Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Disaster Preparedness Guest Column

I like to read fiction as part of my Preparedness education.  It might seem an odd way to learn, since fiction is made-up stuff, right?  Maybe, maybe not.  A book about a fictional disaster usually portrays the characters doing 'real' things for their survival.  You can learn a lot of good survival tecnhiques and tips while being entertained by the story.
One of my favorite disaster, survival, or prepper books is actually 3 books.  It's a series called "World of the Chernyi".  In my opinion it's one of the best sets of books there are, about survivors of the world as we knew it.  Despite the sound of the word "Chernyi" sounding a bit like it's from a magical, fantastical, imaginary land, these books take place in 'nowdays' America.  "Chernyi" is Russian and sort of means black or dark, so putting that with "World" is an accurate depiction of the times after the end of the world as we know it, or "TEOTWAWKI", as some preppers say.
The books are very well written and the characters are great.  In case you're interested in checking it out, here's a link to them on Amazon:
But I'm not writing this to promote the books.  One of the emails I got last week was from Mr. D.K. Richardson, the author of these books.  He likes what we're doing over here on this blog and he's offered to write a guest column, chapter by chapter, of his Disaster Preparedness book!  We are very fortunate to have him share the vast amount of survival information that he has, and I think him very much.
He would like this to be interactive and welcomes your input and questions, so please be involved with this.  It's your chance to find out what you need to know, and to ask an expert directly.
Without further ado, here's the Introduction:

Want to be prepared for a disaster?
        The daily news shows or tells of stories filled with disaster - floods, wildfires, massive snowstorms and even worse, disasters made by man - train derailments, factory fires, riots and the like.
        These stories can be frightening, what if you lose power for days or weeks? What if you have to flee your home? What will you do? Where will you go?
        As a Certified Disaster Recovery Planner, I've spent years advising major corporations and written more than a few Response, Recovery and Restoration Plan set. In those same years, I've found this aspect of life is something that most of us have either overlooked, or frankly, ignored. Being prepared need not be expensive or complicated. Susan has graciously allowed me space on her blog to post the following set of documents - something I hope you not only find useful, but take advantage of to do your own preparation for future disasters.
        This will be a series of 12 guest posts, each covering a specific area. All of this information and more, with photos and "How To" sidebars is in the upcoming book "Homemade disaster kits: A Do It Yourself Guide for low cost preparation for future disasters."

        Here are the book chapters in the order they will be posted. These blog posts are the Clif Notes, the book contains more detail and additional images.

1 Water
2. Shelter and protection from environmental elements
3. Fire and light
4. Nutrition (food & cooking)

5. First aid and medical
6. Hygiene and clothing
7. Communication and signaling
8. Tools and repairs
9. Safety and defense
10. Travel and navigation
11. Morale and mental health

12. Important documents (passports, insurance, license, etc)

Finally, a way to carry this that is both inexpensive and low key.

        These steps are relevant whether you are forced to leave your home or are able to stay in the home to shelter in place.


        You need at least two liters per person per day, minimum, just to survive. If you are traveling or working, make that a gallon per person, per day. This Chapter covers storage, gathering, purification and suggestions for transport. I discuss the difference between water filters and purifiers, and why that matters. More than one type of home made filter will be described.

Shelter and protection.

        An inexpensive tarp and some cordage will go a long way to keep you out of the weather. I show you how to make the most of simple materials to provide shelter from the elements.

Fire and light

        If outdoors, you will need a source of heat to avoid hypothermia, cook food and provide light to perform any work after dark. I discuss a variety of inexpensive stoves, and show you how to make a pair of stoves that burn a common commercial product. I walk you through the choices in flashlights, lanterns, and candle lanterns - showing you how to make a couple of small candle stoves and lanterns. The last part in this chapter will discus the advantage and disadvantages of a campfire and how you might use a so-called Dakota fire pit, a rocket stove and other efficient ways of cooking with wood.

Nutrition (food & cooking)

        This Chapter focuses on putting together your own meal, ready to eat. Using commonly available long shelf life commercial products, you can make your own tasty and easy to cook or heat to eat meals. I discuss several common problems with home-made MREs and show you how to avoid the problems. Finally, since you should store what you eat - and eat what you store, I show you how to incorporate your homemade MREs into your day to day diet so that rotation and out of date foods should never be a problem.

First aid and medical

        As a former licensed EMT and having worked while in the military as a military medic, the focus here is on training. I outline a basic First Aid Kit (FAK) and why this is important. I describe an advanced FAK, one that is layered - so that the supplies you do buy are appropriate and inexpensive. The types of injury you can treat with the FAK is discussed as is the issues of Over the Counter medicines. While you can make a very nice FAK for less than a commercial offering, training is one area where you are advised to obtain commercial training. I list sources for hands on training and give you sources on the 'Web for follow on and self-training.

Hygiene and clothing

        More men were lost in the Civil War to poor sanitation than were ever killed in battle; this is true for the Boer war as well. I cover basic field sanitation, describe ways to wash your clothes in a disaster situation and list several ways to bath while in less than ideal conditions. Being clean isn't about smelling bad, it is a health issue.

Communication and signaling

        Communication is more than a cell phone. In this Chapter, I cover communications planning, alternate means of communication and the 'how it works' of commonly available communication equipment. Specifically, MURS, GRMS, CB, FRS and Ham radio are discussed at length. I even discuss crystal radios for fun and battery free listening.

Tools and repairs
        In this Chapter, I discuss the common, lightweight tools you should have on hand for use in a disaster. The classic saw of "A stitch in time saves nine" is more correct than not. I describe a small but comprehensive sewing kit and a larger tool for use in repairing large tarps, backpacks and the like.

Safety and defense

        This Chapter is a brief discussion of safety issues faced by those displaced by a disaster. I list ways to protect yourself and family members, your valuables and offer suggestions on ways to avoid problems before they impact you. A brief discussion covers the pros and cons of carrying a firearm - since laws in the US vary so wildly, I cannot offer specifics for your area.

Travel and navigation
        If you can't tell the players without a program, you'll find travel far more difficult without a map. I discuss common map products, then provide a listing of where and how to obtain free or low cost map products for your use. I cover compasses, and point you to free, on-line training sources for the use of your compass. While a GPS receiver is nice, it does have some real-world drawbacks - I discuss those drawbacks.

Morale and mental health

        If you have children, you already know dealing with a bored child is almost as bad a dealing with a bored adult. I discuss some low cost and light weight items to carry that can make a difference in the inevitable down time faced when away from home and familiar surroundings.

Important documents (passports, insurance, license, etc)

        It's a fact of life that we all have a paper trail following us through our life. If your home is damaged, or destroyed, having the right papers can make a major difference in how rapidly your life can be restored. I discuss the documents you should have with you, and what other measures you can take to safeguard important documents such as birth certificates, DD-214s from military service, marriage certificates, insurance papers and so on.
        The capstone project for the book is to build a take away 'bag' with the essentials for four days for one person using all of the information covered in the book. In this case, the bag will be a Yukon ruck, made from your tarp and holding the items you need should you leave your home. The capstone project assumes you have transport.

Being prepared doesn't mean you have to break the bank.
Thank you, Mr. Richardson, for sharing this wonderful information with us.  We look forward to the rest of your guest posts!
Readers, please leave comments, or send those or questions and suggestions to:

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