will the immediate necessary resources that might be outside your immediate control, such as utilities (I.e., electric, water, sewage, etc.). Ultimately this will need to be an anticipated need that you will have prior to things settling down after an event. Again, irrelevant of what FEMA says is on your list, think carefully about the things that you will use following a large-scale natural disaster, and invest modestly in your survival, one piece at a time.

As identified in the steps above, one of the immediate steps after a large event is your threat classification. As part of the threat classification, we are focusing our concentration on those immediate threats to our health and safety, as well as our security. Building collapse, animals, fire, gas clouds, rising waters, and many others. However, for now, we need to concentrate on one threat at a time. We need to handle them in order of arrival, so the most immediate one first, then moving quickly through the remainders. This is also a primary task to delegate to associates. Again, help your teammates by assigning detailed tasks to accomplish, this will help everyone achieve success.

Whenever a discussion about survival comes up, usually the easiest topic is, what I call, Mass-Effect threats. With these types of events, the impact has a ripple effect that can crush a community. With the potential of search & rescue, law enforcement, the medical community, and utilities, being overwhelmed by larger-scale natural, or man-made disasters, our focus should be on making sure that our family is safe and secure, both: now, and in the intermediate future.

More than just planning, have a plan. Have a written plan that you can follow when your brain is overloaded, I can tell you enough how important that is. I guarantee that when the disaster strikes, regardless of how “trained” you think your brain is, you will fail when having to concern yourself with your family. In much the same that medical personnel has difficulty treating their own family members, so too will you experience mental challenges when trying to keep your family members safe and secure in the fluid world following a large-scale natural or man-made disaster.

Plan for the probable, and don’t get distracted by the possible. When I was a young boy living in a small town in south-central Louisiana, I remember hearing the horns for the tornado warning. At the time we lived in a mobile home, so my mother’s idea was to go underneath the trailer and hunker down behind the wheels that were still attached. According to my mother, the tornado touched down about 10 miles north of us thereby totally avoiding our trailer park. Going back in 2006, I witnessed the aftermath of Katrina which had totally destroyed the town, and the trailer park, thereby teaching me a very valuable lesson. Focus on the probable which would have been the hurricanes, as that part of Louisiana is at a lower altitude. While yes, it would seem that tornados are possible, they are not probable. If you are starting your preparations on a budget, this should be a critical key, probable, not possible.

Strategy #1 – Get and stay safe, healthy, and secure. Keep your family safe as well.

Strategy #2 – Secure housing and/or shelter.

Strategy #3 – Maintain and distribute personal resources as necessary. (Food, Water, and other resources)

Strategy #4 – Recon local resources for re-assimilation to the community.

Strategy #5 – Reconnect to local resources in the community.

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