Thursday, July 19, 2007

Go Bag- Your immediate survival gear after an attack by those who must not be named!

As an analyst, and one who pays attention to the goings on in the world, I have seen an increased flurry of concern about terrorist attacks. Knowing something might happen is only the first step. Being prepared to survive it is another.

You can go anywhere on the net and find "what to do" and "survival" instructions. There are books on it too. I recommend an SAS or Special Forces book on survival to help with the aftermath. Who better to learn from than those who do this sort of thing for fun?

What, were you going to just jump on a computer and look up what to do after an attack takes place? Chances are your network will be down... Disrupting lines of communication (LOCs), after all, is probably one of the first things anybody would do to be effective in an attack. Panic traffic (immediate mass communication traffic) might even cause the LOCs to crash anyway! Remember how easy it was to call friends/family after the last attack? What about trying to check in on family in a hurricane zone (before the storm even hits)? Not a piece of cake... So, get hard-copy resources now before your fancy computer is useless.

A lot of people and survival resources are concerned about a chem/bio/dirty bomb attack, and rightly so. Bluntly stated: Chances are you're screwed because your kit has everything you need to deal with "later" and not "right now" in the middle of it all. You could live in a bubble, but that's probably no fun. However, in the event of a chem or dirty bomb attack there are things you can do to get to the "later" part.

Stacks of paper you print off won't save your life, unless you are freezing to death and need a fire. You need gear to make sure you can live long enough to put your survival book to good use. That means putting together a "go bag" that will get you home or to a safe location.

If you think the baddies will eventually put to use all the nuclear material or chemicals they've stolen over the years you will likely need a gas mask. After all, before you need food or water, you need to breathe!

DO NOT BUY A SURPLUS PIECE OF JUNK from that catalogue. You know which catalogue I'm talking about! It's the one you've got that's full of all sorts of nifty gadgets and cool survivalist and camping stuff you drool over and never buy.

-Go to an official supplier for a proven and certified mask, get new filters with shelf lives that are not expired. They can last upwards tof 10 years. If EVERYONE says something will happen on US soil within that period of time, it's the best insurance money can buy! Everything is surprisingly affordable anyway.

If exposure to mold in an Air Force basement office can cause a hole in my lung from a fit of coughing in the middle of a run, I hate to think of what the nasty stuff the enemy wants to use on us could do. Running 3/4 of a mile with a hole in your lung is no fun, trust me- at least I was able to eventually get medical help. Dying from poison can't be fun either. Remember, medical help, if any, will be scarce. An ounce of prevention and all that...

-Ok, you've got your mask and a filter good for up to 8 hours (Depending on exposure). Think about getting another filter because traffic will probably suck if everyone is evacuating, or whatever it was that is in the air might last longer than 8 hours. If you're in the Northern Virginia, DC area you are in a target zone and traffic already sucks anyway. Depending on exposure risks, you might actually be better served by holding tight and waiting for the "fog" to clear/dissipate after a day or two before going home or evacuating. Roads might be more clear after a day or 2 or 3, and you'll mainly have to worry about gangs, looters, etc and not contamination. Don't forget to pop some Potassium Iodide if the attack was a nuke or radiological.

-Everyone packs a change of clothes in their go-bag (right?), but if you are directly exposed to anything, everything needs hosed down. Decontamination procedures means that anything you're wearing is written off as contaminated (yes, gone, let it go!), including that favorite silk tie of yours, your nikes, etc- sorry. Store a complete set of clothes in zip-lock, or airtight vacuum/compression bags. This way you can strip, hose down yourself, hose down the bag, and have some clean clothes to wear. Metal/plastic are generally ok as they are non-porous and can be hosed down (don't be an idiot and ditch your ID or credit cards). Cash? hmm... all new meaning to "dirty money." What you do with it is up to you.

-Emergency ponchos (around a dollar) and emergency blankets, (you know, those folded up metallic ones) are lightweight and take up very little space- and their benefits are amazing morale boosters: They can keep you warm and dry.

-Weatherproof lighters, matches. Duh.

-A mini maglight and or photon (small and blinding bright LED-fits on keychain)

-A knife or two. Hey, you might not always have a firearm/ammo. A knife can also be used over and over for many different things.

-Pens, pencils.

-Compasses. They are cheap. Everyone keeps one with their big bag of camping gear. Why not put another in your go bag in case you can't make it to your camping gear. You may not know where you are going, but you will always know which way is north!

-Keep a waterproof map, or a map in a ziplock bag, so you can put your compass to good use. Learn how to read it. Learn where you are going.

Don't rely solely on GPS- you WILL eventually run out of power. Many have features that will tell you all the steps of your journey. Plot some locations and write down the directions, or print them off from your favorite map program (yahoo maps, mapquest, whatever). Save time and do this before the disaster. ;-)

-Small waterproof first-aid kit. Duh.

-An MRE (a whole day's worth of calories, but bulky) or a couple "meal" bars or shakes (slim-fast, etc).

-Canteen/bottle of water. Water purifying tabs for refills (or a small hand-pump filter- do not skimp on this if you buy one!). If you get the right filter, it is long lasting, doesn't take much room, and can be re-used after a good cleaning.

-A medium sized back-pack to put all this stuff in. Keep it close to you, whether that be in your cube at work or in your car while you're traveling. Don't leave it somewhere that you don't spend the majority of time, or odds are you might not be there when you need it, and your efforts will be for naught because you will be dead. With luck we will never have to use our go-bags, but if we do, we will be among the living.

- Last but not least: A will to survive anything, no matter how bad, and a will to overcome any obstical. Positive thinking and determination. Having the tenacity to say that no matter what you will make it through ANYTHING can psych you up enough to where you really can. "Never give up!" must be your motto. Focus on being an unstopable engine.

Don't load yourself down with much more! Remember, this is just a Go-Bag to get you to your main survival gear.

Note: For those who do not know, the zip-lock/plastic bags above can be indespensable medical supplies (use for insulation, padding, to stop a sucking chest wound), even if they are not being re-used to hold things after emptied. Remember, depending on the size of the disaster, industry/supply may fall apart, and simple things we take for granted may not be available for who knows how long. After an attack, think twice before trashing something- you might be able to put it to use.

Outside the immediate Go Bag survival items you may want the following available nearby (in vehicle or shelter)...

An entrenching tool ("e-tool" for short) consisting of shovel/pick can serve a variety of purposes (tangent: I met the Vietnam Vet with the most confirmed kills with an e-tool, so I know they're good for something other than digging), issue wool blanket, small pot/pan, are all good small inexpensive/indespensable items to keep in your vehicle. Good for surviving anything, including a long trip.

Gas is expensive now, but who will stop the price gouging after something goes wrong? Who says the station will be available/active? If you are in a target zone never let your tank drop below half full (3/4 ideally, but we have to be realistic)- or be prepared to move as slow as molasses carrying gear on your back. Before going anywhere after an attack, evaluate if you really need to risk it, or are better off where you are.

Canned food (don't forget the manual can-opener) and sources of water, water purification pumps, etc should be at the absolute top of your survival list and ready and waiting for wherever you are going to wind up... and or be ready to hunt, but from then on you're relying on your detailed survival guides and intestinal fortitude.

Good luck and God Bless!

I will update this post from time to time as needed if anyone has suggestions.

The following is a good instruction guide for setting up shelter:


WomanHonorThyself said...

ah yes the unnamed enemy!...great survival tips dude..ty!!!

falcon_01 said...

Welcome! :) Glad somebody read the super long post!

Just remember, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." :-)
If we're not prepared, or panic and falter, the enemy has already won that much more ground.

It's amazing that the gov't teaches the military other employees these basic things, but not the general population. I think that's a major oversight. It wouldn't cost a thing to make the training available on a public website or have the major media make a public service campaign. Oh well, maybe the recent steam rupture in NY will get people thinking again... probably not though.

WomanHonorThyself said...

sigh..lets pray youre right my friend! :)

Jamie said...

Wow great survival tips. A lot of info in that post, i've bookmarked it to read it again later on. Thanks!

Curtis said...

This is a great post. Being passionate about it when you talk to others is key to making sure they GET THE POINT! Everyone should make sure they have their own Survival Gear!

Jason said...

Long but very informative post, thanks for putting in the effort to explain everything. I like that it is more than just a list.

We're putting together a knowledge site at and if anyone wants to submit content we'd be very happy to have it. Comments, opinions, any survival-related content. Eventually we'll affiliate with online stores we feel are a good fit with our visitors, but for now we're building content.