The more time one spends thinking about and practicing survival-related tasks, the more you’ll realize that redundancy is a key survival tenet. There are a few critical resources that you MUST have in order to truly expect a shot in a survival situation regardless of the location (i.e., wilderness, desert, at home, etc). Unlike in an wilderness situation where the survivalist is generally limited by the amount stuff he or she can carry, the home survivalist is at a distinct advantage because of the relatively limitless amount of storage space.
As you can guess, one of those critical resources you must have to survive is water. Rather than just purchasing several cases of bottled water (as some do) and expecting that to be your water reserves should you ever need it, I would urge you to take it a bit further. You can go big or small or anything in between.
For instance, if you happen to drink 2 liter bottles of soda, I often recommend people wash out and store tap water in the used bottles, then stash them in the freezer. Doing so primarily serves two purposes: (1) you have additional potable water, and (2) you now have a large block of ice that can help keep your fridge and freezer items colder longer in the event of a power outage. Just two of these bottles roughly equals a gallon of water; keep this up over time and it will add up. Even if you don’t drink soda, keep an eye out for the cheap soda to go on sale at places like Walmart then just dump the soda and use the bottle, I do.
On the other hand, water is so essential that I’ll also recommend people spend a bit of money and purchase one or more 55-gallon drums to store water. Even one of these barrels can store enough water for a family of four to drink for weeks… rationed for drinking purposes only, of course. Since they’re large and expensive to ship, keep an eye out locally. Consider asking the local LDS church if they have any leads. Other possibilities would include local garden supply shops; you will want to thoroughly wash these barrels but the money savings may be well worth the effort.
As for myself, I also store a few cases of bottled water, 7-gallon water jugs in each car, and water in my bug out bag. If you have the resources and do not expect to move you could consider installing a water cistern to hold several hundred gallons of water, although I would caution against this option in most instances due to the expense, permanency of it, and local laws that may make it a difficult venture. Even a rain barrel to catch rooftop water is a useful alternative that can be put to good use regardless of survival such as to water your shrubs.
Having water available is essential. It’s far better to have more options than you think you’ll need rather than to be one of many standing in line for a gallon-jug handout from the Red Cross.
Besides having some water on hand to drink, in any extended survival scenario the ability to clean and disinfect any additional water you can procure is equally important. That’s why I have multiple options to clean water at home and in my bug out bag including: iodine tablets and crystals (sold as Potable Aqua Plus and Polar Pure respectively), a water bottle/filter combo, a portable UV water filter (sold as the SteriPEN Classic Handheld Water Purifier), an emergency water filter straw (sold as Aquamira Frontier Emergency Water Filter System), as well as a several thousand gallon gravity filter (sold as the Big Berkey w/ 2 Black Berkey). I also understand how to build a slow sand filter, how to sterilize water using the sun, among other methods. By the way, it is OK to store and use chlorine for water purification purposes but there are better alternatives.
Other Key Resources
Besides water, there are a few other critical resources that you should consider redundancy as a key tenet:
- Fire starting devices such as lighters (Bic, butane-fueled), matches (strike-on-box, wind/waterproof, strike-anywhere), magnesium bar, flint steel, or even steel wool and 9-volt battery
- Lighting with plenty of batteries including a large flashlight (Mag-Lite), smaller handheld LED flashlight, hands-free headlamp, Cyalume Light Sticks, lantern (battery-powered LED, kerosene, propane, etc), candles (long burning such as NuWick 120 hour)
- Cordage including different lengths and sizes of rope (especially nylon or some blend of nylon), mil-spec parachute cord, twine… although not cordage add in duct tape for good measure
- Knives as well as other sharp stuff (and a means to keep them sharp) such as multipurpose knives, pocket knife, kitchen knives, hacksaws, tree limb saws, small survival saws (such as the Pocket Chainsaw or Gerber Sportsman Wood Saw), etc
- Communications devices like a simple battery-powered AM/FM radio, shortwave radio (such as the ETON Mini Shortwave Radio), noaa weather radio (such as the Midland Weather Radio), walkie-talkies, CB radio (mounted in car or even handheld), hand-crank emergency radio (such as the American Red Cross FR300 Emergency Radio, White), whistles (such as the AMK Rescue Howler Whistle), etc
Of course, there are plenty of other opportunities for redundancy-related-thinking (consider food and clothing was not mentioned above as well as plenty of other possibilities). The idea is to think about those resources we take for granted every day and begin to realize how truly important they are to our general survival. Once you begin to understand that you’ll take redundancy VERY seriously.
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