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With global uncertainty, climate change, and the increase in natural disasters, we’d be surprised if you haven’t at least had a fleeting thought about how you would deal with a disaster.  Chances are though, that you haven’t actually done anything to prepare.  And that good old Australian adage, ‘She’ll be right’ wont stack up in the event of a major disaster.

It’s great that you’ve had a fleeting thought about preparing, and obviously in reality it has gone into the too hard basket.  And there are plenty of legitimate reasons for this.  So how do you get around them and actually make a difference?  It’s not as hard as it may seem.

An emergency situation could be any number of things, but the truth is that regardless of the situation, you’ll follow a similar process, and revert back to the most basic human needs first, before satisfying higher level needs later on.

Outside of being out of physical danger, humans need oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat at the most basic level.  And humans can survive up to 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food, which gives you an easy order of priorities.

The first step to preparing is to understand what it is that you want to be prepared for. In reality, you can’t prepare for every eventuality, but where you live may dictate certain risks (E.G. – bushfire or flood).  It could be things like terrorism, floods, civil unrest – whatever you think might be likely to occur.

The second step is to think about what you would have to do to stay physically safe in each situation.  Could you stay in your home in the event of a flood?  Perhaps. Bushfire? Unlikely unless you and your property were extremely well prepared.  And how long could that emergency last? This identifies where you could stay safe at home vs where you can’t and will get you thinking about where you would go, and what route you’d have to take considering the emergency and the physical threat.

Once you have considered these, the next step is to overlay the physical needs for staying and leaving to identify what you need to have in order to be able to safely survive in your home for each potential emergency, for the period you have identified. It’s always safer to look to store enough gear for the longest potential period you see yourself isolated, and if you don’t know how long that might be, pick a number that will give you enough time to plan and source further supplies.  For the scenarios identified where you need to leave, you will need to consider the distance and routes you are taking, as well as the supplies that may be available at your destination to determine what you need to carry.  You will then need to consider the size and weight of these items and determine if you can carry everything.  If not, prioritise as per the basic needs: Water, Clothing, Food (at least in Australia).

Above is a very simple way to think about starting the journey.   The truth is that you don’t have to solve for everything straight away.  Starting the process at all will put you ahead of others that have not.  And it is a journey – something that you can build and improve on over time, so start simple!

To recap, steps to preparedness:

  1. Identify likely emergency / survival scenarios local to you.
  2. Determine whether you could safely stay in your home for each, or whether you’d need to leave.  For scenarios where you’d need to leave, identify where you would go, and likely safe routes to that location given the emergency scenario (if it is a flood, you don’t want to be wandering through flood waters to try to get to safety etc). Also determine how long the emergency is likely to last.
  3. Based on the above, and basic human needs described above, determine what supplies you would need for each.  This will help build a picture of two kinds of kits – one with supplies to stay home, and a list to leave with if you have to.  Plan to the longest emergency, and you have the makings of a survival kit.

Start simple, and build.  The imediate needs are the most important, and by dealing with them, if a disaster happens, you will be able to meet the basic needs, which will allow you to concentrate on higher level needs like communication, and the future.

As always, check out our website www.survivalinstinct.com.au  for ready made kits, and also individual items that will help get you on your way.

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