We are often told by Church leaders to be prepared, but often they are not very specific on what to do to get prepared. While we have food storage programs in the Church and are often told to keep 72-hour kits ready for use, there are a few other basic items I would recommend we also have on hand.
1. The most important element to surviving any major disaster is good clean drinking water. You can’t expect city water to always be clean (take Flint, Michigan for example), and if your house is damaged or destroyed, you might not be able to get to your water storage. Many modern methods of purifying water also rely on some kind of energy source, or for the water to be under pressure. Others are too bulky to take with you. You need a portable way to purify water without relying on power.
2. Your food storage can become useless if you aren’t able to prepare it. As mentioned above, a source of clean water is usually needed, but you also need alternative energy sources such as a stock pile of charcoal for a BBQ or fire pit. Sun ovens can also be useful in some situations, but nothing beats a good fire for cooking food, which brings me to the next item.
3. Fire starters. You can have all the wood and charcoal you could ever use, or even liquid fuels, but if you don’t have a reliable long-lasting way to start the fire, these items are basically useless. While having a big box of matches is a good idea, they will eventually get used up, or destroyed with fire or water. A good flint and steel kit will give you all the sparks you need for a long time to come.
4. A light source that doesn’t require a power source. If the power is out, you can’t just turn on a switch. Having a battery-powered flashlight is a good idea, but batteries only last so long, and carrying extras can quickly become very heavy. A crank powered flashlight overcomes the need for batteries, but isn’t a good idea if your energy levels are low and you need to conserve. A good candle is not only lightweight but can last a long time, however, they don’t provide sufficient light for some tasks. The real answer here is to have a combination of items that can be used based on what the situation calls for.
5. A renewable food source may be required in case of a big disaster has long-term impacts, or if the economy fails. This requires a place to grow food that has a water source, the knowledge on how to do it, and something to grow. Aquaponics provides a solution to all of these challenges as it requires very little space, conserves water, and requires very little maintenance when done correctly. You may also want to stock up on some Heirloom seeds since they haven’t been genetically modified they are more likely to provide good consistent nutritional value are are also much more likely to provide viable seeds for future re-planting.
6. A high-quality multi-tool. You can never have too many tools in my opinion. You never know what might become useful, but if you can’t take it with you because it’s just too big it’ll be of no good. That’s why a small compact multi-tool is a great option for survival situations. Even one you can carry with you in your wallet at all times is good to have just in case.
7. One of the most powerful tools you can posses is knowledge. While having survival books around for reference can be a valuable tool, it’s also good to spend some time every week learning something new.
Finally, you should also take some time to practice with your tools so you can build up your skills. Go camping occasionally and try to apply your knowledge and use your tools so that they become second nature. When your brain is in survival mode, it’s difficult to concentrate on figuring things out. You want to be sure you already know what to do and how to do it.