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10 Survival Tools for Disaster Preparedness

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A worst case scenario has unfolded in America.
Four major natural disasters have struck in different parts of the U.S. in a period of just a few days. Three of these disasters occurred on the West Coast, and scientists are scratching their heads trying to figure out how these are connected.

Theories pour forth across the airwaves.

9.1 Quake Hits Los Angeles

First, a 9.1 quake hit Los Angeles (the "Big One") as Southern Californians have long feared, followed by the eruption of Mount Ranier in Washington State that same day and just a day later a "Big One" then struck Seattle, another long-feared earthquake, this one a 9.1. as well.

People across the world are glued to their television sets. Many along the West Coast, especially those in the vicinity of LA and Seattle, can't watch TV, they're missing this. There's simply no electricity. But they're listening on their radios, many in severe shock -- with three disasters hitting so close together, and on major population centers, the psychological impact is terrifying. It's been so quiet for the last few months -- and suddenly three major disasters, each long feared, have struck within just days of one another. It's too much for some.

Lucky for you, living 40 miles distant from the Seattle quake means that the 9.1 hit your area more like a 7.0. That still took down some buildings in your area, many homes are damaged, roads un-driveable. On the sky line, and rising up to the clouds is a dark haze from the plume of ash coming from Mount Rainier.

You're glad you don't live anywhere south of Seattle, or anywhere near Mount Rainier.

Your home is damaged, things knocked over, things broken, cupboards spilled open. You make your way out to the street, where people from your neighborhood are congregating, a few in tears, a few on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Words are spoken, people are hugged, some people are praying. Communication is attempted on cell phones, some calls get out, but no one living in Seattle is answering their calls. Suddenly a call gets through. A neighbor's aunt in Seattle tells a story of mass-horror and devastation. The city has been mangled. This 9.1 earthquake even took down a few sky-scrapers. The Space Needle is gone, it fell, buildings and people crushed.

The next day the earth shakes again -- and disaster number four takes place. This time it's San Francisco.

San Francisco is hit harder than Los Angeles and Seattle combined.

The city is destroyed. And then, for the next few days, San Francisco simply burns, a thousand fires that can be seen from miles away, smoke billowing to the sky.

Survival in the Aftermath

Now we get to the point of this article ... what tools do you have around your home and your neighborhood that can help you survive a natural disaster? If you're like many modern day Americans, you may live in a distant suburb and potentially escape the brunt of a significant disaster laying waste to a major city in your area.

What items are laying right under your nose that can help you not just survive but even thrive when the area you live in has been laid waste by something as destructive as a catastrophic earthquake? First, let's discuss electricity:

Within a day or two of calls on your cell phone to the outside world, the thing is going to die on you. It's going to run out of battery power. It's going to need a recharge. This is where a cigarette-lighter DC to AC adaptor comes in handy.

Cigarette-Lighter DC to AC Adaptor

You can plug it right into any car lighter, and then plug any traditional electronic device right into it (as long as it's not something that pulls too much power -- such as a space heater -- or you'll blow a fuse in the car fuse-box). As a rule of thumb, you should have one in the dashboard of each vehicle you own (in case you're far from home in a disaster or other emergency). Consider also keeping one in your back pack -- if you have a "bug out" bag pre-stocked with emergency supplies.

With your car adaptor you can re-charge any cell phone (that you have a wall outlet plug-in for), as well as plug in small lights, and even a small radio. Don't run these things for too long though, or you'll risk draining your car battery. In fact, if you have a good supply of gas, turn your car on and let it idle so as to recharge your battery; or, better yet, only plug in the adaptor when the car is actually turned on and idling. This way you won't risk the repeated draining of your car battery ending it's life.

In an evacuation, or when traveling cross country through a disaster zone, you can also use your adaptor to draw power from abandoned vehicles you come across (be sure to choose vehicles that are clearly not going to be driven by anyone anytime soon). Some of you will say: I already have a car adaptor for my cell phone. A lot of people don't though. You can also run your laptop off this adaptor, other mobile devices, or even a drop-light on an extension chord, so you have electric light outside your vehicle (if you're camping out of your car or truck).

Chainsaw and Extra Gas

With natural gas lines knocked out, and the power grid shut down across the region, there's nothing to heat your home with. At this point, this is where a chainsaw comes in handy.
That spruce tree in your backyard that your wife is so fond about can finally come down, and be cut up into firewood. Other trees around the neighborhood also make great sources of firewood, as well as any stands of trees that may be a few blocks distant. Of course, unless you have a working fireplace and intact chimney in your home, you'll be smart to keep your fire outside. Then, when it's time to turn in for the night, go inside to the relative safety of your home where you can warm up under a few layers of blankets.

Blankets

If this earthquake strikes in the dead of winter, and you live in a northern state, you may have to deal with below-freezing temperatures, especially at night. You may find something more effective at keeping warm than even a "cold weather" sleeping bag -- that is burying yourself under lots of blankets. I'm not talking about 3 or 4 blankets. I'm talking about 10 or 12 blankets. You can pick up decent heavier weight blankets for cheap at places like the Goodwill or other area thrift stores. Then simply store them in boxes, having 10-12 for each member of your family. As long as you can keep your clothing dry, and where you sleep dry, with this many layers of blankets you're guaranteed to stay warm in just about any cold temperatures.

Mini Torch

If you do any camping, then you're well familiar with the propane camp stoves and also the small propane fuel bottles that come with many brands, such as Coleman camping gear. One very useful survival tool is a Blazer Self-Igniting Butane Micro-Torch, which connects to the top of a small butane canister.

This micro-torch is going to make starting a fire a piece of cake, even in relatively wet conditions. Plus you can also "improvise" and cook with it.

Tip: Set the propane canister down and hang a pot of water over the flame -- far enough away that the metal doesn't melt, but still gets hot enough to bring the water in the pot to a boil. With a flame that produces heat approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, you can have water boiling within a short amount of time.

A micro-torch is a great way to quickly dry out damp kindling and then get a fire going with small pieces of wood. Never use in an enclosed area. A micro-torch of any kind produces carbon monoxide. Be in an area that has adequate ventilation.

Portable Solar Power Generator

Well, if you have a few bucks to spend, and want to have more to live on in a survival situation, such as a catastrophic earthquake or other natural disaster, consider a self-contained portable solar power generator kit. (Over 138 reviews to this product's effectivness.) You can run multiple electronic devices off a solar power generator, such as laptops, emergency lights, small TVs and radios. Solar power means when the power runs low, you turn off the electronics and let the solar panels re-charge it. Then it's available for more power, again and again. Portable means this thing folds up into a self-contained unit, that can be easily transported. (Of course, in an emergency situation, you may want to figure out a means of disguising it, so no one attempts to take it from you.)

Shot Gun and Ammunition to Protect Life

Whether it's bears, cougars, or loose, dangerous dogs, consider having a shot gun and plenty of ammunition to protect yourself against wild animals that may have come down from the hills, or simply were freed from fenced enclosures because it just so happens that there's an exotic animal keeper that lives within your community who's pens are now destroyed, and animals let loose on the land. Sound far fetched? This is exactly what happened in Ohio in October, 2011, when -- instead of a disaster striking -- the owner became suicidal and decided to take his own life, but first let his collection of about 50 wild animals loose on the community (these animals included full size lions, bears, panthers, and wolves.) See: U.S. News: Dozens of Exotic Animals Set Loose in Ohio as well.

A shot gun is nice because when shooting simply "shot", you don't have to have perfect aiming skills; just point the gun in the direction of the animal (or thug) that's attempting to take your life, and pull the trigger. Though you're on a Christian website, and I'm a Christian who has given his life to Christ, to live by the Word of God -- I do believe that self-defense in a life threatening situation is ok; God understands your situation.

As an example, look to the Bible, when Jesus tells two of his disciples to "carry a sword" because (as implied by the passage), Jesus knew they would be traveling through some dangerous territory. The fact that this is in the Bible goes to show that God gives approval to the use of weapons, when used in self-defense situations (though the Bible doesn't approve the use of weapons when we are being "beaten" for sharing the gospel of Jesus. In fact, it's just the opposite: we are encouraged to endure the beating. But who wants to be beaten for sharing the gospel? Well, that's a good point to make. In the end, it's a tough teaching to embrace. All I know is this: The Apostle Paul didn't fight back when struck, and he didn't simply put on his running shoes and make a run for it. He hoped to set an example of "love" by letting people beat him, who didn't agree with him. The Apostle Paul was tough - no doubt about that. But his toughness came from the Holy Spirit. Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." What a great verse to be encouraged by when the trials of life take place.

Siphon Hose / Pump

Though the roads are mangled and for the most part un-driveable, you've still found a use for your vehicle. You've been able to turn the car on and let it idle, and send battery power to your DC to AC adaptor mentioned earlier in this article. But then after a few days of idling for a few minutes at a time, you're running low on gas, and now it's time to think about re-fueling. Sure you can siphon gas from abandoned cars the old fashioned way using just your mouth and part of a hose, but I don't recommend that. Siphoning gas by mouth is dangerous. Ameriburn.org warns that acidentally swallowing gas while siphoning can be fatal. A better, safer method of siphoning gas is to use a siphon hose with pump if, like many, you don't like the idea of accidentally swallowing fuel, or simply getting it in your mouth.

Survival tip: There are likely a handful of people in your community who are going to recognize early on that gas is now going to be hard to come by. If you want to grab gas from abandoned or destroyed vehicles, you may want to have a plan in place early on to do just that. Or someone else is going to beat you to it. First, you're going to need fuel containers. If you do a good job preparing for disaster, and managed to fill a number of empty tanks of gasoline, you are now sitting on a hot commodity and a target for thieves, even thieves willing to resort to violence. Stealth will be called for: In this situation that means the ability to keep your tanks concealed, as well as the ability to retrieve fuel from abandoned or destroyed cars. Figure out ways to do this without calling attention to yourself. You may need to work with other people, set up look-outs, etc.

Work Gloves

In a disaster situation, there's a great chance you'll be picking through debris as you clean up your home, and help with the clean ups of your neighbors. This means you'll be dealing with sharp pieces of wood, glass, even plastic, and then of course nails and maybe even chemicals (might want to have some rubber gloves around as well, especially around gas). Then there's the possible rescue attempts of people that may be trapped under the rubble of buildings in town, or even homes that have simply been shook apart by this violent earthquake. A good pear of work gloves will help protect your hands.

Work gloves are a handy item to consider having multiples pairs of, because there are going to be people thankful when you start passing them out. Choose colors that are dark, not a flashy yellow or red, because those kind of colors just call out to crooks who may simply want to take them. As the days and weeks progress, and resources become slim, and it's obvious no recovery is taking place -- and of course crooks are out and on the prowl -- consider this a time for stealth. Throw on some old, weathered, torn gloves over the top of your good work gloves. Throw some duct tape on the fingers of the old gloves. Just maybe no one will want the gloves your wearing, which means you get keep the good ones underneath.

If you live in an area that is hit by cold winters, then cold weather work gloves are called for as well. Your fingers will begin to freeze within just a few minutes of working in cold, wet snow -- you will hate the fact that you don't have cold weather work gloves on. Plus, your hands won't be any use in just a few short minutes of working in the cold.

Baseball Bat

A worn metal bat hanging from your side, and a don't mess with me demeanor can help you avoid being a target of crooks, once you're on the move and having to cross town. If you're traveling with neighbor's, it might be smart for the men and women in your group to all have a weapon of some sort visible, as well as a "don't mess with us" demeanor -- when bandits appear on the scene. Your group in many ways can travel like a trained group of soldiers in a war. At ease (and willing to help) others who are clearly not a threat, and in formation and at the ready when around people that are a threat.

For the most part, you just aren't likely to run into violent bandits in the early days following a disaster. But should you live anywhere near a major city like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, or others, there's a good chance that the inner city elements will set their sites on the suburbs as the place to go to for food and resources. Worse, there will likely be a segment of society that will simply want to rape any women (or girls) they can get their hands on. We live in an evil world. It's time to realize that there are people in our society who are willing to do horrendous things when the opportunity presents itself, and there's little fear of the police or courts doing anything to exact justice.

If you thought the riots that shook Los Angeles back in the days of Rodney King were bad, well you may see a lot worse behavior in a lot more people from not just low income areas, but also the more well-off areas as well, who think that it's all about survival of the fittest now, and they're going to take whatever they can to survive, and hurt anyone who gets in the way. Every race has it's "bad apple" segment of the population, and even a hill-billy that lives in the hills can be just as violent or even more dangerous than his counter part in the inner city.

Cell Phone Signal Boosting Kit

In the event of disaster, cell towers may be knocked off line, and even though you live in an area typically well covered, you may not have it after a major disaster. Of course, if you have to evacuate, and head inland, there may be even less coverage out there. Cell phone signal boosting kits may be a very useful survival tool. When everyone else is unable to pick up a signal, it's possible you'll be able to, or anyone else you allow to plug into your device (some kits allow multiple device to be plugged in, apparently).

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